Archive for the ‘bodhai kirukkal’ Category


August 19, 2009

A man wants to be the only man in the household. Given the singular nature, some adjustments are necessary to prevent men from killing each other in their quest to be “the man”. Thus evolved packs which further evolved to nuclear families as we know it today. The smart people of the Tamizh land further devised a plan to address possible flashpoints. They devised customs that mandated a man to never eat a meal in his son-in-law’s house and to never sleep more than two nights at a stretch in his father-in-law’s place.

The problem cannot be fixed but only worked around, imperfectly. In recent years, the increased empathy the father shows for the daughter and plummeting telecommunication costs have been cause for much alarm. The twice-weekly phone calls seem to discharge an inordinate flux of sentiments between the daughter and the father. To what end? The expansive conversations on health, sibling’s prospective matches, husband’s job stability and general future plans and the advices offered and received thereof create uncomfortable levels of testosterone. What is a man to do when his wife goes “enga appa idha sonnar.. adha sonnar”?

The imperatives of living two oceans across and gene propagation give an excuse for the wife’s parents to spend the summer months in the cooler climes of the son-in-law’s house. At the insistense of the wife, the man shares his cologne and after shave with his father-in-law and takes him out for t-shirt shopping. The father-in-law repays him in kind by changing channels when he is watching his favorite sitcom.

The simmering tension feels like an Islamic bomb about to explode in an Israeli elementary school.

Screenplay by I.


Ardbeg Uigeadail

August 16, 2009

This whisky came highly recommended by the friendly guy at the local liqor store, who was candid enough to admit that he could not pronounce the name. I have been eyeing this for a while now, but at $120+, I convinced myself that I should wait for an occasion. It is funny how things turn up. The said occasion was my inlaws going on a week long bus tour. The guy at the store was being a pain in the ass and lectured me on the virtues of free trade and how he could not get some good whiskies from Canada even for his personal consumption. When I finally got home, I could not wait.

Notes — Peat, iodine and salty sea water. Tobacco. Sweet, overpowering and evaporates immediately inside the mouth leaving a minty feel. When a splash of water is added, it is more drinkable and one could feel malty and peaty tones.

Overall, pretty intense stuff at about 54% abv. It is definitely not the kind that you can have 3-4 glasses. I am not sure I liked it the first day, but I kept drinking a glass everyday for a week. It is either the complex and unwelcoming taste or the high alcohol content, this one has a dark allure to it. I will definitely drink this if I had the money and time again. The best Islay malt I’ve ever tasted.


August 10, 2009

Driving home from work, I was mesmerized by the darkness of the roads. They were blankets of black, straight and winding (what are the odds!) at the same time. The rhythmic hum of the engine and the radio kept distracting me from the thought of beer and chips I’d have after I got home. Beer is harmless, easy on the liver and lands on the stomach like fluffy flowers. Soft like a newborn’s cheeks, the head of a North Indian who eats dosai with knife and fork, and soft porn.

An idiotic woman driver cut into my lane and an iPod punk took his own sweet time to cross the road, making me miss the green. Just as I got the green again, another idiot pedestrian jumped out from nowhere. I motioned him to go ahead and he smiled at me. That is when I realized how much I feel at home here. This is my home. I live, work, sleep, shit and drink here. This city is as comforting as a mother taking care of a baby, spinning a cocoon of warmth and coolness at the same time, maintaing thermal equillibrium. It shelters and houses me, like Michael Jackson took care of teenage kids.

I am not quite given to homely sentiments. But this city is same and different as Madras, yet it is 8600 miles away.


August 7, 2009

Maha is going green not with recycling but with envy that a woman commended Sriram on sticking to his Brahmin roots. Maha blamed kali yugam (not the Prabhu film one hopes) and suggested writing about the woman and her ilk who agree with the views presented on that blog. Consider the below carefully:

1. Someone thinks that “views” are presented on Being/Empty Hip Flask
2. The insinuation that anyone would agree/disagree with those views.

Presumably, the ilk consists of people with earthy appetites. After all, who can have bigger appetites and who can be more earthly than people from the erstwhile Thanjavur district? Mangayarkarasi would write in her travelogues about the open gutters, dinosaurs pretending to be mosquitoes, outbreaks of filaria and the overpopulation of Iyengars, distinctive of — if not unique to — Kumbakonam.  But that would be unfair to the people of Kumbakonam. Someone should confiscate her free Railway pass and Internet.


July 9, 2009
Mangayarkarasi, wife of Senthilnathan, a Lower Division Clerk in Southern Railways, has traveled the length and breadth of Tamil Nadu with her husband’s free Railway pass. Her travelogues establish how refined and well-traveled she is. In short, she travels and she can write.
Of all the places that I have been to, Pulichamorepatti stands out as prominently as the race of the current President of the United States. Situated 20 miles from Neikarapatti, Pulichamorepatti is not one of your run-off-the-mill towns near Madurai. This town does not have a rice mill at all. It is further enriched by the complex tapestry of traditional and modern values.

In Pulichamorepatti, the shopkeepers are disinclined to serve you the goli soda and kathiri beedi for free. Your Amex Delta Skymiles card means nothing to them. The women are buxom with an overpowering stench of love juices and sweat. A railway track runs through the middle of the village and is lined with dried shit.

There is also a modern twist to the otherwise rustic life. Davani clad teen girls who work at the nearby tannery giggle in the morning as they board the minibus. The repressed sexual tension between the girls and the lungi wearing youth is evident. May be a couple will sneak into the maanthoppu later in the evening. The local BSNL tower, (pictured below) has become a part of the village landscape just like the banyan tree and the striped jamakkalam have been for ages.



(I will be posting about the bedazzlement caused by the amazing network of intriguing extra marital relationships and the rampant underage sex.)

–Mangayarkarasi, w/o K. Senthilnathan.


July 8, 2009

In the generation past, there were two types of families —

Type 1 families work on a system of no/negative feedback. The wife usually cooks palatable food, the husband makes just enough money to make ends meet. The kids are placed 15th in their class of 35 and typically get suggestions to drink the urine of the girl who topped the class. (We will not be going into sexual fetishes thus developed) The policy on familial affections is much like the Bill Clinton’s “Do not Ask, Do not tell” policy on gays in the military. Nothing positive was said or acknowledged explicitly. There is no carrot, just the stick. Ensconced in a cocoon of mediocrity and low expectations, Type 1 works smoothly.

Then, there were Type 2 families which work on a system of explicit and positive feedbacks. The wife has to be complimented for every idli she makes, there are rewards (like bicycle/cricket bat/video games shit) to bribe the kid to do well in school and they all smile happily for photographs. Appreciation is as explicit as legalized gay marriages and becomes an entitlement, even if the kid pursues her dreams in music, biological evolution, literature and history, and eventual under-employment/unemployment. These kids really believe they are special and precious and grow up to be a pain in the ass for everyone else.

By Providence or otherwise, at least one half of present-day couples consists of Type 2 people. The Type 1 spouse tries to enforce Type 1 protocols but duly exasperated, indifferent and generally wary of confrontation, gels into Type 2 protocols. Therefore, the only products in supply are special and precious people for generations to come. Savor the people who admit they are a nobody while they last. The future is bleak.

Screenplay by I.

Lagavulin 16yo

July 5, 2009

I was having a bad cold and was feeling a bit feverish. Plus visitors from India next week means that I will have to be contended with the occasional evening drams that I could have at the pub on my way home from work. What better to have than a nice bottle of peaty and medicinal Islay malt? I remember having an Islay malt that hit the right notes and somehow thought it to be the Lagavulin 16yo. Besides, the guy at the liqor store said this is the best peat he had. And he had an impressive collection including ardbeg, laphroaig, caol isla, bowmore and isle of jura. To cut a long story short, I had this bottle of Lagavulin 16yo for the weekend.

Notes — Smells like seaside, peat (not as much I remember it to be), smoke and iodine. Sweet and spicy not unlike a cognac. Smoky and woody with a minty finish.

Singleton of Dufftown 15yo

June 14, 2009

A friend went to Europe on business recently and was thoughtful enough to buy me a bottle of whisky. Not being a whisky drinker himself, he had asked the shopkeeper for something that is not available in the US who gave him a bottle of Singleton 15yo. He invited a couple of us to sample the fare at his house this Friday.

Dufftown apparently is a town which has the highest concentration of distilleries including Glenfiddich and Balvenie. The distillery produces a large quantity of whisky, majority of which is for making blended malts.

Notes — Flowery with hints of vanilla. Spicy at first, sweet and woody later and warming mint finally. Easily drinkable.

How drinking leads to clear thinking

June 10, 2009

This is inflating my self-worth. As per a bill that was passed yesterday, you get an incentive of upto $4500 to exchange your old fuel guzzling car to a new fuel efficient one. But at least I had the good sense to tag my advice “crappy idea”.

Anyhow, here is another idea — to improve the fuel efficiency of your car — pull the driver’s seat back by an inch or two.

Microfiction VII

June 8, 2009

He made many sacrifices to father a child. He sat through the hideous birthing and parenting classes in the weekends while he could have been drinking happily. But this one was the most difficult. It was already late afternoon and he hadn’t had anything to eat, but he was unmindful of the hunger. He packed his wine glasses, champagne flutes, decanters, ice buckets, commemorative beer mugs and all the artistic stuff he had to show for years of drinking. In the baking sun, he lugged his wine rack into the trunk of his SUV along with the carefully packed boxes of stemware. He then drove to his friend’s house and deposited everything safely in the basement. He even gifted him a bottle of wine as a token of appreciation – for letting him use the basement in his hour of need. With one half of the job complete, he logged into cox and kings website and booked a rather lavish tour package for two. His in-laws were coming.