Vantage point

Wednesday, April 30, 2003


He was so glad he got the window seat in the bus. Wondering about the crops that must usually fill these yellow fields during other seasons, he looked around him.

People did not seem to be in a hurry to get anywhere. In fact most of them were absolutely staid. The more he looked at them, the more unsettled he felt about their calmness. Though it was a hot summer afternoon, the silence reminded him of a dark night.

He had expected the bus to be full of people in a hurry to get somewhere. The speed with which it had been hurtling down the Delhi-Jaipur highway certainly made him think so. As he had stood there in the sun waiting for a bus, three hours had passed without any response. It was what people called an "expressway", though it lacked the sophisticated feel of the Mumbai-Pune expressway he had often used. But here too, like there, it was forbidden for vehicles to stop. So he stood there with his bag in his hand, braving the torrid summer heat for three hours.

Then this bus came. It came faster than any of the previous buses that had ignored him. So he had absolutely no expectations of it stopping. But as it sped down the highway at a breakneck speed, it advanced towards him. He took a few steps back and it closed in on him. Then suddenly it stopped. He had been surprised at the sudden halt of the bus. It was almost as if one moment it had been flying at 100 kmph and the next, it was stationary.

He had pulled the door open, and got in. There were only two empty seats in the bus, near the front. He took the window seat. As was his habit he tried to strike a conversation with the people around him, but they did not give him any response. So he looked out of the window and kept thinking about what he planned to do that evening.

As he looked straight ahead, he saw someone standing on the road a distance away. That person was still about half a kilometer from the bus. He heard a slight commotion in the bus. It seems that everyone had noticed that person standing there. Some people started laughing, some started talking loudly and some even started crying. The man sitting behind him grabbed his shirt and hissed "The last seat is going to be filled. The last seat is going to be filled. And it will be the one next to you".

He did not understand the big deal but noticed that the bus had sped up. The driver seemed to be really stepping on it as the bus gained speed very fast. The wind whizzed past his ears making a noise as the bus sped down the highway. He could see the person on the road now. It was a girl. She was waving to the bus frantically hoping it would stop. The bus swerved left and headed straight for her.

There was a combination of yells. He let out a shriek of fright while most others shouted with delight as the bus rammed into the girl at full speed. The sound it made was a combination of a thud and a crunch. The girl's body flew for about 50 metres and landed in a ditch near the road. The bus then slowly ground to a halt. The door opened and he watched dumbstruck as the girl got in with a smile on her face. He looked out of the window, and saw her body still in the ditch. But the bus started moving as the girl sat next to him and smiled. His face was frozen.

"Hi. I am so glad I finally got into a bus." she smiled at him. "So where is this bus going?"

"Where is this bus going?" he echoed. Then he broke down and cried


Tuesday, April 29, 2003

Initially I thought the Ranji Trophy final would be between Mumbai and Sehwag. But the Sehwag vs Tamilnadu semifinal ended with a victory for the TN side yesterday, as Sehwag got out on 99. The 99 was a fine innings and had the rest of the Delhi team given him even an iota of support, they would've won. But it was as if the rest of the 10 guys were absent, so one sided was Sehwag's effort. That is why I say that Sehwag(and not Delhi) lost to TN by 132 runs.

The final will be from 5th May in Mumbai. They have looked as devastating in this Ranji trophy as the Australians at this year's World Cup. This superb form in spite of Sachin Tendulkar not being able to play for them,either because of national commitments or injury, shows that Mumbai are re-emerging as the powerhouse of Indian cricket. Imagine if Sachin could play for them!!!! The rest of the teams would refuse to compete.

This year the Ranji trophy format was changed and there were very few boring matches. The results were immediate as the matches were exciting and the semis lineup ( Mumbai vs Baroda and Delhi vs Tamilnadu) had the best 4 teams squaring off. For a country totally crazy about cricket, we pay laughably little attention towards Ranji Trophy. Like all other faults of Indian cricket, this too can be squarely blamed on the BCCI. Decades ago, the Ranji Trophy was a popular contest with crowds thronging to watch matches and passionately supporting their teams. But then, the BCCI let in a slew of teams and made it boring. Close to 30 teams played against each other for the Ranji Trophy. 30!!!!

Can you imagine how boring that becomes? Australia has 6 sides in their domestic tournament. Most other test nations have less than 10. The only other country to have an abominably high number of teams in their domestic league is England....and we all know where English cricket is headed.

Besides, the Ranji Trophy was played in a zonal format that made it even more boring. So in the West zone, you had Mumbai, Maharashtra, Baroda, Gujarat and Saurashtra playing each other every year in the initial stages. So predictably boring. The only match worth following would be Mumbai vs Baroda. All other matches would be near foregone conclusions.

No wonder then that crowds began to stay away from Ranji Trophy. The awareness has sunk to new levels. How many of you would be able to name your state team's captain? How many of you know that this year the Ranji Trophy was revamped?

The zonal format has been done away with and an EPL type format has come in. Based on previous year's results, teams are divided into 'plates'. So the best teams form a separate 'plate' and play within themselvces. The minnows have a separate plate and play within themselves. Then a predecided number of teams from each plate makes it to the knockout stage. At the end of the season, the plates are rearranged based on the results.

So this year, good teams like Mumbai and Baroda did not have to waste their time playing absolute no-hopers in the first round. As a result, the Ranji Trophy was exciting this year.

However it will be some time before crowds flock back to the matches. Firstly, the board is run by nincompoops. They are not professionals whose only job is to run cricket, like in Australia. They are all "honorary" officials. So while they do not draw a salary based on their work, they waste a lot of money having meaningless meetings in plush 5 star hotels and flying business class all around the world. The structure should be revamped to make it like a corporate house. Appoint managers and executives on a full time basis and then link their pay to certain parameters like the performance of the Indian team, the state of domestic cricket, newer talent coming up etc.

A better Ranji Trophy will give us a better national team for sure. But that is not the only thing. The Ranji Trophy is a cash cow whose udders seem to have turned invisible to everyone. There is so much money to be earned from the Ranji Trophy in a cricket crazed country like ours. But no one seems to have the common cricketing knowledge combined with common business sense to take advantage of the opportunity.

Right now, the time table of the domestic season is fixed randomly. Not much thought is put into it. Contrast this with Australia where they chalk out their season such that all the players of the national team will be able to play in the Sheffield Shield (now called the Pura Milk Cup I guess) and compete sincerely. So you have McGrath and Lee opening the bowling........for New South Wales as well.

Now the Indian team is considered full of stars. It is not like a few years back when only Tendulkar was a star. Now we have half a dozen players who would be mobbed if they went on the streets. In fact Zaheer Khan had to run off the field after the Mumbai-Baroda semis because a huge crowd of his fans stormed the pitch to meet him.

Imagine if Sehwag, Dravid, Nehra, Harbhajan, Zaheer, Saurav and Sachin were available for a majority of the domestic season matches? How cool would that be? I would love to see a full strength Baroda take on a full strength Mumbai. Imagine the papers screaming about the 'Zaheer vs Sachin battle' or the 'Dravid vs Nehra battle' instead of the usual international battles. I am sure a match like that will draw bigger crowds than an India - Bangladesh or India - Zimbabwe match. See, when we play Australia or Pakistan, the spectators are there because of Indian players and the opposition as well. Watching Warnie or Steve Waugh is as important as watching Tendulkar and Dravid. But against teams like BDesh and Zimbabwe, all we care about is our own players. No one cares if Aminul Islam plays well or Andy Blignaut scores another half century. We are interested in only our 11. So instead of playing unscheduled impropmtu tournaments like in Dhaka, why not let the players play in the Ranji Trophy?

Once good players start playing and matches become exciting, the passionate "support" for "our" teams will return. Right now everyone might be willing to argue if Kenya should be made a test playing nation instead of Bangladesh. But ask a Lucknowi about the UP team, a Puneri about the Maharashtra team or a Bangalorean about the Karnataka team, and they will start yawning. Once the pride for your team is instilled, the overall level of the game as well as the money earned from it will go up tremendously.

In my opinion, milking money and talent from the Ranji Trophy is one of the easiest things possible right now. I mean come on, I am not talking of a Herculean task like improving Indian football or something. All that is needed is a little foresight in chalking out time tables so that the stars will not be too tired to play in the Ranji season. You will also need a good marketing plan with effective advertising to hype up the Ranji trophy. That does not seem too hard. Based on rough calculations, I would put the total commercial worth of a rejuvenated Ranji Trophy at about 10 crores (100 million rupees).

What gets my goat is that no one seems to see it. The udders are invisible....and my fingers are itching to reach out and milk some talent and money for Indian cricket. Alas, I am not in the board.

Posting this from my aunt's place in Vasantkunj. I will be living here for the time I am in Delhi. Good no?

A few things one notices about Delhi. Firstly, the city's pugnacious nature. Each and every person and object seems to be eager to get into a fight. People also seem to have time to get into fights.

Also, having lived in efficient Bombay for 2 weeks, Delhi seems riddled with inconveniences. The bus system is weird, the auto-ricks are corrupt and the cycle rickshaws? Don't even get me started. Makes me respect the honest, courteous and hardworking cycle-rick-wallahs of Lucknow even more.

I have written on this blog previously about the habit of the Delhi seller to hound you with his wares. I can understand it, since many of these objects are ones that people may buy on an impulse. So if you hound someone enough saying "5 hankies for 20 rupees", he/she might say "What the heck...gimme 5"(no pun intended). But what is the point behind bus-wallahs hounding customers. And I am not talking about enquiry here, where you ask someone "Khanpur jaoge?". These dudes are literally cajoling you to go to Khanpur with em. As if on impulse, you might say, "What the heck...6 bucks for Khanpur seems reasonable, why don't I take a trip?".

One good thing about the buses and ricks here though. They all run on CNG. Delhi is much less polluted than it was 3 years ago when I visited. Then, I could literally feel sulphur and carbon monoxide fighting to be the first ones into my lungs. Now Delhi's air seems much cleaner.

I don't usually find the Vajpayee government's actions commendable, but their handling of the Air India pilots crisis has been great. Way to go, Shahnawaz Hussain (Minister for Civil Aviation in the Vajpayee government). Tis time someone taught those pampered asses a lesson. I hope all the 30 pilots show symptoms of SARS and have to be treated for weeks before they can even walk.

Saturday, April 26, 2003

I am sitting in a not-so-shady netcafe in Karol Bagh, Delhi right now. For the first few days, I have been given acco in a hotel here, until they find a place closer to Faridabad.

One thing that strikes you, and strikes you hard about North India is the intensity of the summer. Whenever I stepped out of the AC onto a railway station, it was like a sneak preview of how it feels to be a boiled egg. Every molecule around me seemed to be giving out copious quantities of heat and humidity. Gimme the mild summer in Mumbai anyday.

There are people who always end up sharing their compartments with hot babes during a train journey. I somehow, am not one of those. And to make things worse, I always seem to end up sitting close to a family with kids. These kids will also be gifted with industrial strength larynxes. This time, it was a Gujarati family with a 6 year old boy and a 2 year old girl. Their seemed to be an inter-sibling yelling contest on because they kept making efforts to shatter the window panes using their vocal chords. Did not succeed though.

Wednesday, April 23, 2003

The North India tour starts on Friday, when I take a train to Delhi. I will be based in Faridabad for 3 weeks when I will be visiting industries all over North India and conducting surveys for L&T.

I have absolutely no idea about the internet access in L&T Faridabad, and I really doubt how frequently I will be able to update my blog. The faithful netcafes are there of course, but the frequency might be a lot less.

I am very happy to get a summer job which will have me travelling. I love to travel and since almost all the places that I will visit are the ones where I have never gone before, I am looking forward to this tour. I will be dilligently carrying a diary which I will hopefully fill up and transfer to the blog whenever I get an opportunity.

I wanted to meet a lot of bloggers but the next two days will be absolutely jam packed with activity since I have to finish a lot of work before I go. I will be missing the Bombay Bloggers Meet obviously. I will be back in Bombay around the third week of May.

Anyway, I don't know when my next update will be or from where. So till then, adios.

Sunday, April 20, 2003

...and he's back. Michael Schumacher overcame a huge personal tragedy to chalk the first win for Ferrari this season.

This win was most remarkable. Considering the circumstances (his mother passed away yesterday), this win is even more remarkable. Reminds me of Tendulkar's century against Kenya in the 1999 World Cup, just a few days after his father died.

Though Ralf Schumacher was nowhere on the podium, he deserves full credit too. The race started with a close neck-to-neck battle for the race lead between both the bereaved brothers.

All those people who whine about what a large amount of money sportsmen make should see a replay of this race. I salute you, MS.

Saturday, April 19, 2003

Our man Atal is looking very fit nowadays, and not like the bungling sleepyhead like he was a few months ago. maybe he is taking 70 plus tablets. :-P

If you are a regular reader of my blog, you must be knowing about the spoof film that Pushkar, Sunil and I have decided to work on, called "Picchur the Philim"

I mentioned one scene of the movie here. Pushkar has written another on his blog in the 15th April entry. And there is a third one. Here it is -

Location - A park (or Aarey milk colony)
Time - evening

Our hero and heroine are walking in the park, cootchie-cooing, whispering sweet somethings to each other. They may even dance around trees in a very monotonous PT-type fashion, because it seems to be very integral to a Hindi movie. That is when a goonda (hooligan) thumps into the scene. He gives them with a sinister look or two with a leer prominent on his face. With a greedy grin he starts advancing towards them. Now dimensionally speaking, if the goonda is Qutb Minar, then our hero is the excusable hump a few metres from it, where attempts were made to build another minar, but were abandoned. i.e while the goonda had his 12 eggs for breakfast, a few sheep for lunch and a cow for dinner, and worked out for 4 hours a day in the akhada, making him a towering and formidable type of bloke, our hero munches on Lay's Saif and Kaif and concentrates on just not developing a paunch.

Needless to say, the order of the day is swift retreat rather than confrontation. The ehro and heroine run towards the exit of the park. the goonda follows. This pursuit goes on for some time, but then our hero and heroine are not high on stamina either. Finally the goonda catches up with them and lets otu a triumphant laugh, saying "Ab aayega mazaa(no i am gonna have fun)"

The hero, trying to be a man says "Kameeney, meri mehbooba ko haath lagane se pehle tumhe mujhse ladna hoga.(You scoundrel, before you touch my girlfriend, you'll have to fight me)"

The goonda looks perplexed and realises that he has sent the wrong signals. He smiles, looking sincerely lecherous as ever and says -

"Teri mehbooba ko kaun haath lagana chahta hai? Mujhe toh tu bha gaya hai (Who is interested in your gf? It is you whom I've taken a fancy to)"

The heroine looks relieved, the hero doesn't. As the scene ends, the goonda has an arm around our hero's shoulder as they walk away into the sunset.

......and they lived happily (gaily?) ever after. ;-)

A slightly delayed report of 14th April.

This was the day I met two more bloggers, Sameer and Ashu. First Sameer, Suku and I went to watch LOTR-The Two Towers at Fame Adlabs in Andheri. Suku and I reached the theatre and were looking for Sameer. I saw a guy wearing specs leaning against a wall opposite the ticket window, which was the pre-decided spt, and asked Suku if that could be him. Now Sameer comes across as a very chirpy guy on his blog and I expected him to be wearing a big big smile, even when he was standing...for no apparent reason. This dude was not exactly mourning, but he was not smiling either, so I had my doubts. Suku and I had a minor discussion about the Sameer-ness of the fellow. Then she decided to give him a ring on his mobile and see if this fellow reaches for his pocket. He did, and he walked towards us, flashing the big smile that I was expecting him to.

The initial introductions made, we stood in the queue to buy tickets. Suku kept voicing her wish to watch the Sunny Deol starrer "The Hero" instead, but then you all know how the ring draws you towards it. Suku wears a ring identical to "The One" around her neck, like Frodo does, and she had to head for LOTR-TTT, as if it was Mount Doom.

Now this is when I opened my wallet and realised the big big blunder I had made. I had forgotten to withdraw cash and was left with very little. I could buy the ticket, but whether I would be able to pay for popcorn, nachos and dinner later was very questionable. We took tickets (middle seats in the last row, as Suku ordered) and headed in. We had to wait in the lobby for a while and we made the most of the wait by stocking up on Pepsi, nachos and popcorn for the movie.

After we were on our seats inside, somehow the subject turned to Vivek Oberoi. I started talking about his movie "Dum" which I had seen some days back, and lambasted it in no uncertain terms. I spoke for a few minutes about the movies weaknesses, which are abundant, and questioned the rationale of Vivek Oberoi acting in such a howler. Just as I had finished the Dum-daati, Suku informed me that sitting to our left was Sushant Singh, who plays an integral role in Dum. Now what are the odds of that happening? It happens with me all the time. I will be ridiculing the Prof and he is standing behind me, or I am making fun of a girl, and she is standing next to me. That day, it was taken to a new level, with an actor from a movie I was badmouthing, sitting next to us. What next? Maybe I will be in America, probably in the NY subway, speaking ill of the Al Qaida, and I will dsicover Bin Laden is leaning against me???

Anyway, the movie started shortly, and wow, is it amazing! The visuals, the acting, the sequences, everything are out of this world. Like everyone Gollum was my favourite too, but what I loved even more was he portrayal of Mordor. The place seems to ooze out evil. Of all the places in Middle Earth, I think Mordor has been depicted the best in the movie. There are a few complaints too. I did not like the woman who played Eowyn. Somehow I expected Eowyn to be gorgeous, like Arwen is. I found that Faramir's role was not really portrayed perfectly. Anyway, there is one more part so we will see if that chanegs.

After the movie, the three of us yapped and yapped as we waited for Ashu...somehow I get the feeling I yapped the most. After sometime, Ashu reached there, and his being late was not his fault, but more of South Africa's because they could not dismiss the Bangladeshis earlier.

After some deliberations about where to go, we decided on Subway. En route, I spotted a UTI bank ATM and saw an opportunity for a liquidity inflow. I stopped the rick, got down and tried to withdraw money, but the ATM machine had some problems with balance or something and I could get only 100 rupees!!!!!

Subway was fun. Ashish is a very fun guy to be with, and is not at all quiet as he would have you believe. He seems to be an expert in taang-khinchai practising it on Sameer and Suku a few times. I was wondering mera number kab aayega, but then we haven't interacted at all before this so he probably felt a bit wary.

The sandwiches were great, and having finished them, we headed for ice creams. The mango ice cream in Naturals was amazing. We spent some more time talking on the streets of Lokhandwala, till about midnight when we called up to wish Suku's mom on her birthday and soon later, we left.

The whole evening was totally paisa wasool ( or even more, because I did not have any paisa on me thanks to the blunder. Thanks guys, for helping me out, or I would be washing the dishes in subway and walking back to Borivli). Both Sameer and Ashish come across as guys whom you have known all your life. there is an air of ease surrounding them. I hope I shall be able to meet them again before I leave Mumbai and that it will be as much fun as this time, if not more.

Friday, April 18, 2003

I want to kill all the following people -

- People who eat anything and everything they want and in whatever quantity, but never put on an ounce.
- People who just tell themselves "I should wake up at 5:40 a.m." and their body clock lets out a shrill alarm bell at precisely that minute, waking them up.
- People whose hair ALWAYS looks great
- People who travel in local trains at rush hour, and still their clothes look creaseless at the end of the day
- People who will walk in dusty areas, climb mountains etc, but their clothes will be spotless
- People who can sing well
- People who can dance well

....If I kill them all.....I will be the only person left on earth!!!

I am going to organise a seminar or workshop of sorts at Lonavla.

This will be a workshop where the hawkers/cooks in Mumbai and Pune who make misal, bhel and wadapav will come.

The Pune guys will teach the Mumbai guys step by step how to make all that stuff. I don't know why but these Mumbaiyyas seem to be doing it all wrong. came to Pune, had a Misal-paav at Durga, wadapav opposite Jagruti and then a Bhel near vanaz. Yumm!!

I find the whole Togadia-sedition thing downright hilarious.

He is in prison for 5 days and it is apparent from the reaction of the Rajasthanis that they couldn't care less. The "bandh" called by the VHP fell flat on its face and whereas they had earlier taken a very "holier-than-thou" stand saying they would not apply for bail and all......but 5 days of zero-reaction from Rajasthani people, and Togadia's lawyers headed Magistrate-wards to get the loony doctor (not like Glossop who is a doctor for the loonies, but Toggy is a doctor who is loony) out on bail.

Heard Giriraj Kishore on the news today and he was so livid with the situation that he was more illogical than usual, blaming the media for the whole imbroglio!! He said that now the VHP would "go to any lengths" to dislodge the Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot. This means that ready reckoner type lists are being made so that Muslims in Rajasthans can easily be attacked during riots, like in Gujarat.

I never had any admiration for Gehlot, but I must say this sedition charge thing is a master stroke. It must rank as the top 5 most brilliant moves by a politican in India. I don't know if the charge will stand in court...probably not...but such action is needed when people go around distributing daggers even when the government stops them from doing so.

After all, like Prof. Sengar at IIML says - "Laaaaa (law) is above God."

of course Sengar's explanation for the statement was different...but that merits another blogpost in thefuture. ;-)

Wednesday, April 16, 2003

If this paper is not stinking tripe, I don't know what is. It is such a mentality that justifies unjust campaigns like Iraq.

Came across it on a forum that I am part of. The discussion naturally led to what are the reasons behind the survival of democracy in India. Here's something I found very well presented -

Story of Indian Democracy did not start at midnight of 8/14-15 nor on Jan26. A nation that is either unawre of its past ( not the embroidred jingoistic one )a generation that doesn't want even to know the past except what is dished out in google are all doomed to listening to this kind of clap trap. I understand & share your disgust & anguish,

It never worked in the social structure but in terms of intra-religious differances it worked, DISSENT, I mean. In India. For centuries. Much before Robin pulled a hood over the Normans.

VAADA VAADE JAAYATE SATYAM was the corner stone of the Indian's search,debates, dissents, differances. The flip side too is there & I don't have to deatail that. Islam brooks no rash arguments. Christianity, the orthodox version never liked a challenge. But when it came to Saivism v/s Vaishnavisn v/s Shaktas v/s Buddhist/ Jains or Dwaitas & Advaitas arguments, even fistcuffs & scuffles & throwing of things ( including latter day mikes in Vidhan Sabha ), argumentativeness comes naturally to the genius of our people. Blind obedience in Social norms of Caste structure apart rebellion in everything else. Fascinating. Does it mean Hindu Indians & by association Muslim/Christians of India are more suitable for democracy? I should think so. The very diversity makes it mandatory. Uniformity will kill it. Pakistanis, our own cousins, made the mistake of Islamic State ( have patience we R on way to Hindu Nation anyway) and literally brought Uniform on the forefront. Otherwise between the quarrels of Baluch against a Sindhi both hated by Pujabis who are distrusted by all and Mohajirs dancing a jig, democracy would have been alive & kicking there & it well might for, let us not forget that for half of its existance Pak HAS known Democracy. Break up of Pak or war reverses took place when democracy was suspended there. It WILL come back. Taxila is still very much there. The Spirit survives.

A religion ( wrong terminology) that has given perhaps the least presumptious wonderings or musings in the Hymn of Creation on that all too important a subject; a speculation that did not even think of giving a specific name beyond " KA?" Who? to the Unknown god, did the greatest thing by NOT doing the expected, laying down the Law. All Law Givers & their commentators were respected but not meticulously followed down the centuries. Manu & Kautilayas Criminal Procedure laws are enough to make one throw up thu the ears but who followed them while semetic punishments are still on in some societies. Infraction was looked upon with indulgence here, stoning was the only way there. While Europe was warming hands at pyres burning heretic witches Nagsena was mocking the Brahmins. With impunity. Lot & lot & lot went wrong with India subsequently & Indians and this land learnt a lot from Mughal & British asdministration, justice & education BUT the basic idea that every one had a voice in the society, in the local polity, in the Panchayat, in the Caste-Punch, did remain at the subconscious level. India was born for no other way but democracy. It remained dormant for milennia. Very few recognised it. But those who did were great men indeed. King Milinda was one. So was Akbar. More about these two in some other context. English education did help us to write our Constitution perhaps & let us remember that to day, on Ambedkar's birth day.

The neo-Historians & their Saffron masters who want to kill dissent in this country by neutralising Muslims/Christians & liberal Hindus, these slur on the face of this ancient dharma, even they can not alter a simple fact that India is World's First & Biggest Country made by Immigrants. And that single fact makes it imperative that we either remain democratic, as we have been in many subtle ways for 5000 years, ot perish.

by KABIR on Tue Apr 15th, 2003 at 01:23:12 AM PST

Monday, April 14, 2003

Something I've been thinking about for some days. What is more important for some people? Being a rebel and swimming against the tide....or doing their own thing? I know that a lot of times what you want to do is the opposite of what the crowd does/thinks. But there are times when you actually want to do what everyone likes or wants too.

I have noticed that for some people it is more important to be anti-establishment...or be a maverick...or be a Jim Morrison than to do what they want.

Not everyone seems to realise the difference between

"I always do/think opposite of everything that others do."


"What I do/think mostly turns out to be opposite of what others do."

It is as if to some people their own ideas don't matter at all. Either you blindly follow the crowd.....or you blindly run against it. Isn't being a blind rebel equivalent to being a conformist of a different kind?

p.s- This post was initiated by something a friend of mine said before the world cup final. Initially he was supporting India when our team was losing. why? cos everyone was dissing the team. But towards the end he wanted the sri lankans to win. Why? Because everyone is cheering for India.

A BIG BIG BIG BIG BIG BIG Thanks to Sonal for the wonderful gift. I absolutely love it. I will write you a loooooooooong mail in a couple of days, Sonal. Am going to watch The Two Towers with Suku, Sameer and Ashu right now. =-)

My first week in Bombay is over and it has been great. Following are the reasons I like this city -

- The weather
- The people
- The disciplined traffic
- The efficient public transport system
- The sheer Bombay-ness of this city.

My project is a customer satisfaction survey. Now the product is switchgear equipment, which is a heavily industrial equipment, worth lakhs of rupees per unit, so the "customers" are major industries and not the usual customers we survey. I have been told to survey customers in North India, so for 3 weeks I will be roaming around North India, visiting factories that use the L&T PCC and MCC. I will be "based" in Faridabad, but I have to visit customers in U.P, Haryana, Rajasthan, MP, Himachal (please please please more of Himachal) etc. After 3 weeks there I will return to Bombay and compile the report.

Saturday, April 12, 2003

Another time, another place. And here we are.

7 months back, Suku and I met up for the very first time and had a great time. 7 months hence, History [which by the way is my favourite subject] repeats itself. Only this time for a longer duration. Like say 7 hours. Now this is what I call timing, folks. :-)

Gaurav: The day started on a great note, since I found her place without asking anyone anything at all, which is a big big achievement for a directionally challenged a guy like me. Suku welcomed me in a very �Gracious Hostess� manner. =-). After that Suku, her Mom and I sat and talked for a long time about any and every topic under the sun, from Mayawati�s indiscretions to marketing to the different ways in which panha is made in Maharashtra and U.P. This was followed by the U.P style panha being served and believe me it is as delectable as the Maharashtrian variety.
Then I saw the huuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuge collection of books and DVD�s at her place and made a mental note to steal it all the next time I don my cat-burglar identity. We surfed the net for a while, and I read Sonal�s journal (which I haven�t been able to read cos of that damn shady netcafe�s settings� fault), saw her pics (Nice ones, Sonal, ekdum ethnic and all ;)). I saw the famous window and the view outside the window that Suku has talked about on many occasions. After this we had some sabudana wadas with green tomato sauce and Coke and then decided to venture out. We went to a Coffee place, Pit Stop but both had tea. :-P. Spoke to Sameer on the phone while he was busy trying to rediscover parts of Bombay he had not recently visited. Looks like we are ganging up again for The Two Towers on Monday.
Whenever I go to a bookstore, I need to take 7 horses (preferably wild) with me, because only they can make me leave it. This time since Suku was with me too, I had to take 14 (actually she is built quite waif-ishly so even 10 would�ve sufficed). We must�ve spent an hour there just browsing through books and talking about them. At the end of it, Suku gifted me a copy of �Mein Kampf� in addition to �The Shining� she had already given me. 2 books gifted in one day�.that already makes it one of the best days ever. =-)
Had dosa and pav bhaji at a restaurant and came back, and are now writing this join blog entry.

Even if L&T makes me slog for two months for 12 hours a day, and not pay me a penny in return, this one day has been amazing enough to make my Bombay visit worth it. If you were a fly on the wall seeing us interact today, all your compound eyes would grow large after learning that this was the only second time we met.

Suku: Since Chickoo, [Gaurav for mortals] has already stated a perfect screenplay of the days� happenings. I�ll hog less footage. :P firstly he got me the entire season 8 of Friends. :D Yes. Yes. Yes. [Doing a Bret Lee like action on getting wickets]. We got into a heavy discussion with Mom about political and historical stuff, and my best friend�s name kept popping up now and then, in a complimentary way, of course. ;-) Later, Gaurav was shamelessly drooling over my brother�s books and DVD�s. But he settled for checking his e-mails instead. At present he is chortling from behind, while I concoct a contortion of facts and fiction. Okies then we walked down my society lane and reached this coffee shop. Although he wanted to drink Espresso something something [Macchiatto, he prompts from behind] he settled for apna Assami chai. Then I took him to the local mall, and my favorite book corner and we stepped on each other�s toes, literally. My clumsiness is rubbing off on him. The bookstore was great fun. Discussing books with your friend is one helluva exercise, I tell ya. At the mall, Gaurav insisted he is 6 inches taller than, which he SO is not. So he made me stand against a wall, measured the difference. What a bully, I tell you. Budthameez :P. Truth be told, I am 5�4 and he is 5�9. That works fine for both of us, methinks. Another funny thing I noticed was his phobia to cross roads. I discovered I am already on the other side, while he hadn�t even moved an inch. He also got me this cute Chuckie of Rugrats fame keychain. Everybody knows I LURVE Rugrats.

I had so much fun after a really, really long time. I am so happy that I rather not share it, but I deserve it. :-) The good thing is that I don�t have to keep talking to him continuously, attend to him all the time, see if he�s doing okay or not, I can be myself. I think that�s the case with him also. And you know what? He is an atheist. *Gasps* ;-)

Wednesday, April 09, 2003

I HAD A DREAM.........

Had this dream last night and it must definitely rate as the most bizarre one I've ever had. This is how it went.

I come home, switch on the TV, and go to the Aaj Tak channel. There the usual "BREAKING NEWS" display is flashing. The newsreader is saying (in hindi) -

"A MiG-23 of the Indian Air Force crashed in Ayodhya today. It crashed on the disputed site where the Babri structure once stood. The pilot ejected and there were no casualties, but the plane exploded after crashing and there is a huge crater in the ground about 60 feet deep. Firefighters are working hard to control the blaze......"

etc etc.

Am I watching too many news channels???? Or are too many MiGs crashing??Or are too many people giving Ayodhya more importance than it deserves?

Or all of the above?


Tuesday, April 08, 2003

I am in a shady netcafe in Borivli(E) right now. The first two days of the job were about getting to know the company better through an orientation programme. It consisted of many presentations and factory visits. I realised what a huge company L&T truly is and how vital it is for our country's economy. The shopfloors were awe inspiring and the sheer scale of their operation...WOW!!

Anyway, my job starts tomorrow and I will get to know more about what my project entails.

I stay in Borivli with my friend Ameya. Funny thing nis that like Hostel 11 of IIML, this place too is surrounded by 'dayegs' (or "dogs" for those who haven't seen Brad Pitt play a gypsy). I am not a fan of dogs as you all know, but these Mumbai dogs have managed to eke out a smidgen of respect for themselves in my mind. Because the dogs of Bombay are just like the people of Bombay. They mind their own business and let you mind yours. So while the Lucknow dog would express an unhealthy interest in what I was gobbling down as I ran to my morning lecture, the interest often manifesting itself in a threatening growl that says "Gimme the sandwich or I'll nip ya", the Mumbai dog maintains a stoic distance. He rummages through the garbage bin, licks himself...maybe even chases his own tail or two....but does not interfere with your life. This sorta dog I like. So yesterday as I walked from the Western Express Highway towards Ameya's home, munching on a wadapav (Lucknow has no wadapav!!!), I was struck by the downright decent behaviour of the Mumbai dogs. Doog doog....I mean good good!

Saturday, April 05, 2003

Met Parvez a couple of days back. Sat in Barista on FC Road (not to be confused with Barista in H'ganj, Lko) and talked about any and everything. We had actually been in a few quizzes together before, but neither of us remembered what the other dude looked like. He recognised me though, and spared me a round of "Are you Parvez? No? Then you must be Parvez!! oh sorry.....are you Parvez then?.......etc".

Manzil na thi par safar toh suhana tha
Andherey mein mahtaab ke saath
Woh bhi meri humsafar thi

Subah hotey nazar padi
Ek saathi toh dhal gaya
Doosri humsafar bhi kya humsafar thi

Baahon mein lene ki koshish ki toh dekha
Woh toh meri parcchayi thi
Safar tanha tha aur manzil bhi nahi thi

Wind picks up
Leaves everywhere
Dust in my eyes...not a storm yet

Door rattles
Shudder in the bed
Gulp in my throat...not a quake yet

Sun blazes
Parched lips shiver
Dry throat shrivels...not a famine yet

Blinding pain
Head cracked
Ears ringing
Nose bleeding
Limbs mangled
........not even alive yet!

p.s - poem's got nothing to do with Iraq or SARS.....or anything you would see in the papers

A small reason for cheer. I was under the impression that one of my favourite bloggers has stopped blogging some months back. Used to miss her neurotic posts. Turns out she had just shifted base elsewhere.

Sitting in a netcafe near my house.....for some weird reason there's a quasi-song from that horrid film "Khushi" playing here. GRRRRR!!

Thursday, April 03, 2003

One big big difference between Lucknow and Pune-

There is such a huuuuuge number of females on the streets of what if most are in the Hizbul getup?


Here is a conversation I had recently

Friend: So what have you been doing for the past few days?
Me: Going out, lazin around, watching sitcoms
Friend: Which sitcoms do you like?
Me: Seinfeld and Frasier. I like F.R.I.E.N.D.S too but I already have it on my hard disk.
Friend: You like F.R.I.E.N.D.S too? Which is your favourite character from among them?
Me: Currently my favourite is Mr. Heckles.
Friend: Oh no, I meant one of the six F.R.I.E.N.D.S
Me: Mr. Heckles could be one of the six F.R.I.E.N.D.S!!!
Friend: !!!!!!!

ROFL.....only regular watchers of F.R.I.E.N.D.S.....and especially Pushkar and Sunil will get this joke.

Wednesday, April 02, 2003

By the way, connecting to the internet from home is so different from connecting to the internet from the insti.

At the insti, the whole thing is 24 hours. No one is charging you anything (not exactly but you get my point) for surfing more since it is a LAN. At home it is still good ole dial-up, and with the recent(for me) hike in landline rates, it is so difficult to surf without keeping an eye on the clock.

While chatting on MSN, I don't need to use the term "brb" anymore. ;-)

I've never been one who watches Awards functions and all....they bore me. Yet today i watched the "Alpha Gaurav Awards" of the Marathi entertainment industry, and NO, my ego is not yet strong enough to make me watch those awards just because their name is the same as mine.

The fact that I watched an awards functions just because it was Marathi shows how much I've been missing Pune/Maharashtra.

Highlight of the show - Sonali Kulkarni in a red nau-vari sari with a ton of jewellery, dancing to a medley of songs. Great songs, great music....and man did Sonali look gorgeous!!

Current Music - Lady in Red ;-)

Tuesday, April 01, 2003

I have been doing absolutely nothing for the past two days. Eating, sleeping, watching TV and spending time with friends.......hey wait, that isn't "nothing", that is everything that I love to do. =-)

I generally succeed in fooling at least some people on All Fool's Day. Yesterday too, I met with sucess as I told Pushkar and Sunil that we have to give a 50 page write-up about the 'Strategic Aspects" of our summer internships when we go back to Lucknow. This has to be different from the project report that is already expected. Both guys expressed their contempt for the Strat-Man prof in the choiciest of invectives....Pushkar made a lot of those red-faced "angry" smilies on MSN messenger, where I told him.

My intention of fooling people who read my blog was foiled because publishing was disabled yesterday. =-( Oh well...

Today morning I was flipping channels and came across "Cricket Classics" on Ten Sports. Now usually they show very boring matches, and many times those that India lost (grrrrr). But this time I saw a lean Imran Khan run in and get Vengsarkar's wicket, and I thought, hey this really must be a classic. It was. It was probably one of the most memorable Indian wins ever, and the second most fantastic match at Sharjah (first place grudgingly granted to Miandad's last ball six....third place to Sachin's desert storm). Imran took 6 wickets for 14 to bundle India out for 125 and India came back to dismiss Pakistan for 87 after they were a comfortable 35/1. It felt great to watch the highlights. A few observations -

*Duuuuuude, Imran was fast!! Not only was he fast, but his bowling seemed a notch above anyone in contemporary cricket.

*Gavaskar, whose brilliant catches started the Paki slide was 36 at that time and was still so spry.

*L Sivaramakrishnan who must have caused you distress through his insipid commentary during the World Cup was a splendid turner of the ball. One wicket of his was a typical Shane Warne type dismissal, landing way outside leg and turning sharply.

*Rameez Raja's looks haven't changed much.

*Can't say the same about Ravi Shastri

*In general the Indian team then sported a lean and fit look. They seemed to be natural athletes, and no wonder they dominated the game at that time.

*The Indian crowd contingent kept going "We are the champions..we are the champions..". This match was in 1985, and India had won the Benson and Hedges World Championship in Australia just some days ago (without losing a single match, I might add). 2 years back we had won the World Cup. It must have been a heady feeling to be an Indian supporter then. Jaane kahan gaye woh din....... hopefully those days'll be back soon. =-)

Seems like it is gonna be a while before we see another India-Pakistan match. Hey that reminds me, I read an interview of Indian playback singer Abhijit last week. He was grumbling about how we let Pakistani singers come to India and mint money. He said the government is being unfair. On one hand it bans cricket because of the terrorism, even though our cricketers are welcome in Pakistan. But though our singers and artistes are unwelcome in Pakistan (Lata Mangeshkar was denied a visa some years back!!!!!!), our music can not be sold there, and our movies are legally banned, we keep the one-way inflow of Paki artistes and outflow of Indian money going. His exact words were "yaha sirf chaar roti hai humein khane ke liye...aur aap dushman ko dawat de rahe ho".

Hmmmm, dude's got a point. Why the double standards? Why allow singers and disallow cricketers? While in the larger scheme of things it may seem puerile and churlish, if you understand where he is coming from, it seems reasonable. I find our Government's attitude of "No Cricket" stupid (especially since we are a better team than them now..LOL) but what I find more stupid is the Pakistani establishment's attitude. Indian songs and movies are banned...a ban which is totally ineffective. Any Pakistani will be able to tell you the story of the latest Indian movie, cos the pirated VCDs are sold rampantly. In fact even the pirated VCDs sold in India, like Sadaf, are of Pakistani origins. I have never seen a Pakistani TV channel show an Indian song, in fact when PTV showed some songs a year back as a part of a show that talked about plagiarisation, there was a major brouhaha in all the newspapers. Our artistes are not even allowed official presence there...and we help their artistes mint money.

I am not saying we follow this silly tit-for-tat policy all the time, just trying to understand Abhijit's point of view. Is it OK to mix politics and sports but not OK to mix politics and art(!!)? So far except for the Shiv Sena, official India has welcomed Pakistani artistes. The gesture is not reciprocated. So what should be done? About sports, Musharraf has already shown his silliness by saying "India is scared of losing in cricket to Pakistan" and then having to eat those words. Anyway, after the Aisam-ul-Haq Qureshi issue, Pakistan has no moral standing left to say to anyone "Don't mix sports with politics". what am I saying here? Ban Pakistani artistes? Allow cricket? I don't know. But I do understand what Abhijit is saying. And I would love to see an India-Pakistan match again before 2007.