Fa La La La La...

I was supposed to post this before I left town for the Christmas weekened...

Many many months ago, I saw this show by an illusionist called Criss Angel... I'm sure most of y'all have heard of it... it's called Mindfreak. Comes on AXN or some similar channel. Anyway the show closed with an illusion he did at a swimming pool in one of Vegas's fancy hotels. The trick was Walking on Water and yes the man walked on water and cut right through the pool with people who were swimming around him and even underneath him as he walked right on...
I knew it was just an illusion and while Criss had walked on something it sure wasn't water.

Last night I saw another illusion-based show. Only this one dealt with revealing how these tricks and illusions were pulled off by the illusionist. And ironically this show too closed with the reveal of the Walking on Water illusion. I got to see that I was right after all. Yes there was a method to the illusion. And its kinda funny how that made me feel a little sad.

Over the years that little wide eyed kid that's there in all of us grows up a little more. With the passing of time, it seems to even disappear in most of us. But its when I see things like these magic shows with their corny tricks that I remember that younger me. I scoff at these tricks now but there was once a part of me that used to be amazed at them. I miss that guy. It's easy to lose yourself in the ratrace of this city. It can be frustrating and even cruel. I auditioned last week for a major gig and they called back earlier in this week to let me know I didn't get it. So been in this freakin' blue funk for the past couple of days. Doesn't help that I've had an awful sore throat and I miss my smokes... sigh!
Anyway I saw this show and I realise that I can't afford to let go of that little guy in me. In some ways I'm happy to say I haven't. For instance I still tend to believe the best of the people I meet (till they give me a reason not to). Frankly this particular trait hasn't really done me too much good through my life. People who I thought were worth it just fucked that notion into the ground.

And yet I persist... For those few I met and who kept the faith. For the those few who justify their positions as very important people in my life. For family who're like friends and for friends who've become like family.

I'm not quite sure what this ramble is all about right now but it did start out with me wanting to write a Christmassy post. That somehow morphed with the thought of not letting go of that inner child within all of us. Maybe it was just a lil mental tap to myself to give that inner cynic the day or month off...

Speaking of which, a personal pet peeve - It's "Merry Christmas".
Not Happy Christmas... not Merry X'mas... and for the love of Christ not Happy X'Mas ever!

Best of the season folks!

Here's one of those Mindfreek shows which scared the crap out of a former colleague when I showed it to her


Ode to the Nice Guys

This below mentioned rant written by some 'nice guy' for the Wharton Undergraduate Journal.

This is a tribute to the nice guys. The nice guys that finish last, that never become more than friends, that endure hours of whining and bitching about what assholes guys are, while disproving the very point. This is dedicated to those guys who always provide a shoulder to lean on but restrain themselves to tentative hugs, those guys who hold open doors and give reassuring pats on the back and sit patiently outside the changing room at department stores. This is in honor of the guys that obligingly reiterate how cute/beautiful/smart/funny/sexy their female friends are at the appropriate moment, because they know most girls need that litany of support. This is in honor of the guys with open minds, with laid-back attitudes, with honest concern. This is in honor of the guys who respect a girl’s every facet, from her privacy to her theology to her clothing style.

This is for the guys who escort their drunk, bewildered female friends back from parties and never take advantage once they’re at her door, for the guys who accompany girls to bars as buffers against the rest of the creepy male population, for the guys who know a girl is fishing for compliments but give them out anyway, for the guys who always play by the rules in a game where the rules favor cheaters, for the guys who are accredited as boyfriend material but somehow don’t end up being boyfriends, for all the nice guys who are overlooked, underestimated, and unappreciated, for all the nice guys who are manipulated, misled, and unjustly abandoned, this is for you.

This is for that time she left 40 urgent messages on your cell phone, and when you called her back, she spent three hours painstakingly dissecting two sentences her boyfriend said to her over dinner. And even though you thought her boyfriend was a chump and a jerk, you assured her that it was all ok and she shouldn’t worry about it. This is for that time she interrupted the best killing spree you’d ever orchestrated in GTA3 to rant about a rumor that romantically linked her and the guy she thinks is the most repulsive person in the world. And even though you thought it was immature and you had nothing against the guy, you paused the game for two hours and helped her concoct a counter-rumor to spread around the floor. This is also for that time she didn’t have a date, so after numerous vows that there was nothing “serious” between the two of you, she dragged you to a party where you knew nobody, the beer was awful, and she flirted shamelessly with you, justifying each fit of reckless teasing by announcing to everyone: “oh, but we’re just friends!” And even though you were invited purely as a symbolic warm body for her ego, you went anyways. Because you’re nice like that.

The nice guys don’t often get credit where credit is due. And perhaps more disturbing, the nice guys don’t seem to get laid as often as they should. And I wish I could logically explain this trend, but I can’t. From what I have observed on campus and what I have learned from talking to friends at other schools and in the workplace, the only conclusion I can form is that many girls are just illogical, manipulative bitches. Many of them claim they just want to date a nice guy, but when presented with such a specimen, they say irrational, confusing things such as “oh, he’s too nice to date” or “he would be a good boyfriend but he’s not for me” or “he already puts up with so much from me, I couldn’t possibly ask him out!” or the most frustrating of all: “no, it would ruin our friendship.” Yet, they continue to lament the lack of datable men in the world, and they expect their too-nice-to-date male friends to sympathize and apologize for the men that are jerks. Sorry, guys, girls like that are beyond my ability to fathom. I can’t figure out why the connection breaks down between what they say (I want a nice guy!) and what they do (I’m going to sleep with this complete ass now!)*. But one thing I can do, is say that the nice-guy-finishes-last phenomenon doesn’t last forever. There are definitely many girls who grow out of that train of thought and realize they should be dating the nice guys, not taking them for granted. The tricky part is finding those girls, and even trickier, finding the ones that are single.

So, until those girls are found, I propose a toast to all the nice guys. You know who you are, and I know you’re sick of hearing yourself described as ubiquitously nice. But the truth of the matter is, the world needs your patience in the department store, your holding open of doors, your party escorting services, your propensity to be a sucker for a pretty smile. For all the crazy, inane, absurd things you tolerate, for all the situations where you are the faceless, nameless hero, my accolades, my acknowledgement, and my gratitude go out to you. You do have credibility in this society, and your well deserved vindication is coming.

I'm still smiling and shaking my head at some which hit ridiculously close to home... er.. no not the GTA3 one... OK fine! maybe a little.
*The Madman once paraphrased this quite eloquently, "Agar hum itne hi acche hain, toh ch*do na!"



Q. What do you want to be when you grow up beta?

Every little kid wants to be something when they grow - Astronaut, Cricketer, Pilot, the guy that gets shot out the cannon...
I was asked the same question too. And I had a bunch of ideas and options in my mind too... one of them being the now repulsive "I want to go to office."
But wanting to be on stage never featured on that list for the first 20 years of my life.

Circa 1989...

A: "I want to be a scientist!" (yeah I don't know what I was thinking either...)

Sabotage was the first Beastie Boys song I'd ever heard. I think I was in school or just out of school. Some late night show on MTV (the 'original' version not the crap that's on today) which played it. I really couldn't understand what the fuck was going on at the time. Too much of an assault on my senses but I knew I wanted to hear it again... That didn't happen for probably another 5 years.
I just think these guys are the epitome of nerdy cool especially in the vid below.

Circa 2009...

A: "I want to be on a stage like this... to sing for a crowd that's a.l.l around me like this... pulsating boom from every amp cranked to the m.a.x like this... lights flashing intermittently like this... and rocking the ever livin' shit outta e.v.e.r.y single body just like this!"

The hunt is on...



AM is the time this post is being written on a Thursday morning.
No sleep... don't know why.
But sometimes there are good things that come out of lying awake thru the night.

Bliss Logic is something else. This trio plays music which is a mix of rock and jazz with a bit of electronica. I just chanced upon them a few days ago and knew I wanted to go to Zenzi for their live gig and album release. Heard just the one song coz the tiny room was packed to the gills. But there's some mad freakin' talent here.
Been listening to them for the past couple of hours... I can't get over the blend of this music. So many different elements to the music and each of them more appealing than the other. Can't explain it. Do yourself a favour and listen to them. You can download their track 'New Message' here.

Tiny scrawl on the BL CD jacket says:

Bliss Logic: Advisory
Get Cozy + Switch Off Mobile + Send Fumes + Play Loud + Drift

Currently drifting....


*City of Angels

Weeks before the attack on the Twin Towers...

A bar...
Somewhere in East LA...

Jacques Laurent walked into his neighbourhood bar and looked around. There weren't too many people in. Which was good since he just wanted to have a drink in peace, then head to the airport and catch the red-eye to Las Vegas. The weeks upto final submissions had been a huge strain but all that hard work had paid off and he was going to reward himself with a week in Sin City.
His favourite seat at the bar was empty. There were only a couple of people at the bar. A woman who was at the far end and a man sitting on the seat next to him. She was staring vacantly straight ahead. Her face had a worn look. Probably the excessive makeup. Or maybe too much shit in life. I wonder if she's a hooker...
As the bartender got him his whiskey, Jacques took a closer at the man sitting next to him trying to be unobtrusive about it. He had a mop of that dirty blond hair, was wearing a checked flannel shirt and well worn jeans, both of which had seen better days. Dropping his gaze lower, he saw his shoes. This guy had boots on. Tan in colour and well wrinkled. Like it was his favourite pair. Hmm could I actually be looking at an honest-to-goodness cowboy here in Los Angeles?! thought Jacques.

As he was lifting the glass to his lips, the cowboy turns his head and looks directly into his face. Feeling a little caught and not knowing what else to do, Jacques nods his head at him and mutters, 'Santé' and takes a drink of his whiskey. "What's that you said?" asks the cowboy.
"Santé... its a toast... like Cheers. It means 'to your health' in French" says Jacques.
"Aah... health. Well that.. I've got. What I could with is a little luck... or maybe discipline..."
"So are you from these parts? Or just visiting?"
"Just got in from Montana a while back... came in for some work. What about you?"
"I live down the road actually...", replies Jacques. "Just came in to get a drink before I head to the airport."
"Where you off to?" asks the cowboy
"Vacation... Vegas baby!" says a grinning Jacques.
The cowboy laughed, "I love that city... in the old days I partied in places like you wouldn't believe but that city... man that place is something else... you can really party there. I'm sure you're gonna have a great time."

The alcohol had broken the ice and after introductions, the cowbuy continued, "You know a long time ago before I bought my ranch in Montana, I used to live here in LA... not more than a couple of blocks from here actually. Lived here for 3 years with my friend Bob. me and Bob used to have some fun together. I love to party... but Bob... he really really loved to party! We'd done some serious alcohol and drugs back then."
He even talked about the time he was seeing a pretty actress and had even gotten engaged to her before she called off the wedding three days before it was to happen. "Never get caught with a stripper before your wedding... that's my advice" he said chuckling.

Jacques felt a little uncomfortable about this much personal information being shared so he decided to steer the conversation in a different direction, "You mentioned earlier you were in LA for some work?! Don't imagine you're here to buy cattle right?!" he asked cheekily.
"No", said the cowboy, "I'm here for an audition..."
"An audition?! For what?"
"It's for the pilot of a new TV show", said the cowboy
"What? Seriously?! Get outta here... Really?!"
"Why the surprise? Is it that hard to believe?!"
"Well no... its just you don't seem like the type. Right now you'd look like the Marlboro Man if you had a stetson!" said Jacques.
"So you actually don't watch a lot of TV do you?!" smiled the cowboy.
"Not really. I don't even own a TV nor do I watch movies" said Jacques.
"Oh?! So what do you do for entertainment??" asks the cowboy a little puzzled.
"I like to read a lot... Mostly non fiction but in fiction only the classics. In fact I'm currently reading the The Count of Monte Cristo probably the 17th or 18th time, after which I will re-read The Three Musketeers. As you can tell, I'm a huge fan of Alexandre Dumas."
"So...", continued Jacques, "what the show about?"
"Well right now all I know is that its a thriller of sorts... They're gonna do a bunch of episodes now and then see how that goes... Funnily enough the part I'm going to audition for is kinda like your name. I'm gonna take that as an omen." He laughed at that.
Jacques smiled as well and said, "I hope it's a good one..."
"Me too man me too... The funny thing is if anyone'd asked me a couple years ago if I'd do a television show, I'd have laughed at them. It's not something a film actor would 'consider' doing... But I've been away for a while now... and I'm hoping this might turn out to be a good thing for me..."

And so saying he waved over the bartender. Puting a few bills on the bartop, he tells the bartender, "Give my friend here another drink okay" Then turning to Jacques he says, "Good talking to you. Don't get too crazy in Vegas." Gives him a quick wink, shakes hands and walks out into the night.
By the time Jacques had boarded his flight later that night, he'd forgotten all about the shabby cowboy.

5 years later...

He was early for his appointment at the dentist's. To kill time he started leafing through some old magazines. Not surprisingly, most of them atleast 2-4 months old. The 'newest' of the lot was last month's issue of TV Guide. As he was flipping through the pages, he came across a small blurb on one of the pages - According to The Hollywood Reporter, Kiefer Sutherland and 20th Century FOX reached a deal for three additional seasons of 24. Sutherland will make at least $40 million for three more seasons, making him the highest-paid actor in a drama series. The actor who plays the lead role of Counter Terrorism agent Jack Bauer, will also take on the mantle of Executive Producer. Sutherland had taken up retirement from acting to pursue a calf roping rodeo career prior to joining the cast of 24. On being asked about how the show has affected him, Sutherland had this to say, "Twelve years ago, if anyone had suggested I would do TV, I would have laughed at them. Film actors didn't do TV. But when I was finally offered 24 in 2001, it came like a saving grace. I owe it a lot."

Well I'll be damned... thought Jacques.

*Bonus material in the DVD comments section


Happy to you

The birthday month is here again... Bugger! I mean not that birthdays are bad or anything... feels like the last one just barely went by.

Work sucks... coz there's not much of it coming thru. So to fill up my time (and wallet) I've taken up some small writing assignments. So far I've covered intellecutally gripping topics ranging from the felonious (How to make counterfeit money on your computer) to the healthy (How much should a teenager weigh?) along with some high finance (How to make fast free money online) thrown in there as well. Not a Pulitzer gig thats for dang sure. Atleast I wasn't as fortunate as my other fellow writers who had the pleasure of 'How much do celebrities weigh?' or the even more riveting 'How much do Supermodels weigh?'
But hey it gives me something to kill my time. Some extra money for the beer and peanuts don't hurt neither.

What's got me more kicked is my decision to write some material for standup. Hugely inspired by the amateur comedy night I attended at this club a few weeks ago. So much easier trying to write occasionally humourous stuff on the blog and getting a few laughs from people who get/like my kinda humour. Of course translating that into an act for the stage is a whole other ball game. Those amateurs had 2 minutes a piece to showcase their giggle inducing skillz. Doesn't seems like much but Maaaannnn! you can so bomb in 30 seconds let alone 120. There was one chick in particular who was cheered by us coz it was good to finally see a woman up there after like 5 dudes. But all thoughts of supporting women etc were blown ouffa the stage with a pretty poorly written act. I'm all for self depracating humour but you gotta be good at doing it. And never never N-E-V-E-R piss off the audience by saying shit like, "Well atleast one of you got it." You dumb bitch! That one who laughed was probably your friend who did it out of loyalty.

I'm not sure if I'll be ready to get under the bright lights and spout my spiel. But its fun putting down stuff for potential sketches. Material I've put down so far includes - adventures while ordering takeout, Indians travelling on a plane, partying in the 'cool' places...
Boy I can barely clamp down the deliciouso vitriol that's just beggin' to come out ;)

What else what else? I've been on a sick spree of dling music lately. In the past year or so I have been listening to a lot of ambient chillout stuff. Very loungey, lo-fi and sometimes trancey kinda music. Hangover from all those Goa trips I suppose. If y'all need some seriously cool music for your cafe or something, you know who to call. Hell I've even provided some friends with 'get you into the mood' kinda music. Thought about naming that mixed cd as McLovin' but settled for the more sophisticated Aural Pleasure hehe I love me some wordplay ;)

Q. In what 2 ways is pornography associated with this blog?
A. Tori Black & Fayth Deluca (sorry to disappoint but I chose the cleanest pages)

yeaaahhh... So in case you felt the need to egosurf, be prepared for Google to throw up some interesting results once in a while :D
But damn... Miss Black is cute!

And lastly I sign off with a few new songs (apparently I put up cool links so I have a rep to protect lol) which are on the loopy playlist:-

Shkabang - This is an electro rock n roll supergroup featuring the likes of Anushka Manchanda on vocals along with some heavyweights from the Mumbai gig circuit who've played with bands like Pentagram, Zero ,Tough on Tobacco and Hypnotribe. Quite like their sound. Should be a good album when they come through with it eventually.

Vicodin Love Confessions - Just love the name of this band out of Toronto, Canada. Bit of alternative and a dash of indie along with a whole lot of rock. Their new single Jeebus is up for download on the popular torrent sites.

Nikhil D'Souza - Now I came across this dude a few days ago and was plesantly surprised and impressed. I'm a big fan of Jason Mraz and this singer songwriter reminds me a lot of him. Listen to 'Storm without a Sky' and tell me I'm wrong! Nice to see our fair city has its share of such musicians.  

And we end with a dash of Bollywood... Amit Trivedi rocks!

Till next time... vaya con dios.


North East West South

Hello and Greetings to all ye faithful,
It has been a while since my last confession post but then there hasn't been too much to write about really. So this shall be a random selection of thoughts currently circulating within that grey (see how I put that in there) area known as the Mind of Blackfayth.

The Piggy flu (as I'm calling it coz Swine flu sounds kinda derogatory and H1N1 has such a clinical feel to it) has made the city a paranoid place to be in. Of course, it could be a lot worse. For instance, the government could have waited even longer than it did to open additional testing centres besides the lone ranger Kasturba Hospital. Better late than never I suppose.


A friend's FB status read - 90 people die of Swine Flu and everyone wants to wear a mask. A million people die of AIDS and no one wants to wear a condom?!
Food for thought methinks...


So the one Hindi movie that I was looking forward to watching, Kaminey, I can't coz the theatres here and in Pune are shut for the weekend coz of the Piggyness sickness. But initial reports from the rest of the country and elsewhere in the world where it has been released, are so far promising which is good as a friend is associated with the film and I'm glad for her.


On a fair constant loop is the self titled hardrock album of American supergroup Chickenfoot, comprising of ex-Van Halen members Sammy Hagar (vox), Michael Anthony (bass), Chad Smith (Red Hot Chilli Peppers) on skin duties and the guitar God himself, Joe Satriani. Nice crisp guitar riffs and bass lines, tight drums and Hagar's vocals hark back to his best times when he was with the Van Halen brothers. All in all a pretty strong effort.


Being a freelancer has got to be in equal parts the most liberating and frustrating thing in the world. Liberating coz you are your own boss. No one to mindfuck you about anything. Frustrating because your work depends on doosro-ki-meherbaani... well atleast for the time being since I haven't established myself in the field yet. Bah!


Been watching a bunch of new shows. All promising but unfortunately a couple (Trust Me & The Unusuals) have been cancelled after just one season due to low viewership. Man... it almost seems like these Americans cannot digest the intelligent writing on these shows. Note - To my readers who're in advertising agencies, you might identify a lot with Trust Me. Another fun show is Eastbound & Down which is rude and outrageous and pretty frickin' funny.

Neilsen- Nielsen- Neilsen- Nielsen-Neilsen- Nielsen-Neilsen- Nielsen-Neilsen- Nielsen

Y'know it is my serious belief that playing Guitar Hero is like being with a younger woman. It takes a while to get a hang of things but when you do... oh boy!


Lastly I have opened up a new blog. While it is primarily for the benefit of me and my friends, well... a little bit of humour never hurt any one :)

Peace Out



I quite like Dane Cook

I like Chris Daughtry a little more (btw he just kills it at 00:35-00:40)

And when DC & CD get together...


You're listening to...

Earlier this evening I was discussing the MJ funeral with a friend (bits of which I've written in an earlier post) and she was like, "Dude you should do like a comedy sketch or something...."
Which got me thinking... I'm not ready for the glare of the bright lights of stage but I think I would like to be heard...

So I'm contemplating doing an audio version of this blog.

But also wondering if it'll be an overkill of sorts...



JMWG - Take #1

Been wanting to do this for a while now... This being using Audacity to record my vocals on a karaoke track. The attempt is amateurish but I didn't really expect anything less given that I have to work within the limitations of my home PC.

I've chosen Why Georgia by John Mayer primarily because my throat was a bit off today and I felt I sounded a bit like JM :D
Do have a listen and let me know what you think...


May you find peace

Introduced first in the mid-1970s, the Synclavier is a cross between a synthesiser and a sampler. It was one of the most expensive pieces of studio equipment that one could (or not) buy at the time. Today's technology is so advanced, that several softwares available out there will provide virtually the same kind of sound and function that the Synclavier did.

So why am I talking about an instrument that most people are unaware of? A machine whose use and indeed name, I myself was unaware of till the advent of the Wikipedia age a few years ago... While you might not have heard its name, you have quite likely heard one of the most famous sounds ever created on this machine.

Gong... Gong... Gong... Gong... Gong... Gong... Gong... 7 times (well count it if you don't believe me) before the guitar riff kicks in...

That's the intro to Track #5 on the biggest selling album of all time - Beat It from Michael Jackson's 1982 album Thriller. My introduction to the music from this album happened a couple of years after its official release. Not surprising considering access to Western music was not as widespread and by extension quick as it is today.
In the past I have mentioned my love for MJ's music and especially the above mentioned song. There was something... a genre-busting element to the track. I saw and heard so many musicians and people in the industry mention at the funeral just how vital MJ's contribution has been to the world of music and indeed the world.

Speaking of the funeral, I managed to catch it live about an hour into it the other day. I cannot believe the amount of overacting some of the family and friends did. Whole hunks of ham would feel inadequate after seeing the villains mentioned below:-
  • Brooke Shields - WTF was that whole sniffling, stuck for words crap she did when she came on???!! My God this woman is supposed to be an actress... obviously not a good one coz she came across as just plain lame.
  • The King siblings - OK we get that your father was a great man but was it really necessary to keep preceding every other sentence with "Like my/our father used to say...". And while writing this, I'm also reading up on both Bernice and Martin Luther III. Not very flattering and I now understand why, while watching Bernice King, I felt like I was watching some chest thumping evangelical type on God TV.
  • Berry Gordy & Marlon Jackson - Gordy, who is the founder of Motown Records, has probably seen in entirety the rise and fall of the Michael Jackson phenomenon but mate that doesn't give you the right to go on and on about the freakin' softball games in which your family got your asses handed to you by them. And Marlon Jackson who started blubbering from when he took the mic and said he had no words and was speechless to a mind numbingly lengthy eulogy. Liar... liar... your brother's dead!
  • Paris Jackson - To be fair, I really don't think its Paris who's the villain here but the entire Jackson family. You cant put a 12 year old little girl in the public spotlight like that. I think it was an extremely selfish and thoughtless gesture on the family's part.

While the above almost made you feel glad that MJ was dead and not have to listen to their interminably long and boring speeches, some of the others really showed their love, respect and admiration for Michael with stirring performances and eulogies:-

  • John Mayer - Did a cool rocker thing. Walked on stage with a beat up ole guitar, didn't sing, just played an instrumental version of Human Nature. Very cool! \m/
  • Usher - Amazing feel and reiterated why he is such a big superstar.
  • Judith Hill - What a voice! No wonder she was one of the leading voices for the "This Is It" tour
  • Shaheen Jafargholi - OK if this is what this kid can sing at age 12, what in the name of God is he going to sound like once he's out of his teens
  • Reverend Al Sharpton - The only other time I have only seen the good Reverend speak was in his guest role in Boston Legal. And oh boy, he's as good off camera as he is on it. Statement of the ceremony, "There was nothing strange about your daddy. It was strange what your daddy had to deal with, but he dealt with it."

It's been a sad, unexpectedly short end to what was already a legendary life and held promise to be even bigger had the proposed "This Is It" tour taken place. A life that tomes have been written about and a lot of them for the wrong reasons. While he may have also been a humanitarian raising and contributing millions, he will, for me, always be the very first of many musical influencers who was key in shaping up my likes, taste and approach to music.

I end by echoing that charismatic rabble-rouser, Rev. Al Sharpton, "Some came here to say goodbye to Michael Jackson, I came to say... thank you."


Of Status Updates, B(a)i Love & Bombay Rain

So the gang was out last night for drinks and dinner at Masala Craft in Bandra. By the way, this place is probably gonna turn out to be a regular haunt for a number of reasons - fairly good ambiance, decent selection of alcohol (they do need to stock up on all the beers mentioned in the menu but they had the basics covered), pretty good food not to mention their healthy portions, all of which were very reasonably priced. And... and... AND the clincher - they allow smoking in the outdoor section!

So we were talking about how people are getting crazy with social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter and the like who provide the Status Update function. Its getting to be a little more than ridiculous now... People seem to want to divulge every little bit of information about themselves and their lives. I mean get a life dude! No one wants to know about your current dilemma of which toilet paper you want to buy. Buy freakin' sandpaper and well go to town you idiot!

I guess women really have the worst of it when it comes to sites like Facebook. My friend ShutterBug was mentioning how when she had no profile pic, there never used to be any Friend Requests but now that she has put up her pic, she receives at least 10-15 requests a week. And she was certainly in a mood to vent about the same. And thus she presented Exhibit A - a Friend Request with a personal note - "Hello its J___... I wrk 4 international diamond jewelry firm as Marketing Manager, can I b on ur list, I think Angels from heaven never reject invitation from dukes of earth. Hope to have a word soon…"
(Hysterics ensue on the table)
BF (loudly): Hahahaha... This guy is unreal... how do people like this exist... dude's a total nutjob!
BF (mentally): Must find out how to become a Duke of Earth!

Speaking of 'Dukes', this Shiney Ahuja case is just annoying the crap out of me. I guess world & domestic news aren't exciting enough given the coverage that this story has garnered. The funniest thing is the way people have gotten behind the man. His wife and family defending him is understandable. And of course Bollywood usually looks after their own. Although once news of him having admitted to having sex with his bai (that's maid for my international readers) probably had those people distancing themselves from him as well.
Can't really say this is surprising after hearing stories (from friends in the film industry) of the man and his questionable choices of female company (makeup artists, hairdressers etc).
I guess the final word belonged to my brother who after hearing the afore-mentioned stories goes, "So he's a lover of the working class eh?!"

Finally I end this post with a fervent plea to the Rain Gods. Its been a brutal summer and I know once the rains (which we're soooo desperately craving now) truly set in, there'll be a lot of cribbing about the muck and the slush and the travelling in the resultant miserable weather, but it needs to come down right now! And none of that annoying drizzle neither...
For people who've been educated in Bombay and learnt Marathi, here's that ole verse from your and mine school days:-
Ye re Ye re pausa (Come on down, Rain)
Paisa tula deta (You shall be compensated monetarily)
Paisa zhala khota (Oops the cash turned out to be counterfeit)
Paus ala mota (Big mofo Rain came slammin' down on your cheatin' ass)

Or.... maybe you'd prefer Warren's spin on it...

Here's to those rainy afternoons when you didn't mind being cooped in... of wet windy gusts and the prettiness of Nature's greenery in all its wet glory... of adrakwali chai and kaanda bhajiya... Naaah the rains ain't so bad...


You're an insensitive retard!!

There was this article published in the New York Post a couple of weeks ago. It was about a school in Brooklyn which filled up their auditorium with a whole bunch of kids from kindergarden to fifth grade.

The intent: Show the kids a Disney movie called Camp Rock featuring the Jonas Brothers
The outcome: The kids were treated to Camp Cock featuring Jenna Jameson!!

OK so the last bit isn't true... No its not that the kids didnt not see porn... oh they most certainly did.

I mean details about the video are a fabrication and as mentioned in the NY Post, "The kindergartners, first-graders and fifth-graders were exposed to a topless woman and sex acts in the 45 seconds the obscene clip played on the jumbo screen -- as shocked teachers screamed, "Don't look at it!" and frantically tried to turn it off. "

*Attack of the Giggles*

I was telling the above story to a friend who'd have guffawed her ass off about 7 months ago. She's now pregnant and I've quoted her reply in post title.
Must be the hormones...



**Things NOT To Do is an idea squarely finding its inspiration from punishments received by various teachers across various grades in school. Case in point - After the deed was done, Mrs. Sundaram deemed that I shall write "I will complete my homework on time" for a grand total of 500 times. Bart Simpson's teachers aint got nothin on Mrs. S!

So anyway I am putting this as a series... of things I've been foolish enough to try but shall never do again... Or maybe I will but after a reallllyyyy long time.

TNTD for June '09 - Do NOT attempt singing karaoke on Jason Mraz songs.

The man is a freak! His easiest popular song, "I'm Yours" which I'll get right eventually (decided to practise this song and only this song) aint as easy as I'd initially thought.
Also if you really really wanna feel bad about your superior (?!) singing skills, like someone we both know, try The Remedy or Wordplay.

I tried to sing Wordplay precisely three times. After my 3rd attempt , I cried.


The AP Chronicles

I was reading this post earlier today and got to thinking of my own (solitary) experience of living away from home. Sometimes I really can’t believe I spent almost 2 years there...

After just under a year of working with my first company, I got an opportunity to work with a fairly well-established Pharma OTC company, but the posting was in Vijaywada, HQ of Krishna (a district located on the east coast of Andhra Pradesh).
While I quite liked the setup of my first company not to mention the job itself, I wasn't really rolling in the dough, so I took the new job. The thought of moving out of home, living and working in an alien city was quite intimidating and continued up until the time I boarded my train to Vijaywada from VT station.

The folks had come to see me off and I remember feeling distinctly out of sorts as the train started to pull out of the station. As I numbly waved my goodbyes to them, I had half a mind to just jump off and tell Dad that this was a huge mistake and I didn’t really wanna be away from home. As their shapes started to blur with the distance I lit up a smoke and drew deeply. Gave myself a mental pep talk - "Listen... you're almost 24... There’s tons of people who've left their homes at far far younger ages, traveled greater distances than you for education... work.... This is an experience. You're getting to see a different part of the country... Think of this as an Adventure!!"
And that last line, dear reader, kept me going for the 20 or so months that I was there...

My flat was located kinda on the outskirts of the city. It was a 1 BHK affair... some 600 feet or so. HUGE by Bombay standards and I used to pay a rent of Rs. 1000 (!!). OK let me explain coz there was a tradeoff... One, the location as I've mentioned meant lowish rents anyway. Second and most importantly, I was told I could be shifted to any empty flat as and when the current flat I was currently in, got sold off. Since I really didn’t have much junk of my own and was on the road for like 20 days a month, I figured the deal was a good one and took it.
*Course the deal came back to bite me in the a$$ shortly...

Summers were a bitch in AP. Temperatures used to routinely hit 45 degrees. And when on the odd occasion, the mercury would touch 48, then the locals would go, "Oh today it’s really hot." (?!?!) Never have I so craved the humid heat of Bombay more.
Sometime though, it'd get a little scary. I remember touring a place called Bhadrachalam in the peak of summer in '03. The temperature was a skin melting 51 degrees! I was so dehydrated before my meeting with the local distributor, I decided to stand in the shade of a nearby 'Cool Drinks' stand and have a Goli Soda (btw this is one of things I sorely miss about small town India) to cool off. As I'm replenishing my body with the fluids it so desperately needed, I saw this slightly older chap walking by and after a few feet of passing the shop, dude just collapsed! Several bystanders rushed to guy and carried him off the road into the shade. By then my sales guy called me in to meet the distributor. About an hour later, we got done and stoked by my previous Goli soda, I decided to have one more. The crowd that had gathered before had gone by now, but I asked the vendor if Fainting Dude was ok. He muttered something back, which my colleague turned to me and quietly translated, "Saar, he has expired..."
I decided then that two summers were quite enough for me in this place.

*Shortly after this trip I came back into Vijaywada. It had been a tiring train journey. I had been on the road for about 17 days at a stretch and when I got off the station, I'd made up my mind not to haggle with the rick guy about the usual overcharging they'd do. I just wanted to get home. But no motor ricks so I had to get into one of those cycle ricks which I hate coz I'm a big built guy and I can’t stand the thought of someone peddling my fat ass for a good 5 kilometers. But no choice and at that point I didn’t really care so sat in and headed home. Reach my building and find the elevator is out of order, so I trudge up 3 flights of stairs. I tried to open my door but it wouldn’t open. I hear someone coming up the stairs and its my neighbor who says my stuff has been shifted to another flat in a different building of the complex! So I go to the office and collect the keys to my new flat which is located in the 'A' Wing on... wait for it... the 7th futhermucking floor! So yet again its WALK WALK WALK up 7 flights of stairs!
That was NOT a nice day... no sirree.

I wish there was enthralling stuff to write about my time in AP but being located in Vijaywada meant that the only "exciting" things to do was going for weddings in my distributors' or team members' families (immediate or extended), or some puja associated with Diwali or Pongal or somesuch.
But the standout memories of the entire AP experience were:-
- While traveling upcountry in an area with heavy Naxal presence, our bus was pulled over and a thorough search was carried out of every passenger and their luggage for grenades and firearms.
- Visiting the beached submarine, INS Kursura, at Vishakapatnam's Ramakrishna beach. I now have major respect for the (small built) dudes who'd spend weeks under the waves in these metal tubes. Must've bumped my head like 10 times in those cramped confines.

- Being told my "worth" at one of those afore-mentioned weddings. "Saar... you're very young and holding such a good post in a company like ____. You'll get atleast 50 lacs from girl's side!... Should we find a good Andhra girl for you saar??!"

- Got 'picked' up for a one night stand (yup... first time ever!) in Vizag. Hah! Who knew that an evening, which started out with a innocent drink at the bar, would end the way it did! Oh and she was an older woman too. OK so while not a cougar, she still older than me. Aah so many fantasies fulfilled in one night hehe

By the end of Dec '03 though, I'd had it with the place and the job. So one fine day, I packed my bags, mailed off my resignation to the Hyderabad office and headed back to Bombay. I still think of that time in my life as one big adventure. An experience that came squarely under Life Lessons.

I don’t really miss that place - except that sometimes... I do...



Couple of weeks back, I'm waiting at one of those ridiculously long you'll-be-rotting-here-till-the-end-of-time signals, when I see a woman, by the side of the road chatting away on her mobile, walking towards my general direction.

She walks past my rick and eventually goes out of sight. But I'd stopped watching midway... more interested in seeing my fellow wait-ers at the signal gawking at this woman. Pretty much every dude including the 2 guys on a bike next to me and my own rickshaw-wala had their eyes fixed on her. Couple of reasons for this - A) She was good looking. Not a spectacular, drop dead gorgeous specimen but a decent looker nonetheless. B) She had the kind of clothes and makeup on that suggested she might be a model/actress heading to/from a shoot.

The moment she passed us and was reasonably out of earshot, the pillion rider whispers something to the biker and they both let out a smirky laugh. Just got me thinking of how juvenile Indian men can really be. I mean its kinda pathetic but the majority (and I'm talking strictly about the urban and reasonably well educated category) of these men just don't have it in them to be classy about such matters.
Some weird Pavlovian thing I guess... Woman walks by... Tongues hang out.. and you don't have the ability to do anything nor the willingness to remain quiet, so you pass nasty comments.
I like my women as much as the next guy but I just can't stand just how crude some guys get when it comes to women and describing them.

Speaking of juvenile, back in school, and you know how hormonally raging teens can get, breasts were a matter of serious and utter (udder?!) fascination for all of us. So in typical teen-sian words, one would compare sizes and in descriptives which ranged from, "Arre dekh uske 3 litre ke..." to "Usko AMC bulatey hain... Aarey Milk Colony... hahaha..." to the most inane one (with the requisite hand gestures) I've heard in all my years, "Dekhe kya uske?!! Kya mast ball-beel hai!"
Someone please enlighten me as to what the fuck a Beel is. Also is it only me or do others find it cringe-weird when Indian men refer to breasts as balls???

After doing a quick read thru on the above post, its a little more obvious why this website believes what it does... Bah!


X fest

Couple of weeks ago I was doing my usual routine of trolling the torrent sites checking out what's new in the music world and randomly scrolled down to the movies section of a particular site and was stunned to see a print of Wolverine available for download.
From a numbers perspective, there were 35,000 seeders and 65,000 leechers!

I'm not averse to the wide wonderful world of Internet piracy but please please P L E A S E save the Wolverine for the theatres. The Adamantium clawed X Man deserves the big screen treatment and if initial reports are true, the wait will be well worth it.
He certainly has, for the longest time, been a fan favorite with the male readers, but the ladies too have taken a real shining to Wolvie. Altho methinks that has a lot to do with Hugh Jackman's portrayal of the character.

While I am excited to see the Logan/Wolverine backstory (this is a prequel to the series), I am also kicked about seeing another personal favorite Remy LeBeau a.k.a Gambit who I think is the coolest X Men character after Wolverine. I hope Taylor Kitsch has done justice to the character.

Today is the official release date for the movie in the US. Can't wait till it hits our shores!

Gambit: You know it's a bad sign when I'm the voice of reason


Badshah Dildo

I been hooked onto reading this for the past few days. It's a blog that's claimed to be written by a player in the Kolkata Knightriders team.
Some hysterically funny stuff which I believe is being ghostwritten by someone who posesses a far sharper wit than any of the Kolkata Knightriders I should think...

P.S. - The title is the blog writer's reference to KKR owner Shahrukh Khan lol


The Way of Zen

After seeing a lot of it on Life, I am slowly trying to sift thru the enigma that is Zen.

Here's a good place to start if you're interested...


#28. Time an Egg

Came across these while I was trolling... Barney's reasons to have sex (and its pretty obvious which ones he has contributed) just kill me :D
For those unenlightened souls, I'm referring to the show How I Met Your Mother or as i like to call it the slightly dirtier version of F.R.I.E.N.D.S


And what's happening with you?

The need to post finally awoke in me but at the same time I didn't feel like putting any effort into the process of it all so due apologies for the scattered nature of the post...

So yes yes... I am well and truly alive. Just underground not dead. Not that I've been busy with work or anything... just haven't been in a mood to write. I guess nothing too interesting has really happened which warranted a post. While this sort of break has happened in the past, this time around I even quit reading the other blogs I usually follow.
I've caught up on all of them in the past couple of days and there are some major upheavals which have happened in my fellow bloggers' personal and professional lives. To them I say chin up and you'll ride out the wave soon enough. There's an almost karmic way to these things.

Speaking of profession, being jobless is a freakin' task! It was fun to begin with... vacationed a lot and then bummed (and still bumming) once back home. But that vile corporate slave side of me is now beginning to twitch just that wee bit. Shouldn't be too hard to stamp that out but having nothing to do will keep this twitch festering for a while I guess.
For those curious, my new path of choosing is the creative world - I am training to get into voice-overs, dubbing... possibly radio jockeying if that opportunity presents itself.
Any tips/suggestions/heads-up with regard to this field would be greatly appreciated.

Went to Goa couple of weeks ago and had a trip that was in equal parts enjoyable and a trifle bit annoying. Enjoyable for obvious reasons (its Goa after all... sun... sand... sea... ice cold beer) and not-so-obvious ones (it was a road trip so really had fun driving K's big ole Ford Endeavor). Annoying because I was off meat (Lent was on) so as you can well imagine, I was sitting in places like Britto's and Martin's eating bloody vegetarian sadness while my glutton friends stuffed their faces with all that nice beef chilly and lamb and fish and crab.
So I've been indulging since midnight last night in what can only be termed as a food and drink orgy at various places. 'Course my poor tummy is paying for it now but maaaann its been worth it :D oh and Happy Easter to y'all.

Then there's that sorta colourful yet mildly grey area of "the relationship". Don't quite know what to make of that particular situation. I guess we both have been mature about how we should tackle it, given our respective circumstances. Still it would've been nice to have had a lesser number of obstacles than we currently do.
I know you'll read this eventually and just want to say I'm hoping for good things if and when they happen :)

What else?! Oh right... there was a pretty amusing incident which happened when we were hanging in Zenzi a couple of nights back. The 'we' were the Madman, the Miner, the Banker, Shutterbug, Alex and me. There were a few drinks going down and general conversation and banter were flying around. Now the boys (which is everyone except Shutterbug) were goofing around while Shutterbug excused herself and headed to the little girls room.
She comes out a while later and tells us she met this girl who was quite distraught. The young lady had been setup on a blind date with a guy she referred to as "someone who is old enough to be my uncle if not father". Shutterbug being a kindhearted soul comforted the poor thing and then headed back out to our table. She mentions the incident that transpired in the loo to the boys. We of course decided that the maiden needed rescuing.
So after much cajoling from us, SBug heads to the outer area and does the whole fake "Oh my God!! Fancy meeting you here! Its been ages... where have you been??" After an understandable minute of confusion, the bulb goes on over that girl's head and she plays along.
She then comes in and joins us where lots of bitching happens about her date and how she's having such a terrible evening and that even a rescue from rank strangers was totally welcomed by her.
Anyway one thing led to another and since the fellas were in a mood, even the date was invited to our table where all sorts of stories were fed to him about our origins ("Oh three of us are college mates who havent met in 4-5 years... he's a business acquaintance... She's his cousin" blah etc yada). Post which the gang (Alex in particular) proceeded to take the ever livin' mickey outta the guy. Safe to say that dude was in as much misery as we were in mirth.
But a fun night with more laughs than originally intended!

Who is reading this blog?
OK so I'll admit that after almost a year and a half of blogging, the curiosity has got to me. I want to know the number of people who actually read this blog. Being geographically inclined, I would like to know where you're at but only if you feel comfortable about sharing that info. So drop a comment if you read my blog of infrequentness (aah i know its not a word but hey its my blog)

Lastly, here's a really nice tune thats been playing on loop for the past few weeks. I have made most of my friends listen to it and I think you, like them, will quite enjoy this song. It's called Do Dil and its by a Paki band called Noori. This is their first ever song (never got recorded tho) and they've retained the original composition as it was, when created some 13 years ago! Some nice guitar work and the two man vocals complement each other and contrast in just the right amounts. Enjoy!

Peace out.


Recipe for a fine evening

a.k.a Good Idea # 517

Maryjane - the good kind
Candles - a whole bunch of 'em
*Woman (optional)

Shut off your lights...
light them candles around the room...
spark up the spliffs...
and listen to this - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kxhRnQffeRQ over... and over... and over...

*And if you're with your woman, then do as Satch does it in the above link \m/


Year of the Ox

A month into the new year and I figure at least a cursory attempt must be made on a "New Year" post. It seems to be the done thing in Blogosphere and since I was (almost) never one to buck the bandwagon, let's get the ball rolling on this one...

Said bandwagon usually stops first in Nostalgia-ville and thus we must take a look back into the past. The 12 months that have gone by are kinda blurry. But that's more to do with me poor memory more than anything else. So I'm just gonna put down those events which were more significant than most. And since I've written about those things across these pages, I suppose this is more like a quick summary of this blog as well for the year gone by.

Speaking of the blog, I started writing a lot more this year. OK I suppose a single post in '07 doesn't really constitute as less writing for that year but let's not get into semantics... After being re-introduced to the world of blogging via this gent's other blog, I started to explore my own writing skills. While I don't think I'm gonna win the Weblog Awards in a hurry, I'd say that this has grown to become a place where I seek comfort by venting about things important to me. Clearly some of them are topics that not many others really give a fuck about :) That said, it is quite gratifying and humbling to have the (small) number of readers I do. Their readership says a lot about their loyalty, bias and dare I say good taste (oh come on... if I don't throw it in here, who will?!!) For the statistically inclined, that's an average of 0.08 posts per month in '07 to about 2.58 in '08. A fair jump considering I only started writing halfway thru last year.

Most of '08 was dominated by work related issues. In previous posts, I've mentioned how I'd been struggling to carry on with what I'd been doing the past 4 odd years. Finally as they say, paani sar ke upar chad gaya... A lot of that had more to do with frustration at myself than anything else. Should have upped and quit a lot earlier. But finally towards the end of the year, the deed was done. Without a clue of what to do next... The answer to that question would present itself (somewhat) as the year ended.

A few posts were dedicated to writing about crushes. There were times when I thought the resulting depression of these unfulfilled infatuations would take me under. Fortunately they didn't and I have come to discover over the course of these that I am more susceptible to these things than I'd initially thought. On the flip side, I think all my suspicions of having a rhino-like hide are quite on the money as far as me getting over these crushes is concerned. Or perhaps that damn cliché about time healing all wounds might just be true...

2008 is also the year I hit 30. I expected to feel a lot more but it gave me a case of the blues for maybe half a day just prior to the "event". I figured that I could either continue to mope or look back (and forward) to better things. By then my intention to quit my job and travel at the end of the year had pretty much been firmed up. So better things were definitely on the way...

There's something to be said about the calm before the storm. A week prior to my departure to Thailand, political trouble, which was brewing for some time, escalates into this major conflict involving the current ruling party and the army. From what was a relatively peaceful protest against the PM, suddenly there were thousands of PAD supporters marching the streets, shutting down the airport and in several instances unleashing violence in different parts of Bangkok. Quite obviously I was mighty pissed off against this bunch of idiots 2000 miles away ruining my travel plans. And then four days later, 26/11 happened... I wrote two posts on it (here & here) and won't write any more since this is my way of dealing with it. I can only give thanks to the fact that no one dear to me lost their life in that tragedy.

November though also had some good news in the form of my nephew. He is quite the noisy lil bugger keeping his mum up late into the nights these days. But there's nothing to beat that cheeky lil grin he will bestow on you if he is feeling particularly magnanimous. And of course a little more than a week later, I boarded a plane to start off on my vacation. The idea was to tour a decent bit of South East Asia, take in the local sights, sounds, cuisine and culture. My base was Singapore from where I travelled to KL, Cambodia, Bali and Melaka. The list would have been longer with Bangkok and Koh Samui but well that's how that cookie crumbled...

Did a lot of soul searching about the job situation on my travels. It finally came down to doing something in the creative arena. But what exactly... I was unsure about. For probably the last three weeks of the trip, serious consideration was given to make a move into copywriting. And its funny how sometimes things just come together as quickly as they do. Next thing I know I have more than a sure idea of what I wanna do. The best part is that it didn't fill me with any kind of dread like copywriting did. There are big freakin' butterflies in my stomach but they're more of the anticipatory kind of butterflies. I am actually excited about this and I hope it will get me somewhere... A lot of this is due my friends in Singapore - Pipsqueak and her hubby, 100 Pipers. Despite the fact that they don't read this blog, I just want to say thanks in a public-ish forum and promise I will mention y'all in my thank-you speech when I collect some award :)

It's safe to say that 2009 will be a turning point in my life in more ways than one....

P.S - Just want to say a BIG thank you to all my readers. I'll be first to admit that there are only a few random flashes of inspired writing amongst a lot of personal mediocrity. Despite that, y'all keep dropping by and share this part of my life with your own. And for that I am very very appreciative.

P.P.S - To Those-We-Have-Not-Spoken-About -- It's been a very interesting ride thus far and let's see what '09 brings...


Travel Travails - ५

The end of my S E Asian sojourn was fast approaching. Where had all the time gone?? About 2 weeks before I was to leave Singapore, a few friends suggested we take a trip together. They'd been hankering to get out of the city/country for a while but weren't able to follow thru on their plans.
But this time, things came together and we decided to head to Melaka, located on the west cost of Malaysia. The plan was to cross the border (hah! first time ever I crossed the border between 2 countries - by road anyway) into the Malaysian city of Johor Bahru and then hire a car and drive about 225 kms to Melaka.

First things first, the roads in Malaysia are fan-freakin-tastic! I love to drive but Bombay as a city doesn't let you truly soak in the pleasure of the experience. No such thang on the drive from JB to Melaka. We took turns driving the 2.5 hour journey. The lush greenery of the Malaysian countryside was soothing and pleasant company all thru the ride.

Once in Melaka, I was hit by the same feeling I got when I visited Simla the first time. A quaint almost village-like atmosphere prevailed in many parts of the town. The roads were barely big enough to allow two-way traffic but everyone seemed to manage just fine. In Melaka there is a canal with a bridge going over it. It splits Melaka into the new part of the city and the older historical section of town. We were staying in this older side in an area called Jonker Walk.
Jonker Walk is this one road that closes off after 5 pm every weekend for the evening/night street market. There are plenty of lively food stalls, bars and cafes. This particular time of the year was even more festive as the 70th birthday of the head of the ruling Royal family had just rolled by. So every evening there was this carnival like atmosphere that prevailed starting from early evening till the wee hours of the morning.
As you can see, the colour red was in abundance in the streets. Lanterns and pretty lights gave a warm red orange glow which added to the celebratory feeling of it all. There were mini parades that went up and down the street. School kids who looked like they were some sort of marching band, dancing lions and various rituals were being conducted at what looked to be temple like structures.

We even saw some Bollywood-style dance classes being held in a few of the buildings along Jonker. Probably has something to do with Shahrukh Khan being recently conferred the title of Datuk (similar to the British knighthood). Apparently they love Hindi films out there - with Shahrukh, Salman and Saif being the hot favourites amongst the Malays.

The following day we decided to take in the sights of the city. Melaka is primarily known for its museums. There's like a dozen of them within a one square KM distance. We saw a couple which was nice enough but after a while (for me anyway), its case of "seen one seen all". But it was quite lovely walking around the town. It was slightly misty in early half of the day. Weather was nice and cool. Quite a pleasant walk along the canal watching the occasional tour boat passing by with kids laughing and waving frenetically and you just can't help smiling and waving back yourself. Walked some more thru the town visiting the famous Christ Church, the replica of the Sultan's palace, and seeing so many of the afore-mentioned museums (from only the outside of course).
We stayed in Twenty Guesthouse (an unusual and abstract name, I initially thought - turns out that's the plot no. on which the building is located). When we'd booked our rooms, I was slightly apprehensive becoz 20 seemed a tad too backpackerish for my liking, what with common shared bathrooms but heck I was on vacation and we wanted to stay in the middle of the hustle and bustle. Turns out the place was actually pretty cool.
It was basically a home whose various rooms were converted into guestrooms. Very basic rooms - an almost big enough bed (I'm 6' 1" so most beds for me are almost big enough), A/C, and no TV. But it suited us just fine. The majority of the house was made of wood so every so often those wooden floors would creak loudly when someone climb the stairs which were located near our rooms or if people were walking on the floor above. One night, I think the group living above us probably decided to play catch or something, coz the floorboard were creaking like a mofo! Fortunately that lasted for only 15-20 mins.
Someone in their review on one of the travel websites had mentioned about staying in 20 which they liked a lot. Their only gripe was the loud sounds of Chinese karaoke being belted out from a nearby building. I laughed heartily when I read that article. Sometimes these things have a karmic way of getting back at you.

So of course both nights we heard some dude who obviously thought he was the Chinese Richard Marx singing with truckloads of passion and sorrow (or maybe that was just me). Which I wouldn't have minded as such other than the fact that he was a bit tone deaf! Fortunately we walked into our rooms at about 2am and the singing got done in some 30 odd minutes. But it bloody well woke me from my sleep at like 10 am the following.
I mean I'm a karaoke fan but maaaaan this guy took the cake!

And so this glorious journey comes to end. I will leave for Bombay in less than a week. Saw so many new places, met so many new people, took in the sights, sounds and culture of different countries.
I feel weary from all my travels. But it's a good kind of weary...

While I am certainly not an expert on these places I've written about, I'd be happy to answer any questions you might have.


Travel Travails - Quattro

So our early morn flight from Siem Reap to KL, was then followed by a late afternoon flight from KL to Bali. Stupid bitch at the Air Asia counter in KL refused to make allowance for one… repeat ONE measly extra kilo on our bags. As the Madman would quite eloquently put it, “Saali ****, AIDS ho jaye tujhe!!”
Denpasar airport was quite chaotic when we got in. It seemed like there was several flights that came in at the same time and there was a long ass line for Immigration.

Ahead of us, was this newly-married Gujju couple from Baroda that were on their honeymoon.
Kaycee had whispered to me when we were in the line that we Indians almost refuse to acknowledge the presence of our country-men when we’re abroad and this was not cool.
So she initiated some small talk and I think our sheltered Gujju couple were mildly perturbed to see K and I traveling together. I believe certain assumptions were made in their mind about our “relationship” despite the fact that we told them we were just friends who were traveling together. We were giggling about it as we headed to collect our bags.

The giggling abruptly stopped as we got outside and realized there was no pickup from the hotel waiting for us. A few phone calls later, we were told that there was a miscommunication from their end and after profuse apologies, the lady said she would have a car there in 15 minutes.
We headed shortly to Febri’s which is where we were to spend the following three days.
Unfortunately we were so knackered with our journey, we eventually decided to spend the evening in the hotel itself having a few drinks and a peaceful dinner.

We were staying in Kuta which is the party area of Bali with lots of restaurants and clubs. Kuta is in fact where the bombings of ’02 took place. While the ’02 and the subsequent ’05 blasts have taken their toll on the tourist influx to the island, people are still coming in to soak in the stunning beauty of this island paradise. The largest number of victims in the ’02 bombings were Aussie tourists specifically a whole lot of surfers. But it hasn’t really stopped them any. We saw tons of the typical blond surfer types carrying their boards while we were in the airport as well as in the city.

We lost the following day to the weather. It had started raining late the previous night and kept up right thru the next day. So our final day in Bali was going to be a jam packed affair with us trying to squeeze in as many of the sites as we could.
The day started with us catching the famous Barong dance depicting scenes from the Ramayana at one of the local cultural centres. We followed that with a visit to the local Batik shop.
Our next stop was a place called Ubud. If Kuta is where you wanna go to party, the Ubud is the area where you can stay for the peace and quiet.
On the way to Ubud, we passed through several villages which were famous for different types of artifacts. So there were stone carving shops, wood carving shops, gold and silver jewellery shops as well as shops selling paintings and crafts.
We stopped at one of the wood carving shops. Man these people are obsessed with phalluses. We saw everything from tables to ashtrays to chairs to key-chains which had phallic attachments to them. I mean there was just so much dick in that shop that even neutral me got a wee bit homophobic.
We finally reach Ubud and the must-visit place there is the Sacred Monkey Forest. Since these monkeys are so used to human contact, they pretty much do as they please. So you are duly warned about keeping your sunglasses, cameras etc on a tight leash coz given a chance these lil buggers will even start rummaging your bags for something to nibble on.
As you can see in the pic, one of the simians got extra friendly and rode with me for a bit. Kaycee of course who’s not a big fan of the Vanars, kept freaking right thru the time my long tailed friend hitching a ride on me lol

We then grabbed some lunch before we headed to the Uluwatu temple. I cannot even begin to describe the beauty of this place. I’m putting up pictures of the views from the cliff top and the sunset that we went to catch. If you think the pictures look good, trust me, the real thing is a 1000 times better.
We stayed at Uluwatu for about an hour and just took it all in as much as we could. I don’t think I could ever get tired of that splendid view, the blue water, the waves crashing on the rocks below and the wonderful orange-pink glow that came with the sunset.
We ended our trip with dinner at one of the many seafood restaurants on Jimbaran beach. The sea breeze blowing, the soft sand between our toes, a few drinks, fresh catch cooked for you and of course music on request by the band that went from table to table. Those guys would ask you where you were from and then play a song in your local language. We of course didn’t encourage any Hindi songs but they did do some GnR and Beatles for us. All in all a satisfactory end to the trip.
Bali was a wonderful experience in more ways than one. I will definitely visit this place again and stay there longer. You need atleast a week here to truly enjoy and have a chilled out time.
That I thought pretty much ended the great SEA trip but there was one last destination in store…


Travel Travails - III

I reached the hotel near the KLCCT where I was to spend the night and fly out early the next morning to Siem Reap. My companion for the Cambodia and Bali leg of the trip was the very delectable Miss Kaycee who I know from back home. We were staying at Molly Malone's, located in the heart of the Old Market area of Siem Reap. Run by a couple that's one half Irish (the wife) and the other French (with some Cameroonian thrown in there), MM's USP was its location. It was within walking distance to all the happening and not so happening food and drink joints of the area. Me and Kaycee had done some research prior to each leg of our trip courtesy our travel Bible - Wikitravel. Considering it was a first for both of us visiting these places, we'd decided that we were gonna do mostly typical touristy things in terms of visiting the known places, monuments et al rather than do the whole off-the-beaten-track type of traveling

So our first visit on the day we reached there was the Chong Khneas Floating Village located on the Tonle Sap Lake. We were warned by our research that this was a well known tourist trap but we decided to go visit it anyway. For us terra firma type, Chong Khneas was quite an eye opener. It was life as you'd see in any small town - people going about their lives, working to earn their bread, kids studying in school or playing basketball on the nearby court, places of worship like churches, grocery shops, the police station and the legal courts but the key difference being that ALL of them were afloat. Hah! We even saw a karaoke boat which had a bunch of men sitting and guzzling their wine and beer with the local music blaring out of the stereo and lyrics scrolling up the TV screen.
That evening the plan was to roam around the old market area where we’d have a few drinks and try the local Khmer cuisine. So to begin the evening right, we headed to the bar downstairs in Malone’s for a drink or two before heading out. Almost as soon as we were done with our first drink, the lights went out! Apparently the whole of Siem Reap was blacked out. So the initial plan got converted just like that to an evening at the bar itself.
It turned out to be one of the most fun evenings I’ve had in a long while. The French-Cameroon owner Thierry kept us company and even gave us a free round of drinks while talking about life in Siem Reap. I tell you these Frenchies can charm the birds out of the trees with their accent alone. “Aai travel the world and ‘av ‘ad some wundearful experiences but now I come ‘ere and settle down in Siem Reap where I meet my beautiful wife and we open zis place… Ees a good life no?!”
Hell yeah! I mean all three evenings we saw the man come in around 7pm, have a quick chat with his manager and then sit down with some of his customers and drink and smoke at the bar till about 10pm after which he’d head home. C’est la vie indeed! Also met a Brit Italian gentleman called Count Paolo Grazini along with his Cambodian fiancée who was called (and I kid you not!) Pumpkin. The Count regaled us with stories about his life in the army, travels around the world, working with the Mafia in their drug trade(!!) and how he finally landed in Siem Reap and was now a journo with a Phnom Penh newspaper writing mostly lifestyle articles and stories about Siem Reap. All in all a most (unexpectedly) entertaining evening.

The following day was temple visiting day. We decided to wake up early and catch the sunrise at the main temple complex of Angkor Wat and follow that with visits to the other temples. So off in the early morning cold which we experienced even more coz Kaycee decided we must do as the locals do and travel all of that day by motorised tuk tuk. Now as you can see in the picture, the weather was kinda muggy so we really didn’t get to see Angkor bathed in early morn sunshine. The funny thing is (and Kaycee later echoed similar sentiments) that I didn’t really see what the fuss was all about with regard to Angkor. I mean it was a huge temple complex alright but I didn’t really feel that sense of awe that I expected to feel when I came to see this place. Perhaps the weather had something to with it as well but honestly I have visited some smaller temple complexes in India which were much more impressive and awe-inspiring than Angkor was. By the way, there’s tons of references to the Ramayana and Mahabharata in these temples. We saw so many walls depicting scenes like Ravana kidnapping Sita, the battle between the Pandavas and Kauravas, the churning of the ocean by the Gods and Demons and lots of others.
So after Angkor we caught some breakfast before heading to visit the remaining two famous temples of Bayon and Ta Phrom.
Bayon was a temple we both enjoyed visiting because there was so much character to the place. There was a sense of gloom and doom to the whole place and had it not been for the many tourists who were around, I think it would felt a whole lot more spooky. There were so many faces cut into the various walls in and around the temple that I couldn’t quite shake the feeling of being watched. Almost creepy in some ways…
The last temple on the list was Ta Phrom. Again a temple with much character to it. If Bayon felt a tiny bit spooky, then Ta Phrom positively reinforced the feeling. This temple has gained fame primarily due to the fact that the Angelina Jolie movie Tomb Raider was shot here.
We even later visited the Red Piano bar, which was located pretty close to our hotel, where AJ and the Tomb Raider crew would hangout after their shoot. They even have a cocktail that she apparently concocted, the name of which is of course The Tomb Raider.
After getting all templed-out, once we came back into town, Kaycee decided we should get a massage to get some (bas?!) relief. So we snuck into the very aptly named Dr. Feet Massage parlour where we surrendered our feet to the capable ministrations of the massage girls. After they spent a fair of time giggling about the size of my feet, they got into action. I don’t know about y’all but a foot massage always makes me feel a little awkward, atleast initially. It feels a little too servile having a woman wash and press my feet. But damn! these women were good. I mean 30 mins into the hour-long massage I literally slipped into a coma. To the point that Kaycee had to actually nudge me hard (more than once I might add) coz I had started to snore… loudly! The massage girls of course loved it. It is a matter of pride for most masseuses if their massage has induced their client to fall asleep.
Aah Kaycee... you should’ve listened to the girls and let me snooze away.

Our final day in Siem Reap was gonna be something we’d discovered as a must do on several websites. It was Quad Biking and maaaan I gotta tell you this was the funnest thing I’ve done in a long while. We found this place owned by a Frenchman (Ze French are taking over ze world, I tell you!) called Hervé who ran these Quad Bike tours. Since we weren’t sure about how much we’d be able to handle, we choose the Easy Ride option – a 17 km ride which would take us thru the surrounding villages of Siem Reap.
These machines pack some serious power and were a blast to ride around on. Hervé was on lead with Kaycee following him and me rounding off the rear. Every so often whenever there was a long stretch of empty road, I’d let the other two go on ahead and then gun the ATV across the terrain. Wheeeeee!!

That last evening we went out to eat some more of the local Khmer food. And something interesting happened… I’d been cribbing for the past couple of days that we didn’t get to hear any live music. So we’re walking back to our hotel after dinner, and I hear loud rock music coming out a joint nearby. So of course I get this big grin on my face and before Kaycee could finish returning it, I dragged her ass in the direction of the spanking new Café Central. When we got there, there wasn’t any place available to sit. Suddenly this huge, barrel-chested bald guy with a bunch of tattoos running up and down his heavily muscled arms and thick neck comes up to us and asks if there’s just the two of us. He obviously seemed to be the owner or atleast top management. After confirming that we would be OK with sitting anywhere, he quickly arranges for a table and a couple of comfy cane chairs that we plonk ourselves on. We order our drinks and settle down to enjoy the Filipino cover band that was belting out the latest pop and rock tracks. Soon after the big guy comes over and asks in his booming voice if we’re having a good time. I couldn’t quite place his accent but we do answer in an enthusiastic affirmative. He then asks us where we’re from and I say India. He then asks where in? and I reply Bombay. He asks where in? again which kinda confused me into thinking he hadn’t heard me the first time around. So I again reply, “India”. And then to both mine and Kaycee’s astonishment, this guy goes, “Arre haan haan, lekin Bombay mein kahaan??” This dude was from our neck of the woods!!! We got talking and I came to know that Charlie (that's his name) was from Mazgaon and that he used to play football for the same college in Mazgaon that I used to go to. Talk about a freakishly small world. So now that we established the Indian and Mumbai connect, Charlie made more small talk with us, introduced us to his blonde girlfriend who looks after the other famous nightspot in Siem Reap called the Angkor What? Between the two of them, they were running this pub and after 4 years decided to open up another spot which was of course the week old Café Central.
Once again we were sent a round of drinks by the proprietor of a joint. If I was cribbing about the live music, Kaycee had been cribbing about the fact that she wanted to indulge in some Sambuca shots since she’s not a big fan of tequila. Not 15 mins later, Charlie and his friends get a bottle of it at their table and he comes over and plonks down a couple of healthy shots of Sambuca on our table. Now Kaycee’s the one who has the goofy grin all over her face.
We then stayed on till the band got done with its remaining sets and then in super high spirits we headed to our hotel. It was a fantastic night to end this leg.
So that was Siem Reap. The next morning we were to catch a flight back to KL from where we’d fly to our next destination.

Next stop – Bali, Indonesia