Saturday, December 29, 2012

So long, sister

For no fault of yours, you so badly suffered.
For no good deed, you gained so many siblings

Brutally slaughtered, you had to undergo so much hardship.
To satisfy the barbaric desires of a few monsters, you paid a price.

With your suffering, a bunch of morons called women names.
Dented and painted, one called out

What nation is this, that cannot protect its own children
What country is this, that passes on the buck (each time)

And then you were airlifted, in the hope you would survive
You fought hard, at home and abroad

Yet, God wishes otherwise; he took your life away
Is it so that you can reclaim your dignity; pass on to peace?

Sorry sister, you deserved much more
With your absence, you gave us a cause.

So long!
Rest in Peace

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Orchard Christmas

So, three years back, I was in Europe around Christmas. It so happened that on Christmas day, I was in Vatican. And I got to see the Pope. Although I practice a different religion, it was really a wonderful experience to actually see the religious head of one of the largest religions in the world. And I thought that was the best Christmas in many years to come. Until two days back.

Orchard Road in Singapore is one famous two kilometer stretch, that is just filled with innumerable number of malls.

Literally, a person would need atleast one day to walk through each mall. All the world famous brands including Prada, Louis Vuitton and many many more find base there. And you go there late nights, it is famous for the oldest practiced occupation of the world (any guesses there?) And the road was filled with beautifully decorated Christmas trees every few yards. I've never seen such mind blowing decorations

See the lighting in the picture below. That's how the road is lit up all along the stretch. Some places are even more grand.

Fountains colored beautifully, it adds beauty to the whole scene.

So, these decorations are just a part of the grandeur. There's much more along the entire stretch and each of it is an absolute visual treat.

Remember our very own Ranganathan Street and how crowded it is. Well, not surprisingly, Orchard Road on Christmas eve was just like that. To cap it all, everyone of them had foam bottles in their hands, and by the end of it all, we were just soaked in foam every bit of the body.

The best part of course, was the dressing up of all the gorgeous women, richly colored clothing, a little too much revelation than necessary and the fact that they didn't really care about what they revealed. My my !! It could last one a lifetime.

If Christmas was such, I wonder how New Year's eve would be.

Disclaimer : All the pictures have been taken on my handphone camera.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Kasab's death : Dedicated to all the brave police officers who saved the nation

Death is death. There are no differences to it. No tags can be attached. Be it one of the most popular Prime Ministers killed by a bunch of linguistic fanatics, or innocent citizens of a nation's financial capital, it is still the same. So why must a terrorist being hanged until death for a heinous crime be treated any different?

After Kasab's death today, I see a lot of people broach up the topic of death sentence once again and try to figure out a stand. Some friends who, I am sure, are hell bent against death sentence are hailing the killing of Kasab. I ask them how such a stand is possible, and they comfortably reply 'there are always exceptions'. Well, I don't agree. When it comes to the life of a person, there can be no exceptions. Its either whole or none. Support it or oppose it. No selective support of any kind.

I, for one, certainly support death sentences. It is purely my opinion that people who oppose it (or in such cases, selectively oppose it) in the name of human rights, and Gandhi's very own 'an eye for an eye makes the whole world blind', are actually fooling themselves. And trust me, you guys would never know the pain a victim goes through, unless you actually witness it first hand. I wonder if you'd stick to your Gandhian philosophy then. Probably not.

Kasab was one of the ten terrorists who took out to wipe out a part of our nation. His misfortune, he was caught alive. In his case, the law has only done what it is supposed to. Those who mock the Government for waiting for four years, please let it rest. Be happy that you are part of a democracy where even the nation's "enemy" is given a fair trial. If it takes four years, well so what? In some sense, justice has been served right?

To those braveheart social network addicts who post things like 'ROT IN HELL' and such shit, get a life guys. Don't merely mark your attendance on the social networks through such cheap posts. Think of all the pain those police officers' families are still undergoing. Empathize with them, that's important. Not you goddamn "present sir" on Facebook and twitter.

I am sure Arnab Goswami, Sagarika Ghose, Rajdeep Sardesai, Barkha Dutt and all those pseudo journalists are making out special segments. Please do not give us your crap this time. Don't project Kasab as the epitome of terrorism. Remember, this ain't the end.

There could well be terrorists plotting their next attack on the nation. What we need to do now, is wake up to reality. Laws like POTA need to be brought back to tackle with complex issues. The Government is at a moral responsibility to assure its citizens that they are there to take care. And my dear fellow citizens, for once, appreciate the Government for what it has done, and show your solidarity and support to the families of those brave policemen who lost their lives saving us.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

In any city, (dont) be an Indian

Ok, the other day, the Gujju society here in Singapore had organized an open house Dandiya night event. You know how it is, at these functions right? There are generally five kinds at any such function :

1. The older women, dressed up in the most weird coloured salwars dance to some random Gujju song (well, by dance, I only mean shake their hands with a big gleeful smile (which doesn't always show the teeth, quite simply because they are not there))
2. The middle aged uncles and aunties revealing more than what they ought to (adei, I meant the dance skills);
3. The Settu figures who dance with their male companions (with the age old theory of sema figure with some mokka guy always coming true)
4. The others who cannot dance for nuts
5. The rest, like me, who come there just to do their duty (eat, bird watch, eat and bird watch)

Well actually, I belong to both 4 and 5.

So, here's what happened. My friend and I were busy doing our thing. The caterers served the most yummy (atleast after coming to Singapore) paav bhaaji and gulab jamun (which reminds me of the college canteen). So we were there, minding our own business. My friend finished his two dishes and I turned around, so that he didn't delve into mine. He was just about to wash his hands over the grass (the typical desi style) when I stopped him and gave a bit of gyan about how not to dirty the spot, which is so typical of Indians. Surprisingly, he actually thought it was right too and washed his hand into the box of food. Well, that was ok I suppose.

That's when it happened.

This really well dressed mid-twenties guy, who looked fairly educated and neat (well, appearances are almost always deceptive) goes desi. He washed his hands over the very same spot. What's more, he goggled his mouth with some water and spit it on the ground. I was like, "What the hell" ? But this guy didn't really seem to care.

We Indians always comment that we are not given due respect when abroad and that the foreigners look down upon us. Well, why wouldn't they, when you do such things? That too in Singapore, where caning is still legal. Just because you are in the midst of your clan (rather, herd), you behave this way? EKSI

What's even worse was, when we were leaving, I just turned around and had a look at the venue and its surroundings. What did I see? I needn't answer that.

Come on guys, don't pass the buck on to others. Do it yourself. Rather, don't do it, yourself !

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

What to do with money

So, its been a while since I wrote anything. There are a few reasons for this, but two important reasons :
1. Studies, being a Masters student, is a little hectic (though my Facebook followers would say otherwise)
2. I am still a little awestruck by the brilliance of Singapore.

Some of us (well atleast the ones to whom money is not a problem, more so with spending it) quite simply lose track of ways to spend money, after sometime. We run out of ideas right?

But these Singaporeans wouldn't agree. They just come up with every unimaginable way in which they can spend all the money. Consider this, taxes are fairly low here. An average S'porean spends a big chunk of money on rent (and trust me when I say this, it is bloody high). Apart from that, expenditure is fairly limited. The government has tons and tons of money under its fold. Naturally, this certainly paves way for innovation in terms of spending. The result - sheer brilliance.

Look at the picture above. That tall structure is called Marina Bay Sands. A casino-cum-resort, this building is one of the prides of Singapore. An infinity pool at the very top, where you can swim at the very edge. That's one thing I am yet to try out (well, to go up costs a hell lot too)

Can you imagine that this boating is actually located inside the resort, that too underground? I mean, UNDERGROUND. One can only wonder how much these guys spent.

And that's the skyline. Tall buildings stacked up right next to one another, I wonder how these guys actually built it up. All the leading banks of the world have a building to their credit here. The tallest perhaps, is Singapore's own DBS Bank.

Oh, recently there was a Harry Potter exhibition (all the buffs out there, you missed it), where every small thing used in the movies was displayed, including the good old Ford Anglia used by the Weasleys.

Oh, and the country takes huge pride of its National Day. It is celebrated with such fanfare, you would naturally go awww ! Check this picture below :

Yes, that's the country's flag being flown by the helicopters. Well, I certainly haven't seen anything like this before.

The National Day fireworks begin. (Mind you, it went on for more than an hour)

What I am trying to say here is that, look at what they've done with all the money. This, considering Singapore is a country which relies on imports for its very sustenance, but plays a crucial role in the world economy no doubt.

And so, my life goes in Singapore. More pictures and a lot more experiences are to follow.

Friday, September 14, 2012

The Stopover - a photo fiction

When I received a mail from one Deepa a few days ago, asking me to have a look at some link she had provided, I was mildly surprised. To be honest, I did indeed think this was some spam mail (although it had seated itself in my inbox mysteriously). Just to be sure, I replied back asking how Deepa came across my mail. That's when I realized the true value of blogging. Indeed, Deepa had stumbled across my blog.

What was this link (and an attachment as well) all about?

Deepa and her friend, one Ram are writing a book. This may sound rather normal. But the beauty of it is their concept of photo fiction. Yep, stories complemented by photos.

Deepa had mailed me a few sample pages along with the photos. I must say, it was bloody brilliant !

The photos were just breath-taking. I believe Ram is the photographer. He sure knows what he is doing. Every single photo was captured perfectly. The best part, although, was each picture was placed very aptly. The relevance of the photo and the story in progress was just too good.

As for the stories themselves, the choice of vocabulary, the narration skills, the flow of content - everything was highly seasoned.

I believe there is more than one story in the book. Although I have read excerpts from one of the story, I am eagerly waiting for rest of that story and the others as well

Overall, the concept seems to be too good and it sure is my hunch that this might emerge way too victorious.

I sincerely wish Deepa & her friend Ram all luck in this journey and hope they emerge successful.

Link to their webpage : The Stopover Book
Facebook Page :

PS : I am back to active blogging again, after a month long break

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

I Killed Amy

June 21, 2008, 22.30 hrs
“No, I did not kill her. Please, you have to listen to me. Why would I kill my own girlfriend? You have to trust me. Please, no I did not kill…..” I could not speak any further; my mouth was covered by a beefy looking policeman. 

June 21, 2008, 23.00 hrs
These guys have got it all wrong. Why would I, of all people, have to kill someone I dearly loved and intended to marry pretty soon? As I walked through the much familiar San Diego Central Prison, I could not, but wonder, the countless times I have been here before, on behalf of clients involved in various crimes. The many deals I have struck with the police, the many more negotiations done, everything just flooded across my mind. 

I, Michael Hilfiger, graduated from Law School in the summer of 2003. It was a given that I would take up criminal law as my forte. Yet, it had taken me close to three years to establish myself as a reliable lawyer. During the initial days of my career, when no potential client came to me, I sought them myself. Defending petty criminals involved in the most basic and dumbest of crimes, I slowly climbed up the ladder and by now, established a name in this city. I took up a two room office premises close to the prison. My staff count consists of two people other than myself – a blonde assistant with whom I used to flirt shamelessly before Amy came into my life; and a part time student of the university who helped me in maintaining the place clean. My setup was very modest.

Ah, Amy. The love of my life. It was a curious incident, how I got to know her. But the mere thought of it makes me want to seek her killer and end his life with my own bare hands. How can someone even imagine hurting her? She is the sweetest person in all of America; well, atleast all of San Diego. And she loved me much more than I could love myself. “Amy Roberts, will you marry me” – the countless times I had said these words over and over again in my head. I had thought of the perfect way to propose. Not anymore. 

June 23, 2008, 10.30 hrs
Court Room two. Oh, the old block. That’s where my preliminary investigation was to begin. That’s where my fate, atleast for the next two months, would be decided. 

Damn, it’s the judge Kirsten. The most arrogant among the judges in San Diego. What luck ! Thank you folks, this is just what I wanted. 

“Mr Hilfiger, as you are aware, you have been charged with the murder of Amy Roberts, resident of 21 Sea View Drive, Whinging. Do you deny this accusation?” – the judge asked.

“Of course I do, your Honour. I did not kill Amy. She is the love of my life. I can never possibly think of hurting her in the remotest way possible. She is just too sweet..” – before I could complete my sentence, “Enough. We are not here to talk about how sweet your lover was. How do you plead? Guilty or not guilty?”, pounded Kirsten.

“Not guilty, your Honour” – I quietly replied. I did not want to rub her on the wrong side that early in the morning.

“Well, in that case, we are left with no choice but to go to trial. I hereby declare that the case of Michael Hilfiger vs. The State of California, concerning the murder of Amy Roberts would begin on April 21, 2009. The court is adjourned” – the judge pronounced.

“April ’09? That’s insane. How can you set the trial date a good ten months from now. This is so unfair” – I exploded.

“Mr. Hilfiger, must I remind you, a criminal lawyer, that it is at the discretion of the presiding judge, when to set a trial date? Don’t you dare tell me what I must do in my own court. Now unless you have anything else to say, which would certainly make me hold you in contempt of court, I declare that the court is adjourned” – Kirsten threw me a very nasty look.

June 23, 2008 – April 21, 2009
No other suspects were rounded up. I was the sole accused in this case. The press made a huge cry of this case. The prosecution was only too happy to consent. As is usual with most high profile cases, by the time the trial had even begun, the media had pronounce me guilty. Eminent lawyers across the state were invited as guest speakers on CBS8 and other news channels. They gave their “expert opinion” on why it can be proved beyond doubt that I was the killer. One of them actually went on to say “If only there was a law that could nail Hilfiger without a trial…”. The ratings of that show shot up insanely over the next few days. 

The autopsy report was prepared and a copy of it was passed on to the defense. The report claimed Amy had possibly been raped just before she was killed. Semen traces were found on her body. However, the report did not mention who it belonged to. The prosecution would gladly fill that up later.

Amidst all this, Amy was laid to rest. I requested permission to attend the funeral, which was quickly turned down. I cried that entire week. In a world full of humans, I felt I was the only one alive. Alive and crying. The trauma I went through during the initial days can never be explained. Nightmare after nightmare, Amy haunted every single thought of mine. I simply could not get her out of my mind. Well, why should I? Is she not the rightful claimant of every single inch of my mind, my heart, my body, my soul? What right do I have to even think otherwise? Yet, it pained. I was pained by the fact that while I lived, however miserably, Amy was no more. How cruel can this get? What did she do, that she deserved such an end? Perhaps, I should have asked her to marry me sooner. That way, she need not have walked near that spot on that dreadful day. Oh Amy, I am so sorry my love. It is entirely my fault. I blame myself for your death. Forgive me, my princess. 

Yet, at long last, sometime around four months after my arrest, reality did dawn on me. Amy was still in my thoughts. No doubt about that. But there was work that needed to be done. I had to clear Amy’s good name first. She deserved much better. Besides, that is the least I can do for her. 

I have to prove my innocence. Not because I was in prison. Not because I was called a criminal. No, certainly none of these reasons. Clearing Amy’s name took a straight path right up to me. Our destinies were intertwined. If one had to be set right, it is but natural, that the other has to be set right too. That is how the world works. I did not care much for myself. Heck, I did not even bother whether I existed or not. But I had to. For Amy’s sake. 

It was this one single thought that made me continue. My desire to fight was born out of this. I immediately set about working. Earlier, when the court had asked me if I required a lawyer to be assigned on my behalf, I plainly refused the offer and requested the judge (again, the very same Kirsten) to allow me to argue my own case. I was sure she would refuse by quoting some unheard of rule. Yet, the lady surprised me and said yes. 

The San Diego Central prison had one of the best prison libraries in the country. I exploited that to the maximum extent. Day after day, I poured over huge volumes of books, past case histories, charge sheets; well basically anything that would help me. I prepared a list of key questions, mapped them against potential prosecution witnesses. I tried to identify a weak spot for every witness. This would prove to be useful, later on. 

Meticulously, I built my case. Everything was arranged perfectly. I prayed that the trial would take this exact same course. I did not care much for the selection of the jury, but made just one request that a black man be included in that. This might have a bit of a racist colour, but all was fair under the eyes of the law. 

Around eight months after my arrest, I was done. I felt I was prepared to take up the battle. I was confident I would clear Amy’s name. With about two months to go before trial commenced, I was back to my old self – The Curious Case of the Hopeless Lunatic.

April 22, 2009, 15.30 hrs
The trial had begun the previous day. After the prosecution’s opening statements, I was called upon to present the defence’s statement. My speech was rather short, in fact it barely lasted for ten minutes. After this, the court was adjourned for the day. 

The prosecution’s first witness was Molly Roberts, Amy’s mother. Thompson questioned her about how much she had loved her daughter, how this loss had affected her. Sympathy, the best way to capture the ladies in the jury. Molly kept looking at one of the ladies in the jury in particular and the lady reciprocated by nodding on every single word. After a good fifteen minutes, Thompson stopped, turned to me and said “yours”. 

I did not wish to cross examine Molly just yet. Still, I asked her only one question.

“Mrs Roberts, had I proposed to your daughter and had she said yes, would you have accepted our marriage?” – I asked.

“But of course. She loved you so much”, Molly replied, before Thompson could stop her. The first mistake. I smiled at Thompson.

“Your Honour, would you be agreeable if we call it a day here?” – Thompson asked nervously

Nodding, Kirsten pounded the gravel, “The next hearing of this case would resume on April 27. The court is now adjourned” 

April 27, 2009 – May 20, 2009
Over the next few weeks, Thompson proceeded to many other witnesses who also included two of Amy’s cousins who swore they saw her near the spot around 16.30 hrs; a domestic help who claimed he saw me walking down the path a few minutes after 16.30 hrs; the medical examiner who had performed the autopsy; a former classmate of Amy, who admitted to have had intercourse with her a few hours prior to it and that they did not use any protection, “so stupid of us, eh”, as he called it. 

I certainly cross examined these people, but that did not yield anything useful. Of course, I did get the help admit it might not have been me who he claimed to have seen, given that the distance from his room to the spot was a good 350 m and that his eyesight might indeed have fooled him. This was a fairly significant point to be noted, although it certainly did not help me much in clearing my name off the whole mess. I chose to ignore the former classmate.

May 22, 2009, 11.30 hrs
Next came Inspector Peter. Thompson questioned him for more than two hours. Various aspects were probed. Relevance of an abandoned bike, the times noted in police records, the reason why I was the sole suspect, the autopsy report, DNA analysis, the weapon used to kill, the search party arranged, the calls made to Amy’s home – the questions went on and on. My stomach was grumbling. It was way past lunch time, but Thompson fired away. At long last he did. It was my turn now.

Getting up, I spoke to the judge. “Judge Kirsten, can we break up for lunch now? I am sure everyone is too hungry to care for my defence, right now. Besides, at this rate, even I might be convinced that I killed Amy”. This drew a round of laughter. Even Kirsten smiled, before she replied “The court shall resume at 16.30 PM”.

May 22, 2009, 16.30 hrs
“Mr Peter. My first question to you is, right from the outset, I have been the only accused. Have you thought of the possibility that there might be other suspects?”

“We did consider it initially, sir. Yet, there seems to be no motive for anyone else to have committed this murder” – Peter replied.

“So what do you think mine is?” – I asked.

“Objection, your Honour. The question involves more of probabilistic ….”, Thompson jumped. The judge cut him off by saying “Oh come on Mr. Thompson. I am sure Mr. Hilfiger was only referring to what is in police records. Weren’t you, Michael?”

“Of course, my Lord. So, Mr. Peter, what do you think my motive was?” – I continued.

“Well, as per the prosecution’s claim, you got into an argument behind the V shaped gap on the path. Amy did not consent to your wanting to have intercourse. This argument turned violent and physical. In the end, you ended up killing her by strangling her and then slashing all across her body with the knife” – Peter stopped to take a breath.

“You seem almost certain about it. Were you, by any chance, behind the gap?” – I piped, before Judge Kirsten warned me. I apologized and continued with the questioning. The question, however, had an impact, also drew some laughter from the jury.

“Mr. Peter, my next question is regarding the autopsy report and the DNA analysis. According to the police, traces of semen were found on Amy’s body. Can you elaborate further on this, bearing in mind that the DNA analysis performed revealed that these traces did not match mine? What was the significance of this?” – I asked.

“Yes, we did find traces of semen on Amy’s body, which could only mean she had had intercourse sometime before she was murdered” – Peter stopped at that.

“But my question, Mr. Peter is, how could this possibly happen, considering the statement made earlier by Amy’s mother, that prior to this time, Amy was out shopping with a couple of her girlfriends” – I had nailed him.

“I… I think she… she was not sure about what Amy was doing” – Peter stumbled.

“You mean to say that Mrs Roberts was lying?” – I said, before Thompson jumped up shouting “Objection Your Honour. Hilfiger is leading the witness..” and Kirsten sustained the judge.

“Sorry, Your Honour. Let me rephrase that. This could only have one logical explanation. No one exactly knows what Amy did, before she was murdered. In other words, there is no proof to Amy having had intercourse before her murder. So we cannot entirely depend on the autopsy report claiming traces of semen were found. Am I right Peter?” – I smiled to myself.

“Well, I think that the report is authentic. But… “, before he could proceed, I cut him across and said “But, you cannot be absolutely sure. In other words, the semen report may not be completely authentic. Rather, the whole thing can possibly have been framed. Thank You Mr. Robert” – I glanced at a shocked Thompson.

“Moving on, the police report, Peter, claims that Amy was stripped after her throat was slit and her body inflicted of all the ghastly knife strikes. Also, her trousers were said to be used to tie her hands behind. If that were the case, I am sure her trousers would certainly have some blood stains around the knotted part. But that is not the case. Are you sure that the trousers were indeed tied after she was killed?” – I explained the simple logic.

Peter was speechless. I let the silence continue for a few more minutes, mainly for the benefit of the jury members. One of them was actually shaking his head vigorously. I made a mental note to focus on him more, during my closing remarks. Kirsten adjourned the court.

May 25, 2009, 10.00 hrs
Peter was once again sworn in. I questioned him some more aspects of the police report, to which he answered very carefully. I made him feel at ease.

“Mr. Peter, my next question to you is this. The FIR claimed that Amy was murdered anytime between 17.00 hrs and 17.10 hrs. However, a later report claimed she was kill somewhere around 16.35 – 16.40 hrs. Can you tell me why this ambiguity cropped up?” – I enquired.

“Well, the FIR is always a report filed initially, to register the case. It is quite possible that certain aspects maybe reported incorrectly. It is always the final report submitted before the trial that matters” – Peter replied nervously. Out of the corner of my eye, I could sense Thompson swearing to himself. 

“That may well be the case, Peter. Let us, for a moment, say you are right. We will go with your theory of Amy being killed around 16.40 hrs. Can you tell the court the approximate time it would take to walk from my home to the spot where Amy’s body was found?”

“Around 30 minutes by walk, I am told” – Peter responded.

“Correct. The last call I made to Amy’s mobile, which her mother answered, was at 16.24 hrs. Your Honour, evidence for this has already been submitted to the court, which I believe, my learned colleague Thompson seems to have miscalculated. Anyway, the last call made to Amy’s mobile around 16.24 hrs lasted for around four minutes. As has already been pointed out, Mrs. Roberts informed me that Amy had indeed left the house to meet me. Add four minutes to 16.24 and a few more for me to get ready, lock my house and move out. Let’s give that say five minutes? So, I was out of my house around 16.30. Taking your word of twenty minutes, it is extremely unlikely that I reached the spot before 16.50 hrs. Am I right, Peter?” – I looked at him.

“Well, you might have borrowed a cycle from your neighbor or chose to run, right?” – Peter gave me a sheepish smile.

“Mr. Peter, you must have asked me this during your investigation at the police station” – I shot back, before I continued “Let us look at that, Peter. I cannot possibly have borrowed a cycle from my neighbor considering she was out of town on the day in question. In any case, she does not own a cycle. As for running, even if I were to do that, it certainly is not possible for me to reach the spot before 16.45 hrs. Trust me, I am not that good a runner. Going by the laws of physics, this absolutely is not possible” – I paused. By now, Peter was sweating profusely. I gave him a warm smile.

I questioned Peter for another half an hour, before I turned to the judge.

“Your Honour, I am done questioning Mr. Peter” – I informed Kirsten. 

“Mr. Hilfiger, do you have any witnesses that you would like to question?” – the judge asked me.

“None, Your Honour” – I responded.

“In that case, I believe the examination and the cross examination of all witnesses is now complete. The next hearing of this case will be held on May 29, when the prosecution and the defense attorneys can make their closing comments. My dear members of the jury, let me remind you once again not to be bound by emotions or not to show favoritism of any sort. The facts of the case have been presented to you. Be fair in your analysis of the evidence at hand. I hope you would be able to make a seasoned decision, for you must remember – a man’s life is at stake. Court adjourned” – Kirsten pounded the gravel.

May 27, 2009, 11.00 hrs

Thompson was making his closing remarks. He was actually drooling. The only time when I found his speech mildly interesting was, when he listed out a few points (from way back in school days), which, according to him, are crucial to understand why I was the killer. I could not, but fail to laugh. The judge looked towards me threateningly. Mumbling a silent apology, I looked down. Soon, I was lost in thoughts.

May 27, 2009, 13.30 hrs
Thompson had sat down after having presented the prosecution’s closing statement. I must admit, the man has a flair for language. I could see some of the jury members nodding their heads at every word he said, smirk when he smirked, laughed when he laughed, throw me a look of disgust when he did. I remained emotionless, all throughout. At long last, my turn came. I rose.

“Ladies and Gentlemen of the jury. As you might now have realized, this case is rather different in a lot of ways. I believe I need not remind you of the trauma that I have undergone in the last ten months. Yet, I have chosen to fight it for two reasons – one, to clear my name of all charges; two, uphold Amy’s honour, which by now, has been stamped upon dirtily, and her family seems quite fine with it. I believe this case has been messed up right from the start.

For starters, the trial began a good ten months after Amy was killed. The press was being fed (mis)information in these ten months. The police seemed quite confident that the autopsy report and DNA analysis would prove their point. However, during cross examination, this has been proven wrong. The time in question; when Amy left her house to meet me, when the murder took place etc. are highly misleading. In fact, Inspector Peter has actually gone on to say not to rely on the FIR. With such goof ups, how would one be in a position to believe what is true? 

Ideally, in any case involving rape and murder, the first accused would be the person whose blood/semen traces are found on the victim’s body. With Amy, semen traces of her former classmate were found. In fact, he himself admitted to have had intercourse with her. Yet, he is not one of the suspects. Ask yourself why. 

Another crucial point to consider is the spot where Amy’s body was found. There has been no evidence provided by the prosecution to prove that Amy had indeed gone through the gap in the wall. Further, the prosecution ‘proved’ I got into an argument with Amy, shouted at her and that I had assaulted her before killing her eventually. If I did shout at her, wouldn’t the domestic help have heard it? He has not mentioned anything to that regard. 

My colleague here Thompson stressed on my fascination for knives as a very important lead towards the case. However, he carefully chose not to highlight one important fact. When Amy’s body was found, no murder weapon was found. However, the police later came up with a knife which they claimed was similar to a knife I had owned and lost sometime back. This knife was retrieved from a somewhat closed pit thirty feet away. If that were the case, ladies and gentlemen, atleast a few traces of blood ought to have been found on the ground nearby. But no, the ground was as bloodless as it can be. 

Also, as pointed out earlier, going by the telephonic records of my conversation with Mrs. Roberts, it is humanly impossible for me to be at both places at the same time. Further, the search party that went about looked only along the path connecting our houses. This is certainly not how a search operation would go about. The prosecution has failed to explain the reason behind this.

Amy was killed on February 19, 2008. Her body was released after autopsy in three weeks and she was buried. Yet, I was arrested only on June 21, 2008 – a good four months after the murder. In the intermediate time, there was no ‘defense’ per se. By the time the trial began, it was a good fourteen months since Amy’s funeral. Consequently, the defense could not do anything about the autopsy report.

My dear members of the jury, many points brought forward by the prosecution seem to be highly flawed. Let me remind you that many of the witnesses retracted their statements during the cross examination. In fact, I went on to prove that one of the witnesses was actually lying. Ask yourselves why.

As the esteemed judge Kirsten pointed out earlier, I implore upon you to tag along the middle path. On the one side, you have heard the prosecution trying to prove that I killed Amy. On the other hand, you have me, the defendant-cum-defense, who claims to be innocent. Analyze both arguements, scrutinize all available evidence but ensure that justice is served. Not just to me, but also to Amy. On that note, I wish to take leave of you”

Turning to Judge Kirsten, I informed, “The defense rests, Your Honour”. She nodded.

“Members of the jury, the closing comments are done with. Your duty starts now. Weigh both sides of the argument neutrally, before you make the final decision. Remember, the life of a potentially innocent man hangs in the balance. Kindly inform me once you have reached a decision”. The jury resigned to the adjoining room. Time finally came to a standstill, atleast to me. The clock above Kirsten’s head seemed to have stopped working. 

An hour later, one of the members of the jury walked up to Kirsten and spoke hurriedly. Following this, Kirsten spoke. “The jury has just informed me that they require further time to reach a decision. Consenting to this, I now adjourn the court and we shall resume tomorrow”.

May 28, 2009, 15.00 hrs
The jury began their deliberations way back at 10.00 hrs in the morning. They did not even break for lunch. Judge Kirsten actually sent up some cookies and sandwiches to the room. Coming from her, this was too much, I must admit. 

At long last, the jury returned. 

“Would the foreman of the jury kindly rise?” – Kirsten spoke. A middle aged black man stood up, while looking straight at me. I smiled at him.

“Does the jury seek any clarification on any aspect of the trial?” – the judge asked.

“No, Your Honour” – the foreman replied.

“Has the jury reached a verdict?” – Kirsten looked tensed.

“Yes, Your Honour, we have” – the foreman was calm.

“Kindly approach the bench” - the judge said.

The slip was passed on to Kirsten and she took her took staring at it. 

“Thank You jury, for all your effort. As the jury has reached a verdict, ladies and gentlemen, I hereby dismiss the jury council” – Kirsten announced.


“Mr. Michael Hilfiger, you have been ….” – Judge Kirsten pronounced her verdict.

At the exact same time, one person in the courtroom heaved a sigh of relief, and another person banged his fist against the table.


"This post has been published by me as a part of IBL; the Battle of Blogs, sponsored by . Join us at our official website and facebook page.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Top 10 tamizh movies I love watching again and again

Reading through Sowmya's post here has certainly made me want to come up with my own list of all time favorite movies. But when I was thinking through this, I just realized that I would have to start the list only from number 4. The first three are by default and I seriously doubt if that would ever change. That said, let me delve into the list straight away.

1. Hey Ram
I can say without doubt that only Kamal Hassan can come up with such legendary stuff. Even that is too soft a term to describe the sheer magnitude and phenomenon of this movie. The problem with him - which has been reiterated too many times - is that he thinks way too ahead of time. I still remember calling up a friend when the movie released (when I was in my 8th) and could only talk of all the intimacy between Kamal & Rani Mukherjee (well, at that time, that was all went into my mind). But later, with maturity, when I watched the movie, it just blew me over, completely.

2. Virumaandi
To describe such a movie is just way out of my league. But the one thing that stood out, for me atleast, was how the camera was positioned when the two versions unfurled - sheer brilliance. Exploring such a sensitive topic sure is very difficult and we can all remember the controversies that ensued back then  - especially with the name Sandiyar. Again, only Kamal Hassan can create such magic.

3. Anbe Sivam
Another movie, that I have no idea how many times I have watched. Yet, every time, certain scenes give you complete goosebumps and at the end of it, you can be assured to have those few tears streaming down the eyes. Most of us have been in A Ars's position and sure must have come across a Nallathambi. Well, atleast, I sure have.

4. Mouna Raagam
One of the best works of Mani Ratnam undoubtedly. Certainly, the best feel good movie I have watched. No one can forget the now very famous "Mr. Chandramouli" calls. Or, Revathi's absolutely stunning acting when her husband is injured. Classic of all time indeed.

5. Iruvar
Again, only Mani Ratnam can do this. Portraying a saga of Tamil politics, without naming a single person or party, when everyone know who it refers to, yet no one dare question it - and being able to pull of such marvel - I cannot judge who was the better actor of the two - Mohanlal or Prakash Raj. But I guess it doesn't matter

6. Thalapathi
Thalaivar's classic. What brilliant acting and a great portrayal of so many things. Even today, when this movie is screened on TV, it goes without saying, that I would drop anything I am doing and sit in front of it and watch the brilliance unfold.

7. Kadhalikka Neramillai
Only one thing can be said about this movie - Nagesh. It is a fortune that he stumbled across our industry. We sure owe this man a lot. He redefined an entire saga of tamil industry. The stunning acting, the brilliant sense of delivery - only he can do it (Here, I must add that his other classics like Edhir Neechal, Server Sundaram, Bama Vijayam etc. all stand equally tall)

8. Thiruvilayadal
The legendary movie of the legendary actor. People may say Sivaji overacts. Let me not get into that, but this movie - a true gem. PERIOD.

9. Manmadha Leelai
KB's one of many masterpieces no doubt. How can an issue like this be handled in the most delicate way possible, only KB himself can answer it. He is one director who can never be unparalleled. RESPECT

10. Sigappu Rojakkal
Sridevi at her stunningly great looking best. And Kamal - well, no comments there. What a dark theme and how wonderfully portrayed.

Having said this much, I only feel sad that the cine industry has moved on to a place where any crap can sell. How much lower can we stoop down, at times. Yet, with many recent movies like KSY, V.En 18/9 and the likes, I do have a tiny hope that movies with a difference would hopefully do well, in the coming times.

PS : This list is not exhaustive. I just need more time to update it. Hope to, soon enough

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Let the games begin

Disclaimer : A phone call I received a few minutes back prompted me to come up with this post. It is a desperate attempt and a sincere request to people to read this - "Don't follow the herd; follow your heart"

It is that time of the year when there's utter chaos everywhere. Class 12 results are out; there's a mad rush among parents. Students are a confused lot - whether to crib over their poor performance, or come to terms with the fact 'you reap what you sow'. Well, atleast that was the case with me. I came to terms with it rather easily.

More often than not, students are indeed forced into engineering. Damn the IT companies, I would say ! Every single year, I hear of atleast a dozen students say engineering was forced upon them. I ask parents only one question - why?

In my own case, I never wanted to be an engineer in the first place. But I wasn't left with much choice. Given that choice, perhaps the world would have got an excellent journo - who knows? Well, I am an old timer now, so chuck me.

Ten minutes back, I receive a call from my old man's friend. His daughter, who has completed her 12th has secured somewhere around 80%. He came straight to the point - which engineering college in Chennai is the best (read - which college collects reasonable capitation, well within my budget, yet having a decent name). I must admit, I was taken aback. I ask him - "Uncle, are you sure your daughter wants to take up engineering? If not, don't force it on her". Sadly, he didn't seem to hear that. His only concern was the college. Lost, I gave him a bunch of names, cursing myself in the process.

And then comes the geek in the family, who topped IIT (damn you man). Comparisons ensue, fights crop up, parents blame children for not studying well - blah blah blah ! Gimme a break, seriously !

Not every child can become an engineer. It is high time parents and the society-at-large get this straight. I sincerely hope they do.

Hoping for a change !! (And will continue to hope)

PS : Saw a post on the office BB, where an 'agent' gets students admitted to top colleges across the state, at 50% of the expected capitation fee. I sincerely hope I come across this guy so that I can strangle him to death

Sunday, May 20, 2012

The Adventures of Nylon Nalini & Polyester Padmini

Sometime around January 2027 - Tirupur

The country was in complete chaos. Everything failed, miserably. Industrial production was down to an all-decade low of -23.4%. Economists and industrialists were making a hue and cry, asking the Government to do something. Yet, the newly formed Central Government (the previous ruling party somehow came back to power once again with the same man in the post of Prime Minister) seemed to be in no-man’s land, not knowing what to do, most of the time. Inflation had crossed  the 150% mark. Adding to all this, the percentage of suicidal deaths posed an impressive number, contrary to that of the industry. The middle class, caught in right in the middle of all the turn of events, was left with no choice but to bid goodbye to their lives, with the other option being a slower death due to the Government’s inaction. As for the lower masses, it was a given that no one cared for them. Yet, people found it very difficult to even die, considering that the traditional option of poison was ruled out, as they could not afford it. They were left with only one option – hanging to death. Yet, even that seemed difficult, as most people had sold most of their sarees in exchange for a meager amount of bread.

In the middle of all this, one person was thriving. This person was indeed minting money by seconds. That was our very own Polyester Padmini, the textile baron.  With people left with no option but sarees to end their lives, Padmini came up with a masterstroke to sell polyester sarees at the cheapest rates possible. Although she suffered some losses during the initial few weeks, profits came her way soon. Even sooner, the profits doubled, tripled and kept rising exponentially. When a reporter asked her how she was happy to make money at other people’s death, she simply replied “All’s fair in love and war”. Indeed, Polyester Padmini considered this a war - a war between life and her. And she intended to win. That’s when the blow came.

Around the same time – somewhere in Kerala

The big blue and green board read “N N Enterprises”. Among other things, this firm majorly dealt with nylon products. The firm, at one point of time, was a big time money maker and a success among women. The nylon ropes proved to be very sturdy even in extreme windy conditions, so proved extremely useful to dry clothes. But trouble started when the economy plunged deep down and people simply stopped buying anything, let alone nylon ropes. At one point, the firm hadn’t sold a single rope in a week. They were in deep trouble. Presiding over a meeting of her executives, the Chairman Nylon Nalini (and hence N N Enterprises) was fuming. Try as they might, the firm couldn’t sell their ropes. Nalini wanted an explanation.

“Madam, you see. There is only one reason behind this. you very well know that suicide rates have risen so much. And people are purchasing the polyester sarees from one particular company, as it is very cheap” – her CIO informed her.

“But Menon Sir, what happened to all the ropes people have been using all these years? Surely, those should help people die?” – Nalini queried.

“Well, they tried madam. But our ropes are sturdy to sustain the winds, but not human weight. In fact, three suits have been filed in court by people who attempted suicide using our ropes and ended up crashing on the floor” – the CIO answered.

“What! But that’s ridiculous. Ok, here is what we do. Make our ropes sturdier. Test it on people. Make some sample posters, calling people for auditions. I am sure they would come. Stick these posters in random places, especially in front of saree shops. Once our test results are successful, make new sets of posters informing people about it. Have the prices exactly half of what a saree costs. If needed, we will cut it down further, later on. I cannot go overboard. Now is a time, when we can make the best deal out of nothing” – Nalini came up with a strategy.

“But Madam, wouldn’t that be unethical?” – her CIO was hesitant.

“Mr Menon, don’t teach me my ethics. If you want to stay in your job, do as I say. Else, you are free to walk out. By the way, who owns that one firm dealing with polyester sarees?” – Nalini wanted to know.

“Madam, it is a lady called Padmini. They call her Polyester Padmini” – the CIO replied.

“Padmini. Lady, you are gone. Good luck. Perhaps, I will offer you and your family our ropes free of cost. Least, I can do” – Nalini said to herself.

Her predictions came true. Exactly five weeks after the meeting, N N Enterprises started making a minor profit. Nalini smiled in happiness.

Thus, the rat race between the two ladies – Nylon Nalini and Polyester Padmini had just begun.

The adventure begins

Fifty two weeks earlier, Padmini would never have thought anyone could shatter her empire. She had been a queen without a crown. She believed she possessed the power to end people’s misery, their passion, their love, their life. She thought of herself even above God. Yet, all that started dwindling and came to a grinding halt, all because of one lady – Nalini. Gosh, how Padmini hated that very name. Her saree business slowly started falling and the losses were unimaginable. She was forced to fire most of her staff, simply because she had not much money to pay them. Yet, Padmini was one lady who never gave up easily. And definitely not this time. She vowed revenge. Wondering what she ought to do, Padmini decided to go for a walk. As she passed the market nearby, she happened to see an old black board that read ‘Buy one chocolate; get one free’. That’s when an idea struck her.

Immediately setting to work, Padmini started out on a small scale, investing most of her private savings in her mission. She set a few aides at work and by way of mouth, spread the news around her locality that the prices of her sarees had now been slashed to half of what a nylon rope costed. What’s more, people could get one saree free for every two sarees they purchased. Padmini believed that her deal was sure to grab attention. Sure enough, slowly, as word spread around, people did start buying her sarees. With time, the numbers sure did increase, so did the money. Padmini wondered how much longer this strategy would work, for she expected Nalini to come up with something to counter this strategy. Sure enough, Nalini did.

Adopting the same idea of word-of-mouth, Nalini made an announcement to no one in particular that her N N Enterprises would offer nylon ropes free of cost for the next three months. She also promoted the idea of re-use, urging people to buy a maximum of two ropes per family, and use re-use them in their noble journey to heaven. People switched loyalties once again. Padmini fumed, again, wondering what she ought to do now. This game, though adventurous it was in one way, was proving to be a menace. She had to come up with something smarter.

The adventure was still on

But what both ladies failed to realize was that, a major chunk of the country’s population did not exist anymore.  The Indian Statistical Institute made a stark observation that the country’s population had dwindled to 30% of what it was, around the same time the previous year. Not once in history had such a spectacle occurred. Filmy though it may appear, this was the situation prevalent in the country. The Prime Minister appealed for calm, promising to take care of his people’s needs, no matter what. Yet, the masses had laughed it off as a well attempted joke, one timed aptly before their death. And the deaths continued.

By the time Nalini and Padmini realized that they had not many buyers left, it was too late. Too late to figure out anything new. From uncrowned queens to street dwellers, the fall of the ladies Nalini and Padmini was as dramatic as their rise. Their finances had dwindled very rapidly, with little left for sustenance. To cap it all, the unexpected happened.

The Government, its cheek swollen by the tight slap given by the UN was desperately trying to cover up the mess it had left the country in. All that the Prime Minister cared now was to save the face of his Government, and he decided to do just about anything that would help him hold on to his chair. That’s when he was intimated of the Adventures of Nylon Nalini and Polyester Padmini. Furious with his staff for not having told him earlier of this, the Prime Minister ordered the immediate arrest of the two ladies. Within six hours, they were traced and arrested. A case was filed in the Supreme Court for the atrocities committed by the two ladies, who were accused of mass murder of the Citizens of the Republic. A trial date was fixed for sometime in three months and the two ladies were lodged in the high security Tihar jail. The Supreme Court had advised them to ponder over their acts of crime and try to seek some remorse within themselves, before the law decided on what should happen next.

End of the adventure

Once within jail, both Nalini and Padmini started pondering over what had happened in their lives over the past few years. Both of them had seen the best in life, with money easily coming their way, to the worst in life, living the life of a pauper. Both had succeeded, and both had failed. Each of them had been the reason behind the other’s fall, and the subsequent rise. Indeed, their lives had been intertwined so much that one had had a direct impact on the other’s life, good and bad. Now, even in prison, they were assigned cells opposite to one another. Although they could see one another from their cells, they seldom did. Yet, around a month and a half after their prison life, one fine evening, both felt the urge to talk to the other. Both spoke the exact same words – “I am sorry”.

The next day, the emergency alarm at the Tihar jail went off loudly around 5:30 AM in the morning. Two ladies had been found hanging within their solitary cells, which were opposite one another. The lady in cell A103 had a polyester saree around her neck. The one in the opposite cell A104 had a nylon rope around her neck. The bodies were immediately removed from the cells and sent for post mortem. The final report of the two ladies read thus:

Nylon Nalini – A103 – death by hanging using a polyester saree
Polyester Padmini – A104 – death by hanging using a nylon rope

Their cases were closed.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

The Last Night

Don’t go, my love!
Not today, not this night
Remember your promise?
How can this be right
                 Times are indeed cruel
                Oh God give us courage
                But I still don’t get it -
                Why all the killer rage
Torn by this nasty war
The nation lost its beauty
You must go rather far
Be bound by your duty
                The mind accepts it
                Being, after all, shrewd
                The heart vetoes it
                There in comes the feud
I am lost, totally speechless
With you gone, why this life
I am pained by distress
To get through this strife
                Journey to battlefield
                To fight them; to attack
                But what would it yield
                If you did not come back
We will win this war
I am sure about it
But what of me?
Did you think a bit
            Promise me, my love
On this very last night
Our love for each other
It always be bright

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Silent Chaos

Around 10 AM, December 29, 2004
Stanley Hospital, Chennai

Priya (full of dried tears) : “Doctor, it has been more than two days since my husband was admitted here. Can you tell me how his condition is? Please do let us know whatever it is”
Doctor Samuel : “Madam, you know very well that we are trying our best to save your husband. But he is not the only patient here suffering after the calamity. We do have thousands of other patients to look after. Please try to understand”.

So saying, the doctor walked away. Priya collapsed back onto the chair once again, prayers finding their way towards God, out of her mouth.

“God, please don’t let my husband die. Take mine instead. He is such an amazing human being and you know that. How could this happen to him? You have already taken my child away from me. Not my husband as well. I still haven’t mourned my daughter’s death. He and I would do that together. Let him live, atleast for this. Please, God. Please. Spare my husband’s life. I still haven’t given him his birthday gift. It still lies underneath our bed. I want him to get back home and hunt for it himself. Take my life. I am content with the time we have spent together. I am more than willing to die. Take mine, spare him. Let him live. You know, he has always told me that his lifelong ambition was to go on a trekking expedition along the Himalayas. Let him achieve that first. Let him live. God, please save him. Please, let him not die. Take mine instead. Please ! Please ! Please !” – Priya’s mind was torn between an array of emotions. The tears seemed to have a free flow down her face and they seemed not to cease ever. Her beautiful face was a complete mess. More than anything, she was completely alone. No one was there to give her even a moral support.

Around 6 AM, December 26, 2004
Along Beach Road, Marina

“Appa, appa, anga paren (Dad, look there)” – Akshara pointed somewhere to the right.

“Aksha, chumma iru. Daddy vandi ottaren la (Aksha, keep quiet. Daddy is driving, right?)” – Rahim moved Akshara’s hand back.

“Illa pa, anga perusu perusa ala varudu (No dad, I can see huge waves there)” – Akshara did not stop.

“Adhellam onnum illa kanna. Ala perusa than varum (No my dear, waves will be huge)” – Rahim smiled at his daughter’s innocence.

“Sonna kelu pa, idhu rumba periya ala. Nee paren oru vatti (Listen to me daddy, this is a very huge wave. You see there once)” – Akshara insisted.

“Enna kanna nee. Seri pakkaren iru (Ok, I will see, my dear)” – so saying, Rahim turned his face. He was terrorized by what he saw. He had never seen such gigantic waves, in all his life. Hell, he had not even heard of them. By the time he could even react and turn his bike, the waves caught up with them and completely swept them off.

Few minutes later, TV channels blared the flash news – TSUNAMI STRIKES INDIA.

Around 8 AM, December 26, 2004
Stanley Hospital, Chennai

The ambulance rushed into the hospital, with a few patients alive and mostly corpses.

Those alive, were put onto stretchers and rushed to the Emergency Ward.
Those not alive, were assembled in the mortuary.

“Nurse, quick. Put him on ventilator. I can see an injury to his head. Lets see if there is any haemorrhage. Lets start all emergency procedures” – Dr. Samuel rushed his assistant. Once on ventilator, the doctor hastened to look into the wallet he had retrieved earlier for any ICE(In Case of Emergency) numbers.

“Rahim” – the doctor read out aloud. He rummaged through the wallet and found a picture of a lady holding a child. “Maybe his wife and daughter”, the doctor said to himself. He found a piece of paper with a mobile number written on it. He dialed the number.

Around 9 AM, December 26, 2004
Stanley Hospital, Chennai

Priya ran into the Emergency Ward of the hospital.

“Oh my God, Rahim. How could this happen to you? You, of all people. Why such a terrible punishment. Where is our daughter? God, why did you do this to my husband? Don’t you know he is such a good person? Why Rahim” – Priya cried her heart out. The whole atmosphere was nauseating. Priya couldn’t stop crying. She didn’t know what to do.

“Are you Rahim’s wife?” – enquired Dr Samuel, when he walked into the room, towards Rahim’s bed.

“Yes doctor. I am Priya. How is he? Please tell me he will survive. I cannot bear to imagine anything happening to him” – Priya pleaded with the doctor, her eyes full of tears.

“We are trying our best, Priya. But his condition is extremely critical. He has suffered from some haemorrhage in the head. We are trying our best to remove a blood clot. I cannot say anything for 48 hours”.

“Doctor, what about my child? My daughter Akshara. She was with Rahim” – Priya asked the doctor.

“Your daughter? Only Rahim was brought in here. No child was brought along with him. I am afraid they must have been separated. I hope your daughter will be found soon. Did you try to contact the police? Oh wait, is this your daughter, by the way?” – Samuel handed the photo to Priya.

“Yes Doctor. She is my child. Such a beautiful girl, isn’t she? Oh my dear, where am I going to find you? Are you still waiting for Mummy? Don’t worry darling, mummy will soon find you” – Priya was muttering to herself incoherently.

“Do not worry, Priya. I will see what I can find out about your daugh…” – Dr Samuel broke off, seeing that Priya was not listening.

Around 4 PM, December 26, 2004
Stanley Hospital, Chennai

“Priya, I am afraid I have some bad news for you, concerning Akshara” – Dr Samuel walked upto her.

“What! What is it Doctor? Is Aksha alright? Please tell me my daughter is alright. Uncle, please speak. Please Uncle” – Priya cried.

“I am sorry, Priya. Akshara is no more. I happened to see her … “ – the doctor could not complete his sentence, as Priya collapsed on the floor


“Something is not right. How could my daughter die? No, the doctor is confused. Or wait. Why should he be confused? Is my daughter really dead? Is my beautiful girl really no more?” - she could not comprehend her daughter’s death. She seemed hysterical, although she did not speak.

The doctors gave her a round of strong sedatives.

Around 1 PM, December 29, 2004
Stanley Hospital, Chennai

As Priya recollected the events of the past three days, she could not control her tears. Once again, she started crying. Besides, she was all alone.

“How much my life has changed in two days. It seems so fresh in my mind, that Aksha was so enthusiastic about planning for Rahim’s birthday. Yet, my daughter is no more. Dear God, how could you do this to me? We were such a beautiful family. Aksha meant the world to both Rahim and me. Why did you take her away from me? Instead, you could have taken my life and spared my child’s. Why do I have to live, when my daughter is no more. Why did Rahim have to go out on that dreadful day? Oh My God, Rahim. Why do I have to suffer? Why won’t you come back to me quickly? Why give me all this pain? You know very well that you are my world. I have no one left Rahim. What would I do if something were to happen to you? Would I be orphaned yet again? No, I cannot bear something like that. Rahim, you better come back to me quickly. Oh God, what would I tell you about Aksha. She was such a lovely girl. Come back to me, Rahim. I cannot live without you. Remember all the wonderful times we spent together? The first time I met you at work, when you bumped into me and gave a sheepish smile? That’s when I fell for you. And now, you are here, fighting for life. Remember, when Aksha was born. You said, we would give the entire world to her? Now, she is no more, Rahim. Our daughter, our sweet Aksha, is dead. She is no more. And now, I am praying that God spare atleast your life. I am not bothered about mine. Let him take mine, but you should live. You are such a wonderful person. You have been good to people all through your life. You mean the world to me, Rahim. Have I ever told you how much I love you? You mean everything to me. I love you Rahim. I love you, my dear husba…” –

“Priya, can we talk?” – Dr. Samuel walked upto her.

“What is it doctor? Is Rahim ok? Please tell me his condition has improved. Is he out of danger?” – Priya was scared.

“Priya, I am afraid I bear more bad news. We tried our very best to save Rahim. But God has destined otherwise. I regret to tell you that your husband Rahim is no more” – the doctor spoke.

Priya collapsed that very instant. Her otherwise chaotic mind, was now completely silent.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

3 - Why this kolaveri

After walking out of the theatre having sat through this movie, my only thought was - what would Kamal Hassan have to comment about the film. For one, his daughter is the lead female actor. For another, no-matter-what, he has to awww the film. Poor him !

3 is a classic example of how Tamil films can actually stoop to such unimaginable levels. Almost half a day has passed since I watched the movie and I still cannot figure out what the point of the film was. I doubt if I will. A friend of mine explained the reason behind naming this film so - it portrays the three phases of a person's life - school, college, post-marriage. Going by that logic, the movie did not seem to do justice to any of the three.

We have had heroes in Tamil films falling for a girl the very first time he sees her anywhere. Yes, that is part of the parcel. But the reverse is not so much. Atleast not after just staring at the hero a few times and suddenly the girl wants to spend the rest of her life with him. Imagine this. The guy and girl fall in love, and within a few frames (mind you, the story hadn't moved much), they finish college and decide to make public their love. And the guy is jobless. Thanks to a rich father, he gets his own flat, some weird-suit-wearing job, and he discusses business losses.

I have all respect for Kamal Hassan. Having said that, the only thing common between his acting and that of his daughter's is the fact that, when they both cry, you can hardly make out anything of what they say. Let alone the fact that Kamal is not so well-known for his crying skills. If one were to hope that Shruti Hassan would have improved her acting a teeny-tiny bit after the much hyped 7aum Arivu, don't get fooled. She hasn't. Not a bit !

Dhanush does make you tend to laugh at times, especially in the first half. Well, that half of the movie was atleast a bit watchable. Indeed, the first half was a remote bit interesting in a few scenes. Nothing more. The second half - well, I think it was made only because there had to be something after the interval. Otherwise, it didn't seem to make much sense.

The other seasoned actors of yesteryears like Prabhu, Bhanupriya, Rohini - well, they did justice to the remote role they had to play in the film. Sivakarthikeyan seemed to evoke a bit of humor, but he appeared nowhere in the second half, and by the time one is told the reason, it was way too late.

The last bit I wanted to mention - 3 has taken the sanctity of marrying to an all time low. I never did imagine that the director would make such a condemnable mockery out of the idea of marriage.

Music was a bit fine, but placed at the most inappropriate places in the film. The much hyped Kolaveri song actually failed to succeed visual-wise. It is sad that the young music director Anirudh had to actually debut his career with this movie.

Ayshwarya Dhanush can actually spare the Tamil film industry, to which her father has done much proud, by not making any more films. That is the least I would expect of the Superstar's daughter.

Overall - 3 : 3/100

PS : Purely my opinion

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Resolution against Srilanka in UNHRC - What it really means to us

Well, I have been meaning to write about this for a week now, especially after our silent Prime Minister's letter to the Srilankan President, following India's support of the resolution (voting against our neighbour essentially) , and how he tried to create an image of nothingness. What does this really mean?

Our Government's initial and well justified stand was - we don't usually support any resolution targeting a particular nation. Well, that is true indeed. However, bowing down to political pressure from the state parties, especially for the support it requires from the DMK to sustain its power in Delhi, the Government decided to support the resolution.

First of all, what does this resolution even say? Not many people seem to be aware of it. Two important points I came across :
1. Enquiry into human rights violation should be conducted by Srilanka in a fair manner
2. Recommendations of the Welfare Committee inSrilanka have to be implemented under the technological help from the UN Human Rights Council.

Well, left to the original draft, this seems fine. But no. How would India allow it? Shouldn't it have a say (a sorry one at that) in this, so that this can be used during elections to garner some votes. Well, we did come up with the most lamest of recommendations - Any help undertaken by the UNHRC must have Srilanka's nod. How much lame can we get, more than this ! Shame on us.

The sad thing is, both the Prime Minister and most political parties down south hail this as some sort of a victory. Well, victory over what, I ask. Can you get any further dumb?

Another interesting point to be noted. The phrase 'war crime', as far as I know, doesn't seem to feature anywhere in the resolution. So, ultimately, what did we achieve? I don't get it. Or, am I missing something here? A picture was framed as if Srilanka had done something unpardonable for the entire UNHRC membership to move a resolution against it. Our so-called leaders hailed it a moral victory. The two chief parties of Tamil Nadu tried to claim it their own victory. Srilanka made a hue and cry that we offended them. The Prime Minister writes an apology letter to the Srilankan President, trying to explain why we voted against them. All this - for nothing; over nothing.

The resolution, by itself, didn't seem to achieve anything. For one, there is no mention of any timeframe before which these enquiries have to be made. For another, what of any concerns the Tamil people of Srilanka might have and what if their Government turned deaf to it. The resolution has no answer to that as well.

So what, ultimately ! We make a fool of ourselves, yet again. That seems to be the final result ! Hail our Govermentl Hail its Governance.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Cheers to Life

A poem penned down on the 28th of Feb, when salary was credited and I was down with a very bad fever :

As I sit here, fever shooting up

Mind yearning for a steaming cup

I cannot, but wonder what life is this

Only to think it used to be bliss

Gone are those days, weekends spent out and out

Oh the countless times, when we had nightout(s)

If all is gone to do this work

I so want to rip life with fork

Oh how badly I want to weep

Wait, the phone goes beep beep

Yes, I got it – the much awaited salary

No one’s around to see me go merry

Mind suddenly active, all plans right

Bengaluru awaits me in a fortnight

Oh forget it, forget this strife

I am happy, ‘Cheers to life’