Monday, December 19, 2005

King Kong

How many times have you come out of a movie feeling.. .. exhausted!? I bet not too many..
"King Kong" is likely to be one of those movies. Make no mistake, this is a movie of monumental proportions... it is a B-I-G movie... in every of the word. Yes, sometimes it does tend to border on the "too much" line... its a bit too long, too far-fetched at times, perhaps too ambitious(?). But the very fact that you're still trying to catch your breath when you come out of the movie speaks volumes of the intensity of the movie.

I really wanted to watch "King Kong". It had become one of those once-a-year movies that you just have to watch.. at any cost. The promos had blown me away.. and to top it all, almost every single review I read (about 25, I think!) went to the extent of labelling it as a modern day classic. I just had to watch it.

With these kind of expectations, I went into Vue cinemas on saturday night. I'm pretty sure that a few hundred others in the hall were carrying similar expectations. And this is why the initial portions of the movie gain so much importance. Almost an entire hour is spent building up the characters, and more importantly, setting up the stage for the big guy to arrive. It is done so masterfully, that you actually relish the first hour with eagerness rather than waiting with annoyance. The very first sequence, when the depression era is depicted with a classic song playing in the background, is pure class.
Jackson has done wonderfully well to keep an eerie feeling intact whilst he moves the story forward in its own pace into the skull island.

The hour that follows gives you some serious action. You've got dinasour stampedes(!!), flying dinasours, T-Rexes, human sized insects, and what not... (how did the natives survive in that island?). Kong does arrive with a bang, but its the scene when the first T-Rex is shown which really sends a shiver down the spine.

There is a 15 minute long sequence involving a fight between Kong and three T-Rexes(!) that is so incredible, that had it been a cinema in Bangalore, I'm sure the hoots and whistles at the end of it would've been deafening. ( I can still remember the 2 minute long whistle fest at Urvashi cinema at the end of the Neo-vs-100-Agent-Smiths fight in Matrix Reloaded!)
Special effects are flawless, breathtaking.. a perfect example of how Hollywood just keeps raising the bar every time. But the moments that actually make the movie are those little ones in between the action.. like the one where Ann realises that Kong actually enjoys her antics and performs some comedy in front of him for the first time... the one where they enjoy the sunset for the first time... the delightful little sequence on a frozen water pond in central park in NY, and of course the climax, which is tragically memorable.

Naomi Watts plays Ann Darrow, and the movie is essentially about Ann and the special bond that she shares with the mighty ape. And Naomi Watts is every bit of Ann Darrow that you want her to be. She somehow fits the "Beauty" as in "Beauty and the beast". She can not only scream with the best of'em... she can emote with the best too... as she has proved earlier in "The Ring" movies and "21 Grams". Jack Black and Adrian Brody also fit their roles quite well. Black, in particular, delivers superbly in a role that many thought he was miscast. Brody is typically unassuming and also manages to pull off a hero-isque shade of his character that was required for the middle part of the movie.
Andy Serkis must be the best CGI-actor in the world.. or is he the only one? His Kong is just terrific and shares a great non-erotic, sometimes-adorable-sometimes-possessive chemistry with Naomi Watts. This is what drives the movie.

Although the end is tragic, the last 15 minutes of the movie is pure magic.(I didn't intend that rhyme!) The world war fighter planes attacking the ape atop the Empire state building and a desperate Ann trying in vain to do something about it leaves a lasting impression. It takes some directorial skill to portray a sequence like this (which is mainly action) and yet show the different emotions that the ape goes through at those moments(confusion, anger, hurt, momentary bliss) successfully to the audience.

Peter Jackson has pulled out all stops to make this reportedly $220 Million movie... but most importantly he's given it the soul it required.. in the most subtle as well as in more obvious ways.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

The Chronicles of Narnia - The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe

I had no clue what Narnia was all about. I had seen its name being mentioned a few times at, saying it was one of the eagerly awaited movies of the year,et al... but thats it. It was only after a collegue here (an Englishman) told me about it that I got excited to see the movie.
"The Chronicals of Narnia" is a series of seven books written by C.S Lewis, an English Author. These books are about an alternate world called "Narnia" and the adventures of a few children who manage to discover it in various ways. Although I cannot make comparisons because I haven't read the Narnia series.. I still got the feeling that, in some ways, it is similar to Harry Potter..

So I went to watch the first installment of Narnia - "The Lion, The Witch & The Wardrobe"...
had to endure 15 minutes of commercials at the beginning.. most of them aimed at children (which kinda made me feel not too good about the movie)... Then things brightened up with a terrific trailer of the next Pirates of the Carribean movie - "Dead Man's Chest".. Ahoy! Put that one on my list..

The movie starts off nice & slow... the build up to the actual intro to Narnia is concise yet effective. When they did show the alternate world.. I must say I was a tad dissappointed... maybe coz I had a mental picture of something spectacular & out of this world (in every sense).. But to be honest, it did get better as the winter dissappeared and we were treated to some stunning locales of New zealand... or was it Ireland?
It is basically the story of these 4 kids.. in post world war era, who discover Narnia behind a wardrobe. Narnia is full of mythical/magical creatures.. It is ruled by the evil "White Witch" from the past 100 years.. A prophecy says that 2 sons of Adam (boys) and 2 daughters of Eve (girls) will land up in Narnia and end her rule. So she wants to catch hold of every human who comes to Narnia and freeze him/her. The rest of the story is about how these kids join forces with the real king of Narnia - Aslan and defeat her. And guess what.. Aslan is a Lion.. and a phenomenal one at that. The girl who's played the youngest kid is absolutely adorable..The Witch is superbly menacing!

Comparisons with the "Lord of the Rings" are inevitable (especially when you see the final battle) and not without reason too. For those who aren't aware, C.S.Lewis was a contemporary of the equally legendary J.R.R Tolkein, the author of LOTR. Narnia also has some of the key elements of Christianity imbibed in it.. just like LOTR. And finally, it seems that the director of the movie is a friend and fellow New-Zealander of a certain Peter Jackson.

All said and done, its a pretty decent movie. Perhaps more enjoable if you've read the book.
I still didn't think it was worth 6.5 pounds... But then, of late, no movie other than King Kong looks to be worth that much to me..
Come on Naomi.. scream for your life!

Currently Listening to: Some Techno Instrumental

Monday, December 12, 2005

Of Tubes, Tabloids and Christmas Lunches.

The London Underground or "The Tube" as it is popularly called is one of the best, if not the best example of the great things that we humans are capable of. It is a public transport system which carries over 2.7 million passengers a day !!! Most of it is automated, which means if you want to catch a train to victoria at 08:37, the train will be there at 08:37:00. no less, no more.

More than anything, the swiftness & efficiency with which the system operates simply blew me away. We Indians would use the term "phata-phat" to describe this!
It usually doesn't take you more than 10-15 mins to reach anywhere in prime london area using the tube. Here are some stats of the LU.
Y'know, one by one... I'm beginning to see the reasons why UK is called a "developed" nation.

Change of subject> Tabloids.
Okay, here's the thing that beats logic. I go to watch Harry Potter and they flash the "12A" rating on the screen atleast 3 times before the movie making it clear that some scenes may contain "fantasy" which is "unsuitable for younger viewers". Okay. I get it. You guys are very concerned about what your kids see. Good.
Next morning, I walk into a departmental store. At the entrance, there's a full stand of magazines and tabloids containing... "topless" pics of some women... on the COVER.
The Sun says "Page 3: Lesbian Girls bare it all".
Well... what if a mom walks in with a couple of young kids? what is she supposed to say? "You boys stand outside while I buy some milk"???
And its there everywhere... railway stations, malls, supermarkets, u name it. And I've seen thousands of parents with their kids at all these places.
But hey, don't blame the tabloids.. what are they supposed to to? Put an "18 only" stamp on each picture.. that would probably block all the stuff they want to show!
Y'know, one by one by one... I'm beginning to see the reasons why UK is called a "developed" nation.

Topic Change> Christmas Lunches
I had 2 extremely different christmas lunches in the space of a week. One of them was an official lunch party organised at a roof garden at kensington high street in london. It was a theme party and the theme was "1920's Gangsters & their molls" !
You know, these theme parties are a big thing here.. people go to great lengths in order to make the best impression at the party. The food was very average.. but I heard people telling me that the non-veg option was much better... well, not much of use to a veggie like me.

It is quite common here for people to drink like crazy during these parties. After the lunch, there was a mini disco-thingy.. which was empty until they started playing the latest Madonna, which rocked the hell outta most people, including me.
We had to have a burger at McD to feel alive after that so called "meal"... man! how these people survive here after eating so little still beats me.

The second lunch I had was at our VP's home near Southhampton. It was a beautiful experience.
Picture this: 1.3 acres of "landscaped" land in the countryside. A luxurious house. Scenic views from the windows. Nearest neighbour: about 100 feet away. I found it incredibly romantic!! Only wished "someone" was with me.. *sigh*
They had these 2 cats (Cats are the most common pets in UK). One of them was so adorable..all of us just loved playing with it.

Lunch time...They treated us to a typical English Christmas Lunch, which was quite interesting and surprisingly tasty too. They'd even cared enough to prepare separate vegetarian dishes for us, which we really appreciated. Then they told us about all these silly christmas traditions, like crackers, silly hats,etc... They also made us go through some of them, which was so much fun. It was quite a memorable experience, I'd say.
On the way back, I tried to imagine how it would be to have a party at a location like that... dancing with "someone"... to Madonna, of course..

Y'know... one... by.... one...reasons....

Currently Listening to: Rang De Basanti - Rang De Basanti

Thursday, December 08, 2005

A Day in London

After enjoying a week in the quieter suburbs and enjoying the countryside, I couldn't wait to go to London on saturday... I mean du-h, it was 'the' London... I had always dreamt of going to the Buckhingham Palace and trying to get one of those royal "robotic" guards to smile !! I had thought of all these wierd things I'd try in front of them just to make them emote...

Anyway, back to the point.. London. Yes, We (me & my roomie) started very late... I have a perennial waking up problem, you see. It was noon when we reached the Waterloo station. It was nothing like any of the railway stations I'd seen before... amazing!
Well, we're inside the station for not more than 2 minutes... and an announcement goes -
"Due to an immediete security threat, everybody is required to leave the station at this moment"
What the?????
We tried not to panic & just left the station.... Although nothing apparently happened later, for a moment though, I was s-c-a-r-e-d! I'm not sure whether it was because I felt something would blow up the station or because of the fact that I was being stared at by a few suspicious 'gora's..for just being a colored man.... but in hindsight, you can't really blame them.

We then took a walk on the Thames walkbridge... it was quite nice and cool. Then we headed to the famous Trafalgar square. This place is truly fantastic... its so picturesque. No wonder there were hundreds of tourists there... we took a few nice snaps there.. Didn't get a chance to go to the National gallery... some other time maybe.

Next stop was the Buckhingham Palace. Since it was sunny, we decided to walk all the way... But what a dreamy-eyed-tourist like me forgot was the legendary English weather. Within 10 mins, it started to rain! Dammit! Hmmm, 20 wet minutes later, we reached the palace only to find out that it is open for public only for 3 months in a year... aaarrrrrghhhhhhh...
This day is turning out to be a dampner, eh...
Atleast the sun came out again.... we met our friends as expected in front of the palace...
As per the plan we had to go to Madame Tussauds and The London Eye before 8 pm... Decided to have a snack on the way near Oxford Street... That street is amazing.... it is the centre of London, and on a saturday evening, it is absolutely packed with people... But somehow, It wasn't half as suffocating as Brigade Road in Bangalore.

The snack break lasted an entire hour. We had to scrap Madame Tussauds.
Headed towards the London Eye. Fastest way to get there... London Underground (More details about this in the next post)
It was a great sight. It is about 450 feet high & rotates very slowly, giving the person on it panoramic views of London City from various heights & positions.
After waiting for about 45 mins to get tickets, we were finally aboard the eye.
I'm generally not too fond of heights, but since it moved very slowly & also the fact that it was night time, it wasn't as scary. Once we reached the pinnacle, the view it offered of the city was purely breathtaking. It was similar to an ocean, except that instead of water, it was only lights, lights & more lights.... as faaaaar as I could see. Gosh! I dunno how Bangalore matches up with this...

Back on land, we went back to oxford street to hang out with another friend. We had a very nice Indian dinner at a restaurant called "Bombay Palace". We were chatting for so long that when we were finally done, it was 11:30 in the night. Time to head back...
Reached the Waterloo only to find out that the next train to Basingstoke was another 30 mins away. While waiting at the station, we found out that there are beggars here too... eh, a bit more "sophesticated", I dare say!! well, they beg in english.. for starters :))
On our way back home on the train, I kept thinking... well, I am livin' it up here in London.. ain't I?? My mind went back to a couple of nightclubs we passed by as we were heading back... They sure looked inviting...almost magnetic sometimes... but we didn't want to try everything in the first visit itself...especially since we didn't know much about the city yet..
But I'll be back baby...I will be back.

Currently Listening to: Lucky - Sun Zara

Sunday, November 27, 2005


Flightplan rocks.
Actually, we went with the intention of watching "Harry Potter & GOF" (which also rocks!), but it was sold out & had to settle for this.. but it turned out alright !
Jodie Foster is so so good! She has to be one of the best around... Thinking about the movie afterwards makes you realize how superlatively convincing her performance was. I thought the role required varied levels of complexity, in terms of emotions.. and she pulled it off with amazing perfection. Wow!
The movie's plot is also very "different" *non-cliched please*... manages to grip you throughout...
Not a waste of 6.5 pounds I'd say!

...just kidding! 6.5 pounds is wayyy too expensive for any movie!!
But I'd definitely pay it to watch "King Kong", which by the way is now atop of the list of my must watch movies this season. The promos look jaw-dropping to say the least !!

Currently Listening to: Nothing...feeling sleepy!

Saturday, November 26, 2005

The British Escapades - Part 3

First things first... How can people walk around in mini skirts & designerwear at -3 degrees??
I mean.. come on.. its MINUS THREE DEGREES!! Not that I mind looking at them ;), but still, it seemed crazy for someone like me who has come from a place where the coldest winter would probably mean 6 degrees ,with people fully wrapped up...
But things are certainly different here in England.. after a couple o' days, I realised that at this time of the year, 6 degrees is a luxury.
The wierdest thing is that the sun in fully out on most afternoons...but it is still so goddamn cold that sometimes it makes u wonder if this is some other planet!

Anyways..the roads & the "motorways" (read: highways) here, as I mentioned before are quite superb!
Drivers are usually sensible (atleast wherever I've been) & the whole traffic system works out very well indeed.. In fact, there are very few traffic lights around! ( I hear that things are a touch different in London though... gotta see that later)
It is pure bliss to drive around the countryside.. especially on a sunny afternoon... and esssspecially if you have a Audi convertible with its top down... (like the guy who drove past us!!) *sigh*... but hey! Camry is no slouch, i'll tell ya...

There's this huuge mall in the town centre, probably 5-6 times bigger than the biggest mall in bangalore.. (garuda, right?) Great place to hang out.. but most stores close down before 8 pm... (except on a saturday)... Clothes are quite expensive, but people here spend like crazy on fashion! Almost 70% of the mall is made up of fashion stores (and 70% of those are exclusively for women! Now I know where all the "women" jokes came from..)

There's this other city called "Reading" (pronounced "Reding") closeby where clothes are super cheap! Its about 20 minutes by train... That reminds me... public transport is very very good.. I was pleasantly "shocked" to see a train arrive & depart perfectly on time!

The only downside is walking around the city in freezing cold! They're saying this winter would become much colder as days go by! :(

But hey, if people can walk in mini skirts, then with 3 layers on me, I should survive, right?

Currently Listening to: Garam Masala: Kiss Me Baby (Remix)

Thursday, November 24, 2005

The British Escapades - Part 2

Sunday, November 20, 2005

* Shift to UK Time*

12:20 PM
: Landing at Heathrow... Its freakin' cold !!!

12:50 PM : Check out...
Someone's supposed to be here tp pick me up rite?... ahh... I see my name on a placard.. There's a man in a full suit waiting for me !! Is it for me or for NRN?..... Nope... the name on the placard is mine ! Turns out he's a chauffeur !! well, a chauffeur??!! goooood

1:20 PM : Cruising at 80MPH in a Skoda Superb!! Gosh, the roads are good here..
2:00 PM : Reached Basingstoke ( a suburb about 45 miles from london)
2:30 PM : Checked out the apartment!! Its terrific...

4:00 PM : Ventured out into the town centre with roomie.. damn! its cold out here...
4:30 PM : Sunset!!! (What the .... ??)
located a huuge shopping mall...loafed around for a couple of hours..
6:45 PM : Dinner (read: pizza)
8:00 PM : Jetlag sets in... crash..

Currently Listnening to: Pink Floyd - Sorrow

The British Escapades - Part 1

Saturday, November 19, 2005 - supposed to leave to UK next morning at 3AM

9:00 AM : Woke up !
10:30 AM : To National Market with Asoki for some last minute DVD shopping.
12:30 PM : Mom & bro arrive.. lunch..
2:30 PM : Live Cricket on TV, Ind vs SA :)
3:30 PM : Still watching cricket...
4:00 PM : Started packing.. after mom mercilessly turned off the TV
5:00 PM : K arrives to help me with packing... a bit of flirting behind mom's back :D
7:30 PM : Turn the TV on to watch the match...feel something hit the back of my head.
8:00 PM : Almost done packing... hmm, that was quick.. Dad arrives.
8:30 PM: Coffee with K.... last one this year :(
10:00 PM: Dinner..
11:00 PM : Trying to sleep..

Sunday, November 20, 2005

2:00 AM : Woke up...
3:50 AM : Reached airport...surprise, surprise!!...K is sweeeet :-*
Oh.. I'm so gonna miss her :(
4:45 AM : Baggage checked in.. *me not showing any nervousness of a first timer. .ahem !*
5:30 AM : Goodbyes... will miss'em all..
6:30 AM : Check in.... well! whaddaya know... N R N (Infy Chief) is also on the same filght.
Feel like talking to him... nah.. he's already surrounded by people..

6:45 AM : Settled in.. darn!... its the middle seat.
7:00 AM : Take off from Bangalore.
8:00 AM : 38000 feet above ground!! God bless British Airways... 18 channel TV to keep me occupied

Eat... sleep... watch with the american next to me..check out the airhostesses...look out of the window..
*Repeat for the next 10 hours... *

Currently listening to: Ek Khiladi Ek Hasina - Jal jal ke dhuan

Thursday, November 17, 2005

One Fine Day

Aaahhhh... Finally.. the gloom that had covered the city from the past 2 months seems to have gone...
Its been all blue from the past couple of days... and I mean spotless, clean, sparkling blue!!
Y'know, the feeling of walking out on to the balcony in the morning to be greeted by the bluuue sky is really something...
Add to it the perfect mixture of warm sunlight & a chilly breeze.... and you have a perfect day in store.
Well.. unless you have to go to work, that is.

Currently Listening to: Garam Masala: Kiss Me Baby (Remix)

Wednesday, November 16, 2005


"England, the conquerors of Australia, have been beaten by Pakistan, the conquerors of themselves."
by Andrew Miller after Pakistan's stunning 22 run victory at Multan


Currently Listening to: Bombay - Bombay Theme

Monday, November 14, 2005

Top Ten Traffic Howlers

Top Ten Traffic Howlers (in bangalore)

Foreword: I ride on a bike..and I wear a helmet.

10.Getting stuck behind an autorickshaw running on LPG (yuck!)
9. Some Smartass (usually autodriver) blocking the road just enough so that you cannot take the free left turn.
8. Freaks on Yamahas without silencers (at 1 AM!.... aaarghh)
7. A spike haired stud(?) with a girl on the backseat, honking like crazy at 500 vehicles in front of him in the middle of a traffic jam!!
6. Driving on Bannergatta Road
5. Autodrivers going at 10kmph on an empty road hunting for customers... and hence making you miss the green.(aaaaaaaaaarrrrrgh)
4. Auto & Car drivers who yawningly start their engines 5 seconds after the light's turned green.
3. Getting stuck behind a garbage truck on a narrow road(eeewwwyyyyuccckkkk!!)
2. Rain
1. A woman driving a car within a 50 Metre radius around you. (well, in most cases :)!!)

P.S: Driving on Hosur Road is not included since it qualifies under "Unsuspicious Suicide Methods".

Currently Listening to: Edwyn Collins - A Girl like you

Back to College

It was more of a co-incidence that I was in mysore the same weekend as our annual college fest.
Its been almost a year since I visited the college... Boy! a lot of things seem to have changed.. or is it just my perception??
For starters, its freshly painted & looks appealing...A lot of new signboards, directions, maps and what not... are also on offer.
..didn't get a chance to go to the golden jubilee complex since it was late in the evening...that was bit of a bummer..

Anyways, the evening was mostly made up of group dance events & a really dull "Mr & Ms Technieks" (gaawd! and I thought it couldn't get worse than our times)... The dances were atleast tolerable... (as usual, the girls hostel troupe drew the loudest catcalls!) and almost all of 'em had 3 tracks in common - "Aasihq Banaya Aapne Remix, Garam Masala Remix & and a Tamil track from Anniyan" !! It was like 2000/2001 all over again when every group dance was "Kambakth Ishq" and every solo was "Ek pal ka jeena"...
I dunno if its just me, but why do I always get the impression that the quality of.. er.. babes(!) is getting better every time I visit the college!!???? Maybe its just the regular Grass-greener-on-the-other-side situation...or maybe not??

Anyway, visiting college certainly does bring back so many many good memories...But unfortunately, it also re-iterates the fact that I'm not there anymore...Somehow, that 19 year old refuses to leave me completely...even after 2 years...ditto for the compulsive habit of relating most day-to-day stuff with college days..

Later, I also hung out with some old friends, which was quite nice since I hadn't seen most of them since graduating...had a very enjoyable dinner with them...chewing on those good ol' times.. and debating on who's made the most money in these years.. annnd of course discussing the women in our lives(duh!!)...
Aah.. that reminds me, I'm yet to see a girl whose curly locks would match those of THAT first semester girl (who, BTW is a senior now!)...

See...I told ya... these habits.. tchh tchh..

Currently Listening to: Amrutadhare - Nee Amrutadhare

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Hung Up

Madonna is back... and with a bang.. check out the latest single "Hung Up" here. It is a rocking disco track with a retro touch to it... Should set the dance floors on fire...
The album "Confessions on a dance floor" (Whoa!) hits the stores on 15 nov...

You can never write her off... :)

Time goes by.... so slowly...
Time goes by.... so slowly...

(Its got me totally hooked!!!!)

Currently Listening to: Madonna - Hung Up :)

Thursday, October 13, 2005

London Calling??

This is turning out to be quite a dussera !! Got to know today that I might be flying to london in a couple of weeks time...
Lets see how it works out... :)

Currently Listening to: Jogi - Ello Jogappa (also in a cybercafe!!)

Monday, October 10, 2005

Red Eye

Saw "Red Eye" on saturday... hmmmm.. watchable I'll say.

One must admit that the director Wes "Slasher" Craven (famous for his "Scream" movies) knows how to build up a movie... The initial portions which concentrate on the rapport building b/w the 2 lead characters, the casual flirting which masks the obvious apprehension is all quite good.... & u cant help but feel that something's going to screw up soon...
It sure does, & the jolt is also good... (watch out for Rachel's reaction when she finds out that the seemingly nice dude next to her is actually a hired assassin & he has the trigger on her father's skull)
But its after this that the movie really grips you... Its like a rollercoster, although it ends quite predictably...
Rachel McAdams is simply awesome... she looks great & acts even better... Her character goes through various emotions.. from shock & trauma to helplessness to desperation and finally to the determination & resolve to come through... She pulls it off well.... And boy.. she can kick some butt too !!
Cillian Murphy is equally good... be it oozing confidence & charm initially or showing desperation when he finds out that his plan is going for a toss... He gets it just right everywhere...

The movie is worth a look.... atleast till Jodie Foster's "Flightplan" hits the theatres...

Currently listening to: Pink Floyd - Learning to fly

Thursday, October 06, 2005

EOD at 4 PM

Its EOD (end of the day) for me !! Yup, its still 4 pm & i'm already packin' my bags... Not much work to do... So I figured I'd rather go home & chill out... :D (do i hear envious hisses ?!!)

I think it would be great if blogspot had a few add-ons like "mood" and "I'm listening to" types... which you find in livejournal... (although i feel blogspot is way cooler than livejournal).. Not a great value-add, but still would be pretty cool i guess...

Anyways, I'm gonna manually enter mine.. he he :)
(Until I get my hands on some template which enables this !)

See ya...

Beauty and the beast

Found this on the net.... Superb !!

Beauty and the beast

If you're a man, at some point a woman will ask you how she looks.

''How do I look?'' she'll ask.

You must be careful how you answer this question. The best technique is to form an honest yet sensitive opinion, then collapse on the floor with some kind of fatal seizure. Trust me, this is the easiest way out. Because you will never come up with the right answer.

The problem is that women generally do not think of their looks in the same way that men do. Most men form an opinion of how they look in seventh grade, and they stick to it for the rest of their lives. Some men form the opinion that they are irresistible stud muffins, and they do not change this opinion even when their faces sag and their noses bloat to the size of eggplants and their eyebrows grow together to form what appears to be a giant forehead-dwelling tropical caterpillar.

Most men, I believe, think of themselves as average-looking. Men will think this even if their faces cause heart failure in cattle at a range of 300 yards. Being average does not bother them; average is fine, for men. This is why men never ask anybody how they look. Their primary form of beauty care is to shave themselves, which is essentially the same form of beauty care that they give to their lawns.

If, at the end of his four-minute daily beauty regimen, a man has managed to wipe most of the shaving cream out of his hair and is not bleeding too badly, he feels that he has done all he can, so he stops thinking about his appearance and devotes his mind to more critical issues, such as the Super Bowl.

Women do not look at themselves this way. If I had to express, in three words, what I believe most women think about their appearance, those words would be: ''not good enough.'' No matter how attractive a woman may appear to be to others, when she looks at herself in the mirror, she thinks: woof.

She thinks that at any moment a municipal animal-control officer is going to throw a net over her and haul her off to the shelter.

Why do women have such low self-esteem? There are many complex psychological and societal reasons, by which I mean Barbie. Girls grow up playing with a doll proportioned such that, if it were a human, it would be seven feet tall and weigh 81 pounds, of which 53 pounds would be bosoms.

This is a difficult appearance standard to live up to, especially when you contrast it with the standard set for little boys by their dolls ... excuse me, by their action figures. Most of the action figures that my son played with when he was little were hideous-looking. For example, he was very fond of an action figure (part of the He-Man series) called ''Buzz-Off,'' who was part human, part flying insect. Buzz-Off was not a looker. But he was extremely self-confident. You could not imagine Buzz-Off saying to the other action figures: ``Do you think these wings make my hips look big?''

But women grow up thinking they need to look like Barbie, which for most women is impossible, although there is a multibillion-dollar beauty industry devoted to convincing women that they must try. I once saw an Oprah show wherein supermodel Cindy Crawford dispensed makeup tips to the studio audience. Cindy had all these middle-aged women applying beauty products to their faces; she stressed how important it was to apply them in a certain way, using the tips of their fingers. All the woman dutifully did this, even though it was obvious to any sane observer that, no matter how carefully they applied these products, they would never look remotely like Cindy Crawford, who is some kind of genetic mutation.

I'm not saying that men are superior. I'm just saying that you're not going to get a group of middle-aged men to sit in a room and apply cosmetics to themselves under the instruction of Brad Pitt, in hopes of looking more like him. Men would realize that this task was pointless and demeaning. They would find some way to bolster their self-esteem that did not require looking like Brad Pitt. They would say to Brad: ``Oh YEAH? Well what do you know about LAWN CARE, pretty boy?''

Of course, many women will argue that the reason they become obsessed with trying to look like Cindy Crawford is that men, being as shallow as a drop of spit, WANT women to look that way. To which I have two responses:

1. Hey, just because WE'RE idiots, that doesn't mean YOU have to be; and

2. Men don't even notice 97 percent of the beauty efforts you make anyway. Take fingernails. The average woman spends 5,000 hours per year worrying about her fingernails; I have never once, in more than 40 years of listening to men talk about women, heard a man say, ''She has a nice set of fingernails!'' Many men would not notice if a woman had upward of four hands.

Anyway, to get back to my original point: If you're a man, and a woman asks you how she looks, you're in big trouble. Obviously, you can't say she looks bad. But you also can't say that she looks great, because she'll think you're lying, because she has spent countless hours, with the help of the multibillion-dollar beauty industry, obsessing about the differences between herself and Cindy Crawford. Also, she suspects that you're not qualified to judge anybody's appearance. This is because you have shaving cream in your hair.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005


Great photography...

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Please Listen !!

Any poor soul who visits my blog and who knows kannada should listen to this.

(Keli kruthaartharagi !!)

Friday, September 30, 2005

Go Underground !!

I know, I know... Its been almost 2 years since it was released & a sequel is also out in the market.... But its only now that I've finaly got a chance to play Need For Speed: Underground....
And all I can say is "Wow" !!
This is just the kind of game that I relish... Superb Locales, Exotic cars, Mind-blowing graphics & an extremely addictive gameplay... (was up till 2 am last nite !) Just imagine, there are like a zillion goodies that you can add to your car, to make it look like a devil or zip like a real beast....
The "Drag" & "Drift" modes have really added another dimension to the NFS series... they truly rock !

Oh.. I almost forgot... The Soundtrack - mainly hip-hop & punk rock.... absolutely ROCKS !!!

Next Stop: Underground 2

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Tadap Tadap Ke...

This song is truly what u call "haunting" !
A brilliant composition by the otherwise lacklustre Ismail Durbar, this song made the career of the inimitable KK...

The way the music slowly starts off, sad violin notes being prominent... u are already hooked to it... & then KK takes over, varying his pitch superbly. He is duly helped in this cause by some beautiful lyrics...

Aided by splendid picturization(your heart goes out for aishwarya's tear drops when she's 'statued'), this song conveys the sentiments of a heart-broken lover just about perfectly...

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Start of the day...

After trying out all possible methods of killing time, I'm now left with no other choice but to start work....
With Guns'N Roses for company, I venture into the deep, complex world of eclipse....


Monday, September 26, 2005

They've learnt to Rock alright !!!

I was there !!

Yep.... After deliberating for more than a week (due to the alarmingly increasing prices for concert tickets !), I finally gave in to the temptation of MLTR... But boy, it was totally worth it !!
I managed to get into the 2nd Row (Thats right, baby !!) from the stage.... It was probably as close as u can get to the real thing...

The show started on a mellow note.. with the guys singing a few new-n-not-so-popular numbers...
But "Complicated Heart" & "Strange Foreign Beauty" got the crowd going....
"25 Minutes" & "Breaking My Heart" followed & by this time the crowd was in full swing & thirsty for more...
Then they started belting out one hit after another.. "Sleeping Child", "Someday" (Which, not surprisingly, drew the loudest cheers), the rocking "Angel Eyes", "Paint My Love" & more....
The best part for me was when they played "Wild Women".... It is one of my favs, but I really didn't think they'd play that !! That was simply terrific !!

The final number was "That's Why", ending with a superb elongated guitar piece by the amazing Mikkel Lentz, the Lead guitarist ( & the elvis lookalike !).

By this time, every single person in the crowd was just swaying to the music & totally enthralled by the ambience it created...It seemed that the band was really enjoying it & they played to the gallery with perfection. As always, we never wanted it to end...

The most striking aspect of this concert was the reproduction quality of the music... It sounded almost the same as it does in the albums... I guess a lot of that has to be attributed to the unique voice of Jascha Richter, their lead singer & the most recognizable face of MLTR...

Way to go dudes... :)

Friday, September 23, 2005

Brian Charles Lara

Aaah.. That recurring question?? Who's better.. Sachin Tendulkar or Brian Lara...

Y'know... its just one of those questions which is gonna spark a debate regardless of the place/time/context in which it is asked....

The other day, I was just watchin' the highlights of an WI vs AUS test match held in Barbados in 1998-99 season. (Link to scorecard)
Now, Anybody who can recollect that match will tell you in one go that Lara beats Sachin hands down.....
why??? Coz Sachin, for all his greatness, hasn't played an innings like that !
Chasing 311 to win on a last day pitch, Lara scored 153* and carried the team home with just the last wicket standing... (The next best score was 38 by Jimmy (P)adams !)
It was an innings of pure class which included a memorable confrontation with McGrath. (Bouncer hit on the head, next ball pulled away for four... verbal duels in between.. u can visualize it..)
It was a kind of innings that characterizes a Hero.. a Champion Sportsman.. that one guy whom the crowd absolutely loves... that one guy whom u just love to watch play....
And Lara has played a lot of those innings.....

Sachin is a great player, a master batsman & more importantly an unmatched team player, whose commitment towards the country is unparalleled & whose determination is inspiring....
He is a pure batting genius, technically flawless.

While Lara relies purely on rhythm & flair, Sachin relies on technique & only ocassionally, his mood.
And this is where I feel the difference is.... that "mood"...
Remember that Nairobi match in 2000, when Sachin smashed McGrath in a brilliantly pre-planned attack.. Although he scored just 40 odd... it was enough to spur the team, the crowd, the fans... everyone... India beat Aus in that game & went on to reach the finals in that tournament.
This mood of his apparently shows up only once in a while.. Sharjah in 1998, more recently in the WC 2003...
But when it matters the most.. Sachin has failed to live up to the expectations... WC Finals & Lots of other finals come to mind....

This doesn't mean I'm putting lara ahead of tendulkar.. no way.... but this is just a hindsight on those what-might-have-beens...

As an ending note, try & recollect Ind vs Pak test match in 1999 in chennai... doesn't it seem strikingly similar to the WI vs AUS match above...
Only here, Sachin fell when India where tantalisingly close... Lara didn't...

Saturday, September 17, 2005

FantASHtic !!

Okay Okay, I lifted the title from a british tabloid's headline... but still, it was fantastic !!
Probably the only series that comes close to the Ind-Aus 2001 series... but then again, being an Indian, I'm bound to be partial to that one.

It is cruel that shane warne had to drop the most crucial catch... considering the fact that he'd virtually played like an one man army.
Just can't wait to see India play England now!

A few unforgettable moments, in pictures

Andrew Flintoff consoles Brett Lee after England's nail-biting 2 run win at Headingley.. This Image went on to become a series defining one.

Andrew Strauss takes an absolutely incredible one handed catch to send Gilchrist packing home.

Kevin Pietersen survives some superb bowling from McGrath & Lee en route his series-clinching century at the Oval

The Jubiliant England Team with the Urn... (Could this be the shift in power of cricket??)

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Half Blood Prince lives up to the expectations

Phew !!
Finished the book yesterday.... and I'm compelled to think that this is the best HP book yet.. just nudging "Goblet of Fire" to second place...
(Warning: Spoilers ahead!! )
Must say Rowling has left us a few tantalising clues about the last book.... RAB, Horcrux and of course.. Snape !!
I have a feeling things would turn out quite differently in the last one... but Snape is the Key... I think he has a major, MAJOR role to play in the last one...
Hats off to JKR... she's built up the story in an incredible way...
Now coming o the last book...u can guess in a thousand ways, but I'm sure she'll be one up when it comes to the twists & turns.... and to think of it.. she'd had it all figured out years before !! just amazing !!

Already counting the days to the release of the last book... "Harry Potter and __________??"

Wednesday, March 23, 2005


My first post!! Yayy