Archive for the ‘Chennai’ category

“May I take a photograph please??” – Encounters of a Photographer with a store manager and a few dozen cops!

May 28, 2014

 

Photography not allowed

Photography not allowed

“May I get an interest free loan for Rs.10,00,000?” is what I suspected the store manager heard me uttering, judging by his facial contortion that presented incredulity and insult mixed with an expression that I’m sure was last seen in the faces of French aristocracy before 1789.

“What in the god’s green earth did you ask then?”, you may wonder. Before I tell what I asked, I advise reader discretion. Kids below 8 yrs, pregnant ladies, people with heart conditions are advised to stop reading and go back to indulge in activities that are soothing to the senses, like viewing my photographs here.

So here is what happened. It was a lovely evening with the sun slowly retiring for the day in the areas that fall 5 and a half hours ahead of the Greenwich Mean Time, behind the towering east gopuram of Kapaleeshwarar temple in Mylapore. I couldn’t but resist exploring the multi-storey buildings for getting a better view of the sunset for the sole purpose of clicking pictures. After much analysis, I zeroed in on the top floor of a shop nearby the temple from where I could get a decent view of the entire temple complex with the setting sun behind. Being the “Rules Ramanujam” that I am, innocently stepped into the shop with a Camera in my hand to seek permission. Not less than 1/3rd of a second passed, I was surrounded by atleast 3 people throwing suspective glances. I’m sure the authoritative figure amongst them was wondering if he should call the cops. Better sense prevailed. But even then I saw no sign of his stiff facial expression easing out. He asked me ” What do you want?” in a tone that I’d rather preferred he called the cops. I gave him a quick background on my motive, presented my credentials and requested permission to shoot the temple from their premises. Being a supervisor with no prerogative to take independent deicisions apart from stopping random strangers entering the shop with a camera, he decided to check with his boss, the store manager. After multiple calls to multiple departments in multiple floors, the supervisor got hold of the manager and requested him to come down over.

I greeted the manager with a wide smile, shook hands and asked him “Can I take pictures of the temple from your premises?”.

What happened next is what is described in the first paragraph of this post.

After he comprehended that such a request could even come and after the initial pang of anger subsided, he regained his composure and said “No. No permission for such things will be given.”. Taken aback by the bluntness (idhu vera mokkai..not this), but happy that I didn’t get his palm and finger prints on my cheeks, I showed him my portfolio on temples and requested to re-consider. He proudly said, “We have never given permission for photography and we will not give in the future also.” in a manner that exceeded the stiff upper lip ‘begaviour’ of the British aristocracy. Persuasive pest that I am, I asked him “Is there any specific reason you don’t allow photography from your premises?”, for which he replied “There is no reason. We just won’t allow.”.

Considering the consideration that I’m a man of self respect, I turned around in slow motion and walked towards the exit while my mind played this music .

Angry Chennai thatha preventing photography

Angry Chennai thatha preventing photography

Doing a bit of Googling (I’m not one of those that use the fancy word “Research” as a substitute for Googling), I found that this is a common problem all over the world. Post 9/11 everyone is a bit jittery about being photographed. Especially the police.

Some Police Quotes I’ve personally heard:

You can’t take pictures after 10 PM

You can’t enter the beach after 10 PM

You can’t use a tripod

You can’t take pictures in the park

You can’t take pictures of people

You can’t take pictures of landmarks

You need permission to take pictures in public

What do you achieve by taking pictures?

But the following one takes the cake:

You can’t take pictures of the war memorial because if you publish this in the “computer”, the terrorists will note this down and bomb this

Idhukku mela naa enna solla!! But indeed there is a positive to this. If I roam around the city for one more year, with all the laws I hear from the Police, I may end up as a lawyer!

Disclaimer – This post is merely a sarcastic attempt in explaining the low tolerance levels in India for street photography. Although the events mentioned are as real the Chennai police’s lathi.

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Suppandi’zation of the Indian sub-continent!

September 23, 2013

 “People build homes on the slopes of beautiful Mount Kilauea and then they wonder why they have lava in their living-room.” —George Carlin

The etymology of the word Suppandization (Copyrighted) lies in one of the most popular Indian comic icon Suppandi. For those who haven’t ventured into the Indian comics world, Suppandi is a village simpleton who follows orders literally with little or no application of mind to weigh the cause and effect of his actions. The process of Suppandization is to condition mentally fit kids into submission and rid of their critical thinking abilities as they grow. This is a long process that takes about 20 years of a person’s life time. But the results are quite staggering.

The Cause:

The Process of Suppandization

The Process of Suppandization

If you took your time to go through the Suppandization process listed above, you will see that the process is achieved through the following.

1. Compulsion to conform

2. Systematic threats of punishment (especially violence)

And this process is aided by parents, teachers, professors, and pretty much the society as a whole.

The Effect:

The effect of Suppandization is there for everyone to see:

1.  Number of Suppandis in a country is inversely proportional to the number of patents filed.

Patents in Force

Patents in Force

2. More the companies that sell readymade projects to college students, more effective is the suppandization process.

(Just google final year project and check out the number of companies that sell projects. )

3. After such a mental conditioning all through his/her life, when the newly appointed Director in a corporate company asks for monthly innovations from his employees, the poor suppandi kids can say only “verum kaathu thaan varudhu”. (Pinna avan kitta enna adutha industry changing idea’va varum?). As a quick tip, please dont ride your employees hard for innovation. It takes a while to De-suppandify the 20 odd years of Suppandization.

That being said, here is a quick questionnaire for you to check if you are a Suppandi.

1. You purchased/googled/piggybacked your engineering project in college.

2. The best practice for which you got an award at work was obtained from Google.

3. You remain silent in meetings without voicing your opinions even though you know the meeting is a criminal waste of time.

If Yes is the answer for atleast two of the above questions, then you too are a SUPPANDI!!

Here is a quick demo of Suppandization from the popular Tamil movie “Chinna Gounder”!

Disclaimer – This post is merely a sarcastic attempt in explaining the low innovation levels in India’s colleges and offices. I don’t condone or condemn the Suppandization process.

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Taxation for dummies – A comparative study on government taxes and gang protection money!

August 9, 2013

Few days ago, an article in “The Hindu” read as follows –

“Extortion gangs have been forcing hawkers to shell out money on a weekly basis

Certain groups are partly redefining the dynamics of commerce on the Marina. These are extortion gangs that demand money from vendors for letting them ply their trade. These groups – which call themselves sangams – have put a payment system in place. Every week, a vendor has to part with Rs. 30 as protection money.

Sometimes, vendors end up paying this pre-set weekly amount to more than one extortion group. “When I set up shop five years ago, I paid Rs. 5,000 to a person who designated the spot where I could set up shop. Today, there are many more gangs. They have divided the beach among themselves and each gang exercises control over shops in their section,” said a sandwich maker.  “…continue reading the article here.

If your blood temperature shoots up to 212 degrees fahrenheit or if your blood pressure skyrockets to 180 systolic / 110 diastolic and you get an insatiable itch to take a pen and paper to write to “The Hindu” or to Mr.Saidai Duraisamy or to Mr.S.George,  condemning the extortion and giving them a piece of your mind, hold on.

Please put down that pen and have a glass of cold water. Take a few deep breaths.

Now, you need to understand a few basic things about the principle of taxation before you start wasting ink and paper to put down your strong condemnations and keeping the Postal Department going. (By the way, a condemnation is the easiest way to protest against an atrocity. It gives you the satisfaction that you too have done something against an injustice while sitting in the comfort of your home. Just like this.)

Local Dada - Gang Representative

Local Dada – Gang Representative

Prime Minister - Representative of the Govt.

Prime Minister – Representative of the Govt.

As defined in Dictionary.com a “Tax” is

“a sum of money demanded by a government for its support 

or for specific facilities or services, levied upon incomes, property, 

sales, etc.”

Breaking it down,

  • pay the government for protection to do business
  • provide the govt. a cut from your income for protection
  • pay the govt. for using the roads
  • pay the govt. for buying a house
  • pay the govt. for eating out

Compare this to the gangs and their demands of protection money. Just changing one word, ‘Government’ to ‘Gang’, the framework applies like a shoe in cinderella’s feet.

“a sum of money demanded by a gang for its support or for

specific facilities or services, levied upon incomes, property, sales, etc.”

The  only notable differences between taxes and protection money are that

  • Taxes are approved by the legislature while protection money is not
  • Men in suits demand taxes with a smile while protection money is demanded by men in local attire with a frown!

And the key similarity between the government and the gangs is that neither of them protect and help the people when they need it.

Disclaimer – This post is merely a sarcastic attempt in comparing and presenting facts. I don’t condone or condemn the gangs or the governments, for the fear of being punished by either or both of them (hey..thats one more similarity between the gangs and the government!!)

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Awesomest Road Signs – Where can you find it? India, ofcourse!!

August 1, 2013

Until a few years back, when I was living in a suburb of Chennai famous for its temples and dusty unpaved pathways, the term “Road Sign” to me meant  pretty much what “Ice Fishing” means to a Libyan. Only thing about a Road that’s tangible in those parts of the town is “road tax” that all vehicle owners pay to the government. Coming from such a background, when I went to college in the city, I failed to notice the road signs most of the time and fell pray to the ingeniously criminal ways in which the Chennai traffic police laid traps using the road signs. I then learned that the two most important road signs in Chennai city are the ‘No Entry” and “No Free Left” signs.

Important Sign no.1 - No Entry

Important Sign no.1 – No Entry

Strategically placed behind a tree or a lamp post, these signs usually don’t fall in the visual spectrum of the passing vehicles, especially if one is driven by a guy from the dusty unpaved pathways suburb. And when the vehicle misses the road sign and turns left on a “No Free Left” road, one can meet the pound to pound equivalent of a Spanish matador. In case you don’t get it, I’m referring to the Chennai Traffic police here who jump on the middle of the road without a care in the world and catch the handle bars of a still moving motorcycle and stop the traffic violator, all with the ease of a Spanish matador taking a large-ass bull by its horns.

el matador de Chennai

el matador de Chennai

Heard about the term “Culture Shock”, used to describe the strangeness in ways of a new foreign land? Well I experienced it first hand on my first visit to the US when I saw a multitude of road signs everywhere. Further shocking was the fact that they had to be taken seriously and if not Uncle Sam’s long arm wouldn’t hesitate to take out a hefty fine for the violation, that is if you’re still alive after the accident that you get into by violating the road sign.

But nothing quite prepared me for the awesomeness of road signs within India itself, on the mountainous border states in the north. I learnt that road signs can have genres too. Patriotic, romantic, quirky, witty, cheesy…you name it and we’ve got it. And what better way to ensure the motorists listened to the road signs than when they are put up by a bro!!

Touching an emotional chord!

Touching an emotional chord!

Scare Tactics

Scare Tactics

A little advice to the passenger as well!

A little advice to the passenger as well!

And then there is patriotism with a tinge of secularism!

And then there is patriotism with a tinge of secularism!

Sometimes just plain facts are useful too!

Sometimes just plain facts are useful too!

This is the land of love!

This is the land of love!

Can't say I don't agree.

Can’t say I don’t agree.

And then there is good old prohibition!

And then there is good old prohibition!

And ofcourse, for the philosophically inclined.

And ofcourse, for the philosophically inclined.

And even if these signs don’t convince you to follow the road signs, you’ve got to atleast listen to your authority, especially if its your BRO!!

BRO – Border Roads Organisation

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Disclaimer: I gathered all these pics without moving my butt from my chair thanks to the internet. But if you have copyrights issue with these pics, please do let me know.

When Google Maps doesn’t help, you know you’re in Chennai!

July 19, 2013

It takes special kind of skills to survive in the wilderness as shown in the “Survivor” series. However, if you think “that” is surviving, then wait. Let me pull up my recliner and get a popcorn, to see you scrambling for words when you see what the people of Chennai do on a daily basis.

It may be tough to survive in the wild. But Chennai city will kick the wilderness’s ass when it comes to probing the survival skills of its inhabitants. Let’s say you want to go to Murray’s Gate road in Chennai. You have checked it out in Google maps and have got print outs and you drive there. But when you get there, you see this. You know you have a challenge!

When Murray's Gate becomes Muresh Gate!

When Murray’s Gate becomes Muresh Gate!

The beauty of this city is that it makes you question the accuracy of Google Maps, more than questioning yourself! If you think this is  a one off instance, please feel free to check out the rest of the pics below.

If only the French govt. see this! Chevalier becomes Sevalia! An example of international survival probibing.

If only the French govt. saw this! Chevalier becomes Sevalia. An example of international survival probing.

When Pilots are Polite!

When Pilots are Polite!

Good the Deputy "Mayor" is no more to see he is Deputy "Mayar" now.

Good the Deputy “Mayor” is no more to see he is Deputy “Mayar” now.

When education becomes a business, Brodie's Castle becomes Bradis Kesil

When education becomes business, Brodie’s Castle becomes Bradis Kesil

I know its funny..Canal St becoming Ganall St, but did you notice the comma between Ganall and Street? Why god why??

I know its funny..Canal St becoming Ganall St, but did you notice the comma between Ganall and Street? Why god why??

When Judge becomes Just, you know thats the final nail in the English coffin.

When Judge becomes Just, you know that’s the final nail in the English coffin.

For more on Chennai,it’s heritage, history and culture, follow him. For more mokkais, please feel free to follow me!

Also, before you leave, you can leave your feedback by liking or rating this post.

If you think your friends too need to undergo the mokkai, you can also share it in FB, Twitter, Pinterest etc etc.. Thats why all these colorful buttons are there.

Disclaimer: I gathered all these pics without moving my butt from my chair thanks to the internet. But if you have copyrights issue with these pics, please do let me know.

Boot and Belly Inspection – The internal workings of India’s security apparatus!

July 2, 2013

“These IT companies and posh hotels in India crack me up!!” said my friend visiting from the states.
“Why?” I asked.
“The security checks man!! That’s some seriously funny stuff. Do these people really think a terrorist is going to carry his weapons under the car or in the boot if he plans to attack these companies?”
I could see his point. In India we have this security protocol for big IT companies, commercial complexes and posh hotels where the security guard inspects the boot of the car. Being the “proactive pulikesis” these people, they also check the belly of the car with an “under car inspection mirror “. (This is really the name of this mirror and is being sold retail).

Under Car Inspection

Under Car Inspection

Car Boot

Car Boot Inspection

So I decided to unveil the obviously obfuscated reality behind the “Boot and Belly Inspection” to my friend.Thus.

Challenge to Terrorists

Challenge to Terrorists

Looking at such a news, you and I may feel safe that the govt is doing something to tackle terror. But guess what happens at the terrorist camp?

Place: Terror Camp

Terror Project Leader : Guys lets meet up at the 3rd cave on the right wing for a 5 min meeting.

Place: 3rd Cave in Right Wing

Terror Project Leader : Guys…(showing the above newpaper!) This is a great opportunity for you all! This is a challenging opportunity with lots to learn and grow. You may also have to travel onsite for this project. Who can overcome this new technology within the next 6 months?

Terror Newbie 1: That’s fantastic!! I’m all ready for this assignment. I can already see the weightage my resume would carry 5 yrs down the line after working in this project.

Terror Newbie 2: Awesomatic aromale sir! I would definitely like to take this project. Thank you very much for providing such a challenging opportunity!

So you see, what might be a reassuring thing for the citizens is actually a challenge to the terrorists. It’s one step short of saying “Ippo enna pannuva? Ippo enna pannuva?”.

What people don’t understand is that by investing on new technology to snoop terror plots and to stop terror attacks, the world govts are providing a fantastic career opportunity laced with challenge, teamwork, leadership and ofcourse travel. These methods only encourage  people to take up terrorism as a profession.

Whereas in India, with our usage of simple technology like “under car inspection mirror “, we ensure that the terrorists are tackled psychologically. As you see…

Place: Terror Camp

Terror Project Leader : Guys lets meet up at the 3rd cave on the right wing for a 5 min meeting.

Place: 3rd Cave in Right Wing

Terror Project Leader : Guys we have orders to bomb places in India. Who is up for it?

Terror Newbie 1: Sorry boss. I’m not interested. They treat us with no respect. What do they think of us? Checking the boot and bellly of cars as if we are idiots and carry our weapons and bombs in those places! I don’d mind working for a tough project. But I can’t work in a place where there is no respect or fear. 

Terror Newbie 2: He is right boss. I started to develop low self esteem and had to undergo treatment for depression, seeing the way they treat us. Boot and Belly inspection. For god’s sake!! Are we so dumb? I thought this career will earn me respect and fear. This is plain insulting!

Terror Project Leader : (to himself) Kamal sonna madhiriye aagidumo?? Poyi pulla kuttingala padikka vekka vendiyathu thaan!

While the whole world is pouring billions down the drain, Indians took a different approach that engages the problem at its root.

To the simple minded, our methods may seem simple. Sure. But after meditating for 6 hours on it, you will understand that Indian methods work at the metaphysical level as below and produce results.
1. Low self esteem
2. Depression
3. Any other psychological abnormalities on top of their existing ones.

So next time someone stops your car for Boot and Belly inspection, smile at the security guard and say thanks for keeping India safe.

Disclaimer: All characters referred here except me and my friend are fictitious (may be real too. How the hell would I know!).

Credits: “Awesomatic Aromale” – RJ Balaji; “Proactive Pulikesi” – your’s truly

Rate this  blog at the top if you like  or log a comment if you don’t like. Either way  provide your response so that if CBI or RAW or IB arrest me for investigation I have my friends around as well 🙂

Automania – Chennai Extreme

March 25, 2012
Automania - Chennai Extreme

Automania - Chennai Extreme

Game Synopsis

The city is Chennai & the year is 2012. Using fare meters in autorickshaws has been a history for over 20 years. It is a time when the city is outside the purview of limitations of physics. Autorickshaws could pass through cycle gaps. Autorickshaws increased in number exponentially every year and one could see a minimum of 5 autorickshaws simultaneously anytime they ventured out of their homes. But the fares only increased instead of reducing, converse to the universal law of supply and demand. It was a time when Autorickshaws ruled the roads and Autorickshaw drivers set the road rules.

Do you have it in you to assume the role of a road user in Chennai to curb the Autorickshaw menace from the city?

Real Chennai Map

Real Chennai Map

  • Play as a Pedestrian, Car driver, Bike rider, Cycle rider or even a Cop.
  • Adhere to the traffic laws and increase your ammunition.
  • Collect points by throwing hand-grenades at autorickshaws that cut you off or scrath your vehicle.
  • Deal with other traffic offenders in the sidelines.
  • Play with real Chennai street view.

Mission List:

1. The case of  Honk Arumugam

Eliminate the horn menace in the city by finding and tracking and eliminating compulsive honkers one by one until you meet Honk Arumugam for a final showdown.

2. Showdown with Lame Lane Lakshman

Enforce lane system in the Mount Road by assuming the role of a sniper and shooting down lane changes and frequent lane cutters without indicators. When Lame Lane Lakshman tracks you for revenge, finish him off to go to the next level.

3. Final Frontier with Noor-rooba Narayanasamy

After eliminating the Honking & Lane cutting menaces from the city, curb the overcharging problem by tracking, kidnapping & taking hostage of Noor-rooba Narayanasamy who charges nothing less than Rs.100 (Noor-rooba) for even a short distance like Gemini Flyover to Teynampet.

Bonus Games

As a bonus, the gamers can also enjoy a free hand in roaming about the city, tackling corrupt cops, kicking the speeding bikers, throwing hand grenades at travel cabs etc.

There is also a ‘”Time Run” bonus game where the objective is to reach Madhya Kailash from Siruseri within 20 minutes in peak traffic. The gamers can throw grenades, shoot bazookas and even fly for a short distance to travel faster. This game is believed to be a stress buster for a lot of commuters going in that stretch of Chennai.

User Review:

User Ramesh

User Ramesh

” I find this game fascinating. I loaded this into my PSP and I play this daily while I wait in my office bus in the OMR stretch for 2 hours on the way to office and 2 hours on the way back home. It feels real since the maps are also actual places in the Chennai city. I feel relieved when I can shoot bazookas at erring autorickshaw drivers. And the funny thing is, the Noor-rooba Narayanasamy character is someone we meet everyday in Chennai. I love this game!!

P.S. I wopuld like to see Chennai Lnaguage cursing in the next version of this game so I can vent out my frustrations in an even more realistic manner.”

– Ramesh (Software Engineer working in Kekkaran & Mekkaran Company in OMR)

Also watch out for our upcoming releases in the Chennai Extreme series – BikerBash, CabDriver Kill and Pedestrian Hunt.

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