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Sunday, August 28, 2011

What me worry? :)

You know times are bad when non-essential goods cost as much as essential goods.

Yup, petrol costs as much as beer nowadays.

When I first bought my car, I remember the sales guy tell me it can cross 15 km after putting in a ‘fine’ liter of petrol. It’s only later I realized that he actually meant ‘five’ and not ‘fine’. Some other bloke said I’d get very high mileage under “showroom” conditions. I so really want to find where that stupid conditioned “showroom” is cos the only time my car crossed 15 km on a liter of petrol was after pushing it myself for 10. Some other idiot later told me that my car gives me more smiles per liter; well, the only guy smiling has always been the pump owner whom I generously donate a big part of my meager salary every month just to satiate my car’s incurable addiction to petrol.

Sure I down a few glasses of spirit every week. You think I’m alcoholic? Well, you should meet my car – it downs so much spirit every week that if Amitabh Bachchan’s ‘Sharaabi’ was remade today, my car could play the leading role with so much conviction that even the film’s then heroine, Jaya Prada, would not be able to tell the difference.

And damn that thing called inflation cos now even petrol prices are going up now (as if price increases of beer was not enough already! L)

So, I’ve been wondering what’s the best way to beat the rising fuel prices.

My first brilliant idea of marrying the local petrol pump owner’s daughter did not prove to be too enterprising mainly cos I ended up snooping around and spying on the wrong house (yes, like my car, my sense of direction also sucks!). Later I realized that it was not the local pump guy’s house but the local police constable’s house that I was snooping on. Also, a pump owner can’t slap people that hard (ouch, it still hurts!) Well, my unreliable set of good friends later gave me a reliable set of bad news that all the owners of all the local petrol pumps, within a 5KM radius of my area, only have sons (damn u, sex ratio skew!)

And the price of petrol keeps rising….

My next idea was to completely say ‘No’ to petrol and use a cycle to go to work- so I bought a high end trekker mountain bicycle to juggle Bangalore’s stagnant city traffic. Moreover, I was proud of me going green. But I guess I achieved a third of the ‘blood, sweat and tears’ phrase a little too effectively. Office folks started gifting me deodorants and perfumes for no reason at all. People started spraying air fresheners wherever I sat. A nose by any other name smelt my cabin just as bad and I became known more for the nose rather than for my nose for details.People used to call me to their haunted houses to drive away the ancient ghosts that incidentally had very weak senses of smell. And for my appraisals, my boss ‘rewarded’ me with a years’ supply of Pears soap and Axe deo, in addition to a lecture on personal hygiene, body odor and other Raj-made natural calamities. Also, I realized that you can’t pick up women with a BSA SLR and that biker babes actually prefer bigger&better bikes. I thus realized that, in the interest of public welfare and hygiene, I seriously needed the petrol car and personal cleanliness back in my life and thus gave up on my bicycle.

And the price of petrol keeps rising….

My next bright idea was something I’m still proud of and I still think has potential. I thought of going up the ‘value chain’. So, instead of tackling issues at a local level, I thought of going to the root of it all– I’ll go to where it all begins – to the petrol-rich Arab sheikhs where the petrol story begins. I’m told that the Sheikhs marry so many women and have so many children that they themselves are confused which is whose(and vice versa). And I also heard from a lot of people that in the Arab states, petrol is cheaper than water. Since I hail from God’s Own Country and water is always in abundance during the monsoons, I could trade petrol for water(sheer brilliance, don’t you think?) And since everyone from Kerala, except my dad and mom, seem to be in ‘the Gelff’, I figured it’d be easy doing business there. But that dream was short lived when the immigration officer looked at my passport photo and asked me, “What are you?” and drove me back home.

And the price of petrol keeps rising….

I then realized that one definitely need a car in today’s times. Sure, hybrid cars are an option but they are still years away from being commercially sold in India. And the only available Indian electric car is hardly a car. And using the bus, car pool, auto etc require a certain level of planning and entails a certain loss of flexibility. You really need a personal means of transportation. It’s only then that my friend said that one really cool way of beating the fuel prices is to change from petrol to diesel. Diesel costs much cheaper than petrol and diesel cars give better economy, have better acceleration and have better resale values.Also, with the improvements in technology, diesel engine cars have become quieter, ensures a more comfortable drive for both the driver and passengers, with lower vibration levels, better fuel consumption and improved responsiveness. They’re less polluting too and it makes a lot of sense for me cos I drive a lot. Stats say that if you drive at least 13,000KM a year, then you should blindly opt for a diesel car.

And Fiat (yup, the same house that brings us the cute Padmini, the sexy Linea and the fiery Ferrari) has come up with an innovative Fiat Upgrade Offer where you can buy any Fiat Linea or Punto car today and you could get lucky with a free upgrade to Fiat Multijet diesel technology – all for the price of a petrol car.

So I figured the best way to beat the rising petrol prices is to forget the pump owners’ daughters, the body odor and the petro-sheikhs and just turn to Fiat diesel.

And the price of petrol keeps rising….

So?... What me worry?


You can check out more comments and thoughts on this same subject on my other blog here.

If you like this post, promote me at ib, like me on facebook, or follow me here.

If not, likewise.J

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The brightest star in my Galaxy.

Love, it is a pretty darn funny thing.

Just when I thought that everything was going on well with my life, stupid cupid hits me with a dart that changed everything. And then my life suddenly became filled with more color, sweets tasted sweeter, songs that I loved before now found newer meaning in them and my senses only wish that I could breathe the fragrance of her hair once again. Just once again.

And she and I liked watching those old fashioned movies- we decided that if we ever see a huge tree, we’d run all around it. And if we ever saw a lush green field, then we’d try running after each other, in slow motion(J) and yes, with old Bollywood hits playing in full blast to help with the overall ambiance.

But none of these happen. Cos she’s way off in Karachi and me, well, I’m here in Bangalore.

Yup, I’m in a long distance relationship. I know cos my phone bills are close to what I pay as my house rent. I tell her that whenever I close my eyes, all I see is her. And it’s true – cos I keep thinking about her almost all the time. Every day of mine starts and ends with her voice. When I’m low, I call her up; when I’m high, I call her up. And vice versa. She is in my life without actually being here. She is not around me but is still with me. All the time. All the while. And we have seen dreams of growing older with each other, together. We have seen dreams of holding each others’ wrinkled hands in each other’s and walking into the sunset together.

And then one day, we fought. I can’t remember why but I remember it was for some silly reason. Oh ya, it was cos I told her that if I didn’t see her then, I’ll never talk to her ever again (hey, I was just kidding!) But she took it seriously. Very seriously. One thing led to another and we ended up talking to each other in loud voices. After I put down the phone that night, I knew I could persuade her to get back to normal the morning after. I always liked apologizing to her cos apologies have a special charm when one is in love.

But that did not happen.

The next day, she did not take my calls. She did not reply to my messages. She did not answer my texts. I felt weird that day. I could not think properly the whole day. My mind was full of pain because of our argument the previous day. After all, I had started it. And she had not responded to my calls yet. It happened the following day also. And the day after that too. I was growing restless and the pain inside me was becoming more and more unbearable with each passing day. Then one day, after frantically trying to reach her for so many, many days, she took the phone and her trembling voice said, “Please don’t call me ever again.” And then my life suddenly becomes colorless, sweets tasted sweetless, songs that I loved before now became meaningless and my senses only wish that I could breathe the fragrance of her hair once again. Just once again.

But it was over.

But then, we live in a brand new world. In a while, we realized that we could not do without each other. We realized that we were too much in each others’ lives to be taken out just like that. We were inseparable in spite of being separated by time, space and land. And we had already become too much a part of each other’s lives to be taken apart from each other. And more over, we realized that once where there used to be love letters, there were more options today.

Now, we see each other everyday. We touch each other everyday. We share things with each other everyday. I carry her in my heart and with my tab, which is both thinner and lighter, I carry her everywhere. I see the laugh lines on her face everyday when she smiles at my jokes(PJs they are yaar, but still she laughs at them!J) and I enjoy admiring in detail the kindness lines behind her eyes when they sparkle when she talks with me because of the life-like display of my galaxy tab 750. We share videos of each other’s lives and enjoy watching them in Flash Player on Samsung's latest innovation. She’s always there when I need her and connecting to her is a cinch whether it’s through wifi or else. We always have the feeling that we’re always around whenever we need either of us. We send pictures, watch videos, movies and argue about which character had the best lines in the movie (which sounds and looks great on my tab btw). And sometimes, when I’m a tad too busy, I multitask on my tab with her in the background. We chat, we flirt, we laugh, we share. Just like before. Or rather, even better than before.

Today the sun shines a little brighter on me and I feel like she is the brightest star in my galaxy.

And the brightest feature on my Galaxy is definitely her.

Love, it sure is a pretty darn funny thing.


Vote for my star, for me and my Galaxy here.

This post is for the IndiBlogger Samsung Galaxy ''Its Time to Tab" Contest. You can see more discussion on this topic here. Click below for the webcast of the launch of the Galaxy Tab 750 in India.

Samsung Galaxy Tab 750 Launch

Monday, August 22, 2011

One Thought Too Many....

Somebody once said, “Happiness, is like a butterfly, which when pursued is just beyond your grasp, but which if you will sit down quietly may alight upon you.”

Trust me, it wasn’t me J

But somehow, after yesterday’s rehearsals, ‘Happiness’, ‘Golden butterfly’, ‘Father’s Day’ …. are the words fluttering about in the cheerful, cheerful corners of my mad, mad mind. (It’s been a while since I showed up for rehearsals and wow, did I miss it how! It’s also been a while since I used my head to think and wow, did I miss it how! J)

My 1THoT nominees would be:

1. The visual of Sumit standing on three stools decked one on the other, symbolizing fatherhood (being reluctantly put on a high pedestal). Interestingly, the level of trust the actors (Ranji, Nandini, Vidya) shared was amazing: a slip on Sumit’s side could well be, well….……. simply amazing!!!

2. Ajay’s thought that despite all the commercialization, a day like ‘father’s day’ does prompt us to wish our dad a very, very nice day; something which many of us forget in the usual grind of everyday working life. Adding on to this was Vidya’s portrayal on the ‘perfume for everyone but dad’ which nicely brings out the fact that sometimes, dads are simply overlooked/forgotten. Again, the contrast played by Ranji and Nandini on whether to relocate to home town or ask parents to come over to stay at work city found a personal resonance within me.

3. Hans Raaaj high school (curricular and especially the extra-curricular aspects). J

And the Oscar goes to…….

Well, they’ve all touched a chord within me. First thing I did yesterday after the show was check out when Father’s day is (Google sez it's next Sunday) and I do intend on calling dad and wishing the same. But what the hell, I called dad yesterday and as usual, I couldn't get senti with him. J See we do need a day like Father's Day. (Beer helps too but under the circumstances.....:P)

Both of us, me and the clown in me (we’re doing fine, thank you very much J), are waiting eagerly for OK next week….

Rock on.



Sunday, August 21, 2011

Resto-review: Coastal Junction, Bangalore

I went to Coastal Junction for a blind date. Since my date also stayed near Indiranagar and said that she liked sea food, I could not think of any other place in Indiranagar for sea food. (Of course, now there is Catch Marine also, but more on that in another review :)). I wanted to make a great first impression on a first date sure, so I went about researching a lot about Coastal Junction.

Coastal Junction occupies the 4nd and 5th floor of the five storied Roseby's building on 80feet road, right near the Kaya Skin Clinic (a good landmark if you need to find the way). Firstly, the location works great for me as it is just a few minutes from my place. And you can always find parking space right behind as the fabled residential layouts of Indiranagar with neatly maintained gardens and ordered service roads right lay just behind the building. So parking is usually never a big problem though you might need to walk for a minute or two.

As you walk into Coastal Junction, what greets you is the ambience - it has got a dim-lit new-age ambience which works great for dinners - the ambience exemplifies fine dining. They've really done the interiors very well with plush white seats contrasted against the adjoining dark brown tables and the lighting is just right. I was definitely impressed with the 4th floor with its dim romantic lighting, the ambience and the view it offers of 80feet road below. Most importantly, it had air-conditioning unlike the 5th floor, which is the roof top. I selected a table for two by the window on the 4th floor and I told the waiter to reserve the same for me for my date later that night. The waiter took my name and handed me a visiting card with his number on it. As I had time to kill, I browsed through their speed lunch buffet offer for weekdays, which I did not find too exciting.For the date, the 4th floor looked very sophisticated in the night and I was sure my friend was impressed. Also, the crowd in the other tables were also very well dressed and this added to the charm of the overall place . For starters, we ordered Baby Corn Kempu Bazulle and Squid Sukka - both amazing dishes as they were. The Squid Sukka was pure heaven. The beauty of the cuisine here is that the food is loaded with spices which are very well blended and as you eat, the various flavors run amok in your mouth and you can identify the different tastes distinctly in your mouth. For the main course, I have been dying to have Neer dosa and I ordered that while my friend ordered Appam. The Neer Dosa was well made and the Appam had that fresh made crispness about it, both of which we dunked into the Goan Prawn Curry. Even though my friend liked the Goan Curry, I found it just ok. We found a lot of time for conversation in between the meals and the service is good as the waiters faithfully come and pour water in the half filled glasses every now and then, as we went along chatting by. We ended the dish with payasams and the Pal Payasam provided a fitting end to a great experience.

On the whole, Coastal Junction is a great place to go, with a very classy ambience with great food and service. It is a tad too expensive; a wholesome meal for two would cost you about Rs. 1600/- or so ( though I have seen some 50% off deals running on various sites recently). If you need to impress someone who like seafood and you don't want to go out of Indiranagar, I would definitely recommend Coastal Junction for a great night out, and I would especially recommend the 4th floor by the window. J

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Most beautiful.

Today is Sapna’s birthday.

She won’t tell her age cos she thinks she’s too old. And Sapna does not have bright blue eyes, or an aquiline nose or a symmetric face.

But she may be the most beautiful person I know.

When she smiles, it’s because she likes to. She’s the one who’d share her last piece of the cake with her children. She’s the one who’d make short snacks for her hubby when he has a long day. She’s the one who’d diligently wakes up at 12 in the night to be the first person to wish her girlfriends a happy birthday.

Every month of March when salary is short, she secretly borrows money to send her retired parents to holiday so that they can celebrate their anniversary. She remains broke for the next few months and we friends willingly oblige her for this noble quirk of hers. This year, her parents said that it was the best anniversary ever and the photos showed them in the happiest of cheer and joy in Malaysia. Sapna is still broke but definitely richer at heart. And she’s been smiling ever since.

She is caring.

Sapna tries to buy more black clothes cos she’s told it helps one look thinner; but she never takes it too seriously and cheerfully ends up buying clothes in her favorite bright colors. She’s not size zero. And nor does she diet anexorically.

Yet she could be the most beautiful person I know.

She helps others because she wants to. She’s the one who bought her younger brother a whole new wardrobe when he got his first job (and he couldn’t afford one then J). She the one who helps her cousins with Math tuitions and with exam counseling (the first cousin Nidhi couldn’t have topped Math in school without Sapna’s help J). And Sapna’s the one who looks for excuses and occasions to buy more gifts for her near, dear and loved ones.

When grandpa was ill, she sat by his side with grandma all throughout the three long months. When he left, some say he left behind a content life and that he left happy. Later, Sapna smiled more often cos she knew she was there for him and that he left in peace.

She is compassionate.

Sapna hides her company access card cos she thinks it doesn’t carry her best pic. She doesn’t have Cindy Crawford hair or Angelina’s pout.

And she may be the most beautiful person I know.

She’ll stand for you if she thinks it is right. She’s the one who’d go out of her way to make sure everything is fine with her maid if the latter doesn’t show up for work one day. She’s the one who makes donations at charity houses consistently and discretely. She’s the one who’d volunteer to ‘go green’ and actually mean it.

At work, she was awarded last year for coming up with an initiative for new employees to find their way in the new office and in the new city. Her company said it helped new employees from other states to find their way easier in office and outside. They said it supported, familiarized and helped newcomers to get adjusted to the new life. Today, the HR considers her effort as a landmark achievement as it helped bring attrition down. But Sapna did not do it for the awards – she remembered how hard it was for her when she joined a new company in a new city. She felt she needed to do something for her new colleagues and just wanted to help them out; so she just collated her experiences, exposures, expenses and contacts. She’s just glad that it helped.

She is considerate.

And she is beautiful. She still has the pretty features which her hubby fell for, years before they got married. She does make heads turn, every now and then, when she goes for her shopping sessions. She tries to work out and eat healthy but also treats the family and friends to ice cream every once in a while. In a world obsessed with ‘smaller, thinner and fairer’, she believes and teaches her kids that the real beauty in all of us is ourselves. She believes the best make up is her belief in herself, her family and in God. She doesn’t believe in getting sucked, tucked and plucked and wants to age gracefully with her hubby but nevertheless uses beauty products to help her 'put her best face forward'. She is a doting mother, a darling daughter, a superb sister, a caring wife, a great friend, a trusted colleague and she juggles all these roles in a way only she can. To the world of her loved ones, she the center of their universe.

For me, Sapna is caring, kind, compassionate and considerate. And she smiles a lot and is all heart. And Sapna is every woman. For me, Sapna is hence beautiful.

Today is Sapna’s birthday. And I woke up at 12 to wish her. I find it very difficult to wake up at midnight and I won’t do that for anyone. Except Sapna.

Because she is be the most beautiful person I know.


Dove and Yahoo! salutes the triumphant spirit of the Indian woman with Yahoo! Real Beauty- 'What is 'real beauty' to you?'. Go on, join the conversation....

If you like this post, promote me at ib, like me on facebook, or follow me here. If not, let's go get some beer J.

She thinks, he thinks...

She thinks she’s fat.

He loves to hold her tight in the nights.

She thinks she’s got crowfeet near her eyes.

He loves the way her eyes shine when she smiles.

She thinks he looks at other women in front of her cos he’s not comfortable with her.

He looks at other women in front of her cos he’s most comfortable with her and her only, more than even his guy friends.

She wants to come home early to hit the treadmill.

He loves coming home early so that he can be with her.

She thinks she’s getting old and unattractive.

He loves to grow old with her.

She thinks…..

He loves…..

Because she is she.

Do check out my other two posts on real beauty - 'Most Beautiful' and 'Real Beauty in us'. :)

Dove and Yahoo! salutes the triumphant spirit of the Indian woman with Yahoo! Real Beauty - 'What is 'real beauty' to you?'. Go on, join the conversation....

If you like this post, promote me at ib, like me on facebook, or follow me here. If not, let's go get some beer J.

No chemical locha in my water please!!!

My Chemistry teacher was hot.

And I had a massive crush on her, which was one of the everlasting memories of my confused adolescence. Of course, I had to compete with 24 other similarly intentioned testosteroned classmates to gain her attention. To cut a long story short: Like every great love story, mine too ended without even starting (recurring story of my life).

After years of foul odors and failed experiments in labs, learning about atoms, molecules, elements, compounds, covalent bonds and periodic tables, the most important lesson I learnt in Chemistry was: Never lick the spoon.

For graduation, I opted out of chemistry and ever since, I had nothing to do with any chemicals except for my weekly rendezvous with ethanol (Bacardi for the uninitiated :P).

Or so I thought.

Now what if I tell you that somebody is putting harmful chemicals into all our bodies, making a fast buck out of it and killing all of us slowly? What if I tell you that harmful cancer-causing chlorine may have been entering your body and mine and that too, on a daily basis. And that you, your children, your parents, your siblings and your family may have been equally affected on a daily basis! Via your humble kitchen apparatus, the water purifier.

Shocked? Startled? Scared? Well, you should be.

The word of the day is Trichloroisocyanuric Acid or TCCA, for short – even though you might not be aware of it, but you may have been consuming this sinister compound on a regular basis. TCCA is used worldwide for sanitizing swimming pools and now, studies have shown that excessive swimming in such chlorinated pools can lead to cancer. Undoubtedly, TCCA is banned in the US from being used for household purification of drinking water. But the shocking fact is that in India, this material is used by many leading brands for household purification in their water purifiers – and we’re not even aware of it!!! Imagine feeding a baby with water from your chlorinated community swimming pool every day! Unnervingly, we may all be unknowingly drinking our way to cancer, kidney failure and other deadly diseases.

Alarmed? Agitated? Angry? Well, you should be.

This is serious stuff – Water is our basic life necessity and we resort to water purifiers so that the water we drink and feed our loved ones is as clean as possible. An Indian father will cut costs, conveniences and comforts to ensure a better livelihood for his children but will invest in costlier appliances in the hope that it will protect his family - big brands exploit this hope to make a quick buck. India does not have any existing standards for water purifiers and leading brands opportunistically use this loophole to employ such cheap but lethal materials to make a fast buck. We pay our hard earned money to protect ourselves and our families by trusting these leading brands and invest in such chemical based water purifiers. Its infuriating to know that to earn a few rupees more, leading brands are jeopardizing our lives. It enrages me to know that my 4 year old cousin may innocently be drinking this kind of water.

Thinking what can be done? Well, you should be.

As consumers, we should turn to safer chemical-free technologies like UV or Filtration(RO) for our water purification. However, not many people are aware of TCCA and its effects. The first thing is awareness – we need more people to be aware that this is affecting them, their families and their friends. Noted activistBejon Mishra has highlighted in his whitepaper the safety issues concerning water purifiers. Mr Mishra has teamed up with Indiblogger to spread awareness on this issue. This post is written as an attempt to make aware, awaken and alert others of this crusade against chlorine. You could do your bit to support this movement by:

  • Please download this image, copy it onto a word file and stick it in your office notice board so that more people can call the toll free number to get more information. (1800-11-4424)
  • A facebook event has been created to mobilize support. All you need to do is just go to this page, hit ‘Like’, Share the link and Spread the word.
  • Spread this post to as many people as possible.

As consumers, we have a right to know what chemicals are used in purifying our water. As Indians, we need to know if they are approved by world standards. As individuals, we need to know that the well being of our loved ones are not harmed.

Spreading the word? Well, you should be.

In the words of Mr Mishra himself, "this is not a movement against any company, any technology or against any water purifier brand but merely a small attempt at empowering us consumers". And yes of course, we’re saving ourselves and our loved ones, in the process.

So go to the facebook page, Hit 'Like', share n spread the word...

“No chemical locha in my water please!!!”

Hopefully, chemical ka chemical aur paani ka paani ho jayenge.

You can see other posts on this same mission. If you liked this post, vote for ithere.