Wednesday, April 27, 2005


I was at odds on whether to title the blog as Vinayak ka Parivaar as NDTV called it. Then knowing the guy, I thought that the best way to pay tribute to him was to just talk about his work.

Vinayak was a colleague of mine, while I was at Infy. We left at around the same time to join the IIMs - he joined IIMC and I joined IIML. He is from IIT KGP.

In the days that we were in touch, he used to be a quite a brooder, even on the bus that we used to take to attend the CAT prep tests in the evenings and was forever ready to discuss Indian philosophy. And he used to ravage the tests always!

Anyways, I am writing to draw attention to his organization - Parivaar, which works with "homeless" and "family-less" kids and tries to make a difference to their lives. People interested in contributing to his effort, please check out and follow the links there. Alternatively, Click here to contribute

I hadn't spoken to him in about 3 years, since I last visited IIMC. Just finished speaking to him and caught up a bit on his life since our last meeting. Must visit him when I do visit Calcutta. whenever that happens.

I am really proud that someone I know has accomplished something I have massive respect for.

Cheers to Vinayak. May God bless his Parivaar.

Sunday, April 17, 2005


This weekend, I saw two fine movies – The Motorcycle Diaries (TMD) and Sideways. Perhaps Sideways affected me more than TMD did, while the latter is a powerful movie, nonetheless.

I have decided to take a self-imposed break from blogging, atleast till the Bangalore marathon (when I should post details of my run), even after which I should be on a break from blogging, atleast at the frequency I do it.

By the way, Virginia Madsen as Maya in Sideways is now the latest addition to my “crush on fictional character” list.

Sideways prompted a reflection on my own life – one of the outcomes being the realization that my energy is currently best spent elsewhere. This is something that I have experienced a few times in life, some sort of self realization that I need to be doing something I am not doing currently or spending enough time on and also that I shouldn’t spending as much time (as I am spending) on something. I picked up running in the same way in college, when I decided that I would rather be running than playing football as I seemed to be getting better at running and wasn’t enjoying football every time I played it. And I still love football (although my involvement is limited to watching it). And I have enjoyed running everytime I do it. So I guess I am out discovering something that will give me a high everytime.

I guess this is something that happens to all of us – atleast once in life.


The Motorcycle Diaries

Diarios de motocicleta

If you have ever been a diehard communist (I was in my college days), you will love this movie. If you have ever loved taking out long bike rides with a buddy, you will cry and laugh as you watch this movie!

TMD narrates the story of Ernesto “Che” Guevara de la Serna and Alberto Granado, who set out across the South American continent to see their land for themselves, before Alberto completes his 30th birthday.

Their journey is packed with adventure, not in the least due to Alberto’s desire to be the sexual ambassador of Argentina. One gains an insight into the ideation of Che as the rebel as Che and Alberto are touched by the lives of their fellowmen and the inherent poverty. In fact I was reminded of Steinbeck’s masterpiece - The Grapes of Wrath (about the lives of farmers in Oklahoma), during one of the scenes, where Che encounters a couple looking for jobs in a mining town.

The movie has typical Latino flavour – warmth and affection all round, humour in everyday life, right from the beginning, from the moment they get on “The Mighty One” to their attempts at night to setup a tent after a real hard day, to their trekking across the Atacama desert, to the bar scene with two Chilean sisters and the Mambo-Tango that’s named for Che.

The experiences of Che and Alberto with the leper colony in San Pablo in the Amazon, is a poignant take with itself – with the tales of Papa and Sylvia, being the grain that the Che legend is built on. The human side of the charismatic side was unknown to me, although I do possess a copy of “Guerrilla Warfare” - proof of his combat instincts. The climax of the movie by which time, Che and Alberto have gone way beyond their 8000 km plans, is a fitting end to the fable of Che. I wish Walter Salles could do one on the Guerrilla stage of Che. The movie is a cinematic masterpiece, worthy of the protagonist. The background score is an outstanding expression of Latin American music and so are the multiple tracks which make up the soundtrack.

Go see it, if only to see a bloody good movie – regardless of your inclinations!



Sideways stars Paul Giamatti (PG), Thomas Haden Church (TH), Virginia Madsen (VM) & Sandra Oh (SO). It is based on a Rex Pickett novel.

It tells the story of a week in the lives of two people - Miles (PG) and Jack (TH), who drive across California in what is Miles’ idea of soaking up life before Jack gets trapped in wedlock, a week later. Miles is a divorced, aspiring writer who’s struggling to get a book published while teaching English to 8th graders (Reason 1 to love the movie. I have wanted to teach English to schoolkids!). He’s the stereotypical loser (Reason 2). Jack is the actor who’s at the sunset of his acting life and makes do with commercials.

Jack’s plans for the week include trying to get Miles’ laid! In the course of things, they run into two women – Maya (VM) and Stephanie, both of whom work at wineries. Their lives get complicated from that moment on.

There are 2 parts to the movie – the wild escapades of Jack that lead to comic consequences for both Jack and Miles (don’t miss the sequence towards the end, when they try to explain the injury to Jack!) and the “drifting in and out of drunkenness” of Miles, while he tries to put his life into perspective. PG excels as Miles and TH is impressive as the philandering friend, who does care about his buddy, but just can’t keep to himself.

VM essays the role of the woman who’s working her way to her Master’s while working as a waitress, with élan. The interlude between Maya and Miles, one night while they sit discussing the merits of Pinaut wine (even as TH and SO are being not so discreet elsewhere!) is perhaps the best summary of the movie. While Miles faces up to a failed marriage and fights his own misconceptions about the woman who’s just a “waitress” the movie unravels into a beautiful tale of romance and reflections on life.

The movie also has its humorous moments when Miles detours from their route trip to California to visit his mother.

As the movie courses its way through the vineyards of California, there are several questions that confront the viewer- Will Miles and Maya finally hook up, in what must be the dream coupling for both? Will Jack abandon his approaching marriage for his lover of his dreams? Will Miles’ novel finally get published?

Watch the movie to find the answers – including some to your own life! (Read my next blog for details) Overall, a must watch – this one is the best romance in recent times, perhaps even a shade better than Closer.


Thursday, April 14, 2005

Bangalore Marathon

Well she is finally here! 15th May 2005 is the date for the much awaited Bangalore Marathon (half, full and the now customary media-savvy 7 km race) .

I can't make up my mind yet again as to whether I should be running the half marathon or the full. It'd be a question of will power vs good timing.

Lets see. I should atleast begin training now

Marriage Strategy?!

Nice try :)

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Premature Obituary?

I am not as much a cricket lover as I am a football lover. But then considering the present state of things, especially the baying for Dada's blood from my Bangla bandhus, I want to comment my 2 bits to the defence of Dada, like my pal Sabnis has.

First, the Indian cricket team has been treated rather too well in recent years by the cricket loving public. They didn’t perform consistently until Dada was made captain. Even Sachin (whom I consider as one of God’s manifestations and thereby usually switch the TV off after he gets out, regardless of the result) couldn’t lead the Indian team to considerable performance. Dada knit the Indian team together and led by example, on and off the field. How can one forget his topless performance at Lords?! People underestimate the value of such outbursts. Dada was only playing jazz (remember Jim Carey in Bruce Almighty) to the British and in their own gallery! And see how Dada reacts when his bowlers perform. He is a captain and he has the leadership instincts. Its an altogether different thing to be batting well. That is a run of form. All of our batsmen have been thru bad patches – Sachin, Dravid, Laxman, Sehwag even!

What is important in life is how the team feels when they are losing? Would they be rather led by someone who can’t communicate? India doesn’t have the luxury of the Australian team where they pick 11 top cricketers and then the best one amongst them as captain. Although my personal beliefs are in favour of function over form and hence performance over flamboyance, I would still, rather be a talented cricketer than a boring one! So if I ever had to pick a team, I would pick the ten most consistent cricketers and then one talented maverick !

Dada should be kept in purely as captain, but some counseling is in order to restore his batting form, perhaps from Sachin, who undoubtedly has the best cricketing brain in the country. And he knows what it is, to go up and down. We must keep in mind that Sachin has now played nearly 16 continuous years of cricket!

I have a sinister feeling about the match suspension thing. It may be conveniently timed to give Dada a much-needed break. Unless India comes up with someone who can lead the country for two seasons on the trot to win in Australia, Pakistan and West Indies to test series wins, none has a bloody right to challenge Dada. Not that Dada has managed that. But we haven’t exactly buried our heads in sand in the last couple of years. And we were in bad shape before he assumed reins. So lets give him - say, a 10-match streak and see what happens. He has done his bit to the country’s morale. So we must stand up for him and not be like the cricket board of our cousins across the border, where anyone can be captain!

Sunday, April 10, 2005


Ek Garam Chai ki pyaali ho, aur usko pilaane waali ho?
I can quite imagine how James Jackson must have asked Madonna for some chai – Behenji, ek chai milega!? I don’t know what specifically captured my attention here, but this piece of news, serves to reinforce my argument on the ephemeral nature of physical beauty (which I have discussed a while ago in my blog on Women). Madonna has been amongst the most physically attractive women of our times (atleast she’s been mentioned more in that context than any other) and perhaps only Sharon Stone has been mentioned for her IQ amongst other attractive women. But even that has been overhyped. It isn’t difficult at all to get an IQ score of around 150 - Trust me, I know!

And then the chai part, triggered off a rush of memories about my 4 years at engineering. I spent my engineering life, drinking not less than half a dozen chais daily, at Lingam’s and Nagu’s, by the highway side, opposite the college entrance in Trichy. Lingam and Nagu, were as much a part of my life as anyone in those fantastic 4 years. So much so, that in the rare event that it rained in Trichy and I couldn’t make my customary walk to GATE and back in the day, Nagu would ask – Yeah Tambi varale? (translated from Tamil to mean – “Why didn’t you come brother?” However tambi is a loosely used word, somewhat like the way, blacks use “brother.” Just like another Tamil word “mapillai,” which means “Groom.” For a rather detailed Tamil primer, click here. Anyways, Lingam was Nagu’s son and an alcoholic. Lingam made better tea than Nagu and sold a lot more too. However the moment he had earned enough in about 10 days, he’d spend the next week or so, getting drunk. The last I heard, he was in rehab and Nagu was taking care of his grandkids.

And the reason GATE was in CAPS and bold, was to remind me of a PJ which was commonly sprung on unsuspecting guys by a lot of guys in my batch, when someone would pop – Abey gate chalega kya? (translated from Hindi to mean – “Hey, will you come with me to the gate? (literally translated, it means “Hey, Will the gate move?!”) and then we would reply, “Gate to wahin khada rehta hain, kahin nahin chalega!” (the gate is stationary and doesn’t move anywhere) and snigger to no end!

And the tea- kadai (kadai pronounced as in cud – eye , meaning outlet) experience is almost generic. Ask the IITM guys about Taram’s (short for Taramani guest house). There are several tea shops outside the gate near Taramani guest house. Apparently the business is so big that there are huge sums of money involved in getting the right to run business there. And the operators change every year or two! But then that’s another story!

I am all teary eyed and overwhelmed with emotion about those glorious 4 years and shall get off here and return along the trail. You Carry On Trekking (which could have been a great title for a Star Trek spoof from our friends at Pinewood Studios) ;) Thanx!