Friday, December 28, 2007

Indoctrination - motivation? ...

This is a serious post, so if you've come here to get some funny sunlight into your life I'd suggest that you skip this post. Don't worry, I'll get back to feeble-attempts-at-humour posts pretty soon.

As if the world was not a dark enough place already, yesterday's assassination of Ms Benazir Bhutto in Pakistan has generated even more dark clouds. More so because of the context of this development. 8th January was the date when polls were scheduled to take place. And even though the outcome of the elections may not necessarily have been a harbinger of democracy in the troubled state, it would atleast have brought a glimmer of hope that democracy could be established in Pakistan (maybe not for long -their history is peppered with military coups and dictatorships).

A few thoughts have crossed my mind on hearing this news. Some of these views maybe amateurish or based on a lack of insight into non-public information.

1. Impact on Pakistan's neighbours

A classic method of diverting unwanted attention is to break the baying of internal protests by providing an external enemy, a target for people to vent their confusion and anger on. Most people, as a general rule, love to have someone else think for them. If you leave them in a position where they have to use logic and inference to make up their own minds and take their own decisions, they get befuddled and confused. In such a context they would be more than willing to follow someone who provides them with a target or goal or objective which is easy to understand and in line with the past. Nothing is more understandable for a mob than to hate India, they've been doing it for a long time, and they know what is expected of them (This is correct for both sides of the border. It is easy for Indians to understand an anti-Pakistan rhetoric too).

Baying mobs that should ideally be looking inwards to see just what is going wrong can be easily moved to strike against an external enemy against whom they can group together without the need to think. Politicians have a knack of using this technique by harping against their long time enemy.

Have no doubt, the next few weeks, depending on how much support Ms. Bhutto's party is able to gather against the military regime , are dangerous times to be India. If unrest grows too much within Pakistan, the option of opening skirmishes with India could be very real.

The following ominous words from a Father Brown story I read once:
Where do you hide a leaf?
In a forest.
What if there is no forest?
Make one.

Where do you hide a corpse?
On a battlefield.
What if there is no battlefield?
Make one

2. I am amazed and simultaneously shattered whenever I hear of suicide bombers. To have so much passion and hatred pumped into you that you are willing to end your life in the prime of youth for a cause that you know you shall never see achieved.

I am shattered that the josh that these people have, could it not have been channeled into better things?

And I am shattered that people who indoctrinate them have the ability of inspiring men to their deaths, but will not think of inspiring them to be constructive. Destruction is a feat of a minute, but to construct is the real test.

3. Generations of politicians
Enough is said about scions of political families. And mostly not in a good way. They are rich, brash, born with a golden spoon,get all opportunities, over-rule experience politicians etc etc.

But look at it this way, atleast with the families which have suffered violent deaths (Gandhis, Bhuttos, Kennedys), what is the motivating factor for children of these families to join politics and take a chance with their lives (its not an airy or hypothetical chance of death - they've seen it happen. And they've seen the media bazaar around these deaths. [ By the way, yesterday's coverage by NDTV, by two of my favourite mediapersons Rajdeep Sardesai and Karan Thapar, was really insensitive and in poor taste, something I never expect from these two gentlemen]).

It cannot just be a quest for power and money- they already have enough. Atleast in India and Pakistan I'm sure that just having the right surname and lineage would open all sorts of doors leading to success in almost any field. What then makes these people forget or hide the trauma of seeing sudden violent deaths in the family and embark upon the road again?

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Why Cry Babies...

Comfortable in my cocoon of quiet and peace for the last 14 months I had almost forgotten the 'crying baby' affliction that I suffer from.

I am a crying baby magnet, I kid you not. Whenever I go for a movie invariably a horde of babies descend all around me and start bawling/ whimpering/ simpering as soon as THAT-important-dialogue-spoken-in-a-low-and-sinister-voice-that-changes-the-movie is spoken.

Now there is a higher form of this disease which I get when B is accompanying me (You know B - great friend from DCE). Whenever we've gone to watch a movie together chintu, mintu, pappu, bablu and other assorted babies with extreme fondness towards crying seem to aggregate around us and start screaming their lungs out.

To test this theory we once went to watch a really really sleazy movie in a shady movie theatre (yes, it was a purely scientific experiment. Undertaken solely and solely to test this YOU shut up!). So our thought process was that no one in their right mind would get his kids or wife along to watch a cheapskate movie like this and as a result of a no-baby-around movie we'll break our jinx and will be able to watch movies in peace henceforth.

Smug in our assumptions we got to our balcony seats and congratulated ourselves as we were surrounded with shady looking uncles with not a baby in sight. However, there was an ominous block of 5-6 seats in the row immediately in front of us. But our happiness knew no bounds when the movie started and that dreaded block was still empty.

But it was too good to last. Just as we were immersing ourselves in the rivetting storyline, we heard a scream and a girl of 7 or 8 ran into the hall followed by two uncles, two aunties and respective babies! The cacophony was ear shattering and with a doleful look at each other, B and I just walked out (See! I told you we weren't interested in the

Now this affliction also attacks when I am in enclosed spaces with no possibility of moving out. Movie halls, air planes, buses etc. are the usual sites of attack.

In fact when I get on my seat in an airplane, only two thoughts enter my mind -

One being that a model-esque girl would come and sit next to me and during the course of the flight would doze off against my shoulder. Then she'd wake up and apologize and I would gallantly say - "Acting like your pillow has give my shoulder its raison d'etre". She would blush, and we would live happily ever after (ok, ok stop at the model-esque girl sitting next to me :) )

And the second is that I look around panic stricken for any potentially crying baby (these babies are smart, they'd look all cherubic and angelic initially, but let the doors close and the flight reach 10,000 feet and they let you have it- both lungs, full blast) in the vicinity. This time I was surrounded by four crying babies who seemed to have a tag-team pact between them. One stopped crying, the other began - so there was a consistent and steady stream of bawling.

I'm telling you this because recently the couple who live above my house have become parents and their progeny has been making life miserable here with its screaming and bawling at all times of the night. May God give the happy couple oodles of patience.

Also, I'll be moving out this weekend so I guess there's atleast one cry baby that i've outsmarted!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Weekend Exertion and Maggi thoughts...

Before we commence with the main post we shall be making a very obvious bid for sympathy from all the ... er... three readers of this blog.

I went to play tennis for three hours yesterday and another two and a half hours today. And I am incapable of moving now! It took me a great deal of pain and the better part of half an hour to drag the laptop bag to my vicinity, connect to the internet (You better appreciate this post- its taken grit, determination, sweat and even some blood just to open blogger).

I'm discovering muscles in my body that I did not know existed (Did you know there is a 8 mm long muscle just below the third rib on the right side that seems to act up only when you serve a tennis ball? 'Act up' is right, theres a perpetual dull throbbing pain interspersed with shooting pains since yesterday.)

All my joints are protesting and locking up. Pop sounds abound as I try to drag myself to do anything at all. You'll have to excuse any mishpellengs- even my finger joints seem to be following the larger joints in their mass strike...

OK, enough of this sympathy gathering. Suffice to say that inspite of all this i'm looking forward to another strenuous tennis session day after when I have a day off for Christmas.

I've been meaning to write about Maggi ( a long time now (Yes, my cook has stopped coming). If theres anything that could be given the epithet of "Elixir of Bachelorhood" - it should unanimously go to this awesome thing. In fact i'm surprised it didn't figure in the greatest inventions of the 20th century list.

But more importantly its one of the most versatile food item that brings out the culinary creativity in every single person who calls it his/her staple diet. So today I shall educate the populace by listing a few good and/or interesting recipes for making Maggi that i've come across /tried/ seen and baulked at/ etc.

The ones I like:

1. Cheese Maggi
One unit Maggi - hot. Add a slice of standard cheese. Let it melt a little, then mix a bit. Yumm. (If you're in Delhi go to the Monastery next to IIFT for excellent cheese Maggi.)

2. Egg Maggi
Two ways to make it - add a fried egg over the said bowl of noodles. Or break an egg over the pan when its getting cooked- mix violently.

3. Garam Masala Maggi
Standard operating of the pack recipe plus loads of garam masala

Now the strange ones:

1. B's fried Maggi
Make a standard bowl of Maggi. Now to make it even more unhealthy heat some cooking oil in another container, heat AND fry the Maggi in it. (Don't ask, seriously, don't ask. B has weird tastes)

2. Aam ka achar Maggi (Mango pickle Maggi)

Add the pickle without putting in the pieces of mango. Mix well. It tastes surprisingly good. Though not the kind i'd like to eat regularly.

3. The-too-many-people-not-enough-maggi Maggi

Cook maggi once. Then add water again and bring to boil again. Add salt, chilly etc to taste. Once this is cooked you'll see that the volume of Maggi is almost twice of the standard bowl of Maggi. Call more friends over!

And now the disgusting one

I've had half a bite beer Maggi once - disgusting to the core. I mean cooking in french wines is one thing, but beer...yuck..DON'T EVEN THINK ABOUT TRYING IT!

By the way Maggi is on the menu tonight- hmm I wonder which one it'll be...

Monday, December 17, 2007

The New (Old?) 'Shauk'...

This is in continuation to my last post.

Couple of clarifications here - it may have sounded like a totally depressed post but it actually wasn't. I'm told I suffer a bit from exaggerat-itis.

But I was also touched by the number of people who commented, sent emails or just called over with suggestions to get rid of my evening ennui (But, we were just trying to stop you from writing so many posts...SHHHH)

This post is to let everyone know that i've re-discovered something.

Due credit needs to be given to AK for showing the way. Now AK is fulfilling all his childhood dreams and interests after starting work and getting married. So his house right now has numerous board games (Scotland Yard, name it), he recently bought a beautiful all-aluminium bicycle (5 and a half grand - gulp). I wouldn't be surprised if he buys an X-Box or something soon (If you're reading this AK - thats an idea :) ).

So I decided to follow his "Bachpan ke saare shauk poore kar lene chahiye" philosophy ("Fulfill all your childhood interests"), I started thinking of what I loved doing when I was a kid. I mean, till my primary school days I used to absolutly love it so so much!

Painting, sketching, drawing - they used to take me into this whole other world where I was the only occupant - 'I was Legend' there ( thats a really really bad pun - but what the hell, its topical so i'll let it stay). I used to go almost into a dreamy trance while I painted. In fact, one of my earliest childhood memories is drawing a portrait of my Dad, I think on a Sunday because I remember dotting his jaw in the picture to denote his stubble :) . Another is of almost waking from a trance in art class to find my art teacher (I don't even remember his name now...bad) looking over my shoulder at my work. I had been totally oblivious to him, the other students, the school bell, the world at that time.

But then somehow, slowly and slowly I lost touch with what I loved so much. I can't blame anyone for this (my parents were very supportive - my Dad got lots and lots of paints and stuff when he returned from any trip abroad). But I guess I was the shy kid in class who needed a lot of encouragement. My primary school teacher gave me that, but my middle school teacher didn't and I sort of slid out of it and halted my learning curve.

And then I left Mount St. Mary's for Delhi Public School in class 9, and did the ultimate backstabbing to my first love. I got swayed with stupid words by some overtly academic kids (yeah, I know, DPS is full of them) who told me that only girls took Arts in SUPW (What!! where's the class, I'll go and join immediately! :) ) and the people who were serious about studies took 'useful' subjects. I went and joined Science club- which was as boring and dull as it sounds (Now don't get me wrong, science is very interesting, but the teacher taking it was really bad and sleepy).

Seriously, thats the one time when peer pressure came out in the open and affected my life.

Anyway, thats all in the past now, and the good news is that I got up early on Sunday with this urge to relive that trance I used to go into when I painted, and awesomely, I succumbed to it. Went out and bought all the stuff you need to paint, or atleast start painting. And i've done just that. I painted a very nice landscape and was pleasantly surprised to see that I still possess some skill.

I would've put it up here but I don't have a camera right now. But I promise I'll put up pieces that I do up here.

And yes, I didn't achieve that trance in my first painting, but then I have almost 14-15 years to unlearn!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Alone and blogging...

Now as a few of you may know my roomie R has left and gone back to Delhi. I'm moving out to a house nearby where a couple of friends are already staying. In the interim, till the notice period (probably towards the end of this month) gets over, I'm staying in my beautiful house all alone.

And its a bit strange because towards the end of the day I get quite bored. I mean, not that we used to sit together and chat about our day, or life or anything everyday but it was still nice to see / perceive some activity happening at home.

So till I'm stuck at home I've noticed myself binging or overdoing everything because i'm alone. May it be food, reading,internet, sleeping and just plain lazing.(Hell, even blogging- see the frequency of my posts over the last few days for proof)

Now I always used to think that I'm a very stable person who'd be able to stay alone and amuse myself perfectly easily. As long as I have a phone, a few books, a bit of TV I should be fine. But its been disproved twice now. Earlier when I had an apartment to myself in Ahmedabad and now. But then I used to think that because I hated the work I was doing there I wasn't enjoying the place (Ahmedabad is rather a nice city. Sweet vegetarian food not withstanding!)

Anyway, I guess i'm just a social person :). But seriously i'll go daft in a month of this- suggest something interesting for me to do...please!

Friday, December 14, 2007

My Beautiful Eight Hundred...

Ok boys and girls, lets have a quick quiz. All those who learnt how to drive on a Maruti 800 raise your hands ( your mouse)...

I was sitting in office today and as is wont to happen on a Friday afternoon after a heavy lunch, the mind, er, it starts to wander.

Reminiscensing about by illustrious past life I remembered my old car. Its a car that holds great emotional value for my entire family. It was, I think, the first car bought amongst any of my near relatives (yeah, my Dad did quite well for himself - and don't even get me started on how early in his life he started saving money. I look at my bank in-out and I bow my head in shame).

One of my childhood memories (I was 8) is when the car was delivered to our home. I don't know why but the image transfixed in my head is family, neighbours gathered around it and dad demonstrating the windscreen wipers, and the super cool water jets that came out to clean the windscreen.

Another memory is when in the beginning my Dad didn't know how to drive so he used to go practice at ungodly hours in the morning when there'd be no traffic. It used to be an awesome treat to go with him. And the image I have is when my Dad, Sis and I got lost near some obscure field while driving around (I've inherited my lack of direction sense. And just WHEN are they getting a freakin' GPS to India?).

Its the car which my Dad, my Sis and I took our first baby steps while learning how to drive.I learnt how to drive in my first year college (ok, ok don't look aghast. I know you've been driving since you were in your diapers ...bleh) and got my license in my second year (2000).

But better things were to come. We bought a second car towards the end of my 3rd year of college and I got the car to myself!!

Oh, what fun it was. I think it succeeded in making my college years absolutely brilliant. I can't even recall how many times all 11-12 of us got my car, all available bikes etc and drove out after eleven to go all the way from DCE (Rohini) to Green Park to sit at the Barista till the wee hours of the morning. There was never any question of ordering anything at the coffee house because we were all stone broke filling petrol in our car and bikes. We used to come back at around 4 (By the way, I passed infront of my house once while going and while returning on all these midnight excursions, but officially I used to go home only every 2-3 weeks) and after a few days the guard at DCE used to recognize us and open the gate without hemming and hawing.

And of course Transport Nagar :). Around two in the night, all of us feeling hungry, What to do?
What else, drive down to Transport nagar in the old faithful and a couple of bikes to eat paranthas (Paranthas at 3 am taste absolutely divine). Oh, that was an awesome day. Cops caught us and gave us a dressing down about being about at that hour. Well, we got our paranthas and returned and ate them while sitting on the road just after entering DCE. Ah, memories.

Then of course my car in IIFT helped me quit the mess and go regularly to JNU - they have a canteen called Tefla's which has absolutely awesome food.

Sadly, the old warrior was almost 17 years old, and when we got a good offer, we sold it.

And now that I look back, I don't even have a picture of it.

I'll make sure I have a huge album of the first car I've bought (A Palio. Thank you, I know I have great taste). You do too, because I'm sure a picture of the old warrior could really bring back memories.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Mobius Strip...

I came across the Mobius strip somehow. Its really cool. Do try the activity in the following link:

Also, see the Art and Popular Culture tab in its wikipedia entry ( )

I had no idea about the use of mathematical concepts so much in writing and other forms of expression.

And for no obvious reason I'm finding this very cool and am very happy about it :)

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

The idiot martyrs…

Why do some people act like martyrs when they've actually acted in ways that deserve a kick. Read on…


I went to watch a movie a couple of days back (oh, of course I’ve written about it in the last post ) and was rewarded with a beautiful sight of two guys in there early twenties comfortably sitting in my seat, the very same seats that I had got by coming to the movie hall two hours ago.

(I like to have a good viewing experience when I’m in a theatre - the Dolby speakers need to be equidistant from my ears, to move from the left side of the screen to the right side of the screen my neck should not have to twist more that 20 degrees, the back should be the kind where I can lean back to that optimum lazy angle - and why not? With the kind of money theatres charge nowadays, that’s the least they can do.)

Another reason for coming early to get the tickets, and then going back home was that I was taking out my parents and granny for the movie. They go out to watch movies so rarely now that I didn’t want to risk a disappointment. [ Have you noticed how excited your parents get about going for a movie? My Gran changed her clothes twice before going!]).

When I told the two kids (politely) that they were in my seat they started scrambling around for their tickets.
He: “Oh, but it’s the same row , it says D.. (scramble scramble)”

Me (seething and in my head) : “ Yes, you idiot and there’s a number after the D. Is this the #@#$ ing first time you’re watching a movie in a theatre? You can’t sit in any seat with a D before it. And if you are such an imbecile, at least keep the tickets in your hand and not down in the deepest crevice of your crotch-hugging skin-tight jeans!”

He: “(scramble scramble) Here it is. It says… oh what seats are these? Eh…”

Me (still in my head): “ You absolutely mentally deficient moron, you’re SITTING there. Its not your drawing room that you come and plonk yourself on any sofa – read the number before sitting. Or did you miss that class in primary school?”

Me (aloud with gritted teeth) : “These are my seats. Go”

He (Stunned and hurt): “Relax, koi baat nahin.” (relax, its all right). Jeez, we’re moving…

Me (In my head, and oh hell SO seething) : “Yes, I am the one who’s creating a fuss! You’re sitting in my seat – which you wouldn’t have been doing if you had a bare minimum IQ and a semblance of human consideration – and you have the audacity to tell me that its all right like I’M the idiot who’s acting like a selfish ape? It bloody well isn’t all right you nincompoop – and you’re supposed to apologize for your sheer stupidity. Aaarrgghh whatever man, just go and let my family sit down on their legitimate seats.”

Corollary: The two gentlemen, as I was expecting, were the loudest through out the movie, screaming and laughing at pathetic jokes, expounding theories about what’s going to happen next and talking boorishly on their cell phones during the movie.


Trip back to Bangalore – in the airplane.

A ‘dude’ is sitting behind me on the window seat. Another guy comes up, checks his ticket, puts his hand baggage in the overhead bin and then turned to the dude.

“Excuse me, you’re in my seat”

Dude: (Full faux American accent – probably watching too much Star World) “Does it matter? You can sit on the aisle”

Guy: “Er..yes, it matters. I want the window seat”

Dude (Exasperated expression): “oh well, I’ll move…hmmppff”

Yes, dear dude, you’ll move. AND you’re not doing any great favour to the guy. YOU were sitting in the wrong seat- quite deliberately. If it “doesn’t matter” (imagine fake American accent here) then why did you sit on the window seat instead of the aisle seat? (I love sitting on the window seat when I’m going to Delhi at night- I find it simply beautiful, like a smattering of jewels or stars intertwining in concentric circles ~ choke ~ Don’t remind me of Delhi right now..sniff…) The guy came to the airport early (it was a very early in the morning flight) and took a seat that he wanted. And dude just tries to commandeer it without any logic. If you want the seat of your choice- at least bother to come early – and for heavens sake DON'T act like a martyr when you should actually get a knock on your head!

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Dus Kahaniyan and other Wicked Stories...

I went to see the latest release "Dus Kahaniyan" (Ten Stories) yesterday.

Interesting concept - basically 10 separate stories, directed by different directors, one after the other. The stories were, as short stories are wont to be, in the Saki mold with sudden twists in the end. Also, the stories were a nice mix of drama, action, humour, mystery and even the bizarre.

I quite liked the concept except for the fact that many of the plots were quite predictable. In fact on atleast 3-4 occasions during the movie(s) I spoke the punchline dialogue with or before the protagonist (Yes, I am not a good person to watch a movie with :)). This is nothing to do with my immense intellect, but rather the obvious nature of the stories. Maybe some more obscure or strange stories could've been chosen.

Incidentally I was recently reading this compilation called "The Rupa Book of Wicked Stories". They've been compiled by Ruskin Bond and comprise of his favourite bizarre stories by some known, some unknown masters of the genre. So you have short stories from Saki, Ruskin Bond himself and Mark Twain rubbing shoulders with some authors that I hadn't heard of before but who Ruskin calls masters in the foreword of the book (Do you read the foreword of a book? I've found myself reading them a lot recently. Typically in an appetizer way, to whet my desire of reading the whole book) like Ambrose Bierce, E H W Meyerstein and Ralph Strauss.

All the stories were quite good, (Theres something about Ruskin Bond - whatever he does or write or say or compiles always seems to come from a child with wide open eyes and a clever smile. The other indian author who conjures up an image for me is Khushwant Singh- that of a barely pubescent boy with fluff on his upper lip and a leer on his face [oh, you noticed that I don't like whatever i've read of him. Incidently its that image that prevents me from reading 'A Train to Pakistan' where I am told he's done some excellent story telling]) but I was still left with a feeling that some of the stories in the movies could be replaced by stories from this book.

But all in all a laudable effort by the producers. Its so nice to see people trying different genres and techniques. Thank God for the multiplex revolution, we're getting to see some interesting cinema.

PS: I'm writing this post on the verge of ending my vacation in Delhi and leaving for Bangalore early tomorrow morning. I'm writing this because I tend to get irritable and clammy when I'm about to leave Delhi. At such times I try to be out of my familys way as I get too short with them. Hence, this is a straight forward and solemn post with no efforts at humour. Trust me, it would fail miserably today.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

The 'she owes me' thing...

Ok this is a bit serious, and perhaps strange coming from me.

A friend got dumped recently and talking to him was a strange experience. He kept listing down all the things that he had done for the girl. He kept harping about how how she could have dumped him.

Now I beg to differ here.

I think no one does anything for anyone in a relationship. You do the things you do because of how doing those things makes you feel. Nothing less, nothing more. In the throes of the honeymoon period of a relationship doing things for the other person, the smile it brings to her face makes you feel so good that you'd go out of your way to do those things.

But when bitterness sets in, that fact should not be forgotten. You still did those things for your own happiness and no one owes you anything for what you've done for her. And its just cheap thinking that someone can "owe" you love/friendship.

And anyway would you want a relationship based on "owing" and "obligations" and "gratefulness" ? I think not.

Sorry for the serious-ish tone. Will write a funny, mindless post soon to compensate for this...

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Serial killer...

Now i'm really flustered.

Yesterday evening I was lounging around at home (Yes, i'm in Delhi :) ). My sister had come over and I was playing around with my niece when a sudden phenomenon hit me. There was some weird shehnai kind of music playing on TV (parents got a big LCD tv recently, man, its seriously different. Thats the next TV i'll buy), and pin drop silence all around. I looked up and the weirdest sight ever hit me smack in the middle of my face.

My mom (ok), my dad (what??) and my sister (The sky is falling down, run!!!) were staring at the screen - transfixed, immobile- as a 'K' type serial was running on TV (A saas bahu family drama with garish dresses, loads of sindoor, heavy (and obviously fake) jewellery, and women trying to steal each other's pathetic, effeminate, mama's boy type of husbands while plotting the downfall of

a. their own family
b. the enemy's family
c. Oh, what the hell, ANY bloody family would do!


Now Mom, I understand - thats the target market of these soaps.

Dad? uhh, ok maybe getting stuck with mom and granny and only two TVs at home made him a convert. (By the way, this wasn't a passing or a oh-might-as-well-like-it kind of interest. No sir, dad was actually discussing the story and commenting and theorising about the future twists and turns in the tale. aargghh )

BUT SIS!! How could she do it? She was my partner while we made fun of the serials coming on TV to such an extent that Mom would throw up her hands and bellow at us. She was the one with whom i'd pass sly smiles while I would ask my mom questions about the serials that would prove beyond doubt that she remembers none of the stories except as a mish-mash of all the serials coming on TV.

Sis, you disappoint me :(

Now its just me and J (my niece) who snigger at such serials (and she doesn't count cos she's just 2 and was laughing at the faces I was pulling at her )


Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Why Wii...

This weekend I met up with an old friend from school. Amongst other things I used to open batting for my class cricket team and he used to come one down. Also, i've hit an amazing six, a sparkling cover drive and a poetic square cut (strokes that have remain etched in my memory ever since...of course lets not discuss the shots I played after these wonderful shots..yes, embarrassing, so moving right on...) using his bat. Oh, and one more memory of the inter-class matches, we also got into a running-between-the-wickets muddle once and he got run out (But anyway, I learnt something new that day- behind point is the non-strikers call :)).

He has this amazing gadget which I hadn't known before. Its called a Nintendo Wii (pronounced "we" according to wikipedia and "why" according to AB, my friend).


And its just so cool! It has a remote control like controller that works by reflecting the movements that you make with that stick like controller on the screen. It's really awesome to play tennis, baseball and a myriad other games using this. Details, and if you're interested (as I was after playing it) to know how it works -

(Yes, ladies and gentlemen, this blog is an effort to educate and instruct the masses and make their pithy lives more enriched!)

But my shoulder is still hurting from playing baseball that day. AB, who has a rather cruel sense of humour, told me that the harder you swing the controller, the harder the bat swings. What he conveniently forgot to mention was that you needn't torque your shoulder at inhuman speeds to get power in your hits, a simple twitch of the wrist would do the same.

("Well, you looked funny doing it..." was his response when I confronted him)

Why are all my friends so sadistic??!!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

How do you do it Mr. Ali...

Amazing, I have no other words!

Mr. Imtiaz Ali is the director of amazingly genuine and fresh movies (eg. Soch na tha, that we all knew. Anyone who's seen Socha na tha will become an instant fan of this moviemaker who seems to take story telling to such a simple level that the audience is thoroughly enthralled.

Ok, so fine he's a genius at these romantic flicks, but now he's gone and done the impossible! He's made Kareena Kapoor palatable.

Now, lets get the facts straight, I hate Kareena Kapoor, I abhor the way she screeches instead of speaking (I positively HATE screechy women), I detest the way she (over) acts at all times, I loathe the way she looks when she tries to look sad (an exception being Omkara), also i slightly illogically find her cheeks repugnant (ok, ok I can't help it, its true).

But Mr. Ali has done the impossible, I adored the character of Geet that she plays in his latest movie 'Jab We Met'. Now when he did 'Socha na tha' he was working with two fresh faces (Abhay Deol and Ayesha Takia {sigh..if you didn't get it - siiigggghhhhh}) who had no reputation and hence the way he presented them was establishing the way the audience perceives them.

But this time he took the mantle with two established stars who have a certain image, are loved/hated by a large number of people AND he had to completely change that image. Also, these two actors were dating in real life too and thus had another strong image with the audience. And boy, did he succeed !

The premise of the movie is very simple, its a typical boy meets girl story where Aditya, a demoralized industrialist - dumped by his girl - an eloped mom, meets Geet, effervescent - bubbly - lover of life - in love with a guy she wants to elope with, on a train that he was sitting in after getting thoroughly depressed (on the verge of suicide)and leaving all his wordly possessions. They, er, she strikes a conversation with him regurgitating her whole life, philosophy etc. on him while he tries to hold his temper with the overwhelming sadness inside him.

In the middle of the night he gets off at a station in a bid to escape his loquacious tormentor (er..that's Geet, I tend to get carried away a bit). But she gets off the train to try and get him back on and in the process ends up missing the train.

Thus, begins their journey through the western and central hinterland of India, where Aditya falls for the chick while she is still ranting about Anshuman, the boyfriend who she wants to marry.

They reach her hometown Bhatinda where Aditya meets her family and helps Geet to escape to Manali to meet her "true love". A leaves G at Manali and returns to Mumbai with a renewed faith and hope in life.

9 months pass, and one day he's accosted by the girl's family who hasn't heard from her for 9 months and are obviously distraught. A decides to find her and finds out that she's living in Shimla after being unceremoniously dumped by Anshuman. A finds her and takes her with him, but a repentant Anshuman manages to convince Geet, and eventually all three go to Bhatinda to set up Geet and Anshuman's wedding.

After a series of gaffes and seriously funny moments (I was rolling on the floor, clutching my stomach on occasions) Geet realizes her true love and they live happily ever after.

Nice and simple, no layers of interpretations, no villains- have a simple tale, tell it simply and with heart, and it shows.

I mean, I'm endorsing a Kareena Kapoor movie, man, it must've been really special!

Bitchy PS: There's a dialogue by Kareena to Shahid - "Yeh jo waqt hum abhi ji rahe hain na, yeh bahut accha hai" (This time that we have together right now is very good)
Can you imagine what was going through her mind at that point? (She dumped Shahid kapoor immediately after this movie's shooting)

A few I can think of -
- hehe, dream on mate, this ain't gonna last for you!
- hehe, this time is OVER kiddo, atleast for you!


Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Another quickie update...

Awww don't pout, i'm back ain't I?

ok, ok so I haven't been writing like a rapid fire machine gun recently.

Its just that I'd gone on a vacation to Delhi for the festival of Diwali . Now if theres one thing that really pulls me back home, this festival is it. I remember last year I wasn't able to go home for Diwali and was absolutely miserable (You haven't seen me moping and loping and snapping at people, trust me a miserable Swapnil is in sharp contradiction to the wonderful and genial one)

A bit of a digression. I'm re-reading a nice big Uncle Fred Omnibus by PG Wodehouse and am re-discovering the sheer joy of reading him. Hence, you will see convulated and complex sentence structures in clumsy attempts to come across as funny. The clumsy part is me, PGW does it effortlessly and smoothly. An example that comes to mind. A detective is reporting the movements of a lady to a character in the book -
"...and then the subject moved out in the company of three people, 2 m. and 1 f."
"2 males my Lord and the remaining individual being..."
"Ah, the other being, in sharp contradiction, female. Right. Go on."

See? smooth, "in sharp contradiction". Hehe. [small disclaimer, this isn't an exact exchange. This is what I remember. The actual one built up even better and I was rolling on the floor clutching my tummy.]

Anyway, fortunately for me I managed to get hold of three more people who were as miserable as I was and we drove down to Goa. It wasn't like going home but yeah, it was fun.

So I was in Delhi since the 1st till the 11th and I decided that I would get rid of the compulsion that is growing within me to be infront of my laptop, logged on to the world wide web almost perpetually. I decided, amongst much awe and thunder and lightening (a la Bhishm pitamah's pratigya - and, there you go my non-indian readers)to not go online at all for the duration of my stay in Delhi. And by God I stuck to my words - er.. except twice when I checked emails {embarrased grin}. But no that was AGs fault, I was sitting in his hostel room with his laptop open and beckoning me seductively (like Menaka -, there you go!... hmmm lots of mythological Mahabharat related references- wonder why). Yes, yes I succumbed.

Ahem, moving right on. The trip was fun, I met a lot of my friends there, went to the Delhi chapter Alumni meet of IIFT where I met a lot of people I hadn't met for a long time, went to DCE just to look around (Bihari and I were there. Lots of amazing changes have happened there, but somethings never change! The academic block staff was just as efficient and helpful as before {snigger} and the Chhole Samose were just as tasty and nostalgic {absolutely true} as before - sigh, here:, met my sister and niece - (Note to self: she's turning 2 on the 17th, er... my niece not my sis, remember to send a nice gift), spent time with parents, relived a bit of college by hanging out at AA's hostel, met a couple of other friends.

All in all a nice whirlwind of fun in Delhi and now I'm back.

On a slightly introspective note, I was thinking that currently when I go to Delhi, i go for short durations and all my friends rally around, alter their calendars, put off dates, ignore deadlines to meet up and party. (Yes, I'm an attention seeking worm, atleast for my close friends!) But suppose the rarity of my presence (ahem) wears off - say, if I move permanently to Delhi - then would it be fun? Or would it feel stupid that the gang is in the vicinity, but is too busy to meet? Hmm, will have to think about this

Monday, October 29, 2007

A Book Conundrum...

How many books do you read at one time?

If your answer is one- go away- I turn up my haughty nose at you. Just one? Bah! Why? Can’t you keep up with multiple stories at the same time? Oh ye of sub-super-level intelligence (er…actually that’s the way books are supposed to be read. One at a time, savoring the intricacies and plot turns of each chapter….hmmpff … you shut up).

Anyway, I’m in quite a fix right now. There was a book fair in my city sometime back. It wasn’t a very exotic book fair with unknown/vintage/rare titles; however it was useful as all the book shops that I frequent were represented there. Now the book stores are so scattered across the city that on any given day you can only go to one book store. Ok, ok you CAN go to more but let’s just say I get so lost in looking through all the stacks of books, hoping to turn up a treasured book somewhere in the churn that I end up spending hours and hours in one book shop. Hence, if I go to one store the others are automatically struck off my itinerary.

Now as we’ve got the facts all straightened out, maybe I can proceed with the crux of this story? Ok? ... Thank you.

So at this book fair I hummed around like a cheerful bee in a garden of daffodils, roses, sunflowers and other assorted tasty flowers. I flitted gracefully from store to store looking for strange titles of my favored authors, strange yet interesting titles from strange authors and oh-what-the-hell-pure-bargains (yes, I did pick up two books for 20 rupees each- that’s under 50 cents for my international readers- yes, you two, right there… stand up and take a bow. Yes, no need to be embarrassed you are the pioneers in international people reading this blog. Yes, yes I know you came searching for “swapping” on google- but the very fact that you clicked through 745,000 pages to reach my blog- now that dedication).

Anyway, now the problem is – which book do I start with? Now these books are transcending all sorts of genres – mystery, action, politics, horror, thriller, drama; there are a few known authors but a majority are unknown authors that I wanted to experiment with.

So now I have a cross-matrix of genres and unknown authors. How do I decide which book to pick up first?

Banking on my super ability of reading two-three books at one go, I’ve tried to maximize the chances of picking up a good book by starting three combo books: known author-known genre, unknown author-known genre, unknown author-unknown genre.

Wish me luck!

And may your life have more action than sorting books to read on different parameters!

Monday, October 22, 2007

Melancholy rut...

Things have become a bit too staid and predictable in the last few weeks. Not that I was a maverick adventurer before that, but I was still reasonably interested in what was going to happen in the next few days. Now, eventhough externally nothing seems to have changed, it seems that i've settled down in a rut.

On the work front, i'm actually doing interesting stuff which is being appreciated and propagated top management wide. More importantly i'm learning new stuff which in the initial phases got me so excited that I was thinking about it all the time- at home, while driving, reading. I was constantly trying to see what else could be done and was craving, actually craving to do the stuff and implement it in other spheres rather than just work.

(ok, ok I was setting up a system which could really change the way my function was being done till date. It has a pseudo-technical flavour, what with setting up servers, databases and a lot of tweaking, so the engineer and tinkerer in me got really enthralled with it.)

But now, when I'm on the verge of actually completing it and making its much anticipated release I'm feeling a bit deflated and lethargic. I'm working on it without the earlier zeal and am looking at the final product in a rather detached, uninterested manner.

I'm not able to understand why this is happening. Has anyone ever experienced such illogical deflation?

Personally, if you see the last few weekends, they've been just as active as before - the time when I did not have this melancholy gnawing feeling. I've been to see plays and movies, people have come over to my place on Fridays, been to the book fair (I bought 10 books- and even they aren't giving me the pleasure that buying new books generally gives me), met up with friends, played cards, played boardgames with AK, SC and the rest (all the rich kid games like Scotland Yard, Monopoly), explored new malls, helped out friends in need, had good food - in short, externally its been just as, if not more, active than before. But still this gnawing feeling is still persisting.

I cannot explain this. Maybe seeing other people taking decisions and following their hearts, or people willing to open up to new people and experiences, or people looking actively for change - whether professionally or personally.

Or just the fact that the future seems to be following a daily, weekly, quarterly routine, and that I don't seem to be doing anything to change it.

I need a game-changer of my own :(

Friday, October 19, 2007

and the award for casual international travel goes to...

This is in continuation to the series of melancholy posts where my friends leave the city for-
a. ever
b. a very long time

JS, another batchmate from IIFT left for the US on Tuesday. He was looking forward to it for a long time and its good to see him leave for the land of opportunities and a rapidly weakening dollar ( smirk )

Anyway I'd gone to see him off at the airport and frankly i've seen many people going on trips, whether they be intra-city, inter-city or even inter-country, but man, i've never seen anyone as casual about flying away for an year or so!

ok, ok i'll pull back and start from the beginning.

JS and his wife P form a couple that easily rates amongst the top 5 most lovable and cute couples i've ever had the pleasure of knowing. Jibi and I studied in IIFT and since i came to Bangalore a year and a half back, i've been living close to his place, going on trips together, parties etc etc. In between he also got married to his college sweetheart P.

As it is with people in the IT industry, the holy grail seems to be that coveted onsite posting to the US . Jibi duly got his onsite posting to a project in Houston and was scheduled to fly out on an Air France flight on tuesday last ( 16 October 2007 ).

So RB and I went to his house at around 10:30 in the night to bid him farewell and to see him off. His flight was at 2, and though I had some misgivings about whether he would be in time for the international flight, we still weren't expecting any disasters in catching his flight.

We reached their apartment and all was in abject disarray! Jibi was nowhere to be seen and P was rushing around the house looking totally distraught. We finally calmed her down enough for her to manage to speak coherently - " umm, gulp,sniff...the ..the fridge...its lost! sniff"

"wha...?" (Thoughts in my mind- she's in shock, a refrigerator? how can that be lost? Last I saw, it was a nice, big, roomy 200 lts fridge - the kind that can't be slipped un-noticeably in a trouser pocket...)

"Where's Jibi P?"

" Jibi is looking for the fridge...on the roof"


And then we saw Jibi and the story unfolded. Apparently they were couriering all their home stuff to their hometown. As both of them were at work, the courier people came in the evening and things were sent in a rather hurried rush. And after the courier people were gone- the fridge, which had been 'sold' to some people living nearby and was to be given to them before leaving, was reported missing in action, AWOL...

And Jibi was hunting for this three and a bluddy half hour before his flight to Houston!!

Anyway, this went on for a bit and then it was discovered that the fridge had been put into their neighbour's house by the courier guys.

Whew, you could hear the collective sigh of relief emanating from all of us. The clock was ticking and Jibi, was still roaming about in his casual clothes.

Packing him off to change we started to locate his luggage which we could haul into the waiting taxi. (Incidently we could've done with some help in this. Another batchmate from IIFT, who lives close by, AA, had called in the evening showing his keenness to see Jibi off at the airport in case i was driving him there.[ did i mention that Jibi is one of the popular people at IIFT]. I was expecting to see Ashish at the house and he could've come in handy but i guess he got caught up with something). But, things couldn't be so easy, now could they :).

10:45 on the clock and there we were, putting name and address stickers on his luggage! Things were looking ominous and I had a feeling that we could end up being very late. This feeling was reinforced by seeing Jibi still in his home clothes with a phone sticking to his ear speaking to Nikhil in the US about what documents he needs to get through immigration (yes, ladies and gentlemen, I do not name my blog posts in vain. 'Casual Travellers' means so much- here is a guy who's going to a whole new country for over an year and he's finding out the documents he needs roughly 3 hours before the flight!)

Then I saw the hand baggage that he was taking- Gawd a huge bag that would be thrown out unceremoniously if it was seen by the someone similar to the really angry and rude British Airways lady I saw in Heathrow. She had been callously telling elderly people, young mothers with kids that the luggage was too big and kicking it off - yes, that was a really bad British Airways employee.

Well, nothing could be done about it at this time. So I decided to take my car and go along with Jibi and P to the airport in case some of his luggage was to be offloaded after the weigh in.

oh, oh, oh I missed one thing. As I was getting my car to his house, we saw his friend Rajesh leaving on his bike. Enquiry told us that he was going to get a lock for the luggage. Ladies and gentlemen, the oscar for the most casual international travel goes to....take a wild wild guess!!

Anyway, alls well that ends well. Jibi reached the airport with more than two hours to go. His luggage was excessive (obviously) but not by much. We took out the excess stuff which we took back in my car. Jibi and P couldn't have a personal goodbye which i'm sure they wanted to, because of us three louts standing there, but atleast he got there in time.

Also, I met Jibi online yesterday morning - he's reached Houston safely! :)

PS: in other news Popli, my friend from DCE, returned after a 14 day long motorcycle trip to Leh and Ladakh. You can read about his experiences on and see some truly breathtaking photos at

Incidently, my new header picture is one of the photographs he took. He graciously agreed to let me use his pictures if I promote his blog amongst the millions and millions of my readers :)

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

I'm rich , I'm rich!!! The letter from Africa...

I love reading this blogger called Jake Klocksien ( he apparently received a few letters claiming to have discovered a secret cache of money in some obscure town of Africa which the writer wanted to transfer to another country. AND he needed Jake's help in getting this job done. Jake replied to these letters and they were just hilarious!!

And now even I got a letter like that YAY!! and I can write a reply too. Maybe not as funny as Jake's but here goes...

First, the letter I got:

Good Day,

This message might meet you in utmost surprise however, it’s just my urgent need for a foreign partner that made me contact you for this transaction.I am a banker by profession from DAKAR REPUBLIC OF SENEGAL in West Africa and currently holding the post of auditing general I discover this deposit in our auditing course.

I have the opportunity of transferring the left over funds $22.7 million United State Dollars the deceased client who died in the shatter plane which crashed on mount Kenya in the Kenyan city of sumburu on 21st july,2003 to any foreign account .

You can confirm the genuiness of the deceased death by clicking on this website Hence,I am inviting you for a business deal where this money can be shared between us in the ratio 45% for you and 55% me,if you agree to my business proposal, kindly get back to me.
MR Yusuf Kamara


Good day Mr. Kamara,

It is indeed extremely lucky for me that you have chosen me to transfer the extra money that you discovered while auditing. I am running a bit low on cash as the petrol prices in India have been growing quite sharply. I'm sure the additional $12.485 million would come in very handy to maintain my car.

I cannot thank you enough for the opportunity that you've provided me, the only thing that makes it just a fraction less than perfect is that I saw this email only after i'd returned from my office or else I would've immediately quit my job and bought a nice new BMW. Now with you providing me with enough capital, i don't think I need to work at all for the rest of my life. Thank you so much!!

There is only one caveat that I have which prevents me from immediately accepting your extremely generous offer and robbing a man who died in a plane crash, possibly pulling the last piece of bread from the mouths of his children - and that is that 55% for you seems to me a bit too much. I think I would be taking a lot of risk and deserve to get atleast 70% of the entire booty.

Do let me know if you agree to my business proposal. I look forward to working with you and looting more and more dead people as our greed grows further and further.


Swapnil Bhatnagar


Thursday, October 4, 2007

Down the B-school memory lane...

Anyone who knows me would know that my level of attachment to the B-school from which I did my MBA is not that great. I mean on a comparative scale if I put my undergrad college nostalgia moments at 100, B-school would be, hmmm, 35-45. Suffice to say that if I hit the jackpot and become super rich with a yacht moored in the Mediterranean, a Ferrari in the garage of my chateau in South of France and my own private harem in the Swiss alps (he he) I would be donating money to DCE rather than IIFT- at least the first couple of million dollars.

But yesterday I was reminded of all the fun times I had in IIFT. A friend, BB, was visiting Bangalore and we met up over dinner. Obviously KS was also there. And we had a rollicking time! The two years of funny, scary, tense, awesome, ridiculous, lazy, hyperactive moments were remembered with great fondness. Old professors were recalled and abused for making us get up early in the morning, or study late at night, or run around for speakers (er…the human variety) for the marketing seminar at Tradewinds (incidentally, BB, KS and I were the marketing club, Brandwagon’s, coordinators – hence responsible for organizing this conference), or even not making us study enough. Old fights, er disagreements (you don’t fight in post-graduation – you have a difference of opinion) were furiously discussed again. And the batch meetings! Who can forget the batch meetings, be they our own internal ones, elections or the really scary ones that DG called (Especially the DG one in late December of 2004)

It was seriously amazing talking and laughing at those days and it makes me wonder whether I’m justified in assigning just 35-45 to B-school. I know, I know, this conundrum doesn’t affect you in the least- boo hoo - you came to read this, so now you’ll have to bear this. After all, B-school gave a glut of such different emotions and experiences in a compact one and a half year capsule while DCE was a long drawn four year long seven course meal. The two are not comparable and both have a different taste. Additionally, I think the biggest reason for my non-enthusiastic response to IIFT was due to being bunked up in the same room with the worst person I have ever met in my entire life. I’ve never met a more selfish, spiteful, fake, inhuman and disgusting creature in my life. And the luck of the draw made him my room mate- seriously that is one guy who would shake anyone’s confidence in the intrinsic goodness of humans. But in spite of this ass@#$%, IIFT was good fun where I experienced some things that I’d never ever done before, worked on deadlines with laughter all around, made some friends who are always good to catch up with – and basically postponed the start of my working life by another two years.

Hmmm, maybe I’ll have to divide the first couple of million dollars that I'll donate to my alma maters!

Friday, September 28, 2007

late night Mockba story...

ok, this is a really funny incident that I heard from a friend of mine in college and somehow came up in a discussion I was having with my boss over coffee. I thought I'd put it here because it never fails to give me a laugh whenever i'm reminded of of it.

Disclaimer 1: This is not the only kind of stuff my boss and I discuss in office. We do work too. Not much, but yeah, we do (get that snigger off your face if you know whats good for you grrr)

Disclaimer 2: I've spiced up the story a bit for readability and to compensate for removing the swear words my friend used when he was telling me this story (No swear words here, I run a tight, family oriented ship here. Also I don't want my family being scandalized if they ever come across this. Yes, mom i'm a really good boy, you know :) )

Now the story...

So anyone in my age bracket, plus or minus 5 years, living in India knows about a certain channel that used to air in the heydays of 1998-99. It was a Russian channel where, if you were patient enough (and an insomniac), explicit content used to air.

Now its a phenomenal phenomena that every single person, from anywhere in the country, that i've met has his (emphasis on his, I haven't really come across any girl who has a TB6 Mockba - yeah, thats the channel (like you didn't guess already!!)- story) own TB6 story. It was like the underground movement of India where everyone in the throes of adoloscence at that time seems to have seen/admired this channel, yet, officially it didn't exist.

As an aside, I was priviliged to be at exactly the right time to enjoy this channel and have seen this channel in a hostel setting as well which is an amazing experience.

Moving on to the incident (jeez i've started digressing big time again)

Well, million and millions of post-pubescent boys cooked up weird stories to get to the TV late late at night and watch TB6 with their hearts thudding and fingers twitching over the remote in anticipation of the 'right' program starting and also of being discovered in a rather embarrasing situation.

So this friend of mine, apart from the normal dangers that everyone across the country faced had another problem. He had a dish antenna at home which at one angle received your normal star plus, star movies, Zee etc etc, i.e. the mundane boring normal channels; and at a different angle it received OUR channel, i.e. the Now-we're-talking-channels.

So late at night, way after mid-night some insomniac road trawler would see my friend (aargghh lets call him S)slipping stealthily on the roof of his house, moving the dish to the appropriate angle, slipping back inside and then moving back up an hour or so later when the good stuff stopped airing and shifting the dish back to its normal position.

And so the days were passing, comfortable but sleepless, and all was well with S.

And thus began the night that inspired this post. S, sitting silently infront of his study books, waiting for his parents to eventually get tired and go to sleep so he could begin his nightly ritual. All was going to plan,

"Son, you're not sleeping yet?"

"No mom, I really need to study a bit more. I have some big exams coming up"

"Yes beta, but i'm worried. Your eyes are always red in the morning. I hope you're not studying too hard. I don't want your health affected."

"Don't worry mom, nothing will happen, but I just have to study a bit more. Good night"

"ok beta, good night"

The clock keeps ticking as our protagonist stares at it with ears cocked just the way his pet dog Snowy does. Waiting to spy on the snores of his dad and the deep breathing of his mom that would liberate him from his study table and allow him to proceed to the most important activity of the entire day :)

Hark, there comes the sound that he had been waiting for with bated breath. And about time too! Yes!! He throws off his blanket, walks silently to the door, nudges it open and sneaks out and begins his odyssey to the roof. Everything is going smoothly, the dish moved easily and was at just the right angle for perfect reception, no sound had broken the dead of the night, no light shone from any house in the colony, much less his house.

Just as he began his descent he heard a little yip.

Funny what could that be?

Another yelp.

That came from the road - let me investigate.

He leant over the parapet, as his eyes adjust to the dark he sees a small white dog running freely on the road, sniffing here barking there.

Ha, just a dog. Nothing to worry about. Wait! it looked familiar. Oh God that was Snowy. I must've left the door ajar and the stupid mutt made its bid for freedom aarrgghh!!!

Hehe needless to say, the night's plans suddenly took a whole new dimension. And the dead of the night saw a school boy running around traversing the dark streets screaming "Snowy, snowy" in a hushed voice :)

PS: He got the mutt back. But if you think there was a moral to the story? Well the only one S got was to leash the dog before he starts on his nightly quest.

PPS: 2000 was a sad year in the history of all teenagers here in India. We came under the regime of a rather religiously devout party and the Information and broadcasting minister, Sushma Swaraj, became the most hated woman in the entire country overnight when she shut down the airing of this channel.

PPS: That bully! If she'd tried this in election year and if teenagers were allowed to vote, her party, BJP, would have lost so badly that landslide defeat would be a mere trifle infront of the avalanche defeat they would've faced!

Sunday, September 23, 2007

The Indian whirlwind...YAY!!...

The Indian cricket team continues to amaze me. How, HOW does it continue to consistently perform in the exact opposite manner to what is expected of them??!!

A bit of a backgrounder in case you haven't been following the Twenty 20 World cup happening in South Africa. Ok, ok I hear roars of consternation from millions and millions of my fans from around the globe where they play violent, illogical, unfathomable games like rugby, baseball, lacross etc. and missed out on the privilige of learning/playing the gentlemen's game (er..thats Cricket in case you don't know, you ignorant *&*^*%# ).

So just for you ignorant *&*^*%# I shall go right down to basics and move ground up till you reach the level where you understand terms like Twenty 20, bat, ball, wicket, Joginder Sharma's smile (Yeah baby, I'll go right down to the basics). However, even for someone as amazing as me, I'll need help to run this tutorial. And I shall be ably assisted by the greatest known source of intelligence on all subjects available under the sky, to wit, Wikipedia :).


Anyway, this'll take too much time. You guys do the basic research and come back to this post, ok? Go on, I'm waiting, I promise I won't say anything till you're back...

Right, so those non-cricket following sods are gone? Good, now we can start this discussion at a much higher level of understanding. Seriously, don't you just hate the slow people in class aarrgghh.

Anyway, here's the rest of the post...

Suffice to say that India, without most of their much touted stars were expected to collapse at the first hurdle they faced. But they've played scintillating cricket, aggregating their own individual abilities and hunger for victory into a 1+1=11 manner into a set of performances that would have the senior players sitting out of this tournament shivering in their boots about whether they would have a place in the side when the dust settles on this series.

First they beat Pakistan, the traditional rival and a team which probably has much much better bowling on paper than India's. They have superb batsmen as well, but India can easily overcome them in the batting department. Now, that match had all the makings of a great battle and it was actually so. The rollicking match moved from one side to the other almost every three overs ( over: like a set of 6 pitches in baseball..aah I try so hard to be all inclusive in these posts:)). At the end of the match the scores were tied and India overcame Pakistan in the bowl out which is akin to a penalty shootout in soccer. We kept our nerves, they couldn't.

Then, just as interest was growing and the streets were falling silent when India was playing they went went and did what we have all come to expect - disaster after a glimmer of hope. India succumbed quite easily to New Zealand and were on the mat with the possibility of them being kicked out of the tournament very very real. This is nothing new and if it didn't happen indian cricket fans would've been quite surprised. Rising from ashes as a phoenix does, is situation in which the Indian cricket team loves getting into! (And they don't always rise. Normally its just the ashes that remain)

But thats when the tables turned, England, South Africa and then the mighty and arrogant Australians were beaten comprehensively. Three huge HUGE wins in four days. Stars emerged where none were earlier. Yuvraj Singh suddenly discovered his superhuman ability of hitting the ball out of the stadium at will (119 metres!! hugest six of the tournament). RP Singh, of all people, developed that perfect in-dipping yorker!! Fielders are running around with a renewed spring in their feet, they're hitting the stumps directly from unusual angles and seasoned cricketers are just collapsing infront of the Indian youth juggernaut.

But for me the one moment that has made all this worth it. Joginder Singh, a medium pace bowler with a face carved out of lead (A particularly dead, expressionless kind of lead as well - refer to photo, now imagine this face to remain absolutely impassive whether he gets a wicket or is clobbered for six),

he, gulp, actually smiled after the match yesterday...sniff...Indian cricket has turned the corner!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Legends of whaa...??? ...

Yesterday evening I went to this nearby pub called Legends of Rock. I've been there before and, quite frankly, I don't like it too much. Its spread over one floor and the roof. Now the roof is decent enough, primarily thanks to the awesome weather we have here in Bangalore (Gentle perfumed breeze, mild cloud cover, a sprinkling of rain if the temperature threatens, mildly at that, to rise. I must've spoken about this earlier. I MUST have - go read the archives). But the one at the bottom, man, its totally crammed, stuffy, smoky, with people walking all over everyone else's toes.

Well, I may be a bit biased because on the two occasions I sat on the lower floor, the nights were some or the other "special nights".

The first was a soccer match in the last World Cup, a quarter final match I think. And the second was yesterday when they had a local band called the "Revivers" playing. So maybe the crammed to the brim, rest your glass on the guy infront of you's head, elbow-your-way-to-the-rest-room setting could be attributed to these 'special' nights. The roof on the other hand is my kind of place where a conversation can ensue without screaming (I'm told i'm quite soft spoken). Plus, the roof has some good, i-feel-like-a-fool memories with it. But thats another story.

Anyway, I was with this friend of mine who is big time into music and thus yesterday evening saw me sitting on a plastic stool, being pushed from side to side by passing waiters and semi-drunk guests, with a live band playing some 5 yards away. Now the place has obviously not been designed for a live performance, the poor band had no space to move or do any expansive gestures that should be a part of any live gig. Whenever the drummer really "got-with-it" and flayed the drum sticks around a bit, you could notice the base guitarist at his side turning visibly pale. The acoustics were so terrible that the music afficianado friend of mine also had trouble deciphering the songs, I don't even have to say anything about myself. I'm generally able to recognize songs only if they come with sub-titles, so for me the entire performance was just a wave of incoherent sound crashing all over me.

Anyway, it was an evening out after quite some time and all in all it just happened to be the kind of evening i'm not too keen on, but yeah, it was a good break from just lying around in the evening reading a book or watching twenty20 cricket matches.

Where, by the way an important match between India and England is to happen today. We really really need to win this one to keep our hopes even marginally alive in this tournament or else we'll be facing a debacle similar to the 50 over a side world cup. shall not remember that tournament..sniff the trauma of watching that match (you know which one I'm talking about) still hurts...

Friday, September 7, 2007

And I'm back...

I've realised that I've been doing something really inexcusable off late. I've been taking this blog too much for granted. (oh, i'll write later, its always there anyway, its just the same, no one really reads it anyway, blah blah blah)

Now, i've decided that I need to get this sloth off my back. I really enjoy writing (even if its not particularly great philosophical stuff that would contribute in making the world a better place) and I shouldn't let laziness deprive me of a Nobel prize for literature at a later date in my life. So I shall re-ignite my love for my blog and stop writing merely factual posts which, when I read them now, I realize were just really bad pieces of writing which I was bunging together just for the sake of updating the blog.

And do you know why this was happening? I'd started writing for my reader's attention rather than for my own joy. In fact if I observe my behaviour over the last month, i've been spending more time on the mapstats website that helps me track my blog visitors (Their numbers, where they linked from, the search items that threw up my blog etc etc) rather than actually writing. Yes, yes you can put down your accusing fingers now, I admit it, I sold out.

But I shall turn over a new leaf now. You just wait and see :)

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Difference between Delhi and Bangalore traffic jams...

Well as you know i've just returned from a trip to Delhi. Sigh...

One of the great things about going to Delhi is that I get to drive on the huge, wide roads for a change. So there I was, driving along ring road (New Delhi is built in the shape of a circle where two main roads called outer and inner ring roads respectively act as the main rivers into which the smaller roads flow in as tributaries)in the evening. (Would you be interested in knowing what all I did on my trip? hmmm lets see, if this traffic jam post doesn't turn out to be too long, I'll probably enumerate what all I did there).

Anyway, so I got stuck in a traffic jam near Moti Bagh enroute to Dhaula Kuan and further down to my home. Nudging the car slowly in the 4 lanes full of a medley of cars, autorickshaws, bikes, trucks and buses a sudden revelation flashed in my mind about the difference between traffic snarl ups in different cities.

Now i've been to a number of cities, but haven't really stayed too long, or driven too much in any city except Delhi and Bangalore, but jams have distinctive characteristics even in these cities. Maybe you could tell me about the characteristics of traffic jams in your city after you read this post.

Delhi Traffic jams:
1. Traffic doesn't really come to a standstill for a long time. Cars keep nudging forward.
2. One thing i've noticed is that nowadays many vehicles are sticking to their lanes in Delhi, even in traffic jams. Now earlier when the infrastructure there was still being built traffic jams had snarly characteristics with cars fighting and jostling and angling every which way just to gain a few yards. It was a race, and a winner-takes-all kind of race in which no quarters were given.
3. Jams are not made by human craziness, generally that is (making any sweeping statement about traffic in any part of India is just plain stupid). They are usually an effect of sheer number of vehicles stuck at red lights.

Bangalore Traffic jams:
1. Traffic comes to a dead halt for a long time. So long that you end up fidgeting in your seat with sheer exasperation. ok, by traffic I mean cars - the bikes, mopeds, people, cows create a canvas of flux in which sane car drivers try to adhere to lanes etc here.

2. Vehicles DO NOT adhere to lanes, much less in traffic jams. I'm sure an aerial shot of a Bangalore jam would make a very interesting picture as most vehicles would be at angles to each other and to the lanes. Little corners of cars, helmet locks and leg guards from bikes, angled handles of cycles and of course the suddenly spurting movements of people trying to cross the roads come together to form a deadly nexus in which everyday that you come home without scratching your car should be deemed a miracle of nature.

3. Jams ARE caused my human insanity. Some places, yes, the roads are narrow, too much traffic, but at others? Sheer stupidity. Some of the weirdest red lights i've seen in my life. I don't know who's designed the traffic systems here but s/he must be cross-eyed, myopic, drugged,psychologically challenged and just a plain sadistic. And the people just make the job easier for this psycho. Absolutley no traffic sense. Lanes have been drawn, cos i guess the roads would look too drab without them, for all the purpose they serve. Everyone makes strange lane-cutting turns, awkward and sudden U-turns. The sheer selfishness in driving here, the fights over yards of road, make Delhi traffic seem like heaven. And thats saying a lot, cos heaven knows that traffic is pretty bad in Delhi as well...

Anyway thats my take, and as I've managed to stretch even this small post to such lengths, I'll tell you about my Delhi vacation in the next post.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

My big budday gift and Delhi o Delhi..wheee!!! ...

I did it!
Finally I did what i've been thinking for so long.I got my self a car when I was 25. (ok, ok it was a close call, another 5 days and I'd be 26. Yes, this is a nudge for all of you to send in expensive birthday gifts.)

I got myself a neat, super sleek Fiat Palio. Its a beautiful car and I'm loving driving it.I got it on 21st August.

Unfortunately Bangalore's traffic does not give enough leeway to really open up the throttle.But not to worry, all in good time.

I'll put in some photos, but right now i'm swamped with work (came back at 10 today!)

But seriously its a strange feeling, I mean grown ups buy cars and stuff. I guess I've grown up ... :)


Just a quick note, i'm visiting Delhi starting tomorrow. I'll be there till 2nd September.

And the weird thing is that I'm not feeling as I excited as I normally do. I guess its the extra work and the excitement, tenderhook-ness before getting the car, excitement and weirdness on getting the car :D

Its all good though, all good..Delhi will be awesome fun again this time as lots and lots of my friends are in Delhi at this point of time...

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Lost my phone...

I've lost my phone, the "how" is too embarrassing for me to elucidate upon here in this open forum. Apart from the actual act of losing the instrument, i've also lost all the contact numbers that kept me in touch with all you lovely people.

Please help me in re-collecting your phone numbers by writing them on the back of the cheques that you'll be sending to express your sympathy.

Or, alternatively you can email your numbers to, or leave it in comments here.

Whatever works for you you cheapskates.Can't help a pal in need...grumble themselves my friends...grumble grumble...i'll show them, no more happy posts for those who don't send cheques...grumble grumble...

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

A quickie update...

" don't love me anymore"
"We hardly spend any time together anymore. Whats happened?"
"I think we're drifting apart, we were so good together...sniff"
"what went wrong? It was perfect..."

ok, ok I'm sure your thoughts are not as over the top as these reactions. But yeah, if my blog could speak, she'd probably be spewing such senti dialogues by the dozen.

Well a couple of factors have been contributing to this drought of posts. One, blogger has been blocked in my office (If I decide to switch jobs, this'll be a great factor) and second, i've been battling waves and waves of work for the last couple of weeks. I mean, you guys know me, would you've thought that you'd ever see me get up early of my own volition as I could do with a couple of hours extra in office? Or that you'd ever see me gasping and limping in late, LATE from work on a weekday? well, yes, I've been guilty of doing both.

Lots of things I saw over these to weeks made me go Ah! now that just HAS to go into my blog! But then I never got around to doing it, and now when I have time today (The day is off today on account of it being 15th August, the Indian independence day, when we got our freedom back after an amazing and incomprehensible non-violent struggle. Seriously, if you're not from India and have no idea about our freedom struggle, I suggest you read up on it a bit. Its fascinating. As a corollary, normally history is taught in a really pathetic learn-by-rote way in India. However, thank God for the most awesome teacher ever, Aditi Misra ma'am, who made the subject alive for me and all my classmates) I'm not able to recall the initiators of these "aha! this has to be blogged" moments.

So I shall regale you with some highlights of what I've been upto for the last two weeks. I know, I know - you'd rather have my intellectual discourses- but that ain't happenin sista!

Have started on this awesome book by Bill Bryson. It's a travellogue about when he travelled around Australia. The way he's written this is just phenomenal. He's very funny and at the same time has a firm grasp of the history and culture of the place, in addition to being very insightful. I'm looking forward to reading what is considered his masterpiece, a brief history of nearly everything.

Oh and yeah, i'm seriously considering buying a car. It'll be the most expensive purchase of my life till now. And m heart is set on a particular model that is no longer in production. So I have to go the used car route. Now, in my family no one has ever bought anything second-hand. So I have absolutely no idea of how to go about it, whether it'll be good or will it be a lemon, am I making a mistake by being stubborn about that one model I want?

Anyway, we shall see. I'll take it, then whatever happens i'll just live with it. Worst case I may need to borrow some money from you, my readers. I'm sure you guys will contribute to the "swapnil's-on-the-verge-of-collapse-with-starvation-fund". Generously!

What else, what else, haan, I saw this movie Apocalypse Now. Now don't get me wrong I liked the whole thing, and some scenes were stunning but didn't understand what Kurtz was doing exactly. Or how he got all the vietnamese followers. I think Marlon Brando (Kurtz') role needed to be elongated a bit to get better insight into his actions. Or maybe i'm just a doddering idiot who needs to be explained these "thought provoking" movies slowly, one word at a time :)

Yeah, last to last weekend I also saw a play called "To the death of my whole family". This is a one woman performance about an afghan woman who is an american citizen returning from Afghanistan where she'd gone to fetch her dad. She's detained by the authorities just for coming from Afghanistan. As the plot unravels it explains how her entire family died as a result of the conflict and how its tearing her heart out. I'm not able to put it in words, but it was a phenomenal performance. One of the very few serious plays that i've enjoyed (Maybe enjoyed is not the word to be associated with such a play)

Oh, and I'd gone to an office party in a new suppossedly hot place called Madira (Wine in Hindi). The place wasn't all that great but it was a fun party.

hmm anything else, nope, just test drives, awesome plays, tepid blown out of proportion movies and a hell of a lot of work! Thats all thats been keeping me from y'all...

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

The more "feelingful" Hampi trip post...

In the second part of "Hampi-ty dampi-ty, what a damp squib!" we will be aiming for a more personal angle to the whole episode that happened enroute Hampi. I have been accused of just jotting down the facts as they happened in the last post with no "human angle" to it. No, I do not work for a bitchy editor, its just that my readers are that discerning.

So I was racking my phenomenal brains to work on this new angle to ensure that my readers continue to subscribe to my blog and feel touched to tear when they hear about the plight that befell us on this weekend trip. I was thinking of writing in a cringy way, describing each moment of black despair that we went through. To talk about each tear that rolled down our cheeks as we contemplated are hopeless situation. Each drop of perspiration that shimmered on our bodies (ok, this is not the kind of suggestive imagery I was aiming for...moving on...) as we walked around like helpless babes in the forest of distraught-ness (I think I just invented a word !).

BUT then, a better idea struck me. If you've read a bit about marketing, you'll know that the best way to identify a customer need is to go out in the market. Talk to the people who are affected and have an opinion about what you want to ask them.

And who is the person most affected in this entire episode? Who would have the strongest opinion (Though I don't recall him ever emphasising his feelings with profanities that I would've used most easily) about what transpired?

Yes, the answer stood staring me in the eye. It has to be the owner of the car that suffered such pains at the hands of the cruel, cruel stone-on-the-road.
You guessed it right, we will make Jibi open his heart and bare all (er..em..his feelings..sheesh you guys!) in this edition of swappinglives.

A small introduction of Jibi is needed here. Jibi or Jibitesh is my batchmate from IIFT. He along with his wife P stay in the same locality as I do. Before his wedding, he was sharing a flat with RB and NK...and yeah, PJ. He had also gone with RB and I on our legendary trip to Goa, circa 2006 Diwali. Subsequently he, along with me, had been unceremoniously kicked out of a second rung club called Mambo's there because we were just guys and it was a couples only club. Now, I'm used to this kind of treatment because of my long standing single status, however, the poor chap was so unused to this that he immediately went and got married upon returning, just to ensure he wouldn't have to suffer the humiliation again (I'm kidding of course. His wedding had nothing to do with this...but think about it, people DO get married for strange reasons. There's a girl in my office who claims she's getting married only because she gets bored on the weekends !! So in a parallel universe some or the other psycho may decide to get married because he was turned out of a couples-only club. But I digress..but this is an interesting point to ponder...moving on).

We caught up with Jibi who was understandably shaken by the turn of events.

1. Jibi, first of all I'd like to express my heartfelt sympathy for what happened to your car. Millions and millions of our readers are very curious about what happened? Could you shed some light on this and describe what happened some 50 kilometres from Hospet at around 1 in the afternoon on Saturday?

I hit a SMALL rock. The car didnt think it was small enough.

2. Now that is one scary incident! What was going through your mind when you heard the noise? And were you in full control of the car after that stone hit the chassis? Or was it just your extra-ordinary driving skills that saved the day?

Was in control till the car hit the rock. Nothing happened. The car stopped with a thud, smoke billowing and the keys automatically in my hand. I dunno if I took out the keys or they came out on impact, locking the steering in the process. Restarted the engine and took the car to the side.

3. When you peeked under the chassis and saw that huge gaping hole looking out insolently from the engine casing, what were the first three swear words that crossed your mind?

Didnt have to wait to peek to understand that the engine was hit. Saw the oil gushing out actually had sprayed all over the place. One of the wheel caps was gone. Swear words that came to my mind... Sorry I was too numb to think anything.

4. Anyway thank God there was a service station in Bellary. But I understand that there were some problems with the jeep that had been sent to "rescue" you?

Find the detailed description in the blog when I write here as a guest blogger.

5. No diesel, and a breakdown in a distance of 50 kilometres? It sounds terribly fishy. Do you think this could be a conspiracy? Do you suspect anyone?

No one. I dont think I even knew the truck wallah who could have kept the rock at the middle of teh road. Nor the Ford guys who "tried" to help. please read the attached doc and let me know if i can pin point the conspiracy angle on anyone.

6. Anyway, I guess alls well that ends well! Thank you so much for taking out time to speak to the edit team at swappinglives. it was wonderful speaking to you and I really admire the steely grit with which you've managed to come out of this traumatic experience. You, sir, are an inspiration.

Alls not over yet. The insurance decision pending, I would need lots of motivation from all you guys to take my car out again, if it ever comes back.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Hampi-ty dampi-ty, what a damp squib...

Ah, well, it had to happen...

Till now all the trips that we've been on in and around Bangalore, whether it's the friendly neighbourhood Nandi hill or the distant dungeon of debauchery Goa (ok, ok I just had to make an alliteration there, so shoot me) have gone very well. I mean,yes, there have been problems that every traveller faces, but never anything that would really be an impediment to enjoy the trip. whether we made it to the summit of our destination or enjoyed the vistas on the way, we never came back with a feeling of dissatisfaction, ever.

We decided to go to Hampi ( ), a quaint historical town nestling softly on the banks of the river Tungabhadrain North Karnataka. The place is beautiful. Well laid out temple complexes, sunken ruins, underground Shiv temples. The reverberations from the past made even us, the self-proclaimed anti-ruins/temples/tombs/ museums adventurers into a bunch of hushed, reverential admirers of the beauty of the place. Ah, but i'm outpacing my tale.

We were seven people (isn't that supposed to be a lucky number?) distributed in two Ikons. We started of from Bangalore in the early light of Saturday 28th July 2007. RB, Punit and I in RBs car, and Jibi, Ashish, AB and AT in Jibi's.

All was well, the drive was picturesque. Though I really wouldn't know, I'd been awake all night and was asleep with my trusty eye mask for the first two hours. We managed to get a good hearty breakfast. Clearly, till then there was no sign of impeniding discomforts.

Now i'll have to fast forward a bit or this'll take all night. :)

So as we were nearing Hospet, some 20 kilometres from our planned destination we got a call from the Jibi's car. They had driven over a rock which some nincompoop must've left on the road. The rock disintegrated when it hit the chassis but unfortunately a piece dislodged itself only after it had punched palm-size hole in the engine casing. Now this casing is full of engine oil and is the playground where the power generating pistons transfer power to the cam shaft which in turn makes the car move. A hole here meant that the oil did not leak out, it spurted and gushed out. The car was rendered motionless some 50 kilometres from any kind of proper town. Its a surprise that cell phone signals were still there, thank God.

So now the next hour or so went in trying to find a means of getting the car fixed. It lead to a few hilarious situations as well. I was callin up to find a Ford service station in the vicinity. After a number of calls to Ford dealers we finally zeroed in on a breakdown service in Bellary, 50 km from the site where the car was stranded, only to be told very confidentally by the lady manning Ford customer service that there is NO service station in Bellary.

Anyway, eventually we got through to the service station and we were promised a rescue mission to beat all rescue missions.

So by this time we got some food packed for the stranded friends and turned our nose back to go to them. We reached and after examining the car a bit (and having a hasty lunch on the boots of the two cars.)

Hark! Whats that on the horizon? Ah, it is but our knight in shining armour, an old yet sturdy looking (little were we to know!) Mahindra jeep. The "experts" came and after a cursory examination gave us the bad news. It would have to be towed to Bellary. Well, there wasn't much we could do, the car was tied to the jeep and the towing was about to start. And then, we should've got a hint of worse things to come, when the jeep refused to start and had to be pushed to get the engine up and running.

Oh, oh, I forgot two things, it had started raining by now, and RBs car had got a puncture. Well minor issues, and we were on our way.

Obviously, we passed the towing vehicle and were well on our way to Bellary when we generally called the other car to see how they were doing. Turns out that their woes had not ended, but rather had been accentutated by the said Knight in shining armour. The ancient jeep stopped because it was out of diesel first. And when that was rectified it broke down due to some mechanical fault a bit later. Dreadful, dreadful rainy night wasn't helping either.

Anyway, we managed to find a good hotel in Bellary [After Punit and I waded through 3-4 inches of slush for a kilometre or so (yeah, yeah, the sacrifices I make...I tell you they should anoint me a saint)]

Well we had a nice loll around in the open air restaurant they had there (BTW the hotel was called "Pola Paradise" :D - but a nice place) till the others joined us after leaving the car at the service centre.

Had a nice party in the room, though it was rather short where everyone seemed to be in a bit of a hurry.

Anyway, we went to Hampi the next day, really nice place, but were too 'not-in-the-mood' by then to really explore. Of course the Mango tree restaurant is a must see there, though the food isn't all that great.

Anyway, we finally reached Bangalore on Sunday night, and I for one was glad to be back in the familiar environs of my home.

Have you had a trip that just didn't seem to go right at all?

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Of Clairvoyant 'College Queen' Presidents and MCP husbands...

A couple of days back we got ourselve a shiny brand new President of India, Ms. Pratibha Patil (or is it Dr? Seriously with the kind of things she's done, I wouldn't put it past her). A lot of people have been bad-mouthing her, but I just can't seem to understand why? I mean, don't go by the downcast eyes, the shuffling walk, the nervous and needy way in which she seeks shelter under Ms. Gandhi's wing; the lady is obviously a woman of steel. Have a look at what Wikipedia says about our new leader -

During her college days, she excelled in table tennis, winning various inter-college tournaments. In 1962, Pratibha Patil was voted "College Queen" of M.J. College.

There, the mere fact that we are getting a "college queen", no less, as a President should be enough to convince the nay-sayers about her candidature. Afterall she has experience in being a figure head! Plus, a crowned royal personage who excels at commoners' sports like table tennis, sigh, we SOO needed a President with those qualifications.

AND one who gets divine visions in the form of dead people talking to her:

Patil claims to have spoken to the spirit of the deceased leader (Baba Lekhraj) of the Brahma Kumaris World Spiritual University at their headquarters in Mount Abu, Rajasthan.

"Dadiji ke shareer mein Baba aye ... Maine unse baat ki (Baba entered Devi’s body and he communicated to me through her)," she said on TV camera.[62] Reporters began to report on the message she received of a “divine indication“ of great responsibility coming her way.

Patil claims to have received the mediumistic message during the last season in which the spirits they call "Bapdada" communicated with the faithful of the Brahma Kumaris sect. She had gone to seek the blessings of Hirday Mohini, also known as Dadi Gulzar or Dadiji

Now THAT's what the Doctor ordered for leading India towards becoming a global economic and social super power in the 21st century - a clairvoyant President!!

My flatmate R and I have been trying and trying ever since her name started bouncing around in the Presidential elections arena to hear her speak anything at all in the media. In this day and age of media juggernauts it would obviously take a very athletic person with an inborn "college queen-ly" haughty veneer to avoid and discourage the baying journos. Ms. Patil has successfully managed to resist all attempts by media persons to get the much sought after sound byte, and must be congratulated for managing this.

However, this has also confused us, the public of the country, about what kind of spineless person we may be getting as our leader. I mean, if she can't come out and defend herself against all the charges flying around at her, and has to resort to Ms. Gandhi and the Prime Minister giving her clean chits in all cases, then the possibility of her being a neutral, mutually respected leader for both the government and the opposition, much less the international community seems to be really bleak.

Jokes and sarcasm apart, she HAS done some things which are worth emulating. She didn't take her husband's surname at the time when it was automatically assumed that she would. She's a trained lawyer. She got into politics at an early age. She's also the first woman Governor of Rajasthan. My rant has nothing to do with her past achievements. She is a distinguished lady who may, for all I know, make a great President. Its her behaviour during the pre-election days thats getting my goat.

Somehow, her reluctance to face the media and talk about the numerous allegations floating around (that could be a smear campaign, I really don't have enough material to judge) has sort of taken the halo away from the President's office. And she seems more like a force-fit rather than the genuine thing.

Related to this, newspaper stories claim that when her huband 'educator' Devisingh Ransingh Shekhawat got the news of her success in the Presidential race, he joked - "Hehe..guffaw.. now she will be the head of the'll become a matriachal family..guffaws "

WTF, so? Ever heard of equality of sexes? And why the hell are you laughing like a moron for? What the hell is so wrong with a matriachal family? She's the President of the largest true democracy in the world, what do you expect her to do...cook you food and tie your shoelaces because you're a man? Jeez...