Sunday, October 21, 2012

Viva la Vivāha

It is going to be a little more than two months since I've got married and I don't have a single post on the wedding stuff. Bad, no? Here are some salient points from the experience.
  • The jee-i'm-actually-gonna-get-married feeling sunk in when Sindhu (my wife) & I started plan the look and layout of our wedding invitation. We had a simple design in mind and were particular on the colour, texture and feel of the invitation card & cover. Menaka, Eureka, Butterfly, Kalyani, Sankeshwara took a lot of running around to get what we wanted. We got there in the end.
  • I totally relished the Maapla treatment at home. It is a super feeling of being the star of the show. You're lavished with attention from everyone. Want something? Just look up...and ten people will be hanging on to the word you say.
  • Couple of days before the wedding, my brothers & I went for a grand beauty treatment to a men's parlour in Mandavali. I had the Groom's Special which had the full works - Diamond facial, bleach, scalp massage, haircut, manicure, pedicure etc. All this took the whole day! My brother found out how ticklish he's on his feet during his pedicure. He just couldn't sit still. The beauty trip was very relaxing and we were refreshed at the end of it.  Everything was great except that ghastly five-figure amount we got billed for their services. 
  • My grand-dad had it. My dad had it. My uncle had it. My cousin had it too. But, more importantly, one Mr Kameshwaran from my favourite Thamizh movie had it. And I decided long time back I was gonna have it when it is my time. Janavasam. I had it. And I totally loved it.
  • It was a typical Tambram wedding...peppered with the highs and extreme highs and thereof (emotionally speaking).
  • People marry. Some re-marry. But you get married for the first time only once. Pah, wattey logic, you may say. The point is - when you do something which you can do only once, why not do it properly? I dug into my reserves of patience and cooperated with whatever rituals I had to do from my part. The motto was: Cooperate, don't kovama operate.
  • Talking about doing things properly - the Sastrigal told us to NOT shake hands with anyone after Mangalya dharanam until he tells us to do so. "Nee avala mattum dhaan thodalaam. Vera yaaraiyum thoda pdaadhu. Purinjidhaa?" #haun. He informed the handshake ban to the audience through microphone. After the Thaali was tied, once the rain of akshadhai and flowers subsided, one Maama ignored the handshake ban and extended his hand with a megawatt smile only to be met with a huge NO from me. Not the one to be cowed away easily, Maama insisted again, the Sastrigal belted out a high decibel bark "Kozhandha correct-a kai kudukka maaten 'granono, yen padutharel! Apram vaango saar!". Got the nods of approval from junior sastrigals and the photographer.
  • I got a candid photographer to cover the event. I closely followed some photographers who specialize in this and boy they are a creative bunch! Glad I had PV cover my wedding. Check out his work here.
  • Panjakacham is an underrated men's garment. 
  • My mum planned to put together a surprise video of me & Sindhu to be played after Janavasam. But poor thing was smashed for time with the wedding prep that she couldn't do much on apart from collating old photographs. She really wanted it to happen so I (with some help from my bro) made a video which was basically a time-line with photos from memorable stages/events in our life and some funny anecdotes thrown in. We played it after Janvaasam. Everybody loved it.
  • Nalangu was a total riot. I sung this song. The family were in their element and reached resonant galaata frequency when I prompted them for chorus. I still wonder how they made me sing 3 songs (incl. a duet) compared to her two songs. I tell you, girls have this amazing ability to slither away from spotlight.
  • We went to Seychelles for honeymoon.
Some changes happen gradually. Sometimes you acknowledge a change is taking place but you don't realise the change until a particular moment. During oonjal ceremony, I looked at the huge gathering of people around us. Before me were persons who were involved in my life in various degrees - like my 2nd standard Sanskrit teacher, cousins I used to play with, classmates, my aunts, my mum - people who were in some way from my birth, childhood, till that point in my marriage played a part in me being the person I am. Looking at them, I felt stock of the changes that has happened in my life. Its moments like these in my wedding and other moments that I am unable to put in words, but are imprinted in my mind far better than any HD camera can record, that made my wedding a happy and emotionally satisfying experience.

Saturday, June 2, 2012


I was in Perth last week. I took the opportunity one afternoon to visit WACA. I was quite excited about the visit. I was in Perth CBD and the ground is within walking distance from there. As I approached the stadium, a flood of random memories and images relating to WACA came to mind...

Sachin's bestestestest Innings
Bounciest track on the planet
Long cracks on the pitch
Tony Grieg's lost key 
Curtly's 8-for
Gilly's marana adi to Flintoff & friends
Justin Langer
Sachin's upper cut over slips against Brett Lee 
Nammakal Anjaneyar's 381
Who on earth is Freemantle doctor?
McGrath's hatrick
Shane Warne c M Richardson b Vettori  99
A Parore, L Vincent, S Fleming make merry in '00 test.
India's test win in '08
Damien Martyn
SAffer's win in '08
...and some more

I checked WACA's website and booked in for the Ground tour and Cricket Museum.

WACA Cricket Museum

If you are a cricket lover, this cricket museum is a must-see. Of the things I saw, these stood out:

a. The Under-arm ball: They have the actual match ball bowled by Trevor Chappell. And just to rub it in, they had a Silver Fern cap and a NZ Cricket Blazer near the ball. Rascals!

b. The Bradman Room: WA seem to adore Bradman more than any other state. I've done the MCG tour, apart from the big statue outside the ground, MCG didn't have anything significant on Bradman. Here, there were several portraits, rare action shots, couple of his jerseys, his match caps, his handwritten letters, original newspaper banners, autographed bats and handwritten score-books of matches played by Don. Superb collection!

Bradman in a net session

Also one of WACA's hospitality room is named after him too. Though Don was a South Australian, WA seem to love him as their own.

c. The Indian Cricket Team: There were numerous memorabilia from each India Cricket team that had toured Australia over the years. I was pleasantly surprised to see photos, signed exhibits of the first India cricket team to visit Australia in 1946. I think the team was captained by Lala Amarnath. It was great to see such rare items preserved so well.

WACA Ground Tour

WACA is different from the test match venues I've seen in Australia. It is a relatively small ground, and unlike a MCG or SCG it does not have the "Colosseum feel" when you walk through the gates. WACA is laid back. There are two stands on each ends with a smattering of corporate boxes, on the sides are a grass-bank and a make-shift stand. The ground could really do with a renovation. WACA, in its current state, reflects the attitude of the place to a certain extent. The cricket in the middle is played the hard way, the fair chunk of general public who come in enjoy the sun & beer and aren't too fussed over overt comforts. No frills, just froth and some good cricket!

Here are some photos from the Ground tour:

Our Ground Tour guide looks at a photograph and reminisces the day when Aussies reclaimed the Ashes
Son of the soil: J L Langer

We were taken to home side's dressing room. They had this to warn players it is time to get on the field

WA Test Reps. Please whistle pottufy for M E K Hussey.

View from the WACA's visitors' dressing room
Western Australia's Team of the Century!

We were taken to 'Stump Lounge' which had a autographed stump from each Test played at WACA

We were taken onto the playing arena. It felt surreal to stand on the very place cricket legends have played.

It was the off-season, so we didn't see a proper cricket pitch. It felt good to stand in the middle of one of the historic test match venues in the world.

WACA pitch. Looked more like a pitch at Basin Reserve, Wellington, NZ.

AU$15 well spent! :-)

Sunday, May 20, 2012

What is Kolaveri?

I don't own a house, yet. When I am ready for one, I would want to build it from scratch so I can mould it to suit my lifestyle and taste. I want to plan, design, choose every minute aspect of its look and feel, and watch it get built from ground up. Heck, if I am gonna be paying a ghastly 6-figure mortgage for the next couple of decades, might as well pay for the house I love, no?

Buck, a friend of mine, is an accountant cum part-time builder. He's a sort of a bloke companies like Hire A Hubby envy. Buck is currently renovating his place, I've volunteered to assist him and acquire some gyan about house-building, renovation etc.

Nothing, I thought, will be as hard, as we had spent a hot afternoon sitting in the roof (where the mercury stood at  outside temp + 30 degC) stuffing Pink Batts. The carpets were going to be laid the next day. So on night one, we moved all upstairs furniture from one side of the house to the other. The next day the carpet layers laid the carpet and we moved all the furniture back on to the new carpet, leaving the other side of the house empty and ready for the carpet layers next day. They arrived the next day with the news that they had come with a different coloured carpet because they ran out of carpet they had laid the previous day, so they had to rip up the already laid carpet which meant shifting ALL the furniture again. Aaaah, you get the picture?

And to add to the fury, apparently one of the carpet guys knew about the lack of stock, but carried on with the job because he thought he could source new stock from other carpet stores only to find later that none of them had that particular colour carpet! You know, sometimes my fellow citizens amaze me by how effortlessly they take slackery and incompetence to levels outside this universe.

I don't know what Dhanush was talking about in that song, but the emotion we felt that particular moment was what I'd call pure, unadulterated, Agmark-stamped Kolaveri. Thank God I didn't have my veecharuvaa, or else...

Monday, January 23, 2012

What's it like being Sachin

I got hold of Greg Chappell's autobiography, Fierce Focus, the other day. I skipped straight to the chapter that interested me the most - "Sourav and I". Ganguly-Chappell is easily the most talked about player-coach relationship in the game, so the chapter was an engrossing read and Chappell's account was frank and to the point. However, when I finished the chapter, one paragraph, no, one line, kept ringing in my head. It was a comment made by Sachin Tendulkar (marked below). 

Friends. He can probably count them on one hand. They say it's always lonely and cold on the true! It's a curse of being the elite of the elitist. On one hand, he has a billion people who adore him; some name their kid after him; few even tattoo his autograph; he's the best in his field of work and probably has enough moolah for another 99 lifetime, but in reality what the man may actually yearn for is a normal life and a few more true friends.

Sigh. Such is life!


I hope he gets that 100x100 monkey off his back in tomorrow's test at Bradman's hometown. He scored a ton last time India played a test at Adelaide. How fitting would it be if he does it again!

Go Sachin! :)

Alone in the cauldron. I took this pic when Sachin walked out to a standing ovation at the MCG on Day 2, Boxing Day Test 2011

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Sliver of Green Glass

Pizza stone - Heard of it? No? Me too. This, until my good friend, James, called me at work on a Friday afternoon and asked if I want to come over for dinner as he's gonna inaugurate his partner's latest inspired purchase - pizza stone.

If you're still wondering what a pizza stone is - it's a hot plate that heats the pizza base, just like an oven. It's a neat replacement for an oven. Don't have an oven, still want to make pizzas? This is your tool.

I reached James's place. After chatting a bit, we rolled our sleeves and entered the kitchen. James's partner, Sarah, was happy that the boys were in the kitchen for a change and she was in the lounge watching TV with a glass of Shiraz. It was my first time making pizzas. Having flipped the odd Dosai at home with grace and panache, I thought making pizzas should be as easy as eating them. And it wasn't hard. James did most of the work by topping the pizza, all I had to do was take the pizza off the oven with the enormous spatula when the edges turned brown.

"Ah this must be the best bit...", I told myself as I slid the big spatula under the crusty brown base, expertly lifted it off the plate, turned towards the kitchen benchtop and....thwwap. I watched in disbelief as the friggin pizza landed face down on the kitchen floor!


When two men are at work in the kitchen, sudden silence means trouble. And women can somehow hear this loud silence very well.

"Howssit going?", Sarah enquired from the lounge.

"Er. Yea almost done. mm..lemme top up your glass", James said in a calm tone but a bit louder than normal and quickly walked out with bottle of Shiraz, his eyes still fixed on the bums-up pizza.

I immediately rescued the pizza. Removed chunks of pineapple, tomato paste, jalapeños, onions from the floor. I had to use the knife to remove the cheese as it stuck to the floor like a bubble gum. I redressed the pizza again but it still looked messed up. James and I made an echicootive decision to convert the vegetarian pizza into a Pepperoni Pizza so we can cover the messed up parts with Salami.

"All done. Ready!", James beamed as he walked into the lounge with two plates. One Pepperoni, and another Vegetarian pizza.

"Mmmm...yummm!", she said taking a bite.


Later that evening, James and I were in the kitchen as he was doing the dishes. He picked up a green crystal bowl, held it, and just like that, it leapt from his hand and crashed onto the floor into several thousand pieces. He was holding it one moment, the next moment I watched the slow motion disaster unfold with my ever widening eyes.

Sarah was asleep upstairs. We thought she might've have heard it, but nope, no sign of her.

"Man. That bowl looked expensive. She's gonna be mad at you", I said.

"yea. We'll clean it up right. She wouldn't know"

"She'll know", I said grimly.

"Okay. Just dont say anything in the morning okay.."

We swept, re-swept the floor to remove any vestige of evidence. We ruled out vacuuming as the noise may wake up Sarah.

Next day morning.

Brunch over. I was solid, didn't say anything when the topic of pizza came up.

Then after a while, Sarah cornered James in the kitchen. "Okay. What happened here yesterday? "


"Did you have an accident in kitchen?", she said giving him the look.

"We may have...why?", James said, his gaze shifted to me quickly and back to Sarah. I had the "I told you so" look.

"How did you know?", pleaded James.

"Well, you see that tiny shard of crystal at the corner of the pantry...that thing has been reflecting light from the kitchen".

"Ugh! You're good!", James said as he left the kitchen shaking his head.

Sarah will never find out about the, until now.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012


The perfect December sunset. Bye, 2011.

Happy New year everyone :)

Hope 2012 turns out to be as beautiful and brilliant as this song.

Puttham puthu boomi vaeNdum
Nittham oru vaanam vaeNdum
Thanga mazhai peiya veNdum
Thamizhil kuyil paada veNdum (3)

Sondha aagayam vendum
Jodi nilavondru vendum
Netri vaeRkindra pothu antha nilavil mazhai peiya vendum

VaNNa viN meengaL vaeNdum
MalargaL vaai paesa vaeNdum
Vandu utkaarum poo maelae
naan vanthu utkaarum varam vendum
kadavule konjum vazhi vidu un arugilae oar idam kodu
punnagai engaL thaimozhi endru varam kodu
boomiyil sila maaRuthal thanai vara vidu

(puttham puthu boomi...)

yuttham illatha boomi oru satham illaamal vaeNdum
maraNam kaaNadha manidha inam
indha mannil nilai koLLum varam vaeNdum

panja pasi poakka vaeNdum
paalaivanam pookka vaeNdum
shanthi shanthi endra sangeetham
sugam yaenthi yaenthi vandhu vizha vaeNdum

poanavai avai poagattum
vanthavai ini vaazhattum
dhesathin ellai kodugal avai theerattum
theivangaL indha maNNile vandhu vaazhatum

(puttham puthu boomi...)
Lyrics copied from here.