Monday, August 31, 2009

Is it Prinia nesting season?

I locate a second nest at my brother's home. The bird here has laid three eggs and is currently incubating them. Unlike the nest in my home, this one at my brother's place is made of just two leaves instead of three.

It is unbelievable to see how the nests are surviving the winds and the occasional heavy downpours.

The Prinia at my home doesn't hardly leaves its nest these days, even during the day. Here's a pic I took last night, in its nest. Ah! I managed to put a watermark in the image.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Now, Super Star 2 on Amritha to thwart Idea Star Singer Season 4

So much bad programming on Idea Star Singer that I only watch it bits and pieces these days. There have been some good performances but considering how many "cringe" moments I have to put up with it, ISS isn't worth it. The bus conductor Anil and did perform some good stuff. Many a time I though the judges were going too far in interfering with the personal lives of the contestants. The poor contestants are being bullied and can only play subservient to these judges fearing they'll be thrown out. I watched in a video how a 10 yr old on "Britain's Got Talent" tell Simon, "I am not obliged to answer that question". Even President Barack Obama mentioned in his appearance on the Jay Leno show that running the White House is like American Idol, except that every one is Simon. Imagine an ISS contestant saying such a thing to a judge here. For the kind of questions M G Sreekumaran and Sharath are asking it is high time someone actually showed some attitude telling these guys to go take a hike.

Meanwhile Super Star 2, the successor to Super Star Global has begun on Amritha and as usual going great guns. I watched performances there that I have never seen in the entire history of Idea Star Singer. Here is one.

And another lovely one that same day by Lekshmi Sree.

Even the song selection is superb. Lekshmi performed a song from Vikram's upcoming "Kadhaswamy" which was yet to be released. That was something so refreshing from the repetitive and boring songs of ISS. The audience participation on SS2 was something unseen to this day on ISS. Judges going gaga over a performance? Why not? As Joe Black says in the movie "School of Rock", Where's the passion man? and why not let it show?

While I still prefer the old host at SSG, the new girl is way better than Ranjini on ISS though she too has a tendency to speak more English.

I did watch Roopa perform a lovely song on the show.

But it is so sad to watch her these days sitting in the audience behind the judges and cheering the participants. Annu Jose who was knocked out of ISS Season 4 from the very first elimination round is here on SS2 and so is Nikhil from ISS 2007.

Friday, August 28, 2009

"Vazha kulachu", the banana plant has borne fruit, but....

We've had banana's earlier at out parent's place but this is the first time we've had one at our home. Unfortunately the gardener has deceived us. I am told that the bananas aren't the sweet ones. Instead they are the "Vazhakaya" or "Vazhaka", the ones used to make the side dishes or poriyals and "mezhukku varatis".

Amma says its "Pindi", the innermost part of the trunk is more tastier than the "Pindi" of the plant (actully herb) of the sweet bananas.

And while taking a pic of the tree here's something I caught resting on the leaf of a shrub nearby.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Kailash Kher and Kailasa are back with a rocker

Check out "Chaandan Mein" and you are not going to stop playing the songs. Throughout you are going to listen to lovely music and great singing from Kailash Kher.

Here's my quick review of the songs.

1.Nadhin dhin dah - very much Jumpin Jackflash/Raghupati raghava types from the Ananda Shankar album. A rocker with lovely sitar playing.

2.Chaanden mein - Melodious/Lovely.

3.Teri Yaad - Beautiful slow ballad

4.Rang Rang Ma - Superb and catchy; another nice rocker.

5.Bheeg gaya mera man - Lovely singing; music accompaniment is top class. Lovely flute and mandolin/banjo solos.

6. Ish ho gaya - slow song, not a bad one, sung well but the sad part why is "ishq ho gaya" is sung sadly with pain when it should be a happy thing

7. Khar khar - peppy number, a filler and nothing special.

8. Piya ghar avenge - superb slow number

Honestly cannot wait to hear more from this singer and his band Kailasa featuring bassist Naresh Kamath (who also plays for the Malayalam alternative rock band "Avial") and his brother Paresh?.

Check out the songs at

Good show guys. What an album!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

The Prinia and its nest outside my window

It has been a bird-watching delight starting with the nest building and now with the incubation in progress.

First the bird that I am referring. The pic is poor but this is the best I could do with my point and shoot.

After some research I think it is the Ashy Prinia also known as the Wren Warbler. It's a tiny bird with very quick reflexes and can be distracted with the slightest disturbance or human intervention.

The nest that it built in two days. There are two leaves on top that it stitched weaving threads out of cobwebs and puncturing holes in the leaves using its beak and sewing them using the cobweb threads. There are two leaves on top and a third below.

Next the eggs that it laid, one per day. Here is the first one.

Using the blurred image of my finger as a scale, you must estimate the tiny size of the eggs. Two on the next day.

And then there were three.

A better view of the three eggs.

And then there were four.

The bird is currently incubating the eggs now. Will keep track of the progress and report the same.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Why isn't Prem Joshua suing malayalam music director P Jaychandran

This is the second time Jaychandran has lifted Perm Joshua's music for a Malayalam movie. Unlike the previous tune he lifted from the album "Earth meets Sky" (check out my review of this lovely album at this time the music is directly lifted and applied to the Rajasenan movie "Bharya Onnu Makkal Moonu". The song that is playing in the background when the trailer is being shown is "Bol Hari" from the album "Dance of Shakthi".

What a way to copy! Can't believe a leading music director would resort to this and also think he could get away. If credit is being given in the Titles of the movie to Prem Joshua then I'll take back my article but I doubt if it is being done.

Rain and Shine

Chennai has been getting some good showers of late. Here are some pics I took when it rained here last Monday. Any guesses as to what I photographed in these pics.

This one should tell you for sure.

Earlier in May I took pics of these clouds when the sun went behind them. My neighbour Shaukath was the one who told me to take the pics saying my point-and-shoot digital could take them well.

Flame of the Forest in Full bloom

This "Flame of the Forest" tree or Gulmohar has more flowers than leaves. I took this picture somewhere in late June.

Wikipedia reports that the Gulmohar has a threatened conservation status.

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Malayalam cinema loses veterans

In a span of months Malayalam cinema lost some stellar personalities. Actor Murali was the most recent with actor Rajan P Dev and Writer and Director Lohithdas passing away just a few months earlier.

Murali was unforgettable in movies "Varavelpu", "Karunyam" (which was a Lohithdas movie), "Amaram", a lesser known "Garshom" and in "Kireedam" just to name a few. Another movie of his that I can remember for his stellar role is one where he brings up Rehana, who plays his daughter, as his friend Suresh Gopi's child. The movie brought me to tears.

Rajan P Dev added another facet to the stereotyped Villain and in the process played the role in Tamil and Telugu movies too. In his Villain roles he was good at comedy too. Just a week before his passing away I couldn't help laughing at his role in the movie "Chocolate".

Lohithdas will be remembered for his screenplay work on many of Malayalam cinema's classics such as "Kireedom", and the sequel "Chenkol", "Thaniayavartham", "Amaram", "Dasaratham", "Jathakam", "Mukthi" and "Valsalyam" and as a director his "Karunyam" will always be one my favorite Malayalam films of all time. Only just a few vacations earlier had we seen his "Neivedyam" his last movie. His "Kasthooriman" starring Meera Jasmine, an actress he introduced to Malayalam is also worth mentioning.

All three veterans leave a void that is difficult to fill. May their souls rest in peace.

The last of the mangoes this season

Summer's gone and in arid Chennai we are getting showers now and then though the monsoon in Tamilnadu is only expected later in the year. While the mango season is officially over you could still get mangoes. Here is one from the "Rumani" (correct me if I am wrong) variety that is also running out fast. Most other popular varieties are already out, particularly the Banganampally ones from Andhra Pradesh.