Sunday, September 29, 2013

Nosey Man!

The pic says it all...!

Petrol Pump Swindlers

Had an experience at the Deshmukh petrol pump on Satara Road the other day, which I wanted to share, and caution you about..

I had got some 300 worth of diesel filled, when the attendant said the lights had gone out, and the pump had got locked, and it would restart automatically in a few seconds. The display on the machine had frozen at 300. Meanwhile, another attendant chatted up with me about my credit card "type", which I found strange, because almost never in my life has someone bothered to ask me that!

A few seconds later, the diesel started flowing again, and I was quick to notice that the meter had continued from 300.

When the tank was full, instead of the 3100 on the reading, the attendant charged 3400.. and insisted it was because of the earlier 300, which had been reset when the lights came on.

I had no proof, so I decided to let it go, and paid up and left.

But my conscience wouldn't allow me to be made a fool, and I came back, parked and asked for the manager. The attendant's reaction to that convinced me I was right.

A quick chat with the manager got me back the money (and he even offered to make up for it by giving me another 200 extra worth of diesel)... and I benefited from my experience, which, hopefully, will help you too.

In short,

Be wary of pump attendants who act pally, and chat up, especially those who ask silly and unrelated questions which can divert your attention. It is a warning that something fishy is going on.

Dog In The Man's Shadow

See the dog beside the traffic cop? Saw this amazing sight in Mumbai the other day, at a very busy traffic junction. As the traffic shifted with the lights, the dog simply changed positions, always keeping himself close to the cop, and in his shadow, ensuring he wouldn't need to worry about the traffic flow! As the cop shifted, so did he, in perfect tandem. This photo was taken a few seconds too late... just after the cop (and the dog) decided to stop dancing in the middle of the flow (they were standing where the white car is passing by now), and walk off to the side.

Ready For The Master Chef...

When I am not blogging, this is what I usually do :)

Some delicious shrimp, tiger prawns and fish, cleaned (by me!) and waiting to be cooked... fried fish and prawns, prawn curry rice (goes amazingly well with pickle), and a light tomato and onion based gravy for the tigers.

Hungry Kya?

Made some delicious Goan Squids the other day...

Pretty simple recipe actually... stir fry lots of chopped garlic in some olive oil (you can use butter if you prefer), add a few chopped green chillies (if you want less spice, remove the seeds) and then add the squids. You might want to warm up the squids first, to lose the water, before you add it to your stir fry. Add a dash of soya sauce, and then stir fry till you get that lovely aroma, let the garlic and squid get just a little burnt, and serve hot!

Not While I Am Eating!

Movie Review: Warning (3D)

Here's a warning about Warning - it will either completely bypass you, and you will come out bored, or it will really impact you, making you think about life's fragility and put you in a depressive state of mind for the rest of the weekend. Either way, it's not something you go to for thrills and chills - it's something you watch if you like the heavy stuff.

A group of friends on a reunion take a luxury yatch out for a fun filled trip. Their adventure quickly turns to a really helpless and despondent situation, when they find themselves in the water, tantalizingly close to the safety and luxury of the yatch, yet hopelessly unable to make it. From shivering rain to a deadly shark attack, worsened by the depressing wails of the lone baby left on board, the experience brings out the best, and the worst in them. The short but effective prelude connects you to every member of the gang, and you feel for them, as they try every possible stunt to reach safety. You silently cheer them on, at every step, and your heart crashes when they fail.

It's a low budget film, and it shows in the lack of interaction between the shark and the characters in the water, but the drama is genuine and strikes you right where it should. You get completely absorbed, until the frequent and unnecessary songs interrupt the pace and plot, making you tear your hair in despair.

And a quick word on the 3D... in parts, it is brilliant, especially the opening sequence with a shot of Mumbai's rooftops - absolutely brilliant for depth and effect, and the scenes where water sploshes on your gogles. But most of the rest of the movie misses the 3D trick completely, leaving you visually hungry for more. And with the overused and smudged glasses at ESquare, it was one "feature" I would have lived happily without.

So should you watch Warning? My advice for most of you - no, don't.

Practising Photography

Here's an amazing application from Canon that teaches you all about photography - learn it from the masters through some wonderful simulation exercises...

Another great site to check out for the same:

Sunday, September 22, 2013

New India

As you enter Mumbai through Chembur, this impressive sight of the Metro rising imperiously behind an equally impressive statue of Shivaji greets you - so representative of the bold, new India!

ATC Mumbai

The very pretty and impressive new ATC tower in Mumbai... couldnt get a better picture from within the car, but next time, I am gonna get down and do it!

Pretty By the Expressway!



There's a new class of vehicles on Pune's roads.. the Sports Utility Autorickshaw!

Beautiful Crimson Sky

Movie Review: Grand Masti

Disclaimer: I saw only half the movie, because I didn't have time for the full gig

GM deserves applause for its bravery - it is an unabashedly adult sex comedy, and offers no apologies for it. Once you keep your sensitivities aside (and we don't have any when we watch Hollywood sex comedies, do we?), you can really enjoy this one - the jokes are mostly fresh, and executed shamelessly with no half-hearted measures. The girls themselves aren't impressive, neither are the guys - the focus is on one and only one thing - the jokes.

Yes, it gets repetitive, and there is hardly any story line - but when you are rolling off the seats with laughter, who wants a story anyway?

Youngsters and adults alike will enjoy thoroughly - as long as you keep your prudishness at home!

Movie Review: Phata Poster Nikla Hero

PPNH is one of those movies that you expect so little from, and then come out of the theatres with a smile, and the satisfaction of having thoroughly enjoyed a nice weekend flick...

Shahid makes a great comeback in PPNH - he looks very good, emotes beautifully, does great comedy, impresses in his fight sequences, and dances like a dream, adding some innovative steps and moves that will remembered for a long time!

Ileana is also impressive as the dynamite social worker - she looks hot, very cute, and lights up the screen whenever she's on it.

Some of the songs are beautifully sung, and very beautifully choreographed. Nargis Fakhri looks hot in her item number Dhating Nach. Khali Pili is abslutely amazing for Shahid's daring and innovative dance steps. Rang Sharbatoan Ka is another beautifully shot number that you shouldn't miss. And do not, do not miss Shahid doing the pole dance in his police uniform!

The first half is rollicking fun, and the end is absolutely hilariously preposterous, just like the movie is expected to be. The only downside is Padmini Kolhapuri's overdone Maa role, which takes the movie right back into the 80s with its jarring background scores and in-your-face mumta, and when she is on screen, the movie suddenly looks a different one altogether from the rest of it!

But the scene stealer is Salman in an amazing cameo as himself - you just can't help fall in love with him!

Watch the movie for Shahid's amazing comeback, Ileana, the songs, the jokes, and Nargis' item number.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

The National Food Security Bill

A lot of people have criticized the UPA government for the populist Food Security Bill and how it will drain the economy and screw everyone.

But for a moment, think of what it means to a country like India, with its millions of poor and hungry citizens. The promise that no one will go hungry, and that the government will ensure food for all. The law attempts to provide 5 Kg of very subsidized food per person per month, for almost two thirds of India's 1.2 billion people!

Imagine, if this was really achieved.. what an admirable feat it will be!


Watched a speech by Modi at Rewari in HP the other day, addressing ex-servicemen and a huge crowd of eager youth, lapping up his every word. What was really interesting is the way Modi engaged with the audience - asking questions like "Kya aap mere liye ek kaam karoge?", and getting everyone enthused in "Vande Mataram" with an increasingly feverish tempo at the end of his speech. So unlike other politicians and the absolutely boring, gheesa peeta and populist "your dreams are my dreams" themes they use.

Imagine a man who can rally a country of 1 billion behind him. Is there anything we cannot do then?

Will this remain a pipe dream or will 2014 be a watershed year for the country?

Vietnamese Soup at Polka Dots

Try out the delicious Vietnamese Soup, served in a humongous bowl, good enough for 3 people, at Polka Dots! The glass noodles are absolutely delightful!

Reality Check

Two incidents making the news in the US give some food for thought for India-baiters and the pessimists who believe nothing is right in this country...

Boulder, Colorado is reeling under flash floods triggered by heavy rains. Over 300 people are missing or unaccounted for, while around 3000 have been evacuated by air or ground, primarily from the cities and suburbs. It's been a week now. Initial fund pledged for relief: 5M USD. The authorities are talking about weeks and months to clean up, and rebuild.

In Uttarakhand, which received 375% of the normal rain accompanied by melting snow and erupting rivers, more than 6000 people were feared dead, while the armed forces evacuated over 110,000 persons from the hilly, inaccessible and heavily forested areas, while rain and bad weather still battered the region. The Army deployed 10,000 soldiers and 11 helicopters, the Navy had sent 45 naval divers, and the Air force deployed 43 aircraft including 36 helicopters. From 17 June to 30 June 2013, the IAF airlifted a total of 18,424 people - flying a total of 2,137 sorties and dropping/landing a total of 3,36,930 kg of relief material and equipment.

The question is - did we really do so bad? If the US struggles so much, is our government really that bad, considering how much of a bigger problem it had to tackle? If the US couldn't predict the rain and take steps to prevent the disaster, are we really justified in castigating our government for not predicting Uttarakhand?

In another shocking incident in the Washington capital region, at least 12 people were feared dead when a deranged ex-Navy man working as a contractor, walked into a naval compound and opened indiscriminate fire. 

Question is - for all the profiling, the billions of dollars spent on policing and law enforcement, if this is the level of security afforded to citizens in a high security naval establishment in the national capital region, can we really expect too much more in a poor, developing country surrounded by unfriendly neighbours?

Think about it...

Google Hangout on India HR Live

My India HR Live discussion on gamification in employee engagement

Watch it here:

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Goan Auto

After many, many years... I landed in Goa without someone to pick me up, because of an unfortunate series of events... and that gave me the opportunity to catch a ride in one of Goa's cool autos... the 8 km ride cost me 200, but it was a lot of fun! Curtains, doors, and a talkative driver!

Good Morning!

Hey, you took over my pillow!

Yeah, so?

Glorious Rainbow

A full rainbow, a few days ago, as seen from our office...

Babush - It's A Cat's World!

Bachpan Se Hi!

Ahem :)

Heavenly Abode

Visited a cemetery in Siquerim, near Aguada, early last week - where my cousin is doing some restoration and renovation work.

What a resting place! Amazing views, surrounded by a thick jungle, inhabited by peacocks! Check it out...

Amazing views from the adjoining church - looking out over the domes of Jimmy Guzdar's palatial bungalow, the Aguada jail and the Arabian sea

Guardian angel

A huge 15 meter tall cross holds out hope...

When The Caterpillar Blossoms

A friend sent this pic... the last in an amazing series from pupa to butterfly, in her garden!


This has to be one of the most amazing sights I have seen in a long, long time... a dense family of "kusakids" - spiky haired worms/caterpillars that can be pretty painful if you are unlucky enough to brush against them.

And now here's the cool part... when I was a kid, one of these walked into my eye... and the docs spent a few hours painstakingly pulling out the spikes from my retina. Now, if I don't see you when I pass you, you know who to blame!

Babush, The Lord Of The Polo

Beauty On Wheels

Came across this very pretty white-and-lime colored tourist bus the other day... not seen something so pretty in a long time!

Timely Wakeup

When I need to wake up early, I sleep with a watch by my head!

Web Of Deceit

An unfortunate bee is caught in the web..


Another example of Indian ingenuity at its best..

As the city gears up for the crowds for Ganesh Immersion, the fire brigade has put up ropes along the sides of the bridges... to help anyone foolish or unlucky enough to fall into the river!

The Nerul Estuary

Looking left and right from Nerul bridge, it is easy to see why this is some of the hottest and most desirable real estate around Goa!

Reis Magos Fort

The Reis Magos Fort is steeped in history, and has been recently (a couple of years now) renovated after having served as a prison for some time, and then being abandoned into ruins. My cousin Yogesh played a big part in the restoration, and it is always a special pleasure getting up there to enjoy the amazing views...

On a slight detour from Panaji to Baga-Calangute, this place is a must-visit for tourists and Goans alike.

Check it out the next time you are in Goa!

Doors made of sea shells called "Karpaa"

Looking eastwards - towards the mouth of the Mandovi, Campal, the floating casinos, the Mandovi bridges and the state assembly

A couple of rainy seasons have left amazing weeds and grass on the roofs, giving the fort a wonderful, authentic look

Looking southwards, towards Miramar beach across the river 


Every time I see this, a big smile flashes across my face...

Quote(s) For The Day

Sumtimes u have to just let the moment fall quietly. Place your hand underneath & it will come to rest on your palm as if it were meant to. 

My kids have the amazing ability to answer any question thrown at them...only their answer is the same for all queries...'huhhhnn'!

What many take for realistic is the suppression of their deepest knowledge...Why be realistic...get up and be a lil Delusional a lil Mad!

SRK on Twitter.


At Curlies, in Anjuna, Goa. Amazing location, great food.

But it also hides a nasty secret - this is the beach where the infamous Scarlet murder took place. Drugs and sex have never really abandoned Anjuna.

Chennai Express

Zooming by at midnight... while we wait, for the crossing to open up...

Mushrooms, My Favorites!

The Charming Old

The old sit comfortably with the new in the entrance lobby of our home in Nerul...

The marble floor was added somewhere in the late 80s/early 90s. Note the 6 inch thick door which is locked in place at night using a thick wooden cross bar embedded in a hollow inside the wall.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Movie Review: Shudh Desi Romance

Is SDR a reflection of the modern Indian youth's idea of love and romance is a question I will leave aside for you to reflect on. One thing is certain. It is a bold attempt to bring sexual intimacy and premarital, live in relationships out of the veiled curtain and present it in a refreshing manner to the audiences. And in that, it succeeds. What it fails in is maintaining the edge and the pace in the second half, and somewhere along the way, it loses the audience.

Parineeti brings a lot of spunk and energy to her character, and is absolutely delightful to watch. Vaani Kapoor is also impressive and commands a very good screen presence. I do not like Sushant much, but he is pretty cute in the role of the confused, "madly in love with the idea of love" guy.

The locales are awesome, shot almost exclusively in the lovely blue and pink mohallas of Rajasthan. The soundtrack is very good too, the songs also shot beautifully. The title track Shudh Desi Romance has peppy dance steps, Tere Mere Beech Mein is just a wonderful compilation of real-life situations that everyone will relate to and Gulaabi is just a beautiful experience for the eyes in addition to the lilting strains.

Not a great movie, especially if you start thinking of the messaging and the execution in the second half, but worth a look, if only for Parineeti, Vaani and the songs.

State Of Affairs

Three big news dominating the newspapers today.

Modi formally got annointed as the BJP PM candidate for 2014, sidelining the original lohapurush and 85 year old patriarch of the party, LK Advani, and ensuring he will always be remembered as the wrong person at the wrong time. Will the senior leaders of the Modi-fied BJP now rally around him, or will folks like Sushma Swaraj continue the bickering and harm their party's prospects at the elections? Time will tell! But one thing is sure. Not in my lifetime has there been such a groundswell of support for one man - from the common man, to the industry honchos, everyone hopes and wants to see a strong administrator at the helm, and for that, they are willing to forgive him for the 2002 riots, which undoubtedly, have been a big blot on his career.

The Nirbhaya rapists and murderers were handed death sentences yesterday by the Saket fast-track court, to cheers and impromptu dances by the crowds gathered. With one accused dead in jail, and the juvenile sentenced to 3 years in detention, one hopes this swift trial and the justice handed out proves to be some deterrent in the escalating crimes against women in India. One should also praise the police and the judiciary for showing that when they want to, they can be really good and effective. From arresting the accused quickly to building a water tight case and then ensuring conviction, Delhi Police did an admirable job, when under pressure to deliver. A similar awesome performance also by Mumbai Police, who arrested the accused in the Shakti Mills case in a matter of hours. In a city like Mumbai with its teeming millions, with none of the hi tech infrastructure and crime fighting equipment that westerm police forces are flush with, hving to rely only on human intel and some smart policing, they definitely deserve an applause.

And finally, the BCCI handed out life bans and long sentences to the tainted RR cricketers. With the IOC also gunning for the corrupt officials of the IOA, one hopes a round of clean up of sports is just around the corner.

Truly, every cloud has a silver lining! Or is it the other way around?