First Wedding Anniversary

It’s my first wedding anniversary today. It seemed not long before when I lost my bachelorhood… And in a blink of an eye, its past a year. I still remember butterflies in my stomach the day I was getting married. Those are some of the unforgettable moments in my life.

And today is another one. I wanted to have this one special. I knew that I won’t be able to do anything extraordinarily special because of freezing temperature in New Jersey. So I wanted to keep it simple yet special. Something that would be memorable.

We started with lunch at a Mexican restaurant. I compelled Deepa (Ohh! by the way, Deepa is my wife… I forgot to introduce her) to try Mexican. She’s a typical Indian girl… skeptical about whether she would like it or not. We ate Veggie Burrito and Taco De Vegetales Both of us loved it…

We spent the rest of the day shopping and eating and came back home. It was one nice day with no extravagant celebrations, no brouhaha, just facile, comfortable and memorable day!

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Long time… huh

Oh boy!!! I just happened to read my personal blog and realized that it has been 796 days since I posted my last blog. Too bad… But I cannot be really blamed for this lazy attitude of mine. For the records, exactly 129 days after I wrote the last post, I met my soulmate. My life underwent a drastic change after that. I was (and am) spending quite less time in front of the PC and have more “personal commitments”.

But as I read my old posts, I realized that it is like reading a diary which was written long back. It feels good!

So on this day, I make a resolution that I will blog atleast 2 posts in a week. Well, I have been never quite good in keeping up my resolutions to blog, but this time I will make sure I will post something. There are far too many things happening in the world for me to not post a single blog.

So… Welcome to Season 2 of Venkat Viswanathan’s Personal Blog!

We Salute…

Mumbai saw the face of HELL in the last week of November 2008. Ten terrorists gave the city a shock of a lifetime. Many innocent tourists and citizens were killed in one of the most barbaric incidents of recent history. But on the positive note, the brave men from Mumbai Police, NSG and the Indian Army saved innumerable number of lives. And in the due course, 16 brave men gave their lives in what can be said as the most selfless act a human can ever do. But the names of these sixteen men should not be lost in history. Lets remember them and the sacrife that they did for their motherland!

Salute

Vande Mataram... Jai Hind!

Cricket and India

Cricket in India is more than just a sport. Its a religion. Its a way of life. When there is a cricket match, life slows down. You find people stopping outside television showrooms, shops with television sets, and even near a guy holding a radio! I know you might have read this beginning in many many places. Articles, blogs, newspapers, everywhere! But thats how it is in India.

Cricket has a special place in people’s hearts since a long time. I am not sure when it started to be such a status, as since I was a kid, I have seen people even bunk office to watch a cricket match. I think it would have gained momentum with India’s World Cup win in 1983. It brought so much of enthusiasm and passion that is still alive today.

Even during the phase when Mohammad Azharuddin was captain of India, we did not win as many matches as we are doing today. But still the passion was there. Although India would just win a few matches, we would not leave a chance to celebrate the win.

Then came the era when Saurav Ganguly became the captain. A guy with a lot of aggression and attitude. It took Indian cricket to new heights. And the fan following increased by leaps and bounds. The best thing about the fans are when India wins, they will remember the win for ever (like Sachin’s twin-centuries at Sharjah, Yuvraj/Kaif’s herculian effort at Natwest Trophy finals, or Anil Kumble’s 10 wicket haul in Feroz Shah Kotla). And forget losses very easily.

Well… the Indian cricket team may not be the numero uno of the sport, but the fans certainly are!!!

Sarkar Raj… WOW!

I was waiting for this movie since the day it was officially announced. I wanted to see it more because after watching Sarkar, the part that impressed me more was its climax – the moment from where Abhishek Bachchan takes over from Amitabh. And Sarkar Raj was all about Abhishek Bachchan leading from the front.

I read the review yesterday on Rediff and Raja Sen had written that the movie was really bad. This confirmed that the movie would be really good as my choice of movies is a total contrast of what Raja Sen has. He had rated movies like Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna and Paheli with 4-stars. And the moment I saw him give 2 stars to Sarkar Raj, I heaved a sigh of relief!

The movie starts with a bang! Abhishek (Shankar Nagare) executing a traitor. Then the first half of the movie is all about how Shankar wants Maharashtra to progress with the power plant project that Aishwarya Rai brings in and his fight with the hardened politicians, a local leader and many others who oppose the project. The first half of the movie is the prequel – Sarkar all over again, with a change that Shankar is taking charge this time.

But the movie takes you with a roller coaster ride after the interval. The series of events that happen and the twists that have been introduced and various points is mind-blowing. I won’t reveal the plot here, but I’m sure that you will simply love the twists in the plot, and when you are out of the theatre, you will be a satisfied moviegoer.

Ramu has come back with a bang. Screenplay was amazing (although there were too much of close-up shots). The story is superb. Acting by most of the actors is par excellence, be it Sayaji Shinde as Deputy CM, or Govind Namdeo as mastermind Hassan Qazi or Dilip Prabhavalkar (Gandhiji in Munnabhai) as Rao Saab… each one of them were astonishing! Tanisha had a small role and hardly got any chance to act. Abhishek carried his role pretty well. But the one person who outshone them all was the genius himself – Amitabh Bachchan. I still feel that the Hindi film industry is yet to get an actor of the class and caliber of Amitabh. He carried the role so well and he was so much into the character that you will never feel that you are seeing Amitabh on screen!

Overall this movie is worth a watch. It has left the same effect on me as Sarkar. I am hearing rumors that Ramu is planning a third part. And he is planning to cast Jaya Bachchan to do the lead role. If this is true… it will be worth a watch!

Rating: 8/10

Seasons

When we were kids, every season meant something. Something that would be interesting . Starting with summers – summers would mean vacation time. Time to chill out, time to go to our native place, time to play cricket with friends all day long, time when mom does not ask you to study. Summers were fun time. Who cared about the scorching sun? Who cared about the sweaty afternoons? Who cared about the tanning of the skin? It was just time to freak-out and enjoy.

As May got over, it was a kind of mixed mood. One the sad part, it was time to go back to school, time to study again, time to get everything back on schedule. On the fun part, it was a chance to get wet in rains. It was time to meet new friends in school. It was time for new exciting lessons to learn.

As time passes by, rains come to an end. August marks the arrival of the festive season in India. In Mumbai, it starts with Independence Day on 15th August. Followed by Ganesh Chaturthi, which is ten day function. For us, it was visiting various Ganesh pandals and standing in the serpentine queue to watch the shows on current affairs, mythology, etc. On the eleventh day, it is Ganesh Visarjan – when you stand on the road and see all kinds of Ganesh idols going towards the beach for immersion.

As Ganesh festival gets over, within a few days it was time for Navratri. It was time for dandiya, garba, and Ambe Ma aartis. But the bad thing was that it usually clashed with our exam dates and we had to sneak out time to attend the various functions of Navratri. After Navratri, it was time for another vacation time – Diwali vacation. It also meant time for crackers, new dress, lots of sweets and meeting relatives. As winters progressed, it was time for Christmas celebration time in school. It comprised of the annual day, sports day and Christmas vacation!!!

Once the winters get over, it’s the time for the big one, the last big fight – the final exams. Although till tenth standard, the portion was only half of the book, and it was equivalent to the semester exams, still we used to get butterflies the stomach when it came to final exams. It required intense preparation and lots of studying. And after all the struggle, as the final exams also get over, it’s time for summer vacation again! And as seasons go in cycles, our life also does the same!

Arranged Marriage

This is a system that is still prevalent in India. According to a survey, even today almost 90% of the marriages are arranged. I know that the first thing that may come to your mind is that how come 90% when you know that half of your friends have done love marriage. Well, India has a huge population that stays in rural areas. To do a love marriage in rural areas is still a taboo. There people don’t have an option. Just to please the society and their parents, they go ahead with arranged marriages.

The system seems to be very funny and too unrealistic to work. But somehow it seems to be working in India for thousands of years. This is the Step 1 of arranged marriage. In this system, when the parents feel that their son or daughter is of the age of getting married (this age is highly variable), they get their horoscope/kundli out in the market. Here the market is a place which actually does not exist but it is managed by a few oldies (generally!). There are people who match these horoscopes based on planet positions and give their verdict if the horoscopes will match or not. If I am not wrong, I think there are a maximum of 10 matches that can happen and if the score is 7/10, then the rishta is good to go! But……….. But does this guy who has matched the horoscopes give a guarantee that the marriage will last? Can he give an assurance in writing that his planetary calculations are absolutely perfect? No… but still we Indians believe in it and go ahead with it!

Over to the next step! Step 2 – Ladki Dekho: Once the horoscopes match, generally the bride’s family contacts the groom’s family and sets up a meeting. Sometimes it happens the other way round too… And then it is the d-day when the boy and the girl meet for the first time. Two strangers – they meet in the presence of their parents/elders and then they decide to get married and stay together ever after! Again a funny situation, but it works! If the boy and girl like each other, then their respective families perform a background check of the bride/groom to verify if the guy/girl is good, cultured, etc. If they pass this test, then the story proceeds to Step 3. Otherwise back to Step 1 😉

Step 3: Engagement: In olden days (I mean till around a decade back) this function was done in the presence of close family and friends. It would be just a ring exchange and an official announcement of the marriage. This step would ensure that the boy and girl’s relationship status in Orkut would change from single to committed. But now-a-days, engagements are being conducted in a grand fashion with lots of guests and at a scale that is almost half as marriage. In our Tamil Brahmin culture, this activity is completely groom’s family’s responsibility and they would be in-charge for everything.

Once we cross step 3, then in the olden days it would be the testing time for the bride and groom. They would feel like the cat that is tied with a rope and milk is kept at a distance where it can see the milk but cannot drink it. They would desperately wait for the marriage to happen so that they could start their family life. But as times change, customs also change. These days, this period between engagement and marriage is being utilized by the couple to understand each other. They try to build the relationship before actually getting into the big commitment. This helps in two ways – to understand the other person’s tastes, likes, dislikes, attitude, etc. And at the same time if they feel that the relationship won’t work, then they always have an option to part ways. And it is not very late at this stage!

If everything goes well, then we proceed to the last and most important step – Marriage. Here it is a grand celebration. It’s time for all the family members to get together. It’s time to forget differences and unite with good mood. It’s time for lots of sweets, lots of food and lots of fun. Generally everyone is in a very happy mood during this step. At times the bride’s father may look a bit nervous, a bit worried, or a bit sad. But that’s natural. No one can stop that! Apart from that, it is one function that at least the bride and the groom would like to remember for the rest of their lives. The marriage happens in the traditional way. And then after the marriage, its bidaai time! The girl leaves her maiden home and goes to her sasuraal permanently!

What happens from here is the same for arranged as well as love marriage. I believe that to hold a relationship, what is more important is the give-and-take attitude between husband and wife. It’s the mutual understanding that makes relationships last forever (like Batman Forever!) and not kundlis and jyotishs!

P.S: I am still unmarried. So some information may be inaccurate or inappropriate. But anyway this is my blog and I write what I feel is right 😉

The Sound of Music

I have been wondering how different people seem to like different kinds of music. Personally, I love Bollywood music the most followed by ghazals, and then South-Indian songs. But for me I like the music to be soothing and melodious. On the other hand there are people who prefer only hard rock. I don’t understand even a single word pronounced in the so-called song and there are bands that become famous like anything and songs that become immortal!

I may sound like an old man criticizing contemporary music, but as a matter of fact, I don’t see anything in the song that would attract me. I would love to listen to songs like Dil Hai Chota Sa from Roja. The music is so melodious that you tend to forget everything else in the world while listening to it. You get to listen to each and every beat of it. You understand every word that is being sung. And more than anything else, you get to get that fresh feeling. You should not feel like a rotten tomato after listening to a song!

Similarly some people feel that some music directors compose crappy music. Himesh Reshammiya is one of the prime targets. I feel that he does a decent job in composing songs. The best thing about his music is that they are not inspired (read – stolen) from any other source. People like Anu Malik and Pritam lift the music as is. Atleast this guy Himesh is genuine that way that he creates his own music. And unless he sings them himself… the music is pretty good to listen!

Well to like to dislike a type of music is everyone’s personal preference. This is what I like and this is what I will listen to… 🙂

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