Monday, June 28, 2010

EU Madness

If you thought only Indian politicians knew how to create a mess out of a perfectly beautiful life, here's new from TOI that should make you rethink. An EU legislation, if approved, would mean an end to packaging eggs or fruit by the dozen, bread rolls in a pack of six or fish fingers in boxes of 12. The proposed change would cost the food industry millions of dollars as items would have to be individually weighed to ensure the accuracy of the label on it.

Formatted Out

Ended up formatting my cell, forgot to take backup and ended up losing most of my phone contacts. Shit.

Folks, please help me with your numbers - a short SMS with your name will be perfect.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Xenon HID Lights

Got Samara some very sexy Bi-Xenon 4300K HID lights, for the main beams as well as for the fogs. Though I am not using what is called as the "projector" (focussing the beams in a narrow arc), the effect is simply mesmerizing.



Will try and get some better pictures later, but for now, here's a sample of how the lights come across in my society parking - bright and white. Oh, yes, that's Reona there in the middle :)

Saturday, June 26, 2010

1001

This is my 1001th post on this blog. Wow, it's been a fun journey! A logn time back, I had blogged on why I blog. While I have loved sharing my life, my thoughts with all my readers, the best reward has been the self-awareness, a sense of curiosity, a better appreciation of life and its nuances.

Next target: 10000.

Movie Review: The A-Team

I had read the A-Team novels way back, almost two decades ago in school, after I had finished reading all the Hardy Boys and Nancy Drews there were to read. A few months back, I was rewarded with a cute Nancy Drew movie, and The A-Team just brought back a lot more beautiful memories from childhood!

A beautiful cast (girls, feast your eyes on the delicious Bradley Cooper), great action (barring 5 min of unwanted mayhem towards the end) and wonderful dialogues make this a must-watch movie.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

India are Asia Champs

80 run victory over Sri Lanka, clinical victory! Hurray, Dhoni's men!!

What's up?

Saina Nehwal at No 3 in the world
Rusty Sania and hubby Shoib out of fashion
India on verge of Asia Cup championship
World's longest tennis match still on at 65-65 in final set

Monday, June 21, 2010

Samara's Goa Trip Photos


Eager to tackle the Kolhapur - Goa stretch at 540 am


Taking a shower on the Amboli ghat


Some warm-ups before the wheeelie


Up on Zoo Zoo Hill


Me and Sanam pose for pictures


After some mud crunching in the marshes

Wheelie!!!

video

Back to Pune

Samara set a fresh record of 5 hours 30 mins from Goa to Pune. We've done 5.15 earlier in the Fiesta, but given that we left at 9.00 am and got a lot of initial traffic, this record does matter!

This was truly Samara's coming of age trip, watch out for the wheelie video and pictures coming up in a while!

Movie Review: Raavan

What works for Raavan: Stunning locales and amazing cinematography, innovative and unseen camera angles.

What doesn't work: everything else.

Raavan is a modern day version of the kidnapping of Sita, and her Agnipariksha, although the "rescue" here becomes an uneventful release. Beera (Mr Aishwarya Rai Bacchan) is part Naxalite, part Veerappan from a place that is as bewitching and beautiful as any in the world. He kidnaps the wife of a very handsome police officer (southie Vikram), planning to kill her 14 hours later (yes, they got the number right!) for revenge of his sister, a victim of police excesses. Inexplicably (how else do you justify him falling for someone who screams in constipated agony?) he falls in love, and 14 days later, decides to let her go. But the modern day Ram will not rest till he has finished Mission Eliminate Beera. He conspires to have her "follow her heart" to her beloved Raavan (yes, she switches loyalty faster than it takes the machine at Inox to dispense the coffee), follows her with some heavily armoured men (no, not tanks), and blows Beera to pieces.

But not before Beera keeps uttering his most inspirational dialogue (zhig zhig zhig zhig... accompanied by a vigorous shaking of head akin to someone trying to shake out the non-existent vuvuzela bees from his ears), dances like a man possessed amidst beautiful ruins of temples in the rain, smears haldi on his face in anguish over the death of his clan members, and generally makes you wish you could die in peace.

Not before Aishwarya reminds you it's time to go to the potty with her constipated cries of anguish (yes, I know I repeated this - but it's still relevant and true), tries hard to make her breasts fall out of her blouse (thankfully, she doesn't succeed) and does a Hrithik-like jig in her jeans, making you wonder if she's got a frog in her pants.

Not before... oh god, just leave it. I wanted to try and describe the torture of living through the song and dance sequences, but will defer it out of whatever little respect I have left for Rahman.

PLease go watch the movie, I don't want to be the only one having suffered through it.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Samara Goes to Goa

On Thursday evening, Samara left on her maiden visit to Goa, her longest trip so far. We had decided to take a halt at Kolhapur, and so took an evening start, leaving from Pune by 5.00 pm. The weather was beautiful, dark clouds, but not much rain. The chilly weather and the gradually undulating terrain was perfect for the 250 km drive. With Sanam sleeping peacefully on the back seat, my friend and her cousin ensconsed in their blankets on the middle seats, watching Twilight on the DVD, wifey and I enjoyed the drive immensely. We reached Kolhapur by 830 pm, after a 30 min break for bhajiyas and chai at the Sai International, half an hour from the city.

I did miss my Fiesta, though... the agility of the car enabling better power driving on the highway. Another thing you have to be careful of in the Endy are sudden jumps on the road, those uncomfortable speed bumps, which don't harm the front seat passengers, but can be pretty bad for the passengers in the rear. Thankfully, the super efficient ABS brakes on the Endy ensure you can avoid the impact to a large extent.

So round 1 was a tie, power driving on the highway went to the Fiesta, although the Endy made up through it's better in-car entertainment and stressless long driving experience.

Day 2 began at 545 am, with a slight drizzle, the last hour of the night yet to pass. By the time, we hit the Nipani-Uttur-Azra-Amboli-Sawantwadi stretch, both the car and her driver had sufficiently warmed up and found their rhythm, ready for what was expected to be the biggest challenge - 100 km of second class road, narrow and twisty, through fields and jungles, and the Western ghats. This has always been my time guzzler on all speed record attempts, the Fiesta needing to slow down on the potholed stretches, having to follow the lumbering STs and trucks, having to slow down to a crawl to let incoming traffic pass. And this is where the Endy proved it's worth, easily managing to stay at an average 100-120 kmph, effortlessly handling the potholes, scaring half the incoming traffic off the road long before we came to a head, and easily stepping off the tarred surface when needed for those tight squeezes.

The eye-opener was on the ghat. We were taking a hair pin bend at a decent speed when we suddenly saw this truck broken down right in our path, requiring emergency brakes and a tighter turn to pass the parked truck safely. The ABS kicked in, enabling unbelievably smooth and safe passage, and my respect for the Endy went up a level of magnitude.

Immediately after the Amboli ghat, a mostly-kuccha road takes you directly to Banda, saving around 20km and half an hour of frustrating single lane traffic in the Sawantwadi area, and we had tremendous fun throwing the Endy at the huge ponds of water, splashing through, the delugu splashing onto the windscreen and blinding the driver for a brief moment, before the wipers take over.

We reached Goa by 830, well in time for our first chai of the day!

Goa has been a lot of fun offering unlimited offroad opportunities. Wait for some cool pictures and videos, to be uploaded as soon as I reach broadband land.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Movie Review: Karate Kid

When young Dre Parker (Will Smith's son, Jaden Smith) moves to Beijing with his mother, he is forced to take on a bunch of ruthless Chinese bullies from his school. His frail body no match for their karate training, he is pumelled time and again, until the "maintenance man" in his apartment building takes him as his student and prepares him for the ultimate showdown, the karate tournament.

Jaden impresses with a stunning performance, his innocence, his vulnerability and frail body providing a stunnign contrast to the determination, sweat and karate skills he picks up from his mentor.

Jackie Chan has his moments of brilliance, but it's Jaden that the movie completely revolves around.

A very nice movie.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

GE Money Rocks

Last week, when we decided to sell off Madhavi's old car, we ran into a major issue. The RTA needed confirmation from the financier that the loan had been paid off - apparently, this is a must before you can transfer ownership. You need an NOC, as well as Form 17 and Form 35.

The problems were many. The loan had been cleared a year back. And Maruti Countrywide, with whom we had taken the loan, was now part of GE Money. And to top it all, we had no idea about the loan account number, no documentation, nothing.

I wrote to GE Money about the situation and they promised to help. Less than a week later, I had everything I needed, delivered to me at home.

All they asked for was the car number. No other forms, no other formalities, no visits to their office. Zero fuss. Max service.

GE Money rocks - another example of wonderful customer service I have seen in India recently.

Sunday, June 06, 2010

Sanam at Shiamak Davar's Dance Show

First from right, this is one of the two dances she participated in. This is from a report in the Sakal Times, 4th June English edition.

Badalta Plan or Bewakoof Customer?

With competition hotting up, cellular companies are trying hard to woo customers with lower and lower tariffs and other schemes. After coming down to 1 paise per minute, what else? Tata Indicom recently launched a daily plan - where customers can keep changing their plan on a day to day basis, as per their talking pattern! Convenient, or just crazy? Well, Uninor, which is making its debut in Pune, has launched a Badalta Discount Plan, wherein customers are promised a new and different dicsount plan every few km! How the hell does that help consumers other than simply confusing the hell out of them? Am I encouraged to go around town making calls, checking out my discount rate every few meters? I wish companies would focus on providing better and more reliable services, and stop playing these stupid games with their consumers!

Movie Review: Kites

Much has been written and said about Kites, but the authors missed one major factor that made me love it. A sexy Black Ford Everest (that's what they call it in the US!) which holds it's own and comes out tops against a Hummer :)

Coming back to the movie itself, it's definitely not worth the hype and the noise surrounding it. Hrithik, for me, is going from bad to worse. He needs to be, look and act like a human again. Barbara Mori, though, looks and acts beautifully, and sizzles the screen with her body, her smile and her adahs. Totally worth it!

The action scenes are OK, the story line is nothing to write about, and the end really ends any hopes the movie had of redemption! A couple of tracks, however, make the music CD a must buy.

Watch it, it's not that bad an option if you have nothing else to do. And Barbara needs your support :)

Movie Review: Shrek Forever After (3D)

Checked out the latest installment of the Shrek franchise, Shrek Forever After, in 3D, last weekend at ESquare. Not bad for a family outing, the 3D glasses and picture quality were good, but definitely not as much fun as the earlier movies. Can take a miss.

Movie Review: Atithi Kab Jaoge

What happens when a much-awaited guest comes home, but then refuses to go away? AKJ is a simple movie, with a simple story line, mostly predictable. With Ajay and Konkona, and the king of comedy, Paresh Rawal, though, you expect a lot more, and that is why AKJ disappoints.

The best part of the movie? Two scenes with a black Endy! :)

Friday, June 04, 2010

10000 Hits on the Counter :)

My hits counter crossed 10000 today - that's about a 1000 a month since Aug last year, or 30 per day :) Not bad for an amateur blogger like me who can't get over certain fetishes - right now, my Endy, for example!

Thanks folks, for inspiring me to continue observing, thinking, and sharing.

Movie Review: Daybreakers

Vampires have taken over the world, humans are being farmed for their blood. Dwindling numbers of humans, though, are threatening the survival of the vampires. Will a blood substitute ever replace the real thing?

Lot of blood and gore, bodies exploding, splattering innards over bystanders...

Get it?

Not for the weak hearted, but not a bad movie, actually.

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Hailstorm

Had an amazing rain and hailstorm today, following the thundershowers that lashed Pune last evening.

Here's a pic of a bunch of hailstones:

Take Off

Did something with Samara I always dreamt of but never really achieved as well as I wanted to with Lisa and Reona... a take off. We were coming back from a late night movie, the roads were empty, and the new elevated pedestrian crossing ramps on Baner road provided the perfect setting for a take off jump in the Endy. And as we hit the ramp at 100 kmph, the Endy took off effortlessly, jumped a few meters and then almost as effortlessly glided back onto its wheels, rocking once more before settling into the ride. Not a whimper from the suspension, not one second of hesitation, absolutely no loss of control.

We did it again a few hundred meters at the second ramp, this time much slower.

It is such an addictive feeling, I am afraid it's here to stay!