Sunday, August 24, 2008

On Independence Day...

I know most of us tend to be pretty pessimistic about our country, and we tend to have attacks of patriotism only when India wins a T20 match or Abhinav gets a gold medal. And while we do have our problems with infrastructure, poverty and corruption, and every other evil that befalls a 1.1 Billion Third World country like ours, we need to take some time to thank this country and its people for what is awesome – in spite of all the diversity, and the hundreds of languages and dozens of relations, we are still very much united – compared to what’s happening in Eastern Europe, for example. We still have very clean and clear change of governments, our ex-Prime Ministers and Presidents are not killed and hung on lampposts. The day our government wins a trust vote, every TV channel runs excellent, bare-all debates between government and the opposition on one platform. The judiciary and press is still very free and not under government influence. We still have the rights to do dharnas and morchas without the government calling in tanks to quell the mob. Most of us have got very high quality education almost for free all our childhood and adult life.

Let us take this opportunity to ask ourselves, how can we do our little bit for our country? It’s not just that we pay some income tax (which, most of us do, very grudgingly!)

Let us save power and water. Let us do our bits to not litter the streets and our surroundings, let us help in segregating garbage and recycling. Let us plant one tree. Let us not encourage corruption by passing along that fifty rupee note to the hawaldar. Let us respect the traffic lights, and let pedestrians cross safely. Let us encourage our kids to be better social citizens too!

At this age, and in the IT industry, we have the power to do and influence a lot more. Let’s do our bit.

Happy Independence Day!

Aye Dil Hai Mushkil

Rafi - Aye dil hai mushkil, jeena yahan
jara hat ke jara bach ke, yeh hai bombay meri jaan
aa ha ha ho ho ho, hee ha haha
humh humm....
Aye dil hai mushkil, jeena yahan
jara hat ke jara bach ke, yeh hai bombay meri jaan

Kahin building, kahin tramein, kahin motor, kahin mill
milta hai yahan sab kuchh, ek milta nahi dil
Kahin building, kahin tramein, kahin motor, kahin mill
milta hai yahan sab kuchh, ek milta nahi dil
insaan ka nahi, kahin namo nishan
jara hat ke jara bach ke, yeh hai bombay meri jaan
ae dil hai mushkil - -

kahin satta kahin patta, kahin chori kahin race
kahin daaka khain faaqa, kahin thokar kahin thes
kahin satta kahin patta, kahin chori kahin race
kahin daaka khain faaqa, kahin thokar kahin thes
bekaaro ke hain, kai kaam yahan
jara hat ke jara bach ke, yeh hai bombay meri jaan
ae dil hai mushkil - - -

Beghar ko aawara, yahan kahate hans hans
khud kaate gale sab ke, kahein is ko bizness
Beghar ko aawara, yahan kahate hans hans
khud kaate gale sab ke, kahein is ko bizness
ek cheez ke hain, kai naam yahan
jara hat ke jara bach ke, yeh hai bombay meri jaan
ae dil hai mushkil - - -

Geeta Dutt - Bura duniya ko hai kahata, aisa bhola to na ban
jo hai karta woh hai bharta, hai yahan ka yeh chalan
Bura duniya ko hai kahata, aisa bhola to na ban
jo hai karta woh hai bharta, hai yahan ka yeh chalan
dadagiri nahi, chalne ki yahan
yeh hai bombay yeh hai bombai, yeh hai bombai meri jaan

Rafi - Aye dil hai mushkil, jeena yahan
jara hat ke jara bach ke, yeh hai bombay meri jaan

Geeta Dutt - Aye dil hai aasan, jeena yahan
suno mister suno bandhu, yeh hai bombay meri jaan

Rafi - Aye dil hai mushkil, jeena yahan
jara hat ke jara bach ke, yeh hai bombay meri jaan


Isn't that what we all look for? Driven by an inherent need to move on, because time waits for no one and life goes on.

My diary (yes, I have a daily account of everything in my life.. all the way back from 1987) and now my blogs, allow me just that. Closure.

Miyou Gets Visitors

Neighbours kid, and her two cousins from Chicago. Wow, exclaimed the little girl, I have never touched a cat before. Check her sponged feet, pointed out the elder one. Will it bite, the 3 year old boy wanted to know, before he realised we had 10 different phones and mobiles in the house. Is that a live phone? he asked, pointing to the instrument lying on the bed.

Movie Review: Mumbai Meri Jaan

This is not a review, this is a tribute to a beautiful movie, undoubtedly the best I have seen and connected with, a work of art that's going to remain with me forever.

Mumbai Meri Jaan is about the people of this beautiful city, whose name has become synonymous with the undying human spirit. Set against the backdrop of the 7/11 train blasts in Mumbai, the movie will connect with every Indian with it's amazing depth and treatment of issues that concern us today - acceptance of corruption, fear of terrorism, religious discord, aspirations of a comfortable life in the US, consumerism, the rapidly deteriorating morality in search of TRPs, and in the midst of all that, the wish to live life happily, borrowing heavily on every little bit that gives us that happiness and security. It's about emotions - joy, fear, suspicion, jealousy, deprivation, achievement, aspirations. It's about everyday lives, it's about the big events and small that touch us, and change us forever. It's about our fight to come to terms with what life throws at us, and our attempt to hit back. Most importantly, it's about achieving closure and moving on.

The train blasts of 7/ll is the core event around which the movie revolves, and is shot brilliantly and will shock you with it's graphic scenes. This is not for the faint-hearted, and definitely not for kids. After the initial blast, when bodies are hurled out of the tain, smashing into track-side signal poles, the scene calms down... a victim gingerly tries to get back on his hands and knees... I still get a shudder when I think about what happens next...

Kay Kay plays Suresh, an unemployed 30-something trying to push his computer hardware supplier business, with an ever-so-deepening suspicion and hatred of Muslims. After the blasts, he is fully convinced that the bunch of Muslims that always frequented their adda (a Muslim-run hotel) are terrorists, following them, trying to nail them down. His prejudices refuse to let him accept that there might be a different angle to it after all. When one of them he's following picks up his girlfriend in a burkha, his friend says, let's go now, he's just meeting his girlfriend. Suresh retorts, how do you know it's a girl? They are trained to walk like this!

Irrfan is a living-by-the-day South Indian roadside tea vendor, whose aspirations and adventures including taking his wife and kid to the mall, and "testing" 10000 rupees-per-bottle perfumes, until one day he is kicked out from the mall, with his crying wife and kid in tow. The fear psychosis in the city provides him the ultimate weapon to hit back - hoax calls. The transformation in him is stunning. He now has the power to hit back at the malls which threw him out. All it takes is one rupee and a phone call. His chest is out, the glint in his eyes says it all. I am the King, and the sky is the limit.

Soha Ali is a prep school bred reporter, who works for one of the countless news channels for whom human tragedy is just a way to get more TRPs. However, when her own fiance is killed in the blasts, she turns from reporter to the reported! Rupali Bani Rudali, screams the program headlines. SMS Y RBR if you agree, and N RBR if you don't! And don't forget to send us your name! Check out the scene where they walk over her reflection in the marble flooring - such a stunningly delivered message. A fitting portrayal of todays Aaj Tak and India TV, I wonder though if it will make any difference to those who take pride in stripping bare a dead 14 year old today in the name of news reporting!

Madhavan plays a rich white-collar professional, with idealism and patriotism running in his blood. He hates plastic, and takes the train. He doesn't want to settle in the US, he prefers paying income tax in India, and doing his bit here. The blast changes it all. He survives luckily, but his friend loses a hand and probably his chance in life. The scene where Madhavan talks to his visiting-from-America guests is so real and replayed in Indian homes millions of times. Remember, by now, Madhavan is preparing himself to move from India, encouraged by pictures of safe and secure havens courtesy Google Earth. And he's looking for reaffirmation and reassurance. When his friend talks about missing those simple pleasures they had in India, Madhavan retorts that things are no longer the same, with bombs and terrorists and everything. Well, 2 small airplanes changed the world, says his American guest. Are you happy, Madhavan asks. Yes, I am good, comes the reply.

And finally Paresh Rawal. A symbol of the countless millions of urban Indians, in search of a life different from their rural beginnings, idealism and morals compromised and then having come to terms with it, a live-and-let-live philosophy that makes you a part of the system which you do not want to fight any more. And even in this despairing situation, he finds reasons to smile.

But time heals, and life brings about moments that change perspectives. Kay Kay overcomes his prejudices, Madhavan his fears and doubts, Irrfan too gets closure, Soha Ali finally refuses to become a story, and Paresh - well, it's too late for him in life to change, but he does have hope to redeem himself back in his village.

And the city moves on.

The cast is absolutely wonderful. Soha Ali Khan proves yet again what a fine actress she is, something her mother will be very proud of. This is one girl who stands way above her peers. The scene in the morgue is simply outstanding. Madhavan's portrayal of the white-collared patriotic Indian upper middle class 30-something whose life is changed by that one event will connect 100% with most of us. I think Kay Kay was a wee bit wasted in a role that did not allow him much, but Irrfan is outstanding as the South Indian roadside tea vendor. The best though, comes from Paresh Rawal as the about-to-retire Mumbai policeman, and he typifies the spirit of the city and it's inhabitant's tryst with destiny to the hilt!

When the closing credits started rolling on the screen to the background score of Aye Dil Hai Mushkil Jeena Yahan, the theatre erupted in spontaneous applause, and this was not because India scored that winning goal in the dying moments of Chak De - it was simply because we probably had no other way to stop those tears of emotions, get closure, and get back to life.

Nishikant Kamat, hats off to you, you have given us an absolutely invaluable treasure! And in me, you have a fan for life!

Friday, August 22, 2008

Main Toh Mama Ban Gaya!

Siddha and Shweta became proud parents of a beautiful baby girl early in the morning today, the perfect kid sis for Sanam :)

What else can I say... Samah hai yeh suhana, koi kisi ka deewana...

Post No 500!

Ye Ye Ye, I have done it...

Now, I can take a lonnnggggggggg break from this difficult job and enjoy my life!


OK, here's a joke for you... (for Marathi lovers only :))

A marathi manoos goes to Dharmendra's house for chori. Dharmendra wakes up, and screams, "Kameene...."

Chor goes, "Ho re baba, kameech neto"

lol rofl

Only 2 Left Now...


And the best part is, you can simply add a few posts like these and you can't even be run out :)

The Good Thing...

...about having your blog is that no one can stop you from writing whatever you want to write there :)

4 More To Go...

...for 500 posts :)

SRK is King

Swades, Don, OSO, Chak De... can it get any better?

Song of the Week

Mumbai se aaya mera dost, dost ko salaam karo
Raat ko khao peeo, din ko aaram karo...


Thursday, August 21, 2008

The World This Week..

153 killed in Madrid plane crash

60 killed in Pak Taliban attacks

India wins shooting gold, wrestling bronze, and at least a bronze in boxing at the Olympics

India and Sri Lanka tied 1-1 in the 5 match one day series

Critical NSG vote coming up on India's nuclear deal

iPhone being released in India at 3 times the price in the US

In the age of global warming, this year turns out to be the coolest this century

Life goes on

Monday, August 18, 2008


Calizz (Heart in Konkani) is an interesting museum in Siquerim, showcasing life in Goa in the Portuguese era. A pretty large compound hosts a bunch of authentic houses, some originally acquired and maintained, others specially built for the purpose, exhibiting some very interesting artifacts showcasing life from centuries ago... My personal favourite - the Kamasutra toy in Laxmi Bai's house :)

Do check it out when you are in Goa next - rates are a little on the higher side, but definitely worth it!


What To Do When In Goa...

Meditate on the beach

Rescue stranded ships

Dig tunnels

Explore the tunnels

Get rebooted

Our Encounter with the Mongoose...

We got to do our own bit of Steve Irwingiri... check out this beautiful mongoose, in two sexy poses...

Please ignore the grainy nature of the photos, these were taken from almost 100 meters away, the guy just refused to let us come close to kiss him! Maybe he wasn't gay... :)

Goa in the Rains

Need I put up any captions? If you haven't seen Goa in the rains, and have been restricting yourself to the sun and the sand, you are missing something beautiful! Take a weekend off, brave the monsoons, and get immersed in a whole new experience...

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Movie Review: Bachna Ae Haseeno

OK, let me be blunt here. I didn't have much hopes from this movie, and I went with a pretty open mind, But it was hard to find something I enjoyed :( Given that this was a movie with Deepika in it, that says a lot, I would think!

Let's start with the story. Well, it's a no-brainer, really. It might have well been one of those Kserials - you know, where things just go on and on? Raj (Ranbir) spends the first 30 mins of the movie missing a train, taking a scooter ride (yes, an unabashed take off and tribute to DDLJ), and finally succeeding in kissing the maiden, a very wierdly made up Minissha Lamba, in definitely her worst appearances ever, then breaks her heart. Cut to Mumbai a few years later, and he is living in with and kissing another dame in hot pants, Biapasha Basu, before he ditches her on the day of their marriage and goes to Australia in search gori babes and glory. And then he falls in love with an Indian student-by-day-taxi-driver-by night, Deepika Padukone. After singing and dancing and romancing, she refuses to marry him - she doesn't believe in marriage because she wants to live life on her terms, she's told him that right at the beginning! Suddenly, Ranbir realizes he has to say sorry to those maidens from his past, and then goes in search of them. Minissha is married with two kids, and after getting punched and beaten, he opens her heart to the true love of her husband, again, borrowing heavily from DDLJ, and hoping to trick the audiences into falling in love with this new Raj. Then, off to Mumbai where Radhika has become a top-model Shreya, and loves treating people like dirt. She makes him a condition, serve me as my PA and work hard, if you need my forgiveness. Then follows another 30 mins of silly antics as her PA, before she bursts with her hatred, then inexplicably decides enough is enough, and forgives him. He comes back to Australia, finds a pile of love letters from his Deepika, catches another of her taxi rides, and finally relieves you from the torture.

I don't like Ranbir. He's a fair dancer, but that's pretty much it. He cannot act for nuts, not even simple and easy roles like these! He tries hard to borrow from Raj in DDLJ, but hello, you probably are from a different planet than the King Khan, and it's better you stick to basics first! And yes, throwing away towels and baring your chest might get you a few female fans, but it definitely is not going to be enough! If I were Minissha, I would fire my make up artist and not feel I have redeemed the injustice done to me to some extent. I have nothing against Bipasha, and to be fair to her, she looks good sometimes, and is not too bad at her acting either. Deepika looks good in some scenes, and has her moments, but this is definitely a big let-down after the start she got in OSO. She has a good body but a pretty ordinary face with some hard features which need softer treatment by the camera. In any case, I just hope she has more substance to her than she's exhibited recently - one hit and 3 link ups do not take you to number one, dear! And I really hope you aren't in some holy alliance with your beau, promising to do movies with him and only him! Remember a one-hit wonder called Bhagyashree? And yes, fire your dress designer.

Khuda Jaane is a good number, and is shot in stunningly beautiful locales (cliffs of Dover?), but I wish the dance director had some more steps up his sleeve - just seeing skin gets boring after some time! The title track is OK, the rest is completely forgetable!

Overall, you might want to check it once, especially if you are a die-hard fan of Deepika and want to help her career, but make sure you have good company and some popcorn for all those moments you will wish you had opted for something better...

A second time? He he, you need to do a real good job to convince me!

Movie Review: Singh is King

"Singh is King" is Akshaye Kumar's step in Govinda's world of senseless, loud slapstick comedy, and I am not sure that's the right step to take. I think his fans have enjoyed him a lot more in more subtle roles like Bhool Bhulaiyya and Mirch Masala!

Happy Singh is a small-town sardar, always ready to do good, but causing huge collateral damage in the process (remember Hancock?). Tired of him, the villagers send him on an impossible mission to Australia to get back the village-boy-turned-don Lucky Singh to see his "dying" father, hoping this will get rid of Happy forever. After stumbling and bumbling his way from India to Egypt and then to Australia, Happy somehow ends up becoming the King
himself, and "tranforms" the evil empire into holy do-gooders.

The movie starts with a good-but-could-have-been-much-better Happy-chasing-hen scene, which the director promises is computer animation (with a "no animals were hurt in the shoot" disclaimer), but if I were Maneka, I would be sceptical of that! The marriage song is silly, boring, loud, and definitely avoidable! The movie has it's moments, of course. Some silly but well shot action sequences, breath-taking locales in Egypt and Australia, a beautiful song (Teri Oar Teri Oar wins it hands down), and of course, the oh-so-worth-it Katrina Kaif who truly looks like an Egyptian goddess!

Overall, just about average - although, if you are a Kat fan, you will not regret it!

The Journey

Our bus trip was awesome. The rain gods were merciful, the roads were clear of landslides
and fallen trees, and we reached pretty decently at 8.30 - after a wonderful sleep... and
some excitement :)

It was around 3.30 am, the bus had stopped for a couple of passengers to take a leak, and I needed it too! I was a few meters behind the bus, enjoying the eerie stillness of the lonely highway punctured by the gentle purring of the idling engine, the fields and the tress billowing in the wind and the gentle rain, enjoying the calm and peace, and wondering how far we were from civilization - when I heard the engine change it's rhythm - the driver had put the bus into gear, and released the brakes. Oh come on, I thought, give me a minute here - and started walking back... then I realised with horror, he didn't remember I was still down there! The thought of spending the night walking down that highway wasn't comforting at all, and I guess that pumped the adrenalin I needed to catch up and hop on!

I wouldn't even have been able to make a call - my cell, for once, was not with me. Not that it would have helped - there was probably no range there anyway. Madhavi and Sanam would have found my berth empty around 8.00 am :)

Next time, I am gonna take the driver along with me!

A few minutes later, we were on the Gaganbavda ghat section. A few days back, the road was closed - courtesy the rain which brought down big boulders crashing onto the road. It's always thrilling here - the hair pin curves, the mists rolling in from the plains below, the rain, the bus headlights trying to pierce the vast darkness of the valley below, the driver straining against the inertial forces, steering the vehicle and it's blissfully unaware and sleeping passengers back on course, in time for the next big curve.

Safely down into the Konkan plains, I finally settled into the cozy upper berth - hugging the pillow tight, wrapping the rug around me, and looking forward to the Goan vacation! Prawns, crabs, the rain... mmmmmmmmmmmm zzzzzzz zzzzzzzzzz

Friday, August 15, 2008

Taking a Break..

Going to Goa... I promised myself no mails and work, it's just been 3 hours in the bus though - kya karein, Tata Indicom ki jai!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Subah Subah

Another beautiful song playing on TV these days...

subah subah ye kya huva
na jaane kyon ab main hawaayon mein chal raha hoon
nayi subah nayi jagah
nayi tarah se nayi dishaayon mein chal raha hoon
nayi nayi hain meri nazar ya hain nazaarein naye
yaa dekhate khwab main chal raha hoon

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Bear Gryll

Have you watched "Man vs Wild" on Discovery? One of the most exciting reality shows on TV today, Bear takes you on wild escapes from tough situations in nature, showing how to survive in the most difficult and hopeless conditions.

Yes, he has his support crew and I am sure medical help nearby, but it's still scary, deadly and very exciting!

What I like most - the food he finds and eats! From raw fish, to grubs and snakes and spiders and scorpions and lizards, to left-over Zebra meat from a Lion's kill, it's amazing how he can find proteins and energy in the most yucky creatures on earth :) And as for water, well, from his own pee, to water from a dead camel's guts, to fluids from elephant's dung - I wonder if his stomach can actually relish some of the normal food we people eat!

While watching the program over some crabs and fish, Sanam suddenly remarked - this must be how our cat's like is na? Eating raw stuff... lol...

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Religion Anyone?

Times of India, top 3 headlines on the net right now...

120 killed in Naina Devi stampede

37 hurt during Amarnath protests in Jammu

Class 9 student killed fellow inmates in Asaram Ashram

And of course, bombs in Surat and Ahmedabad, terror strikes in Afghanistan, SIMI activists rounded up.. it goes on and on...

We just concluded our year long Arjuna program in Persistent - the three qualities Arjuna had were knowledge, action (a doer), and principles. He knew why he had to what he had to do based on his knowledge and his principles, and he was a man of action. The program was aimed at inculcating these habits in us. But all my life, for me, Arjuna was a fighter in that war called Mahabharat who shared his wife with his brothers! No one told me why. No one told me why I should be like him.

The Mahabharat and the Ramayan are the corner stones of our religion, just as the Bible and the Koran serve their purpose in Christianity and Islam. They all have stories, each with a specific message and meaning put across in a way that can be taught from generation to generation, the smart learnings of wise men who knew the illeterate population would not understand any other way. In fact, the stories were not meant to be analyzed and probed for meaning, they were the guidelines you blindly followed, because you were deemed incapable of understanding why.

Clater, the meaning and the essence have been lost. Literate populations and educated masses have forgotten why religions were created in the first place. We kill in the name of Ram and Allah, we destroy lives and societies, and we do it in the name of religion and god.

Is this what education has made of us?

Happy Friendship Day... all my friends, of all shapes, colors and sizes, of all ethnicity and religions, good and best, old and new, those who talk and those who don't... those who care, and those who stopped, long time back..

Upset With Flickr

Just realised that Flickr has taken off most of my photo albums off the net, keeping only a few latest ones... and now want me to pay 25 USD/year to get them back online! I hate this - first they buy over Yahoo photos, and make me go through a lot of pain to migrate the albums properly, and now they do this extortion business.

I am switching over to Picasa very soon!

India Take Revenge

After a terrible loss in the first test, India have struck back strongly in the Galle test, defeating Sri Lanka by 171 runs on the 4th day, levelling the series 1-1. After Viru set up the stage with an awesome undefeated 201 in the first innings, the bowlers chipped in, Bhajji with a 10 wicket haul and some devastating fast bowling by Ishant in the second innings, ripping through the Lankan top order.

This is the new India I love - fighting back, always optimistic, and ready to stand and deliver when it matters! Cheers!

Saturday, August 02, 2008


It's amazing how you can have some "friends" with day in and day out, and not be able to connect with them, while on the other hand, you can get back in touch with an uncle's neighbour's daughter from two decades back, and still be able to connect immediately like best friends!