Thursday, January 28, 2010

Punjabi Confidence

George Bush was sitting in his office wondering whom to invade next when his telephone rang.

"Hello, Mr. Bush!" a heavily accented voice said, "This is Gurmukh from Phagwara, District Kapurthala, Punjab .. I am ringing to inform you that we are officially declaring the war on you!"

"Well, Gurmukh," Bush replied, "This is indeed important news! How big is your army"

"Right now," said Gurmukh, after a moment's calculation, "there is myself, my cousin Sukhdev, my next door neighbor Bhagat, and the entire kabaddi team from the gurudwara. That makes eight"

Bush paused. "I must tell you, Gurmukh that I have one million men in my army waiting to move on my command."

"Arrey O! Main kya.." said Gurmukh. "I'll have to ring you back!"

Sure enough, the next day, Gurmukh called again.

"Mr. Bush, it is Gurmukh, I'm calling from Phagwara STD, the war is still on! We have managed to acquire some infantry equipment!"

"And what equipment would that be, Gurmukh" Bush asked.

"Well, we have two combines, a donkey and Amrik's tractor."

Bush sighed. "I must tell you, Gurmukh, that I have 16,000 tanks and 14,000 armored personnel carriers. Also, I've increased my army to 1-1/2 million since we last spoke."

"Oh teri...." said Gurmukh. "I'll have to get back to you."

Sure enough, Gurmukh rang again the next day.

"Mr. Bush, the war is still on! We have managed to get ourselves airborne...... We've modified Amrik's tractor by adding a couple of shotguns, sticking on some wings and the pind's generator. Four school pass boys from Malpur have joined us as well!"

Bush was silent for a minute and then cleared his throat. "I must tell you, Gurmukh, that I have 10,000 bombers and 20,000 fighter planes. My military complex is surrounded by laser-guided, surface-to-air missile sites. And since we last spoke, I've increased my army to TWO MILLION!"

"Oye...." said Gurmuk, "I'll have to ring you back."

Sure enough, Gurmukh called again the next day.

"Kiddan, Mr.Bush! I am sorry to tell you that we have had to call off the war."

"I'm sorry to hear that," said Bush. "Why the sudden change of heart"

"Well," said Gurmukh, "we've all had a long chat over a couple of lassi's, and decided there's no way we can feed two million prisoners of wars!"

Racism or Cricket ?

TOI had this interesting question the other day... are the racist attacks in Australia somehow connected to India beating Australia at cricket?

Me thinks, VERY possible!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Indian DNA?

What is it in many Indians that makes us so keen on criticizing our own country so much? Why do we feel so great when we get to extoll the vices of our bureaucracy, our police, our cricket teams, our politicians, our education system, our poverty.. ? No matter how good we do, no matter what's right, why are we always so happy when we find a wrong?

I met this guy the other day, when India was on the verge of demolishing the Bangaldeshis in the first test, and he remarks, "kya khel rahe hai yaar...", and when I reminded him we were winning easily, he says "well, but that guy hit a century right, anyone can hit centuries against us, people we have not even heard about earlier!". What do I say to that? We are #1 in test cricket, we are #2 in ODIs, and we were World T20 champs last year, and yet, we still have people ready to stamp us down!

Is it the Indian DNA, developed and refined by years of slavery under the British, that makes us happy to be the under dogs, the have nots, representative of every thing that is wrong and undesirable? Are we so uncomfortable being world leaders?

Movie Review: New York I Love You

A compilation of ten short stories by ten different directors, boasting a wonderful cast, NYILY focuses on the human stories set against the backdrop of NYC. While a couple are ordinary, some of them are truly brilliantly executed.

Do watch it. And wait for Mumbai I Love You! :)

Movie Review: Case 39

When a young child is rescued from being burnt alive in an oven, the child services officer believes she's the victim of her murderous parents. But when she takes the child into her custody, hoping to give her a new, normal life, things turn out to be very different!

The movie has its moments, although it's predictable. A good movie for thrill seekers.

Happy Republic Day

As we celebrate our 60th Republic Day, how many of you know what it means to be a Republic?

A Republic is a state without a monarchy, where the people govern themselves, they are not under a King or Queen.

Interestingly, check out Wikipedia for Republic, and look at the "forms of governments" tab on the right... just amazing to see how many there are. Literally dozens!

Friday, January 22, 2010

It's A Mad Mad World in 2010

India beat Bangaladesh in the first test. After Sehwag claimed that Bangaladesh was too weak a team and incapable of beating India, India played catch up for the first 3 days, before showing their mettle in the last two, ultimately winning pretty comprehensively.

Haiti was devastated by a super earthquake, initial death toll estimated around 200,000. US rushed in troops and helicopters and warships, took control of the airport, turned away non-American aid planes, pissing off France and other countries in the bargain. One of the first actions of the Americans in Haiti - setting up an army base in the now-ruined presidential palace. Guys, this is a rescue mission, not war! Anywayz...

Obama suffered a huge defeat in the Mass. elections, his healthcare bill is now in jeopardy and likely to get rejected.

After the Haitian crisis, Obama's job ratings have gone up.

IPL franchises refused to buy any of the desperate Pakistani cricketers. To me, this sounds like good business sense! Why waste millions on players who aren't guaranteed to be there? The Pakistanis found it insulting. Insulting that they were not deemed to be safe business bets. Oh, forget that 26/11 thing... that was just one of those days. We need to play cricket!

Eric Segal died at 72.

Ajmal Kasab has learnt Marathi. Now, once he proves he's been in Mumbai for 15 years, he can even own a taxi. Raj should be pleased.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

India Online...

Yet another amazing experience today...

Was trying to do some fund transfer online through my HDFC account, and the website asked me for answers to some verification questions, which I couldn't answer correctly. It then gave me an option for phone verification, and once I selected my mobile number from the list of phones registered against my name, I got a call from the IVR system, I was asked to punch in the verification code I could see on the bank website, and once I punched the right code in, I was authorized!

It took all of 30 seconds!

Happy Birthday Reona!

Reona completed 4 years today... 70000 kms and endless hours of amazing experiences that I cannot ever forget...


What's the difference between Mithun and Chipkali?
Mithun is Chakravarty and Chipkali is Bhintivarthy

Lol Lol

Movie Review: Sherlock Holmes

This Sherlock Holmes too lives at 221 Baker Street, and has Dr Watson for company. And he very much has that amazing power of observation and deduction.

But he also fights, and fights hard. He's young, and pretty attractive in a rugged, exhausted, smelly sort of way :)

When Lord Blackwood rises from the grave after being hanged for black magic, London is thrown into a web of terror. Will the magicians from the secret order overthrow the governments of England and America, and bring in a new terrible future for the world? Can Sherlock and Dr Watson unravel the mystery and save the world from this horror?

Inspite of the dreary London locales (not in a negative sense, it actually does a great job of invoking the experience in you!) and some hard-to-catch dialogues, Sherlock Holmes is an interesting take on the classic character, and will hold your attention for the most part.

Robert Downey Jr is perfect as the sexy, young Sherlock (though a far cry from what you would have expected after reading Conan Doyle), Jude Law couldn't be more perfect as Dr Watson, and Rachel McAdams brings some much-appreciated color and eye candy to the otherwise gloomy settings.

A good watch, but make sure you clear your ear wax if you do not want to miss the dialogues!

Movie Review: The Spy Next Door

A retired CIA agent, Bob is on a mission to win over his neighbour's three kids, and make them love and accept him in their lives. However, the Russians believe he has downloaded their secret formula for oil-eating bacteria, and are out to eliminate him.

Jackie Chan is old, but the energy and fun in his action is still as good as ever. Add 3 cute kids and a beautiful kitten, and you have the perfect recipe for a feel good family movie.

A good watch, especially with your kids...

Monday, January 11, 2010

Passport and Visa Photos

So what do you bother about when you need a simple photo for passport or visa? Here's a list...

White or red or blue background - you need to know which one is right
Full face including years
80% face - no this is not about showing 80% of face, it's about your face filling up 80% of photo real estate :)
Size of photo, of course - they come in many shapes and sizes!
And yes, matt or gloss finish! Apparently, that matters too!

As you can see, I really have nothing to do to pass away my time :(

One more piece of generic advice not connected with the topic at all... keep copies of all the bills, receipts, etc - you never know when they come in handy!

When Do I Blog?

Too many things happening in life
Nothing happening in life

Right now, I am just sitting in office doing nothing. Sorry, I am blogging.

Washing Machine

We finally got our LG Tromm, and I was so happy, I got it installed myself. By the time the LG fellow called to ask about when he could come for the installation and demo, we had already run a couple of cycles :)

PS: If you need me to help with your installation, call 1-800-WASHING

Passport Record

We got our passports renewed in Pune (earlier ones were issued in Goa) in, hold your breath, 6 days from submission of papers to delivery at home!

India on Top

Third clinical performance in a row, India beat Bangladesh comprehensively after a similar perfect victory over the Lankans last night in the Idea Cup. Virat Kohli continues his brilliant form as a finisher, this time bringing up his century along with the victory runs.

India meet Lanka in the finals on Wednesday.

Movie Review: Jeniffer's Body

Megan Fox is worth it. The movie is not. You decide.

Movie Review: Paranormal Activity

Shot on a budget of 15000 USD (most of which went in renovating the house used as the location for the movie), Paranormal Activity reportedly grossed millions at the box-office the world over.

Shot with a home video, with the slickness and quality of a home video, the movie is in a genre of its own. It has two actors (a third makes a brief appearance for a few mins), absolutely normal people just like you and me, who were reportedly just given the broad story line, and specific situations to act out, but no script.

So what's the story? Well, the couple moves into a new home, and feels haunted by paranormal activity. To try and unravel the mystery, the husband buys a video cam and sets it up in the bedroom.

As night after night goes by, the camera starts catching some action! No, not sex :)

So should you watch it? Well, I watched it on home video and regretted it. Definitely not fun at home. In a theatre, a late night show with your girl friend, that might be a lot more fun!

Oh and yes, I saw only half the movie - and went to bed. (I did hear some noises late at night though...)

Why Men Shouldn't Write Advice Columns

Saturday, January 09, 2010

Croma and LG - Bad Service

We bought a LG Tromm washing machine from Croma in Aundh the other day - last Saturday to be precise, and were promised delivery the next day.

We had to compromise on the color, since the shiny gray model would take ten days, and we needed a washing machine urgently.

Sunday afternoon, at the promised time, the delivery was done... and on a hunch, I decided to ask them to open up the box, and we realised to our dismay, that the machine was defective - lots of scratches and worse, the control panel was jutting out from its "fit". We decided to send it right back.

A week later, a replacement was delivered. Well, it wasn't really a replacement, because they sent the very same piece!

I have always tried to highlight examples of great customer service, and things have definitely changed in India, but in this case, I must say it was back to the old days :(

3 Idiots Again...

Well, one thing I don't like about 3 Idiots, and for that matter, another famous Aamir movie, RDB - the message!

What is 3 Idiots trying to say? Yes, there's the whole thing about making education about learning and not about training. But let's look deeper. One guy does a mess of his final year project, asks for extension, is refused, and ends up singing a soulful song about life being tough, and then hangs himself!

Another guy pees on his Dean's mailbox, gets caught drunk in class, is rusticated, and jumps off the window, wanting to give up his life.

Look at RDB - youth waking up against injustice. And how? By taking the law in their own hands, resorting to cold blooded planned murder of politicians?

Is this really right?

Sunday, January 03, 2010

Book Review: Think India

Think India by Vinay Rai is a must read for three categories of people: young Indians who are proud of our country and wanna know more about the amazing journery of the last decade and the wonderful future ahead, old or stubborn Indians who still live in the 70s and 80s and fail to realise how we have changed, and everyone else who doesn't care about this country, but should!

A very breezy read, Think India is a wonderful summary of the history, culture, people and the economic miracle called India. With more than a billion people, a free press and judiciary, a strong and focussed army, and very deeply-rooted democratic values and respect for diversity, India is poised to dominate the world stage. This book takes you behind the known and the obvious, with facts and figures that will astound and amaze you.

Check it out.

Movie Review: 3 Idiots

A new cult classic is born. 3 Idiots promises to do for a whole generation of young India what QSQT and MPK did for us, and DCH followed with a decade later.

Reportedly, and (partly) admittedly, based on Five Point Someone (a book I never really liked or related to as an ex-IITian), 3 Idiots is based on the life of three friends, Rancho (Aamir), Raju (Sharman) and Farhan (Madhavan) and their kabhi khushi kabhi gum life in Delhi's Imperial College of Engineering. Their exploits will regale you, their tribulations will make you cry, their jokes will make you laugh, and their frolicking will remind you of those beautiful days of kattas, overnight assignments, cycles and rose days.

Then suddenly, after the graduation ceremony, Rancho is gone. For 5 whole years, without a word.

When their scholarly, always competitive classmate Chatoor Ramalingam (Omi, in a fantastic rendition) informs them that he knows where Rancho is, they set out on a journey to Shimla and beautiful Ladakh to find him... and the truth. And on the way, they also take a detour to Manali to entice Rancho's love angle, Pia (a very subtle and beautiful Kareena), from her marriage pandal.

And of course, at the end, Aal iz well!

The movie has some hilarious moments, the teacher's day speech sequence will make you clutch your stomach in pain from all the laughing. The ragging sequences are funny, and superbly executed, although I am not sure if the close ups were really necessary :)

And while I have no comment on the on-going debate and controversy over how much credit should have been given to Five Point Someone, the script is a disappointment, for two simple reasons. Some dialogues are repeated and the jokes are borrowed.

The music can be missed the first time, but definitely grows on you with the soulful renditions. Jaane Nahin Denge Tumjhe and Saari Umr Hum are simply outstanding.

The cast is fantastic. While they do look their age, Aamir, Sharman and Madhavan do pull it off, and have some brilliant moments. Kareena, as I mentioned before, is subtle and beautiful. Mona Singh, as Kareena's sister has a small role, but looks really good! Omi really impresses in his Chatoor role, but the best has to be Boman Irani as the obsessed Director of ICE, he just adds so much to every role! Truly an amazing performance!

Definitely a must watch, at least a couple of times. Be ready for lots of laughs, a few tears, and many, many memories.

Jaane Nahin Denge Tujhe...

Jaane nahin denge tujhe
Jaane tujhe denge nahin
Jaane nahin denge tujhe
Jaane tujhe denge nahin

Chahe tujhko rab bulaa le
Hum na rab se darne waale
Raahon mein dat ke
Khade hain hum Yaaron se nazrein Chura le
Chahe jitna dum laage le

Jaane na tujhko aise denge hum

Jaane nahin denge tujhe
Jaane tujhe denge nahin
Do kadam ka yeh safar hai
Umr chhoti si dagar hai
Ek kadam mein ladkhadaya
Sunn le yaaron ki yeh baatein
Beetengi sab gum ki raatin
Yaaron se rootha hai saaale

Jaane nahin denge tujhe
Jaane tujhe denge nahin
Jaane nahin denge tujhe
Jaane tujhe denge nahin

Maa ne khat mein kya likhaa
Jiye tu jug jug yeh kahaa tha
Chaar pal bhi jee na paaye tu
Yaaron se nazrein milaa le
Ek baar tu muskura de
uth ja saale yun sataaata hai

Jaane nahin denge tujhe
Jaane tujhe denge nahin
Jaane nahin denge tujhe
Jaane tujhe denge nahin
Jaane nahin denge tujhe
Jaane tujhe denge nahin
Jaane nahin denge tujhe
Jaane tujhe denge nahin

Good Governance

Know which is the state showing highest economic growth in India? No, guess again. It's Bihar, at an unbelievable 11%, when 5% is thought to be miraculous. No coincidence that this phase overlaps with the implementation of Nitish Kumar's good governance mantra for the state...

One more politician who's proved this country is in safe hands...

Friday, January 01, 2010

New Year...

As we go into the new year, spare a moment to thank the armed forces and the forces for having given us a safe and secure, terror-free 2009.

Renew your pledge to root out corruption, live a greener, cleaner life, and do your bit to partake in the growth and success of this beautiful country.

Happy New Year!


u r my sunshine,
u r my pain,
u r my destiny,
i want to live again