CRANKS CORNER

Visa-ranai!

It is fashionable to be critical of government agencies and departments. But there are occasions when we have to be thankful to them for the kind of services they render. For instance, this week’s column couldn’t have been written but for the help of the local passport office, which employs officers who can, in comparison, make the police team that shot dead dreaded brigand Veerappan look total softies. But some

Comey naughty!

As a die-hard fan of Indian cricket team, my view on the India-Sri Lanka match in the ongoing Champions Trophy is that James Comey was pretty convincing in his performance. The thing is, as a typical Indian cricket follower, I switched channels the moment it became clear India was losing, and that is how I got myself following the questioning of former FBI director by a US congressional panel, which

T Nagar on tinder

Yet another tragedy has hit Chennai. I am doubtless referring to the huge fire that has brought down the 8-storeyed ‘The Chennai Silks’ building in T Nagar. But Chennaiites once again showed that regardless of where the mishap was and no matter how enormous it was, you could trust them to rise up to the occasion, make a beeline to the spot of trouble and, in a spirit of human

Bond baaja baarat!

The year was 1982, which with my investigative journalism skills, I can confirm to be 35 years ago, when I first watched Moonraker, starring the recently-demised Roger Moore, at Madurai’s Thangam theatre, the largest movie hall in the entirety of Asia. Whether this claim was true or not, Thangam theatre was surely the largest theatre in the world that had rats, the size of a standard football, darting around from

Thoughts of Train

If you are a Chennaiite and looking for a quick getaway that is agreeably cool but relatively cheap, where nobody can reach you on your mobile, a location that is mostly quiet but still not too remote, a place that is new and still not fallen prey to the predatory tourism industry, well, I think I have found an ideal spot for you: The Nehru Park Metro Rail station. I

You can read this free*

Let me start with an apology that I morally owe to the lawyer community, who I thought was the worst in the world. But recently I got to understand that banks plumb depths that even lawyers would find too low to stoop. If ever you come across in a room a top banking official and a black mamba, which is one of the most poisonous snakes in the world, you

Message in headline 

Last Wednesday a leading Malayalam newspaper came out with a dramatic frontpage where all its news was voluntarily scrubbed out with black ink. It was the publication’s way of sending to the general public the powerful journalistic message: “Hey guys, listen! The full-page ad for our frontpage got cancelled at the very last minute. And it is too late for us to find any actual news now. So we will

Akshay, Amitabh and ACs

The 10th edition of the IPL is more than half-way through and, as ever, this year too this column gets down to analyse the core aspect of the IPL season: TV commercials. But before we get down to discuss the IPL season ads, just a small disclaimer. We will not mention any brand name here. This is not because this column is too classy for such plugs (actually, we wouldn’t mind

Plane truths

It is annual summer vacation time, a period when you set out with your family members to a new place for some fun and frolic, a trip that will enhance your understanding of the world, a voyage than can help you gain more wisdom, one of which is: a family which travels together is the family that keeps fighting each other. Vacation travels provide a lot of tension and lead

Baasha!

The beauty of India is that it may be a country of hundreds of languages, each so varied and unique, but it still is united by people who more or less believe that those speaking a language other than theirs are complete morons. This is why we repeatedly have language controversies. The recent one is over the attempted imposition of Hindi by Central government agencies through various means. This immediately

Eat shoots and leaves

If I have to give you one single dietary advice then it has to be this: Stop eating whatever you eat. I got this insight after extensively going through the various dietary plans that are popular these days. Some seriously say don’t go anywhere near ‘carbs’ (carbohydrates of our days have undergone weight-reduction and become carbs now). They are such a villain that some of you may already want to