Monday, August 14, 2006

Vegetarian India

The mythbusters have been called in!

I've always had the impression that India has more veggies than non-veggies. But CNN-IBN's joint survey with The Hindu has concluded otherwise. And not by any small distance. What's more, the southern states have between 2% to 8% veggie populations, while up north Haryana & Punjab have one of the highest veggie population spreads. Wierd stuff :-)

Sunday, August 13, 2006

I survived!!!

Yes, one and all..... I survived. And I'm overjoyed that I did! And no, I'm not talking about the Survivor show, or even a Triathlon that a few of my friends completed today. I'm talking about Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna. I survived KANK - just about, but I did. A chewing-gum couldn't have been stretched more. Kyunki Saas and Kahani Ghar Ghar Ki anyday for me over KANK. What made the survival even more admirable was tha fact that the theatre did not even have air ventilation today. It was hot like hell, and Karan Johar's melodrama and symbolism took a heavy toll. But.... ladies & gentlemen.... I survived...

Dasavatharam - The 10 Avatars

In Hindu mythology, Dasavatharam is the story of Vishnu taking 10 forms through the ages to rid the world of the prevailing asuras of that time.

Now, Dasavatharam has come to a mean a world-record of sorts. One of all-time Tamil cinemas best actors Kamal Hassan has started out on movie with this name where he will star in not 1 (as in most of his movies), not 2 (as in Apoorva Sahodarargal a.k.a Appu-Raja in Hindi), not 4 (as in Michael Madana Kamarajan (MMKR)), but in 10 different roles. One of the 10 characters is even going to take his Avai Shanmughi (Hindi: Chachi 420) role to the next level by playing a full-time lady character.

If there is anyone who can pull off something like this, its gotta be Kamal who has throughout his career already showcased some of the most versatile roles Indian cinema has seen. Dwarf in Apoorva Sahodarargal; 4 completely different characters in MMKR - including a 'Palakkad' tamilian (Palakkad is a place in Kerala on the Tamil Nadu border, and the tamil from there has a lot of Mallu thrown in); an extremely real-like old man - one of the roles in his double-roled Indian; a mentally unstable, 'Sri Lankan' tamil speaking Tenali (and as any tamilian will tell you Sri Lankan tamil is quite different from the Indian tamil); a pyschotic in Guna; a GodFather-like character in one of my all-time favs Nayagan; the philosophical, disfigured character of Nallasivan in Anbe Sivam; the grand mother-like character of Avai Shanmugi (in a remake of Mrs. Doubtfire). The list really can go on and on. And I haven't even gone into his older movies simply because I haven't seen anything older than these. Talks with seasoned Kamal followers will inevitably bring up movies like Punnagai Mannan, Oru Kaidhiyen Diary, Sigappu Rojakkal. And in virtually every movie I have named thus far, Kamal has played a completely unique role. Thats the greatness of the man, and I am forced to say, Bollywood, or even Hollywood for that matter, is probably yet to see a more versatile actor.

Dasavatharam will be yet another milestone in a career that has already spanned 40 years.

Oh, and by the way. If the 10-roles weren't enough to drag you to the theatre, perhaps Mallika Sherwat in a negative role would be...
Music is by Bollywood's current in-thing - Himesh Reshmiya.

India Online

An Indian village in Haryana, though yet to get its 1st Internet connection, has gone online to let the world know about themselves and to ensure that word about their problems gets highlighted to the people who can do something about it.

Project SmartVillages has launched with Hansdehar, a 600 hectare (6 sq. km) village with less than 2000 residents, being placed on the web. Project SmartVillages has the plan to get more villages added to their web rolls over time.

While its an idea to be appreciated, I wonder if it will make any difference to the people of Hansdehar or any other village in India. Will India sit up and make a difference simply because the village is online? Everyone knows that isn't how Indian politicians work.....

News source:

Monday, July 31, 2006

Life in the fast lane!

Screwed up last couple of months at work - well, not the work itself, but rather the hours having to be put in just to keep up with the inflow of work. Anyways, today I decided to make time for this rather neglected blog of mine :-P So here goes....

An extremely late post about a road trip to Gua Tempureng. One of the bigger road trips I've made in years... bigger i mean in terms of the number of people. 10 of us in 2 cars, night driving, rain driving, night driving in the rain, this road trip covered it all. It also included a splash 'n' dash drive in rain so heavy that I couldn't see the tip of my own car. (Thank god that that trip was only for a couple of blocks :-p) The trip was basically wasy back in May, so I'm not kidding when I say I dun remember most of the details. But I remember having loads of fun, and the caves we went into were beautiful. Sad that none of us wanted to carry the extra weight of tripods thru the watery caves. So couldn't capture any of the beautiful marble formed inside the limestone caves. But definitely a place I'd recommend one to go :-)

Due to my rather weak memory, I'm not going to write down details of the trip in general, which Preeti has already done on her blog. Lap it up at The 2nd day about the caves itself is yet to be completed :-)

Soon after the trip, I was off for 2 weeks to Singara Chennai. I'm not sure where my time there went. After I returned, I didnt seem to have done anything. My 1st week I guess kinda disappeared in trying to arrange a get-together of family & family friends for my parents' silver jubilee anniversary. The 2nd week was a whirlwind affair. I met my friends for dinner a couple of times, dinner with parents and bro a couple of times, and I was back in Singapore :-( Just wish holidays didnt fly past so quick :-(

And I came back to Singapore to see a flood of work piling on my plate. Slowly n steadily after 3 weeks of maddening hours, things are finally settling down. I just cant understand how a few of my friends have been managing such hours for the last 2 years :-s. 3 weeks, and I was ready to scream.... these guys have been doing similar stuff day in, day out; week after week. Hats off to you my friends (you know who you are!).

Aside this, I got a few interesting topics I've wanted to post on... Lets see which of them I remember, and how many of those I get the time to actually word out :-)

ps: I'm not even gonna read this again for typos cause if I do that, I'm gonna click on "Save as draft" and this post'll never see the light of day.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

A new record!

Just touching 2 months since my last post - this is a new record even for His Laziness (thats a reference to me in case it wasnt obvious :-p) Not an extremely huge amount has happened since then except a roadtrip to Gua Tempureng in Malaysia in early May, and a trip home at the moment. Its high time I write about the Malaysia trip :-p and I should get around to it before my leave ends :-s Tomorrow night mebbe - the Italy vs USA match just became interesting, so Im off to watch that :-)

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Life after Hong Kong !!

More than a month since the Hong Kong trip, and its been back to normal ever since. Work's been steadily increasing with new roles moving to my team coinciding with a couple of people quitting the company. So apart from work, nothing much really happening. Occasional evenings out for beer, a few dinners thrown in here and there, 1 or 2 movies, and cricket over the weekend. That pretty much sums up the last few weeks for me. Its a boring life after all.

PS: This post is just a release of frustration :-p Sooooooo pls ignore my arbit ramblings :-p

Monday, April 03, 2006

Photos of Hong Kong and Macau

Photos of the early written about trip can now be found on my flickr page:

In order to accomodate more photos, the images were uploaded only at 800x600 resolution.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

To Hong Kong and beyond!!! - Last day

Packan's uninterest in the Giant Buddha (and his interests in enjoying an assortment Hong Kong Dim Sums) meant that Day 5 saw me take a lonely trip to Lantau Island to catch a glimpse of the Po-Lin Monastery's Tian Tan Buddha. The Buddha is the world's largest seated outdoor bronze Buddha (yeah thats a very precise winner in the world's largest category). The Buddha is around 111 and a half feet in height, and on a very clear day can be seen from as far as Macau - though from what I've seen of Hong Kong, I don't think such a clear day has been seen in recent past. The Buddha is beautifully peaceful and looking up into his half-closed eyes seemed to impart a calm into me as well. The Buddha is seated on a lotus, beneath which is a museum housing some of the artifacts of the Po-Lin monastery. The monastery itself, is a stone's throw away from the statue.

A short walk from the Giant Buddha takes you to the Wisdom Path. This is a recently contructed outdoor replica of the Heart-Sutra, one of the world's best-known Buddhist prayers. In appearance it is wooden stakes planted to form the symbol infinity. The Heart Sutra is a depiction of perfection of wisdom (do not ask me how), and Lantau's newest tourist attraction has been built on a very beautiful landscape overlooking a steep, forested slope down to the sea.

There was a path leading from the Wisdom Path upto the top of Lantau Peak - Hong Kong's 2nd highest peak in the world. Shortage of time (I had a flight to catch in about 6 hours' time) prevented me from taking the rather unused path right to the top, but I still decided to go as far as I could to catch a glimpse of the scenery from up the slopes. Boy, was I glad I did. How much ever I tried, my amateur photography skills meant that even the best of my photographs could not capture the beauty - you could see the mountains dip down to the ground, a short stretch of beach leading to the lovely blue sea and somewhere far beyond the sky met it, where you could never point out. The overhanging clouds gave it an overall surreal look.

Time to head back, and a quick lunch later, Packan and me walked down the streets of Tsim Sha Tsui one last time and headed to the Avenue of Stars. The Central skyline was markedly clearer this time compared to the last time we were here. A few quick snaps later, we headed back to pick up our luggage for the journey back to what we now call home - big bore Singapore.