Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Blogito Ergo Sum v2

I've already had a post with this title before, therefore this is part two. Anyway, Bossman who knows I blog from work and little snippety things about work sent me this article which was printed in the NYT about blogging from work. (Registration Required)
Now, since my boss sent this me, it obviously means something to the effect that 'I won't fire you for blogging from work'. Of course, I will still get fired for being a lazy slob. But it raises an important point. I work for a periodical which celebrates Indian capitalism. As usual, I digress here, but there is a complete lack of cover designers in India, some recent covers of some rather well-circulated magazines have been abso-fucking-lutely hilarious. See, I think all magazines should just give up and just plaster Yana Gupta/Sheetal Malhar/Jesse Randhawa on their covers whether they are sports/business/auto or general.
But blogging from and about work is fun at times and helps get rid of the stress, and if you're not revealing something critical - like what will be the lead flyer in a newspaper tomorrow or critical business information, I guess its safe. I've written about pressers I've attended (and made fun of them), my personal opinion about news-stories and the times that I have disagreed about some stories that even my own publication has printed. Half the stuff here is about how most journalists in this country are blind as bats and dumbfucks, no correct that, they are extremely dumbfucks. That does not mean that I am not a dumbfuck. I might be goodfuck, but that doesn't mean I'm endowed with something up there as well. OK, OK, I'm being corny here.
But thats what this blog is about. Its a fun blog, written by two fun guys, OK one fun guy because Snakeman has become a boringfuck.
Pump up da ego, ego, ego.
Anyway I have just spent the last ten minutes blogging when I should have been working. Now, that I can get fired for. I should really retitle this blog to the 'Random Rantings of a Random Ranter'. Shucks.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

The Mysterious Case of the Falling Buildings

Not so mysterious really, again there is only one suspect - The Bombay Rent Control Act, a dilapidated old piece of legislation that itself is in urgent need of reconstruction if half of South Bombay is to be kept from falling apart. Every newspaper in this town has been going ballistic with the sad case of MHADA and corrupt landlords, but I don't see why public money should be spent on updating buildings in downtown Bombay where the tenants only pay Rs 100 or less a month. And I'm no rich, spoilt son-of-a-bitch saying this but really, look at it logically. Anyway, MHADA is just as corrupt as another other urban development corporation in India, so calling them more evil than the DDA/GDA/HUDA is strange. But nope, in Bombay MHADA is evil, tenants paying next to nothing are the poor victims and the landlords and lazy, and only once in a while will someone remember the strange act which is responsible for Bombay crumbling.
Anyway, I move in tomorrow or day-after, so that should be nice. Brand new building and all, so I doubt it'll fall down. All the new private banks in India are desperately slipping in their service standards, I applied for a salary account at HDFC Bank over three weeks ago, and still the fuckers haven't done anything. And an outstation cheque takes ten days to deposit, I'm a bit bugged. In a new city, and the salary takes forever to come, plus all my friends earn next to nothing.
On the note about the airlines starting up like moths attracted to a flame. There are a couple of more points over here, airlines in India do not have the labour cost arbitrage that European or American start-ups have. While a JetBlue can pay a check-in agent only $2000/month or use Mormon housewives to take their resrvations in Salt-Lake City at low prices, they pay half the price that say a Delta or a United does, but in India paying a call-centre agent or check-in girl Rs 2000/month less than Jet or Indian Airlines doesn't really make up for cost savings. Plus ATC and landing charges are above the global average, in fact ATC (navigation) charges are among the highest in the world, and fuel-prices after taxes (the government has to fund their hare-brained employment guarantee scheme somehow) are also among the highest in the world. Plus, ATC here in low-density, Delhi and Mumbai airports can only handle 25 movements and hour versus say 55 an hour at Chicago. And that is on one runway only, Chicago has seven runways and even if four are used at a time (usually five or six are used) that is 220 movements an hour. Indian Aviation has a long, long way to go and despite the glowing reviews, all that PeePee has done is to make a Ninety-five minute DEL-BOM flight into a two and a half Bharat Darshan. Though that said he is a lot better than his predecessors as well as half the clowns in this cabinet.
On another note, I love the way the opposition has cornered Chiddu about his wife's appointment as legal counsel for the CBDT. The irony of the matter has me in splits.
EDIT : If you are a fan of Flash Movies, Hindu Epics, Womens Rights and the Blues - this is the funniest thing I have seen/heard in a long time. It's called 'Sita Sings the Blues' and is awesome Flash animation done by American animator Nina Paley. Paley spent some time in Kerala a few years ago with her ex-husband and she got fascinated by the story of Sita in the Ramayana and who can blame her, the Hindu epics are quite fascinating. Yes, its good to be irreverent about one's religion at time. They're longish downloads, but totally worth it. I don't know how the right-wing bigots in the various Hindu organisations will take it though! I already have a mental picture of Praveen Togadia frothing at the mouth at some descretion of Sita Mata (How can she show so much cleavage/skin etc?). And then LK Advani will say something about how this is a 'secular' video, and yet another RSS v. BJP v. VHP v. ABVP v. Khurana v. Advani v. Vajpayee v. Mahajan v. Jaitley battle will start about a small flash animation. Now that would keep the front pages occupied. One can hope, can't they? (Via Don't Drink the Koolaid)

Monday, August 29, 2005

The maths of low-cost flying.

Since no-one has done this till now, lets simply do the maths of a DEL-BOM flight.
The block-time (the time the plane is operational which includes the time taken on the ground) costs of running a A320 or B737NG aircraft in India (including fuel costs, navigation charges and landing charges) is around Rs 1.8-2 lakhs an hour. Since block-time is calculated from the time boarding starts till the last passenger has left the plane, DEL-BOM (or v.v) can safely be taken to be a two-hour block-time. So that is Rs 400,000.
Add to that the costs of crew, ground services. You pay a Commander on a A320/737NG upto Rs 450,000 a month and a First Officer upto Rs 200,000. The guys can only fly 25 hours/week and never more than seven hours a day, and only five days a week. So for each aircraft you need to have at least 10 pilots. Plus there is the cabin crew - even if you pay your air-hostesses next to nothing - Rs 20,000/month (lead cabin crew get around Rs 60-80,000 in a LCC) say you need one-airhostess per 50 passengers. The minimum crew requirement then is four air-hostesses on a plane carrying over 150 passengers (which a A320/737-800 does). Plus add in factors of ground-crew, check-in staff, baggage handlers, drivers etc. Amortise the costs between all your flights and that still means that you spend at least Rs 50,000 on employee costs every flight, because the management at many of these companies are paid in dollar salaries (Kingfisher, SpiceJet). So that is Rs 450,000
And then there are leasing/loan costs. A plane while cheap-ish to buy (85% of a loan is guaranteed, thus ensuring low interest rates in a time of low interest rates) a A320/737-800 costs upwards of $50 million and a loan over ten years means you need to pay back around $6 million a year, that is $500,000 a month and lease rates for a new A320 start at around $250,000-300,000. Even at 12/hour utilisation (again block-time) every nine days out of ten (every plane needs to be rotated out of service for routine check-ups every once in a while after all if it has to be kept from falling out of the sky). That means a plane would fly around 320 hours a month. Which works out to around $1600/hour (bought) or between $800-1000 (leased) that is Rs 40,000 - 80,000 in CapEx costs every hour. And this doesn't include the cost other equipment (safety equipment, air-stairs, computer equipment blah blah blah) so again assume around Rs 75,000 an hour (high-ish estimate). And that makes a flight's costs around Rs 600,000.
Now, a Air Deccan plane seats 180 passengers, which means that the fair cost of every ticket is around Rs 3333 without any margins and that doesn't include maintence costs, training costs and overnight parking charges. OK, so Gopinath pays his people less and uses e-ticketing and blah, blah, blah. Even then, the fair price would be around Rs 3000 a ticket. On Kingfisher Airlines with meals (@ Rs 200/meal) and the cost of maintaining LCD TV screens and other IFE equipment add to the cost (plus the foreign pilots and management) and they only have 172 passengers. So fair price would be around Rs 4000 with zero margin. (very low estimate)
And these calculations have been done with relatively cheap fuel charges factored in. With oil hitting $70/bbl plus, you can calculate yourself if these airlines will be profitable with ticket prices barely touching Rs 5000 at the most. I don't think any of the airlines can make much money unless they have huge fleets to get some cost advantages (on training costs, maintenence, infrastructure). There are going to be a slew of IPO's next year where the airlines (sometimes flamboyant promoters) will get their own money out and let the investors money sink - a la America. Lets put it this way, untile recently (and despite 80 per cent plus loads) Jet Airways didn't make too much money. Yet, everybody has a 'me-too' syndrome and wants to start-up a new airline. I'ld hate to see people out of jobs, but with airlines mushrooming up, unless there is a collapse soon, there are going to be a lot more tears than smiles in the skies above India. And many consumers might get badly burnt.
But what does the objective media say - Cheap tickets - good! Bad Economics - who cares, after all Kingfisher, SpiceJet and Air Deccan are big advertisers and most correspondents don't understand the E of Economics.

Another Kwik review by K

Bombay Newspaper Reviews coming up, but first....
Snakeman's got a fan base? Shit, I'm being nasty again. Maybe it is because I'm broke in a strange city, which means that I have no beer money. Which is quite traumatic given that Toto's is only two minutes away. I went to Toto's on Friday, met fifteen other journo's I knew, in fact it looked like the sububarn iteration of the Press Club.
What happened this weekend? Well I caught up with some college friends, one of whom I met after five or so years and who promptly gave me a huge talk on salaries in the media (he works for a HR consultancy which does work for some media companies - if I play this right I can find who gets paid what and most importantly who is fibbing about their salaries). Secondly, I discovered that a friend (rather acquaintance from SSC) married to hottie TV anchor got divorced from her and promptly married her again. His rooomie from first year, who was the biggest pothead araound is now prepping to be a father and a third classmate of thiers (thankfully in Bollywood) is banging a 18-year old starlet. Another person I know who was having an affair with her boss (she works in a prominent Delhi newspaper) has had her rich husband (also a journo) dump her. Then of course, I had to drink shitloads to recover from information overload - Toto's was followed up with more daaru at the Lobby Bar. And that was just Friday.
Saturday began with a hangover and a visit to my landlord's, who I have discovered is a bit psycho. Anyway, since he told me in no uncertain terms that he doesn't trust people (maybe its the beard) he will have to wait for the cheque to clear before I can shift in. Bloody hell. I then went back to the 'Boys' house at Pali Village where I proceeded to get very stonered. Its good to lose perspective sometimes. Anyway, then a friend made me come into town (on a weekend, no less) but treated me to a movie. It was Dark Water in case you wanted to know. Nice movie, liked the mind fucking twisting ender to the movie. I still have to see Madagascar.
Sunday, I stayed home, ate food and played video games. Saw Australia lose. Felt very good. Also, whats with Bajaj, they play the Avenger advert at the drop of a hat. Admittedly, its a killer advert, I really like the cinematography in Ladakh and the fact that the biker 'forgives' everyone, and the little subtle touch of the peasant bowing to him, just before he says, 'I fell like... God', but too much airplay. But the bike is supposedly very good, I haven't driven one as yet, but I want to. Unlike the new Tata Safari Dicor, which sounds like a Rhino in heat and moves like um... hesitatingly. Now, the advert seems very good, 'Reclaim Your Life' and has haunting music which adds a lot to the advert. Sadly, because the music is the score from Requiem For a Dream, I only remember very sad images while watching the ad. But unless you remember that, or haven't seen the movie its a nice ad. Pity about the car though. Must get the Avenger for a TeeDee.
I hate banks.
Now on the Bombay Paper rush. The fact that Mumbai Mirror is given free with the Times has meant that it has become Mumbai's largest circulating newspaper - its 40,000 net news-stand sales added to ToI's 550,000 circulation, giving MM a whopping circulation. Not bad, given that MM is really surprisingly readable. No hang-ups, but some more analytical pieces (and not about the plight of bar girls) would be nice. That said, ToI with 100 pages of info is a steal for Rs 4, and with its far superior city and national coverage it is still the best paper in the city from a readers point of view. However, writing quality and editing quality is far shoddier than ToI Delhi or even ToI Kolkata.
What about the challenger? DNA claims a circulation of over 2 lakh copies. From advertisers I hear the number 110,000, which isn't bad initial circulation. Sure, DNA is only Rs 2 and separate sections make it pretty easy. Its got very good entertainment and party coverage (important in this city) and their Business section (again, important in this city) despite some unfortunate placements of adverts is still pretty good (leading to ToI bolstering their business section - but almost totally from BusinessWorld). Sports is even stevens - ToI's and HT's stronger and older bureaus are better, but DNA's superior page layouts do make sports easier to read. But then again, we are a one-sport, one-team country, so you might as well split up the sports section into the 'BCCI Politics' page; 'The Ganguly Page'; 'Lifestyle' page; 'Why we lost/How did we win' page; 'Global Cricket' maybe two pages; 'Other Sports' compring of the following - half page picture of Sania Mirza/Eastern European Tennis starlet, preferably in deep neck outfit and a interview with Narain Karthikeyan on 'Why he will not win at Monza/Suzuka/Silverstone or ever plus an occasional column on hockey whenever we lose to Pakistan.
Then there is Mid-Day. Whose quality is not the same since they lost 90-odd percent of their top-writers, but still circulates at around 150,000 copies. Very often the newspaper looks silly, but its good time-pass in the afternoon, if you have a free copy that is. Four bucks is too much money given that ToI gives away so much more for the same price. Ya, ya I know the fact that it costs more to print a paper than its selling price (I assume a 100-page ToI would cost around Rs 20, fair news-stand price, if not more) and if you can cover your costs with the news-stand price, its all the better. But really, Mid-Day does have the content to keep me happy. As I said, time-pass, not gripping.
Then there is HT. I met a person from the HT Delhi Desk ('paratrooped' in his own words to Bombay to cover for the fact that HT Bombay has too few people) who told me that there is no-where near to enough content. HT claims a circulation figure of 100,000, again actuals might be closer to 60,000-80,000, and god knows how many of this is 'net paid circulation.' HT has huge City reporting problems (one rotting carcass story, doesn't cut it) and if their enthusiam to doing business stories means skipping the Reliance AGM (because Saturday is a holiday) I can't say much about the business pages (which suck, which is strange because HT Delhi has some decent people in the business bureau, better than the people they have in Mumbai actually, but HT Mumbai and HT Delhi business have ego issues, and in a place run by Mr Ego himself, you can imagine what happens). Plus, I have no idea why HT is doing entertainment and party reporting so half-heartedly, its strange, because this is entertainment central. DNA After Hours is a great package, which is very entertaining. But HT seems to be too snobbish to cover it.
I feel sorry if you bought into the scrip for the long-term.
Time-Out Mumbai is the best read in the city though.
And thats it, a full fledged review of the Mumbai media and my life over the weekend. Now I have to work.
EDIT : This is a hilarious blog intro'ed to me by Cyborg (Swati), and just shows that I have been spending too much of my internet time at Slashdot, BoingBoing and Sensible Erection with very occasional diverts to Screenhead and Best Ads on TV. But I love this post about the Bonglomeration is freaking hilarious (even though the third Indo-Pak war happened in 1971). Its almost as funny as the now defunct Audi Olympics blog. By the way, I have no clue why so many many bongs in Mumbai try to hide their bong-ness, maybe they're scared that Bal Thackeray's goons will beat them up.
EDIT EDIT : Unlike the Snakeman I don't usually post super-short posts every two hours, so, I'll edit this one again with interesting bits of news here and there.
Here for example is great piece of architecture we will never see in India, where we will see either socialist-inspired concrete monoliths or glass-fraonted (I've never understood why glass fronted buildings are so popular in a country which gets this much radiant sunlight). Mine not to reason why.
From Demonbaby, we get a 'Lost in Transalation' Porno Shop edition.
Women getting their own back. Not bad in a country where men go about raping 18-month old babies. Must'nt condone crime, must'nt.
OK, this is a left-wing site, but is George W.Bush really losing it?
Free games, no really. Free games with nice graphics also. As in no money, and all from CNET.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Mumbai rumours

Is DNA doing well? Or is its print run going the way of the Indian batting line up? What about HT? And let's not forget the TOI ...

The fate of Mumbai newspapers continues to be a topic of discussion, even in television studios. I actually met someone who thinks DNA is a great paper. A report, which is the exact opposite of the one I got a few weeks ago.

Hello K. What's going on in Mumbai's newspaperland? Fill us in.

In the meanwhile, us dilli-walas are preparing to move to Noida. The rumours about the new office don't stop. There's a gym there. It's only for the management. Everybody can use. No-one will have the time to use it. The food court's huge. The food court's one dhaba. Everybody will get a computer. No-one will get a computer. Only the boss will get a computer, everybody else will get laptops. Wi-fi ... yes, no, maybe, definitely, if only ...

Interesting times.

Saturday, August 27, 2005

In search of speakers, gangsta style

the local moll wanted speakers. so she got gd -- the paranoid producer -- to go around collecting money. what would you do if you had a manic man staring at you asking for money. i say no. others start giving money away. without even bothering to ask why. and then wanting it back when they found out. the local moll sat through all of it cooly, trying to figure out -- from me -- what speakers to buy, from where.

From inside the boob tube

It's big, it's in your face, it' s sexy -- it's television. You can't live without it, but you definitely can give living with it a shot (especially if you have a DVD player and the right kind of movies for your personality type ... of coure 24 hour cable always helps).

People here disapprove of smart work -- they want to work .. all the time .. and give you dirty looks if you don't work yourself.

K is missed. Some people in this office are calling him their son.

But let me give you an update about the transition from print to television.

First off, introductions of all the people I can see right now ...

There's Bray. A very large, very well padded, very blind man with a death wish. He has no hair, but has been going on since morning about the haircut he has to have. Outside of that, he usually yaks about food.

Then there's GD -- a hyperactive hyperchondriac producer who will lose all his hair soon trying to produce a weekly show ... every week.

There's the local Moll, who's sitting next to me -- wanting to know if I'm done and professing great affection for another girl -- heh heh.

GD part 2 is wearing a pink shirt today. He's married to a woman.

And how can I forget the talking mouschtache. All you can see is a large moush -- straight out of the middle ages -- that ends in these marvelous curvaceous points ... lovely I tell you ... and then the moush begins to talk ... it bobs up and down and a deep, staccatto, gravelly voice emerges. "Hi, I'm the walking, talking gigantic moushtache -- did I spell that right?"

nuff said.

more later.

Friday, August 26, 2005

What's up brother?

Anywhere I go nowadays, I hear the same line, "Whats up brother?" No, its not the irony of the fact that a strange guy I met five seconds ago calls me "brother", its the almost total lack of creativity in nicknames that you see nowadays. Look at me for example, I have a nickname at home (which almost all women who have attained title of 'friendgirl' or 'fiendgirl' have appropriated), I had several nicknames in school, including the lot so nice one which my class V maths teacher gave me and which lasted till class VI (thank god that one died out) when a haircut experiment gone wrong when I was supposed to be doing my crafts project (my parents had just seperated - I was traumatised and thus doing strange things) led to a US Marine style crewcut, which might be cool today, but on the head of a 12-year old in 1990, it wasn't so cool. Anyway, that nickname stuck among a rather large circle and while some think its slightly offensive, it is my nickname and I love it. In college, I acquired a third nickname, which made fun (somewhat) of my ethnicity, but even that name stuck among a rather large crowd. But trust me, suddenly hearing someone shout out your college nickname at a formal dinner still sends shivers down my spine, because I go "Oh, fuck, who now?" So its strange why the art of giving nicknames is dying out, nicknames are like your identity, your tag, something that is you, identifies you. I absolutely love all my nicknames, they might be silly or the work of a former Trotskyite who got drunk one day and decides to give his son a stupid Russian nickname (I think it means 'Workers Unite' or something) and then desi-ise it.
Of course, talking about my ethicity leads me to the thousands of Khokon's out there in the world. In Calcutta, every second kid on the street is Khokon. Bongs are not usually very creative with their nicknames for boys, girls get some nice ones though. However there is some creativity with Bongs in the media industry, where people like Jojo just become Jojo. I know of people who get confused when you refer to the man as Jaideep Bose. There is Bablu, Bong, Bultu, Bubul etc (each and every one of those four are very very senior editors - lets see if any of you can guess their REAL names?)
Anyway, this reminds me of a forward I got a few months ago, thank god GMail is so easy to search.

Here goes :-

This post is part of an ongoing series. In these pages, I will attempt to alert people to a great injustice that is being perpetrated upon the sons of Bengal. So you thought they were wimpy to begin with. Far from it, my friend. Their current state is a result of years of conditioning by the oppressors - namely the women. By using a variety of psychological weapons, they have reduced these fine men to what you see today.

Today we focus on the first weapon in their hands - the NICK-NAME.

When a son is born into a Bengali household, he is gifted with a resonant, sonorous name. Bengali names are wonderful things. They convey majesty and power. A man with a name like Prasenjit, Arunabha or Sukanta is a man who will walk with his head held high, knowing that the world expects great deeds from him, which was why they bestowed the title that is his
name upon him.

But it simply will not do for these men to get ahead of themselves. Their swelling confidence needs to be shattered. How can one go about it? This task is left to the mothers of these lads and is accomplished by the simple act of referring to the boy, not by his fine-sounding real name, but by a nickname which Shakti Kapoor would be ashamed to answer to.

Their are some rules for creating nicknames, which need to be followed.

Nicknames must have no connection to the real name. "Arunabha" cannot be called "Arun". No, for that would be logical, and such things are anathema in the world of women. Instead he shall be called "Bhombol". If possible, the nickname and real name must have no letters in common, but an ancient alphabet proves to be the constraining factor there. Nicknames must be humiliating. If you are a tall strapping boy, with a flair for soccer, an easy charm and an endearing personality, then you shall be nicknamed - "Bhondu". And every time, you have
set your sights on a girl, and are on the verge of having the aforementioned lass eat out of your hand - your mother will arrive & pronounce loudly - "Bhondu" - Bari eso. The ensuing sea of giggles will drown out whatever confidence you had earned from that last
winning free-kick.

A nickname must refer in some way to a suitably embarassing incident in your childhood that you would give your arm and leg to forget. If it took you a little too long to shed your baby fat, then years of gymming will not rid you of the nomenclature - "Motka". If your face turned crimson when you cried as a toddler, you will be called "Laltu". When you turn 40, your friends' children will call you "Laltu Uncle". Even age will not earn you the right to be taken seriously thereafter.

You will always be introduced by your nickname, until people forget you had a Real Name. Ranajoy might have taken on a gang of armed men single-handedly, but Toton really didn't have a chance. After a point Toton will completely take over the beaten body of Ranajoy,
weighed down by the pressure of a thousand taunts.

This strategy is surprisingly effective. Ask yourself - would you take Professor 'Rintu' seriously? Or put much weight by the opinion of Dr. 'Bubai'? Or march into battle under the command of
General 'Thobla'?

The power of the nickname has scarred the psyche of Bengali men everywhere. It follows them like a monkey on their backs.
That too, a monkey with a flair for slapstick, that was gifted to them by their own mothers.

That, dear Bong friends, is Step No.1 of their grand plan.

I must leave now before they realise I am telling you all this.

Step No.2 of the plan shall be revealed in the next post. Now let me make my
escape. But wait!
There's no way we can let you go now - you've seen too much. Not before
you answer the question...

"Tomar daak naam ki, Khoka?"

The crowd waits with bated breath in anticipation of the great warrior being hoisted by his own petard. They lick their chops hungrily. But tonight is not their night. He stands tall and straight and a smug smile plays on his lips. From his lips come the words -"Mazhi aai Bangali
(my mother is not a Bengali) .

And he survives to fight another day.

Anyway, back to the blog, I was so awfully kicked about crossing the 5000-visitor mark in two months flat, despite virtually zero publicity (and a hint of anonymity) that I started to go through my search logs on Statcounter, and discovered that this is the most popular search in the last 48 hours. Why, I have no clue, but talking about gossip about the industry (and if people visit this blog for shit about the industry, I might as well write some crap), I was being fed a lot of gossip about Sallu yesterday by a friend who had a shoot with him. He was pissed off at the fact that Sallu made him wake up at 7.30 in the morning and then hold up the entire shot because he wanted to do something else. Let alone the fact, as my friend described it, "The guy was pissed drunk, you knew that he had drunk a shitload just by looking at the bags under his eyes." Anyway, we all know that Sallu loves the bottle, I also found out that John Abraham is depressed because his deal with Yamaha means that he had to sell his Hayabusa. But in compensationI believe Yamaha will not just give him as many thousands of Fazer 135's, but also a Yamaha R1 in due course of time. Lucky fucker because that is some compensation. That is a wallpaper sized image on the left.
By the way, haven't you ever wondered if all those kids who go around wearing, and I mean thousands of kids, pro-grass T-shirts have ever smoked the weed. I had a couple of such T-shirts but rarely ever wore them, I supported the movement by smoking. I mean thousands of kids take it upon themselves to propogate signs of the seven-pointed leaf of Cannabis Indica and why you ask them if they smoke, they go "Drugs are bad", and one of these kids (OK, so I was also a kid then) wearing a marijuana leaf wristband (red, green and yellow, full Rasta colours) actually told me that I needed to go to rehab. I didn't know what to do, but I sure felt like doing something really nasty to that person. Its like a major 'huh' situation. I have no issues if you don't smoke, but then don't wear the paraphenalia, its rather pointless and brings out the hipocrisy. And if you do smoke, don't advertise. And if you ever wondered why the 'liberal' media doesn't carry too many anti-pot stories its because whenever a pot raid happens there is an inner child inside most senior editors which is crying. Unless you are Viru Dada and write a column in Brunch about how deprived you feel because no-one was ever friendly enough with you to offer you a joint. Maybe that is where all of Viru's problems stem from.
Anyway, here I am sitting at Nariman Point, on a holiday because I had a couple of meetings to attend and I have meet someone else at six in the evening. By the way, I've found myself a place, its a rather cosy little room, but should suit me for the time being nonetheless.
Here are some links, which I will be adding to through several tens of edits through the day.
These are photographs taken by a photographer whose day job is as a helicopter pilot over Mexico City. Some of the shots are great, including this really nice shot of thousands of Mexico City Green and White cabs.
This is a rather useful resource on Adolf Hitler. I guess chaps like Narayan Rane who admire him (Rane admires him because he also suffers from height deficiency among other things). I don't admire Hitler, but an apolitical online resource on a man who influenced global history for better or for worse is an useful tool nonetheless.
And when lunatic fringe Christian Evangelists go absolutely beserk, they call for lunatic-fringe dicatators to be assassinated. Watch Pat Robertson's plea for Hugo Chavez's assassination here. What would JC say?
Yes, this finally explains Intelligent Design, an absolutely brilliant cartoon. (Don't Drink the Koolaid)
This is a great spoof on the IBM 'problem' adverts.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Mid-Week has passed.

I don't know why but Wednesday night scares the heebeejeebies out of me. Because invariably, every Wednesday since I started calling this city home (OK, so its only been three weeks) has inadvertently led to alcoholic disaster. Which means a lot of beer/whiskey/vodka (plus some schapps last week) enters my system and Thursday morning usually begins with a bloated face (which in my case makes my already large face look gargantuan) and a late start. But getting drunk does have one major plus side - drunk sleep. I mean passing out is good at times, its good to get the passing out out of your system as early as possible.
Now, the Bombay papers are carrying on about corrupt contractors, corrupt housing officials and dilapidated houses. Again, no-one is talking about the biggest change needed - amending the Bombay Rent Control Act. The act, which froze rents at 1940 levels to prevent large-scale evictions post-independence has made downtown Bombay into a high-class ghetto. So, the residents inside a hundred-year old building might have a Mercedes or two parked outside, but the building itself is on the verge of collapse, and areas like Tardeo are full of such buildings. I don't get why no journalist in this country questions the existence of 50-60 even 100 year old pieces of legislation littering our penal and civil codes. The Telegraph Act, which is used to determine such late 20-th century things such as uplinking, radio broadcasts and TV rights sharing dates back to 1884 if I'm correct. And there are hundreds more, I mean section 377 of the IPC would have half (nay, all) of Bollywood in jail for 'unnatural' sexual acts (not just homosexuality, because 'unnatural' includes either giving or recieving oral sex, among other things, you never know, maybe even heavy petting can be seen as 'unnatural').
While, foreign publications galore praise the existence of a ferociously independent media over here, after four years of working and nearly twenty years of observing the industry, I'll agree with the ferocious part. The media will ferociously defend its independence - but is a meek as a pussycat when it comes to hardcore news gathering or for that matter balanced reporting. This may sould cynical, but its the truth. The media here is all about finding scapegoats - it rained in Bombay - who is to blame - no not the fact that we've let development run mad - but the Science and Technology Ministry for not warning us in time. Everybody just wants to point a finger and blame someone. No-one ever says sorry, and the desi media is just as bad we are either always right (by the way, when was the last time you read a corrigendum in any Jain&Jain publication) or its someone elses fault.
I caught TVTN's new channel yesterday. Its called 'Tez' and I'll say this much, its 'tez' all right. But I like the concept and I believe yet another TVTN channel is on the way soon. Plus two new NDTV channels plus two channels from TV18. A lack of objectivity it seems will not stop the viral infection of Indian news channels from spreading. And no, this is not a tired old print hack speaking, this is a person who has seen too much TV news talking. I watch only VH1, AXN and Discovery Travel and Living. Trust me, watching dumb bimbos on AXN showing off their tits and ass or dumb bimbos with electronically altered voices strutting around on VH1 is better than watching dumb bimbos spewing out knowledge they have no idea about on news channels. (OK, as a quick self rejoinder - not all TV news anchors are dumb bimbos - Vishnu isn't a dumb bimbo for example, kidding, actually there are some really smart women in TV News, but they all seem to be working for one network - NDTV and this doesn't mean that all NDTV anchor women have their nuts screwed in tightly)
Got to work now, and I have changed the comment system after a bit of great advice from Cyborg.
EDIT : Two months since I added the Statcounter (I added it on 27th June) the blog has crossed 5000 hits. (minus about a few hundred of mine - but it still says 5000 plus - hah!). I know my update frequency is a bit less nowadays, but thanks everyone for dropping by to my little space on the interweb.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Strange City

If a tale of two cities were to be written today - it might be about Shangahi and Bombay. One aspires to be the other, but the other is streaking ahead. And before you know it Bombay may not even aspire to be India's premier city anymore.
I could rail on about corrupt cops, but that is not peculiar to Bombay, its just that over here the problem is pretty bad, possibly the worst of any major city in this country. But thats not the point. The point here is the story about the building collapse that dominated all the headlines today. Why I find this strange in only when a building collapses do the papers ever pay attention do that very nice and antiquated bit of legislation - the Bombay Rent Control Act of 1940. But it seems to date back from 1840. You know why Bombay will never become Shanghai - it is that act. Throughout the streets of the inner city, run down old houses dominate the skyline of India's financial hub. Fair enough, I understand the need to preserve the interests of the poor and downtrodden, but preserve their inetrests (staying in dilapidated yet downtown plot) at the cost of their lives?
Worse still, new immigrants coming to this town end up cross-subsidising older tenants paying Rs 40 a month. Driving property prices ridiculously sky-high in this city, because legislators will never change it - loss of votes they'll scream. Bombay is not a dead city - people haven't moved out of their homes - but its getting there. Slowly but surely its getting there. And then there is Shanghai and take it from a person who has been to that city twice, it is a few centuries ahead of Bombay, let alone the brilliant eight-lane expressway from Shaighai's stunning Pudong airport (versus Sahar International - hah!) to Shanghai's hub, eight lane roads, brilliant high-rises the lot. Communism cry our politicos (other than our muddled Communists who cry Capitalism!), but if Communism (Deng Xiopeng style) gets me a MagLev train, I'm all for it.
True, ordinary residents in Shanghai don't have a voice, but how much voice to ordinary citizens in Bombay have? A PIL here, a PIL there and even if you win the PIL the government will legislate its way around it. This city needs help, help that even a firebombing reminiscent of Tokyo in 1945 won't be able to do. I know old-time Bombay hands may say that all this adds character, oh well, Lepto is always good character. What this city needs is a ballsy leader who'll give a flying fuck about votes and pull this city up by the bootstrings. Big time!
The new-look trains are a slight improvement though!

Tuesday, August 23, 2005


You know sometimes, we in the media think of ourselves as the source of knowledge, spouting forth intelligence on everything from oil prices (right, like any of us know whats going on in the global oil market, the oil ministry included) to the impact of branded fast-food (hah!), and sometimes when a story stares you in the face don't understand why its there. Thats because very few people in the media ever bother to go out there and experience anything. Look at the entire dance bar girl brouhaha in Mumbai, if any of the newspapers had decided to make one guy a regular at these bars and maybe even get into the panties of one of the bar girls, the stories that would have come out would have been so much better.
On the same note, there has never been a decent cocaine (or any drug story) story that has appeared in the media, simply because the people writing about the drug have no idea what it does (though, that said, there is no shortage of media-persons doing cocaine in this country - but those guys will never write). While the TV channels will run with hidden cameras to expose corruption, they shit bricks at sending a wired correspondent (with a hidden camera) for a drug run, because exposing corruption cannot get you in trouble (well legally it can, the bribe giver is also guilty under the IPC) but carrying drugs of any sort is punishable under a very totalitarian act. Yet, the sheer abundance of people in the media who think they know it all is amazing. Blah, blah, blah you hear them say in the editorials and the news, making issues out of non-issues but when something bad happens to them, they blow it up - I know I've done it.
And then when people sneer at me when they find out I'm a journalist, I'm not surprised. There are times when I might love the access to important people, the satisfaction of seeing your byline, but there are a lot of times when I wonder what the fuck am I doing here? And I've been thinking too much of that in the last two days, way too much. I don't know how I ended up as a journalist, but I've had my fun, and at times over the last two days I've just been down and out and want to get out.
Somehow, this Sunday's Dilbert kinda shows where we in the media have ended up.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Bad bad weekend.

I'll keep a long story really short, this weekend (Saturday night to be precise) I went through a rather traumatic experience and part of that involved losing my mobile. Have bought new mobile - Nokia 3220 (wanted the 3230 but that was too expensive at Rs 14k versus Rs 6.5k for the phone I bought). Anyway, I doubt I will ever be the same person again. And sometimes, and I am swallowing a lot of pride in saying this, a womans ability to talk is her greatest weapon and while it might seem like 'white noise' sometimes it can be very useful. Even if you don't get a word of whats going on. Anyway I have to go see a few more homes soon.
And sometimes the media has no idea of what goes on.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Fiat Lux

The title is latin for 'Let there be Light' and had HT used that as its ad-line it would have been pretty funny, anyway its funny enough that HT copied their slogan from the motto of Mayo Boys, which is strange considering that Viru Dada often complains that he felt discriminated in that school because he wasn't a handsome Rajput Prince. The plight of Bombay Gujju's, I tell you. Anyway, the reason behind the title is because while whiling around at office today (versus desperatly trying to meet deadlines yesterday) I saw a movie online called 'Fiat Lux'. The movie is a great piece of computer animation and it looks back at when Galileo had the temerity to question the Catholic Church's official version of things, back in the old old days, graphically representing what impact his statement had on the Church. However while today questioning the fact that the earth moves around the sun might seem stupid, American's are questioning evolution by advocating a strange form of creationism - Intelligent Design, they call it. Despite some ten years of studying in an intensely Catholic Institution run by the Irish Christian Brothers we were taught about Darwin, but the Church and some mad Christian organisations (in the US) think of Charles Darwin as a bad word. What will they say about the Darwin Awards then? The Onion has a great spoof on all this.
So anyway, I had a rather nice evening yesterday opting out of the various party plans the friends I am staying with had. I just stayed home, watched bits of 'XXX' which classifies as a terribly dumb movie (why would someone want to blow up Prague?) and played a lot of Need For Speed 'Underground' which is a pretty fun game, though I still am racing in a Mazda MX-5 Miata and I must acquire a nicer set of wheels soon. Back on the great world of the interweb, I saw this very funny and peculiar site showing some interesting flash animations of 'Kamasutra for Dummies'. And this new ad for Starbucks is quite funny too. And I could have read this great guide to 'Realtionship Endings For Beginners', considering most of my relationships end with 'Why didn't you call for the last ten days', I could use a few tips.
This link is especially for Papamali.
Anyway, on another note I had a long chat with a friend who also recently relocated (back) to Mumbai after a year or so in Delhi (more Gurgaon) and she was telling me how the pace of life is so very dheela in Delhi compared the Bombay. While I still owe my loyalties to Delhi (and the incestuous journalistic community in the capital where as a colleague commented everybody in the media is somebody elses brother, son, daughter, wife, lover, mistress, ex-wife, ex-husband, former lover etc, how true!) because I like the wide open roads, the cheaper price of petrol and the relative cleanliness, Bombay has its own, what should I say, verve, maybe. And lots and lots of a particular substance which as a friend puts it 'puts the switch back on again' and it ain't Viagra or Levitra.
Anyway, two weeks is hardly enough time to form any opinion, I'm still learning and observing. But I must say, life is a lot faster here, and until now the PR people have been slightly less irritating (no insults to one or two particular readers of this blog who work for PR firms in Bombay). But as I said, its still too soon.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Kwietly and kwikly

Its been a busy, busy day and I've barely had the the time to blog, so I'll have to add to this post through a series of edits. Shit load of work, here there and everywhere. Plus, I've been trying to find just how many bloggers there are in India? Anyone have any clue whatsoever?
OK, Indibloggers has a listing of around 1050 desi bloggers from all over Swades and Pardes. On a side note, am I the only one who finds it ironic that Shah Rukh Khan has acted in both Pardes and Swades?
EDIT : So why have I been so busy today. Well, for one I discovered that half the world is off tomorrow because of 'Raksha Bandhan'. I don't have any sisters thankfully, but used to often end up with five or six rakhis around my hand every time, tied by certain girl who thought of me as a 'brother'. In a strange twist of fate, I used to find myself inside some of their pants later in the year. Needless to say, I don't get any rakhis tied on me any more.
Many guys used to consider rakhi's like this KLPD. KLPD which was once a popular term to describe a bummer is not the short form of a Bollywood boy-meets-girl epic. Rather, it stands for 'Khade Land Pe Dhoka' - I don't know how this would translate - I guess a literal one would be 'Standing Penis is Betrayed' or should that 'Betrayal of an Erect Tool'? Dunno. Any ideas? If so, leave your comments. But if you're the types who think 'Chut' is 'Ass', then don't bother.
A nice article on BusinessWeek which I managed to catch. Its about car-logos and brands.
I own a Leonard Cohen 'Live' album, and though not a huge fan, I do like some of his songs and I know many people who like Cohen. So I was a bit surprised to find out that the man is broke!
And Nike's new contact lenses will end up making sunglasses obsolete. But they will cost a freaking bomb!
Protect your office - I really like this, a Laser Trip wire system a la Hollywood all for under $30.
And is this the invention of the century, which will make safe drinking water easily available?
What Star Wars could have looked like!
I was reading in Mumbai Mirror today, that the clown of a Railways Minister that we have - Lalu Yadav (remind me to edit that Wikipedia entry) popped into town, but didn't do anything much other than visit the CM. In fact, what he did do was to take Western railway officials out of their offices and force them to follow him in his jaunts around town. And Bollywood named a movie after him last year. This is almost as funny as the sight of Ness Wadia clearing trash alongside his girlfriend (Sallu's mastrubating bunny) Preity Zinta. Which was all conviniently timed at five in the evening (when the light is best for the photogs).
But talking about Bombay Sururban Trains, last night when I was peering out of the train as it pulled out of Churchgate I noticed an anomaly. A rake had a sheet glass window from which the driver looked out instead of the jali that they usually have. And a digital display too. I was asking some colleagues about that today. They all thought I must have smoked too much. Which I haven't because the hash/pot in this town sucks. The white stuff on the other hand....
Hey, these are some nice adverts from which were made during the Cannes ad fest.
Maid Romance Mattress
And then again, I have to work some more, so later then. There are 1049 more desi blogs to read, many of them better than this one. Though, that said this blog does drive one heck of a lot of traffic. The number of visitors you see at the bottom of the page have all come since June 27th this year. OK, subtract about 300 entries made by me, but still not bad, eh?
PS : Most of them came here looking for desi porno. Shit!

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Aamir, Toyota and work.

After a week and a half I had my first presser in Bombay today. Well, not actually my first presser in Bombay, I've flown down (rather been flown down) for pressers before in the Big Mango, but you know like oral sex isn't really sex, being flown down by Fiat for the launch of the ill-fated Palio Adventure (which was a bloody awesome car - down to the Pirelli tyres) didn't really count. However, no surprises for guessing that I ended up covering an automotive do.
This was a Toyota do to celebrate the first six months of the Innova, which as I have written before is a pretty nice vehicle, slow off the line but it gets the job done. Anyway, the father ended up buying one for his new wife and the dogs. Worse still, on my advice. And I just get a ruddy Alto, which I have to pay for. Damn!
Bitchiness later, Toyota is desperate to tell the world that the Innova is their 'new' car and the Qualis is dead, dead, dead. And thats why they've hired Mister Aamir Khan to sell their car. You know the guy who plays Mangal Pandey in a film by the same name, or more accurately the Papa Kehte Hai guy, OK, I'll try and lay off the sarcasm a bit. Then again, as someone pointed out at the presser, AK isn't exactly like AB or SRK and endorses very few brands - this is only the third current brand that he is endorsing after Titan and Coke. I mean, with AB you lose count - Dabur, Cadbury's, something, otherthing, everything.
I wonder why Toyota needed a Brand Ambassador for the Innova. Really. The Innova has sold almost 18k units since launch, outselling not only competition but all mid-sized cars also. But then again, looking at Vikram Kirloskar's beaming face during the presser, it was quite evident that Toyota needed something to boost its image from being a staid boring company. And for a brand that uses Brad Pitt and Britney Spears as B.A's in the US, AK should be a decent bet. However, it would help if AK could make a decent movie too.
However it would Toyota a lot of good if instead of the Innova, they brought along something like this. Maybe this might be a future version of the Innova. I just hope they don't call it something silly like the Innova. (Toyota's great naming story includes - Aygo, Fortuner, Yaris, Camry etc...)
Anyway, now after working on a rather interesting story, I was just arbitly surfing the interweb and found this remarkable gadget. It is well, ummm.... a 'tool' cooler. I don't know if this is for real, but I do know that while playing sports - the - ummm 'tools' can get rather sweaty, and such a thing can be useful. My only question is 'What happens if I get a hard-on?' I don't want to become salami.
Anyway, thats not even half as strange as the pee-powered battery that some scientists in Singapore have developed.
If bloggers had been around in times past...
Choose your life, my friends
More later to be added on in edits through the evening, while I carry on working. Have a great mid-week party!
EDIT 1 : A great short animated clip called Tibetan Racer.
Sometimes you worry about the Japanese! And then you worry some more!
Now, he is just Diddy!
This is a really really nice blog - not at all safe for work!
The BabeLog. Self-explanatory really.
Have fun!

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Churn at Tata Motors

Sometimes you have to thank your bosses for having insight. Recently when Tata Motors announced that Ravi Kant had become their MD, one of my bosses told me that this would make Dr V Sumantran's tenure at the company a bit 'tenuous'. And three weeks later, he has been proved right as Sumantran put in his papers today. Sumantran, a former General Motors engineer was brought in especially by Mister T to work on the Indica project. Sumantran led Tata's development that developed the Indica, Indigo, Indigo Marina as well as the new Common-Rail Direct Injection 'Dicor' engine. At the launch of the Safari Dicor he said how hard the company had worked to develop this new engine. Indeed, Tata Motors was the first car company to develop their own CRD engine indegenously. Yet, while the man was a accomplished engineer, many journo's (including myself) often found him arrogant and slightly megalomaniac, but that is hardly a fault in him alone. But I'm sure the man must've been pissed off when Kant and not him was made MD when Tata Motors acquired their first MD in 11 years. Even though Kant was many years his senior. I will like to see how the papers play this up tomorrow.
So, Mister T will have to find someone else to develop 'The son of Indica', because that car would require a lot of development if it is to appeal to international markets. Wow, I just love boardroom politics.
(pic from this article)

Great long weekend

I don't know how to begin, this is the first time in days that I did not update this blog for so long. Damn, my pretty ridiculously high Google PageRank will start to fall. Or is it Pigeon Rank? Anyway, you can check your PageRank using this free online calculator.
So, lets get down what happened this weekend. Friday night - I went down to visit Rodu, a person I am rather fond of, but because he has been working tirelessly on The Rising I haven't seen much of him over the past two years. Anyway, after a long and entertaining conversation, about among other things - The Rising - but more on that later - some more friends came by and we found ourselves inside 'Seijo and the Soul Dish', a very nice new-ish place on Waterfield Road. I had heard about it before, but I really liked the place. A band called 'Soul Shakti' were playing there. I don't know how to describe their music - Fusion Funk (?) might be as close to describing a genre, but they were good and that isn't six or seven Kingfisher's talking, they did a great rendition of Santana's Black Magic Woman. Coupled with the nice nice decor (I liked the anime backdrops - but then again I'm a sucker for anime/manga). Anyway, I was told that Seijo is also about the food, so sometime after I acquire some money it might be a good idea to head there. This place is definately back up after its 'unfortunate' partial demolition in February.
On Saturday, after a sufficiently lazy morning, I ventured out to house-hunt later in the day, and saw some (though too few) places. Now Rodu, being a good friend and all had arranged ten tickets for his friends to go watch The Rising (the official website). Now, it is very difficult for me to be complete bitch over here and say the movie sucks, but for a movie riddled with historical (where the hell did Steven's character come from and even today officers and men hardly mingle in the army - but anyway some things can be fictionalised) and geographical inaccuracies (Bengal portrayed as bone dry?) and where there is no character development (unlike say Lagaan) and the women are hardly there (Amisha Patel ends up as a 'keep' and whatever happens to the white girl?). I know Aamir's speech in the end - 'The People will rule' part is nice and all, but thank god the revolt of 1857 didn't work out. Because, if it did, India wouldn't have worked out. Anyway, the reviews I think have been kind to the movie - and the best actor in the film isn't Aamir, despite Aamir's best efforts I guess he couldn't edit Toby Steven's out, and the white man does a great job. Aamir should stick to drinking the bhaang his charcter had to consume in the movie, because only a stoned person can like this film.
But, a stoned person would really like the Kal Penn starrer - Where's the Party, Yaar? Most of the stereotypical situations might seem corny, but this movie explores the problems facing desi youth in Yankland. Down to stupid put-on Bollywood dance routine. Great movie, and kudo's to Star Movies for showing it. Then, I saw the match, and what a match it was. This time, Australia batted long enough to survive a defeat. Great series this Ashes is turning out to be and it is even knocking the exploits of Chelski and the ManU Buccaneers off the back pages (the last page of all British newspapers is pure sports - no ads - I wish the desi papers could have copied that)
Anyway, thanks for reading this purile crap, cheerio for now!
EDIT : I never thought that a Banking Advert could be so... nice!
But this is a really nice advert for Atletico Madrid, very nice! (Now if only they could play as well as say Barca!)
Sweet - this is a great Nike spot!
In India, we might all rave about how great the Ogilvy spots are for Hutch. But, globally the best advertising spots in telecom are generally for Vodafone. This Czech advert for Vodafone is the best telecom advert I have seen in a long, long time.
Behind the scenes at The Apprentice!
Strange things you likely didn't know, or maybe didn't want to know.
If this movie releases - I wanna watch!

Friday, August 12, 2005

Friday evening.

I have to find myself an interesting story to do. Must try and think of something interesting and not do something like 'The sordid sex lives of Bombay's top CEOs' (even though I guess a story like that might just work out). Therefore, I blog my about my bored existance for everyone to read.
Talking about blogs...
Hilarious! This and more goodness from T-Shirt humor, (Yanks don't use no 'u' in humour, thats why their jokes suck), though I would like a regular poster of this.
There is this new food phenomenon spreading across the world wherein people have started to eat their pizza's inside cones. I have no clue why, but some Italian company called 'Konopizza' is making this their domain and have opened stores across the world. However, I would definately give this a try if they ever did decide to come to India. Hey, they've gone to New Zealand and Indonesia, so why not here? And 'Branded' fast-food could do with some more brands - I'm sick of MickyD's, Subway's and the Pizza places. Whatever happened to Yum's plans of bringing in Taco Bell and Long John Silver's? Anyway, this invenation will take the fun out of food. Can you imagine that you can just spray some smell on to a piece of paper and it will taste like 'Chocolate Fudge'. Ugh! Some more linxs, as I will be out of circulation through the weekend. Hopefully partying!
This on the other hand would be a nice upgrade for what I sit on in office.
And I would want a set of these on my birthday.
If this is as bad as they say it is, then the weather could get a lot weirder.
EDIT : Some nice Links for the men-folk.
The Miss Reef 2005 contest in Chile. This makes Miss India look bad (After all we had Ms Amrita Thigh-par as Miz India.... HELP!) Latin Women are HOT!

Anyway, some of the other contestants at Miss Universe were very sweet. Here are the photographs of the swimsuit competition.
Tamara Winter - Palymate of the Month August 2005. The photoset.

And pictures from the 2005 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Special. All Hi-Rez.

SoMP to go hear BoMP

In keeping with fancy designations which most media organisations give their recruits nowadays, while I rot away as a lowly something or the other, I will take up the designation by Exec Editor gave me in jest. I am now K, a SoMP - short for Son of Member of Parliament. Well, ideally it should be SoMP(RS) but that would be too long. Anyway, after doing nothing much last night and getting three hundred or something phone calls from frantic parents in Delhi saying "Drink Bottled Water", I decided to find my way around town. Which involved a meeting somewhere really far. Which was not nice. Its easier just to have gone to office and sat my ass on the chair and done nothing.
Anyway, on Sunday evening, me SoMP will go to hear BoMP - that is Brother of Member of Parliament spin some tracks at a new joint. I mean what can assure no police trouble better than having the local Member of Parliament's brother as your in-house DJ. See that is what Salil Chaturvedi should have done. Now all I have to do is to find myself an attractive DoMP (Daughter of MP) to get married to. Anyway, if my career path takes its evil planned route I will lose the 'So' before MP within the next ten years. Of course, that is if everything goes to plan.
I was reading Kartikeya's (I wonder why he does use his surname, which for the record is Tripathi - maiing him a thakkar UP Bhaiyya) report in ToI about a psycho judge. This woman, Laxmi Rao sent a 20-something year old woman to jailing for five years RI for 'soliciting' a 16-year old boy, but let not one but two rapists off the hook because they were the 'sole bread earners' in their familes. So we let criminals stay on the streets because they have a job? It is better for the government to give a job to wife of the person who committed the rape (what fault of hers is it?) than to let a criminal back on the streets. Anyway, at least in Bombay they catch the rapists, which is more than can be said for Delhi.
EDIT : And in a another 'shocking' development proving that DNA is probably going to worse then ToI when it comes to selling edit space, turn to page 26 of today's paper. A Kingfisher Airlines advert (nice one!) is bang in the middle of a Kingfisher Airlines article, which raves about how Fatty Mallaya runs the best airline in the country. Wow, talk about ethical reportage. Its all as bad.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Mid-week partying.

H dragged me along with him last night, telling me that I needed to drink hard. The problem is that with H around I tend to drink way too much, and as on cue, last night I ended up with way too much whiskey and beer in my system. Anyway, one strange thing about this city so far is the amount of friend-politics – A wants to smash B’s face in because A thinks B has been fooling around with A’s girlfriend C. B claims he is totally innocent, and most people think that C is setting everything up, blah blah blah. And then there is the issue with ex-girlfriends. There is the sort of uncomfortable shifting around when people who don't talk to each other meet each other in a public place. Even worse, the person who has juggle the egos of your friends is you - and that isn't easy, but I find it easier now than before. Its strange when you suddenly discover that everybody is sleeping with everybody else. The amount of sex going around is scary and that’s also why people start falling out with each other – but then again – what do people do? Sex to karma parta hain na?
Something strange I was discussing in office today, someone was mentioning Matrimonial adverts, and I remembered a conversation I once had with the Classifieds manager in HT, Delhi. He told me told me hidden references in matrimonial adverts – sorry if you think these are sexist – I just think that they’re funny. If the term ‘Convented’ (i.e.: Convent Educated) is used – that means the girl is a virgin (And I always thought that girls from Convent schools were horny bunny rabbits – I think I have a rabbit fixation happening). If the term ‘Outgoing’ or ‘Open-Minded’ is used – that means – as the manager told me that you’re getting ‘used goods’. Ouch! And if the term ‘Homely’ is thrown in – then you see the lady in question will be slightly weight disadvantaged – or heavy boned if you prefer that term. I’m sure there are ways you can find out the physical characteristics of men also – like whether a guy has a really really small dick or suffers from premature ejaculation.
Another thing about last night, I was dragged down to the Hawaiian Shack by H, and ever since I’ve been on a retro kick. I am listening to ‘Big Hits of the 80s’ on Yahoo Radio right now – Take on Me, Hungry Eyes, assorted Madonna, New Order. I think this is a sign that I am finally going senile. Of course, what is worse as I discovered to my horror last night – that I know the lyrics to ABBA - I know the lyrics to Dancing Queen and Supertrouper. Sometimes I manage to shock even myself. I think I should change the channel to ‘Rock Classics’ and listen to some Rolling Stones and Led Zep. Then again – the song that just started is Poison’s Every Rose has its Thorn.
As the chorus says…

Every rose has it’s thorn
Just like every night has it’s dawn
Just like every cowboy sings his sad, sad song
Every rose has it’s thorn

Damn, he just switched to Pet Shop Boy's West End Girls. Must forward. And now we get T'Pau. OK, thats it I'm switching to the 'Rock Classics' station - no wait, lets experiment again - 'Adult Alternative' and we get an advert for the Chyrsler 300. Now we get Coldplay's Speed of Sound. Not bad. I'll try this station for a bit.
Chalo, ab back to doing kaam-waam. I have to fix up a trip to Pune for next week. And tonight I’ll eat a decent meal and steer clear of the daaru. And Tyt's Dad finally quit - after he was asked to go I guess. As much as I like Sid Tyt's, his dad's hands are covered with blood for 1984. If the Congress wants Modi's head for Gujarat then Jagdish Tytler will have to be prosecuted for the riots in a 'free and fair' trial.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

I hate Blogger at times.

I spent the last half an hour writing a post and the entire fucking thing went up in the air, or rather into the deepest recesses of the interweb. Which does not make me a happy bunny, it makes me a rather pissed off bunny. Talking about being bunny rabbit's I could do withever they give those Energizer rabbits in the adverts, because after three days of hanging on to the 10-something local for dear life, my energy levels are somewhere in the third level of the basement. Anyway, I had a lot of links linked to the post, and I'll add them later. But first...
The Congress finally got some balls and tabled the Nanvati Commission report and it implicates Jagdish Tytler (father of Delhi Page 3 socialite and my former classmate from school - Sidarth Tytler - thats how he spells his name) as being a pivotal figure in the 1984 anti-Sikh riots. Poor Tyt's will now lose his source of funding and might actually have to start designing wearable clothes for a living. And in Bombay, the government is getting ripped off by a bunch of mill-owners. Expect the floods to be worse in three years time as Central Bombay acquires itself some new (and maybe fugly buildings - look at the ITC Grand Central) buildings and the flood waters have even less place to dissipate. And now ET claims that the PM will resign - which means that we might get RG (v 2.0) as our PM sooner than expected.
Other quik linx.
Drip Graffiti
The Internet Dead Letter Office
Strawberry Flavoured Milk - wait for it - sausages???? And you still don't think the Japs are out of it?
Go Fug Yourself - This is a hilarious Blog!
A great collection of Adult Spanish Movie posters from the 70's. Really nice!
Why???? THis gave me a headache!
"My style is impetuous. My defense is impregnable, and I'm just ferocious. I want your heart. I want to eat his children. Praise be to Allah!" - Not an Iraqi suicide bomber but Mike Tyson. Read more of his 'impetuous' quotes at Wikiquote
The coolest - or at least the most expensive fridge - ever - note the diamonds
Really bored people - Things in Rubbers
The Afterglow lights - that glows in the dark!
The Renault Egeus concept. Sweet!
The Maruti Swift is a 1.3-litre 87 hp car that is tremedous fun to drive. The new VW Golf GT will be a 1.4-litre car with 170 horses on tap. That my friends is F-U-N in a small car.

Thats it fer now, I have to find me a house. So let the fight between the brokers brokers begin!

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

The Car-nage of 26 July in Bombay.

A friend sent me these pics over email. The guy who took them got stuck in Bandra. These pictures are a lot better than the images that were sent out by the wires on that day. The Bombay floods never looked so devastating! My photographer here tells me that there was not much photog's here could do. Seeing these pics you get an idea of the intensity of the rains that hit India's financial capital on the 26th of July. The last picture for example shows cars completely submerged. There were many stories of people dying of aphyxiation inside cars. Click to enlarge and I don't know who these images are copyrighted to.

Day two begins.

I got my First Class train pass made today, despite that I had to spend almost half the journey hanging out of the train. I know most Mumbai-kars will laugh at me, but hey, I'm a Delhi boy. A colleague in office told me that I already look thinner after one day of Mumbai. Brilliant, so instead of joining a gym I should have come to Bombay sooner.
Anyway, I'll start to do some hardcore work from today onwards, start setting up meetings and all. I guess it will still take me a week. I wonder what is up in Delhi. I get the weather forecasts all right but somehow while Bombay feels fun, it still feels somewhat alien.
On a media note, two days of ToI, HT and DNA later - Despite the bleeding heart 'we hate ToI' bloggers infiltrating the interweb, ToI is still by far and away the best of the lot. DNA is colourful and graphic-y, and HT is like HT Delhi - boring and I don't know why the hell Viru the Gujju is trying to make is paper so upmarket. I know that on the day of the rains, Viru had to walk with the hoi-polloi, but HT is an extremely snobbish newspaper. I know Viru loves The Guardian, the problem is that in a town which worships moolah, The Guardians left-wing 'we hate capitalism' philosophy will not sell if HT is going to replicate that. And HT's best business reporters are in Delhi (and Arun Kumar is good!) while the Business section of HT Bombay for lack of another word - sucks. It is pitiable. And a bad business section is what will doom the paper. I might still have issues with HT because of the insane bereaucratic hassles I faced while I worked there, but for gods sake, the Bombay edition is godawful. And so does Poonam Saxena's 'I hate NDTV, Star News rocks' monotone. Poonam, no-one watches Star News other than in airports where we are forced to watch it.
Viru the Gujju needs to get HT Bombay's act together, because DNA while number two to ToI is a shit load better than HT. Today on the train, people were reading ToI, Mid-Day, ET, Free-Press Journal, DNA but no-one (and I notice these things) had a HT in their hands. And don't tell me the 'they've just launched crap', DNA just launched and they are a lot better. I know the market is on a bull-run, but buying into HT is going to be liking throwing money away (while paying for Viru's five-star laundry bill). I don't doubt HT Bombay's survival, I just doubt their appeal.

Monday, August 08, 2005

Salaam Bombay!

Well, well, well, I am finally in Bombay. Finally after almost two weeks of trying I’ve come to the ‘Big Mango’. I’m staying with some friends in Pali and tomorrow I will begin my hunt for a new house or rather – my new hole in the wall. God knows what Bombay is going to be like, I mean as a place to work, but I have a strange feeling that I am going to enjoy it.
OK, so traveling in a second class train today scared the bejesus out of me. Owning a car for under a year has spoilt me. There is a certain joy in going to office on your own wheels, enclosed in your own musical world. On another note, Single Daddy called me up to ask me if my seemingly eternal quest to reach Bombay had been completed.
Anyway, I’m moving out of my house now, for the first time since College and I feel kinda weird, but then again I’m 26 years old now and enough of staying at home. That said my parents were saddled with a kid (me!) when they were 26 and my Dad (single version) was on his way to do his Doctorate in Oxford. Other than multiple sex partners I don’t think I can claim much in my life.
Anyway lets see how the ‘Big Mango’ works out.
Wish me luck.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

What if...

I wrote this as a comment on Living High but the idea was put into my head by a senior journalist who I know very well. What if you were to give a drop of LSD to some of the major news anchors before say they start the ten o'clock news at night? Or maybe make them do a couple of lines of cocaine before they go to interview Lalu Yadav. No wait, that will give them balls to ask some questions to the man instead of sucking up to him. Lalu is desperate to win the Bihar elections and will do anything to win. However, Buta Singh is screwing up a already dysfunctional state. In my opinion, and I'm a person who votes in every election, Bihar needs some tough love. Maybe a few years of miltary rule. By the way, what would happen if you gave some of your politicians LSD. Y'know equal 400 mics doses to Sonia G, Manmohan, Lalu, Karat P, Karat B, Advani, Sushma etc. Better still a spray of LSD inside the Houses of Parliament. No wait, I'm losing it over here. But seriously, news on telly is getting so bad, some LSD would really spice things up a bit.
Anyway, todays HT carried a very knowledgable article about cocaine. 'Knowledgable' in the sense that the prices were right and the 'side-effects' were not as atrociously cocked up as the Nikhat Kazmi piece in ToI. Anyway, it weas called the Page 3 drug of choice. Heck, that it is, but Coca/Charlie/Snow is more than Page 3, many many people do it. And they do it because its good fun, very good fun. Helps the Columbian economy.

Saturday, August 06, 2005

Cows, Hiroshima and more.

Because I am still in Delhi, I read the local news with some interest. Most of the City pages are filled withstories of how Residents Welfare Associations are ganging up to ensure that Anil Ambani's BSES (or should I call it Reliance Energy?) doesn't rip off consumers. I thought that manyof these stories of overcharging were bunkum, but then Friendgirl got a Rs 4000 bill for her place. The girl stays alone, OK, so I'm there sometimes, but four grand for two months? For a person who uses her Aircon a max of six hours a night? Rather ridiculous. Now BSES claims that this is all due to a software error. After BSES cut off power in Mumbai during the floods (understandable on safety grounds, but after you've spent six hours wading through nexk-deep water you want to use the geyser) and in Delhi this. Ambani junior has pissed off the citizenry of Delhi and Bombay and sucking up to CNBC reporters won't help him. Especially if he also continues to assault NDTV reporters.
The New York Times on the Mumbai floods (registration required).
But, now in Delhi Electricity problems have been forgotten thanks to rather interesting ruling by the Delhi HC. The court has ruled that because the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) are a bunch of idiots (they only want to find new ways of lining their own pockets), they will have to pay the citizens of Delhi Rs 2000 for every cow/bull/calf they bring in. Ordinarily I would be aghast at such a ruling, but these cows are traffic hazards. I know of two people who have had their cars damaged by hitting cows. This 'holy cow' crap that has carried on for years must stop. The sad thing is that Indian cows are awful to eat, so you can't make them into T-Bone steaks, but that doesn't mean that they should be allowed to roam the streets of Delhi free. Anyway, following this ruling, there has been a sudden rise in the number of amatuer 'cowboys' in Delhi all looking to make a fast buck, because Rs 2000 isn't peanuts.
One thing you have to admire about the Indian media is local coverage, and as far as that goes I think ToI and HT are both very good reads. As is Express Newsline. You can fault the media on a lot of things but not local coverage, and local coverage is what makes the papers fun and what gives them a huge heads up over telly channels. However, following Sahara Samay's lead it is believed that a lot of telly news outfits are starting local channels to cater to the NCR - Aaj Tak and NDTV among them.
Today is the sixtieth anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima. In school, the History and Civics textbooks mentioned how the Americans were wrong to drop the A-Bomb on two Japanese cities. In College we learnt that had the bomb not been dropped, the Americans would have been forced to mount an invasion of the Japanese mainland, and after a bruising battle on the island of Okinawa, the Americans dreaded an attack on the island of Hokkaido.
So the bomb was on dropped on Hiroshima on the sixth of August 1945 and the Nuclear Age began. A second bomb followed over the city of Nagasaki on the ninth. We all know where it has brought us. There are some very interesting sites looking at pictures and movies from sixty years ago when the bombs devastated Hiroshima and Nagasaki, check out the last issue of Time magazine.
You can see the entire collection of Hiromi Tsuchida pictures in this online archive. (via BoingBoing)
And a great Documentary about the impact of the bombing! (via BoingBoing)
The men who bombed Hiroshima.
Anyway, today is my last day at work in Delhi (again), but hopefully it should be third time lucky. I've lost the place I was planning to move into, but my friends (and maybe relatives) will have to put up with me for a bit longer than expected. Anyway, I have one last story to write, so I better get down to it!
EDIT : I found these images on Adlova. This is Kingfisher Beer's Campaign in the UK. All I have to say is WTF? And I drink Cobra Beer whenever possible, it is a better, crisper beer, and worth the extra cash. And in a country where you can get good Ale, Guinness and Czech Pilsner, why would want to buy Kingfisher? Mutton Tikka tastes very nice with Guinness.

Friday, August 05, 2005

200th post!

I should really make this post interesting, but sitting in office for no reason other than to expect a phone call from someone I am supposed to speak to, I'm getting bored and thus I thought I might as well blog some links for everyone to enjoy. But first..
Snakeman has disappeared from the face of the planet, his phone is perpetually switched off, wonder if his training has started? Friendgirl wants to kill me for ignoring her. I'm still tired from no sleep. And sometimes I think that I should quit this profession, become a panwari or something and live a simple, happy, contented life. Anyway, on another note, the Dawood's daughter business has been disproven after ToI was sent those images (by me!) and did all sorts of hard work, see the article.
There is a new search engine in the web called Previewseek. I tried it out, and while seemingly slicker than Google, I'll stick to what I know. And you can also personalise your Google homepage if you have a Gmail account, in case you didn't know that. But, then again, I guess you did.
If you're feeling terribly bored, you can do what I did and read the archives of the Darwin Awards site. If you gotta go, you gotta go in style. Or check out the Wayback Machine, where you see really really old stuff on the net. Even stuff that should ideally be taken off the net.
Rubber Band Warfare, for the truly bored or those still in school.
Disturbing art by Trevor Brown.
Yup, so what if yamaha uses John Abraham to advertise their bikes in India, despite having Valentino Rossi driving for them. They give you the chance to make cool paper bikes.
And Italy has a River of Cocaine!
So, 200 posts for a blog that started in January. Not bad at all. Which means that I will gradually lose all interest is real life soon and plug myself into a DSL modem. Or maybe lose it like Dave Chappelle. Dang, that was a funny show.
If small M&M's aren't your scene. Welcome to Mega M&M's. I'll tell my friends to get some back from America. Big people need big M&M's.


I've been on the phone for a large part of the day getting small things done. Its very strange doing telephonic conversations about a story when you would rather do it face to face. Worse still is when the networks collapse and you get redirected to voicemail. In defence of voicemail however, while half my friends hate my voicemail, but I find it convinient. My own voicemail that is.
I feel sleepy right now, for some strange reason. But there is work to be done. And work has to be done well.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Great presser.

There are press conferences and there are press conferences, and there are events and there are other events. At some pressers Anil Ambani decalres his love for certain CNBC reporters (after beating up a NDTV one), but at some pressers you are taken on board the world's longest range plane, sit on a business class seat and observe the clouds below. Then you discover that PTI has flashed a picture of yours on the wires sitting on the seat while trying to work out the In-Flight Entertainment system (75 movies! It beats the hell out of Singapore Airlines IFE and I thought that was good).
Anyway, someone asked for a descriptive report, so here goes the rest.
Despite leaving at around 6.40 in the morning and a ten-minute drive to the Hyatt (I love the empty roads) instead of the usual 20. Me and some other hacks then were ferried to the international terminal of IGI Airport. I ended up having a good brekker of scrambled eggs and pooris at one the lounges at the terminal. OK, maybe I'm being too descriptive. I was talking to Dinesh Keskar, Boeing's veep for International Sales, who hails from Pune and we just chatted on government orders and bureaucracy, corruption, and this plane. Being one of Boeing's top salespersons he waxed eloquently about range, performance of his company's product and how Airbus is evil incarnate. In fact to show off the planes better and much wider interiors, they actually have a dummy Airbus interior inside this plane, the Boeing B777-200LR aka 'The Worldliner'. After that I started chatting with Mark Hooper, Boeing's top PR pointman for Asia and evntually we got to the plane.
And what a plane. It looked beautiful in the morning light (It was almost 9.30 by the time we got to the plane) the combination of blues merging wonderfully. But the engines, the engines. They are 128-inches in diameter. Thats huge, and they churn out tremendous power. The other pilots, especially those on Jet Airways could be visibly seen leching at the plane. They'll get their 777-200LR's in 2007.
Anyway, I got in first and grabbed a seat in the first row of the business class section. Five feet of legroom, a seat that goes totally flat (with some 15 motors) and the customary 7.5" LCD screen. Anyway, after the rest of the desi media (who understand jackshit about planes) kept pestering the Boeing guys with questions such as passenger capacity, range etc (all answers in the kit) I laid back and enjoyed the show.
Which began with the most dramatic takeoff I have ever experienced, we took off using less than a third of Delhi's runway 28. This plane just rocketed up. I later found out that the pilots had put on full-power (for a plane with no cargo and only 50-odd people, carrying a tenth of its potential payload) and in no time we were halfway to Jaipur.
Anyway, all in all even though I'm tired right now. I had a great day. Enjoy the pics, which again you can click to enlarge.