Sunday, December 16, 2007

The good Doc.

Immense entertainment value bit of news this.

One feels a little sorry for the good doc. No, I've no sympathy for pervs and I'm not one of them, for the two of you who'll be reading! But , c'mon now, this is the sort of thing happening all the time these days. Date rape, fake identities, taking advantage of the coy Indian woman
desperately seeking love, romance and a life partner ... so what else is new? The news in the item is the startling perversions of the good doc, that he would feel the urge to watch a cricket match after inflicting 10 inches of pain ( you know where), that he would ask the victim "How do you feel on your suhagrat night?" One feels a little sorry just because our good doc was a legit GP who was otherwise doing fine ( a quick google search reveals he's listed on the Newham recorder too) who got busted probably only because he couldn't take it a bit easy and had to go the whole hog ( I mean anal rape, O My God!) on the very first date. I think he could have gotten away like so many other bastards, if only....

Pardon me my bad taste. But we live in India. Here we're used to news items like the Nithari killings and villains like M.S.Pandher. This Tangotra sod looks like an amusing old punk, in perspective. Lastly, the profile of young desi professionals( in UK?) who had no sexual experience whatsoever sounds as phony as a three GBP note.

I just dropped in ( to see what condition my condition was in)

I was shopping in of these retail chain stores at a big mall. For the most part, I live in a small place which has yet to see corporate retailing. Thus whenever I go to a real city, I try to visit the malls. Just for the heck of it. I'm not a big mall rat or something. I stock up on groceries that I don't get at my place, mostly herbs, spices, sauces, cheap imports. So, while doing this I saw a young couple shopping for diapers. A jumbo pack of diapers. Maybe a pack of 30, costing, what, maybe an equivalent of $10. It was then that, I saw for the very first time how large a pack of diapers can actually get. The largest pack at the store had dimensions like 1'x2'x2'. One might need help to drag that babe home. Looked like it had a few hundred pieces inside. I didn't read the pack labels closely. Instead, I started thinking.
Hmmm, so this is the American way of life everybody says we're moving to. Hmm, wait! How long do you think these pack will last for a family with one child? ( Unless it's a joint household, chances are only one will be potty untrained at a point of time?) Now if that pack is meant to be consumed over a month, or even two, the baby would have to be in diapers 24x7.
Call us poor people. We never kept our baby in diapers in the daytime at home. A diaper was used only when going out or, sometimes during the night, when one was not in the mood to change nappies. I thought the idea was to let the kid feel that pissing in one's pants causes a lot of discomfort and encourage it to raise alarm before letting go. Thus started the early lessons of potty training .Now, if you take away discomfort from the whole affair what do you get? A three year old pre-nursery bloke soiling himself at the drop of a hat, perhaps?
Actually I was thinking like poor people. What difference does it make in the long run if a baby is potty trained at the age of two or four? None indeed, except in the bottomline of m/s Johnson & Johnson.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Money matters matter

Strange are the ways of lucre, ain't it?
Today, this 8th day of December 2007, I predict that the Bombay Stock Exchange sensex will touch and surpass the 22000 mark in a matter of weeks. Sure, I won't put my money on it, but no analyst ever does. There are reasons behind my prediction, and I wouldn't have made the same a mere two days ago.
For the first time in six months, the once hot and lately pitifully out-of-favor IT stocks are generating buying interest. Market players and fund managers are making muted noises about them being the value buys of the season. It's now only a matter of time before fresh money enters the bourses to fill that value gap. And then it can only go up since power, infrastructure , retail, construction, metals and banking are so strong already.
Wait a minute, why am I writing this? I am no analyst. Nobody gives a hoot for my predictions. So it isn't about prophecy. This post is about the abundant entertainment I had reading and watching the prophets over the years. Don't get me wrong, I have nothing against their breed. (Though I might, because I once nearly lost my inheritance listening to them. I was naive and innocent then and Ketan Parikh was milking everybody dry, for those who remember.) Nah, they're good fellas, all. Nice and well scrubbed MBA and CA types.Good show, Gul Tekchandani, Bharat Shah, Rajat Bose and people. I have forgiven you all since 1999.

Like I said, you can't really fault them analysts and experts. They are programmed, by training
, to bullshit us. Envy them I do, however. They seem to take a holiday everytime the stock market notches back 5%. At least you don't get their usual soundbytes in those times.And they seem to be always high on opium. Sorry OPM. Other People's Money. They tell you stories, they sell you stories. The India story, the growth story, the turnaround story, the re-rating story.They work,and you PLAY. The value play, the momentum play, the speculative play. In their enchanted world of jargons and high funda, you are soon inducted into beauties like "some volatility is expected" which translated to English, means you might bleed through your arse. "There is still some upside left" roughly means a few small investors will still be duped into this stock, and the absolute stunner : "market breadth has opened up and retail participation is better", which means it's time for operators to launch into a genocide.

But the elite among the elite, the absolute king of entertainment in this line of work is the creature named the chartist or the technical analyst. Basically he's the statistician of the pack.
He is the super-psychic who sees double shoulders, triple bottoms and twin peaks in a two-dimensional graph of movement of a stock. He is the one who will tell you this stock
has resistance at 232, 241, and 259 on the upside and support at 223, 211, and 199 on the downside. Among these supports and resistances some will be strong and some weak.
Then, on the same breath he will expound: once the stock closes above 235 it will try to breach 252, which is the three month moving average for the scrip. One should enter above valuations of 234 with an interim target of 247 and a mid-term target of 267 and a stop loss of 227. Note that he's covered all the bases. And moreover, you might wonder, as an ignorant person, what's wrong with buying the stock now at 226 since it looks so promising? Don't ever make that mistake, it is beyond your comprehension and therefore, suicidal to outpredict the king.
Lastly, from my humble experience of shedding blood in the bourses, and from a blog post I read sometime back, I will recollect this story. Hope you'll like it.

Once upon a time in a village a man appeared who announced to the villagers that he would buy monkeys for Rs. 10. The villagers seeing that there were many monkeys went out in the forest and started catching them. The man bought thousands at 10 and as supply started to diminish and villagers started to stop their effort he announced that now he would buy at 20 rupees.

This renewed the efforts of the villagers and they started catching monkeys again. Soon the supply diminished even further and people started going back to their farms. The offer rate increased to 25 and the supply of monkeys became so that it was an effort to even see a monkey let alone catch it.

The man now announced that he would buy monkeys at 50! However, since he had to go to the city on some business his assistant would now buy on behalf of the man.

In the absence of the man, the assistant told the villagers, "Look at all these monkeys in the big cage that the man has collected. I will sell them to you at 35 and when the man comes back you can sell it to him
for 50."

The villagers queued up with all their saving to buy the monkeys.

Phir na woh aadmi mila na us ka assistant........... Sirf bandar hee bandar.....rah gaye..

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Now I know. Why nobody reads my blog and nobody ever leaves a comment. On the other hand, there's elation at being on the same reading level as Greatbong.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Is Bebo trying to look like Paris? Now, we all know she's shedding everything there is between her skin and her bones (and fast) just to look right for the bikini scene she's going to shoot for Tashan. You can read about it here. If my humble opinion counts for anything, she now sports a drawn face, sunken eyes, cheekbones that can slay, lifeless skin that makes her look ten years older for her age and is in general looking like she is preparing for a remake of The Witches of Eastwick. Or Death Becomes Her, if you will. Oops, there I go again. Courting mayhem from her fans.
Please refer to these pics. Courtesey and santabanta.

Like we all know once again, Paris was gifted with this anorexic bone structure. And Bebo, with the genes from the khate peete Kapoor Khandaan. There's not much fun in dragging on this lame comparison anyway. One only wonders whether going the Paris way, our dear Bebo will end up in jail, which is of course, way better than ending up on the coroner's table, judging by the way she's started to look.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

I used to be an ardent follower of the Bengali literature scene during my school and college days. Of late I seem to have lost touch. Shirshendu Mukhopadhyay used to be one of the big favorites. In one of his short stories, called Prateekshar Ghar or Waiting Room if I remember correctly, he touched upon a line of thought. I bring this up because the thought has visited and revisited me and many of my friends throughout our lives. Simply put, the author was looking through the eyes of a bunch of unemployed youth who do nothing but fritter away all day sitting in the little used waiting room of a railway station in north Bengal. They play cards, smoke bidis, raise all sorts of topics to discuss, like, do house lizards ever drink water, the question that begins the story. And in the middle of this unhappening, gloomy scenario, the protagonist asks himself : Has susomoy ( the good times) passed away, or will it come sometime in the future? Or, the crux of the question, is it here right now, the time they are frittering away? Don't know if that comes across as intended, but for those of you who didn't read the story, let it be told that there is no moral high ground here. The question is profoundly introspective without being preachy. Throughout our lives whenever we went through dull phases, and God knows they were aplenty, this question came back to haunt me and some of my friends. The boundaries so often blur. Today's gloom when looked back at tomorrow, may seem like bliss.Or vice versa.Think about it. Better still, read the story if you haven't. I believe these are now available in translation too.

In the next decade, which marked the beginning of the Mtv era, we gave a new phrasing and twist to this concept. We divided our waking life into three types of timescapes: Njoy, timepass and getting bored. Needless to elaborate, the Njoy moments were few and far between. Most of us have lives of steady boredom punctuated by intermittent timepass hours.But like I said, hard to tell them apart. In absolute terms.
Important thing is to take stock and ask oneself the question, what time is it?

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Sitting in a corner of the living room and feeling a bit melancholy. Early evening, late autumn, in an industrial town in the great Indian outback. Could've been anywhere in the world.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Some people, well, a handful of very special people, value my opinion for the sixpence it is worth. About the big releases of the week, that is. It is for their benefit that I put finger on keyboard. Tonight. To write this here review of OSO. But first of all, one has to take an oath. To restrict, if not altogether avoid, using certain words and phrases. Which are: sixpack, abs, era, magic,tribute, Bollywood and picture abhi baaki hai, mere dost!

Take a bow, Farah Khan. Though at the outset, I must confess I find the film OSO only mildly interesting when put in the same canvas with Main Hoon Na. Call me biased, but as a director's first baby, MHN just blew me off my feet. In this, her second outing, Farah sticks to tributing Bollywoodana, which has sooo become her signature, but oversteps the spoofing bit in parts. Having said that, every Farah Khan film will be hers and hers only forever, because it's she who wears the pants and is the man in the house, for all the monkeying SRK can supply. OSO works. How well, will be put to debate, but as a reviewer, one's not ecstatic. It works in spite of SRK who's gotten so big he often spoofs himself on screen, and gets away with it, especially in K-Jo flicks.And here too. Watch the filmfare nominations and SRK's two films which are completely alike.

Well for those of you who are all praise, I can think of numerous positives which caused your song and dance :
The walk-in star parade was handled supremely. This number was very hard to live up to hype, and Farah passed muster. Attagirl! I know some people who still get dreamy eyed remembering the chemistry of Shahrukh and Kajol in K-Jo hits, and it's a treat for them too. Here, everybody's been given due footage and respect and every star seemed to be having fun blah- blah. As songs of this genre go, this one'll go right up there. Sajjid in Hey Babyy couldn't even come close.

More importantly, the first half leaves very little room for complaints. Manoj Kumar did complain, and we get his point. Like I said, the spoof overreaches in places. And sometimes chronology is sacrificed in favor of including all and sundry. Imagine Govinda commuting from Virar in the70's. But I'll accept that in the name of artistic license. And art it really has become, the way the period is recreated
. Sabu Cyril, take a ceeteee.

If one looks at OSO from the strict and narrow angle of recreating, revisiting or remaking ( I'm sure that's NOT the word) the great seventies reincarnation formula movie KARZ with a generous bunch of digs, asides and jokes thrown in, one can't see much scope for betterment. But it is in Farah Khan's journey as the dream weaver, Bolly ishtyle, that one would miss a pilgrim's progress. Considering she's the chosen one, the torch- bearer who'll carry forth the legend, the inheritor of the Manmohan Desai angle, she seems to be stuck in the groove someplace, having too much fun on the way and losing sight of the objective. That's perhaps why the second half sucks a bit. Not because it is drab, but because Farah is in a wrap-up mood, and willing to let slip. So she can't rein in SRK's hamming in half two, alas! And what's so smart about yelling fish where fuck is intended? I'll bet this was Shahrukh's idea.
The Dard-e-Disco number's completely yuck, so is SRK trying to play some young stud like Hritik or John. For neither is he young nor a stud and the effort makes it all the uglier. The fun never leaves the set though, like, when he says, Qwali to main kar chuka hoon ab mere dard ko express karne ke liye ek...disco! you realize after leaving the theater that Farah and he were referring to MHN.
It must be that my eyes are going due to old age, but I couldn't see in Deepika Padukone what the world and Vijay Mallya must've seen. Judging purely by the sheer force of presence, women double her age, take Bips, take Vidya Balan, would any day steal a march over her. She showed great promise coupla years ago, when she was doing ramp and print. But her looks are a letdown here. That's my humble opinion. Now for histrionics. A born actor she's not, but I'll give her a coupla years to grow as one. I'll wait for a real performer to come along
before I cast my vote for best female debut of this year.
Rest of cast. Kiron is superb. Shreyas seems to be heading towards a career of playing supporting actors. He does good. Arjun is bad. And of course Shahrukh is ugly. And the quick gun Murugan routine, done to death in early days Channel V, needn't have to be drooled over so much like most critics are doing.
I gave Om Shanti Om 6 in the beginning. Then I reckoned I was only watching it on a DVDrip and added 10% for a multiplex experience. So 6.5 it is. Final and non-negotiable.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

I didn't know better. So I looked. And I found this place. Great for killing the better part of an afternoon. And some trivia.
Another place I went to maybe completely NSFW and all, but fun all the same.
And while passing, the page that Dhoomketu showed us returned two of my mugshots with slightly different tilt of the head and only a wee bit change in lighting with two completely different similarity reports. Exzibit(who?)-- 59% and the other, Beneccio Del Toro-- 63%. I'll try with other shots tonight and see which one Gets Antonio Banderas.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

What was it that helped India beat the world at Twenty-20 and what is different now that the Aussies are toying with us? The point can be argued all night. Easier, a finger can be raised at Sachin Tendulkar. But a keen observer will notice a character on the field who we so often overlook. That's odd, considering his unique appearance and the absurdity of Ramesh Pawar as an international cricketer. Is he a joke of some sort his uncle, the venerable BCCI president has been playing on us all along? Talk about cruel jokes. And him, at the cost of R.P or Rohit Sharma, the two stars of last fortnight ? I better stop watching cricket again. Sorry Mahinder.
By the way, somebody sent this to me last week. Save the atrocity of language I found it funny. Especially the punchline.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Been to the Havelock Island lately. Now, you can read about the place here, here and here, but nothing you'll read can prepare you for the experience.
I wonder how many of you have watched the 2000 movie The Beach, which was expansively shot in the Koh-Phi-Phi island in Thailand. Ever since I watched that movie, I wanted to visit Koh-Phi-Phi. But then there came the 2004 Tsunami, and the island was all but destroyed. Petra Nemkova almost died at the island on that fateful boxing day.
Then again, you know, such exotic locations can be quite expensive. Me, I'm ever the broke. Some friends mentioned the Andamans and Havelock in particular as a potentially exotic but way cheaper option. I was sceptical to say the very least. Thus it happened that when I stepped out onto the Radhanagar Beach on a spectacular sunset I had to pinch myself and murmur a prayer.

But theosophy will have to wait. To put in perspective what that sunset really looked like, here,s a photo :

Get niceties out of the way
Every year, about 2,19,000 people come to The Andamans on vacation. 95% of them are Indian PSU employees ( the largest contributor, perhaps, is the steel authority). AVOID these tourists at all costs for they are the absolute dregs who will visit the islands only because it's about the only place they can fly to on leave travel, expenses paid. Thankfully they rarely go to Havelock and even if they do, it's on a day trip. AVOID Radhanagar beach between 11 AM to 2 PM because that's the day tripper slot.
I wouldn't mind leaving Port Blair early, as early as the second afternoon. The first evening was spent at cellular jail. It's okay, everybody does it. Another morning for Ross Island, a nice little place with dollops of history on the side. We took the afternoon boat to havelock curiously named MV Chouldhari. The kids seemed to find a lot of amusement in that name.(Actually the name's after a tribe of aborigines). One must always take the afternoon boat. Wiki calls it tourist special. Normally full of European tourists. These fellows prefer not to linger around Port Blair an extra hour. Smart blokes!

The Havelock certainly deserves a lavish film to be shot here. In beauty of landscape alone, it will rank right at the top of the heap of island gateways around the world. Like many other Indian destinations, what it lacks in is infrastructure. Thank GOD for that. Imagine planeloads of spoilt American tourists flying in from Phuket and junking this heaven. Phew! Not my words. This, from the poetic, almost effeminate Canadian gentleman who teaches English in Taichung, Taiwan and travels Asia on sabbaticals. We met him here.
The tent
Where will one put up at Havelock is one's own choosing. For choices, refer wiki. But as a shoestring affair, this place, the tents at Radhanagar, right smack at the middle of the action, takes the pudding. That of course, is my opinion. In the midst of a tropical rainforest, directly in front of the breakers rising a mere 100 meters away, and the beautiful beach in between. But words keep failing me. Here are more photos.

The red topped tent is your basic dwellings. The powder blue shack in the back is the attached(?) toilet. Surprisingly clean and usable, save the nuisance of sand, which is, well, everywhere. But we'll live.
The Bar To enliven the place and lure customers from nearby Barefoot jungle resort, ANIDCO had opened a magnificent bar in the neighborhood.
Due to prohibitive prices or whatever reason, the bar didn't run and had to be closed down. The structure still stands. It's a thing of beauty made of log. The freezers well stocked even now, the parquet floor shining, the throw cushions strewn all over the place. Two full time employees sleep on the plush sofas in the afternoon. Their job it is to stop you to climb the stairs, to prevent you sitting atop, taking in the view and enjoying your own drink.
Yes , we tried. We took our Bacardi to havelock. From Port Blair. @ Rs.300 a bot. It might get dearer on the island. Below is the view one can take in from atop. Those sinful caretaker fellows! I'll never never forgive them.

The motorcycle diaries

We needed wheels. We took them on rent. @Rs.100 a day. Spurious petrol @Rs.50 a liter.And this is supposed to be subsidy territory.The traders profiteer.Petrol is always in short supply here. So far so good. But the fuel is frequently stolen. Beware. As a result, we ended up on the middle of a lonely road when darkness was falling and the engine died coughing. No sweat. Buses ply. Motorcycle stranded by the road. No cry. Nobody can take them away. Board the bus, listen to Dhoom2 on the onboard speakers and arrive at Radhanagar. Enjoy the fish grilled at Mashimaa's shack in the evening. Wash it down with bacardi in coconut water. See pic.

Boatspotting is big at Havelock. The best time is early morning.

See pics.
The first one reminds you of Harry Belafonte ( Come mister tally man and tally me banana).You could also spot many a bird dripping in suntan oil and carrying a suntan mat and scuba gear in tow if you got lucky, but then, I'm getting carried away. The accompanying photos were taken in the morning sun near a decrepit nullah near the the beach.

Travel some
You want to get around. Can do so hiking, biking and stuff. We stuck to our rented machines. It's but a small isle, 8 miles across. One can go Vijaynagar, near the Dolphin resort or Wild Orchid and several other shanties of all descriptions.Or to Govindnagar, to the jetty and the market. And look for lobsters. Hard to find.
Find one can a glass bottomed boat custom made for coral viewing and fitted with a sturdy outboard engine. The corals can be viewed thus.
One thing must be said about network, though. Exactly at the moment we were viewing these corals, nearly a mile from shore, close to a small
uninhabited isle, madly clicking away and secretly wondering if the glass at the bottom of the boat might not give at any moment, my wife's phone rang. Who else but mommy dearest? What followed was 15 minutes of running commentary. And we were roaming!