Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Brussels Auto Show

These pics are from the Brussels auto show. They were all there....
...from the beautiful ones that didn't even need the hot babes to stand around them and smile like retards to attract the crowds....

...to the plain vulgar! (I wish I could ride it once and then destroy it)

There was also a pretty nice exhibition of cars that appear in the Tintin comic series.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Deppe recommends

Song of the Month
At my former workplace, at exactly noon every single day, they switched on the music in the cafeteria to indicate that lunch was ready to be served. And on every single day during the 3 and a half long years I worked there they played the same tape over and over again: Kenny G. The sound of the sax got so strongly associated with thoughts of food, that if Pavlov hadn't discovered conditioned reflexes, I surely would have. But unlike the famous dog, I never salivated; the thought of the bad food just prompted some disconcerting peristalsis. I came to hate the sax. The instrument did redeem itself at the hands of the uncle who performs live at Java City every weekend. But a few weeks ago I heard Morphine and completely forgave the saxophone.Comprising of a drummer, a guy who plays two saxophones simultaneously and a vocalist with a powerful voice who plays a guitar with just two strings in it, they produce some simple but very distinctive sounds. Deppe especially recommends the song 'Scratch'.

Book of the month
Marquez's 'One Hundred Years of Solitude'. As the narrative effortlessly swings back and forth between a quaint fantasy world and a captivating latin american reality, you are lulled into a listening mode where you don't even notice realism being sacrificed. Six generations are chronicled in a little over 500 pages (Joyce wouldn't be able to explain an orgasm in that many !) so the book has a very racy pulse to it. The only piss-off is that all the characters are either called 'Arcadio' or 'Aureliano'. All of Aureliano's kids - 17 out of marriage and a couple legits- are all called Aurelianos. Its understandable if a psycho like Michael Jackson calls his kids Michaels I, II and III ( thats a true fact!), but in general I never understood the philosophy behind the father and son having the exact same name. Definitely made history confusing- I never could be sure if it was Louis the 14th or the 40th that was guillotined, and which of the King Georges was loony. Extremely irritating!

Movie of the Month
Jarhead is about the first of the gulf wars and about the frustrating inaction that the ground troops experienced; the first shots they fired were at the sky to celebrate victory. Evidently inspired by Full Metal Jacket, this movie has its moments too. Considering that his first movie was an all-time great (American Beauty) and his second(Road to perdition) was pretty nice too, this is relatively disappointing, but my verdict is still that Sam Mendes is yet to make a bad movie.

Sunday, January 15, 2006


Krishnamachari Srikkanth; remember the dashing opening batsman in the 80s, who retired from cricket to turn into a professional clown.
He's doing pretty well for himself. He is reportedly paid millions to appear in the DD shows. His primary function is to make Kapil Dev and Mohinder Amarnath look like first-class intellectuals in contrast.(When that ploy failed they hired Mandira Bedi and a dysfunctional wardrobe for additional distraction)

Now Kris is diversifying. Here he is stating the obvious in his blog in his inimitable style. Hats off to his knack for the mot juste and his usage of just the right adjective to bring out the subtle differences in meaning; notice the usage of "ordinary", "very ordinary" and "very very ordinary".

Whats next for Kris? A column in hindi? That should be fun!

Saturday, January 14, 2006


Buana : "Charlie, what the hell happened there?"
Charles: "What? Where?"
Buana: "Come'on, you know it! You were hitting on I.S."
Charles: (with a sheepish grin) "So were you"
Buana: "But you are just back from your honeymoon. Up to a year after my wedding, I wouldn't have noticed if Helen of Troy walked past me naked"
Charles: "In my case I've been living with my girlfriend for 6 years. The only thing that changed after the wedding was that we can now interchange our cars and the insurance will still be valid"
D: (tongue in cheek) "You better be careful though! You have a lawyer-wife"
Charles: (points to the parapet on which they are sitting) "I tell you its the wailing wall; It brings out the worst in me. By the way, she seemed to be interested in you D. She went overboard to accomodate you in the conversation. Did you notice she answered all the dutch questions in English?"
D: "Now don't shift the spotlight. The topic is still Charles' shallowness. You seemed rather interested in the African girls too at lunch today."
Bauna: "Charlie has no chance with the African girls. The Wildebeest has them in his sights. But Isabel..."
Charles: "Come off it guys. Didn't you see all the other guys that were congregating around her? Face it fellas, women control us. Forget all that shit about penis-envy and them being being the weaker sex" (winks)
D: "I always knew it. Sigmund de FRAUD"

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

From a dog-eared page

It’s hard to point out my first memory of Kaushik, but I remember as kids in middle school, we were in a gang of inseparable buddies. We played a lot of hockey in our garden and while buDDha, dead-racket and the others would jump over the compound and run home as soon as they spotted my dad, Kaushik would stay and talk to him.

By the time we were in high school, though, we had chosen different friend circles. I fit in somewhere midway between the bullies and the nerds in the hierarchy. I had my own bunnies- Peshi (short for Patient) for instance, I had a patented process to darken one eye of his photo-sensitive glasses by keeping it in the sun while covering the other, so that he looked completely silly during the first period after lunch. But for the most part I was a semi-nerd who managed decent grades. Kaushik on the other hand had graduated into a porn-peddling, cigarette-smoking alpha male who could look an angry PT master in the eye. Yet in defiance of the rules of the peck order we still hung out a lot together, especially outside school hours, although I had to pretend that his old nick name ‘cow-shit’ never existed. We had a weird sort of equation. If I fouled him in a football match, he would make sure I fell atleast twice in that game and then would not talk to me for a couple of days, but things always returned to normal.

He just about scraped through high school, but in PU he underwent a metamorphosis that has us friends still discussing it with disbelief. While in school he had parasited on my help just before each of the exams, here he started outscoring me. He started fitting into my world better. I still remember that Charit, Kaushik and I won a maths quiz in PU, and with the 60Rs we won, we watched Timecop from the balcony and ate what was my first ever Hot Chocolate Fudge. That was a far cry from school, where he would have killed himself before being spotted anywhere close to the quiz club. The three of us took great pleasure in aggravating our tuition teacher who hated us simply because we were from St.Joseph’s. Yet, the one really common thing between us was our craze for cycling.

In the long break after CET and before our engineering classes started, we went on long cycling trips. I remember one particular 100 km trip that had me and the rest of the gang swearing we'd never touch our cycles again. Yet after the fatigue wore off, we were left with some strange sense of accomplishment that we both identified with; like we had just proved something really important to someone really consequential, and we were already planning the next one.

In engineering he seemed to regress to the bad kid that he was in school. He came down from Mysore once every month or so, and the conversations we had were all about his macho lifestyle dominated by his two favourite topics, booze and his bike. By the end of the fourth year we had drifted apart.

I have no doubt in my mind that he was stone drunk when he crashed his Yezdi into a pillar that July night. The accident killed him instantly.

He would have turned 27 today.

Sunday, January 08, 2006


I saw this ad for an sms horoscope service that tells you what you can expect for the day, for a modest price of 70 cents. Three years ago I would have spewed venom at the kind of people who would spend 37 Rs for a shitty generalisation! But recently I have grown a tolerance towards astrology for the following reasons...
1. A knowledge of the zodiac signs is important (almost as important as reading the Da Vinci code) to be socially accepted in youth circles of 21st century urban India. In fact, my ignorance in that respect, I think, is an important factor in my embarassingly low success rate with the oppoite sex.
2. Star Signs, someone once told me, are a good way to remember peoples' birthdays.
3. They are also important conversation and ice-breaking tools. This was my first conversation with P..
P: Hi. When's your birthday?
Me: September 8th
P: Oh you are a virgo? I HATE virgos!!
Me: (the blank look that usually accompanies moments when crisp retorts desert you)
4. Most importantly I believe astrology is a great art! No, I don't believe that the stars actually influence our lives, but I have great respect for people who can cut the world's population into 12 equal parts and compose drivel that makes each of the 6 billion people go 'Its SO true'. It's not easy! My mom and her twin were born just 2 minutes apart (btw, its their birthday today. happy 50th, ladies!) and I can't think of ONE common thing between them except that they are both flat-footed. On the other hand, Linda Goodman can write hundreds of pages accurately describing you (and the 499,999,999 other people that you share your zodiac sign with) simply based on the month you were born. That's rhetoric genius! They just seem to instictively know exactly what you want to hear. Notice how even the 'criticism' is designed to tug at your vanity, "Your perfectionist instincts can annoy people" or "You can hurt people with your brutal frankness". See that's smart! Show me a person who doesn't think he/she is frank and I'll show you a man who thinks he is NOT a good driver! And then there are things that seem like criticisms but are actually not-so-thinly-veiled compliments, like "You are an underachiever". Brilliant! Even Larry Page I'm sure believes he can achieve more. Remember even Oskar Schindler was dissatisifed that he saved only a thousand lives.
In the end, maybe the 70 cents is money well spent after all. Or maybe not. Ah hell! I can't decide. Indecisiveness - that's so typical Virgo!

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

When the levee breaks...

...by Led Zeppelin has to be the song that I've been in love with for the longest period of time. And I can't think of another cover that sounded SO MUCH better than the original.

Here's some interesting trivia about the song from a Wikipedia page that explains why this song sounds so different from anything else.

"The famous drum performance was actually recorded by placing the drumkit and drummer at the bottom of a stairwell at Headley Grange, and recording it using a microphone three stories above, giving the distinctive resonant but slightly muffled sound. "

"Jimmy Page recorded the harmonica part using the backward echo technique, putting the echo ahead of the sound when mixing, creating a unique effect."

Monday, January 02, 2006


A lot has been written about what's really behind this renaming craze and I really have nothing new to add. Nevertheless, it gives me an excuse to do my bit of whining.

I admit I could be seeing it through hazy eyes, but Bangalore, as I remember was still a lazy quaint old town where it rained a lot but never seemed to bother us as much as it does now, and you could buy a kid a bicycle without halving his chances of reaching adulthood and traffic jams were things that happened on Mysore road. There were still trees on either side of most roads. I remember that when I was a kid and my folks had to go out, there was always some house in the street that I could WALK into. Everybody spoke Kannada, although even back then less than half of the bangaloreans had Kannada as their mother tongue. The anglo-indian teachers in my school spoke chaste, if a little accented, Kannada. Even in my engineering class, save a couple of girls who claimed that they didn't understand Kannada, this is was our unofficial language.

Fast forward a few years and the picture is breathtakingly different. I haven’t made eye contact with my neighbours let alone smile or talk to them. Seven years separate my sister and me, and all she speaks in her class is a weird form of English with Hindi constructs thrown in liberally. "Vaise, as I was saying ki the movie is jhakaas...". Even the clerk at coffee day, who has Gowribidanur written all over his face, won't condescend to speak his own tongue.

So you have a Bangalore that is polarized into two groups. On the one hand you have the localites who can’t get over the nostalgia constipation, and in fairness are probably getting a little too xenophobic. We feel such a threat to our identity that we have to resort to bullying (like having the boards on the buses only in kannada or proposing a name that’s hard for the foreign tongue to pronounce) to get noticed. The less assertive folks like my parents have disowned this city and are looking forward to settling down in a place like Mysore. On the other hand you have the new arrivals who can’t seem to garner more respect for this city than they would for a brothel. “Let me be done with what I came here for and get out fast” seems to be the prevailing sentiment. Not that I suffer from any parochial angst, but just as a small display of their willingness to integrate, I would like to see a few more people going beyond the standard vocabulary that includes not more than 10 words (and that’s counting 'talk maadi' and 'drive maadi' as two separate verbs. I've even heard one dodo say 'do maadi').

And residing over the chaotic divisions is a sloth, the Chief Thief who was born without a neck and a brain, and is now puppeteered by another a**hole who looks exactly like a raagi mudde. Between them, they’ll have us believe that greater than all the problems we face here, is the crusade that they are trying to gear up support for. Bangalore or BengaLooru? Who the f*** cares!

Sunday, January 01, 2006


Happy new year to all the readers. I mean to both of you ;-)

Must say my new year's eve was pretty eventful. I planned to 'warm up' for the evening with what has become an obsession to me these days, ice-skating. The plan went tragically wrong when I fell into a little puddle at the edge of the rink and got my already inadequate winter clothing wet. I was trying the dangerous and difficult maneouver, stopping! Spent the next couple of hours next to a metal basket of hot coal while watching amateur bands play some rock music. Just before midnight I went to the banks of the river Schelde to witness the famous fireworks. While waiting for the fireworks to begin, I spent a dangerously pensive half hour resisting the urge to retrospect on a confusing past year. Instead I distracted myself with thoughts on issues that really mattered in the cosmic scheme of things (like will my shivering stop? Will I make it home alive?). Funnily amidst the sea of humanity (tens of thousands of people had gathered there) and in the middle of the spectacular fireworks that had even the most pathetically drunk folks in the crowd completely captivated, I had my first ever attack of home-sickness. In the few minutes that it lasted, I suddenly wanted to be in bangalore, even if it meant to stay at home and watch the stupid new year specials on Zee TV with the folks. A conclusive proof of the home-sickness was that I accosted a bunch of desis that I saw at the place and made conversation.Watched some figure-skating displays before getting back home. The journey was slowed down by the crowds that poured out of the pubs and eagerly wished everybody a 'gelukkig nieuw jaar' ( atleast the ones that didn't collapse on the pavements). And in what is turning out to be a creepy ritual; I spent my first few minutes at home almost devotionally attached to my room heater till my blood thawed. I desperately need to do some shopping!

some pictures.