Saturday, September 29, 2007

The IAS story of the Iyer Swami from Changanacherry

This is the The IAS story of the Iyer Swami from Changanacherry. Life....Live ...

The script almost looks like a masala Malayalam movie from Shaji Kailas. For a change in this script , the hero is not an IPS officer but a honest IAS officer with high calibre , qualifications and integrity.

First Rank in State in Secondary School Examination , Kerala State
First Rank in Plus Two , Mahatma Gandhi University
Tenth Rank in IIT JEE
First Rank in IIT Computer Science , B :tech

He gets a scholarship from the prestigious Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA . Instead of going there he writes the Indian Civil Service Examination and two more things in his profile.

First Rank in IAS Entrance Examination
First Rank in IAS Training Institute.

Some of you may remember the story in the front pages of Malayalam Newspapers way back in 1989 when a small frail guy from Kerala topped civil services. There was a complete supplement in Manorama on a Sunday tracing the academic journey of the iyer swami from Changanacherry who wanted to give back to the nation.Moi remember that even now because I felt it strange to read that somebody had topped all exams that he wrote in his life.

It is interesting to check the career of Iyer Swami after this. Just take a wild guess on what would have happened ?

13 positions in 15 years from Kasargod to Thiruvananthapuram.

Once in a while a controversy appears in Malayalam newspapers which involve Iyer Swami but it has been proved beyond doubt that he is a man of high integrity and honesty.

One of those brilliant minds which would have been used in Silicon Valley being wasted in Kerala Civil Services.

Here is an excerpt from the Indian Express report

This middle class Iyer from Changanassery, known for taking on political and other heavies like few IAS officers would dare, has remained a pariah for most parties in Kerala’s two political halves. The brushes soon came to a point where he took on his father-in-law, a big-time contractor, who wanted to block off a public road to a poor neighbourhood of Scheduled Castes to wall up land for himself.

“I requested my father-in-law not to misuse my position as the local Sub-Collector, but he wouldn’t listen. I invoked the Criminal Procedure Code and served orders on him, called in the police and carried out the demolition,” recounts the man who once led a raid on the home of one of Kerala’s politically influential liquor barons who wouldn’t pay up the Rs 11 crore that he owed the government in taxes, and seized his belongings. A minister rang up, asking him to lay off and return the seized stuff, Narayanaswamy refused and was on the political hitlist yet again.

Controversies, and trouble, have always been with Narayanaswamy, the topper of the 1991 IAS batch — he topped the SSC exams as well — and a topper at IIT Chennai’s computer science department who turned down an MIT scholarship to enter the Civil Service. Nine years ago, he bulldozed the sides of an important Thrissur road to widen it, hitting businesses with clout who pulled strings to perpetually harass him. Five years ago, he had a run-in with a prominent north Kerala minister in Kasargod. Narayanaswamy refused to recommend sanction as the local District Collector, to turn a hospital that the minister owned into a private medical college, without prescribed infrastructure.

Now , all his controversies are not like this . After reading this and another controversy about his car when he was the Thrissur Collector, I always wondered what he was doing. May be the articles would have been framed by someone to tarnish his image . It seems highly unlikely that Iyer Swami would have been a culprit in all these cases.

May be Iyer Swami is over qualified and a person of his caliber should not have witten the civil services exam. Civil Services need only tail wagging "YES" men who has rubber spines who will bend according to the wills of corrupt political bosses.

There is a huge hue and cry when people from elite institutes leave this country in search of better pastures . Iyer Swami is a living example of a brilliant mind with honesty and integrity that is being wasted in a system which has so much bureaucratic hurdles , nepotism and corruption. Everyone cries about the corruption in the country and people laments that this country will go to dogs . When someone takes the responsibility he finds himself sans of any support to him/her from the political bosses or common man who anyway doesn't have a voice in the decision making of this country.

May be the careers of many civil service officers like Iyer Swami , T N Seshan , Alphonse Kannanthanam , G R Khairnar etcc shows that IAS officers cant take free decisions above the illiterate and selfish politicians / political parties in India and you can't blame the young generation for leaving this country for better pastures.

But I hope a million officers like Iyer Swami will stay back and clean up the system and make it transparent for common man.

My heart is like an open highway
Like Frankie said I did it my way
I just want to live while I'm alive 'Cause it's my life

Better stand tall when they're calling you out
Don't bend, don't break, baby, don't back down

Good Luck , Dude :)

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Toothpaste Ad Starring Sreesanth

Sreesanth surpassed all my expectations by automatically qualifying for a sponsorship bid by companies from toothpaste and FMCG sector in India Vs Australia 20-20 worldcup semifinal in South Africa.

If you were one of those unlucky ones who missed out on this match due to other urgent commitments like voting in Indian Idol or peaceful sleep on a silent night then half of your time next week will be wasted by all those who will tell you what an amazing match it turned out to be .That too you wont see India defeating Australia very often. Sometimes when Indian cricket team play , the players behave like those people who should be ayurvedically treated for arthritis and joint pains in all those ayurvedic hospitals in and around Kottakkal in Kerala . They display such amazing archaic fileding skills to the world on a cricket field. But yesterday was different and at least even for a moment the idea of an ayurvedic massage didnt occur.

It makes all of us happy when India wins because it is nice seeing your own country doing well anywhere.

Whatever happened yesterday , a new star has emerged for all the toothpaste companies and it is our own Sreesanth.

Watch the video below!

It is Sreesanth in action . An amazing delivery that bamboozled Adam Gilchrist and what after that , watch carefully.

Did you guess it right ? Yupz , Colgate , Closeup and Dabur are exploring possibilities to see whether they can sponsor Sreesanth's teeth by some means .

Such Sparkling Teeth!

White as Ivory!

Displayed in front of millions of TV viewers all across the world after each wicket along with youthful energy and exuberence .

Such a ready made target audience for a a toothpaste company to advertise the toothpastes.

Heard Last :The toothpaste companies have formed a consortium to reimburse Sreesanth 25% of the match fee fine that was imposed by ICC.They are also negotiating with ICC to get the sponsorship of teeth of different bowlers . One of the names going on the rounds in Brett Lee , who displays his teeth only while twisting his tongue at teh batsman.

This is not the first time , last time Sreesanth almost qualified for a Malayalam movie through his impeccable dance performance and that was the inspiration for me to start this blog.

That too was in South Africa . Last Year when India toured South Africa and Andre Nel had a major role to in making sure that Sreesanth danced in the 22 yards with a cricket bat . What a spectacle it was , truly inspired from Mammootty . Wish Nel was there in the last match for an encore.

The stage shifted to India and it was when England was touring India . Sreesanth followed his five wickets with a break dance in Indore . Watch the video below !

If you didn't have enough of Sreesanth , watch the album below . The lyrics here has been penned by Sreesanth and is pretty good when compared to the performances above.

Think this has only started . As Sreesanth zooms ahead with his deliveries , we will see more of this in action.

My favourite is the second video with Andre Nel . What is yours ?

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Good Old Malayalam Films. Where have they gone?

I went home for Onam and as always stood in the queue to get tickets for almost all the Malayalam movies in almost all the theatres in Kochi .The bugs were there , bugbites were there , theatres were full of people and some of these films may turn to be hits. But numbers may not tell the whole story on what I missed at least .

AliBhai - Mohanlal does a Suresh Gopi in Lalettan style . A lead character as a goonda in Kozhikode market. He beats up all villains and at the end walks towards us in slow motion (Courtsey:Shaji Kailas) . Bombastic dialogues and thattupolippan dance , masala , Action , Slow motion sequences - everything that you expect in a Shaji Kailas Movie other than one thing a story line with characters we can identify. It was better to go to Kozhikode and shop for vegetables in Palayalm market instead of watching this movie.

Halo - Mohanlal is an advocate and is always in a bar. A lead character who is seeking Vodka and Rum. An instant comedy that may or may not give you instant satisfaction with some unimaginable , unrealsitic situations as always happening in the story. It was better to go to a bar and have a small instead of watching this movie.

Kitchamani M B A - The value of MBA's in general would have plummeted after this movie was released in Kerala . After watching this movie , I thought it is high time Comrade Achu banned all the Suresh Gopi films along with Cococola . Such a time waste . What a pity they have put my post graduate degree in the name of this movie ?.

Nivedyam - Thought it should be good because it was from Lohitadas , had new actors and all that. Not exactly a Sargam but comparitivelty better.

I was in a state of shock after this and seems that I have missed out on the only nice film that was released this onam , Ore kadal according to Varnachitram.

I had been in love with Malayalam movies ever since I can remember .

People look at me like a moron with a hollow head and sometimes have scorned @ me when I say I like Malayalam movies. People think it is too country or is an extremely bad taste. What Nonsense? . I like watching movies in my mother tongue as much as watching movies in Hindi and English .What a pity that even though the regional film industry is strong in India , many people in my generation just looks down on the regional movies, be it Mallu,Tamil or Telugu?. Everything western is not so great , buddies . There is lot of good things all around that entertain you and you can enjoy.

Good Old Malayalam movies make me as involved, as enchanted and as fulfilled as an Onasadhya which is followed by a pappadam , pazham and payasam. I do not watch Nadodikkattu for any other reason but that I enjoy watching it .I enjoy watching the sequels too - Pattanapravesham , Akkaraakkareakkare (Sadanam kayyilundo) Everytime I watch these movies I pick up something that I missed out last time.

There is a long list of movies that you love watching over and over and over again. Just as Nadodikkattu I enjoy watching Thenmavinkompathu, Chithram Thaniyavarthanam ,Kireedom , Bharatham , His Highness Abdullah , Ramjirao Speaking , In Harihar Nagar ... you can complete the list yourself. It is such a long list that any person who can understand Malayalamn and watch movies for enjoyment and entertainment will remember.

There is something about this genre of films in late 80's and early 90's that connect with us in a unique way. These films are full of characters are from real life who have a genuineness on screen which make them exceedingly likable and easy to identify with ourselves. But there is a deeper reason why they appeal to us so much after such a long time. These films are the best advertisements for what can be described as our middle class values.Isn't there a shade of our parents in the character played by Tilakan in the film Kireedom who wants his son to become a police inspector, is the film Thenmavinkompathu we see Nedumudi Venu trying out all his tricks to get his lasy love by cheating his friend . These are typical episodes from real life of real people we encounter in our daily life.

The characters in this genration of Malayalam films were a far cry from those old Malayalam movies which always had a Jayan , Soman and Sukumaran uniting with their mother in the end through three parts of the same necklace or Madhu searching for his lost love in a beach or Premnazir rowing on a boat singing a love song with Jayabharati and Sharada standing at a window wearing a Mundu with a blouse or Saree. Please note that there was no churidar at that time at least in movies ;)

The characters were etched from the scenes in real life .There was this good natured Mohanlal's character trying to save his daughter by acting as a husband in Chithram , Mammooty's character as an intelligent Brahmin trying to solve mysteries in CBI range of movies, Mohanlal's character who turns a goonda when he tries to save his father from a don in Kireedom ,Mammootty being ditched by his lady love and being mistaken for a killer in Oru Vadakkan Veeragatha and Mukesh and others running after a girl in Inharihar Nagar.

In doing so when they provide free entertainment they showed us the importance of family values , on the joy of the simple things in life .These films showed Joie De Vivre through very gentle lessons with out giving instructions to the audience or without having heroes shouting bombastic dialogues in one breath on why the humanity has been under the attack of corrupt and immoral police inspectors since time immemorial like Mohanlal's character does in Alibhai.

These films never had item dances with seductive females displaying the fairness of lady skin with a perfect X-Y-X body or for that matter dance at all . Heroes sang and heroines at least expressed real life emotions on screen . As the world becomes more monetised, and when we chase the materialistic pleasures and life is inundated with SMSes and Emails and the nostalgia for yesterdays simplicity is growing and these films remind of those good old times.The fondness for the characters who exhibit the middle class struggle and simplicity on the screen is likely to remain evergreen at least for me.

When we read stars opening up new business ventures everyday or encashing the popularity to the highest level when they sign up for new films, we think of all those people who sweated it out for making Malayalam films what it is as Mohanlal's character says in Udayananu Tharam.May be when others are moving ahead we are losing out on the same quality that Malayalam films once had at national level when they had those simpleton chracters and real life storylines.
PS:Inspired from an article that I read long time back about how Hindi films are improving day by day.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Saree Sansar

I bought a Saree.

I bought it from Seematti in Kochi.

I thought buying clothes were always easy till I entered Seematti Saree Sansar and saw all those ladies buying sarees.The shop is aptly named because all the ladies out there forgot the rest of the world and were thinking sari sansar was in the middle of sarees of all those vivid , bright and light colors in that shop.

I Know ! I can see guys twitching in your chair. Nothing Doing! Buying a Saree is such a difficult process . It is not like a jeans or T shirt. It was Onam and I was meeting my mother after six months so I decided to do something Special and took her to Seematti.My God! Pandora's Box of consumer behavior thrown open by all ladies in the shop.

Generally when I go with my friends to purchase something for them or me it is such an easy process.

If < You Like>
Then < Try and Purchase>
Else < Pick Another and finish it soon and do better things in life>

Everything done in 15 minutes flat.

While the purchase of a Saree seems to be a difficult process or phenomenon.I cant describe how difficult the process is because it is so difficult even to describe . It may take as much effort and time as sacking a minister from Kerala cabinet.It took so much time but since I am a good, understanding son and all, I kept mum and did not make any burps or suggestions and generally did not ogle at any other gals of my age group in the Shop. I didn't even tell her how impatiently my brother and father was looking at their watches after few hours.

Three of us looked at each other fifteen times and had three tea and coffee before the first "worthy for consideration" saree arrived.

"What do you think about this stuff?. It is rose silk." - She asked me after holding the saree with so much pyaar and care.

" I think it is very good , you look good in all sarees. Where is the cash counter?"

"Shudduup , All men have very bad taste. How will you buy a Saree for your wife?"

" I will take you with me " I grin.

She smiles ."But the color is bad. This is rose "

I cant differentiate between rose silk and rose milk . SO I didnt say anything

Then Madurapattu came , then Lucknowi@$#@ came , then banarasi @!#@!# came and finally after the salesman almost indicated that almost all the stuff of which some 20000+ sarees in Seematti were made of has finished , mom liked a stuff which was again rosesilk.Once the stuff was finalised then it was the color.

After going through almost all the Permutations and Combinations of Red , Green and Blue Possible , suddenly a saree popped up and Pleasant surprise. Three men of her life sagely offered our agreement to the choice. It was a combined decision of the family as they say :). Three people were happy at last the fourth person made a decision. The saree was absolutely drop dead, mindblowingly and aesthetically gorgeous, which is obviously a cue for her to say “Do you have more patterns of the same color with handy works?”.

The salesman almost jumped down from the third floor of Seematti and committed suicide when he heard that question. But good for him and good for us there was no other saree available with same color and handyworks and we were done.

I think this is a tremendous achievement because we had visited one shop, saw less than 40+sarees, and actually bought one after spending some hours. There was an uncle near me giving us helpless guy glances that only a guy will understand with his wife and two daughters and he was still in the middle of purchasing a saree when we started and when we finished. God save that Uncle.

P S: Ladies , Please dont comment for this post :) till you read this post