Book Review - The Bankster - Ravi Subramanian

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

The Bankster- sounds like a funny name when you read it for the first time. Bankster is a word invented by author Ravi Subramanian it seems. It is an amalgamation of two words - Banker and Gangster!

Ravi Subramanian, aptly also known as 'John Grisham of banking' keeps you interested in the story with his thorough knowledge of banking industry! When i read his name for the first time, I had a deja-vu feeling! Then it hit me, I read his previous book - If God was a banker! It was a really good book, I tell you. On further research I found out, that Bankster is not his second book, it is his fifth book!

The book tries to weave multiple sub-stories into a larger picture. However, in doing so, I guess the book got somewhat confusing at many places. It is either that, or I have gone dumb in the past couple of years! Phew!

The story spans across several continents starting with Angola, where illicit diamond exchange happens. It soon moves to Mumbai and then to Venice. Now Venice is the key word here, not because it is relevant to the story, but because I am sitting at Marco Polo Airport of Venice while writing this review! :D

On a serious note, I personally feel that every writer is inspired by intricate details of Bourne series. But there are very few, if not zilch, writers that can do justice with the balance between intricate details and irrelevant details. Now either Apple paid the author a huge amount to write a iPad user manual or the author himself is a huge Apple fan. How else would you explain the presence of such morose details about functioning of iPad in this book!

Other than that I think there are too many issues touched upon in the book - illicit diamond trade, banking industry issues, corruption, arms exchange and money laundering! I felt at some places I was craving for some more meat on some of these issues. But what is lost on the plot is covered by the nice Indianised lingo used by the author throughout the book (most of it atleast). This keeps the book peppy and interesting specially for the Indian audience.

The book ends in a very melodramatic note though. I was waiting for ACP pradyuman to burst out of one door and shout 'Daya darwaza tod do'! :D

Overall, this book is a mix of interesting and sloppy segments, but deserves one read atleast. I would give it 2.5 out of 5.5!

And since you asked, my Italy trip was awesome, more posts coming soon on the wedding and the honeymoon!

PS: This review is a part of the Book Reviews Program at . Participate now to get free books! Tata!!

Book Review : JFK by Jhangir Kerawala

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

JFK … A dying man’s last word … A plea, an accusation or a clue? That’s what the police couldn’t figure out. What they did know was that they had serial murders in broad daylight, and just one suspect with little motive … Jatin F. Karunamoi, the dead man’s best friend. Jatin is no hero; he’s an unemployed 50-year-old, desperate to find a job. But his only hope for a life of dignity lies in him finding the real killer.

Kanjaken !

Monday, October 22, 2012

Let me confess, I ate like a dog today! Mad dog! Actually, hungry mad dog! Phew! :D :D We will come back to this later...

In case you live under a rock, in the United States of West Indies, today was Ashtmi pooja, commonly referred to as Kanjaken! This day marks the end of Navratra fasts in some households, whereas in others the fasting will end tomorrow, on the day of Navmi! Yep, to me also it looks like a conspiracy from the forever-hungry group! Do din chole poori halwa! :D Aj chunnu ki mummy lunch me degi, kal munnu ki! :D

I posted this pic on Facebook today morning, and immediately it got a wave of comments and likes! I could so much connect with the comments out there! I too missed Kanjaks a lot, during my long stay in Romania. :( The pic is very nostalgic for everyone who has grown up watching this plate year after year!

Kanjak has been one of the fondest memories of my childhood! From as far as I can remember, two times a year, there is a week of no non-veg and onions less food, with my parents keeping fast. Then at the end of week, there is a small pooja in the morning and then we get a sumptuous meal of chole poori halwa! Heck, we even used to host poori eating competitions with my cousins at my place! As far as I can remember, highest record was of 15 pooris in one sitting! Phew! Yeah, we are kind of a food-o-holic family! :P

And you remember, the 5 Rupee coin that used to come along in the plate with poori chole! Being a forever-broke person, I really loved collecting that coin from my plate, and then borrow some from my sister's collection! Without telling her that I am borrowing, of course never to return in back! :D Kids, specially tiny girls, from my block even used to group together to go to everyone's house for Kanjak celebration! As per the statistics released by RBI, each kid earns their 2 month's pocket money on this day! Without paying any tax to the government, of course! :D :P

Till college, I used to keep all 8 days of fast in Navratras! And tab stamina itna tha, ki I used to drink just one glass of mixed fruit juice and 3-4 liters of water per day! For whole week! And then go on a mad binging spree, as soon as the fasts got over! Phew! By-God ki kassam, poore gaon me murge chup jate the ghar me us din! :D

Fast-forward 4 years, I started my first job. The story went downhill from there. From full week, I cut down my fasting days to just two. For the next five years, I just used to keep fast on last 2 navratras every time. :( Isse zyada himmat hi nahi hoti thi.

But then this year, suddenly mere bheje ka screw dheela ho gaya! :P I again decided to keep whole week fast! But then had to follow terms and conditions set up by mom! Punjabi moms, as you guys know, want their kids to eat 26 hours a day, 9 days a week! Bhai sahab, itna fried khana main ek saal me nahi khata, jitna meri mummy ne ek week me khila dia! :O

Being a number junkie, I tried estimating the calorie count of the food I ate during Navratra fasts! Surprise, Surprise! I was eating 3 times the calories during Fasting, compared with normal days! So much for so-called fasting! :(

Anyways, if you read the line on the top of this post, the fasts got over and let me confess, I ate like a dog today! Mad dog! Actually, hungry mad dog, inspite of binging on fast-approved fried-food for the whole week! Phew! :D :D

Seriously, these breads, biscuits, namkeens, KFC Buckets have something highly addictive in them! Never thought I would crave so much for them. :P Khair, back to normal life, though I am still waiting for the colleagues who celebrate navmi to get the chole, poori, halwa combo tomorrow! ;)

Aur sunao? Sab badhia?

That's how my brain works

Thursday, October 18, 2012

True Story!!!! Loved this image as soon as I saw it ! 

25 Ultimate Tips For a Better Life

Friday, September 28, 2012

1. Take a 10-30 minute walk every day. And while you walk, SMILE. It is the ultimate antidepressant.

2. Sit in silence for at least 10 minutes each day.

3. When you wake up in the morning, Pray to ask God's guidance for your purpose, today.

4. Eat more foods that grow on trees and plants and eat less food that is manufactured in plants.

5. Drink green tea and plenty of water. Eat blueberries, broccoli, and almonds.

6. Try to make at least three people smile each day.

7. Don't waste your precious energy on gossip, energy vampires, issues of the past, negative thoughts or things you cannot control.  Instead invest your energy in the positive present moment.

8. Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a college kid with a maxed out charge card.

9. Life isn't fair, but it's still good.

10. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone. Forgive them for everything !

11. Don't take yourself so seriously. No one else does.

12.You don't have to win every argument. Agree to disagree.

13. Make peace with your past so it won't spoil the present.

14. Don't compare your life to others. You have no idea what their journey is all about.

15. No one is in charge of your happiness except you.

16. Frame every so-called disaster with these words: 'In five years, will this matter?'

17. Help the needy,Be generous ! Be a 'Giver' not a 'Taker'

18. What other people think of you is none of your business.

19. Time heals everything.

20. However good or bad a situation is, it will change.

21. Your job won't take care of you when you are sick. Your friends will. Stay in touch.

22. Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need.

23. Each night before you go to bed ,Pray to God and Be thankful for what you'll accomplish, today !

24. Remember that you are too blessed to be stressed.

25.Fwd this to everyone on your list to help them lead a happier life. 

Saw this on Facebook! Really loved it! Which all of these 25 you guys already follow?

Book Review - "Rainy Days" By Samarth Prakash

Monday, September 17, 2012

In life, sometimes there are normal coincidences, sometimes there are SRK movie type coincidences, and sometimes there are miracles. However, what never happens in life is that a Male (21-28) gets a Female (18-24) on the seat next to him!

That's what happened in the beginning of the book, and that's what gave away what was to follow - a cliched soppy love story! 

rainy days samarth prakash

Rainy Days by Samarth Prakash is another run-of-the-mill love story, by a budding Indian author. I wouldn't say that anything was bad about this book, but there was nothing unique, good either! As a friend commented the other day - after reading so many amateurish books by budding Indian authors, sometimes I start liking Chetan Bhagat's writing! Sigh!

There is one thing that is actually very confusing about the author - his writing style! At some places, the guy is so philosophical that he dwells into similarities between rains/nature and life! One moment on the road on a rainy day, can at times be explained in two pages, whereas the actual story is told in a much hurried way! 

Its almost like driving on the Gurgaon toll, if you are stuck, you will stand at the same place for a trillion hours, otherwise, life zips away too fast on that road! Sigh! See, the side effects of reading this book - even I have started writing philosophical gyaan out here! 

The book starts with an India-Australia cricket match in Bangalore. Due to the twist and turns designed by the destiny, our protagonist Raghav goes to see that match alone! (Seriously? A cricket match, alone?) Due to a similar set of destiny-conspired-reasons the female lead Megha, also goes to see the same match alone! Cherry on the top is that this single, lonely girl sits next to our single, lonely boy. And then it rains! 

Wait! It gets more interesting from here! (Not!) The match is abandoned, and everyone sits in the open, getting drenched for hours, while the hero shares his umbrella with this unknown girl, while nicely engaging in a meaningful conversation for hours, in the first go!

Kya bhayya, Karan johar se milke aye ho kya?

Leave about striking a conversation, I bet you to find a real engineer that is able to not-piss-off the girl in the first meeting! Sigh!

In short, most of the story is quite predictable with much room left for further development of main characters. Other folks just got a cameo role in this book, which is a pain point, as after sometime the hero-heroine chatter becomes monotonous. Add to that the melodrama, and you have a ready recipe to bang your head on the wall, if no table is available nearby!

I know I am being a little harsh with this book review, but then I wasted so many precious hours of my life on this book, to witness such an artificial, cheap bollywood movie type climax! And to be frank, I can't write good stuff about a book just because someone has given it to me for review!

Anyway, in case you love too much melodrama in a love story, then go ahead and pick this title up from Flipkart. Click here to buy this book. Buy Rainy Days from

And in case, like me, you don't, then wait for my next post! It is going to be a tag given to me by someone who likes SRK as much as I do - Akanksha 

The one where SHE talks about me ...

Thursday, September 06, 2012

It is a rare sight where someone is talking about me and not hurling abuses :D Looks like the Fiancee caught the blogging bug (finally!) and wrote a sweet post about me. The surprising thing is, instead of calling me "Ajee sunte hoooo" or (hone wale) "Chunnu Munnu ke pappa" :D :D, she refers to me as The Furobiker. (!!!) And at one place gives a proper disclaimer like the one they keep it in legal documents - "him" refers to the Furobiker, hereon - kind of stuff. Girls are funny, I tell you. :P Phew..  

This picture tells a lot about us as a couple. Detailed post soon  :)
Excerpt from her blog...
It’s the season of marriages. More so arranged ones. I know at least 4 of my friends in the same team getting hitched before the year end. I see them on the phones all the while… chatting/ talking with all the blushes and grins, texting furiously with all the lively expressions… Courtship before the wedding is the best phase in arranged marriages… which made me think about my life so far….

Go read the full post on her blog .. Click here for the full post ...

Such is life ...

Friday, August 24, 2012

You have to keep moving forward ...
... no matter how hard it is

Travelogue - Banaras - The oldest living city in the world

Monday, August 13, 2012

I wanted to go by Shiv Ganga, man!

But well, corporate commitments and busy schedules force you to make hard choices.

So the occasion was Teddy's engagement, but more than an occasion it was an excuse for us six musketeers to pack our bags and rush to the holiest pilgrimage on earth - my alma mater, my home of four glorious years - Banaras Hindu University!

Due to jam packed schedules, and compulsion to attend our respective offices on Friday, we all were forced to take Magadh Express, which eventually dumps us at Mughalsarai Jn. instead of Varanasi Cantt. Nevertheless, as they say, it is not the destination, but the journey that counts - I figured this one out on the morning of Saturday, 28th July 2012.

Five grown up men, smiling foolishly while just staring out at the farms passing by, feeling the old memories gushing at God-speed as they try to remember old days, when these farms were the indications to pack up the bags, playing cards, and chappals as the train will reach its destination in a few minutes.

The train was late as usual, though the train attendants cited rain as the show spoiler, as if we were some freshers who didn't knew that you can not attend any pre-lunch classes on the day you arrive in Banaras!

Nostalgia started flowing as soon as we hired the shared auto from Mugalsarai to Lanka! Having spent 30% of our corporate lives travelling in office cabs and big cars , suddenly we had a hard one on our plate that morning! Who were the two, who would join the driver in the front seat, while one of their bums hang out on the road, brushing with the passing motor cycles and bearing splashes of accumulated rain water! :D

After chatting up regarding coal trade near Mugalsarai Station, most of us were silent, if not numb, throughout the auto journey between Varanasi Cantt. chowk and our destination! Shout-outs of various familiar names by auto-drivers - Sigra, Bhelupur, Lanka, (my punjabi friends, please do not pronounce the next place) Laura-beer!

While we were stuck in a jam, near Durgakund, couple of us were pondering upon the fact, that the how liberating it is to be back in Banaras, where we can just be ourselves, and are not forced to act sophisticated just for the sake of corporate slavery!

We had 1) Hung out from moving autorickshaw, 2) Three people had shared sitting space with auto driver in the front, 3) Walked one KM, getting drenched in rain, while bikers were splashing water on us, and last but not the least 4) Switched off our bloody phones (cum mini-computers/leashes) for sometime!!

Oh, so lovely BHU gate!

We were determined to cover all important landmarks of our journey, as we just had 24 hours to spare for the trip to nostalgia! (Remember, we were here for a engagement?) :D

And what would have been a better way to kick off the journey than Bun Malai and Chai (and sutta for some) at Dilip Bhayya's stall! Even Dilip bhayya has changed so much in last five years. Along with us, even he has grown a beer belly. Also, he has graduated from being a chai wale bhayya, to the owner of a small hotel just behind his landmark tea stall!

One salute to Malviyaji, standing tall at the main entrance, and we set our foots inside the campus. Well technically, it was another auto ride, IT campus is over 3 KMS away from the main gate, so forget about walking the whole distance! :P (As sunny paaji says to Sunil Shetty in Border - Pyaar aur Pagalpan me bahut thoda sa farak hota hai! :D )

MMV, or the Mahila Maha Vidyalya, is the first thing you notice as you enter the BHU campus. And how can one not remember the PMC - piya milan chowraha - just in front of MMV main gate! It served as the CCD of our times - a lot can happen at PMC! Hehe!

Being mechanical engineers, and that too from IT BHU, which is infamous for its highly skewed gender ratio, most of us had our first interaction with girls around this area only. And by interaction, I mean talking to a girl and not referring to her as DiDi! :D Yeah! Our lives pretty much sucked, before we joined IT BHU !!

Few minutes later, we were standing outside the enormous Vishwanath Temple, or VT as we lovingly used to call it. The place is still the same, but just some barricades installed on the brick flooring. Now you can't park your bike just outside Zaika for your favorite rajma-rice or chole-rice! There is a dedicated paid parking, which will set you back by 5 rupees every time you park at the VT parking!

Dont know about the rich kids joining IT these days, but I would never pay for parking anywhere inside BHU !

From thereon, we were on foot for the remainder of the day inside BHU. The first thing you notice while walking from VT to IT side will be this board, announcing the new name of the institute - IIT BHU !! Had to take a landmark picture out there, though all the happy faces you see in the picture, do not care for the extra I in the name. We are happy and content with the IT BHU degrees we have! :)

Another gush of nostalgia hit us when we reached Rajputana, our hostel for the first year of college. First year is an interesting part of the journey. It is the year when you are forging lifelong friendships, giving names to each other which will form an alternate identity for you for your remaining time in this life, and for marking out the people whom you can mock, for entertainment purposes only! :D :D

We spent first year in Rajputana, second and third year in Vishvasarayya and final year in Vishvakarma, far away from the humdrums of the world! Between Saturday and Sunday morning, we visited all three of them, and our respective rooms within them.

IT still hosts all types of friendly guys and morons I must say! Though some of the kids were very friendly, and receptive when we visited our old rooms, we did come across people shouting - abe mere room ko kyu ghoor ghoor ke dekh raha hai. Kuch khazaana chupa hai kya yaahan!

Dude, I so wish, I take the interviews during your placement season!

Oh, and those of you guys, who have ever stayed in Vishvakarma, you must be remembering that canteen wale BaBa - who makes shit tea and looks like he is 300 years old? Yeah, the same guy, who claims to own this canteen when R S Singh from mechanical department was a student here! That guy is still alive! And he looks as haunting as ever!!

I distinctly remember him coming to the room at 2 am and asking for chai ka gilaas in his terrifying baritone! :D

Limbdi corner, ah! How can I miss out on that in this post! The limbdi corner wale bhayya remembered us in one glance when we arrived there! If I may steal a pun from Three Idiots, the millimeters who worked at the corner during our times, have grown up into centimeters! One of the kids, who when asked for chutney used to say - Bhayya Ghabdaiye mat - is getting married this year!

Time flies so fast!!

And our beloved wooden beds and stone benches have been removed by the procter! :( They say that BHU has started holding elections again, and non-IT goons started having long panchayats at Limbdi Corner over chai-samosas! Proctor got irked with it, hence the demolition! Fack!

Oh, and just to make you guys a little more jealous and hungry - Chola Samosa! 5 countries and 12 states ghoom ke bhi aise chole samose kahi nahi khaaye maine! :)

Treading on the rickety roads besides Hyderabad Gate, HG, one has to go to the famous and nostalgic Aahar Vihaar. Witness to countless number of job parties, birthday parties, random daru parties, inter-branch fights, and some more daru parties, and friday (mess closed day) dinner plans, every corner of this open dhaba has countless memories associated with it.

You can visit here alone or with friends, doesn't matter, because more than the people sitting with you, memories made on each table, and corner, and bush (while falling off in them while being thoroughly drunk) will keep you company.

I guess its over 5 years I drank at 3PM, bang in the middle of the day! Couldn't resist you see!

All you mechanical engineers out there, hold your heart! Our department entrance has got a full makeover!!

And those of you guys, who used to jump out of G6, G7, G8, bad news for you! It seems that V P Singh saw someone jumping out of the backside window during the class hours, and got these wrought iron meshes to make mechanical department look no less than a jail! :D

Sad that the doors were closed, due to it being a weekend, and we could only peep from the gaps in the keyholes, at our (sleeping) seats and benches in the lecture halls! You can not help, but, clearly remember the almost exact sitting order of each and every bench !

First bench used to be all GMATs (GMAT represents a different abbreviation in BHU :D :D ), then the second to fourth bench were for average Joes, and then we guys ruled the last benches, while being asleep on them for most part of our four years! :D

As coincidence would have it, saw S K Sharma sir on his scooter during my last five minutes in BHU! Baba spotted him first and I never saw him running at such break neck speeds during my entire life! Limited are the days when you see a 150 pound guy running so fast, cracking the concrete with his every step! :D

Sharma sir, once the epitome of energy and positive light, looks broken and dull these days. Maybe that is an aftereffect of his son's activities. But rumors are, due to his son's stupidities, he was asked to resign from the post of Head of Department of Mechanical Engineering. Felt bad for him, that how situations can break the soul and spirit of such a fighter!

But the most fun part of the trip was meeting pondy baba!! Met him at DG wali paan ki dukaan! Cheerful as ever, he still can not control paan dripping from his mouth while talking! Oh, and Pondy baba bas diversified his businesses! He now sells LAN wire and networking equipment to the students as well! :D

Dhanya hain pondy Baba, if not for him, I would still be studying in BHU, writing my auto-biography on how one guy spent his entire life trying to get a degree from Department of Mechanical Engineering BHU!

Somedays, I miss BHU so badly, it hurts! Seriously, there is no heaven like BHU you can visit before dying, and as of now I am not even counting the common holiness of Varanasi people talk about!

At the engagement, and the guy who got engaged is in black suit, behind us
“I've learned one thing, and that's to quit worrying about stupid things. You have four years to be irresponsible here, relax. Work is for people with jobs. You'll never remember class time, but you'll remember the time you wasted hanging out with your friends. So stay out late. Go out with your friends on a Tuesday when you have a paper due on Wednesday. Spend money you don't have. Drink 'til sunrise. The work never ends, but college does..." QOTD

PS: Sorry for the quality of some pics, it was raining consistently and we had to make do with stupid phone cameras for most part. If you cant see the images, click here

Conversations with a Cab Driver

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Some days I wonder.. and other days I wonder a little more than usual...

Few weeks back, I was returning home late at night in a cab. As luck would have it, I was travelling alone in the cab. Now rein your mental horses before they start running in the wrong direction - ek bhola bhala ladka, andheri rat me, akele Gurgaon me... ! :P 

By the way, Gurgaon is a shit city, I tell you, but we will come back to it some other day.

The distance was long, and I loathe listening to music in moving vehicles. So, I decided to strike a conversation with the driver guy! Bhai sahab, us driver ne zindagi ke funde hila diye mere!!

We started with usual chit chat about our respective work life balance (we were almost on the same page, by the way! No life, only work! :D) and slowly moved on to long term vision of our respective lives!

Over the course of our conversation, I realized how well sorted, and clear vision this guy has! I will spare you my side of the story, as it basically has in-hand salary as milestones for the next 5 years! :D But this guy had a whole business plan, which he had been following since 2005!

This guy, all of 19 years of age back then, came to Delhi in 2005 to earn a livelihood. After couple of months of job hunt, he was able to join some call center as a driver. There was this guy from his hometown, who was working at the same call center since Gurgaon BPO boom days. That bhaiya helped him in securing that driver job for a comfortable salary of Rs 5,000.

Yes, five thousand rupees only per month for a job that entailed 500-600 Kms driver per day in NCR!! 500Km drive per day, and that too in Delhi traffic! By God!

After doing this job for some three-four months, this guy realized ki bhayya aise to life nahi chal sakti. It was then this guy hatched the master plan for his road to redemption! Dude, such a long term plan, and so well executed, blew my mind off!

Total Per Month: Rs 5,000
Room Rent: 1,000
Other Expenses: 1,000
Money Sent Home: 1,500
Savings After Misc Expenses: 1,200

He saved every penny, and lived on the same financial model for whole five years! He augmented his income by ferrying 10-10Rs passengers between Gurgaon and Delhi, while returning empty and had a bounty of 80,000 at the end of five years! He used this sum to pay down payment for his own cab! 

Now there was another shocking line of thought, which he told me about. Of this 80k, he used only 60k to finance his own car, and saved 20k for unexpected delay in payment from the company! He told me it happens every few months. (and picked some petty cash from his friends for registration etc) 

After getting his own cab, he used his contacts of 5 years, to get it enrolled in one of the call centers, which had ever growing needs for cabs.

This was in mid-2011, and now for his own cab, he started getting over 30k per month (after paying bribes to his so-called contact and admin department of the company). After deducting diesel and EMI costs, and his previous expenses, this guy used to save about 10,000Rs per month! 

Now, if a guy can go ahead and start his own transport business (with one cab though) with 1,500 savings per month, imagine what he can do with saving 10k per month!!

Cut to today, this guy has two cabs, of which one he drives himself, and he employs a driver for the other one. If his planning (and economic conditions) goes fine for the next few years, I can easily envision him owning a small transport company having 10-15 cabs on hire! 

Aur ek saale hum hain, fighting every year that why we should get a 15% hike and not 12% hike because we did some awesome work! The point is, saali hamari soch hi choti hai. All we want is security, and we are willing to trade off unlimited growth potential for this feeling of pseudo security which our 30-of-every-month-paycheck provides!

Bhak saala!

I still cant forget the beautiful way in which this guy said at the end of the conversation - sirjee, aakhir "Naukri" shabd jo hai, wo "Naukar" se hi to aaya hai na!! 

Kitnay Aadmi Thay? By Diptakirti Chaudhuri - Book Review

Thursday, August 02, 2012

Ye jo world hai na world, isme do tarah ke log rehte hain - Pehle, jo bollywood ki pooja karte hain, aur doosre jo sirf rakhee sawant ki pappi lene ke liye paida hue hain! :D

Seriously, most of my college friends and office colleagues are hollywood movie addicts, and most of the times, I am just looking at their faces and wondering - bhayya amreeka me paida hue the kya? Kabhi kabhi hindi movie bhi dekh lia karo!!

Tanhayee ka aalam kuch is hadd tak pahunch gaya tha, ki I thought maybe the next time I go for the screening of a hindi movie, I will find myself surrounded by only Rickshawallas! :D

... till I got my hands on Kitnay Aadmi Thay? By Diptakirti Chaudhuri !

As the short description of the book says - Completely Useless Bollywood Trivia!! The book is a compendium of useless trivia regarding Bollywood movies! For example - Have you seen the movie Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge? Do you remember the scene where SRK steals the crate of beer from Amrish Puri's shop? Now later in the movie, SRK is shown sipping the same brand of beer!!  Do you know which brand was it?

At first glance, this book seems like a collection of ultimate useless trivia, however, the author has done such a deep analysis at times, that it simply blows your mind away! After finishing the book in just two readings, I can surely say that this book is not trivia for sure!!

Seriously dude! This guy watches, re-watches, and re-re watches each and every movie to take notes ??

The guy has done a listing of song-names that became movie names, vice versa, listing of parsis, punjabis et al. in our hindi movies! He has even jotted down dialogues, full names of characters, unfinished movies, heroines, Amir Khan movies .. and the list goes on!

Though, there were some places where the author is talking about the movies which were released way before I was born! Even though I am a huge a movie buff, if I may call myself that, I am very sure I can't watch/relate to all the movies which were released 20 years before I was born.

Although, instead of reading it as a trivia book I was enjoying playing the guessing game by completing the lists on my own! Wo kehte hain na, ho jaaye do-do hath! :D Oh, and I have a pretty awesome memory in terms of bollywood gyaan! *evil grin*

You will love this book, if you love Bollywood as much as I do, warna baba aage badho, hawaa aane do! :D

Oh, and before I forget, I need to pimp Blogadda for sending me this book free of cost for reviewing! This review is a part of the Book Reviews Program at Participate now to get free books!

Till we meet again...

I am on a break !

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

As you can see from the pic below ...

... currently, I am a (poor) farmer in a remote village in Andhra Pradesh! (who needs a bailout package to pay wedding shopping bills!) :P :D

Will be back with a long travelogue soon!

Satyameva Jayate - My Thoughts

Saturday, June 30, 2012

"They are all different, yet all the same" - Sri Sri 1008 Furobiker Maharaaj !

Remember this quote, and we will come back to this in a little while.

Remember the good old days, probably some 15 years back, when most of you wore bell-bottoms and I was in school and had a head full of hair? Give or take 5 years, but during that era - and I vividly remember - Sunday mornings were either booked for Mahabharat, or for Alif Laila ! PS: In case, you were not born in that era - I pity you!

We all have such a deep connect with Sunday morning 10 am - 12 noon slot. It is THE family time, when everyone used to sit together, have a sumptuous looking thali of chole bhature or alu paranthe, (that is if you are a Punjabi, for the non-Punjabi folks - I don't know what you guys eat for breakfast!) and watch the weekly dose of moral science lectures blended in a concoction of cultural and religious sentiments, fed through the only entertainment medium of that time.

At the advent of Y2K bug, along with a new millennium, Internet came into our lives! That marked the demise of family hour every Sunday, and got us glued to the likes of Hi5s and Orkuts! (Kids, they were the Facebooks of early 2000s)

Fast Forward 10 years - Grab the exact time slot - Every Sunday 10.30 - 12, which held such a deep significance in people's subconscious - Masterstroke 1!

I am a big TV buff, and have accepted it time and again. That includes a lot of Indian as well as Western talk shows as well, including the good ones from Oprah and Aap ki Adaalat to the cheap ones such as Rakhee ka Insaaf! And inspite of the cocky hosts of all these shows, there was a common underlying theme in all of them - they were talk shows where everyone was given a chance to speak, even though in most cases, the glib talking hosts brushed aside what was not a part of their script!

Aamir, however correct he may be, provides only one side of the story! (Except for one case where some pesticide manufacturer came and called everyone a liar!) Now, i am not saying that we should listen to reasoning that a husband is providing for aborting his unborn female child, but with the immense power of fan following and bored-to-death twitterati of India, we are encouraging Aamir to become thought leader - more importantly one-who-thinks-he-is-always-right famous guy - to provide one sided judgement on every societal issue that happens in our country!

What if, the guy you called  on your show, turns out to be a much smarter guy at the live shooting and actually gives you a point which you cant refute? Shut the f**k up, this is my show and only I or my puppets do the talking - Masterstroke 2! 

OK! This one goes to both Aamir and his editing team! The show is - what we call it in terms of powerpoint presentations - so crisply produced, that you can not even get up to pee during that time! Every single tear from the people Aamir calls on his dais, rising and fading of the ultra-emotional music that can even shake the antar-aatma of a guy like me, every tch tch tch or ohhho sound made by Aamir is so well timed that I am tempted to go and buy a Filmfare for Aamir and his crew every 8 minutes!

I do not even remember a single day in past 20 years, when I went out of my home without a handkerchief! How come Aamir forgets it every single day and that too on probably the most important show of his life! At each of his well timed tear, he has to pull up his t-shirt, wipe the tear from his sleeve and continue listening to the harrowing tales of the interviewee!

The issues raised by Aamir are not new, and you know it! The only reason you are feeling so filled up with emotions and anger after viewing the atrocities telecasted because Aamir is a very fine actor!

Take up issues raised by thousands of activists all over the country, add one tablespoon of your direction skills, and one bucket of your super fine acting, and you have a fine mixture of sensationalizing TRP generating machine and a brilliant social worker image for yourself! Masterstroke 3 !

Just leave out the emotional fool inside you and observe the show / repeat telecast of the show once, and you will understand what I am saying. There is something in the way he acts and reacts that comes out as so-very-fake that it spoiled it for me! Brilliantly timed tears, agonizing looks and tch tch sounds on listening to every story (which he must have heard at least 10 times during rehearsals), knowing probing the person and then shedding some more tears! How is it not different from the typical soaps that your and my mom watches?

And right now, I am not even talking about the other issues I have about this show. For example, the host of the show, who after 15 years of marriage dumped his wife and kids, to marry a younger girl! (and then preaching whole India about arranged and love marriages!)

If you look at the masterstrokes outlined above, along with the impeccable acting by Aamir and the most appropriate shots of howling audience, you can not refrain yourself from calling Satyam Eva Jayate the Om Shaanti Om of Socially Responsible world! We all know Om Shaanti Om - howsoever bad the movie - was a sheer piece of marketing brilliance!

And that my dear friends, what Satyam Eva Jayate is - A brilliant mix of a marketing ploy, along with the topics of interest to common Indians, with the topping of Aamir Khaan effect that we have grown to be in awe of, over our lifetimes!

I am not at all doubting the issues raised by the show, they are very valid and are at the roots of most of the evils present in India. These are age old evils, and its high time that we uproot them for the betterment of our society! Seriously, someone needs to educate the masses regarding the same, and trust me that Aamir Khaan has dumbed down the show so much - by displaying very ordinary school level graphics, explaining everything in simplest of hindi and translating everything in Hindi - our national language. Commendable effort!

But my concern lies in the fact, that it takes just a few weeks for such issues to fizz out! Everyone on Twitter is now talking about some poisnous pesticides in our food instead of cases where female foetuses are aborted! We just have a very short term memory, and that is pretty natural !

However, what Aamir is gaining out of it, is building an image of Social Activist! Cherry on the cake is Amir visiting and addressing the parliament over issues raised in his Medical Malpractices episode! An actor - however fine he is - is not qualified to address the parliament over medical issues, or for that matter any issue!

Now let us read the quote given at the start  - They are all different, yet all the same!

They have got name, fame, money and most importantly a huge fan following. What more do they want? 

What would a fine gentleman and richest cricketer Sachin Tendulkar want at the dusk of his cricketing career?

In entertainment industry, you can not remember the names of all the people who took the same path.. starting from Vyjayanthimala, to Nargis, Rekha, Shabana Azmi, Javed Akhtar, Rekhaa, Jaya Bacchan ... the list is endless!

 ... and more importantly, being at the same age, and having almost equivalent success in their professional lives, makes it much more difficult to single out one khan to nominate in Rajya Sabha.. unless Satyam Eva Jayate! Hope you get the drift...

PS: As a friend joked today - it is not Satyameva Jayate - it is Satyam Eva Jayate! When the phrase originated, there was no Meva in it! :)

So Bloody True

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Found this while - as illiterate people say - surfing the internet ! This is So. Bloody. True!! Aint it?

Cant see the image? Click here 

Funde #2

Saturday, June 16, 2012

It's funny how we feel so much but we don't say a word,
We're screaming inside but we can't be heard
Saw these lines on someone's twitter update! Too good - deserves a space for itself on this blog! 

Early Morning Post

Sunday, June 10, 2012

I was just scanning my Google reader subscriptions, and realized that its just not me who has gone slow in terms of blogging! Almost all of my favorite bloggers have started taking it lightly! Phew! 

Had to happen eventually, no? Jobs, relationships, priorities - everything changes in a few years time! Ab aap log bhi soch rahe hoge subha subha bakwaas kyu kar raha hai bhai! :D

Anyways, it is not subha-subha ka time at least for me! I haven't slept a wink whole night! Yep! I ate some momos and shit like that yesterday evening, and I guess either the momos guy steamed them in drain water or probably the momos were given to him as his baap ki aakhiri nishaani 20 years back! Fuck! 

Bottom line is, around 10 in the night, I started having severe stomach pain and shivering! And it was all downhill from there! The pain got unmanageable and shivering turned into high fever and body pain! By 11 pm I was wearing two sets of bedsheet and was curled up in the corner like the old street beggars they show in the cartoons! :P

If I remember correctly in the dizzyness of the pain, I took around 5 tablets in the night! Whatever anyone or everyone suggested - I popped that pill! Guess momos and tablets made some deadly mocktail in my stomach and were causing stupid reactions! 

You know, when we get up in the morning we feel - abhi abhi to soye the yaar, itni jaldi subha ho gai - it is absolutely not true! Trust me on this, the night is so bloody long! I wasn't able to sleep the whole night, and was just trying to shift positions to reduce the pain and trying to cover myself more by stealing bedsheets from everyone else's beds! :P 

It must be around 4 am, when I somehow started getting a feeling that I will probably die tonight! I was totally numb for sometime and was having cold sweats all over! Maybe the medicines had started working or the momos got digested and got converted into shit! :D It was then I remembered Border Movie starring saade Sunny paaji! 

If you remember that movie, it was all about surviving that one night! The next morning our super advanced fighter planes (without headlights) would have got the permission to fly and saved the world! Same was my mental situation and I was praying - bas bhagwaan ye raat kat jaye bas, subha to sab theek ho jayega! Phew!

Anyways, have you guys ever observed moms have this super power of receiving the health status updates of their kids via blue tooth!  She got up early to check on me, and fed me another cocktail of medicines! Guess the second round started helping me, and I could finally sleep from 6 to 7 am ! 
Even now, the pain hasn't subsided but it is sort of managable, and I am hoping those fucking momos would be out of my system in the next 24 hours or so! 

This incident - along with lack of sleep - got me into a thinking mode. Saala kitna bhi tashan maar len bahar, lekin body ke ander 1 paise ki bhi dikkat hoti hai to hamari g@@nd fat ke haath me aa jati hai! Even though one can pick up 40 kgs in gym, but jab 102 fever me body shiver karti hai, to sala 30 seconds bhi ekdum straight nahi let paata aadmi! 

But anyways, getting sick once in a while is ok i guess! People start pampering you so much, and on top of that, no one even wakes you up early in the morning for watching (the overhyped) Satyamev Jayate! :P

Here is to couple of more days of sickness! - Cheers! 

Everybody Dies!

Sunday, May 27, 2012

For the first time in my life, I am sitting in front of my laptop and not able to type a single word! It feels like a small part of me died just few hours ago! This is an obituary to Doctor Gregory House!

Most famous words uttered by House, time and again, were "Everybody Lies" !! So, there can not be a more fitting title to the final episode of the series than Everybody Dies! Captures the essence and conveys the meaning!

For eight years I was hooked like crazy to this show! Even though in the beginning I could not understand the medical terminology shit they were talking about, but that never stopped me from desperately waiting for the next episode/season of this show!

If I had to choose one fictional character I idolize, I would rather choose House over God! God creates problems, House solves them!

Anyways, as Deepika Padukone has said time and again to all her boyfriends - Everything that has a beginning has an ending! :D :D

And trust me, there could not have been a better ending to the last episode. I specially like the last scene where at his funeral, everybody was saying stupid sugar-coated shit! And then suddenly Wilson breaks down, and calls House what he really is - A Jerk, jackass who had no emotions for anyone in this world, and can go to any length to demean his patients, friends and co-workers! :D

But whatever people say, you cannot find a more impulsive guy than House, and I love him for that! Bhaad me jaye dunia, jo karna hai wo karna hai! Even if it fetches him a jail sentence for that matter! :D

Waise Nirmal Baba ne kaha hai, House ke ye teen principals yaad kar lo, kripa aani shuru ho jayegi! :D

1) Everybody lies
2) People don't change
3) It is always about the puzzle!

There cannot be a bigger genius and a better friend than you House! Specially for what you did in the end.. Over and out! 

Its all in the details !

Monday, May 21, 2012

Long time no blog?

I think bloggers should never sign-up for Facebook and Twitter! All that I want to write here as long posts, gets written in the form of 140 characters over there! Sigh! And then I am in no mood to write that same stuff again on the blog! So no more tweeting for the next one week! Pakka promise! :P

These days I am trying to better utilize my morning cab time by catching up on some reading, instead of snoozing every single day! :P Currently the ratio is 3 days sleeping, 2 days reading in the cab! Aakhi ye aaram ka maamla hai! :D

This week, I read a strange murder mystery - The Devotion of Suspect X . If I remember correctly, this book is a translation from the original Japanese version. Which is very clear from the nouns used in the book - and this my dear friends, was the one and only pain point of this book! See, remembering Seeta aur Geeta is relatively very easy, as compared with remembering Yasuko, Misato, Ishigami, and Togashi! Phew! :D

Coming back to the book, this isn't one of your typical murder mysteries! In the first 40-50 odd pages, the writer does three things - 1) Builds a very strong mental image of the town, 2) Introduces you to the key characters, 3)Takes you through the exact murder scene!!

Now, that's the best part about the book! Let me digress - So, how many of you like Sherlock Holmes, or Dr. House for that matter? The only common thing between these two characters - apart from the fact that both of them are big show-offs - is their attention for details! By noticing tiny details, these guys turn around their respective cases - be it a medical case or a criminal one!

The protagonist of this book, is no different from these guys. Just look at the following paragraph -

When I knocked on your door a few minutes ago, I smelled cigarette smoke. Figuring you had a guest, I looked for shoes by the door, but I couldn’t see any. I glanced into the room, and noticed it looked like someone was under your kotatsu, and the cord was pulled. But if someone wanted to hide, they could’ve just gone into the back room. Which meant that the person under the kotatsu wasn’t hiding there, they had been hidden there. When I put that together with the thumping noises that I had heard, and the fact that your hair was unusually dishevelled, it wasn’t hard to imagine what had happened. Oh, and one more thing: there aren’t any cockroaches in this building. I’ve lived here several years now and never seen one.

Now imagine, when such a modern-day-Sherlock is on the side of the murderer! The author, though the hands of the protagonist, takes you and the detectives on a ride! He takes the detectives on the route where he wants to take them, through meticulous plan - which obviously works 5 steps ahead than detectives!

The novel is very tightly written - no spare words used anywhere! And the best part is - no guns, knives or AK 47s used anywhere in the novel! On top of that, there are just one or two instances of even cars mentioned in the book! It is the story of a simple town in Japan, where the protagonist, his scientist friend and the detectives play brain games to solve or rather tangle the murder mystery!

I was so bloody impressed by the intelligence of the protagonist, that I wished that the book almost never ended! The only mistake I made was pick this book as my cab read! It was bloody hard to put it down in between, and wait for the cab next morning to pick this up again! Phew!

Read it if you want, I would recommend it, if that matters! But do take care of the Japanese names - they tend to get very confusing at times! Sigh! :D

Buy it from Flipkart - The Devotion of Suspect X

the devotion of suspect X

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