Monday, June 30, 2008

Some of the Best Shows...

...are on Travel and Living, and while Indian television degenerates into the senseless and shameless amalgamation of prime time slander of juveniles into endless soaps, T&L will offer you some absolutely wonderful programs that will entertain, excite and educate you at the same time!

Check out Overhauled, a beautiful program where they "steal" an old car from the "victim", then spend a week turning into some of the hottest wheels on the planet. The transformation is amazing, and it's such a joy to see the pride and commitment shown by the team - and the happiness it brings to the lives of the "victims". Just awesome. And you know what's the best part? The hardware that goes into the car, and the companies that provide them, go for subtle or very passive advertising - none of the shamless promotions that could have made such programs a boring extended TV commercial!

Or "While You Were Away" and "Monster House" - transformations of simple abodes into beautiful designer homes. Again, the key principle - do it for someone else, do it quick, and do it beautiful!

It's really all about awesome creativity, and the pure pleasure of doing something for someone else!

For a different flavour, check out the travel shows - from Six Degrees to Lonely Planet, the programs bring you the flavours and experiences of some really beautiful places around the world, in the comfort of your drawing room. The experience is so rich, trust me, at times, I have actually smelt the aromas and smells, and felt the chill and rain on my face!

Or another of my favourites, Amazing Vacation Homes - it's about beautiful houses, in beautiful locations. Such an inspiration! And for the engineering or architecture minded, it's just such a tremendous learning experience!

I wish we had more such shows from India... and yes, NDTV Good Times may just be the channel to track in the future...

Sunday, June 29, 2008

The Magic of Minimum

Pune Times ran an article today on the renovation we did at our place, titled, The Magic of Minimum. Do check it out - attached scan looks small, but if you download and magnify it, you should be able to read it!

Movie Review: 26th July at Barista

Based on the Mumbai rain deluge a few years back, all I can say is that the movie is a perfect example of a beautiful idea with terrible execution. The cast, the direction, the dialogues - plain and simple amateurish. I stopped watching after 15 mins.

Don't waste time on it - go to a Barista and catch a good coffee instead!

Movie Review: Made of Honour

Made of Honour is a remake of My Best Friends Wedding, but this time the maid is a very sexy Patrick Dempsey, who decides it's time for him to step in and "steal the bride" Michelle Monaghan, his very platonic friend of 10 years, before she gets married to her Scottish love of 45 days.

The first half is hilarious, definitely worth a dekko. The second half is cheesy, a little boring, and very predictable.

My advice - watch till intermission, then get out - it would have still been worth it!

Movie Review: Get Smart

Definitely the best movie I have seen in a long time! "Get Smart" is a very smart spoof on James Bond, but way smarter than the Hot Shots series.

Steve Carell plays an analyst in the CIA who finally gets his chance out in the field, saving the world from the nukes of the Russian group of terrorists called Chaos, along with the very sexy Agent 99 played by Anne Hathaway. Our very own Khali also has a role, though the dialogue writers seem to have forgotten him (for good reason!).

The dialogues are a delight, and will keep you laughing till you fall off the chair.. and surprisingly, some of the action is top notch stuff too! Anne is the icing on the cake...

Definitely a must watch, a couple of times!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Change of Scene

We did some renovation of our apartment recently, and though some of the work is yet to be taken to it's conclusion, here's a sneak preview of how it's coming up...

The living room is dominated by the very comfortable sofas that invite you to sink in, and the low diwan by the window, just perfect for that early morning sun-bath. The brown and black color scheme brings earthly warmth into the room, and the soft yellow sheer curtains add a dash of brightness against the brown-brick wall paper against the far wall.

The center table is pretty large, and doubles up as a good place to serve some light snacks or breakfast. We ditched our dining table - it took up a lot of space, and never really got used!

At night, the orange glow from the lamp in the corner really gives a very different character to the room. It's soft dim lighting converts the room into a meditation corner, perfect for relieving the day's stress and tensions!

This is the view from the diwan. The opposite end of the hall has been converted into a study, a place for reading, and working. The comfortable floor sofa can also double up as a couch, and in the extreme case, as a bed! There's enough space for my best books - and some more! And hidden behind the sofa, is my favourite toy - the paper shredder :)

One of the cool artifacts we picked up at Ishanya - I just love this character :)

And this is the SRK corner - along with another of my favourite, the tea cup man!

"Oye, I might look old, but man, can I talk! Try me!"

We got this chap from Mumbai... and yes, it does work!

This is not just a smiling buddha, it's a smiling buddha whose gaze follows you as you move around the room! Almost eerie, until you get the hang of it :)

We also got the basin corner done up - here you see the detailing on the basin - pretty neat, huh?

And finally, the basin corner - the stones and the lamp provide a "natural" look, while the detailing on the mirror provides continuity with the decor in the living room itself.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Sunday Plan - Updates

Wake up late - done
Do the CEO Portal updates - to be done, not up to work yet!
Read mail - done, to be done
Send some mail - done, to be done
Blog - done, being done, to be done
Do some gandhigiri - clean the spit marks from the staircase walls - done
Clean the car - to be done, carpenter took priority
Get carpenter and get the new mirror and artifacts hanging on the wall - done
Eat fish - to be done, not yet had lunch
Play with cat - done, to be done, cat sleeping now
Do some shopping - to be done
Eat more fish - to be done, of course, can't be done before doing the earlier fish task
Watch TV - to be done, Pogo rules for now
Sleep - to be done, separate from the earlier related task

Sunday Plan

Wake up late
Do the CEO Portal updates
Read mail
Send some mail
Do some gandhigiri - clean the spit marks from the staircase walls
Clean the car
Get carpenter and get the new mirror and artifacts hanging on the wall
Eat fish
Play with cat
Do some shopping
Eat more fish
Watch TV


There was a lady who loved to gossip. After starting off one particularly nasty rumour about the new girl in her village, she was over-taken by a strange sense of guilt, and decided to go meet the village sadhu for advice.

The sadhu gave her a large wad of cotton, and asked her to place a small ball of cotton at the doorstep of each household where she thought the rumour had spread, and come back the next day. The lady went back relieved, and diligently did what she had been asked to.

The next day, she went to meet the sadhu and asked for next steps. Well, he said, now go and collect all the cotton balls you had kept, and get them back to me, and the rumours will be squashed. How can I do that, she protested, all the cotton balls must have been blown around with the wind... how can I possibly find them and get them back?

Exactly, said the sadhu.

Movie Review: The Happening

Another Manoj Night Shyamalan offering - this time, it's about trees conspiring against the humans, inflicting some deadly mental illness that disables the self-preserving instinct and makes humans suicidal.

The movie starts off extremely well - the scene with the construction workers jumping off the roof will chill you to the spine. There are a couple other great scenes too, but overall the movie promises more than it delivers. After the initial great start, the story loses strength - there are no twists, and it degenerates into an endless attempt to escape from "the trees"!

The actors add another weak link - the horror and fear rarely come across, and the expressions generally seem to be mocking you for being scared! The exception is the little girl who really has some very special moments in the film.

Don't expect too much, enjoy the good parts, and it'll not be that bad...

Water and Laser Show at Ishanya

Yesterday evening, we went for this awesome water and laser show at Ishanya Mall, off AirPort Road. Fantastic stuff, something really different, great for the kids. Did not even attempt to click it on my cell phone camera - just wouldn't have captured the experience. Do check it out - every Thur-Sun at 730 pm.

The mall itself is shaping up beautifully - big, spacious, and some great shopping for anything and everything in interiors! And oh yes, very adeqaute parking!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Movie Review: Jannat

Buy the music CD instead...


..isn't what is or what was, it's what we want it to be!

Now You See Me...

...Now You Don't!!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Diet Food

My New Pillow

Cellphone Obsession

...and you thought only I was obsessed with my cell phone?

Movie Review: Rocky Balboa

I missed Rocky Balboa when it came in the theatres earlier this year (no partners to see it with!) but thankfully caught half of it on Star Movies the other day... I must say, it's a beautiful movie, and definitely worth a couple of watches.

It's all about Rocky Balboa's attempt to get his life back on track - culminating with a fight with the existing heavy weight champion, a fight he wins after losing... and while Stallone looks much older than in his next Rambo movie, it's the dialogues that are absolutely captivating!

Life's not about how much you hit, it's about how many hits you can take, and be able to carry on. Such an awesome line to live by...

Quote for the Day

I have a new philosophy. I'm only going to dread one day at a time. Charles M. Schulz

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Back to 50-50

India beat Pakistan comprehensively by 140 runs in their first encounter of the Kitply tri-nation cup in Bangladesh, after setting a target of 331. Interestingly, the Pakistani coach had gone on record saying he'd like to beat India by 150 runs today :)

Coming after the IPL though, the match seemed too long, too quiet, too boring. And with not even the cheerleaders to bring any excitement... I foresee a quick and early death to this form of cricket.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Bin Tere Kya Hai Jeena

Just love his song, the lyrics.. just so, so beautifully expressed...

bin tere kya hai jeena - 2
mere dil ki raani tum
meri khushiyon ka mausam
mere khwaabon ki taaviz
mere sapanon ki tasveer
bin tere kaisi aas
woh jeet ho ya haar
tere sang hai sab kuchh
tu na ho toh bekaar
bin tere kya hai jeena - 2

suni khaali raaten
ruthi feeki baaten
har aahat pe chaaukun
tujhko harsu dekhu
tujhko hardam sochu
tujhko har pal chahu
tere bin toh jeevan mera hai intezaar
bin tere kya hai jeena - 2

tere saath jiye jo pal
kuchh unse nahi badhkar
tere khaatir saans main loon
teri khaatir jeeta hoon
marne ki tamanna bhi
tere saath main rakhta hoon
tu hai jeene ki wajah
kar mera aitbaar
bin tere kya hai jeena...

Is anyone listening? :)

Movie Review: Sarkar Raj

RGV finally gets one right. Sarkar Raj may not break records at the box office, but juxtaposed with RGV Ki Aag and other equally forgettable movies, SR is a pretty good effort!

I did not see Sarkar, but I am told it was based on Godfather. I am assuming SR is based on the sequel to Godfather, but one thing's for certain, it's definitely not based on the Thackerays - other than the Maharashtra connection, and maybe the beads in Sarkar's neck, really, it's just the story of dirty politics. The similarity ends there.

Abhishek puts in a tremendous performance, and looks great. Amitabh is very subdued, borrowing from the Godfather, I assume, and maybe that's where he loses out a bit. Ash looks good, finally, and is also subdued most of the time.

The camera angles and tones are interesting, the fixation with close ups brings out the largeness of the characters in the movie. A few scenes are truly masterpieces - watch out for the bombing, the assasination and the final scene between Sarkar and Rau Saaheb. The movie tskes off very well in the first half, loses a bit of steam in the second, has a great climax, then again gets into a needless dialogue before a second, again needless climax.

A little more from the editor's knife, and this movie could have gone much further! Either way, it's worth a dekko.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Energy Conservation!

Mumbai Experiences in Pics

The beautiful facade of the CST railway station

The Brihanmumbai Mahanagarpalika building

All fresh and ready to go out - this was at Ramesh Kaka's apartment in Prabhadevi.

Outside Tendulkar's - going for lunch!

The awesome crab soup - a must have!

After lunch, at the bar

Interesting ruins just outside Tendulkar's

Calcutta Meetha!

Listen to me, Mr Crow, don't sit on my finger!

The serene Gateway of India

Boss with his henchmen :)

The majestic Taj hotel

Another very interesting building near the Taj

Punjab Kings XI vs Chennai Super Kings

The big day finally arrived - after days of planning, Rakesh, Amruta, Harsha, Anjali and I found ourselves in Mumbai for the second semi-final of the IPL's first edition - Punjab Kings XI led by Yuvray Singh versus Dhoni's Chennai Super Kings!
We had expected a lot of sweating and standing, a lot of pushing through crowds, a lot of pain before getting into the stadium. After all, I had been to the India-Sri Lanka match in Goa a few years back, and just getting into the stadium had been a test of endurance and spirit! We were therefore very pleasantly surprised that the counter took less than a min to hand us our tickets after accepting the printout of the online confirmation as proof. There were no crowds. The experience when we reached for the match in the evening was even better. Expecting huge crowds and queues, we had turned up fairly early - even then, inspite of the tight security, finding the right gates and getting inside and finding our seats was as easy as could be!

The atmosphere was electric. Awesome music from SRK's hits and Mumbai's very own lezim beats kept the crowd on their feet throughout the almost two hours before the match began, while the players warmed up on the ground to cheers from the audience.

We thoroughly enjoyed the experience. Every ball was applauded and appreciated by the very knowledgeable and sportive crowd. There was a lot of good humour going around, mexican waves, chants, and lots of singing and dancing. The cheerleaders added beautiful color and rhythm and excitement to the atmosphere - probably one of the best things to happen to cricket! I fail to see why anyone would have problems with them! Their energy simply added so much to the long gaps between overs, and after every boundary and every wicket!

Here, you see Makhaya Ntini starting to bowl to Yuvraj Singh. We also saw Pathan's swing bowling, Murali's guile, Gony, Balaji and Piyush, Romesh Pawar's bowling as also his lusty hitting towards the end of the Punjab innings, Dhoni's captaincy, Sreesanth's little spat with Yuvraj, and lots of other exciting players!

The match itself wasn't so exciting - Punjab folded easily for just over 100, and Chennai lost just one wicket before over-hauling the total with a few overs to go. However, the experience will last a life time. The beautiful oval under lights under the dark Mumbai sky, the colorful flannel pyjamas, the white ball, the beautiful, beautiful sound of willow hitting the ball, the sixes sailing over the ropes, the fielders diving and applauding, the crowds chanting, the cheer leaders, the music... every single moment as soaked and enjoyed to the fullest. It was just so surreal.

As as Chennai hit the final runs and the cheerleaders and players ran onto the field to celebrate the victory, I am sure every one of the 50000 odd spectators in the stands felt a little sad that the evening had finally come to an end.

PS: Sorry about the low pic quality - cameras weren't allowed in the stadium, and I had to rely on my cell phone to capture these moments

Monday, June 02, 2008

IPL Flash - Rajasthan Have Won!

In a nail biting finish worthy of the tournament, Tanvir hit the winning runs for Rajasthan Royals off the last ball to win the DLF IPL beating Chennai Super Kings a few seconds back... and while Warne's blue boys jumped and celebrated (with our very own Goan Swapnil Asnodkar having played his part too), it was awesome to see Dhoni's men getting into a huddle, reinforcing the team's unity and belief in themselves inspite of the close defeat... very nice!

It has been a real awesome 40 days or so... and millions of Indians will terribly miss the 7.00 pm blockbuster from tomorrow!

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Mumbai's Beautiful People

I have always loved Mumbai for it's energy and spirit, and also for it's never say die attitude and the beautiful people. We had ample opportunities to soak into this lovely city's warmth during our trip this weekend. Oh, and do watch out for the next couple blogs for more on this :)

We were on Marine Drive at 12 midnight. We needed to go to Prabhadevi, where we were put up for the night, and five of us stranded without a vehicle. Taxis were waiting for the bigger bucks, from the thousands of cricket enthusiasts streaming out of Wankhede and headed into the suburbs. We were hungry and tired. In any other city, this would be a very unenviable position to be in!

Not in Mumbai. We check with a taxi, who refuses since there are 5 of us and he is allowed to carry only 4... so we take off walking, searching for other taxis, but in vain. Just then the same taxi pulls up... he requests 4 to go into the back seat, so that it gets a little more difficult for any watchful police officer to spot us. He also checks to see if we have our match tickets - says, just in case we get caught, this might make the police be a little lenient. Else, of course, it's a big fine and maybe 3 months of licence suspension for him.

We are hungry, and he offers to stop by at Haji Ali while we eat. Do make it fast, he urges, he needs to go all the way to Malad. We decide not to stop on the way, and ask him to drop us home - he assures us we'll definitely get food, after all this is a Saturday night in Mumbai. He says it's better we go to our area and then look around, since it's well past midnight and we might have problem getting back after food. After all, we seem to be new to the area...

When we get down, he doesn't ask for anything extra - though I tip him another 30 bucks - nothing compared to what he did for us.

We get down, and find a hotel well into closing, and ready to down shutters. However, without a murmur, they give us all the soft drinks and water we need. Patiently listening to our conflicting and varying demands.

Next, we walk the girls to the flat and Rakesh and I catch another taxi. We need food we tell him. He takes us to a joint - it's well past 1.00 am now - yet the energy in that place is amazing. We get our parcel within mins, and get back home in the same taxi... patiently waiting for us to come back.

Not to mention all the people we ask for directions, cars asking us to follow them. Policemen stepping into traffic, letting people cross. Cars stopping by to let you pass.

Love you, Mumbai!

Quote for the Day

No regrets and never satisfied. Shane Warne.