Tuesday, August 30, 2005


This beast on land, the meanest of land machines, always fascinated me whenever I saw it on screen or talked about it. Hummer is one of the most powerful 4 wheel drives ever to ply on the roads and on places where roads are a far cry. The power can be felt just by looking at the cruel machine. I was overjoyed on getting to see this mechanical monster (with commendable electronics within) in Newcastle Asian Mela. This was the best part of the mela apart from the soni-kudis from India and Pak.
The US army was looking for a High Mobility Multi-Purpose Wheeled Vehicle and AM general gave them the Humvee which was proven to be superior to all the existing 4 wheeled vehicles and the best man for the army’s job. Later it was named Hummer M998. I reckon the civilian model was introduced circa ‘92.
There is a specific way in which torque is distributed to all the 4 wheels in usual 4 wheel drive vehicles, mostly equal torque on each wheel. But in hummer, as soon as it senses a decrease in torque to one wheeli.e when the tyre might be slipping, torque is transferred to the other wheel. And there is a massive difference in the usual 4 wheel drive and the brake traction control system in hummer. There is much more to Hummer than this and I am sure I won’t be able to do justice to the sophistication of this genius piece of machinery.
I’m publishing my only snap with the hummer H2. Don’t mind my hairstyle, the barbarian barber cut my hair out to the point of making me bald, while I was half asleep and to think of it I paid seven quid for this hair cut….gawd.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Magpies vs Hammers

20th Aug 2005 -
The day I went to witness by first ever football match in a stadium. Getting up early on the saturday morning is usually tough but this day was different. After the rituals I had to perform this day (it being the next day of 'Avaniavattam'), chanting gayatri mantram for a staggering 1008 times... Man, wish I was this sincere everyday.
After a sandwich and coffee for breakfast, my usual saturday morning routine commenced...some hours of gaming on the xbox. Today, I thought of experiencing the football match before the actual match (does it makes sense...whatever). I started FIFA and chose the 2 teams, Newcastle United and West Ham. First match was me being NUFC and xbox being the West hammers and hammers hammered NUFC. There, next time, NUFC (me) made a pulp out of west ham. I thought one more play and by taking the best of the three, I can be sure of the outcome of the match. This time, I was West Ham, and as expected the magpies won and I was sure, NUFC would become 3 points closer to being champions in the champions league.
En route -
Left home for St. James Park stadium at noon. I was supposed to reach there at 1300 hrs. There was no problem finding the way to the destination as a major percentage of population of Newcastle city was walking in that direction proudly wearing the black and white striped t-shirt supporting NUFC to the hilt.

Brancepeth Suite, St. James Park -
Needless to say, the crowd was huge. At 1300 hrs, I went into Brancepeth suite (more like a 3 star hotel restaurant). This place was for sponsors, and thanks to the firm I work for, I had a sponsor's ticket. Only the elite were here, prim and propah ladies and gentlemen in thier tweed suits or dior shirts and trousers. Though, I felt a little out of place, I wasn't amazed that I managed pretty well ;-). Since, I hadn't spoken to any of my colleagues who were planning to come (none of them Indians), I could not find them and had to sit alone for the sumptuous luncheon to be.
A not-so-bad-looking brit stewardess came with a smile from ear to ear and asked for what drink I would like to have. After listening to list of numerous cocktails etc, I settled for a coke, and I am sure, the smile turned to smirk before she turned around to get my order. After a sip or 2 of coke, while reading the official NUFC football magazine provided, saw the main course had started. After a few minutes, I joined.
There were multitude of non vegetarian dishes, some looking delicious but concience said, "Venda Iyer-ae, venda....venda" and as usual, I never looked towards the non-vegetarian side again. All the brits know of vegetarian food is - mashed potatoes, jacket potatoes, crust potatoes, potatoes with cheese and so on. They also know about salads and boiled vegetables without salt and spice, sprouted beans and a thick, long rice where u can actually bite the rice grain into two.
So, with barely 3 dishes on my plate, while the others' plates were laden with animals in all shapes, sizes and colours.I regained my seat with my plate for lunch. Now, as they say, 'When in Rome, be a Roman', I had to eat like the gentlemen do, using the fork and knife, which wasn't a problem as always, till....till I had to eat boiled peas in the salad. How the hell are you supposed to eat boiled, tiny peas with a fork from a plate as flat as a football ground. Then, slowy and steadily, I mastered the art of eating peas with fork from a glazed football field. Half hearted and half-"tummied", I resigned myself back to the magazine with the glass of coke.
Wazzat sweet smell.....ah...desserts. Heart, stomach and brain raced my body towards the dessert table. Seven different kinds of mouth watering desserts awaited me. The sight of those aroused the glutton in me and I had all the seven to my stomach's and heart's content. If gluttony was a sin in Hinduism, I would have to be in the Ganges for a whole year to wash today's sin away.

Magpies(Newcastle United) vs Hammers(West Ham) -
The Milburn stand, where I was seated had an excellent view of the field. And my seat was very next to the centre of the field. There was a mammoth fan following cheering away to glory, all in black and white striped t-shirt supporting the magpies. A small but extremely lively swarm of Hammer supporters on the left were throwing plastic balls and balloons on the crowd and singing their, what I think was, west ham football song. The commentary before the battle commenced and during the half time break is worth a mention.
Amid deafening cheers, the players poured on to the field, and the maaaaaatch.............began.
Alan Shearer, the magpie captain and Teddy Sheringham, the West Ham captain were the favourite. People also were keen fans of NUFC player Lee Clarke and goal keeper, Shay Given. The match went on okay with underdogs West Ham putting up a good show against the home team. Almost half time and no goal scored....this angered me as this was my first ever football match in a stadium. The others were furious because NUFC were missing chances.
The burly man with a huge beard sitting next to me was bellowing at the magpie forwards for not converting the kicks from inside the D into goals. Mouth reeking of beer, he gave a pat on my back, and said in a heavily jordi-accented voice " Ay yooong man, who do you thfink takes thfree points today? ". Realising that he was a NUFC fan and also knowing that, a pat on the back is inches away from a kick in the butt, I said "Magpies". Personally I thought west ham did put on a good show, my 'staying alive' was my sole aim while answering him. He seemed happy with the answer and asked me to look out for his favourite Lee Clarke. The rest of the match was punctuated with his directions to the players on how to play –
"Cooom on man, u're in, u're in...hit the effing goal"....." Shall I send my grnadson to play for u a*****s"...."Argh...coom on, u twats, hit a goal, I dont wanna fret 'bout it whole Soonday" ,so on and so forth.
Much to everbody's dismay the match ended without a goal. I was saddened, that no goal was scored and I am not sure, when I shall watch another match of this sort. After a coffee and cookie in Brancepeth suite, I went back home with an Italian colleague. On the way, he talked about how good the Indian curries are, which I agreed fully and I also gave an okay status to Italian Pizzas.
Thus ended an eventful and memorable day.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Mr.Lazy Me and Mr.Me Myself

After around 7-8 months of thinking, whether I will find time and whether I can overcome my laziness for keeping a blog updated, I decided to just do it. There will be a tough battle between the two guys in the story, Mr.Lazy Me and Mr. Me Myself. :-) Let me see, if my laziness wins over me or I crush it for good.
Anyways, after a lot of blockbusters in the world, here is my own version - Blogbuster.
This blogbuster in coming days should witness a lot of travels, travails, truths etc etc.

Blogger bug blogger bug, blogging all the way,
Oh what fun it is to start blogging right away....


The rising need for introspection

13th August 2005 -
Saw the movie 'The Rising - Mangal Pandey', a man who rose against the mighty british empire in 1857, the flame which lit fire inside the Indians to wage the first war of independence, the hero who died for India. We need to show more of our national heroes to the children today. The historians should rise to the issue and do something about it. Hats off to film industry for attempting this.
Though this movie didn't match the hype cause of some extra unwanted songs and love scenes, it did strike a chord. The patriot in me was ashamed of me and my generation. Why don't we do something for our India...and as I know, 'We' includes 'I' and it has to begin with 'me'.
15th August 2005 -
I penned my feelings....
Here's hoping that these feelings which came on impulse(like it has done plenty of times before), doesnt wear off in due course, this time. I hope there is something which I keep doing for India, however small it might be, but it should lead to the betterment.
Introspection, being on the other side

Here I am, an Indian, in the very heart of Britannia,
working away to fill my personal coffers.
India, celebrates its 59th independence on this very day,
But people still looking west for better offers.

My heart aches, I am the like the rest,
following the trodden path.
Working for once foe while enjoying the best,
but India still gives me all the love it hath.

In pursuit of worldly pleasures,
I forget these are my best years.
Best years to do something for my place,
Best years to put a smile on India’s face.

Will I change, will I make a difference,
will I limit the self needs?
Will I stifle some of my dreams,
will I ever help the Indian realms?
P.S Added later - My thoughts of keeping our heroes alive in all Indian hearts has been very well written in this article in Telegraph.


This is an attempt to push forward the previous blogs written but never published... ;-p

Day 30 April 2005 - London

After making elaborate plans on the previous day for visiting London, we started with zest on the clear Saturday morning. After shelling out considerable pounds for the network card and all day London train tickets, we were aboard the train to waterloo. The train went to Waterloo and we were lucky to catch forty winks en route.

After disembarking at Waterloo and armed with the tube map, we turned to the underground tube to help us reach London Bridge station. As luck would have it, I got into the tube and the door closed behind me, separating me from my colleagues traveling with me. A scene cut right out from Dil Chahta Hai, placing me in Aamir’s place and my colleagues collectively as Priety Zinta(though they weren’t as scared!!). Luckily, the London Bridge station was a stone’s throw away and my friends reached there by the next tube in ten minutes. After a brief joyous reunion, we walked towards the legendary monument “The London Bridge”.

After a short walk through the streets of London, the historic bridge appeared before our eyes, proudly standing, connecting the two banks of the famous Thames. Standing on the worldly renowned bridge in the world’s one of the most famous cities made me feel like a famous person myself. After admiring the majestic viaduct for considerable time, we saw the HMS Belfast, the warship permanently moored on Thames. HMS Belfast boasting of being the best warship of its times, awed us too. The newly built City Hall is one of the best buildings on the bank of Thames. (Seems they spent around a million to select the unique name -'City Hall'...lol)

Next, the Tower of London beckoned us to witness the centuries of histories inscribed in the walls by prisoners and the artifacts, including the weaponry, barrels of gunpowder, life size models of he royal steeds and knights in their complete regalia. The Jewel tower had the world’s biggest diamond Cullinan and India’s own Kohinoor diamond studded in the Victorian crown. The live video of coronation Queen Elizabeth II kept our eyes glues to the screen to see the sheer majesty of her majesty’s elaborate ritual and to see the wealth looted from the world in centuries bygone.

The Bloody Tower made us shudder at the kind of torture, the prisoners had to undergo. The guide in the tower of London had us reeling in laughter with the English sense of humor whilst he explained the gore history of the very place we were standing. After hearing about the treasons, tortures, convictions, murders and executions in the Tower of London, our hungry tummies took us to the roadside shop where we had to eat and be content with some tomato and cheese put between two pieces of bread, they call it lunch…huh.

Thereafter, we went on the refreshing and splendid cruise on River Thames on board ‘The millennium of Peace”. The crew was very kind to explain the buildings and places we could see on our cruise on the banks of the majestic river Thames. The buildings ranged from interesting hotels (including ‘The Grapes’, where Dickens completed Oliver Twist) to HSBC and Citibank headquarters, various docks, floating pubs, Mayflower pub et al. En route, we were awed by Greenwich which gives us the GMT. We turned from there towards Westminster. This route also held us spellbound as we looked on the wonders of this ancient center of trade.

The London Eye, the biggest ferry wheel in the world, the brainchild of British Airways left us gaping. The view of London from London eye capsule was remarkable. Big Ben, the parliament, with its clock tower and gold crowning stood proud and gallant right next to the Westminster Bridge. An old man playing on his bagpiper in the traditional Scottish frock enthralled us for sometime.

After having a small meal at McD’s, we were back on our way to 'Reading'. A lot of London remains to be seen. That’ll be another day….