Thursday, May 31, 2007

Neat take on life...

It’s like driving a car at night. You never see further than your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way. " - E.L. (Edgar Lawrence) Doctorow

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Update on my mis-adventure...

Well considering the hordes and hordes of well meaning emails that flooded in in response to my telling the tale of my little scuba dive I thought I'll write this post

(Yes,and about that - I got one email, from AK - guess it doesn't even count cos he's my real world friend since forever. SO what does this say about you online people. I feel so used and exploited {curls up in a corner and puts thumb in mouth} come here for your daily dose of laughs, giggle at the brilliant stuff I slave to write for you. And then when you get to hear about a near-death horrendous incident in my life,you don't even bother to put in even a SINGLE email/comment.You call yourself my loyal readers?? Disgusting, you guys should be ashamed...{shakes fist in the air and spews a few choice expletives}..hmmppfff.)

Anyway, in case some of you actually care about what happened to me post this incident, heres a small update.

My super cool phone is back to working condition. However, it cost 3.5 thousand INR to repair. (yes, we will be accepting donations to the 'help feed Swapnil, now that he's broke paying for his phone repairs' fund. Cash please. AND please convert that 100 dollar bill before depositing {the way the rupee is appreciating against the Dollar, that 100 dollar bill may soon have half its original value}, there, thank you)

Also, when leaving the shop, the repair guy gave me some good ol' fashioned gyan (emphasis on AFTER I had paid my bill). He said Sir, ek baar aisa touch screen wale phone mein paani chale jaaye to kuchh keh nahin sakte ki kitna chalega. ek saal- ya dus saal, kuchh keh nahin sakte. Mere khayal se to isse bech hi dena ab . For my Hindi-challenged readers- "once a touchscreen phone like this one gets water-logged, you can never say how long it'll work. It could be an year, or ten years, no one can say. According to me you should think about selling it off now."

Jeez, thanks man, you repair it and then tell me you don't know how long it'll work. Then you suggest I sell it off. (Yes, I asked him how much money would I get for the phone..he picked up the phone, gave it an appraising look {yeah, man you were playing with its innards for two days and now you have to relook at it to know how much it'd fetch?!!), and said around 4000. It took all my self-control to stop me from banging my head on a wall right there!

My laptop is functioning fine, if not a bit better than before.(Hehe, I guess the drives got "clean" ...snigger).The adapter blew up when I plugged it in but other than that its running fine. Unfortunately I still haven't backed up my data yet. I have a number of personal videos (videos of some trips and lots of my adorable niece J) that I have to write on my personal cds before I can get my laptop formatted and working really well again. I guess, and I hope I remember, to buy a few cds on my way home and then make these cds so I can get the tech-guys to format my laptop and reinstall all the stuff.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Bangalore rains...

We interrupt normal programming about Manali due to exceptional circumstances.

Friday evening, a bit of rain decided to fall on Bangalore. And thus begins my saga, its not a pretty fairytale and I would warn the feeble hearted to turn back now - I shall not take any responsibility for the mental trauma you may face because of continuing.

So you insist on tormenting yourself, well, then read on- let it be on your head.

I took my regular office shuttle and got down at my regular spot. And there, a little bit of rain and water clogging happens at all places in Bangalore. And there it was the roads had some one and a half feet of water. The so called sidewalk was also submerged under a similar head of water.

Arrrgghhh, I said to myself (yes, remarkably articulate I am when conversing with myself), rolling up my trousers a bit I started to nimbly leap from dry spot to dry spot (Bangalore sidewalks have stones sticking up at angles. The edges of these sometimes provide relief from the rising floods. Yes, we live in a third world country. Yes, our infrastructure whats your point exactly?). However, I failed to take cognizance of one fact- there is an open drain running behind the sidewalk.

Well the rest you can imagine- one moment I was walking nimbly on my toes trying to avoid water leaking into my shoes, and the next I saw murky water all around me with bubbles escaping from my nose. Yeah, i'd stepped into the drain and had fallen headlong. I got submerged for a second or two, and God, it was bloody scary.

Fortunately I didn't get hurt (Aww man, what needs to be done to shut him up. He falls in a drain, gets submerged and still doesn't get hurt. Man, just when we were getting our hopes up.....yeah, thanks so much, you're such good pals...bleh). But, my current status is kind of terrible. My laptop has been lying open with a fan running for the last two days in a hope that water would dry up and it recovers. I hope the technical guys in office can retrieve the data, or else i'm sooo screwed.

My super cool Imate PDA phone is with the repair guy- and he told me that he'll let me know IF the phone can be repaired...aaarrgghhhh..the suspense is killing me.

I also had some office work which hasn't been done as well as I would've wanted because of this mishap.

Anyway, please put your palms together and pray that my phone and laptop recover :(

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Manali trip 2003 ...contd...

Ok so PS added a couple of incidents that I'd forgotten about. Thats how we work, throwing the ball between us, compensating for the other person's shortcomings, making sure that the final product is brilliant (No, I'm not growing senile and losing my ability to remember things [drat, whats that called...yeah, memory], YOU shut it called..yeah..!$@%#%%!@. There, now will you make any allusions to my shortened memory span? Good)

Any-which-way, so as pointed out the juniors(ah the blue-eyed-innocent-bundles-of-joys), poor darlings that they are (were!), left their luggage bunched together outside the hostel and sweetly forgot all about it. We went all the way to Murthal (ah, memories, ah, paranthas, ah, "key karra hai chhore" people) before those kids remembered their luggage (Ok, so shouldn't you be aiming those loss-of-memory jokes on them? Rather than on were you aiming them at? - me!). Despite us seniors thinking that it didn't really matter (we had our luggage you see), the juniors still managed to commandeer one Qualis and went to retrieve their luggage (Now, THIS is a first. But I guess once a guy is separated from his undies..well, then he wants them back - seniors or no seniors...some things just HAVE to be done)

So, these kids went hunting while we settled down to have the most amazing paranthas in the world (Yes, Tanku's is nothing in comparison, Transport nagar was maaayybe in the same league- but we had those paranthas after escaping cops. At 3 in the night. On the pavements of the campus roads of DCE. In the hostel way of eating - throw your hand in the fray and maybe you'll get a piece way.),. So after this very hearty breakfast we started on the journey.

I've already told you kids about the Chandigarh So we shall move on to Manali.

We were booked in this awesome hotel/resort a bit outside Manali. This place was simply beautiful,it was nestled in a valley with brilliant blue mountains commanding the horizon, it had a stream flowing across the road. Most importantly except for a honeymooning couple and another more 'interesting' inmate, we were the only occupants of the ENTIRE resort. Also, we never saw the honeymooning couple outside their room (wonder what they were doing...snigger), though AN/B DID claim that he heard them...when he had his ear against their door (yes, we are not nice people, we are degenerate, have no sense of propriety, and are extremely cheap...but by God, being us is fun!! :) ), so we had the full run of the place.

However, the first time we stepped out was marred by a rather bad incident, because of me. (Aww geddoff my back!! i'm human, I make mistakes too...well not as many as normal human beings, but yeah sometimes I do).

We were all frollicking around in the shallow stream nearby, and somehow I got mortified of being thrown in the water. I dunno why, but I snapped and screamed my head off when DC tried to initiate the process of picking me and dumping me in.

The guy was shocked, but not as much as I was, I apologised soon and volunteered to be dumped in the water. I was thinking that in all the apologising and stuff he'd do the right thing and not dump me in the water. Unfortunately, thats not how things work, you ALWAYS get dumped in the water and thats what happened. I know its not a big deal, but the fact that both DC and I remember it (and he still takes the Mickey out of me for my stupidity) means that it was quite a weird thing to so, especially a nice guy like DC (if it was B...then it'd be ok).

Anyway, we got out of the stream and had heavenly breakfast in a dhaba nearby.Brilliant.

Ok, now my memory evades me a bit. I've been to Manali thrice and all the trips are getting mixed up a bit (Sigh, I guess I AM growing old...would some nice chick want to grow old with me...I have a head start :) ). I'll list down the incidents I remember and send this blog's link to as many people as I can from those who were on this trip. And wait for responses to make sure I get a day-by-day itinerary of this glorious trip.

1. R, VC climbing high , high on the snow near Rohtang pass
2. The "these-people-are-bashing-me-up-lemme-call-my-real-friends" party.
3. The all night GC (er...conversation) session around the dying embers of a fire. Seriously nostalgic stuff about DCE
4. "__ ____aye tera ustaad, yeh chicken chowmein nahin hai" - VC
5. The at the Mandir
6. MN's separate stay in the hotel, due reasons and the rest's valient attempts to get a vantage point to peek in

Please, please, please send me whatever you guys remember about these incidents. And if there are any incidents I may've forgotten.

I really want this travelogue to bring back all those beautiful me...

Monday, May 21, 2007

The greatest nostalgia inducing trip of my life...

Regular readers of this blog would remember that in the course of my earlier, I had promised to write one post about the trip to Manali when I was in my final year of engineering college. (I'd asked you to remind me to write about it, but none of you did..bleh. This leads to two conclusions- one, you do not know how to read and hence are not able to follow simple instructions or second, that my writing mesmerizes you so much that you're incapable of remembering instructions. NO, the possibility that you do not read my blog out of personal choice did not cross my mind. Its just not possible to not WANT to read my beautiful words )

Anyway, I shall give you, my readers the benefit of doubt and a chance to redeem youselves (i'll be taking a pop-quiz about all the things i've written so far...and you BETTER be prepared- or..or...i'll stop writing here [Cheers rent the air,joyous celebrations are kicked off the world over..whats that? a giant firecracker all the way from China, glorious rockets over the Sydney harbour, Guy Fawkes day-like celebrations in the US, Earl Grey tea parties with stiff-upper-lipped English gentlemen remarking in gruff voices- "Well, it jolly well is ABOUT time he stopped writing, here or anywhere else. Would you like some more tea, and some buttered scones, Elizabeth?"]. Well maybe I can re-consider the pop quiz idea, but only because i'm a soft-hearted soul- not because of any international pressure..NO, only because I'm a softy..No, YOU shut up!)

So where was I? ah, yes that beautiful trip to Manali.

Well, its been a very long time since we went on that trip, 4 years actually (Whoa!!) so you'll have to bear with me if I lose some factual information. (People who went on that trip, please feel free to drop in comments in case you find I've forgotten/mistaken some information. You can also email me at And I'll make sure I append the changes in this post)

Well, here we go.

During 3 of the 4 years I spent in DCE, I was involved with a technical festival called 'Technodrome' (ok, I didn't name it, people a couple of batch senior to us had named it this way. Probably during a drunken party.). And as I could only be called technically strong in my engineering field if you were a really charitable person, who is in love with me, AND has had atleast three, no, four stiff joints of grass (after a bottle of Jack Daniels) , so, you see, my involvement was restricted to the organisational part of the event.

There's a lot I can say about this event and the association I had with it. It gave me some friends who will, hopefully, stick on for life. It created a sense of teamwork, a sense of responsibility, a balanced outlook in the face of panic and the ability to keep calm even in the midst of a crisis. But now I should just shut up and move onto the trip.(I still remember the lovely treatment that I got when I visited the campus during Techno'2004 after I had passed out from DCE for an year. It was really touching, especially as it could've been so easy to be a non-entity who noone recognizes when he visits the college. sniff...thanks kids:) )

Well, so after Technodrome 2003 had successfully concluded, we decided to go for a trip with all volunteers who had literally worked their asses off for the event. (ok, by this time my batch had moved up in the pecking order, and were more involved with getting cold coffee and sandwiches from the canteen charged to the Techno account [No TK, I jest, I jest! we did not misuse the canteen account at all {fingers crossed}])

Well we decided on Manali for the celebratory trip. Well after hundreds of efforts by all the guys to get some of the nubile junior batch girls to join us on the trip (jeez man, a decent looking girl was asked by ,on an average, 4-5 guys. These girls, though positive initially, started running screaming "stalker, stalker" by the time the 5th guy went to them with a silly, oily smile plastered on his face.). So in conclusion, 13-14 guys finally were going to start on for the wonderful trip (in hind-sight having no women on the trip was the best thing that happened to this trip!).

Pre-First Leg

The start would not be complete if I do not mention SP's valiant attempts to negotiate with the travel guy.

He had first booked a big bus, then a smaller van...finally ignored his calls as we didn't know if the trip was even happening..and then re-opening negotiations with an absolutely angry and pissed off travel guy to finalize on two Qualises. Hats off to SP - I still think that the guy is made for sales. He can take any amount of abuse (Who'd know this better than me :D ) and still grin on and close the deal.

First Leg

Well, even the journey was not simple. How could it be? :D

Apparently, the Qualises, if identified as taxis would attract a higher tax/charge while crossing state borders. So we had to travel as private cars that belong to a one of our families.

SP again took on the mantle of playing the 'rich son' who's taking his friends out for a trip in his rich Dad's cars. I still think the travel guy was taking badla - revenge for the roundabouts that SP led him through when the negotiations for the travel arrangements were going on.

So our hapless SP was sitting learning by heart his new dad's name, his family tree, the drivers name, the year when his 'dad' bought the cars...snigger.

We obviously hadn't accounted for the intelligence and efficiency of the Punjab police in Chandigarh. Ok, these guys are really strict, and very smart - AND they'd seen lots of poeple trying to pull off the same trick earlier. We were stopped at the first intersection that we crossed in Chandigarh, and poor SP was carted down infront of the cops. Poor chap, off on a fun trip, and instead he had to face the toughest viva-voce of his life. The cops took the prompter/driver of the car to one side, SP on the other and grilled him for exactly two minutes by which the entire story that he had learnt by rote had been unravelled like a ball of yarn in the paws of a particularly piqued cat.

As a result the cars were 'confiscated' and put in the impound there. Finally, I don't remember after how long, the fines were paid and the cars were released to continue on our journey.

to be continued...

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Chennai travails...

I've just returned from a two-day trip to Chennai. I'd gone there to get a business visa done.

Now, I hate Chennai, positively detest the place. There's just some vibe there that makes me scrunch up my nose (Or maybe thats just the stench of stale sweat mixed with coconut oil and jasmine gajras that seems the pervade the entire all times), stop breathing, squeeze shut my eyes and just start praying that I can leave that God-forsaken city. And i've just been in the city for a grand total of 2 nights and three days (its like a holiday package from hell).

Well, I can go on about the city, but lets just drop it. I'm sure every city holds a special place in some or the other person's heart. Some people don't like Delhi (its too hot, too many people, traffic is strange..blah blah bloody small town freaks would never get Delhi's essense, its soul!). So in the face of strange tastes that weirdos have (not too charitable am I, towards people who don't like Delhi), I choose to take the high road and follow the doctrine of 'live and let live'.

Here's something that (almost) happened at the US consulate. My appointment was for 1215 pm. After the initial formalities, we had to wait in the sweltering heat for nearly three and a half hours! Yes, ladies and gentlemen, the US consulate, the picture of punctuality and professionalism. And all of this time was spent on my feet, with no place available to even settle

So near the end of the process I was in quite a snarly, nasty mood. And then this conversation ensued:

"Visa Official Guy: So how much is your salary
The Great One- Swap: XX lakhs
VOG: *blinks* er..per annum
GOS: er..rupees..indian rupees
VOG: *chuckle* yeah, it'd be quite useful if it was US dollars, *grin*
GOS: hehe..yeah, if it was USD I wouldn't have to work for Al Quaida anymore.

pregnant pause...
more pregnant pause..

Don't worry kids I'm not typing this from jail. And I haven't been black listed forever and ever from going to the US. I SOOOO wanted to say that Al Quaida line was on the tip of my tongue. AND it would've been a great comeback wisecrack for making me wait for three and a half hours with no water, and not even any eye-candy-chicks (seriously, Chennai is eye-candy hell. My sympathies to guys living there.), but I bit my tongue. I didn't want to apply again for this visa and go through the entire ordeal again. So I stopped myself at "hehe", and consequentally was told that the visa thing should be done in a couple of days.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Movie Marathon...

OK, maybe I need to get a life. Two posts in the same day (Swapnil, this is the dregs, absolute low that you could ever go...sitting at home alone writing weird posts that no one even bothers to read...well..i'm so sorry...I'll write when I want to, and if I decide to spend a Sunday just relaxing, watching movies, reading and writing..then well, its my business..and no it does not imply i'm a loser with no social life...No...YOU shut up)

Anyway, yesterday night was a rehash of how some days used to go in b-school. I started on a movie marathon at 12 yesterday night starting with 'One flew over the Cuckoo's Nest' followed by a pretty crappy 'Dead or Alive' (a pretty illogical, slightly senseless martial arts movie. Yeah, their USP seemed to be pretty women involved in catfights...well *shrug* makes sense, but somehow the movie didn't even titillate and neither was the plot good or even any good performances), followed by a pretty interesting "Man of the Year" (even if the plot was weak,you mean to tell me that there were no tests running on the voting program before being put to use in the most watched and followed election in the world- The US Presidency race...bleh) with a good performance from Robin Williams boosting it up a bit (well he was wonderful in 'Dead Poet's Society'...somehow he just fills the shoes of the character he's playing).

And then after sleeping for 4 hours, I got up, did an errand and watched 'Ek ruka hua faisla", an old theatrical movie 'inspired' by the original 1957 movie '12 Angry Men'. I've seen both the versions and somehow I don't seem to remember 12 Angry men at all (I must've seen it an year or two back).

One thing I liked about the hindi version was the use of the atmosphere/weather. It starts with the jury assembling in the room with the temperature really rising as even the fans were not working. But at this point all the jurors are relatively cool and are joking amongst themselves as they're all relaxed with no arguments or debates happening. They're all thinking (atleast 11 of them) that convicting the defendant was a foregone conclusion and they just had to do the formalities and get out of there.

But towards the end of the movie the skies open up and rain starts to fall. But by this time the arguments are flying thick and fast, anger has broken through the fake veneer society puts upon it and prejudices have been revealed and exposed not just to the others but even to the perpetrators of the prejudices themselves. Thus, inspite of the relief through the rains, the atmoshere is hotter, more stifling and much more claustrophobic than when the weather was hot. (Something from Wikipedia. Apparently, in the english version the director started using long focal lense cameras towards the end of the movie to accentuate the claustrophobia. Not just the physical claustrophobia, but the inner, more relevant claustrophobia in the very souls of the men there.)

One flew over... was also quite an amazing movie. On the lines, in a way, of 'Clockwork Orange'. Atleast in terms of showing how society stifles choices and one man's good deed can be horrendous for the other, and that hypocrisy is too deeply implanted in people, inspite of their good intentions.I always thought that Jack Nicholson was rather an over-rated star. But this performance made me eat my hat. The evolution from the maverick, the rebel, the ladies man, the easy the person appalled at disgusted at what he's seeing. The frustration at seeing people not trying to help themselves, and not being in a position of having an option of helping himself. Brilliant. A good but a very sad and frustrating movie, inspite of the Chief leaving the hospital in an allusion to atleast one life force being used in the correct way after all the sacrifices.

So in all three good movies, and now I'm watching De Niro's 'Taxi Driver'...yeah maybe I should go out today...well what the hell i'll go out tomorrow morning :)

When life resembles fiction...almost...

There is a rather popular publication (very popular in hostels of engineering colleges and other predominantly male bastions) that compiles together communication between the editorial team of a popular (though expensive) magazine and the general populace and presents it in the form of blue-bound book with frequent re-prints. Generally, the veracity of the contents of this tome is extremely suspect, but as strongly true is the inherent readability and eye-catching style of writing employed in these. This genre of books, apart from being extremely popular with adolescent/young readers, also does a good job of igniting the imagination of the readers wherein they tend to day-dream a lot even when they are engaged in the rather regular and mundane activities of normal existence.

However, as time passes, the day dreams die a slow death, not painful or particularly troublesome, but just a slow death - after all, the readers are reasonably rational people with the innate ability to differentiate between fact and fiction.

And then, sometimes, years after the day dreams have whimpered out of existence, facts and fiction re-engage in the agonising turmoil that makes you think - was there any truth in all the blue books that you've ever read? Afterall, if I can be faced with a prospect like this, i'm sure sufficient such incidents would be happening the world over to fill up hundreds of such books.

I don't want to reveal more here. I just want to say that it was a rather scary, hopeful, nervous, expectant, moral-battling, going-with-the-flow type of oxy-moronic scenario. And when it fizzled out, I wasn't sure if there was more relief or more disappointment.

A few things that I got out of this (as an advisor closely related to the 'incident' said- "there's no downside!")

* I realised that for all the chest thumping I do, when the crux of a game changing phenomenon approaches, I'm about as confident as I was before the Social Sciences board exam in class 10. Which is not at all.

* My value system is quite strongly ingrained. It makes me think, for the first time, that certain things I haven't done till now may have been because I, at a sub-conscious level, did not want to do them, rather than a lack of opportunity.

* My moral scheme is nowhere as strong as my parents/immediate family may want it to be.

* I bought something I've never bought before for the first time in my life. And it was not even close to how tough/weird I thought it would be. It was actually a lot of fun!!

PS: People who know more details about this incident; I would really appreciate it if you could desist any comments with specifics. I'll be forced to delete those comments. (yes, I mean you PS!)

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Re-defining adventure...

Sometimes you meet people who change the whole way you perceive yourself or some other thing.

Now as far as sheer adventure is concerned, I know i'm not a tattooed, long-haired, devil-may-care dare-devil who climbs up rugged mountains (and says- cos its there..), jumps out of flying aircrafts (sky dive), go scuba-diving with sharks or even go on off-road expeditions to off-the-beaten-track places.

BUT still, I've done rafting in Rishikesh, skiing in Auli,trekked from Rampur to Mussourie in fading light (and lost my path finally getting stuck on a goat path with the cliff-face on one side and a deep, deep valleyon the other. Finally, we found our way when a goat herd magically appeared looking quizzically at this bunch of crazy city brats with no clue [ I personally think he was a guardian angel]), para sailing in Goa, banana ride in Goa (You are put on a single tube raft attached to a speedboat.Then, you're dumped in the middle of the ocean while your chaperone/guide/angel/devil swims effortlessly with a silly/sinister/scything smile [please register alliteration] on his face while you flounder around spluttering and stuttering with your life jacket coming loose.Then you're supposed to climb back on the raft and go through the ordeal/fun {?} again..and again.And I did this without knowing how to swim.[I still shudder to think what I put myself into because my companions were egging me on. It was the most irresponsible and stupid thing I've ever done and I would seriously remind everyone reading this post to NEVER attempt this. Its just not worth it and figures really poorly in the logical/rational behaviour scale]), ridden on the doors of rush hour local trains in Mumbai, been driven at 160-170 kmph on Indian roads, ridden pillion behind Sardar, given vivas to Patel sir, sat through Dr. Raju's classes and gone on many trips on very short notice with just a bunch of friends.

So all in all I thought I was quite a good sport, reasonably brave, decently enthusiastic about exploration, and a good enough urban-normal-adventurer who laughed at people who stayed at home all the time and

And then I met Siva.

Siva is a friend of Shambu (works at my office). We met up for dinner on Monday. Siva had just returned to the city. From a two month motorcycle trip.12,000 kilometres. Alone.

Route: Bangalore, Gokarna, Daman, Ahmedabad, Jaisalmer, border, Amritsar, Delhi, Badrinath, Kedarnath, Gangotri, Dharamsaala, Rishikesh, Benaras, Allahabad, Hyderabad, Bangalore.

Meeting people like these just turns the entire way you look at things. Now, he is a rather regular looking fellow, reed-thin with kiddish looks, even slightly delicate. (you'll notice that this is the exact anti-thesis of the tattooed dare-devil that I thought would do stuff like this. I guess I was confusing them with wannabe hell's angels). AND he has a regular job.

And he's already planning his next trip.

A few things I heard about the trip:

* In Rajasthan, the area with the sand dunes gets so cold in the night that the only warm spot is the tarmac of the roads laid by BSF. So in the morning, around 5, you can see snakes, kimodo dragons, lizards even camels sitting on the tarmac trying to absorb the dying embers of heat emanating from the dark surface of the road.

* There is a post- 6 pm curfew in army camps near the border in Rajasthan. No civilians are allowed in the area. There is a camp 60 km away where civilians can stay.

* Asking for directions in Punjab is an hour long exercise. They make you sit down, tell them all about your journey, have a glass of lassi and only then are you allowed to move further.

* There is an armoury of cutting weapons outside the Golden Temple in Amritsar. The guard, after speaking to Siva decided that he was a warrior, and should've been born a Sardar. He gave him a kada and a kirpan .

* The drive through Chamba valley is one of the most scenic in the world.

* Benaras is a very dirty town where almost everyone you meet tries to fleece you (I was in Benaras for a couple of weeks, and I concur)

* Beaches north of Daman have been severely hit by the refineries dotting Gujarat.

* When camping outside, you should camp away from the road and also try to ensure that you are not visible from the road.

* You can spend two months in each state of India and still not have enough of it.

* You stop boasting or thinking you're cool when you do a trip like this. You are just humbled by the sheer beauty and diversity of the great nation you are born in.

All in all it was great to meet this guy and check out his 350 cc Royal Enfield Thunderbird ( )

Sunday, May 6, 2007

Spidey 3, one word review...bleh...

After three days of superb strategy, immaculate planning and excellent execution I was finally able to go watch "Spiderman 3" today. (Yes, getting movie tickets in Bangalore is nothing short of waging a war. In fact i'm thinking that if I settle down in Bangalore, I'd do well to ensnare the movie hall usher's daughter in my love-web [Spidey related post, so 'love-web'...didja get it? didja?, huh? :)]and marry her, if only to be able to watch movies in the first week of their release)

And the movie, one word - bleh; and another - What??!!; and another - Why??!!

They've killed my spidey for me. You guys have heard many of my ramblings so you deserve to hear the whole story (No, no..not a long drawn tale, not another please...well, boo hoo, you've come so far, so you'll have to listen to the entire story)


8:30 am - I bounced off my bed, wrists extended, pointing to the ceiling and the fan, my mouth making 'whisshhh, whisshh' sounds. No i'm not psychologically imbalanced- that was just me impersonating spiderman. (Note: the point of this is that I was really excited about watching this movie. Jeez guys, do I have to explain EVERYTHING?!)

9:40 am- Pounding on RB's door as he finishes a rather elaborate and relaxed saturday morning brunch (well 9:30 is technically breakfast time, but dude, you're going to see Spiderman 3, you HAVE to get up early). Anyway, I managed to get him and KS bundled in the car and start for our 'friendly,neighbourhood movie hall' (ha, yet another Spidey reference pun - Spiderman is our "friendly, neighbourhood" spiderman. See, two spidey puns already! I should write at 3 am more often. The creative juices are just dripping right now) {SO? a piece of parantha was hanging from RB's disgruntled yet slack, sleep laced jaw. Dude, this is Spidey 3, we should've been camping outside the hall since the night before, instead of just reaching a miniscule 10 minutes early}

10:15 am- DISASTER. The movie starts.

Instead of having a typical action-chase-fight sequence start, we have the lovely Kirsten Dunst singing some crappy song about love being wonderful (Now don't get me wrong, I believe in love and its wonderfulness, but, hello? Right thing at the right place at the right time, for heavens sake?? I WANT some web slinging, adrenaline pumping, bone crunching, face scrunching, solar plexus punching action at the start of the 'action adventure of the season', not some sappy, sugary, maple-syrupy number about oh-love-is-so-awesome.[not even a passionate kiss to tilt the start even slightly favourably, bleh]

So then the movie starts in earnest,
Evil villains, scheming nemesis' your doom is nigh,
Spiderman shall tear you without so much as a sigh

(Poetry?! about a movie, Man, this 3:30 am posting sure has its merits! )

[Poetry, that was poetry, you must be kidding. The idiot actually has the audacity to call that juvenile rhyme a poem. Well, pffft even Keats and Milton must've started some time. And i'm sure their first attempts were not as good as the spidey poem i've written. Er..Swapnil, their first attempts were at 3-4 yrs, not at 25...well YOU shut up]

But NOOO, Mr. Sam Raimi has become totally obsessed with the love-jealousy angle in this movie. He shows how Peter Parker wants to propose to Mary Jane Watson (include an absolutely flat and predictable scene where Aunt May gives advice to the kid about how he should be able put the woman's feelings first if he thinks he's ready to marry..sniff..can you pass me a handkerchief? No, I don't have one, the spidey suit I bought for an astronomical price to come watch this drivel doesn't have any pockets )...[Incidently, does anyone know if Mr. Raimi is undergoing divorce proceedings? Maybe he's projecting the mistakes he made in his marriage onto Peter. I dunno, but there just HAS to be some sort of Freudian explanation behind someone trying to make a movie like this!]

And no, the absolute tosh doesn't end here. After a rather well choreographed (er...digitally choreographed) fight-chase sequence with Harry Osborn (a.k.a. Junior Goblin), Harry conveniently bumps his head and forgets all enmity with Peter/Spiderman (aaarrggghhh).

Simultaneously, three tracks are also running.

A meteorite crash releases a symbiote ( which attaches itself to the spidey costume and changes spidey's personality into a spiteful, angry and aggressive person (The microscopic slide that a professor studies to determine the 'aggressive' character of the symbiote is positively hilarious - it shows a dark blob bumping away light coloured blobs. I mean, for all the high end special FX, is that the best you could come up with? seriously, guys lets hold up the ball a bit. The story sucks but you could atleast make the technical aspects breathtaking!)

Marko Flint, the actual murderer of Ben Parker, Peter's father-figure uncle escapes from prison, where, apparantly he confessed to this heinous crime(He was in for armed robbery, but he confessed to murder - harebrained). While escaping from prison he accidentally falls into a 'particle physics experiment' that converts him into...drumroll...SANDMAN, an entity that can take any shape and form (by the way, the special effects in this scene- awesome. Did some other team do the blob-bumper scene?)

Also, Eddie Brock Jr., a cub photographer in Daily Bugle steals Parker's thunder and with the aid of a faked composite photograph showing spiderman robbing a bank/empire state building (?) lands a staff job with the bugle. But Peter, in his more spiteful persona due to the symbiote, exposes him and humiliates him. This leads him to church, where he happens to chance upon the ultimate weapon of mass destruction (I really wanted to use WMD in one of my posts. Now I've done it :)) the treachourously tortuous symbiote itself. And he becomes Venom - an absolutely pathetic villain. An absolute caricature, seriously, really bad.

The rest is so bad that I can't bring myself to write about it. Lets just say that he had three villains, one love interest, plenty of money for special effects; and he blew it. All the "super-villains" looked like harmless caricatures who were defeated with effortless aplomb. Some good sequences towards the end, but seriously, I was looking to get my ass out of the hall asap by then.

Biggest regret: Got up at 8:30 am on a Saturday to go watch this drivel.

Friday, May 4, 2007

Two years have sidled past...

Its been two years and two days since I've been working (ok, is "have been employed" better, and more truthful?). AM called me up day before and screamed at me (as she is wont to do) - "Dude, it's been two years, I feel like a slave!!".
That got me thinking about the last two years.

I still remember the first day at work ...sniff..., all nice and scrubbed and shiny and bright we were, yes, as we reached the office some half an hour early. Then we sat in the reception waiting for people to trickle in and enfold us in their arms as we start to put our tremendous intellect to the greater good of the company.

There were 8 of us - management trainees- the blue-eyed boys/girls of the senior management; the objects of jealousy and envy of the area managers who had risen up through the ranks from grass root level (They just keep meeting the MD all the time!!) . Ah the heady days, when such proximity to the top management used to make us puff out our chests in pride (eh, I don't think that happened..but what the hell, it sounds good and fits into the lets just call it poetic (prosaic?) this is not, YOU shut up)

In all honesty the first 8 months in my first company were really good. We got the kid-glove treatment from the topmost people in the company. We were doing a number of different projects to provide us with a window-view into all aspects of the company, from the manufacturing plant, to the marketing team, to the sales function, to a rural sales project, to even a Corporate Social Responsibility initiative. Each project is a separate story in itself, seriously.

The manufacturing plant project was a lot of fun and really bonded us eight together. Ah, going to the plant every morning, bunched up in a qualis. But then the time we all spent in Lucknow was also quite awesome.(Especially the project AM and I were doing in Benaras. Running around villages on a rickety ol' bike. And then the toughest part- buying benarasi saris for the entire clan [ atleast the female part of the clan. Thank God AM was there, shopping for your family is certifiably THE most difficult task in the world {yeah, yeah so you work in a nuclear power plant, in the radioactive area..pffft.. even Homer Simpson does. Have you ever seen Homer shop for his family? Never, cos it can't be done..refer to earlier "most difficult task in the world line})

The most boring was when we were all split up to different cities for a two month sales stint. That wasn't fun at all, quite boring and I think the first seeds of real discontent were sowed in that period when we realised what the company had planned for us for the next 2-3 years after the honeymoon period of management-trainee-ism would get over. And brrrr..the picture was not rosy, neh, nope, not at all rosy.

But there was a silver lining in that dark period too. I used the proximity to Pune really well. I used to go to Pune almost every weekend, to AG's house with all his wonderful flatmates. Excellent fun was had by all in the brilliant house. Pune, sigh, is an excellent place if you have a gang of friends around. The most interesting trip to Pune was when I a discussion with my "mentor" (hehe, yeah, right!) one saturday evening. And then took the last train from Mulund to Dadar..all when I was, let me just say, a wee bit tipsy! Taking the volvo to Pune from Dadar late at night became quite an ordeal (I was tipsy, remember?), but I was grinning like a cheshire cat all through the journey !! Awesome! (Reminds me of the train journey to Patna for B's wedding...hehe..that journey was also somthing! But more on that later. That reminds me, I'd decided to write about the best trip EVER in my life in 2003 to Manali with the entire gang. I think whenever all of us meet, we invariably discuss that trip. So it is only correct that an account of that trip should be available for all eternity somewhere- namely, here. So kids, just remind me to write about that sometime...soon)

Anyway, back to my first job. It had its good times (Conclave, projects, parties, offsite) and it had its bad times (the actual work), but it was still my first job and I'm sure i'll remember it for a very long time (have you noticed that as time passes by you tend to forget the bad things and remember the good things about anything, whether its job, college, school, relationship. [for example, when I left the first job I couldn't even bear to see its logo anywhere and a wave of loathing would rise within me when I saw/heard anything about it, but now I'm cool and can look at the times I spent there more objectively, and even manage a wistful smile about those days ]). I guess its God's way of reminding us to count our blessings rather than wallowing in the sad parts.

And i've been in my current job for an year now. And somehow i'm not too comfortable writing about my experiences here, yet.They've been good but I just don't want to write about my current job. It sort of breaches the sanctity between the virtual and the real world. Maybe some other day.

Till then, have a great weekend people. And those who work 6 days a hoo, you suck!!

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Search Phrase...

Was just going through my log. Someone came to this blog while searching for "couples swap bangalore"..*snigger*. Sorry to disappoint you mate, hope you, er, found some other more useful website providing more appropriate services *nudge nudge wink wink*

About a friend...

This post is triggered by a short conversation I had with a college friend, AN or as we call him B, yesterday evening.

Now this guy is a one-in-a-million piece. The number of goof-ups, gaffes and pure bad luck that this guy goes through is phenomenal - He has left his debit card in the atm machine and ended up losing 10,000, bought an absolute lemon of a car for 60 thousand, seen someone stealing the said car in front of his eyes, hung on to the car and had a knife shown to his face, the number of times he overpays for stuff is innumerable.

But he's still an amazing guy who laughs a lot at himself (almost as much as he laughs at others, especially me) .

Now the latest in B's saga is that his company was sending him for a few days to Malaysia on a dealer conference. Great, a company paid semi-vacation, what else does one want (especially at this stage where getting visas stamped on your passport is so cool :) )[quite a few people have been going abroad recently..lemme see R, RB, SP, BK,AK, me.. hmm, and a few people who don't make this blog too frequently like Sukrit, Akshay A, Bhupesh, Neha S, Gaurav B, Sayantan, Saurabh A, Avneet] .

Right, moving on, B's story. You guys should really stop me from digressing. Anyway, so B is all happy, telling all and sundry about his forthcoming "short hop" to Malaysia. All approvals are in, tickets have been scheduled for, bags are being packed, Petronas towers websites have been scoured, prayers for a safe journey rent the air in various temples in different parts of the country. And THEN the inevitable happens.

B gives his passport to the office travel agent, he opens the little blue book, and voila - THE PASSPORT IS EXPIRING A WEEK BEFORE THE SCHEDULED TRIP!

This is what I meant by "gaffes, goof-ups and pure bad luck" that we've come to associate with the ever smiling B. Have you heard of anyone's passport getting expired? atleast in our age group (Heck, I haven't heard of this happening for anyone, even my Dad's passport has never expired, atleast to my knowledge) . Apparantly B had got his passport made on a fast track program of the Government "tatkal" scheme. And passports under this scheme are valid for just five years as opposed to twenty years for the normal procedure. And just see the sheer bad luck that the expiry date falls tantalizingly on the wrong side of the travel date.

Hard luck mate, dunno what to say - better luck next time, I guess.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Nugget of Knowledge...

Came across this question and got quite intrigued by it:

"Why do men's shirts have buttons on the right, while women's shirts have them on the left?"

And the answer, after much research:

The reason for this is found in our country's ripe history, when slavery was legal. Women would have a hand maid (either a slave or a less prominent women)that would dress them. It is easier to put on shirts if the buttons are on the right side since most people are right handed and so for someone else to put on your shirt then it is easier if the buttons are on thier right side, your left. Having buttons on the left therefore was a sign of affluence and soon all womens' shirts had buttons on the left. Men did not have someone to dress them therefore there buttons remained on the right while the womens' migrated.


Not in a good mood, no, not at all. I hate this house hunting crap.
The entire process is so much like a sales process...its terrible. The same hunting out for 'to-let' boards, the same talking to a million people to get hints of a potential property coming up in the market, the same fawning and fake smiling when talking to unreasonable land owners, the same trying to look decent and shareef when talking to pudgy landlords who you want to punch in the face. AAAARRRGGGHHHH I HATE IT

It also gets compounded when you don't know whether its even worth fighting for, or is it just easier to take anything that you can get. I want a nice calm house that I can go home to and relax in the evening. I want a place where I can sprawl without having a hundred problems. I want a sanctuary for my peace, with all amenities I may need. Is it too much to ask for? Maybe I need to think about the future, how many such house hunts are left in me (I'm 25, but these harrowing hunts make me feel old and sick). Maybe, I should start thinking about decisions like which city I want to spend my life in , and start working about getting a house there.

AAARRGGGHHH what defeatist crap am I dishing out! 5 days in a solitary hunt and this is what i'm reduced to...pathetic