Sunday, September 28, 2008

Movie Review: Phoonk

This is a delayed review - but what the heck, I am sure not too many missed it anyway! :)

RGV tries an Exorcist with Phoonk, and only ends up giving us a blow, double meaning intended! There are a couple of moments, but most of it is loud hamming, and some very predictable stuff, reminiscent of the Ramsay's Zee Horror Show. Wonder how much more of this fare will continue getting dished out from the RGV stable...

The Carnage on Wall Street Continues

After Washington Mutual sold off it's banking operations to JP Morgan Chase, and filed for bankruptcy, and with Wachovia also in trouble and looking for buyers, we now have JP Morgan Chase and Bank of America at the top followed by Wells Fargo, our sexy customer, in third spot :)

I just hope the traditional and conservative approach of Wells Fargo takes it through this crisis - I have a lot of my target revenue at stake here!

Kitty Update

5 out of 6 eyes have opened up, Mango has one more to go! :)

CYG is coming to Pune!

As Pune gears up for the Commonwealth Youth Games, Shivajinagar, Aundh and Baner is getting a major facelift. The road widening and concreting work is in its final sprint, beautiful signages adorn the sides, footpaths springing up along with saplings and plants in traffic islands, the dividers getting a fresh coat of paint... and the new stadiums in Balewadi standing proud and happy, waiting for the big day, now less than a month away!

Wish you all the best, Pune! Let's rock!


A couple of days back, we had our team quarterly party, and this time, we had decided to do something different: Paintball. A fascinating extreme sport in which you don army fatigues, protective face masks, an air-powered rifle with paintball bullets, and then form teams that take on each other across an obstacle course with the objective of defending your flag while you go for the opposition's.

We all started tentatively, trying to get a hang of the gun and it's firing power and range, getting shot and figuring out how painful it can be, clueless about how to strategize. But as we got into the "league", teams with names like Pink Stockings, Huggies, Bathroom Rockers and Layoff Brothers, finally got their acts together. As bullets whizzed about, we figured out how to defend the flag, how to use the obstacles to our advantage, how to attack in a V formation, instructions ringing out load and clear from the base, urging the troops forward.

And as the battle-bruised veterans finally called it a day after three hours of bloody fighting, one thing was certain - we would all be raring to come back and fight another day!

Highly recommended as a team building event, or simply for fun. However, this is not something for kids... and yes, be prepared for some sweat and grime, and some red and blue bruises if you are shot! I am still carrying mine!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Post No 35 :)

This post makes Sept 08 the month with the most posts so far :) Well, yes, I do cheat a little bit with these status posts... but heck, that's the cool thing about being the master of your own blog... anyone with a problem can go fish :)

Chak De, Once More

Saw Chak De, yet again... and thoroughly enjoyed it, yet again! Amazing movie, with an amazing cast, a beautiful script, and some fantastic moments. SRK shows why he is the King - the movie would have probably been a whimper without the passion and energy he brings to the field.

My favourite scenes, in no specific order:
1) His first meeting with the team, when he says, And I am the coach of Indian Women's Hockey Team!
2) The "only one goonda in a team" dialogue
3) The girls and boys teams saluting each other scene
4) The girls' flight to Australia and their first moments there
5) The party, and the girls' entry in those beautiful sarees
6) The scene where he watches the "gora" unfurling the Indian flag
7) The scene at Intermission, just after the fight at MacD when he wears his shades and says, tomorrow, 5.00 am, at the ground!

I remembered last year, when India won the T20 World Cup, and all of us, including Siddha and Shweta went out celebrating over town, the Chak De song blaring full volume from Lisa's speakers... just so awesome!

I can probably go on and on... but one thing's sure, next time I watch it, I will want to blog about it, yet again!

Movie Review: Welcome to Sajjanpur

After being disgusted and shocked out of our wits with a very dark Captivity, we really needed a light, fun movie - and Shyam Benegal's Welcome to Sajjanpur is exactly that. Light hearted, fun and a great way to spend a weekend.

Sajjanpur is a typical village in the new rural India - innocence laced with a dab of modernity, superstitions and illiteracy jostling with PCOs and mobiles, that one motorbike or jeep wading through the herds of cattle and the tring tring of bicycles.

Mahadev (a good-once-again Shreyas Talpade) is one of the few literates in the village. His profession: letter writing, under the shade of a tree beside the post office. From helping the snake charmer find his lost father, to bringing lovers together, Mahadev has a special way with his words and letters - until he meets and falls in love with his primary school sweetheart from two decades back, Kamala (the beautiful Amrita Rao in yet another understated but very commendable role), now married and waiting for her husband who's been working in Mumbai for the last 4 Diwalis. His emotions and feelings start interfering with his profession, his dreams overriding his reason, until one day he finds his true calling.

The strength of the movie is in its simplicity. The humour is good natured and easy, the characters lovable. The village seems an oasis of peace and bountiful existence (especially when compared to the dark cellars of Captivity :)) and will definitely evoke fond memories of that native village you hail from! The characters are interesting, and Ila Arun deserves special mention, along with the amazing Putrurao :) The music too, is simple but beautiful... you won't remember it a few days later, but definitely adds character to the movie!

The only negative for me, were two unnecessary scenes of violence and death... those 2 mins prevent me from recommending this movie strongly as family entertainment! Other than that, I would strongly recommend that you do not miss this one!

Movie Review: Captivity

Captivity is a pretty old movie, almost an year old, but just hit Indian theatres this week... with the sexy Elisha Cuthbert in the lead role, this is one of those blood and gore genre of horror movies that will disgust you with scenes of a masked man making a gooey drink of eyeballs and ears and pouring it through a funnel into the mouth of his thrashing victim, and then using a ear bud to wipe off the mess and use it as lipstick! Or how about a dog being blown into shreds dripping on the victims face, or using a wrench to pull off teeth... you get the picture.

Avoid it, unless you are really looking for it. Definitely not for the weak hearted.


Hat-trick of movies today :)

Started the day with the blood and gore horror movie Captivity, which really gave us a pretty dark mood. So followed it up with the perfect foil - the light-hearted and fun creation by Shyam Benegal, Welcome to Sajjanpur. And what better way to end a good day than with Chak De?

Actually, we also wanted to catch Hari Puttar, but getting out of the comforts of home later in the evening wasn't as appealing as popping in a DVD and curling up with the cat!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Morning at E7

Mother cat went for a morning walk today... and the entire machinery got into action. Kittens were shifted out from the bed, fresh new towels (Sanam suddenly realised her favourite pink towel had been called for duty) were laid out, old towels taken for washing... all while the kittens did their best to out do each other in screaming their lungs off...

Fifteen mins later, the chaos had subsided and the maternity ward was calm again.. and then mom came back...

It's just been 3 days, and the kittens are already learning to walk around a bit on their feeble legs and tiny tiny toes... and to push each other out of the way, and climb on top of each other... I wonder why 3 jostle for 1 when there are 8? :)

By the way, current "indications" are that Chocobar is a gonna grow up big and strong, while Mango and Casatta will be pretty and sweet :)

I Wish...

...Raj would target corruption instead of Bihari workers
...people would maintain traffic discipline
...Shilpa could be voted out of hosting Big Boss
...kittens and cats could be toilet trained more easily
...there was a 360 km/h bullet train between Pune and Goa
...I could have "masoorche tonak with sungta ani uno" for breakfast today

Movie Review: The Peacemaker

This review is around a decade late :)

I first saw The Peacemaker in 1996-97 at IIT Bombay's theatre with my friend Merlyn, and then a couple more times, and then again today on HBO. An excellent action movie based on the theft and use of nuclear weapons by terrorists, it's interesting how it's still very much relevant today! George Clooney looks his sexiest best as the decorated US army officer, with a smart and sexy Nicole Kidman for company.

Check out for the dialogue between Clooney and the driver of the van, the interception of the truck on the bridge, and one of the best car chase scenes in Hollywood (the sequence in Ronin comes very close too)... and yes, the scene of the train accident, and the way the mushroom engulfs the farmer and his wife, and the seamless transition into the cold blue of the swimming pool. Very sexy.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Unsung Heroes

Inspector Mohan Chand Sharma of the Delhi Police gave up his life today in the line of duty, taking four bullets in his stomach, arm, thigh and shoulder, in an intense encounter that ended with two terrorists killed and one arrested in a crowded locality of Delhi.

The first reaction of the media to the encounter was that it's fake. Until news of the death came in. If the Inspector hadn't died, we would have the media and the public screaming at how the Delhi Police faked an encounter to show success after the blasts. Are we really being fair to those heroes who give up their lives to keep us safe? We had a very safe Ganesh Chaturthi - do the police get credit for that? A hero dies, giving up his life for our safety? How many will remember his name tomorrow? What about those bomb disposal squad members who put their lives in grave danger every time they defuse those bombs?

For the last week, I have heard time and again, how the government needs to do more to stop terror. How the police is helpless, how our intelligence needs to be strengthened. Really? And how do we do that? Scan every nook and corner every minute? Someone suggested we should make sure no one enters through the border? Really? So what's a border? How do we "seal" it? How many thousands of kilometers? It's easy to criticize and make motherhood statements, but are we thinking straight? I am sick of hearing the news anchors screaming - why don't we declare an all out war against the terrorists? When will the government wake up? Damn it, shut up, and stop this drama!

Does it mean we can do nothing, that we will always have to live in fear? No. We can do more. But it will be a long and bloody battle. We need to accept that. We need to be strong, but patient. Governments need to go after the funding for these organizations. We need to strengthen security drills, get more CCTVs, more budget for the police and intelligence agencies. But probably, most of all, we need to be sensitive. We need to make sure our fight against terror doesn't become a fight between two religions or communities! We cannot afford to alienate our people!

Movie Review: You Don't Mess With The Zohan

This typical Adam Sandler movie will have you in spilts with it's outrageous acts and adult humour, but you need to have the taste for that stuff :)

Zohan is an Israeli counter-terror officer, who takes on the Palentinians with his Rajnikant-like skills, until one day he decides enough is enough and comes to the US to chase his real passion - hair styling, with his very own brand of "service"! There are some outrageous dialogues, and some even more outrageous acts. Warning: do not try this at home!

As a bonus, you can feast your eyes on the very beautiful and sexy Emmanuelle Chriqui, a seductive combination of Salma Hayek and Amrita Rao :)

Go enjoy the movie, but keep your kids home!

Balls of Fur

Wednesday, September 17, 2008


Here they are.. the three most beautiful kittens in the world :) Miyou transferred them from the tent on the terrace to the "pull out" diwan under Sanam's bunk bed in the morning today, with a little help from me to remind her that she had forgotten one behind! When I picked the third one, man, the way she screamed - that chhotti si jaan packs so much punch :) As I cupped her in my palm and held her against my stomach, she suddenly quietened - searching for dudu :)

It's now time to find names for them... can you help me decide? Some options I have now:

Mango, Chocobar and Casatta - based on their color
Shah, Rukh and Khan - well, no explanations required here!
Amar, Akbar and Anthony - tch, I don't like these names actually
Microsoft, Wells Fargo and Bridgestone - my favourite customers
or simply
Pinky, Sweetie and Munni :)

Oh, I don't know their sex yet.. so... keep that in mind!

Babies :)

Miyou gave birth today to an "as yet unknown and unseen" number of babies :) She's right now inside a tent of wooden planks, a tree trunk, some pots, and some towels, that I build for her against the corner of our terrace, where she had settled down with her litter.

Dying to see the tiny tots, can hear their feeble meows :)

Preggy Miyou

The countdown begins...

Wall Street Carnage...

A man on Wall Street asked on CNN, why are you the only man smiling here today? Answer: I am just happy to be alive!

After Lehman Brothers, will it be AIG next?

Where will this end?

September 1752

Did you know that nothing happened between 3 and 13 September 1752?

In September 1752 the Julian calendar was replaced with the Gregorian calendar in Great Britain and its American colonies. The Julian calendar was 11 days behind the Gregorian calendar, so 14 September got to follow 2 September on the day of the change. The result was that between 3 and 13 September, absolutely nothing happened!

The US Economy by Mark Faber!

Dr. Marc Faber concluded his monthly bulletin (June 2008) with the following:

The federal government is sending each of us a $600 rebate. If we spend that money at Wal-Mart, the money goes to China. If we spend it on gasoline it goes to the Arabs. If we buy a computer it will go to India. If we purchase fruit and vegetables it will go to Mexico, Honduras and Guatemala. If we purchase a good car it will go to Germany. If we purchase useless crap it will go to Taiwan and none of it will help the American economy. The only way to keep that money here at home is to spend it on prostitutes and beer, since these are the only products still produced in US. I've been doing my part.

Worth It

When someone terribly injured and barely conscious finds the energy to get a smile on her face on seeing you, and struggles to say, thanks for coming, it was such a pleasant surprise, and makes a real attempt to touch you... you know it's been worth all the taunts, the snide remarks... you know you have made a real difference to someone!

Help Bihar

In some sense this might be encouraging hoaxes and spam mail, but I thought the cost and irritation it will cost you was worth the possible upside for the flood victims in Bihar.

You just have to answer 4 simple questions at, and the sponsors will pay to the NGO on your behalf.

And by the way, the answers are:
25 Lakh

All it takes is a few seconds, and it’s possible nothing will come out of out it, but who knows – it might be worth it!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Wall Street Massacre

Lehman Brothers files for bankruptcy, Bank of America buys a struggling Merill Lynch, and AIG asks for a emergency loan. Could it get any worse for the world's financial markets?

Interestingly, on the same day, crude crashed to a long-time low of less than 100 USD/barrel. The dollar has also risen to more than 46 per rupee, when just a few months back, we were worrying about it going up to around 36!

Makes no sense to me frankly!

Chicken Olivali

First, take 4-5 medium sized chicken pieces, and marinate in a large amount of dahi and chicken masala for around 15-20 min. Chop 2 onions and 3 tomatoes. Take a couple of tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil, heat it, then brown the onions, add the tomatoes and some ginger-garlic paste and stir for some time. For the extra something that gives my dish it's name, add 7-8 olives with red pepper fillings, and then whip it in the mixer for a few seconds to give a grainy paste. Add back to the kadhai, add salt to taste, and let it simmer for 15-20 mins.

Serve hot and say thanks to me! :)

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Cats Have Eight

Cats have 8 dudus... Sanam just showed me the fourth pair, hidden under the front legs... sigh...

Wear a Helmet, Please!

A personal request from me to all of my readers... please, please drive/ride safely, and for god's sake please wear a helmet, even if it's for a very short distance. I know it's cumbersome and irritating, but it's definitely worth the cost! Trust me!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Want a BMW?

Just buy an apartment in Noida! Yes, saw this ad in the Times of India today... You get a free BMW with every apartment you book!

Movie Review: A Wednesday

There have been many movies on terrorism and bomb blasts, and A Wednesday continues with the theme...

Mumbai's police commissioner Prakash Rathod, played by Anupam Kher, receives a call on his mobile - deliver India's 4 most-wanted terrorists to me, or else... The "controller" - Naseeruddin Shah, a 50-something "common man", operating his hi-tech operation from the terrace of a building under construction.

The police machinery kicks off, desperately playing catch up but the controller is always one step ahead... the terrorists are delivered as demanded, and then the movie takes a very interesting twist!

The action is fast paced, aided by a great sound track, and power packed performances by Anupam and his "officers". Naseeruddin is at his best too, his "bhashan" at the end earning claps from the audience.

A small budget movie, but should do well! A good option this weekend!

Movie Review: Righteous Kill

"Righteous Kill" tackles the question of whether encounter killings are justified when the law is helpless in bringing criminals to justice. A powerful cast consisting of Robert De Niro and Al Pacino, though, disappoints - the movie is not recommended. It's slow, the actors look too old to be policemen, and the plot lacks originality, except for a feeble attempt at a twist at the end...

Skip it and you won't regret it.

Back to Back

Did back to back movies today, for the first time in my life...

Monday, September 08, 2008

Vistas From Reismagos, Goa

Let Me Sleep Yaar!

Wild Mushrooms

Saw these awesome, huge mushrooms in my garden...

Click on the first pic below to see the beautiful colorations! The second pic is even more interesting. If you click on it to blow it up, you will notice a small plant actually growing through the mushroom's body! As the mushroom expanded, it just left the plant in it's place, easily encircling it and then closing around it!

The Ritz Classic

If you are ever in Goa, don't miss the Ritz Classic off 18th June Road for some absolutely awesome seafood. The night after Chaturthi, we gorged on a huge plate of crab dry fry, a must-try when you are there. Another fantastic option that you can't miss is squid rava fry. We also had finger licking squid masala, kingfish rava fry, chicken tandoori and a complimentary dish with grilled crab and shark.



The bill for all that, and soft drinks, for 7 persons: Rs 850!

ps: Britto's in Baga is another great option, try the crab-encrusted prawns!

Interesting Signboard

Guess what this means?

Clue: you'll find this as you enter Amrutyog's Pune-Goa sleeper bus...

EMRI 108 Launched in Goa

After Gujarat, Uttarakhand and AP, Goa became the 4th state in the country to launch the super-sophisticated integrated emergency response service, with a single emergency number 108, accessible from any land line or mobile service, for police, fire as well as medical emergencies.

Equipped with GPS/GIS systems, and backed by a control center that will take your call and immediately dispatch the closest ambulance to the spot, these ambulances can attend to everything including hypertension, poisoning, drowning and accidents, providing critical care in those initial moments.

Check for more details on EMRI and it's work in India.

India, The New-Clear Power!

Finally, the suspense is over! After hectic diplomatic parleys and intense negotiations, India has got the critical NSG waiver in Vienna, signalling it's emergence and acceptance as a world power, dehyphenated from Pakistan forever. Remember, we are the only country in the world for whom, and for whom only, this powerful international body has bent it's rules, the very rules that were framed to stop us after our 1974 nuclear blasts. The US worked overtime on our behalf, signalling a deepening strategic relationship between the world's most powerful democracies...

What does this mean for India? It means access to high tech dual-use technology that will have major implications for our growth in pharma, IT and space research. It will mean access to uranium to fuel our nuclear reactors, and to the latest technology in nuclear plants, enabling our unsatiable quest for power. And interestingly, it means our own internal nuclear fuel supplies can be diverted for making weapons.

So what next? Bush will have to try and push the Indo-US deal in the house, and he has very little time for it. But France and Russia will probably be looking at signing their own deals very soon! After all, there are billions of dollars to be had...

Movie Review: Rock On

After Dil Chahata Hai and Don, here's another stunner from Farhan Akhtar, this time as producer, actor and singer!

Rock On is the story of 4 friends and their rock band, Magic, which wins a Channel V talent hunt, before misunderstandings and ego clashes ruins it all for them. A decade later, life brings them back together, giving them another chance at recreating the magic in music. Will they bury their misunderstandings and pull it off? Can they still pull it off, after all these years?

The cast, including Farhan, Arjun Rampal, Purab Kohli and Luke Kenny are fantastic, especially Farhan who's really sexy in both his avataars. Prachi Desai makes a decent debut on the big screen, but could have done with subtler make up and a better hair style! The surprise package is Shahana Goswami, as Debbie (Arjun's girlfriend and later, wife). Koel Purie is a bonus :)

The sets are typical Farhaan, contemporary and stylish. The rock shows are extremely well shot, but the real magic is in the music. Rock never sounded so good! The album is a definite must-have. Socha Hai and Tum Ho Toh are two of my absolute favourites, and will get your head swinging to the rhythm as you sing along. Yeh Tumhari Meri Baatein is a beautiful rendition of soulful music with a rock base. Awesome! And yes, the songs definitely grow on you...

Overall, a must see 2-3 times :)