Thursday, December 31, 2009

996 : Movie 40 : Of Morons and Idiots (3 idiots movie review)

I did catch 3 idiots with my sis yesterday. Its an interesting movie….Let me explain

What I liked
- Definitely one of the top 5 movies I have seen in the past year.
- Clean story and plot, though it does totters along at times.
- Reasonable good performances from most mainstream actors.
- Good soundtrack (songs)
- Brilliant camera work on outdoor locales (you have to see Leh/Ladakh in this movie to know why I want to drive down there, especially in the last 10 minutes…..a must watch in the theatre only for the last 10 mins)
- Chatur’s character (yes, I liked his teeny bit….)

What I disliked
- Casting is horrendous. How can Madhavan, Aamir and Sharman pass off college kids. I have been at IIT, and my own engineering college – we were unshaved unshapely youth, and not this fat adults who look and sound (at times at least) like adults. Most people like the movie inspite of this bleep, because they are in their 30-40s and relate to these over-aged college kids – as if they themselves were still in college.
- Preachy – Coming from me that is quite a lot…but I definitely think, the movie often got into preachy mode without giving any sensible context. If you preach, do give a context, instead of a moronic generalization.
- Absence of any sensible background score. Its almost a non-gratis in this movie.
- Utter lack of characterization – save for Aamir and Boman Irani – you would not know how the rest are in their reel life. There is absolutely no build up in the 160 odd minutes – hence you end up focussing only on Aamir and Boman….Is that what the director intended – if yes, why call it 3 idiots – would you make 3 musketeers and focus only on one of the amigos.
- Fake – If you sit there objectively, the  movie does feel exactly like a Chetan Bhagat book – without a soul, without a heart and not surprisingly without a head. Its a pretentious fake movie….a wannabe that never gets anywhere.

Overall, worth a watch once. I for one, will not watch it again (at least not immediately). Is over-hyped. I tried hard to like the movie, but honestly its a 7/10 on my scale, at best.

Its a movie difficult to “dislike or disagree with” because its a feel-good movie with all the right sound-bytes….for example, a movie which is against “domestic violence on women” (as an example), you really cannot disagree with such a movie, can you? So most people you meet, would say, great brilliant movie….I would suggest take it with a pinch of salt.

Give me a Sankat City over 3 idiots any day. 


Sunday, December 27, 2009

995 : Give me $30 worth of Spermicide

Inspired by I won't mind using sperms to defy age!—Sherlyn Chopra, which I reached via Human Sperm and Bobilli Vijay Kumar @ India Uncut…..

If both of these stories are assumed to have some substance (other than the very obvious human “element”), why can’t this be the next hot startup idea.

I can almost imagine, walking up to a VC saying that I need about 10k USD. He will ask, “Is that it?” and me shall say, “yes, mine is a bootstrap idea. Its capital intensive, and uses the “billion” people India story to the hilt.”

Endless rows of male staff, aged between 18 and 50, working endlessly on their porn videos and wanking away to glory. Average collection 15g per male. If we have about 1000 staff, 15kg of sperm a day, thats enough to make about 200kg of face cream….thats about 1000 vials of 200g each.

If we sell each vial for about Rs.400 each, thats a cool 4 lac a day. With scale this idea can go places.

I can see myself being finally in the Fortune 40 under 40, and the Fab Forbes….

When I do reach that zenith, I will never forget to thank Amit Varma and more importantly, Sherlyn Chopra.

How’s Spermosa as a brand name, or Spream (sperm cream).

Ideas invited.

994 : Movie 39 : Sankat City


Spousey and I saw this urban noir (I just invented this genre)….because its an urban comedy, full of subtle undertones. The movie is an excellent entertainer.

Hilarious at times, thrilling at others….but thoroughly  involving throughout. Taut and never a dull moment.

I would rate this 9/10 for a complete paisa vasool film.

Go watch it. Better still add it to your DVD collection.

Friday, December 25, 2009

993 : D company

Prashant finally picked up D3000, which I think is a brilliant camera for under 500 USD. As I said before, me going to wait till next Christmas (2010). And my alter ego, has offered to help at that point….knowing him well enough (or what I once knew of him ….), he shall be accurate to the T, which means I shall definitely take up his offer for help. The point being though, that Prashant has already picked up the D :-)

992 : Rebirth of slick like my gangsta moll…

Picture this.

I am waiting at a doctor’s reception. Two 30ish girls and a 30ish guy walk in sit next to me. One of these girls, a big amazonian female, starts the conversation with the guy. (It turns out later that the guy is the patient, the two ladies are for moral support).

Amazon : Do you know about past life therapy?
Guy : What is that?
Amazon : They put you under hypnosis, and then make you rewind to your previous life.
Guy : So, how does it help?
Amazon : (in hindi) But you need to know, it will help you deal with your issues.
Guy : (in hindi) Does this sort of shit really happen?
Amazon : Its upto your faith.
Amazon : You know this <identity hidden, to save my own life. I don’t want goons hunting me down :-) Gangsta buddy, its only in light hearted banter….ignore this, will ya? > kya, the gangster’s moll?
Guy : Yeah, yeah, of course, the pretty dame na.
Amazon : Well, she is a close friend of mine.
Guy : and?
Amazon : She and gangster went for this session, and they figured that 200 years ago, they were married at Goa. He was at point the prince of Goa.
Guy : (all excited by now)
Amazon : He died then at 39, and left her with 2 kids. While dying, he held her hand and said “Phir milenge”….and thats all what she remembers. She also swears that the face of today (of his) matches the face of 200 years ago.
Amazon : Bechari, even in this life she is (now) separated from her love

(at some other point Amazon says)
Amazon : Sometimes people never return back from Hypnosis, so we need to be careful. You will need a pull (a trigger) which will get you back.

(some more conversation, and then Amazon starts with case study 2)
Amazon: Achha, did I tell you folks about the Homi Bhabha story?
Guy : No
Amazon : There is this guy in Bhopal who knows all about the accident. He was one amongst the 41 Navy folks who died in 1963. You know right the guys who wear white dresses with 5 stars….., yeah, those types.
Guy : This man knows the details of  Homi Bhabha’s seat, and what food they ate, and the entire details about the flight. He is Homi Bhabha reborn.

(yada yada yada….and the story continued)

(I did a bit of googling, it is 1966, 46 navy folks and the guy was not a reincarnation of Homi Bhabha, but one of the Navy personnel. This was supposedly featured in Raaz Pichle Janam Ka on NDTV Imagine. Link at

Reproduced below for easier reading….

Bhopal resident Swati Singh, who had an unexplainable fear of heights and air travel, was taken back to her past life by renowned Mumbai
psychologist Dr Trupti Jayin for the soon to be telecast show Raaz Pichhle Janam Ka.

The past life regression therapy done on Swati revealed some shocking facts. During her regression, Swati went back to the year 1966 and saw herself as Mr. D Singh, an Indian sailor.

She then saw herself boarding an Air India flight No 101 to New York in 1966 and was part of the 46 contingent of sailors. Suddenly, while in mid-air somewhere in Geneva, smoke filled the aircraft leaving the passengers running helter-skelter only to coem face to face with their fate. The Air India flight comprising 106 passengers and the 11 crew members crashed near the summit of Mont Blanc in the Alps, leaving all 117 people dead. Swati also recollected the fact that she saw noted Indian personality, Dr Homi Jehangir Bhabha, who was on his way to Vienna, in the same flight.

What left everyone shocked and astonished on the sets that the details given by Swati during her regression tallied with the exact factual details of this incident that took place in the year 1966.

Most of the passengers were Indian nationals, 46 of whom were sailors and Chairman of Indian Atomic Energy Commission Dr. Homi Jehangir Bhabha, who also died in the same air crash. Swati, who would tremble at the thought of travelling by air and panic during take-off and landing heaved a sigh of relief and felt positive post her regression. “ I was a complete sceptic and did not believe in the theory of Past Life Regression. But whatever happened to me during my regression was beyond my wildest imagination. I was shocked at the outcome of it all. I now am a believer and know that there is something beyond this world,” says Swati Singh.

There are also news reports who claimed, that Dr. Homi Jehangir Baba’s death was not an accident but a sabotage planned by the CIA The journey to her past life, done through a conscious meditative technique has left Swati Singh believing in things that she could never ever comprehend.

Source :The Times of India.

(Finally, the title of this post is adapted from “Rebirth of slick like my gangsta stroll” is from Digable Planets’ “A new refutation of time and space”, a 1991 path breaking album which brought in jazz influences to mainstream hip hop. Brilliant song and album….Highly recommended).

991 : Dohhh moments….

I think its the season for dohhh moments.

#1 : Someone was very bemused that their little child had correctly typed “QWERTY…” on the text message. “How come, how did she know of QWERTY?”. We explained that thats how the keyboard is laid out, and since your phone has a QWERTY keyboard, all the child had to do was type in sequence…..and the mom said “ahah!! so thats why they called it a QWERTY keyboard”.

#2 : “Who is the lead singer of Dave Matthews Band?”. I don’t know, let me take a wild guess, maybe it is “Dave Matthews”.

#3 : “This thermometer is showing 98.3 degrees, but I need it to show in Fahrenheit, why is it showing in Celsius.” Lady, if that was indeed Celsius, your blood would be boiling by now.

There is a little bit of Homer in all of us.

990 : (This post is graphically violent, don’t read if such things upset you) On the road to the dead….

Driving yesterday at Dadar/Mahim, I had just crossed Sena Bhuvan signal towards Bandra. I was the first off the block and as I entered the road, I had to gently come to a halt. A truck was stationery blocking  the road, and a motorcyle was fallen next to it.

It was almost 630pm and dark, and hence I could only guess what had happened.

An accident. It looked like this had happened less than 15 seconds ago. As I waited, crowds started converging on the road, and within seconds the road was swarmed by people.

As I waited, I was amused and irritated, that cars next to me had started honking. ….I silently turned off the engine, and let DMB take over.


5 minutes later, some smart folks in the crowd cleared a bit of road on the side, and allowed us to drive through slowly.

As I passed, I could see, a young lad, his head completely crushed by the “rear double wheel of the water truck”. His head was still under the wheel.

Nobody seemed to be checking for his pulse or if he was alive. The driver of the truck had obviously run away.

Two observations:

1. In this case, common sense seems to suggest that the truck driver had a little or no error. How else do you explain a head under his rear wheel. What possibly happened was the mobike skidded on his left and the guy unintentionally came under the truck’s rear wheel. Yet a potentially angry mob, drove the truck driver away to seek his own safety.
2. My own numbness to the whole incident as I drove past, was perplexing. I did not feel a thing. I was more worried about reaching home (had already been driving for around 1 hr by then). The others around me, seemed even more numb, they were almost infuriated by this incident, honking loudly and making their displeasure felt.

We tend to forget that if we apply six degrees, then this guy was at least connected to 50 other human beings, if not more. Someone close to him will miss him today and for a long time to come.

In Mumbai, life is steadily getting cheaper, and death is just such a lousy waste of time :-(

989 : Those little somethings….

I was wearing a new Citizen Ecodrive (Army canvas strap edition) today, when I went visiting my dad today.

He noticed it was a new watch. I did not even vaguely guess he might be interested, so I just casually mentioned it was a Citizen. He asked me “is it the ecological one?”.

I said yes, it is the “eco-drive”. As a courtesy, I removed it and handed it over to him.

He looked at it lovingly, and in that instant, I just mentioned, “you can have it if you want. I had bought it for a friend, but did not fit him, and hence I am using it. I already have 4 watches, and don’t really need another one.”

He continued admiring the watch silently for a few more minutes, no words exchanged. He then adorned it gingerly on his wrist, as if it were a new fancy piece of jewelry.

By then, at least 2-4 minutes had passed. Then he asked me, “How much did it cost ?”. I rendered an approximate number which sounded “very high” by his standards. He then said “ thats very costly, but its a citizen. Are you sure, you don’t want it?”

Of course, I let him have it. What touched me was, never before in my recent memory has he ever asked for a thing out of me. Even today, though he was deferent, yet, he was candid and clear that he very much liked the watch.

Tomorrow is his birthday, and he just made my job easy…..He got his own gift.

And you know what? It made me terribly terribly happy.  Like my mom, last week, asking for something that she wanted.  In both of these moments, I felt without a doubt, part of their lives, and that sense of belonging was enough to last a lifetime.

Come to think of it, asking is not always such a  bad thing….especially, if it can make someone like me so very happy.

988 : Mumbai to Valsad and back

In the past 4 days, I have driven to Valsad (in Gujarat) and back twice. Its a door to door 200km one way journey.

I have to say that the roads are brilliant, but the drive is horrible. Hitting Ahmedabad highway via western express highway is as nightmarish as eating Sushi in Kolhapur.

Once you hit the highway, there at 4 toll gates before you reach Valsad, each more inefficient than the previous.

I (still) enjoyed the drive, because any excuse to drive suits me fine….but given a choice, I would choose the Pune Bangalore highway for a drive anyday.

Unless you need to drive to Gujarat for pleasure or business, avoid it completely.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

987 : Disconnected and unwired

I have been off newspapers and television for almost 6 months (since June 2009), and guess what, I don’t miss a thing in life.

I supplemented my need for information with magazines, the kind I like and want to read. And really, taking the everyday moving parts out of the equation has made my life far more peaceful and resplendent.

I don’t think I will ever subscribe to a newspaper again, unless I relocate to New York (because then the New York Times will be a fixture at my morning poison sessions).

If you are brave like me, go ahead and try to switch off newspapers and tv for a month at least.

Maybe I can supplement you with some DMB and Floyd, what say?

986 : Death by a thousand splendid chemicals

Someone I just about know at work, has been diagnosed with prostrate cancer, and has been advised Chemotherapy.

For those, in the unaware, “Chemotherapy” typically means 1 week of chemical overdose, followed by 1 week of rest, and 2 weeks of supposedly normal life, and then the cycle repeats. The 1 week of rest is necessary because thats how badly chemo screws up your insides.

Chemo can royally fuck up your liver, intestines, brains (seriously it kills gray cells) and not to forget the hazaar external side effects like loss of hair, eyebrows…and the whole fucking rigmarole.

Refer to my 728 - Maybe I am a fatalist - last of the trilogy --) (for now….at least) and 687 - The science of human disease (Please read…promise you it will be worth the 5 mins you “) for my radical views on disease and cancer.

I know what you are mumbling, “jackass of a drawing room preacher” !!


If I was allowed to make a sane choice, I would never ever have Chemotherapy or any of those poisons which they infuse into you. I would rather die peacefully, than elongate my life using these chemicals. But then, most times, I don’t always have choices :-)

Having said that, the walking paradox that I am….I chew about 600mg of Chemicals for an old legacy health aberration (thankfully nothing as close to Chemo or equivalent drug, and thankfully not for any tumors running wild) everyday. Why do I do that? Why not let nature take its own course.

Left to my own devices…..:-)

One last meditation – when did we as a race, forget that quality is more important than quantity?

Ibuprofen be damned !!

985 : #41 by Dave Matthews Band

(If you have not noticed, I have been hearing so much of Dave Matthews Band recently, that for me, its almost like a re-discovery of an old love. My music mirrors my real life :-))

I have been hearing #41 for at least 7 years now. And then recently heard the 22 minute monster version which they played live at Worcester, MA in 1998.

The actual song and lyrics (more on that in a minute) get over at around  4 min 20 seconds…and then the improvisations kick in. Its unbelievable – almost as if, a jazz concert is in play. There is some out of this world Sax, drums, vocal blitzkrieg and guitar in this piece for the next mesmerizing 17 mins.

(Hear the bit(s) in the song, where all instruments/sounds almost hit manically proportions (multiple times) between the 6 and 18th minute, before they all converge on the main chord and melody again(and again)….the audience applause the end of each of those virtuosos of madness has to be listened to, to be believed.)

I would fly anywhere in the world to see them play a similar version live again. (Have already added a DMB live concert as a item on my bucket list, mentally at least, will soon update it on the blog :-))

This song is supposedly about Dave’s personal frustration about how after a point the commercialization started getting to him and the band….very unlike the college band they were and always wanted to be. Another story is it is about his sister who he lost tragically at an young age….though I think the former story is more likely.

The SIMPLY OUTSTANDING lyrics (most sites seem to have gotten the lyrics all wrong….)

Come and see
I swear by now I'm playing time against my troubles
Oh, I'm coming slow but speeding
Do you wish for a dance and while
I'm in the front
The play on time is won
Oh, but the difficulty's coming here

I will go in this way
Oh, and find my own way out
I won't tell you what to be
But I'm coming to much more
All at once the ghosts come back
Reeling in you now
Tell me, What if they came down crushing
It used to be that you and me
play for all of the loneliness that nobody notices now
I'm begging slow I'm coming here

Only waiting I wanted to stay
I wanted to play,
I wanted to love you
I'm only this far
And only tomorrow leads my way

I'm coming waltzing back and
moving into your head
Please, I wouldn't pass this by
Oh no, I wouldn't take any more than
What sort of man goes by?
I will bring you water
Why won't you ever be glad
It melts into wonder
I came in praying for you
Why won't you run
in the rain and play
Let the tears splash all over you

984 : Otto Pizzeria (1 5th Avenue 8th street New York)

Humy Agha (for whom I once worked for and have fond memories of the experience) treated me @ this place recently.

I loved the food and ambience at the place. Especially the chilli infused Olive oil. It was something to die for.

Definitely a place to eat, next time I visit NY. My rating a 8/10.

A hearty meal for 3 would cost around 120 dollars including the wine (which seems like a specialty there, esp. the red ones…yum yum)

Remember though, its a busy place and reservations are in order. More info at Otto on the web.

983 : Chili’s @ Hiranandani, Powai (Restaurant Review) (It is chili’s and not chilli’s :-))


Sri, Smi, Vinod, Prashant, spousey and I had been to Chili’s recently. Its a US joint offering Mexican food. All of the others, except for spousey and me had spent considerable time @ US and were aware of what Chili’s offers.

I walked in with little or no expectation, hoping it would be a place that I would visit again and again.

We ordered Nachos with cheese, Mozarella Sticks, Veg Burgers, Chicken Salads and Non-veg palettes with wraps.

For me, what rocked was the Mozarella Sticks.

What did not was:
1. The red mexican dip sauce (whether marinating or salsa was unclear) was horrendous.
2. The deep fried chilli’s offered was equally bad.
3. The bread that came with burgers was not fresh at all, was awful and flaky.
4. The fries clearly had either been reheated or were at least an hour old.
5. The service is slower than a tortoise.
6. Why would you not offer “tap water” as an option to your clientele. Do you cook in Bisleri as well? If not, then why not offer the same water used for cooking (whatever F it is), we shall drink it?
7. Very expensive for the kind of experience offered…..(average cost per main course or starter is around 400, average cost per drink is 200 for non-alcoholic and 500 for liquor….who pays that kind of money at a sit-in in India).

It cost us around 700 a head without drinks, and hell-no, we did not overeat. WhyTF would normal people ever eat here.

I can see why Mainland China will continue to rock Powai. The dumbasses @ Chili’s @ Powai have got it all wrong. Might still work as a concept because of the desperate crowd @ Powai who shall pay anything to eat at a decent joint…..but I guess, the true VFM practitioner will strike this option of his list.

Fav places @ Powai continue to be
1. Mainland China (300-700 per head – but I can go there everyday – I love the place)
2. China House @ Galleria – (200 per head, nice decent food)
3. Paratha’s @ galleria - (100 per head, the most outstanding paratha and dal khichidi, and chhole in the world….seriously)
4. Janata Bakery @ Cypress (50 per head, stand and eat, the best veggie cheese sandwitch this side of town)

Chili’s @ Powai Hiranandani I would rate 4/10 and would definitely give it a miss, if given a choice.

982 : The poet’s Triple witching

I know her (#1)  for about 1.5 years now. We still don’t know each other well, but eventually will get there. I still look at it as a fragile baby, here today, gone tomorrow. Lessons to learn? If it lasts for 3, it will last a lifetime. Blood of course is thicker than water, I genuinely believe we share our blood and genes and cribs (:-)))))).

I know her (#2) for about 6 years now. We just are there for each other. Uncomplicated and unobtrusive. We like the same things, and yet, we differ. We miss each other, but still rarely meet. We are part of each other, but we walk on different worlds. How do I put it? Its almost as if I was born out of her, which is more right than almost :-)

I know her (#3) for 13 years now. We have always lived on the edge. Neither here, nor there. We have been over the bridge, and under the water. What more do I wish for? If this is what life is meant to, then I am really beginning to love “the fine balance”. I wish for nothing more (at all).

(Just a ) Few of the many assorted tales that make my life.

(There is of course #4 who is very similar to #1, just as close and just as lovely…..and yup I share my blood (and fears) with her as well, difference being that I know her for almost 6 years.
And there is a (possible???… “feverishly hoping” on a wing and a prayer) #5, less than 20 days old…..time will tell :-)) I might spend my entire remaining life with her.)

981 : If you don’t want to, say so….

Picture this.

I am Crossword, hunting for some vaguoo book by Samantha Harvey (more on that later). I am close to the fiction/poetry section. Crossword has a sale going on, and hence the aisles have “sale stuff”.

The table next to me housed Fisher-Price toys.

A sopho mom (you know the Hiranandani types) and her 3 year old daughter (you know those types as well :-), I guess) walk towards the toys, and the conversation goes:

Daughter : (pointing at a harp) Muma, what is this?
Mom : That is for making music.
Daughter : (pointing at a musical keyboard) and this?
Mom : That is also for making music.
Daughter : (pointing to clay and dolls…I could not see where exactly was she pointing) and this?
Mom : That also….(saying this, she starts walking away).
Daughter : (still stuck to the earth) Muma, and what is this? (pointing at something new….I cant see)
Mom : (from about 10 feet away) Darling, that is used for music as well. (and now she walks towards daughter in an attempt to pull her along.). Come, lets walk ahead.
Daughter : (Still looking longingly at the toys) Muma, if you don’t want to buy, then tell me so…..(and grumpily follows her mum)

980 : Clive Thompson on Game Changing Startups

I loved this piece from Wired. Read this online at

I love Wired, whyTF can’t they come up with an India edition.

I have reproduced the article below for easier reading.


Today’s tech giants all have one thing in common: They tried to change the world.

Even as a two-man upstart, Google had an audacious goal: “to organize the world’s information.” Tiny Microsoft envisioned “a computer on every desk and in every home.” Facebook aimed to track “the social graph” of the planet, and eBay wanted to create an entirely new global marketplace. Big goals produced big results.

But what about today’s nascent tech companies? Are they still aiming high — and trying to tilt the planet? Some Silicon Valley observers worry that entrepreneurs these days are playing it too safe. At this summer’s TechCrunch 50 — a prestigious contest for new startups — longtime Valley writer Sarah Lacy found that the judges weren’t terribly jazzed about the entries. It’s not surprising, since they included (which makes a tool that fine-tunes online ad placement) and Cocodot (a Web site to “create celebrations”).

Worthy endeavors, I’m sure — and all organized with sensible business plans, executed with low costs, and already garnering respectable traffic. But seriously, is this the challenge that keeps entrepreneurs feverishly pounding the keyboard at 3 am? Creating celebrations?

You could argue that huge companies like Google and Microsoft and Facebook are working so ardently on big problems like cloud computing and social networking that less room is left for the little guys. But I don’t think that explains today’s smallness of vision. It’s always possible for tiny Davids to best tech Goliaths; indeed, that’s precisely what Google and Microsoft did back in their youth.

A more persuasive argument — which Lacy herself proposed — is that startups are hobbled by today’s quick-and-cheap startup culture. These days, Valley entrepreneurs tend to pick a cool (but niche) idea; bootstrap it with minimal staff, open source code, and rented server space; and then build a user base until some lumbering technosaur buys them up. That’s how Mint, which makes the nifty tool for analyzing personal finance, did it: Born in an apartment three years ago; sold to Intuit this summer for $170 million. This system is more fiscally responsible than the con-job IPOs of the dotcom boom — but it favors entrepreneurs with modest ambitions.

It’s not that the truly revolutionary businesses aren’t already here — we just don’t realize how game-changing they are. Remember: People sniffed at Google because they thought AltaVista and Infoseek had already “solved” search. Microsoft, too, was seen as a joke: Real men built hardware, not software. And as for eBay — dude, who’s gonna buy someone else’s cast-off Weebles? Twitter is the most recent idea that seems “big,” but at first it was soundly mocked — until the State Department asked CEO Evan Williams to keep the servers running during the Iranian revolt.

Why is true tech innovation so hard to recognize? Because a revolutionary new tool makes life permanently different, and we have trouble imagining change.

If I had to place a bet on one area, it would be location-based apps on mobile phones. As Robert Scoble — one of the underwhelmed TechCrunch 50 judges — pointed out, geo-apps like Foursquare and Brightkite are following the same curve as Twitter: “If you show it to the average user, they go, ‘That’s stupid,’ but a year later everyone around you is swearing by it.”

Innovation is invisible, until it suddenly bursts into view.

Email Clive Thompson

979 : Full frame vs. fly by night (I just made that up :-))

Prashant and I have been debating about buying an SLR.

I want an SLR too, but my bet is a full frame SLR shall be available under $1000 by next Christmas (currently about 3000 USD).

And today’s SLR shall be around 400 USD.

Do you think, that is a wise bet?

Till then, my SX1IS Canon shall serve me just right.

978 : Amazon Kindle

I got an Amazon Kindle for a “dear” part of me, as a Christmas gift. It was freaky that seconds before I shared it with her, she actually asked me “whether I could somehow source it for her”.

We both were marveling at the freakiness of that moment, for hours after that moment.

She seemed to love it, and I was so very glad for it, you know how terrible these surprises can turn out to be, sometimes.

I love the technology, its fantastic. This e-ink stuff rocks. I would suggest that each of us gets the new Kindle soon.

Enough of proselyting (yawn, I know…. a verb of that word does not exist….), will I buy one for myself anytime soon, thats the question?

Not really. I still think, given my recent predilection to poems, I am going to struggle with this “great” technology.

I like to scribble notes on my poems, and meditate on them.

So in case of Kindle, its the Genesis moment for me “Do as I say, but don’t do as I do”….I love the product and technology, but I wont use it myself…

For now, at least, its a NO to Kindle from me….never say never :-)


977 : 13 is a lucky number….and the crash is….

13 years to a relationship that I always thought was never more than an accident away from the bend !!

Boy, really makes me wish, I had learnt to count beyond my fingers :-).

976 : Love and longing in the month of fall…

For an unemotional slicker like me, “love” can be deconstructed as a sense of longing and belonging, which creeps (and hopefully stays) into your mindscape.

If that is a fair approximate definition, then yes, I do “love” people and things….but very rarely does the emotion spike.

(Strangely) in the past 3 months, a wee spike is definitely present, and unlike in the past, I am letting the feeling seep into me.

I realized that if you don't resist, the feeling is good, almost like “falling in love” again, and I am enjoying living through this feeling of crashing. 

The process is almost like rediscovering a side of yourself, which you have denied insofar, even to the mirror in your bedroom.

975 : Movie 38 : Hangover

Caught up Hangover with MaPa and spousey. It is the most wickedly well made movie that I have seen in recent times.

I loved the slick editing, the sly tongue in cheek, the utter juvenile grossness……technically the movie is about as well made as any.

1. Slick editing.
2. Fantastic style of story telling.
3. Super character development – by the end of the movie, you feel (you get into) all of the characters on the screen.
4. Outstandingly well chosen background score.
5. Excellent performances by the actors.
6. Surprising props, Mike Tyson, anyone?
7. Taut screenplay and extremely well written.

I can easily catch this movie 5 more times.

On my scorecard, a rare 10/10. Almost perfect is “perfect 10” for me.


Saturday, December 19, 2009

974 : Wrong yet right….

I must have been hearing DMB’s So Much to Say for years and I always was under the impression that the last line ends with “Open up your head and let me out” (followed by insane high note)…..I realized yesterday (thanks to spousey) that is “Open up my head and let me out”.

I still think  my “wrong” version is more lyrically magical. What say?

973 : Blues Traveler

If you have not heard Blues Traveler, I would suggest that you at least try them out. You will like them if you like maniacal harmonica and some throaty vocals.

I have been listening to them for quite some years, but only recently acquired their entire collection.

Its insanely creative and addictive. Must hear for someone who likes his music to be musical, melodious….(ignore the harmony….there is very little in this music), and jazzy.



Friday, December 18, 2009

972 : Surprisingly, the vital signs of the day look good :-)

A day wherein you have had 3 cups of poison before its officially day break, cannot be that  bad.

Joie de vivre….good morning Sun, here I come again :-)

971 : Per:-(lexed

Continuing from 942 - Google works in mysterious ways

I have gotten 15 hits in the past week based on “iyer fucking inside a temple”

Two questions:

1. Which weirdo puts such a search string within the google box.

2. WhyTF does google resolve it to my blog.

Like my sis exclaims, Devaaraay :-)
(I need to learn to say it like her. BTW, just for the record, she does not think very highly of Iyers :-), period…….irrespective of what some of them might do in a temple, or not.)


7 people got onto my blog, by putting “iyer aunties” as the search string. If this continues to be the trend, I think my blog can be the next Savita Bhabhi, and I am on my way to be the next Anurag Dixit.

970 : Just a little crazy

What do you call a person who wakes up at 130am, makes himself two cups of poison, neatly chops onions and chillies to dosa batter, adds “gunpowder” to it and makes utthapum.

A little crazy…!!

(Trivia….the riff “Just a little crazy” comes from Crazy by Adamski.

If you have not heard it, please do hear “Crazy” by Adamski…… WhoTF is Adamski….well Crazy as a song, and Adamski as a group made Seal (Kiss from a rose fame) what he is today. Go grab the song, you wont regret it at all….

Years later, in early 90s (92 to be precise), George Michael used “Killer” (another Adamski monster hit) in “Papa was a rolling stone” as part of a Freddie Mercury tribute. If you have not heard that one with George’s smooth vocals….you have no idea what you are missing. Its a song which will invariably get your pulse racing, no matter what mood you are in. A monster of a “live” club song. Just remember to play it with attenuation at –20db….and keep the windows open…else the bass might shatter the glass :-)

If you cannot lay your hands on either, contact me….I might manage to help you.)

Thursday, December 17, 2009

969 : Iktara (male version) from Wake up Sid (translation)

Continuing from my older post at

I have got hazaar requests to post lyrics to the male version, which I did not lay my hands on up until today morning (lazy me….blymeee :-))

I got the lyrcis from

Reproduced below with my urban attempt at translation

Rooh ka banjara re parinda
Chhad gaya dil ka re gharonda
Chhad gaya dil ka re gharonda todke
Re gharonda todke, gaya chhodke

(rooh = spirit, self or seat of intellect, banjara= nomad, parinda = pigeon, free rebel bird

Its the free spirit (in me) that is soaring, flying out like a bird, escaping from my heart, which (once) used to be its abode…..breaking the shackles that held it within….(as we talk), the spirit is away on a wing and a prayer, having bolted from its own (constraining) home.)

Je naina karun band band
Beh jaye boond boond (2)
Tadpaye re, kyun sunaye geet malhar de

(Every time  I close my eyes, the river (of tears) begins to drizzle (down)…..Anguish and misery are my (constant) company, even as the song (and sounds) of rain(s) have started their slow dance.)

Bemalang tera iktara (8)

(As I have said in my previous post Iktara is a single stringed instrument capable of a deep bass and a sharp treble…..and hence is metaphorical of music and the seven notes and life’s up and down in general. This line says….

My iktara continues to harp without any chord, melody or joy….)

Itra tun basi basi, padi hai sirhane
Band darwaja dekhe lauti hai subah
Thandi hai angeethi seeli, seeli hain deewarein
Goonje takrake inme dil ki sada
Goonje hai re (2) dil ki sada (2)

(itra = colloquial word for perfume or an aromatic body paste

My embellishments (like my scents and fragrances) are lying wasting around, breathing their (useless) aromas out and (in the process) dying….My (new) morning (and fresh beginnings) are about to return back after knocking endlessly on my closed doors….My oven and my walls are all damp and cold (due to neglect and disregard)…..In all of these atrophy(surrounding me), all I can hear is the wail of a dirge from my soul, this slow constant echoing lament of my heart.)


Jo naina karun band band
Beh jaye boond boond (2)
Tadpaye re, kyun sunaye geet malhar de

(Every time  I close my eyes, the river (of tears) begins to drizzle (down)…..Anguish and misery are my (constant) company, even as the song (and sounds) of rain(s) have started their slow dance.)

Bemalang tera iktara (8)

(My iktara continues to harp without any chord, melody or joy….)

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

968 : Et tu, juvenile ass?

Strictly for those who are still college boys at heart…..ever heard about Jingle Jugs (If you have not, hear goes, a pair of fake boobs which shall dance to “titties and beers”.)

You are supposed to take adequate care for these racks and dress them up fashionably. (I find the idea of dressing  rack(s) up as a complete conflict of interest, but then ….:-))

How terribly charming :-)

(No reason to get excited :-)))

Watch a video and

Monday, December 14, 2009

967 : Angst (entropy) and art….

Continuing from my post on entropy, and my mom’s comment on angst and its contribution to art…..

The more I think of it, I think what Amma mentioned that day was insightful. Let me explain.

Zeitgeist or art is nothing but an expression of “being different”, “being out of the normal curve”….almost a subtle form of “rebel” which can also take on extreme and violent forms.

If we agree with that “simplistic” definition of art, then “true art” cannot emerge without any genuine dis-satisfaction with our own current state.

The 50’s had war, the 60s had “unrootedness” and communism, the 70s had woodstock, the 80s had “baby bloomers”, the 90s had “so close yet anonymous”…..but since then, we don’t really have a common strong theme.

I also believe, today, more than ever, the world is identifying (more easily) a person out of the curve, and punishing him/her for it. The technology and tools are making this identification more direct and explicit. The world we live in today has become more unforgiving to those who don’t fall in line…..the price, we all want to turn out to be part of the conforming lumpen…..

I am sure, out of this mis-understood period will emerge artists who will want to stand out….but the art will become more and more deviant and an average person (like me bloke) will fail to relate to it easily. (Example Mukul Deora and his experiment to smash a brand new car….I don’t understand this form or art/angst at all….though I implicitly empathize with it.)

Art as we lumpen understood it (great color, films, sounds, writing…will slowly die a bleak and un-lamented death….and will be replaced with the new deviant and fringe arts….which in due course…shall of course, become, mainstream….but till then, old time traditionalists like me would have been reduced to the periphery…..our voice wont even matter)

Get ready to welcome the new world order in art, either accept it, or be prepared to be marginalized.

966 : Freudian slip….

Sweets and I are both reasonably big  of  The Simpsons. We keep playing this juvenile game of identifying real world characters who fit into the mould of Simpsons characters. For example, we have a Marge, Homer, Bart, Patty & Selma (WTF are they? go figure, use wikipedia), and Mr. Burns.

And through this period we have been calling Burns as Frank Burns (oh ok ok…you purist fcker, I get we were wrong….no reason to get all excited !!)…..

The burns in Simpsons is Montgomery Burns, and Frank Burns is from MASH (which is also our favorite). We have lived with this sly error for long without realizing it.

I was watching MASH yesterday, when I eventually realized how easily we both had confused the characters.

(By now, no doubt, you have formed a very high opinion of our intelligence – a posse which devours Simpsons and MASH, and follows the personal lives of these fictional characters….must surely be so very rooted in the harsh reality of our world.)

simpsons-schip-page-not-a-hack-say-republicans-mr-burns frank-burns

965 : Maniacal music….

Spousey and I were watching a recorded concert of DMB yesterday, and we have to admit, its the most manically creative music process we have seen…..its almost like Raga music (my other pet passion…esp. the Hindustani)….subject to last minute improvisation by the singer/artiste.

It makes for an engaging process to see these shows live (recorded or otherwise)….its almost as if, the artiste is playing a little peek-a-boo with the listeners…..almost prompting them, teasing them  towards his/her next improvisation.

If you ever watch a live(recorded) concert do take a few moments to notice, how before every song…the artiste/band wont announce anything…they shall play a few riffs….and it will be a brief period of about 30-90 seconds before the audience recognizes which song is going to be played….at the moment of realization, you shall hear a loud gasp and applause come from the audience….a la moment of epiphany.

(Am listening to Crash into me, as my poet friend Fuzzy says, it has awesome lyrics….poetry in motion….)

Oh I watch you there
Through the window
And I stare at you
You wear nothing but you
Wear it so well
Tied up and twisted
The way I'd like to be
For you, for me, come crash
Into me


964 : Tut tu tuda tu da da da….Nescafe

Its 3am in the morning, and it feels fresh and fine to be sipping on a glass on freshly brewed coffee (My original poison, much before chai become my adopted canker buddy.)

I like these morning hours – they make me feel alone, isolated and at complete peace with my world….an almost make believe, yet so easily achievable state of being.

963 : Dissolve into chaos

What fascinates me, is the slow steady decline of all that is usually considered “good” by world views. So for example, a fresh coat of paint….does not appear “fresh” beyond months, usually cracks appear and soon, within a year or so, its time to dab it again.

Relationships sour….friendships are forgotten, nostalgia kicks in….habits change….people die…..get the drift?

Everything changes….and usually the natural level for the water seems very low as compared to where we want it to be.

Mechanics calls this “entropy" – and the fundamental (yet very simple axiom) that in any observable bounded (closed) system – the entropy will continue to steadily rise.

I dont have to look beyond my office desk, or my inbox….unless I clean them daily….the mess slowly adds up to an extent that after a point, there is no point even trying to clean it up.

I find this whole cosmic dance fascinating….seriously, I find the fact that all of us are constantly declining (dying) just so magical…..(I probably am not verbalizing it well enough here)…..

A thought crosses my mind….why is entropy usually not a “desired quality”….or why is it not ok to let the water find its own “resting” level (which theoretically, it never will…since it will continue to decline further and further)…..

I am mesmerized….. This fight against entropy is what we (probably) call as “life”…but its such a meaningless gutterbag ball….come to think of it, we can never escape death, we can only postpone it.

No wonder, this phenomenon in the real world, sometimes tickles me.

962 :

I do visit off and on, I like their vaguoo humor, but reached this one via Amit Varma’s site. This is surreally brilliant.


961 : Sous Vide Cooking

Was reading about this interesting method of cooking which is used at gourmet and top rated restaurants. Supposedly this is one of the best forms of cooking, if the dish being cooked, or the time taken lend themselves to it.

Whats interesting is that this is not a new innovation, has been in popular acceptance for 2-3 decades at least.


Sunday, December 13, 2009

960 : Ants on the prowl

Six old buddies were having dinner at this Michelin starred diner. We were meeting after a long hiatus. Beer, wine, aperitifs, antipasti and food in general lined up our meal. We ended up talking up dirty office politics, and the debate got hot and heavy. Its easy to get my passions up and running, and with wine, I am super combustible. He and me both had strong views of  “what is”, “what was” and “what should be”.

Six of us polarized around the two of us. By the midst of this meal, we had moved from a light hearted “conversation starter” to a “passionate bloodfight”. The mood was getting angrier and alcohol was not helping our cause.

By the time, we decided to “finish” the meal, it was getting close to midnight, and the daggers were still drawn, though they had been long withdrawn – a state of perpetual imbalance, waiting for a tipping point. We had run up a bill of 1280 USD, which a few of us picked up in an pre-agreed fashion.

With uncomfortable dry “good night” wishes, we all moved out of the restaurant. As soon as we walked out, the cold December chill lashed at us….and inspite of our blood infused with heat inducing quantities of alcohol, we were still withering under the wind’s chill. We had to walk a few blocks to the nearest subway. We all walked in huddle, still grumpy, still murmuring last “weak arguments” and ranting against “this nasty weather”.

The streets were empty, save for a few lights, it was completely barren to an extent that no sign of human civilization was visible. It felt eerie and weird…our own hostility made us want to split….this strange isolation made us want to stick together….and the cold weather was confusing the hell out of both of those equations.

Finally we saw the bright lights of the subway…say 100m away, all of us kind of internally murmured a “thank you prayer”. As we approached the subway, we saw a heap of newspapers lying next to our right on the walkway. As we passed the heap,  the newspapers fluttered in the face of the wind, to reveal three bodies, a mid-aged man (say around 40), and 2 young kids (one girl and one boy). All 3 of them wore jeans, wore their sneakers, and wore old tattered wollen clothes. The newspapers seemed their ploy to protect themselves from the angry winter.

We all “looked”, we all “saw”, we all shared a “vision”, we all “walked past”, we all (possibly) had a “tiny lug” at our hearts, and yet, we kept pace and soon reached the warmth of the subway.

Strangely, everyone had become more silent, and the debates seemed to have been forgotten. We all hugged each other warmly, whispered more “heartfelt” goodbyes….and walked our separate ways….and weirdly enough, the separation seemed to be an emotional drain (which it should have been in the first place), especially for a set of old buddies meeting after a long time.

Like Rashomon, every camera in this tale will tell a completely different story.

(This could be a qualifying entry for next year’s NPR 3 minute short story section).

My original go at it for this year (no I did not send it, but made an attempt)….here

959 : By the Hudson Bay

The screaming river flows steadily by the shallow bay,
I emptily stare at it through the long dreaming day,

The water running through carries through infinite stories,
Some strangely silent, some loud enough to be heard on its ferries,

My own mixed thoughts meld into the stream that flows,
One more random story added to the wind that blows,

I ponder, does it even matter - adding one more to this infinity,
The river says, “don’t even bother, I do not judge you by your salinity”

That response makes me smile, “does the river know I am not Him”,
It occurs to me, the river does not follow episodes of “According to Jim”,

My eyes follow the water till I see some languishing logs are heavily stacked,
Its at this point, I chuckle, even the (anonymous) river seems to have (finally) cracked.

958 : 2009 The year of braking down

Continuing from my previous post, 2009 has not been a great year in terms of driving. Two trips I really looked forward have had to be cancelled – one was a brilliant trip to Golden Temple (killing many birds with one car)….and the other was a slap dash to Banglore.

Like I was telling someone 2 days ago – I have this gloomy feeling, I have a sinking feeling that I shall look  back at both of these misses with deep regret.

Both of these trips were something that meant more than “anything” money could ever buy. My hands are really itching all through this period. (Really, if a deal was to be made, would gladly give up a couple of years of my life to be on these two 5-day trips……the loss is irreparable…..the dreaming tree is dying!!)

I have this vaguoo temptation to just pack a duffle, top the fuel and drive through to Mount Abu or some fancy destination and back…..It will not still take the pain of the two misses away, but will at least distract my mind away from that numbing soreness.

957 : Little (strange) joys of my life !!

I was driving the car after a break of 10 days. The disc brakes squeal and squirm (as the rust is wearing off) and the sound kicks you up.

Everytime I drive after a break of more than 3 days, I somehow always feel for the first few minutes as if my reflexes are failing me, and I am in those moments, overtly conscious of what I am doing as a driver. Within a few minutes, I am back to my element..thoroughly enjoying myself behind the wheel.

Yes, you heard me right….I still enjoy riding the car thoroughly. Like today I was driving it through a crowded  bumper to bumper traffic in a Mumbai suburb, and guess what, it made me feel alive.

Driving invariably gets me all kicking again. I play my music loud, usually DMB or Dylan or Floyd or one of my other favorites.

I get very involved in driving, it hardly a mechanical reflex action for me. I still calculate when to shift up or down, and like to make my car feel treated like a pretty baby, always respected and light on its machinery….never stretch it to the limit, unless it is for a short sprint. (I sincerely believe, you treat machinery well, and it will befriend you…never once to fail me….my old car failed me only once, and that was the only time I stretched her too far).

I am still very aware of the precise point of braking (and clutching), the eye constantly on the rpm meter. I somehow feel like a learner every time I sit on the car, and every time I drive a little more, I feel I have become a little better.

My sister thinks of me as the atypical Iyer, who kills the joy of living with his deconstruction….actually in this case (if only this case), I think this passionate involvement behind the wheel makes me truly happy every time I spin the wheels, even if it is in Mumbai traffic.

I can’t help childishly marvel at my own driving skills, as I keep pace with the rest on a busy intersection (its almost narcisstic!!)

I still know the most efficient lanes to take on roads I regularly drive, I kind of playing these tiny racing games with other drivers, where in my aim is to beat their faster driving with my more-easy-on-the-machinery style of driving. Its a constant endeavor, which sometimes I verbalize, and spousey at those points, gets the joke.

I know this post is sounding intensely narcisstic, I just wanted to end saying, that for me driving is almost like a “search for the truth” – the elusive perfect drive – almost spiritual.

I hope it stays this way forever.

(I have been driving for 15 years now, and done some 1,25,000 kms on various vehicles – 5 bikes and 2 cars. I love driving other’s cars as well, as long as they trust me with their machines and usually if they know me well, they do. I usually end up befriending their babies a little too much….. just a little out of marital action :-))

956 : Twins….twice the fun

Picture this. I am at the lounge at Doha, tired and wanting desperately to get back to the comfort of my home (another 5-6 hours away).

In the table next to me, sat a mallu couple (a gelf couple…if I might add, but a sopho mellu couple).

They had 2 kids with them (twins). One of them appeared to be a  boy and the other a girl (difficult to be sure), but I kind of knew.

They wore similar clothes, and both sat together with their own little plates and ate on their own. Were both around 3 years of age, no more, no less….I should know, given my (limited) knowledge of children !!

They both spoke immaculate English, ate their own meals, demanded a lot of their mom (in terms of food), and yet were very well behaved.

I looked through them for the best part of my meal – which was 2 bowls of soup and 4 cups of chai (I can drink extraordinary amounts of that poison.)

For the best part of those 30 minutes, they cheered me up, and made me smile under my lips, with their antics.

(Bless you and) Thank you (unknown) sweethearts !!, you just made a stranger’s day.

955 : Wake up call

I am 70, and on my death bed. In a very apocryphal narrative, I can see my whole life pass by me, and I strangely recall this day around my 34th birthday – wherein I was staring at the cake (oblivious of the celebration’s around me) and thinking if this is my half-life, is this what I shall be happy with when I am 70. Is this the romp that I want to celebrate? (At 34) thinking, will I write that book (I always wanted to), will I drive down to Leh, will I learn to play a (any) musical instrument….and a thousand alive dreams before I breathe my last?

At 70, I realize that I have done none of that, and sheepishly realize that life did give me a wake up call on my 34th birthday, as I recall that day in my dying moments…and I feel a life half lived….No second chances!!

Its strange to have to die on that incomplete note. To not to have done something which I could have easily done, had I just chosen to do it….as simple as flicking the switch…..the road less travelled.

I am woken up by the air-hostess. I was dreaming this on a recent flight, and had she not woken me up, I would have lived through all of this, and not remembered any of this (since I usually don’t remember any of my dreams)….but this one, because of the abrupt break, remained fresh in my head.

It seemed very spookily eerie, because my 34th is approaching in a month.

954 : Movies 37 : District 9

This is one movie you must watch, if you like dark movies about dis-utopia. I just loved this movie. Its fascinating how the story is almost narrated as a documentary – and creates this almost “real” make believe background for us to get into the movie.

How the life of the protagonist degenerates, and the subtle disutopian undertones throughout, make this one of the blackest movies I have seen in recent times….and yet, its keeps you engrossed, in an almost edge of the seat thriller kind of mode….though there is no suspense, no thriller, no potboiler….its just a documentary about aliens living in slums in Johannesburg.

A definite addition to your DVD collection. Add it, keep it, and show it to your children in 2025….they shall see how dis-utopia had been portended in 2009.

An overall 9/10. Brilliant movie….Must rank right up there with “Dark Knight”.

district91 district9poster district-9-warning

953 : Movies 36 : Taking Pelham 1 2 3

A decent taut movie about John Travolta hijacking a train on the NY subway, and how Denzel Washington becomes the unlikely savior.

A decent one time watch. Keeps you riveted to the action. Fairly predictable, and easy on the gray matter….an over all 6/10. Worth watching once, especially if you like such “vaguoo” thrillers.

taking-of-pelham-1-2-3 travolta123BIG2904_468x607 denzel-washington-pelham-123

952 : Movies 35 : Public Enemies

If you ever thought why world over, Johnny Depp is a popular guy, go watch this movie. Its an outstanding (true) story of “John Dillinger” a thief who lived in the early 30s, robbing banks on the streets of Chicago.

This story is supposed to be a cat and mouse between John Dillinger and Melvin Purvis (Christian Bale) as the cop out to get him.

The characterization of John Dillinger is so smooth, you almost end up wanting him (the evil guy) to win. His approach to life and crime is so “romantically” projected onto the screen, that its difficult to escape his charm.

Interesting to note, how he keeps losing friends, and yet compulsively continues to rob banks at will, almost by force of habit, knowing fully well, that at one point the world will get better of him.

The movies is supposed to be riddled with inaccuracies, but WhoTF cares, go watch it, this is worth adding onto your DVD collection. A dark movie that makes you feverishly wish, that the dark eventually wins…..knowing fully well, thats not how life is ever meant to be.

Gems like

“If you are looking at what I am looking, honey, you’d be in a hurry too.”

(after being told by Billie, his girl in the movie, that he seems to be a man in a hurry)


“I am catching up……on life, meeting someone like you. Dark, beautiful, like the black bird in the song….”

(after being asked by  Billie, what does he do for a living)


You would almost end up thinking before the movie, Depp as a gangster “wrong casting” and saying “wow!!” after you watch the movie. This is a Depp show all long. The others just play along as supporting cast.

Overall 9/10 for a fantastic movie. Go watch it.


951 : Movie 34 : UP from Pixar Studios

I liked watching UP  by Pixar, though it was far too cute at times for my taste. Having said that, all through the movie, I could not help thinking, “why the hell we do need actors at all, if we can make such movies without them”.

This is classic entertainment – with a few socio messages thrown in – Pixar style (like they did in Wall-E), a gentle touch of melancholy all through the story, and yet with a positive spin to the whole tale.

The best part of the story is, the characters are so well etched that you end up feeling for each of them, knowing fully well, they are still “imaginary cartoons”.

I liked the movie, would recommend watching it at least once, just like I did for Wall-E. Overall a 8/10 for an outstanding effort to tell a human tale.

up up_ver2 up_ver3

950 : “Trapped in my body, trapped in my soul”

He used to often wake up in the middle of the night, shocked by the multitude of thoughts criss-crossing through his head, in what could be construed as a concert of seeming random ideas – all jostling around in a neat unsung harmony.

It was at these intensely personal moments, he would also sometimes glimpse the immense discontinuity between what he wanted to be, and what he had ended up becoming. Is it normal, he would often wonder, for people to realize that the “house which jack built” was unfortunately not one he ever wanted to inhabit?

Do others feel this seemingly “all gone wrong” kind of emotion, when, visually, their lives appeared as one well-composed sonnet?

He would look at a painting and the colors would talk to him, he would like a photograph, and it would tell him not just stories, but hidden secrets as well; he would see a Akira Kurosawa’s Rashomon and he would see more than the 4 stories in them; he would read a Midnight’s Children and immerse in the magic fantasy of Saleem Sinai…..

He realizes he is more drawn by the “make-believe” than the “real”, he realizes that the distinction between the two are blurring rapidly; the source of his angst is his inability to drive out of a romantic make  believe world he has created, and ever reconcile with the “real” world outside.

The battle lines are drawn.  The facade cannot last too long….Before they classify him as “mad” he has to escape, run far away from a version of  “reality” that he is unwilling to accept.

Question is, where (and when) will he run?

(Title from Indus’s Creed 1990 album song – Uday Benegal’s vocals crooning those lines still ring in my ears.)

Monday, December 07, 2009

949 : Someone (jokingly) asked me “Do I swing?”

The answer is NO, and yet, I am the “proudest monkey”  :-)

Sunday, December 06, 2009

948 : Working for a “rock star” manager/leader

This one continues from my previous post on this topic.

Ever notice how invariably the “clean guy” in the wormhole (clean guy refers to one who is relatively away from the scumbag screwball politics….) is usually also the “rock star” manager.

My observation around this is, the “rock star” kind of knows he is so talented/good that he does not have to “compensate” for any of his (absent) deficiencies, unlike the others.

My other observation is, usually the clean rock star is usually outweighed at a ratio of 1:10 (one clean guy for 10 other scumbags), and this rises exponentially as we make our way to the top, probably literally reaching 1 in a million kind of numbers.

Usually us lumpen (you and me that is) take what the 10 are doing to be the actual game, rather than focusing on the 1, and hence a culture of mediocrity creeps in.

In that one freak case, where the rock star somehow lands up at the top job – you have a world killer – examples….dont look too far – Steve Jobs’ Apple, erstwhile Jack Welch’s GE, Bill Gates’ Microsoft,  Jeff Bezos’ Amazon and not to forget Berkshire Hathaway with Mr. Buffet.

Conversely, its not always true, that clean leaders build world killers….you also have to be a “rock star”…..Ratan Tata, NR Narayanmurthy’s Infosys….are both clean, but not rock stars. (for example, my current manager is an extremely clean guy, but would struggle to classify him as a “rock star” clean guy). Also, its not always that all “rock stars” are clean.

Lastly, some organizations can be killers even without the rock stars….example Google or Yahoo (which was a killer till recently).

The key message for me myself continues to be – hunt out that “rock star” who is clean – and try and latch onto him/her – and next step – become a rock star yourself. (You want to be incentivized….well, even clean rock star can enjoy groupies…nothing wrong with that :-)))

947 : Political Quips from GQ – 4

This one is my favorite, saved the best for the last.

When Harold Macmillan visited France to mark General De Gaulle’s retirement, at dinner there was this classic exchange between the two first ladies.

Dorothy Macmillan : What are you looking forward to now?

Madame De Gaulle : A Penis.

General De Gaulle : My dear, I think the English don’t pronounce the word quite like that. Its not “a penis”, but ‘appiness.

946 : Political Quips from GQ – 3

“It is not enough to have every intelligent person in the country voting for me – I need a majority.”

- Adali Stevenson

and this one

“Do you do stand-up?”

Cherie Blair greeting a wheelchair bound comedian at the 2005 Labor Party Conference

and this too

“They misunderestimated me.”

-George W Bush

and….finally in this series

“I would have made a good pope.”

-Richard Nixon

945 : Political Quips from GQ - 2

“For almost two years now we have tried to manage the economy in a way that no economy has been managed before.”

George Brown, Deputy Prime Minister in 1966, addressing the house of commons during a debate on crisis measure requiring a rise in interest rates, a wages’ freeze and cuts in public expenditure and investment.

944 : Political Quips from GQ

GQ (Nov 09) on Pg 224 has a set of political quips, which they think are the best from history. Not all of them are funny, some of them are just outrageous. In the following posts, will post the few I really liked. like this one from Dan Quayle

“I was recently on a tour of Latin America, and the only regret I have was that I didn’t study Latin harder in school so I could converse with those people.”

943 Rip Van Winkle’s “short nap”

Picture this.

Sat morning, I finish off a few things I need to shop for folks back home. I reach back to the apartment by 1pm, armed with a pizza in my hand. Guzzle down 2 Coronas and the Pizza, and then decide to take a short nap.

Should have been around 2pm when I decided to snooze off.

I wake up after the “short nap” and look at the watch – 12:43

I am like still coming to grips with the “awake” world, so rub my eyes, unable to comprehend. A full 20 seconds later, in complete disbelief, reach out to my phone to confirm….it says “00:44”.

So my afternoon siesta lasted a full 10 and a half hours.

This makes me believe, I am truly jetlagged….. still.

Saturday, December 05, 2009

942 : Google works in mysterious ways

Someone googled for “iyer fucking inside a temple” and reached this site.

Oh lord, oh lordy lord….!!

941 : The importance of sequence

I started listening to music (in an earnest fashion) when I was 7 years old using a National “2-in-1” that my dad bought for us paying 1500 in those days (a little more than a month of his salary) – I must rank that as one of the best investments he ever made for me.

In those days Aakash Vani, Radio Ceylon (for English songs – Appa later told me that they also used to play Tamil songs – I never seemed to have gone down that route), and Vividh Bharti on the radio, and a collection of tapes my dad had recorded classic hindi songs on.

As I grew a little older, beyond 10, I started acquiring a few tapes on my own. When you heard music on tapes, unless you were sitting on top of the player, you let it play all through and 30 minutes, pop the tape, change the side and press “play” again.

What happened was I (we) invariably heard the tape in its entireity, and in the sequence, the producer wanted us to hear it in. (Like it was common to have the first song on the album (side A) and the last song on side B to be the best compositions on the tape – why? well, because most places allowed you to sample before you bought – and you would start by playing Side A – i.e. hear #1 song, and then after a few minutes, flip the side (and now play last song on side B, and let the tape unloop itself).

The producers (and artists) used to invest in album sequencing and it used to be an art form. After all, the artist would decide how he wants to narrate a musical story to you.

“Singles” – were the first innovation, where tapes would hold only 1 song on a tape, and a cover or extended version on side B of the same song…..but they were made for economic reasons – and not because of artistic needs – to allow the customer to buy only the song he wants (a la Itunes).

Few side effects of hearing tapes in sequence
1. The album would become like a storyboard – almost a single, yet discretized narrative.
2. Songs would meld into each other – example “Father Figure” would always “Faith” on the George Michael album (and in your head the association grew) – to an extent, that after a point, if you heard only one of them, without the other – somehow the experience would be incomplete.

I can be a spoilsport – can lament the death of “sequencing” as an art (there used to be a job called “sequencer” in the recording studio), but I wont do.

But, I do want to remind the Ipod-Itunes generation – that sometimes listening to a single CD through and through on repeat and sequence – can be a very uplifting experience.

(I have been listening to Riding With the King – BB King and Clapton  - some 15 times in the last 4 days – on constant repeat and in sequence – and I am falling in love with music sequencing all over again.)

940 : Its 3am in the morning, and I am 3 Coronas down…

This must be the oddest thing, I have done in recent time :-)

939 : Working for Arjun (and waiting for Godot)

In my 13 years in the wormhole, I have worked for quite a few managers, and except for 2 – all of them have been exceptionally good to me. The 2 I did not get along, I quit the job in months – I just cannot drag my feet with a bitch called hope – not good at it at all.

My current boss?
He is very good, to guys who know my context, I dont have a reason to suck upto him, so if I am saying he is a “star”, he really has to be one.

Is he ideal?

My ideal boss is someone, who has arrived in life, who does not have to prove anything, because he is already a “rock star”.

A quick question? If Dick Fuld were to extradite himself from the legal mess he is in, and start an IBank, how many of us would sign up to work for a 65 year old CEO. I think I would do that blindly. I know a rock star, when I see one.

Similarly, if Arjun were to head of an archery warrior group – everyone would know he is miles ahead of them, and both he and them would feel unthreatened by the situation – an “ideal” balance.

The idea is to hunt out those Arjun’s in real world and work for them – because (when and if) you find (your) Arjun, you have found peace and kickass satisfaction (for your own self).

The bigger idea, of course, is to become Arjun yourself. That of course requires you to be able to look a parrot and still see only his pupils.

That should not be too difficult, you reckon, eh?

938 : Corona with Lime

I used to dislike beer all through growing up. Being part of the corporate wormhole had to guzzle a few to be considered “socially” acceptable.

I started with Guinness, which I did not like that too much (never mind their book of records ;-))

In the past few years have standardized on Corona, especially Corona Light if that is available.

Corona with lime is a combination I have come to like and enjoy.

Its light flaky and sour – and just right for me – a freaky non-purist kind of beer.

I am almost to the point of adding this to the list of my poisons, along with Chai and Red Wine.

(Facts – Corona light has 4.5 % alchohol, 109 calories and is best had straight from the bottle. If you get your bottle with a lime at its head, your supposed to shove it right in, because in that act, you would release the lime juice into the beer. Then cap the bottle head with your finger, tilt the bottle, wait for a second, then get it upright again. And, you are ready to go….)

Thursday, December 03, 2009

937 : In case you did not notice…

I am struggling to write today. To clarify, am still full of things to say, but, its the language and body of words that are missing.

I know exactly the reason that my words are deserting me today. Do you like being marauded?

936 : Legal Alien in New York (again!!)

I like cities, which don’t make you feel alien, though you are a stranger. By that yardstick, Hong Kong and New York rank right up there. London is definitely not in the same league….it still makes me feel conscious of my “outsider” identity.

Bombay is my home, so wont comment on it, but Delhi is another city that scores low on this count. Hyderabad scores brilliantly on this count.

If I ever have to move cities New York, Hong Kong, Hyderabad, London in that order of preference….

Till then, I am a legal alien in New York.

935 : Woke up to the sound of pouring rain…

That’s from Skid Row’s “I’ll remember you”….

I woke up at 2am today with some harsh sound occurring in the vicinity. My first thought was “rodent”…but when I tried to find the source of the sound, could not. Finally made my way off the bed, and there I figured it was the rain splashing against the window.

Also the wind escaping through the window and door crevices was making “Ramsay style” spooky sounds.

934 : Riding with the King

I have always been very ambivalent about Clapton (Eric). There is no disputing the genius he possesses for the 6 strings, but yet, something never got me completely hooked onto his sound.

I do like quite a few of his songs, but not his sound (per se), unlike DMB, Blues Travellers and the like, where I just like the sound….the song then does not matter.

I have been hearing “Riding with the King” – BB King + Eric Clapton 3 times since the morning….and its addictive.

Is it the King or is it Clapton, don’t actually know…but I am liking the sound, so far.

Worth adding to your collection, go pick the album.