Vinayakar Chaturthi: When eating kozhukattai is all you think about

If there is one thing that I look forward as Vinayagar Chaturthi dawns, it is the thought of eating endless supply of kozhukattai my mother would make that morning. Those sweet filled dumpling and the kaaram (it is a bit spicy to accompany the sweet)ones, I would eat them all day in installments. These dumpling are…

Too early to get a Holmes; Tamil cinema has to make to with Thupparivaalan

It is not difficult to understand why Tamil cinema can never get their own Sherlock Holmes. We just cannot do without sentiments, super action (unnecessary) sequences and dragging the climax just to bring out the villain sob story. Thupparivaalan tried to bring to Tamil audience the Sherlock Holmes from the 221B Baker street where actor…

When you are a Tambrahm and cannot sing

Oh! the irony of being a tambrahm and not being able to sing. I’m a Tamil brahmin and I really cannot sing. This is partially due to my inability to understand ragas and partially due to my lack of interest in carnatic music, something my parents never understood.   It is not that I have…

The smell of old books

I love those dim and dingy rooms that smell like old books, whose pages are moth ridden and yellowed with age. Those paperbacks and hard-bounds where men and women pour their hearts out, often about their unrequited love at the footnotes. These books, which find their place in second hand roadside shops, is my haven….

India’s Godmen culture

Godmen. Demigods for whom people are ready to die for. Godmen. A term so loosely used in India, where there are thousands of Godmen with crores of followers. Godmen. A topic I had always wanted to write about but never had the confidence that I could do justice. But I’m still going to give it…

When nature takes you for a ride

Nature. Man is yet to find something that is more mysterious than nature itself. Nature, with all its mystical qualities, makes you wonder; makes you ponder. It always takes you unaware just like last weekend when I was travelling to Vellore for my friend’s wedding. As cliched as it sounds, the sky was blue. The…

NEET and all that is wrong with Tamil Nadu

S Anitha, who had scored 1176 out of 1200 in Class 12 State board exams, committed suicide. She was a daughter of a poor daily daily wage labourer in a small village in Ariyalur district in Tamil Nadu. She wanted to be a doctor. She couldn’t. She could get only 86 in the National Eligibility…

The hunt for palazzo pants in Chennai

It has been three months since I have been on the hunt for comfortable and cheap black cotton palazzos pants. When I say cheap, I was looking for palazzos at the price point of under Rs 600. It is not too much to ask is it? I never realised that it would be a near…

My first memory of Madras, 20 years ago

The memory of my first time in Madras is still clear. It was probably 1996 when Madras was still Madras and yet to become the Chennai it was today. That feeling of awe I felt when I first got down in the Egmore railway station, which was foreign yet exhilarating, is something I don’t think…

True story: A tale of greed, murder and a haunted house

(Since it is a true story, all names and places were changed or intentionally not mentioned to protect the identity of the family involved.) It is not everyday you find a story that draws you and compels you to write it down. It was one such moment for me when I visited my home town…

When work takes you to 12th Century Samburavayar dynasty

I wonder when was the last time I was in the midst of lush green paddy fields surrounded by mountains and smell of tilled earth. It had just stopped raining when I reached Padavedu, the capital of Sambuvarayar dynasty during 12th Century Chola period and four hours from Chennai. The small town under the scorching…