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Showing posts from May, 2013

Wildlife in Thailand

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Thailand and elephants go together. They have lots of elephant shows. But Indians are blase about these, as we often see elephants on the road, or in a temple. So we took pics of other fauna from our trip to Thailand just concluded. Enjoy the variety that you can see in a day at the Safari park.




There were giraffes and many others too. By the way, while on the trip through the open zoo, a zebra crossed our road. So that gave rise to a ZEBRA crossing, automatically. Didn't get the name of the bird with a red eye. Help, anyone?

Unemployment and Solutions

There seems to be major unemployment threatening lots of people in India. Some of these unemployed (even ex- BIG BOSSES) and underemployed guys land up fixing matches. If ever the following find themselves in such a situation, here is what they could do.

Kapoors can start a school for putting on weight. With pics of all the male members of their clan, you don't need a hard-sell.

Khans can start their own version of the Cannes film festival. Pronunciation is almost the same, anyways. This can be held at the Kandivali fair grounds, to match with the name of the fest.

Madhuri can start a primary school to teach arithmetic, as in "Ek do teen.."

All bit role actresses of yesteryear can have an eatery called Bits and Pieces, which will serve variety of chats, or a cybercafe that is titled Bits and Bytes.

Nana Patekar could start a school for wannabe actors who will learn how to deliver fiery dialogue in a ghati style.

All other game-players can start a welfare league for them…

Anopheles on Match Fixing and Other Important Things

My friend Anopheles met me again last night, with a question that had been bugging her.

"What's match fixing?" she wanted to know.

"You mean match-making? It's just arranging for a bride or groom for your daughter or son." I helpfully answered.

"No, no, match-fixing. What your papers have been headlining the last few days." she was emphatic.

"Oh, that. It's a player who has some black spots in his character. Then he goes and decides to bowl badly. So the batsman can score lots of runs. It's called spot fixing. " I tried explaining the intricacies of the deviant behaviour.

"Oh, so that's the new form that the gentleman's game has taken, is it?" she made me, actually my whole race, quite small with that scathing remark.

"The gentlemen that you speak of, are almost extinct," I had to admit.

"Well, there are one or two left, as far as I can gather," surprising me with her intricate knowledge of …

The Great Gatsby- Film Review

An old classic by Scott Fitzgerald set in the 1920s America, comes to life, well portrayed by its lead characters. It is a tale of obsessive love that a poor guy has for a rich girl, and he decides to make himself worthy by somewhat dubious means. It is too late, by then, and she is married to a rich guy.

So Gatsby traces her, buys a house/castle across the bay from her (in New York) and starts throwing lavish parties to which the social who's who come uninvited. But his lady love does not make an appearance. How he attempts to win her back and how it all turns out - not so well- is the rest of the story.

Narrated by a cosuin of the heroine, the style is paramount in this tale of love. The substance is quite on the expected lines, but the way it all unravels is unique. Definitely worth a watch for the presentation, the acting, and some snappy dialogues in a couple of scenes. Leonardo does a good job. But Toby McGuire is equally good as the anchor of the story. The period is well-c…

Humpty Dumpty

Dedicated to the fixers of matches, who increase entertainment value, TRPs of news channels, print runs of newspapers, and give readers respite from the same old news.

A Nursery Rhyme for Modern Times
Humpty Dumpty bowled a no-ball The batsman who hit it was a know-all He socked it, and it flew like a rocket, And in the process he lined his pocket
Humpty went back and tucked in his towel,  and came roaring back again With the same result, And lakhs worth of ‘gain’
Now Humpty adjusted his wrist band And it was a signal to the bookie in the stand Who used it to make bets he won, To him it proved to be a magic wand
Alas, there was a cop in it too Watching the funny things that these guys would do And when it came tumbling out, The game was over, barring the shout.

Spring in Arabia

Can Tunisia ever be out of tune?

What if there is a drought in Bah-rain?

If Arab winter comes, can Arab spring be far behind? (Apologies to a great poet)

I wonder...one of my seven wonders....Is it possible to stand on top of a pyramid?

Why are all the interesting crypts in Egypt?

Why was the Tomb raider Jolly (mis-spelt of course)?

Are there knights in the Arabian Nights?

Is there a Starbucks in Arabica? Or Arabica served in a Starbucks?






Vanishing Artists

Daler Mehndi, Alisha of "Made in India" fame, Ranjita Kaur who was a regular in several 70s/80s films like Taraana, Damaad, Ankhiyon ke Jahronkhon Se, Rameshwari of Dulhan Wahi Jo Piya Man Bhaaye and Sunayna, ...the list is long. The question is the same. Where are they? What are they up to?

And it's not just those from those days. Even recent ones are fairly infrequent in their appearance- or close to disappearance. Ayesha Jhulka, Amrita Rao after Vivaah (the film), Sadashiv Amrapurkar, Ashish Vidyarthi, and so on.

I saw Bombay Talkies the other day at Kolkata. Nice in a way, but the effect wears off pretty quickly after you leave the theatre. I liked the Dibakar Banerjee film the best, followed by the story of the kid who wants to be a dancer, directed by Zoya Akhtar.

Interesting Fictional Characters

Alice from Wonderland is probably the most fascinating, that appeals to the child in all of us. Other assorted characters like the Mad Hatter are also very appealing.

Sindbad the sailor was one of my favourites, with his myriad voyages, each an adventure in itself.

The famous five of Enid Blyton, in two sets- the mystery series and the others.

Phantom, Mandrake, their respective girlfriends Diana and Narda, the skull cave, the jungle mail, and the secret villains, ..fascinating.

Asterix, Obelix, Getafix, Unhygienix, ..the names alone brought a twinkle to your eyes.

Sherlock Holmes and Watson, an inseparable combination of wit and the lack of it.

Nero Wolfe and Archie Goodwin created by Rex Stout.

Bertha Cool and Donald Lam, and Perry Mason, all creations of Earl Stanley Gardner.

Hercule Poirot, the Belgian detective of Agatha Christie. Par excellence!

An Indian detective in Bangla costume- Byomkesh Bakshi, immortalised in a TV serial.

Superman, with Christopher Reeve epitomising him.

Metamorphosing Professions

A tailor had lots of work in the good old days. He was much in demand, because machines had not 'learnt' how to make clothes by themselves. So he used to make you wait, first for measurement-taking, and then for fitting, and then for delivery of the promised liverie (if that's the right word).

The ironing and buttoning of clothes would invariably be in progress on the promised day, and you would have to cool your heels waiting for the stuff to make an appearance.

I am not sure what these guys are doing nowadays. Probably working like machines in one of those factories which mass-produce the stuff. Only emperors must be able to afford them to get their 'new clothes' stitched, I suppose.

Similar is the story of other professions. The only guys who have prospered are the guys who deal with the yellow metal, I presume. With skyrocketing demand (at least in India), their stock must be rising (pun was unintended).

Stock analysts, on the other hand, despite attempts to wr…

Generation Gap

When we were growing up, the young men wore bell-bottoms and some also (influenced by Rajesh Khanna, superstar)  wore kurtas or guru-shirts as they were known for a while. Not sure what the difference is. I once wore a Hare-rama Hare krishna-inscribed kurta, may be inspired by the Dum-maro-dum film by Dev saab. Did not get around to imitating the lady- Zeenat, though.

Anyhow, our generation listened to Kishore kumar and his ilk, and detested K.L. Saigal or his contemps like Talat Mehmood (some also confused him with the comedian Mehmood, perhaps).

Now, I don't know what the young generation listens to any more, because it is not audible to me, being inside an Apple or a Samsung or their cousins. But one can make an intelligent guess, that it is different from what I listen to. But I do know what they are writing-at least for the large part, because it's so much in your face- not bookish at all. Some more shy types blog rather than facebook (the verb).

Also, I have discovered t…

Kolkata Lake Club

A nice part about growing old is that you have old friends. And some old friends are well-connected. And members of clubs where you can pile on. Like I do for golf sometimes. In Kolkata for an alumni meet last weekend, it all came home to me.

The club scene in Kolkata is a well-known sport. There was a friend who happened to be a member of the Lake Club built on the side of Dhakuria Lake. The club has some rowing with long fibreglass boats parked there. Went there for an afternoon of beer and (shooting the) breeze yesterday. Followed by lunch at the Tangra Chinese restaurant called Beijing something...It had stained glass on its door, made by the friend's wife, who is into these things.

All in all, a nice weekend, with a ferry ride across the Hooghly, a movie (Bombay Talkies) and some lunches and dinners and snacks thrown in. I liked the momos in the New Empire cinema complex. Good fiery sauce accompanied the bland modak-like momos.

The new Kolkata airport terminal is BIG, and if…

Fun Songs

Songs that sound like a lot of fun-

Priye praneshwari, hridayeshwari, yadi aap hamein aadesh kareinto prem ka hum sriganesh karein.

Hum kale hain to kya hua dilwale hain.

Hum the woh thi aur samaa rangeen samjh gaye naa.

Main hoon jhum jhum jhum jhum jhumoroo..

Ek chatur naar karke singaar

Main sitaron ka tarana, main baharon ka phasana..paanch rupiah baarah aana

Main kaa karoon ram mujhe buddha mil gaya

Sar jo tera chakraye ya dil dooba jaaye

Khaike paan banaras wala khul jaye band akal ka taala

Aiyyayya main kahan aa phasi..from Caravan

Ayyaiyya karoon main kya suku suku

Yahoo, chahe koi mujhe junglee kahe

Zindagi ek safar hai suhana


Original Jokes

How did corruption start in Karnataka?

It went, "Yeddy, steady, GO!"

How do you spell corruption there?

Karuption.

What does a Kannadiga mind?

Being illegally mined.

How do you describe the result of the recent election?

Yeddy, JD, Go.

How does a Mumbaikar greet Yeddy?

Yeda hai kya tu?

If a Star Wars sequel were made in Karnataka, it would be called....Return of the Yeddy.



Anopheles Goes to Karnataka

My female friend of the mosquito species, Anopheles, recently had another small chat with me. About elections this time, among other things.

She unexpectedly came in tonight, as I was preparing to retire. Her first question, after the usual niceties, was,

"Why do you think the Congress won in Karnataka?"

I was surprised that she was so 'in' with the news of our elections. I said, "I think people expected development from the earlier government, which they did not get. They were mined only for their votes. So they changed their mind, and voted for change."

"Hope they don't start cleaning up garbage and drains," she sounded worried. "Where will we go?"

I was stunned with the realisation that one man's food is another man's poison. I said, "If they do, you are welcome to come and stay here, " pointing to a closet.

"Thanks, that's very nice of you," she said.

Then she asked me, "What worries you abou…

Party Week

Work at partying? Partying at work?

It's a bit of both. Life consists of partying this time of the year, and I am not complaining. Certainly helps in beating the heat around these parts. Might be that I want the state to last forever. Though it usually does not. But it is good while it does.

Thoughts that came from a smoking hot barbecue which happened at a friend's lawn the other day, preceded by a do at an NHRD (National Human Resources Network) meet the day before. A visitor friend from XIMB and IIML days was the reason I landed there.

The IMT alumni meetings at various places continue. Just got back from my place of habitation -India Habitat Centre, Delhi- last weekend. Met loads of alumni and had a chat (not chaat) with quite a few. Found many who are entrepreneurs, incidentally. Good for them, and others, I guess.

Started off with a training program for Asian Paints at Nagpur- one of a new series that is on through May.

Blographics

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This is the reported readership of this blog since it began ( I plead guilty to having started it all). I found it very interesting, assuming these are real readers. Earlier, I did have a revelation of sorts that there were statistics probably misreported due to servers being located in various non-English speaking nations that seemingly read my blog.

Anyway, accounting or discounting for trawling that idly sends anonymous comments to me fairly regularly, one may assume that there is some increase in readership of the said blog. I also have to thank some authors whose books I happened to review (not paid ones) for the spike in my blog viewership.

Interesting, and a graph of the sort that most sales companies would like to see. Thanks to the genuine readers. If you are reading this in spite of IPL (at least in India).

The Sense of an Ending- Book Review

Julian Barnes is an author I discovered recently, accidentally. While browsing with friends opposite IIT Delhi at a bookstore. That book was Nothing to be Frightened Of, about death. Non-fiction.

This is a novel, a humdinger- if that is the right word. Keeps you gripped throughout, and does not let go, till the last page. Ends with such a twist that it leaves you gasping, or rather, gaping. You don't know what hit you. I also liked the decsription of dating in Victorian (1960s) England, sounded like our own times, almost. The humour in the writing is very British, and very good. In the other book too.

Not too long ( a quality I appreciate these days), I was able to finish it in two sittings interrupted by some work (more on that later).

I think it won the Man Booker. Must say, it beats many other winners that were unreadable- at least to me!

Formula for Happiness

Formulas galore are offered for you to be fit, healthy, happy, live the rest of your life in Nirvana. I thought I could try and become another in the long line of philosophers. Difference is, my formula is easy to use, and 100% guaranteed. Others may say that, but this actually will work.

Set aside 5 minutes to think what makes you happy. Regardless of what you thought, do the following.

1. Take 15 minutes a day and drink your favourite beverage (it could be carrot juice, coffee, or single malt).

2. Take another 30 minutes and listen to your favourite music- disco, ghazal, whatever.

3. Read at least 10 pages from a nice book (not the happiness formula books)- won't take more than 20 minutes. If you are down and out, read humour, preferably. Or else, anything. James Hadley Chase is not forbidden. Nothing is.

4. Walk and if you like to, add a golf club to your walk. If not, still walk with some greenery around.

5. Eat one of the following without fail everyday.. Chocolate (particula…

Benefits of Going to College

There are great benefits to be gained from going to college. Undergraduate, postgraduate, does not really matter which level. And these are not what the parents think they are.

1. The canteen is a great place to be. For the food, the ambience, or the lack of it, but most of all, for being unlike the class.

2. There are sports to be played and learnt. You can even excel in a few.

3. If you are the unsporting type, you can watch others play. Heck, the whole country is at it with the IPL.

4. There is an outside chance of getting a girlfriend (boyfriend) as the case may be. And then, of course, an equally good chance of a break-up. Keeps you occupied.

5. You meet nice people, like they said in an old Honda scooters ad (in the US, not here in India).

6. You can learn to doodle, draw caricatures, or develop new measures to measure the performance of faculty. gives you a headstart for a job in H.R. (Human resources).

7. You get to spend dad/mom's money, with no grumbling to accompany it.…

Trip Down AP Memory Lane

A train journey that I went on two weeks ago brought back some memories of a life in my twenties, when I frequently went by the same railway stations and the views in between.

This was on the Andhra sector of the Nagpur- Secunderabad journey. We lived in Ramagundam and Bellampalli those days, and took a train to Hyderabad quite often. The train travels pretty fast (we clocked it at 120 km an hour at times) on the Kazipet-Secunderabad section, so you whizz past Ghanpur, Pindial, and on to Bhongir and finally Ghatkesar before you enter the Secunderabad terrain through Moulali.

There is a huge bare rock and a fort atop that in Bhongir (Bhuvan giri is the real full name) which looks inviting for a climb, if you are the climbing type, or the fort-visiting type.

The Kazipet station has a long platform where trains used to stop for quite a long time, sometimes to change the direction of the engine by detaching and re-attaching it. Vijaya dairy had just introduced buttermilk in pouches those …