Crucial Craziness

Dear Telegram

15th July 2013

Dear Telegram,

Having served for 163 years, as harbinger of messages of importance – be it the birth or a death of a life, or be it a wedding wish, or a message from or to the army, you have touched the lives of people and lived all your life with them.

Hearing the news of your retirement, my parents became nostalgic about the telegrams their families had sent and received when they were young. They recollected the times when the main post office at Parry’s corner was bustling with noise, the staff typing the telegram and a number of people standing in a long queue to send them. It seems before technology improved to send characters of a language, you were conveyed in dots and dashes. People listened to the sound via a phone, deciphered it and wrote it down to construct the message. I was truly amazed to know.

They recalled that if it was a grand news, it was a time to gift the delivery man. And, they also remembered that you were delivered with a black mark if you had a sad news, and with a red mark if it was a happy one. They said, the call from the delivery man, ‘ Thandhi vandhurukku!’[“There’s a telegram for you”] always made them skip a beat, like what the movies showed. I imagined the era in R.K.Narayan’s novels.

It seems that only India has been having you until now. So, this means today is your last ever day of service in world. Well, true that India doesn’t forget old nice things that easily. It shows how much you were respected, how you were an integral part of people’s lives.


        My first and last telegram I sent to myself on its last day of service                                                  (reserve=preserve/ chish=cherish,Diviha=Dhivhya)

It’s true that you had been forgotten due to the advent of technology of emails, cell phones and SMS which help faster communication. I think you’ll only be glad as the change is for good and be proud of your posterity doing the job you did in a much efficient way.

As old people leave way to the newer generations, I see you retiring,  gracefully, leaving way to your descendants to continue the service to you had done to humanity. But, I don’t think they’ll touch on lives as you did.

On the last day of your service, I sent one to myself. Honestly, it gave me immense delight to receive you, who is of historic importance. I will keep you safe, to show it to the generation to come. When I tell them that this was sent on the last day of the telegraph service in the entire world, I’m sure they’ll be excited.

So, it’s been a long time. More than one and a half centuries of service and it’s wise for you to take rest. When I hear people saying the telegraph is dying and writing ‘RIP, I feel ridiculous. Forget them all. You are only retiring.

Thank you for all what you have done. Wish you a happy retired life!    


Ganzfeld Experiment


Some people see horses prancing in the clouds.

Some hear their dead relative’s voice.

I came across this intriguing post of Facebook a couple of days back.

After reading this real good book, anything related to neuroscience and brain activity seems exciting.I have tried a phantom limb experiment from the book with my sister and it has worked.Seriously.I do lie, but not always.

Well, it’s not voodoo or black magic,but pure science,you see.If one believes in optical illusions,one needs to believe this as well.

Ganzfeld experiment, this is called.Here we go..

AIM: To experience bizarre set of sensory distortions


Headphones- Yes

Cell phone/Radio to play static noise – Yes

Red light- Optional

Cellotape – Yes

Halved Ping Pong ball – I didn’t have them.So,decided to use 2 water bottle caps. It’s okay. Haven’t we used cooked rice grains as glue?

As I got into the bedroom and switched off light,I began feeling a bit eerie.I made sure I locked up the room. If someone finds me  lying on bed with headphones,water bottle caps stuck to eyes, I’m sure they’ll start imagining all what they can.They may even take me to a psychiatrist. Moreover,the experiment said people may start speaking involuntarily.What if I blabber controversial stuff about X , Y or Z?! Very risky.Safety first! Room locked!

Then, I the took plastic water bottle caps and stuck them to both my eyes using cello tape.

Next,I lay on the bed, put on the headphones and tuned my the FM to play pure white noise.I was conscious that I shouldn’t move.

For a few minutes,nothing happened. After it too, nothing happened.Where are the hallucinations?The bizarre sensory distortions?

I started pondering if I was feeling anything unusual. I only felt an itch on my nose tip.Aargh..same irritating feeling you get when you have mehndi on hand.

I started telling myself to C-O-N-C-E-N-T-R-A-T-E !

To be able to achieve anything,you need to believe,wise people say. So, B-E-L-I-E-V-E !

I focused on the noise that came from the headphones..After sometime I realized I was free from all other thoughts. Ok, but where is this hallucination? ‘ You need to wait’, I convinced myself.

Minutes passed by, and I got accustomed to the noise. Suddenly, I heard someone playing Veena! I was stormed!

It was only in that week that one of my friends had shown me a video of him playing Veena.

I recollected it and felt ecstatic about how the human brain could pull out random memories lying somewhere inside the brain and throw it in front of you and you’ve not given even a small thought about it.

After some time, I could hear barking sounds.It grew clearer. I knew It was my dog I had lost.

I couldn’t believe what I was experiencing.Fascinating! But, I was a little disappointed that I did not ‘see’  anything. Not all people can experience visual hallucinations.It may be olfactory or auditory as well,right?Fine.

I spent little more time anticipating more. But wasn’t able to experience any.I decided to stop. I removed the headphones and got up from the bed with an immense sense of achievement.

I came out of the room.I ran to my mom to say about the experiment and explain her how it works.

Serial on TV. Dashing all my hopes, the background music was Veena! WHAAATT!

I then turned my ears to Malliga. She was my neighbor’s black skinny Rajapalayam,barking!!

DAMN IT!!! Experimenter’s bias!

But, my quest to experiment did not end.I already knew what the result should be. It is so true that you get what you expect.

“Ammmmaaaaa! Come here,no..Important. Come now”, I pulled her to the bedroom.

I could see she was getting tensed. “What? What happened?Why did you call me in?” she came in probing.

“Lie on the bed. I want to perform an experiment on you.Don’t ask me what.You will know as you do.”

She was in a good mood then that she readily obliged my order  humble request.

I stuck the bottle caps on her eyes, switched on the noise.She adjusted her posture, and I shouted..”Amma!Don’t move!”

I kept looking at her for sometime, and found her eye balls moving.I initially thought of moving away and coming back after few minutes and ask her what she saw. But decided against it as I thought I would miss hearing her, in case she speaks.

I lay on the floor thinking about what I read before sometime..

environment without distractions…..deprivation of patterned sensory input..create a homogeneous visual field.. wake Induced lucid dream…ESP…

The principle behind the experiment is that when the mind is deprived from visual input, but     exposed to a structured and uniform sound, the brain starts building up it’s own perceptions which may vary from person to person.

Suddenly, I heard some noise.Or,was I hallucinating myself? I waited.

I heard it again.Did she speak?

I went near mom and gazed at her.Her lips were a little curled up. Was she hallucinating?

I got a little scared. I thought I should stop the noise at once. But, I was also curious to know up to what extent it will go.

It was already 10 minutes. Quite a long time.I decided to bring the experiment to an end in a minute.

Should I touch her first or stop the noise? She might probably freak out if I touched.

I stopped the radio.I couldn’t control my urge to ask her what she saw.

I whispered.


“Amma. Get’s over”

I was worried. I had read it was not a very safe thing to do.But it didn’t seem credible. ‘It tends to build up a dangerous amount of pressure in your head’

‘It’s hacking your brain’.


*Sees mom sleeping.

Walks out of room, ‘hallucinating’ palm banging on own head.*

As is the daughter, so is the mother.



PS:Science is all about trial and error. I will try this again…..until I hallucinate….with ping pong balls….and red light….and pucca set up….when no one is watching TV…when Malliga is asleep…

If you are also as vetti as me, kindly try this and let me know what you saw.

More interesting experiments to try can be found here.


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Those good old ads….

Advertisements! They have always been one of the things I really love watching!

Then,we had a square solid Solidaire TV aka TV potti whose Aayusu was getti – nothing ever happened to it,and it constantly disappointed my sister’s and my dream of a new TV for so many years.

Watching these old advertisements now excited me so much and brought a nostalgic smile in my face(Adadaa…isn’t ‘nostalgia’ a term used by old people?So,am I growing so old?! 😮 )

Many ads today seem total rubbish- singing romantic songs for Pickle ads, women running behind men using some perfume,a couple selling off their nice car overnight because it’s few inches less longer than their neighbour’s, T and V sitting and talking something ‘vala vala’ about Tea which no one is interested to hear (we are no longer interested to watch them even in movies),some dude wearing helmet going vrrrom vrromm in motorbike for the entire length of the ad,etc etc.Another ad I disliked was a Football coach drinking a mango drink seeing which the kids get tempted…he doesn’t give them even little till the end of the ad 😦 At last someone kicks the football and it makes the bottle fall.Excuse me,what are you trying to convey?

The radio ones are worser.They drill holes into ears. People screaming ‘Pathu rooba AC’,having irritating conversations, saying ‘Enakku vayiru valikkudhu’ with Silk Smitha’s voice modulation are intolerable.I don’t  know why is that people think you should keep talking on and  on and on and on if it’s a radio ad?! It only creates a negative impact of marketing on consumers.

Children watch so many such commercials these days,but I don’t know if they would remember most of those after a decade.So good the old ads were.Thanks to the world’s video archive,youtube; I spent my night watching and recalling the ads that I had watched as a kid.

An agmark 90’s kid would never forget these advertisements!

1) Hamara Bajaj – Ah nice,I could remember the tune ‘Hamara Bajaj’ without having eaten Vallara mittais.

2) Cadbury’s Cricket Ad.What a dance!

3)Nerolac :

4) Washing Powder Nirma.I remember madras singing the next line as “Aaya veetu kurma’.

5) Naan Valargirane Mummy!

6)The taste of India

7)One of the smartest ads ever!

8)Mozart’s 25th Symphony used by Mozart of Madras for Rajiv Menon.I bet,no one can forget this!

9) If someone asked ‘Enna Aachu?’ and the other replied ‘Kozhandha Azhudhudhu!’ in a mocking tone,it’s because of this-the ad that made this question and answer a cliche(Sad,I couldn’t find the Tamil one)

Not so old  unforgettable ones

8)Raymonds –  Beautifully taken!

10)People have this as their cell phone ringtone now and every time I hear it,I grin ‘eeee’

11)Ramco Cements – Very meaningful ad that I and especially my mom loved

12)Zandu balm.

Comes as ‘Zandu Balm Zandu Balm Thalaivali neekkum Balm’ in Tamil. I had been singing it as ‘Thalaiyai neekkum balm’ wrongly which somehow perfectly fitted into the tune.

Other commercials that I could remember :

  • Narasus Coffee -Idha..Idha Idha thaan edhipaarthaen…Besh Besh Romba Nanna irukke….HeHeHeHeHe.(There’s a unique way to say this ‘HeHeHeHeHe’)
  • Horlicks-‘Apdiye Saapduvaen’
  • Nijam pakku! Periyar Siriyar Anaivarum Suvaithidum Nijam Paakku, Andrum Indrum Endrum Tharame Nijam Pakku.Nijam Paakku! We loved the animated transition of people’s faces in it.It was quite new then.
  • ‘Sottu Neelam Doi Regal Sottu Neelam Doi’
  • ‘Litre kku naalu sottu (Ton Ton Doin Ton Ton Doin) Thunigalai Amukku…Ezhuthu Pizhinjidu…Aaha hahaaa…’
  • ‘Ore Oru…Ore Saridon’
  • Vicco turmeric’s ‘Beauty Cream Beauty Cream’

How many of them do you remember?

All – Congratulations! You are certified as a typical 90’s kid

Most of them – Konjam Nyaabaga shakthi kammi

Few – You must have been a padips in Primary school.

None – You must have not been alive!


PS:While watching all these,I came across this which I could not resist watching ,the newer version of which was a pathetic murder of the older original one.

Such a beautiful song this is


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