CRANKS CORNER

Canine and ten

Just when you’re starting to lose hope on WhatsApp forwards as most of them turn out to be totally predictable, just when you’re about to give up on them in total despair as many of them are unreliable, some friend in some group, when you least expect it, sends you a forward that makes you sit up and marvel at humanity’s ability for total silliness. It is likely that you

Rowling trophies

Just get a load on these amazing numbers behind the Harry Potter franchise: Twenty years, 18 billion dollars in value, seven books, eight films, translated into 68 languages, over 500 million copies sold (and still selling) worldwide, the largest selling book series ever and — this has to be the most impressive part of the statistics — none of which has been read or seen by me. When the first Harry Potter book

North by Northwest

Scientists this week assured us that an asteroid is headed towards the Earth and it is only a matter of time before it crashes into our planet. And it will land bang straight on Republic TV headquarters. Okay, the second part will happen only if we are any lucky. But as far as the asteroid crash goes, a top astrophysicist has said it is only a question of when rather

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