Saturday, February 26, 2005

Tarzan Goes To India

That was the movie I stumbled onto by accident while flipping through the TV channels today. I didnt get to watch it from the beginning, which was lucky because I'm pretty sure I wouldnt have had the patience to sit through the whole thing. But catching it halfway through didnt pose much of a problem in understanding the plot, such as it was... What took me by surprise was seeing Feroz Khan and Simi Garewal in the movie - a very young, very enthusiastic Feroz Khan, at that, complete with fake "English" accent. (I guess he - and Simi - had to be young since the movie was made in 1962!)

Tarzan was played by a guy called Jock Mahoney - an American. Hollywood has this annoying habit of simply appropriating folk heroes (or otherwise imaginary ones even) from other countries and making them American! Tarzan, as envisaged by his creator, Edgar Rice Burroughs, was English - an English peer, to be precise. Tarzan, Lord Greystoke. He wasnt meant to be American, just as Robin Hood wasnt meant to be American either.

I mean, Robin Hood is synonymous with English folk history. Americans dont HAVE anything - or anybody - approximating a Robin Hood (or do they?). I quite like Kevin Costner and I quite liked the movie "Robin Hood, Prince of Thieves" as well... but the fact remains, they werent supposed to be Americans! Oh well, I guess Samuel Taylor Coleridge's words still stand true - to enjoy some things, to go into the realm of fantasy, a "willing suspension of disbelief" is very necessary.

PS. Ok, I HAD to bring in a literary angle! I mean, I graduated in English Literature, and what use a "classical" education if I cant introduce a classical allusion or two into my writing, huh? Blushy 2

PPS. "Tarzan Goes To India" is worth it if only to look at the baby elephants... man, those li'l babies are soooooooo damn cute!

Friday, February 25, 2005

Prince Charles on Camilla

Heehee, this is hilarious. My friend sent this photo to me in an email, and I just HAD to share it with the world. Actually when I saw the photo the first time, I thought - "What's George Bush doing on Camilla?" Then, of course, I realised it was Prince Charles... the POINT being that I recognised Camilla-the-horse immediately and didnt need a double-take like I did with Charlie-boy! I know it's rude and disrespectful... but still - heheheh.

Sunday, February 20, 2005

My THIRD blog, folks!

Hear Ye Hear Ye Hear Ye!

Shyamala Ramanathan-Edwards is pleased to announce the arrival of a new blog into the world - Random Shots - which will feature photographs of random things taken at random times from random angles. Not to mention, by a totally random photographer.

The blog at present features only one item of breath-taking pulchritude (or so she hopes), personally created - and eventually photographed - by Shyamala Ramanathan-Edwards. Viewers are encouraged to take as many looks as they like and to leave as many nice and helpful comments as they can think of. There will be more soon, so watch that space!

Thursday, February 17, 2005


Early blooming daffodils.

Shy little narcissi, bending their heads modestly.

Dont they look like plastic flowers?

Red primroses

Pansy? probably

A winter-flowering pansy, I think, but I'm not certain because the distinctive "Hitler-moustache" markings arent there.

The last remnants of winter

Beautiful dry leaves, looking like they've been beaten out of copper... they're the winter version of copper beech hedges.

Harbingers of spring

Spring is coming, spring is coming! Pretty little purple crocuses clustered around a tree

The tree around which that particular cluster of crocuses is growing...

The buds are appearing...

Spring is coming, spring is coming! Little buds growing on a plant... soon it will be covered in blossom - and after the flowers fall, baby leaves appear... Hurray, spring will soon be here!

Spring blossom

A tree covered in spring blossom...


Yippee!!! Jump For Joy I have a new camera!

I must have moaned to Pete once too many times about the loss of my previous camera, so my birthday present is here, about two weeks too early - but who's complaining!!

Meet my new favourite toy, folks... The NIKON COOLPIX 4800 DIGITAL CAMERA, with amazing features and the ability to almost think for itself. I havent discovered yet if it can do the foxtrot while taking photos, but I'll let y'all know if it happens. Goofy

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Snigger snigger

Couldnt help laughing at this news - Prince Charles and Camilla have been forbidden to spend the night together before their wedding... on the Queen's express and stern orders. I believe they've tried their best to make her change her mind, but the Queen stands firm. What sudden sense of propriety has got into the old lady? After all, the bride and groom are 55+ years old, have two children each, are both divorced and, not the least, have spent a good deal of the last 30 years together - and a lot of that sneakily! All in all, the Queen's edict is just SO ridiculous! :)

Wonder if Charles is going to sneak down to Camilla's bedroom (or vice versa) on the night of April 7... or maybe the Queen will not only force them to sleep in separate rooms, but also in separate castles - just to be on the safe side! They have enough of those anyway... rooms AND castles!

Musical reflections...

Once upon a time, I used to learn Carnatic music along with my sister. We sang pretty well together most of the time... at one point I even entertained the fleeting thought that we might become known as a famous "musical duo" - such as Radha-Jayalakshmi or Saroja-Lalitha. It was only a very fleeting thought, though, because I quickly realised that I didnt have the sort of single-minded dedication required for fame and fortune in the world of classical music performance. Also, my voice would cooperate only so much and no more - and that description went for me as well.

I know I must have driven my family and teacher crazy because they all thought I was wasting a "god-given gift". Not so. I knew my limitations. I was not disciplined enough, not motivated enough, not hard-working enough and just not interested enough - not to mention, not gifted enough. The most annoying situation is probably to have enough talent to rise above mediocrity but not enough to become great... And it didnt help that I had stage-fright.

And when my sister went off to the USA, that was the final nail in the coffin of my (our) singing "career". There was no way I was going to sing alone (and a few fairly disastrous radio programmes soon proved that definitively). Luckily, my sister still learns music and sings, though she has branched out into other genres of music. She had (has) a better voice than me and none of the stage fright that made me forget lines, lose the beat and my breath all at once. So that's a good thing.

I guess the problem was that I wanted to learn only those songs that appealed to me. I didnt want to sing them to the world, I didnt want to have the world listening while I belted out a keerthanai; I only wanted to be able to sing for my own pleasure. That was the only reason I even learnt Carnatic music. And since I'm easily satisfied in the personal singing stakes, all the practising and gamakams and alaapanais simply didnt appeal to me. I was content to know the lyrics and the tune so as to be able to yodel along as an accompaniment to MS Subbulakshmi's divine voice. I guess this was difficult for my parents and family to understand because they had a much better opinion of my singing talent than I did!

Nowadays there are plenty of young, glamorous Carnatic musicians - vocal or instrumental. I think they've made Carnatic music more "hep", shall we say? Not merely the arena for the old-fashioned, the middle-aged and the orthodox. I have to confess that at one point I didnt WANT to sing because of the sly grins I got from my non-Carnatic-music-learning friends and family. (Yes, there were quite a few!). It made me feel rather "thayir-vadai"ish.

Luckily that phase didnt last long either, because I realised that listening to Carnatic music gave me a lot of pleasure - Maharajapuram Santhanam, MS Subbulakshmi, Balamuralikrishna, GNB, Semmangudi, MLV... I loved listening to their renditions of songs I liked. It would have been pretty dumb of me to set all that aside merely because the musical tastes of my then friends ran to western pop & rock and film music. I suppose my epiphany was in suddenly realising that I liked different kinds of music and what people thought about it didnt matter! I didnt want to be stereotyped in my musical tastes by other people's opinions.

I didnt agree with those who went totally "western" and flaunted their ignorance of Carnatic music because "it's for oldies", and I equally disagreed with a friend who considered himself a purist and would listen only to truly classical Carnatic. He even sneered at me for saying that "Kurai ondrum illai", sung by MSS, was a classic - according to him, it was semi-classical and therefore not good enough. Too bad for him, because although his knowledge of classical Carnatic music is extensive, personally I feel he's losing out on a LOT of wonderful music from all genres and styles.

Music has the ability to cross borders and cultures - IF people keep an open mind. Being fanatical about one genre of music to the exclusion of all others is a pathetic, rigid, wasteful and narrow-minded effort. It's like being at a buffet with all kinds of wonderful food available for the taking - you can sample a lot of things and find new likes, or you can be stodgy and stick to the one thing you know and recognise. Guess whose loss it would be if the second option is chosen?

That said, I have to admit to a slight mental block regarding rap and hiphop. I especially cant bear to watch the videos that accompany rap music - the grungy clothes, the ugly expressions, the weird hand gestures... ugh. No, when it comes to rap, if I have to put up with it at all, I'd much rather listen than see.

Monday, February 14, 2005

Since some of you seemed to like the other one...

Here's the first painting I ever did, before I was allowed to graduate to using colours! I like B&W paintings... much easier to do... plus they make you look at the details more - just like B&W photos!

Friday, February 11, 2005

A dull winter afternoon

A dull winter afternoon
Originally uploaded by ShyamRam.
This is what the sky looks like today - dull and cloudy. The actual scene in the painting is a few miles from where I live. The actual scene also doesnt quite look like this... but that's where the concept of artistic licence comes in :)

Royally controversial

Well, the latest hoo-ha here is Prince Charles' proposal of marriage (on bended knee, of course, what else?) to Camilla Parker-Bowles. They're getting married on April 8 in Windsor Castle. Opinions, as always, are divided into three - they should get married, they should NEVER get married and who cares.

Me, I form an indecisive fourth category... I'm not on either side of the fence, or on it even. I'm kind of hovering above. On the one hand it doesnt matter to me if they marry or not. On the other hand I think they've behaved disgracefully down the years, cheating shamelessly on their respective spouses. And then again (I guess this is the third hand, but who's counting), Charles will eventually be King and does the country really want a horse for a Queen? I dont (not that my opinion matters). Even those who think that the couple should marry mostly dont want Camilla to be Queen. So, as decided by the present Queen, she will be called the Princess Consort once she is married to Charles.

I guess that I find the idea of their marriage distasteful because of all the adultery that was going on... I cant help thinking that Charles married Diana only in order to bring in some fresh young blood and beauty into the Royal lineage. And of course, Camilla wasnt suitable for marriage then because she was "not a virgin". So Diana was more or less a highly-bred brood mare, awful as it sounds. And she did her duty - she gave the royal line two sons. Two good-looking sons, to be precise. Imagine if Charles had married Camilla 30 years ago, and they'd had children... boggles the imagination.

But then (fourth hand, and still nobody counting) I guess adultery is in the very genes of Charles and Camilla. After all, their forebears set the precedent, with Camilla's great-grandmother (Alice Keppel) being the controversial and long-time mistress of the then Prince of Wales, Edward VII, starting in 1898. History does repeat itself!

Anyway, since the monarchy is only for show nowadays, I personally want a PROPER show, with a handsome king and a beautiful queen ruling the country, just like in the stories... which, obviously, would rule out (pardon the pun) Charles and Camilla. Yeah, I think he should abdicate, they should get married and go away to do whatever it is that grey-haired, old, blue-blooded people do when their illicit relationship is finally legitimised.

So - William for King... BEFORE he loses all his hair!

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Droopy pants - scraping the bottom of the fashion barrel

Fashion is a subjective thing, I've always been told by its adherents, whenever I expressed my wonderment (and amusement) at some of the frankly ridiculous creations paraded up and down ramps all over the world. I honestly doubt that they could ever be worn by real people in the real world. At least, not without incurring a great deal of ridicule and puzzlement.

But there IS a "style" - so to speak - adopted by some teenagers and young adults that sets my teeth on edge any time I see them. It's the one where they wear ridiculously baggy, ripped/torn/wrinkled jeans so low on their hips along with their underwear that half their ass is hanging out. I absolutely LOATHE the - ugh - "style". One of these days, I'm going to give in to temptation and tug their pants down entirely. Believe me, it would take very very little effort to do so, as the pants are extremely loosely anchored!

I guess it annoys me immensely that people actually pay good money (and lots of it) to buy clothes that look like the ones worn by the very very poor in India and other third-world countries. THEIR asses hang out because they cant afford better, and better-fitting, clothes... and here are these stupid, well-heeled, lamebrained, fashionable youths slouching along in deliberately damaged trousers that would each cost enough to clothe an entire Indian family from head to toe!

*phew* Ok, that's one rant out of my system for now :) I do have an idea, though... perhaps the poor people from various countries could make money by exporting their torn, dirty, ill-fitting clothes to such fashion-conscious teenagers. That would be entirely satisfying to me.

Be that as it may, here is a news item that I came across just now, which cheered me up very much indeed. I'm no admirer of the American South, but I do think the state of Virginia has taken a step in the right direction. It has banned droopy drawers on pain of a $50 fine for the offence. Three cheers!

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Tribute to my camera

It's not much of a camera, being a fairly backward digital one... but in the few years it's spent in my possession, it's been through a lot. It's learnt to be tough, to weather shocks (and the weather too). It's led a very interesting life, if a precarious one. I doubt any other camera could claim to have been dropped quite so many times on a variety of surfaces in a variety of countries. And what's more, it came out pretty much unscathed. It even survived being swept off from a ledge onto the floor (of course by accident) - all that happened was that the hinged flap that keeps the battery compartment shut fell off. Actually, it didnt so much fall off as almost EXPLODE off in the violence of the camera's abrupt crash onto the floor. It took a little time and effort to put the flap back... but it got fixed, and my camera still worked! It survived even that rather violent accident.

Alas, it didnt survive my husband stepping on it...(accidentally)...

Goodbye, dear camera. Thankyou for the many happy memories and hours of shutterbugging, enshrined in the hundreds of photos taken over the years. Goodbye, my faithful Olympus C-960 ZOOM Digital Camera.

Rest In Pieces...Blowing Nose

And hello-in-anticipation, new digital camera with all the cool, esoteric, hi-funda hi-tech functions...
Drooling Bouncy Smiley

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Phew, it WAS a hoax

There ARE no bonsai kittens, it's just a disgusting, time-wasting Internet hoax. Shame on whoever wasted so much time and effort in designing something like that. And oh dear, I passed on junk mail to others - something I swore I would never knowingly do. For that alone, Unknown Internet Hoaxer, there will be no forgiveness for you, now or in the hereafter!

Many thanks to Tiralle aka Froggie for the info and the link.