Saturday, September 10, 2011

Diamond in the Rough, Munaf Patel...

I think we're lucky to have Munaf Patel in our team.

No, seriously!

Did you see the passion in the guy's eyes when Jadeja took half a second extra to throw the ball from long on and the batsmen took an extra run?
Oh wait, you'll have to ignore the fact that he had just balled a juicy full toss.

To a set batsman.

Oh come on, he was obviously aiming to bowl a stinging in swinging yorker a la Waqar Younis.

Oh wait, you'll have to ignore the fact that he's probably only as fast as an Anil Kumble faster one.

When Kumble is sick.

And has a shoulder injury.

Well, maybe not his best moment but the passion is definitely there. Did you see the glare that he gave Virat Kohli when he tried to throw down the stumps at the bowlers end and the ball went for an overthrow?
Silly boy. Was he really expecting Munaf to go back behind the stumps to try to run the batsman out?
With Munaf's fiery run up its a surprise he manages to stop in time for delivering the next ball.
To expect him to stop, turn and get behind the stumps. Hah,Munaf is a great cricketer but you can't expect him to perform miracles all the time.

Or you know, ever.

Speaking of miracles, the English batsmen must've been wondering how the impossible happened. The batsmen swept the ball hard and it traveled straight to Munaf at short fine leg. I mean, the ball had reached the God of fielding even before the batsman could get off his knee. But miracle, oh miracle! The batsmen still managed to take a run.
Well its clear what happened. Laughable really.
Now, Munaf is a very very tall guy. And by the time he bent down to reach the ball the batsmen would have had had enough time to run a mere 22 yards.

Even if they were wearing those sack-race bags.

Or had their legs tied to 100 kg weights.

Surprising though when you think about it.
Munaf's height only comes into play when he has to field. When he bowls, he gets as much bounce as a tennis ball.

A punctured one.

Filled with water.

Frankly, till Dhoni has to throw the ball to Munaf at the death (or at any time in the innings) we will continue to lose tight games.

Now please close your eyes and pray that the next series happens on the dust bowl wickets of the sub-continent.


Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The Temptation

It was one of those weeks that just don’t seem to end. But it had finally ended and it was time to kick into action the plan that had been doing the rounds through surreptitious emails and clandestine text messages.

I fired up my Samsung Galaxy Tab 750 and quickly got into a video chat with Rahul and Neha, childhood friends and travel enthusiasts galore. It was funny how the tab had become an almost inseparable device in the two short weeks that I had had it.

“So all set? You’ll reach there on time, eh?”

A resounding ‘Yes’ came through a visibly excited Rahul, “Wouldn’t miss it for the world. I’m just leaving office and I’ll be there a bit early. Woo hoo!”

Neha whispered back urgently, “Not that loud dummy, I’m in the middle of a meeting. I’ll be there, but I could be a bit late.” “You guys won’t go off without me, right?” she continued nervously.

“No, no of course not, Neha. We’ll wait for you and get the bus to wait as well”, Rahul quickly reassured her.

The problem with using a high end tab like the Samsung Galaxy tab is that the high resolution camera provides very high picture clarity to the viewer. “What are you smirking at Nitin?” said Neha, looking quizzically at me. I quickly hid my grin and mumbled a ‘Nothing, I’ll see you guys there then’ and disconnected the call.

Yes, sure Rahul would go without you Neha!

Rahul had been secretly in love with Neha ever since I knew him. And this trip was going to be the great revelation to Neha. Rahul and I had planned the whole trip so that he could finally tell her his feelings in the lap of the picturesque valleys of Kodaikanal.

I knew I was going to be a bit of a misfit in the trip but Neha would not have come on the trip if I hadn’t come as well. Ah well, the things we do for our friends!

But I had my Samsung Galaxy Tab and I knew that I would not get bored even when I give the two of them as much time alone as I could. I had a whole bunch of HD movies that I wanted to watch on the 10.1 inch LCD screen of my Tab. Add to that the surround sound speakers and I knew that the weekend could not go badly as long as I had my Tab with me.

So finally at about 10 o’clock we boarded the bus that would take me to Kodaikanal, and Rahul and Neha to a happy, blissful life together. As we boarded I moved back a little so Rahul and Neha could sit together. A quick thumbs up and a grin from Rahul and they were both sitting and talking excitedly about the weekend ahead. I found an empty aisle seat and settled down to a long sleepless trip (I find it very difficult to sleep in moving vehicles, especially in hill roads).

As the bus started, I checked my emails and updates on all social networking sites using the Social Hub on the Tab. Quick and convenient I updated the picture of the three of us leaving for the trip and within seconds I got a comment from Pallavi, my girlfriend, who knew about the hidden agenda of the trip. ‘Ram, Sita and Hanuman!’, she wrote tagging me as Hanuman! Funny girl, I tell you!

I pulled up the Reader Hub and immersed myself in the latest Amitav Ghosh book and it was some time after the bus started that I noticed that the person sitting next to me was also not sleeping as well. He seemed to be really excited about something and could barely hold back a huge grin.

“Trouble sleeping in buses, eh?” I grinned.

He turned around and smiled. “Not really, I normally sleep like a baby. Just can’t seem to sleep today. It’s the best day of my life, you see.”
That piqued my curiosity, “Really? That sounds interesting. Mind if I ask what happened.”

He went silent. It seemed that he was trying to put a great emotion into words.
“Have you ever felt that the kind of life we live just curtails our spirit? Like a demon waits for you in office every day and plucks out one feather a day from the wings of our dreams until one fine day we realise that we can never soar again?”
“Well, I’ve really heard someone put it in those words, but I can almost imagine my boss fitting the role of the demon perfectly.” I said.

“Well, I have seen it happen to me every day for the last five years and now I’ve finally had it. I just picked up my bag after coming back from work. I came to the bus stop and stepped into the first bus I saw. This is the journey when I search for myself. I am never going back.”

“Wow that does sound amazingly brave. But, what will you do about money?” I couldn’t help asking.

“You know Nitin, how much money does a person need? I’ve worked hard over the last five years; I have enough saved to give me a simple life for a few years. I have simple tastes and do not need any expensive things.”

I wanted to ask him some more about him when by Samsung Tab started buzzing. It was Pallavi calling me and connected my headphones and had my pre-sleep conversation with her. I told her about the guy sitting next to me and the brave step he’s taken. She was also quite impressed and asked me to wish him luck.

“So what do you intend to do now?” I asked. I can be quite intrusive when I’m curious. Not one of my most endearing qualities.

“Well, I haven’t really thought about it. I just picked the bus and frankly I don’t even know where Kodaikanal is”.

“Oh, that’s easy”, I said as I fired up Google Maps on my screen. I switched on my GPS too and showed him where we were and how long it would take us to reach our destination. I also used the inbuilt Google Maps Navigation to show him what other places he can reach from Kodaikanal.

“The display on your Tab is very clear and sharp.”

“Thanks. Yes, it is probably the best display available amongst all Tablets in the market today.”

I was still curious and I just had to ask him how his family and friends had reacted to the news.

“I haven’t really told them yet. I don’t think they’d quite appreciate it,” he grinned.

I smiled back, “I bet. But I think it’s really great that you’re doing this. We keep thinking about doing this but never actually get around to doing it. I guess our self-control is not that strong. Good luck with your effort, man”

By this time it was quite late and despite my insomnia I started feeling a bit sleepy. As I shut down my Samsung Galaxy Tab 750 he turned to me, “Listen, if you’re sleeping do you mind if I use your Tab. I saw that you have a movie I really want to watch. That is unless it would drain out its battery”

“Of course, it’s got enough more than enough battery life. You can probably keep watching movies all night and it would still be working perfectly in the morning.”
I must have been really tired as I fell asleep almost as soon as I handed over my Tab to him. I should really ask him his name was my last thought as I drifted into dreamland.

I woke with a jerk as the bus stopped in the Kodaikanal bus station. It was a pleasant day and I could see that the trip was going to be fun. I looked around and Rahul and Neha were also just waking up. They seemed to have slept very late after talking through most of the night. The signs were good for Rahul!

“Good morning!” my companion chirped.

“Oh hello, did you sleep well?” I asked.

“Not really. I was up all night. Watched a couple of movies and then was reading on the Reader Hub. You’ve got quite a good collection of e-books.”

“Thanks, and see here, the battery is still going strong. What did I tell you?” I exclaimed.

“Yes, it sure is. Thanks a lot for letting me use your Galaxy Tab.”

As he handed back my Tab I felt that he had returned it a bit reluctantly. In fact I had to pull it a bit to get it out of his grip.

“Well, all the very best!” and I was off with Rahul and Neha.

The two days went just as we had expected. The weather was brilliant and so were the smiles on all our faces when Rahul proposed and Neha accepted. It was an amazing moment and I was able to capture it on video on my Galaxy Tab. I will present the video to them on their wedding and I’m sure it’d be the best gift they receive. Of course, I had to spend most of my time alone, but then I knew what I was signing up for and my Galaxy Tab didn’t let me get bored at all.

So after a great two days we boarded the bus back to Bangalore. As I was walking in I saw a familiar face. The same person I had met on my way here. I may have been imagining it but when he saw me his face fell a bit and he sidled down a bit to try to hide.

“Hey, remember me? Nitin”

“Oh hi, how was the weekend”, he responded.

“It was excellent. What a great place. How was yours? And how come you’re going back to Bangalore? I thought you were planning to stay here for a while and then travel randomly for some time.”

He was silent for a minute.

“Well, the thing is, I just kept thinking about the Galaxy Tab all the time for the last two days. I’ll go back and work for one more month. Buy the Samsung Galaxy Tab 750, and then I’ll definitely leave everything and start my journey!”

This is my entry for the Indiblogger 'Samsung: It's Time to Tab!' contest. You can see the launch video of the Samsung Galaxy Tab 750 here

If you like the post, please go to Indibloggers and 'like' the post. The link is:

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Crystalline Nostalgia...

The year, was 1991.

A warm Saturday afternoon. Too hot to play outside.

A 10 year old boy walked into his friends home. The home that held the keys to a whole new magical world for him. These were the days when the boy had just heard phrases that seemed to send his classmates into raptures. Phrases like WWF, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and the like.

Yes, this was the time when the boy only had Doordarshan in his house and had only heard stories about this magical thing called 'Cable TV', a veritable rabbit hole that led into a delightful wonderland.

And today he was going to experience it, first hand. He could barely hold back his excitement and while people were talking around him, he felt in a different zone all together. Every few seconds he would steal a quick glance at the TV in the living room. Looked just like the TV at his own house, except for a thick wire snaking in from the window. Finally, it happened. The kids settled down and the friend turned around and said, "There's this fun show we watch on Saturdays. Let's see it now."

And that, ladies and gentlemen, was when I watched Crystal Maze for the first time. And boy, was it fun!

People rolling all over, climbing walls, running from one zone to another, cheering on, doing puzzles, solving mysteries!!! What else could be more entertaining? Of course, I didn't understand it too much initially. It was too much of an overload (I was used to Doordarshan guys)for my innocent little brain. But I really enjoyed it.

AK put up a post of Facebook with a link to the Crystal Maze. And it just brought back memories of all those wonderful wonderful summer days when we used to just prance around and have so much fun. The card games (court piece)with family (my granny always used to win), waiting for the sun to go down a bit so that we could rush out like prisoners who suddenly discover that the jailer had accidentally left the doors unlocked!

Ah, good good days. Good to remember them.

And now there is another black crystal that holds a certain significance :)


Saturday, July 9, 2011

Is this the season to piss me off?

I am so pissed off.

No, I really am.

It seems that all so called 'Services' companies have decided that first they will provide me with atrocious services, and as if that was not enough, would proceed to try to cheat me as well!

First it was Airtel DTH TV services. They provided horrible service and after multiple useless interactions with their customer service I wrote this email to them on 6th April:

My name is Swapnil Bhatnagar (customer ID: 3000519148) and I have been a customer of Airtel TV for the last few months.

And I am extremely disappointed with the service that I have received.

i. Two weeks ago I had raised a service request to enable the Fox Crime channel. After requesting twice I was finally informed that the angle of the dish will have to be changed.

ii. After waiting for another week a couple of service engineers came to change the angle

iii. After changing the angle they asked for ‘service charge’

iv. When I had spoken to the call center they had specifically informed me that this is a regular service that is being done for all customers and there will be no charges for this

v. When I told them this, they asked me for ‘tea-coffee money’ instead. Now I’ve heard of postmen and other civil servants asking for bakshish, but has Airtel really gone so far down the drain that a private company’s employees will first try to fleece customer with an imaginary ‘service charge’ and having failed on that, beg for a tip?

vi. The worst part is that half the channels are not coming clearly on the TV since the angle was changed – I was told that this will automatically improve after 45 minutes. It’s been 2 days and nothing has happened. I think this is ‘payback’ for not having paid them ‘tea-coffee money’, and I really resent this pathetic, unprofessional behaviour

Please solve this issue by this weekend or else disconnect this ridiculous TV from my place. Frankly, I’d prefer the local cable guy rather than this kind of unprofessional, money-fleecing service. I also want an extension of the service for a week in lieu of the lack of clear channels I have been getting since those two so called service engineers came.

Fairly harsh, eh? Would a service that depends on customers take this seriously? Of course!

So I received four phone calls from different people and after a lot of hullabaloo, nothing happened.

So I wrote this on 23rd April:


You guys are just unbelievable.

After this complaint I got 4 different calls from different people all asking me for details and promising me the world in terms of quick resolution of issues. One gentleman even convinced me to recharge my TV with 200 Rs!

And in the end your so called 'service' performed exactly as I expected. Nothing happened. No one sent engineers to solve the problem. No one took the people who asked me for a bribe to task. And I also got an sms saying that my complaint has been resolved!! It has definitely not been resolved. Absolutely useless services and grievance re-dressal wing.

I really don't want to get into an argument with you any further. It would just be a matter of banging my head against a wall. Please do the following and we will part ways without any friction:

1. Treat this email as a cancellation request. I am moving to another service and I want the useless Airtel TV box out of my house ASAP. Please do this fast and also provide me with the correct refund
2. I am cancelling the service - move me away from your sms/marketing lists. I don't want any of your smses in my phone from now on. I will never take another service from you and will actively stop other people from doing the same.
3. Refund the 200 rs recharge that I did based on discussion with your nodal officer. This was the last recharge I did based on the faith that the complaint will be addressed

Quick word of advice, this kind of service will not make you successful in this business. Treating customer complaints with such disdain is the first step in the collapse of your business.

I really don't want to interact with your useless complaint handlers, so please do the above immediately.

-Swapnil Bhatnagar

Harsher, right? Action? None. Basically, it seems to me that they're just trying to cheat me out of the refund due to me when the set top box is removed.

Anyway, I've just sent them an email telling them to remove the box and pay up by tomorrow or I'll go to the consumer court, and by God I will!

In the meantime, does anyone know Sunil Bharti Mittal's email id? I want to forward this email chain to him.

And to add to this frustration, the next company trying to fleece me is the Tata Motors services station (Prerana Motors, Hosur Road)where I get my Palio serviced.

I gave my car for service yesterday, and was given an estimate of, lets say 'X'. Now, just to put into perspective, X is quite close to the monthly rent I give.
And today, I had to call them up to follow up on my car and they casually told me that they won't be able to give my car today, and oh, by the way, the service will cost me 1.5 times X!!

Now, because I was given an estimate of X I had asked them to replace some parts in the car. If I had known about 1.5 X I may have postponed it as I do not want to invest so much money on my (now) old car!

Does anyone have the Tata Motors CEO's email id? I really want to send him an official complaint. Please help!


Wednesday, June 1, 2011

and You Can't Pull me Down!!...

Yes, yes, I've been a bad boy (not that way, you pervs). Its just that I've slowly become the kind of person who I thought I never would (no, no, don't worry - I'm still ruggedly handsome, ladies). I'm letting work affect my blogging. There, I've said it. No excuses, no futile explanations - I have become one of those people.

And I want to change back.

But this post is no forced effort to come back and start writing again. I experienced something, and while I was doing that I had that urge to write about it. And now three days and 12 hours in a plane, I have finally got down to writing about it.

I was in London last week on some work. AS kindly deigned to show me around the city and led to the most exhilarating experience I've had in a long long time - I went to watch a musical in the Apollo Victoria Theatre (I think it can officially be called one of the West End theatres)

Here's the link to the show:

And what an experience!!

Now I'm not the kind who denigrates things we get in India (In fact, I think I may have convinced an intern in our London office to consider working in India to really grow and develop his career!), but this musical performance was at a whole different level all together.

Picture this, an old, ornate theatre dating back to the last century, rows upon rows of seats (5-6 times the size of Rangashankara, for those who're from Bangalore), amazing musical score, the most amazing sets I've ever seen and the magical choreography of, hold your breath, the props!


The story of the play/musicals takes off on the famous tale of Dorothy and the Wizard of Oz. It is the story of the so-called 'Wicked Witch of the West'. Great spin to the story of how a different, yet magical, girl is transformed through deceit into an epitome of evil-ness by the Wizard of Oz and his PR machinery. The story of Glinda, the 'Good Witch', who came across as a typical dumb blonde, but was driven enough by ambition to cause the downfall of her true friend Elphaba, the Wicked Witch of the West. The story of the star crossed love of the Winkie prince and the quietly adoring Elphaba. And the story of the poor Wicked Witch of the East, Ness, and her reluctant lover Boq.

OK, ok I'll stop before I get too sappy. But trust me, you get a chance to watch this musical, - you GO watch it! It's absolutely brilliant.

And I shall now leave you with the song from the soundtrack that lends itself for the title of this post. (This is not from the current cast of Wicked. I mean these are not the performers I saw - this is probably the Broadway cast)

Added: You just have to watch this rendition of the song to listen to the powerful song. And watch it till the end - it is absolutely awesome!!

(But, I must mention that the use of the lighting and the props in this entire show was brilliant. This song though, has the simplest props. But when Elphaba finally flies off (defying gravity), the stage with a single light on her as she is suspended at the dead centre of the stage with a huge black sheet obscuring everything else on the stage - raises goosebumps, I kid you not.
Couple of captured videos, keep a look out for how she rises in the air. Of course this is nothing like being there, but will give you a clue: )

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Economics of Two Timing!...

I heard this story yesterday (yes, the day India won the World Cup, YAYYYY!!!!) and I just have to share this. I visualize this in my head and I split up in guffaws!

So I'll narrate the story as it was narrated to me.

Before that, a background.

This story comes from the experiences of H, and this is an incident during his college days.

So H had a friend, lets call him A, who was one of those dark brooding kinds that women find fascinating. Throughout first year of college he focused so much on his brooding persona that he never seems to have even spoken to any girl in his college (or maybe he was just shy). And this 'air of mystery' that he developed around him seems to have worked as he was accosted (?) by one of his classmates, lets call her C (why not B, an observant observer may ask. Hang on, that's part of this story, the handsome and mysterious chronicler of this blog will reply). This lady was one of those cute, bubbly, gregarious ones. This coming together of two opposites seemed like a romantic-comedy cosmic inevitable serendipity.

That's what A thought.

C, on the other hand, was a bit of a player. She was totting up A on her scoreboard. A scoreboard which at any given time seemed to have at least two cosmic serendipitous liaisons happening.

Some friends of A tried to warn him (not H, he's more of a live and let live guy. Doesn't interfere too much in anyone's business). And this led to incidents like brawls in the streets with A defending the honour of his cosmic partner, smoke and talk free days between A and his well-meaning friends.

C was also a big gift giver. One of those 'cute' gift givers who always 'thought of you when I was shopping and got you this'. The kind that dark, mysterious brooders can never resist. I mean come on, everyone likes getting gifts, give us a break!

So A's house was getting filled with cute little gifts, a pink teddy bear (gulp, yes, pink. The depths a mysterious brooder falls) here, a little bookmark there. He was in heaven when something happened that pushed him even further up into seventh heaven. He received a letter, an actual handwritten letter, 36 pages long from C. Oh,the joy! This was it, he had found his soul mate!

But then somehow C started spending lesser time with him and seemed 'busy' on many occasions. The evil green monster started raising its ugly head as ominous warnings given by his (few remaining) friends started to seem a bit true.

And then (and things were unclear in the story here - i think some unethical hacking was resorted to out here), he 'accidentally' logged into her email account and discovered the presence of B in C's life! (I told you B would make an entry!)

Distraught and dejected he realized that C was not the perfect angel he believed. He saw that this was going on for a while and in a truly selfless act, he decided to warn B of the nefarious C.

So he wrote him an email and received an astounding response - 'How can you say such horrible things about the sweetest angel on this earth? You loser, I'm sure you tried your luck with her and you're just trying to malign her name after she rejected you. She obviously picked a better man (me). So stay out of her and my life... If you know what's good for you.'

This stunned A. And a harmless brooder decided that enough was enough and he'll show this guy.

So that evening saw H on his bike with A riding pillion with two huge bags of all the gifts that C had given him. And the Pièce de résistance, the 36 page letter! They were going to B's house to show him all this and to drill the truth about C in his head.

So A reaches the house and rings the bell. B opens the door.

(think of the Good, bad, ugly signature tune here)

After locking stares with B for a while, A gently glances around and what's the first thing he sees?

A teddy bear exactly like the one C had given him adorning the side table which also had a book that (presumably) B was reading - with the exact same bookmark that C had given him!

All the gifts that C had given him were replicated in B's house as well!

C used to buy her 'boyfriend' gifts in bulk!!

Now that's what I call economies of scale!


The Shadow Lines by Amitav Ghosh

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Finally, Worst Job Ever. Discovered!...

No no, this blog has not changed its ethics to begin writing about the blogger's work place. That is still taboo. Also, I don't have the worst job in the world. Far from it.

Ok, before I get into the meat of this post I must admit that what i'm going to write about is something I kind of remember having read somewhere - either on a blog or a newspaper article. But it just struck me last night and then I just had to write about it this morning.

So I was at a Lebanese food festival last night. Ah, heavenly Hummus.(I am going through a Hummus place in my life. In fact I'm at that place in my food-life that I totally understand and appreciate Zolan's Hummus fascination in 'You Don't Mess with Zohan'. In fact, I would love to brush my teeth with Hummus).

While returning at around 11:30 I was just marveling at this awesome new route I have found which avoids all red lights and police check points. As I swung into a congregating road, I had an epiphany. The cops are smarter than you think. They mollycoddle you into believing that you've discovered a great route and just as you're making a bid for freedom with the accelerator on the floor, there you see it. A roadblock check point manned by some 4-5 cops with a malicious grin plastered on their face. Those smiles seem to be saying - 'You think you're smart, mate? Think again'

Having said that, I don't think I grudge their little joys. Afterall they have the WORST JOB IN THE WORLD!

Yes, its true.

Can you imagine working in a job in which every Friday and Saturday night you have to lean into cars smelling people's breath to see if they're drunk?


Book: Disgrace - J M Coetze
(I read so many books and then I forget (I use a library). Decided to keep a record of the books I read on this blog)

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Delhi Diaries...

I know, I know. Its been a while, eh? All this work, really makes me not want to open the laptop after I finally reach home. But then, this blog isn't about my work life and it won't start now

I'll try to make it up to you with a really long, extremely funny post. Or, you know, just long. Pakka promise.

As avid followers of my Facebook updates would know, I had been to Delhi on a vacation the week before last.

(As an aside, Facebook has seriously become the source of all information. And I'm not just talking about 'what I'm eating NOW' type updates that some friends seem to leave here, but also as a source of actual news. For instance, I came to know of the big fire in Mumbai and the death of Arjun Singh through Facebook.

About the latter, I'll have to say that I'm not shedding any tears. He was a caste- politician, the worst kind. The kind that doesn't have anything else to offer to the people and hangs on through sheer humiliating grit using divisive politics. Politicians like these have given politics, national service and numerous such previously noble roles an ugly taint that will never go away)

Moving to happier things now.

So as I was saying, I was in Delhi and this post is dedicated to the trip.

February nip

One of the best things I like about Delhi is the bite in the air during winters. You may be bundled up from neck to toe in multiple layers of sweaters and jackets but just as a you walk out the door the first cut from the seemingly random gust of wind wakes you up. (As an additional advantage it gives a rosy tint to all the nice cheeks walking around in Delhi :) )

I wasn't able to go home in December-January and I wasn't really expecting it to be cold at all. So much so that I just threw 4-5 t-shirts in my bag for the trip.

But the rain gods had been kind to me. A couple of days before I landed it rained like it wouldn't ever stop there. Consequently the weather there was exactly like in late December. One of those awakening breezes were blowing as I stepped off the plane. Brilliant!

To add to that R was attending a wedding near the airport and he played hookey there to pick me and we went and had a nice coffee before going home. The only discordant note, and this may be as age catches up with me, but I see a lot of school/early college people, both guys and girls, smoking nowadays. And it was the same at the coffee place with a bunch of people out smoking like its the coolest thing in the world. It's not.

The weather remained kind to me throughout the trip and it was just like visiting during winters! Happy

Uproot-ion (is that a really a word)

Another very significant event that is happening is that my family is moving to our new house in Noida. For many this movement could be a regular thing that doesn't raise any eyebrows. But we have been living in that house for over 27 years!

Its the only home that I've ever known and it feels really weird that the next time I visit home, I may not be going to this house. Each nook and cranny in the house (umm as many of them that you can have in a flat) has so many memories attached to it. I don't grudge my parents the difficult task of folding up our life in this house and moving to a new place to set up again.

I have been away from home for over five years now and was in the hostel for another six years but the realization of the move still made my stomach drop a bit. I know it sounds quite melodramatic but really, it does leave me with a bit of a sinking feeling. I'm sure the new place will be great but leaving familiarity behind does take some time!


Mumbai revolves around the local trains. Most people there know train timings and mould the pace of their life around it.

Delhi, it seems, is following the same path. Before the Metro train, the gang used to meet up usually in South Delhi. But this time it seemed like everyone just wanted to plan the evenings out based on the Metro's schedule and locations.

And I'm not complaining!

Driving in Delhi is becoming more and more stressful everyday. Every time I visit I dread taking out the car, especially the bigger car (the fiery Ferrari red Nano is still a crowd favourite :)). It seems that the broader the road, the more 'adventurous' the drivers become! Driving on some of the high speed stretches (DND flyover on this trip)should ideally be a cruise. But when you're comfortably driving in your lane at a hundred, you don't want glance in your rear-view mirror to see a big SUV hunkering down at you at over 140, veering away only at the last moment (Believe me, I'd rather drive in the narrow lanes of Bangalore where the low speeds mean that a bump on the road will be just that, a bump).

So I wasn't really averse to making the Metro my Swap-mobile (i'm so funny, no? :))while I'm in Delhi. My only problem with this state of affairs is that the meeting point is invariably Connaught Place. And my super sense of direction again kicks in as I always spend half an hour wandering around all around the place before I manage to reach the meeting point.

Can some one please tell me which freakin' circle is the outer circle??


As I wallow in self pity about the long hours I put at work, a trip to Delhi makes me realise that everyone is as, if not more, busy nowadays. People who would not move out of the hostel bed, or at most the canteen chair, even if you kept a gun to their head have now been transformed into maniacal professionals who regularly put in 13-14 hours everyday. It is very difficult for friends to catch up. I mean AA and I could meet just once in the entire trip! (it was an all nighter, so it was all right). And he had to really make the effort to make time or it wouldn't have happened.

Globalization is not helping either. The one day we all managed to catch up, AK had a conference call that started at 11:45 pm! Story of all our lives now.

I wish I'll be able to lead a Ruskin Bond type existence sometime - a quaint cottage in the hills, surrounded with old friends and mountains.


Saturday, February 12, 2011

For Heavens sake! Enough with Sheila and Munni already!

Who would’ve thought that too much of a good thing would ever be bad!

Now, the first time I saw the oh-so-hot Katrina Kaif gyrate in that cute-yet-sexy way to the lilting music of Sheila ki Jawani, I could’ve sworn that this would never go stale. I thought that I could be in deep deep sleep after a tiring day, but if someone woke me up and showed this song I would get a smile on my face instead of being grumpy.

Again, watching the yummy mummy Malaika Arora Khan sway to the beat of ‘Munni badnaam hui’ I swore that this song would never leave my ‘Last Played’ list…ever.
But alas, these things are not meant to be. The profusion of these two songs has become so intense that they seem like someone raking his nails on a blackboard.
Let me tell you what brought about this rant.

Last to last week H and RG got married. And last weekend they gave a reception on a beautiful beach in Mangalore (H’s hometown). So S, R and I drove down to Mangalore.

With me till now? Ok, great.

So we had 2 pen drives full of all kinds of music. Rock, metal, Bollywood, a category we call Cheap-Hindi (you can imagine the kind of songs in this one. Let’s just say if an alien was to listen to this category he’d think that Govinda is still the biggest thing in hindi music. If he were to watch the corresponding videos, the galaxy would be full of weird shaped aliens spending their lives perfecting the pelvic thrust dance move!). However, there was a small problem. It seemed that every alternate song was either Sheila or Munni.

Bangalore to Mangalore is a long 10 hour drive (the roads are terrible). The first two-three hours or so saw us cheer each time either of the two songs came up. People outside the car gave us strange looks to us as all three of us tried to showcase our personal versions of the song’s choreography while cramped in the car. Over the next few hours our enthusiasm for the songs went down a little. I attributed to our snail’s pace on thehorrible Ghat roads.

“Munni and Sheila could not let us down, no sireee. It’s just the road”, I said to myself.

And then we reached. And we had the most beautiful cottage right on the beach. It was simply beautiful. Great setting for the reception. And the good thing was that we were actually staying on the beach. Exquisite.

After a relaxing day the next day we went for the reception to be greeted by the DJ playing, you guessed it, Sheila! We danced and all to the song (well we had room to move this time). After multiple encores of the song (and a particularly vicious and transfixing dance on this song by an otherwise cute li’l five year old) the evening came to a close (umm, atleast the DJ)

On the way back to Bangalore we skipped these songs.
And now I am so sick of the songs that I can’t even imagine ever seeing or listening to them ever again. Hmm, maybe if Katrina actually did come down to ask me...


Saturday, January 15, 2011

Subtle Shifts and Swings...

Happy New Year everyone!

Now this is a bit of a serious coming-of-age type of post. While I don't expect you to roll around in the aisles clutching your sides guffawing your hearts out, I do think that I will see a few wry smiles and little nods of agreement as you go through this post.

Since I gained awareness the fondest memories I have are attributed to surprise announcements of holidays. Some of my favourites include the one in which we went all the way to school through pouring rain only to realize that even the huge, spread out school had to be shut down due to flooding. Brilliant.

Such things were like manna from heaven, falling unpredictably in your lap. You may not even do anything interesting all day, but you have a big grin plastered all over your face while you do, well, nothing.

So now to the gist of this post. Last to last Friday I had a meeting at work and in the course of the meeting I found out that next Friday (i.e. last Friday...ok, ok, so I got a bit late in writing this post and the timelines got a bit confusing. Live with it)was off.

Now this was just the way these heavenly gifts come. One moment you're looking at another long five day week, and the next you stare into an excel sheet and realize that the week is going to be truncated.

But that's when it hit me. Instead of having visions of rainbows and sunshine and all things nice, my reaction was "Damn! This is going to impact the deliverables of all my projects." I actually found myself cursing whoever gave that day off! Ridiculous, isn't it?

Now,I've realized that the shift is happening. The innocent days when holidays brought unmitigated joy seem to be over :(

Went to Eagleton Resorts on Wednesday for a company outing. Got back on the golf driving range after so long. It was great fun.I've still got some parts of my golf swing and after a few initial hiccups I hit the ball fairly well. And I also held an impromptu golf clinic for 4-5 colleagues who had not played before. Fun :)