Sunday, September 28, 2008

Rafi Resurrected - Sonu Nigaam

A show called "Rafi Resurrected" - by Sonu Nigaam in front of a sold out Birmingham Symphony concert hall with a live orchestra was telecasted last Sunday on Sony TV. If ever there was a singer who idolised Rafi saab and could probably sing his songs with utmost ease it has to be Sonu Nigaam. A tremendous evening with one lilting tune after another was sung with the orchestra which was completely filled with people of British origin. Can't wait for the album to hit the market . Am sure to buy it !
Youtube videos as always, provide the required snippets of the concert. Be it "Patthar ke sanam" or "yaad na jaaye" or "dil ke jharoke se" or "yahoo" , it was sung with perfection! If you haven't seen it and your a fan of old hindi songs, then definitely this is a must listen album!

Sunday, September 14, 2008


For the uninitiated, Tequila is the national drink of Mexico city . Every restaurant there has atleast 110 varieties of Tequila and I had been warned before going there that if I did not taste Tequila( i am a tee totaler otherwise) in Mexico city, then it would be a shame that would be kinda unmatched !

I was prepared mentally to have it. So let me describe the experience . It was mid week and did not have too much work for the next day . It was about 8pm and met my colleague JL and his colleague in the lobby of the hotel . They have an exquisite bar and we just "attacked" the place.

So i first learnt about the process - learnt about the different types of Tequila - 3 types - 1st type - its fermented for a really long time and supposed to be exceptionally good , 2nd type - fermented for a shorter duration of around maybe 5-10 years and called Reposado and 3rd type - kinda fresh stuff and might not impress you if your trying it for the first time! Seeing the prices, we went for the Reposado variety.

Tequila , Margerita (tomato juice in other words) , Lemon and other side items were ordered . And the stage was set . ( Mind you ,every freaking picture of this experience was clicked . Gonna follow soon mate! ) Squeezing the lemon , followed by tasting the Tequila and then drinking a bit of Margerita was part of the "Best Practices" and I duly followed it . A tinge of burning sensation in my food pipe and a want to gulp down more tomato jucie followed by "what did you feel , tell us " expressions from my colleagues were roughly what followed! It was one hell of an experience and definitely something that I will remember for a long time! Only after effect was that next day morning , I had a slight headache.

Pics show - a better view of what we were going to drink , the setting for the evening , all the other finer details !

The journey...

Its been a really long time since I wrote anything on my blog. It finally feels great to be getting back after what has been a long break. When I mean great, I mean I feel GREAAAAAAAAAAAAAAT to write again . The journey in the last one and a half months has been exciting, frustrating, rewarding and tiring, all at the same time. So what is it that I have been doing ?
I have had a chance to make business trips to Mexico first and later to Philippines. 3 days in between these 2 trips were spent in San Francisco and 2 days in Bangalore and finally when I landed in Manila, my body was totally screwed up thanks to all the jet lag. Sleep and eating light food at the appropriate times were the only solutions to these problems. The 10 day period between the time I left Mexico till I landed in Manila, allowed me to touch 6 different countries( mostly airports and most of them in transit) and I remember watching the Olympic highlights of previous days mostly on these flights! ( I guess this is about what I can boast off in my resume! 6 countries in 10 days)

What did I do in these places ? Well since it was a business trip it was more or less packed throughout the weekdays , but would like to surely add that the Mexico trip was much more enjoyable and fun since I had more company compared to the Philippines trip. It was also the place where I had my first shot of a lovely drink - Tequila ! I found this whole experience amazing and will soon be dedicating an entire blog entry to my first tequila shot.

Meeting different people, tasting different items ( you do get some different stuff to taste even if your vegetarian!) , getting the same old weird stares from people around who couldn't believe that I only ate "vegetables" (If your a vegetarian , it means you eat only vegetables ) and answering the standard (unfortunately not innovative!) NO to questions like :
"So you dont eat meat right ? "
" Do you eat fish ? "
" You don't even eat fish ?!!! (The exclamation marks are just there to stress how shocked people are) .

followed by questions like : "Ok , so let me get it right . So from the time you were born till now, you have never ever eaten meat ? " and then a "No" to that generates what I would call an unbelievable "OH" followed by an impressed look which is very close to looking at you like a total alien ! I guess at times I feel I shouldn't be so fussy but just can't motivate myself to eat meat!

Adding to that, being part of conversations when people completely ignore your presence coz' they are either talking in Spanish (in Mexico) or in Tagalo(in Philippines) was also very much part of the experience . Working late nights , weekends without breaks was also more of a feature that was common to Philippines rather than Mexico.

I also would like to pay my tributes to 2 places that always come to my rescue in most places and certainly in these 2 places - Subway and Starbucks. I got "subwayed" especially when I had to finish stuff and my mere presence in that place , warranted the guy asking me whether I wanted to have "Veggie Delite" again ! Funny that most of the funny incidents in most of the places I have visited has got to do with what I eat ! Anyways, cutting all that short, I must summarize that during this phase I was particularly impressed by the Olympics : Phelps' 8 golds - I saw him get all his golds in different parts of world and was phenomenal to watch him. My favorite was the team gold that US won thanks to Jason Lezak , watching a fantastic volleyball match between Cuba and China from the San Francisco airport and watching Bolt bolting across like only he can on TV were amongst the other good parts.

Best part about the Mexico city trip : My tech lead, Project manager and I had been to this place called Mama Rumba - a total Salsa place where you have the most amazing of people coming and doing salsa to live music thats played . We were there till about 2am in the morning from around 9pm that night and it was simply outstanding to see them dance. It was almost like each one of them present there was born to salsa. The place was packed even on a Thursday evening and for the capacity that it had,I guess I was fortunate enough to see some of the most amazing Salsa dancers. That day I really repented having wooden legs ! Freaking thing !!

Ah, this is another thing that I picked up - "Freaking thing" from Arturo - my Panamanian tech lead who is a total party animal and an absolutely wonderful person to work with . Using it in different contexts and with various impacts was part of this . Also saying "Kay" (what in spanish ?) after the Spanish guy tells you a whole lot of stuff also added to the fun !

What about the Philippines ? The people there are so friendly and the one thing I noticed here was that your knighted by default . I used to be called "Sir" Maa(maee)du all the time till I told them that they should be just calling me Maa(mae)du ( Thats the way its pronounced!) . You address women as "Maam" (not maam but a more rounded maom!) . Well I had never seen 4 malls interconnected and each mall being 3-4 times bigger than anything in Bangalore, very humid weather and typhoons. I was scared the day I left Manila since it was in the middle of a typhoon.

Anyways, now I am back in Bangalore and more than happy to be back and blog !

ps : I would also like to express my shock at the way these blasts have been rocking the country and I am not sure what can be done by the Govt. I had a chance to see "A Wednesday", a movie about terrorism and maybe moves such as those are required to somehow reduce atleast the frequency (just maybe) of such cowardly acts.