Friday, April 29, 2005

The Spaceship has landed

H2G2 has released and the review is here. Hope it releases in India soon. BTW, want to listen to the radio series, its here.
Better still, read the book.

I am still not finished with Restaurant at the end of the Universe, but atleast I am out of the restaurant.

Hello! Hello!!

My sister is hooked on the phone. Its an addiction. Put the cordless next her ear WHILE she's is sleeping, she starts BLABBERING into it. What is with phonophilia and girls. They can go on and go without having any fundamentally meaningful to say. Is it with to do with their gossip-inclined souls or is it just to prelidection to bare it all, even if that all is nothing?

My sister's partner-in-crime (the person at the other end) is her closest friend. Now they both are together all day long. Go to college and come back together. Yet, when is back, the sis is on phone with her friend. Rambling on. About what I say? Havent you two spoken? What significant thing has happened the five minutes after you bade bye to your friend and came home? Even on holidays they talk things like
"When did you wake up?" "How many circular motions did you make when brushing your teeth" (both are interning (!) dentists)..."how many ml tea did you drink today"..."what are you going to wear? Why that!!"... "That Saloni, I wonder what her boyfriend finds in her" ..". Well, not exactly. But that is the gist. Now, with the mobile phone, the womenace is all prevading. Thankfully, the women's compartment in trains is separate. Or the men would suffer or what!

But anyway, I shouldn't deride all the womenfolk here. Actually, you only see girls and not women suffering from this condition. I remember a song in Toy Story 2, in which the toy Cowgirl reminsces about the good old days, when she was the favorite toy and now, the girl has grown up and no longer need the toy to play with. The growing up has been indicated just two fleeting images - the now teenaged girl sitting in front the mirror lined with a whole lot of lip shades. And then from the other side of the bed, the camera following the girl's legs as she paces about, pulling the phone behind her. How apt!

Guess my sis is still a girl!

Monday, April 25, 2005

Presentation blues

Bad day yesterday. Had been preparing for a presentation to be done over a telephone. It was just a technical walkthrough. Now, I was not involved in the project a great deal and was uncomfortable doing the whole thing. Still had a day time to work on it, but wasnt too great.

Firstly, the telephone thing causes a big disconnect. You are not able to gauge reactions and don't know the right places to interrupt/begin at. Voices are not clear and its irritating to have to say "Can you repeat that again?"

You dont know if you want to be business-like or banter about, esp. when there are people you don't know. You are the weaker party coz he is deigning to give you work, and it puts you in an awkward position.

Anyway, enough of cribbing. The presentation is done and dusted and I have better things in life to worry about.

Like why do girls talk on phone so much? Next blog.

Saturday, April 23, 2005

O Film, What art thou!

Saw Blue and White (directed by Kieslowski). There are supposed to be master-works (as a part of a Trilogy including Red) from the 'auteur', a must watch for cinema-lovers, dicussed and argued by ardent students of cinema world-wide. Typical French films, where the director finds meaning and poetry even in the curve of the coffee cup (here Kieslowski plays with shadows on a coffee cup).

It surely would have gotten obtuse and senseless, had I not seen both of them, with commentary on. The audio commentary was by one of Kieslowski's writers (not of these films though) and it was with great passion and love for Kieslowski's work that she spoke. The voice gently directed us to look for the director's idiosyncracies, raise some questions, gave some explanations and some fantastic trivia.

Blue is about loss of family and how Julie (played superbly by Juliet Binoche) copes with the tragic loss. White is about equality as in getting revenge. It was a weird love-story, where the divorced couple do nasty things to each other (in Kieslowskian's discreet manner), but at the end of it, they know, that they still love each other.

In both the films, everything is muted and pared down to its bare minimum. There is no superfluous background score (though Blue is about a composer duo), no over-the top sets, no hyper-active camera work, no unnecessary (but only for the director) dialogues. Even when Julie (in Blue) finally grieves at the end of the movie, there's just a single tear drop. There is a real thin line in not trying to say things explicitly but still to convey te gist, without losing the audience. I am not a huge student of cinema (terrific cinema blog - George), so I don't know if I would have liked the movie better without the accomplished writer telling me what to look for. She herself says, that it has taken her many viewing to understand some of the key aspects of the film.
So, the question is do we indulge such movie makers. Kill-Bill though vastly different in its format and style, and which btw, I enjoyed without knowing much associated trivia, is still a movie that makes heavy demands on the viewer to know the origins, the inspirations behind many aspects of the movie.

Answer (for me at least) would be of course yes. There are enough movies out there trying to entertain (saw Lucky as well yesterday - give me French film WITHOUT subtitles anyday). Some people out there make movies to educate (ahem!). Some amongst them may be phony intellectuals, saying 'Look, if you were smart, you would understand'. But what the heck. If you like the movie, good enough. If you don't, watch out for new one this Friday.

Friday, April 15, 2005

TV18's news channel

Why o why, invite Rajdeep Sardesai to head the new News Channel, that CNBC-TV18 wants to bring out. Do you want it to be run by bumbling, fumbling senior reporters? Do you want them to look unkempt and lost like Mr. Rajdesai manages to, all the time. Pray tell!
TV18, you have great anchors amongst you. Pull them onboard for your new channel. Mr. Sardesai was supposed to be cricketer (like his father). God knows, who made him turn reporter. He is almost like Ganguly, who was great at one point of time and is miserably out of form for some time now. Don't think, he will ever get better.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Dada as a Dodo?

Nothing pleases me more than if news about Ganguly's cricketing career being over are true. I don't claim to know to be a connoisseur of cricket, but for me Ganguly is a pile-on. I think the main thing he lacks is self-belief - he has been a good captain, but he ability to believe in his abilities and persevere, isn't just there. Constrast this with Tendulkar and Dravid, who have gone through lean patches, but just hang in there, so the loss of form doesnt extend beyond a few matches. Ganguly has been out of form since the end of 2003. He is quite slow, has poor reflexes and those things don't improve with age.

So, I think it's time they made Dada a dodo. Let him come back after sitting 6 matches (boon for India), if he doesn't perform in the next 4, give him the boot for good.

Monday, April 11, 2005

Driving Me Crazy

As the road have improved, driving your car is more a pleasure now. The roads are smoother, wider, and there are sign posts at important junctions. Connectivity is also better to even far flung places.

A major sore point that remains is the users, the Indian public. We are notorious for abusing our public spaces and nothing highlights this more, than the people driving on Indian roads. Here is a list of the major annoyances that drive me utterly insane

1. Long distance lights - Apparently, most Indian drivers don't know that we have a dipper light and a long distance beam. You use long distance beam ONLY when the visibility is poor, i.e. when you are on out-of-city-highways. Visibility is never poor within city limits, and you have to use dipper, coz you’re EFFING LIGHTS just blind the oncoming vehicle. Even on highways outside the city (where there are no street lamps), please switch to a dipper as soon as you see someone coming in the opposite lane, else I am going to castrate you and shine my long distance beam where the light don’t shine.

2. Snails in fast lane - Lanes are created on highways, so that the slowest vehicle should be in the left most lane and the fastest in the right most. How many times, how many times, do you see a farting motorcycle, a sickly tempo, an overweight truck plodding along in the right lane? Always. Esp. bikers, being in direct contact with the surrounding feel as if they are cruising at 500kmph, when it more like 50. They don't realize that they are stopping all the traffic coming behind them. Giving way is not an art that Indian drivers know of. We think, that the vehicle behind can overtake from the left- a sacrilege in driving. But, what to do, solla adjust maadi!

3. Honking - You know, that we, as a people, have a long way to go in being socially responsible, when you see drivers honking, to voice the every breath they take. Most of us are unaware (just like left side overtaking) that honking for any reason - other than showing that you are angry and/or stupid - is a big no-no. Well, boss, then how do I tell the guy in front that I want to overtake? Well, you could flash him. With a flick of a switch, you make your lights blink and that almost always brings the attention of the driver ahead. Even in daylight. Without adding to the cacophony.

4. One eyed/Blind driving - Trucks are esp. prone of this - driving without head lights or tail lights on. More often than not, this truck will be loaded with iron rods, so in case you don't notice the truck, you are barbecue. Sometimes, there is right head light working, so, you cant tell, if its a truck or a bike, but at least you know there's something coming.

5. Parking where...ver - The vehicle becomes a sort of a protective armour for the person inside, so even if you are frail rickshaw driver, you get the gall to park you dingy rick, on a 1/2 lane road (try L&T - Aarey check post, Kandivli (E) Station Road, Borivli station. There might be a awful snarling traffic jam behind, but the rick will be a prick and not budge. Imagine a traffic jam at 11.30 pm and part of it caused by a badly parked rickshaw. Everyone passed him, just muttering angrily under their breaths, but WITHOUT telling the rick to go and park somewhere else. The place he had parked would not get him any fare, but he wanted to have the hideous and sadist fun of watching a traffic jam at mid-night.

6. Might is right - Bigger your vehicle, more the chance of you bull dozing every one out of the way. You will try to overtake on a single lane road and expect the ongoing vehicle to stop dead on its tracks, so you can complete your logic-defying manoeuvre and save precious seconds of your journey, that will soon (one day) end in a heap of crumpled metal. Major offenders are BEST buses, Sumos, Qualis and the hulk.

Soon, I am buying an earthmover- faster and quicker than a bull dozer - with hydraulic claws and platform legs. Anyone that raises my hackles, gets crushed. HeeheeHaahahahahaha!!!

Sunday, April 10, 2005

Devsaari tyalaa kon maari

GOod news today. Not much work, apart from small training that I need to deliver for use of VSS and issue log (duh!). But last week was extremely hectic what with the data model being screwtinized under the microscrope by the client. Hope they don't want to do a major overhaul, coz I have nursed the data model for too long and it's time I let it go to face the world.

This weekend was eventful for mom and sis. They were off to Devsaari, near Palghar for a Vanvasi Kalyan Kendra camp there. Lots of tribals/adivasis (no, not draped in leaves), living in extreme poverty. Vanvasi Kalyan has adopted a number of villages and this was one such return trip to 'their' village.

The highlight for my sis was to get to know Mr Mankame, a very senior dentist who's been practising in US for the last 29 years. For about 3 times in a year, he is in India for 2 months, visiting such God-forsaken places and providing treatment to the poor. He has a fully equipped caravan, with all the latest dental instruments and machines, even to do complicated dental procedures. My sis went crazy, just looking at the stuff he managed to have fitted in his van. Not only that, his humility and drive for work had my sis completely overawed.

I hope sis could write about the wonderful trip in detail and increase the shobha of my bloga

Shantata, Court chalu aahe

My dad needs to seethis
Thanks to India Uncut for the link.

Monday, April 04, 2005

Diamond is forever a stone.

Great article about minting money selling shiny rocks

Saturday, April 02, 2005


Pratapgad lies on just off Mahad Mumbai road. It is an imposing structure, visible from many locations in Mahabaleshwar. It was prudent to take a guide because it takes atleast an hour to walk through the fort. It has 3 buruj, a chor vat, a bale-killa and lots of stories. It was basically built to house Bhavani mandir as Tuljapur was close to Bijapur Jaagir and Shivaji couldnt pay a visit to first Goddess of Mahasrashtra without fighting the forces of the Mughal.

The tomb of Afzalkhan and Sayyad Banda is out of bounds because of some land related dispute (nothing to do with VHP's Afzal kabar hatao campaign). Now, the tomb is a resting place of Afzal Khan minus his head, because Shivaji took his head to Raigad to show Jijamata as proof. On Raigad, is the head tomb.

The Rajmarg is still quite intact, but the fort suffers from general neglect and awful and chrono-illogically shoddy restoration.

1. The steps have been re-built with tiles and cement, against the original black stone path. Not only it is an eye sore, but the quality of material and work is poor and shoddy.

2. Lots of shops, food stalls and tarpaulin houses mar the beauty of the fort. Possibly these people have been living there since Shivaji's time. But, when someplace is a tourist spot, its in the best of everyone to have everything there restored to that period and remove whatever that cannot be. These people could easily be settled in Jawali village at the footsteps of the fort.

3. There is a sparkling new auditorium constructed - with granite tiles, aluminium sliding, and AC - adjacent to the centuries old Bhavani temple - housing to the idol, spatik shivling (that Shivaji carried everywhere) and a sword of that era. Time travel anyone? The temple name is inscribed in thermocol!

4. The fort is owned not by Government but by BJP MLA, Udayan Raje Bhosale, the descendant of Shivaji. Possibly, has a grudge against his royal ancestory and wants the legacy to go to seed.

PS- From Mahabeslwar, one is better off taking the longer Pune route rather than Poladpur. Major traffic since Goa-Mumbai highway also joins along the way. The longer route is surely quicker.

Friday, April 01, 2005


There is anti-Punjab strike in Pakistan. When do we do this in India?

Punjabis have infiltrated the Indian fabric in every way, the salwar kameez, the films, the food, the music (oh! The music!). I even make effort to understand what Rabbi rambles. The problem is, the guys are fun-loving, boisterous, loaded and know how to live it up. Rest of the Indias are comparitively meek, submissive and boring. And poor. In many cases, the Punjabification cannot be wished away. The Salwar Kameez is the most convenient wear for Indian woman. Rest of us, can learn from the Punju jest for life. But the Punjabi excess in films has crossed the limits of endurance. All the imp Bollywood families unfortunately are Punjabis, so for them its first nature to douse the whole film in Punjabi slush (sargon ka saag, punjabi spouting unrelative, the irritating bhangra number, loud humour).

In fact, my biggest grouse, is the disservice Punjabi guys are doing to Indian music. The bhangra thing is getting on my nerves. The Punjabi diaspora with a sorry mish-mash of broken Punjabi and street English are creating unprecedented cacophony. Rabbi is a the only saving grace.

Traditionally, Urdu shayars have had a stronghold in song writing department. So, Sanskrit based Hindi never came in style. And now Punjabi lingo has encroached a big way. Soniya, Mahiya, Peinda, Lashkara, ... Think how unhappy that is going to make the cows of UP, that words like prem, premi/premika, hriday, sharir(!), lagaav, praan, prannath, satya, gunh (quality), shabd, are eschewed completely.

So lets all eschew Punjabi. Bole So nihaal