Thursday, December 31, 2009


A collection of recollections about the year that just went by from some of the people I know...

Neha Pandey: my marriage
Shweta Suthar: otherwise most amazing thing happend in my life is that everything has got back to zero . i gave up my house i love the most, i gave up my marriage, job. so for me its like a new life!
Vivek Bangde: Sapna got married and my niece Siya was born close to my birthday
Aparna Rajgopalan: oh i turned 25 :P although i don't feel i have accomplished anything yet
Shadi Lahham: the day i met my gf
Divya Dave: my marriage
Guru Charan Das: joined in Warwick
Sachin Rathod: my CAR
Sana Pundeer: when my first freelance project completed successfully... in goa!! and when my best friend name her baby after me!
Bhavin Mali: I learned that whatever u do, it's absolutely impossible to stop loving someone... if u try like I did, u just end up wasting time....
Kaushik Sarkar: getting a male pet dog home
Neha Nahata: new job
Abhishek Majumdar: Designdaku!
Shivani Gakkar: after all these years of studying, i finally started working
Sara Bani: i lost a very important person and/but found my to-be-husband
Devesh Mistry: had gone to tokyo saw a new culture and met ppl. ... worked finally on a real car project and its coming out in the expo.... n we bought a new car...
Pavan Misra: getting married.... :D

Friday, December 25, 2009


The year did set up lots that was to follow in future. I failed at my first attempt to enter NID, but decided to try again. Saw friends falling in and falling out of love all around me, it was all kind of uncanny. Had lost all interest in work, but still continued to be the blue eyed boy in my dept.

Bangalore was nice as usual, and we explored many food joints and other places like Rangashankara etc. Guddu got pregnant, and I had my first stint with cooking.

A rather uneventful year, actually.

Thursday, December 24, 2009


The year was so much about wor2 for me, or rather figuring out the work expected out of me. I had moved in with guddu & vishal, and was already falling in love with Bangalore. It was generally a happy year actually, though a little dull. One project at work - Scooty wheel hub weight reduction, was almost a killer, especially with numerous Mysore visits and my habit of picking up arguments :) I made two lasting friends at TVS, our VP BLP Simha and Guru.

And yes I had already started thinking about NID.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009


2002 was quite an important year for me. It started with preparations for Ingenium, but the riots kind of derailed process. The riots also in a way defined not just that year, but many more to come. I questioned things a lot, and got only a few answers. Discarded some friends, the realisations were brutal...

College finished and started with my very first job. Started bloating with excessive rice in Hosur, and made some lasting friends from the GET group there. Learnt about the Gilbert's Syndrome, and perhaps for the first time got comfortable with computers.

Some people had even more interesting lives, while some had a dull year. A few views are shared below...

Bhavin Mali: may be that was the year when my frnd gave me a tiny photo of my first major crush which i had in my wallet till I came to NID!!
Amit Dongre: my first break-up, also met taru
Sana Pundeer: i discovered that i loved sculpting
Ashish Shah: had a major crush on the gal i liked the most.... was gathering some guts from few months to propose her n came to know that she already was into relationship just before a month... :(
Vijay Rajan: oh yeah my trip to goa with college friends
Samreth Singh: cheated for the first and last time? well first at least, last i dunno!
Shivani Gakkar: studied abnormal psychology and hindu philosophy and got totally mindfucked but enjoyed it, had an awesome time singing in college fests
Arpit Agarwal: "unsuccessful at everything attempted"
Sachin Rathod: i went to Amritsar for our annual Architectural Festival called NASA, and my team won a trophy there
Anand Bhushan: Definitely the most iconic year of this decade!!!! Christina Aguilera's album Stripped had released and the fashionistas went berserk!!! Fake Tans, Deadlock Hair, Pierced Navels, G- Strings were all the order of the day! Every boy and girl in my college that time began to cultivate a more sexually provocative image of themselves! Basically we got Dirrrrrrrrrrrrrty!!!!!
Divya Dave: i rode yamaha rx 100 and since then became my favorite bike :)
Abhishek Singh: i scored 3 goals in the football finals...
Namya Kapadia: i met with an accident just before a party, but still danced and had fun :)
Anuj Sharma: my first visit for study
Sudhir Bania: bike trip from Mumbai to Dahanu...a 20 km stretch along the sea coast...
Abhishek Majumdar:
riding a bike in the rain with make-shift raincoat made from plastic sheets on my way from a construction site
Mousumi Biswas: me going to manali for three days on 26th
Apurba Pawar: "i grew up"
Ankur Sharma: had to run away with two damsels in distress in the middle of the night to save them from the local goons inf bangalore...
Muzayun: many of my firsts - my first train travel all alone, bangalore first time in life and i had my first mobile phone, my first cheers whatever you call it.
Bharat Pant: The birth of Divyesh would probably be the most important memory of 2002

Tuesday, December 22, 2009


Another year...that's what it was for me. Can't think of anything so significant, someone proposed to me in college and I had no clue how to respond, so I promptly said no :) I got my first job that year with TVS Motors, where I joined the next year. Quite a dull year, but not so dull for many...

Amit Dongre: i think my ex gf was my gf then and we had a 'good' time
Shilpi Yadav: i was in college first year n had changed my eye color to grey
Janak Raghuraman: the only thing I can think about was going to JNCASR for the summer..
Bhavya Kamaliya: i was sick of a mad girl n got over being frndz with her.......she was a sicko....bitch.....
Ashish Shah: had topped in 2001 and was ranked all india 6th
Shweta Suthar: i had lost my drawing the final one my dad had left them behind the auto and i had a final jury 3 days later
Divya Dave: joined an entrance exam preparation class for architecture and had an amazing time for one full month, though i stood 4th in the state, i never thought about taking it up as a career even then
Vikram: got to know about the field of architecture
Utkarsh Gautam: gone to mumbai first time with my mom for engg. admission then again alone :) also first time on such a long journey, and first time in mumbai locals
Krity Gera: i started drinking in year 2001 on valentine's day
Jilesh Patel: in 2001 I was free, virgin and careless and in the same year I got married, lost my virginity :-( and started think about life
Ankush Sabharwal: 2001 was most probably working on the college mad mag; we made it from scratch, even did the layout and got the printing done and my fave chick in college ran off with another guy
Amrita Singh: my sister got married during this year and i didn't need to give my pre-board exam of +12 because of that!
Kiran Gaikwad: i enjoyed my love life
Tripti Sethi: preparing for ingenium...
Bindhu Malini: made music for the college play, was madly in love, was part of a great tamil play on war, was almost failing in class, was deeply immersed in NCC and went on the mad crazy magnificent trip to Orissa
Shweta Saxena: i was threatened by a junior when i ragged her in college, but fortunately i escaped :)
Anand Bhushan: 2001 was the year when i got drunk for the first time!!!! had my first cigarette! have rockin sex! attended my first fashion week!!!!! went to a gay bar for the first time! danced on tabletops in goa! phew!!!!! i loved 2001....!!!!!!
Vivek Bangde: saw an amazing gal...surabhi...
Guru Charan Das: I topped in 5th sem, got 82%
Aparna Rajgopalan: i finished school! and i was HAPPY and RELIEVED to be done with it!
Muzayun: did lots of louis khan sheets - architects would know what would that do to you, had my first officially month long night out sessions in the design studios. love was sinking me in, and i was soon on the train's track.

Monday, December 21, 2009

2000 - the beginning of a decade

I never thought of the year 2000 as the first year of a new decade. Now that the decade is finally ending, I am trying to recollect what made the last ten years special, not just for me, but also for people around me.

Decade is just a man-made term, but recollections are intrinsically inbuilt in each one of us, but often we forget looking back and looking within...

Here are some feedback from some of the people that were asked this question...

Sachin Rathod: broke a bone
Salil Bhargava: had my first cigarette
Divya Dave: made two very special friends that year
Abhinash Mohanty: started with NID
Ankush Sabharwal: maybe i saw my first xxx porn
Manoj AG: used a condom for the first time
Shruti Raheja: well i for one I didn't do so well in my exams, I did an internship with ABN AMRO, I worked with an architect....and yet I knew this wasn't my calling.....
Shweta Saxena: i got into architecture
Sanjeev behera: I would say the friendship was the most significant thing to happen in my life in 2000
Utkarsh Gautam: didn't get through any entrance exam
Subodh Gyan: i joined first job in my life
Ashish Shah: we had shifted to our new apartment!
Amarnath Shaw: my elder brother made me realized how important it is to study and study with a purpose
Sana Pundeer: probably the first time i got asked out
Suchitra Agarwal: i gt through nift
Ravi: i was in orissa and didn't see any of my family members for the whole year for the fist time in life
Varun Srivastava: started the year with a bang at the Essel World in Mumbai
Neha: 10th board exams
Vivek: i scored 92.5% in PCM so got through engineering in the first round unlike others
Nachiketa: scored the highest marks in hindi 10th board exams
Amrita Singh: me and my group won the first prize in dumb charades, just by luck :)
Mohammad Farag: I dropped college and focused on work...which was a life shift...
Sara Bani: i think i met my best friend the one i have even now - ambra
Anand Bhushan: i went from curvy queen latifah to anorexic chic kate moss! and 2000 had the midriff making a comeback! sigh! i miss 2000!

Friday, December 18, 2009


We had green tea today morning in office, more for health and curiosity reasons than of course its taste. Divya supplied the fresh and brand new bottle of mouthwatering Indian honey and I supplied the tea (Indian again). Vikram, Divya and me then decided to be the tea tasters. The first video attached shows the detailed process of making this exotic honey green tea while the second one shows the after effects.

Learn and enjoy!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

a december morning...

4 traffic policemen keenly looking at the road to catch any traffic offenders and a bike with three men (none with the mandatory helmets) zoom past them and into the BRTS lane to cross the road. Surprisingly they didn't even look at the bike or the bikers. I was impressed.

An old woman crossed the road wearing a khakhi saree outside Dharnidhar derasar, and for a second I thought it was again a traffic constable albeit with a stoop. Another was a car with a big red L, whose driver was adamant about not letting anyone overtake his mighty car; a few lucky men on their cycles did, however, manage to speak past him.

A couple of cars almost crashed on the Shyamal crossroads, leading to heated arguments and lots of early morning commotion; nothing new here though. No fist-fights, so I didn't bother to stop and enjoy the scene, unlike many other fellow bikers.

Again looked at the numerous neem trees and their highly useful leaves. I used to extremely regular with them before Italy, never touched again them after that. Wonder how to inspire myself again for that.

Saw loads of food on the way, especially outside Prahlad Nagar garden, didn't stop to pick any. A couple fondling on the bike parked outside the garden looked up at me, and gave absolutely no expression. I was at least expecting irritation. Nothing at all was kind of weird.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Love Handles

Unlike the name itself, Love Handles have a rather bland meaning - excess fat around the waistline. A quick net research did not give any information on the origin of this rather interesting word. Perhaps this could be it - Bunches of excess fat at the waist, which one’s lover can grasp.

Like most fat on the body, Love Handles are also made of body tissue containing stored fat that serves as a source of energy; it also cushions and insulates vital organs. This is the best possible reason for having these, apart from the one (the ergonomic one) mentioned above.

There are numerous websites and videos with step by step guide to reduce these, however, most experts agree that spot reductions are impossible to achieve. Most still continue to try and often fail miserably.

Here are some images of these infamous and rather undesirable (for most) bulges of excess fat.

I can see this is an extremely boring post, and am rather keen on making it much more spicy. I have added a bit of masala through the images above, however, talking more on this could be positively risky!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

The Water Bearer - Aquarius

My loyal mug!

This is what I see right now, an empty mug of tea. Many reflections about this drink, starting from how I started drinking it in the first place keep coming back to me from time to time. But what I see today is less of reflection, and more of print. I wonder how much of this is actually true/ applicable to me, but here it is.

The Water Bearer - Aquarius

The independent Aquarian tends to have fixed and positive opinions whilst at the same time being tolerant to the ideas of others. Aquarians make good friends and like to be of service to others although they are unforgiving to those who deceive them and often need solitude to pursue their chosen interest. The idealistic Aquarian, however, should beware of making ambitious plans which are seldom completed.

Sign - water waves
Planet - Uranus
Element - Air
Stone - Amethyst
Metal - Aluminium
Colours - Purple, Turquoise, Gray, Black
Flowers - Orchid
Herbs - Valerian
Suitable careers - Scientist, Lecturer, Translator, Entertainer (sadly no designer here)

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Convocation series (an old post) - My first birthday again!

This one has a lot of Hulla Gulla especially with Divya in it :)

It was one of my best birthdays, all because of the people around me. The actual celebrations were even more grand...about 5 birthdays together! There was Kiwi cake for me...and most of it ended up on my face and hair!

It all seems to be so far away...however this daily journey to the studio through the Pigeon path can never be forgotten. Everyone will have good, bad and ugly memories (ya, I have them all) associated. Things have changed so much...for all of us in the video. We have all come so far away, something that will go on for the rest of our lives.

Its such an irrelevant video for most of us, except for those who feature in it.

P.S. this was an old post, saved last year even before convocation. Found it today...

Tuesday, December 8, 2009


Mass graves of men who died in the last two decades of armed struggle found in the last eighteen months by various human rights groups in the valley. Unnamed/ unmarked graved filled with dead bodies. Is it possible to remain apolitical when this happens in your background? I remember during the Godhra riots I felt so much turbulence inside. For Kashmiris this must have been going on for the last 20 years.

Mont Blanc is in the Supreme Court. The case involves their use of Mahatma for a pen they launched recently.

Tiger Woods now has seven women claiming to have had an affair with him. Needless to say, his record of hits is enviable even outside the golf course.

In other news, Karunanidhi might resign soon, India signs a nuke deal with Russia and Telangana under fire.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Flamingo dance/ Weddings/ Disaster

One of the most challenging things about attending an Indian marriage is the dance that precedes the actually marriage ceremony, especially if you belong to the groom's side. One requires special training in a sort of dance, which curiously reminds one of desperate flamingos dancing to attract the females and failing badly. This usually happens in the baraat and no one is generally spared, most of the times not even the groom.

Men and sometimes women look not only funny (and of course 'wannabe flamingos'), but also become the centre of attraction for the onlookers. A very entertaining site indeed, if you are not a part of the flamingo pack!

Of course there are varieties of birdies running and jumping around on the road ahead of the poor ghodi! There are some trained ones, Abhishek Singh and Vivek Bangde types, who dance confidently and lead the flamingo pack. Pro marriage dancers like them are needed to save the pack. Then there are some like Mahesh, who dance in their own world. They don't care even if the female flamingo doesn't look at them, they are like sufis...aiming for direct connection with the almighty with their flamingo dance (though its rather difficult to explain why the do this in a baraat). Then there is another type which dances for a second and then goes back in the background (clicking snaps, screaming to make conversations with fellow dancers, messaging on phone and so on); Vivek Amberkar falls in this category. And then there are some really stupid ones, who insist on dancing all through the baraat, without any idea of what they are doing, jumping around like ducks let loose on a beach trying to fly off, when chased by beach dragons - I am a certified member of this gang, maybe Bhavin also comes close. We are the funniest to watch but still insist on dancing - aankhir yaar ki shaadi hai!

There is nothing more embarrassing than looking at your own video dancing in a baraat. The only way to avoid this is by avoiding the baraat itself, a monumental task by itself! Of course one also has to then bear the wrath of the groom/ friends/ family etc.

I am looking for suggestions on how to make the most of this flamingo dance in the next wedding I attend. Are there coaching classes for something like this? In Ahmedbaad, maybe? I am willing to go to Mumbai also to master this art, provided someone is willing to help a log of wood like me. Any suggestions?

Thursday, November 19, 2009

wheat flour over the years...

My mother's grandmother used to get up every morning at 4 (in Almora thats quite something) and grind the wheat for making food that day. The wheat flour used to be absolutely fresh and apparently also very tasty and healthy.

By the time ma was old enough to help her dadi, there were neighborhood chakkis for making atta - people still used to give their own flour and get the atta made right in front of them. Soon rush increased and people would just drop their dabbas with wheat grains and collect the atta later on. This is was still not convenient enough, so obviously the next was packaged atta sold in almost all kiran stores now.

However, the practice of getting your own grains has also not died out completely. Many families don't prefer packaged atta, fearing it might be old and maybe even with additives to make it last much longer on the shelves. But, packaged atta is getting more and more popular. We can already see the next step in the process - packaged chapatis, though the trend is yet to catch on. The roti quality is rather inferior, and most of us still prefer to eat fresh rotis straight from their mother's/ wife's tawa!

Another interesting product for this is the 'ghar-ghanti' which has been around in many Gujarati homes for a while now. Useful when the atta consumption is fairly high, true for large joint families.

I wonder for how long we would be able to retain our current cooking practices, with technology we move ahead for sue, but often compromise on the most fundamental parameters i.e. taste. Often convenience wins over taste and that is quite a loss for our taste buds. Lets see how our future shapes up...

Monday, November 9, 2009

Political entertainment...

Its rather amazing how our elected politicians sometimes behave, but I guess its hardly surprising as even they are also humans, after all. Like everyone else they are also emotional, and are eligible for an emotional outburst or two.

With the above as background, its hardly surprising what happened in the Maharashtra assembly today. Emotional legislators on the two sides and some high-pitched drama - a perfect recipe for a Bollywood potboiler (however, its too real to be actually made into a movie). The issue seemed simple enough (and Mr. Azmi's act democratic enough); perhaps no one would've even noticed it (or maybe I am wrong here), if not for our very charged first time emotional MLAs from MNS. But language could be tricky issue to handle or even understand.

Or am I being presumptuous by assuming that it was pure emotion on display, perhaps it was a pre-planned move with a very clear objective. Its hardly unlikely, considering that its all within the highly murky political samunder. It generated a lot of noise and possibly even some entertainment, and would perhaps ensure some more votes and maybe more than 13 MNS representatives in the next state elections too. And tons of publicity...

So where do we go from here? I wonder how low do we fall (both us and the politicans) before we decide that now its nadir for us all and decide to do something about it.

But I am still inclined to give the benefit of doubt to all parties involved, possibly everyone is innocent and correct in their own places. But a feeling of disgust persists...

Saturday, November 7, 2009

As time goes by...

There is little original on my blog of late, and even this is also a borrowed one. A song which is very dear to me. I guess many of us can relate to these words, simple but intense.

You must remember this
A kiss is just a kiss, a sigh is just a sigh.
The fundamental things apply
As time goes by.

And when two lovers woo
They still say, "I love you."
On that you can rely
No matter what the future brings
As time goes by.

Moonlight and love songs
Never out of date.
Hearts full of passion
Jealousy and hate.
Woman needs man
And man must have his mate
That no one can deny.

It's still the same old story
A fight for love and glory
A case of do or die.
The world will always welcome lovers
As time goes by.

Oh yes, the world will always welcome lovers
As time goes by.

It was written by Herman Hupfeld in 1931 and was later used again in the movie, Casablanca in 1942. The version here is the one used in the movie.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Succubus and Incubus

Succubus: A female demon supposed to descend upon and have sexual intercourse with a man while he sleeps.

In medieval legend, a 'succubus' is a female demon which comes to men, especially monks, in their dreams to seduce them and have sexual intercourse with them, drawing energy from the men to sustain themselves, often until the point of exhaustion or death. This legend was an explanation for the phenomena of wet dreams and sleep paralysis.

Incubus: An evil spirit supposed to descend upon and have sexual intercourse with women as they sleep.

It is a lascivious male demon said to possess mortal women as they sleep and to be responsible for the birth of demons, witches, and deformed children. According to one legend the incubus and his female counterpart, the succubus, were fallen angels. The belief in these demons was especially prevalent in the Middle Ages, and stories of assaults by incubi were not uncommon. There are similar spirits in many cultures. In current usage, incubus means a person or thing that oppresses, such as a nightmare.

The perceived origin of these demons, is said to be as an excuse, for women to have been cheating on their husbands. Saying that they were raped by a demon during the night. Back in those times, this was very well believable. If the woman got pregnant, she would still blame it on the Incubus.

More information for curious readers...

In medieval lore, a succubus was a female spirit that would lay with men to steal their seed: it was given as an explanation of night arousal and wet dreams. It was also paired with the incubus, the male form, sometimes transforming between the two forms to pass along the stolen seed to unknowing women.

In the fifteenth century, the succubus and the male demon, the counterpart incubus (which takes the form of a man, to seduce women), were associated with witchcraft, and witches were assumed to have intercourse with demons.

The Test: Victor Hugo relates that in the Channel Islands Satan himself -- tempted more than elsewhere by the beauty of the women, doubtless -- sometimes plays at incubus, greatly to the inconvenience and alarm of the good dames who wish to be loyal to their marriage vows, generally speaking. A certain lady applied to the parish priest to learn how they might, in the dark, distinguish the hardy intruder from their husbands. The holy man said they must feel his brow for horns; but Hugo is ungallant enough to hint a doubt of the efficacy of the test.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Pehla Nasha

Its a movie I saw as a kid and loved it even then, despite it being a super flop! And today I came across the name somewhere and it revived all those memories. I also used to dream about something like this...falling hopelessly for a dangerous seductive woman and all the action-adventure-thrill that follows!

It was only much later that I got to know that it was a remake of a Hollywood flick 'Body Double'. I guess it was a daring debut film for Ashutosh Gowarikar, and the movie was far better than his latest 'What's your Rashi?'. It had a weird star cast too - Deepak Tijori (his first movie as a male lead), Raveena Tandon (looking hot in all her saari dances) and Pooja Bhatt.

Maybe I would get a CD for this one and see it again. Who knows what would happen then...

Saturday, October 24, 2009

naam, name...

Odissa is now Odisha and Oriya is Odia (cabinet approved, pending Parliament approval).

Last 10 years have been eventful with politicians insisting that its important to go back to the roots and change names to original ones. Maybe this all was spurred by Bombay being renamed to Mumbai, followed to Madras (to Chennai) and Calcutta (to Kolkota). Bangalore also joined these big cities and rechristened itself Bengaluru.

One of the cities which can soon join the above could be Ahmedabad. It could very well be called Karnavati in future.

Renaming doesn't just end at cities, but extends to crosses, roads, buildings. Hence VT (Victoria Terminus) becomes CST (Chhtrapati Shivaji Terminus), Connaught Place turns to Rajiv Chowk and so on. The fact there was no Railways when Shivaji ruled and no Rajiv when Lutyens designed the Connaught Place is, of course, immaterial.

I do give the impression that I am against renaming these relics of the past. But that's not the concern, the concern is who decides whats right in these cases. Somehow I feel, despite the fact that politicians are elected democratically, they are not exactly the best people to decide on name changes. And what if some people want the name to be changed, while some are against it. The obvious answer would be to let the elected representatives decide...

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Xie Caiping

Xie Caiping is known as "mama san" of one of Chongqing's notorious triads. Xie is accused of operating gambling dens, drug trafficking, giving and collecting bribes and terrorizing people, including policemen who had tried to investigate her illicit activities.

In Chongqing, police operations started in June, leading to the arrest of over 4,800 suspected gangsters and the confiscation of 1,700 illegal firearms. Investigations led to many city officials, including police officers. They include Wen Qiang, Xie Caiping's brother-in-law, who is now accused of colluding with gangsters. Xie Caiping's profanity-laced testimony drew a rebuke from the judge last week, but delighted the public, which reveled in tales in the local media that she kept 16 lovers.

Chongqing became the world's largest city in 1997 when the central government, by administrative edict, incorporated a huge area adjacent to the city into what is now the Chongqing municipality.

References: bbc, telegraph, wikipedia...

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Trip back home...

Perched up on top of a high chair in dull green saree with pale golden border, and red wall serving as background, she was a perfect motherly figure. Looking at her smiling face, I immediately felt welcomed in the household – a simple home with just the basic necessities. A Ganesha fresco is what I saw first as I entered the living room. It was apparently made on the occasion of her son Rajesh’s wedding a few years back, he now has a young daughter as well. Rajesh is also a political worker; I couldn’t exactly make out his political affiliation, but I somehow assumed that it would be either Shiv Sena or the MNS. Its weird how I could assume something like this so easily, rather disappointing I would way.

The grand-daughter continued playing with her neighbourhood friend, while Bhavin chatted with aai and I looked at the wooden utensils and other broken toys of the kid. I liked the setting, it was new but still relaxing. And it was quite there, except for an occasional dog bark, or a neighbourood dog playing, or the utensils in the kitchen.

The day passed off like this, we also followed it smoothly. Partly climbed up the hill behind the village, saw the village school (where Bhavin studied and his dad taught), saw kids playing Cricket (what else!) and a nice wholesome lunch. Most were almost surprised that I didn't eat mutton for Sunday lunch, and so a special vegetarian meal for prepared for me. I also looked most of out place (long hair and odd clothes), and drew some stares from the other villagers. Even Bhavin looked like an outsider.

A week later I was in my hometown Nainital and still looked like an outsider, my language more refined, my mannerisms alien and my stamina limited. Almost like a tourist at home.

Monday, October 12, 2009

I am happy

It was cool and it was dark.
After a long tiring day,
It was time to enjoy the walk, the sea, the breeze.
The sea hitting dark rocks, and a lot of happiness around me.
And I was happy too, and almost content...

The wine finished slowly,
I saw the sun set and darkness set in.
The salty sea breeze, keeping me awake for a long night ahead,
I could hear stories, and I could even see some of them.

The walk to the cafe, the numerous coffees to keep myself awake,
With a pen constantly filling pages and a companion almost sleeping,
I was happy, and I was content.
Not thinking about the next day, I wished the night to just go on.

The nap in the park bench, the long walk back to where we started,
Getting lost again and again and still finding our way,
Reaching hours in advance,
And again sitting again with a sleepy companion.
I looked at her and yes I was happy,
There was nothing like being that moment.
Sitting on the floor, quietly leaning against the wall,
Watching the world pass by, while I waited for the sun to finally rise.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

The Bai Clan (TBC)

This is how the family history/ tree goes/ grows.

There is Bhaben. We have no clue why she is called that, apparently we (i.e. Bhavin and me) are the only ones who call her that. Bhaben has a daughter Hetal (pronounced Hettal), who works in the house downstairs (and at times at our place as well). Hettal is good decent girl and works well. Bhaben also has a competitor, known as Ramilaben 2 (the original Ramilaben gives food dabba for dinner). Ramilaben is afraid of Bhaben but has a mobile and so is reachable most of the time. So she is our 'Pasand No. 1'! Now, Ramilaben 2 has many kids and we are still rather unsure of the exact numbers. We at least know of three - two daughters and a son. The elder daughter is Sheetal (or Sittal, as she calls herself) and the younger one is Rekha (or Rekkhha).

Sittal is a warm girl and thinks of every girl who visits us as our spouses! I find this exceptionally funny. And she also has some weird characteristics which are a little difficult to describe here. Her sister Rekkhha is quite and extremely quick with work. In fact, they are all very quick.

We always knew they all these women (and some men) were related, but the connections were often vague in our heads. Here is how it works. Hettal is Sittal's mausi and hence Ramilaben 2 is Hettal's cousin. Sittal and Rekkhha still remain sisters, but Ramilaben becomes Bhaben's niece (or something on those lines). And obviously Hettal is still Bhaben's daughter.

More updates in TBC as and when we learn something new about the Clan.

Monday, September 28, 2009


Dusshera: Victory of good over the evil...

Evil: Moral badness, or the deviation of a moral being from the principles of virtue imposed by conscience, or by the will of the Supreme Being, or by the principles of a lawful human authority; disposition to do wrong; moral offense; wickedness; depravity.

Good: That which possesses desirable qualities, promotes success, welfare, or happiness, is serviceable, fit, excellent, kind, benevolent, etc.; opposed to evil.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Office timepass again...

Another totally timepass video with the office junta :)

This fantastic dance move is being practiced at the Restaurant Saffron in Shapath IV; that day we managed to shock as well as entertain the staff as well as the fellow guests :)

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Garba over the years - Part 2

Ghunghat ki aad mein, dilbar ka deedar adhoora rehta hai...
jab tak na mile aashiq ki nazar, yeh pyaar adhoora rehta hai...

Ek main, aur ek tu, dono mile is tarah...

mar gayi main, mit gayi main
ooori aaari...teri deewani...

pari hoon main (again)...mujhe na choona...

naa jaane koi, ksisi hai yeh zindagani...
humari adhoori kahani...

saason ka maala mein simuru main tera naam...
teri deewani (whats going on???)...teeeeeri deewani...

yeh mera dil, pyaar ka deewana...
deewana deewana, pyaar ka mastana/ parvana (?)

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Garba over the years - Part 1

Ley gayi dil mera manchali,
khalibali khalibali, khalibali khalibali...

I have always enjoyed Navratri in Gujarat, albeit from a distance. A few times, that I actually got into the field, the disasters (one of them included punching a big fat aunty on her face in Baroda) convinced me that I was not meant for this graceful dancing style.

Pardesia, yeh sach hai piya...
Log kehte hain maine...tujhko dil de diya...

The singers here today are actually good, and music loud and jarring. But I can still enjoy the festivity in the air.

Pari hoon main, mujhe naa choona...

While in school, most garbas (Arkee, United Way, Vaccine) were places to see pretty girls. The first year I visited with my parents, but next year onwards it was only with friends. I would hook onto one girl I liked the best, and would continue looking at her. She would come in front once every round...those were the days...

Khaike paan banaras waala, khul jaaye band akal ka taala...

Garbas in NID were a different affair, I ended up avoiding most of them. I especially remember the garba in first year when I visited only once on the last day for the pooja.

(this was actually pure fusion as the words after this were completely in Gujarati)!

I thought I was a purist as far as music is concerned. But I am quite in favour of fusion now. The fusion one hears during Navratri is both innovative as well as entertaining.

Jay Ambe maata ni jai!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Salty Dead Fish and Pizza

This time last year I was craving for salt like a mad man. Doctors had advised loads of glucose, but all I wanted was salt. It was rather odd, because I have a BIG sweet tooth. I used to actually dream about eating salty sea fish for my meals almost every day. As my skin turned yellower, the craving for the salty fish meal also grew exponentially! Watching 'Travel and Living' all day long gave some exceptional visuals to my imaginations. My substitute to salty sea fish was 'salty' tadka arhar dal!

My Salty fish fantasy finally came true at an awesome open air restaurant in Torino with cool breeze soothing my very tired body, when based on Muzayun's recommendations I decided to take a bite from the very salty 'Tuna Pizza'. Her very audible and orgasmic 'OOHs and AAHs' convinced me that it would be almost a sacrilege to leave Italy without eating this 'Tuna Pizza'. It was for the first time in the last decade and half that a salty and very very tasty dead fish had come so close to my mouth. My desperate taste buds were all up waiting for the salty fish to touch them and give them instant International Nirvana/ Moksha.

The silence that followed (not literally of course) their contact was almost like an unexpected anti-climax to an exceptional build-up of desires and expectations. The buds recoiled, my mouth closed and my hands reached out for the very tasty and fine red wine for a soothing BIG gulp. A certain Ms Muzayun Mukhtar was still making her orgasmic 'OOHs and AAHs' with every bite!

Suddenly my 'Travel & Living says all Salty Sea fish tastes yum' dream came crashing down. And it was heart breaking too but returning to my simple, authentic and very tasty 'Margarita' was rather easy. However, my disappointment continued - no matter how much I tried, my tasty 'Margarita' could just not inspire me to make even an occasional orgasmic 'OOH and AAH' that a certain Ms Muzayun Mukhtar was still making!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Sid the cook!

The first time I remember doing anything on the cooking gas was frying blood-filled over-bloated ticks (from my dog Pluto in Nanpara) with a neighbourhood friend. It was a messy affair and resulted in some good beatings from amma. However, my efforts after that have been a little less disastrous!

Recently we got a gas connection at home and I am trying to hone my cooking skills once again. My list of recipes is limited so most weekends some of my friends from NID come over and cook and I observe or help in cooking. Its a process that I am surprisingly enjoying a lot now. Most of the times I cook only for myself, but even that is not a deterrent. Lets see how this journey goes...the start looks promising!

Today's menu - Pasta (well its just a ready to mix Sunfeast one) and Suji Halwa (because I am really in mood for something sweet).

Saturday, September 5, 2009

rumi, sema, darvesh, mevlevi...

Darvesh is derived from the word Dar which means 'the door' in Persian, hence a Darvesh is the one 'who opens the door'.

Rumi has said in reference to Sema, "For them it is the Sema of this world and the other. Even more for the circle of dancers within the Sema Who turn and have in their midst, their own Ka'aba." and what he is saying is that when, like in Mecca you have come closer to God, likewise when you perform Sema you are also closer to God.

The Sema was practised in the semahane (ritual hall) according to a precisely prescribed symbolic ritual with the dervishes whirling in a circle around their sheikh, who is the only one circling around his axis. The Sema is performed by spinning on the right foot. [3] The dervishes wear a white gown (symbol of death), a wide black cloak (hirka) (symbol of the grave) and a high brown cap (kûlah), symbol of the tombstone.

Sema ceremonies are broken up into four parts which all have their own important meanings.

Naat and Taksim - Naat is the beginning of the ceremony where they sing praise for the Prophet Mohammed. The first part is finished with Taksim or the playing of the reed flute which symbolizes our separation from God.

Devr-i Veled - Devr-i Veled is when the dervishes bow to each other. The bow is said to represent the acknowledgement of the Divine breath which has been breathed into all of us. After all the dervishes have done this they kneel and recite a short dhikr before removing their black cloaks.

The Four Selams - The Four Selams are the central part of Sema. The semazen, or the whirling dirvishes, are representative of the moon and they spin on the outside of the Sheikh who is representative of the sun. They, as previously mentioned, spin on their right foot and additionally, they have their right palm facing upwards towards Heaven and their left hand pointing at the ground. The four selams themselves are representative of the spiritual journey that every believer goes through. The first one is representative of recognition of God, the second one is recognition of the existence in his unity, the third one represents the ecstacy one experiences with total surrender, and the fourth one, where the Sheikh joins in the dance, is symbolic of peace of the heart due to Divine unity. After the four selams, this part of the ceremony is concluded with another Taksim.

Concluding Prayer - The fourth part of the ceremony is a recitation from the Holy Qu'ran and a prayer by the Sheikh and then the Sema is complete.

The only live performance I've seen was last year at the Sarkhej Roza. It was beautiful, but I saw it just like a performance. Wonder if I would ever be able to actually experience the trance...

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Paryushan, Ramadan

Its interesting to see two religions (Jainism and Islam) so close to each other. While today is the last day of Paryushan (for the Jains), the day also marks the beginning of Ramadan (for the Muslims). Today is almost like a holy communion of two great faiths which appear to be far from each other in their thoughts, but surprisingly have enough meeting ground as well.

Paryushan - broadly means "abiding" or "coming together" while Ramadan is derived from old Arabic which meant 'intense heat, scorched ground and shortness of rations'. Both the festivals start with fasting and end with a major festival on the final day (something not uncommon in Hindu festivals as well).

Festival of Paryushan ordains the Jains to observe the universal supreme virtues in daily practical life with meditation and prayer which also provides an opportunity for looking within and towards the teachings of the Tirthankars for the guidance. Its a period of abstinence from worldly pleasures. Similarly, during Ramadan Muslims ask forgiveness for past sins, pray for guidance and help in refraining from everyday evils, and try to purify themselves through self-restraint and good deeds.

But this is just information. I was talking with a friend who is a Jain while waiting for another who is a Muslim, and realised how close these two are in their thoughts during this period of fasting. Fasting gave joy to both of them, and they both had more energy during this period though they ate much less.

For one its the last day, while for the other its a beginning. And today is the day that they share...and I share it too because I am making this unusual connection. Perhaps, we can connect most festivals with one another based on the thoughts associated and not disassociate them because of the difference in the faith of people practicing them.

I took help from the blog of my friend for some information on Paryushan.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Public is the new Private

An interesting thought...

"What’s the new what? I say Public is the new Private. Let’s face it, conversations that used to be conducted through private e-mail exchanges are now posted for all to see on facebook walls. Clothing that used to simply imply “I’m better than you” now actually says “I’m better than you”.

It’s gotten out of hand. For my generation, sharing information is no big deal. I no longer hesitate when I type my phone number and detailed plans for the evening on social networking sites. In fact, sending information through private channels has become unheard of, even out of style. The last time I got a Facebook message, I expected it to be SUPER juicy, since only I would be able to access it. Facebook messages are like emails, whereas wall posts are visible on your public profile. I thought the message would at least include a social security number, or perhaps a dirty comment about a backstabbing friend. Instead, the message was just a simple “what’s up” – this secretive “hello” almost offended me. I mean, who sends a hello message and doesn’t make it public? With wallposts such as “I went to this show last night and got so drunk, and then I hooked up with some hot guy named Jake and we spent $14.00 at the hookah bar on Mission…” there is really no need to send private messages.

Young people aren’t only publicizing extremely personal information online, but they’re broadcasting messages through their apparel and accessories. When I walked into Target last week I noticed a wide variety of handbags, the majority of which had messages emblazoned on the front. While t-shirts that say “Angel” or “Devil” on them have been on the rise over the last few years, it’s only recently that purses and jewelry joined in on the public display trend. Bags that used to have pretty patterns and delicate embroidery are now printed with things like “I AM NOT PLASTIC,” and “MY BABY’S DADDY BOUGHT IT FOR ME”. Whether the messages are about saving the environment, or random, they are almost always unnecessary.

The word “subtlety” is being drowned out by lewd and loud comments. We now know each other’s innermost desires (to one day publish a novel that Oprah selects for her book club) and greatest fears (to live alone with a house full of cats at the age of 75), whether we want to or not. There’s no denying it, in today’s day in age, transparency is definitely trendy. But I’m still quietly debating (on youtube, myspace and blogspot) whether public is in fact better than private."

"Is public the new private? It’s inspired by this photo I found on Tumblr this weekend.

Celebrities are used to living under the harsh glare of constant scrutiny, where even their rubbish bins are combed for the ultimate levels of personal information. But public living is starting to overflow into ordinary lives - mainly when a lot of people subscribe to a Twitter feed or Facebook status updates. Many people who don’t get Twitter, don’t understand the attraction of watching the micro patterns of a huge range of semi-strangers lives unfold in front of your eyes. Facebook is about subscribing to the lives of poeople you know. Twitter is about subscribing to the lives of people you don’t know. What constitutes oversharing on the public channel of Twitter?

This is an issue which is only going to get more intense as more and more people jump on Twitter and start talking about their workplaces, or better making witty and sarcastic comments at the said workplace’s expense. Leslie Nassar a.k.a. The Fake Stephen Conroy was “let go” from his employer Telstra when his real identity was revealed. A Telstra employee could not be seen to be sardonically depicting the Minister responsible for trying to impose an internet filter that Telstra supported and no-one wanted. Leslie is going to be talking about his experiences as the Fake Stephen Conroy in the Social Media Club Sydney’s first event on 27th April Authenticity and Transparency in Social Media.

A lot of the general issues arise around whether you want to be held accountable for what you say because of the archiving quality of the internet. If you say something nasty in a verbal conversation its easy to deny it or have it forgotten. There is an aspect of having to silo different parts of your life off depending on how publicly you want to live. There’s also an aspect of creating an alternate persona (by impersonating a celebrity, brand or magazine you naturally attract a lot of attention and people following. Long term, you will have to sustain the following through decent content, at least on a superficial level you may be able to attract on fake name alone) It’s also really hard when random people start taking pot shots at you on a public channel like Twitter and you are trying to hold it together and not engage in a public mud slinging.

Australia has a tiny population compared to Europe or the US and as a consequence our digital industry is a petri dish. It’s hard to forget that everyone working within it is practically known to everyone else. The ramifications can be quite dramatic if you manage to damage your reputation through carelessness, saying the wrong thing on a public channel and all of a sudden its brand x down the gurgler.

@RubyRose1 (an Australian MTV presenter) wanted to run away from Twitter based on a Daily Telegraph story about a conversation with Jess from the Veronicas. She could have DM’d Jess and not become tabloid fodder. She’s done the sensible thing now and locked her updates instead.

I am proud to out myself as an E! Channel E! News watcher. In the last 2 weeks or so there is at least one daily report of which celebrity is tweeting what to the masses. So a lot of angst of private being the new public relates to the equation:

- how famous/reputable you are
- relative to how private you want to keep your life
- relative to your awareness of who your talking to
- and what you are saying
- how public the channel is

I personally silo off different “roles” to different social networks. I like leaving Facebook for people I know personally and limit profile to work colleagues. Professional, career building stuff stays in LinkedIn. Twitter is a mixed bag of everything and is the closest to the real me. I have become a lot more conscious of Twitter’s public channel aspects lately but rather than deleting tweets, I’ll take the conversation to DM if I want to keep it private. I stand by everything I write online, ironically, I am far more straight up in person, in terms of expressing my personal opinions. Working in advertising, you never know who your next client is going to be - bummer if there’s an online rant that you can’t take back. So my non-celebrity life is nicely segmented into private vs public on 3 social networks, with some filtering."

Thursday, August 13, 2009


The women in the ID team at IDEA :)

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

not my views...

It was introduction time in office today and we were finally introduced to a genuinely warm Alex who would now work in our Studio.

Few interesting things from the discussion that ensued...
Ross Lovegrove
Tynant Water
Maletti - spa
Conran & Partners

Plain, Simple and Useful

"You don't design a mobile phone which looks like a Jellyfish for for Motorola"

Obvious ID observations - what are these? They are so obvious that they can easily be missed at times.

Neat and Crisp products have a business like feel to them, no nonsense products.

Designer led design
Brand led design
Concise direction for design works well at times...

Focusing intense energy on a project leads to great results...

And this is a sketch I made during this very long meeting :)

Sunday, August 9, 2009


Its odd when you decide that you should write a post at 3:30 in the morning, especially when you have no clue what would the post be about.

Its a dark room and the light is coming only from my laptop screen. I can see the curtains on the open door glide seductively, revealing the world outside, still keeping its secrets intact. I can see the sky, the ponto and its reflection, the moon (occasionally) and the white wall of the house in the front. All of these mean nothing and on second thoughts everything. The sky is sky, the ponto is Rome, moon is Muzayun and the white wall is white because there is moon. There can be numerous other meanings, some more interesting than these, some less.

Looking around I can also see a sleeping lamp, a basket with dirty clothes, a half-empty suitcase, a mirror reflecting nothing... There can be meaning to all of these. Mind is capable of giving meanings and making connections with inanimate things. And these remain with us for a long time to come, some remain forever. Some torment us, but we still can't give them up.

I see the keypad, recently cleaned by someone very dear. The recollection makes me touch the keys more softly than ever, to see its whiteness even in the dark, to enjoy typing. I see darkness in some corners of the room, places I am learning to ignore.

I heard the bell ring a while back, ignored that as well. Who could it be at this hour?

The night is never long enough, a couple of hours more and there would be light outside. I will see the birds, the sun, neighbours, dogs and make even more connections.

Saturday, August 8, 2009


Its a nice and cool morning in Ahmedabad. The fact that its a weekend only adds to my delight...

Started the day with almost no plans, but now interesting thoughts are coming into my head. Something that I always wanted to do, but didn't just feel the time was right. But then the time is never right, and I may just die one day with these thoughts in my head.

Today is a day dedicated to writing; I am not sure what would I call these - random, broken memoirs, maybe? I should have written these down a while back, the memories have already been adulterated by so many events after them, things much more dominant and much less in my control.

This post is also odd, like an extended version of your status on Facebook or Twitter. Oddly enough, though both of these look superfluous, when one dwelves deeper into them, they reveal so much about a person. People say things which they would never say otherwise. And try going through your own older posts, it would reveal something new about you as well. You would be surprised with some very personal, raw emotions...

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Death of a dead phone!

My beloved (despite many people hating the phone, but loving the ring tone) Motorokr died late this June at approximately this time.

This video shows how to kill an already dead mobile.

This was shot after office hours and under strict supervision of experts. It is, however, strongly recommended that one should repeat this at home and share the results here. A few disastrous examples could even be featured here.

p.s. Its actually long and demented and almost senseless!


Read something on Arpit's blog and it triggered so many emotions...

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Muzayun the Cook :)

Cooked food
Pressure cooker
Floor mat
Jeera; well actually Saunf :)
Dum aalo
Rice for us and all our future generations...
Toor dal
Missing dessert :)
Pots and Pans
Latest addition - "Lots and lots of Love"

Loved every bit of it!

p.s. found this old from Bhavin's birthday last year showing our footwear, taken at exactly at the same place where we had our dinner :)

Monday, July 27, 2009

The Inevitable...

Why is it so difficult to accept the inevitable?

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Kohl eyes

She swayed like a princess, a swan,
on a road so filthy, you could hardly even walk.
Her anklets had a rhythm,
a music so soft, impossible to miss, impossible to ignore.

There was little I could see on her face from far,
but her deep old sorrowful eyes, smudged with kohl, worn out with age.
I couldn't help but imagine the life she must've led!

No one looked her away, their attention only on the tea in her hand.
The dark brown concoction to relieve them of their stupor,
on a dark, gloomy, moisture laden Ahmedabad monsoon afternoon.

Her eyes looked away too,
or maybe it was only in my imagination.
She hurried back as the drizzle started,
I still stared at her, she never looked my way.
Her eyes looked afar,
maybe at her own past, maybe the future - the few years left

I could sense her presence, long after she had left.
The constant noise at the workshop,
adding to the music in my thoughts.
My trance broken suddenly,
by a dark, almost surreal rain.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Can I?

It actually hurts to read any further. I know why am getting so involved with the book now, and that is scary...

I want it to end differently, for it to be a little less painful. But I only see it getting darker ahead...

Can I stop reading it now? Will that stop things, that are already set in motion?


Not something one desires, not something one aches for,
Its an infection that you get, and live with it forever...

Like a deep pond, so deep you could almost drown,
But somehow you don't.
Dense like a forest, but you don't get lost.
You are almost saved, but only almost...

It drenches you, but doesn't always soak you wet.
And its the dryness that torments you.
But you keep coming back for more, keep asking for more.
Isn't that senseless? But sense is the first thing you lose...

Sunday, July 12, 2009


"With so much to discuss, he knew she would be there soon, but still it wasn't long before he fell prey to a dark pessimism. First, he imagined that she had been delayed because she'd run into her father; then he began to worry that she didn't want to be with him. The old ache returned, spreading from his stomach like poison. If this was what other called love pangs, they held no promise of happiness. As his love for her deepened, these dark panics seemed to descend on him even faster. He was well aware of this, but he was right to assume that these attacks, these fearsome fantasies of deception and heartbreak, had anything to do with what others called 'love'? He seemed alone in describing the experience in terms of misery and defeat. Being unable to imagine bragging about it, as everyone else bragged of love, he could only suppose that his own brand of it was abnormal, and this bothered him more than anything else."

You are Not Really going to Die, Sir, Are You?
Several Rounds of Bargaining in Which Life Vies with the Theatre, and Art with Politics

SNOW, Orhan Pamuk

nothing, almost everything...


Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Anarchy in West Bengal as Maoists capture Lalgarh, NDTV

This is from the NDTV website...nothing much to say...

There is anarchy in West Bengal, as less than 200 km away from the Kolkata, the Maoists have virtually taken over the Lalgarh block in West Midnapore district.

Their targets are the police and CPM supporters, both of whom have fled the area. And they have declared that their main target is Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharya.

The Maoists and their supporters are now ransacking every symbol of political and administrative authority in Lalgarh.

The mood in Lalgarh was celebratory, almost as if a Puja was being held. The drums were beating a slow rhythm.

And to the beat, as some danced and hundreds of others looked on, a demolition squad smashed the home of Anuj Pandey, CPM zonal secretary of Dharampur.

All this was done under the leadership of a man named Bikash who stood there with an AK 47 slung on his shoulder. Bikash is a member of the Maoist People's Liberation Guerilla Army.

"The ground here is already ready and waiting for us. A child is about to be born and we are playing the role of the nurse who will deliver it," said Bikash.

Bikash is one of 400 Maoists who apparently entered Lalgarh on June 6 for the current operation, according to police sources. Of the 400, at least 100 are armed with automatic weapons. This very group was responsible for the landmine blast on November 2 that narrowly missed the Chief Minister's convoy.

"On November 2, our plan was to execute Buddhadeb Babu. If West Bengal wants Buddhadeb hanged, who will hang him. It will be us of the People's Liberation Guerrilla Army," said Bikash.

There were more demolitions. The CPM's Dharampur local committee office was also demolished by the squad, bringing down the building brick by brick and setting it on fire.

Just a few metres away from the party office that is being demolished, there was a grisly sight. The body of Shalku Soren was lying there since Sunday. Shalku Soren was apparently a CPM worker. He was killed in a clash with Maoists.

CPM fellowmen brought him here but the situation became so tense after his body was brought here on Sunday, that they have just left the body here and run away.

In the middle of the anarchy, there was no sign of the police as they have been withdrawn by the government. The CRPF was asked to go in but refused unless given permission to open fire if necessary. That permission has apparently not been given yet but may come soon.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Convocation series - Random collection again!

Well some more old videos...

Especially interesting is Shweta's first semester jury. Well you can't really see here (due to constant camera movement), but her voice is clear! This is from my old camera days when 256 MB card was huge :)


Midnight Express!

Well Ms Muzayun will certainly approve of this, as she thinks we work so much in office!

This is around midnight when frustration levels were high on the 5th floor. After the train ride, the work improved substantially! Highly recommended for everyone who works till late :)

Convocation series - Random collection!

Well convocation happened about six months back, and so these videos make no sense right now!

Anyway found them yesterday and I feel there is no harm in sharing them now, even if its a little late :)


On the way to Diu!

DVC during Alias learning days...

Monday, June 1, 2009


A new name for my blog, a name Ms Muzayun would most likely hate!

But nothing has changed, am still irregular with writing posts and I still feel bad about it.

I am writing this from office and tomorrow I intend to put in some interesting office pics/ videos on the blog. So far I have refrained from writing much about office, but fun things can certainly be written about!

I am already dead bored with the post and hope no one reads this, however I will try and make many read it!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Prisoner of conscience

This is an article, Prisoner of conscience (Subverse, TOI, 28th April 2009), by Anand Patwardhan, a Mumbai-based film-maker.

May 14 this year will mark an ignominious date for Indian democracy — the start of the third straight year of Binayak Sen’s incarceration in a Chhattisgarh jail. I wonder if there are words left to describe this travesty. What is left to say that has not been said? On Binayak’s behalf,writers, poets, judges, lawyers, doctors, human rights workers and trade unionists have spoken out from across India and the globe. Former Supreme Court justice Krishna Iyer, former US attorney general Ramsey Clark, Noam Chomsky and 22 Nobel laureates are amongst the thousands who grace this impressive list, but so far it has all been to no avail.

For those who may not recall, let me set out a chronology. Binayak is a pediatrician, a gold medalist who eschewed a lucrative urban practice to work amongst the poorest in central India. When i met him in the mid-1980s he had helped build a workers’ hospital for the Chhattisgarh Mines Workers’ Samiti led by the legendary Shankar Guha Niyogi. Niyogi and his team were not ordinary trade unionists but visionaries for whom a workers’ union went beyond wage struggles — to health care, education, even cinema literacy and, of course, fighting the scourge of alcoholism that inevitably afflicts the unorganised. Niyogi was murdered in 1991. The liquor mafia was blamed but it is commonly understood that they were merely the medium and that the real killers were politicians aligned to industrialists for whom a union that could not be co-opted had to be crushed.

Niyogi’s murder was followed by widespread repression. As big money entered the mineral-rich region, Adivasis found themselves displaced from their lands. A section joined the Naxalite movement, which in turn spawned greater repression. Binayak continued his medical work but also began to document human rights violations in his capacity as secretary of the Peoples’ Union for Civil Liberties, an organisation founded by Jayaprakash Narayan in 1977. More specifically he wrote against the Salwa Judum operation, through which the state armed and trained local Adivasis as a vigilante militia to fight other Adivasis who had joined the Naxalites, resulting in a brutal civil war.

On a visit to jail, Binayak came across an ailing elderly man, Narayan Sanyal, and began medically treating him. Later this became the trigger for his persecution. Binayak was suddenly accused of carrying letters to and from Sanyal, who was accused of being a Naxalite, even though each jail visit was made under strict scrutiny. Binayak was in Kolkata when he learned about the warrant for his arrest. He insisted on travelling back to Chhattisgarh to clear his name, which is certainly not an act of a guilty man. But guilty or not, two precious years have been snatched from him, just as surely as he was snatched from the marginalised people he so dedicatedly served.

Meanwhile the official case against Binayak is falling apart. Of the 83 listed prosecution witnesses, 16 were dropped and six declared hostile by the prosecutors themselves, while 61 others have deposed without corroborating any of the accusations against him. Why is this man still in jail and denied bail? Is it because no one dares admit he was innocent to start with?

On March 16 this year, a group of 50 satyagrahis from across India marched to the central jail in Raipur, demanding Binayak’s release. We were arrested and set free. The following week a second batch of satyagrahis did the same. This action has been taken each Monday for almost two months now. What more can we do? How much louder can we shout?

But shout we must. At Binayak’s trial we learned he is suffering from heart disease. A court-appointed doctor recommended that he be shifted to Vellore for a possible angioplasty or bypass. An RTI query has shockingly revealed a month later that the police are unconstitutionally insisting that Binayak be treated in Chhattisgarh. Should Binayak, who lost his liberty to an arbitrary state, be forced to trust the same agency with his life? India is a signatory to the International Human Rights Covenant. By definition its human rights activists must be protected. It is our democracy that is on trial.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Tough search for Sri Lanka truths

The post title is borrowed from this BBC news item.

Its so terribly distressing to read about the conflict and its cost (human). And its the feeling of this helplessness which pulls me down. But all I can do is feel helpless, and this is going on and on in my mind.

Not that this is the first time this feeling has hit me, there have been many occasions in the past as well. But so what...all I still do is feel helpless. And now I am writing about it.

This makes me search for truths within me as well. And I see nothing there. Just blank...just nothing...

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Vagaries of an Idle mind!

Some of the past few attempts of writing a blog-post have failed miserably, perhaps I was way too ambitious and blah blah blah...

Anyway this is dedicated to two of my very faithful comrades in office - Shweta and Krity! Both are phenomenal women, and they work like mad - mad with a CAPITAL M! And make me feel guilty all the time as I am sitting at home doing nothing and they are working so hard in office. Its rather unfair and am savoring the sweet taste of this unfairness with a tinge of bitterness...something like spoiled grape juice or some awesome wine or maybe

Something else very interesting is happening just outside my home, something which can potentially bring Nainital closer home. But I shall reserve that for the next post.

An interesting image in the paper today is Mallika Sarabhai doing Garba on the streets. How far will this take her in getting votes is debatable, but I like the picture nevertheless. Which brings me to the upcoming General Elections where I am not going to vote. In fact I have never voted. Its a shame and I hope there aren't many like me around. Sounds hollow...yeah I know! Crap! Bleep Bleep!

Lights, Camera, Action!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Sanjukta Sinha @ Natrani

Surprisingly a junior (Manjri, PD) actually asked me if I would write about it on my blog, and I thought it was too premature then to even ask such a thing. Anyway, here I am doing exactly that!

It was after a long time that I went for a live dance performance and the experience would be treasured for long. It was a Kathak performance by Sanjukta Sinha and took place at Natrani. I also had Nidhi and Pogo for company.

Not only was the performance sensual and graceful, it also enthralled me to the core. I could feel the music and a current actually passed through me, not just once but many a times during the performance. There is little that I can write (with my limited writing skills) to express the feel, so I shall leave that to be seen from the images and the video attached below.

A near-perfect Sunday (except for the big dressing down I got today late afternoon)!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Dhmakedaar Dholka!

For a more detailed version of this article, visit my other blog The Wanderer.

We started with getting lost around Ahmedabad, amongst it numerous highways and ring roads! However after 20 km of aimless riding, we did find the right road and were soon on our way to Dholka on the NH8A.

Most of the journey was on the highway and so riding was fun. Surprisingly, it wasn't even cold! Reaching the main area of attraction - the mosque at the Khan Talav was a shock in itself. The mosque is almost made like an impregnable fort. Most of the motifs and other beautifying elements (including the main entrance arches) are missing now and what remains is a solid base structure. The mosque is flanked by two smaller highly decorative structures which house a few graves. There was no one to tell us more, so we are also a bit clueless about their significance. It was a pleasure to climb up the two tall towers on either side. The light was beautiful and we (Bhavin, Poorva and me) took many pictures. Even with my almost-dead camera I was busy clicking!

The mosque has a pond right behind the main structure. It more of a Dhobi Ghat now, with many washerwomen washing cloths there.

There are many more places to see, namely the Malao Talav, Tanka Masjid (also known as Bheem no Rasodo), Jumma Masjid (also known as Panch Pandavo Ni Shala) and Alif Khan's mosque! The last mosque actually was the most beautiful and the best preserved. We were granted entry at all places, we could even climb up on the top of some mosques.

Malao Talav was a bit of a shock as we expected the place to be really something. Its now a functioning Dhobi Ghat but nothing more. A few remains of the old carvings can also be seen. A small temple like structure in the center remains unreachable.

Tanka Masjid required some major searching operation and convincing o enter; we were not allowed to photograph the place from inside still. It has interesting wooden pillars inside, but we have no images to show.

Jumma Masjid is also exquisitely carved and also a functioning one. Met the maulvi also there but were again not allowed to take pictures. I think Poorva still managed a few though. A must see for everyone!

And finally the Alif Khan's mosque, which is also a functioning one, but still more open to public and much more welcoming. We could climb to the rooftop and take many pictures there. There were about 10 kids and it was an experience to watch them play. Perhaps the original domes are missing and now we have very conical domes on top, which also make interesting places to play hide and seek, to slide down and sojavascript:void(0) on.

I think by the time we finished everyone was tired, but I was rejuvenated to the core and could've explored more.

Also another blog about the same place.

I completely recommend the place to anyone looking for some fun on a winter Sunday!
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