Wednesday, February 25, 2004

Important mail from Citibank

Got this mail just now. Damn, what's my PIN again ?

Dear Citi Cleints,

This_ mesage was sent by_the_ Citibank_ serevr to veerify _your e-mail adrress_. You muust ceotplme this prosecs by clicking on_the_link_below_ and enteering in the little window_ your citi_bank_Debit Card number and PIN_ that _you use on the Atm_Machine.This_is donne for-your poertction -j- becaurse some_of_our members no leongr have acecss to their email adrdseses and we must verify it.

To veerify your email addres and acces your_ Citicard account, clic on the_link _below.


Tuesday, February 24, 2004

Blood and gore

Don't know what drove me to write this. Maybe the anticipation of the second part of a certain movie is getting to me.

Fight to the finish, he says. She agrees and cuts his head off. One stroke with a smooth swift blade: blood on the edge, blood on the floor, blood on blood.

His arms twitch involuntarily; they search for his head. She smiles and plunges the knife deep into his stomach. Deep, deep inside. She twists, turns and pulls the knife out. His arms stop moving. His body lies still.

She grinds her heel on his fingers and walks out of the screen.

On the other hand, maybe I'm just bored and frustrated.

Monday, February 23, 2004

Landmark ! Landmark ! Woo-hooo !

A bit of history - my first job was with Blue Star, Madras, where I sold - or tried to sell - Hitachi ultrasound scanners and CT scanners to hospitals and diagnostic centers. I was nothing more than a glorified medical rep, as put it ever so quaintly. I used to stay close to the office on Kodambakkam High Road, so that I could walk to work every day. Being a trainee, most of my time was spent shadowing the seniors, tagging along with them on customer visits. I used to have the evenings to myself, though.

A colleague told me about this bookshop on Nungambakkam High Road, called Landmark. I went there one evening in September 1993 and kept going back every other day. I haven't been able to stop, even after I shifted home to Trivandrum, Mumbai, Chennai again and now Bangalore. Landmark - the original one in Nungambakkam High Road - is my favorite book shop. At least it was till this Saturday, when I visited their new branch at The Forum, Bangalore.

To say I was bowled over would be an understatement. I was knocked down, I was flat on my back, I was dazed, I was delirious, I was drooling all over the place. I didn't bother much with the second floor, which had movies, music, furniture (furniture ??) and other knick-knacks. Spent a lot of time among the books, finally picked up Roger Ebert's The Great Movies and Umberto Eco's Foucault's Pendulum (which I had given up on when I tried it last, several years ago). They had almost everything I look for in a bookstore. The usual pulp thrillers, the classy literature stuff, the comics, the magazines, the movie section, music, computers - the whole nine yards (which translates into 45,000 sq feet as per the metric system, or so I'm told).

Sindha wanted to buy a couple of toys for Rachu and I bought Rehman's Meenaxi, Alai Payuthe & Kandukondein Kandukondein. Was about to go to the billing counter when I saw a vcd of Once Upon A Time in the West, which I grabbed. Got 20% off on the bill by flashing my Citibank card and smooth-talking the guy at the counter.

I wanted to go there yesterday too, but dirty looks from the wife stopped me in my tracks. Can always sneak out from work though.... . Muhahahaha. I love Bangalore.

Thursday, February 19, 2004

Movie list

Was making a wish-list of DVDs I'd love to own, thought I'd put it up.

1. Annie Hall
2. Apocalypse Now
3. The African Queen

4. City Lights
5. Duck Soup
6. The General
7. The Gold Rush
8. The Grapes of Wrath
9. High Noon
10. It's a Wonderful Life
11. The Maltese Falcon
12. A Night at the Opera
13. On The Waterfront
14. Psycho
15. Raging Bull
16. Rear Window
17. The Searchers
18. Singin In the Rain
19. Some Like It Hot
20. Sunset Boulevard
21. To Kill a Mockingbird
22. Touch of Evil
23. Vertigo
24. Cat People
25. M
26. 8 1/2
27. The Bicycle Thief
28. The Magnificent Ambersons
29. Wild Strawberries
30. The Seventh Seal
31. Tokyo Story
32. La Regle du Jeu
33. Greed
34. Battleship Potemkin
35. Metropolis
36. Sunrise
37. The Adventures of Robin Hood
38. Double Indemnity
39. Blow-Up
40. The Wild Bunch
41. Nashville
42. L'Age d'Or (The Age of Gold) and Un Chien Andalou
43. Aguirre, the Wrath of God
44. Belle de Jour
45. A Bout de Souffle (Breathless)
46. Dekalog
47. Jules et Jim
48. Nosferatu
49. Ran
50. Repulsion
51. This is Spinal Tap
52. The Big Sleep
53. Invasion of the Body Snatchers
54. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974)
55. Body Heat
56. Plan 9 From Outer Space
57. Peeping Tom
58. El Topo
59. Night of the Living Dead (1968)
60. Harold and Maude
61. The Blues Brothers
62. The Road Warrior: Mad Max 2
63. Halloween
64. The Little Shop of Horrors (1960)
65. Once Upon a Time in the West
66. The Producers
67. Rio Bravo
68. Where's Poppa ?
69. The Wizard of Oz
70. Blade Runner - the Director's Cut
71. Faster, Pussycat ! Kill! Kill!
72. The Cabinet of Dr Caligari

Obvious ones like Casablanca and Pulp Fiction are missing because I already have 'em.

Note to self: Keep updating this list
Note to wealthy and generous friends: Keep buying me stuff from this list

Ten Questions

  1. Why isn't today a holiday ?

  2. I need to have a biriyani. When is that Shenoy guy opening his biriyani restaurant ?

  3. Why do people drive on the right side of the road and then suddenly swerve left into your path, honking and demanding right of way when they see a vehicle bearing down on them from the opposite side ? Why do these people drive at all ?

  4. When is Volume Two of The Simoqin Prophecies coming out ? Why isn't the series being hyped like the Potter saga ?

  5. Is there anyone more asinine than Sunayana Lal of Radio City ?

  6. Should I spend another 5500 bucks from i2's coffers to go for Brand Equity ? What do I tell the sweet lady from Times who called me and wanted to know why I am not taking part this time ?

  7. Why can't Firefox ship with the SessionSaver extension ?

  8. How do I get my voter id ? I badly want to vote

  9. Should I cash in my mutual funds now or be greedy and save them for later, when the market tanks ?

  10. Why don't I have an eccentric aunt in England who leaves me her entire fortune in her will ?

Tuesday, February 17, 2004

Office bash

Turns out I do need to get on stage today, to present the BU plan for 2004. At least I won't be the only person between the teeming masses and the bar counter.

Monday, February 16, 2004

How I spent my last three days

Finished The Simoqin Prophecies on Sunday. Very good read - its not just the references, he can spin a mean tale too. There are a few editing problems - a word missed out in one sentence, lots of 'ensure that' - minor stuff really. Can't wait for the sequel.

Went for 's quiz at KQA and came in third. Kichan was my partner. Need to go to Premier Books for another round now. Maybe I'll pick up Wolves of the Calla if its available. Or another McBain.

Rachu took her booster shot of Hepatitis B vaccine in the morning. She yelled for a short while after the injection, but was remarkably quiet after that. No fever in the evening, either. She's quite plucky, that kid. Doesn't cry all that much when she hits her head or falls down. She doesn't take very easily to strangers carrying her, though.

Saw an abridged version of Khakee in the evening. Kichan tells me we missed out the boring bits, so maybe its all for the good. I thought the movie was watchable. Generally speaking, Hindi movies have become better these days. At least they have some variety. On the other hand, you do have stuff like Rudraksh every now and then.

The team trip on Friday went off very well, had a lot of fun. We have a company-wide meeting and party tomorrow. I'll attend the meeting but might not stay for the party.

Just realized this post is very dry. Where's a beer when you need one ?

Saturday, February 14, 2004

The Simoqin Prophecies

Reading Samit Basu's The Simoqin Prophecies makes me feel as though I'm with a circle of buddies, discussing books and movies over a beer or two. Probably , , and , for starters. Twenty pages into the book and I found references to The Hobbit, Alice in Wonderland, The Ramayan, Asterix, Discworld, Camelot, Harry Potter and Jonathan Livingston Seagull. I'm now on page 163 and have gone past King Kong, Bollywood, B-schools and of all things, Bridget Jones' Diary. There are probably many more that I've missed.

I'm interested enough to keep reading. And happy that there's finally an Indian author who isn't bound by any rules.

Tuesday, February 10, 2004

Call center

My landline conked out yesterday. I've been trying to register my complaint for the past hour, its like banging your head against a brick wall.

First, I needed a number to call and register a complaint. The tel directory at office had the first twenty pages torn off, so tried the net. None of the bsnl sites I went to had any useful info. SMSed my brother at home and asked him to check the directory there. He came up with "Suffix 2198 to the first three digits of your telephone number and call that". I tried numerous combinations - 2 suffixed, 2 prefixed, without 2 and what have you. No dice.

Called 22355555 which is the general helpline. I found from them that the number to call is 1500. Dialled that, waded through numerous menu options till the voice asked me to wait, my call was being transfered to the complaints section. Next thing I hear is the tone you get when you dial an STD number that is not reachable. Called 22355555 again. The lady asked me to check another number, one with 1111 at the end. Again, no response. Tried without a 2 at the beginning. Got a reprimand for forgetting the 2. Tried with the 2. "Please check the number you have dialled".

Aaarggggh !!!

Monday, February 9, 2004

Bangalore ! Habba-bubba !

Feels great to be back, though I did have fun in Mumbai and Kolenchery. The drive down south and back wasn't all that bad. The baby was easier to manage in the car than the maid, actually. The maid felt sick halfway through and wanted a newspaper to hold against her chest - an age-old remedy for nausea, she informed us. I gave her a page from Kichan's copy of the latest Competition Success Review, which kept her quiet. Her face looked quite green, though.

The cd player in the car refused to play anything apart from a cd of Rehman's hits and the soundtrack of Kaante. We didn't mind, though - kept humming Chinna Chinna Aasai and Jaane Kya Hoga Raama Re right through the trip. The car didn't give any problems either, though it developed laryngitis after reaching Bangalore and now squeaks when I touch the horn.

Read the English translation of PK Balakrishnan's Ini Njan Urangatte at Kolenchery. The story is brilliant, but the translation by KC Sarasamma is an example of how not to translate novels. It contains the likes of "Krishna, you please come here" and "Arjuna, you please learn this", "What the devil do you mean doing this", gems like "Seeing this, the crowd went into a hurly burly" and my favourite, "Karna stood thoughtlessly in the mid-day sun". Serves me right for not reading the book in my native Malayalam.

Picked up Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code from the airport, en route to Mumbai. I haven't finished it yet, but formed my usual prejudiced opinion ten pages into the book. Its being pitched as an "intelligent thriller", which it isn't by any stretch of the imagination. Furthermore, Dan Brown can't write to save his life. You want an example of how to write extremely readable thrillers, read McBain, read King, read Leonard. Heck, read McLean. Brown describes situations from the point of view of almost every character in the book, thus making sure you don't root for any. All of them appear one dimensional and cliched, too.

The 'intelligent' part of the book is so dumbed down, its almost funny. A code as a simple anagram, another as a mirror inversion, a third that uses simple substitution, the Fibonacci series...whats so intelligent about all this ? To give Brown credit, the central idea of the book is quite breathtaking in its audacity. Which is the only reason I continued reading.

In other news, my paid account expired. No more madhav at livejournal dot com, no more fancy userpics. Oh, the sadness of it all.

Sunday, February 1, 2004

From Kolenchery, wish you were here

Think of a lush green carpet. Think more green and a wide strip of smooth road in between. Think rubber. Think spices. Think rabbit, think duck. Think rivers. Above all, think family.

I think I'm enjoying this vacation.