Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Detailed street level maps for India

Detailed street level maps for India are here. Google maps has gone micro with a vengeance. Check out this google map of Pune. The road details are outstanding. I had put up a Pune map earlier. I think I can easily file that one away

Here is a Mumbai map of Five Gardens - to extreme left is Dadar Central Station and extreme right is Sanghvi Heights (the square and circle)

Hot tip from Labnol

Kelva trip

Just back from Kelva trip. We were supposed to stay at Manor at a guest house. But it was being refurbished and we were forced to look around for a place near Kelva Beach. I think it worked out well. Managed to find one by afternoon. Just drove around lazily, ate a lot, went to the beach, watched a pics (PKSE) and natak (Anandache Dohi).

The beach is very very untidy. It looks like there is no garbage cleaning being done at all and the gram-panchayat should be hauled up for this. Hoardes of picknickers and tourists (the Sheetaladevi temple is also famous) ensure that moolah flows in easy. Why can't some be spent on the upkeep of the beach? The rest of the town is quaint and nice, but the filth of the beach just ruins the experience.

At the far end of the beach (not accessed by the tourists), one can see remains of the morning. Seems like the locals really make good use of the scenery and nature for their ablutions.

And then you claim environmentalism is the mainstay of Hinduism!

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Subhash K Jha has taken sycophancy to cringe inducing levels. It is as if he has made a pact with the devil, made a bon-fire of all jornalistic duties and started sucking upto the stars in the most disgusting ways possible.

Read this 'review' of Aryan. He calls it a 'sweet little film'. A film that made most puke and the rest atleast thook, is a 'reasonably well-crafted domestic drama'. Did you get a mad-critic disease, Mr Jhava.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Google Earth-Poorna

Earlier, I wouldn't know how well I was running, because I had no idea of the distance I was running or the speed. I run on urban roads and there are no measurements as such.

Google Earth has proved to be a wonderful tool in informing the exact distance (in meters) I was covering.

Here is a snapshot of one of the roads I run on. Its military area, part of which is accessible to the public. Junta from my locality go around for walks and many kids play cricket on the roads. I had no clue how long it was, until I had a look through Google Earth.

I was also able to look at the actual marathon route, and figure out how fast I should be running to get to certain milestones along the way.

What a comment!

I have the biggest comment ever on my blog. I will not put it as a separate post, coz it will require me to do lot of formatting. But here is the link.

Please go through.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Quiz Se Pyaar karu

As a part of Sparks celebrations here at Pune office, we had a general quiz. The elims were 20 written questions followed by 5 rounds of quiz questions to the selected teams.

Unfortunately didn't qualify for the main round. I screwed on a simple question (who was the donkey in Shrek - I wrote Mike Myers, of course its Eddie Murphy) and ended with 8. The rules for selection were also biased towards indovidual participants and moreover, lot more from my team (Challengers) had turned up. So, I think, we just missed the qualification. Anyway, here are some of the questions (answers in #79b font)- they were generally very guessable. It was a fabulous quiz. Kicking myself for not making it through.

1. What is the name of estate in Jamaica where Ian Fleming wrote the first Bond?

Golden Eye

2. Who put up a reward to invent a new alphabet in English?

G B Shaw

3. Why is Oct 19th holiday in Albania? CLue - The person is born in Albania, but not citizen of Albania.

Mother Teresa Day

4. What do u get when you cut mistletoe with a golden sickle? Related to comics.

Magic Potion- Asterix

5. Who are largest ship makers?


6. What are 3 stars called in Japanese?


7. Who was the Governor of Bengal Madras whose name is given to a US univ?


8. Who has won both the Oscars and the Nobel prize?

G B Shaw - Screenplay - My fair lady

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Why run!

Till recently - about 5 years ago, I thought running was such a boring activity. Just a monotonous, dreary activity that one can hardly enjoy. Working out in a gym with all the gleaming equipments and sweaty beautiful people would be so much better. Of course, nothing can beat my love for actual court/ground games- cricket, football, volleyball, tennis. I loved playing these as a kid - especially cricket and football. Would love to even now.
But the rules of the game have changed. I have become older. There is no time to play them anymore. For a proper sport, you need a ground/court. Playgrounds are hard to come by in India, and whatever are left, are being dumped with debris, rubble and garbage. For proper grounds/courts, you need a club membership and even then, most of them, are hosting birthday parties, weddings, sagais, mendhi, shendi (thread ceremony among Brahmins, in which, they tonsure the newly Brahmin kid, just keeping a small shendi:-).

You also need sports-gear - racquets, sportswear, balls. But most importantly, you need partners and players. You can't find them amongst your ilk - the most lethargic and unfit of all professionals - IT guys. So what can you pursue, to have some semblance of sport in your life? Running it is.

For a start, you can run anywhere. I run along a cul-de-sac, about 300 meters long. The road wasn't smooth earlier, but now, is just beautiful. Of course, it is not recommended to run on roads, as it is high impact and might damage your bones. But with proper footwear and running posture, you can eliminate/lower the danger.

You can run at anytime of the day. I tend to get late from work, so it is around 7-8.30 pm that I go sprinting. Of course, I can't go in mornings, because its painful to wake up so early.

Running doesn't require any skill. So anyone, can 'enjoy' running. You just need to know, how not to hurt your leg-muscles or over-do your work-out and you are fine.
There is the monotony, yes, but after about 20-30 minutes, you are in the zone, you sort of achieve a zen like feeling, which is very rewarding. Once you do it everyday, after-a-while, you can go indefatigably for any length of time.

Running is an activity that has immediate benefits in real-life. During your daily travel, you are hurrying along all the time, to or from work. Sometimes, you need to walk quickly and just plain run to catch that bus or the last seat in the bus and running gives you a real advantage. I adds a spring in your stride.

Sprinting (running fast) and long-distance running are totally different ball(of the foot)-games. However good your stamina is, if you are training for long-distance, you will be out of breath if you running quickly. So, you need to find your body-rhythm and run consistently and smoothly. The advice that the experts give is that when you run long-distance, you should be able to speak coherently (bit of gasping allowed) and smoothly to your (imaginary) partner.

Unfortunately, my training has ground to a halt since Friday. I am coughing like a train-engine. It seems to get better now and I hope to be on the road tomorrow.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Steve Bells the cow

I am a big fan of Steve Bell. Here is another fine cartoon. George Bush and Tony Blair are almost there in his cartoons - very grotesquely drawn.
In case you didn't recognize the kid, its George W Bush (normally, he is drawn with cow features).

Another one, very graphic and will have you recoiled in horror.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

All in a day's work

"Oh I split some coffee"


"Well, not my fault. There was a jerk in earth's rotation"

"Yeah! It was when the day was changing to night"

"Change of gears"

"Ravi, don't take any CDs. No CDs with mp3s. They will be confiscated at the airports. MP3s are not legally allowed. And also the training material you got during induction. That's not allowed either."


"Well, it's stolen from various sources. The guys at the airport take any random sentence from the training manual and initiate a search on google. If they find that the source is a copyrighted book, you are screwed."


Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Normally its chaos

Does the sign mean that, traffic is normally not regulated at Shivaji Park.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Dhoom 2 - Re-Tick, Ro-shun

Have finally seen Dhoom 2. Like with other movies, I went with lot of research- reading reviews, taking opinions. But the movie still majorly disappointed me. The average review rating has been "good" (3 stars). I think it deserves 2 stars. One for Hritik and another for Roshan.
He is a Greek God who doesn't rest on his laurels. He will go to any lengths to be the best bloody dancer, the best action-hero, the best romantic hero, a complete actor in business. And he is the best.

Everybody and everything else, just drags the movie down. Abhishek Bachchan, Bipasha Basu are trapped in thankless roles. Uday Chopra comes with the baggage of being hated as the most repulsive guy around (Tusshar Kapoor has managed to haul himself to the next grade). You don't even want to laugh at his jokes, even though sometimes, they are genuinely funny. He looks like a monkey and if monkeys like him should get mass viewership, then I might as well be there 'acting'.

Bipasha, Abhishek can't dance and it shows in Don't Touch Me song. It's embarassing when the dance movements are vigorous, like they are in this movie. Abhishek is also very awkward in the action sequences (watch him ride the water-scooter, with legs close, as if about to pee)

Aishwarya Rai hams and haws, pains and paws through her role. She is so fake (probably as a person, which is why it's magnified in her acting), that she should be staying in Ulhasnagar and sitting in for a clay model for duplicate Barbie dolls. She sucks with her 'like' and 'funny guy'. Due to her extensive background in modeling, she is now just too over-prepared for acting. Thank God, she is at logger-heads with two big Khans - SRK and Salman, so that's half the Bollywood movies in which she won't appear. Yippee!!

Back to the movie. Hritik apart, another positive aspect is the special effects. Truly world-class. But then important things like story and screen-play are non-existent. Most of the songs have been similarly shot (in mundane mediocre sets). No variety and new-ness, at all. The music sucks. And how!. Crazy Kiya Re, just about sums up all the hopeless things that the movie does to us.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

2nd Stab at the Half Marathon

Have started my Half Marathon Training, probably a week late. The Standard Chartered Mumbai Marathon is on 21st Jan 2006, that's about 7 weeks for preparation. But I think I am doing fairly ok. The runs have been steady and vigorous and should have no problem completing the race. My main aim is to complete the race in 2 hours. Last time, I took 2 hrs, 22 minutes. Hope to set a new PR.

I think best way to achieve is by increasing my strides. I have not too keen on taking walking breaks, but after reading this and other stuff on the net, I realise it may not be a bad idea. Will go tomorrow on a long run (normally just run about 3 kms), so will try out the strategy.

My fingers crossed, I am leg-strong.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Guru Kashyap

Have read two fabulous pieces on music and film. First is music review of Guru. Have downloaded the songs from rapidshare (It was up the next day of release along with lyrics and album cover scan!!). I have not been able to have a listen. But Bharadwaj Ranjan review surely has me very eager.

Second article is about making of Satya by the man, Anurag Kashyap. I wonder if all his creative energies will ever find a release - I mean a Friday release. I know he is directing No Smoking, thanks to Vishal Bharadwaj and Kumar Mangat offering to be benevolent producers. But all of Kashyap's work as a director has been jinxed (Paanch, Black Friday, Alwyn Kaalicharan), so it makes me wonder if he operates in a self-destruct mode.

All said, he is something to watch out for, purely for the the manic edge he brings to his offerings.

Both links indirectly through George Thomas

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Less Do It

Holy Cow! Dirty how!

When it bathed in the polluted Ganges.

The sins of others will permeate you now

As the water turns murky, down Himalayan Ranges

Hole in the Ozone, Hole in the World

I love to sing the Buy-Buy Coda

Consumption is making us dizzy and whirl

I want to show the neighbour my new Skoda

A rain-forest a day, wiped clean,

Houses to build, more trash to read

All we want is money, our only green

The more you hunger, when more you feed

Tsunamis and hurricanes, earthquakes and floods

Nature messed with, back with a vengeance

So many flowers nipped in their buds

Can we act sane, just for once?

The last I was in the woods was in my dreams

The sense of awe, so profound.

More I rush, the farther it seems,

The less I want, more spoils abound

Take it slow, is what I learnt

Money shouldn't make us pawn.

What if all we have gets buried or burnt

In a flash, all that we have... gone.

My submission to this year's poetry contest at work. Results will be out next week.

I won last year

Update -Dec 21 - I lost this year

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Where's the party tonight?

On Monday, we had a party at Rajwada, Pune. The party contributors were many and reasons different - awards, offshore return, wedding and so on.

Since everyone thought we needed to have a different party (not repeat the DJ-food routine), we decided to have games and food. I was given the responsibility of putting together the games. Already we were 40+ and it was my first shot at hosting an event.

We started with modified spoons and marbles in which, we need to involve all the members of a team. But, with so many people involved, it was just getting difficult to control. Somehow, we managed to get this game started. But half the people did not understand the rules and ran only half the race. Anyway, it was imperative to move to the next one quickly to keep the crowd under control. However, a few of them went away to get their kicks.

The game was to hit a guy in a helmet with table tennis balls. Team with most hits wins. This game turned out quite well. But meanwhile the drunks were back. The commotion started again and it became difficult to get the hooligans under control.
Still we managed to have a quiz round, burst-the-balloon with your backside, and dumb charades round.

Finally, it was some dance music on a laptop, that was the saving grace. Though there was no DJ, I managed to dance the night away.

Did some juggling with boiled eggs. My first performance on a public platform. Would like to do it properly with lots of practice. Before my limbs give up on me.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Casino Royale - Review

Saw Casino Royale at Inox, Nariman Point. What's the point of charging of 180 Rs. per ticket, if you can't install mobile-phone jammers in the movie-hall. Moreover, outside food items are not allowed in. Not that it's much, but the theater authorities aren't concerned about the patrons getting back their stuff. The exit is a different route and most of us, obviously, forgot about our food-items.

Anyway, the spin machine has ensured that the James Bond gets the most favorable plug in the media. I remember reading one of the reviews which claimed that Tomorrow Never Dies was the best Bond film over. I didn't think so after I saw the movie. Just before a Bond movie release, you have flush of articles, claiming the latest one is the best.

Again, the reviews for Casino Royale have been glowing, but, I am afraid, the movie was a let down. Especially in the later part. Daniel Craig is certainly awesome as Bond. But the story after interval, just didn't make sense. Even the poker game sequence stretched for a tad too long.

Eva Green as Bond heroine was a big disappointment. No sex-appeal whatsoever. Fortunately, two movies I caught on video, Sin City and Pyaar Ke Side Effects, more than raised my spirits.

Friday, November 17, 2006

When will the bubble burst?

No, I am not talking about the Indian economy, which I believe will continue on its growth run for at least 4-5 years. I am talking about the Stock Market and Real Estate.

The Sensex today has reached 13500 and is hovering around that mark. It just seems it has now maxed now and might take a dive anytime soon. But , with loads of new money floating in (Mutual Funds and FIIs), the downward spiral isn't coming and somehow just manages to hold on for a bit. But for how long?

In the midst of this incredible rally, market analysts have all but forgotten the fundamental pricing of stocks and seem to re-evaluate the prices based on the effervescent market conditions. The Sensex index is up about 50.35 per cent from its year lows in June and has been hitting new record highs almost daily in recent weeks. My wife's colleague, Ramdeo Agarwal, managing director at Motilal Oswal, sums it up so aptly.

"Whenever there is over-valuation, it's like that last drink at the party; the lights are going off, yet you like the party so much you don't want to leave,"

There is no doubt there is over-valuation, but in the middle of the meteoric rise, no one takes the risk of raising the alarm for the fear of being branded a party-pooper. After all, everyone benefits in the booming market. People who have bought stocks at ridiculous prices also seem to profit, but the prices keep climbing, where more fools will buy the stocks. It like something like the pyramid scheme.

Mr. Agarwal (my wife's colleague) goes on to say that valuations are still fair, but I don't agree. Something, that inflates so quickly, is bound to be structurally weak.

So, I am not saying that the crash will come soon, but when it comes, the effects will be felt far and wide.

With respect to property prices, I am all the more sure. Lending has become more difficult and there is hardly any logic to the way property rates have risen in a year's time. In Pune, a few flats at Aundh are in the market for 5000 Rs per sq feet. Why would I buy 5k psf property in Pune, when I can get a better one for the same rate in a good Mumbai locality?

Many analysts are still rooting for prices to keep going north, but from what I see - my high DINK colleagues have given up on their dreams of a property purchase - the prices have to correct big time.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

An Idea can screw your life

A number of us are not aware that the promotional messages the mobile companies send us daily, are an invasion of privacy. The expectation from consumer to opt out rather than opting for the service smacks of high-handedness and bullying on the part of the mobile operators. I own the mobile number and pay the rental and other charges, so why should I suffer unsolicited telephone marketing calls or smses. Promotional smses are still not illegal in most of the US (it is in Arizona), but its an intrusion and a disturbance and should be strictly regulated. Most people think that unsolicited text messages should be made illegal

I registered to the Do Not Disturb facility of Idea a few months ago. But the promotional smses (restaurant deals, jewellery promotions, tone downloads) continued to come. I called up Idea Cellular last month to stop the service. They said, it will be discontinued from 7th of this month. Nothing. Apparently, none of the systems work properly.

Finally, I made a complaint to Consumer Redressal, Idea Maharashtra. Having a lawyer in the house helps add weight to your complaint.

I have got an apology from the guys, but I am still thinking, of sending a legal notice.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Humko Maloom Hai



Uncanny resemblance?.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Sholay of Hype

RGV has taken hype-generation to ridiculous levels, especially with the remake of Sholay. I don't see any reason, why his spin factory should plug the smallest of news (about New Basanti, Sholay Diary and now news about Abhishek Bachchan straining his vocal chords)? .

It would be very embarrasing if it were to flop miserably. So, many of his movies from the Factory, though very high on innovation and buzz factor, sink without a trace (Darwaza Band Rakho, Naach, Shiva, Darna Zaroori Hai) and there could be another major ignominion on his way.

With the new story go get around the copyright suit (RGV stories get made-remade on the sets, so much so that he might be remaking RGV's Sholay right now), there is as much relevance to the old one, as Once upon a time in the West or Seven Sumarai had to the original Sholay.

So, Ramu, stop the comparisons and get on with telling a fresh story.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Don - Review

Probably, I might be the last person on earth to have caught Don (sacrilege - Don ko padakana mushkil..), but Diwali vacation, coupled with wife's exams, meant I had to stay away from theatre for about a month. Have missed Pyaar ke side-effects, Dor and Jaan-e-mann.

I loved Don. I loved Shahrukh Khan. It was note-worthy to see how quickly he established the menace in Don 's character. I am not a big fan of SRK, but the performance was very consistent and commendable.

Critics have complained that Farhan Akhtar has tried to be over-smart by not sticking to the script. Goes to show how you can't please them all. When you want to criticize something, you can turn even a positive attribute to a negative one. People have even praised the campiness of the old-one. Cmon, the new Don has hardly any chinks in the armor. If Farhan had stuck to the old Don, then there would hardly be any surprises and thrills in store for us.

Farhan finishes off the story as in the first Don, almost half-way through the film and then throws his own twists and turns in the next. The film flagged only for a few moments, but otherwise, it was tight and captivating.

I am still not able to find any loop-holes in the complex plot. People have complained that there was less of Vijay. Well, given the new story-line, Vijay didn't have much scope, did he ;-)?

The sfx weren't tacky unlike other Hindi films (the ski-dive was the highlight).

There is not one scene that stands out, but to be a taut thriller is an achievement in itself. The new Don cheekily adds a twist to the famous line "Don ko pakadanA mushkil hI nahI, nAmumkIn hai"
and makes it even more substantive.

I think, Farhan Akhtar has redeemed himself.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Kherlanji - fence sitter

War has broken out over blogosphere over the Kherlanji massacre. The story is really really disturbing (read it here) and I wonder why most of the media has blacked it out for almost a month.

It's a shame on all these political parties who claim to fight for Dailt rights and empowerment, have not even spoken up about the episode.

Anyway, the sparring on the web is about photos about the rape and massacre should have been published or not. Frankly, for me, the story itself was so shocking, that I found it hard to breathe. I read Gaurav's scathing attack on photo-publication, before I actually saw the photos. I agreed with him.

But, now I read Shivam's response and I am not so sure. Would so many of us have known about the sickening act, were it not for the photos? True, there is bit a voyeurism, but it makes you aware what a heinous crime it was.

I would have liked it more if people understood the horror, without someone having to use such devices.

Monday, October 30, 2006

In my dad's family potrait

This is a family potrait of my father (around 1968). The frame was locked in a trunk in the family house in the village.

Everyone commented how handsome my dad looks in the pic. Well, he's taken before me. He still looks handsome now, inspite of his age. He is there at top right.

Also, impressed by how beautiful and regal my grandmom looked. Both grandparents are no more.

Anyway, glad to have found a piece of our past.

YevA, Konkan AplAch asA

Back from whirlwind tour down South Maharashtra. First stop was Kolhapur to offer prayers to Mahalaxmi, Jyotiba and at Narsobachi Wadi. Did some quick but informative tour of Pahnala. It is a sprawling fort, fairly intact (could be maintained in a far better manner). Probably will post some pics later.

Was off to Sawantwadi for a brief halt and then to Goa. We almost retraced the route the last time - Fort Aguada, Calangute, Mayem Lake, Dona Paola, Miramar, Mangeshi, Bon Jesus church. It was certainly more fun this time, thanks to the wife. Since, I am not a Goa-frequenter, I don't reminisce about the good old days when Goa was less crowded and much better. Yes, I have been to Goa as a kid, but it was so much time ago, I don't remember a thing (except I caught some Tinkle for the first time in a raddi).

The roads are awesome, sign-boards everywhere are a great help, and there are loads of picture-perfect spots. Wish they would keep Calangute cleaner though. Heaps of garbage!

Back to Sawantwadi to have another round of (soft) Cocktails, Faloodas and Soda Lemon at Balakrishna Cold-drinks. If you don't know BC, then you don't know a small part of Konkan

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Do Saal

I will complete two years as a blogger in just about 4 days time. Its a long time to be writing consistently - the frequency has dropped from two blog-posts per week to one. But can't help it you see. I am married now and also busy at work.

I am not too concerned now with the site-hits as compared to earlier. It's just too much pressure trying to cater to reader's request and I believe, I have found a balance - me sprawled across it entirely.

Fewer things really move me to make an effort to write on the blog. But there still are.

BTW, I got "sehr gut" grade in Deutsch class. It was certainly not a very good effort in the exam - kept making silly and obvious mistakes - but still I am very happy to have learnt a language. It is like a peeping through a window into a whole new world for the first time. Hope not to forgot the language soon, which would be so easy, considering the circumstances. I don't think it would be possible to attend higher levels (company doesn't sponsor them), but there is ample material on the web and elsewhere.

I just need to make the effort

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Wann kommst dieser Freitag?

I am just exhausted from having too much on my plate right now. My Deustchkurs just got over today. 4 months - 1,5 hours everyday, can take its toll. Many people have said that they are done with the sprechen and lesen and Die Artikels. I won't want to give up. I really had fun learning. There certainly are some tricky bits - the Artikels for one. The Germans give sex to all the things - e.g. That is a table. He is elegant.
That soup tastes good. Can I have more of her?

And then there were the stored procs which I am grappling with in the testing phase for performance. Not that they have given me much pain now. But everytime issues around those come, my heart skips a beat and I lose all my social skills. I start frowning and being all brusque and curt.

There is my soft skills training program. Though it's once every week, it is a full day course and again bherry bherry taxing.

There were other initiatives and trainings as well. But more than this, I wonder, if it is the shadow of Diwali and the week long holiday that has dampened my mood at work. People are just dying for this week to get over and so am I. Most of them are off tomorrow for their vacation.

Hope this week flies

Monday, October 09, 2006

Stephen Colbert

Great link from Digg to a YouTube video. Have been reading a lot about Stephen Colbert, and how he has taken the Daily Show franchise forward in exposing the Bush administration completely.

I love the video for the way, it covers the entire journey of Bush-spin, ridiculing Bush's eloquent oratory and rhetoric at the same time. Just brilliant.

Gandhigiri - Live

On Friday, while returning from Pune,I take a Sumo to Dadar instead of, to Kandivli. The highway is cloc-a-block with traffic and I waste atleast 1.5 hours from Sion to Kandivli. It's quicker and less excruciating to take the train (less excruciating, you said!)

Last Friday, quickly made my way to Dadar station to get the ticket and then relieve myself (badly needed to pee). Saw on the indicator that there was a fast train for Borivli. Immediately, started climbing the stairs, but by the time I was on the platform, the train had arrived, disembowelled and filled in. Skipped the compartment next to the bridge (coz it is the most crammed) and tried to get in the next. The compartment wasn't crowded at all and only 4 people were standing on the door-ledge. The gangway was also fairly empty. The train started and I jumped in.

The guy at the door started abusing me.
"Kya soyela tha kya ab tab". I couldn't keep quiet

"Boss, ab ko takleef hai kyaa kuch"

"Doosra train pakadnekaa. Khaali pili takleef deta hai"

"Aapko chadneko milaa na aaramse"

I don't remember the further conversation, but the guy wouldn't just let up. So I let out 2 kind effs and moved on. He got angry (don't know if he knew what I had said- its just upsetting not to know what the adversary is saying) and hit me. My specs came off. I turned around and unleashed a kick (actually just a push with my legs, as there wasn't space to manoeuver and also, the guy was standing on the door - couldn't risk him falling). We continued with fisticuffs for some time, before loud voices took over from all sides."

Three of them, standing in differet corners of the compartment, started attacking the darbaan with such ferocity, that I was totally startled. For some reason, they saw that he was being stubborn and sickening.

"Saale, jyaada jor dikhata hai kyaa?"

The guy didn't see the answer blowing in the humid Mumbai wind.

"Tumko kyaa karna hai?"

"Usko andar lo! andar lo!, Dikhate hai usko"

"Sab ek saath kyon. Ek karke ladh naa!"

"Sab Saath mein phodenge tereko. Darwaza pe khada rehkhe, hawaa khata hai kyaa?"

"Ab Bandra utar jaa chupchap".

The guy realized that he was losing the battle and piped down. He continued starting at me for a while and I returned the stare. There wasn't much he could do now.

I was just overwhelmed by the way, these three guys in particular and other junta came to my help. Even after the episode, there were whispers about how the guy was abusing his position of strength (that of being standing on the door). Also, how such guys victimise poor defenceless folks. The accent was also on my frame and look - they all thought that I was a college kid (my specs, small frame and rucksack must have given them the impression). So much the better for me.

I thanked all of them profusely for supporting me. Generally, people just make angry noises asking the quibblers to just shut the fu. But, something dramatically different was at play here. And I suspect, it was Gandhigiri at work. To stand up for what's right.

On Sunday, it was my chance to lend some change to a train ticket-seeker, unasked. This time, I was surprised to find the guy coming up to me later to thank. That's not a done thing with us Indians (I do it coz my social conduct has been altered post my stay in the UK).

I am just very happy with the change.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

The Ramadossquito

The bugger Ramadoss has time to poke his nose into what must or must not be shown in films and TV. He has the time to interfere with the functioning of the AIIMS institute, trying to lodge his favorites into important posts.

And now a dengue epidemic breaks out all over India and the mosquito says its a sanitation issue. Rather than getting stirred into action, Madaross is busy accusing the media.

I beseech all the mosquitos to stop infecting us poor citizens and go ambush Madaross.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Mumbai Idol - all broken

A warning - you may find the pics offending.

Got this link via forward (one of the few worthwhile ones). There is something extremely surreal about the day-after-visarjan-pics. And sad. It is unfortunate that people are not shown these grotesque pics. One would easily be forced into action - buying greener idols (made of clay and natural colors) or atleast ensuring a more environment friendly visarjan.

Thursday, September 28, 2006


Our bacherlor pad in Pune was robbed yesterday. Clinical job in terms of breaking in, tearing open the suitcases, breaking the cupboard lock etc.

Everything was ruffled through and searced hurriedly. Fortunately, nothing of import was stolen mainly because we don't keep anything expensive at home. Friend lost his credit card and few watches. But the clothes, certificates, small appliances were not taken. Just that everything was in a mess.

Downstairs two other flats were broken into. Apparently, they lost some cash and credit cards too. I think they registered a police complaint too. Not sure. Slept early.

Wanted to share the pics with the collegues, but my roomie asked not to.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Makadyachya haati Champagne

Saw the play, Makadyachya haati Champagne, last Sunday. It deals with the serious issues that couples face after marriage. However, since there is lot of exposition and heavy talk, it has to set off by farcical treatment. There is lots of pungent satire and biting humor in the play. Older couples immediately realise how true to life the situations built in the play are to their lives. Hell, even I agreed with the psychoanalysis of Makad (the characters don't have real names, just hypocorisms).
The friendship of the three roomies is also unique and real. When Chaaku wants to propose to Pencil, Pustak immediately jumps in the fray, saying he also wants to do the same. No tyaag, balidan between friends!

There is a scene where Makad is trying to instruct Chaaku (not the cleverest person) about how one can conceptually inhabit a couple's life. If one looks at sad woman colleague/friend long enough and tries to figure what's going on in her mind, one can arrive at reasons for her distress. Same if her husband was your close friend or colleague. So, if just by looking at a couple, if you can surmise their thoughts about each other, then the relationship believed to be the most private - that between a couple - is actually devoid of any privacy at all.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Won Won Won!!

Today attended a Technology quiz at the neighbouring Infosys campus. They are celebrating people strength reaching 10000 at Pune DC. And had invited two other Hinjewadi companies. Geometric dropped out at the last moment. One more Infosys team came on board. So a total of 4 teams.

It was great meeting a number of people from my projects at Infy.

We were already aware of the the topics -

Round 1 and 2 - C, C++, JAVA, Data Structures, Design Patterns, Algorithms, Data Structures, OOPs concepts.

Round 3 - Quality, Standards, Reviews

Round 4 - Emerging Technologies

Round 5 - New Trends

Round 6 - Rapid Fire.

Since, the scope was vast, we distributed the topic amongst us 3 people. I was to prepare for Round 4 and 5. Wikipedia especially, was great help.

At the end of Round 3, our company location head had also arrived and we were the only team to have a 0 on the score board.

Fortunately, all the preparation turned extremely fruitful. Was able to crack questions on Myspace, AJAX and take really good guesses at some.

And we won!! It was a great turnaround and my best quiz win (others have been too piddling to talk).
I am very pleased. :-)

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Sweets and diabetes at my desk

It was festive time at my home, just recently and there are still mithai-boxes piled in our fridge. At least 5-10kg of sweets were exchanged. And all that was eaten - modaks, pedhas, barfis - was saccharine sweet.

In my office, it is ritual (as has been mentioned in the article) to dump sweets at any modestly happy occasion (with a group mail - Sweets at my desk). At one time it got so bad, that we had to request people to get some namkins to go with the sweets. Just couldn't eat the high-calorie, high sugar sweets. This was of course even worse a solution, coz now you have deep fried stuff along with high sugar content stuff.

This article will certainly make people realise, that we can't continue gorging on sweets unchecked.

In its hushed but unrelenting manner, Type 2 diabetes is engulfing India, swallowing up the legs and jewels of those comfortable enough to put on weight in a country better known for famine. Here, juxtaposed alongside the stick-thin poverty, the malaria and the AIDS, the number of diabetics now totals around 35 million, and counting.

The future looks only more ominous as India hurtles into the present, modernizing and urbanizing at blinding speed. Even more of its 1.1 billion people seem destined to become heavier and more vulnerable to Type 2 diabetes, a disease of high blood sugar brought on by obesity, inactivity and genes, often culminating in blindness, amputations and heart failure. In 20 years, projections are that there may be a staggering 75 million Indian diabetics.

“Diabetes unfortunately is the price you pay for progress,” said Dr. A. Ramachandran, the managing director of the M.V. Hospital for Diabetes, in Chennai (formerly Madras).

Read all in NYT

Friday, September 15, 2006

Captain Chapter Closed

I am still getting comments on the Captain Chapter post. But unfortunately, I am not accepting any comments on that post. As is the wont, some of the recent comments, have come praising the post, and I want so much to publish them and let everyone know that "Look, I am not the lone skeptic". One of the guys has seen Tulip Joshi closely and gives certain insights about her personality. Helps understand the modus operandi of the duo better. But frankly, there are lot of gullible people out there waiting to be duped by even the most amateur conman. I would blame the impostees rather than the imposter

Anyway, thanks for all your comments. :-))

Thursday, September 14, 2006

F*ckWorthless Louis Rule

I was following the cricket score on the web and suddenly I see, the West Indies have won. So what if they scored 140 runs in 20 overs. You just can't gift them a match for that.

I don't know why we keep following the ridiculous law even after such a long time.
Either play the match full the next day or start fresh. Or even share the points. But the current logic is just absurd.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006


I have received a reject for interview from IIMA. I had apped for the post grad program for executives. So, am disappointed today. Moreover, have been saddled with really painful system testing support work. It's not an issue if I was just doing that, except that I have to keep tab of other modules and also looks at new CRs and do impact analysis.

It is really difficult to do managing and something like investigating a root cause of a defect simulatenously. One cannot be a do coding well at the same time you are a good manager. A good developer requires complete concentration and that this difficult if you have other tasks on your plate as well.

So la la!

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Touching the void

As I read Kiruba's blog (September 6th) about a failed Mount Everest attempt, my eyes kept getting wider and wider in disbelief. What courage could drive Gautam Patil to keep going inspite of such odds - cracked ribs, partial blindness and low oxygen carrying capability of the blood!! Hats off!

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Unhinged Punekars (some)

Yesterday, chaos reigned at Hinjewadi during evening rush hour. Most of the Sarvajanik Ganapatis here were taken out for Visarjan. Yes, it was the 9th day, but still. Probably, the logic here is to be done with all the rituals on the previous day and go to town to see the Big Show.

Now, I have gone to the heart of the city (Pune-gaon as it is deceivingly called) and seen the miravanuk. Yes, it is worth a dekko, but then if the same logic applies to Mumbai Ganapatis, then the processions should begin on the 8th day. So, the folks of chindi Ganapati mandals can go visit the medium sized Ganapati mandals on the 9th day and then guys from both can join the revelry on the 10th. But it doesn't happen that way in Mumbai, does it. Everyone leaves on the same day. (or least do the visarjan on stipulated 5th and 7th day at least). That way, aam junta is not harassed for days on end.

Anyway, Hinjewadi, the small village on the outskirts of Pune, really doesn't need have so many Sarvajanik Ganapatis in the first place. Probably, these guys are ignorant enough even to know "Ek Gaon, ek Ganapati" initiative. Many Sarvajanik Ganapatis have been installed in such a way as to be a traffic bottleneck. Just because it is related to religion, people ignore the pain and keep quiet. The panchayat should sit together and try to sort out the mess created by these Ganapati.

The presence of the God of Intelligence, should atleast bestow some common-sense into these folks

Abhijeet cries hoarse

Reportedly, Abhijeet is very angry, because all the good songs are being sung by Pakistani singers. He wants the film-makers to give gaan-jobs to sons of the soil. Here is what appears in DNA

"Abhijeet who recently launched his album ‘Lamhe’, also has the album ‘Dil Deke Dekho’ coming up. Quiz him about his playback career going in a slow drive and Abhijeet’s angst comes to the fore. He says agitatedly,
“Filmmakers like Mahesh Bhatt and Karan Johar are promoting Paksitani talents like Rahat Ali Khan, Adnan Sami and the Strings band. Those who do not get recognition in Pakistan are being promoted here at our cost. Very soon we will have a quota reserved for them. Even bhagwan will not forgive them. They should not invite the curse of Indian singers.” He adds, “Talent discovered through reality shows like ‘Fame Gurukul’ and ‘Indian Idol’ is also not being promoted. Music is art. To play politics at the cost of Indian talent is not fair.”

I can understand his consternation. There is this putrefying omnipresence of Himmesh Reshammiya on the Bollywood music scene. Whatever filters out of Himmesh boundlessly talented nose, falls into the throats of the Pakistani singers. If I was an Indian singer, I would be depressed.

But inspite of that, to blame the Pakistani singers for the misery is incorrect. These guys are getting the job, because they are making great music. People like Atif, Rahat Ali Khan, Shafqat Amanat Ali Khan and others are immensely talented guys. Not only are they good singers, they bring the fabulous lyrics and music on board. That's just too good a deal for the linguistically challenged Hindi film guys. Strings, Junoon or Jal have written simple yet meaningful lyrics (or atleast have used talented lyricist), which have resonated with the youth. In so many cases, they have broken new ground. Songs like Aadat, Woh Lamhe, Jiya Dhadak... stand repeated listening and are small mercies in the time of some atrocious sonic output from Indian music directors.

I had earlier lamented the lack of good lyricist in Bollywood sphere and it's coming to be our biggest handicap. I was aghast when the versatile and prodigious Anand Bakshi died and then Majrooh Sultanpuri passed away. Where are the song-writers, poets to fill the gap? Just the already over-worked Prasoon Joshi (not in terms of working on many films, just working in many fields). Gulzar is already aging and so is Javed Akhtar. So, just 3 guys. And where is the varierty of imagery and emotional expression, if just 3 guys provide lyrics for all the top films of Bollywood.

Anyway, I am all for these Pakistani guys. Most of them have a rock background, which is radical enough background to try to thrive in - whether in India or Pakistan. And then to make souful music in that genre - I can only doff my hat to these guys.

Abhijeet, shut up!

Monday, September 04, 2006

Car ke vaat lag gayi mamu

I have been travelling to Mumbai and back in my car. It was just thinking the confort and convenience - getting to office and home early, avoiding the wait for public transport. But it's not easy to drive long distances. Friday night, after a long day's work and then Monday morn to begin early in the morning. You generally tend to drive fast to get to your destination quickly and the expressway allows you that luxury. But, proportionally, you need to be a more alert driver. Even a little lack of concentration can ruin you for life.

Anyway, fortunately, nothing major so far. But this Monday in Sion, an idiot cab driver couldn't control his taxi (bad breaks, poor reflexes, bad driving skills, whatever) and let it nicely roll into the car's right door. So there is a dent and some scratches. The door still opens but the car needs a makeover now.

Was trying to check out Indica repair shops in Pune, but the Tata Motors site is a dud. With so much of money flowing their way, what's stopping from making the site more informative and useful.

Lage Raho Munnabhai

This Saturday, saw Lage Raho Munnabhai. Did the mistake of booking for 9.30 pm show, even though it would be difficult for wife and sis to make it for the show, courtesy evening classes and clinic respectively. Fortunately, everyone made it in time (the movie started late :-). Coz Lage Raho Munnabhai is not a movie to be missed (even if the epilectic multiplectic owners have hiked the ticket prices)

I already had read some reviews from the private screening audiences and was aware that the movie will be good. But this good, I won't have guessed.

The first 30 minutes are an absolute laugh riot. The gags keep coming two every second and after some time, your jaws start hurting. Fortunately Mahatma tempers the proceeding with some much need quiet and sanity. The film tackles similar social issues as in Rang De Basanti, but with a humourous touch. I am filled with a sense of awe for Rakyesh Mehra and Raju Hirani who draw attention such serious issues - which promptly need to be addressed - but our biggest and most effective public forum - Bollywood - doesn't lend itself well to discuss about. Munnabhai, suggests a radically different yet effective (Gandhian) way to deal with the terrible public manners, that Indians so brazenly display. He takes on other pain-areas as well - builder mafiagiri, neglect of the aged, all-round corrupion etc.

Most of the side-characters of Munnabhai MBBS make an appearance (in other roles) - except Gracy Singh, notably.

There are many note-worthy moments in the film, which I can go on and on about. The scene where Munna has to say sorry for Circuit is the most touching.

Music is so so. Prediction - Shantanu Moitra is not amongst the greats (he continues to adapt tunes- though less shamelessly and more creatively ) and will soon fade.
If this reads like a review, it is not. Just want junta to know that this is a movie not to be missed.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Back again

Have been completely and utterly swamped with work.

My German class, coupled with ETL lead responsibilities and hard-core PL-SQL coding that I had to do, just made it impossible for me to update the blog

I forgot how intensive coding really gets. I can't claim to be a hacker, but still love to find the idiosyncracies of any programming language and once you get into the groove, it's difficult to think of anything else. The code requires your total attention, else you put some wrong logic or are unable to discover a potential flaw in your program.

Fortunately, it all got over yesterday and I am doing supporting the system testing. Actually, all the ETL team (8 in all) has been released, except for YT and so probably, things might get tougher, if testing reveals too many defects or issues, related to Informatica mappings or procedures.

Atleast, have a breather for a few days and can update the blog now and then. Also, can concentrate on my German class, which is getting tougher by the day.

Na ya, Es geht.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Kandivli (E) woes

Shameen Akthar writes about travelling woes in Kandivli (E). Somehow she fails to highlight two critical factors contributing to the commuting problems - that of Akurli Road and Big Bazaar.

Anyway, at least the problem of a distant suburb is being talked about.

Link may disapper so pasting the complete article belo

Why it is so tough to travel out of Kandivli (E)

...asks a disgusted Shameem Akthar

To live at Kandivli east you must be a braveheart. Or be a reclusive renunciate, pretending not be part of this commuters’ conclave, stoically forgoing all invitations, assignments or exciting events requiring any travel. How else to survive the grind of commute without paying heavily in money or time?

I step out of my showcase complex into a paan-spit pool. But the autowallahs , thus beautifying my elegant gateway, giggle or start counting leaves on trees when I beg them to ferry me to my destination. If I want to go the station, it’s “too close”. Andheri Lokhandwala is “too far”. Malad west is too “in between”. Of course, if it rains, even I understand “the roads are overflowing”. And I truly empathise with them that during peak-hour the “highway is jammed”. If it is in afternoons, “only return-journey madam” and only after I promise to jot their mobile numbers, call them 15 minutes before leaving my destination. Otherwise, they’re content to keep on spitting. In my suburb, everybody is king except its residents. I’ve often spent 20 minutes to flag down an auto for a journey requiring as much time.

If I dare ask a taxiwallah, then woe me. On a rainy day, a nice avuncular one asked me Rs 250 for a trip that’d costs Rs 35 by auto (i.e., when meters are unembellished with ball-bearings). Yes, there are buses. But their links are yet to reach the seamlessness common to the less-tax-paying south Mumbai. Or western suburbs. Unless you are a nerveless daily commuter who by-hearts bus time-tables it’d involve a spiritless wait near gushing gutters.

Whatever the mode of travel, you must brave the hurdles’ race ahead. This may mean being run aground by not one but several mothers of all traffic jams — starting from the tractor factory at Thakur village to other regular kill-joys along the highway. Nowadays, a constable creates order out of these traffic spill-offs. But brace yourself for a spine-jarring, nail-biting finish, with adventurous vehicles playing catch-me-if-you can with groaning trucks.

As for train journeys and access into the stations — dhobiwallahs are happy because your laundry bills go up, thanks to the hopscotch you play over the muck. The railways dispensed with the first class daily ticket counters so you must buy from any of the second class ones. This means though you pay Rs 120 or so if headed towards south Mumbai you suffer murderous looks from a long queue of suffering folk who think you are doing the unthinkable, jumping queues. You emerge from this experience shouted at, elbowed, nudged and battered, mostly by men. Not a first-class experience.

On the return journey, I toss a coin before deciding where I must alight — Borivli or Malad. Why? Because the chances of getting an auto makes my life one of exciting guesswork.

These days I don’t travel much. I am recovering from an ailment without a remedy yet. It’s called the simmering suburban commuter rage.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Blog gone

Amish writes

Blogspot is blocked by Indian Government. Strange enough? There are so many ways to communicate. Blogging isnt just a way.

Can Indian govenment monitor, Yahoo mails? Hotmails? Gmails? Arent they too web based? Instead of posting blog, you post an email to your fellow terrorist.

Isn't creating a simple website easy? Domainname and website would just cost about 15$. Cant terrorist make one? And why would terrorists have website called www.osama.com they can create any name safe enough to be noticed by world. They can have website running on different port not necessarily standard port 80.

So many ways are possible. Infact if they post on blog they will make their plans open, wont they? You think they are that stupid? Who is being stupid here is left to readers to make out!

I remember. longback, the sameway Yahoo! Groups India was blocked.

Anyway there is a way to access your favourite blog, goto:



I have seen the hoopla on the web and even on news channels about this. I am able to access it probably, because we deal at corporate level with ISPs. But overall, I think it's just the ignorance of babus in understanding the problem and issuing correct directives. Someone in DOT must have been informed by police that there are anti-social/terrorist sites on blogspot. They say "Ok! Blogspot!! Let me ban all of it".

We are so infested with ignorance, that such mishaps happen all the time. Anyway, as with anything that affects bloggers - the elite amongst the aam junta - the issue has been blown out of proportion. Everyone in blogosphere has gone berserk - talking about murder of freedom, trampling of human rights etc. etc. Yes it is sort of true. But it's just a silly faux-pas by illiterate officials.
It's not some government pogrom against bloggers.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Hear hear

I am happy to note that some of the points I make about the character of Bombay resonate in Gaurav Sabnis's post.

Already, this resilience thing has been summarily criticized in the newspapers. But the despotic nature of Bombay is not acknowledged by many. So, comforts me that people agree with me.

Gaurav writes

...There is a give and take relationship between every metropolis and its residents, Bombay just takes and I have had the opportunity of living in all of India's metropolises and Bangalore. There is a tacit understanding and acceptance of the fact that the city is the boss. You have to be subjugated to it. It almost borders on slavery and that too no ordinary one. I call the people here superhuman because of the immunity they have developed to the hardships they are put to. Commuting daily to work is an ordeal that is an affront to human dignity...

...New entrants will find it abhorrent and their faces would more than give away their feeling of impotent anger. Yet slowly but surely they will push shove and jostle and find some ground beneath their feet and something to clutch on to. Millions of people who live in this city have no other choice but to fight and survive this city and live, just like the gladiators of Rome. Those who survive, live. Those who succeed to get a ticket into their own islands are glorified.

I wrote here
...It is anyway a ghost town, a megalomanic city whose soul is long dead. In the quest for lucre, people were trampling on others, fighting for space, being inhumane or indifferent, just barely surviving. The city had itself taken a form of a uncontrollable monster, with its own mind, surreptiously enslaving its people - making them think that its alright to slog, suffer, scour, bear, beg, grovel now, because there will be a better tomorrow when they will be free from all this. Of course, there is no tomorrow for Mumbai. There never was. Those who realise what there were trapped in, work harder, just so that they can get out of it. And those who can't, romanticize the misery...

But rather than my drastic and destructive plan, Gaurav suggests a less drastic action - a revolt.

Mumbai is revolting anyway!!

Friday, July 14, 2006

CCTV or just plain alertness

This is worth a thought. Make the commuters more viligant towards unclaimed baggages. Travellers should keep a watch on all the baggages that go on top rack as well as those underneath the seats and between gangways. With the number of people crammed in the train, an intuitive decision can be very easily made about what areas to cover, so that nothing is lef to chance.

CCTV have found to be useful in finding the culprits, but they don't generally help you STOP a crime. CCTV monitoring is not effective, because of the monotony of work - you necessarily need a person to stare endlessly into the many monitors to decide if there are any suspicious elements within the milling crowds. And how do you delve in their baggages from the TV. It's just not effective way to tackle crime and terrorism. Probably, it can be used to monitor restricted areas - say railway yards, train under-sides - where it may be possible to stick in the bombs. It would be easy to detect, because of the surreptitious nature of the activity.

Meanwhile for bombs in parcels, commuter vigilance only seems simple and effective solution

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Survivor Mumbai

I think Rahul Bose, got it right. In NDTV interview yesterday, he said that the whole notion about Bombay bouncing back just to show to the world and the terrorists that they can't be beaten is highly romanticized. People are back on those trains not out of any pride or show of courage, but just because they have to. We live in a third world city in a third world country and the people can't afford to lose a day's livelihood. Train is the cheapest and fastest means to get there and hence to board the train the next day. You may be afraid, but you do it. You don't have a choice.

I was sort of taken in by all the 'Salaam Mumbai's on all the channels. But then you have to realise the basic fact of life in Mumbai. Only money works. Which again, is not so bad.


"I don't believe it is a place where people want to be friends," said Rahul Bose, a Bollywood actor who came to help out at Bhabha hospital. "The glue in Mumbai is survival and competition."

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Tragedy strikes again

Obviously, it's hugely upsetting to have another tragedy strike Mumbai at such short notice. Fortunately everyone of my family members is alright. Dad and wife had to go to aunt's place for the night.

Coverage on the blogosphere (a few important links here and here) has been excellent. I managed to get the news from TV within 1/2 hr of the blasts. However, I must say, all the Indian channels were slow with their live reporting. In fact, the first pictures came from CNN (courtesy CNN IBN). Why, in spite of being based out of Mumbai, do these news channels struggle to get to the news so late?

On another discordant note, I still don't know why some celebrated bloggers as well as community blogs were quiet during the rains last week. Is it just that the blasts are more exciting and news-worthy.

My earlier posts here, here and here

Sunday, July 09, 2006


I was getting a hair-cut when a few Shoe-Sainiks came along in a car and started shutting down the shops in the area. Already people had got an inkling and were alert. Comments were being made about the idiocy of the whole thing and how Shoe-Sena (or what is left of it) is raking up an issue just to get noticed.

Anyway, I liked this heading. Poor Thackeray, what not he has to see in such an old age.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Madar Jose

Johnny Johnny!

Yes Achchan

Eating money??

No Achchan

Telling lies??

No Achchan

Raping Bombay

Ha! ha! ha!

Gaddon mein raste

From today's DNA, some brilliant photos

Look at all those vehicles stalled behind.

Employees of Central Bank, Nehru Nagar branch, Kurla, were undeterred by the flooded workspace on Wednesday

Sad isn't it. See the whole thing here

The biggies schlafen

Have a look at each of these blogs in the list here

None of the blogs in this venerable list have any update about the Mumbai monsoons. As I said, many of them stay in Mumbai and have been known to be socially responsible citizens in the blogosphere. They are contributors to various blogsites espousing social and civic issues.

But this serious calamity doesn't elicit a word from the cognoscenti. Surprising, since, we have updates about Wimbeldon, World Cup, the aging bikini and what not.

Something is seriously wrong

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

HC blasts BMC for ignoring 26/7 lessons

They are hearing last year's case. And still it's a repeat.

DNA reports -
MC’s counsel KK Singhvi said Rs250 crore had been spent on road repairs before the monsoons. “That money has gone down the drain,” remarked Justice Lodha.

250 crores. Do you see any work done that's worth 250 crores? Johnny Joseph probably stays in a drain.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Why didn't he die

Mayor almost falls into Mithi

Mumbai Mirror reports -

The boat that was carrying Datta Dalvi on a tour of the river developed a technical snag and hurried to the shore; the mayor missed the bridge while jumping on to it from the boat

He would have good company

Killed due to MMRDA negligence

Badlapur residents Rajesh Kamble, 23, and Milind Gaikwad, 36, were killed on the spot when a rain-tree (above, left) on LBS Marg, Mulund, collapsed due to strong winds and heavy rains on Monday evening. Seen next to the tree is a trench dug up by the MMRDA, which the BMC says disturbed the tree's balance

BMC and the families of the two men who were crushed under an uprooted tree on LBS Marg, Mulund, late Monday evening believe that MMRDA (Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority) has blood on its hand.

Immediately after the MMDRA dug up trenches on LBS Marg early this year to construct a nullah, disturbing the balance of many old trees and leaving their roots exposed, BMC officials had called up MMRDA and asked its officials to closely examine the trees and if necessary, cut them down.

Just three months ago, BMC had dashed off as many as five letters to the MMRDA saying the trees would collapse in the rains. "We also attached pictures of the trees to highlight how dangerous the situation was," says assistant municipal commissioner in-charge of T-Ward P R Masurkar.

Read here
(link may not work)

Silence hurts

None of the biggies of the Indian blogsphere (most of them Bombayites) are covering the deluge.

It's as if it's not happening. Or may be no one is concerned. Or they too are stuck. But then there are updates on their blogs, arent there? Why then squat on meaningful blogspot urls like Cloudburst Mumbai?

House under water

Again today, after a year, my house in Mumbai is submerged. Thankfully this time, my sis was at home and could remove important things from home. Most of it is lying with higher places neighbours and along the stairs. Still the furniture and walls are again ruined.

All, except me (stuck in Pune) have reached the house, unlike last time, where everyone except mom reached after 3 days.

I am angry that at the impotence of the BMC, the State Government and other irresponsible parties. They claimed that the clean-up was complete. That there will be no problems this time. However, in spite of a humiliating slap on the face last year and colossal loss to life and property to deal with, the government has failed to get their act right. The roads have huge potholes in just a week's rain. Try going from Panvel to Sion. You will think you are riding a camel. And then try the Western Expressway. Another drunk camel ride. Bastards! They have royally screwed this city and its people. Fuck them and their lot.

This is my parents' house and we have stayed for 14 years now. This is 2nd flooding in a row. They will surely look for another place to settle. But I have already decided I will never settle in Mumbai. Meanwhile, we have packed our bags and are off to grandma's place. For 3 months. Who will risk being drowned again?

I am utterly utterly digusted at the way this city is (not) looked after. It's a city beyond repair, that anything we do now, is like botox on an aged dying yesteryear diva - the spirit has long ebbed away.

I have discussed my way of reconstruction earlier. Yes, you need to bomb the place and start afresh. In fact don't start.

Just level it and construct a memorial to the incompetence of the BMC and State Government.

Update: - Business Standard has also published my blog post. Thanks Govindraj

Friday, June 30, 2006

Run AB run

Apart from the Deustch thing, have started jogging in the evening. Getting into the grrove was difficult, what with change of house and rains and inertia of the body. But now, have settled into some rhythm. The target is 10 kms on 30th July for a corporate sponsored run.

Bad part about running in the rains is that my new running shoes look like those of a beggar's. Probably, will go back to my old pair for practice.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Ich lerne Deutsch

My Deustsch, that's German in English, course, started last week. The trainer comes from Max Muller and is quite good. The training is evenly spaced and involves lot of practicals and revisions.

With any language, you have to unlearn part of the rules of the earlier language. English is closer in terms of script and the basic words, however, pronunciation varies hugely, Sometimes you are not able to deduce the meaning, only if you pronounce the word correctly. eg. ankreuzen (to cross) or tricken (to drink). And sometimes, the pronunciation misleads you. eg. Alphabet 'J' is 'ya' in German (and in other European languages as well). Hence it's Yapan.
However, a few things I like - alphabets are pronounced in the same manner always, unlike English where 'U' can create different sounds in put, but and mute.

Generally, it's great fun going to a class and learning the alphabet song and simple rhymes (in Deutsch of course) all over again.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Eye Laa

Great article one Sepia mutiny about eye-donation. Informative comments too

I have pledged my eyes. And my specs

Arpan Eye Bank


Flat No-4054, 1st Floor, Plot No-48

Mayuresh Co-op. Hsg. Society, Ghatkoper-E

Mumbai 400075


Phone: 225147293

Bombay City Eye Institute

Victor Villa

5, Babulnath Road

Mumbai 400007


Phone: 22367101

Col. Sir Jamshedji Duggan Lal Government Eye Bank

JJ Hospital, Byculla

Mumbai 400008

Eye Bank

Dr. Sunil R. Morekar

8/128, Azad Nagar, J.P. Road


Mumbai 400053


Phone: 6312012

Ln. Loknath D. Char Eye Bank

Dr. Mayur Jarmarwala

R.N. Cooper Hospital

2, Viswabharathi Society

VP Road, Andheri-W

Mumbai 400058


Phone: 6211246

Culled from Blind Relief India

Big Bizarre Mess

Things continue worsen around Biz Bazaar, Kandivli. First, some basic details about the location. Akurli Road, where it is located is really is a one lane road. Cars coming from highway or Lokhandwala etc have to bisect the traffic going to the highway and Lokandwala. A car waiting to enter the car park blocks the traffic behind it. And once it "makes the cut", blocks cars in the other lane. On most occasions, the cars fail to make a complete U turn in one go and are forced to back up again blocking traffic both ways. Someone in collusion with the municipality has uprooted the road dividers so many cars can make this perpendicular push at a time. It's just a royal mess.

I have already discussed the problem here, but the magnitude of the problem is just enormous and hence am revisiting it. On Saturday, at 10.30 pm, there was a snarling bumper to bumper traffic till close to Kandivli Station. Some police (not traffic) got into action. They tried to block the open gateways using their cars and then tried to stop the cars cutting into the other lane. TO NO AVAIL. The car owners won't listen to the havaldar and continued butting in, with the result that, the jam worsened. We were stuck there for about 30 minutes.
Rickshaws continue to double park in front of the Big Bazaar gate, waiting for the next fare (the place even has Cinemax multiplex).

How can BMC allow such a monstrosity to come up in a place that has no proper entry and exit facilities? A project that is fraught with traffic problems, that even a 10 year old would be able to figure. Mucking forons.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

On and Off

Have new home co-ordinates in Pune. Back to Aundh after a period of about 3 years. Rampant construction everywhere. Stray Infoscions, Wiproites and such like roam around in the streets and stay in tiny kennels. There is a saying that in Aundh, if you throw a stone, it will hit an Infoscion. Hahaha!

Hearing the rent, I thought, well, for Aundh, this is going to be a very tiny and untidy kennel. I am lucky. Decent accom, very airy (top floor), open on 3 sides, good connectivity.

So, am now able to catch the world cup. Roomies unfortunately not too keen on fuBball, but still managed to catch a few matches. Ghana are playing brilliantly (sort of like first division Brazil) and I think, they are a team to watch. Czech-Italy match was dull, after the first twenty minutes, in which Czech were making some good attacking moves.

Weekend am back to Mumbai, so again, so again, won't be able to follow the on-goings. Damn :-(

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Time has come for India

India cover story in the TIME

Frankly all the frenetic development around makes me nervous. Things like eco-harmony are not in vogue still and invoking them would make you sound like an irksome tree-hugger.

We have already started seeing the effects (26th July for instance). And more will follow.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Mummy, sab dikh rahaa hai

Was off to Diamond Water Park, near Lohegaon Aiport. Actually, it's still further up from the main Lohegaon Village center, but connectivity is decent and you should get there from Pune Station in about 1/2 (by car).

The place has got some good rides. The place is huge. However, some of the things have come to disrepair. Also, the whole place has a bit of a decrepit look about it - with horribly unclean shower facilities, broken lockers, garbage and plastic strewn around. Some of the slide aids like foam boards and tubes were short in number. Hence there was mad rush to lay hands on the available equipment.

However, rides themselves were decently maintained. Important note - Don't wear spectacles, sun-glasses while enjoying any of the water rides. I got a cut above the eye (specs slammed on a slide wall and dug into the eye-lid. Wife lost sun-glasses she was using to protect her hair from UV rays).
Women are still not comfortable wearing swim-wear, and I am not talking about bikini or V shaped things. Even bicycle shorts are fine. But no! Most males/females were wearing garishly colored loose fitting swimwear(!!) rented at the park. The older women frolicked around in their salwar kameezes, which when wet, are as see through as air on a crisp clear morning. Also, why do men also not take off their bullet ridden ganjis. Does look macho with vest on?

Friday, June 16, 2006

Oh Lala!

I was fairly aware of Lala's grumpiness and still respect him as a person. But today he was just ballistic.

Don't ask me who Lala is. You gas!

Our transportation was scheduled 15 minutes earlier than usual so they could deposit all the employees on time for presentation of new initiative and then a Q and A will Lala and others.

Anyway, the first person that stood up to ask the question was brutally snubbed. Lala answered him alright, but the poor guy wanted some clarification and asked "Can I ask another question"

Lala goes "No, we want the floor to be open to all the people here"

1st Questioner - "But Sir, in the light of...."

Lala -"Please sit down".

Further down to another questioner, while answering
"It would be better if you listened to what I was telling you, rather than asking questions"

and then

"No, we are not talking about plans now. They are on the website. We communicated them extensively in April communication"

Now, one can understand, you may have a reason for turning down some questions. But clearly, there are less offensive ways to do that. After all, there is something called tact and humor. Lala displayed ample command and poise to leave an impression with the audience. But you also need to show some sang froid. May be it was Friday morning blues.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Fanaa - the review

Saw Fanaa this weekend. Actually went to catch M:I III, but landed in the wrong theater. Not wanting to go back empty-eyed, bought Fanaa tickets. The rates have been hiked by 20 rupees thanks to Yash uncle's unmitigated greed.

Having read the reviews of some great bloggers , I was a bit skeptical about watching the movie. However, it turned out not so bad after all. Indeed, the first half, with all the shayari and crackling dialogues around, is a lot of fun. Also, the jokes about Kajol's handicap are sensitive and funny. The second half does stretch a bit. But it's not something you can't tolerate at all. The kid is wonderful. Kajol is a treat to watch and so is Aamir.

A lot of reverse engineered analysis has gone into dissecting the chemistry between Kajol and Aamir Khan. I think, there is palpably. Also, one has to note that Aamir is not really in love with Kajol, for most of the first half, but is just flirting with her.

People also fail to credit Kunal Kohli (dialogues) with some fabulous non English besmirched dialogues. Since the setting is Kashmir and Delhi, one needed conversation in proper Hindi/Urdu and the language has been beautifully used. It was high time, we got reacquainted with the beauty of Urdu/Hindi as used in earlier Bollywood films.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Goel's Akashganga project

If you are planning to buy a property in Akashganga project, Pune, please avoid. Many of my friends have been duped big time by the Goel Ganga builders. Discussion on mail forum is attached

Be careful. More links here and here

DNA - 1

More ons here. Kill militant, fight your case in court (cost a few lakhs for decent defence), go to jail, on release claim 1 lakh.

Isn't there any law to stop making such ridiculous offers.

BTW, Why didn't Kalam march out of the Sukhoi to the banner of "Mission Accomplished"?

Monday, June 05, 2006

Mauritius - tips for travellers

1. Looks for hotels favored by Indians - helps if you are keen on Indian food, Hindi music and general comfort. Gold Beach, Flic-en-Flac, where we stayed, is such a place. Recommended.

2. Things are generally expensive - food, travel, phone cards. You can save a lot on food, by having a heavy breakfast and dinner (included in half board hotel bookings) and carrying snacks, sandwiches for lunch

3. Swimming is a must, if you want to enjoy Mauritius to its fullest. I couldn't swim well in currents, so snorkelling was quite a task. So, you can't enjoy the under-water wonders. Also, as a rookie swimmer, you have to be wary and can't explore even the shallow depths of the ocean. Atleast, carry a simple float or tube, so you don't feel left out.

4. Net access is not widely available. In some malls (esp in the capital, Port Louis), there is free but limited net access.

5. Always book the rides or water sports activities through an official tour operator. It's safer and less chance of been cheated. There is that typical desi ethos of not honoring commitments, so be sure to confirm repeatedly

6. Haggle everywhere and anywhere. Ask for a discount and you will get it. In markets or road side shops 1/3rd the quoted rate, in malls and bigger shops, a bit less (discount).

7. Try the untrodden path - Bike, walks, public bus rides, local markets.

8. Language and food is not a problem. 57% Mauritians are Hindus, so food is heavily India-centric.

9. Expenses for two persons, should be not more than 1 lakh all inclusive

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Fear Psychotic

Just unbelievable!! I get a hit from google search using the string "what to do if a relative is showing signs of psycotic behaviour".

First, I have hardly discoursed on anything remotely pyschological on my blog (I think).

But more importantly, I don't understand how I qualify to answer the question. I have an opinion about relatives, but will save it for now (selfish reasons). Suffice to say, I would be most interested in knowing the answer to that very important question.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Dont run

Just what was needed.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Isse takaleefdeh aur koi nahi

Big Bazaar opened up about a year ago here in Kandivli (E). Since then, the traffic problems have worsened considerably.

Kandivli(E) has a military depot towards its northern side and a food depot towards its southern side. Hence there is a single road that emerges from Kandivli (E) from the fatak. This single road, named after the local Goddess Akurli, is the life-line for everyone who stays in Samta Nagar, Thakur Village, Thakur Complex, Lokhandwala, Damu Nagar, Hanuman Nagar and so on. Many people who stay in illegal hutments along National Park boundary cannot afford to even take the bus and simply walk along this stretch.

In the evening, its waves and waves of people marching past the bhaaji waalas, as if returning from battle (of course they do). The road is just about wide for a vehicle to pass through and even the walking pedestrians considerably slow down the traffic. But of course, you can't blame them. The mouth of the road, near the fatak, actually is the most troublesome. This is because the fatak is closed during peak hours and all the bhaajiwaalas plonk themselves right in the middle of the road. Couple it with the rickshawalas, who do not care to stop at the stand but anywhere and everywhere on the road (so they can get out of the traffic that other rickshawalas have created). There is paucity of transportation to all the places that I mentioned and hence, people just ambush the next approaching rickshaw, causing it to swerve and stop haphazardly.

So, the problems facing the Kandivli (E) commuters are already enormous. Now this Big Bazaar monster. It has come up right at the junction of highway and Akurli Road. Already it was a bottleneck. But now, with the promise of cheapest prices anywhere, the neighbourhood bai to the diamond donning Shetji everyone wants a slice of the cheap khamang dhokla. Cars approaching from the highway make a improper right turn to get into the car park quickly. But with the traffic in the other lane, that is impossible, without bringing the traffic in both lanes to a virtual halt. And so it does. The road is so small, you cannot even make a U turn without reversing the car back and forth. Bikes pre-emptively start plying in the opposite lane, to be able to make the transition into the car park quickly. It is utter utter chaos.

I am very sure a lof of money has exchanged hands for Big Bazaar to begin operations without an NOC and a decent infrastructure survey by the municipality. Unless the road for the car park is opened to the highway, the condition is going to worsen. Very soon, the boiling point will be reached and there is going to be major rioting.

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Suicide farm

The boom in the economy continues to benefit the very few (compared to the population). Indians are still dying or eking out a sorry existence.

The blinding glitter of new money is clouding the marginalization and neglect of the rest. And farmers are still dying

Friday, April 28, 2006

Himesh Reshammiya - Humko Deewana

My tribute to Himmeshmiya's incredible singing talent

The cover version

tum saanson mein

tum dhadkan mein

tum liver mein

tum Jathar mein

utar gaye

humko dyspepsia - 3 dyspepsia de gaye

tum pancreas mein

tum appendix mein

tum spleen mein

tum tonsil mein

latak gaye

humko nauseate- 3 nauseate kar gaye

humko nauseate - 3 nauseate kar gaye

dil overworked trans fats se

tere boozing se teri diet se

shaam-o-sehar mehke mere har pal tere halitosis se

aaisi totally lag gayi hain yaar - 2

totally lag gayi hain yaar - 2

tum left tibia mein

tum right clavicle mein

tum Jathar mein

tum liver mein

utar gaye

humko dyspepsia dyspepsia de gaye

humko dyspepsia - 3 dyspepsia de gaye

Go 92.5 FM

I have always silently lamented the utter submission of the radio channels to the market forces.

I remember hamare jamane mein, I mean....during B.E., I was such a huge radio buff - those eary times of Radio Mid-day, Times FM and AIR FM. I was a regular listener of Sundown Show, the Morning Show (where Cyrus Broacha and Mohan Kapoor would run riot), the Western Classical segment (Parag Trivedi even had visited our college then). There are other shows which again were very good. Unfortunately, the memories are hazy.

When there was clampdown on private FM channels, I turned to AIR in a big way. AIR has the most amazing library of English songs. They can afford the royalty, whereas the private operaters flog their limited songs (budget constraints) all the time. For me, AIR has been a great window into an electic mix of English music. They would have 1 hour programs dedicated to a just one type of music - Country, Rock, Blues, Pop. The hosts would be mediocre, but they won't do lot of chapar chapar as they had plenty of stock (as against the private operators who can't afford to air more than 10 songs an hour).

This post by Rashmi brings back all the memories. Most of what she says is true. The same songs are played all the time and it gets on your nerves. The programming is severely short on ideas. Going by averages, English hosts are more interesting than their Hindi counterparts. I am also of the breed, who hates RJs who speak in a horrible Hinglish argot - most primetime Hindi RJs are terribly uncomfortable with shudh Hindi.

So, I am sadder that Go92.5 FM has also gone totally desi. Hope the Mid-day guys do a rethink.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Pune map

None of the existing maps of Pune on the web are updated or sufficiently detailed. Here is a decent Pune map, that I received from a friend. Better than most.

Click on the map to zoom.

Update - 07-Jan-2007 - Google maps has gone even more detailed. Check this out

Friday, April 21, 2006

..tujhko...mujhko Bloggery aa gayeeeeeeeee

A good article about how blogging is a good differentiator.

Blogging allows me to express myself hibitidly (without inhibition :-). Probably, it reflects (I hope) that I can write in a coherent and a logical manner.
Without doubt, it has made me good at job, where I need to prepare humongous documentation and immerse myself in in endless query tracker spreadsheets (the bane of any software project).

I know I have been not been giving attention to work because of a slightly important personal project and also this, this and this.

So, my netsurfing (esp of blogs) has shot up beyond control and work suffers. But just look at the project, will you? It's a pain, you know. And all my grim predictions about the project are coming true, to my utter dismay (and some delight as well that I am right).

Anyway, with the kind of coming clean I have done on my blog, I would not use it to embellish my resume. :-))

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Little Bird

Monday, April 17, 2006

Mithi river

Read a fine article (in Maharashtra Times or Loksatta) this weekend about how the Mithi river has undergone drastic changes in just 30 years. The writer talks about watchposts erected in the river (yes, you had to use a boat to get there), for avid ornithologists.

Also the writer points out though there is a whole activity on to clear the path of the river from encroachments, the damage cannot be totally reversed. The Bandra Kurla Complex and the MMRDA office (from where directives are issued for Mithi cleanup), themselves are built right in the river bed.

Talk of greater irony!

I wish I could link to the article and the fabulous photos accompanying it

Kshan, marathi movie

New movie got released. Just a heads up. DON'T WATCH IT.

Sophomoric acting, terrible script, non existent editing and Mis direction.

Utter Plain Roobish. Avoid

Contrary to beliefs

The contrarian in me needed a defining catchphrase

Then I read this

Whenever you find that you are on the side of the majority, it is time
to reform.

-- Mark Twain

Found one.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Don't be a chicken

Go on, eat chicken. Poultry farmers are dying of bird-flu.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Maa reva, tharo paani vish!

It's being too long, since the aam junta has voiced protests about the glaring anomalies in the Sardar Sarovar R&R (Resettlement and rehabilitation). Dilip wrote a great article about how there was a public outcry after the Jessica murder trial, but none coming forward to support the displaced tribals of the Narmada Valley.

Another very poignant column is here

Probably as rightly pointed out, we don't feel concerned for the poor villagers living a life-time away from our existence. Jessica Lal is closer to our milieu and the people who belong that class have access to media and other mainstream forums, to fight against a major injustice. The people of Narmada Valley don't.

It makes me infinitely glad that Aamir Khan and Tehelka, both I greatly revere for their integrity and fearlessness, have espoused the cause of the victims of Sardar Sarovar project.

I hope more people raise their voices.