Thursday, December 21, 2006

The last issue of the Time magazine every year features the person of the year. Its one of the most prestigious of yearly awards internationally and Presidents, business tycoons, athletes, celebrities of all hues and colours want to be on the year end cover of Time. This time around Time decided on a rather strange entity as its Person of the Year.

It selected YOU. Yes, the cover had a picture of a computer with a silver foil in place of the screen.

Pretty neat. The Time argued that with the recent surge in activities on the internet through the use of words, pictures and videos the power had finally beenreturned to where it should always have been. To the PEOPLE.

It is true however that this use of the media has been much more marked in the developed countries like the USA or the nations of western Europe. These have always been places where the public has always been a very important part of the decision making.

However it would be a true year of the people when the voices of the laymen in countries with dictatorships like Cuba or Pakistan is heard and feared by those on the steering wheel. In countries like China and Iran theres a huge level of censorship on the media and what reaches the people. These have to go. Even in countries like India, supposedly the largest democracy of the world, the voice of the common man is barely heard. However things are surely changing.

It would be easier to talk of these changes with a few examples. I will stick to India because that where I am originally from and the I know more of the following examples than I would be if i wrote about something that I had just read on the internet.

The first was the verdict of the Delhi High Court in the Jessica Lall murder case. Jessica Lall was shot dead while she was bartending at Tamarind Court on the evening of April 29, 1999. The chief accused was Manu Sharma, son of Venod Sharma a Minister in Harayana. He was accompanied with amongst others by Vikas Yadav, son of D P Yadav, a minister in UP. The case was initially tried in the trial court of S L Bhayana.

All the accused were acquitted.

Here is where the story usually ends for crimes committed by politicians or their kins. Thats what they thought. They made one simple miscalculation. The power of the people. The verdict outraged the people. The media fuelled the emotions and the people wanted justice. The power of sms, blogs, phones and the communication system as a whole came into full force as a country united to make sure that justice was served. The Delhi police under tremendous public pressure filed appeal against the decision in Delhi High court.

Result, Manu Sharma was awarded life sentence.

Power to the people.....

It would have been really good news but still would not have caused a change the way we look at our judicial system if it was just a one off case. No it was not.

In a series of recent judicial activity there have been some hope. Shibu Soren sentenced for life for killing an aide. Another case was the death sentence to Santosh Kumar Singh, the son of a Police Inspector-General for the rape and murder of Priyadarshani Mattoo.

Not only through the judicial system, but through the electoral process itself, the people of India have made their voices heard. Lalloo Prasad Yadav lost in Bihar which was pretty much unthinkable.

The only other instance that i would like to mention did not happen in India. The people of Nepal rose up in arms to bring down a dictatorship and to setup a democratic process of their own. Yet another time when the fate of a country was decided by the vast majority of its citizens.

Its the best thing to happen. The people have risen, and they mean business.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Heres some more strange news that I just found.

The first one is set in London. We have all heard of those cases where the smoker sues the tobacco company for causing him cancer, of the woman who took her plastic surgeon to court because her silicon breasts after the surgery were not of the same size and so on...However the recent one that I read off seemed a bit too much.

So theres this dude who while working in a bicycle warehouse falls on his head. Well then he goes into coma. Miraculously he gets out of it. And then just as he thought that life was back to normal, he realised that he had somehow turned into this sex maniac. Somehow the fall had so boosted his libido that he had turned to pornography and prostitutes. This caused his newly wed wife to divorce him.
So, he sues his employer and wins 3 million dollar in damages. I mean this is the greatest fall that anybody has ever fallen. You are stupid and fall while working, and what do you get out of it. A boosted libido and 3 million dollars.
I wont be surprised if theres a sudden spurt of "falling on the head" accident at workplace occurs after this news hits the headlines.
I am pretty sure that guy is going to be on a high for sometime. Speaking of high brings me to my next story.

Well, pretty often we see that the USA makes strange decisions. You cannot blame a country for making strange and erratic decisions when their top cash crop is marijuana. yes you heard me right, the top cash crop is MARIJUANA...yes also known as Cannabis, Pot, Hemp, Bhang, Marijuana, Joint, Reefer, Wahupta [Sioux], Dope, Ganja, Smoke, Weed, Hash or what else you want to call your magic poison.
Yeah I thought it would be wheat or corn too. But no its not. Actually the total worth of marijuana produced in the USA is 35 billion dollars which is more than the combined worth of wheat and corn produced annually.

Staying on drugs for my third odd news of the day. I know people act crazy when the are on drugs. But how crazy could you get to actually go up and complain to a cop that you have been sold bad crack. This actually happened. This lady goes upto a cop and takes out a piece of crack and puts it in front of the cop foer him to inspect it. She says that some guy sold her crack mixed with wax and cocaine instead of just the real thing.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Here's some strange news that I have heard recently.
This year's Heisman Trophy was won by OSU quarterback Troy Smith. No thats not the strange news. The strange news is that he was not allowed to carry the trophy on the plane due to security reasons. That to me was strange. I mean being cautious is good, but to suspect that the trophy that has been awarded for the last seventy years will be used as a WMD is a bit of a stretch.
Guess if the Nobel peace prize winner, Mohammed Yunus was to try to enter the USA with his award of the year, he would be in big trouble. Such are the times.
Next strange thing to happen was a shooting. So heres what happened, some young student stole some newly launched PS3. The police goes up to the suspects residence and shoots of the guy. Pretty much as entertaining as a video game.
The stranger part is that the Grand Jury investigating the charges against the cop declares him guilty. Next day theres mor surprise, the Grand Jury says there was a mistake and the wrong box was marked by mistake. They actually wanted to acquit the cop but had pronounced him guilty by mistake.
How dumb is that.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Theres this strange thing about Bollywood. They take really good plots and then about go about perfectly screwing things from then onwards. The result is a yuck movie.
A case in point is Fanaa. If you look at the bare skeleton, it will be obviously strikingly ingenuous.
A blind girl, while on a tour to the capital, falls for a guide. Theres a bomb blast in which the guide supposedy gets killed. In actuality the guide is not killed at all but was the one who caused the bomb blast and then vanishes off into the network unknown faces.
How badly can you screw up with something starting off like this.
Well, pretty badly, if it is made in Bollywood in general and with some directors it would be appaling.
Fanaa happens to be one of the most disappointing movies i have ever watched. What makes it worse is the fact that it could have actually been a really good one.

If you see the teaser above, you will see how well the story is hidden yet attractive to potential audiences. Yeah there are the crazy dance and song sequences, they are something that you just cant make a hindi film without. But you would be going in to the movie expecting something pretty spectacular. And when you realise the true identity of Aamir Khan just before interval you expect a movie that is not going to be really another messed up job. But thats what it is ultimately.
I was so disappointed with this movie.

Speaking of hindi movies without songs i think the only one i can remember is Kaun. A truly remarkable movie with only four member cast and shot completely inside a house. One of the really good hindi movies that I have seen.

Friday, December 08, 2006

For those of you wondering how I am coping with the cold, heres an update. This is the forecast of the weather at Chapel Hill for the next five days. And it does not look sunny, literally.

Every time I say its too cold to anyone willing to hear the same familiar complaint from me for the millionth time, all they say is"Its not cold yet, wait for a few more days". Pretty encouraging to a guy who has always seen winters like,

and then was spoilt by some more winter of the same sort last year.

It seems that it is only going to get colder, and a smart way to solve the problem as suggested by my friends Krishanu, Sanhita and Saurish is to get together at a place which has weather like this:

Guys haven't you heard that you are supposed to go south for winter, or were you guys always in the southern hemisphere. Last week of the year in Rchester is not a good idea.

However the only other place I might go for December is Columbus which has a weather like:

Waiting for summer.

Monday, December 04, 2006

I usually am pretty happy posting two articles every month, so if there are two posts in a day, there has to be some inspiration. Well, to be inspired by the idiot box should bnot be a good sign. However thats exactly what happened.

Firstly there was Family Guy on tv and they were showing the episode where Stewie beats up Brian real bad for money. I just loved the show. Heres it for all you people.

The other one was on CNBC. Yes sometimes I do watch some of that serious stuff as well.

What got my attention initially to the show was that on a high profile chat show in the USA there were this two gentlemen who happened to be akumni of my undergraduate and graduate colleges back home. It was a show about how India is the new hub of economic boom. The guest were the current Indian minister of commerce, Kamal Nath who did his B. Com from St. Xavier's College, Kolkata and he was accompanied by the CEO of Infosys, Nandan Nilekani, an alumnus of IIT Bombay.

Feels good to know that the institutes that I attended made such movers and shakers.
The wheel has finally turned, after the season of football infamy in which unc lost all but 2 of their games , good thing they beat both the close-by schools though, its time for some winning. I was constantly being told that once the basketball season started things would be real GOOOOOOOOD. And it has been till now, but for the odd loss to Ginzaga, the Tarheels have been GOOOOOOOOD. Besides basketball the other game that makes UNC the real champions are the women's soccer team. They seem to be on their way to their to their 17th national championships. Considering that the NCAA championships started only in 1982, making this the 25th year that is as ood a record in college championships that you will ever see.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Its time to thank all my students for being able to tolerate me for 9 lab sessions (phew...if I was teaching myself for 9 sessions...I would be pissed).
Honestly guys you had made the lab sessions really enjoyable, and made my transition to the American way of life a lot simpler. I come from a part of the world were theres always loads of people around and always somebody to talk to, and i sorely missed that in Chapel Hill. So the lab sessions were a really refreshing two hours, when I could interact with so many people at the same time ( I am pretty confident nobody else thought of the labs as refreshing...I wouldnt if I were in your position). So those of you stayed on the lab late was actually doing me a favour ;).

Although this might sound really cliched, but I think I learnt a lot more than I taught from the time I spent with you guys in the lab. I will be honest, its true that compared to what we were taught at high school you people start off a rung below. However, what I was really surprised with is the amount of effort that each of you put in to learn new stuff. And honestly I have seen very few of my peers back at home put that amount of effort in. The way each of you went about trying to do the job as best as you could. It might seem like something very natural to you but to me it was pretty surprising.

If I was the one in charge I would have given each of you a 100 for each lab just for the effort you put in. Its been great teaching you guys.

I wish you all the very best.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Wishing everybody happy THANKSGIVING.

Ok, so heres a review of the much awaited, much hyped and much praised latest James Bond flick...Casino Royal. Went out with my sister and bro-in-law last evening and we decided we wanted to watch it too. So with the customary soda and pop corn, we walked into the theatre. It was far from being sold out, guess part of the reason being that most people were at home with family or shopping their brains out.
Its not that I am a big Bond fan, but then again whos not fascinated by the flair, style and super sleekness of 007. Most of the Bond movies i have watched have had Pierce brosnan as the secret agent and so I was curious to know how the new Bond, Daniel Craig measured up.
This was the first of the Bond stories written. The usual tech stuff that you associate with 007 is missing. However, the storyline itself is pretty good.
However their seems to be a bit too much of emotional drama, something that you dont usually expect in a Bond movie.
When news initially got out that Daniel Craig was the next Bond-to-be there was a lot of talk that he might not actually fit the bill. After watching the movie, I am in two minds. He looks pretty cool at times, but it seems that the action hero in him tries to overwhelm the Bond air sometimes. It might be that its a flaw in the script, but somehow those usual Bond jokes loaded with their double meanings seemed to be missing. Sure the new Bond is hot and stuff but he seems to be missing the class and polish that is Bond's signature.
Maybe he will become the best Bond sometimes later, however right now I guess he needs to get some class.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Guess what? I am tired being of this multi billionaire celebrity. I really need some breathing space of my own. I know what you guys are thinking, he's saying it because he has it all. Trust me guys its not that easy being in the spotlight.
Hell, when was the last time I went out with a girl for a movie to the theatre. Everytime I have a date with one of those "Playboy" playmates and want to watch a movie, all I can do is go to my own private auditorium in my obscenely plush bungalow in Malibu. Thats so cruel. I would give an arm to queue up with the rest of you lesser mortals to get a ticket from the box office in the neighborhood rundown theatre. And dinner, when did I last go to a Wendy's or McDonalds to pick up a "dollar meal"...I love those...all I have is what my private fat French chef ( who by the way had earned his cordon bleu)cooks up...and then I have to nibble on the Camembort or Roquefort while I sip on some Bordeaux, a 1787 Chateau Lafite (no less). Man isnt that a torture.
Its not only these things that are a torture. Every morning when I get ready to work, I have to go through the same difficult choice of choosing what suit I must wear. You know it would not do justice to my innumerable fans if they could actually ever see me without me consulting my "appearance speacialist".
Just think of the message I would be sending out the message if they saw me in my formal suits in my Porsche or in my sweat shirt in my Cadillac. I really envy those guys who get to travel in those crowded buses.
I am really ready to give up on these, point is how do I find a good substitute for my position. I have actually thought of a grand idea...I will have a nation-wide, no a global, contest called "Who wants to be Celebrity X". We are then going to judge them and put the most obnoxious no good dickhead on this prestigious job.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

I dont know why people find it funny that there are elephants on the roads of India, or that we meet tigers on the road while going to work. I mean, next I will hear people surprised at the idea that all we Indians look forward to in life is nirvana. Hey guys we are born so spiritually advanced that all we need to do is chant "Om" and "Shanti" thrice a day to gain salvation.
Also I hope you know that India is an under developed country, so all you see on the roads are bullock-carts and small unfed children forced to beg. Also there are Maharajas dressed in fantastic attires and adorned with diamonds the size of the large rocks. O yeah, I am an expert in all forms of yoga just like the rest of all my country men, and we all play the sarod, sitar and the tabla with the ease of one born with them.
And for most of the time all we eat is one or the other form of extremely spicy curry. And our favorite drink is the p*** of the holy cows which we treat better than any human being. I would love to write more but my pet python is trying to gobble up my other pet, the cobra.
Need to run.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Its strange how situations change our tastes, a once upon a time "metal and rock" addict has changed into a hindi music buff. Yep thats me. Till around four months ago, my musical world was inhabited by Axle Rose, Ozzy Osbourne, Bon Jovi and the like. And right now belts out DCH, RDB and other desi music at all odd hours of the day.
In my quest for new sources of hindi film music I have searched the net all over and found out that along with, and the online radio at live365 play some pretty awesome music. The advantage of the first two is that its like your own online music collection where you can choose your songs, while live365 is like your good old radio, where the minimal work of choosing your genre of music is left to you. The rest of the work is done by the web.
Besides the above mentioned filmy music was recently listening to the hauntings of Indian Ocean and Silk route. Indian Ocean in their soundtrack for Black Friday makes sure the pain and suffering that the movie portrays comes through to hit you right across your face every time you listen to them.
Silk Route was a real favorite. It seems that after the intense performance in theor first album, they somehow went into hibernation. It would be good to hear them pouring out some of the old wine from a new bottle.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

There was once upon a time that I used to watch four movies in less than 24 hours, that time was nearly 26 hours ago.
After the marathon six hour X-Men trilogy session last night went out and watched yet another movie today. It was the much awaited Borat. The movie was rib-tickling, tummy splitting laugh riot. There were parts which could be termed gross, though overall it was a satire in a sense.
Also went about most of Raleigh, Cary and Durham while deciding on where to go for the movie, after a dinner of biryani, sheesh kebabs and chilly paneer. Enjoyed the really lively conversation with loads of jokes that kept me laughing. Was one of those rare days when it felt like I was with friends even though of the seven people, I met five of them for the first time.
The weekends been a pretty difficult on the tummy with the huge buffet for the lunch yesterday, the absolutely delicious cookies and the really good biryani tonight. Might try to be on a milder diet for tomorrow.
About time that I got back to work and wait for another weekend soon to rejuvenate myself.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Heres promising that from now on I will be more regular with my blog. Its not that i dont have things to write about or am just not in the mood. Honestly its just that I am too freaking lazy most of the time. Regularity is something that just doesnt happen...until its forced...
However, heres just hoping that I will atleast be posting stuff from time to time...
Ok so lets start at the begining...
I landed in the USA on the 1st of August after a long and non stop flight from Delhi. And from then on life has been a mix of "yeah I know it" and "o really" expressions. The world today is more or less uniform, with the same products, places and people all around. But that does not mean that there are no surprises left if you get to a new place anymore.
I will try to list what are the new things that I have seen/ felt since I came...
Firstly, for somebody born and brought up in Calcutta a city "of population of almost 5 million, with an extended metropolitan population of over 14 million, making it the third-largest urban agglomeration and the fourth-largest city in India" moving to a Chapel Hill, a small university town with population of around 50 thousand is quiet a change.
Well, lets try describing Chapel Hill....from what I guess its a town that grew up around the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the oldest public university in the USA. The population is more or less completely made up of people studying, working or somehow connected to UNC. Everything about the town itself has UNC written all over it.
restaurants, coffee shops, the novelties all scream out UNC.

The "happening" place is a stretch in front of the University on Franklin Street. Its where you get all the usual hangouts that you would expect students to cd shops,elty shops which sell you your loyalty to the alma mater and so on. Besides there are the banks and post office for those who need it. But thats all and it would be less than half the length of Park Street overall.
So getting back to the point...what are the new things that I have seen.
Firstly, people are usually really polite, greeting everyone with a nod or a smile or the customary "hey, hows it going". I guess its a trait that is part of the small town relaxed atmosphere. In the cut throat world in Calcutta or Bombay, it seems people are just itchng for a fight. Yeah is true that people in both the cities are usually really helpful when someones in trouble but the daily tension of existence out there rubs on and people are usually not in a mood to spare a smile to a passerby.
Secondly, the public transport system is really great,when it runs. The buses are free and follow a schedule. So yo know when you need to go to the bus stop. However there are only a limited number of buses and the service does not run ( at least not on all routes) late into the night. Also they have limited services on saturdays and none on sundays. So during the weekends for somebody without a car (read me) it becomes pretty difficult to move around.
Well thats about all that I have the enthu to write in right now, will try to add to this in sometime soon.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Well after a long time and many bytes later I have finally managed to upload some of the latest pics on tripod. Well it is basically three sets of pictures. The first one is of my third year in St. Xavier's College. The pics of those wonderful days are here. The second set were taken during my second year at IIT Bombay. It was my rare puja not in Calcutta. However we had gone on a tour of the various Durga Pujas in Bombay and here. The final set are taken on the way to Mahabaleshwar and our trek all over the place. They can be found here.

Friday, June 09, 2006

The RAINS in Calcutta

Monsoon in Calcutta is just round the corner or it might be here. I mean you really cannot say. The monsoon comes into this part of the world in a predatory way. Initially its just stalking you. There are just an odd spell of shower here and a little drizzle there. Then it becomes a bit more regular, storms with dark clouds that make the sun hide and the evenings slip into the dark night. Not too much of rain, enough to cool the air and making you beg for some more. And then the sudden downpour once in a while. And then before you know it its drizzling all day. Earlier on it was a known thing that every shower would be followed by waterlogged streeets. Making sure those who missed the rain stuck inside offices got wet in ankle deep or sometime knee deep water on their way back. Thats not really what Calcutta these days. I would actually love the waterlogging and I know most of us did. If not the getting wet part, at least getting home wet and telling everyone how bad the roads were.

Sunday, June 04, 2006


I dont consider myself a movie buff, I just consider myself as a cine watcher who is usually deeply affected for a minimal span of time by whatevers happening in the screen in front of me. And hence I find it pretty strange that sometimes there are certain movies that stay there with me and keep me thinking for more than just a brief period of time. Its not that I remember the whole movie, its usually a single scene that stays stuck and the remainder of the movie just lurks behind consciousness. I have been watching a few movies recently and of the last three that I have watched in a movie hall I can convincingly say that they were a complete waste of money. I am not going to say that they were the worst movies i have ever seen, that I am sure is another one and it will take a rather inspired effort by a director to beat that.
The last three movies DOOM, Tom, Dick and Harry and Fanaa were pretty unwatchable. Doom and Fanaa we at least sat through because we had paid big bucks for them. However we had paid the most for Tom, Dick and Harry and still needed to walk out after a few minutes. However they still are faraway from Rog, which in my mind stays the ultimate insult to the whole world of film making and film watching.
Lets start with Doom. Its one of those movies which start of with the basic idea that all you need for a movie to click is great special fx. You can therefore spend the money on that alone then ask a lousy scriptwriter to make a story around all those effects and a bunch of no good actors to move about the set while whatever was supposed to happen happens. Theres some out in space station in which some scientific research on genes being mutated and its effects on the poor people so mutated are being studied. Something goes wrong. The ultimate warrior machines are let loose to fight this menace. The new mutated versions are really strong and heavy fighting takes place. Ultimately we know that mutation makes changes in certain human beings to make them atrocious beasts while another set becomes superhumens. The set of rescuers are also accompanied by the usual eye candy damsel who needs to be rescued as the final act. Final shots arelike a comp game.
Next lets get to Tom, Dick and harry ......... nothing to say.Watched Fanaa, was apprehensive from the beginning. Yet went for it.
Initially it was the usual hindi movie stuff. Song and dance routine, guided tour all over Delhi, this that some more dance in the rain. And then there was the twist which hopefully could have made the movie better. Then it was screwed up as royally as possible only in hindi movies. Bring in a kid, bring in the emotional crap, bring in some dilemmas that the hero has to deal with, then finish it off with a bang. These movies prove that RDB, Satya and such movies are still just flashes in the pan and hindi movie has absolutely no intention of considering the basic fact that its audience has some intelligence and intentions of watching movies that are bit more than just the crap that is being dished out.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Have become quite an addict of the coffee houses that have sprung up all over the place. The CCDs and Baristas basically should be offering me a lifetime membership card pretty soon. They should also be seriously considering me as an employee instead of a client. Not only am I regular at their joints I also continually strive to expand their client base. I have introduced the idea of lounging at these cafes instead of going for a movie to at least a few dozen people. I know these people are basically not that smart and my thoughts really would not be appreciated yet I will continue in this struggle of mine.
My first choice is obviously Barista. Well its costlier. However thats only if you order something. Barista has this really cool company policy of not asking people to leave even if they have not ordered anything and the place is so crowded that genuine coffee drinking clients are having to wait outside. Also in some of the outlets they provide you with a scrabble board or a guitar or something to enjoy yourself with your friends while you enjoy your cuppa (or you might just enjoy it without the cuppa). Also the tv is on so you can catch up on whatevers on. Also the newspapers and magazines stacked in the corner is pretty helpful in killing time alone while sipping on your coffee. And usually the crowd is pretty nice which is a bonus.
CCD is also basically similar, although I doubt if they have a similar company policy about entertaining us loafers with no cash for the coffee. Also I have not seen a CCD with scrabbles or guitars. However they have a system which allows you to play songs on the system (again not free). Also each of the CCD have at least one set of really comfy and proper couches which is perfect if you have a large group of people going along. The other difference is they actually have people serving you. Besides CCD chain has a newsletter of its own which you can browse through, though I personally am not too convinced about its editorial board's literary taste.
In both of them I usually go with the espresso if I would like to have some coffee. Everytime I order it in either of the places they make sure that I know what i am about to have. Usually in really serious voices they make me realise that it is "dark coffee, 25 ml,bitter" with a face that makes me confident that I am not supposed to have it. What the hell! If you are so sure that its that bad why keep it on the menu? However I actually like the bitter taste of coffee. And I usually customise my espresso by adding generous helpings of sugar to get thet syrupy sweet taste hidden behind the dark bitter taste of strong coffee I am sure that a lot of other people might actually go for it if they were not warned so menacingly by whoever is supposed to prepare it. For dessert it is usually a Dark Temptation or ChocaVloc. Both are basically the same. Both have a really soft and warm rich chocolate brownie with two scoops of vanilla. I love the feeling of the smooth cream and the rich chocolate mixing in the mouth.
Besides these, if I am hungry I usually go for the chocolate doughnut. I usually ask them to add an extra ladle of the thick chocolate sauce and take a scoop of vanilla cream to go with it. However I have at least two cases when the doughnuts were soggy and that really makes a messy situation.

Friday, June 02, 2006


Went with friends to an "eat out" place that I used to frequent often during my college days. Situated at the corner of the Park Street- Wellesley (currently Rafi Ahmed Kidwai) road crossing, Dreams used to be the usual haunt for most of my friends as well as anyone in Xaviers wanting to have a bite. It was this small little shack with really dark interiors. The place served vegetarian dishes downstairs and everything else on the first floor. To get to the level of non-veg dishes you needed to get up this really narrow and creaking wooden stairs which could barely support our bodyweights.
After going through the proper dining place which were no more than two small rooms with as many chairs and tables possible thrown in and climbing yet another flight of equally dangerous stairs you reached the"place". The "place" was basically a terrace that had been converted to an extension by covering the sides with cheap cloth and canework supported by bamboo poles at the four corners. The place was supposedly kept cool by a standing fan that was much less effective than its constant and loud whirring would suggest. Here was where we gathered mostly after 1:30 in the afternoons, after the canteen had shut down and we had still infinite amount of time to kill and an equal number of boring lectures to ditch. The food was alright, though nothing really great and the view into the street or the houses opposite were nether really sights to kill for. We usually sat down with a roll or some veg hakka, and did the very important job of killing time. Our usual waiter was a dark, mustachioed, pot-bellied man in a greasy sleeveless vest with sweat dripping all over him and usually into our food as well for that extra "Dreams" flavour. The other services besides the food being brought from the kitchen was left to us. We knew that the tissues were kept on the left most drawer of the wooden cupboard and we poured our water into glasses that were transparent once, now translucent and very much towards becoming opaque.
It might not have been the ideal restaurant on a place so close to Park Street, but it was surely the place we preffered.
However, in the middle of our third year in college suddenly the "management" of Dreams had a brainstorm and thought of renovating the place. I guess it was partly prompted by the sudden coming up of a restaurant too close to itself for comfort. The said restaurant was much smaller but it was an "ac" restaurant and poor Dreams could not bear upon the thought of losing its clients to this new kid on the block.
We then left college and drifted apart, touching down base only very rarely and even rarer was a trip to "Dreams". Even those few times that we went to "Dreams" the efforts for a changeover was truly and sincerely on its way. However, on the surface there was no visible change as such. The same old people serving the same old food in the same old way in the same old place. And we didn't ask for more.
We came back this time to be shocked. The ugly duckling had become a beautiful swan (I know it sounds cliched). Well not really. At least it had tried.
It was no more the dark and muggy place that we frequented. It was now in its new avatar of a swanky downtown restaurant with glass top tables and table-mats (ahem). However the people were the same, however they now had uniforms. The vests had been traded for formal whites or greys and they wore those little bows that were customary for the waiter look. The chairs were much more reliable and even the heavier amongst us need not be scared of causing loss of the restaurant property by trying to sit comfortably, unlike those prehistoric days. Someone actually came with a pad to write down our order. Hell it was the same guy, he just had to play along with the rest of them. I am pretty sure he just scribbled some gibberish on those pads, and just like those days long long ago just kept them in his head. The food was brought in much later (well the fancier the restaurant the longer the wait) than usual Dreams time and it was brought in with some style. The breads were brought in wooden baskets, the sabzi in those really aesthetically pleasing , with really small capacity though, copper plated bowls and what nots. They were willing to serve it as well. The cost had gone up a bit, honestly not much though and we would have been surprised if it had not. The "place" had changed as well, though it was not ac, it had gone through with all the other changes that the restaurant deemed required. We really would not dare to open the left most drawer of the wooden cupboard even if the tissues were still kept there.
It was no more "Dreams". It was now Dreamlands A.C. Multicuisine Restaurant.
The transformation was complete.
I am not complaining about it, though I will take that dark, hot and sultry place anyday to the new swanky one. Hey I just hope those new students at college take this new Dreams with its place as the new hangout for those hours to kill and those classes to ditch.

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Have been reading some fiction and thought I would just say something about them. The last two books that I read were both by John Grisham. The first one I read was "The Summons" and the next was "The King of Torts". Grisham is the king of the legal genre and both these stories are again basically stories about the intricacies of law and life. The only book that I have read from him (and most probably the only one he has written) that is not in this genre is " ThePainted house" which I frankly did not enjoy much.

Both the books are pretty easy reads, not something that is going to keep you thinking like some of his other books like "The Partner". I liked the first one for its sudden twist in the end and the next one for bringing the virtue and simplicity wins concept.