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Graduated out of the Kit lens

Since I got my first DSLR, the world of photography opened its floodgates to me and I had too much to learn and I still find that I learn every time I take the camera in my hands. I have been using the Nikon D3100 with its standard 18-55mm kit lens and I am quite happy with it mainly because of the learning opportunities a kit lens gives me. I found out that macro photography and portraits fascinate me and I also liked wildlife photography. So I decided to get a Tele-Zoom lens with constant and large aperture. The Nikkor 70-200mm lens was quite expensive and though photography is a hobby, it hasn’t turned out to be a serious hobby to me. Hence I decided to get the Tamron 70-200mm lens which was much more economical and value for money for amateurs like me. Sigma was also on the cards, but somehow I wanted Tamron over it. I ordered it from Amazon and got it shipped to India through my cousins in US.

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…so, where were we?

I sort of don’t remember when was the last time I sat down to write a blog. I could go to the posts and check on the dates, but I just feel comfortable not remembering it and saying, its been a while I blogged. The reason being many things. One of which is I was just not in the right moment to sit down for a blog post over the past few weeks. A lot has been happening both at home and work. Our family lost a member again and this time it was a relatively young life. My cousin brother died in a road accident. He was just 17 years old and the just finished school and was expecting his results. He got excelling marks, but the marksmen above him overtook him or should I say, “undertake”? If only he wore a helmet and rode a bike that suited his age and physique, he would have still been very much my brother and the son of  his devastated parents. Following that loss, while my family is still trying to come out of it mentally, frequent visits to hospitals and uncertain statements from doctors is getting to pressurize the rest of the family members. As I am getting over it, things are not looking very bright at work either. I was starting to get possessed by the dark side and I was afraid that my negative thoughts could spread on and affect everyone around me. The mood around me was quite depressing over the past few weeks and I terribly wanted to get out of it. I tried going out with friends, taking up my long lost hobbies, shopping and all other things that could lighten up my damp spirit and realized that nothing is working out.

Finally a thought struck to me. What can possibly bring back happiness to me than a gadget? and that’s when I decided to shortlist on which gadget I needed to buy. And the winner is “Tamron AF 70-200mm f/2.8 Di LD IF Macro Lens” for my Nikon D3100. I ordered it on the Amazon and had it delivered to my aunt in US and she is on her way to India soon. Now I just can’t wait to lay my hands on it. Oh yes! be assured of an unboxing video and an indepth review.

But in the meanwhile, I do think of a lot of topics to write on this personal blog of mine and most of them turned out to be dark themed. I just didn’t want to pass on my depression to you and hence its residing in the drafts folder not progressed beyond the title field. There was also a fun blog which I planned as a series of imaginary stories of a not-so-imaginary character which is residing in the draft folder, but the recent events put on a huge writer’s block and flushed away the funny bone in me. While I dive in to find that bone, and while I am waiting for my Tamron lens, you hang in there and rest assured that I’ll be back.

p.s: Please wear helmet if you are on two wheeler and don’t forget that seat belt if in a car. Your loved ones are waiting for you at the other end of the road.

Kullanari Kootam – Movie Review

Looking into the recent trend, Tamil movies tend to portray Madurai as an uncivilized village filled with uncouth and loud mouthed villains, hillbilly heroes among people hacking each other to death with sickles and machetes as part of their regular lifestyle. Yes, Madurai is not a metro city, but it definitely is a peaceful town and among the last few cities on earth where Tamil is spoken like Tamil and the Tamil culture is still alive.

The moment the Kullanari Kootam movie started with the title credits on foreground and Madurai cityscape in background, I thought this is yet another movie set to deface Madurai. But as the Movie progressed I felt that though they have not captured the real pulse of Madurai lifestyle, they are not here to tarnish the city’s image. It’s a story of a random young man from a middle class family and his love story filled with adventurous twists and funny friends.

Vetri (Vishnu Vishal) is a jobless MBA graduate loitering around harmlessly and aimlessly. He spends his happy little life on the Rs 10 per day allowance from his father. He lives with his family in a small house in Madurai and a few songs and scenes have been shot in typical Madurai landmarks. There ends the Madurai connection for this movie. Vishnu’s father is a strict headmaster and he despises the entire lot of policemen for some unknown reason. Vishnu accidentally recharges a random mobile number when his father entrusts him with the responsibility of recharging his prepaid mobile balance. Apparently (predictably) the random number belongs to a pretty girl Priya (Remya Nambeesan). A few missed calls and some staged encounters leads to love blossom between these two. Priya’s father is a policeman and he promises to give her away in marriage to Vetri if and only if he becomes a policeman. And by now if you had concluded that this is a typical kollywood plot, you are wrong.The second half of the movie shows how Vetri meets with a gang of good-hearted youngsters aspiring to become policemen and together how they manage to become policemen.

This is Vishnu Vishal’s 4th movie and in all four movies his character is almost the same: a naive but straight forward youngster with a will and wish to win.  Maybe this is what he does the best. It suits him and he has executed the role perfectly in this movie. Remya is pretty and pleasing to watch (She resembles Divya Spandana @ Kuthu Ramya at many instances). She has very little to do in the movie, but with whatever is there to perform she has done well. The casting for Vetri’s family members are near perfect. Everyone has done well and fit the bill. But the real highlights are the Kullanari kootam (Fennec Fox gang). All four guys have done an exceptional job. Their dialogue delivery, portrayal of down-to-earth attitude and innocence is commendable.

This is a debut film for director Sribalaji. He has tried something different yet so familiar. He could have avoided a lot of over-stretched scenes and cut-short the movie by a good 30-45 minutes. The storyline is neither brilliant nor too dumb. He has delivered a movie that is enjoyable by a wider audience. After a long gap I come across a decent Tamil movie without unnatural heroism, illogical drama, intolerable sentiments, violence, vulgarity or absurdity. Though the movie hasn’t got the best of the screenplay, plot or music, it’s a feel good movie that keeps you entertained for most of the running time.

Petrol Tank Cap #fail

Auto drivers least care about road safety. This is yet another proof of it. The petrol (gasoline) tank cover is a makeshift kludge. Its a bubble water can cap acting as a petrol tank cover. Road safety gone for a toss.

Cricketing, all the way to Glory

I am neither a great expert of cricket nor a cricket historian. To me cricket is the greatest form of entertainment, only next to James Bond movies. Frankly speaking, I had no hopes for the Indian Cricket team to lift the world cup. The way they were inconsistent with their performance, their unpredictability, undependable form and incoherent team composition made them look like the least likely team to win the World cup. It was either Australia, Srilanka or South Africa that were poised to win, in my opinion. I thought it would be a great feat if India crossed the quarter finals stage and the great feat was performed only to be followed by much greater feats. If India had lost in the knock-out stage, I would have felt bad for Sachin. The cricketing God would miss his last chance to recover the most sought after prize for the country. That was my only worry. Like every other cricket fan, Sachin is truly a phenomenal hero for me. I just wished that he lifts the cup for us more than any other cricketer.

Getting back to the ground, it was those last 3 matches that spiked the heart rate of 121 million Indians. Australia vs India, what a match it was? It saw Australian players like Ricky Ponting rise up the situation and send the ball blasting away to the boundaries. Nothing was wrong in their team. It was an impeccable performance in all departments of the game. Fielding and Bowling was excellent. But the Indian squad had answer for every situation. They matched the Australians in all possible ways and played defensively though a large part of the innings and finally peaked at the right moment to sent the Aussies back home. None of the cricketing pundits would have predicted a win for India in that match. This win also ensured a nerve-racking match in the semifinals. India vs Pakistan, the mother of all fixtures. It is a dream come true for any cricket fan to watch the match between these two countries. It is one occasion when the game becomes a battle. And what more you need than a blasting starter. Opener Sehwag opened the flood gates for the runs to flow in with his spectacular boundaries. The run rate was over 9 per over when he was dismissed. At that stage the score could have gone upto 400. But the Indian line up started their defensive attack. The run rate came down to as low as 4 per over. A moderate score of 260 looked liked a sitting duck for the Pakistanis, but they were in for a surprise. This time the bowlers rose up to the occasion. Excellent disciplined bowling attack and committed fielding ensured that the Pakistanis were sent home packing for a 231 runs. If only Sachin has completed his 100th ODI hundred in that match, I would have been 100% happier than Sachin himself. The win ensured a place in the finals for the clash for the title: World Champions 2011.

Sri Lanka is not an easy team to face. They have been a nightmare to many test playing teams. They have had an excellent run in this tournament. Their top order batsmen were in full form. They humiliated great teams like England and West Indies to reach here. Their bowlers were in form and the team had killer instinct to get back the world cup to their country. On the D-Day their top order let them down. But the middle order stalwarts Sangakara and Jayawardane pierced the Indian bowling attack. Jayawardane stayed till the last ball to ensure a high scoring Innings chase for India. Indian field attack on this day was exceptional. Raina and Yuvaraj were fiercely sharp in the field. Normally sloppy fielders like Zaheer and Munaf were also seen diving to save runs. In reply to the Srilankan innings of 274 runs, the Indian openers Sehwag and Saching collapsed their wickets to Malinga the very early stage of the match. But Dhoni came up the order and steadied the ship. Partnering with Gambhir and Kohli, Dhoni made sure that we stayed on course. The innings saw some mature shots and finally the Six from Dhoni’s bat ensured that Indians are the World Champions for the next four-year. It was the greatest gift the team could give Sachin. For all Sachin has done to Indian Cricket over the past 21 years, he definitely deserved it and we Indians wanted and missed the World champions title like the deserts missed the rains.

The team played for each other and stood up for each other through difficult times. It’s an excellent team effort. They kept their calm in the pressure tides. They failed to accept defeat and they never gave up chasing the victory. From what it seemed like an incoherent team composition, they went on win the World title. To me it was the greatest moment of my life. India have won 2 world cups so far and both during my lifetime so far. When they first won their title, I was probably still finding it difficult to get the alphabets and nursery rhymes right. But this time I was there sitting in the living room to witness the dream of a nation go alive. This would go down as the most dramatic moment of my life.

Congratulations! India!

தகிட தத்தோம்

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It was fun watching last night World cup quarter finals played and dominated by India against Australia. Feels so good that even if India doesn’t go ahead to win the cup, its alright! The boys in Blue have done us all proud. Rock on!

Bull cane juicer

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Raguri, a small town on the highway near Shridi in Maharashtra. I noticed this strange mechanical device. A bull driven sugar cane juicer. It was quite interesting. A win win situation. The man gets money by selling the juice and the bull gets to eat the sugarcane fiber after every customer leaves.