Travel Travails - Part Deux

The LCCT (thats Low Cost Carrier Terminal) in KL has to be called inspiring. It will "inspire" you to skip travelling by low cost airlines only so you avoid coming into the country thru this airport. Almost felt like being back in Bombay's airport. Pretty sad altho they tell me the other airport (KLIA) is much bigger, better and cooler. Gotta make more money for next time so I can fly regular instead of low cost.

And of course I took forever to clear Immigration. Man I dont have luck when it comes to these things especially picking lines in an airport. Took almost an hour to clear Immigration and baggage claim.

Got picked up by my aunt and cousins at the airport and off we went to their home located in a quiet town about 40 minutes outside of KL. It was quite nice seeing all the houses in that town. After the typical apartment and buildings you see most of in my city, its nice to come across actual houses. This pic --> on the right is a shot taken from the KL Tower (or the Menara).
The pictures down below (from L to R) Sky Bar at The Trader's Hotel, Petronas Towers at night, Overhead view of Putrajaya.

The Sky Bar is a must visit for a really cool view at night of the Towers since Trader's is located right opposite the Towers. The view from the 42 floor is quite stunning.

Spent a couple of days at my aunt's before heading off to spend 3 days in KL city. I stayed with Sher who's a close friend of my cousins. Sher lives in a dorm thats attached to their church. Being the heathen that I am, when my mum came to know that I spent 3 continuous days in close proximity to a church, she almost dropped the fone. lol
<-- This is the view from the 42nd floor of the Petronas Twin Towers
Sher was kind enough to take me around the city on a whirlwind tour over the weekend. And a whirlwind tour it was. I pretty much visited all the major tourist attractions like the Petronas Twin Towers, The Menara (KL Tower), Putrajaya (which is various administrative offices of the country are located), The Batu Caves and a couple of the major shopping malls. Unfortunately due to time constraints I was unable to visit Aquaria and the F1 circuit at Sepang. But I figure there should be some places left to visit whenever I come here next.
Put up a few pictures of the places mentioned. Below is the view of the Batu Caves from up front and from the top of the steps. As you can see, there's 272 steps that lead you to the top. Bloody exhausting climb up not to mention it was a particularly humid day too.

Next stop - Siem Reap, Cambodia


Travel Travails - Part I

Greetings Faithful Readers, all three of you.
Been a while since the last post and thought I'd get a quick one in before I take off on my travels in a day or two. Hah! I love how world traveller-like that makes me sound...

As mentioned in my previous post, the initial Thailand leg of the trip got scrapped. And so onto the next destination - Slingin' Singapore. Flew in on an Air India flight. Y'know every time I fly, I always get a sense of awe while approaching & boarding a plane. The thing looks so damned big and the fact that I feel so tiny in front of it just adds to the feeling. But this plane seemed more like one of those kiddie toys. For the very first time in my life, I did not get that inner sense of Woah!!... in fact it was more like... Huh?!! Is this supposed to be it??

After a fairly uneventful flight (btw the lack of in-flight entertainment on these Air India flights sucks bigtime!) landed in the early AM at Changi airport. I was 3rd in line at Immigration. 3rd!! So of course, as per the laws laid down by Uncle Murphy, I got pulled up when I finally get to the the Immigration desk. The rather severe looking Sgt. Something-Devi duly stamps my passport but after doing so calls over her colleague and I am escorted to the waiting area of their office. Wonderful...
So as I cool my heels in the waiting area, while they confirm I'm not a threat to national security or God-knows-what, I call my hosts in Singapore cribbing about my luck in these matters and telling them I'll meet them only in the evening since they were leaving for work shortly.

I finally get the all-clear and head out into the bright Singapore sunshine. The air smelt good... almost a sense of familiarity in there. Got into the cab and headed to the condo.
I stow all my bags and decide to take a shower. Step out 20 minutes later and... its raining! No wait... Its freakin' pouring cats-dogs-and-other-land-based-creatures!! The way its coming down you'd have thought that God decided Man's sins had warranted another 40 day 40 night deluge. Hmm... I wonder if Ikea sells arks. ("Yes, I'd like this in Red Mahogany please... ")
The downpour continued for another 4 hours. Rain tends to depress me at times but in this instance, it helped that I was on vacation and also as you can see the view from the apartment was quite pretty and green.

The next few days pass off in a blur. Revisited some places from my last trip here. Hung out with my hosts and their friends. Watched Lucky Oye (pretty good) and Bolt (alright types). Walked along Orchard street checking out the Christmas decorations that were just starting to be put up. It's gonna look quite festive in a few days. Also learning how to cook some basic khaana coz I figure its high time. I also think I have the knack for it (my hosts will provide testimony to the Spanish Omelette I cooked for them).

Last but not the least I met up with The Mighty Gong Liu. We'd been in touch for a while now and I was looking forward to our meet. GL pretty much turned out the way I'd pictured her to be. Full of chat, laughs and enthu. Our first meet was lunch at a foodcourt near her office. Of course the way these places get so crowded during lunch, she ended up giving company to a couple of firangs while I was off getting my food. Due apologies about that, GL. We really should've picked a restaurant huh?!

Couple of days later, GL very kindly invited me over for some lunch. How can I say no to ghar ka khaana especially parathas! Spent a very pleasant afternoon stuffing my face and talking about this and that. I think my behaviour as a lunch guest was exemplary enough to score another meal soon (nudge nudge wink wink) :D

Next stop - Kuala Lumpur.


Can lah can

23:36 - Right now at this very minute I am supposed to be sitting here and looking at this view. Sniff...

Yeah so if you've been following the news closely, besides the Bombay situation and its aftermath, there is also the news of political unrest in Bangkok. It seems this was going on for the past many months now. But in true Murphy's Law style, three days before my scheduled departure to the Land of Smiles, the P.A.D protesters decide to march up in thousands and camp outside the airport - their intention to prevent the Thai Prime Minister, who was coming into Bkk after some international summit, from entering the country as well as demanding that he step down as PM.

So therefore in this situation**, we've had to can the Bangkok and Koh Samui plan coz the director of Swarnabhumi International Airport has grounded all flights in and out till 5th Dec. Apparently at last count, there were more that 250,000 passengers stuck there.
What I'm feeling awful about is the fact that this plan was cooked up almost 6 months ago and my friends were all coming together (they live in Dubai) and meeting up after a long time.

I now head directly to Singapore which was supposed to be the second leg of my trip. The excitement is growing again. Can't wait to meet the friends who I'm staying with (who actually were in India last month on a really swift visit) and spend the holidays with them. It will be almost exactly five months to the day when I was last there. In fact this post about my last trip to Singapore pretty much kickstarted this blog.
Also looking forward to meeting some of my fellow residents of Blogosphere who live in that neck of the woods. Should be fun...
Besides Singapore, there is also KL, Angkor Wat and Bali on the agenda. I should be back from these places by Christmas eve coz I'm hearing good things about Singapore during Christmas and New Year time.

So if you live in that neck of the woods, suggestions are more than welcome regarding fun places and/or activites that I could do.

**I was gonna crack a joke about the unsanitary situation caused by the PAD. You're looking up and saying, "Thank heavens he resisted..." aren't you?!!


A Wednesday

I started writing this at 1:00 am.

By the time you read this, I’m sure you will have seen/read about the absolute insanity of the last many hours that this city has been witness and victim too. It’s going on as I write this post…

Mumbai and indeed India’s worst ever terror attack they’re calling it. A series of shootouts and blasts at several locations in the city, a hostage situation currently on within the confines of the Trident (Oberoi) hotel, thick smoke billowing out of both hotels due to grenade blasts.

I’ve turned off the television because a) I couldn’t keep watching the same thing over and over again and b) I felt just a little bit disgusted at myself.

Disgust primarily at what is now (in)famously referred to as the Mumbaikar’s Resilient Spirit. Tomorrow this “incident” will come to an end and most people will go on with the lives. There will be solemn talk and appropriate tch-tching about the whole thing but then we’ll be done with it. Perhaps the only ones who will be traumatized about it, would be people who’ve lost a loved one in this entire affair.

I hate the fact that we just have to be resilient. Once in a way is understandable. But all the damn time?!? We’ve seen some terrible times – The riots, the ’93 blasts, the train blasts, the flooding that almost drowned the city. Special love it seems is being bestowed by the Gods** that dwell in our city.

Its 3 am now and its still on…

A not-so-recent resident of our city buzzes me on chat all upset. While I try to say comforting words and make all the right soothing noises, I realize just how incapable I am of understanding her (rightly justified) fears. Hoping honesty is the right way to go about it, I tell her I can’t help too much only because “Ab toh jaise aadat si ho gayi hai…”
As I said it I felt all of 2 feet tall. It’s pathetic that things like this have to become a habit. Bomb blasts, riots, shootouts, death arent't things one should get used to.

Since I am a gambling man, I bet someone will make a (hopefully good) movie on the events that have transpired tonight within 16 months. See, resilience...

Main bhi Scienticity hoon...

This was actually part of the above post but it didn’t quite fit so I thought I’d just make another post for this alone.

** Speaking of the Gods that dwell in the city, I suddenly remembered this one comedy & mimicry tape we used to listen to over and over again. Back in my college days, S had purchased some comedy cassette tapes by Johnny Lever. They were basically a recording of his stage shows.
I remember in particular this one sketch he did. It related to an incident which happened sometime in the late 70’s. There was a global fear about the impending crash of Skylab (a US space station).

Now the central character of this sketch essayed by Lever was a man called Gafoorbhai. As the name suggests, Gafoorbhai was a Bhai. Not only that, he was a psychic of sorts (no doubt helped by that fact that he was a charsi – that’s a dopehead for those of y’all stumped by the slang) whose visions were taken pretty seriously by people around him.
So around the time when the Skylab scare was running wild with fresh rumours everyday about where it would crash, it came to pass that Bombay could/would be its point of impact.

So when asked by one of his so-called followers whether Skylab would indeed crash in Bombay, Gafoorbhai without hesitation says a firm and resounding No.

GB says it might fall anywhere in the world but it will not fall in Bumbey (yup that is how he called it). “Meri baat sun na… main bhi Scienticity hoon… Eskeelab ho... kiski bhi lab ho... woh kahin pe bhi gir jaye, Bumbay mein nahi girega.”

Follower: “but O Wise One, how can you be so sure??”

Gafoorbhai confidently replies, “kyun ki Bumbey mein pehra hai” (because Bombay is under constant vigil)
And he goes onto explain, “See, on the southern side, in the middle of the sea, there is Haji Ali, towards the centre you have the divinity of Siddhivinayak and as you head towards the north there is the benevolent protection of Mother Mary. So with guardians like that, there is no way anything could ever happen to this city.”

To Gafoorbhai’s Divine TrinitySome help right now would be nice. Seriously.


Perception is Reality

WARNING!!! – This is a kinda poker centric post. Only meant to be read if you are a fan of the game or fully faltu.

For those of you who know me, you know of my great love for the game of poker. There are days (and nights) when I am positively obsessed with the game. I am constantly devouring bits of information and news about the game. In my head, I visualize the day when they legalize it here and that I will then become the face of the game here.
Let’s be clear – I don’t consider myself to be a great player. I would realistically put me in the decent-to-good bracket. A learning player if you will (although I think for anyone serious enough about the game, the learning never stops)

So this past weekend, I was sitting at S’s weekend getaway house situated on the outskirts of Pune. By the way, S is as or probably even more obsessed about the game than I am. And so over our glasses of Old Monk (with half water-half coke please, Bartender) we were discussing the game as we usually do on these trips. His insights on the game are something I look forward to listening to. Many areas of my game which I felt were weak have improved because of these discussions we’ve had. I look forward to the day when we’re doddering ole gents sitting on our rocking chairs and still tossing about those hands dealt… those flops hit… the bad beats taken and handed out… those invariable suckouts which just HAVE to happen on the river… while bad mouthing the younger punks who we played against...

Talk also drifted towards some personal stuff… some mine and some to do with people he’s close to. It’s not often that S will bring up topics of a personal nature coz he firmly believes in the Do-what-the-fuck-you-feel-like policy most days of the week.
But this was one of those evenings... The weather was just right. The drinks went down smooth and slow. And as we talked of these things that were directly or indirectly affecting our respective lives, I thought of just how much of the poker talk and its relevance was intertwined with life. The more I thought about it, the more I realized that one’s approach to a lot of the situations that life throws at you, mirror those one comes across on the green felt. Equally too, one's decisions and their outcomes in life, could be mirrored by the decisions you took while playing a hand in poker. Maybe I’m reading more into it than there actually is… perhaps seeing and making connections because I’m into the game so much.

But I have noticed this game has made me a little more aware of people. I am more receptive to the vibe that a person might exude. I put it down to the ability to “read”, that one must develop on the table – reading whether your opponent has got you beat or is trying to pull off an audacious bluff.
I have used a quote by Immanuel Kant in the title. It holds incredibly true at the poker table and so it seems in life as well. So one tries to be more emotionless on the poker table. They don’t call it poker face for nothing. This too has creeped somewhat into my general psyche. I now try and approach a situation with my head more than my heart – something, which in the past, I have been (and continue to be) guilty of with respect to a lot of things in my life be it work or personal stuff.

Like I said before, the learning never really stops. Just like poker is a series of hands, life ends up being a series of lessons. But like S says, there nothing quite like that feeling when you made the right call. It’s the biggest thrill in the world.

Sbhai I didn’t realize you were reading this blog so regularly. This post is as much for you as it is for me - For all those Dynamic Duo :) trips we've done to Pune... the sheer blessedness of getting away from manic Bombay even if for a couple of days... the weather... those teen patti sessions then... the p0ker marathons now... the great food in the past... the GF food these days lol... the Old Monk... the bitchin'... those glorious singing sessions... the New Year's parties... that house has a lot of wonderful memories.


Rendono fermata...

Sometime in early September... Atrium Lounge, Land's End...

The Madman and I are drinking our beers and he's making oral love to his cigar...

M (looking up, blowing a dense cloud of smoke): "Man its gonna suck not being able to come here as often from October onwards..."

B: "Why do you say that?"

M: "Oh you know... the smoking ban kicks in from Bapu's birthday..."

B (mentally miles away): "Hmmm... true..."

M: "Kya hua? Still thinking about her...?! How is that coming along?"

B: "Ehh... I'm thinking there's no point in moping about something you never even had an honest shot at right...?!"

M: "Hmmm... true..."

Fast forward to sometime last week. I came across something...

I really never had a shot...

So why do I still feel a twinge of something...?

Something that feels suspiciously like pain... Rendono fermata...


A child gives birth to a mother

Been a crazy 12 hours. I was supposed to be in Pune right now at S's place enjoying my dark rum with half water half Coke. Things have a way of getting seriously tossed up. What's that saying - Man proposes and God... gives him a swift kick in the nuts saying "Na uh!"

Was up late watching season 3 of 24 till about 3am. Couple of hours later, I get woken up and we her rush to the hospital. Formalities are completed and me and Mum with her sister keep watch. Hours pass... She is in pain... its increasing by the hour. The pains are racking her body at regular intervals... increasing in their frequency and intensity. I sit in the room for as long as I can. She's breathing heavily, raggedly... sometimes deep breaths... sometimes shallow ones. She wants some medication to ease her suffering... Mum and Aunt hold her hand telling her it'll all be over soon.

I can't take it anymore. I leave the room and walk to the area near the elevators. Never have I felt this helpless... this impotent as a man. I can wish all I want to help her out but this is her thing. There's nothing anyone else can do in this situation. There are no tears flowing but I can hear them in her voice.

They wheel her off an hour later...
Doctor - "It was all very smooth... barely took any time at all... Congratulations! It's a boy. 3.45 kilos. Completely normal delivery."

Yup I became an uncle today. And not just in that annoying-kid-on-the-road-yelling-out-Uncle kinda way but a real honest-to-goodness uncle Uncle!

Dozens of calls made and lots of sms-es were sent off in minutes. And a few minutes later we see the lil tyke being paraded for the family for just a few seconds before he's whisked off to get cleaned up. Man newborn babies look ugl...er... weird.

They wheel my sis back into the room. She looks totally bombed. But besides the obvious exhaustion she's holding up fine. Been an absolute trooper thru almost the whole thing.
And now I must gear up to play the part of the cool (but slightly naughty) uncle. Yeah the one that his Mum will tell him to stay away from when he's old enough :D

Welcome to the family, kid.



Saw Quantum of Solace over the weekend.
There have been pretty mixed reviews to the movie. A lot of it, I think, stems from the hangover of the Bond played by Pierce Brosnan. The cool, classy, wise-cracking, martini-swigging character that Brosnan epitomised thru the last decade or so might make this newer raw Bond seem almost Neanderthal-ish in comparison. I disagree with the negative reviews only because I think Craig’s Bond has been a breath of fresh air for a character, whose portrayal by Pierce Brosnan, had almost outlived its time.
Just to clear any doubts - I loved Pierce Brosnan’s 007. But by the last installment, Brosnan was looking his age. Not to mention some of the casting left a lot to be desired. Case in point – Halle Berry. I never really liked her and in Die Another Day I liked her even less. And Jonathan Pryce as the evil media baron… I mean… come on!

So what did I think of QoS? I liked it. Not loved it but liked it. Immediate reason for this is probably because I am a fan of the franchise. Reason #2 – Daniel Craig. Before Casino Royale had released, there was a lot of apprehension that Craig wouldn’t be able to live up to the character. I was one of the few amongst my mates who felt that this guy was gonna be the one to give the edge back to the Bond character.
He proved me right with Casino and again with Quantum. I think DC will definitely end up doing more movies than Brosnan (4) atleast. (FYI Sean Connery did 7 and Roger Moore 8)

You know QoS could have done a lot better had they Bolly-fied it a bit. Y'know maybe include a few song and dance sequences. Like its Indian counterpart - Guru. No no… not that “I-love-Dhirubhai” tribute by Mani Ratnam. Altho both movies had one common factor – the ever lovin’ Mithun “Look-at-my-Hips” Chakraborty.
I’m talking about that Goldfinger inspired 1989 masterpiece, which had Mithunda in & as "Guru" and Sridevi in all her gory costumed glory as the good girl gone bad. See the Bad Girl in action here. Rihanna, you ain’t got nothin’ on the Freedevi.
Additionally, for great costume ideas, see here.

I’ve littered this post with pictures of some of the cool stuff in the film. Except for Olga Kurylenko…. She’s smokin’ hot! What a body! What a face!!! *sigh*
Liked her in Hitman (not an Oscar winning performance to be sure) and I'm glad she got a chance to show off her acting chops a little bit in this one.

"I don’t think the dead care about vengeance..." - Commander James Bond, MI6


Time flies like an arrow, fruit flies like a banana

I have a confession - I'm a TV junkie.

Well perhaps not junkie in the traditional sense.... hmm I'm seeing serious contradictions in this here line.
No, when I say junkie, i mean being absolutely addicted to a few select shows. I don't just watch any crap that's played on the idiot box and we know there's a LOT of that on. I especially don't like those reality shows. You know the ones I'm talking about... Where you, the viewer (voyeur) is intimately privy to the goings on within a household etc. I don't mind the American Idol types so much coz that's more about the talent than the "emotion" aspect. Plus you get to see some seriously good performances.
But I completely detest shows like Big Boss, Survivor and such like. Kinda creeps me out coz I feel acutely uncomfortable after a few minutes. I guess the general public at large does possess some streak of peeping Tom-ism, given the success and ratings of these shows.

Actually most of the shows I watch are courtesy the Internet and several accommodating pirate friends. I been watching some seriously good shows over the past couple of days and just HAD to write about them. I am a big fan of strong character driven shows. If there's a few laughs in there, then all the better.
Here's a few shows that are an absolute must watch if you like (seriously) good entertainment:-

  • Boston Legal - Just got done watching 4 episodes back-to-back of this show before starting to write this post. The leads played by James Spader and William Shatner are effin' brilliant. Plots which range from dead serious to bust a rib laughing funny to mind boggling bizarre. Dialogues which are witty, crackling and sometimes so fast that its blink-and-a-miss. I haven't written too much about the show here but safe to say that it's some of the finest television you will ever get to watch - Guaranteed!

  • House M.D. - This show had run for a fairly long time on Indian television before I started to watch it. Hugh Laurie is magnificent as the cynical, arrogant know-it-all (which he almost always is), Dr. Gregory House in this medical drama. The USP for me is the sparkling dialogue not to mention the absolute sarcasm projected by House. You will also get to see occasionally Laurie's musical multi-instrumentality. He plays the piano, drums, guitar and the clarinet (He's also part of a group of TV stars who have formed a group called Band from TV who play a lot of gigs for charity)

  • Studio 60 from the Sunset Strip - Here's a show which not a lot of people were familiar with primarily because it got cancelled after just one season. It stars two of my favorite actors - Brad Whitford and Mathew Perry. Perry of course everyone knows (and loves) from F.R.I.E.N.D.S and Whitford had a primary role in the West Wing. Fantastic chemistry between these two and it only reconfirms my belief in Americans not knowing good entertainment even if it were to hit 'em between the eyes.

  • The Wire - I've briefly mentioned this show in an earlier post. I just got done with it yesterday and all I can say is Wow! I am not all that into cop dramas but this is probably the most grittiest show I have ever seen. Shot entirely in the city of Baltimore, the Wire looks at life in this city from the eyes of the cops, drug dealers, addicts and the media. One of the things while watching this show was the need for subtitles. The language and street language spoken in the first 2 seasons is virtually incomprehensible without some help. One of the things about the show is its virtually unknown cast. They almost all seem like regular people you might run into on a street in the US. Another unusual fact is the producers using real life cops and former convicts and felons to play characters on the show.

There are a lot of other shows which are favorites like Entourage, Californication, Weeds, Family Guy, Grey's Anatomy, Prison Break, 24, Heroes, How I met your Mother, Niptuck etc. And there are shows which I haven't had the opportunity to watch like Oz and The Sopranos.

If you have any inclination towards watching good television, do yourself a favour and watch some these.

Post title courtesy Groucho Marx


Getting away from it all

A lazy Saturday in progress... Woke up late, had a bit of breakfast. Then later headed with the Madman and the Banker to Hard Rock for lunch. I'm sitting now at the Madman's house writing this post on his Mac (bloody annoying to get used to, being a PC user my entire life) which I think I could get to like given enough time and well.... my own Mac.

I'm sitting on the steps of the entry to his house in front of this tiny lil garden posting while the Madman snores away contentedly inside his room.

The past few days have been an equal mix of dread and anticipation. Dread stemming from the fact that there is now only 2 weeks to go before I leave my company. The anticipation is a result of a trip I will be taking towards the end of the month. What started out as a week long trip to Koh Samui has blown up and become a South East Asia jaunt of sorts. I will be travelling for about 6 weeks and will back in Bombay only in the new year. Places on the list are Bangkok, Koh Samui, Singapore and KL. Trying to squeeze in either Vietnam or Cambodia as well although it doesn't look too promising.

The aim besides travelling is to catch up with family and friends (old and new) living in these places. Also to try and visit places of interest located near to the above cities mentioned. Last, but definitely not the least, on the agenda is to play a serious amount of poker. The Hold 'Em scene is thriving in Singapore and KL and it would be good to meet up and play with different players. I think my game's been stagnating off late and this might be a good way to refresh it.

It's the coming back after which is bringing back those anxiety attacks. The thought of job hunting (successfully) given the current bleak market scenario is a daunting one. But I'm not thinking too much about now coz that'll just succeed in ruining the upcoming vacation.

Where the hell is that Fairy Godmother when you need her?!?!


Will sing for my drinks

Pre-Diwali day in the office. Slow since morning... slower post a pretty heavy Diwali lunch with the team. I'm only writing this post coz i'm in serious danger of snoozing at my desk... zzzzzzzz zzzzzzzzzzz zzzzzzz

Most of the agencies & clients' offices are shut today and in some cases till this coming Thursday. We're out till Wednesday. This being the last set of chuttis till December, its causing a feeling of blah amongst a lot of my colleagues. ("yaar no public holidays till Dec.... how will we survive??")
And that is of course promptly followed by "you lucky bastard, you toh dont need to worry since you're quitting in a couple of weeks."
I am.... weeeeeeee!

Definitely in the mood for a few drinks and some karaoke tonight. So I'm thinking of going to Soul Fry this evening and might end up going alone. Alone because most of my friends are either out at their Diwali teen patti sessions or at the Russell Peters show tonight.
Haven't done the whole going-drinking-alone-at-bars bit since my last job when I was posted out of Bombay. Perhaps this is the night to relive old habits...

If you hear someone singing some Billy Joel (Piano Man/We didn't start the fire) or U2 (Without or without you), or Elvis (Jailhouse Rock) it could be me. Or not.
I haven't copyrighted those songs on karaoke as my own... yet!

So why don't you drop by,
say me a hello or even a hi,
I'll sing you a song or tell you a joke
if buy me a brew or two,
coz I'm flat broke.
Note - The Author was formerly a vocalist in a band. However he has limited lyrical ability as can be seen from the above post. Additional testimonials towards the same will be provided by his former bandmates who used to giggle and snicker when he'd come to their garage jams with lyrics he claimed were masterful. He does not speak to these former bandmates anymore.

The Chicken or the Egg?

I was reading the Oct issue of this music mag called Blender. It was an article about a Damn Yankees album.
I quote below the writer's Asif Khan's opening paragraph:-
"Throughout the history of music, there have been eras, which as a thumb rule have occupied the timeline in units of decades, and have had the birth, emergence, establishment and decay of genres, which held their mainstay and defined those lengths of time."

I kept wondering why it looked so familiar when it hit me suddenly...

The closing paragraph of my post dated 24.09.08:-
"Special mention also about that musically confused/chaotic decade - the 80’s. With most other decades, there is an association of a genre with a particular decade - like blues and jazz for the 40's and 50's, rock for the 70's, grunge/alternative for the 90's, hiphop for the (early) 2000's. But the music from the 80's has always been referred to as that. 80's music. No particular genre ever made that decade its own."

Tell me its not just me...


It's 5 o'clock somewhere...

So I went to Goa on the weekend of Bapu's birthday and I'd promised myself I'd write about it. I'd started this post a lot earlier but didn't get around till today (20.10.08) to posting it. As with so many of my trips to Goa, I'm not sure what to write about at the end of them. I mean it was a great trip but I'm not sure I am up to describing it in its entirety. Goa's like that for me. Just an extended experience which turns into one big, alcohol-induced hazy and kinda secret memory. So I'm just gonna put down some of the highlights...

The Journey - So the traveling circus was J, Ed, MK, DKS and moi. Now J and Ed are married as are MK and DKS. Fortunately I'm very close to these folks that I don't feel like the "single" fifth wheel sort. Also helps that I have a fairly thick skin about these things :D

We decided to save a few bux by going one way by train and returning by flight. I'm not sure it was worth it the following morning when I'm totally exhausted from sleep deprivation (I rarely am able to sleep in a train and not at all on a bus) to the point of wanting to strangle the cabbie who was so obviously overcharging us to get us to our hotel. Anyway we reach our hotel and what followed was 4 days and 3 nights of drinking and eating a LOT of (esp. sea) food.
I think I'd grown gills by the end of it and could probably have swum back to Bombay in case I'd missed my flight.

Blackjack - I got the boys (that's J & DKS in case you're still wondering) hooked onto Blackjack on the train trip. And it continued right thru the trip and even on our return flight back to Bombay. I was the house for most part and they were playing against me for 10 bux a hand. Which reminds me - they frickin' owe me money. The house always wins baby!!
In DKS's case I also started tutoring him on the basic of poker. My young protégé displayed a decent grasp of the game and might be good if he decides to pursue it further.

Whiskey Sour - Another highlight of the trip was the discovery of my new favorite cocktail.
A lovely... lovely... "oh-my-God-hit-me-with-the-nearest-blunt-object-to-stop-the-hangover" lovely drink. J called for this drink our first evening at the bar opposite where we were put up. After that every night before going to sleep we'd indulge in one or two or ten of these. Be warned tho - this mofo will sneak up on you and maaaaaan the hangover's a b*tch to deal with in the morning.
But hell we was in Goa after all...
I generally avoid drinking whiskey or whiskey based drinks coz I tend to become a lil nasty when I drink too much of this poison. But I think I will make an exception for this drink :)

Zeebops - This is a shack that's located on Utorda beach in South Goa. It took us just under 90 minutes to get there from our base in Baga but it is so damn worth it. The food is fine, the beers are chilled but what you come here for is the view.
One of the best beaches I've ever been to in Goa. There's not a lot of people here, the water is cleaner and clearer, the sand too seems softer. Even with my limited foto-taking abilities, here's a pretty picture I took of the beach...

"No Smoking Unless You're on Fire" - The ban on smoking in public places went into effect the day we landed in Goa. Despite being a smoker, I'm all for this law. I mean sure, it's an inconvenience if you gotta go a long way off to get your fix but it wasn't as bad as I originally thought it'd be, having already had a taste of it when I was in Singapore a few months ago.
And sure that don’t stop us from bitchin' about it but this is a good thing. My only gripe remains with people who can't ask me simply to put out my cig. Instead they give you dirty looks and make rude under-the-breath comments. That used to just succeed in goading me to continue blowing smoke rings in their faces. A lot of "us" are regular civilised folks who will immediately stub it (or take it) out if we're told to. There's something to be said for common courtesy. Give it a shot sometime...

The Lighthouse - That first night with our "softdrink" bottles in hand we ventured out in our vehicle which was a Gypsy. Everyone was kicked about roaming about Goa in an open-top. Very Dil Chahta Hai types (wait... didn’t those guys ride a Merc?!)
So our Goa expert J (he's probably made more trips here than all the other places he's ever visited put together), decided to take us to the Lighthouse out beyond Candolim. It was probably 10 at night and barely any street lights. And then suddenly it almost seems like we've left civilisation behind. Only the forest-like woods on either side of the road keep us company as we reach the end of land and see the lighthouse. It's big white beam of light going round and round with reassuring certainty.
J was gung-ho to take us right out to the adjoining cliffs to see the light beam play out over the surrounding Arabian Sea. But in our slightly tipsy state, we chickened out but I could the disappointment in his voice at us missing out on a superlative view.

On our drive back, we went by a helipad type area located pretty close to the lighthouse.
Dr. Mallaya's aerial steeds use this area to land and take off. Aah to be rich... We came to a standstill in the centre of the LZ. Switched off the engine and indulged in some stargazing. One of the simple pleasures denied to us city dwellers. A diamond studded velvet blanket which gazes benevolently down, mysteriously twinkling here and there. Its a humbling feeling when you look up and realize just what a tiny tiny speck you are in this grand ole universe. The alcohol, I think, went down the smoothest in those 30 minutes.
That about covers the so called highlights. There was a lot more alcohol, tons of fingerlickin' food (btw crumb-fried Anything tastes good), loads of laughter, stories old and new, reminiscings of trips past and memories to last me a lifetime. The last time i had gone to Goa with these guys was about a year and a half ago.
Hopefully it won't be another 18 months before we do this again.


Without music, life would be a mistake...

Well… just re-read my last post and after some serious cringing I have come to the conclusion that it was just a badly written thank you note to mah peeps (there’s that black thing again…). So in my present stone cold sober state, I’ll just say thank you and I’m very grateful for your presence in my life.

I was also going thru some of eM’s old posts last week. She’s like a celebrity of sorts now. From a famous blogger to a published author. Quite the feat. She writes pretty good. See… that’s my writing style. But if I were an author I’d jazz that up just a bit – “Her, often vivid, descriptive style of prose is quite becoming… especially her accounts of love and life in the urbane landscape of the towering metropolis… quite enthralling indeed.”

Nice eh?! Felt downright British there... by Jove!... ole Blighty… Tally ho… Spotted dick! (what the...??)

While I haven’t read it yet, I do intend to get me a copy and who knows maybe get it signed by her since she lives in this city now. Damn! That would be a first. I don’t have a signed book by a real live author... err... or a dead one either. So all of y'all need to go out there and buy a copy too. Help a fellow resident of Blogosphere make a few bux and all that.

So coming back to that post of hers – it was about certain songs from different times in her life. Which got me to thinking about some songs/artistes which are so ingrained in my mind that I swear there are times when I just need to think about them and I can literally hear the music in my head. Goosebumpy sh*t that…

So onto the list of 4:-

1. Beat It by Michael Jackson – I distinctly remember seeing the video of Beat It way back when on television. Now I might have been just a 5 year ole chile but my memory is absolutely crystal clear on this. And I remember it was shown in connection with some award ceremony. There was a blurry memory of a picture which looked something like a big tuba like thing in the bacground of the stage. It was only years later that I managed to connect the dots. That's right... I was watching the Grammys that night in '84 on Doordarshan. Till date, everytime I listen to this song, it never fails to gee me up. I think this song really started off my on-going love affair with rock. Killer guitar riffs along with that super fantastic solo by Eddie Van Halen (with that speed shredding and his signature tapping) really make this a standout track. Aural delights aside, this solo is a visual treat too. Take a gander at this.

2. Let's get rocked by Def Leppard – My first e-v-e-r rock song. In them days, mix tapes were the rage and pretty expensive to make as well. So when my buddy Z got one made by a local dj, he was kind enough to give me a copy. (btw said local dj went by the name of Aqueel – yup the same dj Aqueel of Yeh Vaada, Disco '82 etc fame) I remember Joe Elliot’s raspy voice in the intro demanding if I wanted to get rocked. And no sooner did the first few bars blast through my Panasonic cassette stereo, I surrendered. Def Lep holds a special place in my heart. British pop-rock at its best and their heavy use of vocal harmonies influenced us when we did our own songs. Hysteria and Adrenalize are two albums I will never grow tired of listening.

3. Billy Joel – I can’t really pinpoint any one song by Billy Joel because I pretty love 'em all. Again an artiste whose tape I must have run ragged on that trusty ole Panasonic a million times. If I had to pick, it would have to be Allentown, Its still Rock n Roll to me, Tell her about it, Movin’ out (Anthony’s song), The Longest Time, New York State of Mind, Just the way you are, This is the time… aah forget it... just waayyyy too many. Billy’s song writing is unfussy and uncomplicated. I've thought of him as a storyteller more than songwriter. His stories are mostly simple ones… but whether they are or not, they'll get to you coz thats the way he writes them. If there was one thing I could have just for a while, it would be to have the talent to write a love song the way Billy does and sing it for my woman.

4. Nothing else matters by Metallica – My first “metal” song or so I thought going by the band’s name. I’d been given a free copy of their self titled album (also referred to as the Black album) by a school buddy whose dad was a biggie with Universal Music (back then it was Music India Ltd). That cassette lay in one corner of my bookshelf for all of like six months gathering dust. I can’t quite remember why one day I tore off the plastic wrap and slid it into… you guessed it – the Panasonic. It definitely had to do with someone at school telling me I just HAD to listen to this particular song. Of course I was hooked after listening to the song the first time. Played it for another 4-5 times in a row which was a task considering all the rewinding I had to do. For the younger readers of this blog, Rewinding (and Fast Forwarding for that matter) was this process one had do with tapes in order to get to any song you wanted to listen to which was situated anywhere after the first song in a tape. Quite like shampooing - RWD/FFD --> Stop --> Play to check --> Repeat if necessary.

Special mention also about that musically confused/chaotic decade - the 80’s. With most other decades, there is an association of a genre with a particular decade - like blues and jazz for the 40's and 50's, rock for the 70's, grunge/alternative for the 90's, hiphop for the (early) 2000's. But the music from the 80's has always been referred to as that. 80's music. No particular genre ever made that decade its own. There was rock and pop and metal and rap... just one big mish-mash. Musically I am pretty much an 80's child. My sense of rhythm and melody developed from listening to the artistes and music of that era. The harder, harsher edge to my music probably stems from the grunge and alternative influences of the 90’s.

Of course there are a lot more songs… tons more in fact but I think I’d have to start another blog for that. Since lazy me has no intentions of doing so, I'll just settle for listening to some Def Lep and MJ and Billy and reliving some memories past.

Man I miss that Panasonic…

P.S - In connection with my 15.09.08 post, I came across a supercool video of Incubus at their concert in the Red Rocks Amphitheatre, Denver. If you like the original song, then i think you will love this trippy bass heavy version of Drive.


The Big Three Oh


Another day… another year.

I hit 30. And thus goes a conversation with me and this foo called Life.

B - yo Life! I need to settle some scores with you dawg. About where you and me is at this point. I thought I oughta feel different but I don’t. I thought there be something more by now but there ain't. I thought I would be in another place, but I’m not. Just a feeling of unfinished business y’know.
Why did I think more would come of this day? Of this time?
My life seems the same it was not too many years ago. Why is that? Did I not warrant something special to happen to me by now? Did I not want that enough… whatever that might be or was I not enough of a man to get out there and seize my opportunities?
Am I content with what I am and where I am today? Don’t seem like it, if I’m here questioning you like this…

L – mah man… I am a mystery. Sometimes even to myself. I’ve seen a lotta bodies come and go. Some of them be commonplace… some not so. Some of them be punks… some not so. But some… some… they be the extra-ordinary. They be the unusual… the remarkable… sometimes even the curious. You’ve come across all of these in your short time here on this earth.
What did you do when you came across this myriad of specimens?

B - Some I ignored coz they weren’t worth it. Others I didn’t care for because they weren’t of much use in my life. But that some you mention…. Some
I call some of those my family… yet a few others my friends… In so many cases I wasn’t sure if I would ever be tight with these people. Yet not a day goes by that I’m not thankful enough for whatever reasons there might be, for these people wanting to be part of my life.

L – There are reasons… eventually you will come across them for what they are. They are in your life because they mirror you in so many ways. Its what brought you close in the first place.
Yet there are still life lessons to learn. What lacks in you is completed by them and in so many ways it goes around the other way too. So you turned 30 today… a lesson in itself. You got yourself this far didn’t you?! There are still some more miles to travel… some more lessons to learn… some you will learn from these you call family and friends. Still more from the people who are yet to come into your life…
It’s a waiting game son… when you reach that light shining at the end of the tunnel, I’ll be waiting there for you. And as you end this journey we shall both look back and then you can ponder on what I was all about.
You might just end up marveling at all the wonders you’ve seen…

Warning – The Author was completely fucked up, drunk out of his damn mind in a seriously inebriated state post his consumption of several vodkas and loud singing. This post shall be treated as a Rambling. No references of the same shall be made in future meetings with said Author. The Author would also like to assign culpability of the occasional use of 'black' language in the above post to the episodes of The Wire that he be watching recently, aight?!


Present State of Mind

11:27 pm

Incubus - Drive
Brandon Boyd: "The lyric is basically about fear, about being driven all your life by it and making decisions from fear. It's about imagining what life would be like if you didn't live it that way."

Incubus - An evil spirit supposed to descend upon and have sexual intercourse with women as they sleep
Drive - To impel or urge onward by force in a direction away from one



It's raining lightly as our young hero steps out of the fossil-fuel powered automobile. He looks towards the heavens and they look back down silently watching him as he sparks up his smoke. Tis be a quiet movie weekend unlike the tomfoolery that the hero and his comrades indulged in the previous Saturday night.

As they head inside the theatre, our hero looks forward to observing two stalwarts, from the land of Hollywood, sparring with each other, their cinematic skills and thespian fortitude tested on a righteous mission. As they enter the waiting area, he heads off in search of something to eat. Walking away, he hears one of his mates say “Isn’t that…?” And the rest of it trails away out of earshot…

While deciding what fare to indulge in, Sir Madman walks to him and says, “Did you see the Damsel? Or did you purposely ignore her?” Puzzled he asks, “Damsel is here?!” and looks over the Madman’s shoulder and immediately spots her. He’d recognize that head of hair anywhere. Suddenly a variety of emotions – happiness followed by panic, followed by Be-Cool-Idiot followed by more panic, and he does the only thing his slightly dazed brain can do. A smile and a wave.
Damsel comes over, arms opens and a 7.5 second embrace follows. Awkward silence, as our hero pulls back pondering what he could/should possibly say to her…

Damsel: hi, how are you? You look like you’ve lost some weight…
(Translation – Greetings & Salutations! The black shirt and dark jeans possibly makes you look thinner but then it’s also been almost 3 months since we saw each other)

Hero (casually shrugging): Ehhh…
(Translation – hi yourself, its great to see you too. You still look fine... very fine! the same. In all this time, I kept wondering if we’d run into each other sometime… somewhere. It felt almost right that we did… here… a place we’ve come to many a time before. Perhaps you feel the same. How are you? Work keeping you busy these days…?! Glad to know that you have healed enough to put on your dancing shoes. Keep at it with your musical endeavors coz I know you have a wonderful sense of/for the music. Which reminds me, weren’t you planning to go abroad sometime now…)

The Miner walks in and greets the Damsel. Feels like old times. Everyone dressed in regulation Saturday night denim-and-black garb. For a few seconds we were the same group from not long ago who were going in together to watch a movie. After some more conversation and laughs, she heads off to her mates and we follow shortly after.

Once the movie ends, our hero wonders if he’ll see her once more as they leave. His mind is miles away as he stares blankly at the gate guard, ticket extended waiting to collect his flamethrower. He takes it, mentally now galaxies away, and ambles towards the escalator. As he half turns a hand sticks out, waving at him and he weaves around it and moves down, thinking, “Oops I almost bumped into someone there…”
Escalator moves down and he steps off.

*10000 Watt light bulb flashes overhead*
Trring trring… “Hi, sorry was that you who just waved out to me?” With indulgent (hopes our friend) humor in her voice, due confirmation of the same is conferred.

Stepping out, he sees its still drizzling about the same way it was while coming in. Some nicotine is desperately needed. Deep drag. Followed by a deeper drag... And he starts to follow his group back to their vehicle. He sees her walking ahead of him and catches up trying clumsily to explain himself. Realizing what transpired at the escalator could be mistaken for a frigid ignore, some apologetic words are mumbled by him. She smiles… he smiles. All is forgiven.
They walk separately but in the same direction. As he is about to board his transportation, some final words are spoken. Goodbyes are exchanged.

As the scenes from the evening play out in his mind, our protagonist feels something akin to calm settle over him. A seemingly scary situation settled itself fairly quietly in the end. Positive thoughts course through him for the rest of the ride home.

As someone once said, “Of all the gin joints in all the towns in all the world, she walks into mine…”

Dont know about you Bogey, but I'm glad she did.


For those about to Rock...

I've been goaded into making a post (you know who you are!)

Nothing major happened this week. Had a holiday on Wednesday coz of Ganpati. Mid week chuttis are so nice no?!
I was at V's house for Ganpati lunch something which I’ve been going for the past few years now. Her Mom makes the most awesome modaks... yummmm...

Of course the whole post-lunch discussion of "soooo-when-are-you-going-to-get-hitched?" was brought up. What’s with all Matashrees anyway?? I thought girls usually have the whole pressure thing exerted on them but even us guys too?!? Aaaahhh... So what if I’m turning 30 in a couple of weeks... Do I have to get married (or even consider it) just coz I’m turning the BIG THREE O. Nah I think not.
So as V's mom was going on about me getting her a bahu, V was rolling her eyes and giving me pitying looks probably thinking, "Oh you poor boy... I have soooo gone thru this not too long ago".

Lunch got done and I then headed to catch the early evening show of Rock On with the siblings and my pals J & A. I got tickets for this theatre in Mahim called Starcity (the artiste formerly known as Badal of the old Badal-Bijli twin theatres). Went there to try getting tickets before lunch. House Full on the board and as I turn away disappointed, I get psstt-ed at. "Boss, Rock On mangta hai kya?!" Aah what an idiot I was! Of course there is gonna be a tout at these places. So I asked him for 5 tickets and he said it'll cost me 750 (that’s a 150 bux a pop – yeah OK I needed a calculator for that). I’m used to paying no less than 200-300 for a single ticket whenever I go to a PVR or Cinemax or some such. Even for my math-challenged brain the cost of the tickets seemed far too less. It then clicked that I was in Badal of Badal-Bijli in Mahim fame and not a PVR Juhu or Fame Andheri. The original price of the ticket was Rs.100 wonly. I actually asked the blacker very sceptically, "Aap black mein hi bech rahen ho na??” Dude must have thought I'd smoked up some bad sh*t or something :)

Rock On wasn't as bad as I’d thought it would be. I remember telling the Miner that I fully expected this movie to be a complete dud. Regardless of its eventual reviews, I’d have watched this one anyway because I feel a connect with the movie. Having been part of a band myself long ago, I was always hoping someone would make a cool movie about bands, the lifestyle and the gig scene from an Indian context so this was nice to see.
My biggest disappointment with the movie was the soundtrack. Farhan might be a pretty good actor but he can’t sing. One song (the title track) for promotional purposes could have been done by him but not almost 60% of the tracks. I mean it’s a movie about a band for God’s sake. The music HAS to be good. Disappointing clichéd stuff by Shanker-Ehsaan-Loy and the sheets on which most of the lyrics were written were only good enough to be used as toilet paper. (What the fuck is - “Mere taash se heart ka king, mera ek chandi ka ring”) Javed saab apne bete ke vaaste, you could have written waaayyy better lyrics than that.
On a positive note, I loved Zehereelay sung by one of the true rockers of the Mumbai gig circuit in the 90’s – Suraj Jaggan (of Dream Out Loud). It’s a completely wannabe hard rock song where the movie makers I’m sure have tried to poke some fun at the stereotypical Black Tee and bandana clad bands you see on the Mumbai (or Indian) gig/club circuit. But the outstanding track for me is the wonderfully serene Phir Dekhiye sung by Caralisa Monteiro. Sweetly sung with a hint of coaxing and mischief in her voice, this is one lovely song. (Caralisa - Marry me!).

The ride back home after the movie brought back old memories of the band days…
- hanging with the guys while they were auditioning for vocalists…
- them finally picking me coz I was there (“yaar tu hi gaa le since you know everything”)
- our first ever gig which had more than 3000 people…
- getting the “shakes” so badly at the time that I nearly dropped the mic…
- playing in front of the totally biased (for us :) college crowd…
- the cute girls at the Sophiya’s college fest…
- our first television show/competition…
- getting hassled by the judges during said competition and in turn pissing them off…
- roaming the streets of Noida at 10pm trying to find booze so we drown our sorrows…
- Not finding any booze anywhere!...
- deciding we wanted to get into the Indi-pop scene…
- doing the rounds of record labels…
- getting shot down by all of them…
- all the support and affection of our family and friends who remain our biggest fans till date… (Man that last one almost sounds like a shout out on our never-released CD)

Funny thing is I look back now and believe we were a band ahead of its time. OK that might sound a wee bit like I’m full of it but its not… honest.
I’ll tell you what I mean… we started covering alternative rock bands and had a pretty mixed playlist. Of course we played the usual Bryan Adams, Queen, pop-rock stuff. But in them days there weren’t too many bands who were also playing Stone Temple Pilots or Goo Dolls or Green Day in the same set. A few years after we passed out, it seemed that every other band was playing stuff similar to ours. I don’t wanna say we were as good as Zero but when I first saw/heard them, it felt exactly like the kind of sound and material we would have done.
Then again when we tried to get into the Indi-pop scene. Our brand was straight up soft rock with Hindi lyrics (nice ones too unlike taashes and kings and sunglasses).
But no – “you guys sound too western… only guitar and drums and synth… you need to have more Indian instrumentation…”
Of course a few years down the line, one of the most popular bands on the scene is Strings. Soft rock with Hindi/Urdu lyrics. Just a case of (bad) timing I guess…

As I stared out of the window, I'm thinking perhaps we hadn't wanted it badly enough for it to happen. So many musicians have struggled for years before finally making or quitting it. In the end, there are no regrets. I stumbled into it almost accidentally and its influenced my life profoundly and probably made me a better person today.
I used to be a very introverted person back in college not to mention shy and quiet. Today I’m a lot more outgoing than I was then - I guess being the front man for a band will do that to you.

P.S – I still get the damn shakes


Chuckles n Giggles

The Madman's cracked me up recently with these three...

Q. How do you know an auto-mechanic's just had sex?
A. One of his fingers is clean.

Q. How do you piss off a female archeologist?
A. Hand her a used tampon and ask her which period it came from.

and my personal favourite...

Q. What is common between spaghetti and girls?
A. They both wiggle and squirm when you eat 'em.

Binomial Expansion... or some such crap

Well I never claimed to be a Math genius. In fact I'd failed a year in college becoz of it.
(*Gasp* nahhiiiiiiiiiii... humne socha ladka acha hai... padha-likha hai....)

While this isn't mine, the important thing is it could have been... we're the same this lad and I... and its not just because we share the same moniker.

Chain kuli ki Mail kuli

Didn't go to the office today coz eating seekh kababs, butter chicken and guzzling beer till 2 am just might leave a feeling of utter Gaaaaaaarrrrhhhhh (this is the medical term for it) when you look at yourself in the mirror in the morning. One of those f*ck-it-I'm-staying-home days...
So I was going thru some of my olde mails in my inbox and came across a couple that made me grin thru my State of GAAAAAARRRRRRHHHH. Here being posted for your (and mine) reading pleasure...
Backstory - This chain mail began with The Editor (henceforth to be referred to as Ed) sending a link to a Poem which i really couldn't understand too much of since it was kinda shudh Hindi. So I fire the first of the chain (of emails... are you paying any attention?!?)

BLACKFAYTH- yo Ed, I think I speak for quite a few people marked on this mail who are quite Hindi-challenged. Pls to provide Eeeengleess translation (I know I know… the “flavour” will be lost etc etc but I only understood Pushp = flower… pls tell me that’s right :o)

ED - It’s about the wishes of flowers… They are telling us not use them for any sort of decorative or commemorative purposes. Their only wish ever is to be scattered on to the paths on which will/are march/marching those fearless soldiers who guard the borders of our country, lay down their lives for us and hence keep us safe.
Another meaning is that the flowers want to be on paths that are tread by those who are the true fearless guardians of all that is truly good. Not all that is true or good for convenience.
(yeah Ed's quite the patriotic softy)


SING SING STAR - Why are we translating ? Hindi is our mother tongue and we should all be able to read/write/comprehend it!


BLACKFAYTH - Er… Hindi isnt my Mother tongue… its Mallu. Not that I know too much of that anyway… all Bombay-ites know a hybrid form of the national language… its like the Toyota Prius of Hindi – a suitable tongue for the melting pot that is this city. Only we understand it…

Pls to see what I mean from below example:-

Giving directions:-
“A” standing at Pot Pourri wants to know from “X” how to get to Carter road…

A: oh Bhaisaab, yeh Carter road kidhar aaya?
Oh Brother Sir (or the Jamaican variant - Oh Brother maaan) this Carter road where it comes?

X: Yeh saamne wala road pakdo… seedha seedha nikalo… pehla left mein bada garden padega… usko chhod ke seedha jao… aagey jaake doosra garden right pe girta hai… uske Just baad right maaro… bas Carter road saamne… yahan se 222 mein ghuso toh pahunch jaoge tapad tope.
Catch this front-side road… straight straight come out… inside first left big garden will be put…. Leaving that (alt. – f*ck that) go straight… going ahead second garden falls on the right… Just (this is important coz even this dude needs you to know he’s cosmo enough use just that wee bit of the Queen’s language) after that hit right… there’s Carter road in front… from here get inside (Bus no:) 222, then you will be reaching pronto.

Alright so I’m fully faltu and just waiting for 6pm…

Warning!!! *shameless plug via fan-mail ahead*
SING SING STAR - Pete, if you made that whole thing up on your own… it’s a crime to keep such talent hidden! You are born to be a stand up comedian!
Warning!!! *more shameless plugging*
MK - Dude you’re recognizing his talent today??? I have been telling him this since forever!!!!
But he’d rather do adsales.
BLACKFAYTH - *blushing* oh stop now…


Dazed and Confused

Heading home from work today, I felt a lightness that I haven’t felt in a long time now. I had a slight grin on my face through out the ride, which left my cab-sharing colleague a little concerned about my mental state.

Couple of issues in my life have been creating havoc and mentally I am tired... just soooo damn tired. One of them being work... rather my lack of interest in what I have been doing for the past 4 years now in my present company.
S'funny that after 8 years of working in sales in different industries I come to a realization - I really don’t wanna be doing what I do. OK so maybe it isn’t all that funny. Ironic probably would be a better word I suppose. Actually I came to this particular conclusion sometime ago – 4 years ago to be exact (... wait a minute!).

So of course, like any sane individual who has no clue where his career is going, I clamped it down and promptly joined sales in a media company thinking probably the change of industry would be what would cure my ails. 52 months later and I get the distinct feeling that God who’s probably lying sprawled on his Divine Couch (that’s right! It IS called that!) smoking his spliff, slowly wagging his finger going, “Toldja ya maaaaann…”.
Yes I do need to work out my religious issues but c’mon you gotta admit God as a spliff smokin’, dreadlock bearing Rasta would look waaayyy cool.

So why am I grinning like a fool? Coz I told them I’m gonna quit. Its incredible once I did it, the feeling I got. Its all doom and gloom in the work-place these days anyhow what with team changes, new bosses, insufficient hikes and below par incentives. All I could think about was the fact that I was free. That feeling was quickly followed by, “You #*%$ing idiot!! What are you going to do now???”

Still I feel liberated. Maybe it was time to move from this place anyhow. I’ve never been one for making close friends from work but I did make a couple here. Ever since they left, this place hasn’t been the same again. Time to move on… into the unknown once again.

Which reminds me - I haven’t given an interview in four years. Damn! I wonder if they still ask those same bullshit questions – “Where do you see yourself 5 years from now?” “Sitting in my million dollar apartment overlooking Waikiki and sucking down Mai Tais, thinking about when I wanna take my private jet to the Bellagio to play some high stakes with Daniel, Gus, Phil and the rest of the boys”. Idiota!

And so the hunt begins…


Communication Breakdown

Hey you,

I'm hoping you will read this and understand…

Agonised over speaking to you before you went to Singapore. Been agonizing since you came back. I get the feeling you've been avoiding me as much as I've been avoiding you.
I just wanna say I'm sorry. I tried to be only a friend... I really did. I thought I was strong enough to do it on my own and still be in touch with you, meet you on a regular basis, exchanges sms-es, chat online... But despite everything, everytime we'd meet or speak to each other, there's that irrational side of me that wants something more.
A hope… a wish … that something more will come out of this... something more than friendship. But you'd made things clear and I wish it was as easy as switching it off. But its not. For the time being atleast, I can't be "just friends" with you.

Don't think I don't value what we have. I do… you are a friend. one who has grown very close and far faster than anyone else I've met in the recent past. To such a degree that when I used to initially think about it, it almost made me feel uneasy but then I'd picture that sweet smile, and that totally cute way your chin would quirk when you'd think about something or pester me about stuff, and everything would be OK. So believe me when I say I feel like a complete a**hole telling you that I need to cut myself off. Some weird kinda cold turkey for the drug that is you :) I told you then it was my problem and I will get over you but it wasn't easy doing that while still being in touch. I guess I will get around my feelings for you eventually. But I know, as of right now, I don't want to….

I'm not sure how long it will take... you told me once you'd stop speaking to me if that's what I wanted. And when I asked how you'd feel if I did ask you to, you said cry for a bit and then try and get on with it. I laughed it off then and was all like "are you nuts?? I wouldn't ask something like that of you." I wasn't lying then… but then I didn't think it would be this hard. But now I'm asking it of you… and don't be sad or anything and PLEASE don't cry. I couldn't bear the thought of that…

Wanna know something funny?! You keep bringing back that introverted, tongue-twistedup side of me that I used to be many many years ago… I couldn't bring myself to say all of this to you if you were standing right now in front of me… I don't think I could even bring myself to look into your eyes. You'd keep asking me once in a while why I was looking at you and smiling a secret smile. This is the reason – I just couldn't say anything in those moments. Tongue-tied by the presence of you...

There will come a time when I will get past this. I only ask that you give me a chance to be your friend again then….


PS - David Gray says it so much better.... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9EYribhLoPA&feature=related


Dream Police

I haven't been sleeping well over the past two weeks… on most of these nights I have had some weird dreams. Two which stand out are the hoverboard dream and the unknown woman dream.

It’s a city scene. Feels like Bombay coz I could see/feel the same kind of crowd. I think I’m near a railway station (Churchgate or maybe its V.T) just looking towards the street watching people go up and down heading to work. The thing is they aren’t walking. All of them are on hoverboards… for those who haven’t seen Back to the Future, hoverboards look exactly like skateboards but no wheels, they hover hence err… hoverboards.
Suddenly the view changes. Now I’m seeing things from ground level. Its like as if there’s a tiny camera attached to the board and I’m seeing life thru the eyes of the hoverboard. The view wobbles a bit, I see a foot move over me and I realise we (me the hoverboard and the owner of me) are going somewhere…. Zipping around I see people’s feet… hubcaps… exhaust fumes from cars… potholes…

There’s a woman on the bed. She is lying on her side… naked… I can see she is asleep. She seems to be at peace as I see the swell of her breast rise and fall with her gentle rhythmic breathing. I can't see her face but she has wonderful hair. There is a fragrance which emanates from her hair (or is it her?!) arousing and serene at the same time. There is someone lying next to her, I think it's me. I keep stroking her arm from her shoulder to her elbow. I move closer to her and spoon with her. My hand slides over from her hip to her belly. Its got just that tiny tiny hint of chubbiness I love. I know I’m smiling in the dream (and in the conscious part of my brain) as I spread my fingers over her belly and draw her ever so close. Experience a feeling of utmost security in that moment. I look over her shoulder and instead of seeing the bedroom walls I see scenes from my life… past… present… future (?!)

I used to have dreamless sleep but in the past couple of years I’ve begun having more and more of them. When I get up in the morning I don’t remember what I’d dreamt about but I know I have had a dream. Strangely enough there have hardly been any nightmares (which I’m thankful for). It's been more like watching random reels of different movies… I’m left with an almost empty feeling the next morning because they invariably leave me hanging… I never seem to get closure.

I’m rarely able to remember my dreams but I did remember these two. Don't know what it was that made them stand out. Maybe someone can interpret them… I read somewhere that while one is conscious if something affects them it usually plays out in their dreams. I’ve had dreams in the past which I try to relate with something I’ve seen or done in the recent past. But the only connect for the hoverboards is Back to the Future which I havent seen in the past few years. I really can’t understand the second dream… can’t think of a connect… even some of the porn I’ve seen recently doesn’t contain any “tender” moments :D

I think I’ll go and renew my friendship with my good buddy Ben A Dryl. Sleep I crave thee desperately… even if it is drug-induced :)

Post title courtesy Cheap Trick - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pWt-zxKqK3U
To my mystery dreamgirl -


F.R.I.E.N.D.S & Fakers

A couple o nights back I was sitting with a few friends at Land’s End. These would be The Banker, the Miner, the Fund Manager (a.k.a. Madman) and me. Hmmm not quite unlike… “the butcher, the baker and the candlestick maker” but we ARE all knaves lol)
The Atrium Lounge is a regular haunt for the Madman and I, but we hadn’t been frequenting it as much as we used to in the past. By the time we were half way thru the evening, we’d decided that this situation must be rectified for the future.

So I’m swigging away at my pint when these guys start off on the stock market and how wild a roller coaster ride its been on lately. Now I’ll be the first to admit that the world of high finance is one that, on good days, confounds the heck out of me. My only interest in it is getting some dope from these well-informed guys and putting away some of my money hoping to strike it rich a few years down the line. As the conversation goes on, I feel like one of the spectators at Wimbledon. Back and forth, financial jargon is being slapped around and I’m just about struggling to keep up with these guys… kind of. Risk-reward scenarios, arbitrage opportunities, P/E ratios, Beta levels, Commodities markets, Hedge funds, Libor
Game and Set to M/s Financial Wizards.

You might remember an episode from Friends where Penn Jillette guest stars as an encyclopedia salesman from whom Joey buys just the one volume (“V”) coz he had only that much money on him. I really felt that scene where Joey flashes back to the times when his friends are having discussions on various topics and he plays along even though he has absolutely no clue on what they’re going on about. Well I was Joseph Tribiani that evening.
On the one hand I felt like 6 different kinds of dumb, on the other I was quite proud to be friends with these incredibly smart guys. The best part about all of them is they’d never rub this into someone’s face. The Banker very kindly explained to me some of the jargon whenever I looked lost (which was a lot that evening).
As I went home that evening, it struck me that while I will never be a Gordon Gecko, I have become just that little bit smarter by just being a fringe participant to these conversations. I’ve always thought of myself as a Jack-of-all-trades conversation-wise. I know a little bit about many things. Although these things needn't be all that relevant on a day-to-day perspective.
My head’s filled with the most obscure info about the most arbid of things. Like if you listen to Michael Jackson’s Beat It, just before Eddie Van Halen begins that fantastic guitar solo, you’ll hear 6 fairly rapid beats like as if the drummer played the toms. But its actually a studiohand who mistakenly knocked on the door when Eddie was in session. Quincy Jones the producer thought it worked and included it in the final cut of the song. See… obscure like I said… but it makes for a cool story at a party.

I can usually hold my own in a conversation whether I contribute to it or not and I think a large part of that comes from having friends like these.

Quote of the Night:-
After an intense and animated low-down by the Banker to the rest of us regarding certain financial houses and the way they make their money, the Madman lets out a big sigh and goes, “Man, I think I got a chubby.”

Fun Fact:-
Las Vegas is the brightest city when seen from space. (for those of you who know me, me knowing this particular fact shouldn't surprise you lol)


The Dark Knight Cometh…

Lots been on my mind past couple of days so haven't had the time to put down a few lines. But I felt I had to write something about the movie that is for me is THE blockbuster of the first half of ’08. I’d seen the movie on release day (18th July) itself and actually wanted to write about it right after I got home but held off keeping in mind there were many more fans of The Detective (yeah baby old school – if you’re a DC comics fan you’ll understand why I’m calling him that). And aside from my 2 readers, I didn’t want to upset anyone who hadn't caught the movie yet and possibly stumbled onto my cyber scribble page. I think almost everyone who is a fan has seen the movie within the week of release.

As a kid, my favorite superhero was Spidey – probably a lot to do with those cartoons that they used to show on Doordarshan. It was only much later when I started reading DC and Marvel comics, that I gained a deeper appreciation for the wise-cracking superhero that he is. Yeah wise-cracking! I really liked the first installment but by the third, the character had turned into a pussy. In that lag period of my childhood between superheroes I came across Batman. I don’t know why but I almost immediately liked (and for some reason) identified with the character. No! My parents weren't killed while we were returning from the theatre one evening.
Often movies tend to gloss over Superheroes especially those with a darker element to them. But not Chris Nolan. He knew exactly the way this character needed to be portrayed and boy, was this film ever so dark. Heath Ledger was outstanding in his role as The Joker. He truly captured the essence of the character – a psychotic madman who’s only motive was carnage and chaos. I’d read somewhere that he’d locked himself up in a hotel room for a month to get into the skin of the character.

Perhaps that’s why the villains in Batman were scarier than most. Base motivations like money aside, all the devastation they’d plot was only to create and instill that horrific sense of fear amongst the public at large. In some cases, the motive was almost noble – like Ra’s Al Ghul, an Eco-terrorist wanting to obliterate everyone on earth so he could create an environmentally perfect world.

Few things in this world are more painful than enduring the loss of your child but perhaps when the Ledger family sees Heath in all his glory playing one of the ultimate villains of comic-lore, they may feel heartened just a little that while their son has gone, he will never be forgotten. A memorable legacy befitting a fine performance.

I’ve put down some of my fave quotes from the movie:-

  • I use a knife because guns are too quick. Otherwise, you can't savor all the emotions. You know who people are in their last moments…
  • This town deserves a better class of criminal... and I'm gonna give it to them. Tell your men they work for me now. This is MY city.
  • Good evening, Ladies and Gentlemen, We're tonight's entertainment!!!
  • You remind me of my father, I hated my father.
  • Some men are not trying to be logical. They can't be bought, bullied or negotiated with. Some men just want to watch the world burn.
  • Either you die a Hero.... or u live long enough to see yourself turn into a Villain...
  • See, to them you're just a freak....like me....
  • Whatever that doesn't kill you will only make you stranger. (one of my faves too. Thanx for the reminder Shutterbug)
  • Why so serious...??!!


Heath “The Joker” Ledger