Monthly Archives: November 2006

Love Actually

I dont know if its these high emotion romantic type movies that i have been watching lately (read notting hill and associated genres), or if its just a hormonal rush thats kicking in, i have finally seemed to realize how love works, thanks in large to a movie called Love Actually.
First of all about the multi threaded storyline which then culminates in one fantastic climax. the movie begins with an overview of some of the main characters and the problems they are facing in their own life. the movie then quickly settles in to the feel good holiday mood and serves up some great moments, defining love in all its very diverse forms and how far people are willing to go to find that one true love of their life, or how many chances people are willing to take in the hope that this one will be just right.
I came out of these three hours a changed man (might be taking it a little too far but I’m feeling really GOOD right now) and looking upon life in adifferent perspective.
My Rating 9.5
My Advice MUST watch

She gave me duck and green peas for dinner………..

“Good luck, honey”, Julia said with a peck on my cheek. I’m probably going to need it, I thought as I made my way into the early morning rush on the sidewalk and hailed a taxi. ”fifth and park”, I told the driver and lay back in contemplation.
After four years of frustrating search for the perfect job, here was something that was beyond the furthest reaches of my imagination. A job as assistant chef at “Coup De Grace” was one any chef would love. Frequented by an elite clientele, which included the who’s who of high society and accomplished connoisseurs of cuisine, it was widely considered as one of the best restaurants in New York. And apparently the only reason a relative newcomer to the scene was even being offered the position was because two others who had earlier been considered had regretfully declined the offer. Good for me, I thought as the taxi pulled up to the curb. I got out and hurriedly walk the short distance to the entrance, not wanting to be late on my first day on the job.
I stepped in and an ambience of luxury greeted me. The finest furniture adorned with the costliest linen. Of course, you would expect nothing less from a 5 michelin star restaurant. I glanced at my watch and headed towards the kitchen. Expectedly, I was stopped at the door by a burly waiter. An unknown man dressed in a travel clothes was not exactly something you would expect in the kitchen of the “Coup De Grace”. “I’m the new chef”, I said, hoping to dispel some of the uncertainty. He raise an eye. “so?”. He wasn’t exactly the cheery type, I could tell.”Meet the head chef”, he said and pointed me in the direction of a door. I made my way towards it. As I raised my hand to knock, the door opened, and I stared into the chest of Conrad (or so his nametag said). “You’re late”, he said.”Well, you know how it is with the trafiic in the big apple….”. “Don’t bore me. Get dressed and get to work. And make it snappy.”
Not exactly the auspicious beginning I was hoping for, I thought, as I adjusted my apron and made my way to the counter. Maybe I could sweep the boss of his feet with my cooking?………
“here’s your first assignment”, said Conrad, thrusting a long list into my hand. Near the bottom, double starred and marked in red, was scribbled: duck and green peas. “now, this guy’s one of the foremost patrons of our restaurant and a very well established food critic. We don’t want to disappoint him. He’s here with a companion and they have a very long course in mind. So, I’m being forced”, he sighed, “to pass on the relatively simpler stuff to you.” Did I detect a note of contempt in that “you”? “Don’t screw it up..” I could almost picture him with a wicked grin, with a butchers knife in hand, getiing ready to make mincemeat out of me. I banished these thoughts and attacked the problem at hand.
Duck and green peas. Seemed simple enough. I requisitioned the juiciest looking duck from the freezer and got to work. Everything on the counter was immaculate. The containers were labeled the cutlery and knives were within easy reach, it was going to be absolute joy working here. I couldn’t dream of a better job. Or could I?
The guy outside was a well established food critic wasn’t he? What incredible luck that I was going to cook for him, and that too on my first day.What if I bowled him over with my food? He would definitely ask for me. And then, my name in the leading magazines, a job at the waldorf Astoria, the world in my pan, literally……
I attacked the duck with renewed vigor, determined to surpass myself. All kinds of condiments and vegetables found their way into the stuffing of that soon to be celebrated duck. “You, my dear friend, are going to take me places”, I said aloud, as I added the final touches. I stood back and admired my work. It looked divine. I poured a thick sauce around it and placed it in the microwave.
10 minutes and a microwave beep later, I took my ticket to fame out of the oven and laid it gingerly on a plate. Something was missing I thought. Ah, yes. A dash of asparagus and basil. That did it. It was ready. I rang the bell that signaled for the bearer. I sat back and waited for the moment that would change my life.
I was still deciding on the colour of my Ferrari ( it was a close run thing between red and blue…what woule Julia have liked?), when I heard the noise. It sounded like someone had banged into a dumbwaiter. Ah, nothing that concerned me, I thought, and returned to my castle building.
“you blithering idiot!!!”, I heard the earth rumble behind me as I turned and stared into the most fearsome sight of my entire life, and I doubted after seeing the anger on Conrad’s face that I was going to have very much left of my life after he was through with me. “You blithering fool!”, he repeated. That sentence combined with the colour of his face served to create quite an effect, and I can vouch for it. “Who in God’s name told you to add asparagus to the duck? His companion was allergic to it!!!One simple job and you create the worst possible mess out. Do you even begin to realize what this will do to our reputation?? We’re finished…………….”
And so was I. Kind of obvious. I mean, I wouldn’t still be expected to work there after I’d done my best to destroy their reputation and that too on my very first day at work. On my way back home, I suddenly felt pangs of hunger. Amazing how hunger can overpower any other emotion. Here I was, fired from my first day at work, and all I could think of was food…..Really…..
I knocked on the door, and it was answered by Julia. “ how was work, honey?”. I gave her one of my worst looks. ”I was fired”. She definitely wasn’t expecting that answer, I could tell from the expression (or rather lack of it) on her face. “ I’ll serve dinner”, she said and walked into the kitchen. Food, I thought, exactly what I needed.
“I was thinking we could celebrate”, she said as she emerged from the kitchen carrying a plate. The smell was heavenly. “ but I didn’t know things would turn out like this,” she said as she placed the plate in front of me.

She had given me duck and green peas. Continue reading

Travel Travails..

For all the obsesed junta (of whom i know there are none ) who have been wondering why i have’nt posted for a few days,well i’ve been on a trip (the details of which will be inflicted on you via this post) to bombay an shirdi. not exactly a trip in th true sense, meaning that when i say i’v been on a trip i don’t mean i’v been thr for a week. it was more of a whistlestop 3 days in n around aamchi mumbai.

the first day was more of a sober day with pilgrimage on the agenda. Shirdi was where we went and finally fulfilled my mom’s wish to get me to at least one temple in these hols..
Early nxt morning, we left for mumbai on an empty stomach, in spite of various complaints frm my growling stoamch. (as it turned out we did’nt have anything to eat till 7 that evening )..Reaching dadar station after standing for four hours in an impossibly crowded and impossibly late train (hail indian railways) we almost fell into the car and had ourselves driven to vasai (bad decision ,probably should have taken a train) anyway after hellos and th like (and some dinner..thank god fr that) we were on our way again to another suburbb of mumbai, dombivili which was in the exact opposite direction in which we had come…adding to all th mess was the patehtic roads in bombay and of course the monsoon which had decided that it was exactly the right time to unleash it’s full fury on hapless bombay. during that drive it seemed like bombay was just one giant pothole and the rain was having his way with it.. there were potholes every 50 metres which made any travelling at speeds of over 40k dangerous. To add to my frustration were all the toll booths which seemed like they were taking money to keep the roads in that bad a condition. damn the bmc (and this from a delhiite!)…anyways after nearly getting lost thrice and a few near breakdowns we finally made it to my aunt’s place.
Next morning we woke up to the sounds of torrential downpour and the news channels reminding an already slowing down city of the horrors of a year ago. Our flight was in th evening and anxiously we began plotting our way out of the pool we were in….two hours later, after tracelling in all possible means of public transport, including autos taxis and the famed local trains of bombay and soaked to the bone, we wheeled our luggage into a jampacked airport. It turned out that most of the flights were being delayed because of the rain, and people were at the end of their tethers…finally after four hours of exploring every nook and cranny of the terminal and being ticked off by security for ogling, we finally took off in air deccan flight DN657 to delhi. As it happened i was sitting next to an emergency exit by the wings and had an extra special chat with the air hostesses who were visibly shaken. Why? because someone had tried to wrench off the exit on the earlier flight nad caused all sorts of mayhem at the airport.

A few things i learned from this experience:

1.Never trust the Indian railways, inspite of all the profit it’s been making, passenger comfort seems to be the last thing on it’s mind.
2.When in Mumbau travel for as far as possible using the local train network. It connects all the suburbs and is much better than a taxi ride on the hell holes that are mumbai’s roads.
3.The best way to spend time at alrge airport is to ogle, at eveything and everyone. it’s kind of satisfying when a beutiful lady suddenly realises that uv been staring at her, decides she likes it, and smiles at you(mind you that only happens one in a million times. you might get ticked off. But hey, what’s life without a few risks?)
4.As far as possible avoid snacking at the airport cafeteria which (in bombay at least) is ridiculously overpriced and a thimble full of coffee is all you need be ripped off. (That cafeteria owner must have out his kids through college on the money he eanrde that single day)
5.Air deccan is certainly a no frills airline, but DO NOT make the mistake of eating on the flight. Believe me,I know. Two slice of bread with hardly visible mayonaise in between cost me 40 bucks!!Damn!

Paint Me Azure!!!

Finally the extravaganza that was the football world cup 06 is over….and the soccer widows can do whatever they want with their husbands now that they can be weaned away from beer and the antics of shorts clad young men on the pitch (hehe)…Frankly this edition of footballs biggest celebration failed to live up to expectaions, with dubious refereeing and big names failing to live up to their billing…who would have predicted an italy vs france final..With a poisonous cloud over the italian team cocncerning the biggest scandal in recent times to rock domestic football and as many as 13 (mayb 12 but 13 sounds more glamorous ) of their squad involved in investigations that might lead to the end of their careers, nobody was backing italy to climb out of that hole and progress out of the group stage let alone reach the final…And france, well they were being billed as the fallen giants, having failed to show the promiseof 98 and 2000 when they won the european cup in any of the qualifiers.Add to that a team that looked like it was going to fall of their legs at any moment and france did’nt make very pretty picture going in ot the world cup..

Well they both refused to give in and both teams put in inspired performances to leave what was behind them and prove that in football you cant predict anything..

circa the group stage when france were struggling to find goals and zidane was a shadow of his former self, and everyone (including yours truly was burying them into ignominy). The french found their rhythm only in the last game against togo and qualified into the group stage by the skin of their teeth. Inspiration came from ribery against the spanish when his spectacular solo goal lifted the entire team to perform and stalwarts like zidane and viera came to the party, both showing flashes of brilliance in their 3-1 win. But we still werent sure whther they could live up to the big samba boys in the quarters..and wallah. another majestic performance from zizo coupled with bad tactics from the brazilian coach (tell me what kind of crazy coot plays someone like ronaldinho in a deep defensive position? if you ask me he was one of the biggest reasons ronaldinho flopped in this wc) led france to a semi clash with portugal which they won (of course). By this time it looked like zizou would end his last wc match with his hands on the cup.. But history will have a different tale to tell, of one of the most majestic players of his time losing his cool and losing his country the cup …Why? france will ask of it’s favourite son. But the answer will forever remain shrouded in speculation and one of the greatest incidents in wc history..

But the champions were the azzuri. After being labelles cheats in their group game against the us for the use of questionable tactics, it is credit to their captain canavaro (my choice for the golden ball) that they rallied and produced one of the best performances of the cup by a team in the semi against germany to rob the host nation of a dream. youngster fabio grosso must have been in dreamland when he saw his delightfully curled shot go past lehman and into the top corner minutes before penalties aginst germany.. He for me was one of the stars of the team along with pirlo and gattuso whose engines never seemed to give out in the middle of the park. They can be sure he has a lot in store for them after this world cup…

And how can i miss buffon. The most expensive keeper in the world sure lived up to his billing. with a delectable performance throughout the cup, he has never put a foot wrong. and the icing was a spectacular stop from a zidane header in extra time that surely would have given france the cup..

There were too many heroes in the italian team, and the french were left high and dry by a moment of madness…Here’s to the azzuri!!!!

Two movies, Saket, and a humongous headache

Statutory warning: DO NOT watch corporate.
Yes, the much awaited second movie from madhur bhandarkar definitely fails to live up to expectaions and i learnt it the hard way..i have a good mind to sue the hindustan times for giving it 3.5 out of 5 (that was the prime reason i dragged myself to pvr saket, and of course there was this friend of mine who brainwashed me into believing that this was an awesome movie) 3 hrs and 150 bucks later i stepped out feeling like a complete fool and with a good mind to strangle that friend of mine…..adding to the boring movie were the damn seats at saket…it has like the worst seats in the NCR….
oh yeah, i mentioned another movie..It was superman returns, and contrary to the title i did not watch it at saket..The movie was watchable..no particular storyline..but the action sequences were spectacalar and there were scenes in 3d too!(it was my first 3d movie..so forgive the xcitement) and the hall(IMAX) was much much better than pvr saket..
ciao for now!(what an ending!!damn im losing my touch..i think its writers block!!damn!!

Bunkum!

A typical monday for me goes something like this:

morning 7 am:::
one eye pops open as the !@#!@# alarm rings…i grope with one hand and set it on snooze…the eye closes up again…..5 mins later…..its the alarm again…i pik it up and heave it towards the window…thn realiztion dawns..tht things expensive, not exactly sumthing ud want to throw 3 floors down…hrumphhhh…..so i ahve to get up>????? one eye pops open again and mentally reviews th timetable….clss frm 7 30 to 5 30….damn no hope thr…..sumthing pulls at me frm th subconcious…it’s the beautiful woman from the beach…ahhhhh, now thats something to look forward to…..but hten suddenly its like the world is crashing down on me…..WTF???? it was the guy in the room next to mine. Apparently he had an early class and thought he was doing me a favour by waking me up….@#$!$!# SOME PPL!!!!!
so it was grudgingly off to class then….5 hrs later and half dead i was in the mess…my hunger evaporating at the sight of the food……A few more expletives directed at no one in particular, and with the food in my protesting stomach, i was off to algorithms lab. And of course i was there for the entire 3 hours looking for suitable objects to bang my head against ( implement heap sort ????? might as well have been written in greek and latin..)….\2 hrs more of lectures….by now i was immune…and i dragged myself back to the hall and collapsd in a heap….

One of those moments.

I was just in one of those moods you can say, when evry1 was my target. I did’nt have any special reasn to think about SF 2006, but yet, there it was, nagging at my subconcious. As i said it was just one of those days….
I am always being nagged about my inability to look at the lighter moments in life..Well ppl you had to be thr (SF 06) to witness yours truly in all his glory…..
for the uninitiated, Spring fest at IIT kgp is an opportunity for the perennially frustratted junta here to feast their eyes on members of the fairer sex (again for those not in the know..the sex ratio here is something like 20:1…u get th point)..Anyway getting back to the point..I was a volunteer (henceforth referred to as volu) for the spring fest news agency. I was told that it was the best way to meet girls during SF, the tag line being something like this “hi, I’m from the spring fest news agency. Can i have a few sound bytes from you girls?…”. And voila…the perfect conversation starter. And aiding me in all this was my volu card (of course) and i kept it as noticeable as possible .
And of course there were my new found friends (read vultures) who after gettign to kno about the power of the “card” stuck to me like leeches, and pestered me for it, some even going as far as offering me treats for a few minutes as a reporter of the SFNA. One such friend of mine, who shall only be referred to as AK (being safe in the knowledge that he probably will never read this blog, othrwise it is curtains for me!!) finally wangled the card from me (after much cajoling and some threatening ) and headed off in the direction of the largest group of girls he could find. I watched from a distance as he used my card and struck up a conversation with them, and pretty soon there was quite a bunch of guys hovering around AK.
Suddenly yours truly had a brainwave (its true i dont have a lot of those but…) . I walked up, cool as a cucumber, poked my head in between the gathering (in which AK was having quite a lot of fun posing as me!!) and said “AK, can i have my card back now??iv been looking for you for so long…”. And faster than you can say scram, there was no gathering, the boys having careened off in different directions, and the girls nodding their heads at the audacity (desperation?) of us guys..and as the dust settled i was left holding the card…
Of course i got A grand GPL right in the middle of the arena but it was worth it..AK, thnx for the opportunity…you gave me the chance to pull of one of the biggest coups….Damn that had felt gooooood..I hope there are no hard feelins mate….As someone said…Shit happens….
:))))