Wednesday, 31 December 2008


My seven foot tall beauty

View from my house at night

during the day

The Christmas gift my sister gave me (a wise investment, I must say!)


Monday, 29 December 2008

Ghajini - 2 on 5

My Hindi teacher in school used to always say 'Nakal may bhi akal chahiye' which translates to: 'Imitation also needs intelligence' (for the benefit of my American blog readers :P). It couldn't be more apt in this case. Trust Bollywood to copy a classic English movie and make a complete hash of it. And Memento is one helluva film.

Ghajini starts off extremely well and maintains a good pace till the first half hour. But after that it just falls flat and becomes so predictable. The movie is a bit like soda, which after it loses its initial fizz, is just bitter water! Ghaijini is ridden with flaws and leaves you with a thousand question marks. Even if you ignore the technicalities, a lot of basic inconsistencies leave you puzzled, to say the least. Fifteen minutes, which happens to be the duration for which Amir Khan can remember things, on one occasion is as short as half a bus ride and on the other is so long that he can go through two entire diaries, travel half way around town on a scooter, beat 23 bad guys, before he forgets what the hell he is doing there! The movie is never ending, much like Asin's hips (what more can you expect from a South Indian starlet?) It could easily have been at least 45 minutes shorter and each of the songs were as unnecessary as Amir Khan's show of cleavage in those very songs. To top it up, you can guess the ending even before the movie actually gets underway and that is the biggest let down.

Having said all that, the movie does have its moments, though they are few and far in between. Amir's brilliance, in combination with some tidy sound effects makes your heart skip a beat on more than one occasion. The chemistry between the lead pair is sweet, before it gets overdone. Ghajini does have its share of laughs, which is a welcome diversion from its gory violence.

Of the cast, Amir is excellence personified in the first half but then, like the rest of the movie, he cools off too. He overdoes the climax and reminds me of a young SRK in Baazigar. Asin is refreshing. She is meant to look cute and does just that. It is the kind of role that Juhi Chawla was born to play. Jiah Khan acts badly, looks worse. And the biggest disappointment is the villain (whose name I dont know, nor wish to) He just doesn't evoke fear and speaks with an accent similar to my local Rajasthani grocer. Amir Khan auditioned scores of girls for the lead female actor (actress, I hear is a banned word!) Surely, he could have done better with the villain.

To sum it up, Ghajini is long, boring, violent and ya forgettable!

P.S.: I do plan to post some Christmas pics on my blog. But that can only happen when my sister finds the time to upload them on the computer!

Wednesday, 24 December 2008

Dombivili Dossier

I had the misfortune of going to Dombivili a few days back. Here are some observations about a place yet to see modernization.

- Buffaloes grazing in large fields are a very common sight.
- The average height of a building is 2 floors.
- Asking for a non veg restaurant is blasphemy.
- Hard to find your way around if you don't speak Marathi.
- There are 27 jewelery stores near the station.
- After hunting for the best part of an hour, the closest I got to non vegetarian food, was a pastry which had egg in it!
- The only place I have been to, where trees outnumber people.
- You can bargain on the rickshaw fare!

Currently Reading:

Moonlight becomes you - Mary Higgins Clark

Currently Listening:

1. That's what I go to school for - Busted
2. Rockstar - Nickelback
3. Stacy's mom - Fountains of Wayne

Quote of the Day:

"There is a saying that winning is everything. It doesn't say winning in the 10th minute is everything or winning in the 20th minute is everything or winning in the 89th minute is everything. Today we won and that is everything" - Jose Mourinho after Inter Milan won 1-0 courtesy an 89th minute strike!

Friday, 19 December 2008

Sporting Blues

"I hate being called the wall. It is something I really dislike"

That was what Rahul Dravid had to say in an interview after he won the 'Cricketer of the Year' award in 2004. Honestly, I was quite confused when I read that interview. To me, 'wall' always symbolized security, stability, endurance and everything else. So to have someone say that he doesn't like being called 'the wall' was perplexing to say the least. But having read the headlines in the past few days, I now see why the most well read person in Indian cricket had a problem with his nickname. 'The wall crumbles', 'Holes in the wall', 'Bring down the wall' etc are some of the many headlines used indiscriminately to describe Dravid's dip in form. That is certainly not the way to treat Indian cricket's finest Test batsman. And by scoring another gritty and determined hundred today, Dravid has proved his detractors all wrong. This innings for me, has to one of the finest bricks in the wall!

Coming to the ongoing series between India and England, it is quite refreshing to hear what England's captain Kevin Peiterson has to say in the press conferences. The Englishmen normally pack their excuses along with their bags when they tour the sub continent. And to see the way Kevin takes defeat on the chin like a man, is praiseworthy. Probably it has a lot to do with the fact that he hails from South Africa and thus doesn't have the whiny nature of the English!

I really don't know what Saina Nehwal has to do to beat Sania Mirza in the popularity rankings! I mean Sania hasn't played a match since the last six months and I still have a pop up on rediff asking me if I want to download a Sania Mirza wallpaper! And that on a day when Saina has reached the semi finals of the World Super Series. Even in today's Times of India, an article on Saina has her name misspelt as Sania on more than one occasion. I really feel for the girl cause she is definitely more talented, hardworking, has better legs and guess what, she can serve too!

Monday, 8 December 2008

Incredible India!

Some interesting trivia on India. Even I wasn't aware of most of these facts!

In the last 100,000 years of history, India has never invaded another country.

It is forbidden for an aircraft to fly over the Taj Mahal.

India’s motto is “Satyameva Jayate”. It is in the Sanskrit language and is translated as “Truth Alone Triumphs”.

34% of Microsoft employees are Indians.

The most languages in the world have originate in India, around 845 different languages.

Until 1896, India was the only source of diamonds in the world.

India is one of the very few countries with no official religion.

Chess was invented by Buddhist monks in India who preferred it to war. Badminton too, was invented in India.

Algebra, Trigonometry and Calculus all originated in India.

India has the largest number of Post Offices in the world.

Sanskrit is considered as the mother of all higher languages. This is because it is the most precise. The Forbes Magazine stated that Sanskrit is the most suitable language for computer software!

The longest railway platform is in India, that is in Kharagpur.

Before New Delhi, the capital was Calcutta (until 1911).

The art of Navigation & Navigating was born in the river Sindh 6000 over years ago. The very word 'Navigation' is derived from the Sanskrit word NAVGATIH.

India used to be the richest country in the world until the British invasion in the early 17th Century.

Barbie's boyfriend Ken was not sold in India until recently because it clashed with the traditional arranged marriage.

Bucket List

Inspired by Dasvidaniya, here is my bucket list. A bucket list is a list of things (normally ten in number) which you would like to do before you 'kick the bucket'. So here is my list, in a very random order:

- Visit Egypt and see the pyramids and sphinx first hand.

- Tandem sky dive from a plane, preferably with a blond, female instructor!

- Participate in the 'Amazing Race'.

- Gamble at Las Vegas (all trappings inclusive).

- Lose 15 pounds. After having lived a very unhealthy and unfit life, I wish to die fit.

- Watch the Champions League Final live at the 'Theatre of Dreams', Old Trafford and see Jose Mourinho lift the Cup!

- Go on a boat ride in the Amazon.

- Be part of the mile high club ;)

- Eat 5 more different kinds of meat!

- Pop the question atop Eiffel Tower :) ;)

Thursday, 4 December 2008

The week that was

Honestly, I am quite fed up reading about the recent terror attacks in Mumbai and its aftermath. Every news channel I watch or paper I pick up has these gory images. Even the sports and business sections of the news programmes have given way to these terror attack 'special reports'. But what struck me as being as insane as the terror attacks was the burning of Pakistani flags and the chanting of anti Islam and anti Pakistan slogans by the vast majority of the people gathered at these so called "protest rallies". Not that I have any particular love for Pakistan. I think it is one of the most screwed up countries in the world, governed by impotent cowards. But dude, burning Pakistani flags won't scare these terrorists! Certainly not. What it will definitely do, is that it will give those masterminds back there in Karachi more material to brainwash these fools into taking innocent lives. It will give them exactly what they want: footage to show anti Islam sentiment in India, something which is totally unfounded.

Ever since these attacks were over and done with, there have been a spate of signature campaigns, SMS campaigns, 'wear white for peace', 'wear black as a sign of protest' rallies! I find them totally ridiculous. The terrorists don't give a fig as to the number of SMS's you have sent and stuff. These rallies do nothing to stop the ongoing camps in the jungles of Pakistan. Now is the time for answers and not questions, the time for action. And by action I don't mean wear white or wear black!

On the other hand, I didn't find Ram Gopal Verma's visit to the Taj surprising, because frankly India has always been a land of opportunists!

Something quite ironical is the fact that the ATS chief Karkare, now that he is dead is being hailed a martyr, a man of integrity etc etc by the very same saffron brigade, who hours earlier had called him a cheater and a liar. This because he was bold enough to show that terror in India has shades of orange to it too. I for one, always had utmost respect for this man, as he chose to look beyond stereotypes.

Monday, 24 November 2008

I've got F***ing ripped apart

They say 'Ask and you shall receive' and so I asked them to review my blog and tear me apart and boy they did just that!

Shawn, Jesus Christ.

Your blog, Empty Sea, is atrocious. Typically, when one delivers bad news such as this, the messenger feels the need to spare the recipient’s feelings, adding a jaunty 'sorry', perhaps, or some vague allusion to 'fighting the good fight', like 'you’ll get ‘em next time' or 'keep that eye of the tiger, champ'. I am not saying that here, Shawn. I am saying, flat-out, with no reservations or regrets, that your blog is awful.

White text on a standard black blogger-template? Half-written in a tongue I can’t understand? Look, imagine me, ol’ Nutjobber, your friendly neighbourhood lily-white suburban Canadian boy, reading this scintillating exchange between you and 'Vicky':

Vicky: 'Theek hai. Lekin kal sab kuch karte hai ha.'
Shawn: 'Ya dude 100%'

I guess I missed the punchline? I fucking hate missing the punchline, Shawn, but do you honestly think I’m going to go try and translate this for my own edification? No, no I’m not. In fact, for the same reason I haven’t yet submitted my own blog to that Japanese blog-review site I Will Be Your Co-Pilot, Have Plans For Sparkling Summer* is the same reason I don’t understand why you would submit this painful, grammarless, forethought-free blog to us. Is it because you tried to warn your readers beforehand?

I am really not good at writing and my thoughts are quite incoherent and never logically arranged (and ya i do make a lot of typos too) so please bear with me.But till then, happy reading!

Until when, Shawn? 'Happy reading' until that monstrous landslide of typos drags me into an abyss of teeth-chattering madness? 'Happy reading' until the abysmal combination of emoticons and improper comma-usage forces me to hang myself with an electrical-cord?

If I invited you over to my house for dinner, Shawn, and as you sat in my kitchen twitching your fingers nervously in response to the black plume of smoke hanging over the stove and the grotesque smear of peanut-butter and fish-entrails congealing on the windows, I proceeded to regale you with stories of how rare I like my chicken cooked, of how I consider the recent anti-bacterial hysteria a product of liberal-government brainwashing, of how my proper hand-washing technique involves frequent bathroom-breaks, well, how would I, as a rational, understanding human being, end this horrifying conversation?

I would say, 'run for your life, I’m a food-murderer'; you would say, 'happy eating'.

Shawn, from his 'About Me' [sic]: Don't stereotype me! I wont fit into any of those boxes of your's!

Nutjobber: I disagree.

Wednesday, 19 November 2008

Deja Vu

My attempt at short story writing. Hope you like it.

Lovely golden hair, striking features and an even better figure, she had everything a man could ask for, thought Steve as he greedily eyed the woman standing in the reception. Her stilettos made up for her lack of height, perhaps the only thing bereft in an otherwise perfectly curved body. But what was a blond doing in a hotel predominantly occupied by us blacks? Probably she wasn’t aware of this fact and it was just a matter of time before she checked out, he thought. Steve’s job brought him to all sorts of places and today he had a rather important consignment to deliver. A small mistake and the police would be on his heels. He brushed away all thoughts of the woman and proceeded surreptitiously to meet his client.

A few minutes later, Steve returned, a hefty roll of bills replacing the packet of cocaine, stashed in the lining of his shirt. As he waited for the elevator, he saw her again, lost in thought, walking towards him. The elevator took an eternity to reach the fifth floor. Steve entered, pushed the button to hold the doors open and waited for her. She stepped inside and looking at him, her eyes widened in fear. Immediately, she walked out, hastily and abruptly. Doesn’t want to step in with a black man eh? I will teach her a lesson, thought Steve. He followed her as she made her way towards her room and just before she could shut the door, he shoved and entered the room.

Smack! He felt an iron rod crash into his skull and then all he could see was darkness. When Steve awoke, he found himself fastened to a chair, his shirt ripped off and his money missing. She was right there, sitting on the bed, applying to her slender fingers, the final touches of nail paint. And then suddenly everything made sense. Sitting a few feet from him was Marissa. A few days before, she had made the front page of the morning papers. A serial killer on the loose, drug dealers were her prime target. How foolishly he had tossed the paper away and remarked to his buddy that a 5’3” girl was no match for a monster like him. Now he very well knew what was to follow. His body would be chopped into a million pieces and thrown down the hotel chute. After two days, all that would remain of him would be ashes.

Marissa carefully locked the door and headed towards the elevator with her newly landed booty. Just as she entered, her eyes veered toward the shirt of the man standing inside. Suddenly, she remembered that Steve’s shirt was still lying in her room. Her eyes widened in fear and she immediately stepped out, abruptly and hastily.

Tuesday, 18 November 2008

Her knight in shining armour

Girls, all around the world, have their "ideal match" belonging to one of these four categories. And if you don't, then you are either one of those rare ones or you are simply not honest enough!

Type 1: Mr. Goody Two Shoes

He is this selfless guy, who is supposedly the most caring person in the entire world. The one who would go out of his way to help others. Understanding, genuine, likable and everything else. Someone who would put others in front of himself and all that jazz.

Type 2: The alpha male, Mr. Adonis

He wears a leather jacket, has a pony tail, rides those really huge bikes, has Popeye like forearms with hair curling on them and pumps iron religiously. Did you notice the stubble and his newly acquired accent? Spike bands, wrist bands, studs he wears them all!

Type 3: Mr. Call Center

Girls describe him as "the guy I can spend three entire days with chatting and still not get bored!" Apparently, this guy is someone you can go on talking to and yet not run out of topics. You can tell him everything and he still won't judge you. You can speak to him without the fear of feeling foolish, ashamed or embarrassed.

On a more personal note, I don't such a guy exists! Show me Mr. Call Center and I will show you a unicorn. Promise!

Type 4: Mr. Money Bag

As an honest girl would put it, "I like my guys rich! The richer, the better." And I genuinely feel most of you lasses would like him rich, very rich, but are just not frank enough to admit the fact.
And if I were a girl (which I wish I was! As to why? That is for some other time), my knight's shining armour would certainly be made of gold and platinum with jewels encrusted in it ;)

Saturday, 15 November 2008

Drat that CAT

I am so thrilled that CAT is finally here and is getting over tomorrow. Not that I have been preparing for this exam a great deal or anything and want to get it off my back. But the hype surrounding CAT is absolutely ridiculous and over the top. Since the last two months, whenever I visit rediff it offers me 'tips' and 'tricks' to crack CAT. Initially it was a two month strategy, then a month long one and today the link today said 'Haven't yet prepared for CAT. Don't worry. Here is our 24 hour plan' !!!!!! And the newspapers aren't far behind. One paper goes so far as saying that if the present rate of growth in CAT aspirants sustains, then by 2087 the entire India will be giving CAT and by 2110 something, the entire world! But I am happy. By Monday CAT will be history and the print and electronic media will return to more serious issues like the cold war between Hansika Motwani and Celina Jaitley.

P.S. : Just happened to watch a song of the much publicized Ghajni. It is so refreshing to see a song with a semi clad actor and a fully dressed actress (oops, female actor). Role reversal, I must say!

Sunday, 9 November 2008

Oh captain, my captain!

"I don't think he saw the ball properly. He seemed to have tears in his eyes"

This is what Eric Collies had to say after castling the Don for a duck in his final innings. I am not sure as to whether Dada had tears in his eyes when he went out to bat for the final time in international cricket, but I am sure that the eyes of his plentiful fans certainly were moist. Before I start showering the plaudits on Ganguly, I want to put a few things straight. Let me make it abundantly clear that I’m not a Dada fan. Never was, never will be. I find him clumsy, arrogant and to an extent stubborn headed. I am a Sehwag fan and a Dhoni fan. I don't think Ganguly is the best batsman India has produced, Dravid or Sachin is. The most talented? No, Yuvraj is. The best captain? I would have said yes two days backs, but now I am not quite sure.

But time and again during his 13 year international career, he has made me stand up and take note of him and now if I had to list cricketers whom I respect the most, Dada would top that list. No second thoughts about that! Whether it was fighting fire with fire, when it came to the Australians or if it was stepping down the order in the best interest of the team, so that record craving midgets were not dissatisfied, he won my respect. I can only imagine the ignominy he had to go through when asked to play Ranji cricket under Deep Das Gupta. But yet again, he showed tremendous mental fortitude and staged a fairy tale comeback. His grit and mental strength is according to me his biggest asset. And as write this article I happen to have a lump down my throat and that I think is biggest tribute I can pay to our Dada!

Monday, 27 October 2008

Happy Diwali

It is that time of the year, when the city and country as a whole, gets divided into two unequal halves. One half which burst crackers till the break of dawn and the other half which stuffs cotton plugs in their ears hoping to catch some sleep despite the blaring decibel levels. When I was young, I belonged to the former half, bursting crackers with gay abandon. Then an article I read about the ill effects of crackers and how children as young as 3 years old are forced to work for long hours in cramped rooms made me quit bursting crackers. I wanted to make a contribution, albeit in a small way. I realized that along with the cracker I was also burning a child's future. However, unlike vegetarians I don't feel morally superior just because I don't burst crackers. To each one his own. Of late, the number of crackers have reduced significantly. This was apparent when I went to Crawford Market the other day. The line at Essabhai fireworks (for the uninitiated, it is the largest wholesaler of fireworks in Bombay) was shorter than the one at Siddhivinayak. And as I sit here, one day before Diwali, writing this post, I strain my ears but I can hardly hear the fireworks. One school of thought is that the children today are a lot less ignorant and refrain from crackers to curb noise pollution, air pollution etc. I really find this very hard to digest. I personally feel that they have just found better ways to spend money than burn it on crackers. I mean why waste money on fireworks when you can go clubbing, play pool or take your chick to a cozy, plush restaurant with that money. The thought that children of today are sacrificing fun for the sake of the environment is all hogwash. If crackers were the only source of entertainment for them, they would have been setting Bombay on fire!

Happy Diwali

Friday, 24 October 2008


Seconds tick
The pin pricks
My wounds I lick

Ends in disgrace
Slap on the face
You leave without a trace

Foolish stance
A missed chance
Not a backward glance

I am dumb.
You are numb.

Christmas has arrived..

2 months before expected, but Christmas for me has arrived! My mom and sis are off to Canada to spend some time with dad. I couldn't go. The submissions (which are finally over today) and the vivas held me back. Not that I am complaining! After all I am home alone now (grins from ear to ear), albeit for ten days after which my sister returns home (smile gets wiped off). I will finally be able to move around freely in my house, without the fear of banging into anybody. Can sleep with my shoes on. Can not have a bath for a week and brush my teeth like once every alternate day and all that. But as they taught us in those civic books, that there are two sides of the coin and all that jazz. I have to take care of the house. Mom said that it should not look like a pig's sty when she comes back. And many other chores like clearing cheques, laundering clothes etc. Will give me valuable experience though, if and when I go to the states for further studies. Diwali is just round the corner, but about that insane Indian festival in another post (if I feel like it).

Currently Reading:

1. How to park a car in less then 15 mintues
2. Knife Edge - Malorie Blackman

Currently Listening:

1. Why don't you get a job - The offspring
2. Hum kis gali ja rahe hai - Atif Aslam

Quote of the Day:

Cats are smarter than dogs. You can't get eight cats to pull a sled through snow. - Jeff Valdez

P.S. : Sorry, Amit Mishra, I think I kinda underestimated you!

P.P.S : I just checked, 1155 hits on my blog! Thank you guys!

Sunday, 19 October 2008

The Wishing Well

A coin covered floor,
A wish.
The metallic water rusts,
Under the weight of desire.
Will it work?
No, it won't.
What are the odds?

Couples kiss under a mistletoe,
Hoping that their love would last forever.
Like it did before.

Seamen break champagne on a ship.
What can prevent it from taking a freezing dip?

The coin on my thumb,
The beggar at my side.
The metallic water continues to rust,
Under the weight of desire.

Thursday, 16 October 2008

Jerry must die

Some Islamic head has issued a fatwa saying that books and cartoons on Mickey Mouse and Jerry of 'Tom and Jerry' fame should be banned. According to the radical, these cartoons propagate violence and cause permanent damage to a child's psychology! The audience tends to become headstrong, resistive to authority and blah blah. He feels that these cartoons are 'steered by Satan'. Not that I agree with his absurd claims (I am sure not one does), but I am certainly one for Jerry dying. Whenever I watched Tom and Jerry, I was always in the cats corner. Simply because all the fun we had was because of the cat. Whether it was him being sliced into a thousand pieces by a shredder or his tail getting caught in the mousetrap he laid for Jerry, we all laughed but at Tom's expense. But then the world loves to support the underdog and will always do that. Whether it is David and Goliath or any sports game, everyone roots for the underdog. And for that very reason Jerry will always be the hero and Tom the stupid villain. The series will be a super hit because of Tom but Jerry will always walk away with the accolades. But for all the indignity he had to go through and will continue going through, I feel that at least in one episode Tom should win. And yes, Jerry should die!

Thursday, 9 October 2008

Happenings thru' the week

~ I am so glad I didn't go to watch Drona! When you are invited to a private screening of the film in a 100 seater auditorium at Nehru Planetarium, who in their right mind would turn it down? And specially when you add free dinner and desserts after the movie. But something told me (read: the promos) that the film would be an absolute disaster. And so I made my usual excuse of being too sleepy to attend the night show and opted out. What a decision it turned out to be! The movie is an absolute disaster. I heard that some of Mithunda's movies make more sense than Drona. I'm so glad I didn't go! My list of horrible movies watched in a theatre already includes Lost in Africa, I see you, Road, Uff yeh Mohabbat, 1920 etc. The last thing I want is to add to that list.

~ Was watching 'Sportscenter' on ESPN the other night. Happened to catch the interview of Amit Mishra (ya I know you are going Amit Mishra who? So was I. Apparently he is a leg spinner and is included in the squad to face the Aussies) So the interviewer goes on to ask him if he was expecting to be picked. To which Mishra replied "Definitely". The smirk on the interviewer's face was worth watching. I mean Osama bin Laden receiving the Nobel Peace Prize was more probable than Amit Mishra being picked! Talk about super optimism!

~ Writing 12 assignments/experiments in a day can take a toll on your body. Your forearms start aching, the fingers pain like hell, you get cramps in your back and even mundane chores like bathing become an effort.

~ Yesterday I went out with my mother to buy the weekly groceries. I couldn't believe my ears when the vegetable vendor told me that peas and beans cost Rs. 80 a kilo! There was no way I was allowing my mom to buy those vegetables when chicken is available for 60 bucks a kilo. I mean who in their right mind would prefer peas over chicken!

Currently Reading:

1. Interpreter of Maladies - Jhumpa Lahiri
2. Digital Signal Processing - Katre :P

Currently Listening:

Not listening to anything! Have got a blocked ear and headphones make it worse :(

Quote of the Day:

If it's sent by ship then it's a cargo, if it's sent by road then it's a shipment. - Dave Allen

Thursday, 2 October 2008

Of bears, blares and bomb scares

Two posts in two days! I guess, I have a lot of free time on hand!

Bears: Ok, so the stock market has taken a total nose dive. After a year of roaring and soaring, it has finally come down to 13K, which incidentally is the mark at which I had invested all of the first significant earnings of my life (from my scholarship, that is). The 100K that I had invested, within 3 months had multiplied 7 fold and I thought I was King Midas. And the strategy was pretty simple you see: If the share is going up, you buy; else, sell. And boy, did it work wonders! Any share I picked would sky rocket and I thought that by the time I would put in my appliations for MS, I would be able to pay for my education too (stop laughing, I told you'll, I am an optimist!). But the way the markets are performing now, I think the only thing I will be able to comfortably pay for, are the postage charges for my applications!

Blares: Navrati has arrived much to the joy of the Gujju public. The sound levels are just unbearable. I mean you should be able to sue people for playing such horrible music so loudly and that too at night! Im so pleased with the High Court ruling of no loud music after 10 pm. I mean, I can bet the judge and I have similar sleeping timings.

Bomb Scares: Delhi, Malegoan and now Agartala, I am afraid the list is far from over. When I collect the newspaper every morning, I no longer look at the front page. I turn straight away to the sports section. The sight of dead bodies and wrecked bikes no longer stirs any kind of emotion in me. Slowly, the average Indian is getting immune to this and now I can imagine what life in the valley must be! All the more reason to pack my bags and head westwards (or northwards, God willing!)

Wednesday, 1 October 2008

Feeling the October Heat

Undoubtedly the hottest month of the year, October, is here! And to add to that, the MS admission process has just got hotter! My counselor has told me that by October 15th I have to send my admits to at least 3 colleges. That includes getting recommendations from professors, preparing my statement of purpose, reporting my scores etc etc, the list just goes on. The term end is also fast approaching. It is the time when you write so much that you virtually have to buy a new pen everyday and a bundle of sheets every third day. I never knew that the day I got admitted into an engineering college I had relegated myself to being a photo copy machine for the best part of 4 years!

Coming back to MS, my counselor has rejected my Statement of Purpose (for the uniformed, you have to write a 1000 word essay telling those guys why you want to leave your home country and go the US of A for further studies). My counselor says the reasons I made up are very generic. I now plan to write about my 'divide not multiply' (refer to previous posts) logic! I'm sure that will be the 'something different' she is looking for! Another thing she picked on was my introduction of myself. Apparently 'optimistic, super talented, intelligent and diligent' is very common. I now plan to be a wee bit more honest. I have changed the description to 'uncaring, unshaven and can kill for the computer'.

Enough said, I think I should get back to my work now. Loads of assignments and experiments to complete. October has just started and I'm already feeling the heat!

Friday, 26 September 2008

Introducing ME - Part 1

The fact that I haven’t updated this blog since a week, coupled with a paucity of topics to write on, has compelled me to write an introductory post about myself. It is quite surprising that there have been 13 posts and the self indulgent, self obsessive me hasn’t written about myself, but here goes.

Some trivia about me:

I was to be named Sheldon, but the mono syllablic Shawn was preferred.
I was shy (still am) and used to stammer when little.
I get awkward in the face of true, genuine sweetness.
I have a crooked right little finger.
I believe in chance, soul mates, single moment decisions.
I have been wearing glasses since the age of three.
I was an athlete in primary school and was totally into karate (side splits, front splits hehe).
My favourite sport is football (playing and watching).
I am an absolute sore loser, I just hate losing.
In the last 4 years, I remember losing just 4 bets.
I have a fetish for watches. On last count I had 11 of them.
I have eaten pig, camel, cow, goat, chicken, wild boar, porcupine, deer, octopus, rabbit meat.
Three countries I would like to visit are Peru, Egypt and Japan.
A lot of things I say are just to elicit a reaction.
I haven’t watched Sholay or Andaz Apna Apna completely.
Of all the friends I have, I take the advice of just 3 seriously.
I find it really hard to keep in touch with people.
I get nervous while speaking on the phone.
To an extent, I am quite detached.
My breakfast has been fried eggs, every single day, since the last 17 years.
I envy people who sing well.
The first movie I watched in a theater was Ajooba.
One thing I have gifted the most is earrings.
I prefer sleeping on the ground to sleeping on a bed.
I like coffee more than tea.
I remember cell numbers and dates very easily.
When 2 years old, I got lost at the airport in Singapore and was almost adopted by an English woman before my parents finally found me.
I first travelled by plane when I was 10 days old.
I don't know how to shave.
My favoruite ice cream flavor is choco chips.
My favourtie restaurant is Baghdadi.
I don't have a best friend (never did, never will).
I know how to cook dal, rice, omelette and make lassi.

Can’t think of anything more right now, but will continue with this when I am out of ideas again lol.

Wednesday, 17 September 2008

A Wednesday - 3 on 5

'Apne college ne apne ko mama banaya.'

Our college was celebrating its 25th anniversary last Friday. A circular was put up on the notice board stating the various events that would take place on this 'auspicious and historic' day. At the end of the circular, as a foot note, was written 'This should not affect the academic functioning of the college in any way.' Not that we expected any better of our college. The only time we got a holiday was when some trustee died (God bless him, his soul I mean.)

So we all came to college on Friday only to find out that we were fooled. Had a non instructional day been announced in advance, no one would have turned up even if Heidi Klum was the Chief Guest. Not wanting to attend the function in the cramped auditorium, the Bakwaas Gang then decided to go to watch 'A Wednesday' as none of us was in the mood to return home immediately.

A Wednesday is one of the better films I have seen in recent times. It is fast and pacy. The storyline is crisp. The fact that none of us passed a comment till the least 15 minutes is a testimony to the pace of the movie. The twist at the end was unpredictable to say the least. Naseeruddin Shah acts splendidly as a 'face in the crowd'. Anupam Kher plays the role of the cop to perfection. But like all other Hindi movies, this one is a bit cliched too. Naseeruddin Shah's speech at the end of the movie is long, tiring and highly repetitive (reminds me of the way I write my papers in which I repeat the main point after every 3 other points). The humour is sad! The news hostess is neither preety nor does she speak well. That VJ Gaurav, who plays a superstar in the movie, over acts so much that he actually puts SRK to shame. In spite of all this, I would still give the movie 3/5, the reasons being:

1. It gets over within 2 hours.
2. There are no songs in it.
3. You can see my building in the movie :)

Saturday, 13 September 2008

The Face in the Water

Location: Alif Fitness Centre (now Alif Cyber Café)

Date: Summer of 2003

Characters involved:

Nihaal Merchant aka Vicky (*** kgs)

Shawn Francis aka Shawney (that’s me :P 85 kgs)

Female building friend (can’t mention her name and weight here for obvious reasons!) Let’s just call her Q!

The fitness trainer (don’t remember his name)

Vicky and I had just completed our tenth standard board exams (and thought that we had conquered the world, because that is how hyped up the board exams were). The papers had gone off extremely well (they had too after the long hours of time we had put in studying) and the next thing on our minds was to lose that extra weight (and boy was it extra). After all, in another two months time, we would be going to college, our uniforms would be replaced by jeans and tees (purchased by my mom and sister, who don’t quite trust my choice) and it was mandatory to look your very best. So we had decided to hit the gym. To lose weight, to build muscle and get everything else that a gym promised you.

Trainer (to the three of us): “Burn 200 calories on the treadmill, then cycle for 10 minutes at 8 km/hr and do 5 sets of 20 crunches. After you are done with that, you can leave”

Five minutes later,

Vicky (drenched in sweat): ‘Shawney, 100 calories burn kar liya. Bahut ho gaya. Aaj se kam khayega. Chal abhi crunches maar ke nikal jaate hai. Sham ko cricket khelega. Woh cycling ke barabar hi hai.’

Shawn: ‘Dude, your weight is more so you burned 100. I have just burned 70. Lekin tu barabar bola. If we don’t eat, we need not do this treadmill stuff. Aaj crunches bhi nahi karte hai, man nahi ho raha hai.’

Vicky: ‘Theek hai. Lekin kal sab kuch karte hai ha.’

Shawn: ‘Ya dude 100%’

Vicky: ‘Chal usko bol ke nikalte hai.’

Shawn: ‘Arey, abhi bolega toh maloom padega usko ki humne kuch kiya nahi hai. Bees minute thak bait the hai AC main. Phir nikhal the hai.’

Twenty minutes later,

Shawn: ‘Sir, all done, we are leaving.’

Trainer: ‘Theek hai, kal milte hai.’

Shawn, Vicky: ‘Bye Q, we are leaving.’

Q: ‘Ya bye, but guys you’ll can fool the trainer but you are cheating yourself. At least to your own self try and be true.’

She then continues cycling with renewed vigour.

Vicky (laughing): ‘Chal nikalte hain, nahi toh aur sunaiyegi.’

It was a comment that I would have otherwise just laughed at and ignored. But I really don’t know what was wrong with me that day. What she told me, kept worrying me. I decided on that day that I would follow (or at least try to follow) her advise.

It has been five and a half years since and I can now say that I have followed her advice more often than not. Starting from the next day itself, not only did I do the exercises religiously, I also went on morning walks. By the end of two months I had lost 10 kilos. Moving on, I tried never to do things just so that I get accepted or because it is ‘cool’ to do so. I have never bothered about the label on my clothes. Haven’t slung my bag on one shoulder, just because that’s the way it is supposed to be done in college. Didn’t speak with a fake accent in junior college just because every other person sounded like an NRI. I unabashedly admit to liking romantic songs even though I get the ‘you are a weirdo’ look whenever I make that statement. Never felt the urgent need to go clubbing or blow smoke rings in the air. I sleep at ten (sometimes earlier) and get up at six and really don’t care if you think I am a geek. Have tried as much as I could to be true to myself. Yes, there have been times when my motives haven’t been right, but I have learnt from them and moved on. And now when I look at my reflection (in the water, mirror or wherever), I am satisfied!

Saturday, 6 September 2008

NIght School

The only times that I have been awake past 11pm have been when my building friends have dragged, forced or emotionally blackmailed (dosti ke khatir) me into going out with them for our famous 'dinner and drives'. This blog entry is titled 'Night School' because of the things I have learnt between 11pm to 4am. So here goes:

- The barricades put by the traffic police on the road are so that you drive past them slowly, not to test you maneuvering skills.

- When the cop asks for your license, you don't hand him both your 2 wheeler and 4 wheeler ones and say, "Uncle, aap hi dekh lo kaunsa wala chahiye."

- Never send two Maharastrians on a bike.

- Playing dumb charades at 3 in the morning at Nariman Point is an offence.

- 'Mohan Joshi hazir ho', 'Tera byah kab hoga, Ganga?' and 'Tere jism ke pyaar par bebas parwana' are names of movies.

- Jimmy Boy is not a 'family restaurant'.

- Nariman Point to Chowpatty is not a 10 minute walk.

- A 30 minute waiting time invariably means 75 minutes.

- Driving a bike which doesn't have papers, without a license is not a good idea, specially when the only Marathi you know is 'kaka, jau de na'

- At Koyla's, it takes 2 hours for your order to come.

- The underdog wins (not only in movies, but in car races too!!)

- 14 people can fit into one Maruti Gypsy.

- Don’t come home at 5 am after telling your parents that you are going for a short drive at 10 pm unless you want to see how 12 set of parents look in their night suits standing in the building lobby or you want to experience what it feels like to be escorted by a police jeep.

Thursday, 4 September 2008

Random musings

~ I thought devotional songs had hit an all time low, when last year I heard 'Morya re' being sung to the tune of 'Kajra Re' at a Ganpati Mandal. Sadly, this year it has gotten worse. The local mandal was playing 'Pappu can't dance, saala' when I passed by this evening.

~ There are times in your life when you feel like asking the person standing next to you to kick you in the backside. A similar feeling I had, when I forgot my favourite teacher's birthday. And when that happens one day before your results and four days before that same teacher's term test, you wish your own legs were flexible enough! Ouch! So like everyone else, this semester I had to wait for the results to be displayed on the net! Sigh!

~ This is what long hours of chatting on Yahoo messenger can do:
Was talking to my friend on the building intercom.
Friend: "So what you doin' tomorrow?"
(my cell phone rings)
Shawn: "Dude, cell ringing. Ttyl, tc, bye"

~ Was supposed to collect my fee receipt, get my marksheets attested and go and see a counsellor this week. Have postponed all that to next week now. I think the Oxford Dictionary should have my picture next to the meaning for the word 'procrastinate'.

Tuesday, 2 September 2008

Things that I learnt from 'Rock On'

~ Life main compromise toh karna hi padta hai.

~ You can have a palacial house, a wife who is cute, beautiful and sweet all at the same time, a profile that looks strikingly similar to Hrithik Roshan, know the pulse of the stock markets AND STILL NOT BE HAPPY

~ The orchestra at a dandiya concert gets paid Rs. 30,000 per night.

~ You can 'watch' an audio casette.

~ If you are rich and successful, you have to have gotten lucky.

~ If you are Catholic, you roam about in shorts, wear a cross and speak Hindi like Rachel Shelley in Lagaan.

~ Rock band members either have long hair or no hair.

~ Bald guys get good chicks too (!!!!)

~ Anu Malik hasn't changed one bit (he was complimenting Luke on originality!!!)

~ Girls move on faster than guys.

~ Every Hindi movie has to have a song in the first 10 minutes.

~ A storyline of 1 hour can be stretched to more than 2 hours by adding meaningless songs, pauses and flashbacks.

~ The film ka crew is highly optimistic (they expect people to actually buy the CD!! For songs like Sindbad went on a boat and do aur do paanch kyun nahi, aasman geela kyun hai)

Thursday, 28 August 2008

What Next???!?!

The future right now is an uncertain as the climax of an art film! I say this because of the way these ‘arty’ films end! While watching ‘The Namesake’ I was like ‘why is everyone getting up? Why are the lights coming on? Hold on, is the movie over? How?’ Anyway, getting back, in another 9 months I should complete my engineering. It is the ‘then what?’ that keeps worrying me. The most obvious thing would be to go to the States and do my masters. Considering my profile, I should manage a decent university. But then, computers are something that have never interested me (having just learnt where to insert a pen drive). And besides staying and studying in a foreign country, ‘out of your comfort zone’ so as to put it, though exciting, will certainly not be anywhere as easy as doing my bachelors was. Then, there is the additional burden of ‘recovering’ the money that has been spent on you (this being the least important reason). Another path I could take is putting in everything I have and studying for the MBA entrance exams. If I don’t succeed in my first attempt, I could always take a break after my degree and study for it next year. The third alternative is taking up a job, which isn’t even worth considering (unless the Sultan on Brunei offers to make me his right hand or something of that sort)

The one incident which tilts it in favour of me doing my masters happened two years back, when I was in China. I was shopping at one of these souvenir shops and asked the price of a piece I really liked. 400 was the figured punched into the calculator by the Mandarin speaking sales lady. Mentally, I was like ‘Ok, that’s about two and a half grand, quite expensive, I’m not buying it’. Then an American next to me, who too seemed very impressed by that souvenir, took the calculator and divided by 8. “50 dollars, that’s a steal, eh?” he said to the woman next to him.

That’s why I think I will do my masters in the US. Because the next time I am in a foreign country and the sales person thrusts a calculator in my face, I want to divide......and not multiply!

Friday, 22 August 2008

Blink, wink, blush! Repeat!

Till a few years back I absolutely abhorred the so called 'girly' girls. I used to hate the way they would get people (read guys) to do their work for them by faking their charm. The perfunctory smiles, the honey laden voice, the way they look at you, then blush, then look down feigning feminine awe (sometimes, they'd throw in a few tears, just for good measure) and a few minutes later you have done for her something you would have probably only done for your best bud. Absolutely hated it, every bit of it. Especially when I could see right through them while others were gullible enough to fall for it. Time and again, time and again. But now I have learnt to appreciate it. It is an art, no doubt. To some it may come naturally, others may need to work on it a bit. But the results are worth the practice and effort put it, believe me. Jumping the long line at the ticket counter by asking the guy in front to buy your ticket, getting a few extra marks in your term test, having your assignments and diagrams done for you, getting quality company while going on your long shopping sprees, and I could just go on and on. The reason I have now stopped hating you'll is that I have now realized that the guy really doesn't feel used. He just laps up the extra bit of attention he is getting. So neither party is complaining at the end of it! Who am I to hold a prejudice then? So I now urge all you egoistic, ungirly girls, who share the point of view that I once used to, who still just can't stand these manipulators, to be a bit more pragmatic. Put on the eyeliner, lavish the lip gloss, wear those girly tops with matching accessories and be your fake best. Cause it is really no big deal to be a little manipulative, just in order to ensure some..uh...'smooth sailing'. It is quite simple and with my magic formula, I can assure you guaranteed results. So the next time you want a let off or a discount or anything else of that sort, remember the golden rule: blink, wink, blush! Repeat!

The Special One (albeit self proclaimed)

'I was 9 or 10 years old and my father was sacked on Christmas Day. He was a manager, the results had not been good, he lost a game on December 22 or 23. On Christmas Day, the telephone rang and he was sacked in the middle of our lunch. So I know all about the ups and downs of football, I know that one day I will be sacked.'

One of the many reasons, I have plenty of admiration for Jose Mourinho is because he always believed in prophesying. The day he arrived in Chelsea he proclaimed himself the 'Special One'. He proclaimed that he would win the Premier League and defend it. He did all that. He also proclaimed that he would be sacked. This was the one time I wanted Jose to get it wrong. But unfortunately when you have a series of public arguments with the guy who pays you your wages, there is going to be only one winner and Jose learnt it the hard way. But what i really felt bad about was the reason he was sacked. Unentertaining football!! A team which has Lampard, Drogba, Cole, Essien and Robben can hardly be termed dull. By playing the wingers so wide, Chelsea moved forward like a wave. So what if Jose believed in the basic principle of football that to win a game you need to score one goal more than the opponent. So what if after being 2-0 up at halftime, Jose would ask his mid fielders to just defend. So what if Chelsea weren't as fluid as the Gunners. So what if you flipped the channel even though the 90 minutes weren't over. So what if he sometimes stuck his foot in the mouth. So what if second half got a bit boring. Who cares about entertainment in those last 20 odd minutes when you have here a manager who with his quotes and arrogance and charisma could keep you entertained throughout the week and not just during the game. In my book, Jose Mourinho will always be the most entertaining manager (so what if it was off the field!)

Thursday, 21 August 2008

Bye, Bye Kashmir

Happened to read Vir Sanghvi’s article on Kashmir in this Sunday’s Hindustan Times (ya, I get HT too!). He wrote about things which I have always felt strongly about and which make perfect sense to me. Kashmiri’s have always behaved like they are doing us a favour, by staying with India. Any sign of peace in the valley is temporary and even a minor spark turns into a wildfire and they start demanding secession. Kashmir is the only state for which an exception is made and has special provisions in the Constitution. In addition, aid given to Kashmir is 10 times more than that given to Bihar, which is by far, larger and poorer than Kashmir. Besides Kashmir gets it as grants, while for Bihar it is in the form of a loan. In spite of all this, they still don't appreciate us. Why should India then hang on to Kashmir? If you want snow and natural beauty, then you have Himachal Pradesh or go to the real place, Switzerland. Girls are beautiful right across India and not just in Kashmir :P Letting go of Kashmir could probably encourage other states to follow suit, but I don't think that's the case now. Punjabi's see sense and Khalistan is long forgotten. Even the north eastern states are happy being with India. So let the people of Kashmir vote and decide. If they want to side with Paksitan, hell, Azad Kashmir will get a little more land. If they want a separate state, better! Without India they would last for about 5 minutes. And if they decide to stay with India, then better be grateful and loyal to us. Cause right now Kashmir is like a tumor. And science has taught me, that if a tumor is harmful and doesn't heal naturally, you have got to surgically remove it!

Horton teaches us a lesson

I have watched very few movies, the primary reasons being that I hate watching them alone or at home. However, a very strong recommendation and ‘Horton hears a who’ became an exception. I watched it on my comp (I hate that!) and watched it alone (hate that even more!!). But I took such a liking to the movie that I have watched it thrice (and still counting!). So coming back to this post and its title. In the movie, Horton, the elephant, keeps saying that ‘a person is a person, no matter how small’. And it is this particular statement which I agree with. That’s why the High Court ruling against Nikita and Harsh Mehta is a shot in the arm for the many anti abortionists across India. I believe that the child should be given a chance. No one has the right to go against nature and kill a child. History has shown us that children with far more serious defects have survived and survived well. Had abortion been legalized and medical science as advanced, the world would not have seen the likes of Beethoven and Hitler. Not that we could not have done without these two, but from the top of my head I can’t think of any better examples. If abortion is indeed legalized and considering the pace at which science is advancing, we would have innumerous abortions in the bid to create the ‘perfect child’. Black skin, abort. Little finger missing, abort. Crooked nose, abort. It just wouldn’t end. I would like to end by saying that only God and murderers have a say on someone’s right to live. We can't play God, so lets not turn into murderers!

P.S. Having said all this I am still not sure what I would have done had I been in Harsh Mehta’s shoes. It is easy to talk the talk, I am really not sure if I would have been able to walk the walk.

Wednesday, 20 August 2008

This and that

~ My friend recently got a really sleek Nokia 'many-in-one' Phone or something of that sort . I am really surprised at the number of features that the phone has. Apparently Nokia promises that it has everything in it, except for a Juice Maker and a Washing Machine.

~ Just read on rediff that Sanjay Nirupam was one of the two contestants to get nominated to be booted out of Big Boss. Doesn't surprise me, because that is really not the place for him and I dont think television audiences will take any particular liking to him either. Not that I really care but I just wish that we could vote out our own politicians like that.

~ My dad has got a posting to Toronto, Canada for the next three years. He should complete all formalities and leave by the end of next month I guess. Reactions at home:

Sister: Awwwww daddy I will miss you baddllllyyyyy!
Mom: Don't just survive on Maggi and fried eggs there!
Me: Only 3 years!

~I dont normally watch television, but I did happen to catch a reality show called ‘Splitsvilla’ on MTV . I never knew Indian Girls could abuse so very well in Hindi. I never knew Indian Girls could be so mean and manipuative over a stupid game show over two even more stupid guys. I never knew that Indian girls could be dumber than those blondes. I never knew my faith in the strength and elegance and whatever of the women of India of today would dive lower than my grades (in Marathi).

Empty sea!!!

To those of you whom I havent already bragged in person, I put a lot of thought to the things I do, especially when selecting names [En(d)less Stamina is my fantasy EPL team name, the year]
Emptysea is actually a homonym for the letters MTC, which stand for my two cents, which essentially is what this blog is all about (just incase you dont know what my two cents is, then please google! ignorant people) So that is why I have named my blog 'empty sea' (ok stop groaning :P)

Why am I blogging?

I used to blog during my junior college days, but then blogging became a craze and every second person started blogging. The herd mentality is something that I hate and so in order to not be counted as one of 'them' I stopped blogging and consequently deleted my blog (which was at xanga btw) Besides maintaining a blog is one helluva effort and after the initial novelty wears off most blogs become cyber junk (i really dont know if such a word exists, but I hope you are getting the picture). Oh and another thing I just love parenthesis (you will find a lot of them if you keep visiting my blog). More about me later. Back to why I have started blogging (all over again). These days I have a lot of spare time at home and I always have been a person who has an opinion on just about everything. So blogging fits the bill perfectly. I really don't know how long this will last, because I am really bad at maintaining things, but I aim to update this atleast once a week. Things which are in my head and I don't mind people reading about will end up here. I am really not good at writing and my thoughts are quite incoherent and never logically arranged (and ya i do make a lot of typos too) so please bear with me. But till then, happy reading!