Friday, December 17, 2010

Scam 24x7

I was flipping through the channels one lazy evening. A carnival of scams was unfolfding in the television. Just then my dad  remarked," I am going to start a new news channel - ScamTV24x7. It will be a nice idea to start one now".
That got me thinking . What if we actually had one? These would be the various programs I would want to air

1.Morning Leaks : Morning show which analyses the various leaks brought out by  wikileaks
2.Kalmadi aur barbaadi : A peek into the destruction of our sports culture by India's very own Suresh Kalmadi
3.Dutt and nothing but : An hour long show about the corruption in journalism hosted by Barkha Dutt
4.Tata, birla and ambani : a show about corporate manmaani
5.Babuj zara dheere chalo : a live programme that tracks the greedy bureaucrat babus in their quest for money in the murky Indian system. The babus agreed to donate 1% of their hard earned money to charity after watching this show.
6.Indian Paisa League : This innovative sports show features various exposes in the sports world.
7.Politricks : The great Indian con-show from the worlds best con artist- Indian netas.

Got any other ideas?

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Why I support the bureaucrats trapped in the CWG corruption scandal

I think the recent controversy surrounding the corruption in Commonwealth wealth games going to be held at Delhi is avaricious, malicious , delicious and auspicious. I do not find anything wrong with what the bureaucrats have done. The reasons for my steadfast support to the 'babus' are :
1.Nobody told them that Commonwealth does not actually mean COMMON WEALTH.
They thought that Common wealth means common wealth as in common room, common toilet etc etc - anyone can use it .They took whatever they needed for their 'chai paani'! They were misinformed .Don't you think?
2.They were trying to make India an egalitarian state.
They were trying to reduce the disparities between the rich and the poor. The oft-repeated 'aam aadmi' campaign was not working and UPA government was running outof ideas. So they thought of a novel scheme to rob Indians of their money and make everybody poor and usher in equality. They were this close.
3.Lalit Modi said 2000 crore is no biggie
Lalit Modi was hired by these powerful men sa their consultant and he consulted thus:"See, what you have taken is a pittance when compared to what I have stolen from 1 day of a single IPL. Just relax and work on a public statement that is atleast 100000 pages long. They will soon get tired and forget about the incident". Because of this manipulator our poor officers are in trouble

I urge all my fellow compatriots to show their solidarity with the tainted officials.They intentions were honest . Weren't they?
To read about the allegation click here

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Smile Please

I found it tucked in between a garment store and a grocery shop. I expected a photo studio to be in a much better locality. "Focus" I told myself. All I wanted was four passport sized photos and I needed it by monday. And this studio was the only place open on a Sunday. I should thank God for that instead of criticising the ambience.
It was quite early in the morning and the orchestra of crows,sparrows,cuckooos and other indistinguishable species had given up hope of attracting attention with their singing. I stepped inside. It was a small reception with two chairs lying strewn across the tiled floor. There was a tabled across the room carrying a bundle of papers and bills. The shaky table also supported a very very old computer. The one that Emperor Akbar used to communicate with his many wives. The walls were adorned with posters of actresses in various poses costantly smiling at you and urging you to stay in forever. The rising number of women customers must have compelled the owner to add some posters of actors as well. I noticed a few actors stuck on the wall threatening to suffocate you with their six pack abs.
"Welcome sir" , a hoarse voice distracted my attention. "Sorry for the state of things here. I have just opened the shop and was not expecting anyone at this time."
The sound reminded me of someone trying to sharpen a knife by rubbing it against a rock. I looked at the source of the cacaphony. He was a short man about five foot tall with an unkempt hair. He had the widest possible grin on his face. As if someone had digitally altered his face and pasted the grin there. He had his front teeth missing and had a big brown scar covering his entire chin. He was massaging his scar constantly. His eyes were slighly squinted andhis eyeballs were dancing to the tuneof some odd bollywood song - restless and irritating. He reminded me of the henchmen of bollywood dons. Not the macho wrestling type; but the ones that planted evil ideas into their masters mind, or the one who kept the boss's account.
"I am new to this town and customers were few and far between. You are my first customer for the day. I am sure you will bring me good luck" he continued , the grin still glued to his face.
I was least bothered about the prospects of this guy. I just wanted my photos. "How long will it take?" I asked anxiously.
"Almost ready " he said " and you can collect your copies within 10 minutes" emphasising the last part." Please come in" he beckoned me in.
The room was surprisingly spacious for a studio. It had a white cardboard screen balanced on a stand hiding the blue painted walls. In front of the screen was a tall metallic chair. But what intrigued me was the wall opposite the chair. It was filled with photos. Not photos of celebrities but of ordinary looking men and women. They were neatly framed and hanged on the wall. It looked like a riot of faces all of them looking at you. I felt uncomfortable. There was something in their eyes that made me feel that way. But I could not exactly tell what.
"Here take your seat" the photographer offered me the chair." No need for make up. You look smart the way you are"
I was surprised that I felt happy hearing a praise from a person that I had started to repulse. I gave a quick a quick glance to the photo-filled wall before I took my seat.
"They are all my customers. For me they are the biggest celebrities. That is why I have created my own hall of fame for them.Soon you will also join them. I like to collect such photos of people. I like to collect something else also. "He went out of the room without enlightening me futher on his hobbies. "Good, I thought. As if I care".
He returned with a long-nosed camera - the one you watch journalist taking photos with and placed it very carefully on a stand. It was as if some hazardous chemical or a deadly virus will come out of it if disturbed. He began adjusting the camera asking me to lower my neck, straighten my spine look straight etc. He then proceeded to change the lights and adjusted the screens. He looked busy. "Good" I thought "let the work do the talking".
He returned to his apparatus. "Smile please" he shouted almost scaring me.
I tried to put up a smile on my face with great effort. "That's it. You look great.Stay right there" he said alomost dancing behind the cameraall the while giving signals with his hand. And then he pressed the button.
The flash blinded me and before I knew what was happening I fainted. I had no idea about the time. All I knew was that I had regained my consciousness. A strange sensation engulfed me. I realised that I was unable to move my limbs or even my legs. I felt like I was glued to something that left me immobile.The chair in which I sat moments ago was there in front of my eyes. But I was watching it while sitting some where high above the ground. That can't be. I had not noticed any staircase or anything opposite the chair except ... Yes the wall that where I was. A wild wave of emotions rocked me. I tried to cry. I could not. I was still smiling unable to flex even the muscles of my face.
That was when he came in. " I told you I loved collecting things. Actually , I love collecting people. You are now a prisoner within this photo frame. We will be travelling soon to some other town before people get suspcious. Meanwhile meet your neighbours and make some friends".He gave out a long evil laugh before he went out.
I was stuck in this photograph rather stuck as this photograph. God knows till when. I haven't lost hope. One day...

Tuesday, July 13, 2010


I cursed myself for listening to my grandfather. How will he know the trouble involved in finding an antique store from among a thousand odd shops? Added to that this tower did not have a 'sutradhar' - a robot guide that takes you around a place answering your queries. That made finding this shop in this 5 km tall carbon structure almost impossible. May be this building was not so developed when he was alive.His memory in this video log can only recall things that happened when he was alive. I cursed the old man again and kept searching.
At last I found it tucked in between a painting store and a scrap nanotube outlet. It was a plain looking parlor - a place where you expect to find nothing. Why he chose a place like this to hide a 'valuable treasure' to quote him; was a question that I kept asking myself. I decided to finish off this chore as soon as possible.
I entered the store. It was a small square room filled with articles that I had never seen before in my life. There were statues of tigers that I had heard so much about, some paper books and metal vases. The rest of the space was filled with currencies of countries with strange writings on them. They were all abolished the day the common universal government was adopted about a century back.
"Looking for something?' a voice enquired from a corner.
I turned to see an old man almost in his nineties glancing at me. He was a short man with a flowing white beard with a welcoming sparkle in his eyes. "He can sell himself as an antique" I told myself.
"I am Dev from Kashi sector-46. My grandfather Arjun Varma asked me to come here and give you this"
I handed him a thin glass sheet almost the size of my palm. I knew that it was called 'dhruv' used to identify people used in those days. Advantages of attending history lessons. I congratulated myself.
He took the crystal sheet and placed his thumb on it. Some images flashed from the apparatus. That was odd I told myself. It was usually a persons face and his voice describing his credentials that comes out. At least that's what I have learned.
I noticed the old man's face had turned grim. He left the room in hurry and appeared after a few minutes but this time with a plastic box in his hand. "Here take it and use it wisely " he uttered in a solemn voice. "Now please leave". He had barely given me the box and was trying to send me out rather rudely. What is in it? I wondered. But I chose not to ask. He was not willing to entertain me for even a second. I left.
I found the nearest teleporter and typed in my residential address. A capsule appeared, verified my credentials and opened itself. Just enough space for me, I should start exercising I told myself inspecting my 104 kg body.
As soon as I reached my home I broke open the box. Curiosity had almost turned me mad. There it lay inside the box the strangest object I had ever seen in my life. A rectangular plastic tablet almost 15 inches long and about 8 inches wide. It had the queerest thing stuck on it. It appeared like the keys I had seen in my history lessons. The keys had strange symbols arranged neatly on top of it : 'Esc' 'F1' 'F2' it went on. I searched the box for some manual. I was not disappointed. I found a 'gyaan' - a digital manual inside. I rubbed my thumb on it. The device started a general introduction of the bizarre item I was holding. This was called a keyboard used to enter data in ancient times in a language called English. It became obsolete after after the entire world adopted a common language called 'bhaasha' in 3013 A.D.
But why take all the trouble to give me this. And why do I have a strange feeling that this is not just a data-entry device? i scrolled down the e-tablet . I was filled with control keys and commands and description. What does my grandfather want me to do with this ? I wondered.
I decided to test this machine and if I find no use to it I decided to sell it back to the same antique-dealer.
I pressed a key that had a symbol resembling the up arrow. Nothing happened. Wait , I cannot feel the chair under me. Oh my god! I was resting in thin air some two feet above the ground as if I was tie to the ceiling by some invisible thread.There was nothing visible that ws supporting me. The only logical explanation would be that the arrow I pressed actually took me up. That's it!. This must be some magical charm. I could not believe my luck. My luck of being my grandfather's grandson and more importantly obeying my grandfather.
I was sweating with excitement thinking about the infinite options I had in my hands. I could fly above my office and impress my colleagues.May be I can become a vigilante and help the police. May be there is button that can me invisible. With that i can...
My brain was flooded with emotions. Focus I told myself 'you need to focus prepare a strategy. You have the power to be the most important man in the universe.The last thing you want would be some wild wild ideas in your brain. I brought myself back together. Or at least I tried to.My fingers were trembling. My head was spinning. I pressed the down key. I slowly descended back to the chair. I was escatic.
Now to find something really cool to do. I reached for the manual and browsed through it. Infinite varieties of symbols filled my eyes. I decided to test some key at random. There was an odd combination that struck me. It was glowing in red and for some reason appealed to me. I was too excited to read the manual. after all Fortune favors the valiant is what I was taught. With some difficulty I found the keys and pressed it.
I first thought that my eyes were playing tricks with me. It was pitch black . I could not see anything. I shouted at the top of my voice. No response. I pressed the keyboard frantically. No response. I tried to recollect the keys I had pressed.Alt and F4. Yes that's what I had pressed together. I tried to guess what it did but in vain.
I cried.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Ads, girls and hair oil

The story unfolds in a busy residential street. A teenage girl is learning to drive a scooter and her friend is assisting her as the pillion rider. The amateur driver loses balance and crashes against a parked car. The driver tries to escape but her friend stops; sticks a sorry note to the side of the car and then they both drive away. This is how a recent ad of a popular hair oil gets going. And this is one of the strongest woman character I have seen in recent times in the mainstream media.She is apologetic but not frightened.
A bollywood actress had recently said that the rise of bikini-clad women on screen shows the growing power of women in the society. The woman showed in the ad commands more power and respect and that too while remaining fully clothed!
At this point I would like to share a conversation I had with my friend recently. That too revolved around an ad. The ad in question showed a girl with her boyfriend cuddling in a park bench. The genius male proceeds to distracts the dumb girl by pointing at something replaces his hand with a big doll and escapes to join his buddies for watching a football match. My friends reaction to this was that this ad is demeaning to women. I agree with my friend. But I feel that most ads, serials and films are demeaning to women.
Consider this: you wake up and brush your teeth with a particular brand of toothpaste and presto! you are surrounded by beautiful girls. You shave and out of nowhere a girl comes and hugs you in admiration. And yes shaving is a very tough job. The case of a car, shampoo, bike, perfume etc? Ditto. A woman exist at the level of these products. Something to be received and taken. Very much like these packaged products. Also there is a trap that is employed by the fairness cream companies. A girl has to be as fair as white cement to be successful. So woman have to peel their skin off like onion skin for fourteen days (?) till they become milky white to succeed in an interview, to marry, to post a letter ;in short - to survive.
I don't want to venture into the teary world of 'glycerine' soaps (read saas-bahu and bharatiya nari type serials). This post is not enough to cover the tragedies of that 'mahabharat'. The less said the better.
The hair oil ad mentioned earlier ends with the tagline - with growth there is improvement, there is life. Thus metaphorically connecting growth of hair and growth of the person's self. I hope the media grows up too.

Monday, July 5, 2010

The Invisible Man

I was lying in a pool of blood, in a pile of rubbish just by the footpath and yet no one was noticing me. I can't blame them either. They can't see me because I am invisible.
Let me tell you my story. I was a normal kid born into a normal household.But the day I discovered that the pencil box which my uncle gifted me had the power to make one invisible I decided that I should become a successful man. I should be discussed by every household in this country. I knew that being invisible and earning money was not easy. I had stiff competition from Bobby Deol and a guy named Pawar from the agricultural ministry. But I was determined.
I set off to Bombay and decided to do tricks on the street with the help of my pencil-box. I would stand  in front of the gate way of India, disappear and make my shoes dance. I also composed some music for my performance. A few  costume changes and a song later I was successful. I had a bunglaw cars, bank balance. Pawar only had cricket. I was happy and was enjoying my success. I had a lead role in a KKekta Kapoor serial aptly titled "KKahin to hoga". It was a story about a bahu finding out her invisible husband in their palatial house overcoming the various obstacles put by her mother-in-law.I even had a reality show "jaane tu kahaan hain" running on prime time television.This award winning show had 10 supermodels and 10 housewives searching for me in a dense jungle. Obviously I was never caught but it did rake in some TRPs. I was basking in the glory of my success.
After a customary club dance just to show people that I am rich, I was pacing out of the exit when someone caught me by my arm. it was karan loafer - the ace producer and director. He had approached me with an offer for a role in his upcoming flick. I didn't know anything about my role and I swearto god i still have no idea about it. But I said OK. It was a Karan film. Thats what mattered.
I was walking on the street trying to get some air. I was excited and was toggling between see and no-see mode when a truck came truck came out of nowhere and rammed me to the ground. Apparently the driver didn't 'see' me. So here I am ; successful,invisible and bleeding to death. I was thinking that I had not even started and here I am awaiting my end in a footpath. being invisible is a big show-off I guess.
This post is an entry for Blogadda contest

Friday, July 2, 2010

.SRT - Some Retarded Talk

Subtitles -Those inseparable companions of movie files. Those little minions,going by a rather plain name of .srt becomes a crucial part of our cinema experience especially if the film is in a foreign language or the film is too 'slangy' to comprehend. Take Guy Ritchie's whimsical tale 'lock,stock and two smoking barrels' for example. The London slang was difficult to get hold of and I had to seek the help of a subtitile.
But I have found that they are not always very helpful.on the other hand they can be distracting and times even annoying.Picture this:
the location is a typical gangster den (don ka adda) with guns , drugs, old drums, furniture that a 3-year-old can break etc etc There is a fierce inter-gang gun battle proceeding towards a bloody climax. Blood literally flowing all over the screen , human organs decapitated in ways that one cannot even think of; and the subtitle says - {Guns firing}. All that tension and mayhem reduced to just two words {Guns firing}.
Do they have to tell us even the most obvious? Tires screeching, raining , snowball rolling,kissing (oh yeah!),scratching head - all these can very well be exluded from the description.Its similar to
the instructions behind some shampoo bottles -
step 1 : Open the lid.
As if we don't know that! Anybody who can buy a shampoo bottle will definitely know that the lid has to be opened.
Another funny experience is when I watch dubbed movies. Oh! I have a great time watching them. Whether its the sophisticated Judi Dench playing M
uttering podaango!(thoo teri!in our rashtra bhaasha) in place of a rather restrained 'for heaven's sake Bond' or terrifying dinosaurs being called 'bheeman palli' ( just a harmless chipkali) I had pure unadultered fun. But this one is the creme de la creme.I thank my friend for sharing this with me .
Superman returns after a long soul-searching journey back to his rural abode. He is welcomed by his Mom with a classic 'Aa gaye mere laal'!(it does not translate well to other languages).
I enjoy watching  the dubbed versions more than the original and as far the subtitles are concerned - I still hunt for them.

Subtitles: On the Foreignness of Film (Alphabet City)

Tuesday, June 29, 2010


Da - noun/pronoun
It is a well-known word found in the lexicon of tamil and malayalam population (of other languages I have no idea da). Its a versatile filler, a universal prefix, and an unavoidable suffix in most conversations. This two letter 'biggie' is the most popular word owing to its flexibility to be used in different situations and connotations with just slight variation in tone.The fact that almost 80% of any meaningful conversation consists entirely of this commonplace term speaks volumes about  the popularity this word enjoys.
The common versions are shown below.    
1. Da! (may or may not be followed by expletives): When delivered like a pop of a bullet with a slight dent in teh tone; expect a punch from the speaker. It is the intimidating da. I have come across this only in Kerala.
eg : da @##%^&@@*! give my money back!

2. Daaaaaaaaaa ( when delivered lazily with the dreary voice dying down in time) : The speaker is searching for an excuse.
eg :Daaaaaaaa! I forgot to  book your ticket to the U.S daaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa

3. Da (delivered mostly in a husky voice) : the cajoling da. If uttered by your better half get ready to be robbed of all your money.
eg : Da(heavy breathing) can we go for shopping today?

4. DaaAAaa : A variant of the above. Also used to lure an innocent listener into something. Characterised by the speakers voice travelling to the upper  octaves and coming back.
eg :  Come on, lets kill this guy  DaaAAaa!

5. The above can also be used to tease a person after he has done something embarrassing or unspeakable
eg : DaaAAaaa ! Did you vote for Congress ? Shame! Shame!

The other variants include the cracker da which is in fact a series of da delivered one after the other(da da da da) resembling a drumbeat used mainly to intimidate a person; the revelation da which is a da in the form of a shriek usually used after you discover who stole your rare medival period coin from your collection etc.
Da can also be used to mark the end or the beginning of a statement or used as meaningful pauses fixed in between apologies. New forms and usages are being introduced every second.
The list is endless , ever growing and evolving da.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Raavanan (tamil)

I watched Raavanan the tamil version of Mani ratnam's magnum opus today and I honestly feel that it does not live upto the hype it has generated. I felt disappointed at the maestro's latest offering.
The film begins with a brilliant scene that introduces the antagonist Veerayya (raavan/Vikram) kidnapping raagini (sita/Aishawrya rai bachchan) wife of a superintendent of police Dev (ram/Prithviraj). But from then on throughout the first half the movie is just a mish-mash of images that roll in front of the eyes without any effect on the viewers. The only saving grace is Vikram whose unflinching dedication to the character pays off. He literally lives the menacing and unpredictable Veera with relative ease.
The second half gets interesting as the cat and mouse game between Dev and Veera intensifies.Dev tries to catch Veera by hook or by crook while Veera
remains elusive and poses fresh challenge to Dev and his army every minute. I felt that Raavan actually came alive only at this juncture. This half also explains
reason for Veera's enimosity with Dev.It culminates in a brilliantly choreographed fight sequence above a hanging bridge that sent shivers down my spine.
I think Mani Ratnam's idea to narrate the Ramayana from the view point of Raavana was a brilliant plan.To explore the oft-heard tale from the viewpoint
of the oppressed and bring about an alternate narrative is commendable. But i think that is also this film's biggest disadvantage. Mani Ratnam i feel
has been too faithful to the original Ramayana. We have Karthik jumping from tree to tree desparaely trying to show us that he is Hanuman, the
henchman of Rama. We hear many characters talk of the 14 days that raagini has spent in custody of Veera - an obvious reference to the fourteen years
of Vanvaas.And the repeated references to the ten characters of the fugitive is just irritating .There are many such scenes in the film which I felt was included
because it is there in the original. We understand the meaning of an adaptation , but you don't have to rub it in!
Prithviraj cannot even even act as a monkey's tail and he portrays Dev!To watch him trying to act was hilarious . Aishwarya looks jaded throughout the film.
The camera by Santhosh Sivan is scintillating. He has absorbed the hues and beauty of those scenic locales brilliantly. Each scene looks like a vibrant
moving canvas. The background music is amazing and the songs have a raw energy in them. Vikram is just outstanding - slowly trying to untangle his complex and multi-layered character and place before us the bare man behind the 'Raavan'.
Watch this movie for the picturesquw locales ,superb cinematography and impressive background music. But above all watch it for the devotion of Mani ratnam to this art - he has given it his heart and soul to it.

Thursday, June 17, 2010


This post is a result of some pleasant and many unsavoury experiences I had while i tried my hand at cracking a few crosswords. Whoa! Whoa ! Stop it right there .Before you march down this post let me clarify a few things.This post is not a comprehensive list of do's and dont's of crossward-cracking.Why? Simply because no such list exists. Secondly I am not an expert . I have solved only a few crosswords ; but i must confess I relished those moments!
This post is about the discoveries I made during my humble endeavors. So here it goes:
Discovery 1: Getting a crossword is easy!
Most newspapers have a daily crossword and there is a high probability that the newspaper that you follow has one. Or there are numerous free crossword puzzles online which you can access after a simple 'googling'. The more serious among you can buy crossword puzzles books.
The New York Times Supersized Book of Sunday Crosswords: 500 Puzzles (New York Times Crossword Puzzles)

Discovery 2 : Getting started is tough!
Seriously, the toughest part of the crossword is not in cracking the clues but pushing yourself to attempt it. You might feel that you are not upto it or that the clues dont make any sense.Don't worry relax! It didn't make any sense to me the first time either. If you feel that the online tutorials will make you a 'crossie-genius' then the time has come to share my third discovery

Discovery 3: Online tutorials does not make you a genius
Yes they don't because they can't. If they promise you they can then definitely they CANNOT. Some of the online communities actually encourage discussion on crosswords and thus might improve your understanding but thats about it. The website is a very useful website for beginners and veterans alike but ultimately you have to walk the walk yourself

Discovey 4 : Some clues
Most of the easier clues in crosswords, I have come to know,  involve anagrams and containers. Let me explain. Anagrams are words formed by rearranging the alphabets of another word. For example

dormitory = dirty room (how true!)

another example made popular by the Da vinci code is

Oh! lame saint = the mona lisa.
Click here for more on anagrams

Most clues involving anagrams are indicated in the clues by the words out, break/broken, mix/mixed etc. because anagrams involve breaking and
mixing to bring out new words.

Example ( from Hindu crossword : nita jaggi)
Old man breaks the nut(6)
Here the breaks is adjacent to the old man. so by rearranging we get
old man = almond ;which is a nut
Also notice that old man contains six alphabets as indicated in  the question.

Containers are clues in which the answer lies within the question, literally.

Example ( from Hindu crossword 9870 : nita jaggi):
Rabbit found in the Gurkha regiment (4)
Usually the words in, inside, within etc. indicate a container. So observing closely inside the phrase
Gorkha regiment we get the answer hare which is a rabbit.

for other abbreviations and clues:  Click here

Discovery 5 : Enjoying the process is the goal!

I had been very disappointed at my not being  able to crack the easiest of clues and overlooking the simplest of hints.I cursed myself for it. Then I realised that beating myself up was taking the fun out of it. So if you feel dejected while in the middle of a crossie-session  take a break , freshen up, and have a go at it later. Trust me it will a lot more enjoyable then.

Final Discovery : the atlantis
No esoteric lectures can replace the exhilarating experience of that eureka movement. So are you up to it?

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Johnny gone down

Johnny gone down is Karan bajaj's( karan bajaj) second offering after the successful venture 'Keep off the grass'.
Johnny gone down is a racy, entertaining piece of fiction that resembles a taut Hollywood thriller that you  see often but soon forget.
The story unfolds in an Indian railways compartment, a famililar setting for most desis.But from then on the book takes a roller coaster ride spanning MIT, Boston, to Phnom Penh, Cambodia ,stopping briefly at a Buddhist monastery in Thailand racing forward to Rio de Jenero, Brazil, back again to the U.S before taking a final plunge in India.
The Protagonist Nikhil Arya, is believable and familiar at first as an MIT graduate waiting for a job in NASA. What happens to his life after his "innocent vacation' to Cambodia with his friend 'Sam' is unbelivable and overtly imaginative  even for a work of fiction. The hero sheds his skin from an ambitious young man to a genocide escapee to a monk with relative ease. But may be thats what the author intended. Nikhil and Nick and  Monk Namche and Coke Buddha and Johnny pass through our mind like a typical Bollywood heroine in a song video with her trademark costume changes. None stays with us.
The author has tried to juggle unsuccessfully with philosophy and mafia, family and detachment,friendship and karma yogaleaving too many balls in the air. The reader ends up confused while the story ends in a typical bollywood fashion.
Priced at just Rs 99 /- this book is aimed at entertaining the masses. One may even find a movie adaptation soon and then we will forget it. We have too many examples to prove that.
Search Books for johnny gone down

Wednesday, June 9, 2010


In this blog i thought i will share something that i have been using for a while. Its a website from google called .This site is very useful since it brings to you feeds from all major newspapers and magazines
in one page. And whats more! you can search for a particular news you want.
More info from google blog  here
So start flipping!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

The Venitian Betrayal

This Cotton Malone thriller by Steve Berry along the lines of 'the Da vinci Code' is a part truth-part fiction thriller involving the lost tomb of Alexander, a draught that that can cure AIDS and the political turmoils in a
fictional Central Asian Republic formed by the union of states like Kyrgiasthan, Kazakhistan etc.The CAR is ruled by Irina Zovastina who fashions herself after Alexander the great and derives most of her ideologies from Homer's Iliad. Her quest to find the tomb forms a rather shaky crux of the story.
I found the book to be good in patches. The book is not a thriller per se. There are small chapters hanging in there without contributing to thrills. The chapters are small like the DaVinci Code but sometimes too small. They don't convey much. The characters are half baked and it would have been better if the story had less but strong characters than a multitude of 'ghosts'.The cure for AIDS , the politics behind it, etc together with the tomb of one the most enigmatic conquerors of all times makes an explosive mix of a storyline but it completely fizzes out especially towards the end.
I will suggest this book to anyone who just wants to kill time while reading a book. Not recommended for a serious reading.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

witty quotes

I stumbled upon these quotes and found them witty. Hope ypu like them too

1.It is better to keep your mouth shut and appear stupid than to open it and remove all doubt.
- Mark Twain

2.Bad spellers of the world - Untie!
- Graffiti

3.Don't wish ill for your enemy, plan it.
- Syrus, Maxims

4.A vaccum is a hell of a lot better than some of the stuff that nature replaces it with.
- Tennessee William, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof

5.The secret of life is honesty and fair dealing. If you can fake that, you've got it made.
- Groucho Marx

6.It is impossible to enjoy idling thoroughly unless one has plenty of work to do.
- Jerome K. Jerome

7.Experience teaches you to recognize a mistake when you've made it again.
- Unknown

8.Golf is a good walk spoiled.
- Mark Twain

9.The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it.
- George Bernard Shaw

10.If life were fair, Elvis would be alive and the impersonators would be dead.
- Johnny Carson

Rise of Machines? i dont think so

It was 3.00 a.m and I was desperately trying to go back to sleep.Someone had suggested once that thinking of stuff you have done the previous day will help you fall asleep.
So I started thing of stuff i had done the previous day and i got a list that looked something like this:
morning - read newapaper watched a movie
noon - watched a movie
evening - watched a movie
night watched a movie.
I dont know why(:)) but I was not getting sleepy. So i began to think about what i had watched.
I had watched matrix and terminator. Both the movies had machines taking  over the world.
But why? I mean what will be there purpose of their  life?
Human beings have some purpose. It can be professional - I want to be an engineer, personal - i want to rule the world or pure fantasies -  i want to kiss lara dutta. What will machines wish for? life-long batteries?
Also if machines are created in man's 'image' wouldn't they be killing each other and fighting over metal color?

Friday, March 12, 2010

The Hurt Locker

I was fed up of watching ugly duels between wizards,mis-adventures of human greed on some distant planet, mythical creatures running havoc ;getting mauled by werewolves or vampires and some one( one man and only one man required for)saving the planet.( for your information this 'one man' is always a white american and in most cases has a military background)I wanted a break from all this and wanted to watch something real - an escape from all this eye candy. That is when I got 'The Hurt Locker'.
'The Hurt Locker' is directed by Kathryn Bigelow who now received an Oscar for this movie beating ex-husband Cameroon. The movie is set in the war ravaged country of Iraq and tells the story of a  bomb disposal squad. What makes this movie stand apart from the rest of the terrorist-bashing, all-hail-america group of movies is its no-nonsense approach of story telling. The movie wastes no time in introducing either the premise or the characters and takes us straight into the action. The restless camera-work makes us a tense witness to the action and at times even we feel the scorching desert sun on our skin.Almost unknown actors bring the characters alive on screen as they faceless and nameless enemies across the desert. The right dose of music works wonders and a tight script guides the movie to a realistic climax.
The movie may not be politically correct. But the directors effort to provide a straightforward narrative devoid of any gimmicks must be praised. She does not take any stand. She merely provides us an 'eye' in the bomb infested streets of Iraq.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Amarok Vs Xine

I am a fedora(fedora 10 GNOME) user and like many others installed amarok as my music player.
It was working fine but some time back it started giving me bugs instead of music.
I searched fedora forums and every post was helpful but it just didn't solve my problem. Amarok was still showing an idle window even after opening a  music file for the nth time.
So i tried out xine and till now it is working fine. More than fine i should say.Right now the only thing I ask myself is 'why didn't I do it earlier?'

Saturday, February 6, 2010


I knoe the title evokes frustration, anger and other inexplicable emotions from anybody who has used a pendrive  ;nay! used a computer. Even for a linux user this virus is a big headache because removing this involves going to every folder and deleting them. Imagine the trouble i took to delete them from 37 (yes thirty seven only/-)folders and subfolders!
So with a friends help I found out an easier way to remove these wretched %@#$^&* (you know what i mean). By the way this script works only in linux. Windows users - get a good antivirus!
Failure is not an option -- it comes bundled with Windows.
So let me get to the point now. Follow these instructions (at your own risk ;))
step1. open your terminal
step2. type the following command
find -name “*\ .exe” -exec rm -rf {} \; 
    note that there is a space between '\' and '.exe'.
step3. go home!
Thats it! Enjoy!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Ayirathil oruvan - A crime against humanity

How many times have you succumbed to your friends pressure and watched a movie 'for them and with them'? If you are such a habitual succumber then don't hang out with your friends when this movie is playing at a theatre near you!
The main thread of the movie is very original and is not a rip-off of any indiana jones movie. The director must have felt that our culture and folklore has many hidden gems and its better to use them than ape some hollywood movie. Hats off to Selvaraghavan
NOTE:the positive part of this blog ends here. Do NOT read further below if you expect a good word about this movie.
The story starts off with a quest to find a mythical land where cholas live to this very day ruled by a direct descendant of the chola dynasty. Every character has their own personal reason to find this mysterious place on earth  - some good some not-so-good. But the pressures of commercialism has poured cold water over this dynamite of a story and we see is a mish-mash of bad editing, terrible music , horrible music, and some funny bloodspills. The cholas in this movie are so black that charcoal will look like chalk in front of them! In one scene ( the nataraja shadow sequence in the desert) the sun sets and rises from the same place!
The blunders are so many that after a point we  will start to enjoy it! Watch this historically inaccurate artistically disastrous venture if you need a good laugh at the end of a busy day
As i told my friend while coming out of the theatre - I should have burned my money rather than watch this movie

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Hockey Stick Politics

Indian Hockey has more problems than all the hockey players in the world put together. Indian hockey? What's that? (that's the first problem!!).
Now the players are demanding their benefits before they sweat out in the field. Can't blame them. What do they see around them? Politicians and babus stealing(no other word from thesaurus can replace this) crores of public money. So nothing unusual or unruly about their protest.
It will be interesting to see how the netas -who deny everything they don't like- react to this.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

The austerity drama

The din surrounding the much publicised austerity drive initiated by the central government has died down. Thanks to the media that ha an attention span of a three-month old.
At this point the 'big bosses' at the centre has unanimously passed a bill that allows a member of parliament to travel in a plane free of charge ...wait for it.. taking any number of companions with them!
This is at a time when we shed money equal to a plane ticket to the Bahamas for buying onions and carrots.
Grief for us and relief for them?