Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Numb and number

Wanted to post pictures and talk about my holiday, but have just not been able to bring up the old spirit. Each time I open my newsreader or browser, I read about the dead bodies piling up. From 3000 it went up to 7, then 10, then 68000 all over Asia. Want to do something, want to get off my air-conditioned office and my laptop and my comfortable bed and be out there, helping as much as I can. Spineless wimp that I am, I just keep forwarding links and visiting websites and tut-tutting about the whole affair. Yes, I donated some money. Big deal.

The idiot brigade has already started doing what they do best. Witness Rajeev Srinivasan who thinks this was caused by the Kanchi seer's arrest. India has not invited the UN, so they cannot help. NGOs have sprung up all over the place, asking for money, food, clothing and what have you. Sindha says there is a strong possibility of epidemics breaking out now. Cholera and typhoid for starters.

This is the worst tragedy I have seen in my lifetime. The world appears to be putting together the biggest ever aid package for those affected. I just wish it reaches the right folks at the right time. I've not prayed in eighteen years, but this seems to be a good time to start.

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Where to click

A blog on how to help those affected by the tsunami.

The Prime Minister's Relief Fund looks like a good place to contribute.

Update: You can contribute online at The Hindu as well.

Get busy.

Friday, December 17, 2004

Phone + PDA?

I am thinking of buying a smart phone (phone + PDA) next month when I visit San Jose. What are the options available? What should I look out for? What I want in the phone:
- GSM, tri-band
- Sync with my mail, address book, appointments, etc
- Camera
- Good display
- Small buttons are not a problem
- Wi-fi would be good
- Bluetooth would be good

And of course, the cheapest possible option. The Audiovox I read about sounded too good to be true, and it was. It doesn't have tri-band support. The Sony Ericsson P900 is a dream, but so is the price.


Monday, December 13, 2004

Two takeaways after watching Hulchul on Saturday:...

Two takeaways after watching Hulchul on Saturday:

  1. Switching off a light in the bedroom might wake a baby, but putting the sleeping baby through three hours of a Priyadarshan movie in a theater won't have any effect.

  2. Bloody hell! He put the cow scene from Thenkasipattanam in a movie remake of Godfather. Gah!

Cold Mountain - Charles Frazier The French Lieutenant's Woman - John Fowles Flashman - George Macdonald Fraser

Flashman in the Great Game - George Macdonald Fraser Heat - Ed McBain Lullaby - Ed McBain

Casino Royale - Ian Fleming Diamonds Are Forever - Ian Fleming Dr No - Ian Fleming

Goldfinger - Ian Fleming Live and Let Die - Ian Fleming On Her Majesty's Secret Service - Ian Fleming

From Russia With Love - Ian Fleming The Dreadful Lemon Sky - John D. MacDonald

The Empty Copper Sea - John D. MacDonald The Line of Beauty - Alan Hollinghurst The Witching Hour - Anne Rice

Asterix and the Laurel Wreath Asterix and the Class Act Red Dragon - Thomas Harris


**SPOILER WARNING**. Don't click on the link below unless you've read all the books in the His Dark Materials trilogy, or at least know what the story is all about.

This bit of news pissed me off no end. "You have to recognise that it is a challenge in the climate of Bush's America." Indeed.

Wednesday, December 8, 2004

One more for the links list

Ebert's review of Blade: Trinity made me laugh a couple of times. One for the Whistler's mother reference; the other for the 'half as hot as the sun' phrase.

Kumble vs Kapil

Don't usually get to see such well researched articles on rediff.

Monday, November 29, 2004


I've never been a fan of The Strand book sales. They are always crowded, unorganized and the discounts aren't too great either. This time round though, I did find it enjoyable. I got a few good bargains and picked up some interesting books.

Vile Bodies - Evelyn Waugh The Informers - Bret Easton Ellis The War of the Worlds - HG Wells

You're Only As Good As Your Next One - Mike Medavoy So Many Cinemas - BD Garga Tim, An Indecent Obsession, The Ladies Of Missalonghi - Colleen McCullough

Asterix In Britain Asterix and the Goths Asterix and the Chieftain's Shield

Wild Town - Jim Thompson Lila: An Inquiry Into Morals - Robert M Pirsig

Now I need to get Suketu Mehta's Maximum City. I had read the first hundred pages at my cousin's place and was simply blown away.

Friday, November 26, 2004

Mozhsenikku Sultansom

I bronched the kobble, platted the keeble and wranked out all the pichandles. Looked minumel to me, so I natted to everyone. The response was knuhel, knuhel, knuhel.

Krab the mottlestone, this is reeventide.

Thursday, November 18, 2004

Once Upon A Time in America, Part I

You need to be very careful while eating breakfast in America, especially if it's a buffet. What you do first, you walk around the restaurant, looking at all the dishes and the fruit juices available. You decide to play safe and go with bacon and eggs, toast and a token slice of watermelon for your daily fruit intake. You then decide you'd like some fresh fruit juice too.

You walk over to a counter where you see a tray with straws and a row of paper cups containing a thick liquid, placed next to an instrument that looks like a toaster, but horizontal and flat. You ignore the instrument and pick up a cup with the liquid, add a straw and saunter back to your table. You try to guess the fruit by looking at the liquid through the cup, but you can't really make out. Might be chikkoo shake, you guess. One of your favorites.

You pop some bacon into your mouth, munch steadily. You then insert the straw into the cup and suck. It's thick, this juice. You try harder and get some into your mouth. It certainly isn't chikkoo. You put the cup down and attack the bacon again. A waitress comes by, does her best to control her laughter, asks, "Do you know you just tried to drink waffle mix?"

You smile, say, "Oh yeah, I thought it tasted funny" and quickly walk out while the restaurant erupts in laughter behind you.

Tuesday, November 9, 2004

Thursday, November 4, 2004

Last lap

Why did I order pasta? I can't stand pasta. Oh man, I'm really looking forward to Saturday when I head back to Bangalore. Tomorrow should be good too, my cousin has invited me and over for dinner. Beef fry is on the menu, yum yum.

Just got back from my tour of Cleveland and Atlanta. I honestly don't know what time zone I am in now. I give up.

Tuesday, November 2, 2004

Travelling, will bury

Thanks to , had a great Sunday. Spent a lot of time looking through the dvd collection at Fry's. Finally bought Psycho, Vertigo, a DVD with four Hitchcock tv episodes which includes Lamb to the Slaughter, a four movie set that contains  Night of the Living Dead and The House on Haunted Hill, DVDs of Nosferatu, The Cabinet of Dr Caligari (yes, ) and The Searchers. I also picked up a wireless card for $15 and a wireless router for $25. I'm very pleased with myself.

Am at Cleveland right now, of all places. And tomorrow I will be in Atlanta. The day after that, I'm back in Redwood City. Then I fly back on Saturday night, via Singapore ,with a stop over at Hong Kong. There is a dark plot afoot to send me to Japan after that, once I get over my jet lag in Bangalore.

America is currently going crazy over the election. Most of the people I've met seem to favor Kerry, though the exit polls lean towards Bush. All the television channels are trying to outdo each other with their coverage. I'll settle for reruns of Seinfeld.

Sunday, October 24, 2004

America, America

Hello, San Jose.

The trip was long and tiring. Checked into the hotel, showered and got online. Plan to call up a few friends and relatives and then hit the sack early. The conference begins tomorrow.

What does a Nair get to do in Silicon Valley? Watch this space.

Saturday, October 23, 2004

Flying out tonight

Will be flying out tonight to San Jose, to attend a user conference and a few meetings. Plan to be there for a week and maybe spend another few days at Atlanta before returning. Got a 10 year multiple entry business visa this time round, so will not need to go through this visa interview rigmarole again.

Friday, October 15, 2004

Quote of Arms

This is chilling. From Roger Ebert's review of the new documentary, Hijacking Catastrophe:

"The people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the peacemakers for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country." Hermann Goering said that at the Nuremberg trials.

On a different note, this movie looks interesting. 

Thursday, October 14, 2004

Visa woes

See, the guys at office have been trying to get me a US visa by the 21st, so that I can attend a conference at San Jose, right? The problem is that my interview date for the visa is scheduled for the 27th, a week after I need to fly out. So I kept trying to advance my interview date by going to the TT services website and checking if an earlier date was available.

My manager hits upon the bright idea of trying this round the clock, so sets up the security guard with a laptop and gives him instructions on how to change dates. Sure enough, the security guy calls me at 1:30 am and informs me that he managed to get me a slot for the 20th. I thank him for a job well done.

I arrive today morning and the guard greets me with a happy smile. He says that he kept trying the whole night and just before I got to work today, he saw another vacant slot and changed my date again, back to the 27th.

Monday, October 11, 2004

Boom in The Village

Did anyone notice the very visible boom mike in The Village? I've seen a few movies where the mike is quite visible, but it was very bad in this one, though! Almost every scene in the first half had the mike hanging from top.

I liked the film, however. Passable.

Tuesday, October 5, 2004

Robotic Rambling

They tell me I need to attend the user conference at San Jose on the 25th. I apply online for a visa, but can get an interview date only for Nov 7, the day I need to return. I try every day and finally get it advanced to the 27th of October, which is still bad as I need to fly out on the 21st. A co-worker happily informs me his brother has blocked six interview slots for him. He's just dying to get to the US. Me, I'm living, but only just.

Got tired of reading new books, so switched to something old and reassuring: Stephen King's Christine. I remember watching the John Carpenter movie at Sree Visakh theatre in Trivandrum, ages ago. I had liked it at that time, not sure if I will if I see it again. My favorite Carpenter movie is Assault On Precint 13, a remake of Rio Bravo. I liked it better than his more famous Halloween. The background music, composed by Carpenter himself, was pretty good too.

Sometimes I feel I am the robot of my childhood tv screens, commanded by an invisible Johnny Soko. "Come On, Giant Robot!", says the voice. I get up, I eat, I work, I sleep. And start another day.

Friday, October 1, 2004

Pai is God, part II

Pai is flying back to Bangalore today, from Sunnyvale. His biggest problem right now is packing the 120 DVDs he's bought.

Let me say that again. He's bringing back 120 movies!! And these aren't your regular Independence Day variety pics. He's got 8 movies of Fellini, a box set of the entire Kubrick collection, he's got some Louis Bunel, he's got El Topo (El Topo!!!!!), Eraser Head, a Jean Renoir box set, a Mike Powell set, a set of 25 Kurosawa movies...

I'm ever so happy I gave him that Cult Movies book to read, a couple of years back.

Monday, September 27, 2004

Killed Bill

Man, the second volume rocked! I do not want to pick either one as my favorite, so I'll just say I loved the movie as a whole: Vol 1 and Vol 2. One of the most stylish movies I've seen. Now I need to read about it from the Net and spot the in-movie references. I could get Once Upon a Time in the West and Fistfull of Dollars. More?

Friday, September 24, 2004

And now for the music...

Downloaded a few good albums over the past few days:

  • The Last Waltz - The Band (4 disc set)

  • Almost Famous - OST

  • Donnie Darko - OST

  • Honkin' On Bobo - Aerosmith

  • 70s Rock - Compilation

Thursday, September 23, 2004


1. Think of a word you would use to describe me.
2. Go to Google Image Search and search for that word.
3. Select the picture you see as most fitting and paste it in your journal.
4. Please do not paste it here. I have enough problems as it is.

Broadband Blues

I've been struggling to get Broadband at home for the past couple of months. Tried different providers: Sify, Touchtel, Dishnet and BSNL - none of them cover my area. I get Hathway cable at home so I thought they might be able to help, but calling them a couple of times hasn't sent their sales guys racing to meet me. 's review on MouthShut is quite true.

The reason I want broadband so badly is to work from home and take conference calls. I tried using Skype over dial-up yesterday, to join a conference. I had purchased 10 hours worth of talktime, so was hoping this would work. It didn't. Skype did not allow me to punch in the conference bridge id after reaching the conference number. The operator came on after a while, but he couldn't hear me, probably because the connection through dial-up was poor. Damn, damn, damn.

Any bright ideas? How's the speed through (shudder) Reliance mobiles? Or the wireless set from Reliance or Tata Indicom? Would connectivity be better than that through dialup? Or is there any other cheap way to get on to conference calls from home?

Tuesday, September 21, 2004


The last three movies I saw were Peeping Tom, The Stepford Wives (the remake) and Where's Poppa.

Peeping Tom chilled me to the bone. It's one movie worth its cult following. Thank you Martin Scorcese, for pulling this movie back into the limelight. Roger Ebert has written a superb review of the movie here.

I didn't know whether to laugh or cry when I watched the last ten minutes of The Stepford Wives. The tacked on climax is silly, idiotic, inane and absolutely senseless. I just hope they don't remake Rosemary's Baby and give it an upbeat ending too. Sheesh!

Where's Poppa may not be the funniest movie ever made (as some blurbs have it), but it has its moments. I doubt if anyone - no matter what the mood - can watch it without bursting out laughing at least once. If the gorilla suit doesn't get you, the rape of the cop will. Ruth Gordon is an amazing actress.

Monday, September 20, 2004

The DVD haul, Hokker food, the Blr trained cabbie and the Immigration Incident

The trip was tiring but productive. The demo went off quite well; the project lead has given his endorsement. Didn't get too much time to shop in Penang, but I did manage to get a few dvds: Easy Rider, Last Tango in Paris, Stand By Me, Princess Mononoke, The Lion King and Kill Bill Vol 2 (for ). The store had the cover case of True Romance, but couldn't locate the actual disc for me. Maybe next time. Most of the other dvds available were the blockbuster variety, which I wasn't really interested in.

The sales folks I was helping out wanted to know what kind of food I wanted. I told them I was game for anything except Indian food and wanted to know the speciality of Penang. They spoke highly of what I heard as 'Hokker Food', so I signed up for that for a post-dinner snack, dinner being already booked at a Thai seafood restaurant. The dinner was quite good: I feasted on tiger prawns, chicken and fish, but I did leave some space for the promised Hokker stuff. Sure enough, my hosts took me to a place that looked a lot like Medical College Jn in Trivandrum, or Juhu beach in Mumbai. There were loads of vendors with carts and vans, selling fried rice, noodles, ice cream and what have you. Apparently, this is the speciality of Penang: Hawker Food. It wasn't all that bad, though.

I had changed my schedule a bit, so got into KL only by 4:30pm on Friday. My return flight to Blr was at 10:00pm, so I had a few hours to kill. I took an express train from the airport to the city, which covered about 75km in 28 minutes flat. Much impressed, I got off at the Sentral Station (no, not a typo) and hailed a cab to KLCC, which houses the famous Twin Towers of KL, the tallest building(s) in the world. The cab driver picked me up as well as another passenger and promised to drop us both at our respective destinations. Traffic was as its peak, reminded me of Bangalore/Mumbai rush hour. The cab driver, who had probably done his schooling in Bangalore, promptly drove on the wrong side, on the sidewalk and elbowed his way through. I could spot the towers in the distance when he pulled over, smiled at me and said "Only one dollar, sir. Please take the train from here". I didn't know any Malay swear words so I smiled back at him, de-cabbed and legged it to the said railway station. I wasn't sure whether the cabbie meant $1 or RM 1, but it turned out to be slightly more than a Ringgit and just two stops away. The train reminded me of Bombay too, just that it was cleaner and there weren't any bhajan singing folks around. The mall at KLCC is huge, pretty, choc-a-bloc with brands and expensive to boot. I wandered around for a while and then took a train to Sentral and the Express from there back to the airport.

The return flight was uneventful apart from the Immigration Incident. The immigration person, who usually exists only to wear out the official stamp, took one look at me, another at my passport and immediately called a lackey over. Whispered to the lackey. Both looked at me out of the corner of their eyes. I put on my best namma bangaluru face and grinned. Lackey smiled back and hauled me over to his boss, a tall, dark ogre who was eyeing other passengers. Ogre looked me up and down and asked a few questions about my company and my work, cleverly mixing English with Kannada. I replied keeping my sunny smile intact. He let me go after a while and I got my immigration papers stamped. I still don't know what that was all about.

Didn't take too many pics - didn't get time, frankly. Overall impression - Penang is a lovely, laid back city. Has a lot of islands nearby, which look like prime targets for a holiday. KL is very Mumbai, very New York. Lots of buildings, lots of cars, lots of people. Need to explore it more next time.

Last, I'd like to know who this Irving Savio Sequeira from Scandent Group is. He sent me a mail before I left, with the subject 'LJ' and content 'Heard you are in the region'. As far as I know, none of you good folks have the name Irving and my last LJ post was friends-only. Hmm. What gives?

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Malayalee in Malaysia

Will be flying out to Malaysia tomorrow night, provided I get my visa in time. The current schedule looks like this:
15th, 5pm - collect passport with visa
8pm - flight to chennai
1100pm - flight to Kuala Lumpur
16th, 800am - flight to Penang
230pm - customer demo
7pm - flight to Kuala Lumpur
8pm - paint Kuala Lumpur red
17th, 900am - meeting with business partner
12pm - continue paint job
7pm - flight back to bangalore

And oh, buy tons of dvds for self and somewhere in between.

Monday, September 6, 2004

Tuesday, August 31, 2004

The quiz at KQA went off quite well. I think. Wil...

The quiz at KQA went off quite well. I think. Will put up the dry questions on when I get a chance.

Was in Hyd for a day yesterday for a customer meeting. Also caught up with the Deepak khandan and , who was kind enough to give me Brando's autobiography, Songs My Mother Taught Me. Was also lucky enough to travel by Air Deccan. Sorry, lucky enough to make it back in one piece after travelling Air Deccan.

Lots of travel on the horizon. Malaysia by mid-Sept, US by Jan, perhaps. Not really looking forward to it.

Tired. Have a 730am meeting tomorrow. I'm getting old. My bones ache. Yawn.

And oh, the peeping peer has quit!

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Shameless Plug

The KQA will hold two quizzes on Sunday, August 29th 2004 at the Daly
Memorial Hall, Nrupatunga Road, Bangalore.

Event I
Entertainment Quiz
Quizmaster: Madhav Nair

The quiz is open to all members of the general public, irrespective of
age or institutional affiliation.
Teams of four members
Entry Fee: Rs.75/- per team
Six teams qualify

Registration: 1000hrs
Prelims: 1030hrs
Finals: 1115hrs

I: Rs.1,000/-
II: Rs. 800/-
III: Rs. 700/

Event II
KQA's Collegiate Quiz Championship
Quizmaster: Arul Mani

The quiz is open to individuals from PUC/XI & XII, Undergraduate and
Postgraduate institutions
Unlimited entries per institution
Entry Fee: Rs.25/- per entrant
The eight best prelim scores qualify, irrespective of institution.
The winner will be declared College Quiz Champion for the season 2004-2005

Registration: 1400hrs
Prelims: 1430hrs
Finals: 1530hrs

I: Rs.500/-
II: Rs.400/-
III: Rs. 300/-

The best lady entrant : Rs.500/-
The best PUC entrant : Rs.250/-

Friday, August 13, 2004

What I learned from the radio this week

It's like, you know, Independence week and all that, on account of Independence day coming up this Sunday. So I learnt all the famous slogans associated with our Independence, like Jai Hind, Vande Mataram, Inquilab Zindabad, Sare Jahan Se Accha and Jai Jawan Jai Kissan. I thought the music for Vande Mataram was particularly good.

I learnt about famous leaders who gave India Independence, like Nehru, Gandhi and Bankim Chandra Chatterjee. I also learnt today that the guy who coined the slogan Jai Jawan Jai Kissan, Lal Bahadur Shastri, gave up all his land to the farmers of India. Lal Bahadur Shastri is also famous for saying "Swaraj is my birthright and I shall have it!".

It's so nice to learn all this in one week. Thank you, Sunaina Lal of Radio City.

Wednesday, August 4, 2004

Madhav Nair Happy Aanu

Moved. I just can't stop smiling. Our house, our land, our aching bones.

Pics to follow.

Friday, July 30, 2004

Last lap

All right, ladies and gentlemen! We move into the final lap where we have the painters leading the pack, followed by the carpenters and the mason.

The painters want to work alone. The mason doesn't want anyone else in the house when he carefully completes his work, which involves arranging three bricks in the backyard. The carpenters don't give a damn about anyone else and keep doing exactly what they please. The supervisor, a distant relative of Scarlett, assures everyone that tomorrow is another day. The neighbours give dire warnings about various problems - water seepage in the walls, drainage issues, erratic power, inadequate security and Mexican grass being replaced by Bangalorean.

No matter. We will move in by Saturday. Sunday. Monday at the latest?

Wednesday, July 21, 2004

Good news and bad news

The good news is that I tucked away my Form 16 in a safe place. The bad news is that I can't find it now.

The good news is that we decided not to use the parrot green shade for the house. The bad news is that we are not really sure how the house would look in magnolia.

The good news is that the library is looking good. The bad news is that putting up my mainly second-hand, tattered collection of books is likely to make it look like a library that lends.

The good news is that we are moving house by the 30th. The bad news is that the house is not fully ready yet.

Oh, well.

Tuesday, July 20, 2004

Prem P's latest

I've always liked Prem Panicker's writing. Check out this review of a documentary on Manoj Night Shyamalan. , this is right up your alley.

Friday, July 16, 2004

From the review on

How about this way? I love that you get cold when it's seventy-one degrees out. I love that it takes you an hour and a half to order a sandwich. I love that you get a little crinkle above your nose when you're lookin' at me like I'm nuts. I love that after I spend the day with you, I can still smell your perfume on my clothes. And I love that you are the last person I want to talk to before I go to sleep at night. And it's not because I'm lonely. And it's not because it's New Year's Eve. I came here tonight because when you realize you want to spend the rest of your life with somebody, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible.

Tuesday, July 6, 2004


I'm looking for a blogging tool - preferably freeware - that can be used within an enterprise. This is to be used mainly for knowledge management, sharing of information, email updates, etc. Should have a good search function and security features.

I'm not sure I can setup LJ to do this. Does anyone know of other tools that are available? Movable Type? WordPress? Any pointers on how to set it up easily?

Thursday, July 1, 2004

Wearing my Suresh Gopi hat

Listen, you effing bastard. If you come over here one more time and peer over my shoulder to see what I'm doing, I swear I'll cut your goonies off and feed them to the barnacles. Just remember that!

Monday, June 28, 2004

Blah blah

Just can't be bothered to post much these days. I'm entering that oh-so-familiar phase of LJ withdrawal, where I drawn in my keyboard, tuck away the mouse and surf the web for porn.

I was composing an LJ post while watching Laksyha the other day, but just didn't have the energy to convert it into bits and bytes. I liked the movie, Hrithik is a very underrated actor, Amitabh was miscast, half an hour could have been shaved off, there are too many cliches, the cinematography is excellent, the climax is brilliant and Farhan Akhtar is on the way to God-hood in my book.

I feel so blah about LJ I don't even feel like talking about the small accident with the car. My brother was driving, no one was hurt, got the car back yesterday, insurance is taking care of 80% of the damage.

Wanted to talk about the first night-out I had at work in five years, but blessed are the blahs: I will stop.

Wednesday, June 16, 2004

Importing into gmail

Stumbled across this neat little utility that helps import all your Mozilla based email into gmail. Just download the tool from the site and follow instructions. Remember to copy/move mail from your local folders into your Inbox before you run the tool, as it sends mail from the Inbox folder, not the subfolders (at least as far as I could tell).

If you are an Outlook/Outlook Express user, you can import your mails into Mozilla Thunderbird and then use the tool.

I'm now scratching my head trying to think of a quick way to organize all this new mail I've got.

Chip of the old block

Was reading 's famous cover story in the deadtree edition of Chip today during lunch, when I noticed a small li'l pic at the bottom of the article. This pic was taken during an LJ meet a couple of years ago, and it includes half my face.

I'm not sure whether I should be apprehensive or happy.

Monday, June 14, 2004


Saw Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban yesterday. The movie has a few directorial touches that are simply brilliant: snow falling on the 'camera' in front of the whomping willow and Harry's flight on Buckbeak, to name just a couple. The script is tight and has done a good job in eliminating what was unnecessary to the overall flow.

On the flip side, I thought Gary Oldman was miscast. The dementors could have been scarier (I couldn't help but compare them with the ringwraiths from The Fellowship of the Ring), and good old Richard Harris as Dumbledore was solely missed. But this, to me, is the best of the lot. Worth seeing on the big screen.

Monday, June 7, 2004


Does anyone in Bangalore have a cellphone to spare for a couple of months? This is to help my brother get out of his withdrawal symptoms.

Any make, any model. No rental money, just a warm note of thanks. Ok, dinner too.

Tuesday, June 1, 2004

My gift voucher collection had increased to a nic...

My gift voucher collection had increased to a nice, usable size by last Friday. Armed with that, Sindha and I went shopping. This is what I picked up from the land of movies and books:

The African Queen Evil Dead
American Pie Silent Movie
Family Matters - Rohinton Mistry

The music quiz at Crossword

It was a dark and stormy night. My partner got caught in the storm and turned up an hour after the prelims got over. I had to take it alone like a man; though I dragged in towards the end, just for a horror.

The quiz was extremely easy, hoary chesnuts all. I think I got about 14 points out of 25, the cut-off was 16.5. I'd like to believe if had been with me as originally planned, we would have topped it. Oh, well.

The sad part was the brownies we fed Rachu from the Coffee Day outlet. They must have had an overdose of egg in them, because she puked her dinner out at midnight. She went on vomiting till 3am, when she got tired of it all and went to sleep.

Yeah, she is okay now. A little weary, but ok.

Saturday, May 29, 2004

My wife works for a private medical college in Ba...

My wife works for a private medical college in Bangalore which is struggling to get recognition from the Indian Medical Association. Every six months, a team of inspectors are sent to the college on surprise visits that are notified to the college a week before schedule. Every six months, the college is spruced up for the visit: final year students are dressed up as tutors, the hospital beds are filled, all leave is cancelled and so on.

When the inspectors arrived last week, the college realized that they didn't have a fully functional residential quarters for the staff. They came up with the brilliant idea of converting the girls hostel into the staff quarters and moving the girls to the boys hostel. The inspectors arrived and inspected the staff quarters. Suitably impressed, they moved to the 'girls' hostel where a group of visibly uncomfortable girls were milling around. They checked the rooms, spoke to a few of the girls and were about to leave when one of them had the bright idea of checking the urinals. No one really knew what to say after that.

I don't think the college will get the IMA recognition this year either.

Tuesday, May 25, 2004

The Last Leaf

This was written years back, by a certain LJ-er. I am not a poetry buff, but I found this extremely well written. Not to mention heart-tugging.

It wasn’t autumn yet.
The leaves began to fall.
I don’t know why
But fall they did
Like futile dreams
One after the other.
I raised neither my hand
Nor voice.
But merely sat and watched
With helpless fascination
And sorrow.
The leaves kept falling.
And as the last one
Kissed the earth,
I found that
Deep down
My heart was sobbing.


The latest version (6.x) of Yahoo! messenger looks pretty good, apart from the silly colours.

Monday, May 24, 2004


And now there's a beautiful rainbow out in the sky. Man, I love Bangalore!

AE & I

Before the weekend started, I was determined to do three things: a) See Aayitha Ezhuthu; b) not watch Yuva; and c) Watch AE on screen. Ladies and gentlemen, I am happy to report I accomplished all (cue applause).

I was wondering, if there had been no Mani Rathnam (shudder), what would we movie watchers have to be content with? Characters named Rahul and Pooja; squeaky clean, well scrubbed environments; the Alps, New Zealand and Mauritius; mannersims passing off as great acting; Ma, Ma and more Ma - the mind boggles.

I really liked Aayitha Ezhuthu. It's got a raw, edgy feel which makes it different from the other Mani movies. Surya has done a phenomenal job playing Michael. His eyes and his smile speak volumes. I loved the scenes where he interacts with the character played by Bharatiraja. Madhavan was not bad either, but he had the advantage of an author backed role. It's easy to see why Abhishek Bachchan is getting rave reviews for his role in Yuva, where he plays the same character.

The usual Rathnam touches are everywhere - terrific songs that are very well picturised, small romantic moments that make you smile, simplistic but inspirational solutions for political and social problems, top notch cinematography and mind numbing violence. I also liked the fact that for a change, none of the major characters die - including the villain.

What I didn't like: the Dol Dol song stood out like a sore thumb - it didn't fit in with the visuals, was redundant and added very little to take the story forward. I also thought that entire episode featuring Arjun (played by Siddharth) could have been avoided. Yes, it does add a bit of balance to the overall story, but it gave the impression of being tacked on, to attract the younger, college going crowd. Lastly, I did feel that Madhavan's character had shades of Brando - Brando in A Streetcar Named Desire and a little bit - a very little bit - of On The Waterfront.

I can see why Yuva is getting mixed reviews. Though I haven't watched it yet, the actors appear to be terribly miscast - Ajay Devgan should have been younger, Abhishek should have been older and Vivek shouldn't have been there at all. Maybe Mani Rathnam didn't care too much about the Hindi version. Hmm.

Overall, I do recommend watching Aayitha Ezhuthu. It's not Mani's best movie, but it's right up there in the top half. Edgy, raw, violent and very much in your face.

Saturday, May 15, 2004


I misplaced my whip yesterday night, rented Main Hoon Na instead. My masochism knows no bounds. I don't remember being this numb watching a Hindi movie.

Thursday, May 13, 2004

You know what's funny?

Most of the people aghast at the election results and horrified at the prospect of Sonia becoming PM are the ones who live outside India, in the US.

Wow, what an election!

India Shining indeed! Muhahahaha...

Thursday, May 6, 2004

Radio Gaga

Radio City DJs are really stretching this Mother's Day business. Today we had the astoundingly asinine Sunayana Lal call up a lady in Delhi and got her daughter to speak to her. The conversation went like this:

Girl: "Mama, I love you. I would like to thank you for being there for me always. You mean so much to me.." (and so on, gush, gush)
Mama, after a pause: "Awaz sunayi nahi deta"
Sunayana Lal: "Oh, don't worry, we'll call you back"
And after a break,
Girl: "Mama, can you hear me? I love you. You are the greatest mother ever. You've always been there for me. I will always be there for you..." (gush gush ad nauseam)
Mama: "Yeh kya bol rahi hai? Kuch samjha nahin"
Girl, to Sunayana: "I'll call her later, it's ok. (sobs)"

Made my day, really.

Monday, May 3, 2004


First day at the new place. Open office, anyone can peek in from behind. Quite a change from my cozy li'l room back at i2.

First impressions - good. Looks like a cool place, lots of work, lots of smart and enthusiastic folks around. My desk and computer were ready when I arrived. They had tied balloons on my cube walls and had a box of chocolates on the desk. Got a joining kit which included a baseball!

Lets see how things progress...

Thursday, April 29, 2004

Everything must go

Suddenly realized I need a huge amount of money in May, to pay off the builder and the interiors guy. Am selling everything, including my soul. All my mutual funds, the SBI and ONGC nest eggs - everything.

Even then, am still a few lakhs short. How much are kidneys trading for these days?

Thursday, April 22, 2004

How I spent my summer vacation

Through a window, clearly

The first glimpse of Kerala always floors me. The mode of transport doesn’t really matter. A train window does offer a different perspective compared to the view from above, but the effect is the same. Wonder. Happiness. Awe.

Sindha looked outside and said, "I see only coconut trees. Nothing else - no houses, no roads, nothing." I smiled back. I love this land.

The Heat

We could feel the difference in climate from the moment we alighted. Hot, humid, sultry as hell. Rachu got affected the most; the first day was pretty bad for her. She cried a lot after reaching home, got very cranky in the evening and scared off most people who came close to her. Luckily, we did have a bit of rain a couple of days later, which cooled things somewhat. Sleeping with the a/c turned on also helped. Rachu perked up immediately when the a/c kicked in. She grinned at us, did somersaults on the bed and went to sleep without too much fuss.

But it was still hot most days. We didn’t venture out anywhere during the day.

The Songs

It was all about one song, really. Lajjavathi was everywhere. Three year old kids who couldn’t put a normal sentence together were crooning the lyrics. Sixty six year old grand-moms whose last song sung was Aatmavidyalayame were singing while working. The song played in shops, in movie halls, from loudspeakers on cars on election duty and on every channel every day.

The song is quite catchy, of course. It’s easy to see why it’s such a big hit. Jassie Gift’s singing style adds a tangy flavor. However, I doubt if he can repeat this phenomenal success.

I bought a few CDs - 4 The People (of course), Hits of Manju Warrier, Bharatham, Panchagni+Nakhakshathangal+Kaathodu Kaathoram (the best Malayalam soundtrack CD ever) and an assorted collection of the latest hits.

The Books

I badly wanted to start reading Malayalam literature. I’ve always been ashamed of having read novels like Kazhakhinte Ithihasam and Yakshi in English, rather than their native Malayalam. Went to Current Books and bought a pile:

1. Kazhakhinte Ithihasam by OV Vijayan
2. Marthandavarma by CV Raman Pillai
3. Ummachu by Uroob
4. Mayyazhippuzhayude Theerathu by M Mukundan
5. Payyan Kathakal by VKN
6. Asuravithu by MT

Sindha bought Mrs. Mathew’s cookery book and an English translation of Premchand’s Godaan. I started reading Payyan Kathakal, found it light and enjoyable. The others will be more difficult, I guess. Might need a good dictionary, too.

The Movies

We couldn’t go for any movie, for obvious reasons. Or rather, one reason - li’l Miss Rachana Madhav. 4 The People and Vellinakshathram were the current hits, from what I understood. Mohan Lal had a new movie called Vismayathumbathu, which appears to be a pale reworking of Manichitrathazhu. No one apart from a few die hard fans seemed interested in the film. Sad to see one of the best actors of my generation slowly sink into oblivion.

The Friends

There aren't too many of my friends around aymore. Jamy is the only one from what I call my inner circle, who is still in Trivandrum. Sindha, Rachu and I went to Sreeji’s house and met his parents, two brothers and other folks. They were quite happy to see us, after a really long while. Met Jamy at his house, but he had a personal emergency and we couldn’t get too much time to sit and talk. We wanted to go to Jayasankar’s house too, but lacked the energy to go up to Vattiyoorkavu in the heat.

Sindha's circle has three friends, out of which two were in Trivandrum. We visited both of them. We also did the obligatory visiting neighbours thingy too. Smiles all around.

The Sights

Veli was packed with people the day we visited. I was sad to find that my favorite coconut tree, the one which leant over into the backwaters, was missing. That apart, it was quite relaxing to sit next to the lake, with the cool sea breeze gently touching your face. Rachu was delighted too - she really enjoyed being next to the water and watching the birds fly by.

We did visit Shankhumukham beach too, but the kid was exhausted by then and we had to leave.

The Food

Staying at Sindha’s place is always fun. I never feel hungry from the moment I step in. Chicken - curry and chilly, three different varieties of fish - each fried and curried, tapioca, mutton cutlets, crab curry, fried prawns and the usual vegetarian spread of avial, sambar, thoran, ithyadi. The whole trip was one gastronomic delight. I also managed to get meat puffs from Jayaram Bakery and halwas (pineapple, grape and fig) from Sweet Mahal.

Net increase: 2.5 kilos per person. Rachu has also put on weight. Not bad for a week’s visit.

The End

Back in Bangalore. Back to routine, back to work. Back to pressures and deadlines, expenses and bills. But also back to what we can really call home.

Tuesday, April 20, 2004

Couldn't vote

Turns out my name was removed from the rolls. I guess the good folks from the Election Commissioner's office had checked my previous residence, found that I don't live there no more and happily deleted Sindha's and my name from the list. I don't exist, apparently.

Bah! This is the first time I've not voted, in the three elections that have passed since I turned 18.

Sunday, April 18, 2004

Monday, April 5, 2004


Saw Sethuramaiyer CBI and Nandanam yesterday. The first was just about watchable, mainly for the nostalgia value. I liked Nandanam, in spite of being prejudiced against it. It is a syrupy sweet love story, but there was a freshness in the presentation. The bhakti bit didn't jar either. Navya Nair deserved her state award.

In other news, I love .

Friday, March 26, 2004

AE & I

Damn. I can't get Jana Gana Mana out of my head now. And I don't mean the anthem.

Wednesday, March 24, 2004

This sucks

The office is screening the match right now and I hear cries of "Pakistan Murdabad" and "Bolo Bharat Mata Ki Jai". Can't put my finger on the exact reason why, but this irritates the hell out of me.

Biriyani Merchant

Just had lunch at Biriyani Merchant, the paradise on earth new restaurant on Castle Street, off Richmond Road. The food was out of this world pretty decent. I am salivating at the thought of might go there again.

You start by reading what looks like a menu but turns out to be a story of the origins of the biriyani, along with a brief bio of the owner, Mr Biriyani Merchant himself. The menu for the day is fixed, your only choice is vegetarian or non. You sneer at the vegetarian and get going on the two non-veg starters - one chicken, one mutton. There are four varieties of salads/raithas, one pickle and papads on the side.

The biriyanis come rolling in next. You are served three varieties, one following the other. You gulp down the first (Calicut Prawns Biriyani) just in time for the next (Hyderabadi Chicken). You sit back and burp when the third (Awadhi Ghost) arrives. The waiter stops by five minutes later, when you are surreptitiously loosening your belt, to ask: "Sir, which biriyani would you prefer as the main course?". You goggle at him and mutter something about prawns. He comes back with another serving of Prawns Biriyani. Unlimited, of course.

Some time later, the fingerbowls are out, you lie back on the seat. You can't move. The waiter arrives yet again with a serving of the day's sweet (Double ka meetha). You nibble at it, decide it's delicious, you wolf it down and order one more. A serving of Sulaiman Tea brings up the finale.

Mr Biriyani Merchant stops by your table, asking about the food. You restrain yourself from falling at his feet and proclaiming that you are not worthy. You also restrain yourself from gushing about the restaurant, on LiveJournal. After all, it's just another meal.

Tuesday, March 23, 2004

A vague sense of unease persists. Ides of March?

A vague sense of unease persists. Ides of March?

More from the job front

And now it's public!

"Industry sources indicated some restlessness among i2 employees for the last two months at least. Part of the senior management is already job-hunting..."

Ha ha. How did they find out?

Monday, March 15, 2004

Weekend achievements

Met quite a few LJ-ers on Saturday, had a good time at Landmark, Premier and Koshy's. Watched No Man's Land and started on Foucault's Pendulum.

Oscar and Lucinda - Peter Carey The Deeper Meaning of Liff - Douglas Adams & John Lloyd Lullaby - Chuck Palahnuik
The Maltese Falcon The Simoquin Prophecies - Samit Basu Pather Panchali - Bhibhuthibhushan Banerjee
Disgrace - JM Coetzee