Monthly Archives: August 2006

Coffee at Barista

A friend recently pointed out that I don’t look the type of guy who would ( actually the word was ‘could’ and hence more demoralizing ) sit all by himself at a coffee shop or for that matter eat alone. I knew that it was totally true. There have been days when I have’nt had lunch / dinner because I did’nt have company. I just can’t eat alone. Call it insecurity, call it stupidity whatever . but that was what I did.
This was till yesterday, until I decided to go ahead and do it. I biked for some distance, thinking about strange things. I did’nt even know where I was heading to. At each crossing, I randomly chose a direction and a couple of times I went in to one-ways , only to be chased out by the traffic policemen. Anyway .. I was’nt thinking anything about the destination of this drive .. and It felt GREAT. I had managed to find some secluded spots near Airport Road (which I am sure I would never be able to retrace) .. and without the honking cars and disturbing autos, the places felt great.
I someow managed to find my way back to Airport Road and decided that I wanted some coffee and I would I spent some time with myself.
So … I had coffee all by myself .. walked into a book shop at Leela palace .. and sat for about fifteen minutes listening to the STC open talk , bought three books and joined the Oxford Book club, which means that I would be invited for book reading sessions and book releases whenever they happen at Oxford.
Was a different kind of experience for someone who has been sufferring from the herd-mentality all his life. Felt good to break out !!

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8 Kms , 40 Km / hour .. how many minutes ?

My office is about eight Kms from my place in bangalore. On a normal day, driving at an average speed of 40Kms/ Hour, I should be easily make it to office in about 12 minutes and stretch it to lets say 15-20 minutes given the single signal on the way. But , Still it takes me about 30 minutes everyday. Not that I am getting slower, it’s just that lately I have been observing a lot of slow moving traffic on the way. And somehow, when I finally manage to reach that point in the traffic where I am ahead of everyone else and am able to look back at what was causing the jam, almost unsurprisingly I would find a car driver with a huge L sign posted on his front mirror, back mirror and sometimes even an ad for a car driving school on the top of the car, as if to emphatically tell everyone .. “Here is a Loser, please don’t mind the slow traffic because of him”. I would mutter a few asshole derivatives first.
But this is only a start. Next come the auto drivers. Now .. I believe, sometime in the history of Telugu/Kannada/Tamil Cinema, Rajni Dada portrayed the character of an auto driver. How much I would like to go back in time and kill off that character is only conjecturable (if that is a word). All these drivers would remind you of Rajni dada in some way or the other. Starting with the way they look at you (disdain is the only word that comes to mind that matches even close to that look), to the way they take away their auto from right in front of your eyes when you most need it .. you just can’t stop feeling sorry for yourself. It’s almost as if the age old tradition of showing the middle finger is lost on these individuals and they rather use their autos as a secret weapon to express their disgust at your audacity of having asked them to stop for you. If there ever was a good decision I made all my life than that decision was to buy a bike for myself. Given that some strange zombie from some other planet has somehow managed to communicate with these ruthless mercenaries of Rajni dada’s former self and more importantly persuaded him to drop him off to a location, the adventure on the roadside just gives way to the adventure on the road. To describe the driving as zig zag would be an insult to zig zag. These guys have a definite pattern, which in simple words can be given as “Aim for the nearest Bike Driver”. I would be driving along merrily, when out of nowhere, I would find myself flanked by autos on both sides. On peeping inside I sometimes find a passenger holding on to his seat for dear life or a long time pro, just enjoying his usual view of the road .. the former being more in number. Anyway, these two autos would be aiming for me , and apparently the guy who manages to come the closest within hitting me without actually doing so, wins. Any efforts to speed out or slow down out of this race are of no use. All you can do is to just hope that there is some other bike driver around and these sharks would go for some other fish rather than you. Having already used the asshole derivatives, this time I have to go for bastard derivates.
If you think that your adventure on the road has ended with these hell-sent auto drivers, you have definitely never been to Bangalore. How can you forget the pitiable pedestrians. They are, after all not so pitiable. Believe me, I would love to run down all of them some day , given that I have a vehicle of substantial size and a guarantee that I won’t be dragged to justice for this act. It seems that people in Bangalore have a liking to walking. They would get down from their cars/bikes or whatever it is, and take out their cell phones. Now , I have no idea whom all these guys talk to, but it seems to me that the world seems like their park/backyard to them. They would be oblivious to cars, bikes, buses, trucks .. basically everything and anything that can run them over. Why should the vehicle not get permission to go ahead and actually do it , is really something that requires a parliament bill. From crossing on the traffic signals to walking right in front of your vehicle in a small lane , oblivious to the loud noise emanating from your vehicle .. they are everywhere. Where Devil could not send the Auto driver, he sent the pedestrians. Unfortunately, Around this time I fall short of derivatives and have a mixture of asshole and bastard derivatives to be used with this third variety.

There are reasons for visiting hyderabad time to time, other than the romantic ones. It is so easy to burn out in this bangalore traffic and I miss the always-moving traffic in hyderabad. Other than once or twice, I have never heard anyone complain about hyderabad traffic. If driving in Hyderabad is watching Dil Chahta hai, driving in Bangalore would be like being made to watch KANK for the Nth time (yeah , i still have’nt stopped spreading the bad word about it)

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Cricket in Doldrums

Two separate incidents have been widely covered by almost every channel of news there ever was .. and involving four of the major test playing nations . If Cricket is entertainment , this is the dose of reality show controversy that entertainment thrives on.
South Africa pull out from Sri Lanka
Lankan press has widely criticized South African decision to pull out from the three nation Unitech Cup on security considerations. While this is not a new phenomenon .. one can’t help but feel sorry for the touring team and the Lankans at the same time. Africans, because they are being trashed on every blog, every channel and every newspaper, over a decision that concerns their physical security. How can you play in conditions when there are bombs exploding near your stay hotel and the target of the bombs being more high profile than you are. They are from an alien land, a place where violence , though not unheard of, is still not on the same level to be equated to terrorism. I did not like the idea of Lankan press making judgments on the cricketing skills and mental strength of these players by using phrases like “chickened out” and “scared to play Lankans”. LG Team Rankings @ cricinfo tells me that presently SA are the second best One day unit, next only to the Aussies. These are the same Africans who had beaten Aussies at their own game, sledging .. and had come out victorious against the toughest cricketing opponents in the most tiring situations. They are the same Africans, who gave us the best One day chase of all time. Given a daunting task of scoring 434 in 50 overs, most of the teams would have gave up the chase even before they had begun it. The point of all these historical statistics is that there is no point doubting the mental and cricketing strength of these South Africans. Yes, in the present series, they had lost the Test series fairly badly .. but Lankans are a tough side to beat at home. Poor SA.
Lankans are to be felt sorry for too, because they were on a roll. They must have been looking forward to having a thrilling one day series (if Rain Gods permitted). Given their present form, they might not mind even a World’s best XI competing against them. Lankans have gelled together wonderfully as a team and with the ever-consistent Jayawardhane on the peak of his form, and wily Murli picking up wickets as and when he wants to .. It would like US attacking a third world country .. play with it for two days and demolish it on day three and four. To be deprived of valuable ranking points and confidence building victories at this point can be very demoralizing.
The only people who have come out without a patch of dirt after all this mud-slinging are the Indians. We Indians are so much used to exploding bombs in our own courtyards that a bomb exploding in our neighbor’s territory hardly makes a difference to us. After the violence that Indians have seen in wars and terrorist attacks and riots, a minor bomb exploding in Lanka did little to dent the confidence of the team. Who cares for life taking bombs, we have our own willow-wielding bomb on his come back tourney, we call him Sachin.

Hair in Pak’s coffee cup
Indian news channels have taken upon the task of telling us about how Pakistan misbehaved with the on-field umpire and how they have brought the game into disrepute. A Channel has gone to the extreme of naming their 9:00 PM prime time show “Cheat Pakistan”. While the same words / feelings might be echoing in many minds, I would like to take an exact opposite stance. For the uninitiated, here is what happened at Oval ..

Umpires Darrell Hair and Billy Doctrove changed the ball in the 56th over of England’s second innings on the fourth day and punished Pakistan with a five-run penalty as a result. Pakistan protested after the tea break by refusing to come out, a decision which eventually led the umpires to forfeit the match in England’s favor.

England won the series 3-0 and it couldn’t have been worse for English supporters for the victory to have come this way.
To me, it was a Pakistan win for the taking and having forfeited the game at that juncture shows the belief the team has in Inzi and the belief Inzi has on his boys. I know, as Indians, we love to trash Pakis at every given opportunity. But the pakistan side deserves credit for standing together as a team in the hour of crisis. This was a team that did not like being labeled “cheats” and considered it a matter of national pride. As a captain, who knows that his boys did not do anything wrong, Inzi was perfectly well within his rights to register his protest. “It’s about respect” .. answered Inzi to the questions about his decision on the day.
Just goes to show, what it means to him to be labeled “a cheat” and as someone who has “brought the game into disrepute”.
Darell Hair’s role in all this controversy is even more controversial. As someone, who has had a history of spates against players, ICC could have done better than to appoint him for this important fixture. But , as ICC ruefully explains, it only has a handful of elite panel umpires who have to be shuttled across all over the world for matches and they are not in a situation to be able to pick amongst available. It’s more a question of “who is free” for them.
Apparently at some point during the unfolding of this drama, Hair had walked up to the Pakistan dressing room and had asked them if they would be taking field. To which Inzi asked him why was the ball changed. Hair answered that he was not there to answer Inzi’s questions. More importantly, after the umpires had walked off, pakistanis walked back on to the field expressing their desire to continue the game. Even the English players were ready to come back to continue the play. At this point, it is learnt, Hair refused to come out saying that the decision was already made. I can very well imagine Hair sitting on a four legged chair with his bear mug in one hand and a cigar in the other and shouting his decisions.
Give me one reason, Why should a cricket lover not hate this guy.
To me , it was a case of one strong headed umpire and one weak hearted umpire officiating in a high profile game of Cricket involving some of the biggest names in Cricket. The other umpire, by the way, was Doctrove. The reason why I call him weak hearted, is because it seemed to me that he was just taking orders from Hair. He is the same guy, by the way, who had no decision in the Mahendra singh Dhoni catch incident .. and the same guy who went missing from the Square leg in the middle of the over for god knows what.
I wanted to give an unbiased opinion on this incident, but somehow I can’t stop myself from hating Hair. To me, he will always be the guy who called Murli a chucker.

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Another Review : “Ahista Ahista”

I did not want to come across as a grumpy old-man who hates everything he comes across .. which probably explains why I decided against writing a review for the movie I saw yesterday .. but since Rakesh wrote one .. i thought probably i should follow suit.
He evidently liked Ahista Ahista and I hated it. I hated it so much that i got up half way through the second half to leave .. this was my second attempt to rescue myself .. my first attempt was thwarted by the friend who paid for my ticket .. And by the time I gathered enough courage to ask this friend again for permission to leave he was already apologizing for dragging me to the movie.
Actually , now when i think of it .. I don’t think the movie was so bad .. it’s just that we could have gone to “Anthony Kaun Hai” instead and were dragged to this one by a friend who had already seen AKH. So , basically we were all sulking all through the movie about how-great-it-could-have-been had we made it to AKH.
It’s just that every time a song started .. i found myself wanting to excuse myself to the bathroon just so that I could escape another masterpiece from Himesh Bhaiya. I did successfully manage it two times .. but around the third time people started doubting my kidneys and stuff .. so I thought that getting fresh air might be a better excuse.
Anyway .. the movie does progress “Ahista Ahista” and you can probably watch it once .. it is probably not as bad as KANK ( that is only a guess .. i did’nt see the end of AA to actually compare the two ). Atleast it does’nt have the shreaks and illogical romance and idiocity of a loser character.

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Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna

“Kaal se pehle wohi tha,
Kaal ke baad wohi,
Jaane kitni sadiyon se,
Le raha wo teri.”
– BodhiTree

 

 

The song is definately inspired by Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna. Of course, there is a negative time lag between the release of these two pieces of work (which, by the way, are the opposite end of the spectrum of brilliance), but the guys at XLRI ( Bodhitree ) are brilliant people. For all we know, they might have invented a time machine, travelled in time .. came to the August of 2006 .. saw KANK and headed back to the past, all inspired for a new song .The relation is pretty obvious .. the movie goes on for a spiritually damaging and physically unhealthy THREE HOURS AND FORTY FIVE minutes.

I can’t understand what I hate more about the movie, the mindless romance of Shahrukh and Rani Mukherjee or the irritatingly stupid role offered to Big B. Last time I checked, Big B was the Indian Movie Icon. Of course, he had lowered his standards by acting in every commercial which came his way, but with this movie, AB Senior has definately managed to hit an all time low in terms of showing how low he can fall just to be a part of a big banner. His role, as described by the Review team at TOI ( not sure ) was that of an old skirt chaser. I did’nt think it would be that bad, until I actually saw the movie. He has been shown making lewd remarks at ladies and having Sex with women who might be on Playboy’s payroll. I don’t understand the role in the context of the movie. While playing no part in the main story line of the movie, all AB senior has managed to do is to pull his faithful fans to the movie theaters and earn the ire of people like me, who don’t understand what he was doing in the movie in the first place.

As If AB senior was not enough, Shahrukh offers another reason to hate the movie. I don’t understand the reason why he married Preity in the first place, and once he did, what made him hate her so much all of a sudden. No explanation has been offerred to this rather questionable aspect of the movie other than the fact that Preity is a night-life loving Editor in Chief of a Women’s magazine ( but the start of the movie shows that he did’nt like her much, even before she got this job). The Explanations are not clear on the other side as well. Why does Rani not like Abhishek, a perfectly loving and caring husband ?

I also had trouble understanding why was Shahrukh so grumpy all through the movie. He , as i understand, was supposed to potray a loser .. and if that was the case, I would expect a loser to be a little more short of self confidence than to yell at strangers and snap at his kid at every given opportunity. And if he was’nt suppose to potray a loser, then why was he acting like one all through the movie.

And the end, while being predictable .. like all Karan Johar specials, is one which raises more questions than it answers. Is it really right to have relations outside marriage if you are not happy with your present partner. I definately believe that it’s human nature to be attracted to more than one person at a time, but .. going to the extent of being in a physical relationship with one of them , while already in a legal relationship with another one .. is immoral .. if not sleazy.

My understanding of human realtions is probably not the best .. I am not a great relationship manager myself .. but I do have mind to understand what is right and what is DEFINATELY wrong in a relationship. While definately giving importance to yourself , once in a while, you should also be caring and sensitive towards your partner’s life and needs.

If Karan Johar really believes that the way to go for all people who are having trouble in marriages, I would like to ask him to spare a thought for the poor offsprings of such troubled relations who suffer the most in case of a breakup between his/her parents.

Bottom Line : Absolute Crap .. Performance wise .. Everyone is ok .. The only reason you can watch the movie is if you want a three hour forty minutes of uninterrupted sleep (though Karan Johar can’t gurantee that either .. thanx to a periodic five minute shreak from atleast one character in the movie) .. I would rather advice people to get the Music CD and listen to the SONGS (the only good thing in the movie) and not waste money on the Crap of the century. I have never seen a movie so hell-bent on doing what it says in its’ title.

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The Conversation with a Stranger

I had just been tucked in, late at night .. around 11:00 PM.
Phone started ringing. Under normal circumstances, I would have frowned at the idea of someone calling me at such late hours, but this … this was a number I had never seen before. And this is the cue for every desperate , single , love monkey type guy to call back. Me, being one, called back ( though .. I must admit .. at the back of my mind was the fact that one of my school friends was due in hyderabad yesterday and it might be him ).

Me : Hello
She (yeah yeah yeah yeah .. SHE ) : Hellllloooo
Me : Yes
She ( yeah yeah yeah yeah .. SHE ) : YEEEESSSSSS
Me : did you just call me ??
She ( yeah yeah yeah yeah .. SHE ) : Did YOU just call me ??
ME : I got a call from this number , did you call me ?
She ( yeah yeah .. getting on my nerves .. but still .. SHE ) : I GOT a call from this number .. did YOU call me ??
Me : Are you just repeating what I am saying ?
She ( ahh .. come on lady .. ) : Are YOU just repeating what I am SAYING ??
ME : Ok, Seems like a wrong number. Sorry .
She ( finally broke her ressiliance ) : hey hey .. Sorry about that . I was just trying out random numbers and I got your number.
Me ( Very very disbelieving ) : ok , no problem. ( and then after a little pause during which I was trying to remember where have I heard this voice before). Do I know you ??
She : I don’t think so. We have never met. I told you , it was a random number.
Me : Ok . ( still very disbelieving ). Bye then.
She ( around this time, her voice was getting on my nerves. she had terrible hindi which she used to fill up the pauses and she sounded like she was drunk ) : Hey wait, now that we have talked .. do you want to be friends ?
ME ( yayy yayy yayy .. ) : FRIENDS ?? Are you joking. How can you just call up random numbers and expect them to become friends with you. I don’t even know you.
SHE : that’s not a problem. Probably after this conversation, we will know each other.
Me ( Gosh .. she is really desperate .. but what the hell .. so am I ) : Well, I don’t think it works that way. You need to meet people to know them and then you become friends with them.
She : Ok .. let’s meet.
ME ( YAYY YAYY YAYY !! ** subsequently you may assume that yayy yayy yayy part unless mentioned otherwise ** ) : WHAT ?? ok , who are you ?? Venki are you trying out a girlish voice. no no .. it’s Jayaram … jaya .. stop joking .. Phone ka misuse mat kar .. no wait .. it could be Rocky .. but this does’nt sound like you .. ok .. WHO ARE YOU ??
She : First you tell me who are these people you just mentioned. Venki ? Jaya ? Rocky ?
ME : Well .. they are my good friends. experts at pranks and stuff like this. But why am I telling this to you .. for all I know, you could be one of these three.
She : Gosh, why are you so disbelieving. Can’t you just believe that I called up a random number and got you.
Me : No, I can’t. Randomness does’nt favour outliers like me.
She : WHAT?
Me : Nothing nothing . forget it.
She : Ok, What’s your name.
ME: Utkarsh .. What’s yours’.
She : Nice name ( I get that a lot .. thank you mom n dad ) . I am *******.
Me : Ok ..
She : So, what do you do ?
Me : I work.
she : where
ME : outside pizza hut at airport road. I am the gatekeeper there.
She : Yoy Stil don’t trust me .. do you ?
Me : How can I ??
She : Well .. I told you my name .. what proof do you need.
Me ( with Joey’s line in mind ) : I am Afraid I am going to need visual proof.
** and as soon as I said that .. ** Oh . nooooooooo .. SHIT
She : Yeah , thats fine. Let’s meet.
Me : no .. please no.
She : Why ??
Me: See, I have a girlfriend. And I don’t know what she will think of all this. So, let’s not meet.
She : No problem, you don’t need to tell her.
Me : ( he he he .. yeah .. not tell her .. I am going to tell the WHOLE World that I got a anon phone call from a a GIRL ) . no .. I can’t lie to her.
She : Ok, if that’s your decision. no problem.
Me: Yes ..
She : Ok, bye then .
Me : Ok .. bbye.

I might have yelled a “O My God” (a-la janice) at the end of this, which is what probably woke up my grandpa.

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