Friday, December 31, 2010

2010 - Another year passes by !!!

2010 Dec 31 - Apart from being my cousin's and friend's birthday, this date signals the ending of a complete year according to the Gregorian calendar. You want to know about the Gregorian calendar ? (I knew it!) This is unfortunately not the place for that. Wiki it out my friends , wiki it! (And hey, in the new year,please contribute to the Wikipedia cause too!)

This year has been truly memorable for various reasons and I will list a few salient features of the past year:

1. 2 Job Changes - Ah ha, well I didn't plan this out but people/situations/challenges bombarded me and ding , I changed two jobs! As of this moment, I am jobless but had truly crazy, amazing moments with both the jobs. Without naming companies, I was able to change my domain from A to B , with strong backing of A and lot of learning in B. You want to know what I learnt from this ? Well, don't get stuck with the same thing . IF you are bored, just get a new job !( This specially applies to the Indian market right now as there are tens and thousands of jobs coz' of the truly dynamic economy. Do you want to know if India is the place to be in ? Oh Hell Yeah!)

2. New places - Well I saw 4 new cities and 5 airports this year. That summarizes my traveling for the year. Hyderabad - the Nizam capital, was a wonderfully different experience ( See my Taj Mahal Post) and totally loved the place.Had a fantastic time with friends(Bha and Bha) and cousins there ,ate super hot biryanis, had wonderful filter coffee, saw tons of movies at cheaper prices and in general, learnt a lot !
Riyadh was the 2nd city and man, that was SOME experience. IF you want to make money, thats THE place without a doubt. I will remain silent about other aspects. Jeddah on the other hand , which as you might have guessed , was the 3rd city and located along the sea, is beautiful and chilled out comparitively!( If you know what I mean!) Last but not the least, I saw Kolkata and I love the place for Mishti doi, Rasagullas and this breakfast place Flurrys!

3. Cousins Bonding - This definitely was the year where I spent maximum time with my cousins. Partied with them, played with them, cracked jokes with them etc etc.

Played tons(literally!) of TT games with my 18 year old Hyderabadi cousin and he wants to beat me black and blue in the new year (didn't happen this year). His golden words in 2 separate meetings were - "There is a generation gap between you and me!" and "Till now I just knew a cousin with your name existed. Now I have evidence!".

Realized that my Pizza hut salesman cousin ( Ah , if you need pizzas , let me know, I will redirect you to him!) and I rank among the worst PJ crackers on earth and also saw "you know what" in the theater this year. Ah ha,"you know what" doesn't refer to the Potter movie!

My other Engg. cousin gave me tons of tips on building bodies and man, the biggest compliment I have got this year is that I have put on weight!( The other compliment was that my hindi has improved!)

4. Facebook - One of my new year resolutions for 2011 is to get out of this Facebook addiction. I must have taken innumerable quizzes , played tons of games, "liked" tons of posts and pictures, commented on a zillion more, got predictions about killing my cousins and cousin's friend, joined a group called "ganchali bidu kannada mathadu" , put up statuses , checked for cool updates and to top it all, watched even a movie on that ( which I think is totally hyped. Its good but not that great!)

5. Dance - Danced multiple times this year in my own inimitable "jumping" style at a wedding , a couple of times in Hint where I saw my family's answer to Malaika Arora and once during a friends' get together party. Felt happy that my cousins are as pathetic as I am on the dance floor! However, never get tired of hearing "Munni" or "Sheela" !!! That just means I would like to dance more but probably in a structurally better manner.

Well well , on that optimistic note, wish you all a fabulous and fantastic new year ahead. May you all enjoy the best of health, wealth and spirits( this strictly doesn't mean just booz!).


Sunday, December 19, 2010

My good samaritan act...

This happened a couple of months back in another country ....I had written it then and I will do a Ctrl C Ctrl V here.
Last evening I had to go to this place to quickly pick up something and so took a taxi and went ... i was greeted by a dark guy who knew some english words and arabic and somehow he asked me where I was from . I then found out that he was from Sudan and with great difficulty he told me he had been here for 12 years. By the way most taxi drivers are from India/Pakistan and they talk to you with so much of warmth ,especially the pakistani drivers. So going back to that story, as we trudged along the wide but absolutely crowded Wed night streets ( Wed night has max traffic , its like Fri evening in India ), he suddenly started singing "pardesi pardesi jana nahin" . I was like open mouthed and absolutely surprised and he suddenly said "aamir khan" /"karishma kapoor" and said "i like i like" ... since he found some encouragement with me congratulating him , he went on an absolute spree - sang a Sunil Shetty song next from Rakshak (of all people sunil shetty!! and i didn't even know this movie ) ,muqala muqabla oh laila was his next and he asked me who that hero with the beard was...then sang some akshay kumar song and then he mentioned shah rukh khan and said "kola kolia " and i said "koyla" and he said yes and gave me a high five!

By this time we had reached this place and I was totally entertained by his antics and asked him if he will drop me back to the hotel . He readily nodded and it took me 10 mins to get back and what do i see? There is this policeman who has stopped by and given him a chit and he had to pay 100 Riyal which is pretty expensive...Drive till there was 20 Riyal and then he asked me to sit in the car and he was so depressed . I felt really bad for this guy and he kept looking at the chit every now and then , nodding his head in absolute frustration . Finally when we reached the hotel , i gave him 100 riyal( I had to pay him 25 ) and asked him to keep it . He held my hands and said "thank you thank you" and immediately gave me his number and said "call , 30 min i come here " with loads of arabic in between and at that time did I get to know that my friend's name was Ahmed. What started off as a small ride ended with me losing a lot more money but making this person really happy.As I walked back was just reminded of "pardesi pardesi jana nahin"....

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The singing bug

In recent times, I have had a very strong urge to get back to music and I am almost desperate to do so and pursue it to my best ability. Meanwhile , here is a humble attempt at one of the non-filmi songs I really like .

You have to start somewhere as they say...

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Taj Mahal

if you thought looking at the subject line that I had been to Agra to visit the Taj Mahal monument, then I will scream and say "gotcha" ! I did visit that as well but it was sometime in the 90s. Coming back to the present,this Taj Mahal is actually a pretty popular hotel in Hyderabad which has played a very important part in my new job ! Long pending blog but decided to write this when I boarded the flight this morning. This , my friends , is an 'Ode to Taj mahal hotel ' !

Having gotten used to staying in 5 star hotels ONLY in my previous job, this was a humbling experience initially to start off with, with a few parts not working in the room or requiring some level of fixing .For eg, the TV remote had to be pressed real hard to change a channel, the fan had this whirling noise and automatically used to switch off as if it decided its own destiny. Nice philosophical twist to the fan tale!

Well having said that I must say I completely enjoyed the stay and as I discovered in my last stay, most waiters now acknowledge my presence with a "hello " or a nod of the head, the guys who clean the rooms salute me which is in a way, embarrassing or the guy at the reception asked me how many days I would stay in this trip with a very enthusiastic "Hello sir". Much of this was on evidence when I went to the hotel with my colleague and friend Ram to have a cup of coffee in the evening( our daily routine almost) and this waiter came along and wished me and asked us what we wanted in a much more "user-friendly" tone. A few kannada speaking waiters were way too happy to have me in their midst and speak in kannada coz' till then I was speaking to them in my usual awkward Hindi ! Also, when you stay for that long in a hotel, you end up eating every item that they have in their menu and that was definitely the case here as well. But I must say that most of their dishes taste real good.

OH another thing that I discovered after staying there for more than 25 days and that too this one by accident was that they serve the World's best Upma or Uppit( Somehow I had missed this!). I have always loved this dish but at restaurants, it is somehow not that great but when I had this a couple of days back , I was totally bowled over by the taste. Ever since , I have been recommending it to whoever I have met and I think they all feel that I am out of my senses! Yet another specialty is their coffee. I still remember the meeting with my manager when he was down in Hyderabad. He gulped down 5 cups of coffee one after another because it was so good. Yes, 5 freaking cups! I restricted myself to a meager 2 cups!

The other thing that happens at this hotel very often are birthday parties , retirement functions and even weddings. The most irritating of them are the birthday parties, most of them of kids between 1 and 3years, because they have blaring loud Tollywood and Bollywood music till 11pm but I guess because of their cheap rates and location, most people prefer this location compared to some others. All in all , the experience has been interesting and pretty good! So following is my recommendation :

I , the writer of this blog, sincerely and strongly recommend my readers to definitely visit this wonderful hotel in Himayat Nagar, Hyderabad if and when you get a chance!

Also make sure you have Upma and a cup of coffee !!!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The time when I was caught cheating.

For some weird reason today, I was reminded of this incident that happened several years ago . It almost seems like another life altogether. This incident was a year or two after we moved to the house in Banashankari. To set things in perspective, I was in class 4 or 5 and at that age , my only motivation in life on a daily basis was to play and you ask me which game ? Cricket ofcourse.

After moving in, I slowly became part of this group which had kids from 3rd to 6th I think and I got comfortable with those guys and used to be happy that I prospered in cricket pretty well in that group! However, there was this other senior group that I wanted to be a part of. All of us in our group revered those guys coz' it seemed really cool and complex to play with them. Am sure many of you have had this sort of feeling at some point. I used to be a bit reticent initially but slowly gathered courage to ask them whether I could play with them. They said yes and my joy knew no bounds! Just that over the next couple of months , as it always happens, my sole purpose was to field and if everyone else in my team got out, I used to get a chance to hold the cricket bat. Oh, bowling was out of the question!

This being the premise, we came upon this period where there were no funds to buy tennis balls. ( We used to lose them at an alarming rate!) It was decided that some senior folks will pay 10 rupees and some of the junior ones like myself would pay 5 rupees. We were given a couple of weeks time . I didn't know how I could tell my parents about this and it seemed almost impossible. I approached one of the guys and asked him if they could give me a discount and after thinking he said ,"Ok , you pay me 2 rupees but don't ask me for any more discount". I was ecstatic that I managed to pull this off! Next challenging task was to actually get this money.

In our house, there used to be a bureau in the corner of one of the rooms where my dad used to drop in some changes from his wallet from time to time for daily vegetable purchases yada yada yada. So one evening I stole 2 rupees and eased that into my pocket (felt very guilty!) and went out on my Atlas bicycle (Oh yes,that was the generation when kids used to move around in bicycles every day!). I was already a bit panicky that I rode out in front of my mom and she didn't have a clue about that. I went straight to the guy's house who had given me the discount but unfortunately, he wasn't there. I next went to the 2nd senior person and guess what ? He asked me to hand it over to the senior guy coz' he didn't collect that money. Cursing this 2nd guy , I came back home and left the 2 rupees in that bureau.

Next day was a Sunday and we always started playing by 4pm( an extra hour!!!) and most importantly Dad was home. So again I slipped in that money and was about to rush off in my bicycle(I was even more nervous that day coz' Dad was home) when my Dad suddenly heard the coin sound (I had 2 1 rupee coins instead of a 2 rupee note!) and asked me what was the sound. I panicked and suddenly he raised his voice and that was all that was required!!! I was in tears and my dad shouted at me asking me what was happening and from where I had got 2 rupees. Got inside the house and then told him the complete story and he asked me why I was stealing etc etc. Told him I didn't have the courage to ask him for the money because after all I went out to play and not to deal with money . He said irrespective of what the circumstance, always speak the truth and if you are wrong just accept it. Time slowly passed and after 10 mins( it seemed like an entire day!), he gave me 10 rupees and asked me to contribute it to the team fund. Imagine the surprise on the senior guy's face when I handed him the 10 rupee note! After that every Sunday they used to personally come near my place and call me out to play though most of the times all I did was field till a year or two later when I atleast used to bat!!!

I might have forgotten other incidents but this one I can never forget! In hindsight, all I can say is that particular incident definitely made me a much better person and gave me a lot more courage to be honest even in times of trial. Thanks Pa!!

Wednesday, April 07, 2010


IPL 3 has been a pretty interesting experience so far... Following have been the my observations:

1. Many international players are part of the team setups and as a result the standard of cricket is probably really high.
2. Karbon Kamaal Katch...Ridiculous! Several such terms have added to the irritation quotient.
3. New ad breaks in between overs have been very irritating (but not for the sponsors). The head honcho of IPL can probably even generate revenue out of a endangered sport. Every cell of the person's body probably thinks of generating revenue.
4. Several more matches next year with the team count going upto 10.
Assuming only 4 foreigners can play for each team , you have atleast 7 local lads in each team which means atleast 15 locals would be in the dug out waiting to play a game. So 15 * 10 = 150 . The thing I like about this is around 150 Indian domestic /club cricketers are going to be super rich coz' of this. And what does this do ? It will increase the no of kids playing cricket and they will take it more seriously . You ask me what is the plus aspect of this ? Atleast I hope this will convince more parents to allow their kids to get into sports ( i mean cricket , sports and cricket in India are synonymous!) which means more people will end up doing what they want to do, which is good for the society as a whole ;-).

With respect to the quality of cricket , 2 things might happen - a. we don't have so many good players and as such many teams will have weak pathetic teams resulting in several one sided games that will wane the interest . b. We might find several Manish Pandeys and that would be a treat to watch , which would spur my next statement . So kids out there - what do you want to do ? Don't be surprised to hear "play in IPL " !

On another note, IPL was voted recently as the most innovative company and what with 1 billion dollars profit expected this year and "supposedly" doubling every year from now on, seems like March- May is the season where you are going to be flooded with cricket.
Finally its the viewers who end up paying tons of money. Consider me , I have already gone to 3 RCB matches(previous years I just caught them on TV) and that definitely eats into my resources but then you watch RCB win and say, wow , paisa vasool! Apparently, as seen last year cricket in this country is probably the only thing that is recession free . I just hope from the billion dollars they make, they go ahead and donate some amount of money to other sports in India or Mr Modi should go ahead and do an IPL in atleast one other sport , but deep down I have a gut feeling that will never happen .

To end , can we unanimously declare that Cricket is our National Game ?

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Anvesha - The Singer

Saturday / Sunday nights are generally spent in front of the idiot box and its pretty much family time - probably the only time my dad is not working or I am not running around doing something and as a result, mom is relaxed! Last few weekends, we have been closely following "Music ka maha muqabla" on Star Plus apart from all the stupid senseless fights, viewers have had a chance to listen to some breathtaking singing from Shankar Mahadevan , Shaan and Shreya Ghoshal apart from their team members. Its definitely a big treat for someone like me who is a huge fan of all 3 singers.

However in all this fun, one particular voice has stood out - that of Anvesha. A Bengali girl , all of 15-16 years old but with a completely gifted voice, classically trained and a terrific attitude towards music. Its simply refreshing to hear her perform and has impressed everyone with her mellifluous singing. Its almost given that she wins the "star of the day" award with her exceptionally good singing every time she performs. Perfection probably is her middle name. It speaks a lot about her that in rounds where she has performed, Shankar Mahadevan and Shreya Ghoshal themselves have stepped in to perform in order to match her singing.

After appreciating her so much, I thought its only fair to highlight it on my blog. Wish you all the very best and God bless you ! Conquer the world with your singing!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Dress well , whether you like it or not.

I don't know why I was reminded of this now and I am not sure if I have already blogged about it but I am going to write about it anyway.

There have been many such embarassing moments in my life ( and hopefully in others' lives too , why should I be the only one!) and this particular incident was very awkward. This was when I had been to Mexico city a year and a half back. I had 3 flights to catch with very long breaks at the airports and I even met my friend Lalitha and her husband at San Francisco during a very long break( around 9 hours) before heading to Mexico city. All in all from the time I left my house till the time I got to the hotel, it must have taken me around 45 hours or close to 2 days.

Reached the hotel at 6am in the morning on a Sunday and had a quick breakfast and then slept. I had no idea which universe I was in coz' of the sluggishness that encumbered every cell of my body. Finally when I got up it was late afternoon and had a light lunch and waited for my Project Manager's call. He was from the land of Texas and if you jump hard from there, you will land in Mexico city. We spoke finally around 6pm and planned to meet later for dinner.

Now I am not / I wasn't till I met this person , very wary about what I wore for dinner at such hotels when I end up staying there. Who wants to even think about this after a typically hard day's work ? You just want to gobble something and hit the sack. As it is , I was tired and when the time came, I was in my tracks and went down to meet Mr PM at the lobby. So here I was in this tracks and there I suddenly see this grey haired huge Texan ( probably twice my size in height and weight!) - ( I found later that he is in his early 50s) who looked very experienced and was in a spick and span black dinner suit. I wanted to rush back immediately at Usain Bolt's pace but he saw me and recognised me.

(Within me , i kept saying, dude, what the !) We exchanged pleasantries but believe me, it wasn't pleasant at all. I was determined that very moment that I would be dressed more than decently for the morning. Dinner followed and he was and is such a wonderful person. Was extremely glad when we took leave at the lift and I felt extremely awkward. Next day, I spent 10 mins extra with the coat and I think he complimented saying I was looking good and presentable and thats when I told him that the previous night , I was so damn tired that my head was throbbing continuously.

Anyway, the trip was excellent and I got to know Mr PM better. You can read my Tequila experience somewhere in my blogs. Moral of this particular story however was - dress well especially when you are meeting someone professionally even if its a Sunday night and you are hopelessly jetlagged,whether you like it or not !

Saturday, February 13, 2010

A game of cricket...

Well high time i wrote something about cricket since I think/read(newspaper/ time) about this atleast once a day... The "/" means it might be at any of those times and doesn't mean ALL of that every day!

You would say , dude, its impossible not to be touched by cricket in this nation! But I give you an example of my cousin Mahesh who is untouched by any teeny weeny thing to do with cricket and almost lives like he is in Europe - every cell of his body thinks/talks football ! Anyway, Mahesh, if you are reading this, thats the amount of awe, surprise, dedication and appreciation I have for you.

Anyway, my recent memories of cricket include India and Sri lanka playing whenever I went to channel 107 and after a while I completely stopped that as it was so freaking boring. I mean every player, his wife and kids in the 11 and the 15 and the 'A' team from one side knew every player, his wife and kids in the 11 and the 15 and 'A' side from the other side. It was as tedious as you reading the previous line. Seriously!

On the other hand, I loved and I tell you I really really loved watching Dale Steyn bowling to the haughty Englishmen and lately, our own Indian fellas. I had previously got this feeling only when I watched Allan Donald bowl to the Waughs or Wasim Akram bowling to the Aussies. 99% of my body wants to be a fast bowler(1% wants to be a batsman who wants to play with a straight bat :D) and watching Steyn when he is at his best is like eating the best Masala Dosa in the world and relishing every bit,nibble and byte of that! yumm...

Ahh, let me not forget , I like this guy Manish Pandey, provides me with the same restlessness and tension that I had when I used to watch my all time favorite Brian Charles Lara. His Ranji Trophy final exploits should have been enough to make him play instead of Saha against SA but the selectors didn't think so . Pity them. Anyway coming to Brian Charles Lara, I followed these doctrines :
1. Never watch him play live as he always gets out. Remember several such occasions. One was in the 3rd test against Australia he was batting on 182 when I switched on the TV and did my yahoo and told my dad that he is batting and immediately, the next ball , he nicked Colin Miller to first slip !! Unbelievable.
2. Always watch highlights whatever time it is coz' he is worth it. Watch the 90 runs he made against Aus in late 90s where he took 90 balls for his 1st 50 and 20 balls for the next 40 and obviously won the game!

One of my dreams was to visit Trinidad and that actually came true and I saw where he practiced his cricket, which school he went to, his memorial, got a memorabilia and finally missed meeting him by a day or so as he was out of the country!

Finally, last evening I played cricket at the office nets where people just gather in numbers after 4.30 to play. I think I might have bowled 15 overs for an hour and a half. I never probably was more irritated with my bowling before ! Every ball was down the leg side - whatever I did it didn't help for the first 30 mins. It slowly improved and finally got a couple of nicks and then bowled a good bouncer, got a guy beaten and gave him one of those fast bowler STARES and then got him nicking again and then stopped as I wanted that good feeling to stay within me...

Seemingly very long post but hey I have missed IPL...hold your horses ,thats going to come soon as well :)