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September 22, 2012 / Anirban

SJK4QE6UTQYH

SJK4QE6UTQYH

August 21, 2012 / Anirban

Sasan Gir

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August 19, 2012 / Anirban

Strategy

How to get back into the blogging game:
Step 1: Post stuff on blog instead of updating facebook status.

Yeah that should work.

January 25, 2012 / Anirban

Still playing

http://screenrant.com/bbc-sherlock-cbs-elementary-lawsuit-aco-148206/

January 25, 2012 / Anirban

Playing with the phone app

This is fun…too bad about my old blog though…it was dead long before Windows Live pulled the plug.

February 15, 2011 / Anirban

Hello world!

Welcome to WordPress.com. This is your first post. Edit or delete it and start blogging!

 

Right. Here are my old ones.

 

Drona battles the purple elephant (Or how I learnt to stop worrying and thanked my Mom)

I was once asked if was going to come up with a name for the new apartment. I replied that A1205 had a nice ring to it, and since it was pretty informative we would do well to stick to it.  I guess I wasn’t at my creative best because the only other name that came to my mind  then was ‘EMI’ , and that’s the first word you associate with ‘Apartment’ in the wonderful city of Mumbai. (Others include suburb, building, builder, square foot, rate, skyrocket, bubble, possession, delay, loan, interest, fixed, floating, robbery.) Then, like the ‘Chief Visionary’ of a new Indian comic, the Mahabharata spoke to me, and there it was –  in a snazzy bold font and lightning underlined –  Ashwatthama!

I mean the elephant.*

A few years ago I thought it made sense to go along with my parents’ idea of investing in real estate and purchase an apartment in the suburbs. I factored in the monthly installment, the tax savings, the value appreciation, and the snob value associated with yuppie home owners and figured I could get by without cutting down too much on my usual spending. I mean it beats paying rent right? I know. Yuppie mistake.

The veterans will tell you that there are a lot of assumptions that the aspiring home owner makes while purchasing the property he’s picked. Assumptions that have the wind knocked out of them once its time to move in. Like the elephant the Siamese emperor bestowed on the ministers who displeased him, new apartments are designed to bring the yuppie upstarts down to earth. You thought you had a decent salary? Wait till you need to shell out extra for a parking spot. Oh you already did that…well, there’s a revision since they covered your ‘open’ parking spot. EMI under control…check; revision in interest rates…covered; pre-possession expenditure…check (ha!); estimate for change in flooring and bathroom fittings because the one the builder put in were terrible…damn!

Assumption: You can get by without any significant spending on the interiors.

Fact : True…till its time to move in.

As in the world of super powered elephants, every apartment needs spruced up interiors. The interiors may be powered up to Superman levels if you have the budget for it and your fortress of solitude would boast of new (and even) flooring, jazzy paint on the walls, hidden wiring and panel jobs for your hi-tech entertainment system and the right mix of wall paintings to have every visitor blinded by the sheer awesomeness of your abode. For that you need the “arrived man” budget. On the other hand, the yuppie budget gets you all the superpowers present in an Indrajal comic starring the Phantom (front) and Rip Kirby (back).

This is your ‘buy’ list before you move in

  1. Hi-End A/V Equipment – cost Rs 50,000 upwards
  2. Big Screen TV no. 2 – Cost Rs 40,000 upwards
  3. Car – down payment Rs 100,000 upwards

And this is where your money goes:

  1. Kitchen (known to cost as much as Rs 250,000)
  2. Bedroom cupboards (can range upto Rs 100,000)
  3. Beds (go see for yourself)
  4. Lights and wiring (You’d be surprised)

This is what you end up owing money for:

  1. Fridge
  2. Washing Machine
  3. Gas Chimney
  4. Television #1

And this is what you’re grateful for:

  1. Gifts received from parents in the form of furniture
  2. Your old furniture that your folks let you take
  3. The Spider-Man poster that your brother-in-law paid for which is just the right size to cover up the plywood incident in the washing and drying area

So now your Buy list looks like this:

  1. Alcohol
  2. Furniture for balcony – because it’s a damn good drinking spot
  3. Bean bag – because revised TV position is not in line with revised furniture arrangement
  4. Air conditioner for bedroom 1 – because you didn’t factor in direction of the breeze
  5. Air conditioner for bedroom 2 – because you’re not sure which bedroom you’ll be sleeping in when your parents visit
  6. A fresh paint job because the workmen chipped the walls
  7. Steel grills for bathroom windows – because neighbors talk of an apartment that was burgled through ingenious means

And this is what you dream about when you’re at work:

  1. Hi-End A/V Equipment – cost Rs 50,000 upwards
  2. Big Screen TV no. 2 – Cost Rs 40,000 upwards
  3. Car – down payment Rs 100,000 upwards
  4. Being at home to enjoy all the stuff that you actually paid for

And this is what you have nightmares about when you’re at home:

  1. Seepage
  2. Fungus appearing on wooden bathroom shelves resulting in you having to replace them with granite
  3. Building maintenance and utility bills having more zeroes than your first salary
  4. Some idiot thief breaking in through the bathroom, getting stuck there because the bathroom door is locked and leaving with the taps just to make up for the excursion

So why do yuppies get sucked in? Because elephants are cool even without superpowers. Eventually rentals rise to your loan installment levels and if there’s one thing more painful than setting up your place before you move in – it’s setting up your place every two years when your lease expires. So while you’re out there fighting inflation, seepage, inadequate pest control and a faulty VDP do a Tallahassee from Zombieland and enjoy the little things. Like having your own place and not having to worry about the landlord’s instructions about putting up stuff on walls or (shudder) adherence to a vegetarian diet at landlord’s kitchen; and belonging to the snobbish ‘home owner’ club while being too broke to be a suitable ‘arranged marriage’ candidate.Then go crash at BM’s mansion.

I moved in this weekend. The furniture cost a lot less thanks to some good bargaining by the experienced folks (thanks Ma)  and the lights (I handled that) work. You’re welcome to drop in anytime. Call before coming…and bring beer.
The name’s still A1205.


*Ashwatthama the Elephant – The Mahabharata for all its wisdom and back stories is strangely silent about this weapon of mass destruction. Ashwatthama’s claim to fame is in being dead. It plays a small but important cameo in the chapter “Ashwatthama is dead” or “the fall of Drona” depending on which version of the Mahabharata you’re reading. The news of his death led to the fall of Drona, the Kaurava general, who on that day looked like he was going to win the war single handed. The other Ashwatthama lived to see the end of the war and did some major damage to the Pandava clan through covert night time operations. His next assignment as chairman of the urban slum rehabilitation project proved to be his undoing and nobody has heard from him ever since.

June 02 18:56:18 | Read comments (1) | Permalink | Lifestyle

Rude…tweet!

Quite a few people I know asked me if I had used the equivalent of lethal force in my tweet about Mr. Khan’s latest. Obviously they haven’t seen the movie.

I caught the late show on Friday evening and  tweeted my views on “My Name is Khan” on Saturday morning. Why not Friday night? Well its a long movie – you start watching it on Friday evening and by the time you’re out of the theater its Saturday morning. (Ha! Take that @#%$ MTV Tikr).  Like in The Evil Dead – Ash spends the night fighting demons and burns the Book of the Dead, walks out of the cabin and into a brand new day. Then the unseen monster/camera catches him off guard. Here you walk out of the theater into the relatively safer environs of city roads at midnight thinking that’s three and a half hours of your life that could’ve been better spent watching a Splitsvilla marathon.  Then someone quips “Please don’t die, please don’t die, please don’t die…”

Ash had it easy. However, by mid-morning my wounds had healed somewhat and I figured it would be better to cut loss and move on than waste more time on that crappy movie (its not like anyone reads this anyway) so the meaningful review developing in my brain was replaced by a humble “Mindless bunch of Krap involving stereotypes – avoid unless drunk ” tweet. Followed that with another tweet about the agony that the words “Please don’t die” can cause. Would’ve been enough, but there were skeptics who’d been reading the papers.

Critics in an alternate universe would’ve reviewed the movie on merit,  but the ones we’re stuck with (M/S Masand, Kazmi, Sen, Adarsh & Co.) reviewed it on goodwill instead. Some talked about the moving ‘we shall overcome’ sequence (pure agony), others talked about ‘tear jerking’ moments that only a robot would watch with dry eyes (for your information – I have injured a human being or through inaction allowed a human being to come to harm) and there was this symbolism about the foster father wearing his son’s shoes that I mistook for product placement (Well obviously if you’re going to walk on highways to go meet the POTUS you’re gonna wear Reebok). One smartass said this was “An American movie made by Indians” – as if Obama didn’t have enough reasons to pull the plug on the BPO industry.
Notable Exceptions:  Sahil’s review on thevigilidiot.com – where even the Barkha Dutt comment was spot on – and the MTV Tikr (“MNIK is the only movie where the sequel is a part of the original film”)

So now I have people asking me the same question – “Was it really that bad?” because the media sold out years ago and now there were reports of broken box office records. Sure there was the chattering cellphone user two rows behind me and the kid in the next row…and this movie releasing in Mumbai was supposed to be a statement against political goons…but I stick to my tweet. If you want to make a political statement against the Shiv Sena, organize free screenings. Don’t fabricate reviews.

Q: So what exactly is this post about? You just said it was out of your system!
A: I didn’t know we were doing a QA session here.

Q: You didn’t know  what you were doing writing this in the first place. Are you going to review the movie?
A: No. Too many people have reviewed it. Its a terrible movie – not worth the effort. This movie took away three and a half hours of my life and came between me and the two hour CID-Aahat Maha Episode on Sony that I could’ve watched instead. I am done as far as this movie is concerned. Vigilante-Movie Critic on Personal Blog  no more.

Q: Like Spider-Man not stopping the robber when he was getting into the elevator?
A: No, that’s different.

Q: A lot of innocents could end up watching that movie because you were too lazy to review it
A: Nobody reads this blog anyway. Besides, I tweeted and two people I know saved money by taking my advice.

Q: Really?
A: Absolutely. One of them’s in Canada. She could probably watch an Arcade Fire concert instead.

Q: What about the other one?
A: She’s in Delhi. There’s a Backstreet Boys/ Richard Marx performance scheduled there but I’m not sure I’d recommend it.

Q: You’ve mentioned Splitsvilla in the first paragraph and CID-Aahat later on. Can’t you make up your mind?
A: No.

Q: What about SRK’s performance?
A: Please don’t die, Please don’t die, Please don’t die, Please don’t die…

Q: Whats that supposed to be?
A: Shahrukh Khan trying to kill the audience and proposing to Kajol at the same time. Nearly as deadly as the ‘We shall Overcome’ sequence. Tanay Chheda – the guy who played the young Shahrukh (and the adolescent Dev Patel in Slumdog Millionaire) was very convincing. Too bad no one mentioned his performance.

Q: And the SRK – Kajol chemistry?
A: Even the sell-out reviewers aren’t getting into that. The script thankfully requires them to spend most of the time away from each other.

Q: That bad huh?
A: Absolutely. As somebody in the theater put it…”All this trouble to go meet a duplicate Obama”

Q: So no lethal force I guess…
A: Please don’t die, Please don’t die, Please don’t die

February 17 17:49:32 | Read comments (3) | Permalink | Entertainment

Compliments I could do without…

It’s not like the guy wasn’t being sincere…

Person A: Hey it looks like you’ve put on weight.
Me: Yeah well thanks for pointing THAT out…
A: No…its a good thing…
Me: What…the double chin/ bigger face thing?
A: Yes seriously…you’re looking a lot closer to your age now…that’s good.

No kidding

February 08 14:32:05 | Permalink

Why the internet beats real life

Here’s my thousand words for the day…uhm..week…ok till I decide to update this page again.
From the ‘Lost’ fan pages of televisionwithoutpity.com – Lost Spin-Offs You’ll Never See.

Now if flamingmoe – Channel Surfer and TudorQueen  – Stalker can’t get it together, I wonder what hope is there for the rest of us.
Hold on a second, did she just say stalker?

January 20 11:44:55 | Read comments (2) | Permalink | D-uh

Smooth

What do a bunch of auditors do when stuck in Korba for the weekend? They decide to venture out of the client township and see what civilization has to offer. Thanks to our driver and the people around us we’ve zeroed in on one restaurant (after experiments with three) two drinking joints (both good), two shops selling pirated DVDs (they work) and a couple of movie theatres (one of which, I am told, is fairly well maintained). Now what do these guys do when they realize they’ve been here for weeks and have no souvenirs to show for it? They decide to go out, have a few drinks and lament the fact that there really isn’t anything worth picking up other than coal and bauxite. But since we’re all responsible guys and auditors to boot, we do the legwork; ask around for spots from where we can get souvenirs and end up with suggestions for Kosa Silk, the ‘world famous’ variety of silk that’s manufactured and sold at Chhoori - a place that’s about an hour’s drive from Korba.

That was bad news because a.) We were looking forward to that drink b.) It involved shopping for silk.

Anyone who at some point of his life has had to endure the pains of textile procurement with his mom/spouse has a pretty fair idea of what the average guy goes through in a garments shop. Suddenly time stops, somebody cuts off the air supply, there’s colours and patterns all over the place, you’re extremely thirsty and your legs can’t support you. Pretty much like watching ‘Hum Aapke Hain Kaun’ in a movie theatre while being strangled with a purple scarf. Still, we figured it could be a relatively less unpleasant experience if you’re the one in charge of selection, procurement and accounts payable (as opposed to being in charge of none or only one of two of the above). It also meant we could be back in time for drinks and dinner and I guess all of us wanted to prove to people back home that we were capable of buying saris, shawls and dress materials without making complete fools of ourselves.


Turns out Chhoori is a place where the highway eventually gives way to a line of clothes shops, a wine-shop and the local chemist. In spite of the name, there are no local daggers for sale there. Pity. I collect those.


Picture seven guys, aged between twenty-five and thirty, marching into an empty shop (why go to the one that already has customers… that means extra waiting time) and ask for “good silk stuff”. The shopkeeper did a pretty good job of disguising his delight, seven novices meant huge margins. Within minutes he and his assistant ensured that there were heaps of colours and patterns to choose from. Price boundaries were blurred and very soon variables like folds, cuts, patterns, handlooms, powerlooms, embroidery ,falls and miscellaneous others I’m still clueless became a part of the equation. We did our best. Went through heaps of saris, factored in our individual budgets and tried to figure out why the ones we liked were cheaper than the ones that we didn’t like all that much, understood that the sarees with threads sticking out in the inside were more expensive because they were hand embroidered and different prints had different layers to it. K was impressive… when confronted with a particular sari to his liking, went with “Nineteen hundred for this? That’s what they charge in Delhi… how is this any better?” We looked at him with awe. That’s a line that reflected years of paying attention while shopping with his wife. That’s a line you can negotiate with.


There was TV. ‘Hum Aapke Hain kaun’ was on.


Somewhere along the line, our group decided that it wasn’t wise to restrict our purchases to one shop and half the group split up and moved to the next. That only made things worse, because each group felt the other half managed to get the same things for less. We started off thinking we were getting ripped off by one shop keeper, we ended up thinking we got ripped off by two.


I handled myself pretty well I guess. Time didn’t quite stop and I was only moderately thirsty. When faced with this expensive navy blue sari with silver grey borders, I told the shopkeeper it had an air of familiarity. “This looks a lot like carbon paper. Who’d want something that looks like something so mundane?”

“Are you buying this for yourself?” was his reply. I bought the green one for my mom. That showed him.


Lessons learnt:

  1. When faced with multiple shops selling commodities that you have no idea about, choose the shop with air conditioning.
  2. Don’t compare purchases till you’re home.
  3. Don’t skip the drink you plan on having after the excursion. Compare purchases only after you’ve had a couple.
  4. If you really need a good excuse for getting out of the place, ask him to show you some silk ties. Then walk out because he doesn’t stock any.

At the end of the day, I ended up with a sari for someone who doesn’t really wear them anymore; dress materials for two – one for someone who hates receiving gifts and one for someone who’ll never wear it – and material for a silk kurta for someone who’s too busy to attend a fitting.


Man I could really use that dagger.

Uncovered at Korba

I’m having some trouble with the mobile networks at Korba. IDEA cellular works only in the Guest House (where I’m asleep for most of the time) and AirTel, which always shows a full signal on my phone doesn’t let me receive any calls. So in case you’ve been trying to contact me for the past week but haven’t been able to get through, please follow this simple two step procedure:


1. Don’t panic

2. If you’re not a telemarketer or the insurance agent who was supposed to call me, send me a text message (AirTel has been gracious enough to let Texts through) and I’ll call you  back… on outgoing roaming.

I did my bit in trying to find a solution to this mess. I called up my designated customer care executive (LoopMobile  –  the network formerly known as BPL Mobile) and here’s what happened:

Me: R***a?

Voice: Hello Mr. Banerji, R***a’s on leave. This is N****a, how can I help you?

Me: I’m at Korba, Chattisgarh. I’ve been using AirTel as my roaming partner because the other networks have very low coverage, but I’m unable to receive calls.

N****a: Ok…

Me: Messages are coming through, outgoing calls aren’t a problem, but I’m not able to receive any calls. No one’s able to reach me.

N****a: Ok Sir, can you tell me where you are?

Me: Yes, Korba, Chattisgarh.

N****a: And which state is that in?

Me: Chattisgarh.

N****a: And you’re using AirTel? Have you tried other networks?

Me: Yes. AirTel is the only network that has coverage in this part of town. I don’t get a signal on IDEA.

N****a: Ok Sir, I’ll look into this and call you back.

Me: Uhm… like I was saying….

N****a: Oh sorry… I mean I’ll send you an SMS.

She did send an SMS within the hour -“Sir, pls do a manual selection of network and select a different operator and check…”


So thats two small steps for you, one giant LoopMobile bill for me.

July 27 17:04:08 | Permalink | D-uh

21 months later (or Whatever happened to the 1.5M Project?)


Yes, I know  “Pearls Before Swine” on a blog is downright lazy and borders on copyright infringement. In my defense,
- the stuff’s free to read on comics.com anyway and I’m not *sigh* making any money out of this.  So what’s the point I’m trying to make? Well, in February 2007, this blog debuted on Technorati ranked at #2.68 million and now, 21 months later,  we’re at … # 2.57 million. That’s pretty good. I thought we’d be off the radar by now.

Two words – Online Dating.

I have a feeling that the two girls flirting with you on the advert banner at the top are keeping things afloat. Yep, M/s Whatshername & Prettyyoungthing ‘aged 22′  may not be giving me a cut of the profits they make when you visit the online dating website they represent, but they’re sure as hell affecting how Technorati rates blogs. Sure, we’re way behind the #1.5 million rank target set in Feb 07 and the #1.68 million rank achieved in March 07, but in spite of the sporadic activity, the junk that’s posted here and the minimal amount of comments received we’re still moving up. Obviously this message by Marianna36vt (hot pic by the way) carries some clout:

“So, i guess the time has arrived for me to start using this account. I can hold back no longer! I wandered into your page and well, I liked what I saw.. ;p So, my name is Mariana Allen. I think you and I should be friends, because you seem pretty nice, and maybe even cute! (it’s so tough to tell in this digital world :) anyways, i’d go on and on, but I wanna get a response from you.. You should check out my other page on this other site, I’m always on over there: http://www.date-club.org/?id=2545&mypics (my username is clubbingbaby). Then maybe we could chat sometime! you know what they say.. appearance wins over the eyes, but personality captures the heart.. haha.. take care, Mariana Allen”

Thank you Miss Allen, loved the kind words. I shall visit your website the day I don’t get this nagging feeling that everyone in my contact list is going to get an email saying I recommended you to them. In the meanwhile, would you consider linking up?

November 23 20:21:59 | Read comments (2) | Permalink | Ranking

Self-obsessed in Shimla

A friend of mine recently mentioned that I was a tad self obsessed. It was one of those “can’t win” conversations where she said something about herself and then I made a corresponding statement about myself only to get a “There you go, talking about yourself again… how self obsessed can you get?!” (or words to that effect). Then she said “I liked your blog, you write quite well” to which I modestly replied  “Really?, Which piece did you read?”  (because y’know, I have two blogs) and got an “Oof! I don’t remember! Just accept the compliment will you… God, you really like to fish!” (again, words to that effect). As this blog doesn’t get too many compliments so I accepted every good word gratefully. ( Note: I have been informed that as of this morning, I have readers as far away as Gurgaon… I think readership increased ever since I put in more pictures of myself).

This conversation was taking place while I was at Shimla. Not on vacation, just a day trip while we were working on an assignment in Baddi (the part of Himachal that now looks a lot like Ankleshwar). While my colleague was having a conversation in Gujarati with his wife, I was speaking to my friend in Bengali who pointed out (again) that I spoke Bengali like a Calcutta based Gujarati. Faulty network signals do result in weird accents.

Shimla was beautiful. There were some subtle changes since my last visit (late 2003). The drive to Shimla from Chandigarh/ Panchkula had always been pleasant, but the shops all along the Solan-Shimla stretch took me by surprise. While a lot of people I know continue to criticize Shimla for its apparent “commercialization” I like to see a small city (formerly Hill Station) that has a shopping mall, high end coffee shops, a smart multi-cuisine restaurant serving good Mexican food, a multiplex in development , Tantra T-shirts, organized Pay & Park facilities and lest we forget… plenty of ATMs and shops accepting credit cards. (That was a major setback during my Arunachal trip… and the only reason why I didn’t buy the Chinese Rambo hunting knife). Enough about me now, here’s some of the stuff Shimla has to offer. Visit the Photos section for more.

I think the blog may have been her first clue.

October 31 16:45:02 | Permalink | Travel

Attending Weddings: Myths vs. Reality

I had a great time at Angshuman’s wedding. The whole gang was there, the food was great and the drinks were free (thank you Mesho). As a side effect my mother’s references to my currently non-existent wife have increased in frequency and now tend to crop up even during the most absurd conversations. My sis to me: “Your books are automatically my books anyway” (absurd). Ma butts in with “By that logic, are you going to lay a claim to his wife’s sarees as well?” (even more absurd). The rest of the conversation didn’t make sense either… or I wasn’t listening, since the only way to deal with these conversations is to move out of earshot.

Cause for concern – my books aren’t safe anymore. Bigger cause for concern – my former landlady mentioned a recent conversation with my mother where she was complaining about my lack of intellect when it came to women. “He’s picked all the PRETTY ones during the wedding. Doesn’t he know that the pretty ones are already engaged/ seeing someone?!” Before I digress even further…


Attending weddings: Myths vs. Reality


Myth: Since you’re a cousin and key member of the groom’s entourage you are expected (and will end up) making yourself useful by performing errands, assisting in decorations, heavy lifting etc.

Reality: It helps if there are younger and stronger cousins in the 18-25 age group. They do all the work – and smile while they’re at it. (Totai, Rinki – you guys rock.) While I do recall running the occasional errand (usually involving ice and drinks) and the occasional carrying stuff from the car to the apartment my work there more or less involved a. Eating b. Drinking c. Riding shotgun when the groom drove to and from his new apartment. In fact the job that required the most effort from me was “waiting for the guy with the mattress to show up and not pay or sign anything.”

 

Myth: Test cricket strategies do not apply to wedding related excursions.

Reality: Five days of rich food, drinking and staying up late with a constitution like mine cannot be managed unless you have a strategy in place. Why go all out on a single meal when you have (at least) eight more sessions to tackle? So while the younger and fitter and the older and more experienced lost control of their stomachs mid way through the functions, yours truly enjoyed every meal and can still remember the items he loved the most… per meal!

 

Myth: Dhooti-Kurtas make you look dorky

Reality: Real men wear dhootis and look good in it. (See picture). Smart guys (me) don’t drink on nights they’re wearing dhootis (to avoid going to the bathroom.) Brave guys (not me) go to the bathroom clad in dhootis

(In pic: Angshuman and me. I really liked that garland.)

Myth: A good suit would go well with everyone.

Reality: A good suit needs to be ironed to meet the approval standards of your brand new boudi… brand notwithstanding. “Did you pull that out of a handi?” (Ha! I’m pretty sure a handi isn’t big enough to carry a suit … I pulled it out of a suitcase.)  Everyone else appreciated it… but I guess I lost a few brownie points for not ironing my suit before showing up for her wedding reception.

 

Myth: Since you’re apparently “next in line” family members will rag you about your “plans” at every possible occasion

Reality: They shall do so only at the most inopportune times. You’re at the wedding, looking at a pretty girl and your uncle comes up to you and whispers “Which one of those three do you like, tell me quick.” A few minutes later (and at a different spot) your aunt comes up to you and whispers “That’s it, keep looking straight ahead… she’s right behind me”. You converse with a couple of pretty girls at the reception and the next day you realize you were photographed. “You like her… should we take it forward?” When you point out that its not your decision and the entire process depends on getting her consent… they just wave offhand like that’s the smallest possible detail that can be attended to at a moments notice. One of my aunts, however, took a realistic view  – “In case this doesn’t work out… would another one just like her do?”  Wonder what everyone was up to in the days I was looking for a girlfriend.

 

Myth: I will fall for any girl who likes comic books. (Alternatively: Every conversation I have will revolve around comic books)

Reality: I may fall for any girl who likes me. My life isn’t all comic books y’know. Sure I love them and have a lot of them, but then I also have a pretty decent P.G. Wodehouse collection (more than 60 of them – most of them bought second hand on a student budget – the entire Jeeves & Wooster series without a single omnibus edition) and my job (which bankrolls my interests) involves assisting companies on internal controls and risk management. So it is extremely irritating when a friend interrupts an interesting conversation I’m having with someone I just met (where I did not bring up comic books) with “so has he brought up comic books yet”.”

The Amazing Spider-Man “Brand New Day” storyline rocks by the way.  I was quite pissed when I first heard about it, but its very well executed. Make mine Marvel.

 

Myth: There is no list. Alternatively, telling yourself that there’s no list would make the said list disappear.

Reality: Even Angshuman’s mentioned a list… and he’s not even on the search committee. Apparently I’m the only one who hasn’t seen it.

 

Myth: My mom’s quest for a daughter in law is still on the drawing board stages where it shall continue to be till the end of time.

Reality: I’m screwed.

Enter the Detective

If there’s anything I like more than buying comics, its buying them on the cheap. I’ve bought a giant edition of “Howard the Duck” for fifty bucks in New Delhi, a “House of Mystery Digest” and “DC Best of 1981” for twenty bucks each in a basement in Ahmedabad, “The Amazing Spider-man” trade for twenty five bucks at Girgaum, the first 6 issues of TMNT (collected edition in color) for forty bucks at Fountain and a bunch of comics (including Batman: Dark Victory) bought brand new at nearly half price from Anurag (call me if you want his cellphone number) also at Fountain. I know you already knew that.

I found a series of EDGE trade paperbacks on the shelves of Crossword a few months back. They were cheap – marked down to about a hundred bucks each. I figured that with six stories apiece, buying six issues would be buying six TPBs for the price of one… a good deal in any parallel universe. Placed right next to EDGE were the FORGE trade paperbacks – similarly priced. Thirteen issues each (or so it seemed then) of FORGE & EDGE lying right next to each other. Twenty six books for the price of four. – a real no-brainer that.

I came home with Batman: Haunted Knight (damn good), Green Arrow: The Longbow Hunters (excellent), American Virgin: Head (interesting/witty), 100 bullets: First shot Final call (haven’t read it yet) & Sandman Mystery Theater vol. 1 (haven’t read that yet either.) They cost a lot of money.

Two reasons I didn’t buy either EDGE or FORGE. First, I hadn’t heard of them and neither of them registered anything on Wikipedia (Opera Mini™ on your cellphone – don’t leave home without it) and second – there were a few issues missing – EDGE issues 7, 10 & 13 FORGE issues 3 to 8. Didn’t see the point of buying all those comics and end up with missing plot developments in all of them. I didn’t sleep well that night. The next day, I ‘just happened to accompany a friend ’ to Crossword. I checked again… the missing issues were still uhm… missing but I learnt that they were published by Crossgen Entertainment, and Wikipedia  mentioned FORGE & EDGE as trade paperbacks that collected issues spread across different titles… and the fact that Crossgen was now bankrupt (So much for that format then). I came back with a special edition of Catch 22 (yep… a book without pictures) & Neil Gaiman’s Stardust.

Two days later I bought EDGE #1 to 6 just to dispel the sense of dread that was creeping in. I had no intentions of reading them immediately (Ok… there were three reasons for not picking these up earlier) and that’s because the contents page of EDGE #1 read something like this

Ruse: Chapter 1

Mystic: Synopsis and Chapters 15-16

Sigil: Synopsis and Chapter 15

Scion: Synopsis and Chapter 15

The First: Synopsis and Chapters 8-10

With four out of five series beginning mid-way (FORGE wasn’t any different) you could see why the prices were marked down. This format was probably Crossgen’s last ditch attempt to avoid bankruptcy. I wasn’t too put off by this – I’ve spent years reading part two of three and getting over it – just too busy with work, DVDs and the other comics I’d been buying. So EDGE issues 1-6 hung around my bookshelf with the sole purpose of being read when I ran out of comics to read.

That was two months ago.

Yesterday, I picked up EDGE # 1 on my way to the bathroom (no, I haven’t run out of comics to read). I started with Ruse: Chapter 1 – A Victorian Era detective series documenting the exploits of Simon Archard & Emma Bishop. That’s when I noted it was written by Mark Waid (Kingdom Come, 52, Batman, Superman: Birthright, JLA & a bunch of Marvel stuff that I can’t remember just yet.) At the end of the first issue, Ruse turned out to be a story of the detective (Simon Archard) with the razor sharp mind and distaste for the illogical, his partner (Emma Bishop – a sorceress who strangely enough is not allowed to use or disclose her powers and keeps her abilities hidden), Miranda Cross – the mysterious baroness with diabolical plans who discovers Emma’s abilities and shows how she can steal them if she tries to use them, the fishes used to smuggle opium into the city of Partington (where the stories are based) on the planet Arcadia. Arcadia’s a lot like Earth – only the city has gargoyles that fly around like pigeons and have apparently eaten all the bats. The second & third issues introduce Simon’s ‘network of agents’, touch upon the subject of Simon’s dead and not to be talked about former partner (Lightbourne) and sets the stage for some of the best dialogue between the protagonists of any series of comic books that I have ever read (and that includes Buffy season 8).


On my way home from work tonight I took a detour and bought EDGE issues 8,9, 11 & 12.

Read companion post containing my review of Ruse here or visit http://seethroughtheshitvision.wordpress.com/ for more details on Ruse.

July 05 19:47:43 | Permalink | Comics

In Progress

Well, the intentions are still noble and there are a few things I intend to post…but most of the time I’m either too busy or too lazy to do so. So its not that things are not happening…for instance I’m in Aurangabad where the hotel shows Ten Sports in the morning and Star Cricket at night…so I miss the India v/s Australia series in the morning and the West Indies v/s South Africa series in the evening. I’m sure the cable operator hasn’t been paid for a while… considering the only thing worth watching (and with fairly decent reception) this morning was New Zealand v/s Bangladesh. The cable operator also seems to suffer from power cuts at the most inopportune times…which means I have to switch to DD (National & News) quite a few times. Scary stuff that… Chennai correspondent says that Govt. is now going to throw the book at people buying pirated stuff from the market. I hope they were referring only to computer software (cable was restored and I stopped watching). Those with access to the Hindu may kindly take note and let me know… and pray that Bombay doesn’t follow suit.

Gotham Comics still can’t get its deadlines right…which isn’t that bad considering that they were out of circulation for two years before they came back on this year. Their choice of titles/ story arcs is pretty decent though. Batman & Son first ish looked good and Ultimate Spider-man & Astonishing X-Men storylines are pretty cool. Virgin comics – well, they’re not as bad as a lot of people have made them out to be.

Videos on this site need to be changed. (Simpsons movie was excellent) and I got 3:10 to Yuma on DVD. Its on my “watch” list…along with some 20 others. RSS feed looks OK for now. Guys may want to check out my friend Aditya’s blog (kaulout.wordpress.com) if your’e interested in his thoughts on mobile and wi-fi networking and the other things that form part of his life.

December 28 10:03:18 | Permalink | D-uh

Dawn Of The Dread…or the things they don’t show in coming of age flicks…

My cousin Angshuman made an interesting observation last night. Of course, it was something that had crossed my mind before, but I’ll give him credit for saying it out loud.

He said we’d become boring.

Fine, it was past midnight, I was half asleep and trying to make sense of what was left of “Blackhawk Down” so its likely he may have said something like “Since when did we become so boring?” in a fashion that made it more of a question than a statement…but I’m pretty sure thats what he meant.

Now I’m sure you, the blogging  public who  live to question every assertion and  illustrate terms like ‘cyberslacking’ are looking forward to a critical examination of this statement. As of now you’re probably thinking on the lines of “Could this be true? No/Yes…no hold on…remember that time…why? Why now?” However, for the benefit of those who’d rather skip the reasoning and get straight to the conclusion – the answer is “No”.

Seriously.

An alternative answer would be “Obviously Not  – you bunch of intellectually challenged half brained twits!” but I believe you get the message. Anticipating your thirst for details, I shall now answer all those probing questions that allege that the old firm (est. 1980 though one of the founders showed up in 1977) has run out of gas.

Does this mean that “Weezer Week” is finally over?

Yes. *Singing* What’s the deal with my brain why am I so obviously insane? In the perfect situation I let love down the drain….

How can you call his observation ‘interesting’?

First of all…it was my observation. He just said it aloud first. Now that there are two of us thinking on those lines it qualifies as interesting.

What did you guys do with your last performance bonus?

Most of my money went into buying an apartment in the suburbs. Angshuman invested so as to avoid paying more tax on the money he was making.

Ha! And that is not boring because…?

Lets see…that apartment in the suburbs may someday become the ultimate bachelor pad once its ready… or I could make a killing by selling it off and use the proceeds towards buying out my neighbourhood book-shop … tax savings is our way of keeping the Government away from our money…which eventually go into buying more DVDs, books, comics and videogames. If my memory serves me right, most of my bonus went in paying off debts that had accumulated on account of my extremely interesting and travel rich lifestyle.

Dude…your neighbourhood bookshop happens to be “Crossword” at Kemps Corner.

No…take a left instead of taking a right and you’ll end up at Warden Book house at Warden Road. Plenty of good second hand stuff there.

Hmm…interesting. So what are you guys planning to do with your bonus this year?

Bonus…what bonus? Do you mind keeping it down? We don’t live in a tax haven y’know…

Ok…so what do you spend most of your money on?

Books, DVDs, Comics, entertainment, clothing, computer accessories, travel, petrol, motorcycle maintenance, loan instalments. Can we change the topic now? I’m sure they’re on to me…

Is it true your friends have more interesting jobs?

Lets see…a few of them make documentaries, which as we all remember is the stuff that would be telecast instead of your favourite show back in the day when there was only one TV channel. A couple of others are sociologists or work with NGOs which essentially means having to make a career out of your social studies textbook. (Kindly flashback to 8th standard Civics and let me know how much you remember.) There are a few who are better off though…the freelancers, the ones who ‘work’ from home and the ones engaged in ‘research’ but we have cooler designations (Assistant Manager – Business Risk Services & Managing Editor – Quality Control & Publishing Intelligence.)

When was the last time you took a vacation? Why don’t you guys do a “Dil Chahta Hai” and drive down to Goa?

Diwali. Was at home and did absolutely nothing other then read comics, watch TV and laze around. As for DCH… we’re short one guy (not to mention the merc convertible).  He’s in Calcutta…studying engineering or something…we thought of going there and bumming his playstation but that doesn’t sound interesting enough. Goa is where all the boring people go to lighten up. Now we would go to more exotic places like the North East, northern Sri Lanka, Nandigram, Orissa etc. but our jobs that help us maintain our super interesting lifestyles tend to get in the way. Also we have NO money. (Those of you who may be on to me may kindly take note.)

Any interesting plans for the future?

No plans. Live each day at a time and look forward to surprises…that’s part of the interesting lives we lead. Case in point…my mom decides to go to Delhi for a few days, which results in me being able to order DVDs from Delhi. His parents may visit in January, which means I send him comics. I go to Delhi for a training session, I pay for my own DVDs and show him where to buy comics in Delhi.

What’s with the ‘Dawn of the Dread’ title and what is it that they leave out of coming of age flicks? How does any of this prove that you guys are not boring?

So that’s it. The old firm which so far has been the pinnacle of laziness, sloppiness and disregard for authority has not run out of gas. We’re not boring…in fact, we’re probably better off than you, average reader who skipped through this entry because you were supposed to be ‘working’. We rock! Ha!

I’m not sure how that answers my question…

Yeah well, pay attention next time.


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October 21 16:31:45 | Read comments (2) | Permalink

This is Weezer week

…well, kind of. ‘Perfect Situation’ has been playing in my head and on my computer all week long. Don’t ask me why. It just came in one fine morning and then refused to leave. Yes…I know its almost two years old now. It got stuck in my head then as well.
Kudos to my colleague D for not complaining. I think its stuck in his head too. He starts making these funny head movements when this song is on. Video somewhere on this page (for the next few days at least). Audio below.

Weezer – Perfect S…

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April 01 16:03:11 | Read comments (1) | Permalink | Music

Cricket: Police deny reports on Woolmer killing suspects

I know what youre thinking….thats one heck of a revenge story! The last thing you expected to arise from the Bob Woolmer murder investigation was…umm… Bob Woolmer himself? Personally, I hate the fact that almost every figure of authority like the Government or the Police discounts the supernatural and makes us believe that dead people don’t go around killing other people. I’d be filing this under “Supernatural/ Gothic/ Horror/ Revenge” had my natural sense of curisousity not intervened.
No…this is not from the Times of India. Its from the International Herald Tribune (IHT Sports – quoting Bloomberg). RSS Feed towards bottom left of this page.

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March 28 13:25:56 | Permalink | D-uh

Blue

Now this is ridiculous. Why are we still subjected to the ‘Blue Billion’ campaign? If “Ooh Aah India” wasn’t irritating enough in the first place…its even worse now that we’re out of the World Cup. No…I don’t think that Bangladesh is gracious enough to lose to Bermuda. Even if the bookies pay them a lot of money. Even if the Indian Government made a formal request….and promised to drop all plans of deporting illegal immigrants.

All said and done…no team is bigger than the game…and no game in the world cup came close to the quality of the Auz/SA contest last night. Australia set huge target. South Africa chase the huge target in the way huge targets are supposed to be chased…and look like they’re going to pull it off till the last recognised batsman is at the crease. We also had that direct hit from Shane Watson fielding the boundary that got De Villiers out. Thats cricket.

At least we have four years to get to that level. We could start by getting rid of all the dead weight. Dravid, Sachin and Saurav aren’t going to be playing in 2010 so we could ask them to draft retirement plans….soon. Drop Agarkar and Sehwag. Make up your mind on Uthappa, Pathan and Sreesanth. Change the coach. (Sorry Greg…but we need a fall guy…and a coach.) If the companies sponsoring the team and individual players have a problem with that, ask them to get their ‘brand ambassadors’ to play domestic cricket. That’ll improve the game at the first class level and get more spectators. It’ll also give Neo Sports some return on its investment. Lets face it…cricket and hockey are the only team sports where India enjoys some seblance of credibility. Hockey’s pretty much down in the dumps. Lets keep cricket from following suit.

Damn “Mind and body, heart and soul” ad is on again. Thats VISA brainpower for you.

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Another addition to the week’s cool headlines…

…though I think this may have been more of a goof up. From today’s TOI.

“Tata’s Rs 100,000 car to hit Two-Wheelers”

…as opposed to other car manufacturers’ Rs (*much larger amount*) cars that also hit other cars, people, lamp-posts and every other object that is in close proximity of anything bearing resemblance to things that India refers to as roads??. This could be a step up considering Tata’s project has been met with much cynicism and is now being closely watched by all and sundry. The earlier hypothesis…that a cheap car won’t hit anything as long as it does not exist…seems to have been tossed out of the window.

They’ve changed the headline in the online edition. I suppose the change might’ve made it to the late-city edition as well…but this is what the Pune edition carries. ..(later on why I’m reading that.) For those inclined to read it…its an article on the probable impact on the sales of expensive motorcycles. No…no one’s worrying about the obvious lack of parking space. Yet.

Other cool headlines this week:
India Takes Shorts of Bermuda – TOI
Viru scores century (against Popatwadi XI) – Mumbai Mirror

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March 23 11:08:50 | Read comments (1) | Permalink | D-uh

Best World Cup Ever!

I don’t know about you guys…but I’m really enjoying the circus so far. Sure, I hate the fact that we lost to Bangladesh (GOD… that still hurts) but then lets take a look at this objectively.

Opinion:
The action starts only from March 27, when the Super 8 group kicks off.
Fact: First week of the world cup, Pakistan is already out. Bob Woolmer is dead. India is struggling to meet net run rate requirements. Three quality matches so far (WI/Pak, Eng/NZ, Zim/Ire) and the big ones (Aus/SA, Ind/Sri) still to come. Our dismal performance against Bangladesh means that the following matches will also be of interest:
India v/s Bermuda (BIG win required)
Bermuda v/s Bangladesh (Bangladesh’s win shouldn’t be as BIG as India’s)
Bangladesh v/s Sri Lanka (umm…Bangladesh should win…and our win over Bermuda should be BIGGER than Sri Lanka’s win over Bermuda)

Opinon: We’re out of the World Cup.
Fact:This just in on Times Now. We need to beat Bermuda by 200 runs. Then beat Sri Lanka by 30 runs or so. Sri Lanka needs to beat Bangladesh. Bangladesh will then have to beat Bermuda by close to 250 runs or so and if they fail to do so will be knocked out of the WC. If Bermuda win the toss and bat first against Bangladesh, its curtains for Bangladesh as a low scoring match kills the run rate.

My question: What if Bangladesh beat Sri Lanka and so do we. Don’t we and Bangladesh go into the next round then?
Opinion: Shut up.
Fact: Ref. opinion

But the best part about cricket is that its not just about the action on the field…but also about all the thinking aloud that goes on off the field. So what we lost in entertainment value during the match against Bangladesh was compensated by the next day’s analysis and dissection. Star News and Aaj Tak analysed and condemned the days ‘performance’ in the fashion that we’re only too familiar with. In the process, they succeeded in doing something that seemed impossible in 2003. They made the SET MAX panel look good. In fact…the SM panel is pretty good. (The DD panel is the one to watch though. Nayan Mongia and Chetan Chauhan.) NDTV had a Navjot Siddhu and Ajay Jadeja combination. Their verdict: India lost because of Saurav Ganguly’s slow rate of scoring. He should’ve been playing shots and boosting the confidence of the players yet to come in to bat. Like Sehwag, Uthapa, Sachin and Dravid? Call me daft, but in my opinion…one set batsmen at the crease is worth four strokeplayers cooling their heels in the dressing room.

Then again, cricket is the perfect patron for the art of spin. Consider this. India bats first against Bangladesh,scores a paltry 191 and the pundits advocate the decision to chase against weak teams you’re not too familiar with so that the target is always in front of you. India’s batting line up is condemned for failing to put up a fight against a surprisingly good Bangladesh bowling line up. Now, India bats first against Bermuda, scores 413 and then everyone talks about the importance of batting first against weak teams because low scoring matches will always result in lower net run rates (D-uh!)

For a world cup that began with a tabloid rounding up tarot card readers and astrologers (consensus: expect the unexpected, anything can happen, any 4 of the 8 teams that make it to the super 8 can make it to the semi-finals, so you really think we can see the future …suckers!) this is giving us more than what we expected. All we need now is Pepsi getting rid of the irritating “Ooh Aah India” campaign. Kudos to Iodex for NOT relaunching their Ooh Aah OUCH campaign at this stage. There’s only so much a fan can take.

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March 20 01:18:47 | Permalink | Cricket

300

No, I haven’t seen it yet. Stop rubbing it in. Yes, I will see it… soon…stop asking.
I spent 1200 bucks on the book. No p2p downloads for me. I own a copy of the double spread watercolour work of art. Try and beat that. Ha!

Check this out in the meanwhile.

March 19 23:51:41 | Permalink | Referral

Hope and Faith…

…are probably the only things that’ll take me through the next half hour and this hugely irritating sitcom. Why do most American rejects land up here? Anyway…I think I’ve seen the ‘smarter’ of the two sisters (I couldn’t figure out who’s Hope and who’s Faith) somewhere before. Between her and her husband they look like a present day Samantha and Darren from ‘Bewitched’….or they act like they were. Too much nose twitching…unfortunately no magical plot twists coming up with them. Only in bad sitcoms can two people leave for a private discussion (“can I see you in the kitchen for a minute”) at least 6 times in half an hour without the others wondering what its all about…or taking offence to being the topic of private discussion. Hope and faith also lead me to believe that one day Zee Cafe will stop broadcasting reruns of ‘Full House’ and ‘Friends’ The former was never funny…and you can get bored of friends after the number of reruns its been put through. How come we don’t get to see the first season of ‘The Sopranos’ again…or reruns of ‘Witchblade’ for that matter?

Star World isn’t all that bad though. ‘My name is Ed’ was new…and interesting – if you’re willing to discount the mysterious reappearance of the lottery ticket. ‘Scrubs’ was good, followed by ‘Crumbs’ which is well…new. Whoa!Mitch is gay? Didn’t see that coming. Ok…so ‘Crumbs’ is not for the homophobic. Good cast…decent acting…I think I’m going to follow this one for the next few weeks and hope the script gets better. ‘8 Simple Rules’ is not funny. Intentionally. Its a kinda cranky episode that was aired as a tribute to John Ritter who died a couple of years back when the show was aired in the US.

So I guess Star World is better than Zee Cafe on Thursday nights. Thursday looks like the new Monday. Hope you’re reading this Joe/Matt. One of these days I’m going to blog on a real time basis. Damn data card gives out on me when I need it most. Should’ve stuck to GPRS.

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