Random wishlist of useless junk

In the midst of a conversation today, I remembered this piece of awesomeness.

Even though it has just vol +/- and power buttons, there is no denying that it addresses a hitherto unfulfilled niche in the entertainment business. It adds a touch of 'royal' to the royal throne because painting the room purple will only get you so far.

Brilliant though this is, it can be made even better with the addition of a certain accessory that would go with it perfectly.The cherry on the sundae.

Tree in Timelapse

And that, Ladies and Gentlemen, is how you do it.


The one with the movie review

Its the season for movie reviews. Past two days, every blog update in google reader is invariably a movie review. Even when I asked someone (yes, you know who you are) a simple question on the lines of 'what's up?' - I got a full 500 word review in reply. So I thought I would write one myself. Here goes...

An american friend of my uncle's had seen it already. 'Its such a sad movie', she said. 'I was crying all the time.' But no, Slumdog Millionaire is not a sad movie at all. Infact, if anything, its a tale of hope and joy, of picking yourself up when life has you at its lowest, of never giving up.

As Jamal recounts his life (in a British accent, but lets ignore that), its not hard to see what would make people think its a sad movie, depressing in its tone. But perhaps because we are immune to the sights of extreme poverty, conditioned to look the other way when the child-beggar knocks on our window, we can look beyond the despair to what is ultimately an optimistic tale. While the sight of kids playing cricket on the runway may tug at many heartstrings, we know that at that moment, those kids are truly happy, without a care in the world, enjoying themselves - no holds barred.

Not exactly a helpful movie review, I know, but there are 4 (maybe 5) loyal readers of this blog, one of whom has already seen it, one won't, one doesn't trust me (yes, its you again) and one who swears by my word. So me recommending it helps nobody, really. Anyway, do watch it if you have the chance. Like Andy Dufresne, Jamal Malik too crawled through shit and came out clean.

In other news, a song that I keep listening to these days.


Silent Night

Another year goes by, filled with ups and downs, a cacophony of mixed feelings and the lingering sweetness of the joys offset by flecks of the sour bitterness of sadness.

A Happy New Year to everyone.



The healing properties of time are mentioned all the time, but I don't subscribe to that school of thought so much. Its all in the head, I suppose - time has very little to do with it.

Two train journeys, exactly an year apart, yet so very different. That day, I felt I was on top of the world - literally as well. But today feels like I'm six feet under.

As they say ...

The sun is the same in the relative way, but you're older
Shorter of breath and one day closer to death



Life is littered with milestones. One more part of the whole 'life is a highway' analogy that we all love so much.

What are milestones really? Birthdays, anniversaries, festivals, these kind of events are not exactly called milestones because they happen with regularity. Whether we like it or not, they come and go. Rather like milestones. So why do we assign the 'milestone' metaphor to events that occur once, or were unexpected, or marked by spectacular achivement, or spectacular failure. Who knows.

As another of these so called milestones passes me by, I see the shattered remains of another one in my rearview, one year ago. Infact, this one is shattered too.

But what makes it spectacularly worse is the fact that I can't say anything except tired metaphors. How I wish I could.


Walk Unafraid

As the sun comes up, 
as the moon goes down
These heavy notion creep around
It makes me think
Long ago I was brought into this life a little lamb
A little lamb
Courageous, stumbling
Fearless was my middle name.
But somewhere there I lost my way
Everyone walks the same 

expecting me to step
The narrowpath they've laid
They claim to walk unafriad
I'll be clumsy instead
Hold my love me or leave me high.

Say "Keep within the boundaries if you want to play."
Say "Contradiction only makes it harder."
How can I be what I want to be?
When all I want to do is strip away these stilled constraints
And crush this charage shred this sad masquerade
I don't need no persuading
I'll trip, fall, pick myself up and walk unafraid
I'll be clumsy instead
Hold my love me or leave me high.

If I have a bag of rocks to carry as I go
I just want to hold my head up high
I don't care what I have to step over
I'm prepared to look you in the eye
Look me in the eye and if you see familiarity
Then celebrate the contradiction
Help me when I fall to walk unafraid
I'll be clumsy instead
Hold my love me or leave me high.
Walk unafraid
I'll be clumsy instead
Hold my love me or leave me high.


Lately there is this phenomenon of a totally appropriate R.E.M.song playing randomly. Makes me think what kind of weird soul searching intelligence must be dwelling inside Winamp.

Pineapple Express

Change is not coming so fast either ..

Q: "Will you consider legalizing marijuana so that the government can regulate it, tax it, put age limits on it, and create millions of new jobs and create a billion dollar industry right here in the U.S.?" S. Man, Denton

A: President-elect Obama is not in favor of the legalization of marijuana.

Too bad.

Transporter 3

After watching Transporter 3, one is left with a few questions. Such as:

  • Why??!!
  • Wtf??!!
  • How??!!
But surely, you will say, this is a movie of the type you enter a bubble to watch. A bubble where you leave your IQ and the laws of physics leave you. Lots of explosions, burning rubber and the Geico gecko in human form. No issues with that. Just a suggestion.

Dear Director,

If you feel the need to include a strip scene, do keep in mind that your target demographic would really prefer the girl doing it. Infact, go the whole hog.. Put in an item song. Or two. We won't mind.



The Problem With Bridges

Burning bridges,
is that the solution?
Spans collapse,
but will that
sever the connection?

I can erase
all the conversations
permanently, irreversably
but will i
ever really forget?

You can throw
all the mementos
deny their existence
but will you
recycle old memories?

I can wear
new sweaters
appear to be happy
but will i
feel warm inside?

You can surrender
all emotions
pretend not to care
but will you
learn to ignore?

I can tear
the receipts
into tiny pieces
but will i
void the purchases?

You can look
in the mirror,
not see the glint
but will you
stop noticing?

I can walk
long hours alone
lost in thought
but will i
think something else?

You can dry
all the tears
wash your face
but will you
purge your thoughts?

At least forks on the road
converge when you reverse.
The problem with bridges
is they have to be rebuilt,
or forgotten. Eventually. 

~ Me.



So R.E.M sings

Everybody hurts. Take comfort in your friends.
Everybody hurts. Don't throw your hand. oh, no. Don't throw your hand.
If you feel like you're alone, no, no, no, you are not alone.

It would be funny if it wasn't so ironic.

Shopping for Change

This happened a few days ago. We were discussing this bizzare case in mails.

All the knowledge we have accumulated since 7th Standard was blown to bits. As we traded 'what goes where' and 'who does what' speculations, I noticed this.

As usual the google ad generator AI thing had done a stellar job of dishing up really really relevant ads.


Just why is TG so awesome.


Fried Rice, Sad Demise

What happens when you have a huge bowlful of rice for dinner against your better judgement.

Its uncanny.

Cartoon (rather, caricature) by Meera who revels in my misfortunes with unconcealed glee.

Electrical Engineering?

Its march was so inexorable that electrocuting elephants could not stand in its way. Not even when it was Edison was the one throwing the switch. Of course Westinghouse's A.C. won, and it slowly but surely made its way into every home.

At some point before all this happening, there must have been a committee sitting in a glass panelled conference room trying to decide how to actually distribute this magical stuff into every room, hell, every wall of every room.

"We shall need 2 wires, Live and Neutral."

"Metal appliances will need to be grounded."

"Of course."

"Ok. Add one more wire. So, Live, Neutral and Ground."

"That's right. And we do it in such a way that Ground is optional. A triangular arrangement perhaps."

"Very Nice. Done. Put that down."

"What shape should the pins be?"

"Well, obviously its not a pleasant experience - to be electrocuted. We all saw that elephant. We should make them flat, so that not even an infant can poke its pinkie in."

"Good point."

"Just had a thought. In the future, they might try powerline ethernet. Do we need to add any features to ensure compatibility?"

"Alex. Stop playing with you damn time machine. And don't mix your stupid hobbies with work."

"Sorry... I just thought ... "

"I don't want to hear it!"

"Sir, What about placement? Where should these sockets be?"

"Since we have ensured that they are poke proof, we should place these sockets two inches off the ground."

"Two inches?"

"Yes, that's the optimum height. Just above the skirting."

"Whatever you say. You are the boss."

In this manner, ignoring the prior invention of the fork, knife, paper clip and all other flat metal objects, all electrical sockets came to be placed a couple of inches off the ground.

There is a reason I mention all this. If it wasn't for these gentlemen, my world would be a different place. Better perhaps, but different nonetheless. My table would push up flush against the wall and stuff would no longer fall off the back. There would be no reason to leave the gap between the bed and the corner that routinely swallows my arm. The toaster's wire would actually reach the socket. I could go on and on ...

Things could have been so much simpler. But they aren't.

I wonder why.



I’m all alone
though you're all here.
Surrounding me,
smothering me
with your happiness
that I can't match.
I know you
care for me,
care about me.
But I feel like
you don't see me.
And that makes
me not real.

Island of lonely
in a sea of happiness.
Joyful, unconcerned.
Maybe it's because
I won't open up
and let you in.
But it feels like
it's more than that.
Feeling claustrophobic,
its closing in.
Crushing me.
I can't breathe.

Now I’m really alone.
You've forgotten
I was ever there.
You don't recognize
me anymore.
Have I changed
that much?
You haven't changed
at all.
It seems like
you're immortal.
Still outgoing, crazy,
the opposite of me.
But we used to
be good friends,
didn't we?
Or was I just
someone to
pass time with.
Until you
figured out how
boring I was,
and am.

I’m cold now.
I wish I could
turn to stone.
And not cry.
I haven’t
(in public)
in a long time.
But I do when I’m alone.
Nothing is forever
except death.
And I can't
seem to kill myself.
I’m too weak
of spirit and body.
if I ask nicely,
you'll do it for me...

~ willuholdme

[I wish I could write a nice poem someday.]


Largely lunar..

Today, the moon is closest to earth this year. Which means that tides will be higher, and werewolves will be fiercer. Hence a time lapse video of the moon, shot from the safe confines of my balcony.

Infinite Loop for the Cathartic Soul


From the pages of History - III

A, I and M frequented McDonalds to escape the cafeteria food. Which perhaps gives you some idea of what office food was all about. They tell each other that chicken is high in protein and fish is healthy, but deep down they know the prime reason for their presence under the golden arches are the value meal toys. And the coke float.

A little background info:

Every time they entered, they were immediately confronted with a difficult choice. A Value Meal was Burger + Medium Fries + Medium Coke, while a Happy Meal substituted a toy for the Fries. How that is 'happy', only the marketing people can explain, but nevertheless, a joint decision was sometimes made to sacrifice one order of fries based on the toys on offer and whether they were worthy of joining the collection.

So they stood in queue, all the while trying to decide on something from the staggering choice of 5 burgers, occasionally letting the odd awkward teen-couple-on-first-date past when the register came too close. At the final corner, before the long start-finish straight, this bit of information was presented.

Medium Coke22
Coke Float20
Cold Coffee35

Which was encouraging, considering M could not down even one Medium Coke without complaining. (Though A had witnessed him down 3 vodka sprites, two tequila shots and sing She fü¢king hates me at the top of his voice, he isn't one to judge.) Plus, a little bit of ice cream, for a little less money, that was a no brainer in their fast food world.

At the register, events unfolded as ...

I:3 value meals, 1 chicken, 2 fish.
McEmployee:Anything else, Sir?
A:Ohh yes! Can you substitute the cokes with coke floats?
McEmployee:No Sir, I'm afraid we can't do that.
A:What do you mean, you can't?
McEmployee:Sir, that option is not present in the system.
M:What has the system got to do with it. Just give us 3 coke floats.
McEmployee:Sir, I can't do that.
M:Why not?
McEmployee:Sir, the system won't accept it. If you want a cold coffee, I can do that.
M:Exactly! So just like that, give us coke floats.
McEmployee:Sir I can only substitute a higher value.
A:What the hell kind of logic is that! Look, keep the two bucks ok. Just give us coke floats.
McEmployee:Can't do that Sir.
M:Does the ice cream machine keep track of how many you have dispensed and tally them against the billing?
A:Yes! Suppose there was a wrong flavour ordered by mistake. You would just chuck it, right?
M:Are you under surveillance to ensure you don't give coke floats?
McEmployee:Do you want to talk to the Manager?
McManager:Sir, we cannot substitute a lower value in the order.
M:And what is the logic in that?
McManager:Sir, we don't decide that. Its how the system is configured.
A:But don't do anything with the order!! why can't you give us coke floats and bill it as cokes!!
McManager:Can't do that, sorry.
M:What are you all of a sudden? Honest!
A:Thats it!! We are never coming here again!
I:Actually, I quite like it here.
M:Me too.
I:You have our order.
McEmployee:Yes Sir, Coming right up.

Disclaimer: Its been a while. Some facts may have been substituted by fiction.


Legend has it ...

I sort of encountered a Legend yesterday. Not the Micheal Schumacher/Will Smith/etc. kind of legend, but an urban legend or 'Fairy Tale' as one might euphemistically refer to it. The internet is usually the kind of places where one encounters such fluff and this legend is no different. I remembered reading about this a few times, sworn testimonies of people who insisted that such a thing had happened to them. I had dismissed it as utter BS then - I mean the internet is also awash with speculation that NASA went to the moon, when everyone knows what really happened.

So having cultivated a habit of skepticism from a early age, I had dismissed this legend as something people come up with to cover up their tracks or perhaps explain something that is way beyond their level of understanding. I mean, why would anybody for whatever reasons be interested in paying me for the tooth that fell out last night. Even if someone was, I am supposed to leave it under my own pillow! Not a good place to be rummaging around if you are the anxious-not-to-be-discovered fairy types. Sometimes it expresses itself in inappropriate situations - while watching Swades, for instance. The old woman is staring at the bulb, the water starts flowing, the voltmeter needle climbs, hits 220 and lo! the bulb lights. While everyones' - old woman included - eyes were welling up, I loudly informed no one in particular that said bulb would have started glowing dimly from as low as 20V depending on its wattage. I'm not sure I deserved the nasty looks that I got. Perhaps all magic is lost on me. I wouldn't clap for Tinkerbell. Call 911 for God's sake! How is clapping going to help!

All this was far away from my thoughts when I was doing the one activity that lends itself pretty well to deadline extension. Its all about perception - visual perception, that is. You can wear your unmentionables (why are girls' unmentionables called delicates, anyway?) inside out, in winter you can even wear your Tshirts inside out and no one will notice. But there comes a time when you have to go to bed in the light blue button down Van Heusen shirt, or nothing at all - and that people will notice. After the deed was done, and I was back in my room going through the sorting and folding ritual, I realized that I had an even number of feet. But an odd number of socks.

I had encountered the Sock Monster.

PS: Looking forward to meeting Santa anytime now.


Sleep Patterns

Infinite Loop for the Soul




Where do I begin .. What do I say ...

A mish-mash of thoughts.

Originally wanted to write the usual two lines about 12x06, but there really wasn't anything interesting there. Or maybe I wasn't in the mood to get entertained. All it did was remind me of the NE118 and consequently, home. Even the Corvette in the shopping mall was meh.

Went to make coffee, and discovered that all cups / mugs were in the sink and I surely wasn't going to wash others' dishes. So I had mine in a glass tumbler. Which reminded me of Roopali. The one night we decided to drop pretense and go there for coffee instead of Barista. Sitting there, under the awning, the remaining 3A's discussed bikes, philosophy, movies and so many things. Until they closed. Then we sat till 3 am on the steps outside Subway just talked and talked. We rued the passage of the 'good old days' and lamented growing up. Wonder what we would talk now.

On another note, tried to watch Dasvidaniya as a side-movie, fully expecting it to be a rip off of The Bucket List. I was surprised because in my opinion, it is much better. While TBL has one acting god in Jack Nicholson and an actual God - Morgan Freeman, it is still a fairy tale. Not everyone drinks coffee made from pooped beans and flies on a private jet to exotic locations.

Sure, my bucket list would most probably feature racing a vintage Shelby Mustang around an oval, but would I? Not unless I happened to share my hospital ward with an eccentric billionaire. The smaller film is to me, the more personal one, where buying a car, any car is an aspirational decision. Where it is not an exotic Safari or a trip to the pyramids that will satisfy you, but a simple 'foreign' trip - anywhere.

Though I liked it because only when playing Charades can you put 'You' before 'I' in I love you. Even when it is love without consequence, love for love's sake.


Who we are ...

You are known by the company you keep. Or so they say.
Not quite the philosophical start I was looking for, but whatever.
It is your friends who define you, who bring out the real you and are there for you, no matter what. I guess that is how its been for me too. Friends, very underrated, yet so essential. Coming from a person who is most definitely a closed book, I sometimes wonder what makes them stick to me, all these years. But whatever it is, I hope it endures, because as symbiotic relationships go, we all need each other.

S: We weren't even 6 then, and you walked up to me and asked if I wanted to be your friend. Its been 18 years and I've hugged you with joy and cried on your shoulders. And we've never had a fight, ever.

M: You are one person who sees me for what I am. One saturday we went to a computer store and then went for lunch. I cannot tell you how much I needed that day then. I need that now, more than ever. And I hope I can do that for you too.

P: When I changed all the system sounds in Windows 3.1, I came and told you and you looked at me like I had invented cold fusion. When I was surrounded by the mob and this close to getting hit, you stood in the way and raised your voice, something I have never seen you do. We lost some time, but I am glad I spoke to you.

I am so happy for all of you and a tinge of sadness that I am so far away. A mix of tumultuous feelings.

Its a bit incoherent this post, but incoherent thoughts are the only things occupying my mind right now.

Love you all...


Early Morning Grump...

I officially hate someone.

I don't even know her, it has to be a girl, that much I know. Twice she made me crawl out of the bed I spent four hours warming and judging by the temperature differential, still needed at least two more hours. Its not cool. In fact, if you haven't noticed, it is bloody cold - all the more reason I am pissed at you.

Why do you do it? Why? It wasn't enough that you set off the Fire Alarm two days ago at 7:30 that you had to do it again today?

Damn you to hell!


When the shit hits the fan; even the shitters go blue

One of the recommended feeds that google reader came with had this as the top post.

I tried to come up with something funny to go with it but I can't ... I just can't.

See for yourself

I have to wonder... The 'journalist' doing the piece - just how much must he hate his job? Does he go home and sit with a bottle of Old Monk cursing his fate? Perhaps he flings the bottle at the TV with a cry of agony when his piece comes up and watches as third rate rum drips off third grade reporting.

Or maybe just maybe he has deluded himself into thinking that it is meaningful, what he does. In which case he returns home to wife and kids with a smile on the face, glad to see them after a hard day's work. And proudly tells the kids about his day at the office while helping them with Civics homework.

We'll never know.

PS: No doubt people at PETA, etc must be taking this kind of thing seriously, but we will be two generations beyond Utopia before we care about depressed pigeons.

PPS: I have immense respect for pigeons. I have spent countless hours trying to oust a family of rent free encroachers from behind our water geyser and they know what 'I will never give up' means.

State of Fear

First it was Jon Stewart and now Colbert joins in. Turning serious stuff into comedy is a thin line which must be navigated carefully.

On the negative side, the Prabhudeva video has no subtitles. I have reason to believe that someone has already done the hard part.


People who know me, might also know that I view Top Gear as the best thing since sliced bread, perhaps even better since all it takes to slice bread is a decently sharp knife, but drifting a truck is something only rig-stig can do. So even though I posted a line about the last episode, I wasn't really watching and I missed this

One moment Clarkson is standing in front of perfectly still water, talking about the 4 doors on the new M3 and then a ripple moves across the water - but its on the top half of the screen. Very subtle. Reminded me of the Corvette / F575 reflection switch from season 8.

Another hit and miss moment of brilliant photography.

A point I emphasize over and over again to non-believers. Its not just a car show. Its top notch entertainment. With a kick ass soundtrack.

For What It's Worth

A tune that's been stuck in my head for quite some time now.

Heard it so far in

Forrest Gump - Vietnam march scene
Lord of War - Opening credits
Top Gear - Mondeo ST220 intro


So I get a forwarded email with pictures of the rally held in Mumbai yesterday. I made a mental note to send it along to a friend with whom I had discussed the event. So a couple of hours later, I pressed 'Send' and waited a couple of moments while Gmail did its magic.

When the inbox displayed again, I found the exact same email, from the exact same person. Of all the freaky coincidences.

I wonder if the packets crossed paths on the submarine cable.


Humor as Truth

The Daily Show says what others can't .. or don't.

Going nowhere

I had a flight to catch. An early morning one at that. Early - a category, which for me includes the 8am flight which I was about to board. Because it wasn't just the time which the Embraer left the gate. It was the hour and half before that which one had to spend on the airport sitting on uncomfortable plastic seats trying not to nod off on the shoulder of the person sitting next to you. Add to that the hour and half of the train journey getting to the airport, the 30 mins spent walking to the train station, not to mention all the buffer zones. Such a mislabelling of the word 'journey' when getting there is more work than the actual flight. Kind of like the Pursuit of Happyness - if 'happyness' is spending two hours in a pressurized aluminum tube rebreathing the same recirculated air.

Anyway, it wasn't the journey I was looking forward to in the first place. All I expected was falling asleep in uncomfortable sitting positions, head banging against the glass window a few times and maybe a scalding cup of so-called coffee along the way. Thus I made my way to the train station, hastily packed bag in hand, at the ungodly hour of four in the morning. I was probably the only one boarding the train at my station, understandable, considering it is close to deserted even at normal times. I couldn't even fall asleep immediately because there was a transfer which had to be made about a quarter of the way in. Once I stepped onto the next train, however, I was looking forward to a little shut eye, especially as I hadn't slept a wink since last night. Even though it was July, early mornings are always chilly, and I invariably find 70F temperature controlled environments slightly uncomfortable. I tried to settle into a halfway comfortable position, wrapping my jacket around me like a blanket to get slightly toasty. I think I drifted off because the next thing I heard was twittering.

Now I know many people, especially men (and some women too) who have encountered interesting (read: attractive) members of the opposite sex on journeys, and spent the few hours of what was looking to be a boring journey in a slightly more memorable fashion. But that had never happened to me. Unfailingly I would be seated next to a fat man who called dibs on the armrest and overflowed into my seat or the fidgety 13 year old who wouldn't stay still. The twittering was a good sign. I half opened one of my eyes to see what was going on and sitting next to me, talking animatedly to her friend across the aisle, was a blond dressed from head to toe in diaphanous white. Well, not head to toe, more like plunging-neckline to mid-thigh. Interesting, I thought and opened the aforementioned eye fully. Of course my social ineptness meant that I couldn't ever start a conversation, and anyway the presence of the friend shot that idea to hell before it even took hold. So I settled down to observe.

Something I have always wondered and which to me gives credence to the idea of some women being labelled 'cold-blooded', is how can they wear such a small amount of clothing when its cold out - and not appear to be uncomfortable in any way. Perhaps I should offer her my jacket, I wondered, chivalrous thoughts obviously being the first ones to enter my mind. But opening doors is one thing and offering jackets is an entirely different level. Plus, it would be highly embarrassing for both parties if the rumpled, sleeping guy on the next seat suddenly offered his jacket. So I stayed put. Why, in an early morning train, with several thousand empty seats did she elect to sit next to the sleeping guy, I thought. Surely, something was fishy, very fishy. Either that, or I was completely invisible to the opposite sex, which is also a distinct possibility. In any case, there were too many permutations to consider and reject. As the spirited conversation continued - much too spirited for five in the morning, actually - with lots of gesticulating and loud laughter, I thought how peaceful and uncomplicated my life had been before this apparition had appeared and how much I wanted that back. The pressure was too much. Why me! Everything was going fine before! As this train of thought was catching up speed, the train I was on slowed to a halt, the last one. I stood up and extracted my bag from the overhead rack. I turned to look back and she was nowhere to be seen.

I had my old life back.


Headline error

What about spelling 'errorists'? Should they be writing headlines for the Indian Express?

Perceptions of home

I woke up, very unusually at 6:00 am. The weather generally being overcast, it was dark outside. Very reluctant to get out of the cozy warmth of the blanket, I decided to give myself half an hour more. No point getting up when its not even light out, I reasoned. Didn't really fall asleep, but had a daydream, partly fueled by the events of the past few days, all the while dreading the 30 minutes counting down on the cellphone.

Dragged myself out of bed, cleaned up, picked up the book and looked longingly at the bed. After all the warmth I had invested, it seemed like such a waste to leave now. Even though reading in bed, especially in the early morning has been fraught with danger for me, rationality lost out to comfort. So passed another hour, reading - but not quite, and drifting off a few times. Finally the conscience kicked in, and I extricated myself out of the bed, pulled on my socks and made my way downstairs.

It wasn't a bright and cheery day, and I am a person who needs my morning tea on the best of days. So I found myself in the kitchen, looking at a daunting array of shelves and cupboards. I'll make do with the tea bag version, I decided, not wishing to make the inevitable racket that accompanies a good exploration of a drawer full of steel vessels. As I sat down with a hot cup of water and two bags of Taj Mahal trying their best to give it their everything, I opened my laptop and logged in to google reader.

Being Monday, The New Yorker had updated its feed. And I happened to read this. I smiled at the coincidence of situation I had been in not 10 minutes ago, but the theme of the piece triggered exactly opposite emotions in me. Home is far away, but a place very close to home is something I hadn't imagined I would find here. Even if its just for a weekend, I am made to feel right at home, smack bang in the middle of my comfort zone. Whether its raiding the fridge or spending a day in front of the TV writing code, its just like another day at home.

But perhaps what made me shake my head at Jenny Allen in disagreement was a remark by my cousin to his mom saying that she's got one more son now.


Clarkson declares the V70 to be sub-zero, perhaps even worthy of the frigid enclosure that is the DB7 fridge and on the same day, Ford puts Volvo up for sale. Talk about irony.


Something Inside

Orchid in the Library

When the one thing you're looking for
Is nowhere to be found
And you're back stepping all of your moves
Trying to figure it out
You wanna reach out
You wanna give in

Your head's wrapped around what's around the next bend
You wish you could find something warm
'Cause you're shivering cold
It's the first thing you see as you open your eyes
The last thing you say as you're saying goodbye
Something inside you is crying and driving you on
It's the first thing you see as you open your eyes
The last thing you say as you're saying goodbye
Something inside you is crying and driving you on

'Cause if you hadn't found me
I would have found you
I would have found you

So long you've been running in circles
'Round what's at stake
But now the times come for your feet to stand still in one place
You wanna reach out
You wanna give in

Your head's wrapped around what's around the next bend
You wish you could find something warm
'Cause you're shivering cold
It's the first thing you see as you open your eyes
The last thing you say as you're saying goodbye
Something inside you is crying and driving you on
It's the first thing you see as you open your eyes
The last thing you say as you're saying goodbye
Something inside you is crying and driving you on

'Cause if you hadn't found me
I would have found you
I would have found you

It was your first taste of love
Living upon what you had

It's the first thing you see when you open your eyes
The last thing you say as you're saying goodbye
Something inside you is crying and driving you on

'Cause if you hadn't found me
I would have found you
I would have found you
I would have found you
I would have found you

From the August Rush Soundtrack

Light and Shadow

The only sound that I hear is the rustling of the leaves
and the moon's glow is what keeps the darkness at bay
Its so easy to forget the flowing wind shakes the trees
and the light I see is only a reflection of another day


Is that too much to expect?

Expectations can be double edged swords. What we expect from ourselves, from others, from work, from relationships - expectations can make us push the boundaries when things are going well, but when things don't go according to plan, the burden of expectations weighing us down can make the emotional baggage much much heavier.

I've heard a few people say - me included - that maybe if we didn't have any expectations to begin with then the disappointment would be much less if matters went south. It would be much easier to pick oneself up, dust off the disappointment and rejoin the game, so to say. The 'burden of expectations' plays a large factor in the negative criticism sportspersons face when they hit a bad patch and we've all seen this repeated ad infinitum with different protagonists. Does the same apply for personal expectations? Is it better to set goals and go about achieving them - getting crushed by disappointment once in a while or go about things one day at a time and just revel in the moment. Not having a lot of expectations before embarking on a task makes it much easier to recover from failure - that I can attest personally. But the very cause of low expectations was that the chance of sucess was very low in the first place. What about matters which are perceived to be easy, everyday things, where anyone has the chance to succeed. Is it easy to brush off failure then? Is it a good attitude to begin every journey with no expectation of outcome?

Its hard to put things in black and white so easily, and even more so when others are invested in your success and failures, or even when there is an audience watching (or you feel is watching). However, sometimes taking a step back and seeing what is really happenening is a eye opener of sorts.

Am I doing this because I want to or because I am expected to? is a question I have to ask myself a lot over the coming days.



Don't know what I'm saying thanks for, but when there is turkey and lamb involved, why complain?


Condemn the word...

From the ToI:

President Pratibha Patil, Vice President Hamid Ansari and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh have strongly condemned the deadly terror attacks in Mumbai and asked people to maintain calm.

"Such acts are highly condemnable," the President, who is on a four-day visit to Vietnam, said in a statement from Hanoi today.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, while condemning the terror attacks last night, assured all help to Maharashtra in meeting the situation.

Well, nice to see they have done what we elected them to do. Oh, wait. We didn't. Sorry.



An episode of surprises.

Captain Slow loses his track test virginity on a Zonda-F Roadster!
The Veyron shows once again what is speed and what is speed... but only in a straight line.
A race with a difference and yet again the Jag Diesel (yay India!) shines. Why does one need a Prius with an EPA est. 48mpg when there is a twin turbo V6 giving 44(53UK) mpg or a Bluemotion with 66(80UK) mpg.

But there was something that showed me the hosts of a show with an estimated 385 million viewers have their feet firmly on the ground. James May with the same shirt he wore on the convertible people carrier episode, two and half years ago. (I only noticed it because it was pink and purple!)




ToI realises 17 minutes later that there are actually 2 Senas to contend with.


A joke I came across some time ago. But the only person I share dirty jokes with was away and I had to chew my knuckles for a while.

A woman is lying in the road after being run over. The driver of the car that knocked her down comes to her aid.

"Are you all right?" he asks.

"You're just a blur," she says, "So my sight is clearly affected."

Concerned, the driver leans over the woman in order to test her eyesight.

"How many fingers have I got up?" he asks her.

"Oh shit!" she replies, "I must be paralyzed from the waist down as well."


We Might as Well Be Strangers

Madison Avenue Bokeh

I don't know your face no more
Or feel your touch that I adore
I don't know your face no more
It's just a place I'm looking for

We might as well be strangers in another town
We might as well be living in a different world
We might as well, we might as well, we might as well

I don't know your thoughts these days
We're strangers in an empty space
I don't understand your heart
It's easier to be apart

We might as well be strangers in another town
We might as well be living in another time
We might as well, we might as well, we might as well

Be strangers
Be strangers
For all I know of you now
For all I know of you now
For all I know of you now
For all I know

~ Keane

Just what you want to be; You will be in the end

Nights in white satin
Never reaching the end
Letters I’ve written
Never meaning to send
Beauty I’ve always missed
With these eyes before
Just what the truth is
I can’t say anymore

'Cause I love you
Yes I love you
I love you

Gazing at people
Some hand in hand
Just what I’m going through
They can’t understand
Some try to tell me
Thoughts they cannot defend
Just what you want to be
You will be in the end

And I love you
Yes I love you
I love you
I love you

~ The Moody Blues


Dude, Where's my Car Industry?

Trouble in Detroit.

Over the past few weeks, I have become a fan of The Daily Show and The Colbert Report. Though sometimes OTT, the humor is clever and the sarcasm biting. That's the best kind.


From bad to worse

It happens suddenly. One moment your life is going on as it does, you think it could not possibly get worse. So obviously it does. Perhaps there is a rule somewhere that fate adheres to. Of striking you when the chips are down.

Its things like these that drive a person over the edge. You imagine human beings as resilient creatures, with deep reserves of patience and perseverance but it takes one little incident to throw that picture out of the window.

Especially when this has happened to you before - at one time, twice in a month - you begin to think that fate has nothing to do with it. "Its my fault", says your subconscious but you don't want to believe it. You know it just happened. But did it?

These are things you keep to yourself. No one talks about it. Its never out in the open. You just carry on like nothing has happened and smile and bob your head. But for what? Why this pretense?

I wish these things would never happen to anybody.

Because its really very annoying when one side of the headphones dies on you.

Present Tense

Do you see the way that tree bends? Does it inspire
Leaning out to catch the sun's rays. A lesson to be applied.
Are you getting something out of this all encompassing trip?

You can spend your time alone redigesting past regrets, or you can come to terms and
realize you're the only one who can forgive yourself.

Makes much more sense to live in the present tense.

Have you ideas on how this life ends?
Checked your hands and studied the lines.
Have you the belief that the road ahead ascends off into the light?

Seems that needlessly it's getting harder to find an approach and a way to live.
Are we getting something out of this all encompassing trip.

You can spend your time alone redigesting past regrets, or you can come to terms and
realize you're the only one who cannot forgive yourself.

Makes more sense to live in the present tense.

~ Pearl Jam


Chacha kaise ho???

Ab kya batau...Char bete hai !!!!!!!
Bada beta share broker hai...
Doosara beta Jet Airways mein hai...
Aur teesara software mein...
Sabse chhota PANWALA hai...
Bas wohi ghar chala raha hai...


The other V8 drink

Why didn't anyone think of this earlier?


Fall and Rise


I look out the window
and see you standing
silent, brooding, unmoving

Your leaves turn to gold
and flutter silently away
carried on the bitter wind
and the freezing rain

As the squirrels fall asleep
and the birds fly south
leaving you alone in the dark

Do you resent your fate
that keeps you rooted
condemning you to face
this frigid loneliness

Year after year
you present a brave face
becoming a thing of beauty

Never once complaining
or letting it be known
how the budding spring
tugs at your heartstrings

Perhaps I can learn from you
The winter behind my window
will bloom to spring someday

But will the scars I bear
remind me of this strife
or fill me with hope anew
only time will tell.


A Spot of Indigestion

During school days, summer vacations broadly fell into two categories, ones where you would be busier than Gordon Gecko shuffling from one camp to some class or ones where you would catch an afternoon nap listening to Grandmother's stories. While I didn't exactly listen to stories in the later years, my vacations did follow the second track more or less faithfully. Lazy, relaxed and yes, filled with books. In fact, there was a bookstore near our house which had a small library in the back. I finished that one year. Admittedly I gave the M&Bs a wide berth but otherwise all the books that a 12 year old might read were devoured in no time. It took little for boredom to set in again. I experimented with picking up the World Book Encyclopaedia and reading entries at random but that lost its appeal much too soon.

Then one day I discovered what was hidden behind the World Books. Let me explain. The bookcase in which the World Books were stored initially had started life as a display cabinet and was far too deep. It was built into the wall and as such there was no way to estimate its depth from the outside. Hence there was a stash of books neatly lined up behind the display books, no doubt kept there by my mom who hates clutter and who must have patted herself on the back for thinking of this clever hiding place. Before the suspense gets to you, let me emphasize that I hadn't discovered a Marilyn Monroe edition of Playboy. I must also warn you that all this reminiscing is a build up to a rant (I do seem to do that often, don't I?).

You see, what I had discovered behind the encyclopaedia were old issues of Readers' Digest. Issues going back to 1973. It was this treasure trove that kept me entertained for many days after that. Not just summer vacations, but these issues became regular reading and there was a time when there used to be at least 3-4 of these under my pillow. As far as I could remember, we had had a subscription to RD. But there was something about those issues, maybe what one would call timelessness, that retained their readability 20 years past the date on the cover.

Sadly, I think they have lost it. And it hasn't happened today, its been happening over the past couple of years - ever since they redesigned it and it became worse when taken over by the India Today Group. The 'Win 17 kgs of gold' gimmick just re-enforced the down-the-drain feeling. Not surprisingly, the American Edition displays an even lower expectation of what constitutes a 'Reader'. The issues I have been reading for about 6 months are barely one third the thickness of the childhood ones but seem to have atleast five times as many advertisements.

Its a sign of our times perhaps that we see articles like '10 ways to...' and '5 things that...' in here, a publication that is (I suppose) aimed at the somewhat discerning reader. If I want to read articles like these, there are always those magazines at the supermarket checkout counter. Where are the human interest stories? Where is Drama in Real Life?

In fact, the whole redesign is very picture and graphic oriented which is totally unnecessary in my opinion. It is looks like a presentation, full of bullets and list and large fonts where you try to cover up the lack of material with every clip art in your collection. Due to the large number of advertisements, and obviously advertisements are full of pictures and color and large fonts jumping out at you, sometimes an article gets lost in all that clutter. Its not that hard to miss an article which uses the same sort of stock images of people doing the same kind of everyday activity portrayed in advertisements. Frankly, it looks like the management types have taken over everything, and ruined it in the process.

My last point may be a very small one but it is one which annoys me no end. A business reply post-card stuck in it after every few pages makes it impossible to hold the spine in one hand and flip the pages. Trivial, I know, but its the small things that make a difference.

I guess I will have to stick to the dusty yellowed pages for my reading pleasure. Old is truly Gold.



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It seems to be from the Judd Apatow school of comedies, keeping to the theme of two dysfunctional 'bros' growing up. Good for some timepass. But this trailer just cracked me up.

To everyone who has ever wondered why the smallest size is called 'Tall'...


From the pages of History - II

Part 2 of the 'From the pages of History' series.

Loyal readers of this blog (there are 5) should know that it was a team effort and I was merely the archivist by default since I happened to pen down the first point on a page torn out of my book.

MMJ is so dark that....
  1. ...Mrs. MMJ uses night vision goggles in bed.
  2. ...Luke Skywalker hates him cause he IS the dark side of The Force.
  3. ...even Voldemort calls him the 'Dark Lord'.
  4. ...he is the leading cause of global warming.
  5. ...dark, darker, darkest, MMJ. (Oxford Dictionary (India) 2005 edition)
  6. ...our classroom blackboards turn green (with envy).
  7. ...his parents have labeled his childhood photo album, 'The Dark Ages'.
  8. ...Metallica's Black album was actually dedicated to him.
  9. ...the jokes he cracks in class are called Black Humor.
  10. ...pencils are available as HB,B,2B,...,7B,MMJ.
  11. ...when he eats dark chocolate it looks like a milkybar.
  12. ...in school he was listed under 'apparatus' for 'Radiation of black body' experiment.
  13. ...when he goes for an X-ray, they have to use white film.
  14. ...when he was small, his mother used talcum powder for the 'tika' so that 'drishta lagnaar nahi'.
  15. ...his sunscreen is -40 SPF.
  16. ...his shadow gets embarrassed in his presence.
  17. ...he stars in the new Hollywood flick, 'Opaque Man'.
  18. ...he calls himself 'Mr. India' at night.
  19. ...blacks call him 'coloured'.
  20. ...he makes carbon paper by wiping his face on tissues.
  21. ...Osama is thinking of using him to defeat face recognition technology.
  22. ...first God said, "Let there be light", and there was light. Then God said, "Let there be darkness." And MMJ was created.
  23. ...when he directs a movie, the credits will say, M. 'Night' Jadhav
  24. ...when he tried Xeroxing his butt, the machine ran out of toner.
  25. ...when he wore torn pants to school, the kids asked him why he had sat in tar.
  26. ...when MMJ was created God said, "Shit!!, Jal Gaya!!"
  27. ...when he grins, it is like chicklets floating in the air.
  28. ...he was the CIA's most successful shadow operative...until he was posted to Alaska.
  29. ...he offered to work naked for MIB.
  30. ...when he was disowned by his relatives, they called him 'the white sheep of the family'.
  31. ...when he returns after a long hiatus, he says he is, 'back in black'
  32. ...he did so much proxy voting last time, they had to make provision for eraz-ex at his polling booth.
  33. ..he leaves fingerprints on charcoal.
  34. ...when he goes to Cafe Coffee Day, it becomes Cafe Coffee Night.
  35. ...he is stopped by the cops for wearing black visor helmet.
  36. ...Iron Maiden were so scared of him, they wrote 'Fear of the Dark'.
  37. ...when he appears on TV it goes out of sync. [!! - nerdy]
  38. ...when feminist groups protest about his behaviour, they whiten his face with neutral polish.

This list was born in a very dull and largely silent System Programming class and achieved minor fame over the next few days as people vented their frustration at the protagonist and his (evil) ways. However, me and Akshay possessed the largest list of complaints since he happened to be our final year project guide.


From the pages of History

Much has been said and written about the apathy of youth. They don't care about their country, couldn't be bothered about the environment and have an atrocious taste in music. I know, I am one of them. To be honest, I agree with points #1 and 3 (Linkin Park? really?) but point #2 has me thinking. Albeit involuntarily, the youth do contribute to saving the environment.

I mean, back in the day it wasn't a pressing need to save the environment that made us share a ride to college but a simple desire to maximise canteen money while keeping the loss of mobility to a minimum. And The Bong must have really been the scraping the bottom of the proverbial barrel when he agreed to sit behind me, when we did the 15 min record dash from SCOE to Parihar Chowk on my Kinetic, arriving cleanly shaven and white knuckled. Then there are books. In school, for every subject we had a classwork notebook, a homework notebook and a composition notebook, plus about a dozen textbooks and a calendar. In engineering college it came down to one notebook - if that and textbooks which one invariably bought second hand (always buy one owned by a girl because they highlight all the important stuff). Reduce and recycle. In four years of engineering I alone must have saved about an acre of rainforest.

Which brings me to the one subject for which I had made a separate notebook. One subject which I did not ever bunk and could always be seen frantically taking notes. I paid so much attention that for once the 50 guys out-attentioned the 3 girls in class. If someone tapped my shoulder to say something I would get pissed off and give them dirty looks. And joy of joys! The fruit of my labour is not lost as I had feared. Apparently it survived the transcription into a word document, 3 different computers and a couple of DVD burns, as I found the small folder hidden in forgotten backup folder on my external drive.

So here I present, once again, the best of PSP
  1. Certain amount of work done is done
  2. Whatever amount of grasping here is to be reproduced at the time of exam
  3. In Poona there is certain amount of height difference is there
  4. We are sending letters to parents for safer side of ours
  5. Always we are preparing substraction (sic) between these two values
  6. Whenever we have addition certain amount of contradiction we are getting
  7. In practice we are having atmosphere acting on surface of earth
  8. Whatever amount of pipe connection is there, at bottom we are getting connection
  9. The liquid flowing may be of liquid state or it may be of various gases or it may be of liquid state
  10. This is the law of zeroth law of thermodynamics
  11. Whatever amount of heat addition is there that amount of utilisation is there if no other lossesses are there
  12. Can you have calculators
  13. If you touch coil you are getting much more hotter on the inside
  14. Whatever amount of airs from both sides are there are kept as it is
  15. We are having certainly a amount of work done to be done in this
  16. This the law of ENERGY OF CONSERVATION
  17. In book also certain amount of jumbling is there
  18. Certain persons are thinking in fashion that I want a work but I am not spending energy
  19. Machines are drived by a single engine
  20. Initially I had not said anything; Lastly question paper is given
  21. Whatever amount of matter is flowing through it that is flowing through entire system
  22. Power is morely transmitted
  23. With the help of certain amount of hammer we are hammering on it
  24. We are having certain amount of jamming, so not to happen it, we are giving certain amount of taper on it
  25. We are preparing certain amount of section on this tooth which is called as tooth
  26. These tooths are certainly inclined so that contacting area is certainly increased
  27. One more important another is there
  28. Thirdly, number Fourth, Heat exchanger
  29. Today, class is of full of strength
  30. Fire tube boilers are generated to 25 bar
  31. Don't jumble in between fire tube and water tube
  32. When they are preparing cream and other arrangement in milk industry
  33. Rope is (a) belt of round configuration
  34. There are certain amount of advantages over disadvantages

(who would have thought that a lecture about friction and ways to reduce it would degenerate into eroticism)
  1. Two muffs are separated in two separate halves
  2. We are having a bush and in the soft material we are inserting the shaft
  3. In between the shaft the balls are placed
  4. We want to press the balls on the shaft
For the record, the subject was Elements of Mechanical Engineering (EME). A subject which proved quite entertaining all the way to the end of the exam and the ride home, thanks to The Bong - a story for another time.


You had me at 'Hello'

Like most of you, I prefer to have some music playing in the background when I am working. But then, sometimes I get bored of all the songs I have on the laptop and Pandora plays the same thing over and over again and the radio has ads for Mahindra tractors (true!).

Then, I put on some movie which just plays in the background while I go about my way. Goes without saying that the movie must not be thought provoking or engaging or nice in any way. Basically it must be unwatchable. Enter Bollywood.

Oh how I was mistaken!!!


OK.. so I filled in some thought bubbles but the first 2 frames are true. I swear!

Paradigm Shift

Top Gear Season 12 episode 2 has Jeremy Clarkson saying this:
"We came wondering if America had finally made a car that might actually work in the civilized world. The answer is no, they haven't. As you can see from our smiles, they've made three."
The civilized world can now get ready to welcome the '09 Corvette ZR1, '08 Dodge Challenger SRT8 and the '09 Cadillac CTS-V into its midst. Provided of course that their parent companies manage to make it to the middle of next year.

But more importantly, Top Gear liking not one but three American cars! At the same time! Change has truly come to America.


Shine on you crazy diamond

According to WHO data, the average life expectancy of the Indian male is 62 years. Which means 39.5% of my life is over. Gone. Of course, if the genes I have inherited play their role, it could be lower than 30%. Which is a small relief - yes, but it does nothing to dispel that feeling of 'what have I done so far!'. People my age have won a F1 championship, bagged a Nobel Prize in Physics, started billion dollar companies and committed genocide. Some are even getting married. [shudder] . The point is - people lead exciting lives. Mine has about as much excitement as wallpaper paste and the future prospects are of a similar texture and consistency.

But it is heartening to see that while you may have a very low opinion of yourself there are people who prop you up, add a little chaat masala to your bland life. I refer of course, to the dewd, whose probing questions about my personal life make me feel like a celebrity on a colonoscopy table. Sure, most of these questions are related to the mystery surrounding the presence (or absence) of a female influence in my life. But hey, someone cares. And that is what matters. Plus, questions like 'when was the first time you held a girl's hand?' make you feel like its 3rd standard all over again. By WHO reckoning, that's just 13%. Which gives me plenty of time to practice my left foot braking and diffract X rays around crystals.

This post would have ended here if it wasn't for the fact that me and the dewd are so close that we are almost brothers. Which means my brother is his brother. Which means he is fair game.


Cartoon penned by Meera, who surprised me with this when I told her the tale and commented that she would do a good job of cartooning it. Which she has. She also turned out a solo one starring me but that is for another day.


I wonder why a land that can turn out brilliant advertisements, TV and print, sucks so much at the other stuff that plays on television.


Lonely no more


Now I know why I feel so lonely. All the chatting with pretty girls is not the solution, its the problem! Damn!

Three? Already?

Just read this. "Hamilton targets title hat-trick" reads the headline.


Dude, you won it this time by 1 point - on the last corner of the last lap of the last race. That is the smallest margin in the history of ever.

Yes, you are just 23 and the youngest ever. But you also rear ended two guys waiting at the traffic lights.

I know its exciting and all, but if that head gets too big, you'll exceed the weight restrictions next year.

Piece of advice, my friend: Chaddi mein rehneka.