Saturday, August 30, 2008

What's New

Jeyamkondaan and Dhaam Dhoom
I am the voice behind Lekha Washington and Kanagana Ranaut, respectively.
Dhaam Dhoom was a brilliant time because it was more or less the same team as Unnale Unnale and the same dubbing studio. The only thing that was discordant was the absence of Jeeva sir.
Jeyamkondaan was another beautiful experience. The director of the movie, Mr Kannan was previously the associate of Mani Ratnam sir.
Dubbing can be physically tiring a lot of times, which is why, there are more instances of my turning down opportunities. And the instances of my asking "Why me"?. There are very exceptionally talented dubbing artistes who are brilliant and which is their sole career option. Like in any artistic field, the onus has always been on finding freshness. My voice, I should say has been quite the stumble-upon, as long as dubbing is concerned. I have never thought that I had the typical girl's voice. Its common knowledge that my speaking and singing voices are poles apart.
When I walked in for Sillunu Oru Kadhal, I think I was given to understand that they wanted a "sophisticated, educated" voice. Whatever that meant. I told them that I ll try just for the heck of it, 'cos I don't have the laughter of babbling brooks or a voice that sounds, well, feminine. I am more of the tomboy in some cases. And then Unnale Unnale happened. And then Satham Podadhey.
These were the times I realized the amount labour that goes into making a movie. How easy it is to walk into a theatre, spend the bucks, buy the popcorn and the give a verdict as we walk out. Dubbing sessions were when I realized what it is to be on the other side of the screen. And to be able to work with the directors is a brilliant learning experience too. Their thought processes and how they shape a certain expression to come out in someone else's voice to convey an idea. Its beautiful to be part of the whole thing. Amidst a lot of laughter, some tears, screaming if the character demands it, pulling each others legs and several cups of tea dubbing sessions are wrapped up. Tiresomeness hits only after a while. But the studio engineers are extremely sharp and they can spot tiredness in the voice immediately. A break happens there or the remaining scenes would be postponed to another day. Usually they don't push a tired voice since the next step will be strain and then a total break until the voice recuperates. Normally sessions like these take about 3-5 days. But not the entire day in each case. A few hours in each. Guess this works best both ways. Having different people come in to speak different roles gives the needed creative break and work gets done in the same time perhaps.
Several times I have wondered about things I ought to have had. About the way somethings should have turned out. And a few people that I have come across. But then as I was driving home today after a recording session - the song was an extremely fulfilling one -I was thinking that these are times that I must remember again, to count my blessings. That I am offered opportunities again and again on varied levels to try out and figure out the things. But never waste an opportunity to learn.
I guess if I am getting these, so does everyone else. And if everyone out there can grab every opportunity that presents itself, work on it for whatever it is worth, I am sure it would be complete use of this time that we have called life.
Here is wishing, for you, who are reading this space, that you get enough and more opportunities, to grow, change, evolve, those which can shift and change perspectives and sometimes toss up your insides, so that, you know what it is like to have new eyes. Or maybe, just, a new way of seeing, watching, observing. And may you also have the grace and reckless abandon that makes you take the step forward to work on the present.
Godspeed Good People.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Right now.. what I feel is

Seething Anger. Just happened to watch the promo of Ippadikku Rose where apparently, (if I comprehend right) a pervert of a teacher thrashed up a boy just because he refused to accept his sexual advances. ( I am also given to understand that boy was beaten to death, but I would have to watch the episode to make sure)
I wish I had the super powers to remove such buggers from the face of this earth.
Also I have started developing a huge dislike for people who say anything damaging about homosexuals. Just because "straight" people are a majority in this world, no one has the right to comment the minority and especially on anyone's choices or sexuality.
If the world had only been full of homosexuals and straight people were a minority I wonder how that would feel like. Or if that is used as a method of discrimination.
This is a wish to the whole universe that perverts who mess with children must be bloody squashed.
And I wonder why it is tough for people to accept people for what they are. Why should they conform to your expectations or what you have been brought up with? So what if they are different? They have as much right to live on this earth as you and me. And there is no need for anyone to conform to your expectations or mine.
As is, most homosexuals have a battle, more so in India, with all these bloodthirsty people running after them, as if its because of them, that mankind is sullied. I think normal people sully mankind even more. In the name of honour and everything else, enough blood has been shed I would say. In addition, they have a battle raging within themselves with the feeling that they are not conforming to the expectations of society and more so to look at the disappointment that is in their parents faces.
There are but a handful who are able to come out and say their sexual preferences does not conform to expectations. And they go through hell.
And I don't have anything to say on what religion says about all this. If everything is a creation of God, then He/She has created homosexuals too. And if a certain so-and-so cannot accept that, then he/she can fly a kite.
And as for child abuse I definitely want to have the superpowers and the super sense where I know it is about to happen so that I can transport myself at the speed of light and thrash the buggers.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Trains of thought

I seem to be blogging more often these days. But somehow I know its not going to be this way for too long. But for however long it lasts, I guess it will be cathartic for me. In addition to a lot of things.
I happened to be discussing wearing anklets with mom. And then somehow the thought went to the temple elephant. As a kid I remember how the elephant belonging to the temples would be paraded through the streets and we would vie to feed it with something, usually bananas or reach for a coin to gingerly place on its trunk and then lightly step back, expecting the massive trunk to land on the head, signifying the blessings that we look forward. And when the trunk does land on the head its a combination of plop and thud. Plud. Maybe, there is a new word.
I didn't know about the tooth fairy and all that then. But there was a different concept I came to know of. I was advised to bury the tooth that fell off on the path that the temple elephant came for a stroll. So there I went, preserving my teeth and then burying them on the road. Along with a couple of other children. The point was, if the elephant happened to step on the area where you had buried the tooth, then it was *certain* that the money will pour through the roof.
So I thought, like a lot of other kids that I can get my mother whatever she wanted if money poured through the roof or whatever else it was. Fairy tales helped irrigate my fertile imagination. And then I waited. Nothing happened. We moved out of the area and shifted some place else. I still wonder where that temple is and what it is like now. Whether the elephant is still there.
On that note of an elephant, I had a beautiful time with Shanti the elephant gifted by Chevalier Sivaji Ganeshan to the Thiruvanaikaval temple. I think she has cataract in one eye. Or looked like that. Don't know whether elephants have cataract. I love elephants and somehow when there were times when we were looking for a divine omen, an elephant would be there. Sometimes in busy areas where you don't expect an elephant to come. It happened once when we lived in Thiruvanmiyur. I was worried about my Math big time. Thought I would flunk. Went into depression. My mom had a vaendudhal/mannat at almost every temple in the world. And we had taken the auto that day to come back home and an elephant stopped the vehicle just as we neared our home. We don't know which temple it belonged to. The driver was aghast and thought he was going to be trampled. But the elephant came to us, pushed its trunk in and 'blessed' us and went on its way.
And I feel like I have a special bond with elephants.
Then, there was a time in my life, when mom had to work full time, nights and days on her documentary film. I was in 4th grade. Push came to shove and I ad to go to boarding school. There was no way out. And after quite a bit of crying - well which kid would want to go to a hostel - I went to the hostel. And I must say I was the only one given a five star treatment by the principal and matrons and needless to say I was bullied left right and center, by other kids. Those 16 months were partly good, mostly bad. I would be in the sick room most of the time. I would wish that I would get fever so that I could go to the sick room so that I can escape being in the dormitory. I remember I had temperature the day I landed there. Was sent to the sick room and because I was new, they all took great care of me for the first month. The superiors, teachers, matrons and the principal would always take very good care. It was the other kids I was scared about. No matter what I did, I would be whacked. And at that time I was a class topper. Got straight 100 even in math. Then it went downhill. How and why I could never understand.
My principal then, would take me out to her sister's house. If I was in the sick room she would pay me a visit everyday. If I were well, I would be spending at least two hours at her residence which was part of the school building. She would buy me clothes. Take me to the school farm on solo trips.
I can now understand how it must feel when the principal chooses to be special to one child. But then I didn't know why they were angry.
I also had a strange issue. I would finish the entire year's syllabus on a marathon 2-3 day sit through. Finish all the exercise books and then tell the teacher "finish teacher". Also, when I was in Bombay I remember my kindergarten teacher slapped me because I had finished the entire math, english and drawing workbook in one day. She was a youngling and she had then burst out crying. Mom came, saw the mark on my cheek and asked whats up. And she asked her to buy me as many books as I needed and that she will pay for it.
This finishing-up fever continued for a while - until the hostel period. I don't remember doing it after that.
While at the hostel there were girls who would tell me that if we sharpen the pencil, save the shavings and put a lot of it in water, then an eraser would 'form' overnight. And then there was another girl who told me that, brushing your teeth until your gums bled is the right way to brush. A lot of kids did that, and ended up taking medication in the sick room. And then another one said that if we save the seeds from the watermelon we eat, we can bury that and a plant will sprout with the watermelon. And we can make our own. I was very interested in this idea. So off I went burying the seeds whenever I could. Watched it everyday. No plant happened.
Then there was another girl, who studied with me, Vijayalakshmi I think, who was great at telling stories. Her dad had been a theatre owner and she had the amazing capacity to narrate an entire movie, scene by scene, dialogue by dialogue. It would be like listening to a movie. She told me several movies like that. But I only remember her telling me the story of 'Valli'. She would even say which song came where, sing it as well.
When I saw parts of it later on TV I was struck by her capacity of recall. She was hardly 11 at that time.
And there was ammamma at the hostel. She reminded me so much of my own grandmom. I would spend a lot of time with her. And there was this cassette which played Sai Bhajans which had this particular Marathi Bhajan which would go "Kaakad aarati karee to Sai Naath deva... chinmaya rupaka karee devu..." something.. the kids who heard that will be all excited. So would I. My name came in a song!
So much of my childhood that I remember vividly. Surprisingly. And so much that is totally wiped out.
I also remember, sometimes, I would cry and wait at the hostel gates for mom to come until the Principal would ask me to go to the room and say that mom would come tomorrow.
When I asked mom recently why she did not come to visit me often, she said it was tough for her to stomach because she would cry for hours on end that I had to be at the hostel. That her stomach would be in knots.
While there I would wait for the magic words "Chinmayi!!! Parents!!!" That would be the call to whoever had parents visiting. Only the name would be replaced as and when necessary. My ears were always open for that. And when I heard that particular phrase I would run like the wind, out of the dormitory, through the corridors, down the stairs, jump down the landing and into her arms.
And I remember I used to ask her for hot curd rice. I never understood why I wanted Hot Curd rice of all things. But thats what I wanted. Then.
But yeah, if I fell sick I knew mom would come. So I would pray that I fall sick. And it looked like God listened to me then.
There were so many things that happened at the hostel. Things that I don't want to write about now. Don't know whether I would. Not that it was scary or anything but it was just tough on me. And tougher on mom.
So many times I wonder how easy it is to be a child. There was no world and anything else that would murk up the clear waters of the child's mind. Would the world be a happier place if we were all children?
But maybe sometimes, it would be nice to pray that we have the heart of the child. Devoid of the cloaks of ego and weirdness and whatever else cloak it. Because I think the heart is never sullied. Maybe thoughts are. Thought patterns are. And there are cloaks. Or maybe cling-foils. Cling-foil might be a better term. Because its easy to remove a cloak. Tough to remove a cling foil which probably melts a wee bit. To pull it out takes grit, determination, patience and a lot of effort. Most of us don't want to realize that we have the cling foil around our hearts. We live a life of denial or paradoxically, a knowing ignorance.
This day. This time. I wish that I have a child's heart. No cloaks. Foils. Nothing. Clean. Clear. Pure. I wish that I never fall into the trap of an ego. And I pray that my wish be fulfilled. Cos, I know thats all I can do. Pray. I am not about to knock of a tooth to bury it on the path of an elephant. The roads are all tarred anyway.
God ... Help.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Conversations With God

This Book has literally been paraded before me several times but somehow it never appealed to me. For whatever reason.
I wonder how conversations or even one-way communication with a higher force is like. Do you do it in on a daily basis? Like have a mental conversation.. like , Hey God you really messed up my day kinda lines? Or is it like thanksgiving? What is it like?
Someone as lowly as me is definitely nowhere close to having a conversation with a higher force. But I seriously wonder what it is like.
I would, right now, want to have a conversation with the higher force. If it were in my grasp. But sadly, it is not.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Nenje Nenje

Its only recently that I discovered this song. And re-discovered the magic in Jayachandran Sir KJY sir's voice.
Someone I knew made me listen to Enmel Vizhundha Mazhaithuliye and pointed out the wonder that is Jayachandran sir's voice. Sometimes, you realize things yourself and sometimes someone else makes you see it - if you are willing to.
I had not grown up listening to film songs and I came to know about several magical songs after joining Aahaa FM and also after tuning in to stations while driving. A few more at concerts with musicians and singers.
I heard Nenje Nenje last evening after a long time and it was also on my playlist this morning.
I wonder if there is a possibility that I can absorb the amount of feeling that has gone into singing this song. Especially from KJY sir, though Sadhna ji is brilliant in her own right. But KJY sir's voice is what is on top of my mind.
The poetry in this song - I am trying to figure out how I can use the words in my limited vocabulary to describe it. And yes, I have begun to enjoy the joys of Tamil song writing and the inherent beauty and also got to know several anecdotes connected with it. It definitely goes beyong talent when a lyricist is able to compose verses out of thin air for a certain situation which finds a certain amount of space in film. I also understand now why old-timers feel that song writing in recent times does not have any beauty. Like Gangaiamaran sir said in the Take Two we had for Metro Plus, lyrics have only one meaning these days. The question of double meaning does not arise. He had his hilarious way of saying it which had me in splits through out the session.
Lately, silence, introspection and a search for some kind of a meaning probably has made me more sensitive to things that I had previously consciously ignored perhaps, but subliminally registered. Its seems to be coming back to me.
As for Nenje Nenje, it leaves the heart heavy in its wake, more often than not. But these are times when sadness is joy.

P.S: I apologise for the mistake here. There was an argument yesterday between a few people before I blogged on whether it was KJY sir or P Jayachandran Sir. Most ruled in favour of Jayachandran Sir. Since I was new to the song, I went with the majority. Of course I did not think of Google :)

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Am wondering.........

What it is about upper class hotels in town.
Met a friend a couple of days ago at Residency Towers and promptly found hair in the soup. The chef and manager are all apologetic and say they would replace it. Whats the point? I lost my appetite and helped myself to the desserts thereafter.
The Park 601 yesterday. We had guests from Ozland.
And decided to head into the Thai restaurant Lotus. Turned out, the seats were all reserved so we decided to find a place at 601 instead. And they would serve us Thai food. Good enough! I have a thing for Thai cuisine.
Mom decided to have coffee first. Coffee is piping hot. Milk is ice cold. Mix the two you have room temperature coffee.
Ordered Fresh Lime Soda - too watery. I asked them to replace it the same thing happens. I give up. Apparently their beverage section of the non-alcoholic kind is no good. I am not into alcohol anyway.
The main course made up for the lapses. The soup was outta the world. Coconut milk base with enough tang to fall in love with it. I am glad we chose a-la-carte cos,
though this is ewwwwy there was a small cockroach running across the buffet counter.
There was also one more thing that I wonder about. 601 actually allows diners to smoke. But are there probably rules that say that the smoking and non-smoking sections should be separate? Our friends from Australia were surprised to see how someone could light up in an air-conditioned place.
If someone goes to an upscale restaurant, as much as they are entitled to the ambience, service and whatever else that is assumed, clean air is also one of the things if you ask me. Why should I breathe in someone else's cancerous air and also pay a premium for it? And these gentlemen lit up their cancer sticks right next to tables were there were small children.

Don't understand the hospitality industry. And definitely don't understand some people.


While hosting Aahaa Kaapi Klub this morning, on the behest of several people, we asked why the IT industry is being blamed left right and center for changes in the society..
And along comes a "Govind" who was pretty abusive to start off with. Thankfully there are damage control measures.
Looks like he got up on the wrong side of the bed today.
But hey it kicked up my adrenalin and I am in supercharged mode.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Have you seen this video?

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Have you ever....

Had a butterfly perch on you that refuses to budge?
I am undergoing some such thing right now.
Apparently a butterfly in all its yellow and black gaiety made its way into my house a couple of days ago.
Its been fluttering about our bedroom and I made my way in to finish up the book that I picked up yesterday "One life to ride", an account of a Motorcycle journey to the Himalayas.
And butterfly decides I am a good place to rest on. And refuses to move. And here I am angling myself in quite a weird fashion typing this out, since I got fed up trying to angle my book and my cup of tea.
I have to return to both as soon as I am done with this, but it is kinda weird to have a being of the animal kingdom settle on your for quite a length of time. I am going to clock this now. Maybe it will remain this way until I decide to get up and walk out.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

The weirdness of Orkut.. sometimes

is that I get scraps, yep scraps and not messages like "v r havin a prog in next week.. we wd lik to invit u.. vl u cm?" or the newest one goes "then i like to invite for our cultural function n te mid feb,march u like do be a part of it so...>>then give me a reply so soon so.."

Thats how it starts and ends. "So..." what? Am I supposed to fill up the blanks or is this new style of writing or English to end a line with "so"? Or is it used in the place of fullstop and comma now?

Several people have told me that I am perhaps too accessible and that I should put up my price. At least, for starters, get off Orkut. I think its time I heeded advise and pulled the plug on that one.

How many times have we been taught to write formal letters in school?
Yeah so, someone is unable to find my Email ID, how tough is it to send an Orkut Mail for a professional query?

I don't know if this is making a mountain out of a mole hill, but I feel this is a lot like a candidate being told on a public forum like a scrapbook that he has been selected for a job that he had been interviewed for and he can join the following week, or something on those lines. Without a formal letter.
I am tempted to deliver a sting that sometimes rests at my fingertips but I have to hold back. After all, I am not supposed to have my opinions and views on things.
I guess in a lot of ways there is a massive run down on courtesy and basic manners as long as people are concerned. God help you if you have been brought up to say please and thank you and do things in the "right" manner. You are bound to feel like you have jumped down from another planet.

"My Foot" at Mumbai Airport Domestic Terminal

Shooting for Super Singer for even a couple of days without respite makes me wish that I were in a place where this Reflexology spa is located. Or rather there is a place here with hands that have such expertise. Mom has always praised the masseurs of Mumbai saying that, amongst other skills, this is one thing they are really good about. Even 20 years back. For a few things, though this contradicts several of my earlier posts, I wish we had never come back from Mumbai and shifted base to Chennai. I remember, for years I used to tell my mom that its time we went back "home", in a language that was a strange mix up of 75% Marathi and some 25% Hindi. I don't get zilch of Marathi these days.
But Anyway this post is not about my musings on Mumbai.
I happened to visit Mumbai for a day in the recent past and I came back to the airport in good time. And the flight was delayed. I couldn't think of anything else to do but pick up a couple of the local dailies and a coffee at Coffee Day. Then decided to take a walk around to see this reflexology center huddled in a corner. I ventured inside and took the bait.
Considering the paucity of time, I decided to take a half hour session of the neck and back therapy and the foot reflexology splitting it into 15 minute sessions of each.
This was where I was introduced to the chair that is used by therapists to tender a back massage. I gingerly tried to seat myself with as much dignity as possible, fighting embarrassment that I had no previous knowledge of this invention.
That was also the time that I had had a nagging back pain that had lasted several months, and I refused to take medication for. I stave off allopathy as much as possible. I may have a pounding headache but that will never find me reaching for the pills.
Once I was all settled in that chair and I had to place my head in a head-rest, the therapy started. Somehow they knew where the issues where, hit the nerve that was causing the problem without my saying a word, and yeah the nerve or muscle was put back in place. The back pain vanished that day and has never come back since.
The reflexology session was more magic. 15 minutes of bliss. They used a normal cream, in small amounts, unlike the amounts slathered by therapists using here. Minimal amounts of product but the work is done by the hands.
I remember paying about 1000/- for this session but it was something totally worth it
There was one more thing that I saw at the spa that I had never seen before
The owner of the spa was taking a session herself and once that was over she reviewed the massage techniques and corrected the therapist. She supervised each of the 6 therapists there and made sure they were doing a good job. That is what I call customer service. The honesty to the job.
The therapists were calm and composed. That I feel, is extremely necessary for therapists.
I promptly asked them whether they have a place here. But I also had a simultaneous thought. The place is so good thanks to the therapists there. And I have mostly seen that a lot of the people in Chennai are plain lazy. Sure they want the dough, but there is no return in the name of services that I find here. God forbid, if you try correcting anything around here. A lot don't take criticism well. At least not in some of the salons I have visited. And yep I no longer go there.
Apparently My Foot starts belongs to Singapore. At the same time, we had a session done at the Singapore airport where the therapist was the most talkative thing we had ever seen.
Anyway, I have ever since, referred several people, telling them to take some time off, if they go to Mumbai and and up early at the airport. Also I heard they had some more outlets in the city, but I am not sure of the whereabouts.
So if you head to Mumbai, please go early and take my word, you will probably have one of the best reflexology sessions ever.