Thursday, March 23, 2006

You know you are...

There are lots of posts about “You know you are ... when” (the blanks meaning anything) on the net. When I thought about those, they were missing some points, IMO. So, here's the missing things, the lists now are complete. You know you are...

  • Getting older when...

    • The girls you (that be you and your friends, matey) liked in high school (Silverine, point to be noted, High school, not nursery) don't look as beautiful as they used to. (and girls who you didn't notice start to take your attention)

    • You suddenly realise that you are the one of the few persons in your friend circle, who don't have a girlfriend, while your friends (girls and boys both) are getting engaged, even married and having babies, left, right and centre (the directions are from your group photograph from some trekking thingy you all did when you were in college).

    • Your life cycle till now is: nursery, school, high school, college, college (undergraduate) and school (graduate). And you are not ashamed that you are going to school even when you are adult now.

    • You are the person the family friends, neighbouring kids and relative kids come to as an expert on (or at least a person who knows) all things college, GRE/GMAT/CAT (whatever you have taken) and career path. (not that that's insulting or I don't like it)

    • You watch the serials you liked as a kid again, and laugh at the things they did back then. This comes after watching first 7 episodes of Ramayana. Everybody knows that they did some funny things about arrows and other weapons (they went on forever and forever, and after they clash, one disappeared causing the owner/thrower of the winning weapon much pleasure, and irritating the loser in bargain), but I just realised that if we take the script for whole serial, the mix will be about 1 parts dialogue to 5 parts music + songs + श्लोक. And as my room mate noticed, we could act better than the extras they had back then, at least expression wise. And how many of you have noticed the envy and a feeling much like “how could he do this” on the face of Lakshman when Ram killed Tratika (or Tadaka or whatever she is called in any language)?

    • You can read this, and resist the urge to try search engines or P2Ps. And come up with most innocent comment.

  • Missing your country (parents, friends, city et al) when...

    • you hear a perfectly cute specimen of American kid asking her father, "डॅडी, मम्मी कुठाय?” (daddy, where is mummy? in marathi)

  • Have been reading a lot of Harry Potter and watching a lot of Friends when...

    • You find Ron and Ross a lot similar (nope I don't think Ron is going to study Dragons or start getting all geeky). But,
      ʹHe's WHAT?' spluttered Ron, outraged, his ears now resembling curls of raw beef. 'She's going out with - my sister's going - what d'you mean, Michael Corner?'
      'Well, that's why he and his friends came, I think - well, they're obviously interested in learning defence, but if Ginny hadn't told Michael what was going on -'
      'When did this - when did she -?'

      Do tell me this is not like what Ross would say, same style.

The Love Story is finally a complete story. The record is finally set straight.

Finished the third and fourth chapters and they are online now. Read the complete story here. The link to my stories is also present under the "I Wrote" heading.

Quote of The Day:

Experience is the name everyone gives to their mistakes.
- Oscar Wilde (1854 - 1900), Lady Windermere's Fan, 1892, Act III

Friday, March 17, 2006

There and Back... and Again

Being an account of my two travels to the Capital of Cars.

“Morgen, Gut, Danke, Tschuess” These are the only words I remember out of the “Easy German in Seven words” we had decided when we were in Germany. And of course, there was a word which sounded exceedingly like a#$hole but which meant a polite inquire ala “is it so?” (One of my friends there got so much habituated to saying this word, that his friends back in India used to berate him every time he called because of his गालीप्रदान)

But I think I should start from how I got there before going on about the story. So, let's go back to October '04. I have just come back from a visit to my parents in Hospet (not my home, it is in Pune, but my father was in Hospet for quite a long time till last year) and I appear in office on Monday morning (not so) fresh from my travel. Our team leader asks me and my colleague to join him for a meeting. The only things I remember from that meeting (I never slept in any meeting I remember of, but still...) are that we had to move across to the opposite wing of the building to get an empty conference room (the same room in which my exit interview was to take place 6 months later, but we didn't know that at that time) and that my team leader asked me to get a visa to Schengen states as I had to travel to Germany to our client's office in 15 days.

After a brief call to my parents to give them the news, I tried to digest the fact that I was going “onsite” and I had to prepare a lot. My preparations had to start from getting myself photographed for visa, getting a decent suitcase and something to survive in the sub-zero temperatures of Stuttgart. All in all, I was ready to go to Mumbai, but the small travel from Mumbai to Stuttgart was the one I needed some help for. The only things I needed to do was talking to my friends already there to get me accommodation, talking to HR for my visa, talking to travel desk to get my tickets, and talking to finance to get my money. So after getting my photos the day I had to submit the visa documents, getting some currency to sustain myself on the day I had to leave for banglore, and getting the so-called “warm clothes” 2 hours before I had to leave for Germany, I was sitting with my parents on Bangalore airport waiting for my flight to be called.

Reaching Mumbai, the first thing, and about the only thing I did was to spend the two hours between the flights productively meeting my brother. The distance between Mumbai domestic and Mumbai International (I guess both are called Chhatrapati Shivaji now, so the names will just confuse) was covered from outside. Thinking back, I have been through both Chhatrapati Shivajis at least 4 time in last 2 years, but I haven't taken the airport bus yet. I took the bus later in Delhi, but that is for later. Anyway, after a full meal, I was ready to board the Swiss airways flight.

The flight was peaceful, and the only problem I had was to run across the entire Zurich international airport with my cabin baggage, as the comforatble 1 hour time difference between flights was reduced considerably by the flight delay. My tryst with the airline companies dates from here. After literally dashing through the giant airport, I was just in time to catch my next flight. After that, reaching Stuttgart, meeting my colleague from office, and dropping my bags in my hotel room (which was booked for 2 days, after which I had to move to a different, and much better hotel room) was a work of an hour or two. And finally, I was ready to face my new work as “On site co-coordinator”.

After that day, my daily schedule was fixed. Get up at 6, get ready and have a sumptuous breakfast at the hotel, get to office by 6.30 by 6.50 bus. I won't bore you with what I did at office, but it should suffice that I was able to get my module back on tires, I mean track. Luckily I wasn't involved in the (in)famous meetings where the language was German, and so we english-speaking people had a translator transwhispering eerything (including jokes) in our ears. After the work, leave by 7.30 or 8.05 bus (else the next one would be 9.30 odd), and get back to the bus station, which was walking distance from my hotel. Then either go with my friends to eat something in hotel (chinese noodles, no.64 was veg noodles) or at their place (omlette and toast, or pizza) or worst late case, go back to hotel and eat some pizza from the shops below. The Friday nights were devoted to going to Indian restaurants (extremely expensive, but then, I was not picking up the tab for my food) and getting drunk (not me, others).

And of course, the weekends were for shopping (groceries and digicam, which was bought one week too late), browsing Media Markt, lazing at my friend's place playing Caeser III (in german, with a german-english dictionary at hand) and of course visiting museums and places.

First on our list was Daimler-Chrysler museum, which is car-lovers' concept of paradise. Four floors filled with cars, each seeped in so much history that you can almost see the dates and histories dripping from it. What else would a person need to enjoy an afternoon? This was the time I rued the fact that I had not bought or brought a camera. I corrected this oversight next week, but it was already late. The Porsche Museum was just one big hall. Well, of course I didn't know that Porsche was into F1 once upon a time, and of course, the Carrera placed there was a sight to behold, but then, it's not on the same level as DC.

While working and enjoying the sights, before I knew the time for Christmas was there. The day Christmas vacation started, I was packed off back to India to work. And after working for 15 days in India while people enjoyed in Germany, the day Christmas vacation ended there, I was on my way back to work in Germany again.

Update: The second chapter of The Love story is online. Please read it here.

Die-hard fans of Friends will recognise the format. For others, I have tried to emulate the format of the episode guide of Friends like here.

Quote of The Day:

Travel is only glamorous in retrospect.
- Paul Theroux (1941 - )

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Setting The record straight

Hi guys, how are you? Ladies, your servant...

Ooh, blank stares? Who's this guy, they say, to start talking so familiarly with us? I understand, it is not your fault. It is not my fault too, you know. I mean, a character steps out of the play you all have read, seen, cherished and dreamed of for last, 300 is it, years, and you give him blank looks of non-recognition? Where is your hospitality?

Anyways, where was I? Oh yes, the fault! So, the fault lies with the so-called Bard (with a capital B), you know who I mean. Don't make me take his name. Or make me, that will show the overblown person staring over my shoulder that he is not as famous as he makes out.

I mean, you tell the man my character is important, and he goes on and cuts you out of the play. And he gives my best lines and manners to somebody else? Crazy authors. How dare he? Why he did this? Ask him... no wait, don't bother. I know the answer. “Artistic liberty”, my foot.

So, my introduction. I am the reason you lovebirds have your idols, I am The Matchmaker (remember the capitalization), I am the person who made The Love Story (I think there is a movie by this name, but I am not talking about it) possible. My name is... what's in a name, bardie? Anyways, I am Romie's brother, sorry, you know him as Romeo, right? And I am here to state the record straight.

Did Romeo sent you, you ask? Go to hell, bardie (can't kill a dead person), this is all your doing. No people, this is the lieyou have been reading. My role in the story is much important than just hero's sidekick. How I know all this terms? Well, I also watch movies you know.

So, let me tell you the story as it happened, and let bardie burn in hell. (He's still staring over my shoulder)

This is a new project I have started. Read the entire story here.

All brickbats welcome. (Can't expect any bouquets right?)

Oh, and by the way, I just got myself a new mouse. Now call me geek, call me materialist, but this baby is sexy.

Quote of the Day:

After being Turned Down by numerous Publishers, he had decided to write for Posterity.
-George Ade (1866 - 1944)

Friday, March 03, 2006

Filling the Blank Spaces

Update: For all my friends, read this excellent essay, and don't get angry next time I don't come with you to your parties. (I have added essay link to my recommended links too)

Since I am suffering from Writer's cramp, err... block, I thought I should continue my drive to educate the people about the great comics available online. Since I last told you about the great options to procrastinate, there have been some additions in my comical (I knew this was the wrong word) knowledge about comics.

So, here we go

  • Ctrl-Alt-Del:

    By the name, I guess you must have thought that this is MS-bashers' very own drawing board. This is not about Vulcan nerve pinch, but about something very much different, something very close to my heart. Computer Games!!!


    a)Ethan: An eccentric game fanatic, self-proclaimed (and now public-proclaimed) “King of Winter-een-mas”. Crazy about games, needs psychological treatment when new games come out.
    Update: I just remembered that some of the gaming companies have restraining orders against him. Just goes to show the guy's dedication to gaming community.

    b)Lucas: Ethan's original room-mate, a very practical person. Has extremely poor love life. (his girlfriend tried to kill him, to get his non-existent fortune) Works in a Customer service center for computers, and is very lucky to get a boss who understands how stupid retarder the customers can be. Kicks Ethan's a#$ in almost all games.

    c)Lilah: Ethan's girlfriend fiance. Despite her species, an avid gamer, sometimes which turns into a problem for her.

    d)Scott: Ethan and Lucas' third roomie. Linux user, for crying out loud. Lives with Ted, the penguin. Works behind special fortified, fireproof and electrified door, but it's a normal precaution when you live with Ethan.

    e)Zeke: A sentient X-Box, created (and recreated, repaired etc etc) by Ethan. Played a vital role in saving Lucas and Ethan, but then he also tried to kill them when he turned maniacal for a while. Desperately in love with the large screen TV screen.

    The other characters come and go in the strip, but then, it is about Ethan and Lucas, and of course now Lilah.

    So enjoy the strip, and remember to celebrate Winter-een-mas.

  • Least I could do:

    Children below 18 and conservative people will do better to skip to the next point. This is not for you.

    Children, I mean it, else I am going to tell your mom. I know who is reading what on my page.

    Ok, all the people who have come so far (you there, I know you are not supposed to be here, get out now), I guess you must have known about the topic of this strip (pun intended) by now. It is about the exploits of a stud in this bad, bad world.


    a) Ryen Summers: The stud in question. The strip is about his s#$ploits. His current score is somewhere around 500 (as of 2005). He is the person who just drops in a company when he hears that the CEO of the company is hot, and gets hired as a consultant, earning in 5-6 figures.

    b)John Gold: Ryen's roomie, and a school teacher. Talks with Darth Vader, who tempts him about all the girls he can see. He gets to score a girl sometimes, but then, as Ryen says the strip is “Least I Could Do” and so, John's storyline does not continue.

    c)Alie: Ryen's friend, and the only girl he hasn't got yet.

    d)Mick Alfa: This is no alpha male in the club, he is awkward and geeky friend of Ryen. Even without trying, can make anybody feel better in comparison.

    Once you get past the s#$al themes in the comic (I know it is hard when you have the word staring at you once in at least alternate strips), it is a great read. Ryen, even after being completely narcissistic, is a very good person underneath it all (OK you dirty thinkers, I am talking about souls).

    Geeks of the world (who like LoTR and Star Wars), we have a new idol (or ideal, whatever).

  • Chintoo:

    (Translation: 1. "Goaaallll!!!
    2. Hurrayyy!!! Congrats!!!!
    3. If you keep congratulating me like this, I won't score a goal next time.)

    An extremely good Marathi comic, something on the level of Calvin. Though he does not have tiger, he gets beaten by a bully and his friends alike. But of course, it is not a straight copy, and the only reason I mentioned Calvin was, because the similarities in theme.


    a) Chintoo: The hero of the strip. A school-going boy (he is going to school since I was in school, yet he is passing all his exams). Lives with his mother (aai, named Deepa) and father (baba, who is sometimes Chintoo's victim and sometimes... ) He also lives with his Grandfather and grandmother sometimes (to and is amply awarded with toys for this).

    b) Pappu: Chintoo's best friend. The boy who helps Chintoo when he is in danger (but then, Raju is more danger than anybody can handle) Does not fight with Mini.

    c) Mini: The girl in the gang, a poet whose poems are hated by all but Raju. Can beat Chintoo to pulp easily.

    d)Bagalya: The geek in the gang. His name derives from his long frame, much like a giraffe (Bagala in marathi is crane, you get the picture)

    e)Raju: The bodily strong, mentally slow person in the gang. Likes Mini's poems, but then that is not a praise. Does not understand jokes quickly, even if you make fun of him. So, if you are fast, you can crack jokes about him and get away, because if he catches you,...

    f)Joshikaku: Chintoo's neighbor, who has a large garden full of fruit trees (no self-respecting boy can stay away from कैरी, पेरु etc). Gets the brunt of the gang's play, with their cricket resulting mostly in ball going through Joshikaku's glass windows, with predictable results.

    This gang is the one with which most of the boys' of my age have grown up. Chintoo is as famous in marathi children (and grown-ups too) as maybe Faster Fene (more about this character later). Worth a read if you know marathi (but then if you know marathi and haven't read Chintoo, you have wasted your childhood), if you don't know marathi, it is very similar to Hindi, so go and read it.

Oh, and before I forget, all the fans of Mr. Walker, visit the Skull Cave here.

Quote of the Day:

Inspiration is wonderful when it happens, but the writer must develop an approach for the rest of the time... The wait is simply too long.
- Leonard Bernstein (1918 - 1990)

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

My muse is loafing

“ये world हैं ना world, इस में दो तरह के लोंग होते है। एक जो सारी जिंदगी एक भी किताब नही पढतें और दुसरें जो एक ही जिंदगी में सारी किताबे पढ लेतें है। ऐसा मै ही कहता हूं। और कहता क्या हूं करता हूं। और ऐसा करता हूं जो ना शायद ना किसी नें किया, और ना कोई कर पाएगा।”

(The above quote has very little connection, if at all, with the topic and the contents of the post. But it has been in my head for last two weeks since I thought of it. So, now that I have put it down, I can get back to other topics, such as they are.)

A severe bout of Writer's block. For last few hours, I have been sitting in front of my laptop trying to write something. Lot of topics, but I cannot put the thoughts in order. I am feeling like this, this and this. So, I am heeding to Nique and writing this down.

Should I write about my trip to Germany (done when I was still getting paid to surf the net)? I have thought of a great title for it, in fact two titles if it goes over two posts.

Or should I write about the new (and old) books of Michael Crichton which I have been reading? Just finished reading a book which I did not know existed.

Or should I write about two great book series, containing all the glory of wizards, kings, knights, battles and even a dragon or three? Both the writers are good, and the tales of valor and chivalry do touch our hearts (at least mine).

I have just finished watching a great drama on Maratha history, which just reminded me of a great Marathi novel by a great author. That should be a good topic for a post, given that I love history.

Maybe I should write about the Paolo Coelho books, seeing that I finished third book written by him today. The religion and philosophy in his books (bar some) is definitely worth commenting on.

Let me tell you, I am not able to key in more than 2 lines on any of these topics right now.

Does this help? A help on both counts is welcome. Maybe the heavy work load has driven all other thoughts from my mind. Maybe this theory is true. If so, my writing days may be lettered.

Pray to God that this does not happen, or is my current state the result of all the prayers going to God? If so, beware, हर लेखक का दिन आता है। (जिस दिन वह समिक्षक होता है।)

Quote of the Day:

The cure for writer's cramp is writer's block.
-Inigo DeLeon