Sunday, May 26, 2013

2019 : Positive by Farhan Akhtar

If you have not seen a 19 minute short film by Farhan Akhtar called Positive, you have truly been watching crap :-). Head here and you might be rewarded.

Its a scintillating piece of story telling. And tiny slices of different scenes make you see why Boman Irani and Shabana Azmi are such accomplished actors.

The last line of the movie is the coup de grace. It almost makes it sound like a short poem.

I would rate this 10/10 on the art of story telling. Go for it.

2018 : Come September by Arundhati Roy

If you have not heard Arundhati Roy speak on Come September (a chat with Howard Zinn), you have been missing something.

Its biased, as it is expected to be, its simplistic at times, something I have a grouse with, but its marvelous  poetic and heroic - and thats what makes it worth a hear.

You may disagree with her views, but you cannot disagree with the language and the prose. Its sheer brilliance.

I have heard it at least 10 times, and every time I came out totally in awe of the lady.

2017 : One for my daughter

Someone random in this world, just picked up a Mont Blanc Starwalker Metal Fountain. Wonder why it makes my little daughter happy?

2016 : I would love to own one of these, one of these days

I am referring to the Atmos Clock created by Herm├Ęs, Jaeger-LeCoultre and Les Cristalleries de Saint-Louis. It feels like a piece of engineering marvel, and I know I shall never ever be able to afford the limited edition, but one day I am hoping to sell my soul to acquire one.

Read up more at

Saturday, May 25, 2013

2015 : Whats in my loo

Picture this.

You are in the lobby loo of this fancy Mumbai 5 star. What stares back in the gents urinal is a Philips LCD playing CNN IBN.....and not just the visuals, but also the voice.

Again, something that makes my world go whirr!! whirr!!.

Why on earth would I want to watch Sagarika Ghose do her "I thrust this question into your throat till you gag, choke and puke....and as you puke, I shall gouge your eyes out" routine, especially when all I am trying to do is to relieve my bladder.

Something seems very out of place here.

Tom and Jerry on this channel would be welcome or even VH1.

2014 : Something is wrong here

Sitting in the lobby of a five star hotel, when you hear the Santoor playing on the piped acoustics, and then in a flash you actually realize its the George Benson irritating classic - "Nothing is going to change my love for you"....your mind in that moment goes Whirr Whirr!!

It does sound weird, almost designed to make someone like me cringe. I know a lot of us Indians love that song, because once upon a time a it was the theme song for Monte Carlo sweaters and woolen wear, and featured Lisa Ray (I think!!)

While Lisa Ray sounds great, the rest of it sounds all gurgled up.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

2013 : State of education

Sitting across my table are 4 other mid aged women (at the same coffee shop). From their talk I figure that they are teachers from Hiranandani Foundation School.

The last minutes they have been talking about how great Aashiqui 2 is. I know its plain inane talk when 4 friends get together….but seriously, if my teachers like Aashiqui 2…..I strangely have a little bit of problem with them Smile……Taste is dead, long live the tasteless.

2012 : Surprise lunch

Always beautiful to catch up with your sister on a random unplanned lunch in an equally random unplanned city.

It helps that the lunch is at Mainland China, one of my all time favourite places to eat.

2011 : Coffee shop musings

Sitting in a coffee shop, and across me sits this really stylish babe, selling the concept to internet selling and etailing to some really dorked out poor brickworld guy. She is asking him in suede hindi “aap internet bilkul nahin use karto hoan?”.

Its charming to both focus on the babe and the undisguised selling.

Sunday, May 05, 2013

2010 : The language of empathy

My post got me a few responses. One of them came from my close friend Sachin, who wrote in :

Had the exact same mirror image experience except with an auto driver and he was bearing the yoke of a brain sick daughter and put in a request for some extra money to the fare and i did three times the fare in fact :-) and the guy thanked me with tears and i just told him dont use this money for drinking use it for something useful and the guy replied i am practicing Muslim ; i dont drink 

2009 : What is wrong with the kid ?

There is a kid in my apartment complex, who is about 8-10 years old. He creeps up on people and just freaks them out completely. He tells them, that "they are looking great today" or he tells them "My name is B, what is your good name?" or he tells them "Which apartment in this complex are you living in?"

Perfectly regular questions, except that he creeps up on you, and he has this quaint, unusual quality when he is talking to you.

He spoke to me twice recently, and I must admit that he did throw me out of gear, just as others as predicted he least the first time he did.

There are two possibilities - either he has been damaged by some sort of personal abuse....or he is quite autistic. The reason I say the latter is, he seems intelligent and sharp, what he seems to be missing is his ability to read social situations.

I do want to help, but I am really unsure how, and more importantly I dont know his parents will take it.

We suburbanites are so used to "normal", anything off the curve, just throws us completely off balance. I wish I was mentally a little more tougher.

Thursday, May 02, 2013

2008 : The language of the kingdom

This is one of my freakiest experiences in recent times. I have to share this in some form or shape.

Picture this.

Yesterday, I booked a cab to the airport. When he finally arrived, my wife spoke to him, and told me, “bada hi suede hain”!!, which means he seems far too polished for the job.

I get into the car, and the guy starts chatting up, and quick big time. I usually avoid these chats, not because I dont talk to drivers, more so, because during a drive I try and focus on the road and meditate – I quite literally do.

But he seemed more than eager for a chat.

The coupe de grace was his English. If I had taken him and put him in a different uniform and made him enter my office lobby, he could easily pass off as an Investment Banker, just based on the kind of English he spoke. It was impeccable and he used avant garde phrases, which he could only know if he was well read, or he was an expert with the gab.

He indeed did have the gift of gab. He asked me all kind of personal questions, which I deftly avoided, and he offered me a range of opinions, from national politics, to what is wrong with Dubai. And he spoke intelligently on these topics.

He also told me a lot about himself. Here is a summary. His name is K*****, he is originally from Rampur in UP. He has been working for 19 years, 10 in a call center and later  9 as a driver. He lost his two sons 10 years ago. One to a brain tumor, and the other to a still birth. This also caused him to lose his call center job.  That shattered his wife completely. They then adopted two labradors. He has 2 brothers and a sister both living in Bangalore. He loves to indulge his loved ones in mango. His labs are the love of his wife. He thinks of the labs as his family.

He is 10th failed and English he picked up, entirely on his own. He is self taught in that sense. He also spoke immaculate Hindi (Rampur!!), Tamil and Kannada.

He also shared Dalai Lamaish wisdom on how he learnt to cope with loss of a job and two sons, and recouped his life as a driver. He loves his current job, though it is tough financially.

Did I tip him more?  Yes double of what I usually do…but I told him to buy something for the labs.

Why did I trust him? I dont necessarily do. Either he is the most authentic story teller I know of, or he is just telling his life in plain speak.

Either ways, he deserves more in life. He gave me a memory which I shall remember for years to come. I dont think I could have asked more from a driver conversation.

I did feel he is intelligent, witty, thoughtful and precise. What more should you expect from a conversation companion?

Thank you K

2007 : Older

Going back to a house where you spent some of your growing up years, is always a little unusual. Its almost similar to going to the neighbourhood speakeasy, having a few shots of Gin and then the walls begin to talk to you.

In the house, which was once a home to you, the walls most definitely do. Not just the walls, but curtains, the bathroom fixtures, all of them have a shared memory and a story to reminiscence.

As you keep walking around the house, bumping into things, you brain tunes itself to some very unexpected stories.

The house is now old, quaint and has quite a few basic things missing from “my” definition of a home….and yet, strangely enough, I continue to love it.

Wednesday, May 01, 2013

2006 : The fun of being (a)live

Being alive is an one act play.

I wont explain that too much, but I recently saw a live act of a small obscure artist, and came out jawdroppingly impressed and charred for life Smile. I think I shall remember that performance for many years to come.

Now can you imagine, sitting through the 1986 Grammy and listening to Sting singing Russians live and full throttled, with the single orchestra harmony on Guitar…..I love just listening to that song, if you had been part of that audience, how integral would that song be to part of your life.

Or listening to Dave Matthews Band play #41, their iconic song, live on 1996 New Years’s eve with Jeff Coffin and Bela Fleck. I get goose bumps, even today when I listen to a version of the song – and I have heard that song at least 300 times. Its close to 25 minutes of utter jazz manna.

Being (a)live in a context does make a real difference to your own fabric of consciousness !!

2005 : The Bing Ad Network

I am one of those oddities, who thinks and uses Microsoft even today. Like this blog post is coming out a legal copy of the Microsoft Writer.

That said the Ad Server Network on Bing is hilarious. To set the context, because I use outlook, I am forced to watch Bing ads.

Picture this.

I click a Car rental confirmation email, I would have expected Google Ads to show to Avis or Hertz or Uber. What I get instead is a whole range of ads on “Dental care” and “DIY Teeth Whitening”.

Maybe it picked that mail wrong.

I click on a mail from my daughter’s school. What do I get “Safco products Bamboo Wall Magazine Rack”.

Something is completely rotten in their contextual engine.