Woke up early morning to the tragic news of terrorist attacks in Paris. No one is immune from such barbaric inhumane unleashing of terror. Prayers to everyone in Paris. Stay strong. We are with you. The world is with you. Let us embrace peace to triumph over terrorism. Let’s us bring back the love.

Father, Father, Father help us

Send some guidance from above
‘Cause people got me, got me questioning’

Where is the love???

CTvaqE1WEAArpVa

And so comes the festival of lights, a time for festivities and family gatherings and a day to signify the triumph of good over evil. Light over darkness. it’s Diwali time.

My earliest memory of Diwali was the times spent together with extended family. When it was Diwali, it was the time everyone would get together. Periappa used to get the best crackers that were available in the market, always! And then who can forget the new dresses and food. And bursting crackers with everyone was great fun. Our biggest challenge was to find a bottle to launch our rockets. We(me along with my cousins) would have great fun during this time as it was the only time, probably year round where all of us would be under one roof. Later, during my college days there was a craze to watch movies released during Diwali. I can still remember vividly watching 4/5 major movies released that year(think it was 2006). Good times!

As we grow, the enthusiasm to burst crackers waned off. They were no more the exciting thing they used to be. As the name of the bombs kept changing(Laxmi, atom, nuclear and what not!), the interest too deteriorated. Also contributing to this was the fact that crackers cause pollution(noise, smoke) and Diwali was never the same again. There were restrictions everywhere, for everything.

Once you move away from Chennai(Tamil Nadu), Diwali is never the same ever again. You hardly feel any festivity and given the fact that some countries I’ve stayed in do not even declare Diwali as a holiday. It is just another day in the calendar. Except for the wishes you receive on social media, where you get the same msg/video/text forwarded in multiple groups. The spirit of Diwali is lost in its entirety.

இனிய தீபாவளி நல்வாழ்த்துகள்!!!

That day, never again!

Posted: September 15, 2015 by rajster in Uncategorized

Every single time I think of him, it always flashes through my mind. The telephone conversation we had just couple of days before he passed. It was the last time we spoke and it was after a long time he had called. He spoke about his career, his ambitions and what not! He even spoke about settling down. We joked about everything. That’s how we always speak. That chirpy voice, the enthusiasm with which he spoke keeps echoing in my mind. And then, two days later it was all gone. He lay there, motionless in the morgue in his favorite black shirt and beige pants. No, it was not HIM. It failed to register. Everybody there wished it was just a prank. But it wasn’t. He was gone for real taking with him the hopes he had, the dreams he shared, the life he wanted to live and a part of our souls.

He has been gone for 7 years. If there is one thing I wanted to change, I just wish September 15, 2008 never happened!

Rest in eternal peace, my dearest friend.

Posted: September 15, 2015 by rajster in Uncategorized

A thousand thoughts in my head. But when i begin to write, words escape me.

What is the best story you know?

Posted: March 31, 2015 by rajster in Uncategorized

Answer by Aniket Arun Pingale:

AN AMAZING REAL LIFE STORY I EVER HEARD
Here is an amazing story from a flight attendant on Delta Flight 15, written following 9-11:
On the morning of Tuesday, September 11, we were about 5 hours out of Frankfurt, flying over the North Atlantic .
All of a sudden the curtains parted and I was told to go to the cockpit, immediately, to see the captain. As soon as I got there I noticed that the crew had that "All Business" look on their faces. The captain handed me a printed message. It was from Delta's main office in Atlanta and simply read, "All airways over the Continental United States are closed to commercial air traffic. Land ASAP at the nearest airport. Advise your destination."
No one said a word about what this could mean. We knew it was a serious situation and we needed to find terra firma quickly. The captain determined that the nearest airport was 400 miles behind us in Gander, New Foundland.
He requested approval for a route change from the Canadian traffic controller and approval was granted immediately — no questions asked. We found out later, of course, why there was no hesitation in approving our request.
While the flight crew prepared the airplane for landing, another message arrived from Atlanta telling us about some terrorist activity in the New York area. A few minutes later word came in about the hijackings.
We decided to LIE to the passengers while we were still in the air. We told them the plane had a simple instrument problem and that we needed to land at the nearest airport in Gander , New Foundland, to have it checked out.
We promised to give more information after landing in Gander .. There was much grumbling among the passengers, but that's nothing new! Forty minutes later, we landed in Gander. Local time at Gander was 12:30 PM …. that's 11:00 AM EST.
There were already about 20 other airplanes on the ground from all over the world that had taken this detour on their way to the US.
After we parked on the ramp, the captain made the following announcement: "Ladies and gentlemen, you must be wondering if all these airplanes around us have the same instrument problem as we have. The reality is that we are here for another reason."
Then he went on to explain the little bit we knew about the situation in the US. There were loud gasps and stares of disbelief. The captain informed passengers that Ground control in Gander told us to stay put.
The Canadian Government was in charge of our situation and no one was allowed to get off the aircraft. No one on the ground was allowed to come near any of the air crafts. Only airport police would come around periodically, look us over and go on to the next airplane.
In the next hour or so more planes landed and Gander ended up with 53 airplanes from all over the world, 27 of which were US commercial jets.
Meanwhile, bits of news started to come in over the aircraft radio and for the first time we learned that airplanes were flown into the World Trade Center in New York and into the Pentagon in DC.
People were trying to use their cell phones, but were unable to connect due to a different cell system in Canada . Some did get through, but were only able to get to the Canadian operator who would tell them that the lines to the U.S. were either blocked or jammed.
Sometime in the evening the news filtered to us that the World Trade Center buildings had collapsed and that a fourth hijacking had resulted in a crash. By now the passengers were emotionally and physically exhausted, not to mention frightened, but everyone stayed amazingly calm.
We had only to look out the window at the 52 other stranded aircraft to realize that we were not the only ones in this predicament.
We had been told earlier that they would be allowing people off the planes one plane at a time. At 6 PM, Gander airport told us that our turn to deplane would be 11 am the next morning.
Passengers were not happy, but they simply resigned themselves to this news without much noise and started to prepare themselves to spend the night on the airplane.
Gander had promised us medical attention, if needed, water, and lavatory servicing.
And they were true to their word.
Fortunately we had no medical situations to worry about. We did have a young lady who was 33 weeks into her pregnancy. We took REALLY good care of her. The night passed without incident despite the uncomfortable sleeping arrangements.
About 10:30 on the morning of the 12th a convoy of school buses showed up. We got off the plane and were taken to the terminal where we went through Immigration and Customs and then had to register with the Red Cross.
After that we (the crew) were separated from the passengers and were taken in vans to a small hotel. We had no idea where our passengers were going. We learned from the Red Cross that the town of Gander has a population of 10,400 people and they had about 10,500 passengers to take care of from all the airplanes that were forced into Gander!
We were told to just relax at the hotel and we would be contacted when the US airports opened again, but not to expect that call for a while.
We found out the total scope of the terror back home only after getting to our hotel and turning on the TV, 24 hours after it all started.
Meanwhile, we had lots of time on our hands and found that the people of Gander were extremely friendly. They started calling us the "plane people." We enjoyed their hospitality, explored the town of Gander and ended up having a pretty good time.
Two days later, we got that call and were taken back to the Gander airport. Back on the plane, we were reunited with the passengers and found out what they had been doing for the past two days.
What we found out was incredible…..
Gander and all the surrounding communities (within about a 75 Kilometer radius) had closed all high schools, meeting halls, lodges, and any other large gathering places. They converted all these facilities to mass lodging areas for all the stranded travelers.
Some had cots set up, some had mats with sleeping bags and pillows set up.
ALL the high school students were required to volunteer theirtime to take care of the "guests."
Our 218 passengers ended up in a town called Lewisporte, about 45 kilometers from Gander where they were put up in a high school. If any women wanted to be in a women-only facility, that was arranged.
Families were kept together. All the elderly passengers were taken to private homes.
Remember that young pregnant lady? She was put up in a private home right across the street from a 24-hour Urgent Care facility.There was a dentist on call and both male and female nurses remained with the crowd for the duration.
Phone calls and e-mails to the U.S. and around the world were available to everyone once a day. During the day, passengers were offered "Excursion" trips.
Some people went on boat cruises of the lakes and harbors. Some went for hikes in the local forests.
Local bakeries stayed open to make fresh bread for the guests.
Food was prepared by all the residents and brought to the schools. People were driven to restaurants of their choice and offered wonderful meals. Everyone was given tokens for local laundry mats to wash their clothes, since luggage was still on the aircraft.
In other words, every single need was met for those stranded travelers.
Passengers were crying while telling us these stories. Finally, when they were told that U.S. airports had reopened, they were delivered to the airport right on time and without a single passenger missing or late. The local Red Cross had all the information about thewhereabouts of each and every passenger and knew
which plane they needed to be on and when all the planes were leaving. They coordinated everything beautifully.
It was absolutely incredible.
When passengers came on board, it was like they had been on a cruise. Everyone knew each other by name. They were swapping stories of their stay, impressing each other with who had the better time. Our flight back to Atlanta looked like a chartered party flight. The crew just stayed out of their way. It was mind-boggling.
Passengers had totally bonded and were calling each other by their first names, exchanging phone numbers, addresses, and email addresses.
And then a very unusual thing happened.
One of our passengers approached me and asked if he could make an announcement over the PA system. We never, ever allow that. But this time was different. I said "of course" and handed him the mike. He picked up the PA and reminded everyone about what they had just gone through in the last few days.
He reminded them of the hospitality they had received at the hands of total strangers.
He continued by saying that he would like to do something in return for the good folks of Lewisporte.
"He said he was going to set up a Trust Fund under the name of DELTA 15 (our flight number). The purpose of the trust fund is to provide college scholarships for the high school students of Lewisporte.
He asked for donations of any amount from his fellow travelers. When the paper with donations got back to us with the amounts, names, phone numbers and addresses, the total was for more than $14,000!
"The gentleman, a MD from Virginia , promised to match the donations and to start the administrative work on the scholarship. He also said that he would forward this proposal to Delta Corporate and ask them to donate as well.
As I write this account, the trust fund is at more than $1.5 million and has assisted 134 students in college education.
"I just wanted to share this story because we need good stories right now. It gives me a little bit of hope to know that some people in a faraway place were kind to some strangers who literally dropped in on them.
It reminds me how much good there is in the world."
"In spite of all the rotten things we see going on in today's world this story confirms that there are still a lot of good people in the world and when things get bad, they will come forward.

What is the best story you know?

Who decides a movie is good or bad? If you are the deciding person, how consistent are you?. I ask these questions because I was dumbfounded by the attitude of some of the general audience and ‘so called’ reviewers on the internet. When people are given a movie like ‘Aambala’ where a sumo becomes an aeroplane and the hero is bashing baddies, romancing the heroine, sing and dance. Rinse, wash, repeat! People say why don’t actors act in sensible films. Why can’t they choose a good story an act. Why does the actor need to show ‘mass’ every time? And what surprised me was when a larger than life actor actually did all these things, people are now complaining that there is no ‘mass’ involved. Why can’t he have included the ‘mass’ factor to the film? A movie is 3hr long, we complain the movie is long, when the movie is short, we complain that there were no back stories? Why these double standards?

We are entitled to ask all the questions we want because at the end of the day, we pay 120 bucks or $15 for a ticket to watch a film and we expect to be fully satisfied in the end. Not all films are able to do it nowadays. A film like ‘Jigarthanda’ which the whole world liked and appreciated might not be loved by women because of the violence in it. That does not necessarily make the movie bad. It is just that it is the opinion of maybe a few hundreds. Irrespective of the negativity surrounding it, a good film always wins. This was the case a few years ago, not anymore.

In the 2000’s, a films run of 100 days was considered a measurement of success, but nowadays, a film’s opening decides it’s success. In this age and time, a movie’s success is determined by it’s initial run. The first 2 weeks are crucial after release. if the WOM is good, it runs for a few more weeks.  Producers, distributors and everyone involved are ready to cash in on the first weekend of release irrespective of how the film is(good or bad). With the advent of twitter, WOM spreads like wildfire. The problem with twitter is, everything said there isn’t true! There are so called fans(who call themselves veriyans) who are the first to abuse when a negative review is written about their star. And there is another opposite star fan group who are ready to diss the recent release of their rival star without even watching the film. You should really come to twitter during the release of a big film. It’s a circus out there. And if these fans aren’t enough, there are so called ‘reviewers’ who are attention seekers and wants to gain instant popularity. It’s just a shame!

A major fault also lie with the filmmakers. Rehashing same old stores, OTT fight sequences, double meaning dialogues in the name of comedy, sexual innuendos are some of the cheap tricks being used in movies to make it appealing to the audience. I am not a hater of commercial cinema. I loved Darling among pongal releases and i enjoyed every bit of VIP. But the marketing and the amount of hype before a film releases maybe helps in getting an opening, but if there is no substance to back up your claims, people get angry.

People’s sensibility is the ‘mellisana kodu'(Thin line). On one side they expect too much entertainment, on the other side they expect a logical content. Finding the right mix of both is a challenge every filmmaker should work hard to attain.

My 2 cents

Posted: February 6, 2015 by rajster in Uncategorized

After a very long absence, I yet again make a comeback into the blogging world. After all, this is now the second best place to record my ramblings(damn you, twitter!). I did not even do the top 10 thingy I do every year without fail. Pardon me, as I was shuttling around a few countries. Now, i am here and I just hit upon this idea to begin a new .

So, as you all know I am a movie freak. If I were stuck on an island I’d probably survive if I had a laptop along with a 1TB hard disk with movies in it. I watch all kinds of movies ranging from good to RGV Ki Aag. Languages doesn’t matter. Statistics say I watched around 42 films in the theatre last year. Yes, I think I had some kind of instinct to take note of that(totally helped now). I live in the Philippines and I get to watch most English films in theatres, but I still do not have the luxury of watching regional Indian films(Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam etc…), so the interwebs are my only source.

Coming to the point, introducing to you all. The new segment on my blog, MY 2 CENTS. The title exactly signifies what it wants to say. It is my opinion and I would not be giving stars(although I absolutely love it!) or dissing somebody’s art for a personal agenda(ain’t nobody got time fa dat!). Just honest opinions on movies or anything else for that matter of fact.

Trailer Time

Posted: July 12, 2014 by rajster in Entertainment, Fun, I watched, Movies, Music, Things I Liked

One day and 3 very good film trailers.

Firstly, Vishal Bhardwaj’s Haider. In it’s own very dark way looks like a VB classic already(only VB can get the best out of Shahid Kapoor, remember Kaminey). Cannot wait for it!

Second, Homi Adajania’s Finding Fanny. Love it for the fact that it is being made in English and the casting seems to be perfect. Only time would tell, but if it lives up to what the trailer shows it to be, we are in for a rollicking ride.

Third, Ridley Scott’s Exodus: God’s & Kings. RS is bringing us another period war film after Gladiator. The visuals look stunning and epic. Watch for yourselves;

Looks like we are in for a treat in the coming days.

June 22. A fateful date in my life.

7 years ago, on the same day after finding out that my name was in a list on the notice board, I was running along the college corridors with a group of friends shouting at the top of our lungs. The reason, all of us(who were shouting) got placed in a major IT company. To top it off, it was the first company that came in for placements and we were just completing our third year. It was a sense of overjoyed excitement compounded with an achievement. Read the rest of this entry »

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So, finally a Rajnikanth movie has released after 3 long years of waiting and delays one after the other. After watching the trailer, the animation looked pretty sub-standard, but the final product as a movie is not all that bad. It is definitely better than what I had expected it to be.

So, ill give you 5 reasons why you should definitely watch Kochadaiyan;

1. Rajnikanth as RANA

2. Rajnikanth as KOCHADAIYAAN

3. “SUPERSTAR” Rajnikanth

4. A.R. Rahman for a brilliant background score. The music absolutely holds the movie together

5. K.S.Ravikumar for a wonderful story line, script and screenplay. The dialogue writer too deserves a kudos for some crisp lines.

Pretty much everything a thalaivar fan can ask for. Perfect paisa vasool. My only disappointment is that this made into an animated(read as motion capture) film and not made into a feature film. Would have been a staggering blockbuster. Hopefully the second part(if it is made) would have much better graphics(read again as motion capture) than the first.

Kochadaiyaan-Treat for  Rajni fans. Not a bad watch otherwise too if you are willing to forgive the animation.