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Showing posts from November, 2010

Golfing in Pattaya

In Pattaya for a golf tournament organised by a friend. Excellent facilities, courtesy, and organisation. The golf is iffy, but that is always the case. When you sign up for it, you know it will be. But how does it matter? The idea is to have some fun and enjoy the companionship, and the opportunity to make new friends. Despite the pomposity of most golf clubs, golfers always get along, and make friends easily. At this age, or any age for that matter, what else does one need? This outing is organised by golftripz.com, who are new to this game but very good at what they do.

May their tribe increase and prosper. Good for mortals like me who like to play for the fun of it, not necessarily to win a trophy. A thought that occurs to me, by the way, is, if Pattaya area can have 50 golf courses, why can't a city in India?

We played at three courses- Burapha, Phoenix, and Laem Chabang, all close to Pattaya. The last was designed by Jack Nicklaus, and is very scenic. Spent a lot of time taki…

Pal

Some scintillating songs about time..pal, waqt and the like..

Aane wala pal, Jaane waala hai, ho sake to isme zindagi bitaado, pal jo yeh jaane waala hai.

Pal, pal dil ke paas , tum rehti ho

Koi lauta de mere beete huey din, beetey hue din woh mere, pyaare pal chhin,..

Main pal do pal ka shaayar hoon, pal do pal meri kahani hai, pal do pal meri hasti hai pal do pal meri jawaani hai

Pal bhar ke liye koi hamein pyaar kar le, jhoota hi sahi.

Waqt ne kiya kya haseen situm, tum rahe na tum, hum rahe na hum...

The Old Man and the Sea

Read this book by Hemingway. Pretty good for a single-thread-story, I must say. An old man goes out fishing, hoping to catch a big one, and does- on the eighty-fifth day after he starts. His fight with the fish while being far out at sea, and the final capture, and then the fight with all the sharks who try ripping the fish off the side of his boat- an interesting theme, somewhat like Moby Dick, but much more subdued and subtle.

Pertinent also, because an old man(me) was in Goa (the sea) recently, for a conference where faculty presented cases and also had a good time doing it. Goa always gets my vote as a destination that brilliantly combines international ambience, food and at Indian prices, by and large. The venue for the conference was the International Centre near Dona Paula, also a good venue. Had about 100 participants and hope to repeat every year.

A Morning Well-spent

After a long time, played a good round of golf yesterday at the Air Force Golf course. Most things went right, and the balls did not get lost..well, one did, but that's a negligible quantity. Got over my fear of hitting the Driver- no.1 club, which is tough to hit with because more often than not, you end up playing the ball where no man intended it to go (sorry, Star Trek).

Anyhow, the weather was also conducively mild, and we ambled along in comfort. Planning a repeat of the game today, having sufficiently recovered from the after-effects of the exertion of yesterday. Such relaxation along with minor bouts of concentration (while hitting the ball) is a unique pleasure which I think everyone must try at some point in life..I have promised many people that I will teach them the game, so that may materialise sometime. Maybe instead of doing (other ) useless things, we could start more golf links in the country. Mary Antoinette's modern avatar can then say, "If you don't…

Fave Dialogues

People usually have one or more favourite phrases they keep using. Some of these I have encountered over the years-

She is like Lakshmi/Saraswati..

When I was in ..(London, Timbuktu, or Tikamgarh..take your pick..my choice is Harihar where I worked with Kirloskar a long time)

Hamare yahan aisa nahin hota hai..or the reverse, hamare yahan to ais hi hota hai.

You know...

Why you want to do like that?

Please.....not for asking permission or requesting, but as an expression of exasperation!

Whatever...this is one I use a lot too.

and the facebook/SMS favourite...Lol!

The Last Lecture

This is a now-popular book written by a man (professor of Comp Science in this case) condemned to die in a few months after a diagnosis of pancreatic cancer. He gave a talk at a university, a few weeks before he was to pass away. Thus the Last Lecture.

The book though is not only the contents of the lecture, but Randy Paush's views on many things, like a short biography or snapshots of his life and his way of coping with the bad news. He remains thoughtful, and keeps thinking of ways to remain cheerful and live normally till the last possible minute.

In any ways, the movie Anand encapsulated the same core idea, except that it was fiction and this is reality. The fact that we all have to die one day is known, but sudden death is still unexpected. This way, one knows approximately how much time is available and can perhaps 'plan' better.

The sections about his parents - old world, frugal, and full of the right things, or things that matter, are particularly good. The sections a…

Long remembered Movies, TV Shows

A movie I saw in my childhood and laughed out loud at was 'The Mad Adventures of Rabbi Jacob'. Can't remember too much, but I think it was slapstick of the kind that appeals to a child or a teen. One more starring Michael Sarrazin was 'The Loves and Times of Scaramouche', about a swashbuckling hero with a lot of spoofing of Napolean, one of the characters in the film. I think the same Michael Sarrazin starred in the 'original Karz', which was called 'The Reincarnation of Peter Proud'- an engrossing suspense film unlike its khichdi counterpart. The Carry on Series also impressed me when I first saw it, with its comedy which was sometimes bawdy, but funny nevertheless. A comedian who does funny things called Benny Hill, may be missing on Indian TV screens, but did a mix of music, stand-up acts and a lot more on Western TV a few decades ago. Herbie Goes Bananas was another fun movie, and so were the Bud Spencer-Terrence Hill combination films, a precur…

Gaga over Obama

If there's a lady gaga, can there be a Lord Gaga? My vote is for Obama, but the title is because the world goes gaga whenever he goes anywhere. No surprise then that India went gaga over the last three days.

Maybe we should invent a Gaga Index which measures the extent to which people go gaga; something like a Geiger Counter- maybe a Gaga Counter. When the heat and dust of the Obama visit have settled down, life may not have changed much. We still have a lot of work to do for our own sakes, and for India's. Nandan Nilekanis and Sunil Mittals and others will have to play a role, or their successors, maybe.

What we could learn from the U.S., is their willingness to acknowledge that they screwed up, whatever the nature or however big the scams they are in, and put in place quickly a machinery to change things. This James Bond-like propensity for action is something that we can certainly do with, even in good times. Inaction can be good for Public Sector banks, because it safeguard…

Jonathan Livingstone Seagull

I had read the book long time back, and was impressed by it. So I was surprised recently to see a movie DVD of it. Intrigued by the thoughts of how it could have been turned into a movie, I got it and saw it too.

It is worth a watch. It actually is shot with a talking seagull (Jonathan) and other seagulls- the denouncers from his flock who act like they know everything and detest anyone who wants to explore beyond the limits set by them, the teacher who teaches him a lot of tricks, and a lady seagull who also teaches him a few things.

The music by Neil Diamond is appropriate, the sets are the ocean and the sky, captured in all their glory. The lines I liked are- "heaven is not a place....", "you may find out that there are things besides flying fast that you may be interested in," which is a reply to Jonathan's stated aim in life (which is 'to be able to fly very fast'). The search for perfection is an alternative goal, according to the teacher.

Thoughts …

Birthday Bash

Like in cricket or the movies, we lay a lot of store by a half-century or a golden jubilee. And so it was that I happened to have a birthday bash a little after I turned fifty, at Pune because many of my family are here.

Starting with my eldest cousin who lives in Mumbai, to one of my nieces also from Mumbai, there were around 25 people who turned up in all for a two-epsiode birthday party. A restaurant called Oasis on NDA road overlooking a valley view below was the venue for lunch. Managed efficiently by two cousins who are good at this sort of thing,we managed to get food served on time to everyone's satisfaction, got a cake cut in between courses, and had a gala time catching up on news and views, with occasional leg-pulling too.

After a nap to catch our breath, we started on leg 2 in the evening. Most people were there, and some more, age groups- 18 to 81. This was more of remembrances, with people reminding me of what I had done to them over the last fifty years. But mostly,…

Diwali Moments

We are all assembled in Pune with a mission- to celebrate life, and whatever it offers us. An opportunity to express ourselves, to enjoy each other's company as long as it lasts, and to try and do some good to ourselves and those we come in touch with. We seem to be succeeding in it too.

Starting off with some visits to relatives (of whom there are many) in Pune, with lots of food, some good trips to the outskirts- Sinhagad fort and such, and ending with a day-long party tomorrow to celebrate both Diwali, and several birthdays in the family including my 50th, it's been a very nice week. Some long lost friends have also turned up out of the woodwork, and I have reconnected with my engineering college group.

Will return to Nagpur next Monday, after an interesting week off. Out of 52 in a year, one must definitely have a few like this every now and then. It's damn good for the spirit.

Fantasy- A Plane Journey

The check-in is smooth, and I get a seat of my choice. There are no oversized guys leaning into me front, back and sideways, no wailing children, the pushback on my seat works, and I can use the toilet whenever I wish to, without the infernal trolleys blocking the passage.

The food is free, it's good and I am asked for my preference and get it. I get tea if I feel like having some. It tastes like tea. The food tastes like food (as in the old days 'when men used to be men').

The flight arrives when it should, without vague announcements like "delays in arrival and therefore delay beyond our control" and hamein khed hai. People (co-passengers do not behave like they are getting out of a jail while getting on and getting off the plane. They don't jostle to put heavy bags into the overhead luggage compartment and then jostle to take it off. They generally behave courteously. They don't use mobile phones after being old to stop using them. The stewardess smiles …