Thursday, February 24, 2005

FTP post


So you're saying what's new about this image, right ? Well..Nothing.. But the amusing thing is I got it from my boss day before yesterday at around 2:34 pm...and when I saw the mail sequence below..I observed that he'd got it from his boss at 2:26 pm who in turn got it from his boss the previous evening at around 7:25 pm.. No big deal, right ? Wait. Now this last boss is the BIG ONE himself. I name no names but its you-know-who. So there's yet another eyeopener. Now I know what rich, corporate head honchos do when they are bored. THEY SPAM. I pity the next person who will dare to complain when he/she receives a fwd from me ;-)

Leaving that interesting(??) anecdote aside, the last few days this curiosity bug has bitten me again. My site stats have gone up dramatically and the practical side of me refuses to believe that I've been 'discovered' by new people. I am now mighty eager to know who are the people who will buy my book the day I write one. Of course, making people comment in my blog is like cajoling Inzy to take a quick single after hitting the ball straight to Ponting. So here's the freebee. I know I have already shared the booty with quite a few of you but for the rest, I do have with me a lot of e-books, a representative sample of which is shared below

Kahlil Gibran's Prophet
Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code
Ethan M. Rasiel's The McKinsey Way,
JKR's Harry Potter and The Order of the Phoenix
Short stories of O Henry and Guy De Maupassant
Mark Haddon's Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time
Leo Tolstoy's War and Peace

....besides a lot of English classics.

Of course most of it is available in the net but isn't it easier to just drop in a comment with your name/email-id and pick a book of your choice. Think about it folks ;-)

Moving on, here's the latest (ok, not so latest) in the long line of songs I have come to like just because the geeks around me, who do testing for an audio project, refuse to change their PlayList. Yeah..the first time I heard it I was livid coz the tune was a straight lift from a Tamil folk song of yesteryear, Pollachi Sandhaiyile..But what the heck, after some time you've got to admit that even the lifted tune rocks..And after seeing the video in Channel V, I am happy I didn't let me initial prejudices rule me for long. Rabbi rocks and Bulla Ki Jaana Mein Kaun simply grows on you with every hear. And if, like me, you've heard it around 30 times every day for the last 7 days, then you are even prepared to believe that the song has answers to every possible problem in life (which despite being a tall claim is not altogether false..thanks to Sameer for his translation of the lyrics).. In case there are still people who haven't heard this song, just go check out Channel V asap.

Books...Hmmm..I'm sure most of you have observed Rediff going ballistic with A special feature on Shobhaa De's latest piece of crap - Spouse:The truth about marriage. For someone who's tracked SDs career from her editorial stints at Stardust (Meeow) and Society (eeeks) to her social columns in TOI and her literary classics like Surviving Men and Speedpost, I am not in the least surprised that she is back to what she does best - which is writing soft porn literature. The latest book has been receiving quite a few good reviews and when Guru in his blog here mentioned about it, I was even more curious to know what her biggest fan cum critic, that grand old old Sardar, had to say about the book. Was I disappointed ? Age sure seems to have caught up with him :-(

Okie, time to end this post. But before I do that, Feb is almost coming to a close and I've missed wishing quite a few people on a lot of happy occasions. So here I go...

Belated Birthday Wishes to the 'original kid'...I know this greeting is off by a day but then I'm sure you will forgive your first friend at SP for this small bhool :-)

Belated Best Wishes to two more of my good friends who will bite the dust in a couple of months: Firstly Apu, who got engaged on 14th Feb (Val day?? or was it on 13th??) to Harish (we have enough Ramakrishnans so lets not add to the confusion) and also Suman who got hooked on Feb 13th with a mysterious Jharkhand belle. Is it a co-incidence that they both did their autumns at Britannia ? Shucks.. I am getting too perceptive these days.

Congratulations and Best Wishes also to triple centum Mukilan who got married on Feb 13th to a fellow RECTian Prathiba. Machaan, I look at our Banana Leaf farewell party snap everyday and I still cannot believe that the one person who I thought would never fall in love and marry (besides me, of course) is the first one to do so. Long Live The Internet !!

Congratulations also to two of my pals who successfully made it through two years of academic rigor and movies on laptops to land up dream jobs in IBM and GE. Way to Jaggu and Ben ki behn.

Advance Birthday Wishes to RK Dada.

Kahin Na Kahin Koi Hai.....

My name is Alangudi S. Krishnamurthy Iyer. Relatives call me Kichu. Friends call me Krishna. Please remember I AM KRISH. Before we talk of the present, the reason why I am here, it would be apt if you knew a few details about my past. Born in October 1978 to Alangudi Sreenivasa Iyer and Sundari, I was a loser even on my first day in this planet. My cousin Raghuraman, born to Alangudi Vishwanatha Iyer and Lakshmi in the other Operation Theatre, beat me to this world by a couple of minutes and ever since I have had to live in the shadow of his achievements. Ours was a liberal Vadamal Iyer Brahmin (I am Bharadwaj gothram) joint family presided over by my paternal grandfather, that towering giant of a man, Alangudi Sethurama Iyer. As you might have all observed by now, most of my early life story revolves around that charming village, Alangudi. I have very few memories of my childhood but whatever little I can recollect now are images of Raghu and I attending junior school in Panjampatti. Even at that young age, I was the brightest kid in school. Whenever we had inspections by Panchayat elders and Government of Tamil Nadu's Education ministry officials, I was always the chosen one to recite poems and answers questions in Science. However when exams came, I always stood second. No prizes for guessing who came first. Raghu. He would simply copy all my answers and force me to make that one mistake which would make him the topper. Being the elder brother whom I was supposed to respect and adore, I would silently play along. It was probably at around this time that I first started showing signs of my shy and reclusive inner self. There was this cute gal Kamala in school whom I used to fancy quite a bit those days. Now Kamala wasn't particularly intelligent but she was always dressed up so nattily (her father being a successful local tailor) that there were days when my heart wasn't with me. I must have been very obvious with my tastes since Raghu, at that ripe old age of 9, immediately began to sense that something was amiss and before long she was his. I took my first setback very personally and for months went into a shell. Time flew and we then moved to a bigger city Madurai.

My next memorable experience was in Std 10. It was the last day of the public exams and most of my friends in school with girlfriends of their own had all made plans to spend a wild evening. Of course, having studied in a co-education these last 6 years I'd made my fair share of girl-friends but most of these relationships were of the platonic kinds. Most of these girls either wanted me to help them with their academics ("You're clearly on your way to becoming a Rhodes scholar thanks to your Tam Brahm genes" proclaimed Mrs. Vasantha, my Chemistry teacher. Little did she know that I had a thing for her daughter, Pallavi and all I wanted was some chemistry between us) or find out from 'the inside' if a particular guy was 'taken or not'. There was even that one occasion when I had to do snoop around the desk of Aravind to see if there were any letters that he might have received from anyone but Pallavi (yeah, Chemistry became History and we ended up becoming pals) Coming back to the last exam again, armed with a nice guy reputation, you can imagine my shock when Reshma, the most beautiful, or rather fairest Punjabi gal, in the whole of school asked me out for a movie that evening. I was delirious with joy and borrowing some money (after all I had to buy her Gold-Spot and samosa in the interval) from my best buddy Arun, we went and watched Ullae Veliyae. I thought we had a wonderful time for she seemed to have enjoyed the movie, laughing at all my jokes and even cozying her palm with mine post interval. Buoyed by the success of our first outing, I was half expecting her to ask me out again. (yeah, shy kids never asked girls out - they waited to be asked out) Needless to say, that was our first and last date together. I later found that she had made a bet with a couple of her friends that I was 'a total vegetarian' and had actually won obscene money thanks to me :-( It might interest you to know that by now Raghu's untarnished name was scandalized by a few schoolmates who claimed that he had made promises of true love and marriage to each of them.

My next brush with the fairer sex happened in my first year in Engineering College. (And that's not to be taken literally, its just a figure of speech I'm using) By now, I had decided to let my academic pursuits take a backseat and was on a mission to reinvent myself. I discovered myself in basketball, beer and Boyzone - the second because I knew this was my easiest entry ticket to discs and pubs and the last one more because women seemed to swoon on hearing their inane songs. At the same time, I also developed this formidable reputation of being maddeningly funny and chilled out. The coolest chick in first year and the object of all my dreams, Shriya once told me offhand
"Wit is the most important quality in a man; second is compassion; third is intelligence. Everything else is gravy."
Obviously she didn't practice what she preached. If only this were true, the least I should have had was atleast her or better still harems that would make Sheikh Emir Al Jabah of Saudi Arabia envious. Neither became a reality and damn you, I was a really funny guy. I mean, my jokes made guys laugh so much that they peed in their pants. It was then that I realized that I had to compromise somewhere. My basketball exploits in second year soon won me more than just female fans. A couple of moderately intelligent women gave weak hints of trying to work on something serious but unfortunately they happened to be called Paromita Biswas and Shraddha Thakkar. Maybe I could try and convince Alangudi Sreenivasa Iyer but I knew I didn't stand a ghost of a chance with that great Tam Brahm soul, Alangudi Sethurama Iyer. One more year went by and I was getting more and more frustrated by the day. Just when all hope had subsided, a little bit of light streamed in from the end of the tunnel. Juniors came in and two prospects looked appealing at first glance - Geetha Thyagarajan and Vanitha Gopikrishnan. I trained my guns on the former first for the simple reason she seemed richer. I made my moves and was almost there (it happened way too easily..should have suspected) only to finally find out that she was born in 1976. Tendulkar might have done it but no way would the Alangudi elders approve. Vanitha Gopikumar, on the other hand, was a totally different ball game. For starters, she refused to play ball...on the flimsy grounds that I was a senior. She hated sports, listened to only KJ Jesudas and absolutely abhorred drunkards. It was a tough call between finally getting for myself a steady girlfriend and giving up those carefully cultivated habits. The former won but before I was ready for her (giving up beer takes time boss), she got engaged. To a male Bharatnatyam dancer. Sheeesh.

The remaining 2 years of college are a blur so lets just skip that. Next in line was that dream software job in Bangalore. Wise seniors had told me that girls in Bangalore were like grains of sand in the Sahara. Available just about everywhere waiting to be picked up. You just could not fail. Even the stats backed their opinion. Obviously they had not contended with once-in-a-century exceptions like me. The first 6 months were carefully spent in compiling an entire dossier of exhaustive information - all obtained by observing and casually mingling with species that both fitted my family's and my own specifications perfectly. After starting out with a sample of around 25, I zeroed down to 4 potential candidates. On each of them I had a huge file which told me every specific detail I needed to know - their favorite colour, actor (that wasn't too difficult - it was all Arvind Swamy), food, dress and even their favorite ex (yeah, I ensured this list was only of 'single-at-present' women).....The groundwork done, you'd think it was the right time to move in for the kill, right ? Alas !! As if by some strange co-incidence all my 4 targets happened to be involved in some stage of marital discussions (one was about to get engaged that weekend) and there was no way they would even consider talk of "trying to get to know each other so that we can look at a meaningful long term relationship". Damn you. I could not even get myself to tell them I needed a bloody girlfriend if not for anything else, just to spite the Alangudi elders. Yes, Raghu got married that year and he was just 22. His misdemeanors had finally caught up with him since his latest girlfriend's father happened to be a DGP. And here I was still trying to get my first 'official girlfriend' :-(

It was somewhere towards the end of my second year at work that some moron suggested that B-schools were the place to get hitched. Cracking the entrance exams proved to be a cake-walk but when I was told that the top B-schools had a pathetic M:F ratio, I had to work really hard to botch up the interviews so that I got myself an admit into a tier-2 B-school where there would be a higher chance of landing myself a girlfriend. Of course, there was this small thing of a career to consider but then didn't some old wise man say that "Behind the success of every man lies a woman" . I guess I presumed that it was more important to get my priorities right and so I landed up in Delhi. A couple of weeks later, I had my first reality check. Women in B-schools were just of two varieties: ones that had steady boyfriends from Std 6 and ones that had steady boyfriends from Std 7. I mean, there were enough Tam Brahm women for me to genuinely have a go at but most of them seemed to be really committed. One of them Archana, who had been brought up all her life in Delhi and could barely speak her mother tongue, wanted to impress her Tam Brahm boyfriend from school days, a jerk by name Chandrashekhar, so much so that she chose me to teach her to sing Vaseegara in Tamil..Could things get any worse ? Even Delhi seemed to have given up on me.

(Dude, MS-Word count tells me I have typed 1850 words for you..You just have 150 left ..wind up)

It was then that I discovered the magical world of blogging. My funny side resurfaced and I started expressing myself to faceless strangers through self deprecatory articles. I began regular e-correspondence with a luscious (don't ask me how I found out) Venezuelan beauty queen; an 'escort' from Philipines made an e-pass at me, a cool Caucasian chick promised to drop by at Pune during her next visit to India and I even became pally with a Tollywood film actress. But the one thing that continued to elude me was a Tam Brahm girlfriend with whom I could share a profound and purposeful relationship. And then I met him. The first time he commented on my blog, he sounded snooty and arrogant. After trading abuses and insults on a few more occasions, we discovered that we shared a lot in common. Our past was more or less similar - small town backgrounds, 'liberal' Tam Brahm families and that great binder, single male - him by choice and me by circumstances. The more I talked to him, the more he freaked me with scenarios of the impending future. An arranged marriage to an alien Athai Ponnu. A lonely and miserable life in Colarado. Naaaaah...I've had enough. To hell with the Alangudi elders. Thanks Jupe for opening my eyes. I know Jupe's blog gets more hits in India than mine. I know he has a reasonably good female following. So here I go.

Girls, I've made my mistakes. This is my last chance to correct them. I'm coming back in August from the US and there is not a chance in a million that I will go back alone. Through this blog, I hope to appeal to all you single women out there to consider my case with sympathy. And yeah, Appa, Amma and Thatha, in case you've also heard of this blog and are reading it from Saravana's Net Centre in Alangudi, my first preference is still Vadamal, non-Bharadwaj gothram, Tam Brahm girls.

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Barca vs Chelsea - A preview

Its a big night today. Chelsea play Barca away from home and for the first time I'm not really sure who I should be rooting for. Fellow footie freaks say I am Indian first and Catalan next ;-) I would not go as far as that but suffice to say that I've always been a huge fan of this mighty club, the imposing Nou Camp stadium and its demanding supporters. The last couple of years have been particularly tough for die-hards like me (all my teams were struggling: Inter in Italy being the other) but ever since Rijkaard took over things have turned the corner. The fact that Ronaldinho signed up for Barca spurning Man U even when he wasn't assured of Champions league football just goes on to show how big a force Barca are in Europe. Under Joan Laporta's stewardship, Rijkaard has made a lot of shrewd summer signings like Guily, Deco and Eto and all of them have paid back the manager handsomely as a result of which, Barca should hopefully win the Liga and also go far in the Champions League this season.

Chelsea on the other hand have been my favorite club ever since I started watching EPL in TV. No one can deny the fact that the Chelsea revolution under Jose Mourinho and Roman Abramovich will go down in history as one of the biggest success stories in English football. Mourinho is without any doubt a brilliant man manager, a ruthless task master and an astute tactician. However last week's loss to Newcastle in the FA Cup also showed that Chelsea are not unbeatable and might have to pay the price for being involved in too many competitions. Personally I felt Mourinho blundered by ringing in those 3 substitutions at half time with wild hopes of achieving the impossible quadruple. Given that Chelsea were already down by a goal and the pitch and weather was horrible, Chelsea should have given up and preserved the stars from injuries. After all, the best they could have achieved was a draw which would have meant a rematch and only added to their already punishing schedule. Even now I stick to my original claim that the Champions League is too much to aim for in the first season and Chelsea would do good to just gun for the EPL and the Carling Cup. Now with Robben, Duff and Bridge sidelined besides the long term injury to Parker and Man U breathing down their neck, things just look a wee bit tighter.

Whatever the backdrop, Wednesday night promises to me a classy encounter between two of Europe's current form teams. I've tried to do a man-to-man matchup just to see who will do better and here are the results.

I expect Barca to play the 4-4-1-1 and Chelsea to employ their effective 4-1-2-1-2 (the diamond as the laymen call it)

Valdes vs Cech (adv Cech)

Beletti vs Joe Cole (adv Cole)
Puyol vs Drogba (adv Puyol)
Marquez vs Gudjohnsen (even Stevens)
Bronckhorst vs Tiago (adv Bronckhorst)

Albertini vs Makelele (adv Makelele)
Xavi vs Lampard (adv Lampard)
Guily vs Gallas (adv Guily)
Deco vs Paulo Fereira (adv Deco)

Ronaldinho vs Carvalho (even Stevens)
'Eto vs Terry (even Stevens)


I expect this to be a very close match and since the formations are different, it will not be a simple match up as I have shown above. Makelele could have to neutralise Ronaldinho too. For me, the winner of Terry vs 'Eto will decide the fate of the match.

Prediction: 1-1 Draw
My preference: Barca win 1-0

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

17, Sri Krishna Apartments


"What's the problem deee ?"
"Huh ??"
"Is everything fine ? Are you OK ?"
"How did you know it was me ?"
"Chuck it"
"You have caller id installed on your landline ?"
"Then ?"
"Isn't this a strange conversation to have at...wait.. lemme chk the time...12:40 in the night ?"
"I need to know"
"If you insist...Not a lot of people have this number, very few of which would call at this uneartly hour and only one would let it ring 4 times and still persist..."
"Oh, that way huh ?"
"Yes.. now will you please tell me what's bothering you ?"
"Nothing. I just called to check if you had left for Chennai"
"No kidding. I called ya today afternoon and left behind a message saying my trip is cancelled. Both of us know that. Tell me the real reason sweetheart."
"Well.. Hmmm"
"Go on. I am awake and listening"
"I want you back"
"Come again"
"I want you back. Please come back"
"Hmmm.. Maybe we should talk about this tomorrow morning"
"I am not drunk dammit. I am perfectly sober. Haven't had a drop of liquor in 6 weeks"
"You don't believe anything I say, do you ?"
"Not always but..."
"OK fine. If you want me to crawl and creep, so be it. I know I said some mean stuff 2 months back...."
"Make that REALLY mean..."
"Whatever...but with time, I've come to realise that I was wrong. Maybe I overreacted - I am sorry"
"Am I dreaming this up or are you really doing this thing ?"
"Don't push your luck too much mister"
"Yeah.. Yeah.. Why don't you just finish what you just started..."
"OK...Absence does make the heart grow fonder leaving one to remember and even miss those little eccentricities - I now appreciate those small random acts of kindness that I'd been blind to all along..."
"Enough..I don't think you need to make so much of an effort"
"Please.. Let me finish it..."
"But why now ? Does this have anything to do with Mr Perfect ?"
"Oh let's not get into that..."
"But I thought I heard you say sometime back that you two were perfect for each other..."
"Don't rub it in please.. He was such a jerk..."
"And when did you realise this ?"
"The first damn week of us together"
"And it took you so much time to come down to this ?"
"Pride...I could not get myself to admit that I had been wrong"
"Attagal !"
"So does this mean we are back together ?"
"Aren't we forgetting something ?"
"Those stupid conditions ?"
"Hahaha.. They sure aren't stupid from my POV - Need I remind you ?"
"Damn.. Let's get it over with"
"ESPN STAR on Saturday evening ?"
"I cook on only 2 days"
"But I thought it was 4 and 3..."
"Sorry. New terms and conditions"
"You bully !! Accepted...But can I have a condition of my own ?"
"Depends.. what's in your mind ?"
"Preeti and those stories ?"
"Hahaha...I hate her as much as you do.. that was just to bug ya ;-)"
"Thank God. Then do we have a deal ?"
"Yes, my fair lady"
"So are we gonna be flatmates again, Mr Tribbiani ?"
"Of course, Ms Green"

Monday, February 21, 2005

An Angry Letter

Hey Paulo,

I always knew your stuff was full of crap and yesterday just proved that. In case you insist on disputing me, here's proof.

Wot r Sundays for ? Chilling out, rite ? Cool...Atleast v agree on that..A coupla buddies of mine drop in from Chennai and I think I'll spend a coupla cool hours meeting up over lunch, mebbe even catch up on a sooper movie with 'em..One of 'em, a sooper adamant nigguh suggests we chk out The Aviator and though its a looong 3 hrs and I've silly seen it, I play along..We 2 drive down all the way 2 Symphony at 2 only 2 see that the matinee is a goddamn complimentary show and not open 2 publik.. Why can't these morons jes put up an ad in the papers conveyin' the same...Fine..By now am friggin hungry and would dearly eat anything - I mean anything - but then buddy insists on first getting these goddamn tickets..I know PVRs gonna be hopeless too but still v drive all the way bak.. Jesus Christ, even Jurm is sold out..Thankfully Nuvvusthanante in Europa has a FEW tickets left.. or so the display says..Will I be third time lucky ? Shitttt.. LUCKY...I didn't say that...Neway I throw the nigguh in the Q and call up the third buddy....The chick's delighted for she's bin buggin' me to see this wid her looong time now...By the time am done with gettin her approval on phone, the nigguh's off the line..Dammmittt.. These bloody Gults in Blore who were ahead of him have bought wotever FEW ticks were left...Kela go gaya...I hate goin' out and not seeing a movie..Its like a personal insult..We wait till the damn woman will join us so that we can grab a quik bite and then head towards Pallavi where Nuvvu is bein' screened...When was the last time women ever came on time ? $%^# ..When the lassie finally turns up, we are almost late for the show so lunj is skipped. We kick the freakin Zen into fourth gear straight and burn off precious rubber in the tyre...Instinct tells me this is all goin' horribly rong..I get the nigguh to call up JUST-DIAL services and get Pallavi's number..The bugger on the other end of the line won't leave my pal without asking every stoopid detail right from email to fone to wot-not..I call Pallavi and some dumbass rattles off shitloads of Kannada..I give up...We are almost there neways...Jeeez...The theatre's caught fire..Some A/C problem..Show cancelled...If this aint the right occasion to swear, what is ? I've had enough with movies...I wanna eatttttttttt...Hell's bells.. Whats rong with Chennai babes ? Never seen McDonalds ?? All the way back to Forum.. %$^#...McDee's is crowded.. I finally assert myself..I WILL NOT STAND IN ONE MORE Q...We go to Grameen to have some food...Q there too..Waillllllll........Its just not my day, is it ? We order truckloads of food..The gal's gone nuts.. She wants ordinary water while nigguh and I want cold water..And ppl who've eaten with me know I drink a lot of water during food..Everytime this bloody waiter refills our brass tumblers, he gets it rong.. Cold for her and ordinary for me..Gal wants mango panna (thanks SVR) without ice, she gets it with ice... I wish I could shoot him then and there...Service is pathetic, thankfully the food is awesome.. As usual.. I really love this place for the food...Today there were some nice birds too..The one with cute curly hair: Haven't I seen her somewhere.. Where Where Where....Mood back to normal.. Bill arrives, babes pays :-D Cheapo she is.. It just came to Rs 290...She owes us much more for that great job but I guess I'll take this.. Next time maybe Tandoor...Time to tip she says... Whattttttttt... Why tip ? For this kinda service.. She must be freakin nuts...Remember Reservoir Dogs ? No ?? Damn you... Here is the relevant scene ....

Nice Guy Eddie: C'mon, throw in a buck!
Mr. Pink: Uh-uh, I don't tip.
Nice Guy Eddie: You don't tip?
Mr. Pink: I don't believe in it.
Nice Guy Eddie: You don't believe in tipping?
Mr. Blue: You know what these chicks make? They make shit.
Mr. Pink: Don't give me that. She don't make enough money, she can quit.
Nice Guy Eddie: I don't even know a fucking Jew who'd have the balls to say that. Let me get this straight: you never ever tip, huh?
Mr. Pink: I don't tip because society says I have to. Alright, I tip when somebody really deserves a tip. If they put forth an effort, I'll give them something extra. But I mean, this tipping automatically, that's for the birds. As far as I'm concerned they're just doing their job.
Mr. Blue: Hey, this girl was nice.
Mr. Pink: She was okay. But she wasn't anything special.
Mr. Blue: What special? Take you in the back and suck your dick?
Nice Guy Eddie: I'd go over twelve percent for that.

But just as this scene ends in the movie, I'm forced to tip...Just coz babes footed the bill, we get to pay up the tip...Nigguh and me...Damn... 12% ...No way... Rs 20 maybe...Not a penny more...I am feeling good now.. Time for goodbyes.. The buddies have to wind up their recruitment process, you see..I am feeling so sleepy...I leave for home..Maybe I should see Lemony Snickets today...Kaka says CD has gone out...Its one of those days when absolutely nothing will go right..Holy shit.. and Chelsea are playing today at St. James Park :-(

ps: Chelsea lost.

Okie, now you tell me if this one makes sense

'When you want something all the universe conspires in helping you achieve it'



pps: Pardon the language.. Influence of the movie I finally ended up seeing y'day.. Ya... Reservoir Dogs.. Third time...QT rockssssssssssssss !

Sunday, February 20, 2005

The Oscar Predictions

Bangalore is alive and kicking what with most of the Oscar nominated movies either running in the theatres or atleast available on pirated CDs. Its just a week before D-Day but since I've seen almost all the major movies (except Sideways for which I will go by G's opinion) here are my predictions and preferences for this year's Oscar race.

Best Picture
Prediction: The Aviator
My preference: Million Dollar Baby

Best Director
Prediction: Clint Eastwood - Million Dollar Baby
My preference: Clint Eastwood - Million Dollar Baby

Best Actor
Prediction: Jamie Foxx - Ray
My preference: Jamie Foxx - Ray
(Note: Haven't seen Hotel Rwanda)

Best Actress
Prediction: Hillary Swank in Milion Dollar Baby
My preference: Hillary Swank in Milion Dollar Baby

Best Supporting Actor
Prediction: Morgan Freeman - Million Dollar Baby
My preference: Alan Alda - The Aviator
(Note: G says Thomas Haden Church in Sideways is also rocking)

Best supporting actress
Prediction: Cate Blanchett - The Aviator
My preference: Cate Blanchett - The Aviator

Best adapted screenplay
Prediction: Paul Haggis - Million Dollar Baby
My preference: Richard Linklater, Julie Delpy and Ethan Hawke - Before Sunset

Best original screenplay
Prediction - John Logan - The Aviator
My preference - Charlie Kaufman, Michel Gondry and Pierre Bismuth - Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

Best animated feature film
Prediction: The Incredibles
My preference: Shrek 2

Best Art Direction
Prediction: The Aviator
My preference: -
(Note: Haven't seen The House of Flying Daggers which is rumored to be awesome)

Best Cinematography
Prediction: The Aviator
My preference: -
(Note: Haven't seen The House of Flying Daggers which is rumored to be awesome)

Best Film Editing
Prediction: The Aviator
My preference: Million Dollar Baby is a shade better than The Aviator

Best Costume Design
Prediction: The Aviator
My preference: Troy

Best original score
Prediction: The Passion of the Christ
My preference: Million Dollar Baby

Best original song
Prediction: Accidentally In Love - Shrek 2
My prediction - Believe - The Polar Express

Best sound editing
Prediction: Spiderman-2
My preference: The Incredibles

Best sound mixing
Prediction: Spiderman-2
My preference: The Incredibles

Best visual effects
Prediction: Spiderman-2
My preference: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

There are a couple of major categories where Ebert and I have differed in our view-points. Any comments by people who have seen most of the above mentioned movies is welcome.

Friday, February 18, 2005

The Alchemist...Ufffff

Am I a rebel without a cause ? Do I swim against the tide just for the heck of it ? If one were to go by the tonnes and tonnes of book reviews on this modern day classic (???) then the verdict is unanimous - I am guilty. But what the hell ? Somebody's got to cry out "The Emperor's naked" and I hereby assume the mantle of "The Chosen One". Prepare yourself for what could be one of the most preposterous statement you've ever heard. THE ALCHEMIST sucks... and sucks BIG TIME.

The other day I was chatting up with one of my friends regarding dreams when one thing led to another and pretty soon, he was quoting from Coelho and lecturing me on the purpose of life. I've always tried to steer clear of such controversial arguments but that particular day our misunderstanding seemed to stem not from the underlying idea of following one's dreams and never giving up but more from the way Coelho deals with it in the book. Ever since my pal's being challenging me to write a review on the book but in IMHO the book doesn't deserve even that. Haaw. I've been scouring the net for any form of criticism just to confirm that there are other people like me but strangely enough, we seem to be in a very small minority. (I refuse to ack that there aren't more people who found this book silly and pretentious)

20 million copies (acc to the blurb), 40 translations (acc to the net), numerous awards and accolades notwithstanding, The Alchemist is a sorry excuse for a 'life-enhancing tale' - For starters, it definitely did not alter the way I saw the world but then not many books have been written with me as the sole target audience ;-) However, one thing it did manage to do was to give an entire new dimension to the words 'cliche' and 'repetitive'. The way omens and signs
were strewn just about everywhere (pick 10 random pages and if U dont have an omen in 7 of them I'll refund what you paid for the book) had me itching to tear my hair apart - and this I believe also reminded me that I badly needed a haircut, which probably made the world look at me differently rather than the other way around. (Thanks Kay for the inspiration) After the first 30 odd pages, the sense of deja vu is totally lost and one is fed on a constant supply of rambling philosophy. Hey wait ! As if philosophy isn't enough, Coelho also throws in a dash of fantasy, some spirituality (not religion) and good ol' Eastern mysticism to add more masala to the tiresome fairy-tale. The faithfuls will never fail to point out that the charm of the story lies in its simplicity but then wouldn't it have been a better idea to also add a warning in the blurb that its been written keeping in mind the least common denominators. I am not being snobbish here but if I were to pay my biggest compliment to the book, then it would have to be that Coelho was smart enough to realise than readers would soon get bored of the gibberish and hence kept it short at 170 odd pages ;-)

To end this diatribe, here is something which probably sums up the extreme reactions that this books seems to evoke amongst its readers. The book seemingly boasts of some of the most dreamy lines ever written. Sample this

'When you want something all the universe conspires in helping you achieve it'

I wouldn't be exaggerating much if I confessed that my first reaction to the above statement was nausea. For a mad moment, I was scared that I would die of verbal diabetes by the time I completed the book. And if that's not enough to convince the lucky few who've been fortunate enough to stay away from this pile of balderdash, what about kisses on the winds and talking to the desert and the sands.

Folks, don't get me wrong here coz just like most of you, I also believe in listening to the heart and following dreams but then lets not con ourselves into believing that The Alchemist is is a literary wonder or a timeless work of art. If only Mr Coelho would just write more along the lines of Veronika Decides to Die !


Thursday, February 17, 2005

More random ramblings...

Start of Post

"We don't read and write poetry because it's cute. We read and write poetry because we are members of the human race. And the human race is filled with passion. And medicine, law, business, engineering, these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love, these are what we stay alive for. To quote from Whitman,

"O Me! O life!... of the questions of these recurring;
Of the endless trains of the faithless - of cities fill’d with the foolish;
Of myself forever reproaching myself, (for who more foolish than I, and who more faithless?)
Of eyes that vainly crave the light - of the objects mean - of the struggle ever renew’d;
Of the poor results of all - of the plodding and sordid crowds I see around me;
Of the empty and useless years of the rest - with the rest me intertwined;
The question, O me! so sad, recurring - What good amid these, O me, O life?

That you are here - that life exists, and identity;
That the powerful play goes on and you may contribute a verse."

What will your verse be?

- Dead Poets Society

World record holder and double gold medallist at two consecutive Olympics, a legend who remained undefeated in all major international competitions from 1991 to 1998, Big Dog finally called it a day on February 15th, 2005. Sasha - the fans, the pool and your rivals be it Hoogie, Klim, Thorpedo or Hall will all miss ya :-(

So you've heard of insourcing, outsourcing and offshoring...What about homeshoring ? Here's the latest bad news.

Neone who breaks that gets a treat. Budget: Carte blanche :-)

End of Post

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

The damned pickup line & Some Random PJs

Jesus H Christ, how on earth does one distinguish between a male lizard and a female one ? Or better still, has anyone even bothered to look that 'deep' ? Apparently Dave Barry has... and thanks to him, we have this absolutely rollicking post here. Could relate to every single word. Ensoii !!

This seems to be the week of my cousins. Here's another set of PJs (stuff worse than my roomie Kerry's collection) live from Hyderabad. Thanks Vardini - once in a while these jokes really act as a stress reliever :-)

Question: An elephant was in love with ashe-elephant. But the she-elephant went and got married to some other elephant. So our elephant was very Depressed.One of his friends felt sorry for him, and took himto a park to cheer him up. In the park, they sat on a see-saw, but the see-saw broke. Now, which song would our hero sing?
Ans: "See-saw ho ya dil ho, aakhir toot jaata hai."

Question: In an elephant school, some loafer elephants were hanging around in the canteen. A sexy female elephant passes by. What do the loafer elephants say about her?
Ans: Look yaar, 36000 - 24000 - 36000!!

Question: Two hairs on a bald man's head fall inlove with each other and want to get married, but cannot.Why?
Ans: Because under Indian laws, "baal vivaah" is illegal.

Question: One fine morning, Ravan felt guilty for all his bad deeds. He felt that he should go an apologise to Ram for all the problems he had caused. So he went to Ram's house and knocked on the door. Ram opened the door and was surprised to find Ravan standing there. Ravan just kept staring andthinking but didn't say a word. What was he thinking?
Ans: "Kis mooh se maafi maangoon?"

Question: Luv and Kush are going to a village andpass by a well. Luv falls into the well. Why?
Ans: Because Luv is blind.

Question: Now, Kush also jumps in. Why?
Ans: Because Luv ke liye saala Kush bhi karega!

A railway station beggar meets another beggar.A software engineer meets another software engineer.Both of them ask the same question to each other.What is the question?
"So, which platform are you working on?"

Question: What do you call a person who is leavingIndia?
Ans: Hindustan Lever.

Question: What do you call a person who leaves India but doesn't travel much?
Ans: Hindustan Lever Limited.

Question: Who is Joe?
Ans: Kambakth ishq... Because "Kambakth ishq hai Joe!"

Gattu ek lecture attend karta hai. lecture ke baad use bhookh lagti hai. so he goes to the canteen.canteen mein gattu ek pav leta hai. jaise hi woh pavkhane ke liye uthata hai to dekhta hai ki uski plate mein"jannat" likha hai. To janaab ab aapko yeh batana hai ki gattu jiska lecture attend karke aa raha hai, us proffessor ka naam kya hai???

Ishq Ki Chhaon.

Jinke "Sir" ho "Ishq ki Chhaon"
"Pav" ke neeche "Jannat" hogi....

Don't scratch ur head this is a song from film"Dil Se" :-)

Monday, February 14, 2005

The world's chweetest kid !!!

I am Invitee no: 1 on her next Birthday list. Vice versa too. In fact, she can't wait till March - she wants to celebrate it now ! She's even promised me a BIG present provided I waited to cut the cake till she arrived. Ours is a mutual admiration society. There she is flaunting her middle name to glory !! My absolutely adorable, infinitely chweet, bubbly princess of a cousin Manasvini !!!



...and you know the best part, she calls me Anna and not Mama.. How I love that !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

ps: :-( I wanna adopt a kid :-((

Friday, February 11, 2005

(Mis)Adventures of the Lone Wolf - 3

Monday morning brought with it a whole new set of problems. For one Gurgaon as everyone is aware is a good 30-40 kms outside the nation's capital depending on which part of Delhi you measure from. The previous night when I had driven down along with BM from Rohini West, I'd been remotely aware that it was far far away but the true magnitude of the distance was apparent only when I set out the next day. Waking up very late at 8, I hastily packed up from BM's flat and left for Delhi. I know I just spent half a day in Gurgaon but expressed below are my brutally honest impressions for which I offer no apologies

- There are two sides to this so called cosmopolitan city - one: wide main roads, tall and mean state-of-the-art skyscrapers, chic call centre chicks - two: narrow and filthy by lanes, foul mouthed pedestrians and lousy public transport system. For short distances, there are six seaters and cycle rickshaws but for long distance there are only rundown private buses.

- In Gurgaon, private bus services are the absolute pits. The drivers initially just refuse to move till the bus is jam packed with capacity more than double of what it was built for. And then when the bus finally moves, every passenger (and that includes atheists and agnosts) turns to the Good Lord in the hope that he/she will reach the destination safely.

- In Gurgaon, private bus drivers do not know why bus stops were ever built. They stop only at signals and the final destination. So if u are lucky enough to have your bus stop near a signal, so be it.

- In Gurgaon buses, everything except parents and girlfriends are up for sale courtesy persistent hawkers. I resisted the temptation to listen to those wonderful sales pitches for the first 20 mts but soon boredom took over and I managed to get conned into buying a keychain cum knife and a spring balance for a princely sum of Rs 5. I was also tempted to buy a cure-all pellet made from banana skin that was presumably the ingenuous quack's one shot solution for ulcer, cancer and constipation amongst others but the man just refused to budge from his initial price of Rs 10 per pack and I was way too proud to buy something where I had been unable to even bring down the price by 50p.

When I finally reached ISBT it was a quarter to 11 and most of the daily Delhi Darshan buses run by private operators had left. The best they could arrange was for me to join the tour post lunch opposite the Red Fort. Left with a couple of hours to while away, I went book shopping and bought another Paulo Coelho for my return journey. A random check at the Railway counter gave me the shock news that Udaipur station had been closed since the day before due to gauge conversion forcing me to rework my plans. I booked my ticket for Jaipur by the late evening train which also meant that I'd miss Pranav's reception. At around 1 pm, I joined the sight seeing tour and just as luck would have it, since it was a Monday, the guide announced that the Red Fort would be closed. Nothing could have been more disappointing but I spent the rest of the afternoon with the party that included six garrulous Marathis from Pune, a couple of Turks, a genial Yank from Colorado Greg and a family of 7 from Chandigarh visiting places like Raj Ghat, Bahai temple, Lakshminarayan temple, ISKON Mandir, Qutub Minar and India Gate. The lone bright spot in the whole afternoon was the interesting commentary provided all along by our guide Rahul who kept switching between Hindi and a strange language that sounded so much like Lilliputian though later found to be English. When we returned to base at Paharganj at around half past 6, I had to withdraw some money from the ATM and it was then that I realised that for all the hype surrounding these big names, there was hardly a single ICICI or CITI ATM to be seen. If there were two brands that were ubiquitous then it was SBI and surprisingly, UTI. Good job Madhur and Shweta ;-) Money in hand, I returned to New Delhi station only to be told that there was a third station - Old Delhi from where trains to Jaipur departed. Damnit..Why on earth does a city need 3 Railway stations ?

The train to Jaipur left Delhi on time and unfortunately for me reached on time too. I had slept fitfully the whole night in the stupid 2nd class sleeper bunk wary that I had to get down at 4:30 am on Tuesday. However I need not have worried since a whole troupe of 50 odd NCC cadets from some school got in it at Jaipur and shook me awake. Backpack and camera (can be equated with the kavach kundalam of Karna) in place, I checked into the Railway dormitory. The bugger at the counter could clearly see that I wanted to hit the sack and cunningly (or so I think) mentioned that dorms and single bedrooms were full and only double bedrooms were available. I paid up the Rs 300, went to the Rajasthan Tourism Development Corporation office in the station, woke up the clerk at 4:45 am, reserved a seat for myself in the daily sight seeing tour and came back to the room only to doze off within a couple of minutes. At half past eight, the tourist bus with an eclectic mix of a couple of dashing Frenchmen, 4 introverted Japanese, a Korean, two Australians, a North Indian couple and the lone wolf set out to explore the charms of the Pink City. Unlike the placement brochures of B schools which show an unbelievably beautiful campus, tourist brochures about Rajasthan and Jaipur aren't far from the truth. Amer Palace and Fort situated on the outskirts of the city was a very beautiful place and the trip would have been all the more enjoyable had I read up a little bit on the history of the time period. However the desi guide with his rustic Hinglish more than made up for it by reeling out names and dates and stats. Other highlights of the morning were the visit to the City Palace and Museum and the amazing Jantar Mantar or observatory (much better than Delhi's since all 16 instruments actually worked here). It was during the morning trip that I got pally with the guide and discovered that though he had a regular job, he sometimes agreed to work for RTDC simply because the tips from foreigners on a good day were to the tune of 20$ to 50 Euros. Curiously enough, most of the full time guides seemed to be extremely conversant in atleast three languages - French, Spanish and Japanese. It was also at Jaipur that I had to face the harsh reality that my French was not abysmal but abysmal ^ gazillion. After another pointless attempt at conversation in French with my fellow bus mates, I resolved to unlearn everything I knew (which wasn't much) and learn it all again properly or never ever remember that I had grappled with the language for 2 good years. The afternoon was spent in visiting the more popular forts in the city namely Jaigarh and Nahargarh besides the ethereal Hawa Mahal and when we returned at 7, it was a day well spent.

Since time was limited and there were lotsa places I wanted to visit, I had mentally planned to travel every night but to my chagrin found that bus services to Ajmer and Pushkar were available only during the day. My double room at the station had to be vacated at 5 am on Wednesday and so again I was turned out to the streets till 9 when the bus would actually depart. So for a good 4 hours with the temperature at 7-8 degrees, I was wandering around like a nomad. Thankfully the 3 hour journey to Ajmer ensured that I caught up with sleep and on the way, we had an early lunch at a roadside dhaaba where food looked so inedible that I limited myself to my routine diet of biscuits and Sprite. We reached Pushkar at around 1 pm and the van was parked at the foot of the hill from where we had to trudge up. Now Pushkar's only claim to fame is that it houses the only temple for Lord Brahma in the country. This temple is rumored to be the second richest temple in India after Tirupati but it definitely did not appear so. The temple itself was dilapidated and there was not even a pujari. After hastily paying my respects to the deity, I decided to utilise the 1.5 hrs given by our guide to explore the surroundings. There were a couple of lakes and a few smaller temples too but other than that nothing of architectural interest. However when I chatted up with a local tea shop owner, I was in for some real surprises. After some healthy bonding, he revealed that 80% of Pushkar's population was floating with most of them being foreign tourists, of which almost 70% were Israelis. Everything seemed to now fall in place for I remembered that in the long stretch from downhill to the temple there had been atleast 15-20 Internet Cafes with boards in a strange language. When I finally got into one, even the keyboard was in Hebrew. I also found from our guide that at Pushkar, rooms were available anywhere from Rs 150 to Rs 600 a night and in the moderate to lower priced range, even grass was on the house…Wowwwww... This was one place which seemed to know wot to do to make its foreign clientele happy. Besides this, Pushkar had some really amazing handicraft shops. Of course, there were three prices - the real one, one for Indian tourists and one for foreigners. After a lot of haggling, I bought a couple of exquisite jholnas and some incense. Shopping done I returned to base camp and at around 3:30 we left for Ajmer. Reaching there at 4, I got my first rude jolt for the day when I was simply asked to get down and tour the city by myself. It seems there wasn't much to see except that world famous Dargah where the Sufi saint Khwaja Moinuddin Chisti of Persia was buried. Left with no alternate choice, I disembarked and got onto a tonga cart to reach the proper city. I then checked with a few locals who reconfirmed that there was indeed nothing else noteworthy in the place. Booking my tickets to Udaipur by the night bus and with a couple of hours to kill, I watched Kisna in Ajmer's fanciest theatre. More about the movie in a separate review if possible.

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Close Encounters with 'The Rose'

Me: "Machi, surely you owe me this one favor da...Just tell me nuh... I promise I won't tell neone else"

Shanky: "Don't know whether I should be doing this..."

Me: "A treat at JuiC"

Shanky: "Please.. This is not about treats"

Me: "A treat at JuiC and dinner at Sam Fox today"

Shanky: "Hmmmm"

Me: "You damn bugger.. Okie, tomorrow 10:15 break la snacky also"

Shanky:(a wicked smile) "We are delivering it at around 11:30 today so that when people go for lunch they will find it in front of their room."

Me: "Damn.. I have VVRs lecture at that time"

Shanky: "I guess you should know your priorities"

Me: "Why don't you make it easier by jes telling me if I've got anything ?"

Shanky: "You know I can't do that. As Gen Sec, I have my club's honor and reputation to consider."

Me: "Cheeee.. seriyaana MAMA club, MAMA pasanga"

Shanky: "Chalo am leaving for class now...Bye and Best of Luck :-)"

It was almost half past 8 and from the window in my room I could see a huge crowd in the mess. I had woken up late again simply because yesterday night had been exciting. We had all stayed up till midnight anxiously awaiting the delivery even though we knew it was highly unlikely that it would happen then. When nothing had materialised till 2:15 we had all given up and retired to bed. And now the repercussions.

Deciding to skip breakfast again, I ambled casually towards the Department. Prabhu was a cool Prof who seldom minded even if people entered class just minutes before his lecture ended. And judging by the lofty standards set by my illustrious peers like Aggu and Iyer, I was way too early. When I finally reached class it was 8:50 and I knew there was half an hour more of Biochemistry to endure. I walked to the last seat, noiselessly sank into the cold steel chair and surveyed the classroom. The usual suspects were all there. Rangesh had already made 3 fullscap sheets of notes, Navneet who seldom needed them thanks to a phenomenal memory was frowning deeply at the greenboard and Jamie was as usual playing cow bull with Nattu in the last desk. I opened the Newspaper and turned to the Crossword page. I must have made quite a bit of noise in the process for I suddenly saw that Menon and Paro had seated themselves on either side and wanted to help me with it. Time flew and in 30 mts the bell rang to signal the end of class. The next lecture by Prof VVR was due to start at 9:30 and it was a double header which would stretch upto lunch. I knew I could ill afford to sit through both sessions and racked my brain to hatch a plan to escape mid-way. Classes started and VVR droned on for the first hour and a half. There were now almost 30 people in the room and just as luck would have it, VVR was summoned by the our HOD at ten past 11. Taking this as a god-send opportunity, borrowing cycle keys from Diwanshu, I slipped out and almost made the perfect getaway till I ran into VVR just as I was leaving the department.

He had this devilish smile that seemed to suggest he knew exactly why I was escaping but thankfully had the grace to not stop and ask for explanations. I cycled fast towards the hostel only to accidentally chance upon my own club's faculty advisor ST near the Octagon. I had long been evading a meeting with this surly man but today he was in no mood to let me go. For the next ten minutes he asked me a lot of uncomfortable questions to which I gave distracted answers. Sensing my urgency, he finally let go but by then it was already 11:30. As I parked my cycle in Diamond, I could see that there were atleast a couple of envelopes at our door. D-57 had almost 7 inmates but something told me that this particular package was for me. My heart was thumping and my mind was racing with possibilities. Would it be red (damnnnn), pink (not bad but still....) or black (wowww) ? Manouevring the latch of our door and sliding the envelopes out, I could see that there were 2 black and 1 Red. The tension was palpable and my forehead was glistening with sweat. And then it happened.....

Before I could realise what hit me, I was jostled and shoved and with a sudden roar, hordes of students descended on the hostel. I was at my wits end incapable of even hiding the envelopes that had come for me. Production, Mechanical and Electrical classes had just ended and the poor desperates had all rushed back to catch a piece of the action. By now having recovered a little bit of my poise, I tried to escape into the privacy of my room but suddenly found the envelopes snatched away from my hand by Chandru.

"Bond has got 3 ...Bond has got 3...Guys, come here"

It had all the makings of a disaster. Of course, instinct told me that the two black ones meant that I would rise in the eyes of my makkal but it was the red one that scared me. I ran away in shame. I knew I was doomed. I would be the laughing stock in the TT room. For weeks people would sneer whenever I set foot to play. There was no way I could go to the TV room too. For an odd moment, my existence itself seemed meaningless. I wandered aimlessly for an hour and skipped lunch too. I came back to the hostel at around 3 hoping that everyone would have gone for lab sessions. Curiously Chandru's room was open. After an initial moment of hesitation, I poked my head in and in my most casual tone

Me: "Neway since I am scandalised, can you please tell me who sent me the red one ?"

Chandru: "Dunno.. It had no name and seemed to the handiwork of some crazy. The odd thing about it was that it was smelling of some sexy perfume"

Me: "Hmmmmmm"

Chandru: "Is there something you are hiding from us ?"

Me: "Bulllshit man.. It must have been some guy in Diamond only. Neway do u still have it ?"

Chandru: "Of course, here it is..Btw, did you know Atreya got the maximum roses this year too.. 26 of them.. and amongst the gals it seems DCR won - 24 roses though Kausalya tells me quite a few were black. And man, STEP-TREC made a huge profit.. It seems there were totally 300 odd roses that got exchanged this year... VAL DAY rocks."

And then he went on to give some more statistics but by now I had switched off. Wandering back into my room, I smelled the perfume and was instantly aware that it reminded me of someone. But for the life of me, I didn't know who. I reasoned - For all my antics in Section-D, I was reasonably confident no gal from my first year acquaintances, especially those with a teeny weeny bit of self respect would dare do this to me. That left the 'two babes' in the Department as another option but I quickly banished those thoughts since the only time I had talked to them during the whole of this year was during Class Rep elections :-) That left just the Club women but then most of these were the naach-gaana kinda outgoing chicks and I knew I had absolutely nothing in common with them. As I struggled to find an answer to this baffling riddle, my roommate Ganesh breezed in with a huge pile of books. Looking at the rose and envelope in my hand, he smiled and asked

Ganesh: "Did you like our surprise ?"

Me: "What ?"

Ganesh: "Our gift"

Me: "What do you mean ?"

Ganesh: "Of course we sent it - Satish and I"

Me: "What the f*&@"

Ganesh: "C'mon dumbo... Don't tell me you didn't recognise my perfume's smell :-p"

Me: "()**(&^&*%^$(+)()_()&%$"

ps: Dedicated to St. Valentine and all RECTians :-)

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

(Mis)Adventures of the Lone Wolf - 2

Shall we continue ? Yeah ?

Having reached Delhi at 5:15 am on Saturday, I wandered aimlessly in the platform knowing that I had a couple of hours to kill before my next train to Mathura. I had specifically told RK Dada who had enthusiastically volunteered to meet me at the station not to trouble himself by coming so early and for the first time I regretted my hasty words. The Taj Express wasn't due till 7:15 but it was freezing cold in the station. I silently chided myself for the Nth time for having ignored sane advice from a couple of friends to carry quite a few sweaters and jackets. During this time I also observed that not a single person was wearing sandals or slippers. Everyone was wearing sneakers and seemed to have alteast mutiple layers of protective clothing. Though I tried to while away time by shooting some pictures in my digicam, I was mentally counting down time till Dada would come. Now Dada is an amazingly witty guy who can regale audiences with his whacky sense of humor. Dada has just been blessed with a son and for someone from not-so-creative Jharkhand, he's gone for an ultra modern (by Jharkhand stds) name for the kid - Rehaan. When Dada finally came (wearing slippers), it was just as things had been a year back uring graduation and a couple of years back in college. We started with a bear hug and gave each other gaalis about how we had both put on weight. We then shared gossip about the people we knew and it was a pleasant surprise to hear that Dada's roomie and another good pal of mine, Suman was also tying the knot in May. Time flew and before I knew it was 7 and time for Dada to leave. We bade a hasty farewell promising to catch up longer the next time around. Settling down comfortably in the A/C Chair car, I was just about to doze off when the person sitting next to me tapped my shoulder and asked me if I was going to Agra. Obviously with the camera strung on my shoulder I was a walking advert for a tourist and before I could say achchoo, he was on a long sermon as to the what-to-see-and-how in Agra. A good 20 minutes later, I wickedly told him that I was on my way to Mathura and had no plans to visit Agra. Needless to say, the rest of the 1.5 hr journey I was left alone. But then Delhiites never take anything to heart and love to give unsolicited advice so as a parting shot just as I was about to get down, he shouted to me to avoid drinking water in filthy Mathura :-)

Pranav's wedding was for Sunday evening so with more than a day to kill, I spent Saturday morning watching the ladies singles final only to see Lindsay lose to Serena (sob sob) and then chilled out till Sunday afternoon at my mama's place in Mathura. The best part of this stay was the wonderful time I spent with my two adorable cousins - 7 yr old Abhishek who is clearly going to be compared more favorably in the years to come vis a vis me as far as intelligence
goes (sigh) and 18 month old Nandini who is a lovely bundle of energy (and terror at the same time). In fact, Nandini even plays golf and I can see a bright future for myself as a future caddie for her :-)) (15% of her winnings wudnt be a bad deal, wud it ?) Come Sunday afternoon and it was time to leave for Delhi. In one of the rasher decisions that my Mama has taken in his life, I was put aboard a UP state transport bus at around 1 pm and therein began one of the most unforgettable journeys in my life. For sheer entertainment value, I think it would suffice to say that I travelled with farmers and their produce, sadhus who frequently went into trances, women who were peeling vegetables for their evening cooking (reminded me of Mumbai's locals) and loud UP youth who when they weren't smoking or chewing paan were urinating by forcibly stopping the bus at every damn field. The scene was so immemorable that I wanted desperately to capture it in a photograph a la SRK in Swades (those shots when he looks so serious in a bus/train/boat/moped) After 10 minutes of tough explaining on how to operate my digicam, I got my snap taken by an elderly kaka who just could not understand why I would neither stare at the camera nor smile :-p

When I finally reached Delhi it was 6 pm, just a couple of hours to go for the wedding, and Pranav had already called and given me a piece of his mind. Having refused his offer to pick me up since I wanted to discover the city by myself, I made friends with a fellow passenger from the Mathura bus who offered to take me from Sarai Kale Khan to ISBT. Since I was in an unknown city, I gladly tagged along with him and as we chatted in the town bus, I came to know that he was a professional exorcist - one who drove away spirits from possessed humans. It was an exotic 40 mt conversation that ended a little too quickly for my liking. After getting down at ISBT, I crossed over to the Metro so that I could reach the venue for the wedding in Rohini West quicker. At Kashmere Gate, as I waited for the train to arrive, I made my second friend for the evening. Vishwanath who had heard me asking directions from a cop came over and offered to help me. The man was a spitting image of the Tamil actor Arjun and so curiosity got the better of me and we started chatting up. After hearing a little bit about me esp the part that I was coming from Bangalore, he opened up and confessed that he was in awe of South Indian scholars. He mentioned about his interest in star gazing, astronomy and prediction of future based on planetary motions and his plans of studying these subjects in foreign universities. Soon the topic veered around to the supernatural and he told me a few crazy stories that I have thankfully already forgotten. Now Rohini West is a good 11 stops from Kashmere Gate and so in the next 25 minutes I was thoroughly entertained by Vishu who seemed to have no qualms baring his heart out to a total stranger. Things took a spooky turn when he asked me for my B'day so that he could make some predictions. Never one to believe in such crap, I gave the B'day of a dead pal of mine but was stunned when he came back with an question asking if something dramatic had happened to me in April 2003. My friend had died in Mar 2003 and I was at my wits end to answer the question..Thankfully his station Kohat Enclave had come and after wishing me luck for my Rajasthan tour and picking up my visitng card, we went our way.

5 minutes later Rohini West came and I alighted from the train. At 7:30, clad in a bright orange Tee and blue jeans with a camera and backpack, I arrived at the mandap - Anand PECS. Just as I feared, I knew abslutely no one. There were around 40 odd guests all presumably belonging to the bride's side dressed in stunning formal suits and traditional wear and there I was absolute ill-dressed for the occasion. I silently sought refuge in an obscure corner and tried to shy away from the curious stares and puzzled looks of all the onlookers. When the Baraat finally arrived at 8:15, I was the most relieved person in the hall since attention was now focussed on the hero of the day. I quickly got around to the entrance and started shooting pics of the ceremony. Now Kashmiri weddings are as different from South Indian weddings as chalk and cheese. Of course, the baraat is similar to the maapillai azhaippu and then there is this stunt where the groom is hoisted high by his mamas and the bride has to garland him. The similarity however ends here. At Pranav's wedding, what happened was that at around 8:15 there were around 400 guests. Once Vandana's family received Pranav, the couple were escorted to a dias where they exchanged garlands and stood like exhibits in a fair for 15 minutes. Then they were led away to a private room where a purohit performed some ceremonies and in 15 mts flat, the couple were pronounced man and wife. Then they broke for dinner. In a South Indian marriage, come what may the poor maapillai doesnt get to see food till 1 pm (Right Addy ??) Even before the dinner break was announced, people had started gorging themselves with the starters - chaat like paani puri and ragda sev and rosgolla. After dinner, at around 9:30, the hall was down to just 200 people. Pranav and Vandana were again led to the private room and an hour later more cermonies had been done with. People started greeting the couple, presenting gifts and leaving - and the most sacred saat pheres (atleast the most imp: acc to me since my reference point is only Bollywood movies) was yet to happen. At around 11:30 I grew tired of waiting and decided to call it quits. One of my friends from MBT days, BM now working with Bharti, had also come for the wedding and I prepared to leave with him to his flat at Gurgaon. When we finally departed, there were hardly 50 people for the actual high point which was supposed to take place past midnight and even this was only close family.

Monday, February 07, 2005

(Mis)Adventures of the Lone Wolf - 1

So what if I frequently claim that whatever I write in this blog is ONLY for myself..There are still moments when by a single simple act of a random individual, I am forced to question that fundamental tenet itself..The last week during my 'lone wolf' trip across the Northern Part of this wonderful country, whenever I switched on my mobile, it was such a delight to see sms' and fone calls ranging from concerned queries if all was fine at my end since there were no blog updates, sarcastic comments that I had finally found time to work and not blog, pointed threats to stop acting pricey and write some crap to forceful arguments as to strike while the iron is hot (to be read as: break news like a journo ???) Needless to say, I'd be lying if i didn't admit that the attention was very flattering. Of course, what took me by surpise was the sudden realisation that there were quite a few people as vela as me who actually seemed to miss something which had become part and parcel of their mundane daily routine. To all these regulars, I dedicate this post :-)

Been thinking quite a lot about how I shud write about the experiences of these last 1`0 days. Should it be a day-2-day diary ? Shud it be a travelogue ? Should it be a lessons learnt kinda post ? After much deliberation I've come to the conclusion that it will be a mix of all kinds but more of free wheeling since there is so much I want to say and most of it would miss out if I were to force fit just one template to this whole post. Its gonna be mighty long so maybe there will be multiple parts.. Pls endure the long rants !!

So where do I start ? Yeah... The Rajdhani train journey..Since I'd left on a Thursday evening, I'd written off any chances of having 'interesting company' and having stuffed my backpack with a couple of books, I was praying that my companions in the coupe would not be the intrusive kinds. As any guy will testify (neone who denies it is kidding himself), the first thing I did when the train chugged in was to scan the reservation list in AS1 compartment for anything which fit F 21/22/23/24/25/26...Suprise of all surprises there were atleast 9 who fit the bill and the best part was there were 3 in my immediate vicinity. Thanking the Gods for this small act of kindness, I quickly found my seat, dumped my luggage and waited in anticipation. The first party to occupy the rest of the seats in my coupe was a North Indian family of 4....And then came 'Suchitra' :-) The two other seats in the next coupe with "interesting people" was already taken but they weren't to be seen. I slowly turned my attention to Suchitra and gave her a polite smile. She coolly ignored me (or maybe she cudn't see me thru those Sania Mirza glasses) - I felt miffed. The train left and then the other two damsels waded into the compartment. We had hardly traveled a couple of kms when I took out my brand new Grisham - THE BROKER. Suchitra who had been yawning was clearly impressed and asked me at once "You planning to read the book ?" Under the cirsumstances, it was possibly the dumbest thing she could have said and at that instant I was tempted to retort " No, I've brought them to seduce women". Instead I held back and gave her a curious frown (s'thg I've patented which only a select few friends have seen) She seemed to resign herself to boredom but feeling suddenly apologetic for my behavior, I pulled out my other novel Arthur Hailey - WHEELS and offered only for it to be gratefully accepted. Without a word exchanged we became friends. The family was still busy in organising their luggage and seemed to me totally unaware of the rest of us. I then turned my attention to the two beautiful damsels. Now this is where I make my first disclaimer. Most of this post is based out of my own experience - there is no way you can dispute since they are MY OPINIONS but of course, I do not claim that they are universal truths. Now where was I ? Yeah.. No sooner had I opened the Grisham and flipped the first few pages than did I see one of the pretty damsels trying to steal a glance in my (ok, my book's) direction. I knew coz I was waiting for it. She quickly scanned the title but her face registered absolutely no recognition. She quickly whispered to her companion who also turned and spied on my novel but with the same result. It was then that my suspciion was confirmed. They had to be Delhiites :-( There are just three kinds of women from Delhi....They go like this.. Fair, very fair, goddamn bloody fair...and in the same order they look dumb, very dumb, goddamn bloody dumb.. Maybe I am being very charitable here... Lets replace LOOK by ARE in the previous sentence :-) Since I am done with generalisations, let me describe the two actual species under observation in detail now. One of them was around 5'6" (yeah, thumbs up), wearing a figure hugging pink polo neck woolen sweater (yeahhhhhhh, double thumbs up) which only accentuated her pink cheeks and ears and carried herself as if she were a model.. A true 2020 babe..The second was 5' 4" (tch tch), traditionally dressed in a black salwar and maroon sweater, divinity personified with a face and grace that made me think of pulling the chain and forcefully draggging her home to my mom ;-)

For the rest of the evening, we stole glances in each other's direction neither willing to make the first move. Night slowly crept in and before long, we started making preparations to hit the sack. I have this record in Chennai Express of sleeping for almost 18 hrs of the journey and since nothing exciting loomed in the future, I decided to give directions to the pantry people to not wake me up for breakfast hoping to doze off till noon the next day waking just in time for lunch. However the crappy Grisham novel with its unbelievably Bollywoodish plot refused to let go of me and I was totally besotted with it till well past midnight. All along I realised that the light in the next coupe had not gone off and I peeked to see the divine damsel reading Abdul Kalam's Wings of Fire. At around half past midnight I sneaked towards the door hoping to catch both some fresh air and the fair lady's attention. After a frustrating wait of 10 minutes, I gave up all hope. Maybe this godamn bloody dumb one never read those B-grade romantic paper backs ;-) Just as I was coming back to my seat, I saw her approaching the door. I knew it was too late to turn back for it would have meant swallowing my pride and admitting interest. Cursing my luck, I got back to my bunker and tried to get some sleep noticing the lights in the next coupe also going off within a couple of minutes. When I woke up it was 11:40 am and Suchitra clearly indicated her amusement at my looong nap. We chatted idly till lunch was served and found that we were both traveling to Delhi for a wedding. After lunch I was disappointed to see that the two damsels preferred to have their siesta and left with no choice, I returned back to Grisham. By now, the family had also warmed up to us and we were soon subjected to the usual prying questions about work, family and marital status. By evening, I was plainly tired and wanting to escape from the monotony of the pointless conversations, spent an hour sitting at the door and observing the barren MP countryside. By around 7 pm, I got tired and returned to my seat to find the two damsels engaged in an animated conversation. Though I tried my damnesdest to hear their "sureeeley aavaaz" I failed. Then there were periods when they barely spoke just staring at each other. These sessions spooked me so much that I knew that I had had enough. After a quick dinner, I finished my novel and retired for the day. When I was woken up on Saturday at 5:15, the train had already rolled into the station and just a few minutes short of reaching the final destination. Whilst I hastily repacked, I noticed that everyone else was through with theirs and waiting to disembark. When we finally got down, the damsels with their minimal luggage had already engaged a porter and were on their way to some unknown destination.

Yet another flop show...Rail Snehams seldom work for me :-(( Dammit !! I think its all because of some jealous cats who must have wished that I don't find my 'trainwaali' :-(