Thursday, April 27, 2006

My world this week

Wow! It feels great to be back in the thick of things. It is starting to seem more and more like I am one of those guest columnists that makes a contribution once in 6 months or so, the only difference being that I am a guest columnist in my own blog. How weird is that? Well, Now that I have wandered into this "zone", I think it would be impropriety on my part to just turn back and walk away. On that note, here goes...........

Last weekend, unlike most of my other weekends, was eventful. A bunch of friends and I drove to Kettering, OH for the A.R. Rahman concert. We were very excited and full of expectations and I am glad we(atleast I) were not disappointed. The concert was really good and although Vasundhara "Shakalaka Baby" Das was the only other singer, apart from ARR himself, it was truly amazing. Most of the orchestra, including the conductor, and singers belonged to a group called Global Rhythms, consisting of mostly white Americans and some ABCD'S and ABCC's. What I liked about the concert was , more than the performances themselves which were awesome, the commitment shown by these kids to learn and perform music totally alien to them. What I also liked about the concert was the wide assortment of eye-candy on display :). Yeah, Yeah. I know what you are thinking. Guys will be guys, no matter what. A great concert and pretty girls bedecked in great outfits. It is at times like these.........and other times that I feel life is beautiful. :)


I am sure most of you must have already read about the precocious Indian-American author, Kaavya Vishwanathan, who was paid $500,000 for two books about an Indian-American girl, Opal Mehta, and her efforts to get into Harvard after being rejected by them for not having a social life. Kaavya herself, like the protoganist in her novel, is attending Harvard. Everything was hunky-dory until a couple of days ago when some readers pointed out that quite a few paragraphs in the just-released first part were strikingly similar to the text from a novel by another author. Kaavya apologized to the author publicly saying that she had inadvertently used the lines from the other author's book because, as a high school student, she was so impressed by the author's books that those lines were ingrained in her mind. Now, Kaavya is in the midst of a legal battle, which if she loses, could sabotage her chances of continuing at Harvard. I have seen the two texts in question and it deosn't seem like something done inadvertently. The lines are strikingly similar. Correct me if I am wrong, but how can someone read a book 2-3 years ago and remember exact lines from it? I've read that elephants have great memories and that they remember routes to waterholes that they frequented as youngsters. I guess this beats what even the elephants can do. I empathize with Kaavya in her current ordeal but as far as I see it, it is plagiarism. It is also in the news that the publishers of Kaavya's book have annulled their contract and aren't going to publish her second book. Well, for the sake of a budding writer's career, I sure hope things go downhill( in a positive way) from here for Kaavya.


Apparently people in Los Angeles, unable to bear the rising gas prices, are resorting to an ingenious method - letting the fuel tanks run dry and breaking down on the freeway in an effort to get some free gas. It seems there are a few publicly-funded vehicles in LA that provide a gallon of free gas and a ride to the nearest gas station for those out of gas. Wow, I must say that is ingenious, although in a not-so-good way. I am pretty sure it must have been thought of by a desi or a chinese because only these two classes of people are capable of such extreme deviousness. :). I wish there were similar vehicles in Lexington :). On a related note, senators today agreed on a bill that would provide american taxpayers with $100 rebate checks towards gas. Now that's something worth salivating over, especially during this time of sky-rocketing gas prices.


And finally, these days the only songs that are played in my car and at home are the ones from the yet-to-be-released tamizh movie, Godfather. Wow, the music is zimble awesome. "Innisai" by Naresh Iyer and Mathangi is melodious and soothing. Naresh iyer seems to be ARR's latest blue-eyed boy and man, he can sing well. But the best song of the album, according to me, is "Oh Oh ilamai..." by Aslam et al. It is simply an amazing song and the singers have done a great job of it. That's the song on my lips these days. The hardest part in the song was getting the "thithum thaam thaam thaam thiku......" piece and I am happy to say that I can sing it very well now. ARR, are you reading this? ;)