Friday, June 30, 2006

Will Wait till South Africa

Germany won rather undeservedly on penalties.

Now for some venting.

Why the f$#* was Messi not brought on? And what about Saviola? Pekerman will lose his job for sure.

And Riquelme was not tired enough to be substituted. Since Rodriguez was off colour, he could have been substituted. And like any idiot who has kicked a ball knows, the kicks are taken by strikers first, not defenders. So what was Ayala doing? Atleast Tevez who had a great game could have taken a shot.

And Messi can kick Pekerman's balls for penalty kick practice until South Africa!

Phew! There now, that feels much better.

But why did Pekerman not start with Messi and Tevez? What was he holding Messi for?

Anyways when the 2010 WC happens, Messi will be 23 and Tevez will be a little older than him. So not much loss there. But who wants to see Germany play a semi-final?

So will Vinokourov win this year's Tour De France ?

Breaking News or heartbreaking news?!

Thanks to BHVK for spotting it.

PostScript: Not apparently as his team has pulled out.

Now George Hincapie leads the Discovery team.

Farewell to Hyderabad

I am leaving Hyderabad at the end of next week. It has been such a cute place with a list of pleasures I can’t quite enumerate. But I shall recommend a few places that you can visit on a weekend.

Café Odyssey: One of the pasta places in Hyderabad with a decent buffet, with the Odyssey bookshop right behind (and hence, a must see). The coffee is not great, but not bad either.

KBR Park: Read My Places to Run in India
Hussain Sagar: The perimeter of Hussain Sagar is a virtual microcosm of Hyderabad (with upmarket apartments overseeing the lake) and an abrupt shockingly open drain joining the lake at one point (How did they allow this?!)

Abid’s: Years ago, before the days of Hitech City and Hyderabad Central, if you asked a Hyderabadi, “ka karein miya?!” he would reply “Abid’s jao. Ghoom ke aao” and hence one must see all that there is on Abid’s including the bookshops which stock some real gems which need to be uncovered (quite literally!)

Café D’Art: Everyone who wants to have nice food knows Fusion 9 and Cinnabar Red. But if all one wants to do is lounge about and have coffee and then contemplate the universe, unlike the relatively noisier Barista, across the road, this place is a good choice. You can get agitated by the rather chilled out service, but then you are expected to have the time on the weekend.

Majji’s house: Overlooking the Jalagam Vengal Rao park and having an awesome view of the lake, Majji’s house on the 4th floor has a fantastic location by virtue of being the corner apartment. Ok, fine, I know that, not all of you can go there and act like a pig – guzzle beer and endless Bacardi breezers, shout yourself hoarse over football matches, but then what the hell!? This is about my places to be in Hyd! Not to forget the biryani from Hyderabad house, whose aloos are “Oh so tender!” that they melt in your mouth. Serious, if I can say that I liked aloo (after a little over a half a dozen years of only aloo at breakfast everyday), you will too!

My Places to Run in India

This blog is a list of places to run in India. I have run in each of them and hence can vouch for their suitability.One should exercise due caution after about 7 pm, especially in winter since most parks are isolated in the evenings.

Lalbagh: Bangalore: Our baby Bangalore is home to one of the best locations that I have run in. The periphery of this botanical garden cum park has a rough track (meaning, its not paved or levelled) measuring about 3.5 km, which runs along the compound for the most part and along the road inside Lalbagh for about 1.5 km, running along the road that leads from MTR to the rocky hillock in Lalbagh and then around the lake. The dual benefit of running in Lalbagh, especially in the mornings is that the air is rich in clean air, in addition to the track providing a good workout, by virtue of the occasional gradient. Your life can be enriched by the migratory birds in winter, including the occasional swans from god knows where!
How to get here: Lalbagh is about 4 km from the City Bus Stand (Railway Station) and about 3.5 km from MG Road, both of which are known landmarks.

Rose Garden: New Delhi: This is almost a surprise in Delhi, nestled as it is in the heart of Hauz Khas. Very thick with vegetation and a mud track to run on, this is about 2.5 km if you take the route from the entrance and take a long loop of the park (if your back is to IITD, then the loop is a right hand loop starting from the leftmost end of the park where a path leads into the park). You could extend your run by running to one of the gates and then back and then take the above mentioned loop.

Khadakvasla: Pune: This would rank with the best of places (excluding hillstations) for a good run. This is outside the city and involves the road to NDA. Ordinary citizens are not allowed into the NDA except on weekends. Those with defence connections can gain easy entry as guests. The road is flanked by fantastic vegetation and is excellent for even a good, short cycling trip, especially due to the steep gradients leading up & down to the NDA gate. Everyone in Pune should have a reasonable idea of how to get to NDA.

Marina Beach: Madras: This starts of with a rather revolting stretch of people along the Marina beach near Santhome, where men and kids mostly, are squatting early in the morning answering nature’s call and more. The stretch clears up into just sand and boats as you move closer towards the lighthouse. This carries on till Chepauk for a stretch of about 4.5 km from Santhome to Chepauk. Running on sand is an excellent cure for the legs (personal opinion) since it is tough as your legs sink in every step. But it has the action of shock absorption since the sand ensures that landing impact is minimized. You could choose to start running at the lighthouse and still run till Chepauk for about 2.5 to 3 km or so and then run back. Fantastic, if you want to train for the Mumbai marathon, since Madras is horribly humid and hot!

Hyderabad: The KBR park in Hyderabad has to be my discovery of the year for running. Too bad that I didn’t run there every weekend. The KBR park lies on the way to Jubilee Hills from Nagarjuna Circle on your left. It is a large park with 2 tracks for running – one inside of 4 km (for which you need to pay an entrance fee) and another outside or slightly higher distance (free). I would recommend the inner one since it is mostly free. The track is a mud track and the best reason to choose this one is that there are peacocks all along the trail at various points which remind me of my IIML running days. Also the air is clean and there are several steep sections which can be of great benefit if you want to do interval training. Also, there are clear markings every 0.2 km.

There is also the Jalagam Vengal Rao Park (a stone’s throw away from the Nagarjuna Circle) but it has a hard track. Not recommended.

Bombay: Joggers’ Park in Borivili is a good place if you want to do interval training for sprints. However there are too many celebrities and people in the park. I would rather run in Shivaji Park or Azad Maidan or along the Worli Seaface. The Worli Seaface stretch is about 2 km from end to another. The sea to your side is sufficient inspiration to run along here.

Can't Walk. Gotta Run...

8 ½

Occasionally, one always wishes one could get others to see what was playing in one’s theatre of the mind. What if, you felt like simply doing what came to mind and see if others enjoyed?

Fellini does just that, in this movie which had been recommended a long time before to us.
Marcello Mastroianni as Guido and his ‘harem’ of women and their stories are just amazing setpieces in this work by Fellini which seems like one effortless scene after another. There are numerous attempts at “thumbing the nose” at intellectuals and others, not least of which is the seemingly smart scriptwriter. There are parodies galore of the movie industry and the hard work that it involves.

Before we forget, Anouk Aimee as Luisa is our latest crush in life. Oooh! She’s so cute, ra!

But the movie is anything but frivolous imagination. It is immensely entertaining and is an excellent choice for a weekend movie. It is easy on the eye and has good music, especially in the ‘rhumba’ by Saraghina!

The climax is reminiscent of the wedding party of the daughter in The Godfather. Everyone is enjoying themselves. Although, one felt a trifle sad for the sailor who performs a trial dance.

According to IMDB, six features, two short (1/2) films and "half a picture" were the sum total of Fellini’s output, before this one and hence the title (7.5 + 1)
81/2 tells the story of a movie maker trying to overcome his version of writer’s block. The rest is movies, masti, magic. Creativity in full flow. To think, this movie was made in 1963!
Outstanding effort.

Go watch it while we look for our Luisa, Oh she’s so cute, ra!

Cinema Paradiso

We salute you, Giuseppe Tornatore.
If there is a movie in recent times, that tugged at our heart and then made us all warm and happy in the end, this is the one.

The DVD cover said that anyone who loves cinema can only enjoy this movie. We agree fully. The kid who plays the protagonist is cute and brilliant quite unlike the irritating “too wise for their age” kids we find in most movies. And Alfredo is the man.

Our favourite moment is when the young Toto replaces the injured Alfredo on the job. Particularly heart-warming stuff. The chemistry between Toto and Alfredo is amazing.

And then there are the seemingly endless interludes between Toto & Alfredo. Our favourite is the one below.

Salvatore: Who said that? Gary Cooper? James Stewart? Henry Fonda? Eh?
Alfredo: No, Toto. Nobody said it. This time it's all me. Life isn't like in the movies. Life... is much harder.
Cinema Paradiso tells the story of a man whose life is linked to a theatre named Cinema Paradiso in his town.

The movie starts off with a brilliant shot from a window in the house of Toto’s mom and her attempts to call him. It ends with the then-aged Toto watching his gift from Alfredo. In between is the Cinema Paradiso. One can rave and rave, but would rather recommend and request that the reader will go and watch this flick and come back and thank us for recommending it.

Simply Awesome. Must Watch.

PostScript: We apologize for the inadvertent omission of Ennio Moricone from our reasons to watch the movie. But like his free flowing, non-intrusive but brilliant score, we thought our readers would notice that too. Profound Apologies

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Plundering & Blundering on Saturday

Had 3 book coupons for Crossword, thanks to HSBC, thanks to inordinate amount of use of credit card!

Went there for what I thought would be a 10 min snap purchase of some books I have long thought of. Instead ended up bumbling around and mumbling to myself, along the shelves till some woman thought I was stalking her and then gave me the looks to make vinegar turn sweet!

Finally my mom called and I had promised to pick her up. Shit! Then began the Mr. Bean routine of looking right, left, centre, up and then dropping all books in hand, apologizing to everyone around and then finally starting off on all racks again!

Anyone who has seen Rowan Atkinson transfixed at various times when he makes a net movement in no direction, when he has to make some decision and can only move a little in each direction before retracting his step can get some idea of what I went through!

I bought (phew!) - A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson, Tarkash (Quiver) - a collection of poems by Javed Akhtar (yeah, yeah! this is our 2nd Indian poetry book in nearly as many weeks) and some magazines to bring up the total!

Now to start reading!

Friday, June 16, 2006

28 K RFL Monthly Run

The monthly run is scheduled for 18th June. The run for this month is around
Sankey tank and it is 28k run ( 8 laps of 3.5km each) starting at 6:15 a.m.

This time around RFl is conducting a 7km ( 2 laps of 3.5 kms each)run as well starting at 7:30 a.m. for new members or anyone who wants to start training for the marathon from scratch.

The starting point is at the entrance to the lake. In terms of directions, if you are coming from Windsor Manor, take a left at the Kaveri theater junction and head towards Bhashyam circle (en route to Malleshwaram). When you come to Bhashyam circle that has multiple roads (6 to be precise), please take the right that has the Sankey Tank to its left (i.e. not the hard left, not the road to Chowdiah, not the flyover
to Malleshwaram, not the hard right).

So all the members running for the 28k run pls report by 6 a.m. so that we can start the run at 6:30 and members interested in the 7k run should report by 7:00 a.m.

KQA Anniversary quizzes on Sunday 18 June 2006

Venue: Guru Nanak Bhavan, off Queen's Road

COGNITO
Std. VIII,IX, X
Regn: 0930hrs
Prelims:1000hrs
Finals: 1100hrs
Teams of two
QM: Dibyendu Das

SPLITSCREEN
Open to all
Teams of two
Regn: 1230hrs
Prelims: 1300hrs
Finals: 1400hrs
QMs: Satyajit Chetri, Arun Raghavan
Entry Fee: Rs. 200/-
Prizes for all qualifiers

SESAME
Open to all
Teams of 4
Regn: 1530hrs
Prelims: 1600hrs
Finals: 1700hrs
QM: Arul Mani
Entry Fee; Rs. 50/- per team
Prizes for all qualifiers

The KQA Yearbook, comprising 1500 questions from the last season,
will be released on the occasion of the 23rd Anniversary. The
Yearbook is priced at Rs. 100/- only.

For details, clarifications, directions etc. please feel free to Arun Mani me at 91-98452-06690

Sunday, June 11, 2006

The rest of the weekend

Spent most of the weekend at the home of a friend - watching football, movies, tennis, cricket!

Saw 21 Grams & Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. The former is a good watch. The latter is a must watch if you like wacko stuff. Johnny Depp rocks as the Duke(Did you notice his first name has 2 Ns? I only noticed when I had to find the IMDB link to his name!)

And Argentina won their first match after some tense moments. Aimar barely got his foot on the ball and Messi is yet to play. So good for us ;) Viva Argentina

So much to do and so little time!

Yo ho ho and a bottle of Secunderabad 200 year 5K RUM!

well that's what my certificate says!

Well it does not have the longjohn extract, but it says that I have participated in the S'bad 5K RUM!

There was a 5K run (There's some calibration problem with runs in Hyd. The Hyd half marathon was not 21K. This race was definitely not 5K.)I took abt 22 mins. I am not that fast yet! I know.

Got to see some parts of S'Bad I would not have seen otherwise.

Run was terribly organized. There was a false start. This, after the race started half an hour late!Got a free tshirt and a cap. So that is about all I will crib about ;)

There were about a couple of thousand people. About a couple of hundred people ran on the false start and then after about 0.8 km came back! I was one of them! When I asked a race official whether the race had started, he just pointed at me and laughed! The idiot had no place to hide himself when I was fuming on my way back!

Finally, mega star flagged us off!

Two kids (both girls) finished ahead of me. An old man finished ahead of me. I caught up with him twice during the race. But he kept a steady pace - faster than mine. When I finally met him after the race and asked him whether he had been an athlete before, he replied that he was still an athlete!!!!!

Am now planning on the Delhi Half Marathon. Lets see

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Conquest of the ET Crossword - Part Deux

The last time I did this.

This time, I will generally look very smug and act like it happens often enough!

Update on Trial of Manju's killers

The following is from a mail from the MST.
Mail starts here ->
UPDATE - FIRST TRIAL DATES, 5-7 JUNE 2006 (also posted on
www.manjunathshanmugamtrust.org)

- Media informed; press note released.Much preliminary preparation done by the prosecution team.Mr. IB - our lawyer - has been completely committed, involved and done star quality work. He is well known with a strong and good reputation, even amongst the media.
- Trustees met with HT editor in Lucknow and reached Lakhimpur Khiri on 5th morning.
- Big crowds; 5-6 TV channels, plus TOI, IE and HT reporters apart from local press.Our endeavour - no individual names, photographs or quotes. Press note only, which talks of the Trust as a group.
- All eight accused brought in with larger police contingent as they got violent with the press and raised slogans of `bandhi union zindabad'
- Hearing started at 12.30 p.m, and this was the only case heard
till court closed.
- Two policemen - who caught two of the accused with the body - gave evidence and were cross examined.
- There are seven defence lawyers, as except for two of the accused, every one else has his own lawyer - and each is given an opportunity to cross examine.
- That ended Day One. Trustees returned to Lucknow and thence back - on Day Two, Kamini Jaiswal, the noted Supreme Court lawyer, with a Trust volunteer (also a friend and batchmate of Manju's) - took over.
- Ms. Jaiswal's presence also created a big impact. The volunteer's presence showed that more people are involved, and he was asked for quotes on Manju.
- Day Two was the start of examination of the non-state witnesses: Manju's landlord, and a neighbouring petrol pump owner.
All three gave proper and relevant evidence. This was important. They were confident during the intensive cross examination.
- Ms. Jaiswal and Mr. IB left after discussing the strategy for Day Three.
- Day Three saw the proceedings being adjourned. The witnesses could not be produced due to unavoidable reasons.
- The Judge is proceeding on vacation and has given us next dates only of 6-7 July
- We have sent letters requesting daily hearings to The Hon'ble Sessions Judge, The Hon'ble Chief Justice, Allahabad High Court, and The Hon'ble CJ, Supreme Court.
- If necessary we will meet the CJs to push this.
Days of mixed feelings - relief, optimism, and much sadness. It is distressing to see the accused; to hear the graphic details; see the photographs. The resolve gets reinforced.. Quote from one of the Trust attendees: "I am happy that I came. I can't express the way I am feeling."
PLEASE JOIN US AND ATTEND THE HEARINGS. NEXT DATES 6-7 JULY. EMAIL US. THIS WILL HELP PRESENT A SHOW OF STRENGTH

<-Mail ends here

Monday, June 05, 2006

Yet Another Tag

This time, Sabnis has done this

Here are my responses.

I am thinking about – the answers to the next few
I said – a few things I wish I hadn’t
I want to – run a marathon under 3 hours
I wish – Bangalore had been a young lady in love with me
I miss - Bangalore
I hear – voices!
I wonder – what I would do without my friends
I regret – a few things that I will obviously not write on my blog about!
I am – that!
I dance – better when I am sober!
I sing – when I feel like!
I cry – rarely
I am not always - busy
I make with my hands - D-uh?!
I write – so that I may not speak
I confuse – work-life balance
I need – a girlfriend that shall take care of me for life, all expenses included!
I should try – asking her!
I finish – reading most books I start

And now for the people I will tag (mwahahaha!)

Zaphod - Let me see if he breaks his silence

Senthil - How does he manage those bloody pics?!

Saikotic (He's been desperately but rather unnecessarily soliciting visitors to his blog. Once you see it, you will see he is a man of considerable talents)

Megha

The Nipponophilic Ranter - Arigato!

Anti - who, these days, masquerades under a rather grand sounding name

Stud Anand - I wonder if he will reply to stuff like these!

Kiddo - Don't be fooled by his nickname!

Pocket Venus - She has been idle for a long time

Lahar - Another idler for sometime now

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Play of the Day at Roland Garros

This in my opinion goes to Dinara Safina's winner against Sharapova, to win the match. During the match, Dinara simply decimated the dainty Maria who is considerably gifted herself. But then the French Open is not a test of gifts alone, is it?

Tracking the Boys in Blue Stripes

If you are a fan of the Argentinian football team and want to track their progress, here's a site which does just that for you

World Environment Day

Spare a thought for mother nature.

Just a simple measure such as using paper bags can go a long way. One can only recount the horrors of floating plastic covers in the country from the Yamuna in Delhi to the backwaters in Cochin!

Shave & brush with a mug of water, rather than leave the tap running.

Lots can be done.

Make a start.

Do your bit.

Zatoichi

For all those who were dazed by QT's Kill Bill, here is the big momma for Samurai lovers.

If nothing else, one must watch to listen to Ichi's killer one liners ...

Zatôichi: Even with my eyes wide open I can't see a thing.

Shinkichi: Massuer, did you see that?
Zatôichi: I don't see much

And among other things, a must watch is the closing dance with japanese clogs set to some quasi Afro-American tap dancing. Absolutely fantastic score.

I am practising my dance moves now ;)

The script is so delightfully sparse and there is some really wicked humour - black at times, self deprecatory at others. But lovely script.

Now we know why Kitano attempted suicide. Like Eastman said,...If your work is done, it is difficult to hang around. You would rather not die of boredom.

This is Spinal Tap

This movie rocks. If someone were to make a movie on rock stars which was the comedy equivalent of Almost Famous, this would be it.

Hilarious take on the life styles of the rock stars. Not all sex & drugs in the world of rock and roll.

Must watch.

Fanaa

1st half me Aamir ko accha bataya, 2nd me bacche ko accha bataya. This was the succinct characterization of the movie Fanaa.
Megha has a slightly less charitable take on it at her blog, but watch out for spoilers.

My judgement is that Fanaa feels like the scriptwriter took a break at the interval and the movie was completed before he returned from it!

The 2nd half sucks & spoils the good entertainment from the 1st half. The less said the better.

Still Thinking!?

I was doing my weekly long run on the treadmill (do long runs in the park only when in Bangalore, these days) when this middle aged guy comes up and says, "Good Run...
" While we get talking and I get understandably all enthusiastic and begin evangelizing for running, the guy says," With such a good physique and stamina, you must be in great demand in bed!"

I am still thinking whether the guy gave a male compliment or there was more to it. I am not homophobic, but this has set me thinking about whether I should be running in the company of men!