The Passing of an Eventful 2017


Today is the last day of 2017.

What an eventful year it was – every year has some significant events which define it. However, 2017 was one of those years which had multiple significant events trying to define it, the most important one being the coronation (!) of Donald Trump as the President of the U.S. in January 2017.

That changed almost every other significant event in the entire world – Trump changed the world order for everything significant. It became a topsy turvy world defined by uncertainty, chaos, confusion, war-mongering, spiced up elections, enhanced killing of civilians, increase in the number of refugees, increase in the severe perpetration of atrocities on ethnic minorities, diplomacy torn to tatters, more urban violence, intolerance towards minority races, testing of long-established alliances, threat to dismantle trade partnerships, ruinous twitter shots, anti-immigrant rhetoric, vilifying genuine polictical opponents, and what not. The list is endless, but the defining moment of the year was the unexpected anointing of Donald Trump as the most temperamental power-mongering trigger-happy IDK (I don’t know or care) president of the most powerful nation on earth.

If the U.S. is making diplomatic and militaristic waves in the North American continent, the U.K. is making a different set of waves in an economic and trade sense, in Europe via its Brexit separation from the European Union. While massive chaos has not followed the Brexit vote, it is likely that the full impact of this separation would be felt in 2018/19, as both entities resolve trade, immigration, security and other issues between themselves. In Asia, the country which is making most of the persistent waves of a destructive impact would be none other than China, which is intent on flexing its military and political muscle towards an unreasonable, unjustified nationalistic expansion into the South China Sea, to the detriment of the South East Asian countries. While Japan and India are acting as joint counter-balance to the rising influence and belligerence of China, they would not be able to match China, without the active involvement and participation of the U.S.

The most peaceful economic rise is that of India. While marked down by the demonetization and the national goods and services tax initiatives, India is recovering and is on the verge of exceeding a 7% GDP growth rate, soon to reclaim as the fastest growing large economy on the planet. Such a focused, sustainable growth rate is expected to lift 200 to 300 million people out of poverty in the coming 3 to 5 years.

2017 saw military conflicts in Yemen, Iraq, Syria – all in the Middle East. An accurate tally of the human cost of these conflicts is not available, even from the United Nations, but it is safe to assume that a million or more civilian lives has been lost in these countries. It appears that human lives are the easiest expendable commodity that is available to policy makers in both political/government and military circles. This is a pathetic evolution of unnecessary warfare on civilians who cannot defend themselves, or who cannot be defended by their own weak governments. A totally ridiculous situation which even the most sober people in the world are not able to address and resolve to this day.

The ejection of the Rohingya Muslim community by Myanmar is another sad refugee story, which is tainted by lots of blood in the hands of the government and the arumy. The glorified leader and Nobel peace prize laureate, Aung Saan Suu Kyi of Myanmar, has not done herself any favour, by not speaking out loudly and clearly on the ethnic cleansing which has characterized the army operations against the Rohingyas. The United Nations, again, is unable to do anything except giving media interviews.

2017 was positive in many aspects as well. Stock markets everywhere created huge additional wealth during the year. There was strongly positive action in corporate market, with several major mergers and acquisitions announced/completed. Tax rforms in the U.S. have been a positive news for U.S. corporations. Climate change initiatives are in progress, despite the lack of U.S. support and participation. Trade initiatives are in progress, despite lack of U.S. participation (Trans Pacific Partnership, Belt & Road initiative, etc.,). GDP per capita is firmly rising in Asian countries.

So, in a nutshell, 2017 while being a dramatic and significantly eventful year, has not diluted the human confidence on the criticality of economic growth, alleviation of poverty, elimination of wars, sustainability of peace, trade, manufacturing, healthcare, etc., At the end of the day, people need more bread on the table, and if governments can help in achieving that goal so much the better for everyone.

I think we can learn a lot from the happenings of 2017, and could plan execution of important events in our life a little better. Lack of study, analysis and preparation hampers our execution many a time, and we should not let that happen. However, we almost have to pray that a nuclear war is not unleashed on Asia (again). Only one country has suffered from a nuclear war, and that is Japan. Do we want the second such country in Asia as well?

Surely not. Let us hope better sense will prevail over hot heads who have been given the mammoth responsibility to make epochal decisions which affect all of mankind.

I hope you all had a good 2017, and here’s wishing you an outstanding year in 2018 and more success, peace, and health. Forget the money and focus on these three things. You will come to the conclusion that your money priorities were not the right ones to lead a positive and cheerful life.

Cheers,

Vijay Srinivasan

31st December 2017

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Mona Lisa Smile


Well, that is yet another movie I “happened” to see during this festive season.

While reviews of this movie are not great, I liked it – the “experience” of the Wellesley College of Massachusetts is something that parents would like to give to their daughters. So I thought, before seeing the movie. However, after viewing the movie, my opinion of the straight-laced New England private liberal arts colleges for women changed completely.

As Julia Roberts says in the movie………”this is a finishing (grooming) college for women……..“, what she means is that Wellesley grooms young ladies to become good (corporate) wives in rich families in New England. It is not a place where critical thinking and new ways of learning and appreciating modern art happens – it is a traditionalist, conservative, elite college for women in a very conservative and rich society, which does not like surprises and new ways of thinking or doing things. Women are supposed to become wives and mothers, not to aim for professions or corporate career. And, this was as late as the 1950s and 1960s!

The funny thing is that Katherine Watson (played by Julia Roberts) as the new lecturer of “Art History” came from UCLA California to Wellesley, and her genuine attempts to teach a new perspective in her classes were considered as “subversive” by many students and the board of trustees of Wellesley – the term “subversive” was derogatory and a criminal term as it referred to people like spies who tried to persuade others to take up communism, or lead a life away from the “morality” that was prescribed by the regular Wellesley faculty based on its long pedigree. Actually, Katherine was a “progressive” who was ahead of the feminist movement in the U.S. – she wanted women to make their own life choices, rather than be subservient to society’s commands and expectations. The board of trustees did not like Katherine Watson obviously, but they were faced with the challenge of expelling her from Wellesley when her course became the most popular one in the Department of Arts.

Katherine tells the President of the Wellesely College………”……….I thought I was headed to a place that would turn out tomorrow’s leaders – not their wives“. She tries to guide her promising students towards a dual-life career – why not do Law while also being a wife, but that does not work out……..her students see her ideas and perspective, but could not bring themselves to make the leap towards the vision that Katherine was laying out for them. She was far too advanced for them and their parents and the elite college that was Wellesley. Her ways were considered too radical for that staid society bent on following the conservative norms and expectations. As Katherine’s short-lived boyfriend (the Italian Professor) says……..”………you did not come to Wellesely to help your students find their way, but to help them find her way…….“; of course, this outburst leads to a quick estrangement between the two.

I can easily relate to those situations as Indian society was no different – women were expected to become good wives and mothers, and give up their career aspirations at the altar of their husbands. Women were expected to take care of the family. Women were not expected to become corporate leaders. However, to India’c credit, things changed rapidly in favour of women engineers, doctors, and other professionals, at least in metro cities. When I studied Engineering in late Seventies and early Eighties, and MBA during mid-Eighties, there were a number of aspiring young women who were bright and competitive. They all went for dual-life careers, wherein they became wives/mothers as well as successful business people – I know a number of them. Things dramatically changed in the Nineties and now there is a strong and clear acceptance of women professionals everywhere. I would love to find out the views of the board of trustees of the Wellesley College now, with respect to their expectations on women.

Katherine was a free soul who was determined to make a positive difference in the lives of her (women) students and make a change in the way they looked at life itself, away from their usual traditional mindset. She was of the very firm view that women students should not fall into the regular stereotypes set for them by a conservative society that pushes them, but rather have an open mind on how they can contribute better to society itself leveraging their true career aspirations.

Is Katherine Watson an anti-marriage feminist? Is she a subversive, intent on upending established moral order and values? Does she throws caution to the wind by persuading one of her students to go for Yale Law, when that same girl is engaged and going to get married? Is Katherine a whimsical anarchist?

More questions come up as you watch the movie, but I will let you do it with pleasure. It is a good movie, and you would experience the true feelings and emotions of Katherine’s students only in the last scene. Watch it!

Cheers,

Vijay Srinivasan

31st December 2017

 

 

 

The Lunchbox


Interesting movie with no ending or conclusions, apparently.

A much-awarded movie released in 2013, The Lunchbox is from the daily grind of Mumbai City in India, depicting how the daily life revolves around time-consuming personal transportation and logistics while following the story of a young woman who is trying to more closely bond with her husband through the lunchbox communication of sending short notes written and left inside for him to read.

The beauty of the film lies in its artful direction by the first-time director, Ritesh Batra, and some fantastic almost “silent” acting by the very talented Irfan Khan and Nimrat Kaur, the lead actor and actress respectively. This is the first time I saw Nimrat Kaur in a film and I was amazed at the depth that she demonstrated throughout the movie – she displayed emotions in a manner which more important actresses would have struggled with. There are no songs and “running around the trees” in this movie – it is all about dealing with very innate emotions, tackling despair, handling daily chores while thinking about how to keep the relationship going via the “lunchbox communication”, and fighting a very challenging family life which is characterized by deceit (by Nimrat’s current husband), unfaithfulness, and loneliness. It is nice to see the guidance provided by the unseen neighbour from a floor above Nimrat’s apartment – that kind of provides a sense of reality in Nimrat’s otherwise boring life filled with despair and loneliness.

I thought the movie dragged a fair bit during the first half and then picked up steam in the second half. I realized “art” movies of high caliber tend to play on emotions and the drag which comes along with long stares, intense thinking, smoking on the rooftop, looking at the daily happenings with a disconnectedness, and what not. So, I was not surprised that “The Lunchbox” took its time to lead the viewer(s) along the ringside of Nimrat’s life of struggles, and Irfan’s tackling of what was pulling his heart at the edge of his retirement life, which was due to start shortly.

Overall, I can say I liked the evocative nature of the characters in the movie and the elegant directorial effort of Ritesh Batra. I wouldn’t put this movie at the top of my best movie list, but it will deserve a place in the top 20 of the best movies ever – its portrayal of romance (I wouldn’t call it love) and loneliness felt by both lead characters, and the interwoven-ness of the daily life of Mumbai metropolis, is an outstanding depiction of human emotions. The movie also shows that emerging romance between unknown people provides solace to lonely souls struggling with problems created by others in their own lives (for instance, Nimrat’s husband who is suspected of being unfaithful to a very endearing wife). The lonely soul of Nimrat eventually falls in love with the lonely and retiring soul of Irfan, which is not unexpected given Nimrat’s family situation.

The other key portrayal in this movie is its two -sided delivery: on one hand, we see the hustle and bustle of the very busy Mumbai City, with its trains and road traffic, and people hurrying all over the place; on the other hand, we see the very slow pace of the characters, which while a bit boring, allows us to visualize their emotions and play along slowly in a very measured manner – the way the characters feel. That’s kind of a two-side personality of the entire movie, which adds spice to the audience sensory grasp.

Overall, it is a pleasure to watch the movie and digest its impact. You also start to imagine similar situations in busy cities around the world!

Enjoy it!!

Cheers,

Vijay Srinivasan

29th December 2017

Our Souls at Night


What a lovely movie.

While this movie is not about living your life in conformity with social mores and customs (Indian society immediately comes to mind), it is all about finding a kindred soul who would share his or her thoughts and space with you. What if these souls had been neighbours for a long time without so much as wishing each other occasionally, and suddenly one day they want to link up for emotional support? So be it, though even in this remote Colorado town people start talking about such relationships, as the movie reveals – they start joking and they start commenting, which you wouldn’t expect to witness in a metropolis for sure.

But then, this is a rural town with a small population. It is funny to see how our hero in the movie, Robert Redford, approached Jane Fonda’s house via the backyard as he is afraid that others would see him entering her house! Note that both had been widowed for many years, and are just trying to fight loneliness, especially during the night time! They both live in big houses, but with no families. They struggle to get through their days and struggle even more to get through their nights – as so vividly and simply explained by Jane Fonda (I am using the actors’ real names here in this review).

Both are very experienced and versatile actors with a wide repertoire of skills and Ritesh Batra, the director, has been successful in leveraging them expertly for this movie. The movie drags a bit occasionally, but then gets over it and runs with an expectation that their hook-up will eventually translate into a more intimate relationship, which it does. The director has done a fabulous job of guiding their performances in a manner that flows gently with smooth handling of the minor objections of society while they both glide into a partnership for spending the nights together. While Robert’s daughter is more understanding of this relationship, Jane’s son is not and tries to question.

Folks who are not part of the evolving nature of man-woman relationships tend to unnecessarily intrude, for that matter they become obnoxious in their overt comments. People try to sully the reputation of the partners. Coming from India, I know the very damaging effect it could have. The acceptance level in conservative societies is getting to be better, but the key point to realize is that no one needs a positive endorsement from society at large, but a positive stroke from a relative – son or daughter would help to calm the soul. At the end of the day, what is wrong in wanting to still have a life? Is that a sin? No, it is not. They both have very little time left to finish their lives anyway. Gossiping neighbours and societies-at-large can be dismissed.

Amazing portrayal and expert direction make this movie a must watch. One can gain an understanding of how to form strong relationships, and an ability to do what one wishes to do in life rather than to just conform to others’ wishes. It is important to realize that time is always very short and one needs to lead his or her life to the fullest – not just give it up due to existential or societal pressures. It is also lovely to see how Robert handles his daughter Holly when she tells him she is going to Europe and plans to spend good time in Italy. Just see the movie, I am not stating how he did it here!

I also liked the way the movie ended. The new couple are living separately but talk to each other every night from their respective beds before sleeping! That’s testament to their newly established strong partnership which can sustain physical separation and continue well into their twilight years!! They are very happy in their continuing companionship!!! Lovely.

Great 2017 movie. See it and enjoy it. Do it without any baggage or pre-conceived notions. Then you realize how good it is.

Cheers,

Vijay Srinivasan

27th December 2017

(My Birthday!)

The Intouchables


I loved this French movie so much that I decided to finish it last night despite my strict time limit of hitting the bed by 10:30 PM. I finished watching the movie only by 11:20 PM, but I think it was the right decision as this movie had a positive impact on me and my social antenna.

The “Intouchables” is a movie about the highly unlikely friendship and camaraderie between a wealthy disabled white French aristocrat living in a palatial mansion, and a poor, black French ex-convict who was ejected out of his home by his aunt. This is an almost impossible relationship in the completely white royalty of France which does not mingle with non-whites, and rarely ever gives an opportunity for black ex-convicts as care givers (apparently, I am not sure of this however). An amazing direction by the directorial pair of Olivier Nakache  and Eric Toledano, makes the acting and flow of the movie ever so smooth and completely watchable (of course, I needed English sub-titles).

In French language, there is a phrase “Joie de Vivre” meaning the “joy of life”. In this movie, so well acted by François Cluzet (the white rich man) and Omar Sy (the black care giver), Omar Sy helps Francois Cluzet rediscover the joy of life (I am using the actors’ real names). Francois had lost interest in his life after his paragliding accident and the death of his wife who he loved dearly. He was just gliding along the rest of his life with medical support and helpers, mostly in a mechanical manner. He spots Omar during the interview process for care givers, and develops a liking for his couldn’t-care-less attitude. After a one month trial period, Omar was selected as his official live-in care giver.

The movie revolves around how Omar cares for Francois in a way very different from other care givers – irreverent, intrusive, humorous, experimenting, and in general, throwing things upside down at the elegant mansion, including flirting with Francois’ secretary. I think the movie made me look at the disabled and the blacks with a better appreciation than I have had in the past. How life unfolds is rather incongruous and sometimes totally unpalatable. How to convert life into a living joy is what matters at the end of the day. If joy can be put back into our lives, we should be able to steer better with stronger focus on enjoying life. This is what Omar does to Francois’ life.

The other critical thing is to deal with racism, and give a chance to people who are disadvantaged to start with. What matters is not the colour of the skin or the past life of an individual, but his or her desire to make changes in their attitude and approach to life. While that sounds general or generic, it is apparent that we do not pay attention to the poor and the disabled. Rarely do we go out of our way to help the disabled, and that applies to me. Rarely do we want to interact with people from the poorer sections of the society, and that applies to me. Rarely do we wish to give a chance to folks with troubled past, like in this movie, to Omar Sy. Francois demonstrates his maturity and grasp of human psychology, by choosing to give a chance to Omar, despite him being a black, being an ex-convict, and being an irreverent jerk almost.

Great movie overall, with some fantastic acting performances and fabulous direction. I enjoy French movies specifically due to their depth and ability to analyze human behavior in a subtle manner, while maintaining a sense of balance. I have been seeing a few good ones of late, and will write reviews of them as we glide into 2018!

Enjoy the festive season, and have a wonderful new year ahead in 2018,

Cheers,

Vijay Srinivasan

25th December 2017

 

Update on Rev Fr Felix Joseph, S.J.


Many of my St Marys’ High School classmates reverted on the post I published recently The Loss of a Great Life Teacher

I had obviously missed out on some of the key teachings of Rev Fr Felix Joseph, S.J. Here is a summary of the comments provided by my esteemed classmates from those impactful, influential, and most remembered days at the school in Madurai, that I am publishing on their behalf:

Ganesan says – “………the first thing he wrote on the blackboard was ‘I expect great things from you‘………shall always remember him”

Chander says – “………the 4C of Fr Joseph are ‘Critical, Creative, Cultural and Communitarian‘………”. This needs no explanation, we all understand what the Rev Fr was trying to say.

Chakravarthy says – “………...whomever he has vented his anger on have done well in life. Even if he is harsh, he will come back next day with his trade mark smile. Once he even left our class in anger saying that he didn’t want to handle this class any longer. Very next day he forgot everything and proceeded as usual. That’s him”.

Ramesh says – “………….the drama show for the inmates of (Madurai) jail (prison), put up by Rev Fr………..a great philanthropic deed for those inmates……….”. Ramesh also says – “…………he was the first teacher who visited his students’ houses in those days……….he was a great lover of fine arts………..he introduced the habit of House Magazine,……….and our class was chosen to receive the first prize……..I remember to have received the prize on stage on behalf of our class in 9th standard………..”

Ashraf says – “……….he always used to say ‘I expect great things from you‘……….”

Shihan Hussaini says – “…………..LOSS OF MY FOUNDATION! There are people who are truly responsible for your foundations in your childhood. Fr Felix Joseph was my strongest foundation. He groomed me, moulded me, helped me, supported me and guided me all through my life. When I was in school and when I was out of school. When I was in touch with him and even when I was not. His powerful influence has chiseled many a young mind in St Marys’ Higher Secondary School where he was the Assistant Head Master and my class teacher. His ability to identify talent was phenomenal. I was cast in the lead in two plays that he directed – ‘Punnagaiyin Pugal’ and ‘Nulainthae Teeruvom’. His dramatic portrayal of the various characters and his acting every character out to teach us is vividly in my mind. His love and motivation for English vocabulary and his emphasis on all of us learning new words was legendary. When I expressed my love for oil painting and my inability to afford the materials, he gifted me my first oil paint tubes box and hog hair brush. He encouraged the pursuit of reading. He always gave me a pat on th eback and a word of appreciation when he found me in the school library. Can’t forget how he took the entire class to director K. Balachander’s movie ‘Tappu Taalangal’ and encouraged us to participate in a national film review contest. Individual boys were assigned to write criticism (critique) on various sections of the movie. I was asked to review ‘art direction!’. We won the contest and the first prize of Rs. 200 was shared by the boys. In later days when I was introduced in movies by K. Balachander, I narrated this to the director and he was keen to meet Fr Felix Joseph. Incidentally my first play with Fr Felix was called ‘Punnagai Mannan’ and my first movie with KB sir was (also) ‘Punnagai Mannan’. Fr Felix helped me to connect to Dr Michael Debakey, the pioneer of open heart surgery from Houston USA (after my childish, failed experimental open heart surgeries with white mice) and was instrumental in getting a personal scholarship of USD 100 every year from him (for me). When I met Dr Debakey many years later during his visit to Chennai for a seminar and thanked him, he was keen on meeting Fr Felix. Fr was personally responsible for evolving my acting, mono acting, painting, writing, oratorical, debating and other skills. When he visited me at home in Chennai, he presented my wife with a picture of Mary. He was in touch with my wife frequently as I was not reachable on phone many a time. It’s truly sad that he is no more. He lived a fruitful life shaping young minds and creating moral foundations for his students. I see his influence in every creative work I have done and will do. He will be remembered. Truly, Father, rest in peace………”.

Nanda Kumar says – “………For late comers in lower classes who come to get his signature, he used to tell them ‘Thank You sollittu poda‘……………”.

Anthony Jayakumar says – “………..God bless his soul! He was a great teacher and a wise man. He led a long and fruitful life………….”

KS Sekar says – “………..I can never forgive myself for not visiting him in my numerous trips to Madurai despite Ashraf offering to take me. He was committed to our batch like nobody I have seen. He pushed us to succeed on our own efforts. He beautifully handled academic slackers and extraordinarily brilliant and eccentric minds alike. I interacted with him extensively while at St Marys’. Not once did he try to impose his religious beliefs on me or criticize mine. I will never forget his rule to include vocabulary words in our essays. In my humble opinion, he was a true guru I was blessed to learn from………”

I have tried to capture as much as I could from the various WhatsApp messages. This is a summary which hopefully will stay in one place on the internet for all of us to refer to……..and show to our children and grand children.

Cheers,

Vijay Srinivasan

24th December 2017

 

 

Three Great Wines for Christmas


My wine recommendations are closely watched? Ha Ha Ha……..Not yet…………..

Here are my three suggestions (I have added a “bonus” suggestion as well – look for it!):

  1. Peccavi No Regrets Cabernet Merlot 2014 – Australia
  2. Penley Estate Phoenix Cabernet Sauvignon 2013 – Australia
  3. Clos Apalta Limited Release 2012 – Chile

And, the “bonus” recommendation is Glacomo Montresor Amarone della Valpolicella – Italy.

I elected to select all red wines this time as I continue to diversify into more reds (my choices earlier were dominated by Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay and Chenin Blanc, probably also because I like to drink chilled drinks with some “hot” snacks!).

Let us first look at Peccavi from the Margaret River region of South West Australia. Not an expensive wine (which in my parlance means that it is around SGD 20 thereabouts), it demonstrates how a smooth, easy-drinking and fruity wine can create new interest in anyone. I felt this was almost a full-bodied wine with some nice acidity with a spiciness that I liked. That did not dilute its fruitiness. I also like it when the wine is ruby red in colour and slithers down the wide-bottomed red wine glass along the sides with a stickiness demonstrating the good quality of the wine. I would strongly recommend this wine for white wine drinkers who would like to try out some mildly complex red wines which are easy to drink. This is my choice when it comes to entertaining guests at the beginning of the conversation (!).

The Penley Estate produces some outstanding wines from Coonawarra, Australia. The Phoenix Cabernet Sauvigon from Penley Estate is more expensive in the range of SGD 30 to 40, so it is outside of my normal range for good value wines. However, this being the Christmas season, I decided to include it having recently tried this wine. I should say I was “floored” by the goodness of this Cabernet Sauvignon. Given its complexity and sophistication, I would suggest you unleash this on friends with some wine-drinking experience who usually go for red wines. It has dark, inky fruit with a flavourful delivery which you will enjoy. I am amazed at its sophistication in the price range it comes in (please note that this wine is available in Australia for around AUD 20 – lucky guys down under!).

Clos Apalta Limited Release 2012 from the Apalta region of the Colchagua Valley of Chile,  is among top 1% of all wines in the world. It is VERY expensive, more than SGD 170. I happened to taste and enjoy it in a business meeting at The American Club of Singapore, and completely fell for it, though I haven’t had the chance to look for it or again try it, given its unaffordable price. This is a very sophisticated world-class Bordeaux-style blended wine with strong aromas of blueberry, very juicy and ripe wine. It is a full-bodied wine with a rich long finish. Great wine to be recommended to business associates or at a special family function. Why not Christmas? This is an elegant wine from Chile – if only they can offer it at half the price, then it would be worth importing it.

Now, let me come to my “bonus” suggestion for Christmas – this one is with a long name from where else, Italy, Glacomo Montresor Amarone della Valpolicella. This is in the range of SGD 30, so not very expensive. I do not usually go for Italian wines, but this time I was again “floored”. This is an amazing blended red wine, intense ruby red in colour, with juicy cherry flavours. It is easy-drinking which is a surprise for Italian wines I have tried in the past. It is smooth with a nice finish. I thoroughly enjoyed this wine. Again, I would recommend this as a starting wine for a friends’ get-together. Overall, a lovely wine at a not too expensive price for a festive occasion.

All these wines are amazing, and I would highly recommend to anyone wanting to try out. Of course, there is no shortage of excellent wines, the issue has always been the price-to-value ratio. I also found my usual run-of-the-mill wines on special offer this weekend, and I bought a couple of bottle. Lest you think that I am always thinking about wines and drinking them, please rest assured that I am yet to open my latest bottle of red wine bought yesterday (so I cannot write about it!).

Drink responsibly, and do not drive while under alcohol influence. The police are everywhere looking for drunk driving dudes, and it is better to save lives while saving oneself, and not get jailed during this festive season.

WISH YOU ALL A MERRY CHRISTMAS 2017!

Cheers,

Vijay Srinivasan

24th December 2017