Friday, December 19, 2008

Mumbai Railway Motormen Go on Strike — Passengers Stranded

I rely on the public transport in Mumbai. Compared to the rest of the cities in the country this city really manages to hold up against millions of commuters daily.
Now the Western Railway motormen had decided to go on a hunger strike from the 18th — today. I had seen posters of the same...stuck on trains and on railway foot bridges. It is a protest against the working conditions and a reconsideration of their salaries.
I happened to be on one of the trains when the motormen decided to slow down and come to a complete standstill. I could not believe this was happening to me. I have never walked along the scared to do it. Today I was not alone — two men, a 30-something guy and a senior Parsi gentleman were with me. Neither was keen on getting off and walking to Mahalaxmi station. An empty track separated us from the adjacent train and we had no idea when a train would pass through on that one!
After over 20-odd minutes, everyone's patience had run out and we could a long line of commuters making a beeline for the nearby Mahalaxmi station (2). Suddenly out of nowhere, a fast train came around the bend, blew its horn nice and long, and sped through over the empty track!
What a fright that gave all those who were walking in the middle of the track. We saw a lady narrowly miss getting hit when the train came round the bend. She leaped out of the way...the rest of the people quickly jumped aside and stood near the stationary train. Totally freaked us out.
"It was a good thing we didn't get off, no!?" – You bet!
You saw that b**** just sped by!" – I know!!
I hoped something wasn't wrong when I boarded a 20:43 on the slow track at 21:05. It happens some times. But today the train stalled just before Mahalaxmi.

My RouteAfter ages – it was already almost 22:00...after a fast train whizzed by and an outstation train chugged past us towards Bombay Central, our train pushed ahead slowly. The three of us were ready to get off at Bombay Central and take a bus or walk it up. But the train stopped again and we saw the motormen alight from the train opposite ours...this was the slow train which was being trailed by another behind. The old uncle called out to him and demanded to know what was going on...the motormen didn't reply, took their briefcases and walked away...the third guy mumbled, "technical problem" and locked himself up inside the control cabin. That was it. The strike was officially on. If the motormen had let on that they were going on strike — they would have been beaten up. They were aware of it and so kept quiet.
By this time we knew we had to get off and walk it towards the station. Since the elderly man was also there, we took a safer route towards the outstation part of Bombay Central (3). All three of us were grumbling about the state of affairs...this hunger said they should pop off and let a new bunch come on...I said they must have fainted while at the controls...we were tired, it was almost 23:00 — 2 hours from the time I left Andheri (1)...I usually get home in 1 hour 15 minutes. I have been through worse, I thought, and hailed a cab after I got out of the station. It was a good thing I found company in two sensible people. (Thanks Mr. B and Uncle D!)

I reached home, my dad was watching T.V. and confirmed that it was the strike alright. I read the news now and came to know 2 motormen did collapse after all, during the day-long hunger strike and at 21:30, trains came to a painful halt.
Am glad we were close to our destination...for those at Churchgate, yet to begin their journey home...some having to travel 20 to over 30 Km...must have been such a pain.
200 motormen went on strike. 200 motormen ferry over 2.6 million commuters daily on the western line alone! I hope railway authorities consider their demands and things get back to normal. After all, they are humans and need a break too.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

O Holy Night Instrumental

Yesterday my church had quite a big Christmas program. It was combined with the Children's Sunday program and it makes sense to keep it before everyone takes off on a holiday. The program was open to those who are not believers too, to understand the meaning of christmas. The program included carols sung by kids, a skit and a little dance.
Now, I was asked to look for instrumental versions of some of the carols the kids were going to sing - as accompaniments. All we had were the originals - it is difficult to remove vocals from a soundtrack. My wife was to sing "O Holy Night", so there I was searching for a suitable instrumental for her - not too high, not too low...and I came across this acoustic version. What can I say, it fit perfectly with what she wanted and they are really good! Take some time out and listen to the instrumental version of this lovely song — O Holy Night.

Behra - The Deaf One

This photograph was taken exactly a month ago outside my former employer's office. I took this with my phone and it was late in the night. So it is not very clear...neither was the subject very willing to look straight into the camera.
The subject in the picture — namely, the dog — took a liking to me while I was there. He could probably smell my dog on my jeans. He would come and nose me for food and then suddenly get on his hind legs and leave his paw prints on my jeans and t-shirt!
The first time he did that — I still remember it so well — he had just woken up and got out of a muddy ditch. I didn't notice his grubby black paws. Before I realized it he had left his mark.
There a lot of dogs around that place and they are quite healthy because a nearby butcher throws extras to them. This little guy is peculiar — one ear (the left one) is always down. Our vet had once mentioned in passing that my dog needed more calcium if we wanted her ears to perk up, instead of drooping towards each other. I doubt that's the reason for was probably an ear infection.
But anyway...a few months back, while we were on a tea break my little friend came by and nudged me. He is usually near a small cigarette stall, so one of the locals shouted "Eh! Behra!" He probably thought I would freak. I made some small talk, said it is ok, petted "Behra" and walked towards the tea stall...
Behra, I thought to myself, so that's what his name fitting. Poor chap...not a very a nice name, come to think of it...almost derogatory...but fitting, at the same time. In Hindi it means, "deaf one" (Gender: Male, to be precise).
I miss Behra now that I have moved to a new place but I still pass the old lane and see him some times. He is too busy to notice me anymore (remember the butcher and the cars he has to chase) and I am too rushed to stop and give him a scratch — we are all too busy living a dog's life...

A Smiley in the Sky

I thought I was the only one who noticed the "smiley" in the sky. It turns out that I wasn't.
Unfortunately the "smiley" appeared around the time when my city was attacked by a bunch of young, gun-totting, grenade-launching terrorists. I kept this post as a draft since did not feel appropriate.
Here's to a better and a safer year.

P.S.: That's Venus on the left, Jupiter to the right and I do not need to tell you who is doing the smiling. I believe this picture was taken in Philippines.

It Start Something New

After the terrorist attack the city visited the Gateway of India (close to where the first gunfire was heard, opposite the Taj Mahal Hotel and also the same place which witnessed a violent blast in August 2003).
It was a peaceful and fitting reply to the people involved in spreading terror and to our dear, dear politicians. You guys make the terrorists look so good.
Here are some pictures collated by someone, of the rally.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

1 Militant Played Dead ?

The young terrorist photographed by Sebastian D'Souza (of Mumbai Mirror) in Victoria Terminus (CST) was captured alive. The 21-year old youngster, now identified as Azam Amir Kasav, was captured while trying to escape with his accomplice in a hijacked Skoda.
According to reports, which I quote:
"But in that encounter, Azam’s colleague was killed and he himself was injured in the hand. He pretended to be dead giving rise to the news that two terrorists had been killed. However, as the ‘bodies’ were being taken to Nair Hospital, the accompanying cops, figured that one of the men was breathing."

Doesn't anyone check for a pulse before clearing the encounter area?

Friday, November 28, 2008

It is Still Not Over

Even while the commandos are trying to flush out the terrorist(s) in the Taj Mahal Hotel, news about the young men who opened fire in Victoria Terminus, at the Metro Cinema junction and finally at Chowpatty, continues to reach us through the newspaper.

One chilling account was from a shop owner in the out-station part of the Victoria Terminus. He said he saw the young men laugh and smile at each other while they shot at innocent people and stray dogs!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Explosions, Gunshots and Hostages

I am still trying to come to terms with what is going on in the city I live in. It is close 20 hours since terrorists boldly opened fire and lobbed grenades in certain areas in South Mumbai. In the midst of the intermittent firing and grenade explosions that the militants have smartly spread across more than two locations in the southern part of the city, two of them got away from the Victoria Terminus, the main railway station in South Mumbai.
A TV channel just aired CCTV footage of two guys slinking away from Cama Hospital. All this is still sketchy for me but what is amazing is that these guys got away in police vehicles! Of course this was much later after the initial firing in Colaba yesterday around 21:30. It is almost 18:00 in the evening today — 9 terrorists have been reported killed, 5 arrested (allegedly), 10 are still holed up in the Taj Mahal Hotel (a 5-star hotel), 5 more on the 19th floor of the Oberoi Hilton (another 5-star on Marine Drive), and another lot in Colaba in a building called Nariman House. There are some who seem to have escaped too. There are hostages — lots of hostages in the Taj Hotel and Oberoi. They include hotel employees and foreign nationals.
The numbers are changing all the time. Right now, none of these numbers hold true anymore. Now they are not talking about any of the arrests made. I am tired just keeping a tab on this, cannot imagine what the hostages and the commandos are going through. Hopefully, even the terrorists are getting tired and lowering their guard. I came to know my sister's friend just managed to get out of one of the hotels by the skin of her teeth. I hope these guys are caught and punished with the authorities.)
According to NDTV, there have been 10 attacks, 9 in southern Mumbai.

Who is the Deccan Mujahideen?
It is said the authorities received an e-mail originating from some Russian IP address staking claim over the incident. The group calls themselves the "Deccan Mujahideen". There was never a group that existed with this name! There is the Indian Mujahideen and they are also still a new outfit.
A TV journalist reported a terrorist had been arrested from Oberoi Hotel (I personally do not believe it yet, since the exchange of fire is on the 19th floor) who had divulged his name and nationality — mohameddan name and from Pakistan. He could have been fibbing but the TV guys love to report anything.
One foreign national who was lucky enough to be evacuated from the 5-star said they hid themselves in the kitchen for a while. The terrorists waved at them to move somewhere, the women were freaked out so they let them go. When asked what the militants looked like, he said they looked very young — 22 years old, short hair, clean cut face. Then he hesitated...but said the men did not resemble the typical Islamic militant.
I was told there is a possibility that one of the militants inside the Taj Hotel is a woman. Don't know how true that is, they saw a long-haired person at one of the balconies. Noone on TV has made a mention of 'her' again.
Today's paper carried a picture of one of the guys at the Victoria Terminus. Another one with a full front shot of both the men was shown on TV, along with the CCTV footage of them escaping. They are smart looking men dressed trendily — just like any other youngster in the city.
The CCTV footage has been uploaded on a news site but it will not play, possibly due to the traffic. If you watch it you will notice the way they move. It was like out of a Counter Strike game.

The Police are Never Prepared — Even if They Were, They are Always Outsmarted
The cops took ages to call the army in. The police has never strengthened its operations since the serial blasts back in 1993. They still function like a small town 'chowki'. They tried their best but their underpowered effort has cost over a hundred lives plus their own encounter specialists and seniors.
There are over 20 of them. One of the youngsters has been seen carrying a large rucksack. How did all this go unnoticed? How can someone walk into a hotel inquiring about the guests' nationality with an AK-47?
And...terrorists got away! One militant shot at an anti terrorist squad (ATS) officer at point blank range and got away in his car. And I am left thinking, shouldn't those cars be easily trackable?
Most of the cops do not have bulletproof vests, their body language (around the scene) shows they have not received any training to deal with such situations.
They do not use any sort of special equipment or any presence of mind to assess the situation and deal with the purpose of "containment".
Finally the army is doing something, they have entered the hotels and have a gargantuan task of scouring each and every hotel room. The Oberoi has around 800 rooms. There has to be a better way. The only consolation is that the army has experience in dealing with these situations because of the militant activity in Jammu and Kashmir.
The army has stated that it could be a while till we see a result but atleast they seem to be working at it. Our police is not capable of tackling such a situation — mentally, physically or tactically.

Who is Responsible?
It is too early to blame anyone. And quite pointless too. The media is cornering people who also stand to lose a lot from this attack but they still hound the owners of the hotels.
I wonder what the Central Government has to say about this? At the end of the day, the Center is supposed to provide funds to improve security in cities has been targetted by militants.

I just hope and pray I wake up tomorrow to hear that the situation has been brought under control, the hostages safe and next step of finding the culprits begins.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

The Case of the Worm-Eaten Book

I have been on the lookout for Imperial Blandings — an omnibus of the series on the Blandings Castle, by P.G. Wodehouse. Ever since my son ripped two pages off the book, I have had to be on the lookout to replace it. The copy I have does not belong to me, see? Unfortunately, the series seems to be somewhat of a rare find.
This afternoon I was dragged to the Crossword Bookstore — a place I sort of despise calling a bookstore for many reasons, all of which I will not list over here. Just one.
It just so happened that one their tables, which usually display books on sale, was laden guessed byP.G. Wodehouse. But no Imperial Blandings omnibus.
So I started going through the titles on display. Most of the books were on Jeeves series...and then I came across a grubby copy of "The Gold Bat and Other School Stories". It is a compilation of some of P. G. Wodehouse's early works. My guess is no one ever bought it and Crossword wanted to get rid of it.
With this copy in hand I began sifting through the rest of the pile. That is when I came across another copy of The Gold Bat. Let's compare and pick the better looking book, I thought to myself. As I placed the two books in front of me I noticed the lower face of the copy I had picked had been eaten up by bugs. The bugs had gnawed into the lower edges of the book leaving gaping 'ant holes'!
I am willing to understand that some books may get infested even after taking precautions. But when a bookstore claiming to be a haven for book lovers keeps chewed up books for sale without giving them a once over, it is totally unacceptable. Even after I informed the slip of a boy of their callousness all I got was, "Fresh copy! Hey, fresh copy!" There are only two copies, both of which happen to be on the table. "Sorry Sir. No extra copies."
"I have the other copy," and walked away... ("You guys suck," is what I wanted to say.)
At the counter, after paying for the books we picked up, I once again brought the issue to their notice. "You must be more careful!"
"Yes sir. We will not let it happen, sir." Why did I even tell him that? The floor managers were out today (I have never seen these guys before — ever!) near the table where I showed the chewed up book to the staff. He probably turned a blind eye. Now I hope their clothes get moth-eaten.
Crossword Bookstores is nothing but a pseudo bookshop run on marketing gimmicks. They do not really give a damn about books unlike Strand Bookstore, which is a result of a man with a different set of principles. Crossword is only interested in making a quick buck.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Another Ad - Featuring a Young Folk Singer

Here is another ad I like. Actually, I don't like the ad as much as I like watching Kabir Arora shake a leg to the tunes of Ashraf Khan - a teenage Rajasthani folk singer. Both these kids were part of the Cadbury's Bournvita Confidence Academy.
Kabir Arora is part of Shiamak Davar's (a very popular dancer cum choreographer) who is also known for his summer holiday workshops) junior dance troup.
Ashraf Khan is a Rajasthani folk singer from Jaisalmer (a.k.a. The Golden City), Rajasthan. I have heard him perform on a reality TV show where he appeared as a guest along with Kabir. The TV show was a talent show for children — basically an Indian Idol for kids. (I hated the show. Too much drama and too much pressure on the children.)

If I remember correctly he even sang a song from the film Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam (literal translation - I have already given my heart, my love...Blech!). It turned out to be the one I find very annoying. (It didn't surprise me one bit...almost anything annoys me.) I will not describe the song. It is titled, "Nimbooda" — go do your own search in your own time.
But Ashraf sang it so beautifully in that folksy style of his, it left me floored. This type of music is typical of wandering minstrels — a weathered look, a strong and clear voice, a bit of wanderlust, accompanied with probably just a string instrument for harmony.
There must be so many genres of music that are peculiar to only some parts of our country. Not many get to hear them or enjoy people's lives urbanize their art, which is probably passed down through generations, gradually dies a slow death.
Or maybe urbanization will not kill such genres altogether. Maybe it will give birth to a new one — a fusion or a mutation of the music — combined with the same spirit, the same voice, the same weathered look...

Monday, November 10, 2008

The Hunt for an Image Authoring Software

When I created this blog I had decided I will not write about technology. It is what I live and breathe everyday, literally. I had made a pact with myself that if at all I feel geeky, it will be a rant of some sort or a humourous run down. But after spending a late evening at the office looking for an image authoring software, I felt I should go back on my the ol' proverbial to speak.
What I wanted to do was this:
- Create a disk image of a set of files and mount it on a virtual CD/DVD drive.
I hardly ever come across the need to do this at work and I rarely ever get to use the computer at home long enough to tinker around with such stuff. It has been a while since I did this sort of thing and as a force of habit tend to uninstall software that is used infrequently.
A couple of Google searches later, I hit upon the motherload — a list of optical disc authoring software. This list is exhaustive and the creators/editors have nicely categorized them, for noobs like me, into Freeware and Commercial ware.
I ended up choosing ImageBrn and Virtual CloneDrive. Reason? Simply because they are free, easy to use, light on the sytem, I vaguely remember using them a long time ago and they suited my needs for the moment.
Hopefully this will serve as a helping hand, a signboard showing them the way to the restroom, the compass in the wilderness they find themselves in...
(Now you know why I just had to spread the love.)

More Links: List of Disk Image Emulators, List of ISO Image Software

Bingo "Hatke Jhatke" Chips Ad

The first time I saw this ad on TV my initial reaction was, "What tha!?"
I did not like the new Bingo Hatke Jhatke ad at all. The chips which are a combination of two different flavours and have a little bend in each one of them, has these two guys doing some sort of an urban kalarippayattu, to the beat of a Tamil song, in the middle of a busy street.
As I was subjected to this ad again and again, I was brainwashed into liking it. Fickle, yes. I cannot help it. The music and the antics finally got to me. It is quite zany and would like to defend myself by saying it is better than the earlier, nuttier Bingo ads.

I have not been able to identify the Tamil number that plays in the background — my Tamil friend is yet to get back to me on this one. Noone has been able answer this question on Yahoo! Answers either. Let me know what you think of the ad.
By the way, "Hatke Jhatke" literally means "different (set apart from the rest) jolts".

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Here, There and Beyond

I hope Sarah does not mind my using this picture. She does not know me from Adam and all I know about her is what she has entered in her Blogger profile. What I do know is that she is doing what most of us do not do, do not care to do, or are just incapable of doing. The least I can do is make more people read about folks like Sarah who are doing something to make a difference in others lives. Here is a beautiful post on Sarah's experiences in Zambia: Where is MY Zambia?

Sunday, October 19, 2008

BEST's New Seats

Did some shopping over the weekend. Hopped on board a BEST bus on our way back and noticed the new seats. Separate seats for each individual, unlike the earlier bench-style-faux leather trimmed-cushion ones. Plastic place of the sturdier metal frames used to bear our weight. The seats have been introduced ages back but they are new to me because I don't get to travel around my place in the bus. So my first impression was good—the seat felt comfortable and gave my back enough support. That does'nt really matter if the bus goes over a bump—the roads are still designed to jar you to the bone. But I noticed that taller and stockier people did not look very comfortable in them. The seats are meant for thin people with small buns. My friend said the seat would creak each time he shifted his weight. And he is not even obese!
I managed to take this photograph of a lady at the window seat, watching her whirligig twirl in the breeze. This seat has the most leg room. The girls sitting behind her were a bit unnerved when they heard my phone camera's shutter. I thought I was in for it...

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Visitor from Oslo? You Don't Say!

It was a pleasant surprise! Someone from Oslo visited my blog and returned!
I had added the FEEDJIT widget (it rhymes, even) to my blog. I cannot remember whose blog I had visited when I came upon FJ. All I know is it's a fun widget. Someone from Dubai, searching for "sexy+bras" on Google, ended up on my Right Bra, Right Attitude post! That must have been a let down. I rejoiced on the fact that I may have found a faithful Oslo-nian who likes what I write. Last night I visited my page once again, from my Nokia E51. Apart from Dubai and Texas, Oslo was still there — with 3 returns!
Awesome, I thought. I guess Europeans seem to like my writing more. Ahem! A minute later, it struck me...that wasn't an Oslo-nian visiting my blog. It was no European was ME!
I use Opera Mini to browse the Web on my phone. The browser uses a proxy server, which reformats Web pages requested by the user and makes them suitable to be viewed on smaller screens. The proxy server (as you must have already guessed) is based in Oslo, Norway.
So there you have it. It was me all along — I had not clicked on "Ignore Me" on my FJ widget from Opera Mini. Noone from Oslo after all...Sigh.

I just realised the Dubai searcher I mentioned earlier...did not Google "sexy+bras". It was "saxy+bras"!!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Kokum Juice on a Hot Day

I have been visiting a place near Dadar station for the past two weeks now. Each time I made my friend take me to a restaurant called "Mama Kane".
Mama Kane is a Maharashtrian joint, really old, I am not sure how old but by the feel of the place, I am certain it is over 50 years old. It is well known for its batata wada (colloquial for potato chops).
I spotted thalipeeth on the menu while my friend waxed eloquently about the kothambir wadey. They were delicious! We agreed that ever Saturday we will share a meal at Mama Kane.
Last week when we were at Mama Kane, I chanced upon Kokum Sharbat/Juice. It's been years since I have had Kokum juice. The first time I was made to taste Kokum juice, it was a mixture of a sweetish concentrate and cold water. The version at Mama Kane's turned out to be a more authentic version — mixed with cumin seeds and served in a little bottle. A great cooling drink on a hot summer afternoon. The picture shows an empty bottle — that means I liked it so much that I did not leave any for you to look at. (The brown packet in the background contain 4 piping hot thalipeeth for home.)
Today I could not make it to Dadar station, so I guess I will have to wait till another Saturday comes along.

Here are some links to information on Kokum:
About Kokum on Upper Crust
How to make Kokum Juice
- Here is a fancy looking batata wada/potato chop
- A great Indian foodie blog I came across while searching for info on Kokum and Thalipeeth: One Hot Stove

And finally, a review of Mama Kane

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Wayne Rooney is Italian

This picture was taken about 3 months ago, just outside the Andheri (East) railway station. The stalls here (and at every railway station) sell food, cell phone accessories, clothes, toys, pirated movies and even vegetables and fruits.
Admitted, this is a terrible photograph. I made my colleague take this from his phone. But the silhouette and the colours are enough to know what is on this football jersey.
To the left, we have the Italian football coat of arms. To its right is a colour saturated print of Wayne Rooney breaking into a run. And for those who cannot tell the difference between Rooney and Pele...there are the words, "WAYNE ROONEY", printed on the side.
Undeniably the worst pirated gear I have ever seen to date.

Saxy Pictures

I spent an hour at the saloon this weekend. Needed a shave that was long overdue. As the barber went about trimming away my sideburns, my cell phone buzzed. (Answering a call can be quite a pain when you are the barber's.) As soon as I took the call, it got disconnected.
My barber noticed my new Nokia E51 and said (in Hindi), "You have such a phone, means you must have saxy pictures on it."
Still struggling to put the phone into my pocket under the sheet, I asked, "Wha?"
"Saxy pictures...", he replied.
"What's that?", I asked again. (I figured what he was referring to. But I wanted to prod a bit.)
"People keep saxy pictures on their phones. But you don't seem to understand, means you don't keep saxy pictures. Let it be."
I figured he was not going to give any funny descriptions, so I ditched my ignorant look, "Oh! That. No, I don't keep that sort of stuff on my phone."

I did not realize the cellular phone has become more of a saxy picture storage device. I guess that was naive of me to do so. But that question of his still makes my chuckle. His friend had given him a Motorola SLVR L7, which had a couple of Hindi music videos and audio tracks. I guess he was hoping to Bluetooth some from me...

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Fancy a Trickle of Pickle?

My favourite pickle. If there is anything that I really enjoyed in my childhood, it is this sweet, syrupy, shredded mango pickle. Gujaratis are known for their of the most popular combos being "chundo aney thepla."
I am not certain about how it is made since I used to focus on the finer aspects of consumption rather than that of production.
You could try this recipe out, it also lists what this pickle needs to be eaten with. It does not go well with anything and everything. I still think theplas and puris are the only 'breads' that can accompany a generous dollop of chunda!

Jackfruit pickle or "Kathal ka Aachar":
There seem to be different recipes in making this pickle. Not many have heard about this pickle and many do not even like eating jackfruit. The very odour of jackfruit seems to make them green in the face. Yes, it seems to be a rather unpopular fruit amongst many of my friends.
But I just love the thick fragrance of jackfruit. It is a sticky fruit and a pain to clean. But the fruit is delicious and so is its spicy version.
I seem to find this pickle only during food festivals. The stall is usually owned by someone hailing from Rajasthan and the pickles are mostly stored in — believe it or not — buckets!

A Natural Clothes Horse

I just spent a fortune on a folding clothes horse. A fortune! Even after buying it from a wholesale market! (I had to — after my balconies were boarded up for building repairs — go and get one.)

This morning, I realised that were other alternatives alternatives. We should invest heavily on trees, I think, if not for their shade and 'oxygenating' ability but for their ability to hold wet clothes quite admirably. Don't you agree?

As Microsoft puts it...this deployment is highly reliable, available, scalable and flexible.
And out-of-the-box.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Bump! There It Is!

Right outside my office is the main road - the main road that leads to a highly congested commercial area. The very same road has seen heavy reparation work in the 18 months that I have been here. In spite of the repair work, which also involved raising the level of the road almost 12-inches, the road still looks like it has never been tended to. Actually, a lot of the roads in Mumbai look like asteroid hot spots...they play the part of natural speed breakers, slowing cars and buses to a halt, forcing every motorist to traverse over them (or around them) ever so gingerly, so as to scrape the underside of their precious vehicle.

This road, which plays the lead role in my post today, was initially made of tar. The government decided that concrete is a more durable and reliable option. After most of the roads were stripped and topped with concrete, the government started paving the road with cobblestones (paving bricks). I have learned that if this process is not carried out properly the road can become very uneven and literally split apart.
This road is part concrete and part cobbled leading to a star crossed situation. A metro is being built over this road too. It will run along the middle of this road, meaning more construction work, more barricades, more pollution, more traffic...and yes, a narrower and congested road.
Add to this scene, tracks of sunken earth popularly referred to as potholes. But potholes seems to be a mild term to use to refer to these crater-like depressions. A result of shoddy work and second rate materials, these depressions are guaranteed to rattle you to the bone, if caught unawares. But then some wise being said, life is full of ups and downs...I guess the reference was to the roads and not life as such.
(The pictures below, briefly illustrate the plight of the road. The "hole" on the right, used to be a huge crater that formed during heavy rains. It was covered with debris and made matters worse. Recently, the authorities dug it up, made a frame, and left it to set. While they were at it, a second depression, similar to the first, formed alongside. So much for the Shanghai dream.)

Mumbai's natural speed breakers. They are capable of breaking much more.

Easy does it...

Friday, August 15, 2008

Michael Phelps: An Inspiring Story

With all the buzz on Michael Phelps winning six Olympic gold medals, everyone is speculating whether he will break the record set by Mark Spitz and Larissa Latynina.
Whether he breaks the record or not. He has definitely found a place in the history books for his achievements in international events.

A little known fact is that as a child, Michael Phelps was diagnosed with ADHD — Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder.
Here is an article from The New York Times on his childhood:
Phelps’s Mother Recalls Helping Her Son Find Gold-Medal Focus

Phelps won 8 Gold medals at Beijing, crossing the 7 medal haul by Mark Spitz and Larissa Latynina.
Incidentally, there is one other American swimmer who had equalled Mark's record. Matt Biondi took home 5 Golds, 1 Silver and 1 Bronze in the 1988 Seoul Olympics.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Mozart's Rondo Alla Turca on a Bass Guitar

While I continue to hope that I will learn the guitar some day, I also continue to go overboard in my searches for information on bass guitars. (Yes, this turned out to be another one of my Google/Wiki sessions.)
I found a rendition of Mozart's lively Rondo Alla Turca by David Hull. This guy just works the bass like a pro. I think he is a pro...there is another video — sporting longer hair and fuzz — giving instructions on how he plays the final part of Piano Sonata No. 11.

Now, this find is not new but I just want to give credit to this incredibly talented guy. So what if the video is a year old. Mozart's number was composed and played some time in the 18th Century and it's still enthralls.

So without much ado...presenting...on the bass guitar...playing Mozart's Rondo Alla Turca...young...David Hull!! *Applause*

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Doordarshan TV Serials

This was a complete blast from the past...
I was trying to find the name of a sci-fi TV series on Doordarshan, which featured a half-man-half-robot called Shakti. After lots of googling and some neighbourly advice from my colleague...I reached a Fropper forum.
But it did not have anything on the show I was looking for. I could only vaguely remember watching a Hindi Star Trek imitation every Sunday morning.
"Try Wiki-ing one these shows mentioned in the forum", was another suggestion.

So I Wiki'd Stone Boy. At the bottom of the page, there was a reference link to a list of all the programs aired on DD.

I took some time out to correct a spelling and linking some of the TV shows to their respective Wiki pages. My way of saying, "Thank you!"

Oh and by the by, the sci-fi show I searched high and low for...found it under "S". Ess for Sigma. :)

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Panties for Peace

Campaign in CanadaIt is only fitting that this post follows the theme of my previous post. (It also happens to be a coincidence.)
I will get right to it then, before you lose the thread (or the underwire)...
It so happens that the Myanmar (formerly known as Burma) Junta are very superstitious. One of their superstitions even rivals some of the oddball laws in the U.S. of A.
The regime, which is known for its blatant disregard for its people (especially its women), believes that touching a woman's underpants (or the sarong) drains a man of all his power. (My guess is, Rogue is going to need a new job.)
A Burmese peace activist group called Lanna Action for Burma, based in Thailand, launched a "Panties for Peace" campaign. This campaign may sound frivolous and really amusing but the ladies are dead serious about their protest against the junta and the generals ruling the country—in a peaceful way.
The official web site is and if you would like to be a part of this campaign, you will need to part with one of your underpants. But hey, you can always send more, right? The website provides details of the closest Burmese Embassy in your local area.
"Post, deliver or fling", they say.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Right Bra. Right Attitude

I received an e-mail last week. From "Right Bra. Right Attitude." with the same subject line. The ad looks nice but I guess the company has not figured the targeted approach yet. My Yahoo! profile has me set as a Male...even then I was the beneficiary of this feel-good campaign. Rather uplifting.
If women can get the right attitude with the right bra...what do men have to wear to stay ahead? It almost unsettled me...without a bra, I am never going to have the right attitude.

"It does not matter if you have the brains, or the is all about the "braw" duude."

But as luck would have it, their tag line made me feel better, "If they only knew what was underneath." I feel much better now, knowing that "they" don't know. I can get by with my plain ol' Jockey vest—I would have looked real silly in A-cups. If not anything else, it would have raised a lot of doubts.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Force India Fly Kingfisher

Another aborted attempt at completing (let alone winning) an F1 race. Giancarlo Fisichella of the Force India F1 team leapfrogged Kazuki Nakajima's car only to end up in the pits. Pun unintended.
I think Fisichella is taking the Fly Kingfisher branding too literally.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Music by Jeremy Camp

Came across Jeremy Camp in a Various Artists album. Great vocals - sounds like the lead in Hootie & the Blowfish
Got to get a hold of the rest of his songs!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Monster Cables vs. Blue Jeans Cable

This has to be the juiciest bit of news I have read in ages!

In this corner, in Red shorts, we have.....mmmMonsterr Cabless
And in this corner, in Blue Jeansss, we have kkkKurt ddDenke - President, Blue Jeans Cable.

Monster Cable comes out of the corner with an intimidating patent-infringement jab.
Kurt Denke from lesser known Blue Jeans Cable looks undeterred...
Instead, he answers back with a series of sublime body punches!
How did he manage that? Wait...what's that? Turns out Mr. Denke is a lawyer!

That must have hurt, Monster....LOL!

Friday, April 4, 2008

Our Future on a Hotter Planet

Six Degrees: Our Future on a Hotter Planet
A book by Mark Lynas, on the global repercussions due to a relatively small rise in temperature.
Take a look at the videos on the Nat Geo website too.

Added a Digg Button

Just added a Digg button. It still does not look very aesthetic. But it is a work-in-progress.
Intend to tidy it up...soon.

Thanks to Tips for New Bloggers for the guide.

Update: So much for tidying up. The button was getting to be an eye sore and I did not feel like keeping the link either. I do not get the time to visit Digg, even. I removed the dang thing!

Friday, January 11, 2008

ScribeFire it is...

I tried using Deepest Sender and really liked it. At that time, I used it to post to Live Journal.
But somehow it did not work as seamlessly with Blogger as it did with LJ.
Enter, ScribeFire. Worked wonderfully.
I suspect it is with the post link. I will try copy pasting what SF throws up in the Account Wizard.

Powered by ScribeFire.


Related Posts with Thumbnails