Thursday, September 10, 2009

Time to celebrate

Posted by Varun | Thursday, September 10, 2009 | Category: , , , , , | 15 comments

It is my Dad's birthday on 11th October and since he will not be in India on that day, I have come up with a unique way to clebrate it here in Bengaluru. I have decideded to take part in two events. I have registered for one and yet to purchase tickets for another. Both the events are equally awesome and I am sure any person any where in this world would love to attend them.

Enjoy the teasers :)

To book tickets log on to http://www.livetree.in/events.html

Yeah! Sonu Nigam Live. That's what the Poster says! I just cannot wait another month to attend this concert. I'll be booking the tickets by next week. Tickets are priced at 550,1100 and 2200. A touch too high but then I am sure it will be worth every paisa.

For registration and more information, Log on to http://bsaherculescyclothon.in.com/

After the success of Bengaluru Marathon, it is time of cycle enthisiasts to do something similar. Yes, It it Cyclathon time! It is sponsored by BSA Hercules and is a Network 18 venture. I have already registered for this event and am looking forward to being a part of the first Bengaluru Cyclathon. Join me and get healthy. I'll be taking part in the 'Green Ride'.
Did you know about any of these events? Are you planning to attend them? Let me know if you do...
Apart from dad's birthday and these events there is one very important reason for me to celebrate! It is finally confirmed that we will be getting our salary hikes this year. We might get it next week! Yey, Yippe!! Yey!!. Can't stop grinning :D
From now on, I am planning to end all my posts with a Did you know section!. It might or might not be related to the post but will definintely be something new. Let me know if I should continue it or not! I promise it will not be techie stuff all the time. There are lot more interesting things happening in this world.
Did you know: Yahoo have launched thier own version of twitter (The world famous micro blogging site). It is called meme. You can create your accounts there in two ways. Either through invitation from your friends or through a waiting list which is quite long. I have created mine! When are you creating yours!?
My meme's titled Goodness Gracious Me(me) - http://meme.yahoo.com/varungiridhara

Saturday, September 5, 2009

New Darling of Tennis

Posted by Varun | Saturday, September 5, 2009 | Category: , , , , | 14 comments


Source: Google Images

She is just seventeen but can beat the best on her day! She is ranked seventy in the world and third in America after Williams sisters.

She has just shocked Elena Dementieva (The Olympic Gold Medalist) and Maria Sharapova (US Open Champion - 06, Wimbledon Champion - 04) in the current US open and is now going to take on Nadia Petrova in the round of 16. Guess she has taken a liking to the ova's and eva's of Tennis.

Even though I was rooting for Maria Sharapova and was very disappointed that she didn't win, the three hour match made me stand up, applaud and congratulate the teen. It was an error-prone match for Sharapova. She committed around 65 unforced errors out of which 21 were double faults. She is seriously struggling with her serve. I hope she works on it and comes back strong in her next tournament.

We cannot take anything away from the teenager though. She has been playing her best tennis and achieving the results. Her agility in the court and strong forehand makes up for the power tennis that other players play. She is a fighter and a true American at heart.

Here's wishing her all the best for her next match. Hope she wins it! Irrespective of whether she wins her next match or not, the new darling of tennis has won herself a new fan!

She is none other than Melanie Oudin.

Addendum: There were two other noteworthy upsets yesterday. Both of them after I fell asleep :)
- Another teenager Petra Kvitova (19 years) has defeated the World No. 1 Dinara Safina. These upsets have made life easier for the Williams sisters and I hate to see them both in the finals. I hope there are two more upsets in the women's draw :)
- Andy Roddick has been shown the door in a five set thriller by an unseeded American John Isner.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Don't forget to read the 16th Point

Posted by Varun | Wednesday, September 2, 2009 | Category: , | 29 comments

I did this tag only because it is a no holds barred tag. Had fun doing it! Thanks Spike for tagging me.

1. Grab the book nearest to you, turn on page 18 and find line 4.
"He stared at it". Book closest to me - The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.
2. Stretch your left arm out as far as you can & catch air?
Naa... I caught a water bottle
3. What is the last thing you watched on TV?
Dejavu in Hindi. Wo haath se nikal raha hai. Usse pakdo! LOL :)
4. Without looking, guess what time it is?
12:30 pm
5. Now look at the clock, what is the actual time?
12:36 pm
6. With the exception of the computer, what can you hear?
Sounds of tring tring and few colleagues discussing work!
7. When did you last step outside? What were you doing?
I stepped outside to come to office.
8. Before you started this Q&As, what did you look at?
Gtalk chat window and my Google reader window.
9. What are you wearing?
Beige trousers (I know! It is very confusing but I know what colour beige is) / Striped maroon shirt.
10. When did you last laugh?
Last night. When my little nephew uttered something in his own language.
11. What is on the walls of the room you are in?
Paint and lots of posters.
12. Seen anything weird lately?
Promos of London Dreams. Two old guys dreaming of becoming rock stars! Wow! Can there be anything weird than this!? :)
13. What do you think of this quiz?
Brilliant! Complete time pass!
14. What is the last film you saw?
Woody Allen's critically acclaimed Annie Hall (1977).
15. If you became a multimillionaire overnight, what would you buy?-
I'll invest it and become a multi billionaire first and will then think about spending it. A villa overlooking the beach, A Formula 1 team, A SUV are probably the first things I'll buy.
16.

This is cheating! You cannot scroll directly to 16th point. Go back to 1 and
don't skip 16 :)

Tell me something about you that I dunno!
My blog crossed ten thousand hits last week. Yey!! Yippee!! Thanks readers. You are all awesome! Keep visiting Varun's Digital Diary :)
17. If you could change one thing about the world, regardless of guilt or politics, what would you do?
I'll probably erase the poverty line. Rest would fall in its place automatically.
18. Do you like to Dance?
Yeah... Dhan Te Nan :)
19/20. Imagine your first child is a girl /boy, what do you call her/him?
My imagination is not very good. I would have been an artist otherwise. I will think about the name when it is the right time for it. Will probably pick any one that google is not able to search :)
21. Would you ever consider living abroad?
Yes. But, Ye Mera India. I love my India. I'll come back for sure.
22. What do you want GOD to say to you when you reach the pearly gates?
Hey Buddy! I just closed the Pearly gates. It is full. Go home and come back whenever you desire. Get out now. Shoo :)

I am not tagging anyone in particular. Anybody who liked the tag is free to pick it up.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Potpourri

Posted by Varun | Tuesday, August 11, 2009 | Category: , , , , , , | 29 comments

It has been more than a month since I posted something on this blog. I am extremely sorry. I have been reading all your posts without fail (Google Reader) but have not been able to comment on any of it. First, it was office firewall that blocked me, then it was my personal laptop. I had to cough up sixteen thousand to get it repaired. Mourned a week and now that I am out of it, I am back to writing my blog. If you have a HP laptop, please make sure you get your warranty extended. HP motherboard sucks!

Travelogue
I had been to few picturesque locales near Mysore last month. That explains why I was not able to post during weekends :)

1. Himavad Gopalaswamy Betta - This peak is the highest peak in Bandipur Forest range. It is covered with dense fog round the year and thus gets the prefix Himavad (fog/mist) to it. Temple of Lord Krishna on top of the hill gives it the name 'Gopalaswamy Betta'. It is around 225 kilometers from Bangalore and 75 kilometers from Mysore. It is on the Mysore - Ooty road. If you are going to Ooty, don't forget to visit this place.


2. Backwaters of Krishna Raja Sagar (KRS) Dam - There is this small enchanting island created by the backwaters of KRS known locally as 'Blue Lagoon' or 'Thittu'. It offers a perfect picnic spot and a spot to unwind your senses. It is about 4 to 5 kilometers from the dam. Any person loitering around the dam would be able to direct you towards it. Make sure you use the name 'Thittu' when you ask for directions.


3. Gagana Chukki and Bhara Chukki Water Falls (Shivana Samudra) - It is the Mandyan Niagara :). Around 122 kilometers from Bangalore, this is definitely a place worth visiting during rainy season.



If you require more details about the scenic locales, drop me an email. I'll be more than happy to provide them.

Movies

I watched a lot of movies last month. Watched few classics and almost all new releases. Just got an email from my friend that the tickets have been booked for Kaminey. I am watching the preview show on Thursday :). Can't wait for Thursday now.

Television

Now that Teen Diva and Rakhi's Swayamvar is over, I am hooked on to other reality shows. Sach ka Saamna, Iss Jungle Se Mujhe Bachao, Dadagiri, Stunt Mania, Connected, etc etc. They are any day better than K-Soaps.

Award

My friends have been kind enough to award me even when I am not posting anything. I have been awarded by four people. Thanks a million guys!



The rules for this tag are as follows:

1. Link the person who tagged you.
2. Display award on your blog with these rules
3. Reply to the questions below
4. Tag 7 people deserving the award according to you
5. Come back to BLoGGiSTa iNFo CoRNeR (PLEASE DO NOT CHANGE THIS LINK) at http://bloggistame.blogspot.com/ and leave the URL of your Post in order for you/your Blog to be added to the Master List

1.The Person who tagged you : Chiranjib (http://chiranjibmazumdar.blogspot.com), Valerine (http://verbalfiend.wordpress.com/), penandpaper (http://penpaper.blogspot.com/) and Shayari (http://bukkichowta.blogspot.com)
2. The Date when you were tagged: 11/07/2009, 16/07/2009, 28/07/2009 and 30/07/2009,
3. Seven people I tag are :

Arnab - http://arnabchakraverty.blogspot.com/
Chandan - http://errandsnsojourns.blogspot.com/
thethoughtfultrain - http://thethoughtfultrain.wordpress.com/
Richa - http://wwwrichaagarwal.blogspot.com/
Shivya - http://theshootingstar.wordpress.com/
Vivek - http://vivek1186.blogspot.com/
Archana - http://apensievetoofull.blogspot.com/

Tag

Tagged by four, Here I go,

A – Available/Single? Both :)
B – Best friend? Have many!
C – Cake or Pie? Cake
D – Drink of choice? Water. Any day!
E – Essential item you use every day? Cellphone
F – Favorite colour? No idea. I like all of them.
G – Gummy Bears Or Worms? Yuk! None
H – Hometown? Mandya/Bangalore
I – Indulgence? Chocolates
J – January or February? February :) Work for 28 days and get full salary.
K – Kids & their names? None.
L – Life is incomplete without? Stupid question
M – Marriage date? Check my answer to the first question.
N – Number of siblings? 1 Sister
O – Oranges or Apples? Oranges
P – Phobias/Fears? Claustrophobia
Q – Quote for today? http://www.quotationspage.com/qotd.html
R – Reason to smile? Have lots of them
S – Season? Spring
T – Tag 3 People? I already have!
U – Unknown fact about me? I don't like doing tags
V – Vegetable you don't like? Muli, Spinach
W – Worst habit? I don't have any ;)
X – X-rays you've had? One during my childhood and one after I joined my company.
Y – Your favorite food? Home cooked food
Z – Zodiac sign? Sagittarius

Sports

1. Formula-1

I was beaming two weeks back when I read that Schumi is making a comeback. But it is disheartening to know that he has called his comeback off. He called it off last evening. Ferrari test driver Luca Badoer will now be replacing Massa instead of Michael Schumacher.

2. Cricket
Cricketers are scared that their clubbing days in fact nights with film stars will be over if they sign WADA.

3. Badminton
Hope India wins the world championship title this year. If not, we will definitely see Saina in next Farah Khan movie.

4. Hockey

Is anybody still playing it? :)


News

1. Swine Flu - *Achcho* Don't you worry! That was only due to the dust that had accumulated on my blog. I have cleaned it up. Talking about swine flu, I received a hilarious mail this morning. A warning email.

This is what that email read!

If you wake up looking like this, please don't come to office :)




2. What!? - Swine Flu is the only thing that I get to read in news papers these days!

Potpourri looks extremely full. Will stop before it explodes and I promise to blog regularly from now on.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Few things don't need surveys

Posted by Varun | Tuesday, July 7, 2009 | Category: , , , , , | 57 comments

1. The number of two wheelers on footpaths of Bangalore during peak hours is equal to the number of two wheelers on the roads of Mumbai or for that matter any city at any time.

(Source: Google Image Search)

2. Most of the Kannada conversations in Bangalore start with 'Nimage Kannada Baratta!?' which translates into ‘Do you know Kannada!?’

3. Ninety percent of people, when late for an appointment and are stuck in an elevator show all their frustration on the poor elevator buttons. They hit and punch all those buttons as though it would take them to their destination faster :)

4. Only five percent of the people in this world like their managers. Rest of them...Hmmm... I don't have to tell you about them. :)

5. According to most of the people (Let me generalize it to educated class) in India, easiest way to quick money and fame is a MBA in an Indian Institute of Management and for others it is playing the Indian Premier League or winning Indian Idol.

6. When it comes to jokes on people or communities, Sardar jokes are the one to beat. Blonde jokes comes close second.

7. Two hours in peak Bangalore traffic everyday for a week can cause all sorts of respiratory (pollution) and mental (frustration of driving in jams) disorders.

8. Bangalore has one restaurant almost every street. They are popularly known as 'Darshinis' and usually serve only breakfast, and snacks in the evening. I haven't seen this in any city I have been to so far.
(Source: Google Image Search)

9. It takes at least one hour to find a true British citizen in Wembley, London. It is one of those localities that have been literally captured by the Indians. Another locality that comes close to it is East Ham.

10. There are hardly five, 5-Paise coins left in India today and I have one of them. Where are the other four? :). Is it still in circulation? The last I saw it being traded was when I was in 5th standard.
(Source: Google Image Search)

11. The ratio of official emails to personal emails in any normal person’s mail box is usually at 5:6. If that person in on bench then this ratio drops to 1:4 :)

12. The amount of time we spend waiting for our laptops or computers to respond (waiting for a download to complete, waiting for a file to open, waiting for a web page to load, etc) everyday is a painful ten to thirty minutes depending on the speed of your computer and internet. Any bright ideas on how we could use that time constructively?

13. Kids playing with marbles and kids playing Lagori (Pitthu or Sitoliya) are extinct or is it the other way round?

14. Every year, at least ten kids drown in drains and five kids get stuck inside open bore wells in Bangalore and its surrounding places .

15. And last but not the least; I change my blog template every 6 months :)


PS: This post was more or less limited to cities I have lived in because I am in no position to comment anything on other cities.

PPS: If you know of any such fact please feel free to add that in the comments section. I’ll publish them on my blog with the name of the contributor.

Monday, June 22, 2009

New Vehicle

Posted by Varun | Monday, June 22, 2009 | Category: , , , | 52 comments

I have finally done it! I purchased my first vehicle last Saturday. All the vehicles I have driven so far have all been gifts from my parents. This is the first vehicle I have bought with my own money! Feels great! It is beautifully crafted, has two wheels, is very light and zippy and is probably the best bet to beat Bangalore Traffic. It comes in two or three colours but I picked up a twin tone one. Black and Silver! And since I was looking for a basic version with no gears, I had very few brands and models to choose from. Everybody wants a vehicle with gear these days. I am tired of changing gears in this traffic.

Once the selection was made, it was time for the payment. A payment via credit card was costing me an additional 2.5%. I was in no mood to fight for the additional amount he was charging for the credit card as I had already set my sights on my beauty and had to buy it at any cost. I withdrew money from the nearby ATM and made a full payment by cash instead. They promised to deliver it by 5.00 pm that day but to my surprise, the delivery was made one hour earlier than scheduled time. I tore all the packing off as soon as it was delivered at my door step and parked it in its assigned space. I hate to ride vehicles with their packing covers still on. And why did I park it instead of taking it on a spin!? I had to rush somewhere and didn't get time to test ride it immediately.

I had to attend an Arangetram or Ranga Pravesha that evening and it was about to start in thirty min time. Arangetram is the debut on-stage performance of a Bharatanatyam student, after undertaking years of training. The student who was performing her Arangetram was a fourteen year old kid. My distant relative! Since our families are in touch with each other even today, distance doesn't seem to be evident. The show put up by the little girl was spectacular to say the least and so was the dinner that followed it :). I enjoyed the show even when I am not an ardent fan of that form of dance.

Coming back to my vehicle, I finished my dinner ASAP and rushed home. I had taken my car out as I didn't know how the new vehicle would perform. I didn't want to take any chances with it. As soon as I parked my car, I took the new vehicle out of its parking area and took it out for a spin.
Even though it was not as fast as the car or the bike, it surely was as smooth as both of them.

To add to that, my new vehicle is eco friendly (No Pollution) and brings with it lots of amazing health benefits;
- It gives one's heart, blood vessels and lungs a workout, thereby reducing the risk of heart problems.
- It'll give one a trimmer and toned muscles.
- It helps one a great deal in building one's stamina. Fitness levels are improved.

Riding it is quite easy but it requires some pedalling to be done to move it forward.
Did I just say pedal! Yeah! It is a bicycle I bought! A 'Hercules MTB Thriller'. I tried my best to keep up the suspense but I am sure most of you would have surely guessed it by the end of first or second paragraph. I wanted to buy a bicycle for a long time now and I finally had enough time last Saturday and found the right bicycle.

It brings with it lots of benefits all right but the main reason I bought it is because I love to cycle. I have loved it ever since I first learnt to ride but quit due to laziness. The last time I rode one was probably in the year 2000. I have put all the laziness back now and have gone back to my first love. I have so far successfully pedalled for 4 km everyday and plan to increase it gradually.

What do you think about my first ever investment on a vehicle and when was the last time was you rode a bicycle!?

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Arbit thoughts

Posted by Varun | Tuesday, June 9, 2009 | Category: , , , , , , , , | 18 comments

- One Day International Cricket and Test Champs (Australia) are still getting grips of Twenty-20 cricket. It is all over for them this year. They can try again in 2011. They are out of the T-20 world cup 2009. What did I feel about it!? Wooohooo... Felt awesome! It was as awesome as watching Pakistan lose to England two days back :)

- One guy is managing to annoy me every single day when I am watching cricket. He is the one who has got a free phone with unlimited calls from his company. He is misusing the phone to the fullest. He has even gone to an extent of calling friends and acquaintance who have forgotten about his existence. Wonder how he found all those phone numbers in the first place. He has his kaka's phone number too. The same old Kaka, who lit up his sets when he was still learning to act. I am talking about Hrithik Roshan and his new Reliance Ad if you didn't get it by now. :) One of those Ads is here for you.

- Formula 1 is no longer exciting with Brawn stamping their authority on all races. As far as I am concerned, if there is no competition between Ferrari and McLaren, it is not Formula-1. The anti-clock circuit didn't produce any surprises either. If FIA had to cut costs, they could have simply asked drivers to sit inside a simulation and race. They could have shown us the video.

- Star Trek is an amazing movie. I simply loved the way it has been shot. Wow! Wonder when Indian Cinema will grow up from Koi Mil Gaya and its Jadoo.

- I happened to watch a Hindi movie too. It's called 99. Yeah! That's it. It is '99' only. There are no Idiots or Fools on either side of 99. Kunal Khemu, Cryus Broacha and Soha Ali Khan star in it. It’s a light hearted comedy. It is worth watching on a weekend and on a rented DVD.

- Roger Federer finally won the French Open which had eluded him for the last three years. As a kid, I had heard a story about a spider that never lost hope and climbed a wall after 'n' number of attempts. Since that spider had no name, it can be named Roger Federer now. With this victory, he also equalled Pete Sampras' record of 14 grand slam victories. Does that make him the world's greatest then? Only time will tell. By the way, did anyone of you cry along with him when he won the last point?

- * Bing * Bing * Bing *, what's that thing!!? It is Microsoft's latest search engine. http://www.bing.com/. I will not go into the details and features of it because there are lots and lots of tech blogs who have already written about it. Grapevine has it that it is as good as Google but will take time to gain popularity. Microsoft is making sure that it reaches people by spending millions on advertising. I have always been a fan of Microsoft and am supporting their latest venture too. Are you?

- Cooking is easy as long as we have the right ingredients to mix only criterion being that the ingredients have to be mixed in right quantities. :D. Didn't get it? Don't worry! I have been cooking at home since last week and this is the effect of it. The best dish I have cooked so far is the Kadhi. It came out really well. Recipe shared on request ;). If you are good at preparing something, please do share your recipes too (Vegetarian only). I am trying out new recipes every day.

- Keeping a house presentable without help from anyone is a herculean task! I realised it only after I started dusting each and every part of the house. My hat goes off to anyone who does it all days without complaining (My mom, dad and sister included in this list). Oh no! This reminds me that I have yet to clean that carpet :)

- Any idea about what is happening with the Indian Government after the elections? Elections remind me of the mark they put on my finger when I voted. It still remains on my finger only to irritate me whenever I see it. They have to find a new ink that disappears in a week or two or they'll lose my vote :). Girls can cover it up with nail polish but what can guys do about it?

- Sitting inside a car, Bangalore's traffic looks double the usual. It takes me fifteen to twenty minutes in a car to reach office when a bike takes only ten minutes. I am not complaing as I am loving every minute of the drive. I tried switching off the Air Conditioner of my car today to save some fuel and help the environment but I have become so used to driving in an air conditioned car, I couldn't survive the noise and smoke for even two minutes. Not sure how I will ever go back to using my bike :)

- Wolfram Alpha. Have you heard about it? It is a computational knowledge engine (not a search engine) which will solve the woes of lot of college going people and lot of people who are interested to learn new things. It has been developed by the same team who developed Mathematica. It is as good as a Wikipedia or an Encarta. It is easier than most of the encyclopaedia sites because it gives all details available about the word you searched for on a single page. It displays even images and graphs supporting the documentation. Try searching your date of Birth for some fun. Format: ,

- Multiplex and Producers calling-off their strike came as a relief to me as that is the whole and sole source of my Friday night entertainment. Since there are lots and lots of movies lined up, it is going to be one hell of a party time.

- I'll end the post as arbitrarily as I started it! :) Until next post...

Monday, June 1, 2009

Little Rascal

Posted by Varun | Monday, June 1, 2009 | Category: , , | 38 comments

He opened the refrigerator whenever he saw it, he loved to bang and close any open doors, he loved to mess up the pooja room, he loved to scream for no reason, he loved the elevator and wanted to ride in it whenever the main door of our flat was kept open, he loved to ring the calling bell non-stop, he would switch off Television if he was not interested in watching it. He is one guy who managed to change the lifestyle of everyone around him in a short span of one and a half months. We were literally scared as to what his next move would be.

Pic: Archith Planning his next move


But now when he's gone back to USA with his mommy and grandparents (my parents),Pooja room is intact, nobody switches off Television when I am watching, nobody bangs doors, nobody screams aloud. The house is at its peaceful best but is no longer charming and lively. There's no laughter that can be heard of, there is no one to run towards me to give me a hug when I go back home from office, there's no one to shower unconditional love, there's no one to laugh uncontrollably at the silliest of faces I make or silliest of games I play, there's no one to dismantle my cell phone. Ahhh! I am missing everything badly.

It is hard, very hard not to miss kids once we get used to staying with them. With them around, the atmosphere of home is always so energetic and rattling with excitement. It is like this edge of the seat action movie. One is definitely going to miss something if one blinks at the wrong time. Kids have so much energy in them that they pass some of it on to people around. It is contagious.
Time used to fly playing with him. Blogging to chodo, I had no time even for office :). I made sure that I stayed just the stipulated time everyday and got home as soon as possible.

Now that I am all alone and have lots of time in hand I am planning to get back to cyberspace and blogging. A dear blogger friend of mine reminded me yesterday that blogging is one my jobs too and I have to get back to it ASAP :)

I would like to keep the post short and end it here. It is for you to decide whether it was sweet :)

Missing you terribly little rascal! Love you!

PS: I was talking about my nephew all along. He will turn two this month and my blog turns 50 posts old :). Quite an achievement for an irregular blogger.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Coorg Photo Shoot!

Posted by Varun | Tuesday, May 5, 2009 | Category: , , , , | 40 comments

I had been thinking of writing a post with only pictures in it for some time now. The picturesque Coorg gave me just the opportunity I was looking for.

Hail storm welcomed usFour MusketeersCrossed the free flowing Cauvery River
To watch wild Elephants in its natural Habitat
Couldn't help but wonder at Nature's amazing colorsand its picture perfect setting.We set out towards the source of river Cauvery. Through the country side, turns and bendsStopped over a lil to stare at a lovely man made wonderPosed for a few pictures
and finally reached Talacauvery (Structure in the background)
Rounded off the trip with a visit to Abbe fallsand a stopover at one of the Coffee Plantations

I had seen Coorg three times earlier had never captured it a camera. Now that I have successfully done it I wanted to showcase it. That is exactly what I am doing now :)
Hope you enjoyed the short trip!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Thirty minutes on the footpath

Posted by Varun | Thursday, April 16, 2009 | Category: , , , , | 48 comments

Before anyone starts showing concern, let me make it clear that I still have my job and this is just a one-off case where I got to spend some time on the footpaths of Chennai. I got this opportunity when I accompanied my sister to the American Embassy in Chennai. Visitors are not allowed inside the premises and are not supposed to even wait outside the gate. Since the embassy is in one of the most busiest roads of Chennai, the only place a person can wait for their dear ones is the footpath right next it. One gets to see all kinds of people there. Luckily for my sister, she had a cute and handsome American citizen to accompany her. The little fellow made sure my sister came out in thirty minutes. The cute lil fellow is my nephew.

These thirty minutes gave me a chance to sit there on the footpath and observe. Observe people who were all vying for that all important American stamp on their passports. This also prompted to me to put my guessing cap on and to start forming opinions and frame conclusions.

I usually come to conclusions soon (most of them luckily turn out to be right) and that is what I did sitting there. I enjoyed guessing the reason behind people's visit to the embassy.

Here are few of those for you to enjoy;

1. A young girl being dropped off by concerned parents - She is probably trying to get a Visa to pursue higher studies. I came to this conclusion when I saw the worried look on her dad's face. A look that said, "Two million rupees for studies!, My daughter's gone mad"

2. An elderly couple being dropped off by their relatives - Couple's daughter or daughter-in-law is pregnant or has just given birth. They are going to USA to help their kids take care of their new born kids. This was easy. The couple looked happy and a little worried because they didn't want any problems during Visa stamping. They were checking their documents time and again.

3. A confident guy getting out of an autorickshaw and walking straight to the gate - Third attempt to get his Visa stamped. He knew which queue he had to join and where to get down from the autorickshaw.

4. A mid aged guy getting out of a chauffeur driven Toyota Corolla - A high-profile IT or a management guy. His company would have done all the paper work for him. He was there to give his biometric identifications and collect his visa.

5. Girl being dropped by parents and a whole bunch of relatives - Newly married and is probably trying to join her husband who's already in USA. Number of relatives, number of bangles and amount of jewellery she wore and no sign of her husband allowed me come to this conclusion.

6. Female looking like a beggar being dropped off by a decent looking guy - She is definintely going to be the next maid in Manhattan. I know I should not go by the looks but it was the shabby dress that made me think this way.

Would you have arrived at the same conclusions?

Apart from all these fun conclusions, there was one thing I noticed which was common to everyone who came there. Every person had a sparkle in their eyes. a sparkle of expectation, a sparkle of hope. A hope that things would only get better for them. I hope it does too.

SARVA SUKHINO BHAVANTU,
SARVA JANAH SUKHINO BHAVANTU,
LOKA SAMASTA SUKHINO BHAVANTU (Sanskrit)

Poetically translated: May all beings be fulfilled, may all beings be healed and whole, may all beings have their needs met, may all beings be protected from harm, may all beings be at peace, may all beings be free.

PS: Really sorry for not posting regularly.

Monday, March 16, 2009

How does it matter?

Posted by Varun | Monday, March 16, 2009 | Category: , , , | 39 comments

If it is a Dilemma for slum kids to Act or study

- How on earth can news like these make headlines on NDTV? I have had this dilemma whether to study or not since the first day of my school. It never got published :(

If Sharif emerges winner in Pakistan and If Zardari is the loser

- I really don't understand why the Indian media is still interested in Pakistan's news. Guess it is now up to the new government to take care of 26/11 issue. Old government seems to have completely forgotten about it and is busy distributing Rahul Gandhi's masks.

If Freida Pinto is married

- One film wonder, the eye candy of hollywood. Why should we waste our precious time to know if she is married or not. Who the hell cares!? I am not going to marry her any way :)

If Shilpa Shetty decided to call or meet the ailing Jade Goody

- Why was it necessary to print such a thing on Page one!? Didn't Shilpa have Jade's phone number or address?

If BCCI and home ministry keep fighting over the dates of Indian Premier League

- IPL is such a rich tournament. Please don't tell me it cannot arrange its private security.

If Mayawati invites third front constituents for dinner

- I am glad I couldn't find the menu anywhere

If Infosys is cutting costs

- According to an article on rediff, Infosys are planning to close down all their loos by 7:30 pm. Not sure what they are trying to save. Any ideas?

If Jesus cooks for Madonna

- Before any one gets confused, I am talking about a model named Jesus Luz who is currently dating Madonna. I am not sure if Madonna wants to adopt that guy or marry him because he is just 22 year old and she is 50. And why are we Indians concerned about Madonna any way!!!??

If Obama sneezes or Michele catches cold

We Indians probably know more about Obama and Michele than most people in USA.

These are few news items that I got to read today out of which only the last one is exaggerated. We are bombarded with such pathetic news every single day. I just hope and pray that the Indian media does not go the UK way where it is 90% gossip and 10% news.

Gossip is definitely good. It was my favourite pass time in Mumbai and it still is but I know which sites or paper to read to get my daily dose. I would prefer to read them only there and don't expect to read them every where I log in. At least don't expect to read them on sites known for their great news coverage.

Times of India, NDTV / CNN-IBN , Are you listening?

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

The Movie Maniax Awards 2008

Posted by Varun | Tuesday, March 3, 2009 | Category: , , | 15 comments

Ever wanted to be the jury in a movie award function? Ever felt that the award went to an undeserving person? Ever felt that that the award functions were rigged?

Feel it no more! Here's your chance to set all these things right straight away! Here's your chance to support an initiative to honour the best in Hindi Cinema irrespective of it box-office status and star power.

The Movie Maniax Awards 2008
---the blogosphere's final verdict---

Coming soon to a web page near you :)

Please support and participate in this endeavor. Do spread the word amongst all your friends, fellow bloggers, relatives and all netizens you know. Orkut, Facebook and Gtalk status messages are a great place to start :)

Below is the teaser of what is in store. Keep watching this space for more on Movie Maniax Awards. Don't forget to bookmark the award site.

Once the site is up all you need to do is vote, vote and vote... Vote Karenge na!?


This Movie Maniax Blogger Awards is an award 'of the people (Aam-Junta), by the people and for the people(movie stars)'. Isiko Kehte hai Democracy. What an Idea! Hai na Sir jee :)

Endeavor by: Vee with able support from Poonam, Reema, Smita, Yours truly and Vimmuuu.

Creative Consultant: Magik

Awards Badge Designer: Dev

Publicist: Nikhil

Judges: You Bloggers, Aam-Junta

The Nominations are finalized and polls will be live shortly. We are looking for support from all of you in making this a great grand success. You can j 'The MovieManiax Awards' group on Facebook and pledge a vote.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

8 Oscars to Indian Poverty

Posted by Varun | Thursday, February 26, 2009 | Category: , , , , , , , , | 25 comments

A lot has been talked and written about Slumdog Millionaire already but I would like to add a few cents of my own. I am mightily pleased that three people from India managed to win awards and I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate AR Rahman, Gulzar and Resul Pookutty. All three of them richly and truly deserved their awards.

Coming to title of the post, I read this in one my friend's (Maneesh) Orkut status message and felt it was so very true. Why do you think the jury gave this movie an Oscar? I think it was due to the mass appeal that this movie was able to establish. Every person everywhere in the world somewhere dreams of winning that ten million in a day and hence related with Jamaal (Protagonist of Slumdog Millionaire) the very moment they saw him. It is not only a Slumdog who would want to win that money after all. And If we talk about the feel good factor or the romantic angle (Latika) of the movie, I have seen better movies that leave a lasting impression than this one. What could and would have turned the tide towards this movie is the portrayal of Indian poverty. Westerners have seen this movie as a guide to Dharavi.

As far as showing Indian poverty is concerned, don’t you think there are no beggars on the street on New York or London? Don't you think there are no petty thieves on the street of San Francisco? Leave alone thieves, there are murderers roaming in college campuses of UK and USA with a gun shooting any random guy or girl they see. Why not portray it in a movie and win an Oscar? Why only Indian Poverty?

Indian government somehow markets itself as poor and a country full of slums and makes it easy for people like Danny Boyle to come and show whatever he wants to. I have seen and talked to people in UK who come to India to only see its poverty. Take my word for it; Dharavi will soon become a hot tourist spot in Mumbai. Maharashtra Government has gone a step ahead by gifting two slum kids a flat each. Every second kid in Dharavi would now want to act in a Hollywood movie and get a flat. They would be ready to do anything they can to please a white person. This movie has ignited false hopes in all kids who live in slums.

Felt great to know that a movie shot in India and a movie which has Indian actors in it won so many awards but at the same time felt bad that it won these awards at the cost of poor people living in slums of India and portrayal of their life. I just hope Danny Boyle and his team don't forget the people who made this movie possible and help them if not to become a millionaire at least to lead a normal life.

This post is more of a rant and not a dig at anyone. And please don't get me wrong; I liked the movie!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

My Best Friend's Wedding

Posted by Varun | Thursday, February 19, 2009 | Category: , , , , | 35 comments

I still remember that day, when my friend (Mimi) called me up all excited, a lil tensed, a lil nervous to tell me that the boy she was seeing has proposed for marriage. The conversation went on for about 1 or 2 hrs with no end result. The call was not a decision making call coz she had already made her decision but she simply wanted to speak to someone with whom she could share all the thoughts that was ringing in her head at that point in time. For calls like these, you need great listening skills and logical thinking ability. I am proud of both these skills of mine and I guess even she knew about it. We spoke about everything from compromises, shackles and every thing that a marriage brings with it. She seemed to be ready for all that but not ready to blurt that 'Yes' out. She was scared to the core. After a few nail biting weeks for the boy she finally said the magical three letter word.


Discussions at both homes followed the affirmation and a date was fixed for marriage which was 1st Feb 2009.


Fast Forward six months, the marriage was a great grand success. It gave me an opportunity to visit the Mishti(Sweet in Bengali) city called Kolkata(Calcutta).


I could not get a clear view of the city until the flight touched down. It is a very dusty/polluted city. I am not sure how the pilot was able to spot the runway. My friend Chandan who had landed in the city a day earlier came along with his friend Arnab to pick me up from the airport.


First thing that strikes anyone who comes to Kolkata is the way in which people drive. Drivers are rash and reckless to say the least. They have absolutely no concern about people who are in other vehicles or on foot.


Kolkata Darshan for me started the moment I stepped out of the Airport. This is my second visit to the city. First visit was way back in 1993 or 94 and I remember nothing from that trip. Not even the correct date :)


I landed on a holy day. It was Vasant/Basant Panchami (Saraswati Puja) in Kolkata. It is supposed be Desi Valentine's Day (I am sure the Ram Sena did not know about this). There were more girls on the streets of Kolkata than fishes in Hoogli river that day. All of them dressed up in their best costumes. It was as though all of them were dressed to welcome me :). There were lot of guys too but I did not have time to look at them.


Our first pit stop was Gouranga Das's (Goru - Chandan's Friend) flat in Dum Dum. Dropped off the luggage there and set out to try our Basant Panchami luck! :). Second pit stop was Salt Lake. It is a locality's name and not a lake. Even though I was not interested in visiting any malls in Kolkata we went to one called City Centre. Goru was supposed to meet us there. Waiting for him, we had Kachori with Alu ki Sabji and the famous Puchka (Pani Puri). One of the best pani puris i have eaten in recent times! Belgique chocolates then gave our burning tongues a much needed relief. My Kolkata crash course began here. First it was Victoria Memorial. It was closed by the time we reached but never the less I got a view of the amazing building from outside. It felt as though I was somewhere in UK. Right outside the Victoria Memorial is the Birla Planetarium and an old St Pauls Cathedral about which I had read in the Spice Jet's guide book. Felt good to see something I had read about just 4 hrs earlier.


Next stop was Sriram Arcade and new market. Jumped in and out of Sreeleathers (A famous shop for all leather needs) and finally settled in Barista(Park Street) waiting for few friends to arrive. One my way to New Market I saw the world famous Eden Gardens and the palatial building that houses the Indian Museum. By the time everyone came, small group had turned into a large group of around 18 people.


All of us headed to Tangra (Pronounced Tang-Da. Another locality in Kolkata. It is also known as China Town) for some Chinese food. I was the odd man out in terms of eating vegetarian food and drinking alcohol but that situation was a 'been-there-done-that' kind of a situation for me and I didn't mind eating veg fried rice and drinking coke, when other people were enjoying lobsters, chicken and vodka. One often doesn't gets to see 17 drunk people in one place. :) It was fun. I enjoyed their conversations and pitched in whenever the situation demanded.


After Tangra, the large group split and 8 of us decided to go to a Discotheque. Unfortunately for us, there was only one girl in our group. Even though the girl was very beautiful, her charm didn't work on the disc manager and he refused to let us all in :(. This prompted the group to think of an alternative and I was very quick to select home as one as I was tired and wanted to sleep. Moreover I had to attend a wedding next day(which was why I was there in the first place). Luckily for me everyone(even though a lil miffed) agreed and came along.


By the end of first day, I had boarded a taxi, city bus(dog van), shared auto and shared taxi. There are more modes of transport in this city like the tram, underground metro train and rickshaw which I had plans of boarding the next day.


Day 2:
Since wedding was in the evening I had whole morning to continue my sightseeing. The places we visited were Dakshineshwar's Kali Mandir and Belur Math. Both are on banks of river Hoogli but on opposite sides. Kali Mandir's architecure is marvellous. The colours used to paint the building are amazing. There's a multi-threaded (I am in IT. Couldn't help using this term) queue system which converges near the entrance for devotees to get a closer look of Kali Ma. Sanctity of the temple is maintained beautifully but it was disheartening to see Pundits accepting bribe to perform what they were supposed to do.


Right outside the Kali Madir, there are numerous restaurants that serve hot Kachori (Puri) and yummy Dal for breakfast. We had our share of Kachori and took a boat to cross the river. Once across, we went to Belur Math. Belur Math is the headquarters of the Ramakrishna Mission, founded by Swami Vivekananda. Beautiful place to spend time. Cool, calm and peaceful. Khichdi and Payas(Kheer) was served as Prasad. It was both delicious and filling. This meal cum prasad didn't stop us from having our lunch. Goru's mummy had prepared special lunch which we couldn't refuse.


Even though the heavy meal was asking me to sleep; excitement of attending the marriage kept me awake. Chandan and I packed our bags, got ready and took a taxi to Sodhpur. Sodhpur is where Mimi's house is and that is where the wedding hall was too.


Mimi was looking beautiful in her wedding attire. The dulha without any doubt was overshadowed by the pretty bride. She was looking like a goddess. Wedding was supposed to start at 7.00 pm but started a little late due to the enthusiastic Baarati. First it was registered marriage. Traditional Bengali marriage rituals followed it. Marriage went on till 12.00 midnight. Food looked very tempting but my stomach didn't allow me to eat too much. The best part about the dinner was, you guessed it right! Sweets! :). Didn't miss having them. It was fun as I had never been to a Bengali wedding. It also gave me an opportunity to meet my best friend's other best friends about whom I had always heard from her. One meeting and I knew why she had picked them! Spent the rest of the night chatting with them. Came back to Goru's place at around 5.30 am and slept like a log.


Day 3:
I know very few people in Kolkata and one of them is Pavitra. She is my friend from Tech Mahindra (My ex-organization). We decided to meet up for lunch. By the time we finished our lunch it was 2:00 pm and both me and Chandan had to catch a 5:20 pm flight but to different destinations. Since we had seen how bad the traffic was while coming to this place, we decided that the fastest mode of transport even if crowded was the metro train. Luckily it was not crowded and the ride was really good and fast. It reminded me of London's Tube. We reached airport at around 4:15 pm picking our luggage on the way from our friend's place.


Both our flight's departed on time. I had all plans of sleeping in the flight. But since the seats were so cramped up I couldn't sleep for even a single minute. Moreover I got a severe back ache due to those stupid seats. It takes around 2 hrs to reach my home from the Bangalore airport, This time was enough for me to remember and cherish each and every moment spent in the lovely city.


It is always easy to find an excuse for not attending weddings. Try attending one! You'll not just make the other person happy, you will come back home rejuvenated and with a feeling of satisfaction that you were part of something BIG.


Since this post is already a mile long, i'll not be posting any pictures with it. Here's a link to my picasa album and orkut album. You'll need a gmail id to view my picasa album and you'll have to be my friend in orkut to view my orkut album. Enjoy!!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Look who’s back!

Posted by Varun | Friday, January 23, 2009 | Category: , , | 38 comments

Work, work and work is all that I have done since last 3 weeks. New job is no cake walk after all :). A lot has been happening around me, around the world, in cyberspace, in blogger space but I have not been able to catch up on anything. Not even sleep.

Here's a small list. Varun's e-News follows:

Bengalooru:
I have no clue about the happenings in my city and the worst part is I know nothing about republic day sale and deals in my city :(

Sports:
Tennis: It is the Australian Open that I am not able to follow. I am sorry Ana. It is Ana Ivanovic I am referring to :). I am sure by the time I would finally get an opportunity to watch the open, no-more-a-sensation Sania would be nowhere to be seen!
Cricket: I am missing Australia's battle to retain the numero-uno position.

Movies:
Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi was the last movie that I have watched in a theatre :(.
I have heard/read a lot about Slum Dog Millionaire. I'll try and catch it over the long weekend. ARR nominated for Oscars was not a surprise but being nominated for 4 awards was! Is ARR's music so good? I somehow didn't like the songs as much as I have liked ARR's other songs. Give me 'Dil Se' any day. Is Oscar turning out to be Obama's key to India?
Is Billu Barber a movie about Item songs?

International:
Black is Beautiful! First Hamilton, now Obama, Who's next?
Did Obama take his oath twice? I watched only the first one.

Television:
What is Anandi (Balika Vadhu) up to these days? I am missing watching that sweet girl on TV.
I have not been able to watch Roadies :(

Culture and Tradition:
There was Sankranti that flew past as quickly as it came. I wanted to come up with a 'How-to' post on that day illustrating the method of preparing cute moulds from melted sugar. I have all the pictures and that post is on my to-do list. I'll definitely come up with it as soon as possible. Belated Sankranti wishes to all readers :)

Business:
Recession, Satyam, Ramlinga Raju! I think its better I keep out of all these depressing issues.

Money:
It is that time of the year in India when all of us have to submit our investment proofs to save tax. Trust me this 3 letter word can give anyone sleepless nights. I am glad I finally got time to make some good investments.

Technology:
Microsoft launched a new operating system Windows Ultimate 7.0. I downloaded the beta version on the day it was launched. So far so good! Touch wood! :) It is better than Vista in terms of performance and working fine.

Music:
Dilli 6 is different and good.
Visuals of Billu Barber is better than its soundtrack.

Blogging:
I read few posts but haven't left my comments anywhere. Sorry for that! I'll catch up on all your old posts and will make sure I drop in my two cents.

National:
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will undergo a heart bypass surgery today. Even though he is just a puppet PM, he is a good man. I wish him speedy recovery and good health.

Personal:
I am going to Mantralayam today to spend the long weekend (Pilgrimage). It is going to be a family outing. I will be attending two weddings next week. One in Mysore and the other in Calcutta (Best Friend's Wedding). I'm looking forward to having great time everywhere.

Until next time...

Thursday, January 1, 2009

First Day First Show

Posted by Varun | Thursday, January 1, 2009 | Category: , | 31 comments

It is the first day of yet another year for all of us. The word 'first', never fails to amaze me. I always liked first day's of anything. Be it

  • First day of school after after a holiday break.
  • First day in a new class.
  • First day in a new city.
  • First day in a new organization.
  • First snow.
  • First rains.
  • First day of a training or
  • First day of a new year.
It is on these days I somehow feel great from within. I suddenly feel like putting a little extra effort in everything I do. I am not sure what exactly these first days bring in me but I always feel first days are the trailers of the things to follow. If we put a little effort and make sure that the trailer goes alright, the movie to follow is definitely going to be a blockbuster.

I was looking for a picture to include in my post when I found the following image. It more or less sums up what I wanted to convey.
Here's wishing you all a very happy and prosperous 2009. May all your first-day first-shows run to jam packed houses and may all your movies be a blockbuster. May the coming year be a great one for all of you and be as crackling as the fireworks in the video below. I had witnessed this spectacle with my own eyes last year but thanks to technology I did not miss it this year as well :)