Saturday, December 29, 2007

MCL .. yay !

Never thought i could be happy about an injury .. but I will take an MCL tear over an ACL injury any day. Should hopefully be healed in 4-5 weeks .. though the doctor promised that I should be able to negotiate the slopes as early as 2-3 weeks. Fun fun fun.
I have a brace .. looks cool. Going back in 2 weeks for a follow-up. Meanwhile, some icing, some exercises, some stretching is in the works.

Was kinda enjoying the vegging at home, not going anywhere .. ostensibly for resting the knee :-). Have a nice 10 day growth of beard. Of course there are some white hair there .. i made sure i took the pics from the opposite side ;-)

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Mommy ! i dreamt of you !

Just had to post this one .. about a dream i had last night.
I am in some remote place with my mom, and since we need to get home, she decides that we should take a couple of the Sea Harrier jets parked nearby (she is a pilot).I have never flown this thing before, but mom reassures me that it should not be a big deal. And its not. I really enjoy the flight to our house (This is my old house, with a vegetable garden attached). We land, and gently guide the jets to a parking spot, keeping to the tracks between the veggie patches.
Next morning, its time to go back, so i try to unlock "my" jet's cockpit with a key that i have, It instantly starts up something inside, and a light starts flashing indicating that the ejection sequence is in progress. I yell out to mom, who peers over to see whats happening. I know that the seat is going to fly out any second, and tell mommy to get away. And sure thing, the ejection seat gets blasted out, but it hits the fan (?? fan in the middle of a field ??) and falls down. I have to jump to avoid it.
Mom calls out to some maintenance guy, who comes and says that this has happened before, and this time he will really get to the root of the problem.
Thats all i remember. Thought i should write it down before i forget.

I can see clearly ..

In winter you get some of the rare SF days when there is no wind, clear skies and a crisp refreshing cold in the air. Nothing better than to go up to a roof (i am glad i have access to some of those) and chill out.
The first set of pics is from PK's roof. This is a raw roof (no proper access, no fencing, and a very rough floor). But those are the best, with nothing to block your view. This was very impromptu (as have been most things for me lately). Went to PK's place, Mandar came over (and later Daju). We just climbed to the roof with our beers, and sat there for about 2-3 hrs.



The roof has some nice graffiti (from god knows when) which provided a nice backdrop to this shot of PK and Duy. And Mandar.



Just some more views .. the middle one is the twin peaks, with its tower, and the right one is looking towards portrero hill.

The second set is from a similar excursion, but this time to Daju's roof. This one is not that open, but again, the day was just amazing.



The building behind the beer can is the new intercontinental hotel.
And finally, a view of the mission district (thats the Mission Delores) against the sun.


I also wanted to mention a camera that i have bought for Niki .. Its a Panasonic DMC-FZ18. The most exciting feature : it has a 18x optical zoom. Yes .. optical. Thats equivalent to a 28-504 mm lens in 35 mm terms ! And of course, an image stabilizer with that. Takes RAW pictures also. A pretty good camera for its price .. i really love the zoom you can get out if it ! All the Daju pictures are from that.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Waiting for Godot .. with a bum knee

I still don't have a date for my oath-taking ceremony .. the reason for my current SF trip. I did go to the office, and was duly assured by one of the keepers of information there, that I was still in the system, being processed, and could expect a date of 24th Jan. But as i still have not gotten any official confirmation for this, I am gestating in a state of limbo.
Today Daju also left for NYC. This, along with PK (India/Israel) and Mandar (Vegas), ensures that there are very few options left to hang out with in the city.

And the worst of it .. My knee is kaput !
Went to Kirkwood with Daju and his friend for a snowboard trip. On Saturday evening, while just getting my groove back, the slopes decided not to like me anymore, and i spun out wildly in a spray of powder. I have had lots of wipeouts before, but I knew this was bad. For one, my body had twisted around from momentum, using my right knee as the fulcrum. And this was not one of the directions the knee is meant to twist in. Excruciating pain in the knee. Good thing about wipeouts on a snowboard is that you can easily roll over and sit on your butt after the fall .. and all i could do was take deep breaths, to keep myself from screaming out in pain. I think it was about 5 minutes before i could think again.
From all the incidents i had heard/read about, the one thing i remembered was to ice the joint immediately. So I start piling up some snow on my knee. People are looking at me quite weirdly .. It seemed like I was trying to build a snow cave around my leg. Sat there for about 15 mins. The pain subsided a little. And all this time i am thinking .. ACL .. ACL .. ACL ..!! Too many people i know have had to say goodbye to any kind of physical sport after suffering from a torn ACL. And I don't even want to contemplate an extended period of time without sports.
I rode down. Not too bad. Maybe this is just a sprain. WTF .. lets go up again. And I did. Took it easy. Gingerly navigated my way down. And my knee let me know that it was a bad idea. Borrowed a plastic bag, filled it with some of the abundantly available snow, put it on my knee and sat down to wait for Daju. The pain kept coming and going. That night was quite bad .. could not sleep .. did not know what position my knee would be comfortable in. Finally figured out late morning, and caught a couple of hours of shuteye.
And of course, there are no doctors offices open, today being Christmas day. So I am just waiting again .. to find out whats wrong, how bad it is, and will I have to give up THE major passions in my life. Trolling the omniscient internet for advice has yielded no definite answers at all. Plans for going to Tahoe again next weekend will have to be canceled .. even if the injury is not that bad, will have to give it a rest. And I was relying on some snow sports to break the tedium of the other wait. This truly sucks.

I can walk, but there is a lingering pain in the knee, and I have to walk with a limp. And I dont want to exert the knee too much before i know whats going on. That means no walks to the mission, no dancing, no bar hopping, and no wandering about the city on such a lovely sunny day. I hate being cooped up inside the house without options. Not that i was roaming about the city everyday, but just the fact that i cannot do it anymore is bothering me. And i dare not contemplate the worst case scenario .. losing mobility for an extended period of time.

I have never had an injury before that I know can be really bad. Or maybe I did not know enough when i had them. The fact that I might have to give up something that has been such a integral part of my life is really messing me up. And the fact that I dont know !!! I will prob have to wait another week or so to get a doctors appt (if i am lucky .. the medical system here is totally screwed up). So till then ..

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

San Francisco Psychedelia

"Lets start with crashing the McKinsey holiday party".
Any evening that begins with this remark has a potential to go in any direction. And needs proper preparations. A suit, for instance. For which i had to bring out an old friend from imminent retirement. I have had this black suit for about 7 years now .. bought it when i moved from development to presales (predicting that i would need some formal clothing). Well, it has seen many a wedding (Including the famous Deepak Arya matrimony) and holiday parties. But, it is in the last stages of its life, with shoulders sagging a little bit .. and it was the only option available at this short notice. Annamootai promised a shirt. I had black shoes. This made up a acceptable combination which would ensure that we would not be thrown out by the security. Annamootai's dwelling was designated as the base for the evening.

And there were the tried and tested natural products for achieving a state of mind elevation which is needed to survive such an evening. Two small ones were rolled (hey .. backup is always good) and duly stashed.
Found cabs pretty easily all evening (which was lucky - this is supposed to be one of most busy nights for cabbies in SF). First stop was the Sacred Heart school in Pac Heights where Anna made an appearance, while I had a drink at the bar. Then we made our way to the Asian Arts Museum.

Met up with some old friends from previous holiday parties (I did crash the same party last year too !). Jack and Sarah were there. Nice food. Free booze. Some good looking women. I was soon making polite (and hopefully logical) conversation with random folks. The DJ started playing some quite lame music. I later found out that he had been instructed to play only "safe" songs. People were dancing. I did manage to take a tour of the museum at one point in time (10 minutes .. thats all i could stand). But somehow the end of the evening found just two enthusiastic people on the floor, requesting some Dr Dre from the DJ. No points for guessing who these were.

This place was closing down. We went outside, and partook the green stuff. On to Bubble Lounge for the afterparty. (Yeah .. i know .. lameass bar, but again, the promise of free booze is a powerful magnet). Met some more old friends. I guess Annamootai did too, because by the time we left, he was getting desperate text messages. Hit the local taco joint to get some food, and ordered a burrito to go. Which was very important for the next stage of the evening. This was about 3:30 AM. This burrito was used to assist in the consumption of a different variety of flora. Yes .. the 'shrooms !! At this point I advised Anna to go and do his thing .. the lady friend was waiting. And i fell asleep, just barely registering the fact that my consciousness was elevating to another level.

Woke up when Annamootai came back at sunrise. Woke up to a beautiful sunrise. I have rarely seen such a clear and bright day in SF. No, this was even true without accounting for my enhanced state of mind. Piled on some clothes and ventured out onto the patio. There could not have been a better time, or a better place, to enjoy the new discoveries I was making about the hidden recesses of my own mind. Explosions of pleasure were bursting out in a spontaneous manner. Colors were vivid and flowing. The sharp chill in the patio was contrasting very nicely with the comfortable warmth of Anna's living room couch. We did talk to each other, but soon realized that words were not the right medium to express thoughts at that point.

I did take some pictures .. although i was restricted by the absence of any decent camera.
Anna should have some better ones in his blackberry, which i will upload later.

Anyway .. today I will not describe what I went through that morning. I will leave that to another time, when I am a little more sure of it. Suffice to say, it was one of the most intense experiences of my life. Tried to get some sleep in the afternoon. Read an interesting book, Whatever, by Michel Houellebecq. And spent a relaxing evening at Casanova and Pad Thai.

So some observations on Annamootai. At a time when I was quite drunk (and stoned), and would have just gone to sleep, Anna pushes to consume some 'shrooms, goes to fulfill a duty, and comes back home because he has promised me that he will be back. Ah .. and in the morning, he calls up Gemma, who by chance is going to India at the same time as him. And is showing some signs of finally falling for our boy. As i remarked to Daju, he might be born with a deep connection with the "force", which is usually interpreted as being "lucky". People have been trying to achieve this in various ways - meditation, religion, cults - but I now think that there are folks who are born with it. More on this later :-)

Goa : Up in smoke !

This was quite a spontaneous trip. Navin said that he would be coming to Goa on the weekend of the 1st Dec (Thurs-Sun), and I decided to join him, even though I was planning to go to San Fran on the 3rd. Figured i could enjoy three days of sun and sand. And Navin promised to introduce me to the underground party scene in Goa, because Noura had some contacts there.

Well .. we did stay in North Goa to be near the scene, but never did make it to any gig. Because we spent 3 days stoned to the gills. Eating, drinking and smoking up were the main focus.
Noura managed to procure a starter pack from friend of hers. That was for the Thursday evening. We did meet Colin that night (he was occupying the room above Navin's) who offered some really nice stuff. We sat by the pool listening to the old tried and tested iPod stereo. Noura and I were alternately DJing, so the music was fresh at all times. Colin also enthralled us with some stories from his much-chequered past. Or his fictional much-chequered past !

Next day, I got my rented bike, and we drove for an hour to this isolated beach past Arambol, where Noura proved her resourcefulness by finding more sources. After this, we were set for the weekend. Highlights were some excellent grilled Pomfret, cold beer, and the discovery that being stoned really does not impair your ability to drive (my theory is that it is a very instinctive activity, so dont need the higher faculties of the brain). Of course, trying to find your way is a totally different thing ! But Navin/Noura did manage to guide us home every night.

And we did manage to catch "Goldmember", playing in one of the roadside bars. And the very end of "Pulp Fiction". (Note to self : Watch Pulp Fiction atleast once every 6 months)

I remember sitting on the same chair for six hours one afternoon. Food and drinks were on tap, local women were selling fresh fruits, and we were watching the convoluted attempts of many a goggle-eyed tourist to surreptitiously include the scantily clad sunbathing women in their pictures and videos.

Then there was "Curlees", where there is this small area of moss covered stones on the beach, little kids playing with hippie parents, good electronic music floating out. Life was good

Monday, November 19, 2007

When i said i was travelling ..

I really was !

Consider this :

Oct 26, 8:00 PM : night train to Jodhpur (12 hrs)
Oct 28, 8:00 PM : night train back to Delhi (12 hrs) (I will have more on this journey)
Oct 31, 7:40 AM: morning Shatabdi to Chandigarh
Nov 1, 1:30 AM, : Late night train back to Delhi
Nov 2: Flight to San Francisco (a mere 24 hrs)
Nov 13 : Flight back from San Francisco (reach at 4:30 AM) (only 22 hrs this time)
Nov 13, 12:00 PM : Drive to Karnal (3 hrs) for cousin's pre-wedding party (afternoon)
Nov 14, 2 PM : Drive to Chandigarh (2.5 hrs) for same cousin's wedding
Nov 15, 1 AM : Drive back to Karnal (2.5 hrs)
Nov 15, 2 PM : Drive to Delhi (3 hrs)
Nov 17, 7:40 AM : morning Shatabdi to Chandigarh (to attend's friends event) (3.5 hrs)
Nov 17, 6:20 PM : evening Shatabdi back to Delhi (3.5 hrs)

So, if i tell any one of you that i have been busy travelling, better believe me. This is same reason i will give for not having updated my blog in a while.

I do plan to publish accounts of the Jodhpur and San Fran trips very soon. I promise.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

IIT .. and basketball ... again

It was only me and Bhupi today .. everyone else bailed out. So we shot around a bit, played a bit with some kids, and then these 2 young guys who showed up. nothing really great so far. Then we ran into some other alumni (junior to us though). Then played 2 intense and good games of 3 on 3. Bhupi is still shooting like machine, and just on that strength we managed to beat the young 'uns. Both bhupi and i were in no hurry to get back home, nothing planned for the rest of the day. We played till about 8:30 or so. In the lights.
Went to canteen for some coffee after that.
Felt very good about the whole thing. Somehow the quiet IIT campus, a good, tiring b'ball game, the cool evening and the coffee instilled a sense of well-being that I think i have been missing for a while. And am actually enjoying the Sunday evening, sitting at home, having had a warm shower and some good home cooked food. (thanks Mona).
Yeah .. evenings are becoming cooler. No longer can you just jump into the cold shower. And i think i will need a sweatshirt the next time i go play.
Legs are in that tired state where i know i will have cramps at night. Can feel it in the calves. But as i said, this is a good tiredness.
Two people i missed today : Parthasarthy and Bhandari.. both of you would have loved this evening. And it would have been great if you were here. You can probably appreciate what i am talking about. BTW.. I dont know when the Sportech is, will find out and let you know.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

The laid back Delhi

As i mentioned, Nishat, Jodie and Mark landed in town Sunday night. They wanted to see atleast some historical Delhi. We decided on breakfast at Chokola in Khan Mkt, then Humayun's Tomb and finally Qutb in the evening.
Well .. we woke up at 11:30, and breakfast (no longer !) was at 1:00. But we had some excellent drinking chocolate. Both hot and cold. Creamy and sweet ! mmm mmm mmm !!! This is the french toast, which was ok. This capture is attributed to Jodie.

This was my first time at Humayun's Tomb also. I was armed with an article written by one of our experts, specifically for first time visitors to the place. But i think we all were in a very relaxed mode, and were more interested in wandering about than actually discovering the cultural significance of this World Heritage Monument. And taking pictures.
This place is actually quite cool. Not crowded at all .. greenery all around .. very quiet .. and very very relaxing. Its like a isolated oasis of peace in the middle of the mad rush which is Delhi.

This is the main tomb reflected in one of the water features. I got this concept from Andre Fanthome, one of the photographers on our expert panel. Thanks dude.

Very impressive structure, I would rank it very close to the Taj Mahal. For this next pic, I asked Nishat to pose here, but she was looking very stiff. Then i asked her to walk towards me .. and this time she looked much more relaxed and at home.


We reached this place at around 2:30, and it was not very hot. But in the evening, the weather was just perfect. And so was the light. We just sat around in one of the shaded areas, enjoying the atmosphere.


Went to Kareem's for dinner around 10 (near Jama Masjid) after picking up Niki and Sonam. It is ramadan time, so the whole area was really bustling. Mark got a long video as we were walking through the galis. I still have not seen it, but it must be really psychedelic. Ate quite a lot. In fact, the next day, i did not feel hungry all day. A very satisfying end to a great day.

50 mm ..

Elevate was the destination last saturday night. Was waiting for the Gurgaon folks to show up. Relaxed. Having a drink. Realized I had not been able to use the 5D in a while, and decided to bring it out.


I had been reading about going back to the basics .. with a 50 mm lens. So popped my 50mm F1.8 (yeah , it is about $80) and started taking shooting. It was night, so the large aperture was allowing me to shoot without a flash. Our house is a veritable mecca for such an occasion. There are enough objects (from Sonal's shoots) to make some interesting subjects. Tried out various things. Here are some samples




Switched to other people when the folks arrived. (this is AK, Juhi, Kalsi, Johri, with Nat in the front)


With this one, i dont know if it was camera shake, or if Nat moved. But the picture is a little blurred. Would have been a nice shot otherwise.


Will post some pics from Humayun's Tomb next time, where i went for the first time, with Nishat, Jodi and Mark

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Late night eats

Its the second consecutive day that i am going to bed at this time. Its 5:30 AM right now .. went to Elevate with Johri, Kalsi, Juhi (Kalsi's wife). Re, AK, Nat, Sumedha. Quite a happening evening there. But could feel it in my legs, after the 18 holes of golf.
After Elevate, folks wanted to have some food. The first thing that came to my mind was Nizamuddin. This is the muslim part of Delhi, and as the Ramadan is going on, I was pretty sure that some good food would be found there. Johri knows of this excellent place in one of the shadier bylanes of the area. I mean, its ok normally, but at 4 AM at night, during Ramadan, with this one white chic and two other women, I was a bit apprehensive. Nat gave us not choice, she was the first out of the Safari, and went to buy some ciggies at the nearest paan shop. People were staring at us all this time. Me and Johri made an effort to go and check out the place, but it was closed. On the way back, Nat had the urge to interact with two sufis smoking a chillum. Very tempting that chillum.Looked really good. But in the interest of sanity, we went back to our SUV, and drove to the more comfortable area around the railway station.
This is another one of those places that will amaze you. You see some really gorgeous women, just coming back from a night out (just like us. in fact, we spotted some people who were in Elevate with us). If I was not so hungry, there was some interesting exploration that could have been done.
And this Sumedha chick .. she was born in Rohtak ! But quite cute i must say. I dont know what was here problem, but she never really got into the groove of things. Needs to be further pursued maybe.
Juhi, on the other hand, was quite a revelation. Really cool woman. First time i really hung out with her.
Anyway, back to the eating joint. It could have been straight from a movie. Everyone dressed up, gold dust sparkling, gelled hair shining in the bright lights. And very open PDAs. (public display of affection). India is really changing. Although, the same gestures, about 200 m away, in the heart of Nizamuddin, would probably be an invitation for a nice beating, if not worse. And same with Elevate. Young folks enjoying themselves in every way. Cannot distinguish it from a similar place anywhere else in the world. Maybe better than most.
Getting really late now. Will sign off on that note.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Autumn in Delhi, and some IIT memories

The evenings are becoming quite cool. Sun sets at around 6:30, which is pretty early. We don't do daylight savings in India. With most of the population anyway having a very cavalier attitude towards time, the amount of confusion that DST can cause would be amazing. There is no longer the need for an A/C at all times. And even the fan can feel quite cool in the wee hours of the night.
This is the time of the year when the "raat ki raani" (queen of the night) blossoms. This plant has a very sweet and distinctive smell, and very strangely, gives out this smell only after sunset. So in the evening near my house you will be accosted by this all-pervasive aroma. The smell suddenly triggered a very nostalgic memory for me - my first year in IIT.
The session at IIT starts in August, and by the time you get over the ragging and are in a position to appreciate the surroundings, it is mid-september. When you are walking back to the hostel after evening basketball practice, you encounter this very same smell. A very relaxing time - practice is done, you are looking forward to dinner at the hostel (i know i know .. a lot of people would argue with me on looking fwd to the hostel meals, but to them i say "Ghee and boora will make any meal look-forwardable"). You might go to a movie later at night. Or maybe just hang out on the roof, having one of those endless discussions. If anything, IIT was a place where everyone had an opinion. And was not shy about expressing it. So discussions would rage on and on, and on a particularly varied gamut of topics. From the sex life of african bullfrogs, to the variation in a particular starlets looks over the years, to the best way to blast a steel glass high in the air using fireworks.
Or there were the ever present challenges of physical prowess, usually suggested, started and sustained by the competitive natures of Johri and Bhand. Fastest to climb down the 5 flights of stairs. Highest kick on the wall. And these led to other impromptu challenges, which had to settled on the sports field. Right then. The good thing about IIT was, most fields were floodlit. So I have played tennis with Johri and Rawal at 2 AM to settle a bet. Just as an example.
Whims were turned into records, which were duly noted down in IIT book of records. How many poeple can you fit in one standard hostel room ? I think the answer was more than a 100, with tables being used to create 2 levels in the room for people to crouch into.
Somehow our batch in Kumaon hostel was a very healthy collection of "Dhakkans" from all engineering departments. Dhakkan is a term used to describe the folks at the very end of the department merit list. Dont know how it happened, but it caused our batch to be the subject of many a advisory sessions from the seniors. But it did create one the better sports batches in the history of our hostel. Well, maybe there were people with greater skills, but we were definitely the most "enthu" (short for enthusiastic). Which makes up for a lot. Bhand, Rawal, Johri and I played almost every sport to a certain respectable level. And in our first intra-hostel competition, we kicked some serious ass, and in the process ruffled a lot of feathers in the senior batches, who felt they were not getting the respect they deserved.  These events were held after dinner, and the four of us alone made up atleast 3 or 4 different sports teams. The games would be scheduled back to back to fit in the limited time available, and on days we would play continuously from 9 pm to 1 am. This AFTER normal basketball practice in the evening. The adrenaline rush that comes from beatings more established teams was probably the only thing that kept us going. And we lost some also. But we fought .. fought for everything. Johri was the most aggressive one, not taking any shit from anyone. And we followed his lead. And we were soon getting the respect we deserved. Because we WERE good !
This beginning led to bigger things, specially the time in our third year when we won the inter-hostel sports championship. Just because we decided that we would. Rawal was the one instrumental in organizing it all. I dont think any other person could have done it. Rawal was the people person, convincing everyone to get with the program. Pure luck that we picked him as our sports secretary that year. I could not have predicted that he would succeed so well. Again, the four of us formed the core, but Rawal was the one who tapped the talent in the junior batches which took us over the edge.
Anyway, enough self-promotion ! I just got started on this and the words kept on coming. I think its something in the sweet smell of "raat ki raani" !

Went to IIT last sunday to play basketball. Had a good game. Varun constantly surprises me. He is good ! I think this weekend game has potential. We might just enter the IIT sports meet as an independent team. We have the people i think, even though the legs are not as sprightly as before !

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Back home (?)

Interview date has been set. 8th of November. I will be back in San Francisco (and possibly Dallas) at that time. This is quite exciting. Till this came through, i did not realize that i am quite missing the folks in SF and Dallas. V should also be there in SF this time i go there.
Things have changed while i was away. Dani is not in SF anymore. Moved back home. Something like what I am trying. She is moving for someone. And herself.

Somehow i have not had a chance to use the 5D for a looong time now. not to say that i have not taken pictures. been trying things with the point and shoot. mine, niki's and delphine's. will post some samples soon enough. But i must say that i am itching to use the big one by now.

Gymkhana

Let me introduce the Delhi Gymkhana Club to you. Its supposedly a Delhi institution, a legacy of the british, still being subsidized by the government so that the elite of Delhi can have a place to go and find a sense of belonging. There is a 30 year wait for membership. So I was quite curious (well , a little) to see what the place is like.
The building is an old colonial edifice, and looks beautiful with all the whitewash and greenery around it. It is situated in the poshest part of Delhi. The real estate cannot even be appraised. You enter through a driveway which curves gracefully into the foyer in true bungalow style. The gate informs the general public that the institution is for members only. There is a flunkey actually checking cards before he allows you to enter. But then, he knows most of the members by face and does not have to bother anyway.
He knows most of the members because the average age of the member is about 70 years. On the sunday evening i went there, it looked like a geriatric ward in a Florida hospital, complete with the "lady in the wheelchair with glucose" (who was duly admired for being the brave woman she is .. to come to the club to socialize even as she is half dead. LOL). These old fogies are trying to revive long lost memories of the Raj, or the time just after it when these folks were still relevant.
The restaurant serves "Paneer a la Kiev". The room has been renovated to a kitschy  decor that the romans would be proud of. But the cutlery and the dishes still proudly bear the logo of DGC (delhi gymkhana club). (What the f*** is gymkhana ? can someone please enlighten me ?). Well fed rotund forms (well fed for the last 60 years !) order from the centuries old menu, which no one in the club has dared to change.
Somehow these places give me a sense of alienation. These are folks with whom i cannot find an iota of common ground. Army generals (nothing against them), retired bureaucrats, self-styled intellectuals, in short - people who have no touch with reality but still have the power to shape India's future. Still loath to let go of anything they can get for free (or subsidized). Not wanting any fresh air to blow in their burial chamber.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Niki and Sonam

Have not taken ANY pics for a long time. So, took my camera to Pahargunj the other day, but it rained. On coming back to Niki's house, there was some great light, so i asked Niki and Sonam to stand in front of the gaurdhouse.
Sonam's pics is a little out of focus. My fault entirely. Was not patient enough.


I like the background. I think i will go back and take some more portraits there.

Bands on my Hand

As an explanation for the previous pic ..
There is a festival in India called Rakhi. Sister tie bands on their brothers arms - and the brother promises to look after the sister. The band is also called a Rakhi
This is from last month .. these are rakhi's from Ruchi and my other numerous cousin sisters. You are supposed to keep them on till they fall off on their own. Some of mine have fallen off by now, but 3 still remain.
When i was a kid, one of the teachers in our school had an idea that all the girls in the class should tie Rakhis to all the boys, essentially nominating them brothers !! Even at that age, i had enough sense not to go to school that day !

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

The Unexpected

Somehow it is always the unexpected which gives you the most pleasure. This is orthogonal to the "anticipation" concept which Navin has proposed and which i fully agree with (more on that at some other time).
Today it took me 90 mins to drive from work to Johri's place. Played badminton .. had a couple of good games. Came home and decided to go to Fox for dinner. It is happy hour all night long on Tuesday. 2 for 1 all night long. Can't beat that.
Had some good conversations with Johri/Ak/Nat/VK. That's what i mean by unexpected. Every weekend you get some sort of pressure to enjoy. (well, i do. maybe thats something i need to change anyway). But today was cool. A Bonus.
Karaoke was ready, but i guess the participants all bailed out. thats ok .
Been busy somehow. haven't had a chance to do ANY photography at all. which is sad. will make it a point to explore more places. (went to PG with niki and sonam, but the rain spoiled it all). Golf is progressing. I never thought i would ever have any comment on my golf game. But Johri insists on going. And its kinda fun after a while. When you can atleast hit the ball about 50% of the time. And the caddies dont laugh at you. And you can hit farther than the lone female in your group (Niki). Mostly.
Have finally managed to get the Johri household wired for music. Can play my iPod on their dying stereo. makes a hell of a difference in the mood of the place. Hope to exploit it in different ways someday.
Did i tell you about last weekend ? Gurgaon closed at 12 am in the night. Yes. Gurgaon. All of it. A new DCP (Deputy Commisioner of Police) is in town and has not been paid off enough. Yet. hopefully the club owners will have taken care of it by next friday. Getting home at 12 am on friday night kinda sucks.
Delphine and D should be back this saturday from their trip down south. Am looking fwd to seeing both of them. They are fun to be around - whatever happens.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Party Log

So just for the record, let me give an account of last week's revelries.
Thursday was karaoke night. D,D, Jeremy, Alice, Ruchi, Niki, and Natalie (she manages models). Not a very happy night for others, as none of use were great singers. And instead of the simple "Walk of Life", the DJ put on "November Rain" for me to sing. Disaster.But, we had fun.
Friday was mostly at Richa's place. Johri, Ak, Nat, Selvita, Walia. Because we did go to ministry, just 1/2 hr before it closed !!. After that, decided to ride to my place to get my ipod for music. Scared richa by driving at 120 kmph. On the way back got stopped at a routine checkpoint. Cop asked for papers, so gave him the registration. He takes it and asks me whose name the car is registered under. Of which i have no clue, and i tell him that. He asks for a license and i give him my texas licence. Which is punched, and invalid , BTW. I told him that the hole was for chain to hang it on the neck. He did not know what to do. Move on, he said. Mind you , i was above any reasonable alcohol limits at that time. But that is not important in India.
Saturday night was Aura, as I had mentioned. Nice hip/young crowd. Good music. Again, Ministry had closed early, so came back home, and had my first real conversation with D and D.
Tomorrow is a holiday. YEAH ! so, Buzz again tonight. I dont think i have to repeat who is going to be there. You know that already.

Routinely Normal

Life has settled into a nice routine. I am still able to keep up with the simplefit workout (though i confess i have missed a couple of days, and have not been able to resist some delicious gulab jamuns from time to time. well .. maybe a little more than that ).
Try to go to Gurgaon every alternate day to play badminton, and stay over at Johri's place when i do that. His 'mundu' cooks good food. Its almost like a return to the hostel days. That house houses 3 dudes(ok .. one of them is hosting a girlfriend these days, but that is a small matter). It is set up as a nice bachelor pad. Sharab and Kabab are plentiful.
The badminton is a nice cross training workout .. just because i am still getting my movements back. And once in a while i enter the squash court where Johri just runs me to the ground. I can safely say that I will be in excellent shape if i continue this for another month or so !!
I think this was one thing i really missed in SF - the play. You can run, workout, whatever, but now i realize how much i missed the games in my life. I am also trying to set up a basketball session soon, though i know that will be a big disaster for the first couple of days. I know i am not fit enough to run 40 mins on the full court.
Just got some reality checks .. went to visit Sonal's ailing dad in Jind. He has lost so much weight. The left side of his body is very unresponsive. I sat next to him. I think he recognized me, because he patted me on the head and extended his hand to hold mine. His hands are bigger then mine, if you can imagine that. He gripped my hand and i was completely taken by surprise at how strong that grip still was. He is a really strong man, still. I sometimes wonder what it feels like to know that you have a limited time to live. Very limited. What would I do if I knew that .. with the options limited by a severe lack of mobility !
Also, on the way back from Aura with Delphine and D, came across an accident. The police were on the scene. A car had rammed into a motorcycle. Delphine was driving, and said that hopefully no one was hurt. But i spotted the body lying on the road. I am glad neither Delphine or D noticed it. There was not doubt about it, it had the rag doll look of a lifeless shell. And no one was paying any attention to it. An easy way to die ? Better than when you can see it coming for an extended period of time and not do anything about it. ?
Aura was excellent on saturday. Had not heard good house music in a while. Had only one drink there because the music was enought to keep me high. A surprise : Sonam (another one of Sonal/Niki/Ruchi's friends, she's from Ladakh) came out with us. And she was totally into the music .. eyes closed, just dancing with herself and enjoying the music. Anyone that can do that is sorted out, i think. Tried to go to Ministry after that, but they closed early. So came home (Me, Delphine, and D), listened to some hindi pop, and talked about Hindi movies. Was nice. Had not talked to D and D before, except shouting across a table in a club. They are really cool chicks. Am i repeating myself here ?

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

A Quiet Sunday Evening !

On Saturday, Niki, Ruchi and I had a delicious teppanyaki dinner at Oriental Bloom in the Ansal Plaza. Johri joined us and we proceeded to jeremy's house, for a farewell party for his two sisters, who are going back to Paris. Quite an interesting crowd, the hightligt being this australian girl Penelope, who could really sing. She plays with a local band called "Men Who Pause". Say the name out loud and you will get the joke. Good band ..  might go to see them play sometime. Ruchi and Niki decided to have a small gathering at our place the next evening (Sunday), and invited Jeremy and family.

Ruchi dragged Johri and me to watch the GP2 race at Buzz on Sunday afternoon, and after that we played golf with Niki (she is pretty good), and bought back some mixers for the party.

At around 8:30, the four of us were sitting down at our place, and started with some wine. Ordered some food (which Ruchi thought was excessive) from Colonel's Kebab. Jeremy, Alice and Camille arrived at around 9:15. By this time we had also spontaneously invited Gypsy King (previously mentioned) and Richa + Walia. Because we thought we needed more people in the house to finish off the food and drinks. Food arrived (it was a lot) and we started on the Kebabs.
D said that she was with 3-4 other folks, and did we have enough food ? I thought we could manage .. after all, these were french people, who anyway do nibbles. Gypsy King showed up with Ankita and two other girls, one of them had enough attitude for 20 people, and teeth to match. The other one was kinda ok though .. I will let you figure out which is which. Oh, BTW.. she was going to LA soon !
And i have to mention Trevor and Charlie (the wife), recently arrived from London, on assignment here for 3 years. At this time we were seriously running out of glasses to serve drinks.

Then came D with the boyz. What i did not expect were 3 already inebriated and hungry students, 2 of which were gay. Putting all reserve aside, they attacked the food with gusto. Of course, after they had poured themselves some drinks. Here they are. The girl on the left is also french .. someone we met at a karaoke party one night.
Looking at their revenous appetites, I had to advice Johri and the others to partake quickly, an advice which was taken to heart by all.

This is a scene from later in the night, when the music was at full blast. This is about 1 am.  Richa, Niki and Ruchi are in the VIP area.

Now we are nearing about 2 am. Remember, this is a Sunday night. Sunglasses seem to be the theme of the night. At this point i had stopped noticing who was coming and going, and there were about 30-40 people in the house.

Ah, and there was this one indian dude (nobody can recall who knew him - and how he came to be in the party). He tells me, "My gay friends will really like you". When I made a quizzical face, he appended "and the girls too !".

So now its about 3 am, the party is starting to die down. I am leaving y'all with a final glimpse of D. Those are my aviators. From 12 years ago.

I fell asleep twice next morning in the office. Luckily, i am good at dozing off while seeming to be busy on the computer.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Life Lessons

Let me tell you a story. I dont want to disparage the protagonist in any way. He is a good friend of mine. It is not his fault that this happened.

This friend (lets call him Ram) met a european girl. Lets call her Alice. And it so happened that they really liked each other and this ripened into a very close relationship. Ram at this time was living with two other guys. He had never lived with a woman before. He's had other girlfriends, but this is India - live-in relationships are rare.

Alice started spending a lot of time at Ram' house. Started living there. One night, around 12 pm, the inevitable happened. She asked Ram to get her some tampons. This has never happened to Ram before. He is quite unaware of the intricacies of the female plumbing. But, being the quintessential gentleman, he goes to the chemist. And comes back with diapers. Alice is thoroughly confused. "What is this ?" she says. She explains the situation to Ram. "Ah !" he quips! "These can serve the purpose!".

Needless to say, he is made to go to the shop again, and this time told very specifically what to ask for. And he does. All is good.

Just a reality check ! You can not assume things. It was not anyone's fault. But all said and done, it was a laugh. He will never live it down.

OKOKOK .. On popular demand

Here is Ruchi, D and me, at Buzz on wednesday

Now it is 12:30 AM on a friday night. D is in Varanasi right now. Time for a reality check. Will do that and post results

Friday, August 24, 2007

Email Thread

About 15 days ago, I receive this email :

Dear all
Namaste.
I am sharing my contact no. & email address for your kind information by hoping for regular communication.
Mobile-9848026303
Home-081-560303
Office-081-520255,522668
Fax-081-520589
Thanks.
Raj Kumar Kshetri
Nepalgunj


I have been receiving mail from this dude before, obviously a wrong email address, but i had ignored it till now. A safe thing to do would have been to block him. But I decided to be polite and inform him of his mistake.

Dear Raj Kumar in Nepalgunj

Thank you for the regular updates that I have been receiving
but I think that you have the wrong email address ..
I don't know you at all
as much as I appreciate the mails, please remove me from this update
list
manu

I thought that this would be the end of the matter. No. Raj Kumar from Nepalgunj had other ideas :

Dear Manu
Sweet love.
I can't understand that why do i remove u from my update list.
Hoping regular communication.
Thanks.

Raj

Nepalgunj


Now I am laughing. I could have again blocked him again, but this was too tempting. In India, Manu can be a girl's nickname also.

You idiot !

I am a guy .. so stop calling me sweet love

now that you know that, can you remove me from your mailing list ?

plus I am really not interested in updates from Nepalgunj (wherever the
hell that is)


m


I am still awaiting his reply ! Will keep y'all posted

Night Riders

Buzzzzzzzz !
Went to Buzz in Saket. Ruchi had promised D some indian pop music, and Buzz is the place. D came with her brother Tebo (the eldest sister is back in France for a vacation). Niki, Swati, Ruchi, Walia, VK. AK and Nat.
I will give details of the party later (with pics, as promised). But suffice to say that a LOT of alcohol was consumed by all.
We started on our way back at around 2:30 AM. I was driving (safe drunk driving - only in India !!!). Niki, Ruchi, D and Tebo. Just as we leave, a car with 4 dudes starts following us. I think they noticed us because of the ruckus we were creating outside the club before leaving. In fact, I think everybody noticed us, including 2 cops :-)
I still have not understood why, but following cars with girls in it is a done thing. I have done it in my youth, I admit. Rarely, but yes. So these youths were just following time-honored traditions.
Anyway - they are driving behind us, overtaking us, slowing down, driving beside us .. the works. A little scary, if you are sober. But we were not, so that was not a issue. I am driving steadily (ask anyone). At this point of time, the roads are almost empty. We have to drop off D and Tebo first, so Niki start giving directions. Slight problem - she remembers where they used to live 2 weeks ago. At one point, D has enough sense to ask where the f*** we are headed. U -turn. The youths are following us still.
We miss an exit. No problem. We back up. Its India. We almost miss another exit. The only reason the car makes it is because we are 5 people, and the car is difficult to topple over now. A lot of screeching tyres and braking is happening.
Think from the "followers" perspective. It totally seems that we are trying to lose them. Exciting stuff for them. They are totally pumped now.
So we drop of D and Tebo finally. The youths are watching us all the time. Then start driving to Niki's place. This time, the car pulls of next to us, and the youths gesture to us to roll down our windows. Of course, I ignore them and keep driving. The gestures become even more urgent, but nothing doing from our side.
Finally we reach Niki's place. Now we have to stop to let Niki out. The youths pull up alongside again. One of them leans out and asks us, "How do you get to Karol Bagh ?"

I dont know at what point they had decided to give up the chase and go home, but whatever that point was, they had been driven round half of Delhi, and were hopelessly lost ! Their home (Karol Bagh) is at the opposite end of Delhi. They probably did not know this part of Delhi at all. At that point, all they wanted were directions to go home.
So we gave them directions (hopefully right ones), they politely thanked us and went home.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Image Randomness ..

This is on my way back from Chandigarh. From the train. The problem with these A/C trains is that there is nowhere you can take a picture of the countryside except through the dirty windows.


I broke my (?) old badminton racket last week.



Whoever doubts badminton's authenticity as a sport should try playing 30 minutes.  I have started again after coming here, and am rediscovering why i used to love it.
This breakage was the result of a really hard smash. It did have a crack before, and my mom was using it regularly with no ill effects. I guess i play harder than my mom !
This belonged to my classmate in IIT : Puneed Dalmia. I forgot to return this to him when we graduated. I have met him only twice since that. He was a founder of JobsAhead, which hotjobs bought at a hefty price a couple of years back.

And finally some eye candy. She is Ruchi's anchor. In her TV show. I think i really need to go into TV production.

The Gang !

Here are some pics ..  let me introduce some folks from Last Week.



I have known Richa all my life. All my conscious life. She used to live 50 m from my house. We hung out almost every day since we were kids. Same class (different schools though). One of the coolest people i know.



Niki knows probably half of Delhi. The half worth knowing. If I go to party in Delhi, Niki is there with me. She is a partner is a law firm. One of the leaders in IP law practice in India. But when she parties .. she rocks! NIKKA SINGH is .. KING !!

I am working on D's picture too .. patience !

Bull Shit ? Not at all !

This dude was on the road on my way back from work today.
Obviously, this is rush hour. But no one dare disturb this the most untouchable of animals. Not only is it of the cow family, but it is also a "Sarkari Saand". (literally : government bull).
Those who have heard me talk about it will remember this. A bull is a cost center. It does no work (like an ox, which is a castrated bull) because it is too rowdy. But it is necessary to fertilize all the cows. So the government (yeah .. the benign ruler) gives each village/community one bull. It is community property. It is the whole communities' responsibility to feed it and take care of it. And the bulls responsibility : FERTILIZE ! It gets into high gear in the rainy season, when it sniffs out the cows that are in heat, and services them. What a life !
Me Jealous ? Hell yeah !

Here is a closeup, if you really want to admire him

Monday, August 20, 2007

Ancients

So let me introduce you to the 2 ancients in our family.
The first one has existed for 93 years, and is indirectly responsible for me. My Dadi ! She is my only living grandparent.
She is a little (well .. more actually) senile (in a very practical way). Cool thing is, she is living in a parallel world. In her mind, she has gone to trips to the US (where she did not visit me because she was too busy). I sometimes am jealous at her bliss.


She had lived in Lahore, where she was a teacher. She has raised 1 son (my dad) and married off 7 daughters. She had an iron-fisted control over all of them till about 10 years back. I have resented her at times for it .. specially some of her beliefs that used to be thrust on us kids all the time. Now she cannot even remember my name sometimes. Old age is very unforgiving.

The second one has been with the family since 1987. It is my dad's first car. In those times (yeah .. those times), poeple waited till they saved enough money to pay cash for a car. Well, the government chipped in with a really low interest rate loan (the perks of govt service .. god know the pay there is not the best !).

This is a Maruti 800 (yeah .. it really has a 800 cc engine). It was the first modern car in India, meant to be affordable for the common folk. My dad paid Rs 90,000 for it at the time. It was the first car in the block where we lived, and i was quite proud of it. But not as much as my dad, who still loves it.
We have had family trips where we have loaded 9 people (and luggage) in this car. To really appreciate this, you should know that the car was meant for a family of 4.
My sister has had it for a while (which was a big trial for the car, if you know my sister, but it came through with flying colors). It has been stolen once (which finally convinced my parents to buy a new car). It has NEVER given any problems (touchwood) in the 20 years that we have had it. It is celebrating its 20th birthday this August. HAPPY BIRTHDAY ..

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Punjabi Underworld

For anyone who can even slightly understand punjabi, this is a MUST SEE. I have seen many mashups/dubs, but this one just takes the cake. The timing of the dialog, the expressions, everything is just perfect. And of course, the "Gaalees" (abuses) are the best you will see.




I am also attaching my version of the transcript .. I did it so i could memorize the whole thing.

hai !!! nee ta lagda hain aj bahut gusse'ch hai. nee bhen kidhar challi haan ? nee !

nee kale kanjar teri bhen nu lan maariya ! mekhon paise le ke mainu philospher da pistaul de'eta. Aa phad pistaul te paal (?) apnee bhain da phuda.

gashtiye kee yaad rakhengee. Aih mein golee banayee ah - te eh lohe diyan bundaan vee paad devegi.

huh ! tu pehle vee bhain-i-oye see ainj hee keha see -

accha ! ja phir bhain-uva !

tu phie nahin na mannee kise kanjar dee gal. Ai bund-mara laya hai ainna ne pistaulan inna diyan chaldiyan nee samjhiyan ?

tu apnee vich bhain na huva ! tu aidee gal na manneen kudiye !

tu apne aap nu samajhda kee hai bhainchoda kaaliya ! Ai teree maan da khasam pols de vich afsar hai vadda. kanjara. Chadd paran .. tu das asi ida kee kareeye ?

Aidee maa da chola maariya mein soch leya. Ainoo mein lai jaana hai chuk ke thaane, te jadon innoo vajje na panj chittar te aidee saree shokhee nikal janee hai.

Tu chuk ke lai jaana hai ehnoo thane mere paise kaun daoo ? Puchh is bhainchode bachhe kolon !

Tu maithon puchh ke pistaul leya see - gashtee dee bachhiye ?

Tu mainu gashtee keha teree maan nu lan maariya kanjree deya bacchiya - mein teree bhain kolon paise lai ke annee aan bhainchod talliya (?)
Ai kaale bondoo dee ta bhain nu yevan

oooooooooooooo

chad paran aidee maan nu lan main de layoon.

huh. de layoon.

aidee bhain nee javayee. tere layee mehentaan kar chaddiyan din raat ik karta. lakh rupaiye dee golee banayee.

tu bhain de phudde'ch lai lai oh golee. mein teree bund vee paad denee nale udee vee paad denee vich

lai duss yaar !

Oh tu apnee bhain ee aai jaandan hai gal sun meri is bhainchode ne nee mannana.

jabaan nu lagaam de oye gashtee deya.

tu badee doctor dee kudee hain ! Chup karke bai. Davan tainnu vee lun, kanjree deya ?

phitte moo ! kuttee de puttar.

badiyan sohniya gaalan kadhdee ..

tu sunee hai ? aidee te maan noo main oh gaalan kadhda hunda see oh nee kade aggiyan bolee. Jaa zara ja ke uhda pata lai kite hore no jaa ke phadda lai lave mainoo bhugatna pai jaayega.

Mangoes !!!

Yummy mangoes are still in season. "Chausa" is the local favorite .. at this time of the year. I cannot believe that i have been missing these for the last 12 years. For the uninitiated, there are several hundred varieties of mangoes in India, and you get these at specified times in the mango season. "Langra" is my favorite, though i missed it this year.

Came to Chandigarh this morning on the Shatabdi. They have cool new coaches, with huge windows and really nice soundproofing. Lalu is doing a good job !
On the way to the railway station, the security arrangements for our Independence Day were fully operational. We encountered 3 road blocks within 200 meters .. on the same road. I guess they don't trust themselves to do a good job the first time around !!

Took the Meridien front desk folks on a walk with our expert yesterday. Was supposed to be Lutyen's Delhi, but our security conscious police had decided to restrict access to most areas near the India Gate. We drove around some areas which i had also not seen. Walked for a bit at Gandhi Smriti, the place where Mahatma Gandhi was shot. Interesting place. Would have been better if it had been a little cooler ;-)

Messaged Shveta about the girl to ask if she was single. "Call her and find out" was the reply. Maybe I will do that tomorrow. Still cannot figure out how ALL records of her number have been removed from my phone. (I did store her number as a contact. In any case i should have it in my dialled calls)

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Saturday Night

10 PM to 12 PM:
Niki and i went to Shweta's engagement party. Saw Animesh dance for the first time ! Free booze, excellent appetizers, even a cute girl who also danced well (I did get her phone number, although i still dont know if she is single or not).

12 PM to 1 AM:
Met up with some OLD OLD friends (seniors from IIT) in Saket. Asthana, Tau, Penta, Rajiv Rattan, Saket .. signed up to play golf with them !

1 AM to 4 AM:
I sat in a jam session for one of the best bands in delhi, Parikrama. They have been around for long time, started around when i was in college.
The drummer is Kalsi's brother in law. I can safely say that it was one of the most awesome musical experiences in my life !
This was in a studio in Hauz Khas mkt ... almost like a college gig. Only that the whisky was Johnnie Black instead of Aristocrat. And that the female groupies of old are now wives :-)
The band has been together for while now, and you expect the "tightness" in the music. But this was the first time i have seen good musicians just letting it flow .. The vocalist would start on "I still haven't found what i am looking for", but a totally different version from the original one. And on a very off beat (at least that is what it seemed to me initially). But the way the other members followed, and the way that the beat came together .. man ! Excellent joints were being passed around. The hindi word which describes the mood best is "suroor", which means something between intoxication and passion.
There was a Djembe which i promptly took over, though i think i was careful not to disturb them too much.

You can see it in these peoples faces ... they are good, they are good together, and they were really just having fun. And so was I.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Friday Night

The team building exercise involved having lunch at China Club in Gurgaon (excellent) and watching Rush Hour III (crap).

"Jalebi Cartel" was playing @ laidbackwaters today. Usual crowd. D did not show up. Hmmm . Dont know if i should read anything into this.
But .. called up Richa. She was all enthusiastic and showed up to see me. I love this girl. You get to see her wild side sometimes, and it is very cool. Niki, R and I mosied on to Elevate later (i just had to ask her once .. she was all ready to go ! see what i mean ..) Music was slightly crappy, but heck, we did not have to pay money to get in !
I am glad Niki was there with us at Elevate. For multiple reasons.

A desperate search for anda-parantha at 4 AM. Ended up at 24x7. Pre-packaged chicken tikka. Better than parantha .. i think. In terms of healthy food. Not tastewise.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Traffic Sightings

2 cute (?) girls in the car behind me , on my way back form Gurgaon. They were behind my car for a good 15 mins. Either they liked me a lot, or the traffic was really bad. I prefer the first explanation.


Another sunset pic .. again from my car .. again while driving. I am getting good at this.

Karaoke

Went for karaoke night. D was there too. She is quite cute. And she knows all the hindi songs. I think I like her a lot.

BTW .. we signed our first major deal with the Le Meridian hotel. We are in business.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Kawariye

Secularism in India means that all religions express themselves at the expense of the common folk ! National Highway 8 (NH8) connects Delhi with Gurgaon, and is one of the busiest highways in India. A sect of devouts carry water from the Ganges river to their homes, and walk along this highway. So about 1/4 of the highway is cordoned off in places to allow these folks to walk in safety. Screw the normal traffic. This is secular India.


Now one of them was struck by a truck (hooray .. that rhymes !), and the truck driver fled. The devouts gathered together, blocked the highway for 6 hrs, burned 3 buses and 2 police jeeps. Why ? because they thought that the police was in cahoots with the truck driver and was sheltering him. And oh .. BTW .. 2 more were killed when police rushed in to control the situation.

I took this picture from my car while driving. Not very safe. But then .. nothing is safe on the NH8 !

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

First day at work !

Drive to Gurgaon was painful. Office was like any indian office .. with people ready to call me "sir".

So we are trying to recruit experts. For "walks" in Delhi. A walk can be a historical, cultural, food (well), photography ....
Met 4 "experts" today.
  • A photographer named Phantom.
  • A woman who has taken Brangelina, Will Smith, Condy Rice etc on walking tours of Delhi and Agra, who claims that she is an "intellectual" first and foremost. She had some very interesting anecdotes, and some extremely bad jokes. I laughed at all of them. I was following Animesh's lead.
  • A food critic for a leading newspaper. We are trying to put together some food experiences. We wanted her opinions on the best non-indian foods in Delhi. Seems like there are quite a few. I think i did influence her opinion on a seafood restaurant i went to yesterday (more on that later)
I must admit that Animesh (my partner) has a knack for dealing with people. And i did not know that he was a big history buff. He had the intellectual expert eating out if his hand.

Went to Naraina village to check on some brochures we are getting printed. Very dilapidated looking building. But it houses some of the most modern printing equipment in India. And some people who are really good at their job.

Came back to eat with Ruchi and her friend at Benigan's in Saket (yeah, same one). CRAPPY food. Had to get a shawarma on my way home from there.

PVR Saket at night :

Gypsy King

Had the first business meeting today. At Cafe Coffee Day. Animesh came over to see me in the evening. Then Varun (the third partner) joined and we continued discussions at home.

At night, went to a seafood restaurant called Ploof with Ruchi, Niki and Indeep (Gypsy King) (Indeep drives a Maruti Gypsy, and officiates in the Raid de Himalaya). On Mondays and Thursdays they have wine (not just indian) at "theka" rates. (Theka is the nickname for a boooze shop). Spent about Rs 6000 on some average food, although the prawn curry was kinda nice.

This is Me, Indeep and his girlfriend (?) at Ploof.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Philosophically Speaking ...

I changed the time zone on my laptop today. And the time zone on this blog

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Stolen Pepper Shakers

Gaurunteed. Recover from jetlag in 1 day.
Dont sleep in the day. Party hard at night. till 5 am in the morning.

Went to Tabula Rasa, and then onto Ministry of Sound. Usual welcoming committee : Niki, Johri, Ruchi, AK, Walia. And the 4 french girls. The two sisters are cool. And i need to see her again, but Dorothy was kinda cute.

Ate at Eggpectations at 4 AM. Reached home at 5. Woke up at 9. No more jetlag. Maybe i can patent this

Beginnings

I guess my luck is starting to turn.
Managed to make all my flights.

Started with a 1 hr delay in SF. Was OK .. got to meet Navin just before leaving.
Was still able to make the 1.5 hr connection in Boston.
Heathrow was a breeze. Took just 20 mins through security and checkin.
Virgin Atlantic does have some good planes, and excellent seats. Managed to watch 2 good movies. "Lives of Others" was amazing (thanks for the recommendation, Dani). And another one called Zodiac. About a serial killer in San Francisco in the 60s. was ok.

This is Heathrow in the evening.