Sunday, March 21, 2010

Two ways

You can look at everything in two ways. For example, the cynical among you may think that I lost badly to a youngster whom I defeated last week in a game of tennis, almost so badly that I should be prevented from picking up a tennis racquet again. The other way to look at it would be that I built character today, learned how to look at defeat as objectively as victory, understood that winning is not the ultimate goal, participating is.

Those who look at the episode on the tennis court this morning in the second way are my true friends. Those who choose to be pessimistic, obnoxious, negative and severely juvenile by thinking of the whole thing the first way, consider the following:

o When I am successful and am invited to a party held to celebrate my spectacularly brilliant success, you will not be on the list. While you stand in the line outside the posh night-club where people throw a glitzy party in my honour while people who were insightful and intelligent to think of this morning's experience in the second manner are ushered inside the club by comely escorts and offered a choice of champagne and kokum sharbat at the entrace, think whether it was worth being so petty.

o When I am so successful that it almost should be illegal and you are not and I am travelling with my posse of admirers, body-guards and general populace truly in love with me, while you are sweating the sweltering heat at the side of the road, forcefully restrained at that location by the police till my cavalcade passes, you will surely wonder whether I would have spotted you in the crowd, stopped the procession and given you a ride in ultimately luxurious vehicle that I happen to be travelling in if only you had thought of the unmentionable incident of this morning in the second way.

All I am saying is that there are two ways of looking at everything, and it never hurts to look at things in a positive way.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Take that, age 22

Good: I played two hours of tennis under a scorching Sun, with a guy 14 years younger to me (and who supposedly played the state circuit). Started by knocking the ball around followed by a set, which I won 6-2.

Bad: My whole body will be sore all day today and tomorrow while he will sail through the way an annoying 22 year old is likely to.

Ugly: Did not even make the cut last year. However, I will win this year because fighter hamesha jeetta hai.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Hazards of being an entrepreneur

Apart from the obvious risk of losing all your money, the only occupational hazard of being an entrepreneur is running the chance of getting so immersed in your work that you forget to enjoy life (which in turn leads to lack of enjoyment at work).

It is inevitable, but surmountable. I just came out of an 18 month long funk which gradually, yet completely, occupied my life leaving me thinking about only work and more work. However, I am back you people, so let's start with a German joke I heard at a party on Saturday:

Q. Why did the chicken cross the road?
A. To die. In the snow.


Wednesday, May 20, 2009


This is for today. Today, I hope you read this.

If today came up to me in a pub and tried to pick on me while I was sitting on a stool drinking my pale-ale (which I really like, BTW -- the ale, not the stool), I would punch it in the face (today, that is, not the stool or the ale). It would not matter if today was accompanied by yesterday and tomorrow, even if I could really get screwed by tomorrow. Today has got on my nerves and it definitely has no business disturbing me while I sip my pale-ale. I would, however, be wary of yesterday, as it would be behind me. The wise thing to do would be to drag today into the bathroom and beat the crap out of it -- even if it called for help, tomorrow would never come.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Toughness is overrated

When the going gets tough, why doesn't everybody just go to sleep? It really works very well for me. In fact, just to make sure that I am prepared for tough times, I go to sleep randomly, every now and then.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Stand by me

Some of you people are too darn adamant and won't let me retire in peace from the illustrious blogging career that I had. When will you realize that I suffer for you, dear readers, day and night, sleeping and awake? Why is that not enough for you? Even Curious Gawker, my favourite blogger by far, takes two hours between consecutive posts, so how can I be expected to write every two months?

Anyway, came across this beautiful video at Boing Boing (for those three of you who do not follow that blog). Enjoy.

And yes, regular programming resumes today, which means that the next post should be out anytime in 2011. Hold your breath.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Game show

I have thought of a new game show which I am sure will be a massive hit, given the kind of sadistic pleasure people get out of seeing others make fools of themselves.

This is the game format:

Each contestant will be asked to choose from between two cages inside which the person can not see. One cage will have a nice birdie. The other one a wild beast. If the contestant chooses the bird, he/she gets a big amount of money and the bird. Otherwise the beast eats the contestant.

This is all I have so far. And yes, the name too. The show will be called "Parinda ya darinda".

Saturday, September 20, 2008


So you think you are better than me because you visited this blog many times since July 2, only to find that I had not updated it! Well, I have news for you sunshine: you are right. I am sorry. Please come back. Shower me with the same love and affection that you had in your free time a year back. I need those five minutes of your time again, the five minutes which you spend reading the crap here and getting convinced that sleep was not that bad an option. I miss you.

If pleading is not enough to get you back in my life, would it help you to know that I will undergo a life altering change in two days? In two days. That is not so far away. In fact, it will be after two days from now that most of you will read this post and regret the fact that your sympathies were not with me in times of need. A lot can happen in two days, Einstein, and here is a list of possible things which can happen in two days (just to drive the point home, really, but please remember that this is not an exhaustive list of things that can happen in two days):

1. Childbirth (if you have done the needful in the past year or so).
2. Lehman Brothers meltdown.
3. A Cricket test match between India and Australia.
4. Your turn to be attended at the enquiry window of a government office.

Now, to come to the life altering change mentioned earlier in the post -- I am scheduled to undergo surgery to replace a torn ligament in my right knee on Monday morning. Now, do you feel bad? I didn't think so. :(

Why are you still here, then?

If it is you, Reliance Communication, then please be aware that I am not paying your outstanding bill till you call and apologize for the fake charges on the internet bill that you sent me. Not just that, I am now transmitting all my IP packets through your friend, Tata Communications. We've been at it for four months now and I am very happy with him/her (choose one to suit your sexual orientation). He/she cares for my packets. He/she keeps track of them and accounts for them well.

If it is you, Roger Federer, keeping a tab on whether I am still singing your praises, please rest assured that you are in my thoughts at least once each waking hour. Well done at NYC, keep it up, and what's with all the paranoia? I was a fan a year back, I am a fan now, so stop worrying and concentrate on the important things (like more Grand Slam titles, as we really need to get past Pete soon).

If it is you, Mom/Dad, all those rumours about being a gay, drunk, drug-addict are totally baseless. Tata Communications is just a friend.

If you are not Reliance/Roger/Mom/Dad, then I am sorry. Maybe I came across a little harsh earlier. I will be in hospital for a few days, then come out and walk with the help of a crutch for a month, but will be fit and firing in nine months' time. That's perfectly in time for the 2010 Mumbai half-marathon training. See you there.

I am sleepy.


Wednesday, July 02, 2008

A very good way to spend four and a half minutes of your life

Watch this video. I came across this when surfing BoingBoing. One of the best videos I have seen of late.

Where the Hell is Matt? (2008) from Matthew Harding on Vimeo.

Monday, May 19, 2008

I'm excited

Monday, April 14, 2008

This one is for all my fellow programmers

I have decided to come up with a software to keep track of your wardrobe. With a click of the mouse you should be able to find the exact location of your shirt, shoes or accessories. All of your belongings will be RFID tagged. The software will be easy to use and imaginative. While testing this software on my own belongings, I tried to locate my Senthil and Shrik's boxer shorts. Due to a bug, the software was not able to locate the desired object and the following message was displayed on the computer screen:

Error: Undie-find error!

Wednesday, March 05, 2008


Simple can be very beautiful. Much more than elaborate, at times. If you agree, go watch these three movies. Don't ask why, just watch them.

Italian for beginners
The story of the weeping camel
Mostly Martha (the original of this poor remake)

Saturday, March 01, 2008

My biggest secret revealed online

I feel like a man trapped inside a man's body. There, I said it.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

As promised

Hello everyone. Sorry to keep you waiting. Here are some more pictures from the San Fran trip. Hope you like them.

I have been awfully busy, but that should not be an excuse. So, without delay or agenda, here you go...

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

I'm back

But I will spare you a very boring excuse for my absence. Please keep checking for more pictures from the SF trip...

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Monochrome versus colour

Dear readers, I present to you two of my most favoured shots from today's excursion about town in San Francisco. Both the shots were taken from the top of the San Francisco Art Institute building.

I shot the pictures in colour, but the moment I saw the results I felt that they could look better in monochrome. Here are the two shots, converted to monochrome. Please do let me know what you think.

Also, while we are on the subject, here is one in colour.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

San Francisco still life

Some pictures of things that don't move, from San Francisco.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival 2007

I am not a big fan of bluegrass music, but I am a fan of Bela Fleck and the Flecktones. I first heard their music in 1998 when a friend lent me two of their CDs while I was wasting away my youth in New Hampshire. I was hooked when I heard their rendition of Oh Darling from the album Live Art. On the album, you can hear a clip of the song, which does not really do justice to the version on the CD which is 19 minutes long, if I remember my youth correctly. The vocals come on around halfway through the song after a long jazz-like medley of banjo and other instruments. So, that summer, when I happened to visit San Francisco, I bought a used CD of the album Left of Cool, which opens with a lovely song, Throwdown at the Hoedown. In short, I really like their music.

Therefore, it was a pleasant surprise when Gina told me about the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival which was scheduled to be held at the Golden Gate Park this weekend. We checked the schedule online and realized that the Flecktones were to play from 4:10 - 5:10 PM, which was sufficient motivation for me to go. We did, and it was awesome! There's lots to be said about it, but I am sleepy and very tired from the weekend. So, I'll let some pictures from the concert do the talking. It was way too crowded for me to get a shot of the Flecktones, but I did get a shot of Los Lobos, who played afterward.

Also, here's this profound and seemingly true quote by John Hartford which someone was kind enough to wear on his t-shirt:

A banjo will see you through times of no money, but money will not see you through times of no banjo.


Wednesday, October 03, 2007

In San Francisco

I'm in San Francisco with Gina. For a month. Yes, a month! I've come here after seven years. Yes, seven! I love this city. The last time I was here I had a great time driving a friend's motorbike from San Jose to Monterey bay and back, but I did not see much of SF city. This time, thanks to Gina's meticulous planning, we are living in downtown SF (the orange spot on the map marks the location of our hotel) and it is great fun.

We wake up early every morning and walk down to Ferry Building, buy coffee from Peet's cafe, buy a bagel from one of the two Noah's bagels outlets which we pass on the way and have our breakfast while sitting on the pier and watching commuters alight from the ferries that dock there. The first few days I kept forgetting to take my camera with me, but have been carrying it around for the past three days. Yesterday we walked along the piers from Ferry Building to Fisherman's Wharf (too touristy), walked to Trader Joe's where I found an awesome beer which I had not tried so far and which I highly recommend to anybody claiming to be a beer lover (Full Sail LTD, in case you are interested in trying it), bought some grocery and walked back to the hotel. Today, we walked along the piers and took a turn to climb up Filbert steps to Coit Tower to witness breathtaking views of the city.

All this while, I have been taking pictures, which I am glad to share with you. As we are here for another month, there will hopefully be a lot more pictures, so keep checking.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Fight for kisses

You may have already seen this ad, but I came across it today for the first time. Lovely! :)

Friday, September 14, 2007

In Brussels - II

I went out to De Brouckere area last evening to sit at a roadside cafe and have a quiet beer and a nice dinner by myself. Turned out to be anything but a quiet evening, and anything but a nice dinner.

When I took a seat, a dog came running by and hid behind my chair. After a few moments, a woman came running shouting out what seemed to be the name of a dog. She asked me (I assumed she did, since she spoke French and I do not, but I speak body language) something about a dog and I pointed behind the chair and she and the dog had a bit of a discussion. Then she left with the dog, thanking me three times.

I wanted to enjoy being in Europe, so I bought a pack of cigarettes. I opened the pack, took out and lit a cigarette and sipped my beer. A young man walked past me, turned around, came back and asked something for which there is no equivalent phrase in body language, so I had to ask him to say it again in English. He wanted a cigarette, which I gladly offered him. He thanked me and left.

After a few minutes, another man asked for a cigarette which I gladly gave him.

Then a woman came walking by and asked for something. I offered her a cigarette, but she wanted a light instead, which I gave her as well.

Then a woman who seemed to be a prostitute came by, drinking a can of beer, donning so much makeup that Andy Warhol would have been proud of her, stopped by and shouted something (she seemed a little high), again not in body language. I said I did not speak French, so she asked me whether she could have a cigarette, and I said of course she could, and she took three cigarettes and shouted that she loved me, and I said I loved her too, and she said that I should give her some money for some food in that case, and I said I did not love her that much, after which she thanked me and shouted that she still loved me and left.

The dog came running by once again, but decided not to hide behind my chair this time. After a moment of confusion it left and went back in the direction which it was trying to escape shortly before.

Then a man came by and asked for cigarettes. After I gave him the cigarettes, I decided to keep the pack in my bag.

I smoked half a cigarette.

I gave away seven cigarettes.

Then I had the most expensive crappy food I have ever had in my life -- some sort of vegetarian spaghetti.

I ended the De Brouckere stint with an Orange brandy, which was so good that I am trying to find a bottle to take home.

On the way back to the tram station, I came across a very talented singer, strumming the guitar and singing. Now, I may come across as a very extroverted person sometimes, but I have my shy side, and it usually comes out in places which I am not familiar with -- parties where I don't know people, foreign countries and the like. My initial instinct was to walk away from the man, even though I liked the music, because I didn't know what to do. However, I decided to tell my instincts to go take a hike, sat on a bench next to the man, acknowledged him and listened to his rendition of Layla, clapped very loudly when he finished, and gave him a Euro, to which he thanked me. I wanted to listen more, but I did not have too many Euros left so I left. Anurag: 1, Instincts: 0.

Evenings spent alone are the most happening, I think.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

In Brussels

Yes, I'm in Brussels till Saturday. This time I did not carry my camera and I must admit that I am seeing more things. A few things which I love about this city, apart from the very obvious (the multitude of choices that the beer industry has to offer):

1. The intricate window and balcony grill patterns that most buildings have. Very ornate, yet classy.
2. The public transport system -- trams, buses and metro trains which run efficiently, are clean and modern.
3. The really wide pavements for people to walk on, even on the busiest roads.
4. The fact that you are not expected to tip after a meal.
5. The maturity of people -- more on this later, take my word for it for now.

However, for now it is time to get back to meeting with managers at the client office.

Friday, August 31, 2007

Two things I learned in the last two days

I am a big tennis fan, probably one of the biggest you are likely to come across in real or digital life. I am also a big fan of Newtonian Physics which mandates that, for a hypothesis to be held true as a law, it should be subjected to experiments which validate the hypothesis, or some such nonsense that only people born before 1974 could come up with. So, let's subject my claim to a credibility check.

Rewind a year back, to 2006. Watching TV one night, Gina and I came across a schedule announcement for what seemed to be an Indian pornographic movie to be shown on a channel private to our cable network. The announcement said that the movie would commence at 3:29 AM. We were both excited at the prospect of finally being able to check out the local action, and decided to wake up in time to watch the movie. I, being the anal perfectionist that I am perceived to be by people other than me, set an alarm for 3:15 AM, and went to sleep. The alarm went off perfectly, I woke up, Gina did not, and I went groggily to switch on the TV. There was still time for the movie to start, so I started browsing other channels. Somewhere in between, live coverage of Federer playing one of those unfortunate guys who decided to take up Tennis as a profession because they though Maths was tough (Ha!, I say to them, and so does Federer) was on. So, I did what was the right thing -- I watched Roger through the game with incisive criticism (sometimes you have to be tough with people whom you care for), constructive suggestions and two cups of tea. Then, I went back to sleep. Two hours well spent.

With that amusing (to others, at least) anecdote I think I have established the validity of my claim. Let's move on then. As a kid, I was crazy enough to memorize the names of all 16 seeds for every grand slam event (yes, kids, back then we used to have only 16 seeds) but things have improved since then as there are 32 seeds to remember now.

I like sports because, once in a while, you come across sports persons who have the ability to think intelligently, are equipped with reality check mechanisms and are good human beings in general. I think there is a common string of traits that all the top players possess, which will probably help anybody wanting to excel despite the profession they practice. Lately, as I have also been in search of that elusive concoction of properties which separates people who are good at their work from those who are really head and shoulders above others, I have noticed a few common ones. Let's get going...

Marat Safin, one of the players who the whole world acknowledges can beat anyone on any random day, pulverized Pete Sampras, the great Pistol Pete, at the US open final in 2000. I watched that match live in Atlanta, and I was one of the few people cheering the Russian on in a large group of people, most of whom were Americans. Anyway, Safin took apart Sampras, then faded away for a few years. In 2005, he beat Federer in the semi-final of Australian open, another very well-deserved victory. However, it is the general consensus that Safin has achieved far less than what he is capable of. The day before yesterday, he beat Dancevic in a very hard fought first round match atht eUS open and was received very well at the press-conference. Here's a question that was asked of him and the answer he came up with.

Q. Do you still look back on the 2000 final as the best match of your career?
MARAT SAFIN: Yeah, but who cares? It's so far in the past. It's already history. It's a long time ago. It's time to move on (smiling). I hate the people when they still live in the past and saying how great they were in, I don't know, in the past century. Who cares? I'm not this type of person. I try to move on. I try to improve and forget it. Whatever happened, happened. It was good memories, great. But you don't focus on that because there's so much going on, so many things coming to you.

Lesson one: If you are successful now and ahead of your competitors, you will not necessarily be in the same position a decade from now, unless you keep at what makes you good, and stay ahead of the competition. Don't rest on your past laurels.

In another riveting match yesterday, James Blake barely defeated Fabrice Santoro, the hard working Frenchman who, at 5'9", is far too short to try the number of volleys that he attempts in the course of matches he plays. I don't have the exact number here, but I have seen him struggle and extend many matches to five sets against players acknowledged to be better than him, taller than him, fitter than him, younger than him. James Blake also barely pulled through, even though Santoro was cramping very badly through the whole of the final set. He could barely serve in the last game, hobbled all over the court, but still took the set to 4-4 before he finally lost it 4-6. Blake had a long, warm conversation with him at the net, which the press later inquired him about. Here's what went down.

Q. What did you say to Fabrice at the end of the match?
JAMES BLAKE: I said, It's incredible that you're still playing this way. You do it every single Slam. You've been doing it for so long, and that you can still fight this hard. You're a credit to the game.
And he said, I just love it.
And I said, It shows, and the fans love you for it.
I meant that for sure. He is a credit to the game. I'm in awe of someone that at 34 years old, as many Grand Slams as he's played, go out there and battle for five sets, in singles and doubles, and probably in the mix there, too, I don't know. To play that many matches, and the brand of tennis that he plays. He's not an Ivan Karlovic who goes out there and gets 50 free points on his serve; he's got to work for his points. It's incredible to be doing that still at this age. I hope my body can hold up the way his does.

Lesson two: Try and find a profession doing what you enjoy, and you will be able to do it longer.

That, dear readers, seems to be enough learning for a week, and it seems to be time to stop the learning and start the imbibing of the beer, so I will stop with the pontification here and now. Have a good weekend and think about what I said -- there should definitely be 64 seeds from now on in every grand slam.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Objectify me...

If you have been missing me, you are nuts, probably. But then, maybe you are not and I write reasonably well and you were actually waiting to see whom I made fun of in the next post (and God help me so much if it were to be you). However, your best laid plans were spoiled by a woman called Tamil Punkster (whom we shall refer to as TP in the remainder of this post; also right now I am too lazy to find the link to her blog and too proud to wrongly guess it), who objectified me and made me go into deep depression, thereby causing me to stop communicating and surviving on a diet of chocolate and beer. Here's what she did: she tried to prod me into action by leaving a comment on my previous post which said, hold your breath, prod! Now, I am a man of sensibilities, a 38 inch chest (the same as Madonna, I am told, though a little less three-dimensional), and a new wireless modem which I bought from TATA Indicom which totally rocks and which is what I am using to write this blog, but I am not an object! It's so typical of women! See a man, prod him like you would a bull with a 38 inch chest (or a rocking, new, TATA Indicom wireless modem). So, here's what I have to say to TP -- thank you. Thank you for having the courage to publicly admit that you have such a bad taste in literature that you read my blog. I am moved beyond words by your kind gesture.

But there are many reasons to why I have been so lax in the department of blogging. Here is the list:
  1. Work's killing me. My co-workers are killing me. Lately, everybody seems to be out for my blood (I'm not surprised, since I have the rare A- blood group). In case you don't know, I happen to be in-charge of a small start up involved in development of engineering analysis software (how do you feel about prodding me now, TP, huh?) and for the last three years we have been dreaming of getting new clients (we do have some for the past four years which pay for the food on our tables and the beer bottles underneath them), but we just didn't seem to be able to fool anybody new. Now, suddenly the floodgates have opened -- we have many people wanting to know how we are at our work, whether we'd be so kind as to do pilot projects for them so that they could pay us money, but on the condition that Anurag stop blogging, and what else would it take for them to draw me away from blogger. In general, we are buried in work.
Come to think of it, the only reason that I have not been writing blogs is work! However, I have not stopped looking good, as you can see from a self portrait I shot in the last week of June, the only one which is blog worthy (in the sense that it hides the details of my face without hiding the fact that I have a bent nose). No, seriously, I do quite like this photo, even though the 38 inches of two-dimensional chest is not obvious in it. Well, we must learn to make do with whatever small mercies life throws our way.

A study in narcissism (and tolerance of spelling/grammar nazis)

If, after seeing this picture, you think that half my face is black and devoid of features, you need a lesson in optics and manners, but I am the wrong person to ask for both, though I could teach you the right way to write good object oriented C++ software.

There definitely was much more to write that I thought of when I started this post and the third bottle of beer. Now, everything seems to be a mish-mash of memories, belches and the need to go to sleep without brushing my teeth.


Monday, July 02, 2007

Monsoon's here!

I love rains. Every year I resolve to take lots of pictures of people trying to get through the wet season, just trying to get on with their lives. Every year I procrastinate the task and miss the season. This year I decided to just get out in the rain with my camera and shoot some pictures. It was a fun experience. Some people looked at me suspiciously when I stood in the drizzle taking shots of empty alleys, while others were tickled pink when I asked them to pose. The best shots, however, were the candid ones. The rains have not stopped yet, and neither have I. However, I want to share some of the pictures I have take so far, so here is a slide show for you, dear readers. I would love to hear from you about which pics you like and which ones you don't (and why not).

Monsoon 2007

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Two shots

Philco (a very old refrigerator)
f/8.0, 1/160s
Taken at Shisha cafe on June 23, 2007

f/1.8, 1/500s
Window overlooking the river in my office

Friday, June 22, 2007


Senthil visited me last night. He brought beer and we sat on the balcony and talked about photography and work and drank. He borrowed my film SLR body and the Canon 28 mm prime lens. While looking for them to give to him, I came across the set of four screw-on magnification lenses which I had bought once upon a time. These are simple magnifying lenses with optics designed for photography. They reduce the depth of field of shots taken, so one has to be careful of not shooting with the lens wide open. When Senthil left, he forgot to take his Zippo with him. I shot a couple of pictures of the lighter with the magnification lenses, and am quite happy with this shot.

Canon EOS 400D
Canon 50mm lens
f/8.0, 1/3s
Handheld, with a +4 magnification filter

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Kind of blue

After reading comments from various people on how there was so much noise in pictures taken by the 500mm reflex lens that I have, I decided to calibrate the sharpness and resolution of that lens against the other zoom lens that I have, the Canon 75-300 USM III. After many trial shots, I came to the conclusion that the reflex lens is probably better off being used as a flower pot (after I take out the lens). It has very bad resolution, and it extremely difficult to focus. However, a very nice shot resulted from the entire exercise, which I present for you, wonderful readers. Hope you like it.

Canon 75-300 mm lens @ 300 mm
f/45, 13 seconds

Thursday, May 31, 2007


Three abstract shots I took with the 500 mm reflex lens. Please let me know if you like them or not.

Duffel bag

Pen holder


Wednesday, May 30, 2007

In the name of the father

One of the biggest regrets of my life is that I missed going to a U2 concert by two days. I landed in Ithaca, NY, two days after U2 had performed in Albany, which represents the same magnitude of tragedy as finding a wine bottle opener after your desperate drinking buddy has massacred the cork with a knife and pushed it inside the bottle. In short, I was very sad. Bono possesses one of the finest voices in the business and I am a big fan of early U2 work, before they went crazy and lost it. I am talking of stuff like I threw a brick out of the window from the album October which I personally think was one of their most energetic albums.

In 2000, I worked for a while at Evanston, a suburb of Chicago, and it was then that my sister visited me for a week with my niece. In India I did not have a TV, but in Evanston my apartment had a TV, a VCR and there was a Blockbuster close by -- it was a very potent combination and I ended up taking a membership there. In three months that I was there, I saw almost 40 movies, some of them which I had heard a lot about, had seen trailers of on TV during my college days, but had never got around to watching.

One day I remember renting out In the name of the father, because I am also a big fan of Daniel Day Lewis. My sister was trying to tuck my niece into bed, and I put on the movie. The opening credits started and my jaw dropped. I love the song (however, I later realized that the awesome voice was actually that of Gavin Friday, not Bono), and it was mixed with the credits very well. If you want, you can check it out yourself. I love everything about the song -- rhythm, guitaring, lyrics and the voices.

Also, I have been very busy with work of late, hence the infrequent posting. My friend Arjun, who studies business at Wharton (this line inserted just to prove that I knew him before he became famous), is in town and we have been hanging out a lot. Here's a pic from when he and Senthil came down to our apartment for an unplanned drinking session (I love them). We have also been having some planned drinking sessions (love them too), so all is well in life despite the excessive stress of work. Here's a pic of Senthil from that night (the person on left is Gina, and the mirror in the background is actually much prettier than it seems in the picture). Enjoy.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Depressing, outright depressing

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Highly recommended photography

When I was in Brussels in January 2006, I met Adam Pulchart, a fellow resident at the B&B where I stayed. We interacted briefly a few times, but long enough for me to realize that he was a very nice guy -- helpful, witty and with a very open mind. This year, when I went to Brussels, again in January, we interacted a little bit more over beer, wine and food. He told me that he was really interested in photography and that he had started a blog of his own to share his pictures. A few weeks back, Adam invested in a Nikon digital camera, and has started posting very regularly since then. One of his recent posts has the best story I have ever seen told through a series of photos. He takes excellent B&W shots, and presents them with very catchy titles. Highly recommended stuff.

Adam shoots Veronica
January 22, 2007

Monday, April 23, 2007

Isn't she lovely, folks?

Friday, April 20, 2007

Talks in his sleep

Senthil, passed out drunk and sleepy, yet unwilling to part with the cellphone. Gizmo addiction, I tell you.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Best morning of 2007

This weekend Gina and I, along with three of our friends who work in Bombay (Mikey, Kristine and Thom), went hiking in the Sahyadris. We went to the top of Rajgadh fort, around 70 kms away from Pune, which used to be a favourite destination of mine at one time, but which has gotten to be a little too crowded for a hiking spot now. However, we were lucky that we camped out in the open on the top level of the fort (on a small plateau known as Bale Killa) which doesn't have any form of shelter, so we were alone there at night. It was one of the best times I have spent recently. We lit a camp fire and listened to fine Austrian music (courtesy Mikey) while we ate and talked.

I woke up the next morning to witness the best sunrise of 2007 which, being loyal to my dear readers in that very special way that I am, I caught on camera for you; I hope that you will enjoy it as much as we did. It was truly worth the three hours of climbing in the scorching heat (carrying sleeping bags, tents, food and water in our backpacks) that we had to undergo.


Friday, March 02, 2007


It happened tonight! After a long time, I was able to sketch something which I felt like sharing. I came home after a long day, a long week, watched a little "American Idol" on the box but felt like doing something more fruitful with my time. So I booted my laptop to run Windows and started sketching. For a while I could not find anything to draw, so I ended up making numerous doodles which I did not save. Finally, I decided to draw a portrait, which is probably my favourite art form. After going through a lot of material looking for a good picture, I settled for two: the picture on the back of a Stevie Ray Vaughan CD (which totally kicks butt, though is very tough to draw, especially since I have not completely got used to the tablet) and the cover picture of Miles Davis playing on the album "Kind of Blue" (which, personally, I like better than "Bitches Brew" which I find too electronic). Anyway, we digress. I decided to give Miles a try. I first started with the pencil sketch mode, but that is better suited for pictures with sharp shadows and higher contrast. Then I tried charcoal mode, but could not get the feel for it. Finally, I decided to try the air brush mode and it worked wonders for this particular picture.

When I was in college, I used to borrow books about graphic art and design from the library to read and copy from during summer vacations. I think it was the summer of 1994 when I first came across an illustration done completely using an air brush and fell instantly in love with the concept. I tried getting my hands on an actual air brush many times after that but could not find anything which I like (or could afford at that time). That's why I was very pleased today to find that I could actually control and conceive the drawing very well using the air brush mode on the tablet.

Anyway, without further elaboration, here is my tribute to one of my favourite Jazz musicians. Dear readers, here's Miles:

As usual, comments and criticism are welcome. Let me know if you like the drawing, and let me know if you don't.

Good weekend to you all, except, of course, to those who owe me money (may you choke on a piece of chicken).

Tuesday, February 27, 2007


It is a fact known to those near and dear to me that I am a closet artist. Last weekend I painted very beautiful abstract patterns on the inside of my bedroom closet. However, such art does not get the kind of attention it rightly deserves. Therefore, I am trying to develop other kind of artistic abilities. On a trip to the US last September, I bought a Wacom Graphire Tablet.

It is a nifty gadget, but takes a little getting used to. I am no Picasso, but I can draw a mean free-hand straight line. Rather, I could draw a mean free-hand straight line on paper. The tablet is a different story altogether. However, I persisted and could soon write the alphabet using the tablet. For some of you it may not be a big deal, but I first had to learn the alphabet.

Anyway, cutting a long story short is not a good idea. Therefore I will give you the full version. Here is the first presentable sketch I made using the tablet, from a picture that I had taken at Palolem, in Goa.

As you can see, this is a very feeble attempt at something very promising. However, I have been practising and getting better. Here is a new sketch that I have started on recently. I hope to be able to finish it within a week's time, if I can manage my schedule well and work on it regularly.

Once I am done with this sketch, I will try to hone my water colour skills on the tablet. Will keep you posted. Feedback is most welcome.


Sunday, February 25, 2007

Senthil and Owl (puzzle)

Guess who is who.

PS. The owl sits on a branch of a tree right outside my office, mostly sleeping during the day. It took a bit of keen observation by Nandu, a colleague (of mine, not the owl), to spot it, and a lot of persuasion to get me to take a picture. Senthil can be seen occasionally on the balcony of my apartment and, just like the owl, is a creature of the night, with a little more knowledge of the language French.


Thursday, February 15, 2007


Last evening I had a revelation while I sat in the balcony of my apartment, trying to think of the name of a gullible person whom I could make the scapegoat for the bug I could not find in my software. I realized that I prefer blonds. I could even go so far as saying that I loved them. I even have them sorted out very well inside my head and my three favourite blonds are Cobra mild, Kingfisher premium and Castle lager. I do like amber beers too, but blonds have a little something about them which others don't. Incidentally, I also found out yesterday that Cobra mild also has a stronger cousin, another blond, by the name of King Cobra. How corny can you get? But I love the name. :)

Meanwhile, here are some more pics from Brugge or, since we are punning heavily about names, Brouge. Here goes:

Wednesday, February 07, 2007


Yes, Brugge! I visited it on January 21, and it is a town in Belgium. Yes, Belgium! I visited it for a week in January, and it is a country in the European Union. Yes, the EU! I don't know anything about it. However, I do know a little thing about Brugge -- it is full of cycles. Don't trust me, do you? You want proof, do you? Here it is:

Monday, January 08, 2007


Spent the winter break at Rajasthan. Went to Jaisalmer on December 29th. The place was not what I expected, but there were scores of photo ops. Ended up shooting 215 pics in a whole day. Starting from today, I am going to post some of my favourite pics from the trip.

And, oh, wish you a crappy new year (Gina and I agree, for once, that there is too much goodwill in the world around New Year and Valentine's day, so we are trying to restore the harmony).

Temple inside Jaisalmer fort (click on the picture for a larger version)

Another view of the temple (click on the picture for a larger version)

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

What I have been upto these past decades

People who know me well do not lend me money. They also know that I am the curious sort, always looking for knowledge in the most unlikely places, which is probably why I don't find any. Another thing known only to the people close to me, which is why you should be thanking your lucky stars right now dear reader, is that I am full of ideas. I am so full of ideas that if you walked behind me for a whole day, some of these ideas are bound to slip out of my brain and you could pick them right up and get rich putting them in practice. Why don't I put my ideas in place, you ask? Well, you innocent child you, read the first line of this post.

Anyway, of late I have come across an idea bearing considerable merit which I want to discuss with the general public (you).

Using my mathematical skills I develop a model which can predict the algorithm used by the US department of justice to decide the false identities and destinations for people under the witness protection program. Then I sell this model to the mafia bosses (know as mafii from now on, for convenience) for a large sum of money. The trick is this: the model will work well only for the first few times. By then I will have made my money and disappeared, probably gone to the US DoJ and given them the list of the mafii for more money in return, who will then place me in the WPP (the DoJ, not the mafii). Now, the mafii will be really mad at this point, mainly because they did not read the first line of this post. They will run the model, come up with a name and location to find out where I am placed which, because of my immeasurable intelligence and foresight, will match with a real name and a person who will also be a close lookalike of mine (and, preferably, in the WPP), who will then be eliminated by the mafii's hit men. Here's the beauty of the whole thing:

--> I make the money off the mafii.
--> I make the money off the gvernment.
--> The government spends the taxpayer's money to protect me.
--> The mafii think they got their revenge and lay off me.

The sheer brilliance of this idea has got me dizzy. Except for a few minor details, the whole thing is ready. All I have to do now is go meet a venture capitalist who does not belong to or work with the mafia and I will be all set.

Meanwhile, why don't you enjoy a few pictures that I took at the Sinhagadh fort near the city of Pune?


Abandoned house

Watch dog

Don't remember the name of this place. Puneites, please help.

Mhatre, the angry kanda-bhajji seller

Shrik reflects

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Toothbrushes and hand soap

Taken last night against a backlit bathroom window.

f/16.0, 25 s.
Canon Rebel XTi.
Canon 50 mm lens.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Three lamps

Which one do you like the most?

Backlit wall.

Wall without backlighting.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Early morning...

... at a construction site
f/8.0, 1/800 s

Friday, October 13, 2006


Canon EOS D400
f/5.6, 1/125s
Canon 75-300 USM lens

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

From darkness to light

Canon 400 D
f/4.5, 5s, 110 mm

I posted this on on my photoblog today, but since not everyone here visits that place I thought I'd post it here as well.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006


... Sheiroo Photography. Do check it out.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006


Yo peoples! Continuing my streak of disloyalty, I have bought another digital camera. This time it is a digital SLR -- Canon Rebel XTi aka Canon EOS 400D. I could go on an on about how it is a wonderful camera, but let the picture speak 1K words.

I must thank Gina, my wonderful wife, for making me buy this camera, as well as my sister Charu (whom I was visiting in US) for taking me to Circuit City and bearing with my on-the-spot shopping demands.

Surprisingly, the thing on my mind right now is not what to shoot but how I am going to introduce this new addition to my existing harem of Canon Rebel G (the old film SLR) and Kodak V550 (the digi that I first cheated on the SLR with). I now have three cameras and six lenses! If a sensational event were to unfold in front of my eyes right now, I would probably miss capturing it altogether as I would be too busy trying to decide which camera to use, with which lenses and which settings.

Anyway, I present to you the first good picture taken with the new camera.

Morning lights
Canon 75-300 mm lens, f5.0 1/3s

As usual, comments, criticism and bearer cheques are most welcome.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006


Sameet is an old friend of mine whose life I once saved during a trek (that's another story which I shall relate on another occasion) and who is in town these days. He called me up yesterday and we decided to meet at Kiva (which is a pub which I had heard of from many sources but had not visited till yesterday).

I settled in my seat there and we decided to ask the waiter for a pitcher of beer. The waiter informed us that they did not have draught beer, hence a pitcher of beer was not available either. He went on to give us additional, though unnecessary, information that they did in fact have pitchers of every cocktail available but, sadly, not of beer.

That, to me, is like going to the race course and being informed by the betting counter that I have available to me options of playing poker, Blackjack, Russian roulette, even the good old matka, but they don't really encourage people betting on horses.

Well, beggars can't be choosers, so I had to be satisfied with bottled beer.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Not a single person

In the words of legendary Freddie Mercury, I'm just a poor boy and nobody loves me. Not even Google. Some moments ago I tried logging onto my Blogger account to modify the title of my previous post (not your business why, just read what I write, will ya?) and came across a flashy page telling me that I could switch over to Google blogger beta (or whatever is the correct technical name), in two easy steps. As happy as blogger can be in a country with free speech, I clicked the button marked "continue" (they were serious about two easy steps), only to be shown a page saying that I was not one of the selected few who could, in fact, switch to Google blogging tool, thank me so much, and that they personally recommended that I stopped writing and took up an avocation more suited to my abilities, like software programming. Dejected, humiliated and completely doubtful of my abilities, I retraced the first easy step.

Which made me realize how far ahead of his time Freddie boy was. Nobody loves me. Not a single person.

Delicate promise

I'll post something here tomorrow. I promise I will. If I don't, you can have my first born child (reminder to self to exchange a high-five with wife for coming up with a cunning way of not having to take care of our kid).


First born.

Watch this space. And send me your address where I should send the child.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

This sucks!

I don't like this. I can't view blogs hosted on blogger. What this means is that I have eight free hours in the office everyday and no clue what to do with them! Well, I guess I will just try and get some work done.

Once again, sigh...

Monday, July 10, 2006


I was sitting around in my room minding in my own business, unable to decide what to do next. So I decided to have a conversation with God.

"Yo, God..." , I said, "Let there be light. At least in New Delhi."
"You punk!", came the reply rather sharply, "I decide when that should happen. You don't even believe in me. However, just to show that I am such a noble thing and all, I will let there be some brilliant flashes."
"Will do, man. Peace."

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Curious about what's happening in my life?

Don't be. Not much is happening here. Except that I went running in the rain on Saturday. I try to do it at least once every monsoon. Saturday brought some good, strong showers to the city, so I decided to put on my shoes and head out in the lanes of Koregaon Park. Ended up running 12 kms, and enjoyed every step of it. There's something in rain water which causes plants and trees to flourish in a way that is indescribable. They seem happy. And green. Anyway, it was a terrific experience, and I need to do it again this weekend. Needless to say, the activity resulted in many small kids giggling and pointing their fingers in my direction and old people looking at me with stern disbelief.

There's a lot more that I want to be doing this beautiful season, but am being held back due to work. Work which, hopefully, will soon ease up a little bit when we finish the current project. Then I intend to drive down to Goa with Gina, buy an i-Ball tablet and try my hands at illustrations (anyone having experience with such devices, please send me some advice), resume learning to play the violin, take time out to listen to the whole lotta music that Gina has, shoot some more rolls and have fun in general.

Till then, beloved readers, you will have to be satisfied with shots from Lakshmi road excursion. Here's one of a young man whose bravado can only be possessed by those who grow up on streets. Comments on the composition of this shot will be highly appreciated. In particular, if you can think of how this shot could have been improved, do let me know.


Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Another one from Lakshmi road

Tea laced with deep thoughts

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Man and at least 22 track pants

Monday, June 12, 2006

No photos today folks, feel free to move on

We are officially in mourning.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Asking for directions