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.