Saturday, September 30, 2006

Visited my bank with the intention of applying for the regeneration of my net banking account password. As ill-luck would have it, the bank was closed for its half-yearly whatever.

Friday, September 29, 2006

Subashish calls. He's in Bangalore till mid-Oct. Looking forward to meeting him.

Music & Noise

I've kept my promise and stuck to being on a spending spree. Bought a few CD's. One of them was Yanni's best neo-classical album of all time-In My Time. Was looking for it for a very long time! Now if only I could find Dare to Dream.

And I've just earned yet another reason to loathe the foul-mouthed and extremely ill-mannered autorickshaw drivers. These men can be incredibly cheap. I wonder what gives them the audacity to openly charge exorbitantly. I guess the only way to deal with them is to say that you want a ride to the police station! Choose the one closest to your original destination.

Satya follows suit

After Manilal, it was Satya's turn today to land up with a job. Best of all, they'll be colleagues!

Birthdays being celebrated @ the cafeteria

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Manilal has finally got a job! Congrats! Persistence pays...literally!


Two things were in abeyance during my recent vacation: blogging & expense managing. Since they are done online, and since Kolkata gave me the rare opportunity of getting away from the now ubiquitous-in-my-life computer, I found little reason to gripe. In fact, I considered it a luxury.

Vacations are expensive. Ironically, this is when you spend like a true spendthrift, thus necessitating your expense manager even more. But since I would have none of it, my expenditure spiraled out of control. I thought things would be back on track when I came back to Bangalore, but the very-avoidable scratching of my glasses made me realise this was to be one hell of an expensive month.

I haven't even bothered to keep tabs over my expenses after my return. So I've excused myself to buying to my heart's content for the current month. I got the ball rolling at The Forum by buying a triple CD collection of the greatest country singer ever: Jim Reeves. I ran out of cash, but I intend to buy some more collections tomorrow.

And Padmanabhan (from Mumbai) is granting me exclusive access to 1700+ classical Naxos titles! I intend to buy many!

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

A report from The Telegraph (June 1, 2005)

Film fights for prestige - Video art presentation dispels myths about region

Guwahati, May 31: Bollywood may have painted the wrong picture of Bodo society through the controversial Tango Charlie, but Guwahati-based filmmakers Mriganka Madhukaillya and Sonal Jain are using the cinematic medium to protest the mainland's distorted view of the Northeast.

Admittedly, an attempt to bridge the divide between the region and the rest of the country, Madhukaillya and Jain's experimental exhibition of video art in New Delhi received rave reviews.

The duo's style of filmmaking is a mix of the abstract and the real, and the topics are usually critical issues confronting the region. Madhukaillya's five-minute film, The End of Nature, was screened at the Chicago Filmmakers' Spring 2004.

In the video art presentation titled Alpha and Beta, the filmmakers have used footage from Tango Charlie to show how tribal society and culture are misrepresented by the mainstream media.

Tango Charlie, directed by Mani Shankar and featuring Sanjay Dutt and Ajay Devgan, was banned in Assam after Bodo organisations opposed the distorted portrayal of their community.

"Bollywood, or for that matter anyone from outside the region, has pre-conceived notions about the Northeast. We want to dispel these myths," Madhukaillya said.

Countering the depiction of Bodos as 'blood-thirsty monsters' in Shankar's film, Alpha and Beta incorporates real footage of human rights violations such as the crackdown on students in Manipur. Madhukaillya defended the gory scenes in the video art presentation. "Violence has become omnipresent in our lives," he said.

Video art is a kaleidoscope of moving images, photographs and music, captured with a video camera and projected on screen.

"Though it is a new medium, we deliberately chose video art to put across our message because it is easily accessible and reaches out to a large section of society," said Jain, a former faculty member at the National Institute of Design in Ahmedabad.

Madhukaillya and Jain are now trying to organise funds for a mobile exhibition of their latest venture, which they intend to take to every part of the region. Another short film, Daily Check-up, depicts the inconvenience residents of the Northeast face because of round-the-clock surveillance. Politics of Real Time is a four-channel video piece featuring the lush sacred forests of Meghalaya, the Brahmaputra, clippings from the first Assamese film Joymoti and traditional dances of Arunachal Pradesh.

Mrig Replies!

How wonderful it felt to read his email after what surely feels like an eternity. The fellow has managed to win himself a wife! She is from UP but born and brought up in Shillong. How could someone in her right mind fall for him is a mystery. I must seek a clarification soon.

Mrig, to say that I'm envious of you would be an understatement. I'm outrightly jealous of your achievements. You've lived a charmed life...and I earnestly hope you continue this way!


A pair of apples with a cumulative weight of half-a-kilo cost me Rs.25! Compare that with paired bananas (didn't bother to know the weight) that cost me just Rs.5 yesterday. I'll go bananas if I continue with apples! My resolution to a healthful breakfast each morning is already teaching me vital lessons.

And I'll do anything to keep away from starting the day with fat-rich food. Someone innocently called me a 'huggable bunny'. I think it hints at me being slightly overweight. How humiliating. Until recently, I was so lean that you could count my ribs.

Stained Glasses

I can't imagine I would yearn for glasses not-so-long ago. I hate wearing them and try to avoid being framed as much as possible, which is why I keep my spectacles in my shirt pocket when there's no urgency of clear vision. But there's a problem.

I'm not too comfortable with keeping my purse in the hind pocket of my trousers. It makes pickpocketing easy and sitting awkward. I prefer my shirt pocket instead. With little space left, my glasses have to move out. They precariously perch with only one arm clinging to the inside of the pocket. Economy of space it may be, but contemptuous of the vision aid.

As I boarded the bus this morning, my spectacles slipped out and fell on the narrow aisle...and I conveniently stamped it before realising what had happened. But it was too late for a rescue mission even though the frame survived. The glasses are scratched and I'll now be forced to pay yet another visit to the ophthalmologist this weekend.

Lucky me, at least my vision can make do till then.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Lost & Found!!

Mriganka Madhukaillya was one of my dearest college friends. Amongst all my peers, he was the one most like me. We are intellectually disposed, love astronomy, literature, western classical music and jazz. Our interests in other fields were also strikingly similar.

So it didn't take us long to discover each other. In fact, we were just into our early days in Fergusson when we got acquainted. I guess it was our mutual likeness that brought and kept us together.

Parting ways was very tough. We had similar aspirations but chose different trajectories. We met abject failure initially but finally gained some success. Mrig slightly altered course midway and went on to study in NID, Ahmedabad. We lost track of each other soon. I got to know much later through a mutual friend that he was now part of the IIT, Guwahati faculty! I tried to access the faculty list but guess what, the Department of Design's page was defunct! So near and yet so far.

I tried my luck again today...and this time it worked! There he was, looking as droopy as ever! Sent him a mail. I just hope he replies soon.

The Schedule

I'm been asked umpteen times about my weird vacation schedule, especially with Durga Puja being just around the corner. Durga Puja is the biggest festive occasion for Bengalis, and in Kolkata there's a virtual riot of frenzied celebrations.
My vacation was planned a long time back, and as it turns out, the timing couldn't have been better. I can't reveal the reasons here, but in the end everything worked just fine for me. Sure, I'm missing all the fun and revelry but that's a sacrifice I had to make.

Monday, September 25, 2006

In someone's dream...

I've stood 3rd in the Indian Civil Services Examination!

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Password Woes

With the plethora of passwords floating around, it was only a matter of time before I was in trouble. It happened today. I've forgotten my net banking password and now my access is locked since I've guessed it wrong on five consecutive attempts. Now I'll have to reapply for the regeneration of a password, something that I'm sure will take more than a fortnight.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Getting away from it all

I'm tired of all the mess that life is amassing on me. I need a break...and what can be better than a trip to Kolkata which may even include a brief detour to Jamshedpur.

I hope to spill the beans (not all of them!) when I'm back in Bangalore on the 24th.
Farewell till then!

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Betrayed...yet again

Really, I must stop counting.

I leave for Kolkata late-night tomorrow but don't even feel like packing my luggage. My point of endurance has long been breached and I'm amazed at how much I've learned to tolerate things I absolutely despise. That's the quintessential mark of a loser.

One day, I'll erupt.

Couldn't sleep last night

The damned ants bit me everywhere.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

I'm irresistible. At least that's what the red ants think. They're all over me as I recline on bed.

A Dramatic Change

There's a change on the cards and I hope things don't slip out of my grasp this time. What worries me is that it's happening at a time when I'm all set for a fortnight-long trip.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Baker's Dozen

Bought a packet of popcorn from the cafeteria and brought it home after work. Santosh was missing and since I felt unusually famished, I helped myself to all of it with only a passing sense of guilt. Eating is hardly enough to keep me occupied and I consequently helped myself to reading what was on the cover. It went like this:

Freshly made
Just for you !!

Manufactured By
4th Block, Jayanagar, Bangalore-560011
Unit Price : Rs. 10-00
Ingredients: Corn, Veg.Oil
Chilli Powder, Salt.

Spelling mistakes are common in India, even Pune University proudly flaunted a signboard with a rather glaring spelling error for years. In fact, it was still there the last time I saw it! Anyway, I'll forgive the bakery for inventing a new spelling. However, what's not so pardonable is the fact that the net weight (which is compulsory according to Indian law) is not mentioned anywhere. Yet another proof that we treat our laws like cheap whores.

I couldn't help thinking of a law in medieval England that has brought a phrase (Baker's Dozen) into common parlance. Since the world knows better, I'll quote Wikipedia instead of offering my own explanation:
The oldest known source and most probable origin for the expression "bakers dozen" dates to the 13th century in one of the earliest English statutes, instituted during the reign of Henry III (r. 1216-1272), called the Assize of Bread and Ale. Bakers who were found to have short-changed customers could be liable to severe punishment. To guard against the crude punishment of losing a hand to an axe, a baker would give 13 for the price of 12, to be certain of not being known as a cheat. Specifically, the practice of baking 13 items for an intended dozen was to prevent "short measure", on the basis that one of the 13 could be lost, eaten, burnt or ruined in some way, leaving the baker with the original dozen.

So what would Henry III have done with Mayura Bakery? Far from offering more than is stated, it doesn't even mention the amount in the first place!! I guess we would merit ad hoc rules to deal with our unparalleled dishonesty.

Addendum: Mayura Bakery has the ingenuity to use NBC's peacock logo as its own, only it's completely pink!
It's Onam today and the ladies in ethnic wear look absolutely hideous.
I've really hit an intellectual drought.
Had breakfast with Nilotpal, Vaibhav and Prabjot. It's such great fun meeting pals once in a while and exchanging anecdotes.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Last in Queue

The final school bell that marked our dispersal was music to our ears. We were young, silly and happy. As soon as the bell rang, there was a mad rush and a virtual stampede to form a queue that would then be asked to march all the way to the school gate before we could go our separate ways. But all that would only happen if we maintained order and discipline, our teacher warned us. We found this an incredibly difficult feat since suppressing excitement wasn't exactly our forte. Still,the overworked and overstretched teacher finally managed to reign in the scurrying, the pushing and pulling, the squabbling, the joking and the deafening crescendo. We would be going home, what could bring us greater joy?

The great competition that ensued was for the first position in the queue. If you can't be first, try to be second. If not second, then third and so on. Of course, no one wanted to be last. If you were, you were an outcast and a loser. Obviously, someone would have to suffer this ignominy each day. What a pain it must have been!

Cut to the present. The excitement has fizzled out. We are no longer that young or even in school for that matter. Still, the ritual of forming a queue can't always be escaped. We go through the motions each time we line up to exit the company shuttle, which happens we reach office or a major stop where many have to disembark. The narrow aisle necessitates some self-discipline, which isn't exactly as herculean a task as it used to be when we were kids. Still, the one stigma that remains is the filling up of the last slot.

As the queue gradually inches towards the door, the seated folks try to squeeze into any available space between those already in the queue. They'll try all possible means to trickle in, if only to avoid being the last one off the bus. It's incredible the way some people show great impatience in getting off.

What's the big deal, buddy? Are you scared of being left behind before the driver looses his patience and punitively drops you only at the next stop?!! Surely some restraint can be shown.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Santosh cooked fish for us and it tasted delicious. Even he couldn't stop lauding his culinary talents!

Saturday, September 02, 2006

COSMOS by Carl Sagan

There was a time when Doordarshan wasn't as heavily desi as it is today. Quality programs were regularly aired, one of them being the legendary series COSMOS by Carl Sagan. This 13-episode series was shown on DD on Sunday morns from 9 to 10. Though my interest in the heavens was gradually growing, I was too young to take in the heavy intellectualism of Dr.Sagan. I would have much rather preferred some science fiction (like Projective UFO which was replaced by COSMOS) to science facts. Dad, though, would watch it in rapt attention. I would try hard to take interest in the heavy dose of scientific facts being delved into before running out of patience.

I went on to rue those moments of infantile ignorance. Sagan became my hero and I framed his photo for inspiration. Dad bought me his book by the same name. It was sheer serendipity that brought me to the doorstep of this wonder series yet again today.

Since bandwidth is a rare commodity, I've been able to watch only the first 13 mins of Episode 9. Two things came to the fore.
  • Sagan inadvertently spoke about the history behind the name of a search engine that was yet to come into existence then. Ironically, it was through this search engine that I managed to rediscover the series.
  • A score from Handel's Water Music was being played in the background while Sagan explained the nature of matter sitting in a banquet hall in Cambridge University. I used to listen to this score very often during my Pune days.
It's a small world! I just can't wait to watch the rest of the episode and the series. Now all I need is bandwidth in plenty!

Episode I: "The Shores of the Cosmic Ocean" (COSMOS)

Episode II: "One Voice in the Cosmic Fugue" (COSMOS)

Episode III: "The Harmony of the Worlds" (COSMOS)

Episode IV: "Heaven and Hell" (COSMOS)

Episode V: "Blues for a Red Planet" (COSMOS)

Episode VI: "Travelers' Tales" (COSMOS)

Episode VII: "The Backbone of Night" (COSMOS)

Episode VIII: "Journeys in Space and Time" (COSMOS)

Episode IX: "The Lives of the Stars" (COSMOS)

Episode X: "The Edge of Forever" (COSMOS)

Episode XI: "The Persistence of Memory" (COSMOS)

Episode XII: "Encyclopedia Galactica" (COSMOS)

Episode XIII: "Who Speaks for Earth?" (COSMOS)

Friday, September 01, 2006

Lots of emails from the 18th July batch. It only seems like yesterday when we met for the first time. How time flies!
Traffic was atrocious today. I had to spend an hour-and-a-half in the shuttle before reaching office.