Writer's Blog

Transient Thoughts

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Dirty Minds

I have a friend who pronounces 'last' as 'lust' - though not on purpose. Naturally, everytime he does it we have a laugh. The last (lust) time was when he was reading a random billboard on the road and read about this 'Ever-lusting ply'. Man! I never thought I could identify with a sheet of wood.


One of the lifts in our appartment carries this scratching-graffiti of a long-limbed, high-breasted, faceless beauty - standing with arms and legs spread out. Here and there are scribbled 'SEX' 'FUC' etc. It's very tempting to scratch below 'Sigmund Freud was here.'


And, to close, let me re-tell of this friend of a friend, who whenever he was bored in Chennai used to go to the bitch.

He meant beach ofcourse.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Divine Intervention

This post on the Cholas was'nt going to happen, except for a kind of divine intervention which I will write about later.

But first the Cholas. They were mighty kings of the south, who ruled around a thousand years ago. At its zenith, the influence of the Chola empire stretched all over India's east coast right up to Bihar and Bengal in the north. Besides whole of Sri Lanka and large part of south east Asia were under their control (They had a powerfull Navy). Though most of this conquering was done by Rajendra Chola, the foundations of this empire were laid by his father, Raja Raja Chola or Raja Raja the great.

But their military achievements do not impress me. I am impressed by the temples they built and more so by the exquisite bronze sculpture that, er, took shape under their reign. I have never actually seen the Brihadeshwara temple at Tanjavur (built by Raja Raja). But I was recently watching a discovery channel program ( while in Agartala, attending a friend's wedding reception - it seemed strange sitting in the north-east and watching a program about a temple which is comparatively next door to Bangalore) and they explained why it was such an architectural marvel. Built of solid granite transported from far, the 90m tall structure has two 36 ton granite blocks at the very top. No one knows for certain how those massive pieces of stone were transported so far up, but it is guessed that they built a miles long 6 degree incline and pulled/pushed the granite blocks up the slope using elephants.

While I was impressed by the huge temple structure, and the huger temple complex, the images the channel showed of the bronze sculptures of the Chola age simply took my breath away. Such perfection! One of those thank-god-i-am-alive-to-see-this experiences (even though only on TV). There was one image of Shiva and Parvati standing side by side, Shiva holding Parvati's hand, and their fingers intertwined. Uff! Just too beautiful for words.

I searched on the net for more images of Chola bronzes. The two pictures in my second post but last are examples. Some more are to be found here . The image of Shiva and Parvati together is there in the link, but it is'nt the one I saw on TV. (Also it is not as polished and shiny and nor is it a close up shot - don't blame me if you are not impressed). Also check out this beautiful image of Krishna dancing on Kaliya.

Sometimes I feel the Mughals hog too much of the historical, architectural and cultural-history scene in India.

And the Divine Intervention? It was a play I saw yesterday. "Flame of the Forest". It was about the 6th century Pallava king Mahendra Pallava. But about that, maybe some other day.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

The promised lyrics

If you have a spare half an hour (or two), may I suggest you spend it in the most rewarding fashion by studying the below lyrics of the song linked in the previous post. The translations are by S.Karthick (fondly called SKu). The trenchant comments in bold, both linguistic and otherwise, are mine. Its amazing how different, languages are and yet how similar! You might want to keep the song playing in your earphones, on and off, for quick cross reference.

Coming up next on this blog: A brief write-up on the Chola kings. With special focus on the exploits of the great Raja Raja Chola who inspired this song and also my poem in the post but last.

Raja Raja Chozhan Naan

raja raja chozhan naan, enai aalum kaathal desam neethaan,
raja raja chozhan, I am, the love land ruling me is you (only),
I love the way 'Chozhan' is pronounced
poove! kaathal theeve.
flower! love island.
Compare Theev, Tamil with Dwipam, Sanskrit and Dwip, Hindi
man meethu, sorgam vanthu - pennaaga aanathe,
On land, heaven came - became woman,
ullaasa boomi, inggu undaanathe.
happy earth, here got created.


kannodu, kangal yetrum, kartpoora theebame
on eyes, eyes light (verb), camphor deepam,
kai theendum pothu, paayum minsaarame
when hands touch/seek, flowing/flows current
ullaasa medai mele, orangga naadagam
on pleasure stage (theatre), one anga drama [anga=body]
A pun on one-act play?
inbanggal paadam, sollum en thaayagam,
pleasures lesson, saying/teaching my womankind [thaayagam=mother-type]
Compare paadam, Tamil with Paath, Hindi
ingganggu, oonjalaaga, naan pogiren,
here-there, like cradle, I am going,
Comparare oonjale, Tamil, Uyyale, Kannada and Jhuula, Hindi
angganggu, aasai theevil, naan vegiren
there-there, in aasai island, I am burning [aasai=want/need of heart]
un raaga moganam, en kaathal vaaganam
your raaga moganam, my love vehicle [raaga=same as in hindi; moganam=mohan
Mohanam is a raaga in Carnatic music
senthaamarai, senthaen mazhai, en aavi neeye devi.
red-lotus, red-honey rain, my soul you are(only) devi.
I love the sounds of this last line


kalloora, paarkum paarvai, ulloora paayume
stone-melting, seeing, gaze, inside dives/flows [(your)
stone-melting-gaze, dives/flows inside (me)]

thullaamal, thullum ullam sallaabame
without-jumping jumps, heart sallaabame [s= i dont know]
villodu, ambu rendu, kollaamal kolluthe
with bow, arrows 2, without-killing kills,
Compare vill, Tamil with Billu, Kannada and Bill, American
penpaavai kangal endru poi solluthe
(and) "lady-bird's eyes I am": lies (as in tells a lie) so
munthaanai-moodum rani selvaakkile
pallu-covering rani, selvakkile [selvakkile=in power / in influence,
in richness]

en kaathal kangal pogum, pallaakkile
my love-eyes go, in pallaku [pallaku=palanquine/valley - 2 meanings]
thaenodai orame, neeraadum nerame
on the side of honey-cover, bathing time, [odai=cover/dress; while i
bathe on the side of h-c]

pullangguzhal thallaadume, ponmaeni kaelaai rani
flute thallaadume, golden-body, hear o! queen. [thalladume=will be
unstable drugged / unable to stay balanced]

Could guzhal have become Kolalu, Kannada?
Check out those last few lines!