an "a to z" of thoughts, conversations, remarks, observations,musings about

Monday, December 18, 2006

Cricket: an indian player dishes it back to the s. africans

Cricket: This is Sreesanth, of India, responding to Andre (the Giant) Nel of South Africa by scoring a six and..... (more)

Friday, December 15, 2006

i i t

i i t. these three letters carry so much weight in india. entire industries have been built around these three letters. IIT, or the Indian Institute of Technology, is an engineering college setup to produce engineers. there are 5-6 of them currently in India, oases of academia among the chaotic bustle of India. Outside their gates young slumdwelling 9 yr olds wash plates in cold water early in the morning in winter preparatory to serving food to the IIT'ians red-eyed and famished from either studying or doing something else all night. Inside the IIT campus, acres of green land with buildings dotted all around give the lie to the belief that India is an overcrowded place.

Most IIT'ians end up outside india within a few years of graduating with a degree and go on to build stellar careers. 300,000 17 - 18 yr olds sit in an exam called the IITJEE ( Joint Entrance Exam ) which tests their ability in Physics, Chemistry and Mathematics and ends up admitting only 4000 of them to its hallowed portals.

As puts it in its inimitably droll style, "In order of establishment, the seven IITs are located at Kharagpur, Mumbai (Bombay), Chennai (Madras), Kanpur, Delhi, Guwahati, and Roorkee. Some IITs were established with financial assistance and technical expertise from UNESCO, Germany, the United States, and the Soviet Union. Each IIT is an autonomous university, linked to the others through a common IIT Council, which oversees their administration. They have a common admission process for undergraduate admissions, using the Joint Entrance Examination (popularly known as IIT-JEE) to select around 4,000 undergraduate candidates a year. Graduate Admissions are done on the basis of the GATE. About 15,500 undergraduate and 12,000 graduate students study in the seven IITs, in addition to research scholars."

I became an ex-IITian after leaving college. Some years after I left college, the alma mater finally got seduced and accepted to join the ranks of the IIT and change its maiden name to IIT Roorkee. The wiki again describes roorkee as -

"IIT Roorkee, originally known as the University of Roorkee, was established in 1847 as the first engineering college of the British Empire.[10] Located in Uttaranchal, the college was renamed The Thomason College of Civil Engineering in 1854 and was granted IIT status in 2001. The institute offers undergraduate degree courses in 10 disciplines of engineering and architecture, and postgraduate degrees in 55 disciplines. It has 375 faculty members. The campus is about 1.45 km² (360 acres) in size and has eight hostels."

Over 25000 IITians have settled in the USA and many more join their ranks every year. The fees for a 6 month semester when I was there was about a 100 dollars. The rest was subsidised by the state, which led to jokes about India subsidising America's technological development, since in those days about 70% of graduates headed straight to the good old melting pot.

Many IIT alumni have become entrepreneurs, including N.R. Narayana Murthy (co-founder and chairman of Infosys), Vinod Khosla (co-founder, Sun Microsystems), and Suhas S. Patil (founder and Chairman Emeritus Cirrus Logic Inc.) Other alumni have achieved leading positions in corporations, such as Rajat Gupta (former Managing Director, McKinsey), Arun Sarin (CEO, Vodafone), Victor Menezes (Senior Vice Chairman, Citigroup), and Kanwal Rekhi (CTO, Novell).

One of the most famous IITians is Asok.

Recently the alumni have started to get together and try and leverage their collective strength. There have been several initiatives which aim at creating networking opportunities, help the institutes modernise and expand and to make a difference to society and community.

These efforts are still in the early stages and not really upto the level one would expect when the cream of india's technical talent comes together and creates something. Today, India and even the world, is crying out for genuine solutions to genuine problems. There is a need for someone to come forward with a reputation for incorruptibility, credibility, acumen and experience to show the way forward in the new millenium. The IIT's pass the test in all parameters. The selection procedure is still considered free from nepotism, corruption and bias. Their credibility is still intact, their acumen and experience acknowledged increasingly around the world.

Current and ex students together make up at least a 100 thousand strong team and they have money aplenty. So we have manpower, money and also we have infrastructure and a lot of bright minds with experience and innocent idealism teeming with ideas and a desire to do something for society. If the IITian organization can seize the day and lead rather than follow, the results could be magical.

We all know the familiar problems, the media is controlled by a few moghuls, the political class is venal, criminal and incompetent at times, society is divided by race, color, status, locatoin, language, caste and creed, the poor do not have access to the tools of learning, capital and community to better their life, the rich are increasingly divorced from reality and forced to lead lives of shallow desperation, while the middle class is caught between a rock and a hard place with costs of education and healthcare rising, social security decreasing and jobs not really a sinecure anymore.

What could the IITians do?

Well they could start a bunch of not for profit organisations which use the manpower of thousands of students, the capital of thousands of successful technocrats and the experience of the old hands married with the academic rigour of the faculty.

What kind of organisations?

well....let a thousand flowers bloom.

maybe a newspaper...there were lots of literary types around last time i looked around.

maybe a television and radio channel...maybe call it "technically speaking"

maybe a product company for the rural market?

maybe a software company for the domestic sector?

maybe a housing company, making small affordable slumhouses for the urban poor?

maybe ...maybe ...maybe...

yeah..i know....dream on.....

still its nice to know that it could happen ....u never know...

Thursday, December 14, 2006


WARNING: The consumption of alcohol is a major factor in dancing like a retard.


WARNING: The consumption of alcohol may cause you to tell your friends over and over again that you love them.


WARNING: The consumption of alcohol may cause you to think you can sing.


WARNING: The consumption of alcohol may lead you to believe that ex-lovers are really dying for you to telephone them at four in the morning.


WARNING: The consumption of alcohol may make you think you can logically converse with members of the opposite sex without spitting.


***WARNING: The consumption of alcohol may create the illusion that you are tougher, smarter, faster and better looking than most people.


WARNING: The consumption of alcohol may lead you to think people are laughing WITH you.


WARNING: The consumption of alcohol may cause pregnancy.


WARNING: The consumption of alcohol may lead you to believe you are invisible.


WARNING: The consumption of alcohol may cause a disturbance in the time-space continuum, leaving you unable to account for large chunks of time.


***WARNING: The consumption of alcohol may make you think you have mystical Kung Fu powers, resulting in you getting your ass kicked.


WARNING: The consumption of alcohol may cause you to roll over in the morning and see something really scary.


WARNING: The consumption of alcohol is the leading cause of inexplicable rug burns on the forehead, knees and lower back.

WARNING: The consumption of alcohol may make you think you are whispering when you are not.


WARNING: The crumsumpten of alchlohol may Mack you tink you kan tpye reel gud!

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

fact of the day

In the USA,

58 percent of all convicted drug felony cases involve African-American men-even though Black men are only 6 percent of the national population and 72 percent of all illegal drug users are white. 12 percent of Black men aged 25 to 29 years old are imprisoned compared to 3 percent of Latinos and 1 percent of white men. In 2002, there were 603,000 Black men in college compared to 791,600 Black men in prison. Black women are two and a half times more likely than Latinas and four and a half times more likely than white women to be imprisoned. In total, 49 percent of the U.S.'s two million prisoners-in prison or in jail-are African American. This is a shocking statistic considering that Blacks are less than 13 percent of the entire United States population.

the male child

great post about sons and the joys they bring at momma's blog. check it out.

some samples

And you also find out interesting things when you have sons, like

1.) A king size waterbed holds enough water to fill a 2000 sq. ft. house 4 inches deep.

2.) If you spray hair spray on dust bunnies and run over them with roller blades, they can ignite.

3.) A 3-year old Boy's voice is louder than 200 adults in a crowded restaurant.

4.) If you hook a dog leash over a ceiling fan, the motor is not strong enough to rotate a 42 pound Boy wearing Batman underwear and
a Superman cape. It is strong enough, however, if tied to a paint can, to spread paint on all four walls of a 20x20 ft. room.

5.) You should not throw baseballs up when the ceiling fan is on. When using a ceiling fan as a bat, you have to throw the ball up a
few times before you get a hit. A ceiling fan can hit a baseball a long way.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

3rd December 1984

22 years later, we have forgotten something, which we never really wanted to remember. We have pushed it into one corner of our memories, and try not to stir up the ghost of 3rd december 1984 and face the disconcerting reality it represents. read it and weep

Where : - Bhopal, the capital of Madhya Pradesh, ( literally meaning central province ) in India.
When :- 3rd December 1984
What :- 40 tonnes of MIC, methyl iso cyanide, a heavier than air toxic gas overheated and spilled out of its tanks in the middle of bustling heavily populated city in the morning hours, killing many while they slept, killing many as they ran to escape, killing many who were in trains passing through, still killing through toxic pollution and disease after all these years.

How many: - 20,000 deaths as a conservative estimate. 3000 killed initially...and the toll is still rising.

Who was responsible: - Union Carbide owned this company. It did not put adequate safety or warning procedures in place. Now owned by the Dow Chemical Company. The government did not do its part in making sure they checked the plant and the processes regularly.

Redress :- Average compensation paid to the families of the dead - $2200

Insurance coverage of the company - $10 Billion

Damages paid - $470 million.

What the company says : - A single employee deliberately pumped in water to the gas tanks causing the overflow and escape of gas. There was no fault of the company. This employee has never been named or any charges pressed against him.

What went wrong : - 1. Untested unproven technology was used. 2. No disaster management plan was ever made. 3. Warnings by scientists in Union Carbide were ignored. 4. Safety checks were infrequent. 5. Slip-blind plates that would have prevented water from pipes being cleaned from leaking into the MIC tanks via faulty valves were not installed. Their installation had been omitted from the cleaning checklist. 6. The MIC tank refrigeration unit was disabled to save money. 7.The gas scrubber was placed on standby. 8. Though the audible external alarm was activated to warn the residents of Bhopal, it was quickly silenced to avoid causing panic among the residents. Thus, many continued to sleep, unaware of the unfolding drama, and those that had woken assumed any problem had been sorted out. 9.The flare tower used to burn off gases before they are allowed to escape into the air was inoperational pending repairs. 10. The water curtain that may have reduced the concentration of the gas was only set to ~13 m and did not reach the gas.

why its tough to live anywhere else but india

any why its so damn maddening to live here. :)

Thursday, November 30, 2006

bet u didnt know this trick

The most recent World Bank estimates for India are based on household surveys carried out in 1999-2000. It was found that almost 80% of purported superpower India's population was surviving on less than $2.15 a day (in PPP terms). That is, about 800 million people were living on $0.40 a day or less. Nearly 35% (350 million) were found to be living on $0.20 a day or less. Even if the proportion of poor people has fallen somewhat during the past 5-6 years, the absolute numbers would not look too different today.

To make purchasing power across countries comparable, economists developed what is known as the PPP (purchasing power parity) index. Taking into account the lower cost of living in impoverished countries, a conversion factor is now applied to market exchange rates to calculate what is minimally necessary to survive there.

Using widely quoted World Bank numbers on GDP, this conversion factor for a country like India (2005) can be computed to be approximately 5.3. This means that $1.08 a day in India should effectively imply a purchasing power of about 20 cents a day to an American--or indeed anyone--unacquainted with the nuances of PPP calculations. However, given how the numbers are quoted everywhere, the dominant impression that is conveyed is that the poor are living on less than $1 or $2 a day when, in fact, it would be enormously more accurate, as far as everyday English is concerned, to say that the poor are living on less than $0.20 or $0.40 a day.

read more

Monday, November 20, 2006

want an english speaking ministerial horse?

The Hindu reports - Railway Minister Lalu Prasad's prized possession-- a horse which responds only to English commands-- finally found a new master today.

'Pawan', who was on display for the last three days at one of Asia's biggest cattle fairs in Bihar's Sonepur, was sold for Rs 1.1 lakh to a farmer, Baleshwar Rai, who lives in Raghopur Assembly constituency of Prasad's wife Rabri Devi.

The horse had a price tag of Rs 1.51 lakh. "Since Rai belongs to Rabri Devi's constituency, it is expected that he will look after the horse carefully and that is the reason the horse was sold at a lower price to him," Prasad's Private Secretary Bhola Yadav told PTI.

Supporters of the JD (U) MLA from Mokama, Anant Singh, offered a higher price for Pawan, but Rai refused to part with the horse, he said.

Pawan, his trainer claims, "can race against a Bolero on a smooth road" but it can only follow commands in English, which put off most bidders at the auction.

Also there were no takers for Prasad's pet as it arrived at a time when most horse trades had struck deals and left the place.

apology letter

A School Master from a remote rural area in Bihar was
transferred to a new School in Mumbai.

He reported for duty two days after the actual
date of joining.

Consequently he was asked for an explanation in

____________ _________ _________

Deer sur,

If small small mistakes getting inside my letter, I
big you pardon, ass I am not a good englis speaker.

This is my fist vijit to Bombai. Stickly speaking, I
wanted to joint your school more fastly,

but for the following region, too much time
lost in getting slipper reservation in three-tyre

I tolded

I has head ache problem due to migration. Still the
clerk rejected to give ticket to I and my sun.

I putted a complain on station masterji.

He said I to go to the lady clerk.

At first she also rejected. I then pressed for long
time and finally with great difficulty

she gave a birth to my sun.

Anyway I thanked the station master also

because he was phully responsible for getting birth
of my sun.

Ass a hole it was a bhery diphicult experiment in my
hole life.

I hope u will look into explain my hole story after,
and late me joint first.

I am now ending this fastly. I am a waiter for
your responsement.

May God blast you!"

Yours awfully,


Thursday, November 09, 2006

an outsiders view

My first passage to India - boom times trigger memories of dotbombs by ZDNet's Tom Foremski -- [This is an account of my first trip to India, traveling as a guest of Tibco Software, (an SVW sponsor). Vivek Ranadive, the CEO of Tibco is launching his business IT strategy book "The Power to Predict" in India, and he invited me to come along as he meets with politicians and some of India's top [...]

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

moon dust in the desert

Some billed it as the indian woodstock, some as the next goa, and some as another cynical ploy to lure tourists. The villagers viewed it differently and the police always eager to investigate white girls dancing got into the act too.. A friend who went there says it was mindbogglingly awesome till they had to cut and run at 4:30 am.

The venerable Times newspaper in UK has this to say -

The days when India turned a blind eye to drug abuse by Western backpackers may be over It was billed as the biggest music festival of its kind in India — a four-day “psychedelic trance” party in the middle of the desert in Rajasthan.
But the inaugural Moondust Festival has been shut down on its second day in the latest sign of a backlash against the New Age culture that has attracted Westerners to India since the 1960s.

The move comes after a ban on all-night beach parties in the southern Indian state of Goa. Police broke up the Moondust Festival at about 3am on Monday after local villagers complained that the 3,000 guests were drinking alcohol, taking drugs and indulging in “indecent behaviour”.

read more

also other stories about this can be viewed here

Sunday, November 05, 2006

been a long time

been a long time since i up and wrote...its been a rather busy time at work...lots of stuff to wrap up...and have to see as much of americana as i can before its time to head back home....hope to get a little unbusy soon and then sit back and ponder over the last 3 months and pour out my impressions of the land of the car.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

news from home

Now I know what I am missing here in America... the Indian Express reports on a small incident that happened in Gurgaon while i was away - read the full story here.

Dr. Amit Diwan, a radiologist at a Gurgaon hospital, was parking his car at his Sector 10-A house when a speeding Tata Safari, bearing a Faridabad number, scraped it, police and eyewitnesses said. As Diwan objected, the driver of the Tata Safari reversed it and hit him. “The car then tried to speed away, but my son caught hold of the fender and was dragged for over 150 metres. The vehicle also hit a rickshaw and injured two other persons,” said Amit's father BR Diwan. When one its tyres burst, the occupants abandoned the vehicle.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Peek of the day

courtesy - 9961 blog

batli more

been busy drinking...was my birthday..then diwali, the festival of lights and then just happened to stop by an irish pub at midnight on sunday, when better sense should have prevailed. Been playing catch up ever since. Suffice to say that I roamed the area from Boston or Bastun to Batlimore or Bawlmer during these three days, and my chariots were winged, rubbertyred, steelwheeled and laced. I ate pizza and drank beer, ate a full indian wedding meal and drank whiskey, met a new born baby and drank whiskey, slept on the floor of an apartment without any furniture whatsoever and drank whiskey, played tennis, drank beer in the airport and in the irish pub and still had enough time left over to sing devotional hymns and the latest chartbusting hindi songs.... one wonders where all that time comes from. All this in one weekend and there was lots of time left over. Even got through 400 pages of a book called 1491 which is awesome and I shall be reviewing here shortly, if I can digest it. Right now its gotten inside my head and I suddenly feel like an expert in pre-columbus history of the Americas, but lets see what happens once i finish reading it.

Found a nice description of Baltimore, where i just spent 3 idyllic months wallowing in americana. This was in, heres an excerpt -

To understand Baltimore, it's helpful to get a grip on its geography. Baltimore is one of those odd American cities that lies in no county; instead, it dangles in the water, surrounded by a ragged blob of land. It has been said that Baltimore County looks like a monkey wrench hanging from the Mason-Dixon Line, which makes Baltimore City the bolt -- one that has been tightened a hair too much. Incapable of expanding, the city has been losing population and political clout since the 1960s, when white residents began to flee for the suburbs. Fittingly, all quintessentially Baltimore stories have a "Wizard of Oz" quality: Characters dream of escaping to someplace new, only to yearn for home. Or, as we say in Bawlmer: Hooooooohme.

read the full article here, after watching the mandatory advert :)

Friday, October 20, 2006

8 years ago

For those despairing of India's form and not fancying their chances in the current tournament, remember 1998. Also for those who say Sachin never wins us the below, courtesy - Scott Heinrich - Foxsports

Staged as the Wills International Cup, every match of the tournament was played in Dhaka - a third-choice venue behind Disney World in Florida and Sharjah.

The knockout format meant that the four winners of the qualifying finals progressed to the semi-finals, with no second chance for the losers. Australia was drawn to play India on October 28, a match which saw Mohammad Azharuddin become the first player to feature in 300 one-day internationals.

Australia was coming off a big Test series win in Pakistan - just 48 hours previously it had played out a draw in Karachi - but fatigue was not really the problem. The problem was Sachin Tendulkar.

After winning the toss and quickly reducing India to 2-8, Australia's pace-heavy attack proved cannon fodder to Tendulkar's class on the low, slow pitch of the Bangabandhu National Stadium.

Opener Tendulkar scythed 13 boundaries and three sixes in a majestic 141, scored off 128 balls and ended only by a run-out. Michael Kasprowicz took three wickets but conceded 71 runs off nine overs, while South Australian Brad Young's eight wicketless overs leaked 64 runs. By innings' end, India had racked up a formidable score of 8-307.

Australia's run-chase started well enough, with the top five all getting decent starts and Mark Waugh clubbing 74 off 79 balls at the top of the order.

But it was to be Tendulkar's day, the little master removing Steve Waugh for 7 and running through the tail to return 4-38 as Australia were dismissed 45 runs short of victory.

happy birthday

to me :)

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

election time in USA

This was an unusual statistic that struck me when i was surfing through the election news. The neighbourhood is awash with color printed campaign boards and it does give a rather pretty and festive look to the area. I wondered how the american system compared to ours, with its ballot box stuffing, booth capturing, multliple voting, shots fired into the sky and countless other uniquely indian expressions of universal franchise. The below statistic should be troubling for all americans, because this is basically reflecting a sense of alienation and distrust of the system.

Notably, African American voters express much more skepticism their votes will be accurately counted than they did in the fall of 2004. Just 30% say they are very confident their votes will be accurately counted, down from 47% two years ago. The percentage of black voters who express little or no confidence in vote-counting procedures has approximately doubled ­ from 15% to 29%. More than three times as many blacks as whites now say they have little or no confidence their vote will be accurately tallied (29% vs. 8%).

An unrelated note- Andy Tanenbaum, who may be familiar to geeks and computer buffs as the guy who wrote all those textbooks, runs a site called which demystifies all the various trends and polls and makes simple graphical presentations on how the elections are going.

Monday, October 16, 2006

german prank - sponsored by adidas ?

The short and long of it is this... Two Germans created soccer balls filled with cement, labeled them "can you kick it?" and chained them to posts all over the city. Supposedly they caused a lot of physical harm because a ton of Germans tried kicking the balls... The german police didn't think it was funny, and probably had their terrorist unit on the case. They hunted down the two... based on serious "leads"... found their "workshop" where they made the cement balls.

august in october

Me friends swati and ammy been blessed with a baby boy this friday in boston. They are calling the baby agastya, as he is currently too feeble and powerless to protest. This is inspired by the novel english august by upamanyu chaterji.

Wonder if they call the kid ogu for short and if he grows up to embody some of the charecteristics of the original character. Ammy fell into the error which he had criticized in his blog, but I guess being a parent does that to you. I am anyway kinda thrilled as I look upon myself as some sort of godfather and look forward to initiating the kid into all sorts of bad habits :). Oh and for an explanation why this post has the links to roorkee and auroville...well its a long story.

quote of the day :)

"A person with a social conscience can run an enterprise with as much dedication and drive as a greedy person - he is just running it to achieve social goals not to fill his pockets," he said.

"And if you put the greedy person against the socially committed person in competition, the greedy guy will fall because he has to make more money to make a profit, where the other guy just has to cover costs."

So what was his ideal world?

"There will always be some poor because everyone has ups and downs, but everyone will be keen to help because poverty will be a novelty."

- Interview with Mohd. Yunus - Grameen bank.
courtesy - the guardian.

29 rules for real men

1: Under no circumstances may two men share an umbrella.

2: It is OK for a man to cry ONLY under the following circumstances:

(a) When a heroic dog dies to save its master.
(b) The moment Angelina Jolie starts unbuttoning her blouse.
(c) After wrecking your boss's car.
(d) One hour, 12 minutes, 37 seconds into "The Crying Game".
(e) When she is using her teeth.

3: Any Man who brings a camera to a bachelor party may be legally
killed and eaten by his buddies.

4: Unless he murdered someone in your family, you must bail a friend
out of jail within 12 hours.

5: If you've known a guy for more than 24 hours, his sister is off
limits forever unless you actually marry her.

6: Moaning about the brand of free beer in a buddy's fridge is
forbidden. However complain at will if the temperature is unsuitable.

7: No man shall ever be required to buy a birthday present for
another man. In fact, even remembering your buddy's birthday is
strictly optional. At that point, you must celebrate at a strip bar
of the birthday boy's choice.

8: On a road trip, the strongest bladder determines pit stops, not
the weakest.

9: When stumbling upon other guys watching a sporting event, you may
ask the score of the game in progress, but you may never ask who's

10: You may flatulate in front of a woman only after you have
brought her to climax. If you trap her head under the covers for the
purpose of flatulent entertainment, she's officially your girlfriend.

11: It is permissible to drink a fruity alcohol drink only when
you're sunning on a tropical beach... and it's delivered by a
topless model and only when it's free.

12: Only in situations of moral and/or physical peril are you
allowed to kick another guy in the nuts.

13: Unless you're in prison, never fight naked.

14: Friends don't let friends wear Speedos. Ever. Issue closed.

15: If a man's fly is down, that's his problem, you didn't see

16: Women who claim they "love to watch sports" must be treated as
spies until they demonstrate knowledge of the game and the ability
to drink as much as the other sports watchers.

17: A man in the company of a hot, suggestively dressed woman must
remain sober enough to fight.

18: Never hesitate to reach for the last beer or the last slice of
pizza, but not both, that's just greedy.

19: If you compliment a guy on his six-pack, you'd better be talking
about his choice of beer.

20: Never join your girlfriend or wife in discussing a friend of
yours, except if she's withholding sex pending your response.

21: Phrases that may NOT be uttered to another man while lifting
a) Yeah, Baby, Push it!
b) C'mon, give me one more! Harder!
c) Another set and we can hit the showers!

22: Never talk to a man in a bathroom unless you are on equal
footing: i.e., both urinating, both waiting in line, etc. For all
other situations, an almost imperceptible nod is all the
conversation you need.

23: Never allow a telephone conversation with a woman to go on
longer than you are able to have sex with her. Keep a stopwatch by
the phone. Hang up if necessary.

24: The morning after you and a girl who was formerly "just a
friend" have carnal, drunken monkey sex, the fact that you're
feeling weird and guilty is no reason for you not to nail each other
again before the discussion occurs about what a big mistake it was.

25: It is acceptable for you to drive her car. It is not acceptable
for her to drive yours.

26: Thou shalt not buy a car in the colors of brown, pink, lime
green, orange or sky blue.

27: The girl who replies to the question "What do you want for
Christmas?" with "If you loved me, you'd know what I want!" gets an
Xbox. End of story.

28: There is no reason for guys to watch Ice Skating or Men's
Gymnastics. Ever.

29: We've all heard about people having guts or balls. But do you
really know the difference between them? In an effort to keep you
informed, the definition of each is listed below:

"GUTS" is arriving home late after a night out with the guys, being
assaulted by your wife with a broom, and having the guts to say,
"are you still cleaning or are you flying somewhere?"

"BALLS" is coming home late after a night out with the guys smelling
of perfume and beer, lipstick on your collar, slapping your wife on
the ass and having the balls to say, "You're next!"

Hope this clears up any confusion.

fall colors

Saturday, October 14, 2006

the lion from india

Once upon a time there lived a lion in the forests of India. He was an ambitious and aggressive lion. Where his other contemporaries were happy to eat whatever food the lioness brought, he would go far and wide, seeking new hunting grounds and trying out different cuisine. He developed quite a taste for exotic meat after he came across a few hippies sleeping in a tent. After that indian meat never seemed that good to him and he kept dreaming of going to the west.

As luck would have it, the NYZ or the New York Zoo had a need for a lion. Their old Lion had reached the end of its productive life and was demanding more healthcare and shorter working hours and its roar was no longer the same as it used to be. The zoo authorities came up with a plan to let their old lion go and get a brand new hungrier lion from India. Our lion in India who was anyway dreaming of white meat, got wind of this and applied for the job. After jumping through a few hoops to prove his mental and physical fitness, he was selected and was soon on the boat to America.

On his arrival, he was taken to his new livng place and shown his cage where he would work. He liked the bright efficient world of lights around him, the wealth and prosperity visible and everything he saw seemed so much bigger and healthier than he saw back in india. The people were definitely juicier and bigger, the food he saw people munching looked so much bigger, heck even the squirrels looked like little cats. Our lion felt mighty pleased and looked forward to a great lipsmacking time ahead and soon was roaring enthusiatically.

After a while he became hungry and went to see what was up for dinner. There was a little corner where he saw a little door open and a plate was pushed in. Bounding forward he attacked the food only to immediately step back frowning. All that was there on the plate were a bunch of bananas. He figured that there must have been a mistake and they probably werent ready for his coming here and so mixed up the food. Being a lion who could take the rough with the smooth, he finished off the bananas washing them down with lots of water, and went to sleep.

The next day the same thing happened. Another plate, another bunch of bananas. This was getting too much. Still he finished them off and waited for dinner where he hoped he would get a juicy steak or something finally. Dinner came and again another plate and another bunch of bananas. This time he let out a mighty roar and someone came around to find out what was the reason for our lion doing overtime.

"Whats up lion dude" said the janitor. "Nothing much" said the lion, "but do you know who is incharge of the kitchen here?".

"Hell no, I'm just the janitor, but I could find out. Whats the problem?"

"Well you see, I am the king of the jungle. I roamed far and wide in the forests and plains of India. There was no one who could even raise their head and talk to me. I ate only the finest freshest meat and left the rest for my family. Yet ever since I came here all they give me to eat is bananas. I think theres some mistake.. why the hell would someone give the king of the jungle bananas to eat"

The janitor smiled a knowing smile. He had seen this before. He said " Hey lion dude, do you have your passport"

"Sure" said the lion, rummaging among his things and coming up with it.

"okay, now check whats written on your visa stamp"

The lion, peered closely and read the fine print, his frown getting frownier and frownier.

"Yup man" said the janitor, " you may be the king of the jungle back in India, but you came here on a Monkey Visa. Be happy that you get bananas, dude."

And our lion let out a roar, which was quieter and softer than he had ever roared.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

The America Diaries

but baby you should see new york....its the most amazing place....theres so much energy there...everyone is busy and working hard...and the streets are full...and lights and music and noises...and people in cafes on the street...and small markets besides the streets...and all kinds of dresses....and all kinds of people...all types of languages being spoken.....its wonderful....

From the first bartender in an underground pub in penn station, to the cleaning woman at mcdonalds, to the concierge of the building, to the artist in the streets, to the cab driver from brazil, to the singer in the classic rock bar, to the poets in the campuses, to the bankers on wall streeet, to the kids skateboarding on concrete, to the pretty women puking in the darkened doorways, to the old man striding across the park puffing a pipe, to the guys reading about afghanistan while sipping a latte, to the girls doing their homework in cafes, to the dancers on the streets and the homeless covered in styrofoam.....this is my salute to you. New York, I had heard a lot about it, and I am happy to report that it rocks!!!!!

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

the sandbox

doonesbury just started something called a sandbox. Its a collection of blogs etc from the US military effort in iraq. Kind of interesting. Lots of stories protected under the First Amendment. The latest post starts like this -

..."I love the Army, I truly do. It has offered me incredible opportunities, and helped me come a long way from the crank-smoking high school drop-out that I was 15 years ago. And I love our country, even when I don't always agree with the people that run it. I'm desperately sorry to the people that have lost loved ones here.

My husband's job site was ambushed last week, and although no one was hurt, it has prompted a lot of these reflections. It was a terrible question to ask: If, God forbid, he had been hurt, what would it have been for? I read an article in Rolling Stone recently, about a reporter riding with some soldiers here in Iraq. He put it into words perfectly.

Those of us serving here simply can't afford to ask that question."....

the america diaries

Less than a month left of my american trip. 3 months is probably not adequate to see this country properly. I concentrated this trip on trying to see the north east corner and meet as many people as i could. Somehow never got around to seeing the touristy things. When I realised that the water of the niagara falls is used for electricity generation and is released for a few hours when the tourists visit, I decided not to get into any tourist type activity again. More important for me was to visit as many old friends as I could. After we left college almost a decade ago, everyone scattered all over the globe, and one way or the other ended up in the US of A. Its been nice to catch up with them and revisit the reasons that we became friends those many years ago.

I thought I would sort of group the people I met so I could make sense of it all. So here goes. First let me start with the Indians.

The various categories of Indians are -

1. Old Old friends - This was the main reason that I accepted the assignment to come to US. I missed my friends, and I am glad I got to meet most of them. Arshad, if you are reading this, get your act together, and meet me asap. Mostly they are all the same as I knew them, but have just grown a bit more. They no longer have unkempt hair ( if they have any left), the social skills are more developed, less goofy, more complex, busier and smarter, richer and fatter :) etc etc. Whenever I met someone whom I used to be friends with many years ago, it just took a little while to get through the interference and get a clear signal, and then we were back in sync and happily chutiyaoing along.

2. Work Gang - This is mostly people in my office. All of them have been in the states for a long time and pretty well settled in. All drive Honda's and work on laptops. They gave me a crash course in "how to live here when you get here" and then were always around to help me get settled in. Its amazing how theres no insecurity, office politics, pushing and shoving at all, as compared to any similar setup in India. Its a reflection of the American work ethic perhaps. I have been very impressed with how professional and punctual most american office workers are. Theres a matter-of-fact attitude and a unhurried but efficient way of working thats really fun to see. From a secretary, to a waitress, to an airline pilot, to a senior executive, the pride of "just doing my job" is great to see.

3. The software engineering gang everywhere in the cafes, in the indian store, in the restaurants, in the housing blocks, on the aeroplanes. They are ubiquitous, ( hope i got it right, i think it means - present everywhere ) and are easily spotted. They know their way around america, having spent years here on many trips, on projects in many cities and they know the exchange rate down to the last cent. They know which is the best place to buy anything, the best way to cook indian food in a hotel room, the cheapest option of travelling anywhere. They can live without air or water, but if you shut the wi-fi off, there will be a croaking noise and they start dropping like flies.

4. The waiters, the cooks, the cleaners, the cabbies, the motel workers and the bums - I put that last one in in the hope that there would be one Indian bum in this country. For the future of this race, there must be a few square pegs in round holes, a few misfits, someone who didnt study his ass off and instead grew long hair and became a bum. Havent spotted one yet, maybe the species hasnt arrived yet. Still I am hopeful.

Friday, October 06, 2006

didnt you forget something?

i think someone forgot to plan for a way to reach this place. Wheres the road?
This is a particularly interesting characteristic of Bhutanese Architecture. They dont make anything easy to reach :)

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Slaughterhouse Extract

The visitor from outer space made a gift to Earth of a new Gospel. In it, Jesus really was a nobody, and a pain in the neck to a lot of people with better connections than he had. He still got to say all the lovely and puzzling things he said in the other Gospels.
So the people amused themselves one day by nailing him to a cross and planting the cross in the ground. There couldn't possibly be any repercussions, the lynchers thought. The reader would have to think that, too, since the new Gospel hammered home again and again what a nobody Jesus was.
And then, just before the nobody died, the heavens opened up, and there was thunder and lightning. The voice of God came crashing down. He told the people that he was adopting the bum as his son giving him the full powers and privileges of The Son of the Creator of the Universe throughout all eternity. God said this From this moment on, He will punish horribly anybody who torments a bum who has no connections!

- Kurt Vonnegut - Slaughterhouse 5

hi there....

just changed the layout of this page...wanted to try the dark look....let me know if you like it.....

I had to make these changes to move from html based pages to the XHTML format, and so i started to fool around and ended up changing pretty much everything... leave a comment if you like it or dislike it or didnt really notice anything...

apart from this its been a quiet month of september which got over. Didnt do much, didnt go out much..didnt think much, didnt really worry too much. I think September is that kind of month. Its just there in between, and you dont notice it since you remember summer and look ahead to fall and winter.

Planning to go to new yawk this weekend. people tell me that the city has to be seen to be believed. Somehow, after the disappointment of niagara, i am taking claims of the local attractions with a large dose of salt. I havent seen any gunfights, no cowboys, no kukluxers, no children with AK47s, no people tried to sell me crack, no blonde came and asked me if i was alone, no gay men kissing in the streets, no cars roaring at high speeds with drunked kids inside, no muggers...... i tell you, america has just one more month to show me its better face, or i am going to be rather unimpressed.

Monday, October 02, 2006


A Chinese walks into a bar in America late one night and he saw Steven Spielberg. As he was a great fan of his movies, he rushes over to him, and asks for his autograph. Instead, Spielberg gives him a slap and says, "You Chinese people bombed our Pearl Habour, get outta here." The astonished Chinese man replied, "It was not the Chinese who bombed your Pearl Harbour, it was the Japanese". "Chinese, Japanese, Taiwanese, you're all the same," replied Spielberg. In return, the Chinese gives Spielberg a slap and says, "You sank the Titanic, my forefathers were on that ship." Shocked, Spielberg replies, "It was the iceberg that sank the ship, not me." The Chinese replies, "Iceberg, Spielberg, Carsberg, you're all the same."

A MBA and a CA go on a camping trip, set up their tent,and fell asleep. Some hours later, the CA wakes his MBA friend. " look up at the sky and tell me what you see."
The MBA replies, "I see millions of stars."
"What does that tell you?"
The MBA ponders for a minute.
"Astronomically speaking, it tells me that there are millions of galaxies and potentially billions of planets.
Astrologically, it tells me that Saturn is in Leo.
Time wise, it appears to be approximately a quarter past three.
Theologically, it's evident the Lord is all-powerful and we are small and insignificant.
Meteorologically, it seems we will have a beautiful day tomorrow.
What does it tell you?"
The CA is silent for a moment, then speaks.

"Practically...Someone has stolen our tent".

funny to enlarge

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

funny but true - fact of the day

It took Eleanor Roosevelt’s visit to India in 1952 to introduce the long broom for street-sweepers.

Longest 5th Set in Davis Cup

The NY times reports - Equaling records and exhausting both participants, the fourth match of an extraordinary Davis Cup meeting concluded with Dmitry Tursunov beating back Andy Roddick’s challenge to send Russia into the final against Argentina with a 6-3, 6-4, 5-7, 3-6, 17-15 victory over the United States.

The score was 2-1 for russia on clay, not roddicks favourite surface, and despite a heroic effort, it was russia that went through, with the unknown Tursunov coming through in a marathon.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

musharraf on the daily show

just saw pervez musharraf talking to jon stewart on the daily show. Talking about his book and about the taliban etc. He seemed less cocky and more weary. The sophistication and the suaveness were less noticeable than say in Agra. He gave a portrayal of a man caught in an indefensible position...viz ..a rock and a hard place.

To his credit he still talks sense and is a good comunicator. It did seem however that he doesnt wield any real power, but is rather a frontpiece doing a tough job for a long time and getting rather weary of it.

why not write in hindi

I was introduced to hindi literature at the age of 27, by that time already having read tonnes of books in english. I always felt that english writing coming out of india was somehow lacking in that something which gives a book its sounded a little strained....and I wished it was more relevant to my life. Amitav Ghosh and Upamanyu Chatterjee were exceptions to the rule I felt but still some of their later books let me down. I used to wonder why noone wrote about the indian experience and why there was no true indian voice yet.

When I read Manohar Shyam Joshi, or Nirmal Verma or some newer Hindi authors I realised that what I was searching for was right under my nose. The evocations of delhi or lucknow or mumbai or even the small towns in their books was so masterly and true, it struck home immediately. I explored a bit and found that there was a vast sea of hindi literature which was vibrant, relevant, brutally honest and amazingly talented. It spoke to me and spoke for me.

So if anyone is thinking of writing in Hindi and wondering what will the morrow bring. Will he be living in the chawls of mumbai and ekeing out a miserable existence, I think that is a fallacy. A writer must find his voice first, not worry about which language will have better readers. Speak the tongue that comes naturally to you. There is no dearth of opportunity. The movies, the serials, the magazines, the websites, the tv channels all are hungry for content. If you create good content, it will sell. To create good content though you must find your voice.

I, being as my flatmate once charmingly observed, "very compromising" had tried to figure a way which combined the best of both worlds. So you can write like this too -

itni saari debate faaltu mein ho rahi hai. jo man mein aata hai usko keh daalo. Dont worry ki usko kaise chhaapenge. Arrey yaar, aajkal to chhaapne ki zaroorat bhi nahi rahi....hum ko dekh lo...kitna likhte hai aur ek drop ink use nahi kya abtak :)

must read - interview story

Read this on a great starts like this and gets better...Woman applicant: I understand completely. It is a challenge. But as you can see in my CV it is a challenge I have faced successfully before..

read the full piece here..... must read :)

The America Diaries - 1

It doesnt get better than this. This is the absolute top of the heap of the american experience...the football cheerleaders.

Monday, September 25, 2006

The global village

Here is some food for thought: If we could compress the earth's population to a village of just 100 people, Village 100, with all the existing human rations remaining the same, it would look something like the following:

There would be:
· 57 Asians / 21 Europeans / 8 African
· 52 would be female / 48 would be male
· 70 would be non-white / 30 would be white
· 70 would be non-Christian / 30 would be
· 89 would be heterosexual / 11 would be homosexual
· 6 people would possess 59% of the entire world's wealth and all 6 would be from the USA
· 80 would live in substandard housing
· 70 would be unable to read
· 50 would suffer from malnutrition
· 1 would be near death
· 1 would be near birth
· 1 (yes, only 1) would have a college education
· 1 would own a computer.

taken from the ACHR here.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

sacred games

vikram chandra returns with sacred games...heres what the guardian had to say

If I was sorry to learn that Mumbai police do not talk in the language of their newspapers (where miscreants are always nabbed red-handed in the nick of time), then I was grateful for my full-blooded lesson in Hindi curses. All are brilliantly embedded so that every meaning is clear, a remarkable achievement. Anthony Burgess once did a similar job for Russian in the teenage argot of A Clockwork Orange, but his publisher insisted on a glossary, against Burgess's better judgment. Chandra manages without. Next time some maderchod Mumbai tapori tries to cheat me, he'd better watch out. My tongue is gonna be sharper than one of Ma Singh's lime pickles.

love hurts

In life sometimes things happen that take a long time to get over. It doesnt always help to have a good memory. Its sometimes so much easier on yourself to be able to forget and move on. The memory of what we had, what we lost, what we let slip through our fingers is a tough thing to live with. Sometimes we wish we didnt have to go through this.

Maybe and then again maybe not. Even in act of losing, we do gain something. We have passed through a celebration of life and that is something worth remembering. That little magical mysterious funny giggly aching crazy feeling. It was there once, we cant kid ourselves anymore that it wasnt there, that it doesnt exist, because we saw it, we felt it take birth in us and grow till it suffused our entire personality. It really was there, bringing silly grins or loud sighs involuntarily at inopportune moments. It wasnt an illusion or a delusion or dream of something. It was the real thing, the true shining simple bare thing, the connectedness with another heart, the astonishing knowledge of another heart.

Some people say that love doesnt exist, and you smile at them. They still havent got it, but we had it. We dont need any proof or any argument on that. Too bad it didnt last, but theres no doubt it was there. I dont say that its anything special, but its not something trivial either. Its like finding faith or committing to a cause. Theres a line that has been crossed and though only the traces, the wreckage and the heartache remain, still theres no going back. When the heartaches get less frequent, when the memories fade a little more on the edges, when life brings us to the next stop and we get on with it, we still will have this in us.

This memory, this unknowable, magical thing that will always belong to me.

And I look around and catch a little kids eye and grin and stick my tongue out.

Friday, September 22, 2006

call centre blues

Customer Support: "Ridge Hall computer assistant; may I help you?"
Caller: "Yes, well, I'm having trouble with WordPerfect."
CS: "What sort of trouble?"
C: "Well, I was just typing along, and all of a sudden the words went away."
CS: "Went away?"
C: "They disappeared."
CS: "Hmm. So what does your screen look like now?"
C: "Nothing."
CS: "Nothing?"
C: "It's blank; it won't accept anything when I type."
CS: "Are you still in WordPerfect, or did you get out?"
C: "How do I tell?"
CS: "Can you see the C: prompt on the screen?"
C: "What's a sea-prompt?"
CS: "Never mind. Can you move the cursor around on the screen?"
C: "There isn't any cursor, I told you, it won't accept anything I type."
CS: "Does your monitor have a power indicator?"
C: "What's a monitor?"
CS: "It's the thing with the screen on it that looks like a TV. Does it have a little light that tells you when it's on?"
C: "I don't know."
CS: "Well, then look on the back of the monitor and find where the power cord goes into it. Can you see that?"
C: "Yes, I think so."
CS: "Great. Follow the cord to the plug, and tell me if it's plugged into the wall."
C: ".......Yes, it is."
CS: "When you were behind the monitor, did you notice that there were two cables plugged into the back of it, not just one?"
C: "No."
CS: "Well, there are. I need you to look back there again and find the other cabe."
C: ".......Okay, here it is."
CS: "Follow it for me, and tell me if it's plugged securely into the back of your computer."
"I can't reach."
CS: "Uh huh. Well, can you see if it is?"
C: "No."
CS: "Even if you maybe put your knee on something and lean way over?"
C: "Oh, it's not because I don't have the right angle - it's because it's dark."
CS: "Dark?"
C: "Yes - the office light is off, and the only light I have is coming in from the window."
CS: "Well, turn on the office light then."
C: "I can't."
CS: "No? Why not?"
C: "Because there's a power outage."
CS: "A power... A power outage? Ah, Okay, we've got it licked now. Do you still have the boxes and manuals and packing stuff your computer came in?"
C: "Well, yes, I keep them in the closet."
CS: "Good. Go get them, and unplug your system and pack it up just like it was when you got it. Then take it back to the store you bought it from."
C: "Really? Is it that bad?"
CS: "Yes, I'm afraid it is."
C: "Well, all right then, I suppose. What do I tell them?"

CS: "Tell them you're too stupid to own a computer."

Thursday, September 21, 2006

sachin .. tendulkar ...sachin ...tendulkar

The stage is set.

Mcgrath is returning from an injury layoff.
Sachin is returning from an injury layoff.
Both look like they never went away for a second.
Its India vs Australia.
Its a neutral venue.
Its a do or die match for qualification to the final.
It starts in a little while from now.

As always....its finally down to Sachin.

update - india lost by 18 runs. Brett Lee took 5 wickets including sachin, dravid, dhoni and the last two. Mongia topscored.

stock tips

buy -

icici bank
JP hydro
Hexaware Tech
Aztec Software

Panda bites man, man bites panda


Zhang Xinyan, from the central province of Henan, drank four jugs of beer at a restaurant near the zoo before visiting Gu Gu the panda on Tuesday, the Beijing Morning Post said...that explains more here.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

wierd injuries on the playing field.

self explanatory image

The weeks that were and the world that was

The last few weeks have seen us cross the anniversary of the defining moment of the decade, the fall of the twin towers. Five years ago I was in a cycle rickshaw on my way to a bar, when my sister called me with the news. I immediately ran up to the bar and grabbing a fistful of salted peanuts and a cold beer, settled down to watch the second plane hit the towers. It seemed so unreal but not unexpected. What used to be surprising to us was that how did america escape for so long. We had seen the rage of the terrorists. The people who were drunk on easy money, easy guns, easy narcotics and easy glory. We knew they burnt and destroyed and killed so many of us indians. We also knew that they considered us small fry and what they really hated was the other culture. The culture of the west, with its blue jeans, its rock music, its movies where everyone had sex all the time, its free environment which worked without the hand of god. It was tough for them to invoke religous beliefs and the religious way, when on the other side of the world, america seemed to be having one endless party without any need to include god in the debate.

Soon we will not even remember that world that passed away on 9/11. For a few years there was hope for everyone. Extremists, terrorists, rightists, leftists, militarists, fundamentalists, industrialists, economists all had been rendered trivial. The world had realised that we didnt need a bunch of fancy jargon, we just needed to connect and work together and everything could work just fine. We didnt need a president who was bold and courageous and a shrewd military tactician, we just needed someone sensible who would put in 8 hours in the office and do his job.

In 98 I had moved to Lucknow, the capital of one of the provinces that Vishal Bharadwaj calls "states of abject lawlessness". I had a degree from india's best college, a 98 percentile test score in americas favourite graduate test and fairly well-off parents who were only to willing to see their son go to harvard or something. Yet, inspite of all these options, I went to Lucknow and lived there for two years. Those were the years of the dot com boom. 1998 -2000. I understood what was happening, albeit only as far as a guy just out of college could understand it. So I went to Lucknow and lived among the bhaisabs and the bhaiyas, the good citizens of lucknow for two years. All I did was make sure I checked my email everyday. That was my only rule. At first i would get one message a week. Still I checked it. I wrote to friends, sent emails to magazines, surfed the web, chatted online, made a website, preached the power of the coming webolution to anyone who would listen.

Those were good times and I would experience first hand the power of the new digital revolution. Sitting in Lucknow I stayed close to my friends in the US. I even made some new friends all over the world online, some of whom are still close to me today. I wrote articles for a magazine based out of bombay and was invited down there to spend some time at their office. I researched on the internet and was able to do cutting edge graphic design and 3D work which still amazes me, I met girls in chatrooms and went to other cities on weekends to meet them and date them, I consulted for IT companies in Lucknow and helped traditional manufacturers get new techniques from the internet, I helped people make their webpages and I helped businesses computerize their operations. Oh, and I build buildings too. And I drank a lot and roamed far and afield on my trusty kawasaki. I made friends in the inner city, in the muslim areas and spent many happy evenings drinking tea and discussing life. It was so much fun.

That world that I knew didnt last long. In 2001, the planes crashed into the towers. The towers fell. The elections in Florida earlier had given a lot of us a sinking feeling in our stomachs. We knew the leadership of the free world was in the hands of the USA, and when something wierd like the florida elections/the bush-gore chaos happened, we felt uneasy. The freedoms we took for granted no longer seemed secure. If democracy and transparency and decency and legality could be in doubt in the USA, then what hope for the rest of the world. That had made us uneasy, but we hoped the momentum of the clinton years would carry on and be difficult to turn back. It was not to be. There were a series of crashes. The nasdaq crashed, the dot com boom crashed and suddenly it seemed the 80's were back.

An Indian airliner was hijacked and flown to Kandahar, Afghanistan. The government in Afghanistan was a friend of the government in Pakistan. The government in Pakistan was a friend of the government in the USA. Our plane was standing in Afghanistan and we were watching it on television. We believed that the community of nations would not let us down. The United Nations would condemn the acts of the Afghan Government, the Taliban. The US would lean on Pakistan and Taliban, and our plane would be set free. It was only when the hijackers took a knife and stabbed Rupen Katiyal in the chest several times, that we understood that we were on our own and this was serious.

Masood Azhar, Omar Sheikh and Mushtaq Ahmed Zarga were taken out of indian jails and sent to Afghanistan along with oodles of cash. We got our people and our plane back, except for Rupen, who I think was on his honeymoon when the hijack happened. We felt uneasy because it foretold something. It foretold that the world was not the free and fair place that we thought. The world allowed places like Afghanistan to exist, where the government was in cahoots with hijackers and terrorists. They were madmen and they were friends of pakistan who was a friend of america. That was wierd. We knew they were madmen for sure when they broke down 2000 year old statues of Buddha which had existed peacefully and werent really doing anything to threaten them.

This wasnt the world I knew in Lucknow. It had changed.

Omar Sheikh
whom we had to release, went on to plan and carry out the killing of Daniel Pearl, a young wall street journal reporter and then released the video of how they cut his throat for the world to see. This raised him so high in the estimation of the taliban leadership that he became a right hand man to Osama Bin Laden. This London School of Economics trained, urbane british muslim, became the financial mastermind for the Al Qaeda. Legend has it that he betted on airline stocks by shorting them before 9-11 and made more than enough money on this single transaction on Dubai stock exchange to finance the entire operation. He has been cited as the key financier of Mohammed Atta.

This man, whom we had in our jails and were forced to let go. This man who pioneered the art of making video films of murders. This man who financed the key hijacker in 9-11. This man is in a jail in Pakistan, still awaiting his sentence to be carried out, still waiting for his appeals to be heard and still meeting and talking to would be terrorists. The world has changed a lot since he was an arm wrestling champion and master debater at the London School of Economics. He is still around to influence events and so are his leaders in the taliban and al-qaeda. It is a strange world. It would seem that in 5 years something would have been done. America would have meted out justice, but no, theres something else happening. Theres a war in Iraq to take care of first. The world really has changed.

What really has changed?
The Internet still chugs along, witness this blog.
The world gets closer and closer together, witness the global supply chain and outsourcing.

but no, there are some things that have changed.

Chevron is back as the largest corporation. The new economy pretenders have been pushed back and the old barons are back in the saddle.

The pope makes speeches where he shows a serious lack of concern for the feelings of other religions.

Israel feels free to destroy a neighbour from the air. It bombs bridges, roads, power stations. Its like trying to starve someone to death to cure them. The world watches.

Iraq is what it is. Too many dead bodies. Too many atrocities. Too many feuds. Too many guns.

India loses its voice. It now meekly echoes whatever the US tells it.

Strong leaders, Religious leaders, Military leaders are now much in demand. Moderates all over the world who were just doing a quiet job of governing are being pushed aside by the need of the hour. The need of the hour seems to be very confrontationist. The one world - one mission - one voice - one internet - one idea days seem so long ago.

5 years ago the towers fell. Now on my first visit to America, I see the changes and the ones that will come. The voices on TV are shrill, the Flag waving is grimfaced, the hole in the ground in ground zero is still a hole in the ground. Somewhere someone is not doing a regular 8 hour a day job of running things. There is less hope. There is less freedom. There are more checks. There are more warnings. We have now started to look over our shoulder more and less at the stars above.

the world is truly changing...welcome to the brave new world.

5 things to do in noida

That was kind of fun, writing down 5 things to do in Delhi. It brought back many a happy memory. Memories of rushing towards a government wine shop with one eye on the clock, trying to burrow your way through the mass of humanity thronging the counter and getting your arms around a bunch of bottles before the "theka" or liquor store, closed at 9 pm. Now I think I shall refine it a bit...and go for 5 things to do in Noida. Its been a while since I lived in Noida, and maybe some of the places I remember do not exist anymore or have fallen into disrepute, superceded by newer attractions. Still, for what its worth, I give you - 5 things to do in Noida

1. Have an iced tea with a cheese tomato sandwich. Or if its winter, then a warm cup of almond kahwah. The lal market, just besides sector 30 and 36 is a great place to hang out, and not just for the young army daughters. Theres a little Tea Shoppe, just next to the Lal Market. Run by a gentleman who retired after running a tea estate, its a great place to enjoy a cuppa. Sit down on the cane chairs, warm your hands on the little coal fires and have long conversations with friends while sipping endless varieties of tea. A must-do if you are in noida.

2. Score some pot. Noida is liberally sprinkled with good old fashioned pot sellers. All you need to do is ask. You dont need to smoke it, but just for the fun of scoring it, its a must do activity. You would be taken into bylanes, into slums, into wierd clearings in slums where frightening statues of the mother goddess look over a bunch of hash devotees, to crowded marketplaces where the stuff is sold in sealed plastic bags so professional looking that you almost expect to see a bar code on them. If in case you shrink from this activity, have no fear, just walk around to the naya bans market in sector 15, ask for the government hemp shop and provided that you have a ten rupee note, walk away with a government approved and distributed bag of indian pot leaves that you might be able to finish in a month, if you smoked really fast.

3. Grab a camera and a motorcycle and go out at midnight to the noida expressway. Driving along it in the middle of the night as it snakes its way over the Yamuna river is a real fun thing to do. Stopping at various points to take photographs and communicate with the river goddess is highly recommended. Round this off with a drive down towards Kalindi, when you get in from the expressway, head towards Mayur Vihar and take a left in front of the aiims apartments, on a small nondescript road. This little road snakes its way along the Kalindi reservoir and is a beautiful drive. A great expanse of water stretches out as far as the eye can see. There are various birds and stuff to entertain you. The moon shines down on a lonely fisherman rowing his boat across it and casting its net. Dont stop too long unless you know your way around, for the police have a habit of being rather inquisitive and butting in without being introduced. A good story is that of being a staff photographer for a newspaper and showing them your camera. They are a little wary of fleecing journalists and so usually will let you alone.

4. Food at Laxmi's. Down at Brahmaputra market in sector 29 theres a little udipi joint called Laxmi which has the best coconut chutney ever known to man. The food is cheap, hot, fresh and mouthwateringly delicious. Try the rasam as a start, then the days special and then keep eating as long as you can. Make sure to round it off with a filter coffee. The surrounding areas are great for bird watching. Also if you walk down a bit you come to ganga shopping complex which is like the underbelly of noida. All night cybercafes, bars, restaurants, a lovely parantha shop, liquor stores and sundry offices make up this shopping complex. Everything is cheap, but watch out for the drunks.

5. Sector 18. Still the coolest place to hang out. Sit outside on the corner of Barista and watch the human parade. Best to have hot drinks and keep watching till you feel a sense of contentment. Good place to meet new people too. Then toddle down to the nearby theka, buy a beer and drink it in a shady corner keeping an eye out for cops. Have some food off the streets and top it off with an icecream from mcdonalds. For further entertainment, theres always elevate.

Friday, September 15, 2006

om hari om....electric guitar and nepali prayers

heard this on the net....Nepali Rock !!!!!

click on this ( link )..then click on Lo-Fi or Hi-Fi (depending upon how fast your net connection is) on the top of the page that opens up... This will pop up a radio player and a song shall start.... check it out.

The blurb describes this song as -

" Sambhoo!
It't the song bout the sisuation having now in our country nepal and we have prayed for the country situation in this song. "

check it out.

peace :)

Thursday, September 14, 2006

munnabhai lage raho

I saw it on saturday, in a little hall in boston. Great movie. I have been a little saddened by the tendency in India these days, to heap abuses on Gandhi and blame him for all the problems. I guess some people will never forgive him for openly admitting that we were weak and creating a solution within that constraint.

It makes people like me a little apologetic for still finding him admirable. Its no longer easy to say that one is a gandhian, unless u mean that you support the Dynasty.

This movie managed to get its message across without being preachy and it was a load of fun too. It seems that the whole Bhagat Singh/Subhash Bose vs Gandhi debate is happening in indian cinema now…in the form of Rang de Basanti vs Munnabhai :). Both movies look at the problems in big cities in India. Where one gets serious and preachy and finally advocates going down in a blaze of glory, Munnabhai starts off funny, stays funny and ends up advocating peaceful non cooperation and satyagraha. Nicely done!!

following this...seems the citizens of lucknow have taken the message to heart...and the gandhi caps are much in demand.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

5 things to do in Delhi

Got a little homesick..and when erimentha ( that sounds like a cough lozenge )tagged me.. Now I gotta tag 5 people too who will do something similar..thats the hard part..let me do the easy part first.

.I started to think about Delhi and what were the things I loved to do there.. so here goes the 5 point action programme for Delhi.

1. Get drunk in the afternoon in Rodeos ( its amazingly cheap in happy hour )in CP, then have a milkshake at Keventers, then take a walk around the inner circle to get your brain cleared out..then walk towards Paharganj, watch a bar dance, talk to the drug pushers, chat up the hippie tourist types, get drunk again and then either rent a room and crash there ( again amazingly cheap ) or catch a bus or train out of there.

2. Pack up all your computer junk and raid your neighbours,relatives for other computer junk that they no longer use ( or wont notice that its gone ). Go down to Nehru place and sell all the stuff. After that buy some wierd CD's, new gizmos, second hand books and a working class meal. Then head to the bar in the Park Royale and get drunk or check the disc out. After all, theres a great feeling of spending money thats earned from waste.

3. Get drunk along with a friend, get a motorbike, start out at 12 midnight and do a full circle of the ring road. Stop on the way at AIIMS for snacks, Moolchand for parathas, ISBT for cigarettes and in west delhi for some booze. Repeat till tired or arrested.

4. Go to Shakuntalam in Pragati maidan, for a cheap movie show. Then toddle down to Kamani Auditorium and catch a musical recital or a play and end it with a walk down Janpath shopping for clothes.

5. Go to Gurgaon and keep trying to get into either Buzz, Mojo, Buddha Lounge, Saffire, Odyssey, Peppers etc. Try doing this on Saturday night without being accompanied by a girl. If nothing works, get into Last Chance in Sahara Mall and keep drinking beer and dancing like crazy till the sun comes out.


movie competition

For our aspiring movie writers….. I got this in an email....was about to throw it out, but the earnestness of it made me stop. Like a cute mudcovered puppy, this offer to the creative people wanting to make 501 ( hehehe why not 500 ) dollars was so cheesy that I not only let it stay...but posted it here on my read on note to the 11 different genres described ..hehe

-----Original Message-----
Subject: Can you write a PREDICTABLE cheezy BOLLYWOOD story? (for $501)

(Moderator, could you please approve this - We are sure there are many experienced, aspiring writers in this group. Thanks in Advance.)

Looking for 7 short-screenplays, $501 each

While we are working on our ambitious INTERNATIONAL flick 'WHEN KIRAN MET KAREN' . We have decided to produce a quick STRAIGHT-TO-DVD project... Collection of 7 Short Films (12-15 minutes each) - Directed by Various Directors ~

TITLE : Just Another BOLLYWOOD Story!
LANGUAGE: ENGLISH, hindi, GUJARATI, punjabi, LATIN, spanish, URDU, telugu, GHETTO, mumbaiya etc


a) LOVE-LOVE (Example - Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge, Hum Aapke Hain Kaun, Mohabbatein)
b) LOST AND FOUND (Example - Amar Akbar Anthony, Every 80s movie)
c) REVENGE (Example - Sholay, Karan Arjun, Karz, Ghayal, Baazigar, Trishul)
d) FAMILY DRAMA (Example - Hum Saath Saath Hain, Baghban, Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham)
e) LOVE-TRIANGLE (Example - Saajan, Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, Dil Toh Paagal Hai)
f) INFIDELITY (Example - Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna, Silsilla, Murder, Jism, No Entry, Masti, Bewafaa)
g) UNDERWORLD (Example - Omkara, Parinda, Satya, Munnabhai MBBS, Company, Sarkar, Vaastav)
h) TRAGEDY (Example - Devdas, Kal Ho Naa Ho, Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak, Anand, Dil Se)
i) OBSESSION (Example - Darr, Anjaam, Kabhi Haan Kabhi Naa)
j) PATRIOTISM (Example - Pardes, Swades, Every Manoj Kumar movie)
k) SPORTS (Example - Lagaan, Bend it like Beckham, Iqbal)

(A screenplay in BOLLYWOOD is what is known as the Step Outline in Hollywood — a clear description of what happens in each scene, sometimes with indicative dialogue, sometimes without, with some clarity of where you want songs to play a role if at all.)
- have maximum 5 characters
- have maximum 3 locations
- be perfect for 10-12 minute film
- have one situation for a 2 minute typical BOLLYWOOD SONG *.
* (LYRICS and MUSIC is not your responsibility. We will compose 7 funny PARODY songs later.) IF YOU HAVE A BRILLIANT IDEA - and u have to use more than 5 characters, more than 3 locations - it's A-OK.

We have given you 11 themes... 30+ examples... choose the most commonly known... most famous... "CLICHE" BOLLYWOOD situation/conflict... and present it in a 21st century NEW AGE form...

7 wacky hilarious screenplays will be selected... And each writer will be given $501 - once we start the pre-production on his/her script.


Email your submissions in MS-WORD format to ""

our new favourite indian

the importance of being dingchak

check out dingchaks blog.... one of the few funny guys to come out of excerpt from the latest post is below to whet your apetite. Be sure to check out the blog name generator at his site too....pretty cool stuff for someone who didnt know his ass from a computer not so many years ago.... remind me to tell you the computer meltdown story read on..visit his site...and leave comments too....

I am referring to the humble ‘Suresh’, or for that matter Ramesh (and to a lesser extent the Ganesh) - names ubiquitous enough a decade ago, now rarely ever considered, or if considered, usually as a prank or as an ill-conceived revenge. As an experiment, look around you. How many young couples do you see deciding between Anya,Ananya,Anikya, Anikanya,Adi,Maya, and suchlike, or for the more adventurous -Kapilavastu, Soorpanaka, Ghatotkacha, and what not have you, ..and look at just how many are named Suresh. None? I thought so. read more

and its flintoff

The england selectors appointed Andrew ( Freddie ) Flintoff as the captain of the England and Wales cricket team to tour Australia. This sets the stage for what promises to be a riproaring battle as a young challenger aims to rip apart an old existing power. The first round in the battle went to England as they won the series when Australia visited them. This time, if Australia lose on home soil, they will truly have relinquished the title of the best test team in world cricket.

The appointment of Freddie, shows attacking intent. Most opponents lose to Australia before they step out into the field by being defensive and overawed in their minds and tactics. England under Freddie will go in with all guns blazing and not really be thinking tactics so much. The onus is now on Australia to withstand the assault and counterattack when they can.

how the other half lives

interesting stuff

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

quote of the day. funny but true - katrina, bush, new orleans, hezbollah, lebanon etc all come together in one quote

"Consider: In the New Orleans black community of the Lower 9th Ward, only 200 of its original 14,400 residents have returned to their blasted homes. Though statistics are unavailable, it is likely that Hezbollah has already rebuilt more homes in southern Lebanon than Bush has a year after Katrina in the Lower 9th Ward." - Sidney Blumenthal in

Friday, September 01, 2006

true love

Ganesha Chaturthi

The much loved elephant god, Ganesha, gets his very own festival. Millions of people all over India celebrate this with much enthusiasm and gusto. Its specially popular in the western state of Maharashtra and even more specifically, in Mumbai or Bombay, the capital city of Maharashtra. Crowds spill out on the streets, carrying clay statues of Ganesha, singing and dancing and banging drums and getting drunk and shouting prayers and what not, till the ferment becomes a fervor and the stream of humanity carrying Ganesha statues aloft, pours into the beaches where the land meets the sea. Wading into the sea, with chants and mantras and the odd curse when someone slips and falls or get pushed, the clay statues are immersed into the sea and they slowly melt away.

* note : all statues are made of baked clay and are totally bio-degradable.

There is a rather silly joke which I always remember when I think of Ganesha Chaturthi.

* note #2 : its not to do with the fact that he is an Elephant God, and yet is carried by a mouse. Thats right, a little mouse is the official carrier of our beloved happy funloving elephant god. That is funny, but also very profound if you look at it differently.
Sometimes Ganesha loses his mouse...specially if theres cheese around..and then he doesnt like it a bit... as you can see -

Where were we, ahh yes, the joke. Well it seems once a christian, a hindu, a muslim and a Sikh were on a boat near Mumbai, and it sprung a leak. The christian, prayed to Jesus, who appeared and picked him up and carried him to land. The Muslim prayed to Allah, and was rewarded similarly. The Sikh, prayed to his Guru, who appeared and carried him to land. The Hindu being a follower of Ganesha, prayed to him and Lord Ganesha appeared before him. The hindu was happy and waited for Ganesha to lift him up and save him. To his amazement, Ganesha started to do a little elephant dance singing a lively song and made no move to save him. The boat went under and the Hindu was drowning, and there was lord ganesha, doing the cha cha cha and singing a peppy film song. "Lord why dont u save me" cried the hindu. Lord Ganesha gave a smug smile and said, " You guys make a song and dance and drown me in the water every year dont see what that feels like" which point the Christian, the Sikh and the Muslim standing on the shore, clapped their hands and acknowledged the wisdom of this. The Hindu was going to say something, but swallowed some water and went under, never to resurface.

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