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Tuesday, July 06, 2004

Reckless Ramblings - 3 - Naaz and Friction

In this article I want to highlight, a war of words that happened between me and another DFer (of ) by?the name Naaz.? All started with Naaz referring to the Neon OM on vadapazani gopuram as an eye-sore in the context of the music album "NinaiththaalE inikkum" and me responding strongly to it.? The entire transcript was funny to read later since neither of us had conveyed anything concrete at the end :-)? But it was a war between me and him in the truest sense :-) Read on:

From: Naaz(@ on: Sun Jun 20 03:21:28 EDT 2004

Saravanan -

Ninaiththaale Inikkum was a hollow propped up by a scaffolding of songs. Your write-up, sentimental in it's evocation of a memory that harks back to a less analytical time (or maybe not) is the flipside of adulation - a flashback as parody. Not the write-up, but what it has newly revealed to me (and maybe just me) - about how manufactured inanity can one day be celebrated as a thing of consequence.
Even excellence.

Ninaiththaale Inikkum was an exercise that can be best described as saleable compositions in search of a (rudderless?)plot. Of course, it wasn't there. I remember being mesmerised by the same things that floored and wowed you (gee, you remember things like Hotels and Promenades, and I couldn't compete with that) and looking back, with the aid of your detailed synopsis, it seems like so much ado about appalling nothing. This is not scoffing at the memory of things past, but seeing it without the glad-eye of nostalgia. By that I mean imbuing the misadventures and misreadings of the past with a cloying romantic "hallmark" glow, seldom allowing the lens of present-day maturity to refract it. The inisistence to keep things inviolate, against reason, has always puzzled me.

Speaking from a purely subjective (what else?) standpoint, I don't believe NI to be the best work of MSV either. The buzz around the music was half generated by the assumed rivalry between the incumbent and his new "rustic" challenger. NI was the supposed "glam" repartee, an elan, that the old guard was still in control. But was he? Don't the songs have a certain "prefab" quality about them?
Moondru Mudichchu, Aboorva Raagangal and the later Andha Ezhu Naatkal all make NI seem derivative, if not faux modern. It was MSV out of his skin, simulated and psychedelic, like a neon "vacancy" sign. Or a flourescent OM on the Vadapalani Gopuram.
Admittedly, that also sounds a lot like the plot (to which I dare not add another word after your total recall above!)

If NI lived up to anything, it was the literality of it's title. There was sweetness in the thought. But, looking back, we should at least recognise that abject thoughtlessness, in the long run (about three hours?) is seldom sweet. :-)

From: MS (@ on: Mon Jun 21 12:24:00 EDT 2004


"It was MSV out of his skin, simulated and psychedelic, like a neon "vacancy" sign. Or a flourescent OM on the Vadapalani Gopuram."

Unwarranted stmt. Please try not induct religious references for establishing either your point or flights of verbiage.

  • From: Naaz (@ on: Mon Jun 21 13:23:43 EDT 2004

    MS -

    Being a contrarian is not a good vocation to have (especially in the Land of Heck) and around here I don't expect anybody else to raise their voice in support or defense of my posts. (Music4Ever did his best with the specificity of my points and this exchange, and for that I am indeed thankful.)

    It is nice of you to have read my post and to have singled out (what you deem to be) an "unwarranted statement."

    What metaphors I choose and how I employ them is my prerogative. I don't see anything pejorative or blasphemous in the above image. In fact, if you were not so in denial, you will acknowledge that many a temple site in India has been disfigured by coloured lights, tubes and television screens - all haphazard and out of place. And, yes, I've seen flourescent OMs on the Vadapalani Gopuram. It stands out not because it is aesthetic.

    The impetus behind your post is not about the image or verbiage (which to me is better than bottomless irrelevance) but about calling my secular credentials as a muslim into question.
    Masked bigotry is still bigotry. You must be confident in your belief that no one here will take you to task for your petty, communal, faith-based chicanery. Some might even see your cowardice as courage.

    How well you know your constituents.

  • From: Udhaya (@ on: Mon Jun 21 14:31:05 EDT 2004

    This used to be a fun place free of rants. More and more it seems people come here to scratch their itches rather than enjoy the songs and engage others in discussing the SOTD. Can all the non-musical debates and musical debates that verge on the personal be taken to e-mails or phone calls please.

  • From: Saravanan (@ on: Mon Jun 21 14:37:50 EDT 2004

    MS, I feel Naaz was just emphasizing his view that MSV's efforts in NI appear as incongrous/ artificial as the flourescent lights on a temple tower (the lights are an eyesore, I'm sure you'll agree!). Knowing Naaz for nearly two years now, I'm sure he didn't intend any religious reference beyond this metaphorical allusion.

    bb, who is the lyricist of 'Oru ooril'? 'Ondra renda aasaigal' was written by Thamarai, if I remember right. Was the SOTD also written by Thamarai?

  • From: Udhaya (@ on: Mon Jun 21 14:43:51 EDT 2004

    I believe Thamarai wrote all the songs in the KK soundtrack.

  • From: MS (@ on: Mon Jun 21 15:01:07 EDT 2004


    "Knowing Naaz for nearly two years now" - good for you and god bless you. To me, he is just another forumer throwing unnecessary flame baits.


    That was quite a long speech without a dais (or a basis), a pretty non-musical one flaunting your secular credentials and dispensing unsolicited comments, advice and judgment. Complying with Udhaya's suggn and committed to talking in line with the topic, unlike you, I choose not to reply in such an incongruous and grandiose fashion.

    OTOH, if you at some point compulsorily need a 'courageous' reply, I will be happy to provide you with one if I find it a priority ever over an e-mail.

  • From: Kupps (@ on: Mon Jun 21 15:20:52 EDT 2004

    andholan @ :)

  • From: vengayam (@ on: Wed Jun 23 04:17:39 EDT 2004

    And no one apart from "author OISG" has answered my question regarding who wrote " tale of two cities" not even you naaz ;-) tell me!
    while i did not like Naaz's comments about NI in particular I rather liked the Om bit. But may be it was the agnostic " Hindu" in me which caused me to like it- MS!

  • From: haris (@ on: Thu Jun 24 13:51:33 EDT 2004

    MS - My humble comment on your comment. I am sure Naaz did not mean to hurt anybody's feeling. His statement did not sound having an agenda. And as long as it doesnt hurt anyone, i think reference to religion is ok.

    Naaz- me too not a big fan of florescent OMs

  • From: dubya (@ on: Fri Jun 25 10:55:08 EDT 2004

    // Digression
    MS, it was indeed your knee jerk reaction that was most unwarranted and having read Naaz's postings, he would be the last person to bring in religious flames.It was crystal clear that he meant the aesthetic deprival in that Neon glow or it could also be akin to cinema paatu kacherry for temple festivals. Request the moral brigade to show some tolerance

  • From: MS (@ on: Fri Jun 25 13:06:49 EDT 2004

    Ada ennappa..kaasikku pOnaalum karumam tholaiyaadhungara maadhiri...

    Dubya (and other pseudonyms to come)..inga naan oNNum moral kodi pidichchukkittu alaiyalai swami. naanum idhE idaththula almost 6 varushama kuppai kottikkituu dhaan irukkEn. yaaru kittayum vambu saNdaikku pOna maadhiri oru reputation innum illai. vENumna pOi pazankadhaigaLai thONdi paarunga. knee-jerk reaction kodukkara aasaami naan illai. naan sonnadhu oru rikkostu. adhuvume regular a ezudhura oru aaL kitta sonnadhu. (eththanaiyO asingamaana posts/threads ellaam varuthu..adhukkelaama reply paNNikittum, request paNNikkittum irukkEn ?). enakku kalaik kaNla(aesthetic) konjam power irukkaradhaala kaNNu ezavu sariyaa theriyalai. neenga nalla paarththu sandhoshappadungayya. aaLai vidunga.

    isai sindhum idaththil ippOdhu vasai mattumdhaan irukkiRadhu.

  • From: Udhaya (@ on: Fri Jun 25 14:58:28 EDT 2004

    I'm glad you're showcasing some TMS songs in his prime for many here only have regrettable memories of his Thanglish songs from the late 70s. This is one of the songs that was so meticulously woven that the lyrics, singing, and music gell effortlessly. Another stellar effort from Vali that seems better yet when compared to his post-80s works.

    To all the drive-by shooters aiming at MS,
    His request to someone to be a bit more sensitive in his comments has got him pilloried now?
    I often use the expression "Goddamn it" without a thought, without any malicious intent, to express my frustration. I once said it at an airport and this lady requested politely, "Please don't take the Lord's name in vain."

    According to the participants of this forum, I would've been okay ridiculing the lady for being a Bible thumper with clear motives to deride my Hindu leanings, or I could've gone off on her about my constitutional right to say whatever I pleased, or really laid it down to her about how I didn't care about religion or God and that she had no right to impose her sensibilities on me.

    But I just responded with, "Sorry, I didn't mean it." Legally and circumstantially, I could've cornered the lady with my logic in an angry rebuttal. But courtesy dictated that I didn't have to be so cavalier with a sensitive subject in a public place.

  • From: Naaz (@ on: Fri Jun 25 19:01:46 EDT 2004

    (This might be a bit of a bore, so I urge others with better things to do to skip this entirely.)

    Manufacturing Sacrilege:

    In my post regarding NI I was addressing two things. Up front was my contention that the media context preceding the film's release was so overwhelming (a veritable contest in every TFM fan's mind) that MSVs music and "status" became the focus. Following that thesis, my personal evaluation of the album was that it was one of excess, where moments of true brilliance and verve were lost in an overpowering, commercial "hip" ness. Half the songs in NI, in my view, seemed tacked-on and unnecessary. I also said that this might have been an indirect consequence of an aimless, makeitupasyougoalong plot, which had a "vacancy," - indeed a "hollow" at its narrative core.
    To highlight the "out of place, without merit, and poorly modern" nature of the excess (in the album) I used this simile: "It was MSV out of his skin, simulated and psychedelic, like a neon "vacancy" sign. Or a flourescent OM on the Vadapalani Gopuram."

    Why the Vadapalani Gopuram and not a church or a mosque or buddhist temple? That's a fair question.
    Primarily, because it is there and I have seen it many a time and wondered: why have they cheapened the OM so? And more importantly, because this particular temple is a stone's throw from the studios that brought us NI.
    The implication: When you are in a neighbourhood of excess, small wonder that the flashy vacuity creeps into spiritual symbols nearby!

    A comparison that was employed to draw attention to "commercial corruption" - in the album, as well as in the "neonised" OM, was adroitly turned around to allege that it was a statment that desecrated the piety of the OM!!
    But what would make the allegation stick? But, of course, the person who had used OM in the simile was not a Hindu - and, hence, they could only devalue the symbols of that particular religion!

    Show anybody with a rudimentary interpretational ability the context and the phrase I have used and they will see no SACRILEGE in it. Nobody else here has seen added-value in a "flourescent OM," either. And this is as good a sample of educated and aware "indians" as any.

    Alas, the controversy was a non-starter, and the motivation was only the sensing of an opportunity to settle some old scores. The true context to this allegation resides not in my NI post, but in the exchanges that went by many months ago - around the time the duet Kanna Varuvaaya was featured as SOTD. Those who want to a referesher course in fresher than ever "payback" lists might want to look it up. The truth won't shock you - it might just give you that missing piece to this current zig-sacrilege.

    OM was merely an opening to turn use a blunted knife yet again.

    Consider this: If the intention was indeed to alert all posters to communal/religious allusions in their writing - if only to urge them to be a tad more careful before such inclusions or references - would you fling that request for the greater common good, thus:

    "Unwarranted stmt. Please try not induct religious references for establishing either your point or flights of verbiage." ??

    A rude opening without any context. The abbreviated "stmt" tells us that the writer is in some sort of rush; something seems to have snapped. There is no explanation as to why my statment is unwarranted. My first thought on seeing the criticism: did they really read my whole post or just that one line? After all, context is everything. The next line has two interesting moments: A preposition goes missing (the rage persists) and the word "induct" - a verb that has deep, religious roots in the clergy - makes an appearance. Somewhat ironic, you'd think, in a post that is whacking you NOT to use sacred references in posts! And, if the motive was indeed to breed "sensitivity" and avoid "controversy" - why add "flights of verbiage" in the sign off?
    Why not end with: "not induct (sic) religious references for establishing your points in your posts."? After all, the intention was to ask everybody (or just me) to be extra-careful with sacred symbols and their literary use in their write-ups?
    Go ahead and call it creative freedom, and I'll be the last person to take issue with that right. Ah, but divinity was merely the decoy. That phrase holds more than just an idiomatic betrayal.

    Seriously, - after writing reams and reams in this very portal on Kandha Muruga Achchudha Kanna Krishna Kali Magamayi Letchumi (and a host of dieties who adorn the Hindu pantheon,) and reveling and rejoicing in the poetic piety of the compositions with the participants in the VJ thread... on the day of the NI festival here, I jumped out of bed, charged to my computer, suddenly all rabid to take the OM apart. That's what secular "indian" muslims like me do once in a while. How you say - OM bashing?

    Believe that, and I'll be sure to honk when I see you lining up to buy manufactured sacrilege.

    (Thanks to all those who read the NI comparison and got the point I was making, even if you disagreed with my thesis. I respect your literariness and maturity. Thanks also for the messages of support and solidarity that were sent my way through email. I hope I have done what you thought I should do.)

  • From: MS (@ on: Fri Jun 25 23:21:31 EDT 2004


    One could miss a preposition and not the point. One could write an essay and convey nothing (as you have yourself claimed - boring). A typo or a grammo, (ooh..these are not in the 'diction'ary - OED or QED..sob sob), indicates the occasional aberration that humans are susceptible to and extending your mile-long analysis based on a missed preposition and declaring it as extra-contextual and rage-fueled, can only prove your commitment to make premature conclusions. You can happily take all my past-posts, sit and analyze every latin-greek root and claim negativity in every single letter. And I will not bother to reply.

    I sincerely believed (and still do) that it was a reference totally uncalled for. Trying to portray this exchange as having seeded by vengeance, sounds like a kid complaining in the utmost insecure fashion (nee annikku enniya adichEyilla.. vaa vaa vechchukkirEn..engammaatta solli koduthu..try finding something else which is reasonable dude). Your earlier discussion (or debacle ?) with 'diction' (Kanna varuvaaya times) is well archived for anybody who would want to know how 'gracious' you were in accepting what was correct.

    A person intact in sanity would have said in response to my stmt :

    "MS - I did not mean to refer to the symbols in a derogatory way. It was just a casual remark which had no further implications. Your reaction is strong and unnecessary".

    And I would have simply said:

    "Sorry Naaz. I probably mistook an innocuous remark in a cursory glance and apologies for that. I would still request not to use preferably, some religious references in your future posts to avoid such confusions".

    And the problem would have been solved then. In stead, you chose to ridicule baselessly about the faith and principles I adhere to as chicanery, painting a secular portrait of yourself and communally sensitive individual off me.

    Yes, I was indeed emphatic in the way I was conveying and I am not denying it. I am NOT an agnostic and I sincerely felt irked by such a statement. I would retort the SAME way if you or somebody else had said that NI is sore like the neon crosses on church or that MSV's singing in "jagame mandhiram shiva shambo" is like the loud namaas that pervades the ambience in the dawn. Reason ? It is a sensitive issue whether you digest it or egest it unassimilated.

    BTW, maturity is in being able to accept things "as they are" and not "as you perceive". If that were the case, your display in the exchanges on 'diction' are clearly antonymous. And for once, please stop dispensing advices and analyses embellished by your strident claims of linguistic superiority which reflect nothing but your circuitous way of converging into rubbish.

    And this "will" be my last response ever in this regard to you or anybody else.

  • From: Naaz (@ on: Sat Jun 26 00:43:57 EDT 2004

    Frankly, MS, I wouldn't give the time of day to your types. I wouldn't have bothered if I had not received three messages today from posters here - yes here, right from this thread.

    Next time a statement irks you step back and ask yourself this: How much of that "insult" is really part of the statement? And how much of it your own reading into that statement? Does your dislike for the person and their views in general ever colour your reading? The evidence is aplenty for all to see.

    I guess other NOT agnostic people who read my comment got it (repeat): Neon does nothing for the spiritual essence of any religious icon - OM or Crescent or Crucifix. In fact, it is THE touch of crass to a perfectly pure symbol.
    It's not just the typo and the grammo, but you are completely on your own in the interpretational wilderness. You must see that for yourself, surely? Sadly, that's how things are for you right now, and that must be tough.

    Yes, you played the religion card - and in a base, vengeful, manipulative way. Unfortunately for you, all that "holier than thou" fakery didn't wash (you had to come back with two additional "wondering" posts.) Still, people here saw your outrage for what it really was: disingenuous and vindictive. That was your chicanery - not your faith's.
    And definitely not the line to summon to inaugurate a course on "sensitivity training"

    - but you had to compound it further, with this:

    "And for once, please stop dispensing advices and analyses embellished by your strident claims of linguistic superiority which reflect nothing but your circuitous way of converging into rubbish."

    Like we needed proof of your reserves of animosity, and yet another example of the greater depths of classnessness to which you could sink. I didn't know my "linguistic superiority" (did I make such a claim?) was such a thorn in your side. How much you must hate me and my presence here, MS. But you know what? I am not surprised.
    Hate is what Bigots do best, don't they?

    (Glad that the "diction" duel is archived. There must also be a list of Chithra's mispronunciations list which I'd provided. I'm sure that's there too. Once a linguist? Don't worry though, I don't believe I'll be calling you for lessons in English and good "grace." I get by quite nicely with what I've got, thank you.)

  • From: bb (@ on: Sat Jun 26 02:57:41 EDT 2004

    Naaz/MS, you've made your points. No more digressions, please.

  • From: Udhaya (@ on: Sat Jun 26 20:22:31 EDT 2004

    I wouldn't've bothered to write this, but 8 people from this thread wrote me, (yes, this very thread) and appreciated your last post, so I had to pass it on. Otherwise, you know I wouldn't give you the time of day.

  • From: io (@ on: Sun Jun 27 13:05:57 EDT 2004

    MS, fitting reply on Jun 25th. animosity ellaam avar manasula vechchindhu ungala solraarae! Nothing much has changed;-)

    bb, neenga oru vaati sonnaa..:) Unfortunate that such arguments are taking place even this thread.