The Beauty in White – Taj Mahal

Taj Mahal View through the Arched Gateway

 

Just as I was waiting in line to pass through the arched doorway I saw a part of the Taj Mahal and I thought “ Why do people go crazy about this building? It’s just made in marble” and “ I don’t think this building was made out of love for a woman.” Just as I passed through the archway and my eyes caught sight of the Taj Mahal in its entirety a lump formed in my throat and my eyes welled up. I could barely speak. I had visited the Agra fort just before that and was spell bound by the architecture. But the Taj I fell in love with her the first time I held her in my eyes.

Taj Mahal

The Taj is definitely a woman. I believe the Taj Mahal was the love of Shah Jahan’s life. Anyone who had the time and money and the vision to build such a monument is truly an artist. If it was a Hindu Temple before the Taj. Good for the country we need such symbols. For all those who keep fighting and trying to explain that it was a Hindu temple before it was looted and demolished by the mughals to become the Taj. Well we don’t know for sure because all that happened before our lifetime.

Yes, the Mughals came from another region, brought with them another religion but look at how much we have assimilated from them. Look at the architecture they have left us. It’s mind boggling.

Each emperor or country which has ruled these lands which we now call India have left is richer in so many ways and poorer in many more ways.

Our country cannot move forward when we just keep looking back at the past.

I suggest we take a glimpse of the past take what we need and leave what we don’t need. Learn from the mistakes people have made and build a nation which is the greatest man has ever seen.

Stop dissecting the #TajMahal folks. It is heart wrenching when something of such beauty is hurt by so many words and thoughts. If the UP tourism book does not include the Taj. Whose loss is it really? It’s an architectural marvel which has been seen as a symbol of love by millions around the world. Grow UP Tourism.

 

Bigg Boss – The Grand Finale

My interest in Bigg Boss hosted by Kamal Hassan fizzled out after Oviya left and then Gayathri (G3) chocolate milkshake also left. I got busy with other stuff. The show did not really hold anything interesting for me anymore.I instead followed the #BiggBossTamil hashtag on twitter. Anyways I finally got over Bigg Boss. If they have a game show similar to the Purge and if politicians were in the show then maybe I would like to watch. Vijay TV are you listening???

The Grand Finale was a complete bore with everyone thanking the host, house mates and then telling how they are a family and that this was a life long experience for them. Yes, it will be a once in a life experience for anyone. Just imagine no communication with the external world and living with a bunch of unknowns. You never know who is gonna shoot what and where. I doubt if even the nuclear families we are will be able to lead a life like that over a weekend. So 100 days must have been a challenge.

So I am going to see if I can spend this weekend with “NO SCREEN TIME” Which means No Television, No Mobile, No Laptop, No Ipad or anything which is on a screen. Of course the window drapes will be allowed. 🙂 I think it is going to be fun doing a small experiment on myself. Thambi Prabhu will you accept this challenge? Do you have it in you. Unnal Mudiyuma???

BTW I expected Ganesh to win this season of Bigg Boss. The man is so level headed. The qualities he showed in the Bigg Boss show is something every man should try and work towards. Wishing Ganesh Venkatraman the very best.

 

07/10/2017 Update: Looking forward to NO screen time tomorrow.

Bigg Boss – The Oviya Phenomenon

I first heard of this concept of people living in one house with no communication with the outside world only when Shilpa Shetty won the Celebrity Big Brother Show. So when Vijay TV decided to telecast a similar show called Bigg Boss in Tamil I really wanted to see what this hype is all about. And when I realized that Kamal Hassan will be hosting the show much excitement.

So 15 people got into the house on 25th June 2017

  • Aarav
  • Aarthi – Evicted Day 21
  • Anuya Bhagvath – Evicted Day 7
  • Bharani – Ejected for trying to escape from the house on Day 14
  • Ganesh Venkatraman
  • Ganja Karuppu – Evicted Day 14
  • Gayathri Raghuram
  • Juliana
  • Namitha – Evicted Day 28
  • Oviya
  • Raiza Wilson
  • Sakthi
  • Snehan
  • Sree Left for Medical Reasons on Day 4
  • Vaiyapuri

I have seen most of these people on screen except for Aarav, Juliana, Raiza Wilson and Snehan.

Even as I saw the first episode I had a feeling that Ganesh Venkatraman would win the title. He seemed to be calm, composed and with an air of positivity around him. But as the weeks passed by my attention was turning towards this girl called Oviya. She is all bubbly bubbly and seems to be a happy go lucky girl. But she was being ignored by the rest of the team for a number of reasons. The main one being she had her own opinions and did not bother to sit with the girls and guys and Gossip.

Each person in the house nominates 2 people each and the 3 people with the most nominations are voted for by the audience. The person with the least number of audience votes is kicked out of the show. Oviya has been nominated each time and she has been saved all three times. At some point social media woke up and formed the Oviya Army (Oviya Puratchi Padai)These are people who have gone all the way to say she will be the next CM of Tamilnadu and even compared her to the late Puratchi Thalaivar and sometimes to Superstar from Kabali.

We will not be able to find many Oviyas amongst us because of the simple fact that she does what she wants. When she wants to avoid any arguements She says “Enakku Chu Chu Varudhu” and leaves the scene. She loves to dance in the rain. She does not talk about people behind their backs. She is the naughty child in the house. And how are naughty children treated in every house??? They are scolded, beaten, punished and reprimanded. So thats what is happening to Oviya in the house. Everyone in the house wants to punish her and wants to send her out of the Bigg Boss house. But Oviya with her spontaneity has captured the hearts of the people. She is seen as a favourite to win the Reality show. Her morning dance routine seems to be full of energy unmindful of the happening of the previous night. It’s a pleasure to watch.

Yes she seems to be someone that I want to be. She is a projection of some of my desires. Carefree, Happy and Fun Loving. I think people in the house also want to be like her but that would mean tearing down their other faces. Those faces cant be torn down so they are making life a bit difficult for her.

There is a sadness in Oviya and she seems to mask it real well. Also her popularity in the show has peaked because of people like Gayathri Raghuram, Aarthi, Raiza and especially Juliana. But please do remember the reality show is playing on viewer senses at the same time it is playing on the senses of those in the house. Star Vijay can swing perceptions by regulating the show to a certain extent. I don’t know if the show is scripted. But it is an interesting phenomenon to watch and follow atleast for the first season.

P.S.: Gayathri Raghuram’s Language both verbal and body looks like a dyke in prison. Pathetic!!! Such Crude Language should not be shown on prime time Television. Ava Naakula soodu podunga Saar…

Free Thoughts, Are they Free in India?

India the land of mixtures. Yes, you read it right we like to keep it mixed atleast that’s what I was led to believe since my childhood. Maybe it was my parents or maybe my school. I have never alienated someone because of their religion or caste or colour. Strangely I also believed that’s how the rest of the folks of my generation thought. Everyone is equal in the eyes of the law, All Indians are my brutha’s and sistah’s. I was the Cat who had his eyes closed and thought the world was dark.

I moved to Delhi in the year 2000 and that city opened my eyes to reality. No one is equal. Caste and Colour are more important than the grey matter between your ears. Money is everything. And most important of them your religion matters. If you are a Hindu you would be looked down upon if you are seen eating beef at Karim’s. Your Hindu friends would advice you not to go to the Jama Masjid Area because it is filled with thieves and murderers. Muslim’s are to be kept at an arms distance and you should never be best friends with them. It was all new to me.

During this time I was also called by various names Shetty, Ganjoo, Takloo, Kaloo and mostly Madarasi. They would call all south indians madarasi. I tried telling them that they should only call people from Madras as Madarasi. But it never occurred to some that there are 4 states in South India and that Madras is the capital of TamilNadu. They were still living in the British era and I swear some still lived in the Mughal era. These guys still went by how their ancestors addressed the south Indians.

So I threw a party in a friends house in East of Kailash. His uncle was out of town and he had the entire place to himself. It was called the South Indian Party. And the only thing that was served was Idly and Sambar. Ah!!! So a bunch a South Indians and North Indians were invited to the party. And I noticed something really weird the sambar was not emptying in proportion to the idlies being eaten. These North Indian friends were filling the sambar in glasses and drinking it like it was some hot soup. really weird!!! They were not touching the idlies because we did not provide them with spoons. So a session was conducted on how to eat idly with their hands. I remember telling them that it is OK to get their fingers smeared with sambar because they could always wash it off after the meal. I did have to hurry and get more sambar so the idlies could be finished. They did enjoy eating the idlies with their fingers.

So why did I tell that story I think South India should educate North India on why it is not weird to do the things the way South Indians do. There is so much of cross cultural learning that can happen. Yes the cow is a holy animal of the Hindus in north India. But when that cow is roaming around Janpath or the Ring Road aimlessly when it has no where to go then why not kill it and eat it? Who told these Hindus that Beef is not to be eaten? Their Ancestors? It was told in an millennium which has gone by. If we can’t protect a cow which is on the road and posing a danger to the road users then some remedial action has to happen. We don’t live in times when we are using bullock carts. For the sake of the cow so many people are being hurt and killed. Are these politically motivated. Have people in this country stopped thinking for themselves.

Also this whole thing of imposing Hindi In TamilNadu. I am not going to go with the argument that Tamil is a classical Language and it has existed for thousands of years. Well we don’t speak tamil that was spoken a thousand years back. We don’t even speak the same tamil which was used a hundred years back. But don’t impose a language which the people in the state don’t want thrust upon them. Yes, Hindi is not our National Language.

Everything changes in this world. If we don’t change with the times we will stop existing. Change will happen only when we can think freely. That’s why we should cherish the freedom that we got from the foreign rulers.

Jai Hind!

Rape, Rape, Rape My Darlings…

Don't Rape, Do Respect

A light was extinguished by five pieces of hands. One of those hands was considered small though it seemed to have gone about with much gusto. The other four participated with a lot of zest. Yes the flame was a fighter and it refused to go out easily. But eventually it did go out. It left an entire country darkness and it exposed a society which prays fervently to women Gods but treats the living people like meat.

The Law has finally caught up (hopefully for the last time) with the four guys who raped, plundered and threw a girl out of a moving bus like she was a piece of meat. They have been given the death sentence. They will be hanged till they are dead.

But somehow I don’t feel like justice has been served. After the Jyoti Rape Case there have been thousands of rape cases. Old women have been raped, babies have been raped what has happened to all those rapists? Will they also be hanged to die. Well every time a woman is raped or even touched without her consent we fail as a society. Everytime the courts sentence a rapist to die we fail as a society. Nothing wrong with failure. But it kills me when I don’t know if my child will be safe tomorrow. Meaning, Are we as a society learning from our failures? Hopefully we will. Women are fighters it is just that I don’t want them to being fighting against rapists.

P.S.: The juvenile who was said to be the most violent was sentenced to serve time juvenile home and was later released. Hope he is a changed man. Because if taking a life does not change him then…

Train Tales – On Reservation

Open the door for the woman, offer a seat to an old man standing… Acts of chivalry???? Or as some people put it an attempt to impress the world. 

What should you do when you hold a reserved Window Seat ticket on the train and a women comes and starts eyeing the seat? Do you give it to her or do you ask her if she has a reserved ticket and if not that she should get into the unreserved compartment or the ladies compartment. But unfortunately some people who don’t hold reserved tickets are allowed to board a reserved compartment and some of them even demand to be allowed to sit. 

I wonder if we will be able to kick some sense into some of these people who demand that they be allowed to sit according to their whims and fancies. 

There will come a day when reserved compartments will only seat people with reserved tickets. Not railway workers/officials or paan chewing men or seat demanding women. Indian Railways has a long way to go.  

 

Of Window Seats and Passing Greenery

Ever since my childhood I always loved the corner seat right beside the window be it in the car, train or pretty much any form of transport. Who does not love the feel of the wind on the face? If you don’t you are weird, trust me real weird because even the Dogs love it. 

So my seat of choice when booking my ticket on the Indian Railways App is the Window seat. I love sitting there watching water bodies, patches of greenery and houses of all hues and colours pass by. 

I have been noticing that a lot of these green patches of land have now turned brown. No not with the shit that people love to take near railway tracks but by land developers who are fast converting these pieces of agricultural lands into potential disaster zones. These pieces of land have no proper drainage facilities and each plot when constructed on will have its own bore well. So the way I look at it, we folks DESTROY TO DEVELOP. 

The Greenery is slowly Passing Away. 

High Five! 

Up until recently I did not realize the physical power that kids can have. Was playing with a 15month old kid. I taught him to High Five and then to Low Five and we practiced for a while. Then the kid called me and asked me to pick him up. He hardly lets anyone other than his parents to pick him up and I was excited because it seemed like he really liked me because I was teaching him new stuff. 

So I picked him and BAM!!!! he high fived my bald head and God that hurt. But he was so proud of how he had high fived my head. I then had to sit him down and teach him high fives were to be done palm to palm and not palm to head. 

I think he got it right. Otherwise my Brother-in-law is getting high fived on his head each time he picks up his son.  

Stop making Films

I am now appealing to all the directors to stop directing movies, actors need to stop acting the film industry should stop telling stories. Religious and Political outfits should consider banning the history of this country from being taught so that children will not be able learn the bad person that Tipu or his father Haider was. Why have these so called Hindu outfits not erased the sights and signs that Tipu ever existed? Why ask Rajni not to act as Tipu? 

Reason is because everyone has a mouth and sometimes it runs of and tells stupid things, stupid stupid mouth. I wonder what these people tell their children about the history of this country which has a great medley of cultures? It is worrying to find tolerance becoming rare these days.

Yes, atrocities were committed by a great many rulers just like atrocities are being committed by a great many rulers today and these atrocities will continue in the future too let there be no doubt about that. But it is what history writes about a reign or the governance by a ruler that the ruler comes off as a good or bad person. 

I wish some one had stopped that ex-thief Valmiki from writing the Ramayan and that thumbikai azhwar from writing the Mahabharat.

A creator creates what the society lets him create. That definitely would hurt creators around the world and also the supreme creator. 

Dear political outfits please stop twisting the history of this country. And also stop getting in the way of creativity. 

The Fort

  
This is a fort, well I know it is hard to believe. I don’t remember the name of this fort here. But it is somewhere in the Ladakh area. 

If you know of this place ping me on twitter @aravindkumar or drop me an email aravind@aravindkumar.com

A 10 x 10 Run to celebrate 2014

This has been a long pending post. The last quarter usually is an energy Sapper. But this year it is going to be special. Have been meaning to post this for a while now.

The Year End is always a landmark for most mortals. We look forward to the promises that the New Year brings. After the Wipro Chennai Marathon on December 7th this year I decided to keep running and take a days break every week. I would try and run for 25 days in December and the last 10 days I would attempt a 10 kms for 10 days challenge. I did not want to plan for the next day. I had no target time, no target pace. I wanted to do easy run-walk routines and complete the 10km each day. I was trying to KISS (Keep it Simple Silly)

The first five days of the run was nothing special to write about. I just ran, I walked, I took in the sights I was generally happy about how each day was passing by. I have always taken pride in my patience but on the 6th day as I was running with my cousin past Chetpet Bridge I realized I was running out of patience. It was like I wanted the run to end quickly. Ajay and me kept talking and we walked most of the way that day. I am so glad that I had company and who better than a cousin who I had not met in years.

On the 7th day God rested but I had bitten into a Chilli by registering for a Run conducted by a popular Radio Channel in the City and I was running along with another cousin Vikram. Again we pretty much walked the stretch and man, what interesting conversations we had. Towards the end of the run somewhere near the Kanagi Statue a boy who was standing on the side nudged into our conversation. He started talking about how he wanted to cycle and how he could not afford these huge registration fees for Marathons. His father was a tailor. He was studying to be an engineer. But he also wanted to train to be a runner. I was trying to tell him about the Marina Minnals and he kept cutting me off with his stories of how he had proposed to a girl and how he could now lift two water cans and run and how he only had Rs. 200 in his bank account. My Cousin Vikram shot off like his pants were on fire he simply could not bear the conversation I was trying to have with the engineering college kid. I finally managed to tell him about the running group and how he could go train with them. Once that was conveyed I shot off to catch up with my cousin. The two of us burst out laughing and without a care for the world. Maybe not my best run

The 8th day was when I started feeling pain in my shins. I was running with the Tower Twisters group and somewhere near Kilpauk cemetry the pain had become unbearable. I was resting and someone ran past me so I decided to try and run past them and I did but had to stop immediately because of the pain in the shins commanded me to. The person was a lady and she kept running and I was like “Asingapatan Autokaran”. Day 8 was weird because someone asked me for directions to Kelly’s while I was running on Taylors Road. It was a guy, somehow it did not feel right so I turned back and ran back to BV and down 6th Avenue and finished my run.

The 9th day was the “Breaking Point” of my entire 10×10 experience. I decided to run at the Marina starting from Gandhi Statue to RBI and back. I did not have any severe aches or pain till then and the minute I started running my shins decided to speak up. It was windy and it had started raining I had my umbrella and I was in my run – walk mode. I had run-walked upto the statue of Subash Chandra Bose and it was there that I wanted to turn back and end the whole challenge. It was a battle between my mind and body. The mind won and I turned back in the direction of Fort St. George I was going to fight my way to the fort. As I was finishing my 8th km somewhere near Labour statue my shins quietened dow down and I was free to run again. I am still trying to figure out what happened at the 8th km. I had run past my “Breaking Point”. It was the most challenging.

On the 10th day I was running with the Tower Twisters and Clement a runner and a longtime blogger friend had offered to run with me. We ran and I did lag behind at some places but I managed to finish my 10k. As we ran back to BV I was wondering if I felt any different. I hardly felt any pain it had disappeared somewhere at the 5th km. But strangely I did not feel any sense of elation. Somehow it did not feel like “The End”

The 10×10 is a mind and body challenge. Sometimes you will probably have to give up the run and sometimes the pain. Make sure you have been running consistently and also improving your overall strength before you take up this challenge. You don’t want to end up injuring yourself. If you think you are upto it and you are looking for company feel free to get in touch with me at my email address odugalee@gmail.com Would be glad to run with you.