Saturday, August 30, 2008

Life in the 'FAST' lane...

It is ironic that the city I was born in, the city where I have most of my near and dear ones, is the city I HATE so much.
I speak of Bombay.

When I was younger, I would think of Bombay as an exciting energetic place where summer vacations were spent.

Over the last couple of times I have visited Bombay, I have learnt that the excitement and energy is nothing but senseless activity in a soulless city.

I have seen cousins and nephews being sucked into the mechanical lives that Bombay offers and many a childhood lost to endless hours of tuition and exams attempting to be ahead in some stupid race that everyone in the place seems to be a part of.

On one visit to Bombay, the girl and I were in a crowded marketplace, where we had to stop to let a middle aged lady pass, she was carrying the months groceries and I thought she had the right of passage.
But no, some uncultured (but cultured looking) piece of toxic waste who was standing behind me, said, "keep moving, this is Bombay, you cant stop here staring at people pass by..."
my responses along the lines of "I may look like a super hero but flying is not one of my super powers..." did not go down well with the chap, and he went away grumbling.

So I decided to follow him, and when as expected, he got stuck in the crowd at the next junction, I let rain the same dialogues that he had given me.
This definitely did not go down well with him, so in some wonderful Bombay Hindi, he abused me and my family .
The soul of Bombay, described in a simple anecdote.

This time when I went there, A guy pushed me right down the steps of a railway station in his hurry to catch some train. I thought the poor chap must be in a real hurry to have pushed me like that, but no! he landed up in the same compartment as I :) which meant that after all that, he had missed his train, tch tch so much for expertise in catching trains.

When I tried to get off the train, the oncoming crowd, did not let me do so and down I was again on the floor!
The guy who pushed me this time was nice enough to say "hey you were trying to get off eh?, don't worry you can get off at next station".
This definitely evoked laughter from me :)

I hate generalisations, but I tried very hard to find something nice to say about the place but the people I met seem to have all been contaminated by the city.

This place of sweat and grime evokes disgust and nothing else as far as I am concerned

reminds me of lines from Bhupen Hazarika's wonderfuly sung 'Ganga behti ho kyon'

"Vyakti rahe vyakti kendrit sakal samaj vyaktitva rahit nishpran
ko chodti na kyun?
Itihas ki pukar kare hunkar O Ganga ki dhar nirbal jan ko sabal
sangrami samagro gami banati nahi ho kyun? "

A thing of beauty...

Reads: Kshama Beauty Parlour

Saturday, August 16, 2008


A friend and I were out in Shenandoah, and as we were walking down a narrow path to go look and clap at a 'waterfall' , we saw this little firang kid (must have been like a 1.5 feet), who was laboriously climbing up with his mom in tow.
When he saw us, he stopped, looked at us and asked me. "Excuse me sir, would you tell me how far it is to the top?" in full Brit accent
First I was surprised that he could even talk, second he was so damn polite despite the fact that he was super tired.
I smiled and told him that it was not too far away, to which he was all politeness again "thank you sir"

If he was wearing a hat I am sure he would have tipped it at me. hehe

More recently, I had stopped by at a bakery, and saw a very little girl come to the farther end of the counter, begging for food/money.

Just as I was trying to figure out what I could buy her and was about to approach her, A little boy, of about 10, dressed in an old pair of trousers and a torn shirt, came to the bakery and was trying to get the attendants attention,

I noticed he had a 5 rupee coin in his hand, and seemed like it was the only money he had on him.

When the Baker asked him what he wanted, he asked him what he could get for 5 bucks, so the guy pointed out some chocolates and some other bakery products.

Interestingly enough, the boy instead of buying a chocolate (as I had thought he would) asked for a couple of 'Jam Buns'.

He handed over the money to the bakery attendant, went straight to the little beggar girl, gave her the food, patted her on the head and walked away!

My turn to tip my hat :)


Flushed Away

This animated movie from the makers of 'Wallace and Gromit' and 'Chicken Run', is a joy to watch.
Roddy St. James(Hugh Jackman) is a pampered pet rat, living in a posh cage in London, until one day he gets flushed down the toilet into London Below, a city of sewer rats.
Where he meets the pretty Rita (Kate Winslet) who owns a boat :)
Put in an evil toad boss and Le Frog(Jean Reno) as his french assassin along with a handful of singing slugs (do not miss the slugs' rendition of 'Lonely')

Wonderful Wonderful piece of animation. Do not miss!

Thank you for smoking

Aaron Eckhart plays Nick Naylor in this comedy about a fast talking chief spokesman for the Tobacco industry, we follow his life as he smooth talks his way through everything and at the same time aspires to be a role model to his son.
Nice movie

Dr. Strangelove or: how I learned to stopped worrying and love the bomb

Peter Sellers in 3 roles :)
This is a movie that has gone down in history as a cult classic. A satire about the cold war and nuclear warfare, this movie was released at the peak of the cold war.
The satirical nature of the movie make for some laughs, but this is NOT exactly a comedy.

Its a decent movie, with some wonderful scenes, especially the one where Strangelove(Sellers) in the American war room, fighting with his hand that has a mind of its own and goes on giving heil Hitler salutes lol
or the straight faced US president (Sellers again) "you cannot fight here, this is the War Room!"

Not a movie I liked too much, but well its got Seller's :)

Turner and Hooch

Tom hanks is Turner and a dog is Hooch as they partner to solve a crime :) feel good movie. Better if you like dogs :)

Harold and Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay

This movie is everything you would expect it to be, crass humour, Neil Patrick Harris and some love sprinkled in.
What got ot me was the extra dose of American Patriotism.
not so nice

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Picked a Tag...

1) Look at the list and mark in orange those you have read.

2) Italicize those you intend to read.

3) Mark in a bright green, the books you really love

4) Reprint this list in your own blog.


1 Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen

2 The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien

3 Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte

4 Harry Potter series - JK Rowling

5 To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee

6 The Bible/ The Bhagavad Gita As It Is

7 Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte

8 Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell

9 His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman

10 Great Expectations - Charles Dickens

11 Little Women - Louisa M Alcott

12 Tess of the D'Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy

13 Catch 22 - Joseph Heller

14 Complete Works of Shakespeare

15 Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier

16 The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien

17 Birdsong - Sebastian Faulks

18 Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger

19 The Time Traveller's Wife - Audrey Niffenegger

20 Middlemarch - George Eliot

21 Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell

22 The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald

23 Bleak House - Charles Dickens

24 War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy

25 The Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams

26 Brideshead Revisited - Evelyn Waugh

27 Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky

28 Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck

29 Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll

30 The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame

31 Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy

32 David Copperfield - Charles Dickens

33 Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis

34 Emma - Jane Austen

35 Persuasion - Jane Austen

36 The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe - CS Lewis

37 The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini

38 Captain Corelli's Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres

39 Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden

40 Winnie the Pooh - AA Milne

41 Animal Farm - George Orwell

42 The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown

43 One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez

44 A Prayer for Owen Meaney - John Irving

45 The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins

46 Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery

47 Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy

48 The Handmaid's Tale - Margaret Atwood

49 Lord of the Flies - William Golding

50 Atonement - Ian McEwan

51 Life of Pi - Yann Martel

52 Dune - Frank Herbert

53 Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons

54 Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen

55 A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth

56 The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon

57 A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens

58 Brave New World - Aldous Huxley

59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon

60 Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez

61 Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck

62 Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov

63 The Secret History - Donna Tartt

64 The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold

65 Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas

66 On The Road - Jack Kerouac

67 Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy

68 Bridget Jones's Diary - Helen Fielding

69 Midnights Children – Salman Rushdie

70 Moby Dick - Herman Melville

71 Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens

72 Dracula - Bram Stoker

73 The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett

74 Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson

75 Ulysses - James Joyce

76 The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath

77 Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome

78 Germinal - Emile Zola

79 Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray

80 Possession - AS Byatt

81 A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens

82 Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell

83 The Color Purple - Alice Walker

84 The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro

85 Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert

86 A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry

87 Charlotte's Web - EB White

88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom

89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

90 The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton

91 Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad

92 The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery

93 The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks

94 Watership Down - Richard Adams

95 A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole

96 A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute

97 The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas

98 Hamlet - William Shakespeare

99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl

100 Les Miserables - Victor Hugo

Sunday, August 10, 2008

movies I watched..

In Bruges
Colin Farrel, Brendan Gleeson, Ralph fiennes.
Fantastic movie. This is a movie that you will either love or you will hate. I loved it to the core. Each character is well etched and the story well told.

Dark Knight
Heath Ledger Rocks!
Finally Christopher Nolan has managed to get batman the cult status it deserves. A big Batman fan, I hated all previous movies, until Batman Began :)
obvious must watch.

The Bank Job
Jason Statham
A true story. This fast paced thriller about a bank robbery is a good weekend watch :)

Decent animation movie, I am not a big Sci-fi fan but still enjoyed this movie, just felt it was a little over rated on IMDB though.

3:10 to Yuma
Christian Bale and Russel Crowe in this western is about a poor cattle herder(Bale) who has lost his leg in the civil war and is struggling to save his land & cattle from a local landlord.
With a point to prove about his abilities to his son, he gets his opportunity to do so, by escorting the wild west's most wanted outlaw (Russel Crowe in an interesting casting) to a train (the 3:10 to Yuma).
I liked this movie :) Good characterisation and great action.
Watch out for some wonderful acting by Ben Foster and some more great casting in form of Gretchen Mol (siiigghhhh) as Bale's wife.

Smart People
umm well this movie has got Dennis Quaid, Sarah Jessica Parker (who I think looks like a horse, an ugly one at that) and Ellen Page (Who I do not like either), so not a movie I liked too much :)

Micheal Caine and Jude Law, are the only actors in this movie about a novelist(Caine) and his wife's lover(Law). Who play mind games with each other.
The movie started pretty well, but somewhere in the middle it turned into a boring horrible act.

Oxford Murders
Elijah Wood plays a student to John Hurt as they set about solving a series of murders in oxford.
The only thing I liked about it other than the fact that it was picturised in Oxford (one of my favourite towns), was the hot Leonar Waltin.
A senseless movie.


Gone is the Dell 505, replaced by a white, sleek, MacBook. It looks beautiful and it has pretty good usability as well.
The first thing to learn is, the command button is the Ctrl button :)

What I like
- The way it looks
- Its dock and the genie effects
- Its webcam
- The search - 'spotlight', it returns results in a jiffy and is wonderful to use, no more navigating through directories :)
- Its lovely keyboard

What I dislike

- Itunes
I hate Itunes, easily in my top 5 worst software on the planet . The thing has no winamp.

- MusicIndiaOnline does not play on mac (real player and Windows Media Player)

- In Windows one could move up and down a sentence, word by word. All one had to do was hold ctrl and use the left/right arrow keys, Mac will only let you traverse sentences, character by painful character

- No auto restore from the trashcan, if you delete something by mistake, you will need to drag and drop it back in its correct folder to restore it :(

- I am yet to install photoshop etc but I have a feeling I will hate the fonts :|

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

To London To London...

London is the same, nothing seems to have changed.

What did I do there?

1) Did my favourite London walk :)

Begin :
British Museum --> Totenham Court road --> Leicester Square --> Piccadily Circus --> Trafalgar Square --> Big Ben --> Cross the Thames on the bridge by Westminister --> By the Aquarium, London eye, Waterloo Station --> Up the Millennium Bridge (staring straight at St Paul's Cathedral) back across the Thames --> and walk by the London Bridge --> all the way to the tower of London and the Tower bridge --> Back to the Hotel in the Tube: End

Last visit I had done part of this alone and gotten horribly lost (!) for about 2 hours.

This time I knew my way around quite well and I had a friend along, it took us 5 hours :) with breaks for Hot Chocolate, some shopping in the open markets by the Thames and a nice lunch at an Indian(!) restaurant.

2) Shopped in Camden :) :)

Here are some pictures

Trafalgar Square : National Art Gallery

Trafalgar Square: Nelson's column

Thames: London Eye

Big Ben

There are some pictures of the night walk we did :) will post them later!