Thursday, December 27, 2007

Guilty Until Proven Innocent

When the law assumes an accused is innocent until proven guilty, even in the most horrendous of crimes, why is it that we consider near and dear ones, our lovers, our friends, our partners guilty until proven innocent? How is it that we love and trust someone so much, and yet, give that same person absolutely no chance to present his or her case, to speak out?

Why do the strongest of relationships die because of a simple failure to have a dialogue?

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Not Trying is Worse Than Failure!

Since last night, I am haunted by the sight of a cat, struck by a passing car, lying in the middle of the road begging for help.. looking up at me, into my eyes, pleading to be rescued...

And instead of stopping right away, I swerve to miss it, then go ahead, hesitating... thinking, should I stop and move it to the side? But it was bleeding, maybe broken bones..

And by the time I stop, I have already moved ahead a couple of hundred meters.. and I keep moving...

I can still feel her eyes looking at me, begging for help...

I love cats, and I would love to help.. but I didn't.. I thought, and I debated.. and I lost the chance... and the cat lost it's life...

I know I am responsible.. my friend tried to convince me it wasn't my fault.. maybe it lived after all, maybe it was already dead...

But I know I killed it.. by not trying...

Law of the Garbage Truck

Got this in a mail forward.. pretty nice, though!

How often do you let other people's nonsense change your mood? Do you let a bad driver, rude waiter, curt boss, or an insensitive employee ruin your day? Unless you're the Terminator, for an instant you're probably set back on your heels. However, the mark of a successful person is how quickly she can get back her focus on what's important.

Learned it in the back of a Harare City taxi cab. Here's what happened. I hopped in a taxi, and we took off for Westgate . We were driving when all of a sudden a black car jumped out of a parking space right in front of us. My taxi driver slammed on his breaks, skidded, and missed the other car's back end by just inches! Here's what happened next. The driver of the other car, the guy who almost caused a big accident, whipped his head around and he started yelling bad words at us. How do I know? Ask any Zimbabwean , some words in Harare come with a special face.
Now, here's what blew me away. My taxi driver just smiled and waved at the guy. And I mean, he was friendly. So, I said, "Why did you just do that? This guy almost ruined your car and sent us to the hospital!" And this is when my taxi driver told me what I now call, " The Law of the Garbage Truck." Many people are like garbage trucks. They run around full of garbage, full of frustration, full of anger, and full of disappointment. As their garbage piles up, they need a place to dump it. And if you let them, they'll dump it on you. When someone wants to dump on you, don't take it personal. You just smile, wave, wish them well, and move on. You'll be happy you did. I guarantee it.

So this was it: The "Law of the Garbage Truck." I started thinking, how often do I let Garbage Trucks run right over me? And how often do I take their garbage and spread it to other people: at work, at home, on the streets? It was that day I said, "I'm not going to do it anymore." I began to see garbage trucks. Like in the movie "The Sixth Sense," the little boy said, "I see Dead People." Well now "I see Garbage Trucks." I see the load they're carrying. I see them coming to drop it off. And like my Taxi Driver, I don't make it a personal thing; I just smile, wave, wish them well, and I move on.

One of my favourite Football players of all times , Ronaldinho, does this every day on the football field.With a smile he always jumps up as quickly as he hits the ground after being tackled. He never dwells on a hit. Ronaldinho is always ready to make the next play his best. Good leaders know they have to be ready for their next meeting. Good parents know that they have to welcome their children home from school with hugs and kisses.

Leaders and parents know that they have to be fully present,and at their best for the people they care about. The bottom line is that successful people do not let Garbage Trucks take over their day. What about you? What would happen in your life, starting today, if you let more garbage trucks pass you by? You'll be much happier.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Movie Review: 1408

Suspense & horror in the first half, pretty well done, but gets a little boring and over the top in the second half. Good if you have nothing else to watch!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Movie Review: I Am Legend

I like imagining the end of the world, I like visualizing a city stopped dead in it's tracks by a deadly virus that eliminates the people but keeps everything else intact - been one of my favourite macabre pass times in the past times :) Frankly, it helps me better appreciate what we have today!

That's what attracted me to I Am Legend. The world celebrates the successful cure of Cancer, before the mutated virus goes bonkers, finishing off the world's population, with most of the 6 billion dead, and a few million survivors who lose their human sensibilities and turn into animals of the dark - coming out to hunt and eat the remaining humans who had somehow survived the virus. Will Smith is the one survivor left in New York, living a very lonely life with his dog, hoping to one day meet other survivors.

The second half gets taxing, but if you share my macabre hobbies, you will certainly enjoy the first!

Movie Review: Dus Kahaniyaan

In the age of T20 and MacD's fast food, it is perhaps non-evitable that we will also have shorter versions of movies coming up! The question is, do I want a good, short movie, or do I want 10 back-to-back short movies, with no connection to each other?

Dus Kahaniyaan is a compilation of 10 short stories, back-to-back, with no connection or common thread. Watch out for some good twists in the tale at the end of each story - especially the first one with Mandira Bedi and the beautiful tale of a mom (Amrita Singh) and her daughter (Minissha Lamba). Shabana Azmi and Naseeruddin Shah dazzle in the Rice Plate, Masoomeh looks really hot in the Highway story, and there are some other interesting momemts too, including the music in the last story. Half of the stories though, including Sex on the Beach, the Earring on the Train, The Bar Girl and Gubbare, are simply a waste of time!

Disclaimer: I do not remember the names of the stories themselves - but these seemed pretty good descriptions :)

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Movie Review: Khoya Khoya Chand

Khoya Khoya Chand is the story of a struggling actress Nikhat (Soha Ali) in the 50s, her producer-lover (Rajat Kapoor) who she uses to achieve stardom, and who dumps her at the time of marriage, and her subsequent relationship with the guy who steps in when she is alone - Shiny Ahuja, himself a budding writer. Their relationship then goes for a toss in the arclights of their careers, and Nikhat takes to drinking and B grade movies, before everything falls into place for a happy ending.

KKC is a visual treat with it's excellent cinematography, with the beautiful 1950s sepia look. Soha shows that she can act, and plays the role of the oppressed 50s star Nikhat well, but could have been better. Shiny looks good, with an excellent wardrobe, but frankly, his roles and look is starting to look pretty similar in all his movies - he needs a makeover! Saurabh Shukla is awesome once again, and has some very good dialogues, including my favourite, "Different People, Different Stories!" The real attraction of the movie for me though, was the music. Absolutely beautiful - especially "Khoye Khoye Chaand Ki Talash..." and "Tirak Tirak...". Some really soulful music in a long, long time.

It's a short movie, just around 2.15 hours, but the secod half drags on nevertheless - another 15 mins cut on the editor's table, and this would have been a masterpiece.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Dada: Man of the Match and Man of the Series!

Dada followed up his 239 in the first innings with a smashing 91 in the second, coming so close to being only the 7th person in history to get a double and a century in the same test, as India wrapped up the 3 match series against Pakistan 1-0. Rightfully, with more than a 1000 runs this season, Dada also bagged the man of the match and the man of the series awards - all this from a man who was not even sure of his place in the side a year back!

Way to go, Dada! Way to go!

Pakistan down, Australia, here we come!

Monday, December 10, 2007

My Plane's Shadow...

This is one of my favourite photos - the shadow of my plane down on the cloud below, surrounded by a halo - taken through a duplicate non-digital Yashica camera worth less than 2000 bucks.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Rare Cricket Shots!

Check these awesome photos - one probably from the bodyline era, the other in 2001. How often have you seen something like this on the field?

Dennis Lillee and his Australian side, against the English maybe?

Once again, Australia against Zimbabwe in 2001

Interestingly, I had seen the earlier photo just a day or two before this one came in the newspapers! Talk about coincidence and timing!

ps: I would love to know more on the situations surrounding these photos - should be easy to find on Google, but just too tired to do it myself!

Demolition Man in Dancing Shoes

That's how I can best describe the Maharaja today - mercilessly crushing the opposition, and making the carnage look like art!

Dada Gets 200

A sell out crowd at the Chinnaswamy, and millions of fans across the world, stand up to applaud one of the biggest ever comebacks, in cricket and in life, as Dada gets his 200... and over 1000 runs in the last 10 tests, since his comeback to the Indian team.

Dada, you are an inspiration! Thank you!

One day, I wanna write a book on you!

Third Test - Dada Rocks

Yet another match, yet another test for the Maharaja of cricket, and yet another time, he rises to the occasion magnificently!

Down in the dumps at 60/4 on the first day of the 3rd test in Bengalore, India were with their backs to the wall. That was before Yuvi joined Dada, the two left-handers taking the Pak attack head on, hammering contrasting and beautiful centuries and putting on 300 runs for the 5th wicket, the test firmly back in their grasp. While Dada was sublime and deft in his offside play, relying on his timing, placement and loads of experience, Yuvraj was youthfully aggressive and played some beautiful shots that had 4 written on them the moment the ball touched his blade.

And when he crossed his 100, Dada hugged him tight, a touch longer than would be expected - and it was a scene that truly warmed hearts - the master hugging his disciple. And as Yuvraj said later, it meant a lot to him that Dada, the one person who had backed and encouraged him all along, was there when he got his landmark.

India ended the day at 365/5, Yuvraj losing his wicket at the fag end of the day. At the time of writing this, towadrs lunch time on day 2, Dada continues the good work - on 166, and is now eyeing his 200. He has just stepped out to hoist Danish over long off for a huge 6.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Focus and Intent, Really!

Wouldn't it be nice if whenever we messed up our life we could simply press "Ctrl Alt Delete" and start all over?
That's what a friend's status message said today.

Made me go back to my earlier post on decisions, and training the mind. It's true isn't it? Life does allow you a chance to "Ctrl Alt Delete" - the question always is, do you want to press those buttons? Most of the times, we don't want to. We live being in limbo, we like holding on to the past, while wanting to snatch at the future. And we do both, half-heartedly.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Quote for the Day

Hunger is important in your youth. Hunger for success, fame, career, whatever. Failure should not be an option. SRK.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Anonymous Fan :)

I just realised I have an anonymous walking partner (two of them, actually!) who also likes to quote Shakespeare, doesn't understand good poetry, and is so pessimistic about the strength of Shiddat unless accompanied by someone who truly loves you :)

And for sure, this person wins the award for the most irrelevant PJ comments on my blog, and more importantly, takes the credit for making me maro PJ comments in return...

Sigh, Siddhesh Bhobe, what's wrong with you?

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Quote of the Day

All of the brothers were valiant, and all of the sisters virtuous.. until proven otherwise. From Robert Ludlum's "The Arctic Event" written by James Cobb.

Dental Tourism

We have all heard of medical tourism - Westerners flying down to India for world class medical treatment at a fraction of the cost. I was in Goa last month, and saw an interesting aspect of this - in a stretch of around 1.5 kms in the Calangute area, I counted not less than 15 dental clinics promising the lastest and the greatest in dental treatment! Considering that dental problems are one of the most frequent medical problems, and that most dental problems like root canals and cavities are easily tackled and can be done at any time, and yet so expensive in the US and Europe, this really makes so much sense!

Also, Tito's now has it's own ambulance and para medical healthcare facilities - run and managed by a foreigner. And apparently, he has a roaring business!

Movie Review: Aaja Nachle

Disclaimer: I have not seen the movie yet :)

I don't think Madhuri should have tried a comeback with a movie that sounds like a B-grade flick where mujras follow sex follows mujras. She's an awesome dancer, but she should have come back as an actress, not a dancer. Are Indian audiences willing to sit through three hours of a mother of 2 dancing, if it's not backed by a good story, good action, good comedy or good acting? I am not too sure...

Guess the next couple of weeks will tell!


There is something so beautiful about trees.. maybe it's the refreshing green color, maybe it's the way they give so much while taking so less, maybe it's the way they gently sway in the breeze, alive, yet peaceful, serene, calm. Not running away - standing firm, supremely confident. They block out the harsh sun, give you shade, they block out the rains, protect you from getting wet. And yet, they use these same elements to enrich themselves and grow.

Until we chop them off...

India Take Command in Second Test

After winning the first test, India took complete command in the second test at Eden Gardens against Pakistan. After declaring at 616/5 yesterday evening, Kumble struck to reduce Pakistan to 50/1 at stumps, and by lunch on day 3, Pakistan is in a deep hole at 154/5, with more than 2.5 days to go and still 462 runs behind.

Earlier, the Indian run machine made a mockery of the once-dreaded Pakistani attack to put up a mammoth total. Wasim Jaffer struck a masterful double century, VVS Laxman and Dada both got centuries, while Sachin, Dravid and Dhoni got half centuries. Dada's first century on his home ground was the highlight of the day yesterday, with the match being completely one-sided (just like the rest of thr tour has been!) - the huge crowds giving him a standing ovation. Unfortunately, he was dismissed quickly after his 3 figure mark, trying to heave Salman Butt out of the stadium in an effort to further up the scoring rate towards a quicker declaration.

What a comeback/performance this has been by all the seniors in the team, once marked for retirement by the erstwhile Aussie coach!

Friday, November 30, 2007

Quote for the Day

"A short walk is so tedious when no one walks with you, but a long journey is just like a few steps when you walk with someone who really cares for you"

I am packing... anyone up for it?

Quotes for the Day

From U. G Krishnamurthy (

"We don't want to be free from fear. All that we want to do is to play games with it and talk about freeing ourselves from fear."

"When the movement in the direction of becoming something other than what you are isn't there any more, you are not in conflict with yourself."

Zephyr, thanks for the link... I am shaken by UG already!

It's all about Koshish!

Kitni shiddat se tumhe paane ki koshish ki hai..
Ki har zarre ne mujhe tumse milane ki saazish ki hai..

Kehte hain agar kisi cheez ko agar dil se chaho to saari kayanath tumhe usse milane ki koshish me lag jaati hai..

Oh really? :)

Thursday, November 29, 2007


How do you make those critical choices? How do you decide what to do and what not to do, especially when you have two or more alternatives - usually with emotional ramifications?

Choose heads or tails. Toss a coin. Before it comes down, you will know what side you want to come up.

That's the right decision for you!

Always works for me!

It's All in the Mind

Do you know who's the easiest to fool? It's yourself. Most people say, you can fool everyone but yourself. Trust me, that's a myth.

Remember this: The easiest person to fool is yourself!

Yes, I know there is intuition. Yes, I know your inner voice, your inner mind, your subconscious, always steps in and tells you what is right and what is wrong, what the truth is. But remember, your subconscious, your inner mind works off data too. It learns, it sees patterns, it processes this and then makes it's decisions - as long as you feed it the right data, you can actually control your intuition and your subconcious.

So let me make it a little easier to say and admit - and actually feel better when you say it - it's always possible to harness your mind to make it think and believe what you want it to!

What implications does this have in our life? How can we harness this? Simple - train your mind to believe what you want to believe.

For example, what is love? It's a state of mind - it's how you feel. Do you really miss a person all the time? Can you really not live without a person? Can you really never every love again? The answer, surprisingly, is - depends on what you want it to be! The truth of the matter is - there is no one answer. Both a yes and a no is perfectly possible - it all depends on what you train your mind to feel! When we are in love, we tell ourselves things we want to be "true", because it's a state of mind we "like". We like saying, you are always in my mind, I miss you, and over time, that's what our mind starts believing! When we break up, our mind keeps reminding us what we trained it to tell us. Result? We miss our love, we feel upset, we cry. We don't want to live any more.

So what can we do? First, decide what you want! If you are not serious about getting over it, your mind will ensure it keeps reminding you how much you miss your ex, and you will forever be miserable. But if you want to get out and get a life, you can actually train (fool, if you want!) your mind to get rid of those "impressions" and "feelings". How? By feeding it the right data. Stop thinking of all the awesome times you spent together - that's not going to help you, babes! Think of all the hurt, the pain, the negatives - make sure your mind flushes it's cache, and replaces it with the "right" data.

What is God? You pray to an idol, you pray to a thought, you pray to an idea - and you tell your mind - when I do it, He will answer my prayers. What are you really doing? You are training your mind to feel the strength, you are "fooling" yourself into believing in God, and that is what gives you the strength. When you are sick, you can "fool" your mind, and your body into actually getting better! (There have been far too many medical studies that prove the effectiveness of placebos)

Are you playing with your feelings? Are you "fooling" yourself? No! Not at all! You are getting your life back!!!

The truth is what you want to believe. What is right and what is wrong is really for you to decide. What you want, is right, and what hurts you, is wrong. That's life!

Try it - it's all in the mind! And harnessing it is just about feeding it the right thoughts! Do you realise what a powerful tool you have, when you can feel, think and believe what you actually want?

Sanjay Dutt is back...

Sanjay Dutt is back home today, after his stint in Yerawada. Frankly, I think the guy has been punished enough - he has been stupid at times, reckless too, but I think he deserves his freedom now.

Moreover, I can't wait to see Munnabhai in the US!

On a different note though, I think instead of putting celebrities behind bars, they should be "reformed" by making them contribute to society - use their presence, use their power and popularity, and get work done...

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Happy Birthday!

My best friend's birthday today :)

Yippeee, yahoo, hip hip hurray!

Monday, November 26, 2007

Delhi Fire Service

Watching a documentary on Nat Geo, on Delhi's Fire Brigade. Very interesting... it focuses on the bravery, determination, training, camaraderie and innovative spirit of the firefighters in the face of resource limitations and low technology.. very inspiring stuff!

At the end of the day, it's not about giving excuses for why not, it is about finding how you can make it happen! Just like Delhi's firefighters!

Chak De, India!

Just saw Guru on TV.. awesome movie, but the best part is Gurubhai's speech at the end of the movie.. why should we be satisfied being India's biggest company, we want to be the world's biggest. And then his laugh.. clear, happy, almost devilish.. the world at his feet.. waiting for him to come and rule it...

Our army always made us proud... still remember Kargil.. never once did the army make us citizens feel threatened, young army officers fighting on the fronts, shoulder to shoulder with the foot soldiers, giving up their lives, ensuring we slept peacefully while the enemy paid a terrible price for daring to lay eyes on us.

Our cricket team is world T20 champ, it has learnt to win, to be number one. To take on the Pakis and the Aussies, on their own turf, and win.

And now the Reliances and the Tatas are living Gurubhai's dreams. The Ambanis are the world's richest today, easily putting behind once-untouchable-even-in-our-dreams Bill Gates and Warren Buffet. How long before India takes her rightful place at the helm of the world's affairs?

Move aside, world, India is waking up...

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Childhood Memories....

Standard 2 - flanked by friends I haven't met in atleast a decade, in some cases, two

Still feel the pain of the cats claws - memories very fresh and vivid in my mind!

Still have this tie with me!

Interestingly, Sanam has a pic taken in almost the exactly same position, at the same place!

At my Moonj ceremony in 1983

Saturday, November 24, 2007

In the Dark...

Check this one out carefully - you can see a tiny sliver of the moon rising above the hills and the trees. I have a slow shutter version of this photo with sepia effect, taken on tripod, but this one was a lot more challenging!

Interesting Animals

This cute baby monkey joined us on the boat ride to Dubbare...

This HUGE pig, a first we saw with a leash, was an absolute stunner on the road from Dubbare.. inspired by the elephants?

A beautiful spider web...

And it's very scary occupant.. didn't hesitate a bit coming out to scare me!

The Coorg Tree Blog

Huge bamboo clusters on the Coorg-Mysore highway... the early morning sunlight filtering from behind

Vines curling up, forming bonds, holding firm..

Dense forest lines the path to Abby Falls

Lovely blue skies frame these beautiful trees

Hold me tight, says the tree to the vine, and the vine obliges...

Dark and serene, peaceful forests against the late evening sky

These beautiful trees have interesting triangular, wedged trunks

Pecked by the woodpeckers!

Reaching for the blue skies, this thin tall tree is one of the beautiful millions dotting the Kodagu forests

Meeting the King Khan

Shweta and Siddha actually met the King Khan yesterday, in the backdrop of the IFFI at Goa. Not only did they talk to him and shake his hands, the King Khan actually forgot to return Shweta's pen - she's going wild just thinking about it

SRK is truly the King of Bollywood and Indian Cinema lovers all over the world... from the cute kid in Fauji that we all loved to wait a whole week to see next (we were in 9th-10th then, I guess), to Circus, and then in movies like Raju Ban Gaya Gentleman and Duplicate (my last movie as a bachelor - saw it alone at Mangala the day before I left for Goa to get married :)), SRK portrayed the perfect romantic hero in the Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenges and the Kuch Kuch Hota Hais of the early 90s. He inspired a whole generation of us with the Kal Ho Na Hos, and movies like Chalte Chalte continue to bring tears to my eye with his special brand of "I am not afraid to say I shamelessly love you" love. In the recent past, SRK has dished out one special movie treat after another - Kabhi Alvida Na Kehena, Swades, Don, Chak De and now, Om Shanti Om. Movies that will make us smile, cry, make us proud, inspire us, entertain us, and make us proud to be Indian. For ever and ever.

A true entertainer, and a very big inspiration for me in so many ways, SRK, here's a salute to you! We love you!

Movie Review: Dhan Dhana Dhan Goal

DDDG is the story of a poor desi football club, Southall in London, struggling to win the league to retain ownership of their stadium. A "disgraced" coach (Boman Irani) tries to mould a bunch of rag-a-tag "players" into a team that can compete with the best. The problem is they need a good striker - the coach approaches their old foe Sunny (John Abraham), who turns down the offer. However, Sunny is the victim of racial discrimination, and is left out of his Aston club team, and finally joins Southall. Southall goes on a winning spree, inspite of cropping differences between the captain Shaan (Arshad Warsi in a role that wastes his comic talent) and Sunny.

Someone then plays dirty, offering Sunny an attractive contract - with one condition - he should immediately stop playing for Southall. Being the ruthless professional that he is, Sunny agrees. Southall lose their penultimate match, and desperately need to win the final to win the league.

Then there's a bit of drama - Sunny realises that his father has been Southall's biggest fan, that he always wanted his son to realise his dream of winning the league. He rushes to the stadium, and in the face of grave risk to his life (yes, life), he plays for Southall, hits the winning goal a few seconds from the whistle, and the dream comes true.

A few months earlier, one might have appreciated the movie for its story. Coming after Chak De, the movie is nothing but a huge disappointment. The only saving grace - John Abraham. Watch it only for his dimples and his smile. Else, just stay away! Or, watch OSO instead!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Bangalore Impressions

Bangalore comes across as a mega city, struggling with traffic problems. In a city getting stretched beyond limits, frustrated drivers flout rules left, right and center, jostling for right of away with the thousands of autos.

The awesome flyover on airport road is a sign however, that the city is willing to take it's problems head on, and succeed! Automated parking meters and high police presence (again, with the upturned hats), and great road signage give a unique feel to Bengaluru.

The autos don't go by the meter, but continuing with the "be good" image of their rural counterparts, Karnataka's autowallahs are almost endearing in the way they plead with you to give them those extra 10 bucks. And yes, you usually give in!

Some great shopping, great eat-outs, and a bustling, young populace make Bangalore an exciting, young city. But would I trade Pune-Mumbai for it? Naah, yenna rascala, I have toh Mumbai-se-pyaar.

Karnataka Trip Diary


At 10.30 pm, we left by taxi for Margaon station, the beginning of our tour down South. We picked Siddha-Shweta from Panaji, and reached the station at 12.00. The train was delayed by almost 3 hours, and we spent the time waiting in the lounge. We didn't have confirmed tickets, and spent some anxious moments standing between carriages in the non AC sleeper sections, before the TTE helped us get 4 berths in our 3 tier AC compartment. Finally, at around 4, we crashed to sleep.

Lesson: Never get into a train without confirmed reservations, especially when you have a kid with you.
Corollary: You can always get into a train without confirmations - you are sure to get a seat as long as you can befriend the TTE.


We reached Mangalore at 9 am. Our driver had come to pick us at the station with the Innova that will stay with us for the duration of the tour.

We started off with some excellent breakfast at a near by Taj (cakes and pastries, bread and butter-jam, idlis and wadas, dosas and uthappas, omlettes, juices, tea and coffee, and fruit plates - yes, we actually had ALL of that!) and then left for Coorg.

Lesson: Never get into a loo at a Taj, before checking to see if they have water, or rely only on paper.

The journey, just 150 km or so, took us nearly 5 hours :( The roads were terrible, and our driver was slow too.

We checked into Misty Woods, had some snacks on the lawn, then a campfire, and dinner, and went off to sleep, dead tired by the day's journey!

The campfire was awesome, the logs burned for over an hour, collapsing inwards as the top burned off, till finally all that was left was a heap of smouldering coals. I remember a campfire we made during our Konkan trip - took us 15 mins to set up, and it burned for exactly 2 min and 14 seconds.

Misty Woods is beautiful, but we aren't really the type that would love to curl up in bed after dinner at 1030.

Lesson: Unless you are on a honeymoon, or like crawling in bed with all kinds of winged creatures, avoid a "nature resort".


In the morning, we visited the Tibetan Monastery at Kushalnagar, a beautiful refuge for Tibetans nestled in the coffee plantations and forests of Karnataka!

The monastery hosts the Golden Temple, an awe-inspiring place with it's huge idols and player hall.

We had lunch at Filaa, and then went to see the elephant training center at Dubbare. It also involved a lovely boat ride.

From there, we visited Orange County resort, and then came back to the hotel. At a min of 10K per night, we weren't really tempted to stay :)

Did a lot of travelling today - and that's a main problem with Coorg. Everything is so far away, and the roads are terrible, that most of the time goes in travelling. Thankfully, we had an Innova and a driver all along!


Visited Talcauvery in the morning, the origin of the Cauvery river. Also climbed the nearby hill (some 350 steps) for a magnificant view. Had lunch at East End hotel in Madikeri, then visited the beautiful Abby Falls nearby. The walk through the jungles to reach the base of the waterfall is simply awe-inspiring, tall, majestic trees line up on either side of the marrow pathway, and birds screech in delight as you climb down the steps...

After half an hour there clicking photographs, and desperately hoping to see a rainbow in the waterfall's sprays, we came back to Madikeri and saw the small fort and insignificant Raja's seat (though with a beautiful view). Also took a ride in the toy train - booked the entire train for ourselves, since there were no other passengers :) Came back early to the hotel, had a campfire, and then crashed to sleep.

Yes, we still hadn't figured out a way to keep ourselves awake longer.


We left Misty Woods for Mysore-Bangalore in the early morning, at 6.30 am. Reached Mysore by 9.30 am.

Visited Chamundi Hill and Bull temple first, the lovely back road up the hill making me want to throw the driver out of the vehicle and get my hands on the wheel.

Then we went on to the Wadiyar Palace - very, very beautiful and definitely worth a visit. The grandeur of the place, the intricate woodwork and marble engravings, and the interesting (but not very well maintained) "lifestyle" museum at the back of the palace were of high interest, not just to us, but to Sanam as well.

Then we had lunch, before proceeding to Bangalore. Reached by 5.00 pm, and checked into the Melange Service Apartment we had booked for the night.

Later in the evening, we went to MG, Brigade Road, and Commercial Street for some shopping, and much needed look at civilization as we know it, after being deprived of all that in Misty Woods :) The Coffee Days and the Malls and the Multiplexes and the Traffic! Aaah, to be back! Had dinner at the awesome Three Quarters Chinese restaurant, and then came back to our apartment.

Recommendation: Try the prawns roasted on charcoal and marinated in tulsi leaves. Awesome, awesome, awesome suff!


Left for Goa by Jet Airways in the afternoon, after some last minute shopping at Cauvery Emporium on MG Road. Reached Dabolim at 4.00, and came straight to Nerul.

Final Lesson: Avoid the cake on the flight, we are pretty sure that was what led to the food poisoning in the next 2-3 days. Although, frankly, we would all eat it again just to see the sweet Jet air-hostesses back in action :)

Coorg - A District, Not a Hill Station!

Oh, and by the way, for all ye travellers, remember, Coorg a pretty big, hilly district and not a hill station a la Ooty and Kodaikanal. So if you decide to go to Coorg, be prepared to spend lots of lots of time on the road - budget for 50-150 kms a day, on roads where anything above 30 kmph is a dream, even on a sturdy vehicle like the Innova. Madikeri is the district headquarters and the biggest town, but the nature resorts could easily end up being 20-30 kms away!

Karnataka - First Impressions of a Tourist

As the sun broke through the darkness of the night, and the first rays filtered out through the cocunut palms, our train hurtled through the beautiful unspoilt, unexploited farmlands and cocunut groves of north western Karnataka enroute from Goa to Mangalore. Looking out, you cannot help but notice that the villages and their people have a beautiful virgin innocence about them. There's no plastic clogging the drains along the road, you don't see ugly concrete structures and garishly painted signboards advertising the material needs of our civilizations. People have genuine smiles on their faces. When you thank them, their faces light up with a genuine happiness and gratefulness that warms your heart and makes you want to hug them.

The jungles are beautiful, the majestic trees framing themselves so elegantly against the blue skies, and dense undergrowth jostling for space with beautiful coffee plantations.

The roads are bad, and the traffic discipline, in the best of times, is pretty horrible. Buses zoom past you on the impossibly narrow lanes that pass off as national highways, the conductor frantically waving his hand out and expecting you to magically make way for the bus to squeeze back in front of you before the incoming traffic reaches you, narrowly missing the collision and leaving you gasping for breath. Unless, of course, everyone is waiting for the convoy of elephants to cross the road. And all the while, the traffic police with their upturned hats do their best to bring method in the madness...

Yenna Rascala, you Kannadiga, take a bow for your beautiful state, and your beautiful people...

Note: I have been to Karnataka dozens of times in the past, but this trip to Coorg was the first time I was in rural western Karnataka in over a decade.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

I'm Back :)

Yes, back in Pune after a self-imposed exile of almost two weeks :) Visited Goa for Diwali, then Coorg for a vacation in the woods, then back to Goa... but tell you what, feels great to be back!

Catch you later.. have lots to write about, but first, I have to pop my 1600 pending mails!!! :)

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Movie Review: Saawariya

After an awesome OSO, one could have been forgiven for expecting too much from Saawariya. I went with no such illusions, and even then, came back terribly disappointed at the complete waste of a beautiful Sunday evening in Goa.

I have never liked SLB's over-hyped movies - because I always found them unrealistic, too loud, in-your-face sentimental cry opuses. However, Saawariya really sets new landmarks in perfectly senseless, expensive cinema.

First the story. Boy (Ranbir Kapoor) meets girl (Sonam Kapoor), boy loves girl, girl has already met another boy (Salman), girl has already loved another boy, another boy has gone away for a year, girl waits for the other boy, boy wants girl, other boy comes late, boy almost gets girl, other boy comes, girl goes to other boy, boy carries on with life. The story makes a joke of love and romance. One dialogue will drive home the point - kiss her on her lips, and she will be yours for life!

The entire movie is shot in one hell-of-an-expensive set, where lotuses float in the river in the middle of the town square, and up from the clock tower, you see the entire town laid out below with smoking chimneys and fog, a la Harry Potter. And oh yes, SLB doesn't let go of his fetish for blue and black - everything is shaded in those colors, and juxtaposed with blinking signages, like some giant dance bar. To add to that, the town square is full of prostitutes in gaudy sarees, with faces beaten black and blue, prancing around with the hero in the opening song! Well, if SLB thought that would set the mood for the rest of the movie, he was damn right! By the time you get out of the movie, you do feel your senses and sensibilities have been pounded black and blue!

There are too many songs, and you wonder if SLB fitted in some story in the middle of his songs, or the other way around! The songs are wonderful to hear, and some of them make for good viewing - but the ones with black and blue prostitutes, well, if you enjoy them you need to get yourself checked for a twisted mind!

And a first in Indian cinema - Ranbir actually bares his butt. Yes, you read right. He actually drops his towel, and while I am sure the censors cut off the most digusting parts, there's still enough to give you the creeps - I mean, hello, do we really need men dropping their towels???

Coming to the cast... Ranbir would have made a great heroine, with his red lips, bare midriff (yes, he wears his shirts with the all but the collar buttons off), bare bum (now how can we forget the sight of that???) and his girlish mannerisms and behaviour. Come on, there's only so much cuteness one can tolerate in a grown up man! Sonam looks beautiful most of the times, especially in black. She has beautiful, large eyes, an amazing smile with upturned lip corners, beautiful dark locks of hair, and is the only reason I could actually sit through the torture dished out by SLB. She looks a lot like Sonali Bendre, by the way, and SB used to be one of my most favourite faces! But she really needs to start doing some serious cinema and some normal roles. Acting crazy in love, running around like your saree was on fire, and shaking head like only SLB's heroines and heroes can, is not going to add much to your resume, baby! And Rani - what were doing in the movie playing that silly prostitute and prancing around in garish make up and bared midriffs? Do you really need to do these movies at this stage in your career? And oh yes, Salman Khan with his silly headgear and "I am a devout man" act - we can forgive you for you probably knew not what you were getting into!

Ok, I think I have now managed to get rid of most of the pent up feelings inside me - and can go back to living a normal non-SLB life now! As for you, if you still go and check out the movie, consider yourself to be one of the lucky few who can actually afford to pay to watch it, even when you know what it is going to be! And yes, enjoy the bum!

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Digging into My Childhood

Have you ever digged into that long forgotten drawer in the attic and found something that meant the world to you years back? Those old photographs, those diaries, those scraps of paper that are worthless to everyone else in the world, but you?

I did a bit of that yesterday - and uncovered some really precious gems!

Like that birthday card I received on my first birthday! Like my coin collection - including some really precious coins from the 19th century that we found while digging the lawn in front of our house, as well as "samples" of coins worth 1 paise, 2 paise, 10 paise and so on from not so long ago! Like the accounts book I maintained as class monitor, noting carefully the 5 paise and 10 paise "fines" we collected for bad behaviour. Like the newspapers from the day Indira Gandhi was killed, or when the Mandovi Bridge collapsed (by the way, I narrowly escaped that collapse - didn't go to school that day because I had got a big broken bottle in my foot the previous day, and my "usual" bus would have been a victim of the crash if it had been just a few seconds early on that stretch of the bridge). Autographed photos of Kapil Dev, Amitabh and Remo, received by mail as response to my letters, autographs of Sudesh Bhosale, Shekhar Suman and Remo taken during meetings with them...

And I found some of my childhood photo albums. Yellowed and faded with age, but still, such an awesome memory bank! I am gonna digitize all those photos put them online soon... so don't go away, I'll take a short break and be right back with lots of exciting stuff! :)

Day 4 of My BIG Break...

So here's day 4 of my big break - and guess what I have managed to stay away from the big bad world of Internet and email! It works pretty easy actually, once you are in a village and the phone line's dead, and you make sure you do not carry your laptop into the city. You feel desperate at times, your fingers crave for the touch of the keyboard, the eyes scan the bottom left corner of every square shaped box for the new mail notifications - but hey, it works!

Hang on... I have some new mail...

X Sports for My Cell Phone

What happens when you cell, kept by mistake on the top of a car, falls off at high speed, crashing onto the road, and breaking off into components?

You trash it, of course, and buy a new one.

Unless it's a Nokia. In which case, you simply snap the parts on together, restart it, and carry on.

That's what happened to me and my cell yesterday - except that I lost my SIM on the road, and had to scramble to get a replacement. Which I did in the next 20 mins :) Coming less than a month after my cell took a bath in a bucket of water (or was it the loo bowl?), must say my 6300 is totally into adventure sports!

Nokia is great - now, if only their customer care centers could get their act together!

Diwali 2007

Diwali 2007 was less about lights and fireworks, than it was about torrential rains and lightning! Just before we left for Goa, Pune had a night of stormy weather - so much so that I had to pull off my car into a hotel parking for shelter while the rain died down. We reached Goa the next day, looking forward to a night in town on top of a hired Tata Mobile pickup truck - repeating our Diwali adventures from last year. However, nature had other plans in store - the heavens literally opened up, and booming thunder and lightning threatened to wash off all the Narkasurs. And we were driving around at Miramar when a huge bolt of lightning shot out from the skies, crashing with a huge boom close by, scaring the wits out of us, and sending us scurrying for cover. It was a really scary experience, and very definitely deserved an entry into AXNs "Worlds Most Amazing Videos" - except that, we didn't capture it on camera :)

Only late into the night, the rains eased a bit, and people gingerly started stepping out of their houses, Narkusars, wet and soggy stated peeping out of their tarpaulin covers, and a little semblance of normalcy returned to the streets...

And while we couldn't really enjoy the truck top ride that night, we made up for it the next day - driving around town screaming Happy Diwali to the passers by, and probably setting a new trend in the process :)

Movie Review: Om Shanti Om

Disclaimer: I am a HUGE, HUGE fan of the King Khan, and right now I am totally under the Khan Effect. If you agree with my review, join the gang. If you disagree, GO FISH!

OSO is a story about rebirths, reincarnations, and ghosts. It starts off with "Meri Umar ke Naujawaano" from Karz, a beautiful start to the movie that sends you right back into the seventies. Om is a junior artist, crazily in love with the beautiful superstar Shantipriya. They meet, and share a beautiful evening together. Until tragedy strikes. Shanti is murdered, and Om dies trying to save her.

Fast forward to present day. Om is now Om Kapoor, the son of a well known actor of the seventies. On a visit to the site of the tragedy, he gets flashes of his past life in front of his eyes. And sets off on a mission - get justice for Shanti. He finds Sandhya, Shanti's lookalike, and hatches a plan to punish her murderer. There's another Karz-like sequence - a song that replays the tragedy in front of the murderer's eyes. There's a twist, not too unexpected, and everything works out in the end.

Stupid story. Stupid movie? Let's put it this way. There are some movies I would walk out of - EXCEPT that this one has the King Khan in it. And SRK does not disappoint! And no, I am not just talking about his six packs, I am not just talking about his awesome wardrobe! He does a fantastic job, switching between intense passion, comedy, burning anger, hopeless love, tragedy and revenge effortlessly and proves once again why he is called the King Khan. No one, no one else could have pulled this off!

And if that wasn't enough, there's Deepika. Beautiful and sexy, if her long legs don't drive you crazy, her curls, her lips. her eyes and her smile definitely will. Watch out for this girl, she will go a long, long way!

Need any more reasons? Try the songs - beautifully picturized, each one blends so perfectly with the story line. And as you play them in your mind, they grow on you. Ajab Si is beautifully done and will probably bring a few tears in your eyes. Dard-e-Disco is high octane stuff, and the flashback song at the end is absolutely stunning - a throw back to Karz. And then the mother of all item songs - a tremendous effort with 31 stars (the last time someone counted) - it's a comment on the popularity of the human being inside the star. It would have been worth sitting through a movie just for this one song! The movie is a beautiful flash back to the seventies in the first half, and for all ye 18 and 20 year olds, hey, this is a beautiful decade you just missed :) There's also a lot of spoofs a la theHotshots movie. The scene with Akshaye Kumar in Return of Khiladi is hilarious - the South Indian hero sequence will have you in splits. It's amazing to see how SRK has managed to rope in some of the biggest names in the industry, from the Bacchans, to Sanjay Dutt, to Salman and Hrithik, to Juhi, Karishma and Rekha, from Dharmendra to Jitendra, and blended them so well to create a collage of some beautiful moments.

The technical art work in the movie is superb too. The fire scenes and the chandelier crash are brilliantly executed. And check the way Deepika blends with the heroes of the seventies in the song sequence - awesome. The screenplay and the art direction, the sets, the costumes - the film definitely owes a lot of it's brilliance to the hard work that's gone behind the scenes - or rather, into the scenes!

SRK once said his biggest challenge is surpassing his own earlier movies. And with OSO, SRK once again sets new standards in entertainment, and raises the bar more than a few notches higher. After Swades, Don, KANH and Chak De, OSO is yet another landmark movie that will be talked about and enjoyed for decades to come!

I will definitely watch the movie a few more times - what are you waiting for? Go watch it - you cannot possibly find a better way to celebrate your Diwali! And hey, need company? Just call me - I am all for it, baby! Any time!!!

ps: He uses a Nokia 6300 in the movie - just like me! True style never shouts... now you know why I am so soft-spoken :) :)

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Running Away?

I am leaving for a 12 day vacation tomorrow - 430 am is the proposed departure time - Reona is all set, bags are packed, and just 5 hours to catch up some sleep in the middle!

Am I going on a vacation, am I going for Diwali and fun, or am I just running away from life? I don't know. Maybe I do. Maybe I just don't want to admit it.

Either way, I hope to leave some ghosts of the past back in Coorg, and come back fresh and ready to take on more bullshit...

Saturday, November 03, 2007


I shop best when I am upset - ended up buying a whole new wardrobe today! I love Shoppers Stop - something about that place that makes me smile, makes me happy, and makes me lose my tensions and worries. If you want me to shop, make me upset. If you make me upset, and wanna meet up, come to Shoppers!

I am serious!

SRK turns 42

The King Khan turned 42 yesterday - and I have exactly 10 more years to develop those six packs if I have any chance of being mistaken for him 10 years later :)

Birthday Surprise

Today was my best friend's husband's birthday - and we decided to spring him a major surprise! So early in the morning (OK, OK, it was 11, but hey, on a weekend, what more do you expect from me? :)) I landed at her place, and while he slept (see, other people sleep on weekends too!), I stole his car - took it to Sunny's Car Boutique, got it fitted with a sexy new MP3/CD player, and got it back, all before he had even woken up and finished his breakfast.

I wish I had been there to see his reaction when he found out! :)

Had a great day till late evening - but hey, that's another story! :)


Tried out a cool, new restaurant in Aundh today - Rahul. Fantastic ambience, and great food. If you are there, do try the Tom Yom soup, and the Tawa Surmai. Absolutely delightful stuff. We had appams, neer dosa and chicken too. Topped it off with kulfi and casatta ice cream. Came home completely satisfied - what an awesome way to round off a day!

What's Worse?

Ever wondered what's worse... crying because you have no friend, or crying because you had one?

Ever wondered what's worse... losing a fight to save a friendship, or giving up the fight to save it?

Ever wondered what's worse... not knowing whether your loved one will come back to you, or knowing your love will never come back to you?

Movie Review: Jab We Met

Early 90s: Kajol, Shahrukh, a train in the Swiss Alps, Zurich, a village in Punjab, green fields, DDLJ.

2007: Kareena, Shahid, a train in India, Shimla-Manali, a village in Punjab, green fields, Jab Ee Met.

You get the point!

All said, it's an awesome movie. Yes, it is an out and out SRK script, and yes, Rani could have done a great job, but Kareena and Shahid have never been better on screen, and deliver a beautiful performance that actually makes you feel sad that they have broken off in real life. Shahid comes into his own, and looks pretty cool - and remind you so strongly of the SRK of the 90s. Kareena, for once, is amazing. Maybe all she needed was a good director! The script is amazing too, and is what makes the movie really so enjoyable. The dialogues, the screenplay, is the real charm of the movie. The songs are enjoyable, and the item song at the end of the movie is really worth every second spent waiting for it.

Definitely a must watch this weekend - especially with Om Shanti Om coming up next week! :)

Friday, November 02, 2007

It's Raining!

Yes, it's 1.42 am here, on the 2nd November 2007, and it's raining - the weather is just so beautiful - and I can even hear a few thunders...

But hey, in November???

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Giving Up, or Going Up

On your life's mountain, you will face times when you have two choices - give up or go up. It's infinitely easier to give up and let the mountain consume you, but if you want to live, you need to fight and go up. You have no choice.

Once you realise this, it's much easier to go up than to give up.

Trust me.

Life Comes Full Circle for Ganguly and Dravid...

Dravid has been dropped from the Indian one day side for the initial matches against Pakistan, and is likely to stay out for the whole series. Life has come full circle for the two, after Dravid was part of the decision to leave Ganguly out more than a year back.

Dada fought and came back with a bang - will Dravid be able to do the same?


If you ever wondered what the SENSEX really meant, how it was calculated, etc, here’s a great link that explains it

SENSEX is a basket of 30 constituent stocks representing a sample of large, liquid and representative companies. The base year of SENSEX is 1978-79 and the base value is 100. The Index was initially calculated based on the "Full Market Capitalization" methodology but was shifted to the free-float methodology with effect from September 1, 2003. As per this methodology, the level of index at any point of time reflects the Free-float market value of 30 component stocks relative to a base period. The market capitalization of a company is determined by multiplying the price of its stock by the number of shares issued by the company. This market capitalization is further multiplied by the free-float factor to determine the free-float market capitalization.

Free-float Methodology refers to an index construction methodology that takes into consideration only the free-float market capitalization of a company for the purpose of index calculation and assigning weight to stocks in Index. Free-float market capitalization is defined as that proportion of total shares issued by the company that are readily available for trading in the market. It generally excludes promoters' holding, government holding, strategic holding and other locked-in shares that will not come to the market for trading in the normal course. In other words, the market capitalization of each company in a Free-float index is reduced to the extent of its readily available shares in the market. A Free-float index reflects the market trends more rationally as it takes into consideration only those shares that are available for trading in the market.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Bobby Jindal..

Name rings a bell? Well, it should from now on.. Bobby Jondal, son of Indian immigrants, at 36, has become the Governor of Louisiana, and the youngest US Governor currently in office. Also, the first non-white Governor of Louisiana since 1870.

How long before an Indian becomes the Prime Minister or President of a foreign country? How long before a Tata or Reliance buys out a nation's primary industry? How long before India colonizes the world?

Stupid thinking? Maybe.. time will tell...


You know, I have this fixation with certain names - I do not know why, but they just arouse some feelings inside me, something strange I cannot put my finger on, but it's almost over powering...

Andheri, Marol, Chakala, Sakinaka, Lokhandwaala (yes, Mumbai..), Ranikhet, Almora.. and some more...

Are these linked to some special memories? Not really... Special people? Not really... Dreams? No, not at all! Then what is it about these names?

I do not know - I just know there's some connection, and I am trying to figure it out...


An IPO is like losing your virginity - you never know how it will be until you do it, and you can only do it once!

Movie Review: Bhool Bhulaiyya

Very few Hindi movies have a story that is the star of the movie. Bhool Bhulaiyya is one of that rare breed of Hindi movies where the story grips you from the beginning till the end, and doesn't disappoint at the end!

I will not give away the plot - I really want you to go and enjoy the movie - but here's a brief introduction...

An American-bred heir to the throne (the sexy Shiny Ahuja), and his young, beautiful wife (Vidya Balan), are on a long visit to India and insist on staying in their princely mansion, long neglected and avoided because of rumours of spirits who made it their abode decades back. The educated couple, of course, do not believe the rumours, and explore their mansion - but things suddenly take on a sinister twist. People are attacked, furniture goes crashing to the ground, voices are heard... is there truth in the rumour?

Akshaye Kumar, as Shiny's wierdo psychiatrist friend, makes an entry almost an hour into the film, and completely takes it over. Shiny is handsome, and a treat for his female friends. Vidya is beautiful as always, and along with her trademark love scene, proves that she can be an awesome actress, given the right role. She's good! The rest of the cast, the mansion, the cars - well, all I can say it's a beautiful setting that only adds to the aura and feel of the movie.

Not for the children, though - so keep your kiddies at home, and catch the movie - ideally, the late night show :)

Quote for the Day

There is no problem, however complex, which, upon careful consideration, cannot be made more complex!

Twenty 20 Again

India walloped the Aussies in a one-off Twenty 20 game at the Brabourne in Mumbai, proving the World Cup win in SA was not a fluke.

Australia started with a bang, Gilchrist hitting RP Singh for 3 consecutive boundaries before RP struck with a beautiful yorker uprooting his stumps. Ponting and Hayden steadied the innings, and then cranked up the tempo, and at one time, it looked like Australia would put up a score well over the 200 mark... but some awesome bowling by the spinners Harbhajan and in-form Murali Kartik ensure they managed only 166. Dhoni marshalled his resources beautifully, and some great strategizing ensured that India's plan of frustrating the Australians, especially Hayden, worked to a T - the Aussies could not capitalize on their start, and lost the initiative in the middle overs.

India lost Sehwag very early, but young guns Robin Utthappa and Gautam Gambhir (who later won the man of the match award - a sexy white Maruti SX4) took charge, and carted the Aussies all over the field, coming especially hard on Brett Lee. And as the game progressed and the Indians took charge, the Aussie captain looked completely at a loss for strategies and tricks - boundaries and singles came with equal ease, the Aussie gifted away runs by the dozen through wides and no balls, with the free hits being taken for some serious runs. And by the time UV (Youraj) showed his devastating form hitting 3 sixes, including a consecutive pair, the win was just a formality. Dhoni did not waste time - a final six cementing the victory and proving this young Indian side could really take on the best in the world, and win!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Quote for the Day

On a T-Shirt:
Whether you think you can do it, or you think you can't, you are right!


I proudly flaunt two flags on my dashboard, and while many think I am just too lazy to get rid of the "independence day hangover", I really enjoy having them there... and the other day I decided to see how many others actually did the same. Can you believe it - in a 20 min drive, I passed not one, not two, but an unbelievable 13 cars with the Indian tri color on their dashboards!

Is this patriotism? Is this just a fad? I don't know, and frankly, I don't care - but I know one thing for sure - when Yogesh and I first started buying flags to put on our bikes on Independence Day, people almost seemed amused!

I get very upset when I used to see many Indians almost taking pride in criticizing us as a nation. They didn't feel upset about the poverty and corruption, and the state of politics here. They didn't feel sad when we lost a cricket match. They felt vindicated! It was almost as if they were glad that they could call us a wretched nation! Why? Is this the hangover of centuries of foreign rule, where we were told over and over again how we were meant to be ruled over? How we could never be a proud independent nation?

Things have changed now, for sure, led by a generation that is used to being proudly Indian! No wonder there are so many beautiful tri-colors flying high!

Cricket and More

India beat Australia in the last one dayer at Wankhede last night with a valiant 50 run partnership for the 9th wicket by Murali Karthick and Zaheer Zhan, after Murali had mesmerized the Australians with a 6 wicket haul to restrict them to just around 200. Australia walked away with the Future Cup though, with the score in the 7 match series 4-2.

Interestingly, Rahul Dravid was dropped from the playing eleven on performance grounds, and ended the series with a miserable 51 runs in 5 matches. And while Dada got a duck in this match, he and Sachin lit up the games with some excellent innings and good opening partnerships.

The world has come full circle...

Thursday, October 11, 2007

World's Richest Man Anyone?

Any guesses? Bill Gates? Warren Buffet? Mexico's Slim?

Sorry guys, the world's richest man right now is probably none other than Mukesh Ambani, with a staggering 60 Billion USD in personal wealth!

The Sensex is poised to hit 19000, and Mukesh, Anil and DLF's KP Singh are all set to rocket into the world's richest league. So much for the Hindu Rate of Growth!

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Two Worlds...

Read this nice piece in Goldratt's "The Goal", which I thought was so apt!

Isn't it strange to feel your own world is falling apart while those of the people who are close to you are rock steady? And you can't figure out why they are not affected the way you are. About 6.30, I slip away from the plant to run home and grab some dinner.

As I come through the door, Julie looks up from the television.

"Hi", she says. "Like my hair?"

How many times has it happened to you and me?

Bliss in Goa

There are picnics, and then there are picnics. And then, there are PICNICS. Our 4 day picnic to Goa was the third kind :)

Frankly, I did not want to blog about it. I have a tendency to write stuff in my diary, and in my blog, in order to get closure. It helps me "archive" my memories, freeing up my mind for the present and the future, knowing my past is secure in some book, and now, on some hard disk in Googleworld.

But I did not really want to do that with my Goa memories. For the first time in a decade, I could switch off my mind from work and tensions - really switch off. I could close out any thoughts of revenue targets and utilization ratios. I did not carry my laptop - no mails, no IMs. Even my cell tried to help - it fell in a bucket of water, died out completely for three days, and only started working once I was back in Pune (it was a different matter that I could borrow Shweta's cell for two days).

For me, the holiday meant forging relationships with team mates I barely knew before the trip, but who grew to be close friends by the end of the trip. It also meant losing some close friends - it was inevitable, really - apparently, misunderstandings have a gala time on picnics! It meant showing off my beautiful Goa - its food, its natural beauty, the warmth of its people, its hospitality. It meant sharing memories of my childhood, and showing where I grew up, my home, my school. It meant taking them to Nerul, for a walk to Miramar, for a dip in the sea at Reismagos, for a ride in the ferry. It meant making sure they tasted the best in food, from Crab Dry Fry, Chilli Chicken Goa Style and Prawns Masala Fry at Ritz, to Stuff Crabs and Cafreal at Sea Pebble.

We stayed at Bomfin, a beautiful villa hotel bang next to Tito's and Cafe Coffee Day in Baga. At 1400 per night, with 3 people in an AC room, I think it is a steal. And while we never really required it's swimming pool , the location of the hotel makes it just perfect for that perfect team outing.

Shweta had arranged for a minibus to pick us up early in the morning, as soon as the 12 of us got down from Amrutyog in Panaji after a fun-filled overnight journey from Pune.

After freshening up, we all came to Nerul, where we had a truly sumptious breakfast, even by Goan standards. The star of the table was some hot Bhaji Pav from Vishwanath's.

After a tour of the house and the grounds, we visited Reismagos and Kegdevelim, and then on to Panaji for lunch at Ritz. We had good fun at the beach - here on the left, you see Urvish, Anjali, Harsha, Prajakta, Darshana and Rakesh doing what we call the Amruta jig :)

In the evening, it was Dona Paula and Miramar - bhutta and coconut water, walking on the beach, coffee in the rains at Coffee Day, and some bhel puri. The sea had receded far out, and the sand bars made it possible for us to walk right out into the sea, completely inaccessible in normal times! Met Yogesh and Jai there, too.

Dinner that night was at Nerul - from masala crabs to fried fish and prawns, followed by some delicious fruit salad. Siddha, Shweta, Yogesh, Deepa and Jai, with Puchan Kaki, Sudha Kaki and Sunanda Atya also added to the experience of dinner with a Goan family :)

We came back to the hotel by 11, and played cards into the late night.

Sunday morning, day two, was dedicated to masti on the beach, and the team got a chance to experience the amazing water scooters - most going for two helpings :) Interestingly, once back in Pune, I used one of the videos I took of Amruta on the water scooter, as an example of what life at Persistent is about - more on that on my other blog - do check it out! Afternoon meant two hours in a lovely shack on the beach, resting in the breeze, and we enjoyed some awesome Cafreal and Prawns along with the music.

In the evening, we visited the Aguada Fort, and then the Taj, waiting for the sun to set. Some of the team went to see fishermen in action, others walked on the seashore, exploring the rock formations.

Once it was dark, we came to Panaji. Siddha-Shweta hosted us for high tea (prawns pattice and pastries with soup and juice), and then we all enjoyed the amazing ambience of Sea Pebble, out in the sand on the shores of the sea, at the foot of the majestic Dona Paula rock.

And the fun had just begun. On day three, Monday, we took off for Cabo De Rama, in the far South. I had never been there myself, so I was as much a tourist as everyone else. The area is far too beautiful to enjoy from inside a bus, and we all got down a couple of Kms before the destination, clicking dozens of pics and enjoying the flora and fauna of the place.

The fort itself is pretty ordinary, but the vistas are worth the trouble! After exploring a bit, we discovered this most beautiful and isolated beach close by, and climbed down the cliff to it. Didn't ever want to leave after that!

But we had to, we had not even had lunch - which we finally did at 7 pm at Nanutel, where Salil made sure we got the best :) Then it was off to Persistent's office at Verna, then to Old Goa, and finally, back to Panaji. We were still all in an adventurous mood, so we ditched the bus and took the ferry instead - Urvish even managed to take a short stint in the cabin!

Some of us visited Mambos at night, then came back to the hotel for cards and chats - the rest stayed the night on the beach, coming back only at sunrise! Rakesh was chased by a not-so-welcome breed :) while I had to fend off a drunkard who insisted we should come and help him bash up a shack owner!

Day 4 was our last day in Goa, and we decided to make it even more special - so we hopped onto some bikes, and took off, the MTP Roadies, visiting Pilerne, then Old Goa. I had a Pulsar, and I was riding after a long, long time - and I still managed to take a 2 km stretch of slope handsfree, with Amruta as my pillion rider, who was such a darling and trusted me enough to take the S curves too! Finally, dusty and hot, but happy and excited, we reached Panaji, and had a delicious lunch at Goenchin.

Before long, it was 4 pm. We had to come back, and with a heavy heart, we packed our bags, took the bus for Panaji, and crawled into our berths for Pune. Siddha and Shweta had come to see us off, and while I am used to these departures, I could sense more than one of us had tears in our eyes at what had been the end of a most beautiful Goan experience.

We played some games, we sat and talked about the fun we had had, we played Uno, and we joked about the dinner place. But our hearts were not in it - they had been left behind in Goa.

At the end of the day, there was only one way to console ourselves - a promise that we would all come back soon!

For more pics, visit my photo albums on Flickr. You might get some idea of the fun we had - you just might!