Saturday, April 30, 2005

New wheels

The kindly folks at Toyota India have given me a Camry Automatic for the weekend. Now ordinarily, you would say "Great, and you're such a lucky friggin' bastard." But, wait a sec. Big car = big fucking trouble on Delhi roads. Y'see ever since my life entered the AD (After Debt) era I have begun to love the little Alto. For one very very important and gargantuan reason. It's small. Small and cute and perfect for moi. And compared to a Camry it is positively miniscule. Also the Alto is a hatchback, you don't have to worry about a huge ugly posterior sticking out. The worst thing about a huge car is the diagonal measure you have to always remember when reversing out of parking.

That said, this is a really nice car. Driving it in mid-morning traffic is a pain in the behind, but once you manage to find an open stretch of road, a softish tap on the accelerator and -v-r-o-o-m- you take off. Today from under the Chirag Delhi flyover, I was at the head of the traffic and when the light turned, I floored. The next thing I knew I was past 120, OK so for 10-12 seconds I was trying to figure out how the heck things started moving so fast. At 12 in the morning. It was fast.
So at night when I mange to find some nice open roads, I will gun this baby. Friendgirl may not like this, but she will be scared tonight. Very scared.

Friday, April 29, 2005

Traffic and Property

Rums pointed out that I have no clue whatsoever on the Mumbai property bazaar. After which I did some homework and have to concede that she was totally bang-on. One and a half big biggies will barely you a slum in Kurla. Bang under the flightpath too. Well, not exactly, but we are talking an decent apartment in those fancy new high-rises at Andheri here. Not like anywhere close to town side.
Talking about Kurla, whenever you fly into Bombay and have a window seat don't you feel that you're going to end up banging into someone's kitchen. I mean, the slums are so close to the airfield that you sometimes can see people doing their daily deeds very very clearly. And trust me, from a plane that is a freaky sight. Not that it is much better when you fly into Chennai and Kolkata, but in Bombay since the runway starts where the slums end, it would end up giving Joe Whiteman or Ching East Asian a very 'nice' first impression of India. But still, most of Kurla is in a better shape than CST International Airport.
Now Gurgaon is a booming property market today. Like BOOM-ing, BOOM-BOOM-ing, you get the picture and though I doubt people would be buying apartments for two big biggies just yet, I heard some new DLF and Unitech apartments are going for at least Rs 10,000,000. That my friends is 20,000 baldies.
Very nice, so some people are getting very fucking rich. However, with Gurgaon traffic the way it is, these prices are either someone blowing a very large bubble or a really bad joke. I know the highway is being worked on, for the last whatever number of years, but it isn't close to getting finished, call centre Qualis' drive like freaking maniacs and then you have this intensely assholic behaviour of people insisting on fighting on the road. Even if what they have got is barely a scratch.
It took me two hours to get from Manesar back home. Two freaking hours. In a non-aircon vehicle in the dust of fucking Gurgaon. Man, call me spoiled and write that you never had air-con when you were little. Seriously nor did I. I don't need aircon at night all the time. But climate and dust control in traffic is a must. I'm a spoiled South Delhi brat, but I have no reason to apoligise for that.
Thats why I am sitting in a room controlled at 24 degrees and writing this. Anyway, I just hated traffic today. No rage would be a better term. Seriously, Gurgaon is getting as bad as Bangalore. And that is bad.

Heck, just linx.

Now that I am suitably depressed about being paid jackshit, being in credit card debt thanks to Friendgirl's expensive tastes. Somewhat expensive tastes. Like weird necklaces. Plus, you ever noticed how the white lines on the road look like tracer bullets being swallowed up under your car. Especially at night when you're pushing your Alto to speeds it really wasn't designed for. Cool.
Anyway, I have now resolved that I will earn more and I will drive bigger car than Dad does today in five years time. Maybe, but would I want a elephantine car. Maybe not. Anyway, since I worked like a pig last time round, this time things are a bit easier. So I've been surfing all over again.
Date this guys sister
. Really now, maybe a hoax, but you never know. She could also end up looking like - FAT.
I read this really interesting article in the NYT about how Manhattan's power mad, money hungry men unwind. They go skinny dipping.
Guess what, if this law passes in the US, or was in force in the US I would have been in Guantanamo for passing a J. No seriously, I did some not so legal things while stateside, but it was New York and Boston after all. Wonder what they'll do once they discover that their kids also smokie uppie.
This is a pretty cool one, it is the Museum of Retro Technology.
Man, I remember these so well, its not funny. I hink I might have some lying about.
And since we are on a retro kick, why not check these styles out.
And if you want to really read intellectual pRon, maybe its not pRon litt, god knows what it is. But Brilliant stuff none the the less.
And the Prez of the United States of America, Afghanistan and I-rack got sent into a nuclear bunker because of a ... wait for it ... CLOUD!
While typing this out I got a job offer, how cool is that. Am I leaving just yet, well, monument buolding has started, so I doubt it. But, heck as the saying goes "It's all about the money, honey."

Salaries

Print media salaries are hitting the roof. Pradeep Guha and Subhash Chandra along with the Bhaskar guys are trying to poach more people from Jain and Jain Company Limited. I mean Ayaz is just a lackey, they want to leave Times headless. Therefore, a certain individual I will only identify as JJ has been offered something close to Rs 2.5 crore. That my friends is 25 million, plus DNA (which is the name of the paper) will buy said individual a house for 1.5 crore, which is a shitload even by Mumbai's sky-high standards. Also, said individuals childrens education (abroad if need be) will be covered.
This people is corporate level salaries. This will move said journalist, this man is editorial into big league of salary earners, even maybe onto that stupid list FE makes every year.
Said persons number two and number two's right hand man have also been offered stupendous packages. All wavering, because this money is big. Real big. Bada J is scared. Pradeep Guha is getting back at him.

Thursday, April 28, 2005

One more post.... sorry

Sorry, I have to post again. The fight tale has amused everyone in office, with one other colleague who was at the place but left before the drama cursing himself for missing the best presser ever. Anyway, the reason behind post #3 today is...
a) I'm Vella
b) I got a new phone
Ta-dah...

The new Samsung D500. It is the first Samsung phone that I have actually enjoyed using, with 96 megs of on-board memory and the previous user having put in some nice songs and shit. Still a bit small, but the screen is actually pretty good with a 262k colour screen and a 1.3megapixel camera. Pretty nice, I'll write a more detailed opine later.
Anyway maybe one more post might come later.

oh yeah...

And for those people who do know me.. the beard is history, my face is actually looking a tad thinner now and I am working hard on making body thinner as well.

Fight fight....

Today I went for a presser. Nothing special in that. Sunil Mittal was droning on about how well Bharti Tele had done, and unlike a Levers results presser he was right. With Revenues of over Rs 8000 crore and a net profit of Rs 1400 crore plus, he is right. Listen, honestly, this time next year Bharti Tele, a company that did not exist ten years ago will be larger than HLL. I assume they will have revenues of over Rs 12000 crore next year, but this post is not about that.
This post is about the fight between CNBC and NDTV that followed. My god, it was fun. I've seen journalists fight before, usually drunken ones at TC, but this was a 'professional' fight. No holds barred and not about a woman, it was about Sunil Mittal. Two fat, short, mustachioed men were fighting about SBM, how lovely SBM might have felt that he was in so much demand.
The tale goes that somebody was to get some airtime with SBM, or was promised, blah blah blah. I mean Bharti Tele is no small company with these results and now that NDTV Profit and CNBC are fighting for ratings this was good fun. From what Sanjay Anand told me this happened because the NDTV guys were not allowed something or the other and CNBC was because their short, fat man was more effective or not. Anyway, this led to the NDTV chap threatening to pull news, (unlikely, highly unlikely) and made a huge shindig with nice abuses, breaking the decorum of pressers, which are usually civilised if there is no booze, unless there is the 'gift hungama' when every tommy wants a 'take-home'. Anyway, in the process SBM got manhandled by these two cry-babies, the print and wire guys (your writer included) were laughing while enjoying The Oberoi's version of a Cheesecake (it was frozen, I thought cheesecakes are meant to be well cheesy) and SBM ran away.
Later, I caught SBM, some question about bonus issues and dividends I wanted to ask, but sllipped in this tamasha. He just sighed. But, the man realises the key to a good stock price is good media coverage and after today, he doesn't know if its worth it.
That said, Senjam RS, Bharti's PR chap (formerly the guy was in Samsung) should lose this job as well. Because ultimately I think it was his fault.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Driving and other things...

Rums, you asked why I respect two particular auto hacks who have never touched a steering wheel in thier lives. Thats because, many of the auto hacks that do drive as slimy snivelling bastards. No let me rephrase that - actually forget it. And anyway pretending to drive and actually being able to drive are two different things altogether.
Let me narrate story of adventures of driving incapable hacks.
Hyundai had just launched the santro Zip Plus, and since Subbu (more hair version and he still hasn't forgotten the Gayatri Joshi incident - Rums to note) liked to organise drives for all and sundry and since at HT the term junket meant a free for all, I went. Now mind you, me at HT was minion by rank, but I used to allot myself on junkets. Kind of like, "Oh yeah, I'll come, no don't worry, I don't have to inform anyone."
Drive was from Bangalore to Goa. ToI Bangalore has some chap called Darling Hector, no really. Now the highway from Bangalore to Hubli is a small extremely narrow two-lane road, just like all the roads in all of south India. The concept of wide roads are alien to them. So there I am in a Santro with darling and some other chap from AMS magazine and me at back trying to sleep off the night before when I had caught up with some friends from Bangalore, but am unable to shut my eyes. Now Darling is told to wear seatbelt just after taking the wheel, I mean, its OK to drive like a maniac, but maniacs should still wear belts.
Public Service Message time - Kids always wear your seatbelt while driving.
Now, what would a sensible man do when told to wear a seatbelt, pull over or something. No Darling doesn't do that. OK, so I also wear my belt sometimes while driving. However, Darling goes into advanced gymnastics to wear his belt. trying to fit his body between the straps of the belt, both hands off the steering. Now this would have all been quite OK if
a) I was not in the car and...
b) if there wasn't a huge Volvo truck headed for us.
This was it. Crushed to death in a Korean car, my ignominy in life would be complete. OK, so unlike some of my (male) friends from school/college who were (and some still are) virgins, I'ld enjoyed the pleasures of the flesh, but there were better ways to die. Like y'know.. OK there is no good way to die, but you get my point.
And I wasn't even driving!
Anyway, the fcat that I'm alive proves that :-
a) I almost shat in my pants
b) AMS hack and me made a lunge for the wheel and steered us out of trouble
c) Volvo Trucks have amazing brakes
d) All of the above
Choose, there is no wrong answer.
However, that said, my next auto near death experience was totally my fault. A year virtually after this incident we (a bunch of hacks on Hyundai money again) were driving from Bombay to Goa. I almost killed Dilip Moitra of Deccan Herald, which might not have been a bad thing. I most certainly almost gave him a heart attack. Maithrayee and Bijoy as witnesses. Spinning a Hyundai Accent CRDi 180 degrees on NH17 just outside Chiplun. Keeping control of the spin throughout, lucky that there was no oncoming traffic, very lucky in fact, missed a tree by less than a foot.. etc etc. I'm alive, thats what matters.
Anyway, I have the joy of reading a Powerpoint presentation right now, so I'll write more some other time.
Just a couple of interesting things I thought I'ld share before that.
The Darth Side
America, america, america *sigh*

Monday, April 25, 2005

Old man Munjal.

In the small and unfortunately extremely dumb/corrupt/corpulent/know-it-all group of auto journalists in Delhi (not including Ms Sengupta and Mr Joshi, who I adore as people and reporters and two people who helped me out tremenedously in my first year as a journalist, god bless them!), no lets make that India (some of the most inspired number crunching comes from Jain&Jain journo's out of Mumbai, one in particular, let me not even mention byline river who filled up half a page of ToI today with gunk that I wouldn't have written in a story brief), Brij Mohan Lall Munjal, Chairman of Hero Honda is called 'Ole Man Munjal'. Now usually, at the end of a presser, before the vapid PYT's or sometimes know-it-all guys from the TV channels descend on him, he manages to sidestep with remarkable grace, and actually gives the time of day to print. Surprisingly, most auto bosses who matter, whether it be Munjal, Bajaj, Khattar or Subbu, they all seem to give the TV channels shortt shrift. Which I just love them for, I mean seeing Khattar chiding CNBC once made me write something nice about his not-so-new 'new' Esteem. Brilliant.
But, back to the point. Which was Ole man Munjal. Well, the folks on the 13th decided that there is nothing better bto do than to send good ol' K to meet the chap. Now keep in mind, that I am younger than some of Munjal's grandkids, so conversations tend to die fairly quickly around him. Anyway, they mainly involve underpowered but extremely (and you have no idea how extreme the term is here) economical and relaible. But, 13th Floor is celebrating their third anniversary of underpaying reporters, Bossman told me that I get paid the same as their number two, and I'm like number gadzillionth and one in my organisation. So I got the thankless job I reckoened of spending an hour with Munjal.
Wrong. Sometimes I do think like a whippersnapper and diss old folks. I'm sorry for that and today was a good example that I am frankly a very small fry in a very big world and have nothing of consequence, other than buy a car, and maybe that award thingie.
It was a riveting conversation. We spoke about the time after partition, and how his entire Mom's side was almost wiped out in the riots. How he saw a 50-strong mob strip and rape a young Muslim girl, and "I just stood there before turning the other way." I"I saw dead people and bodies all over the trains." But, he did manage to see the tricolour go up on the night of 14/15th August. And hearing these tales, as someone who was born 31 years after we gained independence made me realise just how much must have gone in to that. The horror stories of partition that Tamas or Train to Pakistan try to relate came out even more powerfully in the words of a 80 year old man.
We hardly spoke about motorcycles, other than a little bit for a story I am doing on something else. If I didn't Number Three would wag his finger and reproach me in the same condescending style that he always does. Munjal told me while I was leaving that I was the first journalist he had ever told this story to, "I hardly talk about it at home, the memories are not always that nice, you just choose to forget about them."
He did mention a funny story about a German man and 'namaste' and how much the Jap's love him, but somehow it didn't sound like the BM Munjal that we meet at two or three pressers every year. This was a man I never knew existed.
So, when I was leaving I asked him why he told this story to me (young stupid, sometimes arrogant whippersnapper hack, who he really hardly knew from Adam), and not to say, someone else? He told me, "Because you asked, and I know I won't be around for that much longer, so I had to tell it to someone sometime."
I don't know why, but that left a nice fuzzy feeling inside me. The Old Man really has some great stories in him, I must get to meet him again. Now if he could only teach that son of his some colour co-ordination.....

Sunday, April 24, 2005

Whoa is a German sort of way!

In the past week former Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger - described beautifully by The Sun as 'Papa Ratzi' and by thousands of other newspapers as the Rottweiler Pope, has become the German most in the news. But today in San Marino, another German reminded us why he might be the greatest German around - Herr Michael Schumacher. Did anybody watch the San Marino GP in Imola, I mean don't take anything away from Fernando Alonso, but Schumi, who career was described as being on the wane by our own great (sic!) Narain Karthikeyan came back with a bacg, with the fastest car on the track by miles. Had he only qualified a bit higher. Great overtaking and great strategy. This is what F1 should be like.
I also watched Pope Benedict XVI's inaugural mass today. The man looks so happy. Oh well, being the god-like deity of a billion people would do that to anybody, but when you read old Colonial texts about how uncivilised pagan people in dark Africa and Asia had weird customs, I was just amazed by the elaborateness of the Catholic Church. And Papa Ratzi was really happy, German's rarely are, especially is they are from Bavaria. Bavarians are usually only happy when you tell them that you have a lot of beer - preferably good lager. Or if you tell them that Mercedes Benz sucks.
Talking of cars, I met the boss - well - the boss of Aston Martin Middle East - which plans to start selling in India by the end of this year. Now Aston Martin still makes handmade cars. Even the metal plates are cut and pressed into shape by hand which means you can customise interiors and exteriors into any colour you want, just never add a spoiler.

Aston makes around 4000 cars a year, a lot more profitably than any other British car company, even though it is owned by Ford. It however shares nothing with Ford, but well if you can charge $180,000 for a standard DB9, why shouldn't you make money. And the top of the line Vanquish, which is also a tremendously luxurious car, I mean Rollsesque luxury here, churns out over 650 horses and can move at over 300k's - actually close to 350k's. However, this year I believe Aston will unveil the cheapest car they ever produced the Vantage V8. Which will cost a mere $120,000 and is already sold out in Europe and America for the next four years. But not in the Middle East and since India comes under them, the folks at Aston hope to sell over 20-40 cars a year in India. Now, after taxes and excise duties and all that - the average Aston Martin V8 Vantage would cost a mere Rs 1.1 crore.

But it is so beautiful. And since Aston's have always been 007's car of choice (other than those disasterous movies where Bond used a BMW even worse a Z4 - we had to come back to Bavaria right?) ever since the great Aston Martin DB5 he used in Goldfinger. I want an Aston Martin someday. I know I might never earn enough to make even one monthly payment on one, but there is no harm in dreaming.
I also want to travel to Machu Pichu in Peru. But that I will do. Timeline not known. Bavaria however I will do a bit sooner than that. Lufthansa has a direct Delhi-Munich service, so one day I might just buy a ticket and fly off.
I'm dreaming too much.

Reset the membrane

I think my cloistered south Delhi existence with St Columba’s School and St Stephen’s College needs a bit of a shake-up, which is why I decided to build new monument. In doing so, I have no clue how I’ll end up – I could manage to become a totally psychotic deranged individual or could actually become a nicer, better and more hard working person.

This will mean major changes to the blog. So watch this space.

I was logically working out why human beings have been such a successful species – I think it is not because we can communicate with each other (I still don’t understand women, and the same goes for almost all straight men) or because we can think (ask people to choose one flavour of ice cream out of 30 and they’ll take an hour) but because we invented the system of economic remuneration. Money is why we are successful.

The other day, when I was attending the Doors of Perception summit, I was hearing Professor Magrit Kennedy who made a presentation arguing that the very concept of money that we have in this world is flawed. Now I was never a student of economics and I guess someone who studied economics can understand this better, but I would rewally suggest that you read her presentation.

Sometimes Blogger getts on my nerves - try typing out something on MS-Word and transferring it using the age-old 'Ctrl-A, Ctrl-C, Ctrl-V' method and fonts go for an absolute toss. I hear Yahoo and MSN are also getting into this free blog movement. Well, Yahoo's product might be bearable, but MSN? I mean these folks totally screwed up Hotmail, not saying that the Indian media in particular gave Sabeer Bhatia ujndue attention almost marrying him off to Aishwarya (I so wanted Salman Khan to beat the living daylights out of this guy) and now he is promoting something which I am told is 'stolen' and really nothing unique.

Talking about the Indian media - lets please look at F1, Narain Karthikeyan. Yes, he is a decent driver - but he is an ugly mofo. Dude, F1 drivers are all good looking - look at Alonso, Schumi, Alesi, Button and then look at Narain. Its like having a bad 'what the fuck' moments. And he is driving a Jordan, for which, if you buy Bharat Petroleum products are paying for. He can at best expect a top ten, Narain isn't as bad as Alex Yoong, but honestly that ain't saying much. And about all those places - Mumbai, Hyderabad, Kolkata that want to host a F1 race - one those state governments won't what hit them when they meet Bernie Eccelstone - who is the most shrewd businessman on the planet - so much so that The Economist ran a cover on convoluted F1 finances and for gods sake - before building any F1 circuits lets build a few decent regular circuits where I can take say a old Honda City VTEC or a overtuned Esteem or Ikon for a bit of a banging time. But noooooo.....

And what do the great hallowed papers like ToI and HT do? P1 flyer when he finishes 17th at Albert Park. Seriously eye-poppingly in-fucking-sane. Its just like the time when Major Rathore won the silver at Athens. Yeah, dude, lets overhype everything. No-one, save a couple of edits here and there questioned the fact that we one sixths of the world's population, who are really quite inconsequential (other than when we threaten to blow up a particular Western neighbour, with an equally inconsequential 250 million people) can't win more than one medal. One medal, one billion people, Australia won some 70-80 medals and they have a population the size of Delhi.

Sometimes India worries me. Big time.


Saturday, April 23, 2005

Blogito Ergo Sum

‘Cogito Ergo Sum’, that is what was written outside the door of W-21 (if I remember correctly), Mukerji West, St Stephen’s College, which was inhabited by AdSin in my second and third years in that place. Which incidentally is throwing a huge 125th birthday bash. All I can say to that is Ad Dei Gloriam. But, what that statement by Virgil sometime two millennia ago means is – “I think therefore I am.” Of late I’ve been wondering if I’ve been doing enough of that.

Y’see some of the lack of thinking comes down to ‘monumental decision’ that was taken. Now Chuddi Buddy V believes that I didn’t think through hard enough, and that I should have really debated the importance of the relationship I have with FriendGirl and all that, because ‘monumental decision’ will kind of consign my relationship to the altar of history. Now I did have arguments about that, saying that FriendGirl knew why I was deciding to build new monument and that she was not taking a decision about her life, other than wanting the stuffed toy fishy (what was Nemo’s dad called?) she gave me when I bought my car.

But, CBV (it’s easier to spell) thought that I didn’t think enough and just made up my mind because I wanted to run away. Well, really the decision was driven by Bossman Two not giving me too much time, but the best decision are not pondered over I believe, because you’ll find enough reasons to think of the reasons not wanting to change the status quo, but in this case changing the status quo is the best way of changing my career status.

I’ll keep on blogging though. It’s a lot more fun that thinking too much. Thinking too much can be quite a bummer at times. Particularly on hallucinogenic substances.

But when Naren came down, the discussion moved towards mangoes (and Naren agreed with my contention about the absurdity of taking mangoes to Can-pore) and melons. Very nice they are, especially in summer. I love mangoes, but Naren has an unhealthy affair with them, extremely unhealthy. Eating 20 mangoes in one sitting is unhealthy, no matter what you say.

We ate dinner in this hole in the wall called ‘South CafĂ©’ behind Yusuf Sarai. I discovered this place while watching the Trade Towers in Manhattan coming down (it is a huge hole, I saw it last year when I was rendering my part in Lost in Manhattan) thanks to A-man, but that is another story. We ate Beef Fry, Beef Masala, Appams and Kerala Parathas. Heaven, and we were stuffed and the three of us ate for just Rs 112. Which is less than the cost of a bottle of beer in ANY decent Delhi pub. Great food and a great price.

Just started Vernon God Little, lets see how the book turns out. Don’t know what tonight’s plans are, but I will go to the gym and I guess I’ll catch up with Shades in DefCol after that. Let’s see.

Friday, April 22, 2005

feel great and lost mangoes

I love this gymming business, now. The first week was bad, I would feel dead after ten minutes of cardio. Now, I'm enjoying it - a good 40-45 minutes on various machines broken up with some stretching and weight training. Even the weight training is feeling good, earlier my muscles would feel like someone had stabbed them, now not only am I feeling more energetic, which was my first aim, but I think there has been some palpable difference in the 'ponch'. Another two months and I think some amount of weight might actually be lost.
Friendgirl hates me - AGAIN. The problem today was that I did not spend as much time as she wanted to, particularly because she was going back to hometown in the evening. I would have loved to have spend time with her, but you can only spend 'so much' time in the middle of a workday. So she got angry, told me to leave, which I really had to anyway since I needed to converse with Bossman and me being insensitive cad, left also. The only problem was that she had bought some mangoes which she had left behind in my car, so well, I got four free mangoes.
Now, what I personally do not understand is that her hometopwn is Can-Pore which is the middle of UP mango country. Its quite defeatist to take mangoes to langra country. But, I don't claim to understand women.
Maybe Friendgirl wanted to scream at me anyway because of monumental decision.

Monumental times.

I've been asked to make a major decision, and no its not Friendgirl throwing down the gauntlet of marriage. It is a lot worse. At a level at least. And I have decided to bite the bullet, and accept the offer made to me. Well, only if the money is real good - refer to last post on my financial non-serendipity. And no I'm not selling my ass for this. Anyway, what must be done, must be done. Sorry for the obscurity, but until things happen I cannot write about this. More details in another post.

Thursday, April 21, 2005

BC and AD

Given the huge credit card debt on me, well, huge by my salary standards, and the car, there is one conclusion that I have drawn. I am screwed. My life has entered a new phase - in Sanskrit I think it is called Grihatasray (correct me if I am wrong) - but for me it is Before Car (BC) and After Debt (AD). I am now a grand total of six months AD years old. I hate it! I need more money.

Existential crisis...

Sometimes in your sorry existence you start wondering - "Why am I alive?" Well, the answer to that is that you are alive because the very existence of a trillion odd cells depends on you. So killing yourself would mean murdering too many individual cells - and that would be plain mean.
So, I guess you figured out that I am slowly going mad. Maybe through the combined alcohol and pot withdrawal symptoms. Maybe its because I've been screamed at twice today and also put into a huge crisis about life. Thank god its junior P's birthday today, will give me a chance to drink again, and must get Tigerman to drive this time.
Thank god then for the far removed from reality world of the interweeb (no typo). I just blog, some people have a lot of spare time to put up throughly well-researched stuff online. Like The History of the Batmobile site. All I can say, in a Dr. Ashish Roy-esque (sorry for the Stephanian humour) way is 'Whoa!'

So you see, when under extreme duress some people resort to smoking, eating ice-cream, having sex with strangers - I resort (in a totally non-geeky sort of way) to the interweeb. Maybe also the last three at different points of time in my life, but still.
Talking about sex, this is a great site - The top ten reasons I hate fake lesbian sex. I wonder how the girls in LSR used to do it (or at least make out), because I know they did do it (Horse's mouth information - from several different pretty horses). But, its true, ViViD porn DVD's all have Jenna Jameson (or some other chick) violate the living daylights of some young girl, but it seems so un-natural. Actually all top-drawer American porn seems un-natural, not as bad as Mallu porn (which is scary, funny and gross all at once) but not as good as Japanese porn.
Why am I comparing porn right now, next thing you know, I'll switch into review mode and comment god-like on the virtues (or none) of the bukkake video I saw last night.
But, the most hilarious site I saw today was Action Philosophers. Dude, I so want to buy the comic book now. Look up the site, really worth it!

I was spending the morning listening to Maroon 5's Songs About Jane. Nice Album. However, songs about a lost love sometimes sound extremely distressing to me, and though their sond is funky, I did find myself switching over to listen to Rush's A Farewell to Kings. Here are the lyrics from their most popular hit - This Love

I was so high I did not recognize
The fire burning in her eyes
The chaos that controlled my mind
Whispered goodbye and she got on a plane
Never to return again
But always in my heart

This love has taken its toll on me
She said Goodbye too many times before
And her heart is breaking in front of me
I have no choice cause I won't say goodbye anymore

I tried my best to feed her appetite
Keep her coming every night
So hard to keep her satisfied
Kept playing love like it was just a game
Pretending to feel the same
Then turn around and leave again

This love has taken its toll on me
She said Goodbye too many times before
And her heart is breaking in front of me
I have no choice cause I won't say goodbye anymore

I'll fix these broken things
Repair your broken wings
And make sure everything's alright
My pressure on your hips
Sinking my fingertips
Into every inch of you
Cause I know that's what you want me to do

This love has taken its toll on me
She said Goodbye too many times before
And her heart is breaking in front of me
I have no choice cause I won't say goodbye anymore

This love has taken its toll on me
She said Goodbye too many times before
And my heart is breaking in front of me
She said Goodbye too many times before

This love has taken its toll on me
She said Goodbye too many times before
And her heart is breaking in front of me
I have no choice cause I won't say goodbye anymore...

Draw your own conclusions. 'Nuff said, I'm getting back to work.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Yet another movie and stonerness

Met up with Radu and Wertti last night and went to latter's pad in Def Col. While I'll narrate a couple of incidents from 'My adventures with Radu and Rodu' later, we'll talk a bit of the other persona I met up with. Wertti is an employee for big bad evil newspaper, working under ASG and he is also the only example of a seriously overpaid journo that I know. This guy has been in the fourth estate for around six months now and he gets 50k a month. No, really.
Not even overpaid and underworked PYT's on TV get that much. Well, his explanation for his gross overpaidness is the fact that this is compensation for the two years of hell he endured at IIM Calcutta. But, I'll admit this much unlike his other friends from that institute who sold themselves to corporate slavery pandering to inane consumerism - Wertti does have a life.
Most of which involves buying obscure pirated DVD's of movies I have never heard of.
For example, the movie we watched last night, or rather watched between several jj's of good Kasaul maal is called Chong qing sen lin or 'Chungking Express' in English. Simply put, the stor is about two love struck Hong Kong cops both dealing with rejection. In very strange ways, sometimes involving a lot of pineapple. The weird thing is that several characters do not have names - the two male lead actors are called Cop 233 and Cop 633.

But what is really cool about the DVD - and make sure you buy the 'Rolling Thunder' release of the movie is the before and after comments by Quentin Tarantino. For one, QT just loves Chinese movies - from Kung-Fu flicks to complicated and sometimes surreal emotional drama like this movie. But, QT's points are just so cool - for example - he points out that Faye Wong is really cute. Which he is, and whenever I will listen to the Mamas and the Papas song California Dreaming again, I will remember this girl. This is an interesting movie, and the bit about the Indian (I think Pakistani though) cocaine courier bit is a bit weird.
Even though this movie was made in 1994, a lot of Hong Kong was just so similar to the wy I saw it last year. The small alleyways with shops selling virtually anything - mainly really cheap electronics and good tailored suits. Hong Kong is a really interesting place to visit, not the Hong Kong that Jackie Chan advertises but the underbelly of the town. If you ever go there - after you get blown away by the new airport at Chep Lap Kok which is - despite the pitifully small smoking rooms - the bestest airport I have even travelled through. Then there is the Airport Express, which is spectacular. But, the underbelly is relatively easy to find. Just get to Kowloon and go to the Tsim Tsa Tsui subway stop. And walk down that road, it starts with High Street labels on the main road, but take any turn and you are trasported to another world of guys trying to offer you everything from women to digital cameras. Plus, there is a good Irish Bar somewhere on that road, forget its name though.
Started listening to some Joan Baez recently, trying to get over my recent obsession with Green Day's American Idiot, though I must say that is the best contemporary rock I have heard in a long time. Bossman may not think so, but Bossman's musical tastes are far too eclectic for most. Some might even say eccentric. Baez must have really madly in love with Bob Dylan, and her pain at getting dumped by 'the original vagabond' is evident to even someone who had hardly ever heard her before, forget pay attention to her music.
The new stereo in my car has really made me start listening to music all over again, and I had forgotten what a joy it is. Just like smoking up. I hardly partake of the leaf or congealed syrup (that is what Hash is, after all) very often nowadays - I find that it fucks up the next day, and I can't afford to do that anymore. But once in a while, I guess frying a few brain cells is OK.
Anyway, today my internet obsession is with food - and I found this rather interesting article online - by a madman redefines the term - "I'll eat anything"
I have also decided that only half an hour of office time will be spent on blogging, so my half hour is up. And i'll stop here for the time being.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Lemony and the moral police

I watched yet another movie yesterday, Lemony Snicket : A series of unfortunate events. More or less worth the Rs 150 I paid Ajjay Bijli's company to watch the movie. I seriously hope those new multiplexes come up soon in saket, I demand cheaper movie tickets. Not as bad as the $8.25 (actually since I paid for Hep too it was $16.50) I paid to watch a Harry Potter movie in Boston, but pretty bad nonetheless.
Anyway, I was made to attend a debate today morning on broadband. And though, I am a big votary of high-speed internet, that is primarily because I can download tons of highly illegal stuff onto my hard drive. Mainly pRon. Lots of it. Well, actually I am downloading more music than pRon but that still is no excuse.
Anyway, Kiran Karnik today became the first person, or at least a semi-important person, to point out that pornography will drive broadband penetration in India. He's right y'know. Why? Remember that MMS story - you know where the schoolgirl is giving her classmate a BJ. Well, I know people who owned phones that were GPRS (thus MMS) capable who had never sent an MMS in their lives, forget that, they didn't even subscribe to MMS, who all wanted a bit of the action on their phone. And after NDTV constantly played (mosaiced) clips of the video every hour on the hour, demand skyrocketed. Airtel and Hutch should pay those schoolkids for the revenue they generated - profit sharing.
Similarly with computers. Most dudes will type in 'Sex' in Google and wait for responses, or just type the webdress of some shitty site, download ten-second fuzzy clips, crap like that. I did that in 1997, this is the high-speed, high-quality age. There are enough free places to find high-qulity DVD rips online. However, there is little or no Indian pRon online, and seeing women with a melanin overdose is not my cup of tea. Other than Sunny Leone, the Canadian Punjabi, and she only does softcore, there has been no big-time desi talent. There is a business plan here. The internet will give, or rather the expected boom in broadband in India will give, someone the chance to become India's Larry Flynt. Hmm, an alternative career as a pornographer.. sounds interesting. Let me see the modalities.
But, this is India. And therein lies the rub. You see, a Congress government (what? I thought politicians had no MORAL values, especially the Congress) has banned dance-bars in Mumbai. My sole experience of one of these places, was a very drunk night in Bandra where we blew some 7k on god knows what from 2-7AM. Some of the girls were really pretty, by that I mean hot. And I think, one of my friends from that night got lucky with one of those girls too. But, it wasn't as if he went up to her like a hooker. I don't even think he paid for the action. It just happened, and well since he was the only sober one and possibly the only guy to have been able to do something. Because, I know I passed out around five.And when we left at seven, I was bundled into a cab, cause I had a flight to catch. Which wasn't much fun, because the last thing your body needs after a flight is to deal with air pressure changes and a hangover 35,000 feet above the ground.
Anyway, as usual I am digresing from the topic at hand. Which is moral policing. Now, moral policing by politicians, ironic as it might sound, is not a good thing. Because, this is a very debauch country. Also, who the hell would be liable for the porn. Will Google be liable because a image search for 'hardcore XXX sex' turns up well, hardcore XXX sex images. Will the woman who poses for the porn or acts in it be liable, or will the government drive the industry underground and make it worse. Because, driving it underground might well increase chances of sexual exploitation and paedophilia. And maybe even HIV/AIDS. Which is why I even believe that prostitution should be legalised. If you wish to argue with me on that, drive through GB Road at night (which I have done when I've ostensibly been out on dates, ex wanted to go there once), it is quite a sad sight. Young girls forced into something they really don't want to do, disease and poverty are rampant, and the girls doing the job hardly get any money out of it. Just look at some of the dailies - see the ads for escort/massage services. What do you think they are?
The Maharashtra government has done something stupid, driven things underground, making them more expensive for consumers and losing tax ravenues. Something that Maharashtra, despite being a '#1 business destination' could do with, considering they are some Rs 10,000 crore in debt.
Anyway, enough of blog blog bloggity blogging for now.
Will try and catch up with movie maniac and maybe even chaddi buddies tonight. In fact, a chaddi buddy and I need to have a long overdue talk. On life, and how I've been a Grade-A asshole. Well, at times.

Monday, April 18, 2005

Monday rants - Sad ads

Again, the lack of a truly critical site or blog ripping apart the trash that we see between shows and during cricket matches is bewildering. I would have thought that there are enough people in the industry who maintain blogs, but I am yet to find one where people rip this shit apart. Give you an example, at a party a few nights ago I met a guy from Rediff who first said that the Hutch ads were all stupid, well not all, but he did sy that they were over-rated and the Airtel ads were under-rated. How, I asked him can anyone like that carppy Airtel ad where that psychotic woman is laughing like a madwoman when her boyfriend tries his hand at flying, and tell me you actually got a signal in the middle of a forest. I can't get a signal sometimes in JNU, well the really deep dark interior parts of JNU.
But then again, this is still better than most of the ads the Koreans have - save the decent ads that Hyundai manages to make once in a while. Only maybe the 'Tumse hai Zindagi' campaign by Grey for Samsung washing machines was watchable, the 'Team Samsung' ads are the worst ads to use Indian cricketers in a long time. Lets look at Sachin, the new TVS ad is whaaaaat??? New colour, show Sachin with painted face, so? Lets not even start on Pepsi.
But, lets now go to my favourite bugbear - auto ads. The current Fusion 'comparison' print ad is so selective, it is not funny. But the 'Anything Karega' TV ad is worse, imagine putting a car on a raft made of dead wood, a car that weighs in at 1200kg. Hmm... And though the Fusion is great to drive from a drivers point of view, it is sucky in terms of 'Anything offroad'. That said, JWT has created some decent adverts for Ford in the past, other than the cars flipping in shame advert of early 2003, which was by far and away the worst car advert to date.
No, maybe not. Maybe that title should go to Jagdish Khattar's Maruti Udyog. And particularly the 'new Zen' campaign of last year. The one with sluttish looking Eastern European chick (you can get non sluttish looking Eastern European women also, y'know) and the Zen is the stalker. I don't know what was worse - having a woman looking like a streetwalker of having a stalker. This wasn't 'Jack the Ripper', this was 'Zen the Ripper'. Oh, and now there is the new advert for the 'new Esteem' - what is very new about a fifteen year old car I really do not know, I mean it is still as cramped as it was when they launched the body shape in 1994 with the old Maruti 1000. 'The only car that makes you feel like a King', huh???? And there are the Alto radio spots, oh god, those are times you wished you rotated your CD's more often or there was a regulatory authority for radio adverts. Again, Maruti is saved by some fairly decent advertising - like the little surdie kid advert. Damn cool.

(Talking of radio adverts what the hell should be done about Amitabh Bachchan voice-alikes, this mad obsession with deep voices is frustrating - have you heard 'Gaursons the most trusted name in construction' ad, argh)
But, lets get back to auto ads. Mobike ads are classic too. Just look at the old ones - from 2002 - mind you and you'll see no helmets in the ad, but that has changed now. The new TVS Star ad on riders being socially responsible looks like a 2-wheeler version of the Sumo Victa ad (never ever buy a Sumo, if you don't have a lower back problem trust me two weeks in the Sumo will give you one). The advert with the most airplay is for the new Hero Honda 'Super Splendor' - listen Hero Honda doesn't need to advertise much - that said this ad, though sad and bad is a gadzillion times better than the initial Hero Honda Ambition advert, or even the Hero Honda Karizma (now, it is pronounced KA-RIZZMA like in Pizza or so Pawan Munjal - corporate dresser extrodinare announced at the launch) ad featuring Mr Mutant Roshan, going faster than a Supermarine Scimatar (I know the plane too, see I'm smart). Firstly, I've driven the Karizma, and can assure you that if the plane flew at the top speed of that bike it would stall and fall to the ground. That aside, what the hell is the obsession with planes and bike ads. First there was the Karizma, then the LML Freedom and now the Bajaj Discover DTSi. All incidentally shot in South Africa. No wonder South African Airways has a daily flight now.
Anyway, enough of this rant. I'll have to clear my itsy-bitsy articles before I head off for gym. Next post from home.

Killer movie...


I saw a killer movie last night. Its name in Chinese is
Ying Xiong, which we all know as 'The Hero'. This makes 'Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon' - actually Wu Hu Can Long in Chinese, look bad. Also, Jet Li proves why he is so good as a martial artist, even though this movie must have used a lot of piano wire. And it has Zhang Zi-Yi, who is very very hot, and who proves that even good-looking women can do action roles, by that I mean full-on fight sequences.
The fight sequence between Zhang Zi-Yi and Maggie Cheung in the forest is the most beautiful interplay of colour that I have seen in a long time. And the lake fight between Jet Li and Tony Leung is at the same time the most picturesque scene in the movie as well as the one-on-one swordsplay sequence I have ever seen on screen. The flashback methods used by director Zimou Zhang are obviously inspired by Kurosawa's Rashomon. And the palace scenes and large army fight scenes are inspired by (not 'copied' in the Bollywoodian sense) scenes from Ran.
But, the use of colour is amazing. This is a colour movie in the full sense of the word. I have no idea why the movie halls did not bring it to India. I mean watching this on a 21-inch TV was a travesty. I would love to watch this movie on a big screen, in the same subtitled Chinese version, dubbing would have ruined the feel. Really, watch it once, watch it twice, but watch it on a good TV.
By the way, saw Mush's breakfast 2005 meeting. Dad actually asked a great question like in 2001 again, but what surprised me was the number of non-editor editors at the meeting. Anyway I'll post again later, once I get work out of the way.

Sunday, April 17, 2005

Lost cause...

So we've lost the match (effectively, as I write the score is 111/7) and the series, bloody good thing I slept late this morning. Anyway, I've been surfing like a madman again and whenever I do that I come across weird things on the interweb.
Things like The Sex Party. Not a party in the sense that I would imagine it (a lust filled mad orgy with lots of illegal substances) but something on the lines of the Green party. A political party campaigning for sexual issues. Well, talking about sex I was reading that the biggest controversy in the Catholic Church is currently about the usage of condoms. I guess the latex lobby would love a pro-condom Pope to win.
Talking about condoms, have you noticed how much choice of condoms there are today - I mean you could have a store full of condoms and each would be of a different variety. Insane. Just check out the Durex website (which I spent the last ten minutes surfing... always on internet is a great thing! But it is a very well designed and informative site) they sell a lot of things - these include sex toys which are sold under a new range called 'Play'. But back to the point they have 12 different ranges of condoms and god knows how many variations for different countries. Add to this choices from hundreds of other manufacturers and you'll see what I mean of being spolit for choice. What is interesting though, is that not so long ago there was almost no choice, and the condom industry has followed the well-trod path of hundreds of other consumer products.
Of course, nothing beats the new Mercedes E-Class when it comes to customisation. Even though in India, buying an E-Class means an usual choice of two engines (E240 petrol and E270CDI unless you import) in more civilised nations you have a choice of 23 engines, 50-something upholstery options, 100's of electronics options. All in all, doing the permutations and combinations, the Mercedes E-Class can be configured in 3.5 billion different ways. That is 3,500,000,000 different ways. I don't know if there are that many motorised vehicles in the world.
I don't know how I exactly feel about all this. I mean choice is a great thing, but having too much choice is a bit of a bummer. I used to be sort of person who used to go to the Nirula's in Defence Colony and spend twenty minutes choosing between 21 flavours of ice cream. Imagine what hell Baskin Robbin's caused when they launched 10 more flavours. I went psycho the first time I went to a Baskin Robbin's store. That is also a reason I don't always like buffet meals - you want to try everything and end up eating too much. Of course, you can't not like the lunch buffet at Three-Sixty but then again I always end up eating too much there.

Just look at mobile phones. Now that I'm in the market again, I clamour for days when there was only the Nokia 3310. Everybody owned that phone. It was sturdy, durable and despite the fact I broke the screen on one, I loved it. Now, even in the Rs 5000-10000 price bracket for lowish-end phones you get screwed. Even if you are like me and swear by Nokia. I mean you can start at the Nokia 2600 colour phone at around 4k to the N.Gage at 8k and god knows some ten phones in between. Add SonyEricsson, Samsung, LG, blah blah blah to the mix and you get my point.

However, I am bugged that Coke withdrew Vanilla Coke from the market. The Vivek Oberoi 'Wakaw' ad was psycho and totally ineffective, but I really loved the drink and now I see a lack of choice in the soft drink market. Lemon Pepsi ('Twist' I think they called it) was not so good, but then again, I'ld rather have a Nimbu-Lemon somewhere in DU or even make my own Nimbupaani rather than drink a fizzy lemon drink, not to say that the babe in the new Limca ad isn't hot. She is smokin'....
OK, now the score has reached 139-9, I wonder who'll get the man of the series award - I think either Shahid Afridi or Naved Ul-Rana, but i'll bet on the former. Afridi did set the pitch on fire with explosive (I think I need a stronger adjective here) batting. One billion people and we can't find a decent team.

Anyway, I was reading this rather amusing webcomic called 'Beaver and Steve', I know it is silly, but it is a change from my daily reading of Aaron McGruder's very controversial and extremely funny strip The Boondocks (I think the best syndicated comic that is not available on any Indian newspaper - Doonesbury comes in The Asian Age). In fact the decline of comics oin the newspapers is quite a shocking fact. Despite stories of a 'media' boom happening, no-one has written about the near total absense of Indian comics (or any comics). Only The Pioneer used to carry Manjula Padmanabhan's comic strip and now carries something called Rajnish or whatever (quite unremarkable) but HT and TOI are both guilty of doing nothing. I will suggest to ASG that now that Ninan works for them he resurrects Detective Moochwala. That was my favourite comic that he drew in Target, which remains the best publication that AP has ever brought out.
Anyway, I'll post again in the evening. Oh, and we've just lost by 159 runs.

Quick Sunday post...

I somehow managed to spend till nine last night in office. I haven't spent that much time in office in a long time. And doing that on a Saturday did put quite a bummer in plans, not that I was going to do something dramatic, but nonetheless I couldn't get the energy levels back up. But staying home and getting a good night's sleep was a good idea.
Aacha, I am watching the match right now, and Afridi just got out. However, it is all about the General, whichy is why I asked ASG and Dad to give the passes they had away. I didn't want to wake up at 6.30 in the morning to go watch a cricket match. Even if this is an 'updated' Kotla Stadium. I still believe the stadium at Kalindi Kunj should be built, Kotla can only be increased 'this' much and though it is in the centre of town, Delhi needs and deserves a 90,000-100,000 seater stadium, not a 35,000 seater. After all 15 million people stay in the NCR, and a good, big stadium for the only sport that matters in this country is a must for the capital of the country.

I didn't mention this, thanks to entire handset being lost business, but I did test the new Tuscon on the Hyundai Test Track. Hyundai has really worked on their test track and all the cars they send out of the plant have done a run on the track which has some rough road sections, high speed sections, braking sections and a turning pad. The Tuscon, with the same 2-litre Common Rail Diesel engine as the Elantra does manage to get off the start line sluggishly yet smoothly. The Elantra is a lot smaller, lighter and more aerodynamic than the Tuscon, so while the diesel Elantra is a 'fun' car to drive, by Indian standards, the Tuscon feels distinctly underpowered. But, that said, in the zone that matters (since these cars will rarely ever leave tarmac) the 40-80kph zone, the Tuscon manages to be very good. However, because the drive wheels during the 2WD mode are the front wheels, the steering is very heavy and the car tends to understeer at low speed and then as you turn a bit faster it oversteers. Much like any front wheel drive car, but the steering still feels extremely heavy.
See, this car costs only a tad less than the Honda CR-V (some 75k less on the showroom price stakes) and the Honda should be on most people's radar still, after all they have sold more than 2500 of them since the launch, quite a lot for a car at that price. Lots of reasons why - the Honda is better looking, its got permanent all-wheel drive, it is a lot more fun to drive - heck, its a 2.4 VTEC petrol engine, more capacity and a Honda petrol, it has to be more fun to drive - which it is - its faster, corners better, um frankly it looks a lot better than the Hyundai. Unfortunately, the engine is a petrol and the Hyundai is a diesel. While the CR-V will return decvent milage figures of around 8-9 kpl (personal experience 40 litres of Premium got me around 357km in the city), the Tuscon, from what I've read, returns 11-12 kpl on a fuel that despite the Delhi government costs Rs 10 a litre less. More economy for less cost. Just like the Grand Vitara is the best big-SUV on the market in terms of drivability - the 2.7 V6 can hit 185kph but the Terracan is the better buy (the Ford Endeavour is powered by a generator). But, whereas the bigger oil-burning Hyundai still has some element of fun to it, in fact it is the better off-road car, thanks to the rear wheel drive and all, the smaller one seems a tad too expensive for me. If it was two lakhs cheaper than the CR-V it would be a compelling buy, but if I see one on the road - I'll know that the owner doesn't have the bucks for petrol. The only compelling reason to buy the Tuscon over the CR-V is the fuel. Which is honestly a very sad thing. Now if they painted one yellow....
Just read this... its too weird!

Saturday, April 16, 2005

Saturday afternoon rants...

The 1966 movie Blow-Up directed by Michelangelo Antonioni starring David Hemmings and Vanessa Redgrave is quite a strange watch. I know it is a cult movie, but at the rate I watch movies, despite having hordes of them and now two DVD players, I never end up seeing any, but this I had to see, after all it did inspire the classic Bollywood cult flick Jaane Bhi Do Yaaron.
The movie is technically brilliant, the cinematography and lighting is perfect and though the editing seemed a bit vague at times, chopping off overt sexual movements, I for one would have loved to see a bit more of the threesome, the script is weird. Not that it is a bad script, just surreal, but this movie was made in Britain in the 60’s so I have to assume that there was a lot of LSD involved, because end of the day this reminded me of a pretty weird LSD experience. Not a bad trip per se, but just one of those weird trips you might have every once in a while.

Someone was asking me yesterday why I haven’t moved out of Delhi, say to Bombay or some place (not out of India, as yet). I’ll you why. I love driving too much. Delhi is the only major city in India that has any semblance of roads. Decent motorable roads that you can drive decently fast on. Look, I know Bombay has Marine Drive and there is the Bombay-Pune expressway, but try getting from Nariman Point to the expressway in the middle of the day, it will take you a good two hours. Yes, the Western Highway rocks, but trying to zigzag through Carter Road, Pedder Road or the Juhu Versova Link Road, all arterial links in the burbs, is insane. True, not that traffic during rush hour in Delhi is any better, but better than Bombay for sure.
Lets look at the other cities now, shall we? Calcutta, what can I say. True, the quality of roads has improved since 1987 when Dad finally emigrated out of there for good, but still. That said, the roads near the Maidan are great for some right foot heavy action. Still too little, if you ask me. Chennai roads are worse than those in a B-city, ‘nuff said. Really, Chennai is an overgrown village if the roads are any indicator. Bangalore and Hyderabad had rather nice empty roads a few years ago, but now reeling under the influx of overpaid IT engineers with big cars, the roads have collapsed along with driving habits.
End of the day, if you want to zip your car, Delhi is the city. Damn the expressway, Delhi-Agra and Delhi-Jaipur are almost as good (though not as scenic) and longer. Heck I’ve done 250k’s sustained on an Audi A8 30 minutes from CP at 12 in the afternoon, try doing 50k’s sustained on any car (on any day) 30 minutes from Churchgate. OK, so I’ve done my mad Marine Drive runs at four in the morning too, I think we were doing 120k’s in a Palio, but I also think all of us (Nixson, Mixson, Shades and me) were high as kites on a lot of Charlie and JD, and beautiful as it was I’ld still rather do Shatipath or even Ring Road at night now that it has all the flyovers.
But, the real best in the NCR is still the incomplete Greater Noida Expressway, where else can I touch 250k’s in any car in India.
By the way, I should really get the Toyota Innova and the Hyundai Tuscon for a test drive. After what I will doing to Hyundai, I should get that car fast.
Anyway, Blogger is acting up again, and I am currently thanking the voice in my head that told me to type this out on Word. Anyway, the Sundarbans visit looks more and more sure as the weeks move on, I think I should really go there, I will be beautiful. The visual of a tiger moving through the swamps that I saw in a Valmik Thapar documentary was brilliant, but before that I’ve got to get Tigerman to take me along to Bandhavgarh. I might have ranted about travelling a bit in my last post, but travelling on your own is a great thing, no work to worry about, no hotel bills to care, no this, no that. Been some time since I travelled on my own. Great fun.


But, one day when I have the balls to travel in the really, really cold parts of the world, I will go to the Icehotel in Sweden. Its above the Arctic Circle and the average room temperature ranges between minus four to minus nine degrees centigrade, but they certainly look like beautiful rooms in the brochure. That is cold. And the best part is that the hotel melts down every year. It melts, they have to build a new one every year. Every year! And I thought the Japs are the craziest people on the planet. But, then it costs 2800 Krona per night for a couple, and the helpful currency converter at Yahoo tells me that by today’s (rather yesterday’s – it is the weekend) exchange rates that works out to a mere Rs 17,122 a night.

Man, Udaivilas is cheaper, and on a journo’s salary I can never even afford the airfare to Sweden forget a nights stay. But I will go. Whether that means I leave this profession, lose all my ethics or take over Daddy’s business (which will leave me even more broke) I don’t know. But go I will.

Friday, April 15, 2005

Dang!

I supposedly have to travel to Jamshedpur next week on work now. This Frequent flyer mile collection is nice, but is taking a toll. In Goa I lost my shaving kit, Chennai I lost my mobile phone, and in Bangalore, well, pride might be a good starting point. And that is in the past two months alone.
Of course, this resurgence of travel obviously makes me a more contented employee, after all I like nothing more than racking up Frequent Flyer miles. But flying is becoming a chore, and becoming a longer chore at that. Arriving in Delhi nowadays involves at least a half an hour flypast of the Aravalis, while waiting to land. A friend recently spent three hours for a Mumbai Delhi flight. That is double the regular flight time.
That said, I now have travelled quite a fair bit in the four years since I started journalism. I mean even the trip to the US last year was an indirect result of journalism. Lets see...
International :-
Frankfurt, Wolfsburg, Berlin
Shanghai
Shanghai
Hong Kong
Atlanta, New York, Boston, Paris, Rome, Amalfi Coast
Internal travels are maddening, and I will try to remember each trip
Domestic :-
Agra
Jaipur (x2)
Pune (x2)
Mumbai (lost count)
Bangalore (lost count)
Hyderabad (lost count)
Chennai (x3)
Goa (x4)
Aurangabad
etc etc etc.... And this doesn't include the annual Calcutta trips for family reasons.
Hmm, I have travelled one hell of a lot. Well, can't say I don't like it, but if only Praful managed to do something about the airports and air traffic travelling would be a lot better.
My left hand is hurting like mad. Weight training doesn't seem to be a great idea, but I will persist.
Cheerio for now.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

No phone still and The Thimes of India

Friendgirl is mad at me. Again. God knows what it is now, but I supposedly pissed her off. Again. Anyway, this means that I am still without a telephone handset and happily not mobile. I lost all my contacts, which is a bummer, but not being reachable has its advantages also, like not being reachable - by mom, friendgirl, bosses, PR people (thank god for small mercies).
Anyway, now that I have managed to live down the fact that I lost my phone and still haven't activated a new mobile number I'll move on to other things. I spent a good part of Tuesday in Chennai, well all of Tuesday. And I was puzzled by the weird way the Nads spell everything. They have a mad obssession with 'Th', like SwaTHi, AarTHi, NiTHya, MaruTHi, you get my drift. Anyway, therefore I suggested to people I know, why not call the proposed ToI edition in Chennai be called 'The Thimes of India' like anyone will notice anyway.
Anyway, Bossman told me of amazing gossip today, and I will have discreetly confirm its truness or not. But, my god the two people involved move around a lot, and even though gut feel says that this is likely a Platonic affair, one never knows.
Also, I think sooner or later there will have to be a poll on who is a bigger megalomaniac - Mani Aiyar or Praful Patel. Since I cover the aviation beat, I'll plump for the latter, but friends and colleagues in the petroleum beat say that Aiyar is a attention seeking madman. But, I got to hand it to the man for not having increased petrol prices as yet, at the rate fuel prices are going up, I will have to contemplate another career with a lot more money. As do almost all the foot soldiers I work with. This job of being a ethically upright journalist is increasingly difficult, particularly if you have a very hungry mouth to feed. Admittedly my Alto is very nice on the drinking side of things, but if Petrol hits Rs 45 a litre, I'm screwed. I have a daily commute of at least 40km, without the occasional trips I have to make every day, and these prices will ruin me financially.
More later, I just thought I'ld post for the time being.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

lost my phone...

I lost my handset, and all my numbers.
Damn.
Suddenly realise how dependent I am on my phone.
Anyway more later.

Monday, April 11, 2005

Quick post...

Went to Coronation Memorial and Humayun's Tomb in the morning. Coronation Memorial is FAR. Very far, and I got lost finding the place, but I found it eventually. Just FYI, it is near BurariChowk off NH-1 and is surreal. There is a huge obelisk over there commemorating George V, Emperor of India's visit to Delhi in 1911 at the famed 'Delhi Durbar' where our princely states decided to donate even more money to the coffers of the British Empire, whose monkey-eared next regent just married a horsey faced woman. Wonder what their kids would have looked like. Ugh!
Noticed prince William is already growing bald. Pity.
Humayun's Tomb is beautiful. I wonder why I hadn't been to it before. It is right next to Nizamuddin and is a wonderful monument. Other than the staircase that is.
OK, short post for now, lots of work and have a flight to catch later and packing to do.

Sunday, April 10, 2005

Sleep wonderful sleep

I have spent most of the day sleeping. After a long time my slumber has not been interrupted by either of my four parents, friendgirl or my assorted friends. That I think is because I left my phone in the other room. The internet is just spilling over with spoilers for various movies right now.
Spoilers are like those bastards who (and they should all be lined up and shot - China style) who said Bruce Willis was the ghost in 'The Sixth Sense', not that I cared but none the less. Anyway, the main thing now is how Anakin Skywalker looks after he falls into the lava (y'know before he becomes the evil Darth Vader). The link is here.
Anyway, the papers today are full of Indi-Chini bhai-bhai. Which is very boring reading, because the best work (at least most readable) was done by 'The Economist' in their survey of India and China. But, I think I ranted on this a few days ago, so I won't start now.
I cooked yesterday after months, basically pasta in cheese sauce, and the sauce was a tad too milky, but I guess it was from months of not going to the kitchen that I had lost all sense of measure. Friendgirl as usual went mad (it was her milk and kitchen that got messed up). Still, even FG admitted that it came out OK enough.
However, this Disposophobia thing is something too many people suffer from, and the services offered here are great. This is a business plan for someone here.

I am planning on going to the Sundarbans later this year. I haven't yet read 'The Hungry Tide' by Amitav Ghosh, I guess I'll make that plane reading tomorrow and day-after. I've been to the Sundarbans before, and it is beautiful. But that was with Mom and Brotherman, and all we saw was a huge salt water Croc. Must've been at least eight-ten feet long, I've never seen a croc that big. However, since I plan to go with Birdman/Tigerman, I should see at least one big cat. I plan to learn to use the camera a bit better, get some good lenses and go there. Lets see what happens - I make a lot of these vplans, but I really want to go.
Tomorrow morning meeting very early. Should get to sleep again.

Saturday, April 09, 2005

Saturday and $20,000,000

I just met a guy by the name of Eric Anderson. His claim to fame is that he runs a company called Space Adventures and these were the guys who sent the first privateer into space, American businessman Dennis Tito.

Now they also have a lot of different rides including riding at Mach 3 in a MiG-25 which costs a few thousand US dollars, but the real deal - the 10-day orbital tour of earth in the International Space Station costs a nice sum, now you know the reason for the title. 20 million US is a shit load of moolah, and even though it includes six months of training and all that, this has to be one of the most expensive tour package in the world. Return travel to space in a Soyuz rocket that will blast off from Baikonur and food included, though.

New colleague is being a bit difficult, yesterday the girls tried to make him open up, but the guy is really guarded. He has spent far too long in a daily as a reporter. And he is still in honeymoon period it seems, with bosses but unless his writing improves, the honeymoon might not last much longer. And he has just gotta open up, and maybe also get laid. But, I shouldn't be bitchy here.
Last night, I had a great time at the party. Met lots of interesting wildlife folks. Arjun P and Gautam P are winning awards for their filmmaking, and the former manages to win some nice girls as well. And I also more or less managed to stick to limit of beers that I had set, just went one over, I had four. But, I didn't eat too much. Got a very strange phone call last night from some woman who desperately wanted to meet me, starnge women don't usually call at 11.40 at night. I knew this was a bad set-up, I most probably even know the culprit, in fact I am 99.999% sure who planned this one, and that bitch is going to get something back, but not yet. And anyway, it is rather sad that a 25-year old girl who pretends to be in Delhi's snob-circle had nothing to do on a Friday night. Bitch.
What is wrong with me today? I'm being particularly vicous, maybe it is because I am sitting in office on a Saturday when I should not be. I should be home downloading porn, music or movies. Long live P2P downloading.
Anyway, I came across this really interesting website, mainly because I'm in office between meetings and using the inetrnet to discover weird and wonderful things. Advanced Male Mastrubation Techniques - Seems interesting, and I might try some whenever Friendgirl goes into her monthly madness spells.

Zhou Hai's website showcases the effects of industrialisation in mainland China, even though the name - The Unbearable Heaviness of Industry is a tad melodramatic. These images make for a stark contrast from the China that I have seen. Well, I did only go to Shanghai, but that city is full of glitzy new malls and hotels and gleaming towers, and it also has its fair share of mad architecture like Gurgaon.
Anyway, I have another meeting to run for, and then I have to rush to the gym for some hardcore exercising today. And I hope the rest of the weekend goes smoothly.

Saying goodbye, not quite....

I guess I have had my fair share, actually rather more than my fair share of disasterous relationships and non-relationships. I am the sort of person who pushes averages up. But my steady companion through thick and thin has been the bottle of daaru. I started my affair with the daaru, god man, I was in Class 8 or something. Class 8-D St. Columba's School 1992-93, when the concept of facial hair was just starting to dawn on us, when some of my classmates hadn't even started to mastrubate forget have a sexual relationship, or any relationship. A time when my then girlfriend's idea of sin was sharing the same spoon.
Anyway, thanks to the beautiful fact that Bengali Mom and Egoistic Bengali Dad could not make their marriage work, my parents were delightfully separated. Now, this meant I effectively had two homes (it also meant I had to see my fathers various girlfriends - Mosquito, Cockroach were among my more polite names for them - but that is another series of tales). So when Mom used to go off on her trips to Ahmedabad Brotherman and moi used to head to Daddy's. Now Daddy is a certified drinker (alcoholic would be too harsh on the man - KPS Gill is an alcoholic, Dad is regular, but his liver still works) so there was always enough daaru at home. So one day, I don't know why, I just poured myself a Black Label (I remember this well, and I always had expensive taste) and gulped it down. The subsequent screaming thanks to a smoldering throat was not planned. But, I practiced, made the drinks stronger and drank them slower. Dad never got home before 2 or 3 if we kids were around.
So, through the remaining three and a half odd years of school I guess I managed to make half my class drink, smuggling rum or vodka into Class. By the end of that, going to St. Stephen's was the WORST thing I could have done for both liver and stomach, because that is when obsession with beer began. Plus more Rum, Vodka and cheap desi Whiskey. To make matters worse, I became a journalist and even though I assiduously avoided Press Club, and the sight of Suheetda in HT scared the lived bejabers out of me (This is a guy who awoke with three pegs did three more every afternoon and partied at Press Club every night. He was never not drunk at any point of his waking life for the last ten years. I believe he works in CSE now and still hasn't cut down) the evening parties and Press bbriefings meant that I ended up drinking anyhow because Self-Control and I were not on good terms.
But, now I have decided that 'Drinking only on weekends, and no more than three drinks, preferably wine.' Not a sign of age, but I must cut weight down and though I'm not saying this to impress folks, I have to lose the flab. Hey, I already feel a bit better. Anyway, my cigarette consumption is down to three a day, plan to get that down to two, I haven't smoked a joint for over a week, not because I don't have none, but because I shouldn't. And this is not because people have been sitting on my head. Mom, Friendgirl, Boss, assorted friends have all been bugging me to do something about this for years, but I didn't care, but somehow now I think I should.
Thanks for the preaching Rums, I have to be reminded from time to time, and Mom doesn't need to know I blog, ASG knoiws and has read, but Mom will cut me out from any will that she writes if she reads this and Brotherman shouldn't get everything.

Friday, April 08, 2005

Tired as a dog.

Am not feeling really good, maybe its the work. maybe going to the gym after a four hour car ride back may not have been the smartest idea under the sun, and talking of sun, it is bloody hot out there. I think i'll skip the gym today, and don't make me feel guilty about it, today is the first day I am skipping since I joined. I'll go for a long walk or something. Plus, I'll be drinking like a fish tonight. But, on second thoughts I still might go to the gym. Lets see.
Anyway, I've had a 'orrible day, went out to the Bang and Olufsen showroom, some story my boss wanted me to do. Actually, he also wanted to find out prices. Well, the cheapest thing in there, a MP3, a flash-based MP3 player at that, costs Rs 45,000. I admit it looks cool, but man, 45k for a MP3 player? I mean, I think the iPod is overpriced at Rs 15-20k. Then there was this single unit CD player cum Radio with speakers built, damn sweet looking and awesome sound, but the price was astonishing Rs 75k. And the really cool looking home systems start at Rs 4 lakh. And then there are the speakers, saw these wonderful cone speakers with a 180-degree sound throw, for Rs 4 lakh per unit.

The pictured system costs around Rs 7 lakh, and yes it looks like a bomb and the CD spindle moves from disc to disc and it is really very super-duper-ly high-tech but even if it comes with free installation and a two year warranty it is way expensive. I can buy a Honda City with that kind of money. But I guess the people who buy this sort of stuff are S-Class and Audi A8 type people.
In case you have that kind of moolah, their website is here. And their store is next to Moti Mahal Deluxe in the Malcha Marg market, Chanakya Puri. Location, location, location, doesn't seem to apply here.
Then tomorrow, which is supposedly a holiday, I have to meet two people who have come for the World Travel and Tourism Conference here. Some guy from Space Adventures, the company which has put people up into the International Space Station. Costs a bomb (buyers I guess are B&O owners), but they did put Dennis Tito into space. And then I have to meet people from Carlson Hotels. On Monday I have to wake up at 6.30 in the morning to meet someone from Lonely Planet and then at 6.30 in the evening I have to catch a flight to Chennai to do a story.
I don't have a life, and if people tell me, "Oh but you're travelling so much." I'll tell them, big fucking deal, I want to stay home for a few days and just relax. But I have to earn my living, so what the hell can I do.
Chalo then, I should go home and I have to go to the Pandey party along with Tigerman. Should be fun though.

Back from the Agra


Just returned from Agra, and I'm dog tired and the food that I ate last night just did not agree with my stomach. I wanted to make this a long and elaborate post, but I just wanted to say that I didn't see the Taj. Well, I did stay up till pretty late last night and watched Chelsea whup Bayern's ass and the AC-Inter game was good too. And there was some Teacher's Highland Cream in the mix as well. Microsoft knows how to take of their guests well, and even though I was the only journalist around, I didn't really miss the tribe. But of course, I should be cynical and point out that MS has margins exceeding 60-70 percent on their products. Don't you just love software patents. However in defense of MS I did learn and hear a lot of interesting pointers at the conference. Got to hear Pandit Jasraj, and even though I really am not much into these things, it was great to hear a maestro perform. It was not nice however to hear Leslie Lewis and watch his jingband of uncoordinated dancers. Oh well, maybe I'm just a biased a**hole who hates Indipop and everything it stands for, well, I don't mind the virtually nekkid chicks though.
The road from Delhi to Agra is beautiful. Its smooth and despite running into virtually all the combine harvesters there are in Northern India on the way back, we still did great time. I just wish I had a Ultima GTR for the drive though. Talking about cars, Fat Ron, (yes I have no right to call others Fat, but this is Ron we're talking about, he redefines Fatness) is getting married (Note to self, never attempt to visualise Ron and wife at it). And though I sound bitchy, which is just me, I'm happy for him, his mom found the chick and he is being a good boy listening to his Mom. Which I will never be, even though I also have a Bengali Mom.
Of course, talking about Ron reminds me of a very weird instance in the Thar Desesrt way back in 2003. We had gone down for the Mahindra Great Escape, which involve driving down 70 degree sand dunes, not for those with bad stomachs. Anyway, the night before the day we tried to kill ourselves somewehere in the desert near Bikaner, a series of tragic incidents took place. Fat Ron was in love with a girl, who incidentally also came along for the trip. Girl had used Fat Ron to get her stories written etc, etc, but was romantically disinterested in Ron. She flipped for balding Bawa dude from Mumbai, who Ron did not like, but chick could care less, as could I. All this time I was busy making friends with Signature Whiskey along with Joy (another friend, wonder where he is now?), and Ron decided to join us. Now drinking when you have just been rejected by a chick is bad idea, I should know. And both Joy and me kinda knew what was going on (as did Thamma, not the real one, just adopted, more on her later), so we tried telling Ron to chill, but when a big man swings hand at you, the momentum itself is scary so we laid off.
To cut a long story short (and skipping my escapades with a another chick) walking on loose desert-y sand is not easy. So while I was trudging back through the sand with at least three-quarters of a bottle of Whiskey inside me, I see Ron on all fours in the sand, struggling to move. The man must have had almost two bottles of various alcohols inside him, which would have killed most ordinary people, but Ron had the requisite amount of weight to offset that problem. Anyway, I managed to lift Ron up and put managed to take him back to our tent. Needless to say, I blew my high and the exhaustion was killer. Then I spent the second half of the night seeing stars with Thamma and Ron's love. Such a bastard I am.
OK, I'll skip night two of 'Not a love story in the Thar' but I will share some nuggests of knowledge with you. Needless to say sharing a room with a drunk fat man is a bad idea. Particularly if he is drunk. But, I qualify myself as a friend here and I had to ensure that the man lived through this trip. Which he did. And he's getting married now, with Rolls Royce Limo and motorcycle outriders and all. We'll have to do a bachelor party with Russian/Ukrainian/Khazak/Uzbek strippers and all. Which we'll have to do for Shades and Monks as well. Fuck, everyone is getting married even Jimbo.
(Make note to self : DON'T GET MARRIED, at least not yet, not that Friendgirl wants to)
This was supposed to be a small post, man I'm addicted to this blogging thing.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Funnie....

This is a slightly long download, but totally worth it.
The Negro Space Program

I'm getting addicted to this blogging thing. I just woke up half an hour ago. The problems of having a DSL connection I tell you....

What the price of oil is doing to Dubai....

I really don't need to say that much...
http://www.theworld.ae/
And Mani Aiyar wants to give them even more of our money. Maybe he'll buy the New Delhi island, just like Rod Stewart has bought the United Kingdom island.
Just watching BBC World where Steven Cole just just said that there are 7,000,000 bloggers. And Click Online goes on to suggest how bloggers are attacking the domination of MainStreamMedia (MSM) effecting the resignations of Dan Rather and Eason Jordan. But, being a lowly paid member of the MSM, I really don't think so. Half the blogs in the world are big time cut and paste jobs and most of the Indian ones are rants. And MSM - ie Jain and Jain Company Limited (to give them a modern name) managed to shut down the one really good blog that there was Mediaah. Desi Media Bitch though a great read, or used to be great read got really really got up in the Tsunami, again rather populated by members of the MSM who like to bitch out their bosses. However, Rums blog is a great, and though the food is often rather exotic, its a better read than Big Cheese's rather boring columns on Sunday and makes a good diversion from blogs maintained by mediapersons (all employed by members of MSM, OK so rums is an ex-member of MSM) or techies (which all kinda obsess either on Aishwariya Rai or Alyssa Milano).
It was also pointed out that the talking bellybutton ad was a rip-off of an old Levi's low-rise Jeans ad. Hai, total lack of creativity in Indian advertising. If you guys want to check some great ads, visit these websites, niether actually safe for work, but if you can see past the implants, there are some really great ads hosted at both Dracule (be sure to see the Corvette ad) and LaCroqueta (some great and innovative Pepsi advertising from Brazil and some of Tarsem's work with Levi's).

Be my lover bubbly

I've often wondered why no person has ever set up a blog to bitch out advertising in India. I mean just look at the new ads from Coke and Pepsi, especially the latter. I mean, Aamir Khan in drag is better looking than anorexic models, but women with talking bellybuttons. Fuck. I didn't know what to say when I first saw it, but as one friend nicely pointed out, "Yet another hole to put the willy in." Thankfully someone took out a PIL and removed that part, because even though I am an unabashed sexist bastard (or so Friendgirl says) and an unapologetic viewer of kinky Japanese pRon (and my god those guys are kinky) this was a bit too much on public TV. Anyway, someone put up an AVI on Rapidshare of this ad, so click here to download it.
Of course, the other problem I have is with motorcycling adverts. Several of them have guys going around without helmets (though very few do that nowadays). I believe adverts should promote safety, I mean promoting promiscuity (a la Moods condoms) is fine, I mean condoms are supposed to be safe, right? Anyway, I shouldn't get too mad about these things either, after all its just marketing. Anyway, I do kinda like the new Surf ad, you know the 'do bucket pani' thing.

Oh, Pope John Paul II died on Saturday night, and may his soul rest in peace. It is good thing the man died, because watching his suffering (and he was suffering a lot) was becoming rather unbearable. He was also the only Pope so far in my rather not so long lifetime, so it will be nice seeing the Roman Catholic Church getting another spiritual leader. And hopefully change their stance on contraception as well.

On another front, again regarding Christianity, the first openly gay bishop says that Jesus might well have been homosexual. Which would probably explain the behaiviour of lots of priest folks around little boys. But will still not explain Michael Jackson.
Anyway, I believe that terrorists (or some assholes in London) have managed to stall the dry run of the Srinagar - Muzzafarabad bus. But, friend Nag in Srinagar, will report in, if he is not too busy fattening himself. Oh yeah, and I am off to Agra tomorrow, so I will blog from the city of the Taj, maybe even post some pics of the Taj with a million people teeming all around it. I'll maybe even make another entry tonight.

Sunday, April 03, 2005

One day late


OK, so I was back to being hardcore internet addicted self, and found lots and lots of weird things on the interweb. Like this for example - GoogleGulp
Read on ...
At Google our mission is to organize the world's information and make it useful and accessible to our users. But any piece of information's usefulness derives, to a depressing degree, from the cognitive ability of the user who's using it. That's why we're pleased to announce Google Gulp (BETA)™ with Auto-Drink™ (LIMITED RELEASE), a line of "smart drinks" designed to maximize your surfing efficiency by making you more intelligent, and less thirsty.

Oh, and since I follow technology, I even found this little beauty. An exclusive peek at the new iTunes phone from Motorola
Wow! Some people are really more vela than me. I should really be working!