Sunday, September 28, 2014

Namoste America

A decade or so after having been denied a Visa, Modi is taking over America like no other leader has ever done in the past... here he is addressing a mammoth crowd at Central Park, a couple of hours after wowing the world with his statesman-like speech at the UN GA, in Hindi! Today, he will talk at a filled-to-capacity Madison Square Garden, with thousands more watching him live at Times Square.

What a sight to behold, irrespective of one's political inclinations!

Syrian Cats

Continuing with my efforts at posting some happy and heart warming news form the world....

Breaking Bad: Beetle Mania!

Look closely! This isn't the Amazonia - this cluster of beetles were hatching on the papered wall of our living room...!

By the way, while my attempts at marco photography with my Canon and an array of macro lenses are yet to be analyzed, this particular pic was clicked on my Samsung S5

Movie Review: 3 A.M.

For the uninitiated, the movie (the Hindi flick which borrows its name from the 2001 Hollywood gig) starts off with an explanation: 3 pm was when Jesus came to Earth, so the evil spirits mockingly use 3 am to unleash their worst behavior.

MTV Roadies heart throb Rannvijay plays an avatar of himself in the movie - a reality show anchor who embarks on a new show around the paranormal after his girlfriend is found mysteriously hanging in the abandoned Rudra Mills, while researching on its haunted character. And no surprises, he decides to start right from where it all started for him - the same Rudra Mills. We are not here to trouble you, he announces, imploring the spirits of the workers who were killed in a major mill fire years ago to show themselves. But has he accounted for the dreaded Rudra, the last owner of the mill, who continues to terrorize his workers?

A good horror movie relies on atmospherics, and that's where 3 AM fails. Incessant loud chatter and (intentional?) comic situations never allow the audience to really start feeling the chill. While a couple of scenes are effective, there are too many false starts, too many acoustic pointers, and some pretty amateurish SFX. There is an element of a surprise twist towards the end, but if you are a real fan of suspense horror movies, you will guess it right from the first scene!

The female lead Anindita Nayar looks interesting, while Rannvijay continues to woo with his good looks. Salil Acharya and Kevin Dave round up the cast.

If you really had nothing to do, this is a good one to curl up with your girl friend, given how empty the theatres are likely to be!

Movie Review: Khoobsoorat

A successful physiotherapist is roped in to help a Rajasthan royal in modern day India, but her young and bubbly personality clashes with the strict disciplinary rules of the royal household. Predictably, she not only manages to cure her non-cooperative patient, but wins the love of the handsome prince and brings smiles and joy back into the palace.

A typical Disney film that leaves you with a warm & fuzzy feeling. Sonam Kapoor looks ravishing, and has a great sense of humor, and will win your heart. The Pakistani actor, Fawad Khan, will leave his fans swooning over him for a long time. Kirron Kher, Aamir Raza Hussain and Ratna Pathak Shah round up the cast, which is pretty perfect.

The songs are passable, and eminently forgettable. But the beauty of Rajasthani heritage, the royal palace and its grounds, and Sonam's wardrobe (which almost always leaves her pretty long legs out) is a treat to the eyes.

A good family gig for the weeekend.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Three Days From History

India's maiden mission to Mars, the Mangalyaan, is three days from creating history. On the 24th, when ISRO scientists fire off her engines to coax her into Mars' orbit, scientists will be hoping to succeed in the first attempt, something no other country has achieved earlier.

Just so you know,  the spacecraft is currently around 225 million km away from Earth. And at 70 million,  it cost around 1/10th of other similar spacecrafts from America.

Movie Review: Daawat-E-Ishq

A pretty, educated Hyderabadi girl and her honest father endure the humiliation of being rejected by prospective grooms repeatedly over dowry, until the girl decides to take matters in her own hands. Along with her unwilling father, she cooks up a plan to ensnare a rich, dowry-seeking groom under India's anti-dowry harassment laws, blackmailing him into parting with enough money to take care of her dreams of studying abroad.

They arrive in Lucknow as super rich Dubai-based NRIs, checking into a royal suite, and "interviewing" (with a hidden cam) prospective grooms. By a twist of fate though, she selects the heir of a rich Lucknowi kebab establishment, who wants not a single penny from her.

Will she still go ahead with her plan? Or will she simply fall in love?

DEI is a simple, honest movie about a topic that even today, results in a woman dying every 5 minutes in India. Parineeti is absolutely believable and lovable in her portrayal of the educated, helpless Gulrez Kadir, who hatches a ridiculously simple plan, and almost pulls it off. Anupam Kher, as her father, is subtle and amazing, as always. Aditya Roy Kapoor puts in a genuine attempt, and is pretty likeable too, showing a lot more spunk than I saw in his earlier movies.

While a little predictable and slow/stretched at the end, the movie totally deserves a dekko! All in all, it's a nice entertainer, with a lasting social message.

Twitter Horror

Terrifying horror stories wrapped up in two sentences or less:
I woke up to hear knocking on glass. At first, I thought it was the window until I heard it come from the mirror again.

The last thing I saw was my alarm clock flashing 12:07 before she pushed her long rotting nails through my chest, her other hand muffling my screams. I sat bolt upright, relieved it was only a dream, but as I saw my alarm clock read 12:06, I heard my closet door creak open.

In all of the time that I've lived alone in this house, I swear to God I've closed more doors than I've opened.

A girl heard her mom yell her name from downstairs, so she got up and started to head down. As she got to the stairs, her mom pulled her into her room and said "I heard that, too."

My wife woke me up last night to tell me there was an intruder in our house. She was murdered by an intruder 2 years ago.

I always thought my cat had a staring problem - she always seemed fixated on my face. Until one day, when I realized that she was always looking just behind me.

There's nothing like the laughter of a baby. Unless it's 1 a.m. and you're home alone.

I begin tucking him into bed and he tells me, "Daddy, check for monsters under my bed." I look underneath for his amusement and see him, another him, under the bed, staring back at me quivering and whispering, "Daddy, there's somebody on my bed."

You get home, tired after a long day's work and ready for a relaxing night alone. You reach for the light switch, but another hand is already there.

There was a picture in my phone of me sleeping.
I live alone.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Movie Review: The Maze Runner

It has shades of the hunger games. A bunch of young guys,  stranded in the middle of a strange,  dangerous and massive maze from where there seems no way out. They have spent three years there,  mapping out the maze,  but no closer to getting out. Until,  one day,  a new boy arrives,  and questions their rules. Can he lead them out,  or is he going to invite terrible consequences unto themselves?

What starts with some great promise,  soon gets stretched,  without the action really taking off. The promise is left unrealized.

And of course,  there is no Katniss to light up the dull greys.

Watchable, but not a must see!

Heavenly Sunset

From a friend's apartment...  Just so beautiful!

Friday, September 19, 2014

College Of Engineering, Pune

Had the chance to visit COEP yesterday to meet and interact with Mansoor Khan,  on his book, The Third Curve,  which completely changed my outlook about the way we define growth,  and the effect on consumption on resources of the earth. I heavily recommend you to read it.
By the way,  in case you didn't connect it,  Mansoor Khan is the same gentleman who directed blockbusters like QSQT and Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikander.
He spends most of his time now at his beautiful farmhouse in Coonoor, making cheese and tending to Mother Earth. Amazing story.
But coming to what I actually started this post with,  check out this absolutely beautiful building,  wonderfully restored to a glorious edifice. It was so heartening to see, and such a perfect venue for the talk.

Sunday, September 14, 2014


So this Teacher's Day was very different,  right? Our very own PM hooked up with millions of kids all over the country,  sharing anecdotes and advice,  answering question and having a great time.

A lot was made out of it,  and dozens of invited experts sliced and diced it on those "intelligent" debates at prime time. The questions were planted,  they smirked. He is ignoring the plight of teachers,  others complained. The spokesman of a national party was even ignorant enough to attribute an oft-quoted saying about teaching to him.

But next day,  when I went to Crossword,  and saw half a dozen kids, including mine, with their parents,  searching for autobiographies to read, because Modi Sir had asked them to,  did the impact of this exceptional leader become crystal clear to me.

For those who missed the speech, do check it out in YT. I am sure its there. And pick up some messages we all need to pass on to ourselves,  and then our children...

Love the environment.
Help your parents save on electricity bills.
Stay clean,  don't just throw around your school bag.
See the sunrise and the moonlight.
Get sweaty at least four times a day.
Do your bit for the country by being good students.
Be naughty,  don't lose the child in you.
Read.  Read.  Read. Anything.

Hats off to you,  Modi sir!

Movie Review: Life Of Crime

Two common criminals in search of some quick money get more than they bargained for after kidnapping the wife of a rich, corrupt businessman, who has no interest in paying the million dollar ransom.

The movie is one of those types that you really need a lot of patience to enjoy.

Unless of course,  you are a fan of the eternally pretty Jennifer Aniston and my fav,  Isla Fischer.

Movie Review: Raja Natwarlal

Inspired by the legendary con artist who once sold the Taj Mahal,  RN features Emraan Hashmi, his Pakistani co-actor Humaima and the indefatigable Paresh Rawal,  pulling off a hard-to-believe con on their nemesis played by Kay Kay Menon.

Any reason you should watch it? Nopes.

Movie Review: Palo Alto

If you saw Kids in the 90s, this could very well be the story of those children just half a decade years later. While the shy striker of the college team,  April, negotiates the taboo of an affair with her single-dad football coach, who she frequently babysits for, her classmates are struggling with their own battles with alcohol, drugs and sex, quickly spiralling out of their control.

This is an R rated movie, but if you are an Emma Roberts fan,  you don't want to miss this!

Movie Review: Bad Words

If you want to get an interesting look behind the scenes of the spelling bees that're such a  rage among the Indian community in the US,  this one is for you. Nothing special,  but watchable.

Movie Review: Mary Kom

"Inspired by real life incidents" from the life of India's lady Mohammad Ali,  Mary Kom,  the movie falls below the benchmark set by Farhan's Bhaag Milkha Bhaag. Though I am not a fan of that movie, either, it did feel a lot more intense. MK,  in comparison,  is a predictable, feel good caper,  only held up by the attractive Priyanka Chopra. 

Movie Review: Gurupournima (Marathi)

There is one undeniable reason you need to watch this one. My niece Samah in a seven second appearance as the beautiful child avatar of the lead actress :)

GP is the very relatable story of what happens to a marriage and a woman's career when she gives birth to a child. The movie is predictable,  and at times,  especially at the start,  is a little amateurish in treatment. But it picks up well 20-25 mins into the story,  and is held up extremely well by the lead,  Sai Tamhankar,  in a very commendable double role,  as the stubborn,  impulsive mother Pournima,  and her bubbly,  sensitive daughter, Akanksha. The scene in which she confronts her daughter,  played by herself, will bring a tear to your eyes.

The LKP waterfront disc in Nerul, my village in Goa,  is also featured in a song sequence and appears absolutely beautiful and surreal.

Produced by friends from Goa,  the movie also features a bunch of folks I am personally acquainted with,  which makes the experience a lot more interesting to me!

Should you watch it? Yes, please :)

Movie Review: Finding Fanny (English)

One of the most talked about movies before its release, with multiple private screenings and an interesting social media strategy (although they should have worked with me for best impact :)) does Homi Adajania's Finding Fanny live up to its hype?

I wasn't much excited about it after seeing the promos,  but the lure of Goa ensured I went to catch it at Inox this Friday.

I admit,  I came back thrilled.

The story is simple...  An old man in search of his childhood crush,  to find out,  would she have accepted him had he proposed to her. He is accompanied by an oddball set of characters,  each really on a journey in search of love in their own crazy way.

What makes the movie stand out is the offbeat treatment -  a blend of shock and poignancy,  beauty and the romanticism of a Goa hidden behind the curtains of time. The unique language,  the live sounds of a Goan village,  the atmospherics. The beautiful photography that captures Goa at its monsoon best. Deepika's absolutely stunning village girl avatar. Naseeruddin Shah, Pankaj Kapur and Dimple Kapadia in some really stand out roles which will be remembered for a long time. The cat.

Bollywood redefined. Don't miss it.

Niagara Falls

A friend sent me this pretty pic of one of the most famous and romantic falls in the world.. Niagara

Cat & Polar Bear

Another from my "feeling good about the world" series...

The Longest Word?

Can you guess what the longest word in English is? I have no idea, but I guess the following should come up very close to the top of the list!


Floccinaucinihilipilification means rare, the estimation of something as valueless. By the way, the picture is a grab from the movie Bad Words, highly recommended!

While writing this blogpost, I was intrigued by the topic, and so I did a little digging around. Here are some amazing things I uncovered. Well, didn't take all that long - with Google :)

The longest word beats floccinaucinihilipilification by 189,790 letters, and it is the chemical name for titin, the largest protein. Obviously, you won't see this in any dictionary, and hence is disputed as a word. I won't even bother trying to write it here, because I am very particular about spellings, and don't want to get it wrong LOL

Pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis is the longest word to appear in a dictionary, at 45 letters, and it seems to be some kind of lung disease.
Honorificabilitudinitatibus is the longest to appear in Shakespeare's works, and interestingly, has alternating vowels and consonants.

And just for the record, if you ever reach Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch, remember, you have reached a Welsh village in Britain.

For more details and digging around, check or try your luck on Google.

Proud Maharastra

A friend sent me this picture she took to represent Maharashtra - and I find it so mesmerizing and powerful, such an apt way to represent this beautiful land of the Marathas!

An Inchresting Building

Saw this inchresting building in Goa - the water works department, I believe.

Yes, that's the "right pronunciation", by the way - and this is the effect of trying to work on some British English accent training :) More on it later sometime, but it's amazing how little we are taught in "language class" in school - and how much there is to learn out there! All you need is a broadband connection, and the URL!

Rains in Nerul

Panaji Church

Four In One

If they can learn to live in harmony, why can't we?

It's A Dog's Life

Clicks from a friend...

Mumbai Vista

Captured this view of my fav city from a TV program - and only one of the people I showed it to could guess that this was Mumbai, and not some exotic European location :)

Like most things in life, I guess you just need to have the right perspective!

Sunrise Over Pune

A friend clicked this mesmerizing picture of the sun rising over a surreal view of the city...


Try Uber, if you haven't.

Booking through their app is breezy, you can see your cab on your map as it arrives (no surprises  or delays), you know the photo and number of your driver (safe!), you get printed bills mailed to you along with the route of the journey you took (can't be cheated into a longer route), and all billing is directly on your card (no hassles of change and cash!). Cabs are clean, and if you are lucky, you might even get a BMW coming to pick you up.

What's very interesting is their model. You will never see Uber branded cars - they never own any, they only work with vendors and partners who provide the cars under their "technology platform".

The only disadvantage to their model - you cannot be assured you will get your cab to drop you to the airport for that early morning flight. What if all the Ubers are busy?

Emergency Landing

In all my years of flying all over the world, rarely have I had an exciting an experience as we did coming back from Ahmedabad to Pune last month (a very turbulent landing at Cincinnati which resulted in a passenger passing out, and an aborted landing in Paris, I think it was, are the other candidates).

We took off from Ahmedabad on an Indigo flight at around 600, more than an hour late since the incoming flight had got delayed. By 645, we were hovering around Pune, but bad visibility conditions due to heavy rain meant that we weren't in a position to land. We kept circling for well over 45 min, with lots of turbulence, when the pilot announced that we were running out of fuel, and hence would need to make an emergency landing in Mumbai.

We landed in Mumbai peacefully at 800. However, it was a long wait at the tarmac, and even though we don't need a visa to see Mumbai, we couldn't even leave the plane. The airhostesses, one of whom was Goan, were darlings, and even though the flight wasn't supposed to serve hot beverages (being a short flight), one of them graciously made tea for me. They did their best to take care of the passengers, serving whatever food and drinks were available, although the four screaming infants on board did nothing to calm the agitated passengers.

Finally, at around 930, we took off for Pune again, and landed safely, just before another major cloudburst stopped airport operations for the night.

Ahmedabad Impressions

Last month, I had the opportunity to deliver a talk at IIM Ahmedabad, and I was pretty excited for obvious reasons. Not just because of a chance to be speaking at the august institution, but also because this was my first visit to Modiland!

IIMA beckons

Here are my top x observations from the 2 days I spent there...

Ahmedabad is a pretty clean and green city, the drive from the airport takes you through flat, tree-lined neighborhoods and military bases. However, the airport is still a small-city pad, unlike the spanking new Hyderabad, Bangalore or Mumbai airports, and doesn't even have the recently-refurbished feel of Pune or Goa airports. What is worse, though, is the absolutely disgusting spectacle of paan spit covered flower beds right outside. The entire beds are red, and for a second, you almost marvel at these unique plants, until you realize with horror and disgust what it really is! The garbage bins and the pillars are no better. Mercifully, the airport seems to be the glaring example - the rest of the city seemed to have been spared the horror.

Coming from Pune, traffic discipline should be the least of my worries - but Ahmedabad traffic has two clear characteristics. People drive too close, and people have no qualms coming full speed up the wrong side of the road. Traffic circles are meant to be cut through in the opposite direction too, and cops actively seem to encourage it. That said, traffic is very light - again, feels like any of the thousands of small towns in India, not a big city at all.

"Cross roads" are a commonly found way of identifying locations - and you will hear a lot of it. Typically Ahmedabad. It's a pretty flat city too - and you rarely see building more than a couple of floors in height, although some parts of the city, like Ellis Bridge, are now bustling with modern looking glassy corporate buildings and malls.

No description of Ahmedabad can be complete without specifically writing about two of its stars - the BRTS and the Sabarmati river.

The BRTS is well designed, and integrates beautifully with the rest of the road layouts, never seeming to obstruct traffic. And with many beautiful old trees and a quaint village-like atmosphere (including peacefully resting cows) in many parts of the route, it's actually pretty unlike the eye sore the BRTS is in Pune! Stations are well maintained, air conditioned, and easily accessible. And most importantly, in the two days I spent, I saw not a SINGLE violation of the sanctity of the BRTS lane by other vehicles - which was very  surprising indeed! One complaint I heard from locals though, is that a short spell of rain tends to flood the routes because of the "barricades".

A BRTS stop in the heart of the city

The Sabarmati river has been converted into a beautiful water body, so unlike many of the gutters that snake through many of our other cities. Locals hang around happily, enjoying chat and other local delicacies in the beautiful parks lining the river front.

Another very interesting sight, unlike in most South Indian cities, and even in Maharashtra, there is no compulsion to have Gujarati signboards, English is perfectly acceptable.

Local shopping streets are a riot of color

 When it comes to the tourist experience, though, it's sad that most of the city's rich heritage and buildings of historical and archaeological significance are buried behind modern structures and crowded lanes, completely neglected and ignored.

Completely neglected, the Delhi Darwaja is barely recognizable

We set out to see the historic Teen Darwaja, which was inaccessible unless we had the patience to make our way through a crowded, bustling, local market. The wonderful "Shaking Minarets" have apparently been closed down now, damaged beyond hope. We did see a beautiful modern Jain temple, though, where we also met a guy I could have sworn was Modi's long lost brother.

A pretty Jain temple

Next up was Haridada ni vav, a beautiful multi-storied well in dire need of come TLC. It was very sad to see, again, how neglected these really beautiful monuments are. There's another similar, and slightly bigger well, at Adalaj, a few minutes drive outside the city, which thankfully, is slightly better off, and attracts some tourists. We also passed an interesting Vaishnodevi temple, shaped and built like a mountain. Worth a visit.

The stunning multi-storey Haridada ni vav (well)

The religious structure behind the well

And sadly, this is what passes off as the entrance to this historic and beautiful structure

The slightly better off well at Adalaj

And finally, cannot help but make a mention of the Courtyard Marriott, where we stayed. A simple property, with no fuss, but the service and the food - simply phenomenal!

Indigo in-flight experience is colorful! The air hostesses were super too!

Good bye Ahmedabad!

Sunday, September 07, 2014

Passport Seva Kendras - The Power of IT Outsourcing

If anyone needs any convincing about how IT can bring about a revolution, all you need is a visit to the Passport Seva Kendras run by TCS for the Govt of India.

A few weeks back, while applying for a Nederlands visa for an upcoming trip, we realized my daughter's passport needs to be renewed. Our hearts sank, because we knew it would involve endless trips, paperwork and contacts to get the job done.

But we decided to go for it, take the risk, and hope we are blessed with some good luck.

This was Sunday evening.

A little Google search revealed that we now had to apply online - and literally 15 mins later, we were done. However, the appointment slots for the day were gone, and the website asked us to get a slot when the new quota was released the next day, at 12:00 pm.

Monday, 12:15, I had the appointment dates - Wed at 2:00 pm.

We reached the Passport Seva Kendra at 1:20, and had a nice, quick lunch at a nearby restaurant. At 1:55, the security guard let us in, and at 2:40, we were out, done with the document verification, biometrics, and fees!

Friday afternoon, at 3:30, we had a spanking new passport in hand!

No bribes, no "connections", no fuss. The center itself was very clean, air-conditioned, the staff was smiling and very cooperative and helpful, the entire workflow computerized, with timers measuring the performance of the staff every step of the way! No way for a "passport agent" to get in, no role for "underhand dealings". Even the name - Passport Seva Kendra - is just so right!

Stunning what a professional IT outsourcing model can do to governance, and with Modi at the helm (and the extremely corrupt RTOs already next in line of fire), one can safely dream of an efficient, citizen-friendly India very soon!

The Stunning Mumbai International Airport

On Independence Day...

Black & White Beauties

Mumbai - Honest City!

In an experiment last year, Mumbai came across as the world's second most honest city. A simple, abandoned wallet was left on the road, and the study recorded how many people stumbling on it returned it to its owner. An average Mumbaikar returned 9 out of 12 wallets he or she found lying on the road, each carrying Rs 3,000 (or equivalent). Each of the wallets also contained a cell phone number, business cards and a family photo. The experiment was carried out in 16 cities across four continents with 192 lost wallets, dropped in crowded places like shopping malls, sidewalks and parks in cities as diverse as New York and Zurich.

For the record, Helsinki topped the list of honest cities returning 11 of the 12 wallets.
I got a first hand experience of Mumbai's generosity and honesty last month, when I left my expensive, brand new, Samsung Galaxy S5 phone in an auto rickshaw. By the time I realized my phone was not with me, a cool 15-20 mins had passed by. Not only did the auto driver pick up my desperately hopeful call, he immediately came back from wherever he had reached, completely aware of the phone sitting on the back seat in his auto until I called. With a big smile, he stopped his auto across the road, and ran through the traffic to me, handing over the phone like he had just delivered his most precious "amanat" back to me.

And while I did tip him generously, I really need to add - not for a second did he try to linger on after handing over my phone, with absolutely no expectation for a reward!

My only regret - I should have taken his number, and found a way to repay his generosity some day! Maybe I was feeling too small in front of him, and it was easier to just give him some baksheesh and get the hell out of there!

Dog Tales

Am not much of a dog lover, but here are two stories that warmed my heart... and I am sure it will do so to you too!

I wish they had featured the puppy here! Isn't it just so awesome to have your puppy with you, when you are alone and lost, assured he isn't leaving your side, and then being able to return home to the warm embrace of the rescuers and your family? I also wonder what was going through the puppy's mind!

Here's a story I find very hard to believe - except that it came in the TOI, and it wasn't April 1 when it was featured. Is this photo even real? Training dogs is understandable, of course - but hey, look at this classroom! And then expecting Delhi's strays to wear the cops uniform? Wow.. would be so cool if it were indeed true!

Baby Liz

Movie Review: Entertainment

A bloke realizes he has become the rich heir of a 3000 crore fortune - but there is just one major hurdle. His estranged father has willed all the fortune to his dog named Entertainment. So he sets off on a mission to get rid of the dog..

Of course, there are other claimants to the throne, a few side kicks, there is a girl he is in love with, and her greedy father, and so on and so forth.

Doesn't really matter.

But Entertainment isn't really bad. Watch it for the dog. Watch it for some good humor, especially the weaving for Bollywood movie titles in everyday speech. And for the very hot Tamannah Bhatia, who lights up the screen even when she is out of it. And of course, there is Sonu Sood, Prakash Raj, Mithunda and Johnny Lever.

Yes, keep the brains at home.

Movie Review: Into The Storm

A small US town bears the brunt of an unprecedented ganging up of super tornadoes, and you find yourself right in the thick of the action, experiencing it through the eyes of a band of storm chasers. While the story is nothing to write home about, and the action is pretty predictable, the movie is watchable for some very good SFX. Of course, only if you catch it in a good theatre.

Macro Photography

Did some macro photography recently, with screw on macro lenses I got for my Canon. Fascinating to see nature at close range!

Khadakwaasla Dam

Last month, we made a day trip to Splendor Country, on the backwaters of the Khadakwaasla Dam, which supplies water to Pune. The dam's gates had been opened to discharge the water, and it was a splendid site in the late evening, with the sun just going down.

In spite of a very poor beginning to the season, with around 80% deficiency by mid August, the rains quickly caught up, and Pune now has over 25% surplus for the year, with all dams 100% full. In Aug, some of the dams were below live storage.

Chicken Paan

Checked out this dish at Malaka Street the other day - chicken in beetle leaves. Interesting combination of flavors, but the beetle was over-powering and pungent, and needed toning down.

Sea Link - Is This Even Real?

Another amazing shot of my favorite bridge in the world!

PS: not my pic, got this on Whatsapp; owner unknown.

Beautiful House

I shot this really pretty bungalow through a car window - can you guess where this could be? Mumbai - on Carter Road.

Getting Back to Blogging

Been a while since I really blogged - except for a couple of "make up" bursts in the recent past. Lot's has been happening actually - Ganapati in Goa, a trip to Ahmedabad, and of course, lots of movies. Stared some studies on auras, and tried learning a bit od Dutch (admittedly, a level of magnitude more complicated than Spanish, which now seems like a walk in one of Madrid's parks!). Modi has also amazed me with his strategies and use of technology to reach out to the 1.2 billion Indians.

So while I  plan a burst over this weekend to make up for the silence, I also take a silent pledge to get back to being a regular blogger.

Now if this were FB, I would ask you to Like my post :)