Saturday, August 04, 2007

My dear Merc,

I am dreading waking up tomorrow—August 4th—tomorrow roughly this time--10 pm, one month ago on that awful July 4th when I got the call telling me you were dead. Do you know what it feels to hear the world “dead?” You are lucky, you will never know. How could you leave this world Hari, how?

You are no more Hari and one month has gone by. Time is marching on, but you are not here. Why Hari?

I don’t even know why I am writing this. I don’t even know where to begin Hari. I don’t even know if I am making any sense, but it doesn’t matter, does it? Perhaps it is to let you know how much I loved you, but you already knew that. Then why? It is said that pouring out ones feelings will have a cathartic effect. So if I am writing this for selfish reasons, so be it. I need to find some peace Hari. Will this terrible ache ever diminish?

Why did you go Hari? Were you fed up with life so soon? Why Hari?

You and I had a unique relationship. Our relationship was pure, compassionate, loving, wickedly humorous and illuminating. Who else could have called me “batty” after our only third or fourth conversation over the phone? How we used to talk Hari—for hours on end, forgetting time and money. I will never hear your voice again. Why Hari?

You took it upon yourself to give me advice on so many issues, and when I look back, most of them were uncannily on the mark. You admonished me for relying on medication for some of my ailments. Didn’t that advice apply to you Hari? I wouldn’t be writing this gibberish, if only you had. Why didn’t you follow your own advice Hari, Why?

Perhaps even if you had heeded our repeated pleadings to seek proper medical help, or let us help you, the Almighty would not have spared you. You had 24 years of KARMA, and when it was over, you left this world hopefully for a better place where you never have to deal with pain--physical and emotional. If this is true, then why does your death hurt so much Hari? Why?

I saw you first when you were about 8 or 9 months old. How gorgeous you looked. Your golden color, curly hair and mischievous smile bewitched me. When you vanished from my horizon, I never doubted that one day I would see you again. And I did Hari!! I will never forget that first day when I called you, and you said........... I was overjoyed; you could not have known how much happiness you brought into my life. Why then did you go so quickly Hari? Why?
We knew each other for less than a year, but what a great time we had Hari........ Did you know that my heart was brimming with pride because you were so very, very smart. I never tired of speaking about you and boasting about you. Your knowledge about so many things, at your age, was astounding, sometimes I felt so jealous. You had such convincing answers for everything. So what is the answer for your death Hari?

You were not the only one who had dreams of your future Hari. I used to lie awake at nights dreaming of an utopian future for you. I wanted you to be free of all the anguish and pain you went through in your young life. You promised me a first-class plane trip, a limousine with a chauffeur and endless spending at Harrods. You promised to visit and the first place we would go would be the beer place. You broke your promises Hari. Why? Our dreams were just that—dreams. Why couldn’t our dreams become reality, Hari? Why?

I couldn’t wait to see you, so much so I couldn’t resist giving you a bear hug when we first met at the airport! I wish you could have seen your face! We spent three glorious weeks—three lovely, vetti weeks. So many memories Hari.... Heysham.......quick sand.... Your revulsion in touching the relic..... our shopping expeditions..... deBeers...... searching for books.....Charing Cross...... oh God, so many lovely, gut-wrenching memories.

I never knew if you enjoyed our time together as much as I did. How could I ever have known my allocation was only three weeks....... Did you know that so many people thought I should not have made the trip? Right or wrong, I wouldn’t trade those days for anything in this world. Tell me Hari, did I cause ripples that turned to waves? What happened in five short months, Hari, and why?

I could go on and on.......but will you come back Hari? No! I am left with memories, only memories, a great big void, a heart that breaks every time I think of you, and so many questions for which I will never get answers. Will you answer me Hari, will you tell me WHY?
I waited 24 years to see you, and will wait until I can see you again. I know I will, and when I see you, you will give me answers, won’t you Hari? Until then, rest in peace, my dear, dear Hari.

with tons of love,

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Sandhya's Diary

July 4, 07

Dear Diary,

Today it was kind of sad and happy day. The happy part is that I got my own email and started to write emails to my family. The bad part was that my brother Hari died just today. He was only 24 years old and died.

He was the best brother I ever had and always think about him. He was the one who told my dad to get a hamster for my b’day. I really do miss him very much. I am really mad and upset about him when he died. He always told me to read a book. So my dad went to Lancaster to see his room and every thing and bought lots of books. From thick to thin he bought every single book. I want the whole family to know. So if you are reading this, please pass this to your child.


Farewell to Hari

My dear son:

This will be my last letter to you. I hope you will read it peacefully in heaven, where you are now lodged and completely protected by God. I wanted to say many things to you while you were alive, but never did say. This is my last opportunity to do so.

I knew you only for a very brief period – 16 months to be precise. You came into my life unexpectedly, like a meteorite, and disappeared equally unexpectedly. In the process you have left me in great sadness and agony, with me struggling to make sense of your sudden departure. Needless to say, I miss you and all the long chats that we used to have. Do you know I have never ever spoken over the phone with anyone for more than an hour! With you our talks often went beyond 3 hours. I loved the intellectual thrusts and parries from you and was amazed at the depth and width of your knowledge. From medieval days to contemporary politics, from literature to chemistry, you had a brilliant grasp on diverse matters. Some of your thinking, especially your opinions on Hitler and Gandhi were controversial, to say the least. I had planned to widen my knowledge of contemporary history so that one day I could be better equipped to talk to you. Alas, this has to be postponed till I meet you upstairs. Hopefully you will still be there when I arrive. I truly believe that is the case and that God took you away with firm intentions of keeping you there and not sending you back to earth. Otherwise why should He snatch you away at the tender age of 24? I remember a quatrain from Rubaiyat that aptly summarizes God’s play:

‘T is all a Chequer-board of nights and days
Where destiny with men for Pieces plays,
Hither and thither it moves, and mates, and slays,
And one by one back in the Closet lays.

In one decisive swoop God took you away, leaving us with the agonizing question WHY? Why not an old pawn like me instead of such a young one? Why snatch life at such a promising age? I know that there will be no answers, but I cannot help asking such questions.

I cherished the one week that you spent with us here in Houston. I also hope you enjoyed your stay. I know you were moved after your visit to the Holocaust Museum. So was I. Sandhya enjoyed every moment of her time with you. How you two used to sit in the back of the car and giggle and tickle each other. How can I ever forget you tricking me into buying a Hamster? How you convinced my wife will always remain a mystery to me, but I was left with no defenses when my wife declared that she has no objections to have a Hamster. And you with a mischievous smile lurking behind. Do you know that we all love Mr. Hammy now? I even allow him to creep on my arms and pet and fuss over him. Thank you so much for introducing Hammy to us.

How little did I know that that would have been the only opportunity to meet with you and know you as a person? Don’t you remember that I had given you a promise to attend your graduation ceremony? Couldn’t you have waited for some more time? I want to let you know that I did visit Lancaster University in July. I visited the classes where you sat listening to lectures. I saw your room, the kitchen where you ate with your friends. I visited the Cancer Research shop where you used to volunteer. I had drinks at the bar where you used to frequent. I even visited the castle where you had been with Chittu athai. But I felt totally empty and hollow, because you were not there. How I missed you. Again I ask the question, what was the hurry, the urgent need to go leave this world? Why did you not like to spend a few more months in that beautiful university?

My dear son, I am sure that you realized that we had similar characteristics in many areas. We both were introverts, and truly afraid to reveal our true feelings. Rather than pouring out our feelings, we both were effective in masking those feelings. We even had an unspoken understanding of how we will address each other. You called me Hi and I used to call you Hari, but never addressed each other as dear father or dear son. I don’t know why, but I now feel that it was most stupid of me to behave so. I should have opened the floodgates and allowed my feelings to pour out towards you. Alas, this knowledge has come too late!

I was hoping for a great relationship between you and Sandhya, and I could see that you too bonded very well during your stay here. Sandhya was very upset to hear about your death. One day she came to be and solemnly proclaimed “Daddy, when I grow big and have a baby boy, I am going to call him Hari”. What made you forget all about this girl and instead seek abode at a place where you are now totally unapproachable?

I learnt a lot about you after your death. Your friends talked about your razor sharp intelligence, your kindness and compassion, you ability to read multiple books in a day, and so on. This made me proud that I had a son with such great qualities, but also so sad that you were not there to hear these accolades yourself.

You made me do many things that I would have otherwise never done. I had talked earlier about our long conversations over the phone. You also made me write long letters. Imagine me writing and eight page letter, that too in small fonts! You made me get a pet for my daughter. You taught me how to avoid weasel words in my language. You even made me realize how stupid it is to have silly fights with others, though I couldn’t apply this knowledge in practice.

I must also say that I wish you had listened to me on a few matters. I was always baffled by the amount of anger you retained in yourself and its destructive potential. I requested you many times to start working on ways to discharge this anger from your system, but you never bothered to listen. I don’t know why you had to store so much anger.

I also beseeched you to get admitted to the hospital when you complained of sleeplessness. Again you chose to ignore my pleadings. If only you had done so, wouldn’t you have been alive? During periods of difficulties and pain it would have been better to share one’s problems with friends, relatives and well wishers. You however chose to cut of all communication and seclude yourself. I do confess that I completely missed all the signals that were coming from you over the hopelessness of your health situation, your pessimism about a cure, and your increasing isolation from the world. I just ignored it, hoping that you will be able to handle it. How wrong I turned out to be.

I want to tell you one more thing before I end this letter. I played no role in your upbringing. I didn’t attempt to see you while you were growing from a boy to an adolescent to a teenager and then into a man. I had earlier explained to you why I chose to do so. I feel terrible now about this decision. I wonder if this is the cause of all the anger that was stacked in you. All I can do at this stage is to say – please forgive me. I am responsible for all the consequences of my actions, and I am suffering at the moment, wondering if things could have been different. I will continue to bear this cross for the rest of my life. But I also want you to know that I love you wholeheartedly and that I had no hesitation in accepting you as my son. I will continue to love you and miss you, your gentle voice, and the long conversations. Good Bye my dear son. Enjoy the peace and serenity in your new surroundings, secure in the knowledge that there is no petty ego, malice and evil to deal with. I end this farewell with a poem. I believe you will like it and that it represents how you would like to be.

Do not stand at my grave and weep;
I am not there. I do not sleep.
I am a thousands winds that blow.
I am the diamond glints on snow.
I am the sunlight on ripened grain.
I am the gentle autumn rain.
When you awaken in the morning's hush
I am the swift uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circled flight.
I am the soft stars that shine at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry;
I am not there. I did not die.

Yours loving and grieving dad,
Raj Nagarajan

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Genius left unnoticed

No words to fill the space.... just tears.
- Diwakar

Thursday, July 05, 2007

A tribute to one of my sweetest friends

Never thought this is how my bloggin' would end.... Always wanted to write this piece about all my friends (had promised Hari I would).. Am writing one about this guy...
He would be embarassed (or pretend to be so at least) if he ever read this...

All the names we've called each other, my affectionate reference to him as "weirdo", "fake eccentric", "fake psycho".... Never thought he was psycho... man! he was focused as hell... he knew where he wanted to go.. one of the most brilliant fellows I've come across... his knowledge on every single thing under the sun used to baffle me so much that I would be forced to change the topic and bring the conversation back to a level which befit me....

My fondest memories have been those of sittin in his room, lettin my eyes caress those shelves full of books, lookin at them and askin him "hey, have u really read ALL these?".... I remember once we had this discussion on speed reading, which is when I discovered that this dude was a real genius....I mean, his style of readin was different... which is what enabled him to read soo many books in such short spans of time..

It has been a bad day today... it took time for the news to sink in... but thats when I realised what a friend this guy was...I am thankful for one thing though, I have always told him what I thought about him and I know for sure that he knew what my opinion of him was...I've called him names, but more than that have also told him that he means a lot to me (at which he would blush and sweep the words under the carpet)... And I dont have that regret now...
A truly genuine person, genuine affection for all his friends.... and would NEVER think of harming anyone.... these are cliched phrases.... but are used without meaning by every one....Hari is an exception on whom these phrases can actually be used....

This is a tribute to OUR HARI..... sweet phony.... still cannot believe this is true.... wish it weren't... what would happen to the loads of stuff you were planning to write about.. the amazin enthu you had for life.... the spirit to live....... I could have written something on your scrap book.. didn't feel like... am writing this piece... my last blog ever.... every time I want to write a blog now, I would be reminded of you, man! This fellow had this brilliant idea of sharing a blog site... knowing lazy me, he just said, "write what you want and mail it to me, I'll put it up".... After this will I even feel like gettin on ''??

I remember that day he tried to psyche me out when I was sitting in his room, saying "what if I were a bloodthirsty creature.." or some shit like that...and it was the least bit scary.. but Hari thought he was freakin the shit outta me...
His true indignation at readin my 'Pro Reservation article' - "are you nuts?".. that was his reaction...
Suddenly one day noticing that I had placed a bindi on my forehead "man, you are actually a girl?? You do all this stuff? Disgusting" :).... those are fond memories.....
He always used to call.... and he was persistent... after going to Bombay I became a bit busy and combined with bad signal over here I would always end up missing his calls... and when the missed call message came it would read "Missed 5 calls"... The guy would have consistently tried 5-6 times before giving up.....
I still remember him and his cycle and the crazy state in which he came to my home one day and I caught him right there and he asked "how'd you know?"... like it was a big secret!!!
How he announced to many ppl that I had watched some stupid scene from some equally stupid third grade film with him... he used to gossip a little bit :)
Even the last convo I had with him, we were cribbing, bitching about Sathyabama, that useless hell hole, the faculty... I took a look at his fore-arm tatoo which he insisted on sending a pic of.. and ragged him a bit about it....
Every other conversation of his used to carry a mention of the late Jain Tibu Victor.... Another dear friend of Hari's whose death 'fake psycho' always used to lament about....So true was his love for his friends that even four years after Jain's death Hari would still miss the guy....
The books I've borrowed from Hari.. the books he has borrowed and never returned... his books that are still with me.....those I will keep safely.... in fond memory of my true friend Hari.....

Hari.... I had published this blog and read it and re-read it and read it and re-read it and opened it again to Edit.... I dont want to stop writing about you and what you meant to me... We might not have hung out together, not shared too many secrets or anything, but still the times I spent at your house were AMAZING....Did you know that I used to come there to unwind? I would get worked up before an exam and then pick up my Scooty and ride to your place and sit in your room and chat with you... You were my tension buster.. looking at you reading all those novels right before a semester exam would really bring me back to earth... that 'chilled out' attitude I loved! The idea of talkin about irrelevant stuff right before a nightmarish exam appealed to me...
All those random arbit discussions on arbit topics.... how you would NEVER never say anything about any other person even if they had done some 'harm' to you...I used to get so indignant when anyone said anything about you da... would ALWAYS stick up for you da... not that I got a lot of opportunity to do that.... YOU KNOW HOW POPULAR YOU WERE.... despite all those antics and all that weird stuff you used to pretend you liked to do just to freak out every 'normal' being :D
At this point I want to say, I really admired the way you chose your loyal set of friends... How could you be so insightful as to have friends to whom you really meant a lot? I guess all your other friends would have also told you at some point or the other what you meant to them.. what your useless chatter meant... your unique style of speaking... that animated expression on your face when you spoke about ANYTHING....
Do you know that you taught me the basics of F1?...I remember that Sunday I showed up at your place JUST before a race and forced you to NOT watch it and then ended up being dragged to the TV room..
Your generosity knew no bounds da...Bloody, you were the FIRST person (prob'ly ONLY) to ferret out all those books mentioned in the 'Syllabus Book' as guides, borrow them on your library card AND share it so generously with me, who would come right at the LAST minute and bug you to lend me those books for a few hours so that I can photocopy it and return it...You used to mark out pages to be read, tell me WHY I need to read whatever you were telling me to read and at the end of the day, if I scored more than you (only on account of a better handwriting and you knew that as well as I did, I guess) you would genuinely congratulate me.. Again, I am glad I thanked you (maybe not enough) for all the help you did...I thanked you first when the final results were out and you just said "What thanx"... WOW!! Will NEVER find another person like knew how strong you were that you never thought you had to score over others by HIDING all those sources of knowledge...
How I laughed when I saw you sitting with the ILO published book to read up on some vague phrase mentioned in that syllabus book...
I would never say he deserved a University Gold Rank and all that shit... the Univ. DID NOT deserve such a brain...Madras University was an insult to this fellow but what can I say, (cliched as it might sound) am thankful he didnt get into IIT or anywhere else and got stuck with me in Sathyabama...
The unending debates on who is better - Shah Rukh or Kamal... Ofcourse it was Kamal... in fact they should not even be mentioned in the same breath... :-) I always supported that...Remember Shah Rukh's portrayal in Duplicate..that third rated movie in which he tried to act innocent... Guna.. Kanmani anbodu kadalan.. the discussions on the beauty of that song...

Am thinking about the last time I saw you... For the life of me I can't recall... Was it when I came home and you scared me with your long hair? I think I might have asked you to reduce weight and cut your hair and become 'decent' :) ... and u mustve retorted in your usual cussin' style :) ....
I will miss those rare phone calls, that unitelligible babbling that you used to do sometimes, the snap in my voice when I realised I couldn't follow what you were saying :-( , the scoldings I used to give you for you-know-what, the careless shrug you used to give in response, the "women are crazy" talks, the "you are a bloody feminist" accusations, the "Chauvinist", "F1 Buff" tags, blastin' some common 'dear friends' of ours......Do you even realise that you will be irreplaceable for me? Will miss you forever da....

Love u always,

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Is President Elections getting murkier?

President elections and controversies about the candidates have taken over the headlines in most of the papers of late. The sad part is that this time, the post of President have become more politically centered with controversial back stabbings and incessant personal slurs. Do these things make the president elections more murkier? Why does the election for the post of President, THE MORAL ICON OF INDIA, getting into a heated debate this year? Is it because that the candidates nominated by the Political parties are not worthy enough?

Congress upfronts Ms. Prathiba Patel, backed up with leftists (CPI). Have the congress done due diligence when they came up with the name? Many allegations have come up against her after the nominations? Furthemore, the opinions and ideas which the candidate makes about Spirituality, Pradah system, Family planning, God talking to her, etc are horrifying. Is the nation ready to project a person of this sort as a moral icon? Is congress trying to fill another post with a rubber stamp person? Is the general election that is coming not far from now has a role to play in this President election too? There seem to be a high possibility that the coming general elections end up in a hung parliament situation. Do congress upfronting a President from its side with backing ups from parties like Lefts etc is to take over the control? These questions which Congress alone have answers for remain unanswered to the public.

The foremost point that Congress brings in favour of its candidate is that, after 60 years of independence India need a Woman President. And for this foremost reason, the choice no. 7 Ms. Prathiba patel have seem to be pulled up to the first choice. And this positive point have covered most of the allegations against her family. Is India in dearth of grand ladies to nominate for the President post? Further to this, congress backs up saying that the canditate have no role to play in any illegal activities which are refuted by RBI and various parties. This extended for many unleashing comments from the opponent parties. But why does the CPI backs up a person with so many allegations? Will there be a smoke without a fire? And the fire in this case seem to be the post of Vice President. Are people made fools with these political chaos?

Banks run under the name of Patil going bankrupts after issuing loans to their own family members is not trifle thing. Further criminal allegations that seem to revolve around Ms. Patil can't be taken as trifle when she was in the responsible post to control? Further to this, havent these controversies creeped in when she became the Governor. Was it not properly brought to public in a national level?

Then comes Mr. Bhairon Singh Shekhawat upfronted by NDA. Mr. Shekhawat who was a party member until two weeks back have suddenly turned out to be a Private and an individual canditate. Is this a political trick?

Ultimately Mr. Kalam, the one considered as people's president, and his works in the noble chair is left unnoticed in this chaos.

The effective point is 'Isn't President post is above all political issues?'. Should the conventional act of Political party voting for a president prevail further? Can't this convention change and step into a new system of selecting a person without a political party tag attached? Not necessarily an academician or noble laureate should be nominated for the post. But an untainted person with a fair knowledge of legislation can be projected as a moral icon.Let us wait till the President election to know the moral image of India.

- Diwakar

Thursday, June 28, 2007

SIVAJI - an extravagant crap

Sivaji, the recent over-hyped movie, has been released and churning money everyday (A Rajini movie as expected). What is really there in this movie for an extravagant expenditure and tons & tons of people falling for it? I really dont know the answer.

Story goes like this.. A software engineer returns to India from the US with enormous amount of money to start an university to serve the public. Compromising on his principles, the protaganist bribes the government officials to clear the hurdles. Subsequently, the hero goes bankrupt and disinters the black money from billionaires. Converting this black money into white (a thought provoking process ofcourse), he fulfills his dream. To add spices to this 4 line story, the hero dies and comes back to life in a different identity to kill the antagonist.

Amidst this, the hero falls in love with a common girl and marries her. Shreya has done a goody goody role in dancing with the Superstar for alluring tunes and shedding some tears in few scenes. Also Rajni has tried to attract the mass with his inane comedies in the first half of the movie. Enough dissapointments for someone who expects a unique stuff (like Mudalvan etc).
Shankar, a high budget director, have maintained his trend with a skyrocketing film budget. Extravagant expenditure on song backgrounds, costumes, etc etc. Rajini's young makeover is noteworthy, especially the tonsured makeover. When the audience are getting used to his old age looks, this movie has broken the preconceived images.

In general, the movie has quenched the thirsty fanatics of Rajni. And as usual, Rajni has attracted the crowd with fierce action movements and unreal gravity controlled camera sequences. But this movie doesnt deserve an extreme hype that was given.

In short, sivaji is an stereotypical Rajini movie garnished with extravagant expenditures.
- Diwakar

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Hard Knocks - Chris Benoit - A rant

First of all, I would like to apologise for the rather sketchy tribute to Benoit. And an apology in advance if this article is rather incoherent. In my defence, I am writing this with a splitting headache and coupled with the events over the last 24 hours doubt if I am capable of saying anything coherent right now. I also want to get this done with. So - here goes.
First - Kudos to the WWE for the initial handling of the Benoit tragedy, and a great tribute show.
At the same time - as far as WWE corporate and Vince McMahon - FUCK YOU. The McMahon death angle was the most insensitive, disgusting god damn storyline ever and in an industry with an extremely high mortality rate you bloody pricks managed to undermine every single tribute that really meant something. Also for the suits who decided to pull every single mention of Benoit from the WWE site - once again FUCK YOU. So you got a few complaints for the tribute show. BIG DEAL. After Mae Young, Katie Vick, Dr Heeney and McMahons death do you guys even think that a tribute show to Benoit was going to tarnish your image? OK. Benoit murdered his wife and son. He then killed himself. No matter what his personal life was, Benoit was one of the greatest ever technical wrestlers of all time. Period.
I want to go into the reactions of both WWE and TNA after the details came out.
First, from the WWE show it is obvious - Benoit was highly respected as a wrestler and a human being. For the sake of TV ratings there have been a number of angles that have been insensitive and repulsive. Surely for a tragedy like this the WWE could afford to be politically incorrect.
From whatever is being said about Benoit, I gather that people - those who knew him as well as those who knew him only as a wrestler are stunned that he is capable of this. While his wife had filed for divorce in 2003 citing abuse, the two reconciled with Nancy asking the petition to be dismissed. Also note that he was on prescription steroids at the time. And finally think of Wrestlemania 20 - THAT moment - Benoit, Eddie, Nancy, Daniel - I dare a fan to say that he did not shed a tear - or at least have a lump in his throat.
People do things that they do not intend to do under circumstances over which they have no control whatsoever. THIS DOES NOT MEAN THAT THE PERSON SHOULD BE JUDGED BY THESE MOMENTS OF MADNESS. I KNOW exactly what I am saying - and I have a right to say it. I have suffered from "Roid rage", and rage in particular. Luckily am off steroids now, and as far as the latter goes professional training such as Landmark Education has helped me a lot. I know what the hell it is to have mood changes that keep you on a high one minute and a blubbering wreck the next - to have anger than urges you to do someone in - to be be in pain that you don't even care if you see the light of day - to have times which are a blank, where you don't know what the fuck you are saying or doing. Yes - these can be treated - but the moments are scary. And the most important thing is that I - as a human being should not be judged on who I really am - not on these moments of fucking insanity. And having a few fair weather friends simply judging me on these few instances than the whole had left a very bitter taste in the mouth which is still there. So when I see the WWE and TNA pulling their tributes, WWE removing every single trace of Benoit from their site - God you bastards I hope you rot in hell. Didn't you pricks hear the wrestlers talk of Benoit? Chavo? Edge? Bret?
Don't you guys even have the sense to understand that what they said about Benoit was as f'n true as what happened on 25th? Again, after being judged and slandererd by a friend who supposedly "knew" me, I guess I shouldn't expect an employer to understand these demons. especially if the employer is Vincent K McMahon.
All I can say is I don't give a rats ass as to what Benoit did on Sunday. Benoit's life should not be judged by a single act of madness. Benoit was a class person who inspired a number of people inside and outside the ring. What he has given to the business is truely amazing. Benoit is a person who can be looked up to not just as a wrestler but as a good man. His legacy is NOT, I repeat IS NOT a few bloody days of insanity.
Again Thank you Chris - Thank you for the memories.
Note. - Referrring to the divorce / abuse in 2003 - Please note it was Nancy herself who asked the judge to dismiss these, including the restraining order. Also note that even their close friends suggest that they were a happy couple. I do not think that Benoits was abusing his wife. I do think that there were episodes of abuse - but they probably to do with his mental state.

Also - if anyone wants to point out that the murders took place over 2 days, the bible placed etc. - Have you ever suffered from roid rage? Mood changes? Depression? If not keep your f'n opinion to yourself.

To all the Benoit Bashers, to TNA, WWE, team, Vince McMahon, the fans who wrote in complaining, the TV Networks, and to the people who decided to apologise for the tribute - Fuck yourselves.

Before I finish - First - No matter what you think of Benoit the man, and whether he deserves a tribute or not, Benoit the wrestler deserves to have a tribute. You cannot ignore what this man has done.

Second - This EXCELLENT column on Lords of Pain by degenerate deserves a mention. I was in tears reading it - it was truly cathartic. The column can be found at this link

- Hari

Monday, June 25, 2007

Chris Benoit - RIP

21/05/1967 - 25/06/2007

I am in shock as I write this. Chris Benoit, his wife Nancy and 7 year old son Daniel were found dead in their home at Atlanta today. Chris was scheduled to wrestle CM Punk for the ECW title on Sunday, 25th June at the Vengance PPV at Houston today. Minutes before the match was scheduled to begin, it was announced that Benoit had to leave to Atlanta due to a family emergency. No details were given. It was announced on WWE earlier today that Chris and his family were found dead at their home. Authorities are still investigating. Tonights 3 hour RAW from Corpus Christi has been cancelled, and WWE will air a tribute show on USA instead.
Chris is - was one of the greatest technical wrestlers of all times, and his matches with Bret Hart, Eddie Guerrero, Kurt Angle etc. will surely go down in history. He was one of those rare wrestlers who could work a good match with almost anybody and a great match with a good opponent. Chris was one of the wrestlers who truly gave to the business. His matches with MVP solidified MVP's status and put him over with the fans.
I still cannot believe that I will no longer see the Rabid Wolverine apply the crossface anymore. Chris is a future Hall of famer and WWE as well as the fans will sorely miss him. I sure will,
Thank you Chris.
- Hari

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Arrah Patsy mind the baby.....Stalky and Co.

This was certainly not what I had originally had in mind, with a host of topics ranging from the Holoucast to Hamilton's pygmallion story to Jisatsu Saakuru but after a chat with my friend yesterday, sat up reading Kipling's Stalky and Co. yesterday for i guess the zillionth time. The book is like a vintage wine.....gets better with every reading.
First off, this is NOT your usual school story. While mentions of Eric and St. Winifred's (especially Eric), are scattered throughout the book, there is no sermonising or cut out characters who are either black or white. Everybody from Stalky to Mr.King are made of liberal shades of gray. Couple that with Kipling's unique style and we have a book that is sheer class. As I mentioned this book cannot be compared to traditional classics like the above two by Farrars or Tom Brown's schooldays. Neither does Kipling glorify the anti hero as Crompton does with William. The very setting is not the usual English public school but rather a public limited company where the parent's are also shareholders and most of the kids trying for the army for whom the barracks is a home away from home. Unlike in Eric or Tom Brown, Kipling does not make heavy weather of the usual schoolboy vices like drinking or puffing on a cigar. Kipling merely accepts this as part and parcel of school life and moves on. In sharp contrast to the other books is Kipling's moral code too. Stalky is extremely relieved when he does not have to tell a lie to his peers but has no scruples of pulling the legs of his masters. The attitude of the head too, is truly amazing.....a downy bird indeed!! The whole book deals with the escapades of Stalky, Beetle and McTurk, and the war they wage against authority - masters and prefects. The retribution that follows when anyone crosses their path - with punishment suiting crime is hilarious. The scenes when the masters hear the "putrid talk" and recognise it as variants of their own leaves you howling with laughter, as does the private battle waged between Beetle and King.....the final encounter where the Latin paper is printed incorrectly due to Beetle "helping" the printer unkown to him, and the chaos that follows is sheer class. And unlike other school stories, the finale where Stalky is absent and the rest narrate his encounters in the army...ah.....i do not have enough superlatives.
All in all, while this may not go down as a traditional school boy classic, true aficionados of the genre will no doubt count this among their favourites. A must read.

- Hari

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Phony Cinemas

I was just wondering how herculean would it be if I happen to watch a person thrashing almost 20 brawny individuals in reality. Sounds cinematic..right.. It is possible only in cinemas. A lean fellow knocking everyone who stands against him, an age old person smacking down muscular men in no time, what not..everything is possible in big screen for a simple reason of emphasizing a heroic image. Telugu industry seem to be a king and a trend setter for these.

Tollywood, an industry new to me (saw few telugu movies of late), is no different from the commercial Tamil movies but I found it more repulsive when it comes to these unreal and unimaginable action sequences which were aggrandized to a great extent. Gravity controlled shots, heroes flying in unwonted gestures, smashing a whole city in no time, totally unaffected even after stabbing with a poisonous knife, what not.... Everything for a single reason that hero is always unstoppable. Even he is a human right....Do directors think public will accept anything when a tag named "ABOLISHING EVIL" is attached? Are they aware that these unfathomable actions at times became hilarious? (Vijayakanth's and Rajinikanth's movies)

It is high time for a dose of reality. I do accept that a commercial movie can't be taken without a wild and violent action scenes. But that shouldn't mean everything should be unimaginable. Action sequences can be handled with a tinge of reality.

Further to this, when such a movie is a box office hit in one industry, the same thing is carried over in the name of remake. Vijay, Simbu, Jayam Ravi, etc.. are branded as commercial heroes and are well known for their remakes & adaptations. Very few good movies are remade in other languages that too only after adding spices in the name of fights, hero introduction, mass attraction. (Manichitrathazhu remade as Chandramukhi with too much extra spices). A successful monetary return after the release of a stereotypical movie is good enough criteria for a remake. Are the directors running out of fresh stock and innovative storylines? Do they think they can't attract crowd without a stereotypical framework?

These questions remain unanswered as usual.

- Diwakar

Monday, March 26, 2007

The Mystery of the Lost dog

One day, there was a dog named Pal. He was thinking about going to exciting places like the zoo, museums, beaches and all sorts of things. His family was going to the beach. One day his family was going to the museum. They were seeing all sorts of things. He wanted to see lots of things but he couldn't see them. So climbed on one of the objects. The leash tore. At the end of the day, Arthur (the owner) realised that he lost his dog. He was searching everywhere but he couldn't find him. The museum closed and Pal was locked up in the museum. He was barking like crazy for Arthur to come and save him. Until someone found him, he was squealing and crying for Arthur to come back. So after a few months, Arthur went to the same museum again. He found Pal over there. He was so happy that he was crying. So he gave him lots of food because he was hungry in the museum. The next time, Arthur remembered to get a new leash so Pal would never get lost again; and they went all over the city.

- Sandhya Nagarajan (Age : 9)

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Spanish Symphony? F1 2007 - The Year In Preview

As the countdown to the 2007 F1 season begins, with less than a month to go, the teams have settled into a kind of order. Heres a look at whats new for the season, and the predictions for the year.
Whats New?
No Schumi or Ross Brawn, Kimi to Ferrari, Alonso to McLaren, Newey at red Bull, Single trye manufacturer with choice of 2 race compounds, Resurgance of the Ferrari Politics, Lewis hamilton seem to make this year one of the most anticipated and unpredictable.
Now on to my predictions for this year

Vodafone McLaren Mercedes
McLaren seem to have everything going right this season. With the youngest driver lineup on the grid, the team seems to be on a roll. McLaren have found the sweet spot with the Bridgestone Potenza tyres, and with other teams complaining of rear tyre degradation that causes them to back off by 3-4s on a single lap, this seemsto play into their hands. Lewis seems to have adapted himself magnificently and the car suits Alonso's rather unique driving style. Above all the car seems reliable and quick for the first time in years. McLaren have been on longer stints than Ferrari in testing and there does not seem to be any major problem so far.
The driver combination is the most exciting on the grid and Alsonso looks all set to be the first man since Fangio to win three titles on the trot in different cars.
Predictions : Drivers : Alonso : 1, Hamilton : 3
Constructors : McLaren : 1

Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro
With Ferrari being the only car to go in for the longer wheelbase car, which at least theoretically add to the rear degradation woes, opinion is still divided as to whether ferrari know something the rest of the teams know or if they have made a major design blunder. Straying from their philosophy of a single lead driver that lead them to stupendous success over the years, the buzz is that both Kimi and Massa would be slugging it out for the championship, a problem that key rivals McLaren do not have at present. Also the team seems to be in a state of flux with Brawn on a sabbatical, and Stepney disgruntled with the team, and shunted to a new role. Ferrari do not seem to be coping with changes as well as McLaren and ever since Kimi leaving for Ferrari becoming official, Ferrari have done a pathetic job of protecting Kimi. Even during the last few races, McLaren did a fabulous job, with the team thanking Kimi for his work and never once slagging him in public. On the other hand, Ferrari team members have been vocal in expressing dissatisfaction in the way Kimi operates from Monza on, comparing him unfavorably with Schumi. The whole situation is ridiculous, as Kimi has been runner up in the championship twice. And for people with short memories, Kimi lost out on the championship in 2003 by a slender 2 points, that too on the 2002 spec car. In 2003 Kimi simply out schumachered schumi. In 2005, if not for reliability Kimi would have been champion again. It is ridiculous to expect a man with such a poor work ethic to have done so well in fragile McLarens for 5 years. Kimi is out and out the fastest driver in F1 today (though it can be argued that fernando is the more complete driver), and all he needs is a reliable and quick car. This year however, I pick Kimi as runner up yet again, adding that Ferrari are neither going to win, nor do they deserve to win the World Championship this year.
Predictions : Drivers : Kimi : 2, Massa : 4
Constructors : ferrari :2

BMW - Sauber F1
This is the surprise package of the season, and look to be in fantastic form, keeping up with the Ferrari and McLaren. The wind tunnel at Hinwii has been put to good use and Kubaica and Heidfeld have been regulars at the top of the chart. The only question is if the top times have been set by cars running on vapours, which I personally am disinclined to believe. This should be a great year for BMW and hopefully, they will build on this and 2008 be the year for their championship bid. The only question mark lingers over the drivers. Though Kubaica is rated highly and Heidfeld a good driver, we are yet to see if they are championship material.
Predictions : I will go on a limb here and say Drivers : Kubaica 5
Constructors : BMW 3

ING Renault F1
Of all the Michlen runners, it was Renault that was packaged closely with the tyre. It comes as no surprise then that Renault are finding it difficult to adapt to the new Bridgestone Potenza tyres. So far, they are yet to find the sweet spot that let them take early leads in the last two seasons. With Alonso switching to McLaren, this years challenge will be headed by Fisichella, who has onsistently failed to impress. This should be a make or break year for Fisi and I am more inclined to go with the break than the make. It does not seem that Renault are going to retain their championships. Heikki does look good though, and should be challenging for the championship should the team get it right next season.
Predictions : Heikki to beat "Team Leader" Fisi,
Constructors : Renault : 4 / 5 (Too close to call)

Honda Racing
Honda started their runs in a pretty unspectacular way. While Button and Barichello are racking up the milage, the car is not yet on the pace. At the same time, it is not far off the pace of the top 3, and as far as Renault goes, it is too close to call. While Renault seems to be a more drivable car, the Honda drivers seem to have the edge on the Renault duo. While Honda should be able to to challenge for wins, and not just due to rain, they are not going to be challenging for the championship.
Constructors: Honda 5 / 4

AT&T Williams - Toyota
The Williams looks quite quick, and seems quicker than the Toyota at least at present. William start the 2007 season, looking to be able to score points. The driver lineup is not very exciting with Wurz making his return after 6 years. The one thing that is suspect is the teams ability to improve the car over the season, and their funding. This should make them drop down the order over the season, though they should be able to embarass Toyota easily during the first half at least.
Constructors: Am going out on a limb here and saying Williams beat Toyota for 6th

Panasonic Toyota Racing
Since the day they entered F1 Toyota have failed to impress. While 2005 was a good year, things have gone downhill ever since. This team has extremely deep pockets but so far I do not see how they are even able to justify their presence in F1. If you take the ratio of points earned to dollars spent, Toyota have the least distinguished record so far.Even the erstwhile Minardi had gven better value for money. On the driver front, neither driver is ever going to win a championship and both are well past their sell by date. Toyota continues, for some inexplicable reason to pay Ralf Schumacher huge sums for under performing in an already under performing car. Toyota needs to make radical changes, lower their budget, get rid of their drivers or simply get out of F1.
Constructors : Toyota 7

Red Bull Racing
This was supposed to be the dark horse of the season. With all the hype surrounding the launch of the Newey designed Red Bull and Renault engines. However, Newey seems to have over designed the car, and has simply been too clever for his own good. The team still has transmission problems and the over heating issues have not been solved. Newey has always needed a more down to earth team around him, to work best. (Patrick head at Williams, the corporate structure at McLaren). At Red Bull he seems to have been left to his own devices and the flamboyant design has not been a success. The car looks rather McLaren like though, it has not yet sprouted horns. Another problem is the mating of the Renault engine with the chassis. In spite of all these problems, if there is one man who can turn it all around in a month, it is Newey. While the car may not start the season with a bang, I do expect it to get quicker as the season progresses, and might even be able to challenge Toyota for 7th. Also expect the Red Bull to be challenging from the front (DC in particular) at tight circuits, especially Monaco.
Constructors : Red Bull : 8

Spyker F1
The only other independent team on the grid for 2007, (Williams being the other), Spyker are not in the same league as the other 8 teams on the grid. Not much to say about this team, and they look all set to take the last place on the constructors championship.
Constructors :9

Scuderia Torro Rosso, TBA Super Augri F1
With STR running a clone of Newey's Red Bull chassis and Super Augri running the 2006 Honda Chassis, I do not call either team as constructors. In my opinion (irrespective of that of the FIA's), both teams have violated the intellectual copyright issues, and neither team deserve any constructors points. As far as 2007 goes, I do not rate either of the two teams, and irrespective of where they finish, have predicted the results for the other 9 teams.
Constructors : N/A

- Hari

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Cults of Death - Sorry Your'e Still Here

"Sorry You're still here" is the unnerving welcome visitors get when visiting the Ashbusstop website. Ash or Alt.Suicide.Holidays was originally started to discuss the relationship between suicides and holidays. Today, it has emerged into one of the largest usenet groups, along with its sister group alt.suicide.methods which are frequented by people dispirited and fed up with life.
In its unique terminology, suicide is described as "Catching the Bus" and the group described as a bus stop where several people have decided to stop and chat before deciding on whether or not to get on the bus. A superficial examination reveals nothing wrong - After all, promoting debate on rational choice seems ok.
On seeing the postings of the group, a more macabre picture emerges - When people post regarding their intent to commit suicide, not once are they asked why. Answers ranging from bets on the chances of success to vividly graphic ways to commit suicide are posted. However, much of the stuff is not posted online - group members are extremely paranoid about revealing their identity to "trolls" - people who disagree with the methods / rationale of Ash. For those who stop with reading the posted messages, a grim picture appears - almost every means of suicide is discussed, pros and cons weighed. The camaraderie of this group is telling. Almost all of them want to kill themselves, and actively encourage each other to do so. One can get almost anything from how to purcahse a gun to obtaining potassium cynaide online. Remarkable.
However, simply stopping here does not give a complete picture - after all, nothing much in a bunch of people trying to support each other. After all, for the suicidal, a site like this would be haven - a place where they can discuss their feelings an problems without being mocked at / looked on as loons. Of course, on the other side is the argument that it is hardly worthwile for a person who is depressed to seek solace from yet another.
As I said simply skimming the site does not give the complete picture. On joining the forum, and posting a message, the replies are stunning. People all over the globe respond via emails. im's, video chats and offer help. Help ranges from prodding you on to finish the job off fast, people discussing various attempts they have made, sharing photso to show you who they are before "catching the bus", setting up dates for "practice attempts" that would be shared online. The one thing that is missing is a single person who asks you NOT to commit suicide or even WHY. That the entire comunity takes it for granted that people want to commit suicide is astonishing. I was also astounded at the reasons people had for commiting suicide - The most common one was "bored of life".
While as a whole, this group does not seem worthwile wasting time on, the aftermath of coming in contact with this group need to be studied.
On march 23 2003, Suzy Gonzales commited suicide by swallowing 1.5 grams of potassium cynaide in a lethal cocktail, whose recipie was found on this site. Suzy was told how to obtain the KCN (posing as a jeweller online), how to make a the cocktail, her delayed suicide note was sent using the help of ashers. Interestingly Suzy's boyfriend actually saw the crystals but made no comment. Her only problem - boredom.
In April 2003, 2 men who met on the ASH forum formed a suicide pact - At the last minute one backed out while the other hurtled to his death. When he was charged with being an accesory, the second hanged himself. Again - boredom.
A few days back, Hiroshi Maeue was tried in the Osaka district court for luring victims from the online suicide sites, offering to assist them and when meeting them strangling and sexually assaulting them for his pleasure.
In 2002, a 17 year old boy - Patrick killed himself after posting the following message
From: unresistance ( goodbye.Newsgroups:, alt.suicide.methods, alt.drugs.psychedelics
I just took step one of my suicide plan thing. Should be dead in about 40 minutes. Bye everyone.
i weigh 120 lbs

1. dramamine for anti-vomit, wait 30 min
2. 3 bottles robo max strength
3. bottle zoloft
4. bottle celexa
5. wash each down w/ antifreeze
6. some more antifreeze
7. some benedryl
8. tie plastic bag around head
If I don't post back, it worked. :-)

It worked. As patrick was taking the drugs, Ash member Amy Viscuso was with him on the phone, encouraging him. Not once was Patrick dissuaded from his idea. Patricks mother has filed a case against Amy, suggesting that her son would be alive if not for ash. Ash, of course claims the first amendment, as directed by the speech guidelines in Brandenburg v. Ohio where the court ruled that oration was abstract advocacy (hence protected under the first amendment) and not an imminent threat of violence
This seems to stretch the boundries of free speech, as defined under the first amendment.
In Brandenburg v. Ohio, the Supreme Court invoked three legal tests that must be met before speech can be outlawed. Known collectively as the Brandenburg standard, the tests include: 1.) intent (the speech was intended to incite a lawless action); 2.) immediacy (the lawless action was imminent); and 3.) risk (the speech has to be likely to produce an imminent lawless act). As far as ASH goes, prosecutors would need to prove immediacy and risk.
Another free speech lawsuit worthy of note, is Rice v. paladin Enterprises. , where it was ruled that Brandenburg standards applied to publishers of material that incited murder. The book in question was Hit Man: A Technical Manual for Independent Contractors, where a hitman (hired mercenary), set forth the guidelines for murder.
While these cases are of note, it is obvious that while a debate is needed on free choice and voluntary euthanasia, these kind of online cults that attract bord teenagers and actively spur them on to take their own lives is unlawful and immediate measures taken to ban such sites as well as censor the content therin.

- Hari

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Sexual Harrasment and the "Being Feminist" Blog

This is in response to the blog titled, "Men....hee hee...Funny really!! Men!!! " on the site, and in specific to the three references quoted on the blog, which are being reproduced below. [NOTE :- THIS BLOG ADDRESSES THE FOLLOWING REFERENCES ONLY AND HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH ANY OTHER COMMENT QUOTED ON THE ABOVE WEBSITE.]
2.Hari said... only a potential boyfriend or enemy.......BULLSHIT.......get real u pervert
3.But let me tell u something...this, what u guys have just done.....goes by the name....Cyber sexual harrassment....and did you know u can be behind bars for this???? if u didnt, then u might as well do a google search on it! but i am sure you do know is just that u are so pathetically male to take it serious!i wonder what more responses you will come up with.....but i pretty much know what you will be capable all!!

With regard to reference 3 :

1. The blog on this site, quoted in reference 1 is open for the entire Internet community to read. The idea that it contains terms that can be described as sexual harrasment is laughable.
2. The comment in reference 2 was written in response to the lines - so given the kind men are, u have only two choices. u will either be viewed as his aspiring girlfriend or his enemy. i choose to be the enemy. atleast now, i can be myself! . Again, the sexual harrasment is not obvious to me.
3. If the above responses are sexual harrasment, refer to the comment of a contributor to the being feminist blog which can be found in link 1. So, a guy can comment like this on a guy's blog but not on a female's? This is the height of sexual discrimination according to me.
4.If you consider any of the above sexual harasment, PLEASE do take the necessary action. I am not ashamed of anything I wrote and am willing to defend them wherever necessary.
5. How come cartoons on males are OK while an ATM joke on females is not? (Scroll down the being feminist blog to understand the point made here.)
6. I consider the opinions expressed in your blog, expressly quoting reference 1 and 2, as highly defamatory and slanderous. I further consider that the quotation of references 1 and 2, used to highlight 3 as incompetent, irrelevent and imaterial.
7.I do hope that you know defamation of character is also an offence punishable under the IPC Sec. 499, 500 and 501 with imprisonment and a fine.

I hope this puts an end to the whole unsavoury episosde.

- Hari