Saturday, January 31, 2004

No books this week

Past week was a fully packed one, so no books were read to comment upon. Will try to make up for it this week end.

My link referrer shows that those who google to buy Tamil Books land up in my site. It means that there is a paucity of (always wanted to use paucity in a sentence ) sites with this info, so I will put up details of some of the publishers here.

Books of Thi. Jaa (Thi Janakiraman)
Ainthinai Pathipagam
279 Pycofts Road, Triplicane ,Chennai-5
Tamilnadu, India.

Books of Cho Ramaswamy
P.O. Box 617, 244, Ramakrishna Mutt Road, Mylapore, Chennai-600 004, Tamilnadu, India.
Tel: 91-44-24941314

Books by Laa. Sa. Raa (Laa. Sa. Ramamrutham), AsokaMitran
Kalaignan Pathippagam
10,Kannadasan Street,
T Nagar,Chennai-600017

Sujatha's books
Uyirmmai Pathippagam
11/29, Subramaniam Street
Chennai - 600 018
They have also published Aadhavan's "En Peyar Ramaseshan", a must read book. Don't miss it, will write about the book soon.

Wednesday, January 28, 2004

Strange ways of Google

I have added a referrer program on the side bar to find who is linking to me. Looks like any one who is searching about Tamil Novelists lands up here, so I shouldn't disappoint them. So here is my take on some of the novelists I read

Thi. Jaa - Thi Janakiraman is one of the well known names in Tamil Literature. His novels are about human relationships, generally that fall outside the society's moral framework.

"Moga mul" is a classic novel about a guy falling in love with a older woman. The heroine Yamuna is one of my all time favorite characters. One thing about this novel is that its title if translated into English is a classic - "Passions' Thorn". I am not aware of any English translation of this novel. All of Thi Jaa's women are strong like Yamuna in Moga mul, Ammani in Marappasu or Sengamalam in UyirththEn. Thi Jaa was successful professionally too, retiring as a high official in All India Radio. He won Sahitya Academy for his short stories collection.

Thi Jaa writes very soulfully about music, his novels abound with detailed description of Carnatic Music. Now, I am tone deaf and don't know anything about music, but the way he writes makes you appreciate the nuances, or atleast feel the bliss of music.

More on others whenever I feel like it

Monday, January 26, 2004

Smirnoff, Bacardi and Johnny Walker Red Label ...

Want to taste these all in a single day, but can't afford it? Get a Sindhi friend to invite you to his brother's wedding. Arun, I owe you a lot.

Ok, this is the first time I am attending a Sindhi wedding party, and was sort of speechless. If you have attended any Tamilian wedding you would know that the place is crowded, every body is tensed up for no reason and sweating like a pig, especially the bride and groom.

Sindhis' seem to udnerstand the essence of marriage, literally no rituals, everybody holed up in a AC hall and there is drinks to loosen up the party and a dance floor to shake a leg. I have never danced, and can't dance if my life depended on it, so was watching from the sidelines. It was a learning experience, aided by some names mentioned in the title

Thursday, January 22, 2004

IBM refuses to buy Microsoft

Yes, but not now. In 1987, when Microsoft was struggling with its Windows development and facing growing up pains, Gates offered to sell 30% of his stake to IBM. Ofcourse the haughty IBM suits refused and the result is there for all to see now.

Many such interesting anecdotes are in the book I am currently reading, Business Blunders. Some are about financial frauds like collapse of Barrings and some are real jokes like the time an Engineering firm spent years unsuccessfully trying to build a canal to link two rivers. They finally realised they were forcing the water upstream.

It is good to know that we are not the only blunderers on Planet Earth :)

Tuesday, January 20, 2004

Clean Toilets

I am reading Manushya Puthiran's poetry. The following verse has stuck to my mind for the past few days

"Babar wants Masjid.
Ram wants Temple.
We commoners want
Clean Toilets"

Good one

Friday, January 16, 2004

Meeting Mr. Sujatha (albeit for a few minutes)

Yes. I finally spoke to Sujatha a.k.a S. Rengarajan the idol of yuppies who dream of themselves as writers in hibernation. Sujatha has been successful in many fields - professional Engineer (he retired as GM of Bharat Electronic Bangalore, was instrumental in introducing Electronic Voting Machines in India), Writer (he is the most successful writer, atleast commercially, in the past three decades in Tamil), Screen play and dialogue writer for Tamil movies, editor of On line Tamil magazine Ambalam....

He was in the Uyirmai Pathippagam stall along with Manushya Puthiran, publisher and poet. Sujatha had probably just come in and there was yet another fan of his. This guy had the rapturous look on his face, like he has seen god. Well, I have seen Sujatha from a distance couple of times (his house is in my locality), still I too was in such a state. I had picked up a book by Aadhavan and handed it over to Sujatha for signing it.

Me: It's Aadhavan's book, is it ok sir? (perspiring by this time)
Sujatha: No problem, I will sign on any book, even if it's a Olai chuvadi (Palmyra Manuscript). I refuse to sign only in scraps of paper.
Me: "dumbstruck" not knowing what to say
Sujatha: If its' my book I will sign more gladly
Me: Thanks Sir

That's the end of my celebrity meeting. Those few minutes left me on a high for the rest of the evening.

Spent about three hours in the book fair. Exhilirating stuff. The crowd is increasing every year, has Chennai become a land of book worms? Some stalls were so crowded, that we decided to skip them. From first impressions, Kalachuvadu, Uyirmai Pathippagam, Kannadasan Pathippagam seem to be doing well in Tamil. In English book stalls Orient Longman and Penguin are doing ok.

Books we picked up:

1. Therndhetutha Sirukathaigal - Sujatha (Selected Short Stories Sujatha)
2. Siragugal Muriyum - Ambai (Wings will break - short stories by Ambai)
3. En Peyar Ramaseshan - Aadhavan (My name is Ramaseshan novel by Aadhavan)
4. Oru Puliyamarathin Kathai - Sundara Ramasamy (Story of a Tamarind Tree - novel by Sundara Ramasamy)
5. Much Obliged, Jeeves - PG Wodehouse
6. Mapmaker - Poetry by Keki. Daruwala

Books that were interesting, but not picked up:
1. Last of the Liberals - essays by Ramachandra Guha. I wanted to buy this book desperately, but it was priced at Rs. 495.00. Thought I would ask my book seller friend to get it from the publisher directly with discount

2. Literary review of Modern Tamil Writers by Jeya Mohan. He has written a series of books analysing Pudumaippitthan, Thi. Jaa, Laa. Sa. Raa, Ka. Na. Subramanian, Mouni, Aadhavan, Sundara Ramasamy, Gnaani, Nagulan and a few others I forget. I browsed through the books, they were interesting. However there is a dogfight going on in Tamil Literary circles with Jeyamohan at its center. Thought I would first read Jeyamohan and form a opinion of his writings before reading his opinion of others. Will definitely pick it up some time soon.

Going to the fair again on Sunday :)

Monday, January 12, 2004

Have planned to visit the Madras book fair on Pongal day, 15th Jan.

I am now reading The world according to Peter. F. Drucker. Bought it in a book exhibition last month, and am reading it in bits and pieces. I'm yet to complete the book. It's more about Drucker, than by Drucker. I have always been interested in reading about the private person behind the public facade. This book by Jack Beatty is good in that it critically analyses Drucker and his effect on Management thinking in the past century.

Beatty provides the context of Drucker's book and shows how Drucker was accurate in predicting the events of future decades before they happened. It was an illuminating book for me, who like any MBA student accessed Drucker in the 11th hour before an exam.

Some things I learnt from the book were

a) Drucker is an European (I always wondered how an American possessed so much clarity of thought), he is from Vienna.

b) Drucker's first book was The End of the Economic Man, written in 1940s, and he started out as a Social Scientist, analysing the society. When he understood the society of the future would be largely associated with corporations and companies, he started writing about Corporates.

c) His only prediction on the stock market was in September 1929 when he predicted that the market would go up. Next month the market crashed:)

d) His analysis on General Motors met with disapproval of the legendary Alfred Sloan, who thought that Drucker was wrong. Drucker proved to be right eventually.

Suffice to say he is very good at detecting patterns and seeing the big picture. and at the age of 94, (yes, he is still alive) his words are still worth their weight in gold.

All of this made me happy when I read this item a couple of days ago, India becoming economic powerhouse: Peter Drucker. India is Shining, I guess.

Saturday, January 10, 2004

If you are a bibliophile in Chennai, you must surely be aware of the annual book fair held at Quaid E Millet College grounds in January. The fair is conducted by Booksellers and Publishers Association of South India (BAPASI) and this year's fair is from 9th - 19th Jan. The first time I visited the fair was in 1991, when I was in Higher secondary. The intention was noble, to shop lift books:). We were a gang of 4 - Adarsh, Vivek, Raja and myself. It helped that these guys had the rich affluent look unlike me (my friend Anuja says I look like a tapori when dressed neatly). The modus operandi was the classic one, all of us distracting the counter clerk, while one picked up the book. It didn't matter what book it was, we were into it for the thrill. It was Raja who did the actual picking. He hid it in his loose pullover which he had worn specifically for this purpose. The suffering publisher was either Orient Longman or Oxford University Press, can't remember. From 1992 to 2000 I wasn't in Chennai so could not polish my skills in shop lifting. By this time I had also matured enough (my wife doesn't agree) to buy books instead of stealing. In 2001 I spent my money on buying the entire collection of Kalki's novels (Ponniyin Selvan, Parthiban Kanavu, Alai Osai and Sivagamiyin Sabatham). 2002 was a bad year, financially restrained, I just wandered around the fair. In 2003 I bought Thi. Jaa short stories, a poetry book by Abdul Rahman , Letters of Pudumaipiththan and Chettinadu Thaalaatu Paadalgal (Lullabies of Chettinad). This year I haven't yet decided on what to buy. Will just go there and let the books lead me. The pleasure of a bibliophile in a book fair .....

Thursday, January 08, 2004

Book review of Detective

Detective is a novel by Arthur Hailey on well, detectives. As readers of Hailey know, his novels are built around a particular sphere of life, like Money Changers (about bankers), Evening News (about Newsreaders), Wheels (about Detroit Executives), Overload (about electric utility services) and so on. In the same vein Detective is built around the protagonist Ainslie, Homicide sergeant in Miami Police and a former Catholic priest.

A serial killer on death row, Elroy Doil wants to confess to Ainslie hours before execution. It was Ainslie who tracked and arrested Doil. Doil confesses that he committed all the murders (fourteen , you have grisly details about them all) except the two. Then who committed those two murders? From the beginning Ainslie had doubts about those murders and he re-opens the case and ...., well you get the drift.

The novel has seemingly unrelated incidents in the Miami Police department but in the end all these are tied together neatly, like in Tamil movies. The fact that the protagonist is a former priest gives enough room for the novelist to explore some philosophy.

May be I have read too many of such novels, that I was able to identify the killer half way through. There is lot of explicit violence mentioned, so beware. Like all Hailey novels you get an insider's view on how the Police department functions. A good sunday read but nothing to go out of your way for is my verdict.
My term exams are on at LIBA where I am doing my part time MBA. Yesterday was Working Capital Management exam, which is traditionally a tough paper as the prof likes to ask convoluted questions. But this one was different, it was the easiest of them all, atleast for me. :)) Was grinning from ear to ear while writing the exam. I could solve all the problems. :)))

Friday, January 02, 2004

So what happened this new year?

Nothing actually. Spent the new year eve watching "Saamy" in VCD (I know, the movie was released almost a year ago). Had Ice cream as the clock struck twelve and went to sleep.

In the morning, completed one of my new year resolutions, took my wife on a shopping spree. We wandered about in Pondy Bazar and then on to Madhar Shah at Kellys. Met a really super sales man at Madhar Sha. We had completed our purchase and were just looking around the place, and he talked us into buying one more Churidhar set.

Spent the afternoon reading Alex Haley's Detective. More on that after I finish the book.

In the evening went to Wang's kitchen at Prince plaza for dinner. I am not a chinese food enthusiast, mainly because there is hardly any variety for a vegetarian (I am one) in it. But my wife loves it (she being a non vegetarian) and since she has accompanied me so many times to Saravana Bhavan (a pure veg restaurant), it was time I reciprocated. The food was good, the same Fried rice, stir fried vegetables and Cauliflower. On the non veg side there was Mutton, Chicken fry, Fish fry and beef. My wife had a good time being carnivorous. All in all a relaxing day.