Saturday, November 18, 2006

Why most Iyers are ‘not-slim’?

An Iyer by birth and traditions being followed at home, I have met more than enough Iyers to confirm my belief that 75-80% of us are “horizontally-challenged”, or should I just say ‘fat’ without using the politically correct phrase. It wasn’t very difficult to find the pretty evident reason for Iyer-flab. Its not only the special gene which hides in an Indian's body and stores the fat as it comes in but it also is the Iyer's appetite combined with traditions(aka 'reasons to eat' in Iyer lingo!).

Iyers, as a community, believe in ‘pehle pate pooja, fir kaam dooja’. Every occasion: diwali/dussehra or pongal; avani-avatam/skandashshti or krishna jayanti; karthikai or any other day has a specific food item, most of them fried or sweet but all fatty. And if you are thinking, its just on ocaasions, try counting the number of ocaasions/festivals and I am sure the number will be comparable to the number of cricket matches India has lost.

'The Iyer food guide' or 'Eat - The Iyer Way', if written will be the books Iyers will never bother reading because eating is a trait which passes on from parent to child as effortlessly as Rajnikanth catches his cigarrete with his mouth. A minimum of three courses with a 'payasam' (the dessert) round in between the second and third course is the most common sight in lavish food arrangements in any proper joint family, Iyer household and with mamis ever-ready to cook. First course begins with rice with generous helping of ghee, and small amount of dal with Sambaar in tow. Second course is rice and rasam, with chips or papadaam. All this is served with a minimum of four torans/poriyals/kootaans (aka curries). A 'payasam' round (short & sweet) before the third course. Finally, the main course consisting of the famous 'taeer-saadam' (curd rice for the uninitiated).

Christians have the time of Lent, when they give up something for God..meat, alcohol or the likes. Muslims fast during Ramzan. And Ramzan is a whole month. Most North Indian Hindus fast atleast one day a week: for Lord Shiva on Monday, Hanuman on Tuesday, Ganapati on Wednesday, Shirdi Sai on thursday, Santoshi Mata on Friday or Shani bhagwan on saturday. At least they rest on a Sunday(or there might be some fasting for Sun God). 'Iyers and fasting' can never be written in the same sentence (Did I just attempt the impossible??). Even on the amavasya nights, when we think we are fasting, its okay to have 'palahaaram' i.e stuff like dosas, idlis, upma et al.

Anyways, I am not going to change any of that and continue eating food, the iyer-way. And I bet many Iyers will agree. If Popeye was an Iyer, his song would start with something like ...

'I am what I am,
I eat, what I can!
I am Popeye the Iyer man!!'

I cannot agree more when they say, "If you can't fit in the jeans, blame it on the genes" !!

Sunday, September 24, 2006

A pre-winter blog hibernation

The work weighs down upon my shoulder. I hope to sneak some time out for updating Thoughts Flux. But hope as I may, it might not happen. Thus, hibernating for a while whilst I do the functional design of some software components (hopefully will do it well). i.e no new posts for a while :(

Friday, September 15, 2006

Advices for free....Advices for free...

Why do you give advices so often,
I accidently ask a wise one.
Smiling wide he tells me; Son,
Advices are free, one or a ton.

He continues as if I had urged him on,
Non-stop he just goes on and on.
Opinions galore, he never does stop,
Give him hints and he still prods on.

For no reason, he squanders advice,
His wisdom has become his biggest vice.
For no reason, he keeps telling one and all,
What all to do, and not take a fall.

The free advisors are pain in the ass,
one chance and they start their class.
Most advices they give are trash,
in the smallest pause, just make a dash.

I beg the gratitious advisors to stop,
don't bore us till we die or drop.
Only when asked, show the wisdom,
or can the crap, you stupid bum.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

The speed God kips down


Micheal Schumacher, the name which resounded loud and clear whenever Formula 1 was mentioned, confirms his retirement today. Schumi, as he's named by the media, announces his retirement after a thumping victory on Ferrari home track of Monza, Italy. Schumacher scored his 90th victory and is two points behind the championship leader Alonso at 108 points.

1991, Schumi first set foot on F1 track and now finishes his car-eer(pun intended) with seven championships and one in sight. He had his share of controversies including being questioned during Ayrton Sena's death, penalised for banging Damon Hill deliberately, penalised for stopping during qualifiers hindering Alonso etc.

"Now I just want to concentrate on the last three wins and finish the season in style, hopefully with the championship. We took a big step today," said Schumacher in the pres conference. I wish him all the luck for that.

The almost-eight time world champion of the high octane sport calls it a day while still on top.

Thus, endeth an era.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Ek Nazm...

Falak hai baadalon se bhara hua,
zameen tarasti hain paani ke liye.
Zehen hai lafzon se bhara hua,
ungliya tarasti hai likhne ke liye.

Shayar nahin kar rahein hain shayari,
Shayad hai unper kisi gam ka bhaar.
Sun ney ki aas mein hai duniya saari,
Fir Shayar habib ko kaisey karey inkaar.

Likhna tha sher, likh daali nazm,
Badla nahin kuch, per badal gaya dhang.
Shayari karne ki kabhi lee thee kasam,
Sher se muh modkar kar dee hai bhung.

- Shayar Dinesh 'Indorie' ;)

Thursday, August 31, 2006


Yay! I am 'desicritic of the day' :)

Dinesh aka LighterVein!

Monday, August 28, 2006

Virgin Comics Review - Issue # 0 & #1

Issue #0
The free issue which can be downloaded from the Virgin comics site shows a sneak peek into Virgin Comics venture. This preview contains two stories - Devi and Ramayan Reborn.

(The pics are taken from respective Virgin Comics' online edition. For enlarged view, right click on the images and open in new browser)

Devi, an audacious feminine warrior,the wonder woman from India, sent by the gods to save the world sounds like any other super-human story. Devi is a mystic heroine who kicks some rakshas(demons/monster) butt in the world corrupted by renegade gods and demons. Devi's storyline, as per this preview, is rather conventional and it doesn't impress me as much. The artwork is brilliant and fantastically coloured. A novelty in the storyline is what I will be looking for in the next issue, if writer Siddharth Kotian wants me to be Devi's fan.

Ramayan Reborn
“Scratchy art at places, slapdash appearances” were the first to hit my mind while reading Ramayan Reborn preview. The Ramayan has been reborn with unimpressive artwork. We are directly plunged into the mythological battle between Rama and Ravan. The pace of the story is lighting fast and hectic. There are only three characters shown in this preview, Rama, Laxman & Ravana but I was unable to connect with any. The epic Ramayan has the immense potential to be made into one of the best comic books ever. Will the comics live up to it? The preview may be a misleading here. Anyway, I will pick up the first version when it comes along to see if they can tap the inherent supremacy of the epic.

Issue #1

The Sadhu story
"The Sadhu" has been written by Deepak Chopra's son, Gotham Chopra. It is about a young Englishman, James Jensen, inducted in Queen's army as a soldier and stationed in India. His transformation into a spiritual warrior in India is the story behind Sadhu. Issue 1 runs two parts of the story parallely :
1) Introduction of warriors in India (Bengal, East India specifically) led by sadhu named Dadathakur and
2) A young lad named James Jensen trying to find a life with his wife in London.

Artist Jeevan Kang (Gotham Comics' "Spiderman in India" fame) has proved his mettle again by designing The Sadhu in a form which will appeal internationally. A visibly strong and muscular figure with liberally flowing cape, long wooden staff, long hair, beard and rudraksh necklace makes the sadhu look as much a saint as much as a combatant of evil. The tilak on the forehead completes the authenticity of the sadhu. The art in this first issue is excellent. The characters are distinctive and the action is good.
The minus (if you would want to call it so) in the action, is the war cries include cries like 'Bhagwanji', which doesn't fit in an international comics until the meaning is explained specifically.
The facial expressions have come out great as Kang and S.Sunderkannan (color) do an extraordinary job of portraying emotions. The colour conveys the message, place, time et al extremely well eg. The London of yore is shown in a white snowy background. In short, Jeevan Kang kicks ass.

“The Sadhu” a nice book to read and I am eagerly waiting to read the next issue. And if it will be as Gotham Chopra says 'an epic quest: the conflict between two quintessential human longings--enlightenment and revenge. ', then I am doing a sadhu's penance on one leg for Virgin Comics to release further issues of the comics.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006


Vande Mataram

Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high;
Where knowledge is free;
Where the world has not been broken up into fragments by narrow domestic walls;
Where words come out from the depth of truth;
Where tireless striving stretches its arms towards perfection;
Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way into the dreary desert sand of dead habit;
Where the mind is led forward by Thee to ever-widening thought and action
-Into that heaven of freedom, my father, let my country awake.

Tagore's words of wisdom echo throughout India every year, but as Varkey puts it aptly, "60 years have gone by and we still keep pressing the snooze button". I sincerely hope, we do and do that now.


Wednesday, August 02, 2006


Clothes maketh a man, they say.
'Agreed completely', aloud I say.

Coat, trouser, shirt and bow,
maybe chest adorned with a rose.
Wear tuxedos and you will know,
what the superb garb endows.

Clothes maketh a man, they say.
'Agreed completely', again I say.

Pristine black against the white,
The contrast imprints on every sight.
Perfectly clad, smart and bright,
The age old saying's still so right.

Clothes maketh a man, they say.
'Agreed completely', of course I say.

Occasions galore for a tuxedo;
'cause it is but 'Attire Perfecto'.
'Tis for men, status high or low,
be they from cottages or ghetto.

Clothes maketh a man, they say.
'Agreed completely', yet again I say.

Tux is for all, not only for dandy men,
wear it right and you get a perfect ten.
Though tuxes are here for many a gen,
full of elegance, they still do glisten.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Blog-ban: Satire

Blogban: The Movie Review
*ing:Amitabh Blogchan, Hema Blogini.

BLOGBAN is a story of bonding between parent and child (read blogger and blog) and the sudden denial of child to be with parents. A slight twist in the tale is when, this denial happens due to a third party, the ISPs. Produced by B.R.Chopra (shortened from BlogeR.Chopra), this movie depicts the delicate relationship blogger and his/her blog.

Like a careful gardener aka baghban, the blogger tends his garden (blog) and makes sure it blossoms into a sight to behold. Now when the blogger is ready to bask in its glory, terrible things happen and they are separated. Exasperated and dejected, blogger retaliates peacefully. Amitabh Blogchan and Hema Blogini portray the part of bloggers with utmost ease and grace.

The movie BLOGBAN is rich in emotions and appeals to the class called ‘bloggers’ worldwide. The script writers aka Government of India unknowingly wrote the script of such brilliant nature. BlogeR Chopra(read ISPs) are just mouthpieces who made it public. The result, as we now know is, BLOGBAN.

Though the movie lacks song and dance sequences, the movie is about to surpass records at blogs office as people are still vying to catch a glimpse of their blogs in India. The film has spurred a controversy with all Indian blogistanis asking the government to give back their freedom of internet speech. The movie has also created a furore among the desi bloggers outside des.

Rating: *****

Monday, July 03, 2006

Ferrari Rulzzzzz....

‘Hit the iron when it is hot’, ‘Make hay while sun shines’….the correctness of these sayings was again proved by Schumacher by winning the pole position and the race at US GP. Indianapolis was a track for Ferrari and Bridgestone, and Michael showed what they are capable of when the conditions are right. Even when the conditions don’t favour, he isn’t the one to let down his and Ferrari’s fans.

Hail Ferrari!

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Technologically Challenged Sport

Willkommen zum Fußball !

This most popular sport in the world, in all its glory, lacks the technological benefit, enjoyed by the other sports in the world. Football has stayed on as it was. Some rules added, some revised, some deleted but referee stayed put and so did referee errors. Referee, though in constant touch on with referees off-field, make so many erratic decisions that some end up altering the result of the match. FIFA World Cup 2006 is no different that the world cup of the eighties.

Why is no third-referee (in line with cricket’s third-umpire) who is looking at the television replays? Or if there is one, why is he not allowed to over rule the on-field referee’s wrong decision? Cricket has kept up with the technology like so many other sports. Why hasn’t football coped up yet?

Referees in this World Cup, have broken the record of maximum red cards shown. Some of them maybe very much necessary and correct, some just are plain erratic decisions. Not only the cards but many penalties granted for no reason or deserving penalties not given ( like thw penalties in favour of Ivory Coast in their last match). These are penalties which might have altered the course of the match. Yellow cards and free kicks were distributed like freebies because of the good acting skills shown by the some footballers (like Thiery Henry’s face covering act to get the free kick [27th Jun – France vs. Spain]). This just reinstates the fact that to err is human and referee is a human.

English referee Graham Poll topped the erratic referee list with stupid decisions in the Croatia-Australia match. The referee in Swiss-German match committed blunder by red-carding Sweden defender Teddy Lucic. Ref Valentin Ivanov, slapped French captain Zinédine Zidane with a yellow card for taking free kick before the whistle had sounded. This is an offense; but not worth a yellow card at least. The examples are endless.

Why is FIFA afraid of technology?
Will it hinder the openness of the sport? Will it hamper fair players? Is FIFA such a poor federation which cannot afford using video feeds to verify decisions instantly? Will it make referees less attentive? Will it discourage lesser fights on field and hence, discourage entertainment?

I fail to understand. But I know one thing for sure, using the technology will not have another ‘Hand of demi-God’ coming into play.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Protest Child Labour in Football !!

I always had heard and believed that child labour is bad. For all the labour women go through to get children into the world, making the child labour too, obviously, isn’t fair. Looks like FIFA doesn’t believe in this. Neither do the Football Federations of various countries. Disclaimer: If you have a weak heart, if you are a child labour or woman to be in labour, please discontinue reading for this post narrates the cruelties on children in football.

Firstly, children are mercilessly made to stand up holding the sweaty hands of the footballers, who are waiting to get on the field for the match. Poor children might feel dizzy and nauseous by the stink of the sweat. Though this may not be thought of as a health hazard immediately, but continuous exposure may alter the children’s sense of smell and may take a dislike to football and football players. I strongly oppose this torture. It is bad for the children and so for the sport’s future. This can be rectified by FIFA by asking the children to hold hands with footballers’ wives. The perfume would be the best in the world and hand, not as rough as the footballers. :)

Secondly, they are pulled by the footballers to the pitch and made to stand in the sun with country flag’s in hand when their national anthem is being played. If the national anthem is like that of Jamaica, which is more like a pop song, at least children can have fun waving the flags and dancing along. But alas, not all anthems are like that. To counter this, all nations should follow Jamaica’s music for their anthems during football matches.

Then there are children who get the huge round cloth to cover the centre of the pitch, put it there for some time and then run back again to retrieve it. Football was never meant to make porters out of children. This should be done by adults or by footballers themselves.

As if this wasn’t enough, the children are not paid for what they do. Yeah, they might be given a coke can(because coke is a sponsor), but then again, that’s imposing coke on children who might like Pepsi. Doesn’t FIFA have a heart?

FIFA needs to alter the rules and regulations to immediately and put a full stop to this unsympathetic and hard-hearted torture towards children. Asking naïve children to do stuff in the name of sport is so unbecoming of the international federation.
We, football lovers have started a protest group against FIFA. Come and join hands to end this child labour. In the first meeting of the forum, David Beckham will be lighting the lamp. Please join asap and early birds get to hold hands with Beckham.

Monday, June 12, 2006

The winning Formula

Renault is proving to be the toughest contender yet again. But the man who was trying to be written off by many, still stands tall and is proving that he was cut out to be the legend in Formula One. Any talk about Formula one is not complete without mentioning the name ‘Michael Schumacher’. After nine races this season, the results of the drivers championship says it all. This year, the team tactics and strategy are making impact than previous years in formula one. Renault has shown that they not only possess the best car on the track, they have an intelligent team as well. The strategies were very well implemented by Ferrari and Renault to take over from each other and this race of minds and cars has made this season a brilliant one.

Bahrain started off the season with Alonso, Schumi and Raikonnen on the podium with poster boy Nico Rosberg setting the fastest lap on the circuit. Then Malasiyan GP came in as a little surprise with Giancarlo on the podium ahead of Alonso. Australian GP saw more than its fair share of accidents and mechanical, technical failures but Alonso still held his stead and stood at the podium with Kimi on his right. Ralf Schumacher enjoyed his first podium of the season for Toyota. Nick Heidfeld surprised by notching 5 points in his Sauber-BMW and both Ferraris damaged from accidents had to retire. San Marino GP, Schumi does what he does best. He won the race with Alonso two seconds behind. The European GP saw one of the best tactical moves from the pits and again Schumacher proved the young gun Fernando that he still had the ability. Massa gave a good fight for third place giving Ferrari some extra points and himself a podium. Spanish GP saw Renault appearing again in the front waving the chequered flag with Alonso on top and Fisichella third. Schumacher cruised to an easy second.

The count of Monte Carlo was Fernando Alonso again. A controversial qualifier in Monaco had Schumacher starting from the pits. This was not to hamper the man and he finished fifth and also clocked the fastest lap in the race. Montoya claimed the second spot and Coulthard drove his Redbull to the third position. The beautiful circuit and the only F1 circuit with a tunnel, Monaco, witnessed plenty of breakdowns and failures making an interesting show for the spectators.

Silverstone GP made everyone look up to Feranando with the respect which usually people reserve for Schumi. He made the rest of the cars look as if they were being radio controlled by some kids since he was indomitable throughout the race, right from the pole to the chequered flag. Schumacher started third on the grid but without much effort defeated Raikonnen who came in third. There would not have been this mammoth time difference of ten seconds between the first and second positions if Schumacher was in second place. The analysts feel Raikonnen’s speed kept Schumi from doing his deed and giving a tough fight to Alonso.

Ten races left. The football world cup will overshadow most of it. But for the speed junkies who swear by revving engines and tyres on chicane, this most technologically superior sport, Formula one season is still full throttle this year.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Classical Music explained unclassicaly

What do you do when you co-passenger on a ten hour flight journey is an opera singer herself and wants to know everything possible about Indian Classical music from you?
Simple.... just answer her.

Never had I thought, I will be a cultural ambassador for Indian classical music and will be reeling off stuff about it to a swedish opera singer from Stockholm. She, being a western classical expert and professional, I was sure I wouldn't have gotten away by blabbering about facts I barely knew. Some hindustani classical tabla recitals and listening to M.S.Subbulakshmi & the likes are my only qualifications in Indian Classical.

Here I am being interviewed..heh. Decide for yourself if I tried hard enough to draw parallels between the saptaswaras and Do-Re-Mi-Fa-So-La-Ti.

Q: Indians thought about having their own music from after independence, 1947. Did your music emerge then?
A: :) No ma'm. I am sorry to say, Indian classical music ain't this new. The classical music emerged hundreds of years ago. The ancient scriptures called Vedas and Upanishads mention the same and are one of the oldest forms of music you will find in the world.

Q: What are the forms? Is it regionalised or something?
A: To divide it broadly, Indian Classical Music is in 2 forms - Hindustaani Classical(popular in the north) and Carnatic Music (South Indian Classical). There are different art/dance forms though which are regionalised but these are the 2 broad categories of Indian Classical Music.

Q: Where exactly was it born? Any particular Guru etc. ?
A: I wouldn't be able to tell you that. I reckon it was created by rishi-munis aka Gurus of yore. Carnatic music has few gurus by the name Tyagaraja(she took 15 mins to learn to pronounce it), Thiruvalluvar(she didn't even bother pronouncing it) etc. etc.I am not particularly sure about the Hindustaani classical. Hindustani Classical prospered during Mughal rule in India due to the likes of Tansen(pronunced instantly) and Baiju Bawra.
She: I know two people and have heard them - Pundit Ravishankar and Nusrat Fateh Ali khan.
Me: Pundit Ravishankar is an exponent of hindustani classical and Late Fateh Ali Khan is from Pakistan and a great singer himself.

Q: How does it happen in India? Are there schools to teach music or it just runs in families?
A: The family traddition of musician's son/daughter being a musician him/herself is true in eighty percent cases. But anybody who wants to learn can learn from a Guru. There are schools which teach classical music and provides degrees in classical music. Though, not many from the current generation have a liking towards classsical, it still thrives and thrives well.
She: Well thats good.
Me: Sure is.

After a few more questions, she finally took a breather. For all the grilling she did, she did reward me and a flight crew member by singing a 2 minute opera which, I must say, was worth an encore.

Blog hibernation

Hibernated for quite some days.....reason, went on a vacation to swades, the best of des-es, if you may. Will be updating soon.

Take care,

Friday, May 05, 2006


Who said Yogasanas are bound by nationality ? :D

Yoga in India

Yoga in Ireland


Friday, April 14, 2006

Racism re-experienced

This is the first time I may be using four-letter words and the like in my writing, because if what I'm about to describe is not an incident that can trigger anger in me, I don't know what will.
Vishu day, the first day of the Tamil new year, after a placid day, I went to play football with some friends. A bunch of 15-16 year old girls with cheap vodka bottle in hand seemed to appear out of nowhere and raided the pitch. We, at the other end of the field, thought they were chatting with a lady colleague and a colleague's wife.
They used the 'B' word and ladies with us shrivelled. While leaving, the girls spat on a male colleague. Waiting patiently was not his forte, but he did. Then when it was too much to handle, he said 'Bitch'. This was enough to flare up the obese bitch (yeah she was) in the girl's group.
"Fuckin' Asians. This is my country, I can do what I like. I have a knife in my pocket. Our boyfriends are here to take care of you...blah this and blah that" and so on went her incessant blabbering. The other ones were less vocal but more active in kicking our football. Then their fun went too far when they kicked the football onto the highway nearby.
Blinded by anger at getting spat on my shoes by then, I was running behind them and didn't realise that I was on a high-speed highway and could have been killed by a speeding car. I am sure all the five of us on the field have never controlled our fists to this extent before. The girls were mere 15-16 years and we could have had them for breakfast without letting out a burp, but retaliation would have landed us in jail for hitting minors. Their vocabulary never went beyond four-letter words and they wanted us to talk like them. Not in a million years could we go down to that level. In this north-eastern part of the country, the standard of their English was as pathetic (even in its birth place) as it could be.
Something like this happened on a lesser scale sometime back and I chose to ignore it, not once but twice. While walking on the roadside, some guys in a car sped past in the opposite direction mouthing obscenities about Asians and almost spitting on me. This was during the July blasts and I forgave them, considering it just another case of misjudging by colour. Another one was a bus driver wantonly driving through a puddle of water to drench us Asians on the sidewalk. We crossed the road in front of him and so I am sure his move was planned.
This naked reality and stark contrast between the excellent Brits I know and these racist shitholes I've encountered amazes me. Of all the good things I have said about professional Brits, this incident eclipses quite a lot of it. By experiencing these unwanted incidents of innate racism, I have no respect whatsoever for this so-called developed country. A developed country is made of its people and if people are shitholes, so is the country. This incident has just made my intention of never settling abroad stronger and more concrete.

I am sure incidents such as these have been experienced by many and I live in hope that some day the tables will turn. In fact, I can already see them turning. India is growing stronger and so are Indians. There will be a time when Indians will look down upon people here because they will be far behind us.

Update:Links to this post -
Desipundit Permalink, Desicritics Permalink

Monday, April 10, 2006

Irrelevant Opinions!

There are plenty of good comments and bad comments. There are polite criticisms and there are direct attacks. Everything agreed, but stupid and non sense comments?? No sir. Not on public news sites anyways. I am sick and tired of jobless commentators with zilch common sense and nil grey cells flocking to the news websites and eating away server space with their brainless comments. I am assuming, and I may be wrong, that the users of internet in India are the educated ones. By educated, I mean, not just using the internet but using their brains before posting, thinking if what they are doing is relevant or not. But it seems this is not the case. Of the numerous examples I have seen, this is the one of the more recent ones.
IBN Live ran the news ‘PM's worry: Cash flowing, but results not showing’. The gist says PM is introspecting his government and seeing if the money spent has produced results and if not, why not and where has the dough disappeared. This, read by a man with an ounce of common sense will mean to him /her that PM is doing something with good intentions. Being vocal about how much money was put into project X and if that has been implemented or not is good PMship and transparent governance. Some of the impertinent comments –
Vikram: if the p.m is worried think about the common man, he is miserable. This clearly tells us that the congress party cannot make this country a better place. So the government should resign if they are born for one father.
My take: PM introspecting and trying to find if implementation matches promises or not means he is miserable? But of course, you stupid ass. You are a BJP supporter, agreed. But put a relevant comment buddy!
Citizen Journalist - “Only a fool will NOT know where all that money has gone!
It is sickening to know that Prime Minister should express his helplessness with this state of affairs. He should sack those ministers who are unable to account for the money that has been spent, and the lack of progress.”
My Take: Citizen Journalist?? A misnomer for sure. The first two sentences really freak me out. Its not the helplessness he is expressing but concern. Sack the ministers sure is an outcry of frustration which I do not deny but cut the PM some slack. He is one of the best we’ve had. And mind you, I vote for lesser of the evils, so I am neither a Congress guy nor BJP/NDA guy.
My Take: Sure dude! We need more people like you in CBI /RAW/Anti Corruption Squad. Easy to sit and blabber.

These are a but a few examples of all the nincompoops who think what they write, is what it should be. I agree on the fact that ‘Every one is someone else’s fool’ and I may be one too. But these people who comment at least need to think of the pertinence with the topic of discussion. This is sheer lack of common sense. Outright criticism based on no facts or figures can be equated to bullshitting. I implore if you are one of those who is bullshitting on news sites, please think of the comments’ germane before you key in.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Happy Birthday to me...........

After 25 years of surviving on this sphere circling the sun, I humbly can call myself a ‘quarter century’ holder today. This silver jubilee has seen my growth from infancy to teenage and teenage to adolescence and adolescence to youth. The fourteen years in school started with all my ‘Boohoo…I don’t want to’ and went on till ‘Ma, I am not going today’. The sibling rivalry was the best entertainment at home. I thank my sis for this. Then six years in college and came in the ‘extra hours’ in college or ‘No classes today or are there? Either way, what about a movie?’ Moving away from Indore to Bangalore was another pain but now, Bangalore is as much home as Indore. A very happy beginning to career with my company picking me up from campus and the job continues to be excellent. One year in UK and lots of travels also come forth as I close my eyes to relive the past 25 years. I thank my parents and God for everything. After this short ‘academy /filmfare award’ kind of speech, the international anthem for birthdays ‘Happy Birthday to me….Happy Birthday to me..blah blah’.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Ambanipur? AmbaniNagar? Ambaniabaad?

Special Economic Zone on Arabian Sea
Mukesh Ambani plans a new off-shoot city on the lines of Shenzhen near Shanghai and Jebel Ali in Dubai. There will be a new city in the on the Arabian Sea, across Mumbai, the part of twin Special Economic Zones’ in Mumbai.
ET informs the city will be home to at least a million people, most of them working in hi-tech and service industries such as electronics, contract research, finance, and information technology. The populace will have the best of amenities and facilities on lines of any developed country’s major city. In short, a modern township on the sea is on cards. The project will span a massive 32K acres and currently christened Mumbai Integrated SEZ.
Government has cleared a 140 Special Economic Zones (SEZs) and MahaMumbai is one among them. MahaMumbai SEZ is proposed to be joined to Mumbai by a six lane, 22 km long sea bridge. The MahaMumbai SEZ will invite applications from companies (mostly foreign) to set up their offices. The selection will be based on whether they are non-polluting and are mostly be export-oriented. The project has not got off the ground but has already received eight hundred applications.

Is the separate area actually necessary?
The approval of Rs.1 Trillion, the largest ever approval of growth plans, has shown that India Inc has come to terms with globalisation. SEZs are required but if they are made comprising in the existing area and improvement the infrastructure is done, it will be doing double good. But the idea of the separate island on Arabian Sea, though will look awesome and all that, will be like a separate place very different from India. Though there will be many foreign companies investing and all that, but will be like running away from the infrastructure problems being faced in not only tier 2 cities but in tier 1 cities like Bangalore as well. I don’t know how correct I will be to say, to invest in infrastructure in the existing area, rather then reclaiming non-existent land and develop it. The infrastructure development in the existing Economic zones will attract more companies to invest and improve Indian economy. This separate city though will be like a jewel in the industrial revolution crown etc., but shunning the shameful infrastructure and thinking of something non-existing land mass, I feel, is just whim of a billionaire. I am sure there are economists and strategists among us bloggers who can enlighten me further detail if this will have more plusses than what I can see as a layman.

More on SEZs and Ambani’s ambition– ET, TOI, Sify

Friday, March 17, 2006

‘Ring-Ring-click’ sounds the missed call

We do not give a second thought while giving a missed call to announce our presence or to inform something decided upon in person or over a previous phone call. “Just give me a missed call when you reach the theatre, I’ll be there”, rings a bell (pardon the pun), doesn’t it?

Missed call communication is one of its kinds, an invention of the empty-pocket students or some brilliant dough-saving minds. Missed calls have the ability to convey varied messages to varied people with the same ring tone. Missed calls or, as some may call it the ring-ring-click communication, has been around for some time now and we Indians have mastered the art. As TOI / Sify put it, estimate is that around 20-25% of the share of calls on mobile phones are, missed calls. Missed calls do save the customers money, but the phone companies (fixed) do bear the brunt of paying the mobile service provider the interconnection cost and call termination cost etc. When the miss call happens within mobile networks both sides end up paying each other. The user is oblivious to all this.

The news sites call missed call communication as the lack of manners. I differ from them slightly. The missed calls cannot be considered as a lack of etiquette for the reason that, it happens mostly between pals. It is more of a personal, ‘I-know, you’ll- know, what-this-missed-call-means’ thing, rather than a meaningless and manner-less interruption. Though the falling call rates have reduced the number of missed calls, they are here to stay till the students are stuck with zero pocket money and the first of next month hasn’t arrived and every rupee saved is valued.

Rrrrring-Rrrring-Click!! Ah, a missed call, got to catch up with a friend. See you soon.

Monday, March 13, 2006

R.I.P Marshal

Nothing is permanent: Life, least of all.
Twelve years earlier, I pleaded and begged my dad to get me Marshal, my very own German Shepherd. He obliged and on my birthday, I had this three month old puppy ready to woof at my command.
In time, he was the best pal I had. Teaching him tricks for treat was my thing for months on end. By the time he was one year old, he towered over the other dogs in the locality and was sort of the king of the neighbourhood dogs. His extremely expressive eyes, naughty nature of chasing any other street dog and trying to go near and bark at the cows on the roads, though afraid of their horns, can never be forgotten. Marshal’s tail was his pride, the bushy tail when kept straight, touched the ground: the check for an original German Shepherd breed. Pull his tail and he’ll turn around pouncing on you. This was one of my ways to poke fun at him and one of his ideas of playing with me. Throw him a tennis ball to fetch, he’ll fetch it but never give it back until you throw him another one to make him drop the first one. Give him something to guard and you can make sure, it will be taken care of. People, thinking of his terror, called before coming home asking us to keep Marshal in the kennel before they actually were came. Intelligence shone through his eyes. There was no one who met him, who failed to appreciate his intelligence.
The fun loving and efficient Marshal is no more. Twelve years of loyally guarding the house day and night and being another sibling to me and my sis, he has now retired from the world and left his earthly form.

Rest in Peace, my most beloved pet. Rest in Peace, Marshal.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Le voyage vers la France

(Category: Travelogue. Watch this space for pics and Disneyland blog later, cause blogger is acting wicked atm)
Writing en route from Paris, cruising at 34K feet above sea level and looking at the intoxicating view on the western horizon, where one of the most beautiful sunsets was being painted in hues of orange, yellow, red and blue, I am happy this scribble on a magazine has made it to the blog. After being embraced by the most romantic city in the world for four days, I am already awaiting another chance of being in Paris.

Many ‘yeahs’ and ‘nays’ later, the trip was decided and the visa materialised on the passport and we were off for fabulous land called France. Charles De Gaulle Aeroport displayed the lean and mean Concorde proudly, the only mach speed passenger jet (decommisioned). Paris Hilton stood proudly outside the airport and could be seen from the runway (ahem..ahem…Hotel Hilton, Paris). Sit on the metro and feel the India like civic sense. Reach main Paris and you are overwhelmed by the beauty, the India-like traffic sense…wither way, feel at home. The historic city has lion’s share of artistic and architectural wonders.

During the day, climb up the Eiffel tower and gape at the extremely well-planned city sprawled under you, and you feel like Gulliver on his travels. The Trocadero on one side, Hotel Versailles, Opera de la Bastille, radio stations, Paris statue of liberty et al are studded like gems in the jewel called Paris.

A railway platform converted museum, Musee De Orsay, showed off paintings and sculptures from various artists from France. Louvre Museum pompously displayed Da Vinci’s Monalisa, Virgin of the rocks, Aphrodite’s statue and plenty more original and beautiful works of art. The intriguing smile on Monalisa’s face and her eyes which follow you wherever you go in the room, sure is a masterpiece and attracted much of the crowd. While wondering at the mysterious smile, you could almost hear Dan Brown say, ‘Didn’t I tell you, it was so....teehee’. Dan Brown’s masterpiece starts to unfold right when you enter louvre from the glass pyramid. (And the icing on the cake, a very attractive girl with the most beautiful smile like in the paintings, sitting on the ticket counter, allowed me in the museum for free. I thought she had fallen for me, but alas, it was free for all who were under 25 years of age, on all Friday evenings.)

Notre Dame, one of the most famous of churches, is one architectural masterpiece not to be missed. With all its statues of Jesus and followers and all the other pantheons of Christianity, Notre Dame stood overlooking River Seine.

As soon as you come out of the metro at Etolle, you see the mammoth monument ‘Arc De Triumph’ and you gape at it for sometime and then you devour the beauty of it. Built like the India Gate, it stands gallantly reminding the Parisians of Napoleon. A seemingly never-ending fleet of spiral stairs takes you to the top of it from where you can see the amazing spectacle called ‘Paris’. Twelve massive roads meet at the Arc De Triumph junction, which at night can truly display the glitter of the city. One of the roads being Champs Elyseés, the posh(est) road in Paris, inviting people to loosen their purse strings. The best part was the Renault Formula1 Bar on Champs Elyseés. The other exhilarating treat to watch is the illuminated Eiffel tower and the beacon of light rotating on top of it, lighting up parts of the sky, on all directions in quick succession.
If you are vegetarian in Paris and want to grab an inexpensive bite, you just have to be content with French fries. Not even McDs serve vegetarian. Night life in Paris is again tops the list in the Europe. Simply walk down the Champs Elysees or sip chardonnay sitting in the restaurants on the roadside, every moment will be enjoyable.

Though I am put off French fries for months to come, Paris is an experience which Paris alone can confer.

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Bonjour fellas

Am off to Paris for some more loafing around. Monalisa's waiting with a smile on the face though the Eiffel will surely grumble when my heavy bodied self tries to clamber on top of it. Though, I have made a small chit and crammed important french words but I have kept a pen and paper handy(to draw what I mean and explain, in case they dont understand !). The all fashion-encompassing city, though might provide the best names in fashion, I am sure to not look at them lest I empty my pockets. And the if they talk too much in french, I have well rehearsed the first lesson 'Je ne comprend pas'...I don't understand.
I promise some travelogues and pics in a week or so.

Au Revoir,

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Grand Prix to commence

The formula one season is all set to start in a fortnight. I reckon we will be seeing the F1-God in the red Ferrari for the last time this season. Though Renault, the favourite, still seems to be leading the pack during practices, the aggressive Raikonnen on McLaren is not the one to bow down. The flickering flame, but flame all the same, Schumi is still F1-god for us worshippers of F1. Our desi bro, Narain, is no more in the race. I hope the next Indian takes the helm of one of the F1 cars soon and gets India on the asphalt again running for the chequered flag.

This year the rules have been modified yet again. The safety regulations are stricter and thus, the cars if not slower, will have speeds as last seasons. The V10 engines have been replaced by V8s. Though, the cars not able to procure V8s will be allowed to race with last year’s V10s (restricted V10s of course). On the same lines, its now allowed to change tyres during the race unlike last year. New teams, new drivers, merged & acquired teams etc, should give us another season of the exciting fastest sport on earth, played on fastest land machines. A new team Super Aguri, from Japan, are waiting to display their skills on the circuits. Toro Rosso (Minardi purchased by Red bull) and MF1 (Jordan renamed), might pull off a victory if nomenclature change helps them in any way. BMW has paired with Sauber and ditched Williams. And of course, the old professionals Renault, Feraari, McLaren, Honda, Toyota etc. are revving to challenge the opponents and trample the newcomers.

Lets wait and watch and pray for Schumacher to get the title again.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Valentines for bachelors!!!

Just for fun...nothing serious!! When single guys look for rich girl valentines, their heart recites -

I ask, whats this Val day?
Some love stuff, they all say.
But I ask, if I may,
Shouldn't singles also have their say?

I shall let you know this day,
Some single pals and my dismay.
Do we have a God to pray,
To put some chicks on our tray.

Unlike donkeys, we don't bray,
like horses, we don't pull some dray.
Still gal luck isn't comin our way,
while we wait with no work or play.

There are conditions, let us say,
Before you find us, a hopeful ray,
The chick should not make us pay,
while we don't mind goin' the dutch way.

The lady so rich, with gold she'll pay,
own a huge bungalow by Whitley bay.
Spend dough on us, without saying nay,
not whine nor wince if we catch another prey.

If this sounds all fun and play,
Don't you mock us singles, I pray.
For there will be next valentines day.
When in our lap, shall fall a prey.

Dedicated to all the bachelors (including Vark and myself) out there without valentines!!

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Jai Hind

Vande Mataram,

A very Happy Republic Day to one and all!

A few links -

The President's address to the nation can be read here.
The President and the kids' rendezvous.

Jai Hind,

Monday, January 23, 2006

Whats with some of us, not to acknowledge?

I remember reading a blog on the same lines few months back. I found it true then and now after around nine odd months here, I cannot agree more. Whenever I have meet or see an Indian in foreign land, I have tried a knowing smile with a 'Hey desi bro, you alright?' gesture . Circa eighty percent of the time, I am rewarded with either a blank stare or a glance which ends before I could say 'Jai Robindran' (desi Jack Robinson ;) while the brits and remaining twenty percent say a cheery 'Hi, you're alright?' and walk away with a pleasent smile. Complete strangers, in the land of strangers, even a smile and nod is highly appreciated.

Is this lack of basic courtsey something we are known to have, a trademark of sorts like nil civic sense?
Is the permanent residentship in another country, makes them feel 'non Indian', and is a reason for not smiling at an Indian?
Do they feel they are superior if they have been very long in phoren?
Do they just dismiss me as a lunatic beaming at everyone?

A desi working in my company's UK office, walks in, and dines on the same table in the suite just before Balckburn Rovers were up against NUFC. I tried different kinds of smiles - 'pleasent', 'conversation striking', 'ice breaking' etcetra.A friend from my project did the same. This only met his indifferent face which looked at the brits on the table. While the brits and me chatted avidly about the football match due to start and all the while criticisizing Brit food, this man talked to some other brits at the table who looked willing to join our conversation if he let them. Finally, my smile turned to smirks and we friends told wach other 'Bhaad mein jaaye' (loosely translated 'Let him be in garbage'). I do not demand a complete 'who, what, when, where, how' of the person, but a knowing desi smile warms hearts in foreign land.

Anyways, I shall smile at all desis I pass, even if they think of me as an ever-grinning nincompoop.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Northern Ireland: Concluding Part

After covering and awing at few more landmarks of the city, we proceeded to our hostel. Some time later, we were on the duplex bed in out neat dormitory.Complaint while lying down: “Some mosquitoes are singing around me.” Reply: “For ten pounds a night, who else is gonna sing for you, Pink Floyd?”
I bet the laughter invoked from this would have woken the entire floor in the hostel.
Next morning was bright and sun beamed at us though some clouds were adamant on trying to hide it. The motto I read in Belfast sightseeing service “...touch the spirit, feel the welcome” sounded very true now. We walked past some landmarks visited before reaching the designated tour starting point. The international youth hostel was up and alive with Irish music and people waiting for the tour coach. At sharp nine, Frank, our driver, after some titbits of info on the tour started for what will be a fantastic trip.

The first thing was a tall elegant looking pillar which he said was Belfast’s answer to Eiffel tower in Paris but, I personally doubt if the answer stood a chance. To make it more interactive, he threw a question at us, “Who knows Jonathan Swift?” Three of us raised our hands as if he might throw a chocolate to who knows the answer. Then we saw a mountain which when viewed from an angle looked like a huge man lying down with his facial features very well etched out by nature. “There”, he said, “That’s where our Jonathan got his idea for Gulliver’s Travels”. Maybe, it was a folk lore but a believable one. His voice was proud when he told about the other famous writers and poets from Ireland.

A short drive took us to a village Larne from where two small islands on the Irish Sea were visible with lighthouses on them, called the Maidens. Crossing the handsome village of Glenarn, coach entered Carnlough, a village where the first train station of Ireland was set up. It was sent from a bridge on top of a road and this was still kept intact and taken good care by local authorities. Further, it still has a pub cum inn called ‘Londonderry Arms’ which was owned by the family of Winston Asshole Churchill. Thereafter, passing through some extremely scenic rows of beautifully built houses, caves which used to schools or bars we were feasting our eyes on the splendid landscapes with sea kissing the shores(and of course on the chinki sitting on the next seat). We passed a farm full of small stone sculptures of all sorts of weird animal like things. “These are Lapracorns, the little magic people of Ireland. They turn into stone when photographed by someone”, boomed Frank. “Locals collect and sell it”. I had heard but now was sure, Ireland has folk lore which is not only in abundance but comical too.
‘Vanishing lake’, a normal lake, it seems, acts abnormally, when water level decreases for no particular reason whatsoever. Next stop was Bally Castle village which prides itself on being the place from where Marconi transmitted a radio signal to another island in Scotland (It was not the first cause IEEE has proved the pioneer of wireless was J.C. Bose not Marconi). Anyways, a plaque commemorates Marconi here. We also saw Rathlin island where Robert the Bruce came to hide and saw the spider on the wall, got inspired and went back to Scotland to kick some brit ass. The famous and infamous churches of Ballintoy took some time of ours.

The best part of the trip were Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge(pic 1 just above this), Dunluce castle (pic 2 just above)and of course Giant’s Causeway(pic 3 just above). Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge was taken down due to the windy weather at this part of the year. This was built by fishermen to catch go to the island right next to the mainland. A 90 feet drop, this bridge has been there for many years now. Dunluce castle provided an excellent view and am sure can be an excellent location for Bollywood songs ;). Giant’s Causeway is supposed to be the best destination in Northern Ireland. This natural rock formation can be termed loosely ‘breath-taking’. Waves lashed the shore like it had to move Ireland to some other location. The stone were laid as if a skilful mason had cut the rocks hexagonally and placed it like columns for building an artistic edifice and had left it incomplete. The loony, comical folk lore associated with Giant’s Causeway, about giant called Finn Macool made us laugh our lungs out. After a goodbye to Giant’s Causeway, the next stop was Bushmills Distillary which to our dismay was closed for visitors that day. It is the oldest licensed whisky distillery, obtaining the license in 1680.
Back in Belfast, we checked out the Harland and Wolff, where Titanic was built and set sail from. This was a good experience though the sun had switched its mains off for this part of the globe. The Titanic quarter boasted of all the things managed to be scraped and has been kept like a museum of ode to Titanic. Then the hackney cab sped on M2 towards Belfast international airport where as usual, easyjet delayed the flight by two hours.
The memorable trip thus concluded as the world was bidding goodbye to 2005 and embracing 2006.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Northern Ireland: Part I

From the very time I watched the movie Braveheart(shot in Ireland), visiting Ireland was in one of my life’s ‘to do’ lists of sorts. I thought to end last year by a visit to Northern Ireland and put a tick in the mental checklist. After a plan was chalked out, flights and backpackers hostel booked, we were ready to take off to Belfast, the historic and riots marred capital of Northern Ireland. On the 30th Dec ‘05 afternoon, we were waiting in the lounge to hear that our Easyjet flight would take off on time giving us enough daylight in Belfast for the city tour. But alas, getting Easyjet to fly on time is not easy and they convinced me that the name is sure a misnomer. A four half hour delay is but normal. The only good thing was a £3 refreshment voucher which got me a burger from burger king. The pilot was trying to be funny and tried to keep us in the flight engaged with his anecdotes. The guys getting delayed on their vacation rarely laugh. I pardoned the delay owing it to Xmas season and will give easyjet one more chance to prove itself. Soon (after 4 hours delay), we were in air with Newcastle lights looked like shining gold coins below us.

It was a quick flight to Belfast with the cheerful pilot jumping out of the cockpit as soon as the flight stopped and waving us good bye at the gate with apologies for the delay. An airport taxi took us through the winding M2 motorway to the ‘Paddy’s palace hostel’, the backpackers inexpensive accommodation. The guy at the reception was as drunk as drunk can be and upgraded us to an 8 bedded-dorm from a 12 bedded-dorm free of cost and grin on our face took some time to fade. We were happier to know that there was no one in the 8 bedded-dorm but for us. A quick dinner later, we were off to see Belfast city on foot. And I bet the best way to see this small city is walking or cycling.

The weather was very helpful. We had a good long walk and tried to capture the Irish landmarks avidly enjoying every place we set foot on. The city council was palatial and the gardens strangely green in winter. The trees around offered no resistance to our view as they had lost their clothing of leaves and stood braving the winter stark naked. The magnificent Edwardian “wedding cake” kind of building houses the city council and built to give city status to Belfast granted by Queen Victoria. The oldest known pub, built in early 19th century, with mahogany ceiling and pillars still intact attracts tourists in Belfast. This pub named, Crown Liquor Saloon, was filled to the brim with people glugging beers in litres. It boasts of its opulent marble, skilful Italian tilework, booths with griffins and lions guarding them. Attached to the pub was another pub, which is famous for the regular Irish music played there. Right across the road Europa hotel beamed down on us like a giant bedecked in jewels made of light bulbs. A small walk brought us to the Grand Opera House, with a history of being bombed twice and in a state of dereliction, it now stands restored, playing ‘Snow White and seven dwarfs’. Time constraint forbade me to witness an opera at the splendid two domed edifice.