Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Ford Service

Got a call from my Ford dealer the other day saying they wanted me to get my car for a check up - apparently, the design of the air filter assembly in some cars was such that it could eventually rupture the pipe supplying high pressure air to the power steering, or something to that effect.

Three and half years after I bought my car, they replaced the pipe assembly, some 5000 worth of parts, for free.

Not just that, but now that my car was spending time in the garage, I had also asked them to fix some of the irritating noise coming from the underbody on bumpy roads... they fixed that too, for free.

Pretty nice, I must say :)

Monday, September 28, 2009

All Stir Fry

We went to this "new for me" restaurant the other day, All Stir Fry, at ESquare in Pune.

Try the Tomyum Soup - simply outstanding, and a far cry from what you would have had in other restaurants around Pune. The momos are reputed to be good, and I loved the Chicken & Coriander stuff, very tasty, and you just can't stop having one more! We followed it up with some spicy lamb and noodles, both of which were outstanding. Mocktails were also fun.

We were so full at the end of it, that we didn't really have any opportunity to taste the desserts.

Some of the best South East Asian food I have had, coupled with good, fast service and pleasant decor makes it a worth though slightly expensive weekend option!

Fresh Fruits

Fresh squids and tiger prawns cleaned and prepped for dinner :)

Aren't they delicious? :)

ps: I love cleaning fish, if you ever need help with them, I am just a call away!

Sunday, September 27, 2009


Read in Dan Brown's book: Google is not a synonym for research.

Lol, I know so many (including me!) who'd hotly contest that!

By the way, check Noetic Science - another interesting "fact" from the book! Yes, use Google :)

Book Review: The Lost Symbol

Just finished a few initial chapters, but I am loving it already! Like a typical Dan Brown, The Lost Symbol offers an exciting blend of fact and fiction. An amazing, fast-paced novel set in Washinton DC based on the search for the "ultimate knowledge in the midst of the symbology and the secrecy of the Free Masons, you'll be enthralled at learning the history behind Washinton DC's iconic Capitol Hill, the Rotunda, the Obelix, and George Washington's Zeus statues!

Sit with your laptop, you'll have lots of fun checking out the various monuments and facts in the book, trying to separate out truth from fiction.

And you'll never stop being amazed at how much is the truth!

World at Peace

Beauty in Contrasts

Came across this amazing contrast in natural lighting on the Lonavla Ghat on the way from Mumbai to Pune. Blinding sun in the early afternoon, getting taken over by some very pregnant, dark clouds... seconds later, we had been caught in a thunderous monsoon storm.

Check out the tarmac change in the pics below, and the contrast with the sky... and you'll hopefully experience a little of the thrill I got out of this!

Mumbai Metro

Mumbai Metro under construction on SV Road in Bandra...

Worli Sea Link

I was in Mumbai last week for a conference, and took the chance to take a drive on the Worli Sea Link - here are some snaps from the exhilarating drive!

Movie Review: What's Your Rashee?

When the opening credits begin to roll, and roll, and roll, with a jazz score in the background interspersed with a silhoutted Priyanka against black and red, and an always-smiling-like-Bush Herman against blinding white, it's the first indication that all is not well with this latest Ashutosh Gowarikar Magnum Opus... an almost-4 hour torture with amateurish dialogues, a convoluted story line, bad screenplay, a very irritatingly amateurish actor, and around a dozen really-not-needed song and dance sequences!

So here's the deal. Spoilt brother owes 4 crores to his creditors, including the local bhai whose claim to fame is his penchant for betelnut crackers! Grandfather will give "jaaidaad" only to younger brother, who never forgets to send him birthday cards. But only on the day he marries. Elder brother has till 20th to "chukao" his debts. So younger brother is called to India, having been told that his dad has had a heart attack. Younger brother decides to see one girl per rashee - because he doesn't have time to see all the 150+ that have been lined up before the 20th. The wedding invites have been printed, only the name of the girl is to be decided. And they all line up. One wants a contract marriage, one wants him to say no, one says she's her lover from the past life, one says she isn't a virgin, one says she doesn't want to be a virgin, one says she hates him, one says she's mad... and yes, add to that an irritating "detective" who's on a mission to unearth his mama's affair. Why? Don't ask me!

Priyanka desperately tries to hold the show, and you see some very different shades of her, sweet, sauve, smart, subdued, sexy at times, and a flash of her brilliance as an actor, but really, there's only so much she can do in the context of the roles she needs to fit in...

Some advice now.

Priyanka: Stay away from Herman
Herman: Stay away from everything
Ashutosh: Stay close to better actors, you need them, man!
And you: Watch "Wanted" instead this weekend! I heard it's good. If not, just stay home.

Book Review: The Bourne Deception

Jason Bourne returns in Robert Ludlum's "The Bourne Deception", a new novel by Eric Van Lustbader.

Isn't it interesting how characters become so big that even after the death of their creator, other authors continue writing about them?

The seventh of the Bourne series (4 of them not really written by Ludlum!), Deception, unfortunately, doesn't really live up to the billing. The plot is too covoluted, there too many characters, and the biggest sin, Bourne really has very little to do! The locations aren't much fun, set in Russia, Indonesia, Egypt and Sudan, away from the usual European locales which evoke so many beautiful thoughts and memories for me...

It starts very slow, gets pretty boring at the end, though it does pick up some steam in the middle half.

Unlike most of the other Ludlum or Ludlum-inspired novels, this is definitely not one you can't put down once you've picked it up! In fact, you will be well advised to skip some of the more boring ramblings... especially the last few pages.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Education Unleashed

I was talking to my wife's nephew the other day, and was pretty amazed to know that his college, MIT Pune, allows students to carry laptops, not just on campus but even during lectures. Professors share notes in PPT format before the class, and students follow him on the laptop...

Not only that, but they have online access to hours of video lectures from IIT Mumbai professors on almost every subject they have.

Sanam has assignments that include "Write a short note on Shreedharan, the Metro Man". And her teacher gives her a "good" when she names Ashok Kamte and Hemant Karkare as freedom fighters alongside Gandhi.

Pretty amazing, I must admit... a far cry from my own school days where we had nothing on current affairs, and where I had no Internet connectivity AT ALL until I graduated with BE Computers!

Friday, September 11, 2009

India on Top

After beating New Zealand today in the tri-series in Sri Lanka, India climbed to the No 1 spot in One Dayers :)

Meanwhile, at the Italian Grand Prix in Monza, Adrian Sutil from the Force India team lapped up the fastest lap in free practice. And Leander, after losing the mixed double final last night, now faces off with Bhupathi in the men's double final, ensuring an Indian wins the crown anyway.

And of course, Vijendar Singh is assuring India of a medal by making it to the semis of the world boxing championship.

Good days definitely adding up :)

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Gen Z

Siddhesh: what re, why such a complicated status message
Sanam: i thot it was cool
and so i posted it
Siddhesh: hehe
Sanam: v simple
what hehe?
Siddhesh: nuthing
u crazy
Sanam: huh me??
Siddhesh: ok ok chill :)
Sanam: hmmm

That's a 34 year old dad conversing with his 7 year old kid, one in the living room and the other in the drawing room, at 750 pm on this Tuesday evening in Pune :)

Movie Review: The Taking of Pelham 123

When the Pelham 123 subway train is hijacked by armed men under New York's streets, the call comes to the dispatcher, an under-investigation-for-bribery MTA official, William Garger, turning an ordinary day's work into a face-off with the mastermind behind the crime.

"The Taking of Pelham 123" is not about terrorism. It's not even about the 10M dollars ransom money. It's about a Wall Street felon with a diabolical plan to crash the market and reap rewards through soaring gold prices.

The movie is well made, and although there are a few liberties taken with the script, it is a rivetting drama. Denzel Washington as the calm and composed Garber, and John Tavolta as the maniacal Ryder, share a wonderful chemistry on screen adding tremendously to the otherwise straightforward script. You will love their conversations and get sucked into the drama. The action scenes, though few and far between, are well shot.

Overall, a good option for thriller buffs.

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Is One Way a Good Idea?

JM and FC Roads have recently been made one way, leading to rotary traffic in the area. There have been some praises and mostly brickbats for the police, so I decided to see for myself.

The drive along JM then onto FC and all the way to Agriculture College was very fast and smooth, and took less than half the time it usually takes. With all the road width available and very little cross traffic, there's very less need for traffic signals, and no snarls at junctions.

At the same time, the half-removed dividers need to be taken out completely, lanes need to be marked, footpaths can get much broader, and finally, pedestrian crossings and signals need to be installed.

Here's hoping that better sense prevails and the plan moves forward rather than backward!

Movie Review: Transformers

Saw Transformers on TV last night - just like Terminator Salvation, there're some very interesting machines transforming themselves pretty impressively, Megan Fox is HOT, the story keeps you awake, the dialogue/script is idiotic and funny and interesting at the same time, and overall, it's a good way to end a Saturday!

I need to see the sequel... maybe I have seen it, I am little confused right now :)

Movie Review: Final Destination 4

Warning: This review is not recommended for children and the squeamish. The joke at the end though is rated U :)

Final Destination 4 comes in 2 flavours, 2D and 3D. Unfortunately, I could only catch the 2D version. And it was so totally not worth it, unless you like images of bodies being crushed and intestines and bone marrow being thrown around on screen. The cool thing about 3D will be that it'll be thrown at you!

Now for the story, there's nothing different in the concept or the treatment. Our hero has a premonition about a disaster at the race track, and manages to save his friends and a bunch of others. But it's not over yet. One by one, the survivors end up dead - all in gruesome accidents involving being crushed or sliced and having their anatomies spilled out. Will they be able to change fate and cheat death? Or does death have other plans?

Now for the joke.

A guy watching a 3D movie taps the guy in front on the shoulder and says, "Do you mind removing your hat? It's blocking my view!" The guy turns around and says, "Hey, I am in the movie!"

Lol lol


There's an ancient land,
few understand,
surrounded by myth and mystery,
with the highest mountains, the clearest fountains,
where mystical men make their sanctuary,
she has jungles of green,
and rivers of blue,
tigers and peacocks and elephants too,
if you come to her, with a heart thats true,
she'll have a garland of flowers to welcome you...
India, India a a a , India...


Another Night, Another Position :)

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Chicken Soup for the Cat's Soul

Lick Lick...


This works better, I was geting a little suffocated!

Get A Life, I Am Sleeping!

A typical scene in our home... the cat needs the chair, no one dare wake her up! A little standing and typing works just as well!

Note: No humans were harmed during the capture of this image

Lost Baby

An amazing thing happened yesterday.. we'd had dinner and were lazing around when there was a meouw at the door. We were surprised, because we were pretty sure both our cats were nicely curled inside!

I opened the door, and guess what?

It was one of the 3 babies born to Catrina - Casatta's brother, Mango. Shyly, he meowed again. We gave him some milk, which he quickly drank. Waited outside until I went to him and caressed his neck... he rubbed against my back, and then walked right in, searching for his sister and mom!

Sanam had tears in her eyes, and I dare say, we did too!

Movie Review: Quick Gun Murugan

Lol lol, go watch it, I say! And mind it, leave your brains at home, I say!

Our Indian cowboy will wow you with this gun handling skills, shooting faster than everything except his dialogues, I say! Saving vegeterianism, cows and the ladies - our green, red and leopard dressed super-hero will keep you laughing for most part of the less than two hour movie...

Now, if only there was a little less blood and gore, I might have even recommended you take your kids to the party!

Perfect for a team movie, I say!

Ok, enough, I say!

India Loses a Good Leader

Andhra CM was finally traced in the jungles of Nallamalla, dead in his helicopter crash.

And while we mourn the death of yet another seasoned leader, I want to ask the question... isn't this reason enough for governments to spend millions on upgrading the planes and the security of our politicians? We get upset at the cordons, or when Mayavati orders her new jet plane, but aren't they so necessary to safeguard the lives of our leaders, good or bad, who are such pillars of our democracy, irreplaceable in loss?

Wednesday, September 02, 2009


My cat was unwell - and we suspected poisoning. Along with Betnesol, my vet recommended an injection - if it's not poisoning, it won't harm. But if it's poisoning, it will save her life, he told me.

So off I went to the pharmacy, got the vial and the syringe and the needle, set up the contraption, took her hind leg skin in my fingers and administered the dose.

Out it spilled into my fingers. I hadn't managed to poke her.

Thankfully, half the vial was available for a second try.

This time, I felt the needle go in, the cat yelped, and a new vet was born.

She's fine now. It wasn't poisoning, it was constipation. She had to be given an anema, but this time, I got the vet to come home and do the dirty job himself!

I am one vet who will only do the glamorous stuff. Like injections.

Indian Sports

When I was in school, we really didn't have much to cheer for in sports... hockey had gone past its prime already, and Dhyan Chand was history. Cricket was fun, but bearing those losses to Pakistan every time was too painful to endure, whether Pakistan won because we capitulated in front of Akram or the umpires!

This week saw Force India take podium in Belgium. The next day, India lifted the Nehru Cup in football. Yes, we are far from the Brasils of the world, but it was a good win anyway!

In cricket, we've put the ghost of the Pakis far behind us, and even the Aussies have conceded defeat.

And now, we have new heroes. Leander and Bhupathi, and Sania. Vish Anand in chess. Saini in badminton. Jeev Milkha Singh. Vijendar in boxing.

Still a long way to go, but winning the Commonwealth Youth Games in Pune last year is perhaps a good indication that the country is finding its rightful place in the world of sports too!