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Columns Off-The-Cuff
Sivaram Srikandath
Sivaram Srikandath is Director of Programmes, Manorama Music
Secularism : Old w(h)ine in old bottle  Story Dated : Wed,April,16 2014 18:31 hrs IST The word Secularism surely has to be one of the most favourite words in the Grand Old Party's lexicon. Whenever the party feels threatened, their designated spin-meisters go into a huddle, and drag this tested and tried war-horse into the...
151 DAYS  Story Dated : Sat,January,25 2014 09:24 hrs IST Last week, I received an unannounced gift from the Chief Editor and Managing Director of our company. And like all unannounced gifts, it filled me with a lot ofpleasure. The thought that someonehad cared to remember me, was joyenough. Added to...
Vox Populi Vox Dei  Story Dated : Mon,December,09 2013 19:18 hrs IST It is a tired old cliche; but sometimes nothing says it better than a trite aphorism. The voice of the people is indeed the voice of God ! The results of the recently concluded elections in Delhi, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chattisgarh have...
The Good, The Bad and The Ugly  Story Dated : Thu,October,10 2013 10:05 hrs IST I have been travelling quite a bit  the last few weeks. In the process, I have spent a lot of time in hotel rooms  watching a great  deal of television. I have reached that stage of my life when, after  a busy...
Just Write The Movement  Story Dated : Sun,August,18 2013 18:22 hrs IST Aaah !The dreaded writers block. I have been experiencing it for the past couple of weeks. Anyone engaged in the profession of writing - novelists, poets, scenarists,playwrights, essayists, columnists - run into it at a few, or...
Poetry In The Age Of Internet  Story Dated : Fri,July,19 2013 15:26 hrs IST A recent  issue of the Newsweek carried  an interesting feature about a Finnish tech entrepreneur, Sampsa Nuotio, who literally "stumbled upon the beauty  of machine generated poetics" late last year. The story goes...
Monsoon Reading  Story Dated : Sat,June,29 2013 21:41 hrs IST I love the monsoons. It  is a season of indolence; a time for indulgences.  And it  is quite easy to forget the inconveniences posed by the rains, when, after the hot, parched summer days the rhythms of...
Heidi And Howard  Story Dated : Wed,May,29 2013 16:56 hrs IST I am reading a very interesting book at the moment called Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead.It is written by Sheryl Sandberg, the COO of Facebook,andregarded by many as one of the most powerful women in the world today.To be quite...
A Lady Exits The Stage  Story Dated : Tue,April,02 2013 12:19 hrs IST With the passing away of Sukumari last week, the world of the Malayali stands diminished. We have lost not just another great actor, but a wonderful human being as well. A real lady. Someone with oodles of talent, energy, charm and that ineffable...
R.I.P. GOD'S OWN COUNTRY Story Dated : Wed,March,13 2013 09:43 hrs IST This past Tuesday, on March 5th,the English newspaper that I subscribe to,had the following eleven headlines in its Kerala Section on Page 4.And I quote:1."Sleazy Row" puts UDF Govt. in a Spot"The story related to the ongoing spatbetween...
One Amazing Thing Story Dated : Thu,February,14 2013 11:05 hrs IST Just a few days ago, I had the occasion to participate in, what turned out to be, quite a charming evening. The Indian born, U.S. based award winning author, Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni, was in Kerala on a personal visit, and the good people behind...
Capital crimes; capital punishment  Story Dated : Mon,January,14 2013 10:14 hrs IST People who have been reading this column will know  that I am not, and never have been,  one of those bleeding heart, pussy footing individuals  who whiffles and whaffles over every moral, political and ethical issue....
Puzzling Questions, All Story Dated : Sat,December,15 2012 20:30 hrs IST The holiday season is just around the corner. This is that time of the year when one begins to slow down and relax a bit. It is an occasion to sit back and mellow out with a dram or two, and ruminate over life in general. Ponder over issues that vex...
Introducing, Sid Mallya ! Story Dated : Mon,November,26 2012 21:12 hrs IST If you are an avid TV watcher like I am, then it is quite  possible that you watch NDTV Good Times, the lifestyle channel launched in 2007  by NDTV and the people behind the Good Times marque, Kingfisher. It  is quite...
The New Savarnas  Story Dated : Sun,October,21 2012 16:39 hrs IST In the state that gave birth to the famous Vaikkom Satyagraha, a new breed of Savarnas practicing a twisted new form of untouchability  has emerged. Or so it would seem !It was in 1924  that Kerala witnessed the historic Vaikkom...
The Tipping Point?  Story Dated : Sun,September,23 2012 16:40 hrs IST Vinod Mehta is one of the smartest editors in India. There is no doubt about that.I must confess, however,thatI am nota great fan of his particular brand of journalism -I find his personal biases; his incessantefforts at...
What Happens in Vegas Stays in Vegas?  Story Dated : Wed,September,05 2012 16:32 hrs IST There is this classic quip that what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas. But does it really? The past week saw Prince Harry,  the younger son of Prince Charles and the late Princess Diana in the news for all the wrong reasons. An army...
Sartorially Speaking  Story Dated : Sat,August,18 2012 10:32 hrs IST Call me old fashioned, square, or even a prude, if you will. But I believe that being suitably attired is a sign of civilized life. I am not suggesting that one should be dressed to the nines all the time; but certainly dressing correctly for the...
All The World's a Kitchen  Story Dated : Wed,July,25 2012 13:46 hrs IST To borrow from  Shakespeare, all the world,  it seems, is a kitchen, and all men and women, cooks. At least in the world of television !  You simply cannot switch on your television these days without tuning into a...
Of Doctors and Charlatans Story Dated : Fri,July,06 2012 17:11 hrs IST The other day I came across an interesting news item. Dhaka University has ordered a probe into the doctoral thesis submitted by a political science teacher  who was awarded a PhD in 2011 for his research The Practices of Marxism and their...
Arms And The Man  Story Dated : Mon,April,23 2012 11:37 hrs IST When the kerfuffle regarding General  V.K.Singh's age surfaced a few months ago, I was, quite frankly, a bit put off by the General's behaviour. Of course, I  was convinced that he was telling the truth about his date of birth....
How The Other 10% Lives  Story Dated : Thu,March,22 2012 11:23 hrs IST Recently, I read aninteresting article in one of thebusiness dailies about income andconsumption patterns in our country. No surprises, the top 10%of Indian households accounts for 36% of the total income, and nearly 25% of the total...
The Italian Job  Story Dated : Wed,February,29 2012 16:53 hrs IST Last weekend, I was having cocktails and dinner with a few friends. A typical boys-out night when a bunch of buddies get together to  kick back, shoot the breeze and relax. It was a  balmy evening  and we were sitting...
An Evening With Anoushka  Story Dated : Wed,February,01 2012 19:20 hrs IST Last weekend, a reputed business house celebrated the 25th anniversary of one of their group companies by hosting a rather special evening.. Cocktails and dinner,and the music of Anoushka, the enormously talented daughter of sitar maestro Ravi...
New Year Resolutions, Nay Decisions  Story Dated : Mon,January,09 2012 10:21 hrs IST As usual, this New Year too, I did make  a few resolutions. I prefer to call them decisions though,  as in things I definitely intend to do; rather than simply think of  doing. These resolutions do not include the...
Celebrating the Yuletide Season  Story Dated : Wed,December,14 2011 16:12 hrs IST Last week, weput up our Christmas tree at home in whathas now becomean annual ceremony. The tree has been with us for the past more than fifteen years. It is not verylarge, just about 5 feet tall;an artificial fir made of plastic, and...
The Curious Case of Santosh Pandit  Story Dated : Wed,November,16 2011 12:52 hrs IST "Cinema,' Roman Polanski said, "should make you forget that you are sitting in a theater." He was,of course, referring to good cinema.. And what about bad cinema? Judging from the audience reaction to the recently released filmKrishnanum...
The Genius of Steve Jobs Story Dated : Tue,November,01 2011 14:24 hrs IST Like countless others across the world, Icannot wait to get my hands on Walter Isaacson's biography of Steve Jobs. The book hit the stores last Monday, and has already generated quite a buzz.Iordered my copy through Flipkart on a...
God's Own Country; Devil's Children   Story Dated : Fri,October,14 2011 15:03 hrs IST Nobody is quite sure who came up with the catch phrase "God's Own Country" to describe this verdant sliver of India we live in, called Kerala. Some say it was a former Tourism Secretary, an IAS officer,who came up with this brilliant tag line....
The Manufacture of Melodrama  Story Dated : Tue,September,27 2011 11:20 hrs IST As a matter of choice, I do not watch music reality shows on Malayalam television. I find them  crass and maudlin. Also, as a person closely involved with the music industry, I find the almost orgiastic celebration  of...
Discovering The Magic Of Books  Story Dated : Mon,September,05 2011 10:13 hrs IST I have just finished reading Open, Andre Agassi's searingly honest autobiography. The bookis the haunting and gut-wrenching story of an athlete who was destined to chase perfection, from almost the moment he was born.It narrates the tale of the...
I'm an Er Nai, So What !  Story Dated : Tue,August,16 2011 19:11 hrs IST It is reported that the late Francois Mitterrand, the former French president, famously replied "So what?" when a journalist asked him about rumours that he had a love-child with his mistress Anne Pingeot.Today, Er Nais, the 21st century Chinese...
The Man Who Owns The News  Story Dated : Wed,August,03 2011 11:31 hrs IST Michael Wolff, in his 2007 biography of Rupert Murdoch, describes the media mogul as the man who owns the news; someone who is playing a game andmakinga "vast ... still unfinished personal statement." But recent unfolding events in theMurdoch...
Doha - Sunny Side Up  Story Dated : Mon,July,11 2011 16:45 hrs IST The first thing that  hits you in the face  when you land in Doha, quite literally, is the heat. It is only 6.30 in the morning, and already the temperature is in the forties,  with a promise...
Thug Or Tipping Point?  Story Dated : Mon,June,13 2011 15:53 hrs IST The past fortnight was one of intense melodrama that providedmuch better entertainment than any saas - bahu soap opera on national television. Two powerful protagonists foughteach other for media headlines, eyeballsand TRPs. The battle lines...
Seven Notes, 100 Movies  Story Dated : Mon,May,30 2011 16:28 hrs IST Music director M.Jayachandran, popularly known as Kuttan, is a very happy man, these days.He is relaxing inthe contented afterglow of the release of the music of his 100th film -the T.K.Rajeev Kumar remake of the popular Padmarajan film,...
Song Bird Chronicle  Story Dated : Thu,May,05 2011 21:08 hrs IST I live in a gated community by the backwaters in Cochin. It isa small development, with just nine houses. Barely a kilometeraway from the hustle and bustle ofSahodaran Ayappan Road, our enclaveis a haven of peace and quiet.Far awayfrom...
The Indian 'Babugiri' Service  Story Dated : Mon,April,18 2011 14:23 hrs IST The Indian Administrative Service was set up in 1946, as a successor to the fabled Indian Civil Service, which with much distinction, had helped the British rule our country for almost a century. Officers of the  IAS are vested with the...
Another one bites the dust  Story Dated : Wed,March,30 2011 09:13 hrs IST "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness...." Thus begins the Tale of Two Cities, arguably one of the finest works in the history of fictional literature. While Charles Dickens...
No goddesses in God's own country Story Dated : Tue,March,15 2011 20:30 hrs IST Last week, on March 8, the world  celebrated the centenary of the International Women's Day. As always, all the politically correct noises were made in the media and in public forums.  Newspapers carried routine editorials...
What's in a name?  Story Dated : Mon,February,21 2011 11:06 hrs IST In his lyrical tale of star-crossed lovers,Rome and Juliet, playright William Shakespeare has hisyoung heroine ask famously, "What's in a name? That which we call a roseBy any other name would smell just as sweet." However, going by the...
Where does the buck stop?  Story Dated : Mon,January,31 2011 15:23 hrs IST It was around 8.00 pm on January 14th, the day of Makara Sankranthi. Thousands of pilgrims were returning from Pulmedu, a hillock about 30 kms from the Sabarimala temple. They had seen the Makara Jyothi, and also witnessed the Makara Vilakku, a...
Tweet this: Feel like I'm outta here  Story Dated : Mon,January,10 2011 14:53 hrs IST All of you have heardabout Twitter, right? Duh, that's a dumb question, ain't it? It's like asking is the Pope Catholic? Of course, anyone and everyone familiar with the use of a computer knows of Twitter, and the majority of us may even have a...
Silent Night, Holy Night  Story Dated : Sun,December,19 2010 16:25 hrs IST Another Yuletide season is upon us, and it is time to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, the Saviour.   This is a period of  joy and festivity, as well as a season for introspection and prayer - a time for self-examination,...
So, where are our Don Quixotes?  Story Dated : Sat,December,04 2010 18:30 hrs IST The Columbia Journalism Award was instituted in the year 1958 by the ColumbiaJournalism School. It is theSchool's highest honor, and is presented each year during Commencement. The award is given in recognition of exceptional journalistic...
A matter of faith Story Dated : Sat,November,13 2010 17:07 hrs IST I am prompted to write this column by  an editorial I read in a national English daily last week  regarding matters of faith and belief. The editorial   had to do with an incident that occurred during the recent...
Ayurveda, the eternal science Story Dated : Fri,October,29 2010 13:05 hrs IST The door of my tiny room in the old mana opens into a nalukettu. There is a thulasithara in the middle of nalukettu;  a graceful thulasi plant crowning it with dark, purplish green leaves.The smoke from the wood-fired kitchen slowly drifts...
The curious case of inane records     Story Dated : Tue,October,12 2010 19:49 hrs IST Last week, a danseuse in Kerala, Kalamandalam Hemalatha entered the Guinness Book of Records by performing the classical dance Mohini Attam, continuously for 115 hours. She reached the record at 9.32 pm on Saturday, September 25th at the K.T....
India Shining? Not yet!   Story Dated : Tue,September,28 2010 19:41 hrs IST Last week, a national newspaper carried two interesting headlines on the front page on the same day. The lead story was headlined "Commonwealth Shames" and was a report onthe collapse of the overbridge near the main CWG venue. On the same page,...
Making Onam 'awesome' again    Story Dated : Mon,August,30 2010 14:30 hrs IST Yet another Onam has come and gone. We all believe that Mahabali has visited his subjects, blessed them and gone back to his abode in the netherworld.And as usual, the votaries of nostalgia have been lamenting the death ofthe "traditional" Onam....
I am song, thou art verse    Story Dated : Mon,August,16 2010 14:45 hrs IST The other day, I was reading an interview  with a poet - turned - novelist;  a  woman in her mid-thirties from Chennai, who describes herself as "a poet, dancer, writer, wanderer." She had just  released her...
The stories that need to be told    Story Dated : Sat,July,31 2010 17:15 hrs IST We live ina media saturated world. Hate it, or love it,we cannot get away from that fact.As a wag put it, you cannot live with media, and you cannot live without it ! Indeed, we construct our reality through the media. Newspapers, magazines,...
Black swans in Kerala?    Story Dated : Sat,July,17 2010 17:29 hrs IST Is Kerala  turning into a Kashmir ? Is God's Own Country  running  the risk of becoming yet another troubled  state plagued by strife and violence; a haven for jihadis and terrorists? And if so, are prepared...
The truth is out there...   Story Dated : Sat,July,03 2010 14:05 hrs IST This was the tagline of the populartelevision series The X-Files, which,during an amazing run of nine seasons from 1993 to 2002,became whatRichard Corliss of Time magazine called,one of the "cultural touchstones of the 90's."The show...
Same same, but better   Story Dated : Fri,June,18 2010 17:35 hrs IST A friend of mine, who works for  an  MNC, is travelling  abroad  in a couple of weeks to attend  one of the periodic brain storming sessions that the company organizes for its senior...
Monsoon Anuraga   Story Dated : Sat,June,05 2010 17:29 hrs IST "The first sounds I ever heard were that of the falling rain." Thusbegins AlexanderFrater's memorable paen to the rains in India, "Chasing the Monsoon."Adelightful book that traces the path of the monsoons in India as it first crash lands in...
We Are Like This Only !    Story Dated : Sun,May,23 2010 09:31 hrs IST I love visiting Delhi. Something about the city enthralls and captivates me. Lutyens' Delhi seduces me with its cool, colonial bungalows andwide, shady,tree lined boulevardsverging on thepromise of bursting through in bloom. The busy,...
The hanging questions  Story Dated : Sat,May,08 2010 15:35 hrs IST May 6th, 2010.It was judgement day for Ajmal Amir Kasab.And as anticipated, Kasabwas awarded the death sentence.Of course, there was no doubt about the outcome of the trial. The bases were completely loaded against him.He had waged war...
The genius of Swathi Thirunal   Story Dated : Thu,April,22 2010 15:29 hrs IST Last fortnight, a birth anniversary went by, unheralded by our cultural czars,and unnoticed by manyIt was the birth anniversary of one of the greatest sons of Kerala, Maharaja Swathi Thirunal Rama Varma. Born on April 16th, 1813 as the second...
April ... and remembrances of Eliot  Story Dated : Sat,April,10 2010 16:39 hrs IST "April is the cruellest month, breeding/Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing/Memory and desire, stirring/Dull roots with spring rain." I first read these lines in 1975. I wasbarely 23 years old andjust out of college. I had lived the first 22...
The Goddess of big rants  Story Dated : Fri,March,26 2010 16:56 hrs IST Our Lady of Eternal Petulance,the wondrously gifted writerArundhati Roy, is back with her latest rant.. This, in her (currently fashionable ) manner of a long essay which is evocatively titled Walking with the Comrades, and published in the...
Freedom to offend?     Story Dated : Sat,March,13 2010 17:35 hrs IST "I, the Indian origin painter,M.F.Husain, at 95, have been honoured by Qatar nationality." With these words, Maqbul Fida Husain, the barefoot Picasso of India, is back in the limelight he so loves to be in.And our intellectuals andmedia mavens...
Yes, We Khan   Story Dated : Fri,February,26 2010 19:36 hrs IST Maybe it is the cynic in me; but I was fairly certain I would not enjoy My Name Is Khan. For, I have neverconsideredSRK a great actor, and Karan Johar's saccharine film making certainly does not appeal to me. Hence my misgivings !So, I was...
A reality check   Story Dated : Sat,February,13 2010 16:41 hrs IST I have a confession to make. I am not a great fan of reality television.Nor am I a faithful viewer of such programmes. Now, whether that puts me in a minority of one, or in the majority of many is something I can only speculate upon. Quite...
Adieu,Jyoti Babu  Story Dated : Fri,January,29 2010 17:40 hrs IST Glorifying and edifying the dead is part of the hagiography of Indian politics. As a nation, we love tocanonize the recently departed.Now that Jyoti Basu is no more, I am sure that a lot will be written about him. Much of it eulogizing the...
Wedding Gangnam Style !  Story Dated : Thu,February,06 2014 15:54 hrs IST "Gangnam Style:  A manner associated with lavish lifestyles in Seoul's Gangnam district..." - Time's  Weekly Vocabulary ListThe other day, I received a marriage invitation. And like many invitations that I receive these days from...
Athithi Devo Bhava  Story Dated : Wed,January,15 2014 16:49 hrs IST "A guest is like a God - accord to a guest the dignity and respect that one would show to  God."This mantra from the Taittiriya Upanishad has been the bedrock of Indian culture and  of our way of life from time immemorial....
Who Packed Your Parachute?  Story Dated : Mon,November,04 2013 12:26 hrs IST Normally, I do not attend, nor watch telecasts,of award ceremonies. For a variety of reasons. For one, they have become dime a dozen. Every magazine, every TV channel, every media house and every luxe brand,seems to have their own celebrity...
India's river of life  Story Dated : Fri,September,27 2013 10:44 hrs IST The Ganges is not just another river. The Gangesis thevery lifeline of our country, transforming the landscape of the Indian subcontinent, as she travels more than 2500 kilometres from the icy peaks deep in the heart of Dev Bhoomi, or the Land of...
The Practice Of Daily Prayer  Story Dated : Fri,July,26 2013 19:14 hrs IST I strongly believe that  spirituality  is an important  aspect of the human condition. Like Pierre Teilhard de Chardin,  I too  believe that "We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We...
In search of the authentic fish molee  Story Dated : Mon,July,08 2013 23:53 hrs IST My earliest memories of having fish molee take me back to holidays spent at Kanya Kumari, or Cape Comorin as the place used to be called  then. It was in the late fifties, and I  must have been about six or seven years old. We...
Weirdest Laws From Around The World  Story Dated : Wed,June,19 2013 12:12 hrs IST This past weekend, I was catching up on my travel readingwhen I came upon the interesting tidbit that in Venice, Italy, it is illegal to feed pigeons at St. Marks Square. Although just a friendly warning at first, the fines can quickly escalate up...
Sirf Dekhneka Nahin  Story Dated : Fri,May,17 2013 17:07 hrs IST Of course,  spot fixing was a scandal just waiting to happen, wasn't it?  And yes, I am talking about the most recent controversy to hit the cash rich IPL.  Just picture the scenario. A billion plus fawning...
The Italian Opera  Story Dated : Sun,March,17 2013 23:02 hrs IST Okay, the Italian opera has commenced, and it's time for  a few questions.1. First off, is anyone really surprised  by  the recent volte face committed by the Italian government in the case involving two of their...
Maestro of the Bamboo Flute  Story Dated : Tue,March,05 2013 13:36 hrs IST I remember the first time I heard Kudamaloor Janardanan play the flute. It was sometime early in the year 2004, at the Kowdiar Palace in Trivandrum. Prince Aswathy Thirunal Rama Varma of the Travancore Royal family had spoken to me earlier about...
Friends, Indians, Countrymen......  Story Dated : Thu,January,31 2013 19:11 hrs IST (with apologies to William Shakespeare)Friends, Indians, countrymen, lend me your earsI have come not to berateour Honourable Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde, nor to praise him,But to simply tell the truth about the person; someone of no great...
A Message Of Love  Story Dated : Mon,December,24 2012 13:41 hrs IST The late Shri K.M. Mathew was much more than the erstwhile Chief Editor of the Malayala Manorama newspaper.  He was a person you could look up to; a role model to emulate;  a loving and respected  pater familias, from...
There's coffee .........and then, there's coffee !  Story Dated : Sun,December,02 2012 15:28 hrs IST "A little bit of pineapple. Herbal complexity. Super-clean. Vibrant. Sparklingness......Lush , tropical, hints of white, not yellow peach."Any guesses as to what this pretentiousyammeringis all about? Could it be: a.Thead copy for the latest...
Remembering  a childhood friend  Story Dated : Thu,November,15 2012 15:49 hrs IST Last week, I attended the funeral of a childhood friend of mine. It was a real depressing experience. There were but a handful of us at the ceremony - five of his close relatives, a few others, and me, the only friend of his, so to speak. It was a...
Caesar's Wife...  Story Dated : Sat,October,13 2012 16:20 hrs IST should be above suspicion, says the popular proverb.Pompeia was the second wife of the  Roman king, Julius Caesar. According to history, Caesar married Pompeia in 67 BC, after his first wife had  died giving birth to a still born...
The Road To Nowhere  Story Dated : Tue,September,11 2012 17:35 hrs IST Bob Morris is  a  writer  whose novels and columns I enjoy reading. He is a person possessed of  a wry sense of humour, and  who, like that  other great Floridian master of black...
Remembering Pink Floyd  Story Dated : Wed,September,05 2012 16:31 hrs IST At times I unabashedly say, thank God for television. I was one of the tens of millions of people across the globe who watched the televised broadcast of the closing ceremony of the Olympics over this past weekend.  And what a musical...
The Spectre of Fascism  Story Dated : Wed,August,08 2012 12:11 hrs IST The  recent public censure of V.S. Achuthanandan by the CPM Central Committee, and the suspension of the party's former Idukki  district secretary M.M. Mani,  marks yet another turning point in the affairs of the Red...
The Joys of Solitude Story Dated : Sun,July,15 2012 19:05 hrs IST I have a medical condition that I find is better attended to by  ayurvedic, rather than allopathic medicine. So once a year, I take off for 21 days and submit myself to the rigors of a full monty ayurveda treatment - abhayanga, shirodhara,...
The Short Skirt, Long Jacket Girl  Story Dated : Mon,June,18 2012 17:22 hrs IST Couch potatoes know how it is with television commercials. Whenever a new campaign is launched,the ad agency goes in for what could be called in military terms as saturation bombing for the next few weeks. Depending upon the target group in the...
The Ugly American Circa 2012  Story Dated : Thu,April,05 2012 09:27 hrs IST The Ugly Americanwas a 1958 political novelwritten by Eugene Burdick and William Lederer. The novel was hugely popular, spending 76 weeks on the best-seller listwith more than 5 million copies sold. It was turned into a Hollywood movie in 1963...
What's Good That's Left  Story Dated : Fri,March,09 2012 17:21 hrs IST I was recently reading the obituary of the former U.S. athlete, Jill Kinmont Boothe, who died on February 9, at the age of 75. She had been a champion skier -the reigning national champion in slalom, and a sure prospect for a medal at the Winter...
Gunfight At The O.K Corral  Story Dated : Wed,February,15 2012 20:29 hrs IST You can count upon the Comrades to provide us with maudlin entertainment on  a regular basis. The jholawallahs in Kerala seem to be particularly adept at this. Perhaps, the experience of running a General Entertainment TV channel has made...
The Great Kerala Art Imbroglio  Story Dated : Tue,January,17 2012 15:20 hrs IST We Malayalislove a good controversy, don't we?And if we can't find one we just create one. As simple as that. Barely three weeks into the New Year, we are in the thick of what I would callthe Great Kerala Art Imbroglio. Fangs are bared, claws...
Vox Populi Vox Dei  Story Dated : Sat,December,31 2011 09:51 hrs IST 2011 has finally come to an end. Whew, what an incredibleyear it has been ! It seemed that the mistakes of the past had finally caught up with the excesses of the present to create anannus horribilus where everything that could go wrong did go...
Portrait of an Artist as a Historian  Story Dated : Mon,December,05 2011 16:12 hrs IST Last Sunday, on the 27th of November, the Durbar Hall Kalakendramof the Kerala Lalithakala Akademi was dedicated to the nation by Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy at a simple ceremony held in Cochin.The renovation of the Durbar Hall was...
Celebrating The Sandwich  Story Dated : Mon,November,07 2011 17:35 hrs IST The other day, a friend of mine jocularly remarkedthat one hasto hand it over to the Americanswhen it comes to celebrating wacky days. Name it, he said, and they have an occasion for it. Indeed, it is true. In addition to the traditional...
Piracy Nation  Story Dated : Mon,October,24 2011 09:54 hrs IST Last week, the I&B Ministry of the Government of India had organized, in association with FICCI and the US Embassy,  an Industry Consultation to discuss the Ministry's Task Force Recommendations on Piracy. As a person involved...
Mohanlal Gets His Mojo Back    Story Dated : Thu,October,06 2011 17:41 hrs IST I am an unabashed Mohanlal fan. I simply adorehim as an actor. Andwhen I say that, I I am not comparinghim to anyone else, or announcing to the wide world that I belong to some sort of devoted fan club whose members turn up in droveson...
In The Shadow Of Terror  Story Dated : Tue,September,20 2011 19:47 hrs IST Every  year, during Onam, I send a mail to my overseas friends  conveying my greetings and also bringing them up to speed on what has been happening in my life.  A message  containing personal asides, and my...
But, Are They Allowed To Do That?  Story Dated : Tue,August,23 2011 13:39 hrs IST History reports that Ferdinand I, the Emperor of Austria, when informed by his Foreign Minister Prince Klemens von Metternich that the people were having a revolution, incredulously asked, "but are they allowed to do that?" That seems to be the...
CaveatEmptor.com  Story Dated : Tue,August,09 2011 15:22 hrs IST Recently, Indian trade circles were abuzz with speculation that the popular Indian online shopping site, Flipkart Online Services Pvt Ltd may get an investment of $150 million (approximately Rs. 600 crore) from private equity firm General Atlantic...
Bhujagashayanam, no longer Shantakaram  Story Dated : Mon,July,18 2011 17:28 hrs IST Shantakaram Bhujagashayanam Padmanabham SureshamVishwadharam  Gagana Sadrsham Meghavarnam SubhangamLakshikantam Kamalanayanam Yogibhir Dhyana GamyamVande Vishnum Bhava Bhaya Haram Sarvalokaika Natham roughly meaning, Lord Vishnu, the...
Simi, You Ain't No Oprah!  Story Dated : Wed,June,22 2011 15:07 hrs IST I was a student living in the US when the Oprah Winfrey Show hit the big league. It was sometime in late 1986 that the show went national, from being a half hour morning talk show airing on a local station in Chicago. The show soon became immensely...
R.I.P: The 25 Paise Coin  Story Dated : Wed,June,08 2011 12:41 hrs IST My earliest memories of the twenty five paise coin go back half a century, to my childhood days. I must have been six or seven years old and we were living in Trivandrum at the time. Ever so often, I would go over to spend a day at my father's...
Osama-Bama: A Farce in 15 Quotes Story Dated : Tue,May,10 2011 11:43 hrs IST Prologue: "Somoza maybe a S.O.B; but he is our S.O.B." Apocryphal statement attributed to Franklin Roosevelt. A true reflection ofthedouble speak and hypocrisy in US foreign policy.    1. "Good evening. Tonight, I can...
Anna: Saint or Sinner?  Story Dated : Mon,April,25 2011 11:47 hrs IST Just a few weeks ago, amidst the heat and the dust generated by the World Cup tamasha, a 72 year old ex-army jawan; a school drop out hailing  from a poor family in Ahmednagar district in Maharashtra became the toast of the country. Our...
This amazing journey  Story Dated : Mon,April,11 2011 10:22 hrs IST "My family and I wish to thank everyone in India for this amazing journey." In his usual calm manner, these were the words with which Gary Kirsten signed off his three year tenure as coach of the Indian cricket team. And what a journey it has been....
Fool's own country  Story Dated : Mon,March,21 2011 11:10 hrs IST It was Warren Buffet who famously said that it is only when the tide goes out that you learn who has been swimming naked. In the cesspool that is Indian politics, elections usually are a time when the tide recedes; the gloves are off and the game...
Uber is cool  Story Dated : Mon,March,07 2011 14:46 hrs IST Uber is cool -bigger is better; larger is lovelier, and excess is exciting. This seems to be the mantra for modern India. A visit to our National Capital Region, Delhi, will convince you of this new Indian mindset ! I remember the first time I...
The 64 dollar question  Story Dated : Mon,February,07 2011 11:57 hrs IST Once again the focus, for all the right or wrong reasons, is on the plight of Indian students studying abroad. It is not Australia this time, but it is the US that stands accused of meting out unfair treatment to our young ones. Last week, students...
A gentleman and a poet  Story Dated : Mon,January,17 2011 17:03 hrs IST "Indeevaram" is an unpretentious house,tuckedaway in a quiet lane near the Cotton Hills Girls School, in Vazhuthycaud Trivandrum. It is a modest residence, neat and inviting. As you enter, you are greeted by a small garden filled with orchids...
Adieu, Annus Horribilis  Story Dated : Tue,January,04 2011 18:20 hrs IST It feels good to back after a two week sabbatical from writing my regular column. The festive season is one to spent in celebrations and catching up with friends and family. And that's exactly what I did. Kicked back and relaxed.It has become a...
Anything goes   Story Dated : Tue,December,14 2010 13:30 hrs IST We are living in trying times. As the 18th century American philosopher and writer, Thomas Paine wrote, "these are the times that try men's souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of his...
Arundhati, Moitheen and free speech  Story Dated : Mon,November,22 2010 17:42 hrs IST Within the space of a fortnight, one has witnessed two challenges to the right to freedom of expression in our country. And the public reaction to these two incidents have been dramatically different. On October 26th, our own very divaof social...
The vanishing spectre?  Story Dated : Mon,November,08 2010 14:53 hrs IST "A spectre is haunting Europe - the spectre of communism." Thus, begins the Communist Manifesto, authored by Karl Marx and Friederich Engels.  Published on February 21, 1848, it is a  catechism for the communist doctrine, and...
The daddy of cool    Story Dated : Tue,October,19 2010 17:24 hrs IST My introduction to the smoky, sexy, sophisticated and seductive world of jazz was through Miles Davis. It was in the late Seventies, and I was leading my bohemian, bachelor days in Calcutta. I had a large and eclectic circle of friends and we were...
A satisficing and a satisfying verdict    Story Dated : Tue,October,05 2010 16:30 hrs IST It was in 1956, that the Nobel Prize winning economist Herbert Simon introduced the term "satisficing" into the argot of the science of decision making. Satisficing, a play on the words satisfy and sacrifice, means that you sacrifice the best...
A 'Malayalee' in Stanford  Story Dated : Mon,September,20 2010 16:47 hrs IST I just got back after a visit toPalo Alto, home to the world renowned Stanford University. I had gone there toattend the marriageof the daughter ofdear friends of mine. The wedding was held in the beautiful Stanford Memorial Church. The...
Theatre of the absurd   Story Dated : Sat,August,21 2010 17:11 hrs IST The term Theatre of the Absurd, is used to describe a particular type of stage play made popular by Eugene Ionesco, Jean Genet and Samuel Beckett, among others. These plays are based upon the premise that the human condition is basically...
Achayan-A remembrance   Story Dated : Sat,August,07 2010 08:56 hrs IST To people in the media world, he was Mr. K.M. Mathew, the doyen of the newspaper industry in Indiawho had raised the standards of the vernacular press to dizzyingheights of excellence and professionalism.To millions of Malayalalis the world...
It's a mad, mad, mad (mobile) world!   Story Dated : Mon,July,26 2010 12:27 hrs IST The cell phone todayhas becomethe final frontier of technological convergence- a multi-purpose computer, a camera for taking still and moving images, a convenient e-mail system, an entertainment portal, an effective mode of commerce. It has...
Psychic Paul and clairvoyant Mani   Story Dated : Sat,July,10 2010 11:07 hrs IST Oberhausen is acity of about 200,000 people on the river Emscher in Germany. A google search shows it to be a typical industrial city with no great claim to fame. That is, until recently,when a resident of its Sea Life Aquariumbecame a...
Vidyayamrtam asnute   Story Dated : Mon,June,28 2010 10:32 hrs IST Vidyayamrtam asnute..... With knowledge thou  shalt  become immortal. Thus it is said in the Isavasyopanishad.But it seems that in India, what is more important than vidya is the matter of  where it  is coming...
Storming the red citadel  Story Dated : Sat,June,12 2010 19:11 hrs IST What the inept, moribund Congress party could not achieve in West Bengal in more than thirty years, Mamata Didi and the storm troopers of her TMC have managed to do in under a decade! By smoothly hijacking the public imagination of the proletarian...
Music with meaning   Story Dated : Fri,May,28 2010 18:36 hrs IST Last week, I had the opportunity to participate in a rather special function.  It was the release of the second volume of the album 'Kavyageethikal' produced by singer G. Venugopal and music director Jaison J Nair.The function was a...
Where hasthe magic gone?   Story Dated : Sat,May,15 2010 17:22 hrs IST The great Hollywood director, Billy Wilder, was once asked, what makes a great movie. "Oh," he replied disarmingly, "a little bit of magic." So true indeed. Great movies need that little bit of magicwhichtransforms the ordinary into the...
The culture of greed  Story Dated : Sat,May,01 2010 20:08 hrs IST When I was a student living in the US in theearly eighties, there was this popular adon television. If I remember right,itwas for the investment house Smith Barney. The ad featured thestarchy, Oscar winning, British-American actor John...
The Indian Paisa League  Story Dated : Fri,April,16 2010 15:07 hrs IST "Money, it'sa gas./Grab that cash with both hands and make a stash/New car, caviar, four star daydream/Think I will buy me a football team." That was Pink Floyd singing the popular number, Money, from the album, Dark Side of the Moon, circa...
Celibacy debate: to be or not to be  Story Dated : Sat,April,03 2010 16:50 hrs IST We sure arelivingin interesting times.After the salacious swamis, it is now the star turn of paedophile priests to grabmedia headlines, withrevelationsof sexual abuse of children at schools and orphanages run by the Catholic Church. A...
The sultans of sleaze  Story Dated : Sat,March,20 2010 16:57 hrs IST It is barely three months into the New Year, and India's raunchy swamis are having a rollicking time.Already ! First, self styled godman Swami Bhimanandaji Maharaj, then Kalki Bhagwan, and now, the "living enlightened master" Swami Nityananda, are...
Quo vadis,public intellectual?   Story Dated : Sat,March,06 2010 15:11 hrs IST Last week, the media space in Kerala got ugly. And I mean downright mean and ugly. What started off as a spat between veteran actor Thilakan and the Malayalam film actors association AMMA, quickly conflagrated into a vicious war that saw decency and...
The prince of euphony   Story Dated : Fri,February,19 2010 11:15 hrs IST W.H. Auden once remarked that a poet is, before anything else, a person who is passionately in love with language. In that sense, Kerala's beloved lyricist, Gireesh Puthencherry who passed away last week, was certainly a poet. first...
Nil magnum, nisi bonum  Story Dated : Sat,February,06 2010 15:38 hrs IST The Life of Pi by Yann Martel isone of the most remarkable books I have read. It is both an adventure story and an introspection, and perhaps, even a meditation on life. Initially, I was a bit hesitant about the book. I thought that the story of a...
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