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.