Cerebral Shangrila

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Trivia - # 6

Sivaji seems to be the talk of the town. Where was the song " Oru Koodai Sunlight" ( from Sivaji) filmed ? ( Name the monument, city and country)

P.S : Prabhudeva choreographed the song and it seems it took them 16 days to film it !

Labels: ,

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

CHINDIA - Book Review

I just finished reading the book " CHINDIA - How China and India are revolutionizing global business" . The book is a collection of articles that appeared in BusinessWeek over the last few years. This is not exactly a Bible on China & India but nevertheless a good primer about these countries. Read it if you find time.

Labels: ,

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Rainbow Quiz - Identify the personality - Week 45

Here is the next weekly "Rainbow" quiz , where I would be giving 7 clues (Hence the name Rainbow) about a personality. Try to discover the person in the least number of clues . You can either leave the answer as a comment / email me . Feedback/ suggestions welcome. Googling is not preferred but then its just for fun and so go ahead if you need to.

I used to watch his movies on tape when I was young, though I understood very little of what was being spoken. One of those rare artistes who transcended borders.

clue # 1 : "X" was born at the Chinese Hospital in San Francisco. He was given the name "Jun Fan" on birth.

clue # 2 : Approximately, one year later the family returned to Kowloon in Hong Kong and at the age of 5, the young "X" began appearing in children's roles in minor films.

clue # 3 : "X" attended school in Hong Kong and was later beaten up by a street gang, which inspired him to take up martial arts training.However, his temper and quick fists saw him fall foul of the HK police on numerous occasions, and his parents sent him to the United States with just 100$ in his pocket.

clue # 4 :
"X" began the process of creating his own martial arts system after his arrival in the US and also started his acting career in minor roles on TV. Not happy with the roles that he was being offered in America, he then returned to Hong Kong and was offered a film contract there.

clue # 5 : His movies became huge box office success all over Asia and catapulted him to stardom. The movies also found success in the West introducing the western audience to Asian martial arts.

clue # 6 : He died at the young age of 32 in a bizarre fashion. He lay down after taking a headache tablet, and was later unable to be revived. A doctor was called, and he was then taken to hospital by ambulance and pronounced dead that evening. The official finding was death was due to a cerebral edema, caused by a reaction to the headache tablet.

clue # 7 : Tragically his son, an actor and martial artist like his father, was killed in a freak accident during film shooting.

Who is X?


Friday, June 22, 2007

Indian Presidential elections

While Brand India keeps moving ahead, the Indian politicians are caught in a time warp. Nehru family worship, Opportunism and petty politics continue. The Indian presidential election contest is yet another farce that is remnant of the numerous shameless dramas that have plagued Indian politics. God bless India !

Vir Sanghvi, Editor HT, writes a scathing piece.

Labels: ,

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Amazing tiger video - Kaziranga

Watch this spectacular video of a tiger attacking a mahout on top of a elephant in Kaziranga (India). See how the tiger emerges out of nowhere !

So what happened next ? The mahout survived but was badly lacerated and lost three fingers in his hand.

Labels: , ,

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Sivaji Mania - Chinese connection

As the Sivajimania sweeps the nation, "Forwards" are galore in the cyber-community. Received an interesting mail today that says " Sivaji has been released in 211 theaters(Screens) in China ( Not sure about the veracity of this info)" . This means that after India, Sivaji has been released in more theaters in China than any other country. The movie of course has been dubbed in Chinese.

So, What is next ? A movie with Jackie Chan and Rajinikanth together ?

Labels: ,

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Rainbow Quiz - Identify the personality - Week 44

Here is the next weekly "Rainbow" quiz , where I would be giving 7 clues (Hence the name Rainbow) about a personality. Try to discover the person in the least number of clues . You can either leave the answer as a comment / email me . Feedback/ suggestions welcome. Googling is not preferred but then its just for fun and so go ahead if you need to.

One of my favorite artistes , "X" has excelled in both Carnatic and film music.Can a voice be sweeter than this ?

clue # 1 : "X" was born in a musical family. Her father and mother were both noted musicians.When Deshbandu Chitharanjan Das died in 1925, her mother came out with a beautiful song by way of tribute to his national spirit and patriotism.

clue # 2 : X's school education was in Madras, in a convent, where she was all set to pursue a medical career until the great musician G. N.Balasubramaniam (GNB) came into her life.He became her guru.

clue # 3 : In 1940, her mother gave a resplendent musical recital in Simla. "X",then only 12 years old,made her debut by accompanying her mother. Two years later she gave a solo recital in Bangalore.

clue # 4 : "X" was known more for her cerebral style, rather than her emotional style. She could effortlessly render several difficult Ragas and switch between ragas with ease.

clue # 5 : "X" made the Purandaradasa kritis quite popular in Carnatic Music."X" also trained several students (including her own daughter) and many of them are front-ranking musicians today.

clue # 6 : Like her peers , of the famous female trinity, she excelled in film music also - particularly under the baton of G. Ramanathan.

clue # 7 : She received the "Padma Bhushan" from the Indian Government and was also the youngest woman recipient of Sangita Kalanidhi. At the peak of her popularity, she died at the age of 63.

Who is X?

Labels: , ,

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Interesting conversation

I met this very interesting person at a conference yesterday. He is Chinese and spoke English quite haltingly. Here is how the conversation went :

I : So, where are you from ( in China) ?

Him : I am from Shenzhen. Where are you from in India ?

I : I am from Chennai. Have u heard of the city ?

Him : Yes very much. I am going there this December .

I : Wow...is it a business trip ?

Him : No. I am going on my own. I have heard so much about the Indian classical music festival in that city . So, am going there to attend the festival. After which I am going to Pondicherry to visit the Aurobindo ashram. I am very excited about the trip.

I was so amazed at hearing this reply. A chinese , speaks very little english, yet is so open and daring to explore a new culture . Spent the next 10 mins giving him a quick tutorial on Carnatic music and Chennai.

That was definitely a very interesting meeting.


Thursday, June 14, 2007

Tigers - Taming the Chinese farms

I was stunned to read that there are more tigers in captivity in China than in the wild in the entire world. And most of this, according to BBC, is not for conservation purposes.

After intense international pressure, China banned the trade in tiger products more than a decade ago. The UN has reinforced the ban as China started mulling about re-opening the trade. But is this enough reason for India to cheer ? What about the protection in our parks ? What about the strange co-existence of humans and tigers in our sanctuaries ? What about the lack of teeth of our enforcement laws ?


Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Movie marathon

I caught up with a few good movies over this weekend in a movie marathon spree.

1. Parineeta : Wanted to watch this one for a long time. Calcutta seemed beautiful , Vidya Balan didn't look like a debutante, music was soothing.

2. Arsenic and Old lace : This Frank Capra classic , although 60 years old, still evokes great laughter with memorable characters (with "Teddy Roosevelt" being the most memorable one) and funny one-liners.

3. Rashomon: I never found this DVD in the library until last weekend. This Japanese classic directed by Akira Kurosawa explores the theme of "perception as reality". The film gives us four viewpoints of a murder and rape incident - one for each defendant . The viewer is left to interpret the truth.

4. American Graffiti : Features the coming of age of four American high school teenagers who have to decide on college by the next day morning. Set as a overnight movie in the swinging 60's, it features an incredible soundtrack and future stars such as Harrison Ford, Richard Dreyfus and Ron Howard. This semi-autobiographical movie was directed by George Lucas ( of Star Wars fame).

Labels: ,

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Rainbow Quiz - Identify the personality - Week 43

Here is the next weekly "Rainbow" quiz , where I would be giving 7 clues (Hence the name Rainbow) about a personality. Try to discover the person in the least number of clues . You can either leave the answer as a comment / email me . Feedback/ suggestions welcome. Googling is not preferred but then its just for fun and so go ahead if you need to.

Tough to say if "X" impressed me more as a cricketer or as a human being. The "Mahatma Gandhi of Cricket ( If I may say so)", men like him are rare.

clue # 1 : "X" was born in Barbados and was known by the nickname "Tae" during his childhood.

clue # 2 : As a player for West Indies, "X" made his debut in 1947–48 versus England . "X" was a fine batsman and bowler, and was the Wisden Cricketer of the Year for 1951.

clue # 3 : He became the first black cricketer to captain the West Indies cricket team for an entire series, thus breaking the color barriers then found in West Indian cricket. He led the side on notable tours. The most memorable one was to Australia in 1960-1. The first Test of the series ended in a dramatic tie.

clue # 4 : All three "Ws" were geniuses but "X" had the most style and elegance. He had all the strokes and the time and capacity to use them without offence to the eye, without ever being hurried.

clue # 5 : A man of utmost integrity and gentlemanly conduct, he saved the life of Indian Captain Nari Contractor who was seriously injured by a blow on the head. "X" not only flew him on time to a surgeon in Trinidad but was also one of the donors of blood which saved Nari's life.

clue # 6 : When he left professional cricket, he was appointed to the Jamaican Senate . He was later knighted for his services to cricket in 1964.

clue # 7 : Unfortunately, he died at a young age of 42 due to leukemia." X" Trophy is named in his honor and awarded for the winner of the West Indies - Australia Test match series in cricket.

Who is X?

Labels: ,

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Abdul Kareem : A green dream

He had a dream. He persevered to translate that dream into action. Read this amazing story of a how a humble man converted a rocky terrain into an oasis of greenery.

The environmentalists are in awe of him. So am I.

P.S : Here is more on him from Good news India. Scroll down for his Address/email/Phone. We can help too.

Labels: , ,

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Awesome pic

Found this through digg. This Pic is awesome ( Its in Macromedia flash file format). Click and drag up or down with your mouse to zoom in & out.


Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Tian Tan Buddha - Lantau Island, Hong Kong

The Tian Tan Buddha is located in the Po Lin Monastery in Lantau Island, Hong Kong. This bronze buddha is 34m tall, weighs 250 tonnes and is the tallest outdoor seated Buddha in the world.

The cable car ride to this place is an unforgettable experience.This is a "must see" place if you are visiting Hong Kong.

I took these photos on an extremely foggy day in April.

Labels: ,

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Rainbow Quiz - Identify the personality - Week 42

Here is the next weekly "Rainbow" quiz , where I would be giving 7 clues (Hence the name Rainbow) about a personality. Try to discover the person in the least number of clues . You can either leave the answer as a comment / email me . Feedback/ suggestions welcome. Googling is not preferred but then its just for fun and so go ahead if you need to.

clue # 1 : "X" was born in 1901 in Chennai although his ancestors belonged to Nellore District.

clue # 2 : He studied in Madras till he attained the age of 20. Later, he studied Sanitary Engineering in Bombay.

clue # 3 : He joined the Great Indian Peninsular Railway and worked for about four years there. After the death of his wife when he was only 25, he lost interest in the material world and resigned from his job. He divided property between his brothers and mother and joined Sabarmati Ashram as a follower of Mahatma Gandhi.

clue # 4 : "X" took part in the Salt Satyagraha and the Quit India movement and was imprisoned several times.

clue # 5 : Observing X's commitment, Mahatma Gandhi once remarked "We can achieve independence within a year if there were another ten people as committed and dedicated as X".

clue # 6 : After Indian independence, in an effort to unify the Telugu people, and preserve the unique culture of Andhra from Dravidian and largely tamil identity, he went on a lengthy fast demanding formation of a separate state.
After 56 days of fasting, "X" died and laid down his life trying to achieve his objective.

clue # 7 : He is the only person in post-independence India who actually fasted to death (for a public cause) as all others either gave up or were arrested and force fed or hospitalised.

Who is X?

Labels: ,

Friday, June 01, 2007

The Superb efforts of Super 30

A record 28 out of 30 students coached by the institute " Super 30" have cracked the IIT exams this year. The "Super 30" picks 30 talented poor children from the society and provides them free coaching, food and accommodation.Its based in Patna, Bihar.

Here is an article about " Super 30" from BusinessWeek. Here is what Wikipedia has to say.

Hail these heroes !

Labels: ,