Friday, December 28, 2001

A Magical World

Leaving for Manipal tonight, back on Jan 2, 2002.

Maybe I'm off my rocker, but somehow I'm full of hope for the New Year. Perhaps its due to 2001 being so bad, things could only get better. A war looms ahead, but I feel the world will pull through. Good things are due in 2002, I feel it in my bones.

Like the lastCalvin & Hobbes strip, a magical world beckons...

Happy New Year, everyone !

Vodka for the holidays

An old joke:

With the holidays coming, here's a fruit cake recipe that will help take the
stress out of this normally stressful time.

1 cup of water
1 cup of sugar
4 large eggs
2 cups dried fruit
1 tsp. salt
1 cup brown sugar
3 ounces lemon juice
1 cup of nuts
1 gallon of Absolute Vodka

First, sample the vodka to check for freshness.
Take a large bowl.
Check the vodka again to be sure it is of the highest quality.
Pour 1 level cup of the vodka and drink it.
Repeat again.
Turn on the electric mixer, beat 1 cup of butter in a large fluffy bowl.
Add water, eggs and 1 tsp. sugar and beat again.
Make surr the vodca is still OK. Cry another tup. Turn off mixers.
Chuck in the cup of dried fruitt or something.
Mix on the turner.
If the fried druit gets struck on the beaterers, pry it loose with a
Sample the vodka to check for tonsistancity.
Next, sniff 2 cups of salt. Or something. Who cares? Check the vodka.
Now sniff the lemon juice and strain your nuts.
Add one Table. Spoon.
Of sugar or something. Whatever.
Grease the oven.
Turn the cake ttin 350 degrees.
Don't forget to beat off the turner.
Whip the bowl out the window.
Check the vidka again.
Go to bed.

Thursday, December 20, 2001

Another alien sighting. Someone called sreejayan_...

Another alien sighting. Someone called sreejayan_in sent me a message on yahoo. He said he was happy to see me online and that he had Sreedevi with him. Obviously he thought I was Boney Kapoor, and wanted some money as ransom. Where do all these guys spring from ?

(actually he thought I was a Major Nandakumar, but same difference)

Wednesday, December 19, 2001

No, not now either

Still blah. Maybe its the end-of-year blues.

Oh well. Back home to bread and yesterday's dish.

Finished reading (again) Harry Potter and the Gob...

Finished reading (again) Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. Yum Yum. Cant wait for the next one. Started Luigi Pirandello's play, Six Characters in Search of an Author. Promising opening.

Lots of work keeps me busy and out of the devil's workshop. The office is filling up, with more people relocating from Dallas expected to arrive in Jan-Feb.

Sindha finally got a bus ticket to Kottayam. Her train ticket was wait listed at the time of going to press, so we decided to opt for the bus. Both of us will reach Tvm by noon on the 22nd.

I don't have any sharp comments, witticisms or sarcastic remarks to make. Maybe I need to wait till evening.

Monday, December 17, 2001


South Africa vs Australia. Hyped up, yes, but I liked watching the match. At the time of writing S.A needs 358 to win, with 8 wickets in hand. I would have predicted a draw yesterday, but now an Australian win looks likely. To my mind, Shane Warne is the major difference between the two sides. Once Allan Donald comes back, the S.A attack will look much better and balanced.

Congrats to our great Indian team for not losing against England !


Went to the Strand book fair with Nachiket, and later on to the SP Jain Alumni meeting at Central Park.

The book fair was no great shakes - they had a few interesting titles, but no big discounts. I picked up the fourth Harry Potter book (Goblet of Fire), The Mammaries of the Welfare State, Six Characters in Search of an Author, The Breast and The Information.

The alumni meet went of surprisingly well. Wasn't too bored. :-) There were five from my batch of 97. Talked, joked and ate. Burp.

Friday, December 14, 2001


Money money money. Stock stock stock. Options options options. Car. House. Folks.

Dark side.


Guess I'd better go home now.

Prem P

Had a nice laugh reading Prem Panicker's match report on Day four of the Second Test. I like the way he writes, and not just about cricket. He had prepared a report on the Kumbh mela, which also made interesting reading.

Thursday, December 13, 2001

Enough is enough

I can now understand how the Americans felt. Striking at our parliament ! The gall ! Makes you want to hit out and get some revenge.

Maybe I should count to ten. Or a hundred. Or a million.

Wednesday, December 12, 2001


Two movies I haven't seen that make me want to puke:

1. Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gum, aka K3G
2. Dhadkan

Then again, I'm prejudiced as usual.

Tuesday, December 11, 2001

NV !

How I envy the guys in the US - they get to watch the first Harry Potter film and the first Lord of the Rings movie too ! The review says The Fellowship of the Ring is thrilling ! I cant wait....

On a Tuesday afternoon...

Had a good weekend at Manipal. Booked my stay for New Years also, from Dec 29 to Jan 1.

Finally managed to get a ticket to Nagercoil on the 21st. So my trip to Kerala is on schedule. Reaching Tvm on the 22nd. One day trip to Tiruvalla on the 23rd. Return to Blr on the 25th. Short and (hopefully) sweet.

The cassette player part of my Aiwa music system conked out on Friday. It makes a lot of clicking noises and flatly refuses to play. I'm relying on the CD player to tide me over. Need to find out a good service center and get it fixed soon.

Looking through my old posts, I realize that I prefer books to movies. Surprising. When I started this journal, I thought I would be writing a lot about films and film trivia. But its been over a month now and I've been talking mainly about books. Nice to know what I like. :-)

I'm re-reading Agatha Christie's 'And Then There Were None'. This is the politically correct title of 'Ten Little Niggers', which I had read in school. I now realize her flaws as a writer - weak characterization, wafer thin descriptions, etc. Still, a darn good read.

Friday, December 7, 2001


Off to Manipal again.

The week went by pretty fast, all things considered. Finished Philip Pullman's Northern Lights. Darn good at the end. Placed an order with Fabmartfor the second in the trilogy, The Subtle Knife.

Thought - If I had been in the US with i2, I would have been asked to return to India. On the whole, I think I'm better off where I am.

Query - Should I start jogging again ?

Problem - There are no tickets available to Kerala. No seats on buses, none on trains. And no, I don't want to fly down.

Opportunity - If anyone wants to drive me down to Trivandrum, here's your chance !

Tuesday, December 4, 2001


Back to Bangalore.

The trip to Hyd was ok - called five people down to Blr for the next round. Quite tiring though - we would have met close to 55 people over 2 days. Went to Deepak, met the uncles, aunts and cousins. All fine and well. Bought the kids a bunch of books - Artemis Fowl, a Roald Dahl, Treasure Island, a William and Lord of the Rings for Saumya. I picked up Roddy Doyle's trilogy (The Snapper, Commitments and The Van) and Philip Pullman's Northern Lights.

I had heard a lot about Pullman, mainly through David Davidar's column in the Hindu. Amazon had also talked about him in one of their mailers. I'm currently reading the book and am happy to report that its quite good. He has a style of his own, slightly dry, but effective. Good imagination, good setting, etc. He is no Tolkien, but I would recommend the book to anyone interested in a good read. Northern Lights is part one of a trilogy. I didn't buy the rest in Hyd (though they were available at a discount) as I wanted to read the first one and then decide. Now I cant wait to grab the rest.

i2's vice chairman, chief operating officer and a couple of executive VPs are in town today. Big heap meeting lined up. Followed by big heap dinner for all employees. Big heap anticipation.

Thursday, November 29, 2001

Off and On

Off to Hyd in a couple of hours. Its going to be hectic - interviews start at 830 and 800 am on Fri and Sat. I hate being bleary eyed when I meet people.

Had a pleasant surprise the other day when an old friend from the Applieds batch of 93 mailed me - Mathew Kuruvilla ! Nice to hear from old classmates.

Me and Quark apparently share the same friends. I don't think I know him, though he has added me to his list of blog buddies. Should I accept his open invite of a beer in December ? Maybe not. I've seen too many slasher movies. No offence meant, oh quarky one.

Then there was this ponnampalli_rajani (or some such) person who sent me six different offline messages on my yahoo messenger account - 'are u there ?', 'I'm going to vijayawada tomorrow', 'I can chat at 5pm', etc. She messaged me later when I was online and I politely asked her who she was. She got insulted that I didn't know her, and that was all she wrote.

Not to mention this Sreejith character from Mumbai who insists that I've met him in the Kochi chat room at Rediff, this jpeg30 character from yahoo who wanted to add me as his buddy...the Net does strange things to people.

Back on Monday morning. Later, alligators.

Wednesday, November 28, 2001

Infinet and beyond...

Tried out HCL Infinet connection yesterday, worked like a charm. I told the chap at the shop that I was having problems with my NetKracker account. He immediately responded by asking me if I stayed at Indira Nagar ! Apparently Indira Nagar users of NetKracker have faced problems in accessing the Net. Wow.

I might get one more convert to Live Journal - my friend Nachiket. Heh heh.

- Should I buy a second hand car ?
- Should I buy a first hand car ?
- Should I buy a car ?

- Eating Prawn Manchurian for dinner may leave you with a queasy feeling the next day
- Its impossible to walk up four flights of stairs if you have had a couple of beers the night before
- Chicken liver fry is usually very very tasty

Yes, I'm hungry.

Monday, November 26, 2001

Post Weekend Post

Back from Manipal.

How now, brown cow ?

I will be going to Hyderabad this weekend, for recruitment. Gives me a good opportunity to meet my uncles, aunts and cousins out there. Plan to stay over on Sunday too, even if my work finishes a day earlier.

Harry Potter was running at Manipal. Couldn't catch him (yeah, 'twas intended) since the show was scheduled for the same time as my return bus. Manipal has these video parlors which screen all the latest movies. They get the pirated VCDs or tapes within a week of the movie being released in the US.

A friend suggested that I have veg fried rice and prawn Manchurian for dinner. The prawns sound good, but ordering VEG fried rice ! Sacrilege !

Whats the score, btw ? How much did Dalmiya make today ?

Friday, November 23, 2001

Thursday, November 22, 2001

Metamorphosis, etc

I think my hair is turning pointy. I'm becoming bald in the center. Fat. Losing my sense of reality. In short, turning into Dilbert's boss.

I don't code these days. I don't get into heated technical discussions. The only heat I generate is when I talk to the facilities group or HR, trying to get some machines or other infrastructure organized. Developers have resorted to talking to others in the team to get answers to their questions.

Then again, don't get me wrong. I'm not complaining. This is what I wanted to do when I entered this industry. I enjoy doing this too. I work with a product and a team that is world class. So maybe it isn't all that bad, switching to the dark side.

Started reading the fourth book in the Discworld series, Sourcerer. I think I should buy a few, they are quite enjoyable.

Kamal Hassan's Abhay has been widely slammed by the critics. Now why does this give me pleasure ? I used to like the man when I was in college, thought him to be one of India's best. Now I think he's a good actor, but nowhere in the league of Naseeruddin Shah, Om Puri, Mohan Lal, etc. I may get flamed for this, but this is what I believe. A great actor doesn't have any mannerisms of his own, you don't know what he is like in real life. You only know him by the character he plays in the movie you are currently watching. I think that the three names above have that remarkable talent. Not Kamal.

Achan reached Bangalore yesterday. He left for the Ashram right after breakfast. Today morning I got a call from him, from Bellary ! Guruji went to Bellary, so he tagged along. Only difference was that Guruji flew in a private airplane, while my father took the train. He will be home tomorrow morning, and then leave for Trivandrum in the evening. After a quick visit to the Ashram in between, of course.

Life goes on.

Wednesday, November 21, 2001

Wishing Well

If you had three wishes, what would your fourth wish be ?

You know, the almost-made-it wish ? Which you later regret for not including in your original list ?

I read this Calvin & Hobbes cartoon where Calvin asks Hobbes what he would want to wish for, if he could get just anything he wanted. Hobbes wishes for a tuna sandwich, surprising Calvin. Calvin goes on to wish for money, power or some such. The last panel shows Hobbes happily making himself a sandwich in the kitchen, saying "Well, I got _my_ wish".

Rather neat, that.

I dont think I have a fourth wish. I have just two I can think of. How about world peace as a third wish ? Nah. I guess I'll leave that for the Miss Universes of this World.

Tuesday, November 20, 2001

Not quite cricket

Angry....not as though we didn't have enough problems on our hands, what with a spineless batting lineup and dimwitted team selection. Denness the Menace indeed.

On a different note,Entertainment Weekly online seems to have pretty decent movie reviews. I tried out the site yesterday and liked the presentation, the review comments, etc.

Nothing much to look forward to these days. Am going to Manipal on Friday. Going to Trivandrum on the 21st of Dec. Would like to meet Beladev this time, if possible. Wonder if he will be there.

Alt+tabbing to see the score as I write. My masochistic streak continues.

Monday, November 19, 2001


Feel as though I'm in a vacuum. Time and space do not exist anymore. Nor do other people. All this without being drunk. And at office.

The NetKracker problem continues at home. I called them up and they helpfully advised me to delete all my cookies. Nothing changed. I tried to buy a Satyam connection online, but the page timed out... where do I go to get Net through cable ? I heard that Bombay has it. Parts of Bangalore also. Why not Siddhaguntapalya ? Then again, I need to pay my cable guy first. If I see him.

Climbed up four flights of stairs to get to office today. Spent the next half an hour recovering. Maybe that's why my day at office was bad. But I will not falter ! Health is wealth. A sound mind in a sound body. The lift man will look beseechingly at me tomorrow. I will smile condescendingly and walk up. He will then sneer at me from the fourth floor as I stagger into office. Oh well.

Sunday, November 18, 2001

Another Weekend

Went by pretty fast, actually. Even though I didn't do a thing except watch TV and play Heroes 3.

Still undecided about the Xmas weekend. Whether Sindha's parents will come over here (unlikely), whether we will go there, or go to Secbad..or stay here and sulk in Blr. Decisions, decisions.

The cricket soap opera - or is it sitcom - continues. South Africa graciously allowed us to avoid the follow on so that they could get some batting practice ahead of the Australian tour. I'm waiting for Hayward to hit a 100 this time.

Thursday, November 15, 2001

Love this list

Probably because I've seen most of the top 20 movies on the list. But they would figure in my list of all time favorites too. Maybe I'm a closet maverick.

Short weekend, what the ****ens !

Had a great weekend, not counting Saturday. Sindha was here from Sun till Wed. We went around shopping and saw the movies we had planned. Funny thing, Sunday morning was half an hour back. Two days later its still Thursday.

Mailed what I wrote earlier on the 80s to a few friends and relatives. Everyone seems to agree that I'm lonely. ;-)

Had a pleasant surprise at work today when I received a Diwali bonus check, a box of dry fruits and a bunch of gift coupons. i2 does this every year, but I hadn't expected it this year on account of the slowdown. Anyway, I'm not complaining.

Started reading Rabbit Remembered. Its good so far, but I get a sneaky feeling that its just something Updike wrote to drag out Rabbit a bit more. There are lots of references to old scenes, characters, etc. No one - the author included - appears to be able to forget Rabbit all that easily. And the daughter turning up on the doorstep right away seems a shade too pat.

Loved Wishbone Ash (Time Was, the Hits). Didn't like CSN all that much. Burnt a few CDs, need to buy more.

Ever tried chatting on or recently ? I used to chat on, on their trivia chat room. Stopped after some time since the questions were getting repetitive and boring - they have a lot of US-specific stuff like "whats the name of the New York softball team ?", "what was the engine used in the 1997 Taurus ?" etc. Sheesh...

Anyway, I just found out that these chat sites - indya and rediff - have pretty harsh censors. One of the qns on's trivia room was 'Who directed the movie Psycho'. Now no matter how you try, the site wouldn't allow you to write 'Hitchcock'. Guess why. It would also not allow you to give answers like 'Charles Dickens'. The minute you type out any of the above, you get a message 'Indyan Culture does not allow such language. CENSORED!". I'm not joking. Go try it out.

On rediff, you can type out 'Dickens', but it appears as ' ****ens'. How nice.

I'm so very thankful that the guardians of our morality and culture are on these chat sites as well.

Saturday, November 10, 2001

The 80s...

When all you wanted was a buck and a half to buy the latest issue of Sportstar, to get a poster of Srikkanth, to paste it on your bedroom wall. To come back from school and watch India play, watch him bat, heart in your mouth, thinking he will get out any moment, half wanting him to get out, to relieve the tension, the stress you feel watching him take on Imran Khan.

Watching your kid brother grow up, watching him take his first steps, having him trot behind you, calling your name. Getting irritated at him being there all the time, wanting to play with your friends, your buddies, taking him with you wherever you go. Fighting with him, playing with him, taking him for movies and buying him samosas and a cold drink, feeling guilty about him sitting there in the movie hall with you and your friends, wanting to tell your friends that it was your mothers idea, taking him along. Watching him sing at the school play, feeling proud, watching him wear his uniform, watching him dress up like Mohan Lal, watching him play with his friends, watching him get his own crowd, his own buddies.

Going to school by the school bus, hoping to get a window seat, hoping your friends will sit next to you. Watching out for the bullies from the senior classes, afraid they will ask you for that new Asterix comic you brought along to lend to your best friend in school. Smuggling a porn magazine back home, reading it in the bathroom, hiding it from your parents and lending it back, slightly worn, sharing the secret with your friends.

Hanging out with your buddies - at the bus stop, at the small open land near your house where you play cricket, at a movie theatre, at the best music store in town, listening to Madonna. Studying. Mugging your way through history texts, geography, physics and chemistry. Trying to work out math, keeping in mind your mother's words that math was the only subject where you can get a perfect score, never succeeding, always falling short. Getting a star at school, along with scores of others, jealous of the topper, knowing that he succeeded because of his smarmy ways and being the teachers pet.

Falling in love with the most beautiful girl in the world, waiting for her at the bus stand for hours, returning home without a glimpse, returning home after talking to her, walking on air. Writing to her, reading her letters, awaiting her call on the phone, talking , talking, talking to her. Walking past her house in the evenings, hoping that she would appear, somewhere near the door near the window near the gate. Walking with her all along the streets of your town, you in your school uniform and she in hers. No cares in the world, no one watching, no one near you, the town is empty, the town is deserted, its just the two of you.

Fighting with your mother, angry with your dad. Shouting, walking out of the house. Coming back with an empty stomach and a long face. Waking them up in the middle of the night after a bee stung your arm, having them fuss around you when you had a fever, when you had the most awful pain in your belly and needed to have your appendix removed, when you fell and cut your knee and needed to have it stitched. When you were caught for copying and them not saying a word of blame, being with you always and loving you like you were their most precious possession in the world.

Waiting in line to watch the new Mohan Lal movie, first day first show. Going to school the next day and telling your friends in an offhand way that you saw it already. Waiting for your uncle to visit, to take you out and buy you the Dire Straits album, the Paul Simon album , the Madonna album. Listening to Springsteen belt out Dancing in the Dark and being hooked for a lifetime. Thinking Wham! were the greatest group alive. Knowing that Michael Jackson was the ultimate superstar, the best dancer in the whole world. Watching Thriller, watching Billie Jean.

And now, more than a decade later ...

Sitting alone in a dusty room, paint flaking off the corners, wood peeling off your chair. Feeling sorry for yourself. Watching Mohan Lal again, watching the movies of Priyadarshan, watching Back to the Future, watching Jaane Bhi Do Yaaron, listening to Springsteen, George Michael, Def Leppard and Guns N Roses. Thinking that these were the best movies ever made, the best music ever composed. Watching a retrospective of Michael Jackson on the eve of his new album. Thinking - knowing - knowing that Michael's best era was the eighties. Knowing that he can never be the same again, never capture the same magic again, never be innocent again.

Watching him dance at the Motown Reunion concert, watching him dance that walk of his, watching him dance to Billie Jean. And suddenly you break down and cry.

Not knowing why, you break down and cry.


Angst # 1 - Noticed how slow Live Journal has been these days ? I made a typo in my journal yesterday and wanted to correct it. However LJ kept timing out.I've also been unable to add more smart alecky comments to the thread about Jayasankar's photo.

Anyway the typo was that the sex of the giant turtle on whom the discworld rests is un-known, not known. Makes a whole world of difference.

Angst #2 - Saturday seems to be sneeze day for me. Woke up with a running nose and a barrage of sneezes. Still sniffling after all these hours. And this without doing a bit of dusting. Now at office and what do I find ? The office boys cleaning and dusting all over. Aaachhoo..

Angst # 3 - For the second time this week, the newspaper boy delivered Deccan Herald instead of The Hindu. I'm a creature of habit, and I like to take The Hindu to the loo early in the morning. Its a ritual, its part of a very delicate process which I don't want disturbed. How can I even think of substituting The Hindu with the Herald ? I was forced to carry The Times of India to the loo today. This resulted in me coming out in a record four and a half minutes.

Angst # 4 - Found a much shorter way to reach office. You travel right along 80 feet road and don't take any turns. This results in saving close to 2 km. However it could also result in a flat tire, the road is so bad. Why cant the BCC pave all these roads ?

Angst #5 - The Net connection from home is still pathetically slow. I guess I should try calling up netKracker, where the SUN never sets. Perhaps they can figure out how to speed it up some.

I think I'll go back home now. At least I can feel miserable and curl up in bed. Here at office I can feel miserable all right, but curling up in my chair is tough.

Friday, November 9, 2001

Discworld, Messengers and other very important stuff

Work, the curse of the drinking class ! Lots of small things to be taken care of, lots of big problems too. Still find time to update the journal from office, so that's probably a good thing.

Sindha's phone problem has been solved. She will be here on Sunday. Ya-ay !

My login frustration continues. Tried for close to an hour yesterday from home. Sent a stinker to netkracker today. Got an automated reply which listed out a series of telephone numbers and a statement that the SUN never sets on netKracker.

A note about the Discworld series I've been reading. Its about a disc shaped world which is borne by four gigantic elephants. These elephants stand on an even bigger turtle, which travels across space. The sex of the turtle is known, and is the cause of much research on the discworld. This world is inhabited by men, wizards, trolls, gnomes, barbarians, etc. There are also heroes, one of whom bears the interesting name of Cohen the Barbarian. Visit Terry Pratchett's website for more information. He also has a site which is under construction at the moment.

Another day, another Instant Messenger comes my way. Apart from the main ones like MSN, Yahoo, ICQ and AIM, I tried out Jabber and Odigo which claim to integrate all the big four in one screen. I didn't like the clunky interface of Jabber and the oh-so-kool one of Odigo, so sneered at both and promptly uninstalled them. Then I came across Indiatimes Messenger, which is pretty fast, and also does integration. Trillian is the latest one which I found, but I was put off by its complex interface. So what do I use ? Actually I prefer to use msn and yahoo, even if it means having multiple messengers in my system tray. I like the interface on both these apps, and they have a lot of value added stuff.

i2 uses Lotus Sametime for intra-office communication. Now Sametime is integrated with AIM (AOL messenger), so I'm online on AIM also. However Liza is the only one on my buddy list on AIM.

What were the above two paragraphs all about ? Why are they important in my life today ? Oh well.

Thursday, November 8, 2001

Went to Pai's Palatial Place again and returned w...

Went to Pai's Palatial Place again and returned with another bunch of CDs. This time I plan to try out Holwin Wolf, Muddy Waters and CSN. I also took Led Zepp (Remasters), Uriah Heep, Pink Floyd and Wishbone Ash. Aaah...

My light on the horizon didn't call me yesterday, and I couldn't get through either. Turned out that the phone lines at Manipal were down. By a curious coincidence, the phone lines at the i2 office are also down. Phunny.

Started on the second book in the discworkd series, The Light Fantastic. I don't think I will read through each one. Maybe grab a few on and off, from Rohith.

Dr. Dolittle2 is coming to town, along with Shrek. Sindha would like both movies, so thinking of booking in advance. Maybe for Sunday and Monday ? Or Tuesday, perhaps.

Connecting from home is a big pain now. The connection goes through, but sites take ages in opening. I'd prefer to update this journal from home each night when I logon, but that's not working out. Currently journal-ing from office.

Wednesday, November 7, 2001

I'm not going to write about cricket, I'm not ! ...

I'm not going to write about cricket, I'm not !

Decided to buy the VCDof Kamasutra. Planet M online was giving it at a throwaway price of Rs 165. May see the movie and throw it away. Of course, I'm going to watch it for the photography and the set decoration. What else ?

Glad that Jayasankarhas also started updating his journal. "Veni vidi veeshi" indeed. Hyuk ! Hyuk ! The man is irrepressible.

Feeling a bit blah these days. Busy with interviews and other admin stuff at the office. Play Heroes 3 at home. Or surf the Net, check email, chat, etc. Dull. Maybe I need to get out more. Get out and do what, though ?


Sindha will be here on Sunday and will return to gaol on Wednesday. That's the only bright light on the horizon. And oh, Pai's getting engaged on Sunday. Whew. Why am I reminded of an old malayalam movie starring Rajkumar, Madhavi and a bevy of fat ladies ?

Another bright light on the horizon is..wait a minute. Do horizons have bright lights ? What do they have ? Silver lining ? But that's on clouds. Hmm. Oh well. Another silver lining on the dark cloud on the horizon near the rainbow just over the pot of gold is that Shrek is coming to town. Though I've seen the film on VCD, I would like to watch it in the theatre too. Its bound to win the first ever Academy Award for Best Animated Movie. Rumours are that the Academy will start giving out this award from the current year.

Need to pay my house rent at least today. Have been very irregular with the maintenance bills, ever since the security guards changed. Have not paid the paper guy. Nor the Cable Guy. Nor the electricity bill. The telephone bill hasn't come in yet. Citibank and StanChart await their pound of flesh. Need to buy Lingamma a sari at least this time round, poor thing. $$$ !


Sunday, November 4, 2001

In which Madhav reads a couple of books and buys a couple more...

Inspired by the discussion on crime fiction, I pulled out The Friends of Eddie Coyle and read it. Good one. Realistic, hard hitting fiction. Reminded me of Norman Mailer.

The weekend was spent on the computer - installing the CD writer, burning a couple of medical CDs for Sindha, hooking it up with the music system, listening to a bunch of mp3s and of course playing Heroes of Might and Magic 3 till my eyes watered.

Bought a couple of books today - Anil's Ghost by Michael Ondaatje and a John Updike collection of short stories - the new one which has 'Rabbit Remembered' in it. This is the novella written after Rabbit at Rest, the last novel in the Rabbit series. I read the second one (Rabbit Redux) first and had almost given up halfway as I found it too American for my tastes. Couldn't relate to it much. Thankfully I hung in there and read the whole book. He writes very well, does Mr John Updike. The style, the characterization and the way he builds up the plot had me hooked. I had read The Witches of Eastwick earlier, but hadn't liked it much. Rabbit Redux though got me fired into reading all the other books in the series - Rabbit, Run (the first), Rabbit is Rich and Rabbit at Rest. I still don't own Rabbit, Run. I have the others, and now I have the novella too. Woo-hoo !

The untimely demise of Mr Showbiz still rankles. I need to find an alternate site pretty soon. I should check out the reviews on, as recommended by Nachiket.

Am reading Terry Pratchett's The Colour of Magic now. Its the first book in his Discworld series. Got it from Rohith, who was bang on when he described it as Douglas Adams meets Tolkien. Its got some good characters, action, funny moments and a few inside jokes as well. I've read around eighty pages so far and am looking forward to completing the book in a couple of days. However I suspect that Mr Pratchett may not be able to sustain the momentum. I understand there are over 6 or 7 books in this series.

I had bought Robert Jordan's The Eye of the World to get a flavor of his fantasy series, The Wheel of Time. While I liked the book, I didn't feel the need to go out and buy the rest. Tolkien still rules. I firmly believe Tolkien's books will be read a couple of hundred years later too, while most of the other fantasy series will die out. Of course, this is assuming the world will exist a couple of hundred years later.

Friday, November 2, 2001

Mr Showbiz is gone !!!

I don't believe it ! My favorite site for movie reviews, , just rolled over and died. Talk about dotcom bubbles. My life will never be the same again. Where will I go for movie reviews ? I don't agree with Ebert. Or he doesn't agree with me.

I liked the grapes of wrath-like farewell message on the mrshowbiz site. Brought a tear to me eye, it did. Almost.

Reminder - need to remove the link to mrshowbiz from my web site. Sigh...

Coyle, not Doyle

Kiran corrected me about the title 'Friends of Eddie Coyle'. Even though I have the book, I havent yet read it. Thought it was by E.L Doctrow, but turned out to be one of George V Higgins' ealiest stories. I cant recollect anything else I have not read of Higgins, but I have read a lot of Elmore Leornard, who says Higgins was a major source of inspiration for him. Thats good enough for me. Leonard ranks pretty high up my list of 'good read' authors, up there with Ed McBain and John D McDonald.

Actually you kind of classify all these authors into one bracket - McBain, McDonald, Leornard, et al. You wouldnt put Chandler there among them though. Why ? He just doesnt seem to fit in there. Not that Leornard and co are bad, but Chandler makes them look like ordinay hacks, IMHO. I still remember one of Chandler's metaphors: " A blonde, a blonde to make a bishop kick a hole in a stained glass window". Neat. Read The Big Sleep and Farewell My Lovely for a dose of Chandler. Pity his books are expensive in India, though.

I collect McBain's 87th Precint series of novels. Lovely stuff - he has got a wonderful ear for dialogue. Over a period of years and novels, each of his cops have acquired a disctinct personality of their own - Carella, Mayer, Brown, Kling, Willis, Genero, Byrnes.. even The Deaf Man. The first book in the series was The Mugger. McBain has also written a book to be published after his death , Exit. Maybe they finally catch The Deaf Man.

Elmore Leonard appears to be current favorite of Hollywood. Quite a few of his books have been made into movies - Pickup on Noon Street, Get Shorty, Rum Punch (Tarantino's Jackie Brown), etc. One word to describe Leornard is 'cool'. He writes the kind of stuff you take with you when relaxing on a hammock, drink in hand and soft rock in the background.

John D McDonalds' Travis McGee is a reluctant hero in the classic mould. He lives on his yacht in Florida, The Busted Flush, and ventures out only to help friends in need or damsels in distress. Most of the novels have a colour in them - Nightmare in Pink, The Lonely Silver Rain, The Long Lavender Look et al. Good reads.

How about people like James M Cain and Robert B Parker ? I dont think I've read Robert Parker, though my friend Nachiket says he's quite good. James M Cain has written a few classics like Double Indemnity, The Postman Always Rings Twice and Mildred Pierce. Made into good movies and bad remakes.

James Elroy's LA Confidential was a great book and a superb movie as well. The writing was rather unique - staccato, terse and sharp. Very noir.

Thursday, November 1, 2001


Spent the morning cleaning up my bedroom and the afternoon sneezing it off. Nose still runs. Dust in peace.

As predicted, the Necromancers fought against the Barbarian horde today. Finally beat the computer. Yessss ! (why does this remind me of Dilbert ?)

Wednesday, October 31, 2001

Blues Bros is a classic

Actually, guess what. Blues Brothers is a true modern classic. Great music, great comedy, great cameos. Up in Smoke doesnt have any of these. However I still see why it falls under a 'cult movie' status.

Ravi Pai, thanks for giving me the opportunity to watch both movies, albiet at different points in time and in different houses. (inside joke)

Tomorrows a holiday. No plans yet. Maybe I will spend the entire day waging war against the Necromancers and the Barbarians. Maybe I will go to office. Oh well. Frankly, I dont give a damn. Tomorrow is another day

Aaah. Saw Cheech and Chong's Up in Smoke on DVD, ...

Aaah. Saw Cheech and Chong's Up in Smoke on DVD, at Pai's Palatial Place. The movie looked good after a couple of beers. Now in comparison, I saw The Blues Brothers after three beers, and found that fabulous.

What next ? Do I watch both movies un-beered ? Will I like either ? I suspect I will like Blues Brothers still, but not Up in Smoke.

Tuesday, October 30, 2001

Roll out the red carpet, bring out the champagne,...

Roll out the red carpet, bring out the champagne, shout from the rooftops " Madhav has started his web log !!! "

Thanks to Kiran and Mujib for providing the inspiration. Now I know whom to flame when I run out of ideas.

The current idea is to write about movies and books. A little bit on my life. A bit more about my friends. Lets see how it goes, you and I.

Onward !