of As[h]ai Mugam and Anga Rendu Ver Nikkian, Inga Rendu Ver Nikkian

Ok, apparently this is at least a year old as I write about, but I happened to come across some songs that Shankar Tucker produces and uploads on youtube. Most of them are pretty good. Now, I am by no means a trained musician, nor do I claim to know music. But like anyone and everyone, I have my own preferences. I am generally open to any genre as long as it is engaging enough. (almost any genre. Pop makes me want to puke most times.)

Now, it is not true that my parents did not try and get me to learn a musical instrument. While my siblings could all play the Violin, thanks to my boarding school, all I could play (and not even well at that), was the Bugle. My dad made every effort to enroll me in a music class post the boarding school stint, but he wanted me to learn keyboard (by now, Violin was obviously out of the equation) and I wanted to play the drums. 😀 Stalemate.

Many many years later, I tried learning guitar on my own, and even blew a decent amount of money on a Cort acoustic guitar, making sure I only replaced the strings with D’Addario when I broke them. (which was, well, once too often) After about 6 months of playing with it, I had learnt nothing. Two flights and a few time-zones later, I was a few thousand miles away from my guitar, and more than a year and a half has gone by. The gist of it – can’t play instruments – don’t know music. I shall make every effort to try and learn again.

Anyway, back to the point of the post, this is the song under discussion,

What was amusing, other than the video, which I think is a little goofy 🙂 (not that I mean that negatively at all), was the pronunciations of a couple of words. The post title gives away one of them. As[h]ai. S[h]olven. Nes[h]am. If you speak Tamil, then you’d probably know that these words are alternatively, and perhaps more predominantly pronounced Asai, Solven,Nesam. Now, hailing from a PI (Palakkad IyerTamilians who are somehow associated with Palakkad in Kerala, and as a result speak in a uniquely different way which combines Tamil and some Malayalam, and some other stuff, that neither camp understands. :D) family myself, I could instantly recognize the pronunciations.

My reaction was a mix of curiosity and incredulity. Very few people I know still speak like this today. My parents’ generation does. My grandparents’ generation most certainly does. But I know very few people of my age group who still speak this way. People still do, and I am sure I have other relatives who look at me and say ‘how come he doesn’t speak like us?’, but even so, the PI Tamil speaking population is a little limited.

If you have never heard PI Tamil before, here’s probably a good (I might include one of the more popular) reference,

I heard S[h]eri as I was previewing the video. [chuckles]

Anyway, as I was thinking about how the pronunciation was amusing, I got to reading the comments on the video, and the amusement vanished. Of course, as always sensible people exist, but a good number of people taking a stand for no particular reason. I would like to heard some of these people speak Tamil. Take people in Chennai [Sennai anyone ?] for instance.

I am reminded of a day when I was still in college (oh, wait, I still am 😀 only different place, and different time) when one of my classmates said something that went ‘Anga rendu ver nikkian, inga rendu ver nikkian‘ and I burst out laughing. He joined in. I later learnt that in Tirunelveli Tamil, that meant ‘there are two guys standing there, and two guys standing here’. I sure as hell don’t remember anyone asking him not to ‘mispronounce’ words.

Back to the sisters, their rendition of ‘Nee Ninaindhal’ is also pretty good. Munbe Va – umm, not so much.

[Edit – Nov-19] As I continued reading the comments section on YouTube, my amusement only increased with each comment. I think the comments can pretty broadly be classified into the following (actually, a lot of YouTube videos have comments that fall into these categories. Some of the videos are richer in the diversity of comments though. 🙂 )

I [y]am the save the Tamil Language/I will criticize thee, and also contradict myself/An*l retentive:

Several of the ‘your mis-pronunciation spoil the beauty of the song’, fall under this broad category. Here are some of these jokers,

“How ‘sai’ can become shai? can sit become shit?..you have a wonderful voice …just some caution while pronouncing language will help.”

“music is gd…but ashingamaana pronounciation…sucks :(“

“tamil and our people means perfection. we lost it.because of cultural invasion like u broadminded hypocrates headed people spoiled in all the way. great work enjoy.”

“great work , sibilance sound always have fanciness and attractiveness but any change in language looses its basic property.i don’t think the poet will accept this.Musically its advanced and inspiring.”

“Hi– if this is repetition– sorry… Pls pronounce Thamizh words in Thamizh phonetics only– there is a sanskrit flavor heard.. especially while listening to S sound – it is ASAI- not ASHAI, it is Solven – not SHOLVEN … it is NESAM – not NESHAM– The song title itself shown as ÄSHAI— please correct it…! The lovely voice flowing to heart– but the pronouncing of words hitting back… Plss”

I defend thee: Several of the ‘give them a break’ comments fall under this category,

“Excellent.They are singing their hearts out and all you can do is criticize their pronunciation?A language,any language for that matter,is meant to be spoken freely.”

“AWESOMENESS……………….­………there is no wrong in the pronunciation of “sha”……………super innovation…..inner meaning and eternal music have created a good product……..all the best”

I don’t know Tamil, but I am totally dig this song: (after going to Google translate and typing – எனக்கு சுத்தமா தமிழ் தெரியாது , ஆனா நான் இந்த பாட்டை ரொம்ப தோண்டுவேன்   )

“I am Like this Song And My Life Chan..ging Very Help This Song And This 2 Sister Thank Sister”

“Kudos to shankar tucker and the singer sisters, beautiful job, i dont knoe tamil, don’t even get one word, but cant help listening it multiple times every day, same goes with the other 2 songs as well “Nee Nenaindal” and “Munbe Va””

People who are from the Snail Mail Era:, and write Dear Sir, Dear Madams and please find enclosed herein

“Hi Shankar Tucker….”   O, hello there yourself.

Hyper People/ The punctuation-ally challenged/The SMS speak:

awesome songs you guys are super!!!!”

“fantastic Superb song…singers …music……”

“Just ❤ der voice”

The woefully misinformed:

“It not different dialects, its english influence but still good to listen to.” – right then.

“they are brahmins , they incorporate sanskrit alot in their daily vocabs. Nothing wrong.” – yes, GRE Vocabs 800/800

These are pure tamil word we often use in srilankan tamil” – Ok, maybe I am misinformed, but really ?

The Trolls:


I [y]am know music better than you B**es:

 (well, that’s just figurative. The category would have remained even if it was for a Justin Beiber song.) But these are at least way better than the ‘don’t spaail the Tamil comments’

“Very amateurish. No feelings or emotional connection. This sort of retro rerecording has become a fad. The singers lack basic understanding of music, melody and raga. Gamakams are half-baked at best and blatantly incorrect at worst.” 

“singing is bad..no breath control”

“its..ok..nothing grt !! :)”

I am suck so much at this:

“Hi.. am **. love this song so much.. i am so bad in singing.. but i feel so good when sing this song.. I tried n recorded..pls comment if u do hear..(at ur own risk) :-)”

The pirates:

“How to download this song.. pls give me link..”

The disliker dislikers:

“.and why their are bloody 110 dislikes…probably some alliens”

“108 deaf people came here.”

The lower-case Challenged


The teachers/reviewers [go, and redo it I say]

Beauty of language is in its words and at least when one is singing it is VERY important to pronounce well. Girls sing well, I am sure they can correct pronunciation and redo… All the best”

Ok, as I going on reading, I am find more categories, but I think for now this should suffice. 🙂 More, when I am bored.


Demonoid is Back!! Yippe Kay Yay


What better news for a post, when you haven’t posted in a while ?

Demonoid is back!! Yeah baby.

Well, the first signs that the sight was going to be up, (IMHO), was when the torrents which were stuck for quite some time now, started showing some progress. That these torrents had stopped for sometime was a heartbreak, considering I was stuck on 90-odd % on some of them. But the wait I am sure will definitely be worth it!!

Here are some links about demonoid being back in business

Demonoid is Back

Demonoid Returns

If you ask me, this is even bigger news than Google coming up with Wave 😀

Don’t be surprised if you aren’t able to login immediately. After all, you do expect a mad rush!! And there might still be soem chinks in the new  code.

Here’s an interesting comment I read on Demonoid being back: “Damn it!!, They didn’t lose enough data. I am still banned.” 😛

Orkut Account Hack!!

Only this other day I was sitting at a bank office (in no official capacity. I( hold an account there and was just chatting over a cup of free tea.) near my office explaining to some of the employees there that internet banking was really safe and phishing is not such a big deal. If you know of phishing and know how to avoid it, you won’t fall into the trap. I am sure they didn’t really agree with me. And now I know why.

Hardly two days after the event, I click on an Orkut link on a computer that is used by quite a few people. I did not even think to check the link. I enter my username password, and nothing happens. The same page appears. It was wee hours of the morning. So instead of getting pissed of that the page did not load or getting curious, I just go to sleep. (My company works me till 3 AM constantly. I doubt if you can get curious or furious at such an hour even with a couple of shots of caffeine.)

The next morning, I am at a meeting in my office when my elder brother, calls me up. Ah, that feeling when everyone from your manager to the clown sitting next to you looks at you like you committed a grave offense. I simply cut the call, put my phone on silent and carry on with the meeting. After the meeting, I call up my brother and to my shock, find that my Orkut account has been hacked!! Whoa!! And what’s more, they have erased my profile, and posted some obscenities there replete with pictures matching the theme. Since  I would not have net access for I don’t know how many days and the last place I wanted to go to reclaim my account was a cyber cafe, I asked my bro to do something about it. And sure enough, he reclaimed the account. Thank God for that.

Moral of the story: Always be on the watch out. Never let your guard down.

P.S: Now, you know why I am faceless on Orkut.

Orkut-Friend Requests

I am sure this happens to all of you once in a while. You get a friend request from a person you don’t even know. I don’t know, but there seem to be people out there who want to randomly make friends and talk exclusively on “Ssssup” and “How are you” and then top it with a “F-unny R-aunchy I-diotic E-ndocrine problem N-o shit D-eranged”  Testimnoial. Believe me, people do that. They are that bored in life. I thought I am bored and jobless. There seem to be people whose only purpose in life is to make people like me feel good about ourselves.

Orkut-Friend Request

So, I get these few friend requests today. I was planning on not accepting any more friend requests simply because they (most of them at least. I tracked most of my friends on Orkut some 3 years back. 🙂 ) are not my friends. Some of the people are acquaintances and that is perfectly acceptable. At least you know each other. But what bugs me is people who don’t know you at all or you know them for that matter, send friend requests. What’s more annoying ? They don’t have the decency to scrap you and introduce themselves either. Orkut gave them an option of doing that while sending a friend request. And they ignore that. Well, if you are not going to take the trouble of writing a line while sending someone a friend request, I don’t see what you plan to do once your request has been accepted. If you do it just to increase your friends count, then buzz off.

Features, New Themes and Apps:

Well, this is not really related to the title, but then some of the new features are ok. Like tagging people in photos. (Facebook ?)  However, the new themes look kinda sad and the spam is getting out of control too. As for the apps, they seem to be meant for the eternally jobless. I am not changing my theme, not adding any apps and yes, not accepting those friend requests either.) 😀

One Day @ The Passport Office

Passport Office

(Click on picture to enlarge)

I went to the Passport Office today. (Shastri Bhavan,Haddows Road, Nungambakkam,Chennai). Guess how much time it took me to go into the office, find my way and all that and come out, receipt in hand ? Twenty Minutes. Really. That’s how much time it took me. I was stupefied. I have my friends Bala, Marc and Hari to thank.

You know the secret to getting things done the way you want and really quickly at that ? Information.

First, the Indian Passport Website is really informative and useful. There is scope for improvement, but then believe me, this is as much as you can expect really. You can find the following there,

Among a few others….

Now, most things here are really detailed. They have given some thought to the questions the applicant might ask himself while filling the form. And tried to answer all those questions and structure the website such that it’s easy to navigate through.

Since my friends helped me out with a few things, that made things really simple for me, I thought I’d make yet another FAQ compilation. But I must warn you, I have not covered any of the questions to which you can find the answers in the website mentioned above. Duplication of content isn’t exactly my cup of tea. (Although, lots of bloggers thrive in it. :D) Read that (set of official FAQ’s) first!!

Disclaimer: The FAQ’s below are not official and are Chennai specific. Further more they are specific to Shastri Bhavan (unless mentioned) and Normal Quota (not Tatkaal, and again, unless mentioned so.)

Never Asked FAQ’s:

(Not specific to Chennai)

1) I have a 5cm x 3.5cm passport size photograph. Do you think it’s ok?

Why would it be ok, when they have clearly mentioned that you need to affix a 3.5cm x 3.5cm passport size photograph ? It’s not ok. If you want to take the chances, you are welcome, but then if they send you back, you have yourselves to blame. I would suggest spending an extra 50 bucks so that there aren’t any hassles.

2) The form says the passport size photograph should have a light background (preferably white). Is that true ?

Yes. Light is compulsory. White is not. I gave my application in with a Grey background and they were ok with it. So no reason why they won’t take yours. But just to be safe, demand for a white background when you get your passport size photograph taken.

3) How do I sign across the photograph ?

Now, this is a question even I did not have an answer to. The form said “Paste your cross signed recent color photograph.” Now whether I was to sign on it and then paste it or whether I was to paste it and then sign it with part of the sign falling outside the photo, I wondered. I did the latter though and I was alright. You need to use a ball pen to sign on the photo (I don’t know if OHP marker would be acceptable.) and it’s quite hard actually.

4) Do I need documentary proof for Place of Birth ?

I did take my Birth Certificate (the one issued by the hospital and not the municipality. The municipality one, is given to the school you first attended and it was probably burnt in the fire in the office :D.), but then they said it was not required. If you have it, it’s best to take it along.

5) I want ECNR, and I have completed my B.E. However, I do not have my degree with me yet. I have my TC, Course Completion Certificate and all of my Mark sheets. Is that enough ?

No, actually. None of these would do. The TC and CC are not accepted. And they don’t have the patience to sit and look at all your 8 semester mark sheets. So, take copies (and original) of your 12th and 10th standard mark sheets. They asked for my 12th mark sheet in my case.

6) In the personal particulars form, under 10 References, can I give my own parents names ? Or someone else who resides in my own house ? Or my parents office address ?

No again. It needs to be someone other than your family who know you and who live nearby. And the address needs to be residential. It is best to have people who have the same postal code as yours listed as your references. And they need to have a phone number too. I doubt if these people will ever be contacted, but it is better to let them know that they might be.

(Questions Specific to my case-Normal Quota, Chennai)

7) How did you apply online ?

Look at the link that reads online registration on top.

8. What documents did you carry with you ?

For ECNR-10th Mark Sheet Original and two self attested copies, 12th Mark Sheet Original and two self attested copies.

For Address Proof-Bank Passbook with Photograph and Address with two self attested copies and Ration Card with two self attested copies. I also had with me my voter ID card and College ID card.

For Proof of Date of Birth-TC of the college last attended. Copy of Birth Certificate. I also had an assortment of other documents like voter ID, college ID and 12th TC,(Attested by Principal) which had proof of Date of Birth. Your passbook should also have the same.

9) Where did you submit the online application ?

There was this queue for Online registration to the left of the general queue. Look at the picture below to get an idea.

Online Queue

(Click on the picture to enlarge)

10) What do they do in the form verification ?

Pretty simple. They check if the application form is in order and you have the originals. As far as possible, carry all the originals you have with photocopies of the same. In case they say one of them is not acceptable, you can always produce the other(s).

Once you have satisfactorily submitted all documents, then you are asked to go upstairs and pay the money. Here again, the tatkaal queue(s) are pretty long, whereas the general quota queue(s) are very short. I had three people standing in front of me, of which I found out two weren’t even in the queue. Just standing there and talking.

I wanted to get a couple of snaps, but then Cell Phone Usage was not allowed inside and so I had to keep my shutter (camera’s) shut.

11) What’s the advantage of filling the form online ?

You don’t have to stand in the general queue and wait all day. However, with online applications, they give you an appointment some 4-5 days after you have submitted the form. You need to get this from printed out and fill a few other details yourself. Once you get your appointment date and time, be there at least 45 minutes early. (I went 15 minutes late, but you might not be that lucky)

The online queue is really short.

12) What additional steps did you take to make sure that you weren’t sent back ? I hear that happens a lot.

Yes, people take things for granted and do not have everything in place as required. Which is why they are asked to come back again. If your Ration Card, Voter ID and Passbook have different addresses (as in you stay in the same house, but the illiterate people who are sent to fill these forms for you and do not let you fill it yourself, screw it up and they now read addresses that are actually the same, but read differently, then you are better off not showing one of these originals.)

For instance, all of my address proofs had weird addresses. Thankfully, my pass book was in order. If you plan to have things hassle free, go to the Election Commission or whichever place they issues your Voter ID and get your address changed. My Pin Code was wrong. Instead of 41 which is Thiruvanmiyur, they had written 04 which is Mylapore. Dumbasses

Thought of a few more. Can’t remember it now.

One Lakh Hits

Err, hard to believe and totally insignificant too, but now I can boast of being a Lakhpathi. 🙂 1,00,000 hits and counting. (Ok, by now, the ‘and counting’ looks silly. You don’t sit and count numbers after that.) So, I decided I’d install StatCounter, just to see how the hits and the visits differ in the future. It’s up and running.

I thought of a few minor modifications to the blog, but I don’t think that would be all that necessary. I don’t know if I can blog all that actively in another 15 days or so anyway. Anyway, regardless, keep reading and keep the score board ticking.

I would not like to thank anyone for being a big support and all that. Jobless people, go do something useful for a change. 😛

Microsoft Reader

Before people get started on Microsoft bashing and all that, (which you can do later. I won’t object) I would like to declare that I am not endorsing this product or anything. Just writing about it.

I came across a e-book that was in .lit format. I didn’t know of a .lit format or of the Microsoft Reader till then. I said to myself, that I might as well check out how good this ebook is considering it is only 200 odd KB. (Well, compare that with e-books in pdf format which occupy a few MB normally.)

To my surprise, the .lit format is pretty good. It is easy on the eyes and the page layout looks exactly like the book. What’s more if you had a mobile phone running Windows Mobile, you could read these books on your phone. Nice isn’t it ?

You should check it out for yourself.

Download this book and rename the file extension to .lit


You may obtain the Microsoft reader from here,


You can read about it, here.