An engineer may be defined as a person who is able to apply science without fully understanding its working. An engineer may also be defined as something every something most Indians in their plus twos aspire to be even though they are unaware of the definition which I gave in the first sentence. Due to this lack of knowledge of what an engineer truly is and a lack of knowledge of many parents regarding other professions, engineering colleges have mostly (d)evolved to a point where there is less emphasis on the "applying science" bit and more stress on the "without fully understanding" bit. However mind it, getting into a decent college is still unbelievably tough. It requires immense hardwork and/or immensely deep pockets. There is no other way around it. What to do once you are in is a whole other story.

You thought school is over so no more rote learning. Eager to use your brains and build something? Wrong. Its back to rote as the only way to survive your paper is to commit to memory those tattered notes which were handed to you by your seniors which they themselves got from theirs and so on. These barely legible but really valuable words are what fetch you marks as they always have and always will. Try deviating from the notes and and your professors will be having your marks for dinner.

Ah your professors! Glad to be out of school and away from those homework giving, constantly scolding and nitpicking teachers of yours and hope to find some priestly professors in this temple of higher learning? Wrong again!! Let's face it. In a booming country where engineers are in short supply who would give up high paying jobs in the corporate world to stick around in some college barely earning a 5 digit monthly figure. This is especially true if you happen to study computer science or IT. So those who have the misfortune of teaching are actually fortunate to have a job in the first place. These brainless, skill less and quite often personality less "teachers" will bore you in class, frustrate you when you have doubts and anger you when they don't give you marks. However, do take note, that on a rare occasion you will come across a gem of a teacher who will make you feel that this was the reason you came to college. Try and cherish those moments.

Projects! An integral part of your curricula. At least on paper. In reality, they are like a speed bump in the road of fun and vellapanti that is engineering. So find that smart geeky guy in class and make him your project partner. He/she may be dull as ditchwater but when it comes to doing projects you are dumber than a donkey. So maro some maska and have the smartie work and then have him explain his work to you so you can explain it to your professor and get a better grade than the hardworking idiot. Briliant!!

Ooh! Vellapanti and bakchodi. Far more important than engineering drawing or C++. The latter two may be ignored but the former must not. Class is not a place to listen but to pass notes, irritate the guy/gal in front or text message someone who is doing the exact same thing in some other engineering college halfway across the country. Sitting around at the canteen gazing at that hottie is what vella is being about. Who cares about trying to understand what that stupid professor tried to teach you when you get home at the end of the day? Its all about a bunch of guys drinking beer and just being guys somewhere far away from habitation at 12 am. What a way to end the day!

Assignments! Uff! If projects were speed bumps then assignments are like potholes. You never know when you may come across one. No worry. There will be one goodie touchie who says no to plagiarism and will finish it first. As the rest say a resounding "YES!!" to plagiarism all you have to do is copy from the guy who finished first or someone who copied from him. Yes folks.. this is what man used to do before the Xerox machine was invented.

Exams!! Projects are speed bumps, assignments are potholes and exams are the police checkpoints. Still they too like all hurldes can be crossed without too much issues. So relax, watch a couple of hundred movies, take your girlfriend out on long bike rides or party like crazy. Its only the day before the exam that you need to blow of the dust from those afore mentioned notes, cram through the night and go vomit it out on your paper the next day. Easy peasy!! However it is this last hurdle that many falter at. But when I think about it I understand why. Would you really like to leave behind this heaven sent four years of engineering just to join the rat race of the working world? Maybe those who flunked a couple of years did get a better deal and I was the idiot who ensured my stay in heaven lasted only four short years. DAMN!!!

Its an adventure driving on the capital's roads. Drive along Akbar Road or Shantipath and it is a pleasure and calming too. Drive on the expressways and it can get thrilling if you put your foot down or downright monotonous if you don't. And everywhere else, its sheer torture. The road death capital of the country has the unusual (and dangerous) combination of having the best road roads in India and the worst drivers in the world. My mom had spent more than a decade trying to be a disciplined driver on Delhi's roads hoping that at least some would learn by example and others would reciprocate the politeness. She, after years of being almost run down and constantly honked at, finally decided that the old adage "If you can't beat 'em then join 'em" is the only thing that works out here. So here's my guide to all you need to know while driving in the NCR (National Capital Region) and how to survive the NCRs (Nasty Commuters on a Rampage).

Driving may be an activity in most other places or a chore in some crowded ones but out here it is WAR!! And since everything is fair in love and war, everything is fair on the roads. Your fellow commuter on the road is not a fellow, he is the enemy and like all enemies he needs to be defeated. Always be prepared and never lose an opportunity to take the advantage away from another commuter. Buses are tanks, especially the Bluelines, and get to close too to one and chances are you will be mowed down before you can say "Teri ma kaa...."! Pedestrians and cattle are like landmines as they will be scattered all over the road and you have to use all your skill to dodge them. Also remember, pedestrians are no more intelligent than the cattle out here. Only your car gets a smaller dent and you do go to jail if you hit 'em. The police are like air raids. They aren't there most of the time but when they are they come out of nowhere and bomb you with a speeding ticket. So watch out soldier!!


Forget what they taught you in driving school or what was engraved into your head by you daddy when he taught you how to take the wheel. The most important component of the automobile is NOT the brake its the horn. Most obstacles that could threaten you (and your car) on the road are the ones which can move out of the way themselves. Confounded cows, problematic pedestrians and dimwitted dogs can all be scared out of the way by honking (most of the times). However do keep your foot over the brake, just in case. Also horns are an important weapon used in psychological warfare. If your enemy commuter is annoying you by his coming in your way you may simply honk him up the roadside tree by applying constant pressure to the centre portion of your steering wheel. Having a loud air horn does help. Also, honking the moment the lights turn green is customary, so please don't annoy the locals and do honk!

Please, do us Delhiites a favour and leave the Pehle Aap load of crap in Lucknow. In Delhi, its my way or my way. The moment you let some guy pass you he'll bring the entire herd that was behind him along. So be a jerk and don't show him any decency even if he happens to be your own sweet old grandpa.


What rubbish? Is it even legal for them to drive? These modern lipstick applying and hair brushing upstarts shouldn't be anywhere near the steering wheel. If one does commit the sacrilege of overtaking you ( a guy) then please, feel free to force her the road or run her into a ditch or at the very least overtake her to put her in her place. However if this upstart happens to be pleasing to the eye then you are more than welcome to leave your comments and suggestions by shouting it at her using the choicest of words. After all, chivalry pays no??

You know what really stands out on the city's roads? A car with no scratches. It stands out like a dude at a rave party who doesn't dope. So be a philanthropist and give that brand new car a scratch. You may chose to use you own (and obviously scratched) car as your tool if you happen to be driving at the time. If you are walking then, at the very least, use something to scratch your name into the paint of an unscathed vehicle. Sort of like an artist signing at the bottom of his/her painting.

I bet not one guy who's grown up in the last couple of decades or so not heard a sentence beginning with "You know when I was young we didn't have ___________" from our elders. We as a race have progressed technologically more in the last century than all the other centuries combined. And things only seem to get even better... or is it?

True today our favourite drama is just a press of button on the TV remote away. All the information in the world is just a mouse click away. And all our closest friends are just a phone call away. We live in an apparent technological utopia where every thing we want is literally at the tips of our fingertips (pressing buttons, after all, requires fingertips no??). Take away all these amazing modern marvels from our lives and our world turns into a dystopia where we are more lost than Rakhi Sawant trying astronomical physics. Our gadgets are an extension of our lives without which some would even deem as a life not worth living.

As I sit here tearing my hair out because of 80 gigs of data I lost in my SHAMsung hard drive and banging my head on the walls because my Xbox finally showed me the red ring of death, I realise that it was my grandparents who had it easy. They never almost got a hemorrhage because they l0st 50 movies that the spent a year downloading because in the part of the world they grew up in, people hadn't even heard of movies. To them games meant gulli danda and hide-and-seek and not tapping away some buttons on a controller. They could probably find immense pleasure in just skimming pebbles on the surface of a pond whereas I can't even find any pleasure in watching television (an invention that fascinated them when they first saw it and still amazes them today). They probably walked miles to spend some time with their best friends and yet today I lose touch with mine even though I can talk to them anytime and anywhere on my cell.

Scientists say that part man and part machine creatures (a.k.a Cyborgs) will become a reality in the near future. I say that they are already here. Look around you. Try taking a cell phone from any of those shady businessmen and they will gouge eyes out before relenting. Ask a business executive to give up his Blackberry and he'll offer to sell his mother just to keep his precious
emailing device in his pocket. All those software techies, they would rather give up their penises to save their precious thinkpads. Try blocking orkut in college and you'll probably have a riot on your hands. Isn't this proof that the bionic human race is already here. The implants may not be biological yet but they certainly are psychological and emotional.

In my opinion Murphy (whoever he was) was one of the wisest of men. His law regarding everything that can go wrong going wrong cannot be truer. I see it everyday in my life, the lives of those around me and the lives of everybody else. Here are some of my takes :

  • The cable goes at precisely the climax of a great movie which you, surprisingly, haven't seen earlier. It shall return not a moment before the start of the ending credits.
    • Corollary: The cable works fine when you are watching some really shitty movie and conks out only AFTER the credits start rolling.
  • The phone is usually on low battery whenever a charger or power outlet is unavailable.
  • The most anticipated movies are somehow released the weekend before some crucial work/academic deadline.
    • Corollary: On those rare weekends you do happen to be free there will be no good movies to watch or tickets shall be unavailable.
  • Your pet shall wake you from your slumber only when you are dreaming of the girl you've had a crush on for the longest of times (and unlike real life, in the dream you were about to get her too)
  • The rare important messages that you get on the phone will only come when you are eating, driving, attending a call of nature, in an important meeting, sleeping or otherwise engaged.
    • Corollary: The messages that you receive when you are relatively free are always spam or some useless forward.
  • Your computer hard drive shall fail the day before you planned to back up all your important data.
    • Corollary: Computer hard drives tend not to fail as long as they don't contain any important data.
  • Your software will have a critical update available for it only a week after it has already crashed.
  • The RJ never announces the name of a really nice song at its end if you happen to catch it on the radio whilst flipping through stations.
  • The power company always cuts the power when you walk back home from work at night and its a moonless night. The power will return only after you reach home.
  • The apparel/car/electronics company shall give heavy discounts only after you have already emptied your wallet buying their most desirable product.
  • The stock market only goes down when you invest in it. (This isn't that true these days thanks to the economic boom and all)
  • Your gadget will conk off only after the warranty expires.
  • Your friends are always in town either when you aren't or you just don't have the time.
    • Corollary: When you come to town your friends choose precisely that time to make that long delayed trip somewhere out of town.
  • The day you plan to get drunk is a dry day or the liquor store doesn't have the liquor of your choice or you can't find a drinking buddy.
  • Auto-drivers, rickshaw walas, taxi drivers are always around to pester you when you already have your own car.
    • Corollary: Those unfortunate days when you don't have personal transport are the days when the aforementioned pests are nowhere in visual range.
  • The day you finally have the time to read the newspaper at leisure is the day that the journalists have nothing to report about.
  • The girl your really like is always dating the guy you really hate.
    • Corollary: The girl who really likes you is usually the one you hate the most.
  • The only people who do better than you in life are the ones who you hate the most or would like to make jealous the most.
  • The only people who read this blog are the ones who don't appreciate it!!

A lot of people may not realise this but it has been 6 years since that Spanish speed demon, Alonso that is, planted his rear end into the seat of an F1 car for the first time. Like a lot of racers he started at the bottom, racing for the forever-minnows, Minardi. Then in 2002 he got a seat test-driving for Renault. In 2003 he was bumped up to racing driver and the rest as they say is history. However, for the Tifosi in me, he shall always be the man who ruined Michael Schumacher's retirement. He will always be the man whose picture I throw darts at. The man whose defeat in 2007 I celebrated more than I did Raikkonen's victory.

F1 in 2007 had more drama than any of the daytime soaps that entertain billions of women on the planet. What with jealous team mates, harassed team bosses and betrayal by former team employees. Not to mention the quiet chap who walks .. I mean drives .. away as the hero in an unexpected climax. Phew!! Beat that Ekta Kapoor.. I dare ya!

The bickering and squabbling over at the McLaren camp has again highlighted the biggest problem with McLaren. An F1 paddock may be big enough to fit two world class drivers and their cars but it will never accommodate their egos. A fact proven by McLaren when they hired Alain Prost and Ayrton Senna in 1988 and again when they got Raikkonen and Montoya together in 2005. As Michael Schumacher very correctly stated, there is only one number one driver. With this power struggle there is always one clear loser. Montoya left F1 to join NASCAR (I guess he didn't like taking corners too much). And now Alonso has left McLaren for an uncertain future.

2007 also exposed an ugly side of the Spaniard. The world saw him for the prick who he really is. A grown man who cried like a baby because he couldn't bear to have the spotlight taken away from him and put onto a mere rookie who was in his first year as a F1 racer. How dare you Lewis??? And give Fernando his candy back too!! And now it seems no one wants this spoilt child. After all would you? No one will except perhaps a Mr. Flavio Briatore. The man who made Schumacher. The person who gave Alonso his first break. The one running things over at Renault. So may be the sun hasn't quite set on old Alonso. Muy buena!!

However its been more than a year since Renault showed some spunk. They spent 2007 sputtering. Fighting it out more often with the Torro Rossos than the rosso red Ferraris. However, a year is millenium in F1. There is nothing to stop Renault from making a car as superior as the one they had last year. But somehow I feel they wouldn't be able to pull it off. My gut still tells me that Renault will be battling it out in the middle of the pack rather than waging a war at the front with the Ferraris and McLarens.

Of course it is definitely plausible that he may join some team other than Renault but which? Ferrari? Of course not.. they have a good thing going on. He may do better by joining the likes of Williams or BMW but are they good enough to get him the third championship he so badly desires. I doubt it. From where Alonso is he has only one way to go... down. Once you are down that road in F1 its hard finding a way back up.

I don't quite know how I found this page. One moment I was reading the review for "Superbad" and a few clicks later I'm reading about the sensitivity (or rather the lack of it) of the Delhi Police to the safety of young women from the North-East in our nation's capital. My habit of following links on the internet as led me to many interesting web pages. Just thought this one was exceptional enough to be blogged about.

Following is a poster by filmmaker K.P. Sasi, titled Rules for girls, circulated on an email discussion, gives a telling yet humorous take on the subject of being a woman in a world of sexual predators.

Don't go out alone at night
That encourages men

Don't go out alone at any time
Any situation encourages some men

Don't stay at home
Intruders and relatives can both rape

Don't go without clothes
That encourages men

Don't go with clothes
Any clothes encourage some men

Avoid childhood
Some rapists are turned on by little girls

Avoid old age
Some rapists prefer aged women

Don't have a father, grandfather, uncle or brother
These are the relatives that often rape young women

Don't have neighbours
They often rape

Don't marry
Rape is legal within marriage

To be quite sure - DON'T EXIST!

To read the full article Click Here.

Everyone who owns a TV in this country and has heard the term F1 must have heard it, seen it or read about it. A certain bearded liquor tycoon has purchased a Formula 1 team and renamed it Force India. Yes, F1 fans all over the country are corking open bottles of bubbly (beer that is) and celebrating over the fact the one sixth of humanity has a home team to cheer for in the world's second most watched sport. But before some of us get all wasted cheering for team India in F1 and some others wasted for cheering with all those cheering for team India lets think about it for a second.

Those boys at Spyker who have found a new boss in Mr.Mallya aren't really what you call a championship winning team. They have never been consistent on the track nor off it. They were called Midland F1 in 2006 and Jordan before that. Hell, they haven't even been consistent in being owned!! The last time I heard of them win some points was at the US Grand Prix in 2005 where all the Michelin runners refused to race due to safety issues. That left just Ferrari and Jordan out to pick up some points. It wasn't really a race. More of an obligation to the organizers, spectators and television broadcasters.

Now what Mr. Beer Seller has done is plaster the name of a country of 1.1 billion on to two cars which would more often that not finish first at the wrong end. I can imagine the headlines now.
Force India finish last.. again. Force India..not a force to reckon with. Force India.... forced off the track. No other team has a country in its name. And with good reason. Formula 1 isn't like other sports. Italian teams managed by a Frenchmen hire German drivers to drive British designed cars to win races in America, Brazil, Japan and China among others to win the world championship (If you haven't guessed it yet I was talking about Ferrari and Michael Schumacher). Its truly a global sport where a team doesn't identify itself with a country. The only thing that matters is winning not winning for someone.

When you put India on the team you identify India with it. You identify the hopes and aspirations of a country which is just beginning to get the F1 bug with a team that is more used to failure than success. Imagine the millions who glue to the TV screen for the first time ever to cheer India and be greeted with failure. Lets face it. Force India will not be a force to reckon with in 2008. Nor in 2009. Corporate giants like Toyota who have spent five years in Formula 1 have yet to find their footing. Its highly unlikely that Force India will be a force to reckon with for quite a few years. Till then the shame of watching their "national"team lose all the time would have turned many not-die-hard-fans-of-the-sport away from F1. I never thought I would write this but I really do wish that Mr.Mallya had renamed his new acquisition team Force Pakistan! And as an icing on the cake he could hire a Pakistani dude named Musharraf to drive it too. Nothing unites Indians like watching Pakistan get kicked in the nuts!

I'm quite tired of living a life of a conformist. I'm bored with abiding the law. I get no thrills by sticking to the speed limit of 60 (or is it 50 I don't really know). There are so many people I'd like to shoot with a bullet shot straight into their heart but I can't. Section 302 of the Indian Penal Code stops me from doing that. I'd like to run through Parliament when its in session yelling abuses at the top of my lungs. I'm afraid I'd be shot dead long before I even got to the gate. I have fantasies about hurling Molotov cocktails into the studios of what we shamefully call "news channels". But I don't really like going to jail for it. I'd like to jump into one of those new Sukhois and take it for a joy ride. Unfortunately I don't even know where the Air Force keeps them. It's high time I stopped being a citizen of a country run by others and got myself a country run by me with others as citizens. I want my own personal banana republic!!

A Banana republic is a pejorative term for a small, often Latin American, Caribbean or African country that is politically unstable, dependent on limited agriculture, and ruled by a small, self-elected, wealthy and corrupt clique. Now, I don't want any small or wealthy clique. It should be just me and my subjects and of course my army. After all, what is a banana republic without an all powerful army. Now I don't want something very large. A small island in the Pacific would suffice for my Utopic banana republic. I'll be prudent and even call it Utopia. How cool is that??

Now what kind of nation shall be Utopia? A land of unlimited fun and freedom of course. Speed limits? Of course. It will be the largest number on the speedometer of your car. You hate your local politicians? Well that is just not possible because I would be the supreme power and you can't kill your only authority figure can you? Got a bone to pick with some one? There are no courts of judges in Utopia. You just fight it out Fight Club style. No more messy court cases and no more time wasted. And they call America the land of freedoms!! HUH!!

What about me? Well I would of course have no less than 50 mansions all sea side of course. My own personal gold plated Sukhoi for me to take out on a joyride. A yatch no smaller than the Titanic shall befit me. Of course, I can't have fewer cars than the Sultan of Brunei so I guess its 1001 of the worlds fastest and most exquisite automobiles for me. Ahh.. what a life!! My most prized possession would be a gold plated AK-47 which obviously only fires golden bullets. After all, it should be an honour getting shot by a demi-god such as me. I shall name every second street after me and declare my birthday a national holiday. The national food shall be banana splits of course (some pun intended).

Aah.. If only I could.....

PS:- Its late and its the two cans of beer that led me to the above four paragraphs of incoherent ramblings. Maybe next time I'll have something more sensible to rant about.

Lot of big movies came to our screens this year courtesy Hollywood. Sequels to Spiderman, Shrek, Pirates of the Carribean and Bourne Identity all hit a theater near us. Not to mention other highly anticipated titles such as the Simpsons movie, Ratatouille and Transformers too had cinegoers flogging to the movies in droves. Some movies were worth the hype while others were a sheer dissappointment. Whatever be the reception, the studios where laughing all the way to the bank. We were even treated to surprises like Disturbia and Knocked Up who made a mark as well. A lot of these summer surprises never hit our shores and never will. One of them is 1408. A horror flick based on a Stephen King novel.

More movies and TV shows have been based on the writings of Stephen King than any other author. And in my opinion, except the Shawshank Redemption and the Green Mile, they are all pure crap (including Kubrick's "masterpiece", the Shining). 1408 should be more of the same but somehow it isn't. It's surprisingly good and actually not the usual horror flick we are quite used to. Consider it more of a nightmare flick rather than a run-of-the-mill ghosts and ghouls kind of movie.

The plot, on the face of it, doesn't promise anything brilliant. A writer on the supernatural wants to stay in a hotel room where no one has ever spent a night alive. John Cusack, the writer, gets to stay in room 1408 (notice how 1+4+0+8=13 and the room is on the 13th floor as well because the hotel has labelled the 13th floor as the 14th) despite Samuel L. Jackson's , the manager, urging. This is where the movies takes a path less travelled. The room isn't filled with your average collection of disturbed ghouls or axe yielding zombies. It's something way more powerful than imaginable as it not only plays with your mind but plays with reality itself. So don't expect the reflection-in-the-mirror or shadows-over-your-shoulder kind of tricks that have been the trademark of the horror genre for years. The power of room 1408 is summed up in one line by Samuel L. Jackson in the movie, "It's an evil fucking room".

1408 has enjoyed reasonable success but I think the movie deserves way more credit and recognition that it has gotten so far. The performance by John Cusack is top notch and even Samuel L. Jackson shines in his incredibly short role as the manager. Go watch this movie for a refreshing take on the horror genre which has being going stale for a while and a rare movie based on Stephen King's horror which actually works.

Most of us don't give a shit about Miss Teen USA pageant. Actually I doubt how many of us even heard of it before. It's all changed now. If you still don't know what I am talking about check out this video of the finalist from South Carolina who was asked this question at the 2007 edition of the pageant.

Now, I know that MENSA doesn't go looking for new members at teen beauty pageants where the combined IQ of all 50 contestants would roughly equal that of an average 3 year old toddler but still! This makes even George Bush seem like Einstein in comparison ( I am sorry for writing such a thing Dr. Einstein and may your soul rest in peace). But I am being harsh. I understand your plight Miss South Carolina. You need that space in your skull to store your make up and hairspray and moisturizer and mirror. After all you aren't allowed to carry a purse to the pageant stage. And who really needs a brain anyways these days. We have computers to do all our thinking for us!

In case you (the reader) still missed out on what she said, here's her epic statement spelled out for you:

"I personally believe that, U.S. Americans are unable to do so, because some… people out there in our nation that don’t have maps, and I believe that our education, like such as in South Africa and the Iraq, everywhere like such as, and I believe that they should… our education over here in the U.S., should help the U.S., er, should help South Africa and should help the Iraq and the Asian countries so we will be able to build up our future.., for our children... ".

If anyone can come up with proof of a dumber statement ever made in public then, puuuhhhhlllleeeeeeeasssssseeeeeeeee, let me know.

After seeing this epic moment in blonde history I thought maybe ask this pallbearer of human intelligence some more thought provoking questions. Alas, I could not. Miss Lauren Caitlin Upton (that's her name folks) was no where to be found. Apparently she had gotten lost backstage at the pageant and could not find her way out of the auditorium. Looks like that she too, like most U.S. Americans, had no map to guide her out. Could the South Africans and Iraqis help her out please? Still, no issues. I can pretty much imagine how she would have replied to my questions so here goes:

ME: Why do you think that gun violence is so rampant in the US?

MISS DUMB ASS: I think that U.S. Americans like guns so much because they..err.. they like shooting stuff and hearing the noise of firing .. umm .. because kids of U.S. Americans like them like playing with guns when they were kids unlike the kids of U.S South Africans and U.S. Iraqis who don't have any toy guns when they were kids, and I believe that the U.S. should donate toy guns to those countries so children, umm, like grow up happy and, like, have a peaceful future.

ME [with my head spinning]: Err... interesting point of view. Do you think the war in Iraq is justified?

MISS DUMB ASS: In my opinion the war in Iraq is, like, soo totally justified. I think that its soo totally sad that U.S. Iraqis don't have, like, so many rights that we U.S. Americans have, like, .... ummmm... the right to eat at McDonalds whenever we want and, like, they don't even get to watch MTV. I totally believe that these things should be given to every one and even, like, the U.S. South Africans get to watch that and I believe that our soldiers are there to give them those rights like MTV and McDonalds and with that, like, children will grow up to a better future for themselves.

ME [now seeing double]: Err.. hmm... ummm... What do you think American can do to curb pollution and help protect the environment?

MISS DUMB ASS: I think pollution is a big problem facing U.S. Americans everywhere and even those who are, like, not U.S. Americans. I think we can all contribute to reduce pollution by, like, umm.... like..... err.... not eating a lot of gassy foods. Because then if we do then we will all be like farting a lot and that is something that is not like by U.S. Americans and even the U.S. South Africans and U.S Iraqis because then it will stink a lot and people will be blaming each other for the fart and innocent people will be dying in the Asian countries so we need it to be like part of the American education system so that our children have a peaceful and clean future for the tomorrow.

ME [now having developed a splitting headache]: Aaarrgghh... it was extremely painful..I mean a pleasure meeting you but I have to for my emergency CAT scan now. Goodbye and good luck building a better future for the children. Again, it was a great pleasure meeting a PhD such as yourself.

MISS DUMB ASS: PhD? But I haven't even finished kindergarten yet?

ME [now with a brain haemorrhage]: I'm sorry but you misunderstood. PhD stands for Pretty Huge Dumbass!!

The old idiot box. It may be in color now crafted in ultra hi def (at least not in India) beamed to us from the heavens with more channels than there are countries in the world. But even after an hour of channel surfing and aching fingers from that remote pushing I still can't find anything worthwhile to watch. I'm in some mood for comedy. So in this maze of mindlessness what do I find funny? Its not the news channels that make breaking news out of a woman slapping her unfaithful husband. Its not a hapless Somnath Chatterjee trying to calm a few hundred angered politicians who seemed to be fueled by Red Bull and half a gallon of caffeine for no apparent reason. Its not the wardrobe "malfunctions" at the India Fashion Week. Neither is it Rauf Lala who makes grotesque and inappropriate jokes on national television and gets away with it (and the tag of Laughter Champion). Its not the millionth rerun of an episode of Friends which I have by-hearted. Its a little sitcom called Arrested Development which has me holding the sides of my stomach because it hurts so much while laughing.

The plot is simple. One twisted rich family with a big business loses it all as the head of the family and the business is jailed for financial wrongdoings and its all up to the good son in the family to keep them all together. Sounds interesting? Well the story isn't even half the appeal of the show. Its how the story is told which forms the icing for this very fine cake. Unlike its contemporaries, this one is not shot in a studio and does not have the standard background laughter to get you to laugh as well. This is one genuinely funny show. The cinema verite style justs adds that extra bit of class. And the cherry on the cake is the narrator. Lot of sitcoms have narrators but the narration is usually done by the main character of the show or the future self of the main character. In arrested development, the narrator is just that, a narrator. He is not a character on the show and neither is he related to anyone on the show. Voiced by the legendary Ron Howard in a matter-of-fact and to-the-point manner, the narrator is the funniest part of the show by not being funny.

A great show cannot be great if it has no memorable characters. All the characters in AD are so colourfully crafted that they make the six F.R.I.E.N.D.S seem one dimensional and black and white in comparison. Whether its the eldest brother Gob whose trademark "I've made a huge mistake" is a sign of impending doom or the grandson George Michael's growing inappropriate crush on his cousin Maebe there is something outrageously wrong (and funny) with every person on screen. Few shows use double entendres and word plays as intelligently as this one. Sample this, the brother-in-law Tobias Fumke wants to start a practice combining an analyst and a therapist. What does he call his new venture? An analrapist!! Its brilliant and outrageous at the same time and neatly sidesteps the landmines of being grotesque and crude. Most sitcoms also try to be emotional and meaningful at times where an episode ends on a sad note or leaves a meaningful message before ending. But not here. Yes, sometimes there is a message of family before all else but then right after the message is conveyed there is some outrageous betrayal by a member of the family which totally obliterates the message. The message actually helps accentuate the outrageousness and no show on earth can do this.

The show just ran for 3 seasons out of which the last season had a run of only 13 episodes. Falling viewership and the presence of boneheads at Fox's headquarters meant the show had to be axed. I guess it was too intelligent and outrageous for the Americans. The Americans had shown world that they too could make an intelligent and adult comedy which was at par and better than British shows like Coupling. I just wish that it was the British who had made this show in the first place because in that case the show would still be running.

I consider Arrested Development to be iconic and a coming of age (or at least an attempt) of American television. It is best I have seen on the TV for a long while even though, ironically, every episode I watched by downloading off the internet. I do wish someone would bring it back.

Its been two years since Microsoft launched the successor to its Xbox. The 360 was a technical marvel when launched and the most advanced piece of gaming equipment that money could buy. But that was nearly two years ago and in the gaming industry two years is an eternity. The gaming scenario today is completely different with entry of Sony's long awaited Playstation 3 and Nintendo's hot selling Wii. Of course one cannot ignore the influence of the constantly evolving PC. So does the Xbox still have what it takes to take on the new kids on the block? In this part I shall deal with only the PS3.

Just like in the last generation, the main rival for the new Xbox shall always be the PlayStation. The new PS3 was touted as being the re inventor of the wheel. Boasting a new state-of-the-art Cell processor, BluRay disc technology and a host of connectivity options, the PS3 was much more than just a gaming device, it was touted as the heart of media and entertainment in a household. On the face of it, the PS3 has the Xbox not only beaten but smashed.

The PS3 has more storage space (80gb vs 20 gb for the Xbox). It has a Cell processor with 7 cores (versus 3 for the Xbox). It has more USB connectivity than an Xbox. It can connect 7 controllers simultaneously whereas the Xbox can only link 4. It supports memory cards whereas the Xbox does not. The PS3 has the latest in optical storage by using Sony's next gen BluRay while the Xbox still sticks to the old dual layer DVD format even though HD-DVD is an optional extra. The PS3 has HDMI whereas the Xbox does not. The PS3 has Wifi built in while an Xbox owner has to buy the adapter separately. Also online gaming is free for the PS3 but a subscription based feature for the Xbox. So by just comparing the figures no one will doubt that the PS3 is a better deal even though it costs a lot more than the Xbox. But is it?

One should not forget that a console is about gaming. And hence, it is all about the games. Its only been a year since the PS3 has been around. As a result the games available for it feel half-baked. The launch title for the PS3, Resistance: Fall of Man, looks bland and boring compared to the Xbox's killer app, Gears of War. Gears of War is an astonishing testament to how good a game can look and feel and it has set the benchmark for years to come. It was all achieved because developers had one year to learn development for the Xbox. The same will happen for the PS3 this year with titles like Metal Gear Solid just around the corner. But will the PS3 games outshine their Xbox 360 counterparts in the long run. Microsoft's XNA studio provides developers a lot better environment to make games in. Also, given the fact that Xbox games can be far more easily ported to the PC than PS3 games make the former a better choice to make games for. Also, the PS3's fixed 256MB system memory and 256 MB graphics memory is nowhere near as flexible as the Xbox's 512MB unified memory architecture. On the graphics front as well the Xbox is more developer friendly with its 48 pipeline unified shader architecture. The Cell processor. The reason why the PS3 is called a mini super computer. Just 4 Cell processors would have more computing power than HP's SuperDome supercomputer which is the worlds 500th fastest computer. But the Cell is not easy to program for and its 7 SPEs are not suited for gaming applications. The Xbox with its 3 general purpose cores is far more suited towards gaming and is easier to write code for. So keeping these factors in mind, I do believe that PS3 games will continue to improve but so will games for the 360. In the long run I know we will see some outstanding games but I doubt if one console will be able to outdo the other. So, if in the long run there is no difference then what is the point of investing so much into developing a cutting edge processor that gives Sony no real edge?

Storage. Well its no doubt that the 54 gigs one BluRay disc can accommodate would literally swallow six 9 GB dual layer DVDs. But do we really need that much space for games. Over the past few years games have grown in size and complexity. As a result more space is required for storing the levels, the audio and the textures. But contrary to what you might believe, developers are learning to do more with less. Microsoft's XNA studio has tools which can help a developer more efficiently use a medium by removing reduntant data. Too see more on how large games have become over the years, Click Here. So, I think the Xbox can make do with the 9 GB of space on current dual layer DVD. Plus, by using cheaper DVD technology a game disc for a Xbox is cheaper than the BluRay game disc for a PS3. As for the question of watching HD movies is concerned PS3 do have an upper hand with their built in BluRay capabilities. But the HD format war has just started with HD and BluRay still trading punches. Its much too early right now to bank on one technology. Hence I believe that Microsoft have played it smart by staying away from this fight right now. It only provides HD-DVD as an add-on which is good business sense. Right now it hurts Sony to build every PS3 as the BluRay drive is expensive to produce. And with BluRay movies still to pick up pace, the drive is only used for BluRay game discs which could easily have been DVD in the first place. On the practicality front, I think Sony has lost this battle.

Online gaming is where today's gaming battleground is. Microsoft proved it long ago when it launched its Xbox Live service with the original Xbox. The 360 just raises the game to a whole new level and it is regarded as THE reason to buy an Xbox. By keeping the online gaming aspect of the Xbox under its control Microsoft has created a service that is coherent, consistent and as user friendly as it can be. Now with the Games for Windows Live initiative, Microsoft intends to unite PC and Xbox gamers for the first time ever. The only catch is it costs a mere $50 per year to subscribe which is pittance for a hardcore gamer. The PS3 has a lot of catching up to do. Online gaming is free on the PlayStation network but the responsibility of providing online gaming is left up to the developers. As a result this could provide a gaming environment not as coherent or consistent as Xbox Live. Again, in the long run, I believe, the Xbox wins this one as well.

In the end, I do believe that despite being loaded to the gills with super technology and looking as sexy as hell, the PS3 is not the console to have for this generation. It doesn't have the games (at least not yet) and even a few years on its games will not be the quantum leaps ahead of its Xbox counterparts as was purported by Sony. So why buy something so expensive when it has no real advantages over its rival. One might argue that the BluRay, larger hard disk, in built wifi, HDMI, and support for all sorts of cards and sticks. The next gen optical disc war has only just started and in the end a player which supports only one format will not be the way to go. As for HDMI and larger hard disk the Xbox has that covered with the elite version which is still cheaper than the 60 GB PS3. And as for support for memory sticks and cards, its just a gimmick and detracts from the real purpose of gaming. Wifi support you say? Well, the Xbox does offer a Wifi card as additional extra which would still work out cheaper (coupled with the cost of the console) than a PS3. I am not a Xbox fanboy. I always wanted a PS3 years before it was even launched. But when you think about it practically, an Xbox makes a whole lot more sense.


I was watching a movie on TV the other day which have a million ad breaks or should I say I was watching some ads on TV the other day which have a million movie breaks. Whatever be the case, when a 3 hour long Hindi movie is extended to 4 hours because of the ads one somehow loses focus of the plot (which, when you consider how ridiculously simple Hindi movie plots are, is amazing). Now, my intention of writing this blog was to review Rekha's best movie to date, Madame X (yes thats the name!! and please sense the sarcasm), I cannot, because I somehow got more involved with the ads. And thanks to SET Max's excruciatingly long commercial breaks I have found some new people who are to be the new target of my hatred, the admen!!

In the good old days lying was an art reserved for the politicians and the lawyers. But today there are new players in the lying playing field, the advertisers. I must also mention that they are new players in the stupidity and insanity playing fields as well. Tata Tea had an ad where 4 young army officers come to the commanding officer's house to receive their posting. Now this soooo parallels reality doesn't it? The 3 officers who drink Tata Tea receive Goa as their posting whereas the "poor" soul who doesn't is shipped of to Ladakh. Hmmm..... so by drinking Tata Tea you basically become a sissy who'd rather go and party in Goa and by not drinking it you are a brave soul who would defend his country in one of the most hostile battlefields on Earth. Somebody please donate these admakers a brain! Even a monkey's would do because then at least they would have one.

The insanity continues. Fair and lovely made an ad with the tagline, "Be macho and use a men's fairness cream". What the *@#%!!!! What lunatic thought that using the terms "macho" and "fairness cream" in the same sentence would be a good idea?? If this were any other country this cream would repel even the most panziest and metrosexualest of men. But thanks to our "gora" obsession it will sell no matter how silly the ad. Since I am on the topic of Fair & Lovely there are more samples of their insanity. A dark girl wants to make a career for herself so what does she do? Nopes, she doesn't enroll herself in a premier B-school nor does she sleep with the director of a Bollywood movie. She applies that magic cream called Fair & Lovely, becomes gora (thanks to some airbrushing) and is now an air hostess. Now the message being conveyed here is wrong on so many different levels that an entire book can be published about it. But this isn't the question of one ad. The company has been making these kinds of ads for ages scarring generations of women and making a fortune out of selling their products. If it were up to me I would line up all the people responsible for this preposterous marketing campaign and drown them in their own medicine ....errr..... fairness cream.

But the lunacy doesn't end there. Here's Mountain Dew's punchline: "Dar se mat daro. Dar se aage bado. Mountain Dew." I like Mountain Dew. In fact it is my favourite soft drink. I have gulped down a million bottles in my life but never have I felt fearless after drinking it. I have never emptied a bottle and had an intense urge to drive a Gypsy down treacherous Himalayan roads at breakneck speeds. All I have ever felt after drinking Mountain Dew is a satisfaction brought about by quenching my thirst. In this respect I believe that Sprite had the most sensible ad campaign. The line "Sprite bujhaye only pyaas... baaki all bakwaas" is iconic and striking contrast to the absolute trash of advertising campaigns other colas have.

Lunacy on a global scale. Axe is the winner here. Hands down. The new Axe campaign features one dude dousing himself with some Axe deodorant on a beach and within milliseconds there are billions of bikini clad babes swarming towards him from every direction. Cut to real life. I spray myself with some of the new Axe fragrances at the super market for some testing. It smells so bad that not only does it not attract any women but it also repels a couple of the flies that were buzzing around me. Now I didn't for one brief moment that the new Axe would be some new age love potion but to think that so much much hoopla over something that smells this bad made me feel betrayed. I sure want to hunt down the admakers at Axe with a real sharp axe.

It is said that there is no such thing as bad publicity. This is a line which is probably engraved onto the DNA of today's advertisers. The constant exposure to such grotesque forms of marketing has created a youth who are able to hum the latest ad jingle but unable to remember the first line of the national anthem. A generation which embodies the "brand nahi to style nahi" punchline. Advertising has truly become mad-vertising and everyone will soon need psychiatric care.

Seen the news these days? There's always some famous dude being jailed and let out again. There's some poor old woman whose husband got murdered. There's some unfortunate little girl who survived intense brutality at the hands of her employer. All these sensational stories which appear as breaking news on the Megahertz of bandwidth which we sadly call news channels. No matter what happens, be it a nuclear bombing of the Parliament or just Amitabh Bachchan farting at his son's wedding, these pioneers-in-the-cause-of-letting-us-know-the-truth are always there. And what is the first question that is asked to these hapless victims after a mike and camera is shoved into their faces? "Aapko kaisa lag raha hai?"

Now, I might be crazy but asking a woman how she feels after her husband dies is like pouring salt, pepper, acid, base and some radioactive polonium on an open wound. Isn't it obvious that the woman is in pain and can't these "journalists" at least have the courtesy of at least offering their condolences before shooting their mouths. Same thing with Salman Khan when he got back after a week vacationing at the Jodhpur jail. A Times Now reporter asked the same question and a witty Salman quickly retorted, "Bahut bura lag raha hai. Mere ghar waale chahte the ki main jail mein kuch aur time bita loon". Now I'm not the biggest Salman fan. I am such an anti-fan that I would like to run him over with the same Land Cruiser he used to mow down those footpath dwellers. But kudos to him for the retort and making the reporter look silly.

It's been years since our TV has been drowned in news channels but the Bhagwad Gita for our home brewed news reporters remains the one piece of paper on which it is written, "always ask aapko kaisa lag raha hai before anything else". Its high time we knocked some sense into these people or maybe its just time i stopped watching the news. Anyways so apko kaisa laga yeh blog padke? Comment karna mat bhoolna!

Just today I saw another "Fair & Lovely" ad. A pretty face who is already fairer than an albino wants to win a dance competition. So what does she do?? Nopes, not practice dancing. She applies Fair & Lovely and in 28 days her "skin ki nikhar" has won her the competition. How thrilling no? After watching this one minute clip of what can only be compared to horse crap (which is quite frankly an insult to horse crap) I felt like yelling out "WTF!!" with window shattering intensity. I couldn't however as my plans were disrupted by the presence of my family. But anyways, I was truly aghast with the Indian obsession of being "gora".

Every sunday's matrimonial is filled only with ads for grooms for "fair" brides. Makes you wonder why the "not-so-fair" don't look for grooms. What is it with our fair fixation?? We stare at American and British blondes when they walk our streets but run for cover if we happen to spot a Nigerian or a Kenyan. We buy more Fair & Lovely than we probably buy toothpaste. We associate being dark with being ugly. But why??

On the other side of the planets the original goras spend millions getting a tan to look darker. Haven't we Indians ever heard of the phrase "tall, dark and handsome"?? Aren't Kajol and Bipasha Basu ambassadors of the cause that dark can be gorgeous too?? When are we going to wake and stop trying to whitewash ourselves (quite literally). Can't we be happy with the way God made us?

Nope, you're quite wrong. This isn't a rant about the shoes. Nor is it one about any puppies for that matter. Its about the Punjabis. The original inhabitants of Delhi. The quintessential North Indians. Being born and brought up in our nation's capital, I have encountered many of these strange and wondrous creatures that come from that land of five rivers.

Yes, they may have the same names like Bunty, Monty, Pummy, Pinky, Minky etc. It's true that generations of poultry have been sacrificed at the altar of butter chicken. Even more generations of humans have lost their lives to the speeding cars driven by them on our capital's roads. They are the same people who buy puny little Marutis... oops.... Mrutis.... and then put tyres from a dumper truck on them in order to "pimp their ride". They are the ones who are ever ready to do the bhangra whether it be a wedding or a funeral. You can always count on them to throw weddings so lavish and extravagant that it could employ the entire work force of a small nation for the duration of the wedding. And they are the same people with their obsession with going to "phoren" who are responsible for making Punjabi the third official language of Canada (after English and French).

We "other" Indians may love to hate them but lets face it... they bring colour to our otherwise drab capital. They are the reason we dance to bhangra remixes all night long in the clubs. They are the creators of "bling" culture in India long before the black rappers in America. They brought Fight Club to our city's streets in a way Edward Norton and Brad Pitt never could. They are way more fun to be around in comparison to us "other" Indians. And despite having the most skewed sex ratios in the country they still manage give to this nation the hottest of women. So I in the end I raise my (imaginary) glass as a toast to this great and colourful community and say "Oye hoye!! Lage raho ji!!"

Imagine that it's well past midnight and you are walking all alone in a dark alley. You are confronted by a trio of goons brandishing crude and rusted knives and you realise you are being mugged. You scream for help and who comes to your rescue? Not Dharmendra paaji yelling "Kutto!! Kamino!!" and flexing his muscles who thrashes the goons to kingdom come with a couple of punches and flying kicks. It's your neighbourhood watchmen who come your aid yielding clumsy bamboo sticks as weapons and probably get knifed themselves trying to save your sorry ass. Then why is it that we idolize our screen heroes who we have never met and in all given probabilty never will but treat our maybe-saviours-in-the-time-of-need with disrespect and disdain. Shouldn't the man who pretends to be someone else for a living treated with disdain and the one who keeps an eye on our safety get the respect he deserves? What's wrong with us?

No, I am not crazy and it may be the pint of beer I had earlier that lead to this blog but just think about it. Have you ever given a second thought to the labourer who toiled in the hot sun to build the roof that is over your head right now? Have you ever looked a toilet cleaner in the eye because of who you don't have to do the dirty work yourself? How many times have you cared for those poor souls who work for bare minimum wages to build a road on which you can cruise in your swanky car? We are grateful to those doctors who operate on us but do we ever bother about the nurses who make sure that we recover from it? But we idolize and build temples for our movie stars. We scream our lungs out and tear our hair out when we see our rock gods at a concert. We are prepared to spend our life savings buying a piece of wood which has our cricketing god's scribbling on it. We swoon over gorgeous models wearing skimpy, impractical and costs-more-than-the-moon clothes. We, as a race, worship those who quite frankly do little to improve or impact our life but choose to ignore those who keep it running like a well oiled machine.

Imagine your life without your maid, your neighbourhood watchman, your city's firefighters or your nation's labourers. Will that sexy fashion model wash your clothes for you? Will your on screen action hero come to your rescue when you are being mugged? Will your favourite rockers pull your burning ass out of a fire? Will that sports team build you the expressway you always wanted to get you to work faster? Then why give all that attention and money to these talented-but-not-really-impacting-the-human-race people rather than make life better for those people who spend their lives improving yours. I may be losing it (I think) but it sure gives you food for thought doesn't it?

Stop! Thief!!

Remember mommy and daddy's lessons when we were wee small. Don't lie, never steal, always be polite and respect your elders. And how we followed those lessons until we grew up and saw the world in colours other than black and white. We were introduced to the white lie. We realised that many elders didn't deserve an ounce of respect. We learnt that always being polite would get us trodden over. The one addage we still stick to is never steal. Or do we??

It's true that most of us consciously don't go shoplifting at the neighbourhood store. We don't pick our friends wallet when they aren't looking and nor do we mug strangers in dark alleys. But as I sit here writing this blog, listening to music I downloaded from Limewire I can't help but think that we all are, at some level, thieves.

We may bash up that pickpocket who has the misfortune of getting caught stealing a wallet which only had 50 rupees in it but as I sit and count the thousands of songs I have "illegally" downloaded over the past few years I ask myself, "Am I a bigger thief?". The songs, the movies, the TV shows and the games that I download from the net would probably total up to the cost of a small car if I were to buy them legally. Of course I must not forget the thousands I have further saved by going to bootleggers and pirates. But this isn't just me. Millions of working class Indians are always on the lookout of someway or the other to save their taxes. Even corporations are in on this with IBM and Sahara getting booked for tax evasion to the tune of hundreds of crores. How can I forget the biggest thieves sitting in the seats of power, some with the sole intention of siphoning money from the government's coffers to theirs. The cops who ask speeders for bribes when they get caught and the speeders who pay the bribe because it is less than the official fine. The millions of IAS aspirants whose sole attraction to the civil services are the bribes a civil servant gets.

We jail the robbers and the dacoits. Dish out public beatings to petty thieves. Socially castrate kleptomaniacs. But what about the rest of us? Should we all be rounded up and punished in a similar manner for being the innate thieves we all are? I would love to continue this rant but my movie just finished downloading so I must now go and watch. I guess I'll learn my lesson some other day.

Cocking about.... something that unites all men and boys alike, everywhere. Sitting arguing about anything under the sun, oogling at women, swooning over cars, hurling abuses at our favorite sport stars, poking fun at each other. Now add to this male bonding ritual some cameras, an abandoned airfield with a runway as a studio, 350 million viewers worldwide, access to the BBC's huge coffers and dollops of the most expensive and exquisite cars on the planet and you get Top Gear.

Yes, I know its a car show. At least thats what it started out as 29 years ago. Hosted by some serious faced people who drove and reviewed cars like an auditor doing the taxes. You could call it informative, if you liked cars that is, but never entertaining. There was one bloke though who bought some humor to all this seriousness. A tall fat bloke with an afro called Clarkson. When he left the show sometime in the late nineties he literally took all the viewership with him. But when he came back in 2002 he brought back something never seen before. A car show that was entertaining. Not only to petrol heads but also to people who just have plain old blood running in their veins.

Its been five years since that happened. Jeremy Clarkson's afro is all but gone. Richard Hammond has been from the dead and back. And James May... errr... he is still James May with longer hair. They have ruined half a million caravans. They have raced each other all over Europe. They have built some of the most ridiculous contraptions including a van-houseboat that only sinks, a reusable car-space-shuttle that can only be used once and a Fiat Panda stretch limo that is longer than the Petronas Towers are tall. They have called the Koreans dog-eaters. They have labeled the Americans as an incestuous race. They believe that the City Rover is just a way for the Indians to get back at the British for 200 years of the Raj. They have commented that German cars have sat nav only to guide you to Poland. Richard can't sleep at night because he has been tormented for having his teeth whitened for almost two years now. Jeremy Clarkson still thinks that "MORE POWER!!" is the only solution for everything from getting your car out of the mud to solving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. James May still doesn't know the way to the Top Gear studio. Things may have become more ridiculous over the years but the camaraderie is still there. People from bus drivers to eco-activists (or ecomentalists as JC calls them) have been offended but viewers all over the world love them which includes the aforementioned Indians, Koreans and German. Americans.... well they don't watch, hear, read, eat, smell or for that matter know anything about something that isn't American.

Its the chemistry that the three of them have that makes the show so special. Anyone can review a car. Its only when one can review a car whilst calling one's copresenters blithering idiots that we can call a show truly special. These three men have raised the car to the star of sitcom from something to take you from here to there. They have transformed a boring old car show to a show which can now make for a million times funnier alternative to watching reruns of Friends. And all this achieved by a journalist, a radio DJ and a pianist by just being themselves doing something they are passionate about. Three cheers to them for making Top Gear what it is. And may those in BBC who considered cancelling the show rot in hell for all of eternity.


Bangalore. The tech city.The pride of India in the 21st Century. The place to be whether you are a youngster looking for a job or you are a multinational looking for people looking for jobs. Four years of college and all I could hope for was that when I graduated, I could get a job in this oasis of opportunities in the middle of the desert of unemployment called India. But things don't always turn out what you expect them to see. Six months I spent there. Boy did it change my perspective!

The first thing you notice when you come to Bangalore is that everyone has something hanging around their neck. What is it? Its a corporate icard. Look closely and 99.9999999% of the time, the company will be an IT firm. On my first trip however, 100% of all the cards I could see read Infosys. Every bus which was not the city transport department's (or BMTC as it is officially called) was labelled Infosys. I swear I saw at least 10 buildings which read Infosys. Hell, even the newspapers that day were running some big story on Infosys and Narayan Murthy. Made me wonder if there existed a secret Infosys army that had overrun this peaceful city, made everyone here their slaves and secretly declared Bangalore as Infosystan. The fear was dispersed when on the second day I saw badges of other software firms but one thing is for sure.... I was in ITville.

At 6:59 a.m in the morning on a weekday, Bangalore is a place like no other. Its peaceful and serene. The beautiful roads are empty. The trees and grass are the lushest of green in the morning sun. While the rest of the country starts simmering at sun rise, this city is cooler than the water inside a Delhiites fridge. Bangaloreans of all ages, sexes, sizes and complexions are out in the gardens and parks, jogging, walking and doing whatever else you can do to start your day. Come 7:00 a.m and this city is overrun by the aforementioned slave armies. Armed with laptops and sporting swipe cards (that let you know which software regiment they serve under), they launch a massive assault on peace. Their assault supported by all sorts of formidable cavalry ranging from scooters to buses, peace and tranquility have no option other than take the rest of the day off. The morning sun is blocked out in a haze of 2 stroke bike and auto LPG smoke. The lush green dies out smothered by the dark diesel fumes of the buses. Within a minute Bangalore makes a transformation from Utopia to post-apocalyptic wasteland. If there is going to be a doomsday, needless to say, Bangaloreans are made to rehearse for it everyday. It would be well after the sun has set that this wasteland returns to its Utopic self.

Since I was going to be here a while I needed to find food. It's not that finding food in India's second richest (officially anyway) city was going to be a problem, the issue was finding food I liked. North Indians have a misconception that South Indians survive only on Idli, Vada, Dosa, Sambar and Rasam. After coming here, turns out that the fact that this was a misconception was a...errrr.... misconception. Its true. Thats what every South Indian eats for every meal for every day of his/her life. What's worse is the fact food tastes the same at every restaurant. Not only that, every restaurant will have a name which ends in Sagar, they will have the same menu, the same steel tables at which you can stand and eat. Even the waiters look the same. Maybe this hi-tech city has secretly learnt how create robots (similar to Arnie's T100 in The Terminator) but instead of sending them back in time to save mankind, programmed them to destroy human taste buds by sending them to operate South Indian eating joints all over the city. Hasta La Vista, taste buds!!!! Its not that the food tastes bad. Its just that there is so little variety that it wouldn't be long before a Punjabi or a Gujrati or a Bengali would be longing for a change of taste.
Took me a while before I found food to suit me but for some time I seriously considered joining the neighborhood herd of cows for a early morning graze. Just for a bit of variety in my diet!

Getting somewhere... one of life's greatest challenges. If you are a Bangalorean that is! It probably took Neil Armstrong less effort (and time) to get to the moon than it takes a Bangalorean to get from MG Road to Jayanagar in peak hour. The buses are good and plenty but only if you can read Kannad. Still, no matter as after a while you figure out the buses. But buses don't go everywhere nor do they run at all hours. That's where the autowallah comes in. These khaki clad ghouls driving smoke spewing three wheeled contraptions are worse than your worst nightmares. They are repulsed by any prospective fare who wishes to go by the meter. If somebody ever got possessed by the ghost of a Bangalore autowallah, the sure-fire way of getting rid of the spirit would be exorcism-by-fare-meter. They reason their overcharging by claiming that whatever your destination, they will not get another fare there. Hence you must also pay for the auto to get to the next fare after you get off. So here a Bangalore top tip: GET YOUR OWN TRANSPORT. But if you have your own transport you will spend half you life waiting in traffic jams in your vehicle and will go bald trying to find parking. Moral of the story, make sure all the places you may want to go to are walking distance.

Six months and the only thing that agreed with me during this time about this city was the weather. There is no denying it, there are no cities in India that beat Bangalore when it comes to weather. When the sun roasts Delhi and has a Kolkatan holding an umbrella complaining "Ki Gorom!!", a Bangalorean can enjoy a cool breeze in the day and sleep at night without an AC or cooler. When the cold has every Delhiite dressed in four layers of clothing and has a Kolkatan wearing a monkey cap complaining "Ki Thanda!!" a Bangalorean can make do with only a light jacket in the morning and in the day not think of turning on a fan. When the monsoons have a Mumbaikar swimming to work and has a Kolkatan in a raincoat complaining "Ki Bishti!!" all a Bangalorean has to endure is a light drizzle. So even if the IT armies, auto driving ghouls and dosa cooking robots choose to thrash this city, at least mother nature decides to smile at ITville.

The ideal Indian city would have Delhi's open and clean roads, Mumbai's spirit, Kolkata's friendliness, Bangalore's weather and Chennai's .....errrr.......hmmmm.......well I'll get back to you on that one! Bangalore isn't the best compromise. At least not any more. Too many people have come too quickly to this not too big a city making it crumble under its own weight. I would love to live in Bangalore but only uptil 7:00 a.m. Too bad I'm a late riser!

It's 11:30 at night. Everyone is asleep. There are a hundred channels on the TV all showing crap. The radio has developed a penchant for playing Himesh Reshamiya!! I have nothing to do and 11:30 just isn't late enough to go to bed. So here goes. My first blog on a page I created 2 months ago.

Who am I? If you have followed a link from my profile on Orkut or Facebook you already know who I am. If you aren't, then you don't really care. Suffice to say, you don't really need to know much about me other than what I have to say.

Why do I blog? Hmm.... because everyone does and I thought I should give it a shot. Because I have all the free time in the world for the next couple of months. Because of all the reasons mentioned in paragraph 1.

Well, that was my first blog. That wasn't too hard!

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