Sunday, December 31, 2006

Security Concerns.. Blah Blah Blah

They say (and I have no clue who they are) that you throw a stone onto a crowded street in Bangalore and its very likely to fall on the head of a techie(IT professional). This is not surprising at all. Most of the happening joints in town are so costly that only the money squandering, "I don't care for tomorrow" techie would frequent them. These techies all have tell tale characteristics. They dress very similarly, have a wind-cheater or a jerkin have a snazzy bike, likely to wear sneakers rather than formal shoes, more often than not in jeans and a T-shirt with some geeky(masquerading as cool) written on it. They leave no doubt in anyones mind that they are a techie and most definitely have a 15-20K mobile in one pocket, atleast 4-5 Gold (not any less) credit cards in their other pocket and at least a few grand in their purse. The same holds good for the fairer sex too, maybe a few specifics differ but they too fall into the broader spectrum of generalization.

Now that we have established to some extent that within the heart of the city, these techies rule the roost with their money and bindaas attitude, lets move a little away from the center of the city, shall we? Lets see we move some 10-12 kms away, towards the infamous outer ring road. Though this place has skyrocketing real estate prices and is fast becoming crowded, after 10PM you are more likely to find only lorries plying the road and very few people walking around. In such a desolate place, when you are driving a car at 10-11PM and *anyone* other than a cop tries to stop the car, what would you do? Would you be stupid enough to stop the car? Would you be stupid enough to get out of your car? Ok... lets say no one tries to stop the car and you need to very urgently take a leak as you have a serious bowel problem with and also short term memory loss which prevents you from taking a leak at office and also lack of civic sense which prevents you from waiting till you get home. Would you park your car/bike on the side of such a surrounding and take the leak? Would such a person feel "relieved", pun intended!

These are very simple questions with very simple answers. It does not take a rocket scientist to tell anyone what is the right thing to do in these situations. But if someone does not do the logically obvious thing and stops the car for some person or decides to take a leak in a place with no street lights around, who is to blame? If my hints have not been subtle enough, I am talking about the murder of techie Adhip Lahiri, which was solved today. He was murdered by 2 people for monetary gains, its like any other money related killing in any other town or city. But with media putting everyone who is anyone in the limelight, we had theories like:
1. Colleagues plotting to kill him because he cornered an overseas opportunity
2. He was laden with financial debt and hence was targeted.
3. many more that I didn't care to read.

And to sum it all up, the specificity that resonates is "Bangalore is not safe anymore". People! Wake up.. this ain't "Bangalore-The pensioner paradise" anymore. This is "Bangalore-The beer and software city". I am not gonna give a lecture on morality here on what money can do! We all know it but in denial that no matter what happens the city of yore will remain intact through all these changes. Which city in India with people with as much money as Bangalore is safer than Bangalore? I am not talking of money in the bank, but of money in the pocket and ready to spend! Ready to spend on not just things that costs lakhs like houses and cars, but for daily masti in malls, multiplexes and eat/drink joints.

Would the kidnapping of a top IT executives child in Gurgaon deem Gurgaon as difficult to live in?? I am sure the "Guppies" won't agree. Would the arrest of a pedophile business man and his necrophilic handyman make Noida a no-no for future companies?

When we dare live the dream we gotta be ready for the nightmares round the corner....

p.s: My post is not intended to be unsympathetic to the loss that Adhip Lahiris family is living with. Its just my view on the outpour that followed.

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Don't spare the axe!

I am tired, I am sleepy and yet I am seeing the pathetic Indian batting display on the 5th day of the 2nd test against South Africa. There comes this point when something just goes off in your mind, the dam of patience just gives way. That just happened to me now and hence this impromptu post.

Take the series up to now. How many of the Indian batsman have shown enough technique, resilience or intent to stay at the crease and score some runs?

1. Sehwag - NOPE
2. Jaffer - NOPE
3. Rahul - Yes {He was very unlucky to be given out the way he has been}
4. Tendulkar - Yes {Watch his 40s and 60s. The old magic is coming back}
5. Laxman - Yes {Most consistent of the lot this series}
6. Ganguly - Yes {Maybe he is missing his sponsors, but he sure has shown intent}

I am not going to Dhoni and below coz, if the top 6 do their job, the bottom 5 shouldn't matter. It is pretty clear where we have the problem and the hunt for a solution needs to start. Its not just that the top 2 have not scored, but they have got out to the most stupid of shots. What was sehwag doing slashing and tapping at balls outside off so early in his innings? What was Jaffer doing hitting a hopeless pull when the team was 3 down and looking in trouble? The mode of these dismissals alone is good enough to fire their asses off the team. Try Robin Uttapah, hell try even Gambhir! I am not a fan of Gambhir coz his technique sucks, but for the bigger message to get through, he needs to play! Look at Zaheer or Ganguly for that matter. Not making those extra crores seem to have hurt them enough to consider playing decent enough for their country!!

Message to the selectors: Don't spare the axe... use it, nonchalantly and without inhibition.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Scotty Time

Its been a while since a cartoon has made me laugh. This is from dilbert and doesn't involve Dilbert! Check it out!

Wally... you da man!! :-D :-D :-D :-D

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Settling Waves

Bangaloreans have had the taste of 6 free to air private FM stations for more than 2-3 months now. Though each started off by trying to woo away listeners from the other, they have all now settled into their own comfort zones.

Radio City - 91.1:
90% English presenation and 10% Kanglish (Kannada+English) presentation with 90% Hindi music and 10% English music. They thrown in a Kannada song once in a while just to please the localites, but the intent is just to stay away from trouble. Their RJs are the best in the business with Sunaina and Vasanthi being the best and the perky Malavika not far behind. They also usually have the best promos. They are trying to cater mainly to the non-localites and they are probably the only station with a loyal listener base.

Radio Mirchi - 98.3:
90% Kannada presentation and 10% Kanglish presentation with 50% Hindi Music an 50% Kannada music. The RJs are usually very predictable and don't seem to have a fan following to note. They play Hindi music during the typical radio primetime i.e. 7-10 AM and 6-9PM. Trying to win the non-localites and localites is not an easy game. Nice slogan, "Sakath Hot Maga". :-)

Radio One - 94.3:
90% Kannada presentation and 10% Kanglish presentation with 50% Hindi Music an 50% Kannada music. Modus operandi very similar to Radio Mirchi and not very inspiring RJs here either. Second best to Mirchi in this playing field. Have many slogans, "Hittappa Hittu" and "Hit mele Hit mele Hit"

BIG FM - 92.7:
Almost 100% Kannada presentation and mostly Kannada songs with the rare Hindi song here and there. Again the RJ's don't seem to innovative and a lousy slogan to boot, "Keli, Kelisi, Life Nimmadagisi". Duh! But one thing these guys know is their target audience, the sorta well to do young localite.

Surya FM - 93.5:
These guys are again almost 100% Kannada presentation and play mostly Kannada songs. They are very similar to BIG FM, but have RJs with more energy. They seem to play more old Kannada songs and that is good coz most of the new ones suck. They cater to the localite at home and also the young localite. Nice slogan too, "Mast Maja Maadi".

Radio Indigo - 91.9:
Moved out of the WorldSpace group and has been known as the cradle for most of the good RJs of Bangalore. They have attracted back experienced Radio City RJs like Cindu (Yes, with a C) and Rohit Barker. They also have some nice young talent pool, but the night patrol guy, Geoffrey seems to be missing in action most of the time. One time, I drove for close to 20 minutes tuned in to only this station and didn't hear the guy presenting the show even once! The most professional sounding channel after Radio City and Radio Mirchi, they sure have a very hardcore target audience and will always remain No:1 in this niche market.

All in all, though the channels have increased, I still stick to Radio City and Radio Indigo with the occasional Radio Mirchi during my radio time. I don't hear of any new channels coming in any time soon and this is gonna be the fare on display(?) for some time to come.

I wonder how good/bad Worldspace is. Anyone knows?

Monday, December 25, 2006


How can you drive real dangerous and get away with it? In Bangalore the answer to this is pretty simple these days. There is a severe shortage of traffic cops in the city and those who are around and doing a decent job of it are too busy trying to avoid a traffic jam than to actually catch an offender.

I remember the days when I had a 2 wheeler learners license and I used to drop my friend everyday(a learner cannot have a pillion rider) from college. We would stop off at the end of goodshed road, my friend would walk the next 50-100 meters while I drive by in front of the cops and he would then sit back onto my bike. We used to do this many times during our 14 km ride back from college. We used to do this coz we knew that if any traffic cop caught us, we would have to fork a lot of money!

Gone are those good old days of playing cat and mouse with traffic cops. You can in fact drive as rashly as you want and still get away with it, like this lorry driver did.

I tried to get hold of his license plate and all I got was more cement on my car as I drove close to him. The chap tried to swerve in front of me and only the extra horsepower in my ride saved me!

Wednesday, December 20, 2006


... the title of the blog is chat lingo for laugh my ass off, which is exactly what I did when I saw this pic.

The below pic (courtesy TOI) shows a TDP MLA being removed by Marshals from the Andhra Pradesh assembly for protesting on some issue which I guess was very close to his heart.

The guy seems so happy, proud and content! If ever there was a picture book that had to pictorially represent "I have done my job", this would be that picture!! :-D :-D :-D

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Sunday, December 17, 2006

Malluwoods New Star

Move aside Mammootty, step aside Mohanlal.... welcome Sree, the booty shaker!!

3rd day of the 1st test between India and South Africa. Nel does his usual "I will stare you to death" act to Sreesanth, new at the crease after Laxmans dismissal. Nel goes one step furthur and says to Sreesanth, "Show me some heart.... you don't have the heart!". There are many heartless and soulless people in Indian cricket but Sreesanth is definitely not one of them, he wears his heart on his sleeve, so to speak. Our ferocious youngster, fresh from his 'fifer' on the second day couldn't let this go by. This is what he does!

This is right up there with Miandad doing the monkey act on Kiran More! In cricketing quarters... totally priceless!!

Saturday, December 16, 2006

The e-life

And I now remember.... cool

Citibank had this offer to give a cash back of Rs.50 for paying utility bills through their online portal. Guess what... I took it up. nose smile I decided to pay the BESCOM (electricity) bill online. This was my first time paying a utility bill online and was not so sure about the whole thing. This nervousness stems not because of my lack of trust in citibank but more from my lack of trust in the e-functioning of the government services.

None the less, I took the risk and the payment from the citibank side was quite straightforward. I was surprised by the details they wanted, but that only made me believe that they would actually make the right payment. Now that money was out of my account, the onus was on me to ensure that it reached its destination. wink nose

After making the payment, Citibank had suggested that the payment will be made in 2 days. I waited exactly 2 days and called up Citibank (coz I was sure I would not get a decent person from BESCOM on the phone). Quite promptly and as expected, the Citibank call gave me no reply. They said the money is gone, we have sent the money, call up the vendor and find out. So, I reluctantly tried to get the BESCOM numbers from their site. They have all the numbers alrite, but no one picks those numbers! Anywayz, I remembered reading in the papers a while back about Bangalore One. I didn't know what it had or didn't have and gave it a shot. And by entering the same details I entered at Citibank, I got the details of how much money I had to pay for the month! Now, I was happy the site worked, but also psyched that my payment was not reflected!! shocked I resigned to the thought that an inevitable trip to the local BESCOM payment center is in the offing. Just for luck, I tried the Bangalore One site again today and guess what... the payment was made!! A day late... but it was made!

I don't know what I am more happy about, the fact that the payment was made or that I am gonna make 50 bucks from citibank or that e-governance has actually arrived!

.... Duh! of course its the 50 bucks!! coolcool

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Bloggers Block

I opened to write a post. I knew what I wanted to write about and blogger took so long to come up that when it actually did, I had no clue of what I wanted to blog about!

Damn!! Bloggers Block and pun intended! slant

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Thursday, December 14, 2006

12 Days Of Christmas

Ask any American around Christmas time for a favorite song or anthem and "12 Days of Christmas" would be one of the favorite ones that gets a mention.

You can never leave a desi out of anything and here is boymongoose, a predominantly desi band coming up with a hilarious parody {download link}. Though they have released their video on youtube, again very funny, I have taken the liberty of getting the mp3 for you.

p.s: As it goes with all mp3 downloads, please delete this file after you hear it! (sic!)

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Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Height of personalization

Saw this Ad on paper yesterday. The Ad shows that the new scooty can be ordered in any one of the zillion colors almost like choosing a paint for your house.

I remember the tough time I had going through the paint brochures to decide on a paint for my house. When you start off, you think you know the color you want. But as you start browsing through the brochures you get more and more confused and in the end are relieved on choosing some color to just get away from the brochures! Having the same problem with a scooter is plain funny! wink big nose

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I couldn't help but post this! I was watching the live telecast of the Tennis Mixed Doubles final from Doha which India won(Yipppeeeee!!!!) and after India won the gold it was back to the Doordarshan studios. One of the commentators did a decent job of giving some stats and on how India had won 51 medals totally in 15 different disciplines. Then he passed the baton onto this joker who instead of taking cue from the previous(and senior) commentator went on with his own well prepared speech. As if this was not bad enough, he ends with this joke!

India medal tally
G - 9
S - 18
B - 24

He goes this way.... "I like the way India has taken a liking to the number 9. 9 times 1 is 9, 9 times 2 is 18, 9 times 3 is 24"!! monkeymonkeymonkey

Of all the things that commentators will be asked in their interview, this proves that Doordarshan for sure doesn't have a single question on Mathematics!!! nose grin

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All Mail - One Place

For the better part of my emailing life, I have used my office-id as the default id for all personal and office related mails. This is very convenient for most parts till you decide to part ways with the organization. On such time, the organization tries extra hard to make your remaining time in the office as difficult as possible and what better way than block you from taking out anything from office in CD's or DVD's because of "IP" issues.

I then was invited to GMail during the very early adoption days of GMail, if I remember correctly, I was number 1600 something to use GMail, thanks to the benevolent Mr.Gupta. Since then I have been hooked to GMail and with firefox, greasemonkey and some extensions, GMail has become my most preferred email client, even beating outlook(which I consider to be feature rich). Now GMail has gone one step further and added this very very useful feature.

Now you can have *all* your emails at a single location, including your office mails(if POP is enabled)! I know many people who check 2-3 email accounts everyday and this would be a real boon to them.

Warning: I wouldn't want to get my office emails on GMail though. I know Google is all smart and full of Phd wallas, but all a hacker needs is one bug and if he pulls off some IP(remember startups have no money, only IP) from your account, you are toast!

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Thursday, December 07, 2006

Tryst with cooking

Due to unavoidable travel reasons the better halves of dad and myself are not at home. This leaves Dad and myself to do all the work at home. slant

Almost all the work at home is kinda manageable except for cooking. My dad is somewhat of a strict one when it comes to food. He needs his rice everyday and hence shortcuts like instant noodles don't fly with him. Hence I had to transform myself from a one dish wonder (I am known to make some mean puliyogare) to chef principal. wink big nose. As they say, necessity is the mother of all invention and though I don't want to deem what I cooked as an invention(that could only be derogatory), I did manage to cook rasam for us. I think I give myself a 10 on 10 for the effort if not for the taste. cool. I went slightly overboard with the chili powder and slightly less with salt. I also had to deal with some very adamant dal which just wouldn't boil. But all in all, we have survived two days on this and the third day is not looking too bad either. wink big nose

Maybe I should try my hand at something more grand next... how about Sambar?? Yes Yes Yes... from my Point Of View Sambar is grand!!

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Monday, December 04, 2006

Music Review: Ustad and the Divas

Ustad Sultan Khan (Piya Basanti fame)is back and he has more than a diva to keep him company. The evergreen Chitra is joined this time around by the two best that Bollywood has to offer, Sunidhi and Shreya. There are 6 songs and a few remixes(this is the norm!) in this album and on first hear they seem like an OK compilation.

The best song of the album and the one whose video is already being aired Leja Leja, sung by Shreya Ghoshal and she has done a fantastic job! The video is also very catchy featuring the extremely good looking lass from Bangalore, Nina Sarkar. This is the only song by Shreya but I think she has the meatiest one! There are 3 songs by Sunidhi with Billo being the best one. Chitra has 2 songs in this album with Rangeela Rut is probably the peppiest number in the album. The sound of this song sounds very familiar, but I can't place where I have heard it. There is this constant presence of Ustad Sultan Khan's voice in every song and somehow that didn't do it for me. He must be a great Sarangi exponent(he is after all a Ustad), but I somehow don't find his voice that captivating or romantic.

The music of this album is by Sandesh Shandilya who had a pretty good run in Bollywood not so long ago, but has been on the fringes since. All in all a decent offering from him with the Divas taking the cake. I most certainly couldn't get the Piya Basanti feel in any song, but maybe more listening of this album would help. I rate it a 6.8 on 10.

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Asian Games are on?

Well yes, the Asian Games are on at Doha and India has sent a contingent of 426 athletes! shocked Up to now, We have one gold in Chess(Koneru Hampy) and couple of silvers and bronzes to date. This is relatively okay and we have been winning in mens and womens hockey too.

What surprises me though is the lack of interest for the games. First off, its televised only on DD, which still needs to learn a trick or two on marketing an event like Asian Games for which, I am sure, they have paid a lot of money! Secondly, the print media, at least TOI, seems to know very well that Asian Games has not entered into the peoples psyche and hence is not even in the first page of the Sports page! Add to this the very pedestrian commentary by the same old faces/voices almost puts you to sleep. These guys surface every Asian Games, Common wealth Games, Afro-Asian Games and SAARC Games and treat each of these no differently than the State Championship!

Anyway, a chance to watch the Chinese dominate and edge ever closer to world domination in sports is very interesting. Up to the early 1970's they used to win the same number of medals as India and then someone in the administration took the whole issue of sports seriously and today they totally dominate the Asian Games and give very decent competition in the Olympics. What is interesting about their rise in sports is also the respect they garner in other fields. Most of the rich west treat sports and fitness as being an integral part of their lives and they tend to relate and respect folks from countries who also treat sports similarly. China is doing that quite well these days and earning many brownie points while our obsession with a sport that the west has no clue of isn't getting us many crumbs!

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Saturday, December 02, 2006

Making hay while ...

Does the name Alex Tew ring a bell to any of you? Well, if it does not lemme give you people the dope on his claim to fame. This chap came up with an advertising idea called the million dollar homepage. People would buy advertising space from this guy for $1 for every pixel. If the idea sounds like something that would never fly, think again! Have a look at the page, its filled and our man just pocketed a cool million dollars(there were a million pixels). Now the genius who came up with this dumb idea is back with a new idea ... now don't get your brains working overtime as Mr. Alex Tew sure didn't! He is going for the multi-million dollar homepage and since he knows people won't fall for the same trick twice, he is trying to lure people by giving away a million dollars for whoever clicks on the 'lucky' pixel. I think the odds are better in any game in Vegas than on this page!

If this idea of his also "clicks", then I am gonna go confidently ahead with a billion dollar homepage!! Hell... if netizens are this moronic, lemme give it a shot while they remain so! cool
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Wednesday, November 29, 2006

License to talk

India is 82/5, on the way to another expected loss! I am not going to talk about India's dismal performance for enough has been said in the media, in the parliament, in my office etc etc.

For once lets talk of the Proteas shall we.... They have a pitch that suits them, they are playing a team that fears them and they have a team that is very good not to mention a very lucky toss coin. This being said, is there really a need for all the tongue swagging?? I know cricket is no longer a gentleman's game, but it ain't an indisciplined one either.

Ntini - The decent one in the lot. You will never see him swear at the batsman.
Pollock - Has a reputation for being a joker. Well, his guy should be a mime joker!
Kallis - For all his talent in batting, he does need his tongue to complete his bowling!
Nel - Less said about this clown the better. He comes in every match and is running up to the batsman and opening his mouth from the very first ball!

Completing this trio is the dodo who can let a ship through his teeth, Mark Boucher. This guy can't keep his mouth shut for all the money in the world, doesn't matter if he is batting or keeping. If this guy is the vice-captain, guess how the captain must be? Well, he is the leader of the pack in every way! angry

This display is being seen on TV by so many people and I can't guess the match referee being blind! If so, why don't these guys get fined for misconduct or at least warned? This kind of partial behavior has been pointed out many a time by the Pakistanis, the Lankans and Indians, but nothing is being done about it!

Question of the night:
What do I hate more, seeing the miserable performance by the Indians or the shameless verbose performance by the South Africans or the continuously inconsistent administration by the high powers?? angryangryangry

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I don't need to tell regular users of the net that the world wide web is not a nice place especially if you don't know its ways. Imagine you doing as innocuous a thing as checking your yahoo mail. You get a message that your need to enter some credentials other than your password to prove your identity. You think... wait a sec, this is not new to me, I am asked this question at almost every place. I either show some ID proof when in person or give some credit card information when I am trying to buy something on the net, so lemme just go ahead and give it!

Hacked Yahoo Site:

The real Yahoo Site:

All this happened on my cousins laptop. The same thing happened with the ebay site too. Now, there is most probably some sort of virus or trojan or something doing tricks. But the fact that this happens so convincingly makes one wonder!! I tried the normal track URL and stuff, but couldn't find out the source or the destination. I didnt try harder and had him do his mailing and buying from my lappy. nose smile

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Saturday, November 25, 2006

Movie Review: Casino Royale

His name is Bond... James Bond and for a change we meet the MAN James Bond and not the gadget assisted tight upper lipped womanizer!

I am not much of a reader and have not read any Bond novel, but people who have read them tell me that this is more closer to the Bond Ian Fleming had in mind that the gadgety ones we are used to seeing in all the movies. I have always (thought) loved the Bond movies, especially the Sean Connery and Roger Moore ones. Star Movies has been running a Bond special, sorta like a prequel to the release of Casino Royale, they have been playing all the Bond movies ever made for the last 3-4 weeks. I must say that seeing some these flicks again was downright boring. But then, if you give them the benefit because of the time when they were made, maybe they are still enjoyable. Comparatively the Pierce Brosnan ones have been more entertaining. Better plots and better screenplay than the usual bad men being present at some place before Bond reaches and waiting to kill him and Bond escaping unscathed every time. Though Star Movies must have planned this to be a great way to boost Casino Royale, I kinda lost appetite for Bond movies, so to speak.

Now this is my mood going into the theater and the first 10-15 minutes is moooore than enough to blow me away and give me my(company) moneys worth. Here is a Bond acting like no other, actually doing some physical hard work to catch the bad guy. This sets up the rest of the movie and Craig David Daniel Craig does his job fantastically. You gotta give it to the guy, he is not your typical Bond lady killer, but damn he can kick some butt! No wonder the producers of Bond movies decided to force Pierce into early retirement. He could never ever have pulled this one off! To be frank, the plot is quite straightforward and no real surprises till the very end, well... even the end is kinda guessable. So, story wise, not very strong. The second half drags a bit after the big poker match and you get a feel of "If the action is over, get it over with already!". Then the final surprise unveils itself and the movie then ends. Except for this last 20-30 something minutes of drag, the movie is quite nicely paced. I love card games and I understand poker, hence I enjoyed the action-less but tension-filled poker game too. The lady love of Bond is also not your typical bombshell though there is a distinct effort to "uplift" certain parts of the female anatomy. In fact, Bond is mostly monogamous in this flick and that completes the characterization of the new Bond. The new Bond has a heart, has a temper, has no gadgets and packs quite a punch. The only commonality to the other Bond movies is that this one is also a probable hit at the box-office. I would give it a 8.3/10 and the extra .3 is because it rekindled my Bond liking. wink big nose

Now.. whatz next?? Probably Dhoom-2, TOI just gave it a 4 star rating.
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Thursday, November 23, 2006

Unsung Hero(ine)

How many of you have heard of Marykom? Asking for a last name? Asking for nationality? This is why she is probably one of the most unsung sports heroines of India in an unsung sport, boxing.

2 time world champion
4 time national champion
2 time asian title winner
commonwealth winner
Padmashri and Arjuna Award Winner
...and is now in the finals of the World Boxing championship, 2006.

The strong medal prospect for the coming Doha games and Beijing Games, Marykom has done India proud many a time. But in the land where people would rather watch a 91 all out performance or or a bombshell tennis babe rather than a lady pugilist fight her way to victory, its no wonder that this champion has no public life. She not so long ago was hunting for sponsors till she finally landed one and is still on the hunt for a good job. Her job with the Manipur police doesn't really pay well.

We have Sania Mirza, who slid from World No:32 to World No:63 and still getting a Deutsche Bank deal worth crores, and this world champion many times over is working for a few thousands a month?? Even the lack of private sector sponsors is a shame, what is even more alarming to know is the apathy by the Sports ministry and Sports Authority of India.

Well, all we can do is wish Marykom the very best in her career and hope that the ever desperate Indian Media will pick her travails and maybe help make them count financially. straight face

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Monday, November 20, 2006

Travel Tip

During air travel the next biggest problem to food is getting good sleep. I usually stay awake the whole time watching something on the TV, but when I am not watching I have a tough time trying to sleep.

Just realized I had clicked these snaps but hadn't posted them. Of all the travel in Cathay Pacific, I had never noticed this very useful feature and in fact didn't see many people use it, which makes me believe this is not a well known fact. Also, Cathay doesn't tell this or mention it in their catalogs.

Normal Seat - No Sleep:

Modified Seat - ZZZZZZ:

Try this the next time any of you are on a Cathay Pacific flight or maybe on any other airlines, without damaging the seat if it doesn't budge. wink big nose
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Many Thanks :-)

Today has been a good day for me as a blogger. I had some 100+ unique visitors today and almost all of them came because of this. Thanks a lot Gopal. wink nose It was fun having so many comments and replying to all the brickbats. I have to thank A R Rahman too for getting me the few seconds of fame.

The two most viewed entries at my blog:
1. Guru vs Kabul Express
2. Smile Specialist

I guess celebrities do matter. wink big nose
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Saturday, November 18, 2006

Music Review: Guru vs Kabul Express

This weekend saw two high profile music releases, Guru and Kabul Express. Guru is the much awaited Mani Rathnam directed, music by A R Rahman and starring Abhishek Bachchan, Aishwarya Rai and more. Kabul Express has a good star cast and is directed by Kabir Khan, recently associated as the cinematographer of The Journalist and the Jihadi: The Murder of Daniel Pearl. The music for Kabul Express is by Raghav Sachar, the very talented Indipop entrant.

Spent the better part of Saturday listening to these two soundtracks and the decision on which is a better one became clear towards the end of the day. The music of the Guru, in Rahmans own words, "a Gujarati sound, goes on to Turkish, then very north Indian friendly kind of music and also some opera stuff". One of my cousins is a big fan of A R Rahman and Mani Rathnam and Guru symbolises the highpoint of his movie experience for the year. He has been having me hear promos and small bits of music from Guru for the last few months and I too was pulled into this inevitable hype that seems to be passe for every Mani Rathnam movie! With A R Rahman, you always have to listen to his songs a few times before they hit you, but I must say that Guru doesn't seem to have the songs to do that. "Tere Bina" by Rahman and Chinmayee is the most captivating in terms of music and Rahman continues his recent trend of keeping the best song to himself. "Barso Re" has Shreya Ghosal doing a great job and "Ay Hairathe" is the most soulful song of the lot and sounding a comeback of sorts for Hariharan. The rest seem more like musical fillers, but movie relevance will be known in a couple of weeks.

Kabul Express promised a lot less because of the music being from a newcomer. True to his indipop experiences earlier, Raghav has given a definite pop touch to the songs in the movie. There are 2 songs to contend with, one is "Kabul Fiza" sung by Raghav himself and 3 versions of "Banjar" sung by Shubha Mudgal, Sunidhi Chauhan and K K respectively. Both these songs in all its forms are very foot-tapping. The tunes have a definite newness about them and the peppy music adds to the energy of the songs.

Maybe its to do with all the hype surrounding Guru, but the music has definitely not lived up to the hoopla. On the other hand, Kabul Express is surprisingly pleasing. Though this is no comparison between A R Rahman and Raghav Sachar, it does go to show that all the time spent outside by the ever busy Rahman may be helping him in many ways, but doesn't seem to inspire his music enough! All in all a disappointing release from the maestro while another young gun is in the reckoning for stardom.

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Thursday, November 16, 2006

Movie Review: Departed

Profound profanity, sharp acting, decent suspense, mediocre story, punchline direction. These adjectives more or less summarize the latest from Martin Scorsese. The man is 60+ but still has not lost his touch, much like our very own Yash Chopra. wink nose {sarcasm}

The movie is a Boston police life "Kane and Abel" kinda story, hmm.... maybe not. We have both the protagonists, Matt Damon and Leonardo Di Caprio, trying to getting into the police force. Both are coming from not so well to do families. One (Leonardo) has family members who are into mafia, extortion etc while the other(Damon) is picked up at a young age by the top honcho of the town, Jack Nicholson. Leonardo has to prove his mettle and sincerity to his boss and ends up as an undercover agent in Jack Nicholsons gang of goons. Damon, wanting the quick way to power, uses his links to Jack Nicholson to move up and move up fast. The story unfolds into this inevitable showdown between the two guys. As usual, I don't want to kill the suspense, but all I can say is that there were two possible endings to the movie that I could think of which would have done justice to the story and the director incidentally chose one of them. And the ending was very much in keeping with the way he had taken the rest of the movie.

Fantastic performance by Matt Damon, an OK one by Leonardo and a casually powerful one from Jack Nicholson. Mark Wahlberg, Martin Sheen and Alec Baldwin are wasted in their roles, but I guess you can have only so many good roles in a 2 something hour movie. Though I walked out of the movie with a sense that I got value for my money, I think the movie could have been a lot more if they have deepened the protagonists getting entwined in each others lives. Nonetheless, a decent offering from a master director. I would give it a 8/10, rounding off to stay away from having to explain my patented formula. wink big nose

Now for Casino Royale.....

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Tuesday, November 14, 2006

India *causing* brain drain?

I was party to an incident yesterday. This is around 7:30PM and I am just stepping out of the office. As I was walking out, I see that right in front of our office two foreigners and a lady are haggling with an auto rickshaw driver. The reason I spent more time than I usually do is because the lady arguing with the driver looked a lot like a colleague of mine. The lady then throws her hand in the air and walks away. At this time, I felt I just had to see if the driver was haggling for more money and give a piece of my mind to him. And as I guessed it was our auto driver trying to fleece some extra bucks from the tourists. I asked them where they had to go and it was a place close to the Bangalore domestic airport. My office is about 15 minutes drive from the airport, this means their place is some 5 kms from where we were. I was surprised that the tourists actually knew that they have to pay 1.5 times the meter charge. First thing is that this 1.5 times comes into effect only after 9PM. So, they were already being fleeced. The auto driver was asking for Rs.200 which is just ridiculous. I felt I just had to help them and I volunteered to drop them to their place. They were initially very hesitant and then later agreed.

On the way to their place, I got talking with them and realized that they were not tourists. They were french and were working in India. What surprised me was that they are going to be in India for 1 year!shocked They worked for this company called idiom, whose website apparently needs authorization! They are into some kind of designing, publication etc. Anywayz, they are french and idiom does not have any office in France. In fact, google around and idiom is actively hiring people from outside India. This is classic outsourcing but this time around India is NOT the source of the out! They in fact said "We have good salary by India standards, but we have to pay french taxes which means we don't save much money. We therefore can't pay Rs.200 to get to our house". When I asked why are they working out of India, the answer came "Work is good". Here are people from developed nations coming in and working in India for Indian salaries because work is good. I am sure this is an aberration, but nonetheless, I sincerely hope this is a trend in the making!

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Thursday, November 09, 2006

Replacement Warranty

Bengalooru is back to using helmets as a must. The government listens to the Helmet lobby for another year or so before they squash it again. Anywayz, junta always finds humour in everything. :-)


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Monday, November 06, 2006

Feel good... Feel bad

This is a rip-off from today TOI, but made a not so startling revelation about me(which I knew ofcourse wink nose)

To know if you are a workaholic or not:

1. Do you get more excited about your work than about family or anything else?
2. Are there times when you can charge through your work and other times when you can't?
3. Do you work more than 40 hours per week?
4. Do you turn your hobbies into money-making ventures?
5. Have your family or friends given up expecting you on time?
6. Do you believe that it is okay to work long hours if you love what you are doing?
7. Do you get impatient with people who have other priorities besides work?
8. Are you afraid that if you don't work hard you will lose your job or be a failure?
9. Do you work or read during meals?

If you answer 'yes' to three or more of these questions you may be a workaholic.

I passed the above test in flying colours as a workaholic. While I don't see being one as a negative, I also don't see not being one as a positive. Also, this is TOI and only deserves the mental retention value of a chewing gum. cool
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Thursday, November 02, 2006

Changing times

Back to India and the vibrancy of businesses here is so obvious. Things are constantly looking up here. Sometimes it looks like a bubble, too good to be true. But then, for e.g. I have been spelling doomsday in my limited knowlegde of the real estate boom in Bangalore since 2003 but nothing really seems to slow down. The congested Bangalore domestic airport is now congested so much more. Emirates is flying out of Bangalore now and we don't have an international airport even. We have SMS services revenue being figured in the pie chart from Zee and Sony. I can go on and on, in short the economic vibrance in relatively affluent India is just amazing!

So, in India we have basic services coming into play and resulting in revenue while in the US the saturated market is being squeezed to shell out for non-sensical products! :-)

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Sunday, October 29, 2006

Home sweet home

Finally home and feels great to be back! The last month or so has been hectic at work and hate that as being the reason for me not doing things that I wanna do, including blogging. But none the less, the time has come to pass and am back in my comfort zone.

The travel back was a lot more comfortable than expected, maybe because I was looking forward to being back. Also, I had a 20 hour waiting time in Singapore designed specifically for folks who want to spend some time around Singapore. Me of course have done these 1 day Singapore trips thrice already and chose to spend the time at the airport itself. If you remember my onward to US journey experience, there were just 2 of us Indians in the flight from Singapore to Hong Kong. Most coincidentally, the same chap was on the same itinerary as me on the way back too. We looked at each other, both were surprised for a bit and then continued to be strangers. It was a weird coincidence though.

Spent yesterday catching up on the previews of all the new movies and desi music videos and also cricket. Right now I am watching the India vs Australia match and the match is right now at the boring middle stage where nothing seems to be happening. Come to think of if, I have come to read a couple of articles, one I remember to be from boycott, on how boring this championship has been. And seeing the crowds for yesterdays match, it was quite clear that there was some truth in the articles. I tell you... each passing year and I see cricket losing its steam and cricketers their charm. Oh well... I guess India will have to get good in some other sport which has more than 8 teams playing it!

In all the TV viewing yesterday I could that there were many new ads peppering the screen. One of the one that caught the eye was the India exclusive Xbox Ad! Watch it!

Microsoft spending money for an India only Ad? Wow! Indian market in the Microsoft radar is good. But it also means that Microsoft will come pretty hard on all the pirated XPs around. nose smile

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Long break

That must have been one of the longest stretches of me not blogging. Work has been hectic and since my daily routine is broken, I really don't find the time to blog. This should be all over in another week or so, phew....

Its 2:30PM on Saturday and I am heading to office! Anywayz... should be back on the circuit soon. Don't know how many readers I have lost, but those I have not, hang in there..... nose smile

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Sunday, October 01, 2006


I have spent the better part of Sunday glued to the TV set. One thing nice about this place, there is always TV to watch! For e.g. lets say you like a specific serial on Television, but never get a chance to see every episode. What would be the best way to catch up? One option is to download the whole thing online (probably illegally) or come to fatherland.

I have seen this on every visit, and this time in no different. At the end of a season(for the non-TV types, these are series of episodes and not weather cool) there is a re-run of every episode of that season. Today, a channel here has a re-run of the entire season of "Law&Order-Special Victims Unit". Helps you get past the slow days without having to pretend to be active, Niiiice! I can't imagine any program other than cricket that has the popularity to be able to run(re-run) for 48 hours across a weekend in India!

But what caught my eye and hence the subject of this post was the thoughtfulness that is built into the general lifestyle here. For e.g. I had to mute the TV for some reason and what I see immediately is captioning turning on automatically! Captioning is the text form or subtitles for programs that come on television. Its part of the feed that comes via cable. In better TVs, you can choose to have only audio, audio+text and only text. While the audio+text option helps us understand the myriad of accents that are heard on TV, the only text option is a boon to all the deaf people who want to enjoy television. A very small thing (once the infrastructure is built/enforced) but could make a big difference to many!

... back to TV now.

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Saturday, September 30, 2006

Bimbos? Not Quite!

How many of you have seen "Bollywood Calling" ? This was the one Nagesh Kukonoor movie with Om Puri, Perizaad Zorabian and some Firang in it. It was a sorta kinda funny movie but don't remember too much of it. One thing that I do remember though is Perizaad telling "We are not so dumb you know. Acting is good money and I am paid very well to act dumb. I am smart enough to know that I have to play dumb!" This is not quite verbatim, but you get the gist. :-) I then see Jessica Simpson and she epitomized this statement totally.

Basically Jessica came on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno. She was her bombshell self and walked onto stage in total confidence. Now, this is expected from her, she is after all a stage performer. But what surprised me was the ease with which she played the role of this typical blond bimbo and at the same time totally owned Jay Leno. Now Jay is a certified smart ass and can give the best a run for their money. But this girl, while looking silly and nodding her head at anything also managed to hold her during the entire interview and in fact made Jay Leno look stupid at times and he didn't even realize it! Now, unfortunately I don't remember all the small incidents that happened on the interview, but trust me, this was one of the rare episodes where Jay Leno got bummed and I loved it!

Remembering the dialogue from the movie and seeing Jessica Simpson do her thing, I wonder if its reason enough to see Mallika Sherawat or Nisha Kothari in a different light. :-)

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Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Voyage across the seven seas

Well.. not quite the seven seas, maybe a couple of seas and a couple of oceans. Doesn't make the travel any less bearable though. Every time I travel to the US the interest to put up with the whole charade dies that little bit more. Writing this from the Hong Kong airport, while the memories are still fresh. nose smile

This to me is like the problem we have with white cricket balls used in one-day internationals. Somehow with all the technology and feedback the situation doesn't improve. Usually I go for non-veg asian, and since I haven't exactly enjoy the spread earlier, I chose veg asian meal this time around. And verdict... no better!


HongKong-SFO {Dinner}:

HongKing-SFO {Lunch}:

The photos above doesn't tell the full story because with all the equisite packing any food will look good. I look around and see all the chinkies(includes japs, koreans, singaporeans etc) gorging on what has been served to them. Am I picky or do the non-indian airlines not know how to make a decent indian meal?? Since I am not a food connosieur I would think its the latter.

Security Checks {OBL Standard}:
I fit into the classic wheatish complexion bracket and this is enough for every security officer to suddenly feel the need to do their duty! In the flight from Singapore to Hong Kong there were only 2 indians(yup.. just 2) on board. Don't know about the other chap, but of all passengers an officer came up to me and said "Sir, random passport check...'. Something told me it was not so random! nose smile He looked long and hard at my face, a little too much eye contact, if you ask me. I was dressed as decently as I could, not creating any ruckus, no extra baggage(just the laptop bag) and minding my own business. I really wonder what qualified me to be the lucky guy! It was racial profiling at its best, but felt quaintly special too. I felt like looking up to all the chinkies and telling "You can only dream of this much attention!" wink nose But then, on second thoughts, if all this racial profiling can ensure that I don't die saying "Howdy" to some guy sitting in some high rise building, I am all for it!

Even the help staff would rather help anyone but brown skin. Here was me walking all around the place with nothing to do and an obvious question mark on my face. I didn't have anyone come up to me and ask "Can I help you?", while I saw about 4 chinkies and couple of goras being ment this special treatment. Now, ofcourse we desis are smart(me included :-)) and don't need this help, but then, remember I am now expecting special treatment till I reach fatherland! Looks like special treatment is only when someone feels like groping me under the guise of checking and not when I am looking around for McDonalds and obviously going the wrong way.

Initially the surprise was limited to the ever changing requirement of the photo dimensions for an US visa. Now, the whole travel is filled with such surprises.

Surprise #1: Batteries not allowed! Wait a sec... rechargable batteries are special, but the officer is not sure and disallows them. It almost looked like this fresh rule is made on the fly, almost like "Aaah.. Ajay is travelling, lets just make his travel that much more exciting!" Just while I was wondering what I would with the batteries... Surprise #2 attacks.
Surprise #2: I am told that I can have only one hand baggage. All I have is one laptop bag and my backpack(a small one at that). I suddenly have to squeeze anything important or costly into my already filled up laptop bag. Luckily my batteries found a way of getting into the now have to be checked-in backpack. I now comply with the rules and have only one hand baggage, having checked-in my now empty and "free to open" backpack.
Surprise #3: Now that rules for Ajay have been formulated, its time to make him sorry for not having bleached his skin! Almost all chinkies getting into the plane are carrying cameras and in fact taking photos! Some are carrying more than one hand baggage and no one is stopping them. The situation gets worse at Singapore and Hong Kong where you are allowed to carry in as many "duty free shopping bags" as you want/can. Grrr... and they make me part ways with my good ol' backpack! angry


My memories of Singapore Airlines will always be good, as I cannot remember taking my eyes of the personalized TV screens. Nice movies, new movies, food/service/sleep/anything else can wait! But in Cathay, as has been the case the last couple of times, they expect you to pay to watch the new movies. They play old movies, but they are ones that have already been screened a zillion times on HBO or Star Movies. Radio channels have one/two english ones and one hindi in a very short repeat loop. The travel just got very boring!! Add to the fact that since the time diff between my Indian and Cathay was about 45 mins, I got the window seats for
the leg from Singapore to Hong Kong and also for the Hong Kong to SFO one! Sigh....


How can I forget work! Usually these Business trip types are 50% timepass, 50% work. But with my current employer, it almost certain that I will be slogging it out there. I almost feel the duckling walking into a desert with vultures almost impatiently waiting for me. :-(

Why do I put myself through this? Do I have to come to fatherland? Do I have to eat this food? While these questions keep consuming me, I am interrupted by myself... "Hey, Did I just see a Circuit City 2 miles from office? Did I just see a Fry's flyer with an almost moronic deal on a Sandisk Memory Stick?"
nose smile nose smile

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