The Great Indian Water Serial

I couldn't come up with a humourous title, so please adjust. 

It all started the day before yesterday when getting home from work, I was welcomed by a tap that started out well and within nanoseconds began producing some disgusting sounding phhssstss and what not instead of that so-called elixir - water. "Man, looks like someone forgot to fill up the overhead tank" I said to myself (not in the exact words). I walked down to catch hold of our all-in-all guy  in the aparment and lo! what do I see? Clustered on the lobby floor were buckets in pink, orange and green and various other storage implements. It was starting to look ugly already. The a-i-a guy confirmed my worst nightmare. The water pump was broken! Of course, nobody knew what the heck was going on. Putting together whatever blabber I could get out of a-i-a and other residents one thing became clear - the pump won't get fixed in a jiffy. Which brought up the question of what to do? Well, it had already been answered by the bucket sammelan. Time to do what grandma was so used to doing not 10 years ago. 

Carrying whatever buckets we could get hold of, wifey and I entered the arena. A kind fellow working in the construction site opposite our apartment had agreed to switch on his pump so that we could gather as much water as we could. I saw that some families had recruited a lot of help (relatives, maids, drivers, etc.) and were hoarding up buckets and buckets of water.  I knew I wouldn't match any of them. Thankfully a light bulb went off in one of our heads (wifey's in most probability but still). Slogging our way across the road, we managed to fill our washing machine with water and then about four buckets of water. Thanks to wifey's over-ruling of my objection to buying new buckets, we had a couple of them extra.

As I stood waiting for the buckets to fill, I remembered how this used to be an usual occurence at grandma's place. Chennai's metro water ruled the roost then and being the unspoken emperors of everything water, Metro decided when and who should get how much water. Early in the morning or late in the night, one stubby voice hollers "Water"  and a hundred different voices from up and down the streets echo the jubilant phrase. The voices are naturally not remembered in the sudden deluge that follows this chant. The army has already been on red alert and in a jiff hundreds of feet stomp out the coming of the king. No buckets, only the multi-hued plastic and metal "kodams"(pots). 

I should describe the arrangement a bit. Now, there were two kinds of water taps that Metro provided - one was the community tap that stood revered at most street corners and the other installed in an individual's house. Although the latter was in an individual's house, it was sort of a given thing that they would allow the community to fill up there as well. Yet, the individual claimed ownership of the tap and therefore was its master. 

The community taps would've a queue of kodams already waiting for the water. Sometimes they stand there alone like a huge battalion of soldiers. This is where the great battle for water begins. Fingers are pointed, line jumpers are called out. A fierce word duel would break out every single time.  There were of course occasions when long standing rivalry egged-on by the enthusiastic crowd becomes a fist fight and much hair pulling. There is one more thing that I ought to mention. Men, being the "superior race", never bothered with such simple things as water. So it was mostly the women and the children that were entrusted with the job of filling water which is why the hair pulling.

At the latter variety of taps, a different situation would arise. The house owners were the controllers and therefore it was their right to fill as much water as they pleased. Every house used to have these "drums" - usually bought from the discarded stock of factories. Don't even ask what those drums could've stored in their original birth. The house-owner took her own sweet time to fill up one or more drums of water. The others had to wait for them to finish. 

You must realise that Metro being the lord of all lords had the only say in when the water flow would stop and it was as good as anybody's guess. Hence while the house owner filled up, there would be an anxious crowd waiting for access. After about ten pots, a weak murmur would start among the crowd. People questioning the house-owner's intentions and evilness. After about fifteen pots, the crowd would become restless and a low heckling would start in the background. The house-owner would feign ignorance and continue with their priorities for some more time until someone from the crowd lets out a venomous shout. At this the owner would let drop all pretenses and in an effort to stamp their authority would say - "No water for any of " Thus another fight would break out. This wouldn't usually degrade into a dog-fight cos the house-owner is secure within their fenced out wall. With just about enough time left, some wise-one would console the house-owner and win back their chance to fetch water. In just a few hours time, you would see the house-owner and the hecklers sharing a joke across their gates or more commonly bitch about some other neighbour or even more commonly wondering when the Metro-god would bless them again.

Thus were formed many a bond and many more a lifetime enmity in these tiny little neighbourhoods.


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Squeeze

One of the most common things to happen to the code-churners in software companies is the "squeeze". Don't let your dirty mind wander, Mr. Sander. I talk (write) about that seemingly unimportant but exceedingly irritating phenomenon called squeeze seats. In simple words, you are rendered homeless and are living off the street. That's an exaggeration, of course, but you get my point.


This phenomenon is brought out when the company is expanding (hmm, I wonder when that word will ever come back into vogue) and runs out of locations for its employees. There are more people than the number of "actual" seats on the floor. Someone in their infinite wisdom decided long ago that all cubicles should be sufficiently spaced. Why? Don't ask me. I can only come up with some very weird-but-makes-sense possibilities that I don't want to share.  Anyway, what this visionary achieved was that there was sufficient space in every 4-persion cubicle to squeeze in a fifth person. Sometimes even a sixth person.

So there is an eco system within the cubicle that established itself. All the occupants - four humans, sundry lucky bamboos, sometimes a fish or two, mugs, bottles (of water) - are in a state of equilibrium with each other. Routines get established around this ecosystem with the occasional visitor disturbing the peace by grabbing a chair. There are always chairs going missing, chairs getting switched, paper dump boundaries getting crossed, etc but the equilibrium remains. At least on the outside.

Into this eco-system, the admin team introduces a poor dunce who is usually new to the team, project or even the company. To accomodate this new addition, the current masters of the eco-system have to move around their little strewn personalizations. Then comes the power sharing agreements - which electrical socket to plug into and which network port is free. The poor addition begins to settle into his/her seat trying to not let focus wander onto the neighbours' computer screens. 

Remember how when you walk down a dark street on a dark night, you get the vague feeling of being watched and of a presence? That's what a squeeze-seat feller goes through. There's always the irksome itch that makes you believe that someone is staring into your screen, that someone is watching every line of code you type or every line of chat that you send. Cross talk between the cubicle pals goes around your shoulder. 

Got the idea? Ok! I was that unfortunate one for 3 months at my new workplace and fortunately for me I am out of there (I mean the squeeze seat). Got my own niche now. Ha!! My space, my stuff!


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Lights Out!!

Having to live up to the various sobriquets - Silicon Valley (of India, of course), Hi Tech City, etc., - Bengaluru's dear old traffic police (also known as "mamas") decided it was time to go techie. So we have traffic junction cameras, synchronized greens and many such other. It's an entirely different matter that nobody really understands these things and none definitely care about them. Given the prevelance of illiteracy even amongst the educated, the traffic lights don't serve any purpose. After all, a red could mean anything from anger to hotness to non-veg food but I digress.
As I said, the traffic police is busy installing hi-tech devices to help solve the problem. In all the hoopla, what they miss out on is the fact that most of the traffic lights don't even work properly. Take the HSR BDA Complex junction for example. If you are driving down from Agara junction towards Silk Board, you actually have to cross this signal under a red. Yes, that's true. This particular traffic light hasn't been working for weeks now, so the road-user is left to ensure that the other directions are red and then assume that s/he is good to go. Excellent road signal training it becomes for the road romeos.
A month before it was the Iblur junction signal that wasn't working for weeks. Thankfully, someone had the brains to fix it up. How difficult is it to track and maintain traffic lights? Must be awfully tough as no one seems to do it.
Then there are times when the traffic policeman takes over signalling without switching off the traffic lights. This doesn't happen too often but when it does it adds to the confusion.

One of the main segment that is conveniently ignored by our road makers and police is the pedestrian crowd. The pedestrian lights almost never work and even if they do, the traffic marshall himself ignores it and goads the vehicles to move under a red. On a regular morning visit Silk Board junction to see what difficulty the pedestrians face. There are tens of pedestrians zigging and zagging their way amidst moving vehicles. Of course, the speeding cars don't ever slow down adding to the risk that you have to take to get across a road. Busy building multi-year, multi-hundred-crore flyovers, elevated roads and grade separators, the authorities don't have the time and the inclination to put up some very basic foot bridges for the pedestrians. I would especially like it if they could build sub-ways for pedestrians but I guess that's asking for too much of our incompetent BBMP and others.


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Now that's an example

After failing to understand why the American firms wouldn't agree to cut compensations scales for its senior executives, I read about 3 former board-members of the Swiss UBS decided to forego part of the compensation due to them. It's absurd that the American companies, currently begging the Fed for money, still want to keep their bonus payments and compensation intact. 


I mean, come on!! People are being fired to cut costs and these head-honchos continue to get paid a lot more than they deserve. Why fire people? Why not cut costs by chopping off salaries across board - starting with the chief executives?  

And then there was what-should-have-been-but-was-not- embarrassing episode of the Big Three heads flying down to Washingtion in individual private jets to ask the government for money. Oh, yes, they did promise that they were looking at ways to cut costs in their respective companies. Yeah, right!


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HIMYM

"How I met your mother" on STAR World. Watch it!!


I am a fan of that ubiquitous sitcom - "Friends". Yeah, call me lame but I did like that. Now, once I got hooked on to HIMYM, it's move over "Friends" I've had enough of your re-runs.  Agreed, HIMYM has almost the same ingredients - 5 friends and a bar (yeah, this is a grown-up version) but it's quite good all the same.



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Trilogies and such

I once read a seven book series called The Dark Tower and well, I liked it. Ofcourse being one of Stephen King's Constant Readers, I might have been biased towards the books. In my opinion, he did manage to keep you hooked and not unnecessarily. 

Every Tom, Dick and Harry wants to write a series of books now. What ever happened to the good old single volume novels? To me, it is nothing but a money making tactic. They know that once you start reading a story, it is not very easy to resist wanting to know how it all ends (if it ends, that is). And I always believed writing was art to the authors. Ah, just like Linus thought Miss Othmar would never accept money for teaching.

It hit me when I finished with book 3 of the Inheritance series. I had always assumed that it was a trilogy and spent a truckload of money on the books. And then I turn to the last page and there in bold letters, Paolini tells me that I will have to fork more moolah to know what the heck happens. Damn it, I was not even remotely interested in dragons and dungeons in the first place.  "Why did you even bother with 3 books?", you ask? No comments! 

Let me first apologise. Sorry LOTR fans. I am sure LOTR is the best magnum opus that has ever been written, typed or just read out. I am sure the history of Upper Earth, Middle Earth and Side Middle Earth (sorry, I just had to use that) is excellent reading material. Not for me though. I haven't been able to get through even the first book. Now, Hobbit. That was a fun read. Short (qualifies for a pun?) and to the point.  

And then I learnt that The Hitchhiker's guide.. is now a six book series. Holy Magrathea!! 

Let me apologise again. This time to my dear, dear better-half. Stephenie Meyer writes a four book series. Hold on. A four book "romantic" novel series.  Of course, it is no ordinary romance. It's the love of a vampire for a mortal woman. But four books for that??? 

Ah ha, now I know what a Constant Reader means. I fell into the same pit long ago, didn't I? No offence, King!

For the love of god, authors. Price that one book twice or thrice its worth, but please spare your loving readers the agony of the wait and the horror of wading through some many million words. Verbal diarrhoea *is* a disease.

P.S: Flames will be left to burn untended!!


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EnviroThinking

Some things that I ponder about.

The glass-and-metal mammoths that are our IT campuses seem to use so much of energy. All lighting is electrical and that must eat away a lot of power. Why aren't companies and architects making conscious effort to use natural lighting to the maximum? Why does it all have to be flourescents?

Look at any board room or conference room. There are always some lights that cannot be switched off at all. Why? What's the need for that? 

Why is it that a single switch very often controls a large bank of lights? Why can't the control be more granular? Is it that inconvenient to toggle a switch? Why not have the switches within each cubicle so I can switch on the one light bulb that I will need? The same applies to plug points. Why can't each switch control exactly one point? 

Why can't the switches and the plug points be above the table or work area? Most times it's tucked underneath. If it were more conveniently placed, more people will take the effort to switch off completely.

There are lots of such simple things that could be done. All of the corporates speak about social responsibility and environmental awareness, but I am yet to see one corporate that puts any effort into even these small things. Can't the govt or the development authority recommend and enforce such requirements? 

Why can't these large campuses have some trees planted around them? Landscaping doesn't have to be just grass. Trees even serve as a shade for the occupants when they want to stretch their legs or have a quick smoke. 

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What's the bit I can do to help the environmental causes that are being battled for around the world? 

1) I consciously use the shower less. Yes, a shower is a shower and so I haven't given it up entirely. What I do is that I shower a bit and then use the bucket-and-mug technique to complete my bath.

2) I consciously avoid using the paper hand towels and instead rely on the good old handkerchief to dry my hands.

3) I try and switch off anything that isn't required. I walk around the house turning off lights and fans. I monitor the geyser to switch it off as soon as possible. I switch off all unused electrical points at night.


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More on the carnage in the US

Read how the CEO of Wachovia (the latest one to fall - as of now) had a very positive message to the investors only 2 weeks before it had to get bought up.  


This is the kind of ridiculous stuff that has put the whole financial jungle on the spot. 

The bail-out has been rejected albeit temporarily. That should remind the Fed, the Treasury and Mr. Bush that they shouldn't rush in when dealing with so much of the taxpayer's money. Wall Street's reaction to the rejection should help push the proposal through the next time it gets tabled.

It's surprising that nobody wants to question the managements on how they screwed up so big and what they intend to do to prevent this from happening. All they want to do is give them more money. Bah!! I know nothing about business, but that sounds outright idiocy in my view.


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Going broke is good for your bank balance

I know - weird title. However that's what I think looking at what's going on in the U.S of the A. These shrewd investment bankers went all out to make money in every which way they could. Alas, they were shrewd but stupid at the same time. Giving out bad loans, buying out bad investments. They did everything that got them a fat paycheck and hefty bank balances. Now, when they get hit and are just about beginning to learn a well-deserved lesson the Treasury offers to pump in more money to keep them afloat. I mean what the heck. There are thousands of the common folks left with their investments lying in the drain. Their savings have been shaved off directly or indirectly by the tactics that these big firms unleashed on the markets. Yet, it is their tax dollars that is being used to bail out the villains of the story. 


Maybe, I understand it wrong but it sounds like outright dumbness to me. $700 billion!!! That's a huge number of tax-payer dollars and the Treasury wants to just hand it over to these witless suits and in return for what? Bad investments? Lots and lots of them. The Treasury's claim is that once the conditions improve these investments (bad now, better later?) will bring in good returns. The catch, however, is that nobody knows exactly what these investments are worth. Yeah, that's right. Just read the articles on the web on this and you will know how confusing it is with so many under-writings, mortgages and . You will need an MBA just to understand these terms. All this complexity was put in there by these financial "institutions" to inflate their networth and their bank balances.  In the end, an investment worth $1 was now valued at many many times that and these biggies refused to acnowledge their true values even when they were faced with the reality that the market was in a mess. 

In effect, all the big suits can relax in their beach houses that get saved by the bailouts. They will probably buy up some more villas in a small, green island and retire with their riches.

What happens to the common man? Nothing good! He will lose his home, he will have to pay more for loans and he will end up in shambles. When has the world ever cared about the common man except when asking for his dollars. 

I agree that by financing some biggie corporate there are some indirect goodness that comes out of it. Take, for example, the Karnataka govt offering land to the Tatas. Yes, it will generate more jobs and help better the economy in general. But will it be worth the 1000 acres of land that will be grabbed from the same common man? Nobody knows and nobody ever cares. So long as their banks are brimming over with money the "government" never cares.


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What the hell??

http://www.hindu.com/2008/09/07/stories/2008090753710600.htm
Interacting with other communities is immoral say these wretched idiots. Who the hell are these organizations - Bajrang Dal, VHP, "Social" Action Committee? Earlier such asses used to target men and women who were in a relationship. Now, they are targetting people that have friends of another community. Isn't there a law in this land to fry their asses? The police says resistance to such incidents should come from within the people. WTF? Why are you on the government's payroll?

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The Daily Commute

Sounds like a newspaper, doesn't it? Bright Light Flash - why not start a magazine/daily/monthly on the daily commute? Hmmm, interesting! I can get people to contribute extra-ordinary stories about their routine route to work and/or back home. Har har har!! And once it is mega successful sell of the thing to some dudes for a million or so of change. Man, I have the secret formula to becoming a millionaire. You, tata n birla boys, watch out. Hmm, that brings up the story of the Birlas. Once upon a time, Tata-Birla == mega rich. There was even a movie by that name. Actually, there are more than one movies. TB in tamil, Tata Birla Madhyalo Laila. Now the Birlas seem to be rebuilding themselves?! Ambanis has come to replace Tata-Birla. That's a good thing though cos Tata-Birla needs a bit of tongue rolling to say out loud.

Get back to the point you say? Will do, saar. The point is I was planning to write about my commute to work and the wandered off. In fact, I intended to post about a few particular commutes where I *had* to wander off.

Having moved into a new job, I lost the luxury of the spectacular BMTC (on hire, mind it) journey to office. It wasn't even one of those rickety contraptions that BMTC still runs. This bus was pretty comfy except for the narrow seats and the fact that driver's job description did not include slowing down for speed-breakers. Anyway, now I am back onto the old steed - my shiny, old motorcycle. A little while back I would've said bike but with a lot of B'Lore juntaa moving onto the other bike (cycle to you and me) that would be very confusing.

As you must already know and as proved by scientific research done by researchers - ! who else?) - rain alters human behaviour. This applies in particular to those humans that have access to and drive a motorised vehicle. The result is that if there has been the littlest bit of rain shower, the average Bangalorean turns into the mythical confused deer in front of headlights. Thus you are assured that traffic would be completely missed, if it rained the previous night. Now imagine the chaos if it rained *heavily* the previous night. Got the picture? Yeah, traffic has been at a stand still on the outer ring road the last four days.

The first day I stayed on the road and spent one whole hour fuming under the helmet. I wasn't in a hurry and the iPod was plugged in so it was slightly bearable. I watched a no. of my brethern going off the road and taking to a trail that ran alongside. "Buggers", I thought to myself. Now I am a off-road fanboy. I don't mean extreme off-roading but ever since I decided to ride my Hero Ranger over fallen lamp-poles, etc. slight-off-roading has held a strange fascination for me. Yet, I decided to stick to the tar and wait it out.

The next day I thought "To hell" to myself and jumped ship. I sped onto the trail with a gusto. It was definitely fun. The trail was just wide enough for one bike and had enough twists and dips to keep the fun alive. No near-misses. Touch wood! Everything intact except for the muck covered shoes. Been doing it for 3 days and the fun never runs out.

Yes, that's all. What else did you expect? An autobiography of the off-road commuter? Sheesh, get back to your routine now.


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Be afraid, very afraid

I post after so long and this has to be a crib-post. Sad state of affairs.

If you ever spot a Silver Hyundai Getz with registration plate KA 05 NC 65 (see pic below), please please move over, stop your bike and let the devil pass on. From my best guess, she drives from Bellandur (Ecospace in all possibility) and goes past Silk Board.

This cleopatra has the delusion that the road belongs to her and she cut me off twice - not once, twice - on the same day. The first time she swerved into the leftmost lane, where she had no business, *after* tail-gating a truck in the middle lane.

I have the choicest expletives reserved for her but out of self-control reserve them. Yeah, I was fuming on the road yesterday and just about contained my road-rage. Please give her my best wishes if you spot her on the road. The way she drives she'll be in jail for killing someone.

Posted by Picasa


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"I can't resist"

What's with this need to act upon those weird requests that come in your email, wall, scrapbook and other versions of the pigeon? Why would you even believe that a "hot" girl has added you to a crush list? Even when you are of the feminine gender? Is it curiosity or is it just that abundance of time that is on our hands?

Everytime I login to Orkut (which is once in a month or more), the only message I see is something that reads "blah.. blah.. copy and paste this definitely suspicious looking javascript into your browser window. You will become a prince or princess (as the case maybe) overnight... blah blah blah." What does that tell you? Other than the fact that I am a loser with nobody bothering to scrap me! Let's leave my social (-networking) life aside for a while and examine this "I can't resist" phenomenon.

Either there is some kind of magic that is put into these silly messages that make us want to do it (like a sort of hypnosis) or we are dumb. As I am holier-than-thou, I believe it is the latter. This is where that popular theory that "education dumbs people down" plays out well. It is well educated, mostly computer savvy (sometimes computer science experts) people that fall for the stupid trick. It is a trick, if you haven't realized that yet. A trick that usually floods everyone in your buddy list with some stupid message.


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Eating Out @ Mpls - Part 3

Another draft from very long ago....

Continued

I have nothing better to do in the evenings so every evening I open up opentable.com and read through the list of restaurants in Downtown Minneapolis and visit them one a day. Let me list down the restaurants I have been too and what I thought of them.. I hope to update the list as the days go along. :)

15. King & I Thai

Excellent food! The flavours are perfect, the smells are just right. This is one place you must try if you like Thai/Oriental food. Be warned though - the portions are *huge*. The hostess warned me away from ordering soup and a main course. She said that the soup is large and the main course is larger. Thank god for that timely advice. Ordering just the entree, I had more than enough to eat and a lot more left to box. :( I wish they did smaller portions.

I tried the curry of the day - which was a green curry made with beans, carrots and potato strips. You can choose the meat/seafood that goes into the curry. I chose the Walleye fillet. The curry is served with white rice. The curry was flavoursome. It was a bit spicy but not overwhelmingly so. Of course, you can ask for the Thai red hot if you are spice-inclined but I am sure you will perhaps resent doing that :).

If you have a healthy appetite or if you can share a plate with someone, then head to the King & I. It's one of the best Thai food I have ever tasted. I will probably visit again but the quantity of food puts me off a little.

16. Chamber's Kitchen

The dining area is very well designed with a glass window that lets you look into the kitchen. The restaurant is popular and the noise level stands testimony to it. The food is asian inspired with a surprising and well-balanced. The food is well designed too. The coconut chicken soup was lip-smacking delicious. You will want to slurp the last drop off the bowl. For the entree, I ordered the duck in a tamarind and pear sauce. The tangy-and-sweet sauce enhanced the juiciness of the duck slices. The white chocolate pavlova was teeny-weeny and left me yearning for more of the heavenly chocolate.

The food is yummy and the ambience classy and informal at the same time.

The only gripe I have about the restaurant is the dinnerware. They awkwardly shaped with all of them sporting a deep center - even the ones that entree is served on. Eating out of them is a test of patience.

17. The Newsroom

The restaurant's decor is inspired by the news. The wallpaper is composed of large prints of newspaper sections. You have newsprint from the yesteryears to recent years looking down at you. Well actually you look up at them. My first impression was not very pleasant. The maitre d' of the moment was rude and that overshadowed the politeness of the rest of the staff.

The seared tuna that I ordered was served nicoise-style and was good. The tiramisu was not great and I think it was served toppled on its side.

18. Dakota Jazz Club & Restaurant

Alright, I didn't have a proper dinner at Dakota. Frankly, you don't go to a jazz club for food. The short eat I ordered - fish trio - was a surprise. It tasted very good. If you like jazz or just want to chill to some live music, head to the Dakota. The acoustics of the place is great and the North Coast, who played that particular day, put up a great performance. The pianist/keyboardist was fast and brilliant. The trumpet and the sax, played by the lead man, was awesome. If the fish trio is anything to go by, the food in Dakota must be fabulous too.

19. Nami Sushi & Bar

Imagine awesome sushi (honestly I am not an expert to differentiate between sushi) in a chic, warm and uncluttered ambience. That's Nami. The setting's really good as opposed to the slightly cramped environs of Origami. The sushi chefs and the waiters are very friendly and put you at ease. Nami has a pretty large, spacious sushi bar with lots of space around it. Nami also features a huge dining area with well-spaced out tables.

The sushi is very good too. All the regulars are on the menu with some special rolls. The pineapple that is served at the end features a very nice sauce.

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In Other News

What's hot on everyone's lips and spewing smoke? Not ciggies, dudes. I am talking about that talking point that everyone is talking about when they find the need to be talking. (Note to self: Don't go overboard!!)

Well, ok, yeah. I am talking about the proposed apocalypto (that's what I am told it is) that was all set to open a no. of times in the past month. The Bengaluru Intl Airport is finally (hmmm, are you sure?) gonna open on the 23rd. (Actually it shouldn't be called the Bengaluru Intl Airport. It's more like the Miles-out-of-Bangy airport)

People have been cribbing left, right, center and through their nose. What? 2+ hours through hellish traffic to catch a plane that has a 50 minute air time? What? You expect me to pay extra for going through all this hell? Brilliant business model, you got going there dudes!!

Seriously, though, I don't mind that the airport is so far away. In kilometer terms. I don't mind that it is so far away. In hour terms. Of course, there are the bird brains that have been proposing a helicopter service from the city to the airport! What gives? Another 2000 bucks on top of all that crap.

That brings me to this. What the fish do these airline companies think of themselves. 99 bucks only for your flight ticket, sir!! Ah, but then we need to charge you this Fuel Surcharge of 1.5 K. How else do you expect us to pay for the fuel sir? Put that on the airfare, you cheating nincompoops.

Back to the airport then. As I said I don't mind that it's 40 kms out of town, but you shouldn't make travellers travel for 2 hours, then get through 3 hours of check-in+security check+waiting time, then travel in those lousy seats for hours and hours. Geez!! Couldn't you have done something about connectivity during all this time you spent building one (yes your read it right. ONE!!) runway?

Move forward a year and what do you hear. "Hello folks. This is your First Officer speaking. Due to congestion in Bengaluru, landing will be delayed by 2 hours time. Keep yourself amused. We will very soon recycle those dumbwit movies that you are watching.."

Ok, my mandatory BIAL rant is done. Now I will go and crib about to the first person that I will meet. BTW, if you are on that inaugural Indian flight to Singapore, expect some goodies. Especially if you can get to the airport before anyone else does! You just might find yourself splashed as front page news.. Awwww, no, I didn't mean you would get killed by a bird-hit.


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Turns

This has been a draft for a year now.. :-/
(inspired)


A spring's dream
to push back the cold
envelope that shrouds
the ragged man. his rags
don't hold
the slivers of heat.
Burning paper
in the drum. Shivering
against the gates
to a warm day, sunny
and bright. A fresh
paint brush stroke,
a canvas in a rich man's
home. Spring will clean
the air of damp lethargy -
a task of feat,
when winter clings
like a rascal kid.
Spring will cajole
life to step out.
Birthed from the womb,
A winter later.

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Around Bangalore


After a long time, I got to do a short but fun trip on my motorcycle. Without any confirmed plans 5 bikes and seven people met up on Bannerghatta road. We road down bannerghatta road and somewhere just before reaching the park, we turned into some untarred roads. We headed down looking for a waterwall (Swarnamukhi), but didn't find it. Instead, there was a neat water body (lake?) that we found. After some time spent there, we found our way to Horahalli on Kanakapura Road.

A short ride and breakfast later, the gang crept back to Horahalli and took some very scenic country roads to Thalli in Tamil Nadu. The roads were brilliant. Narrow, winding roads with greenery everywhere. On the way, we also discovered a reservoir whose name we don't know. :) After Thalli, we headed to Hosur and wound back towards Bangalore on the infamous Hosur Road. Lunch was at a place near Electronics City.

We must ridden for about 150 kms in total. Short but a welcome ride.Some pictures here.


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Update

Long time, no see..

Bangalore is swelteringly hot. Swirling in and out of the mid to high 30 deg Celsius', it's hot. Ah, I am not comparing it with Meerut where I went a week back to experience the 45's with the added wrath of really hot and very dusty winds. Not with Chennai, where the highs are now in mid 40's. I have promised my parents that the next time they will get to see my in chennai will only be after the summer simmers down.

Looks like Bangalore will see a profusion of air-conditioners by next summer adding more CFC's to the already polluted air. Step out during the day and you will feel the skin burning right off, which is why I am closeted in the house with the missus during the weekends. Thank heavens for the teeny-weeny rains last week, the nights aren't too bad.

The jacarandas have come and gone. Now, it's the gulmohar's time. Lots and lots of the cheery red flowers all over the place.

The BMTC volvos, the saviour of many a frustrated (ofcourse, well-off) road warrior, have now started spewing out smoke. I have seen at least three different examples of that. Looks like BMTC is not very enthusiastic about maintaining those red ones well.

Traffic snarls are still the talk of the town, although in the last few weeks I have noticed that my commute to the office, which by the way is now far enough to dissaude me from using the bike, has come down by about 5-10 minutes. Oh, so you think 5 minutes is nothing?! The outer ring road needs one of those magic-box crossings that the BBMP has been implementing. There are so many snarled-up junctions on this road that despite the 3 lanes, travelling is no easier.

Why can't we put down some of those automatic spikes inside of the traffic stop markers. These can be raised when the signal turns red. So if any moron tries to jump the signal, he will have a flat tyre to parade as his trophy. Interesting idea?


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Tagged

1. LAST MOVIE YOU SAW IN A THEATER:

Race - Good twists, could've been better.

2. WHAT BOOK ARE YOU READING?

"Jeeves Omnibus 2 & 5" - P.G. Wodehouse, The Best of Roald Dahl

3. FAVORITE BOARD GAME?

Scrabble

4. FAVORITE MAGAZINE?

None. :-/ Used to be The Week.

5. FAVORITE SMELLS?

petrichor (thanks VJ for the enlightenment)
camphor, fresh paint, lemon


6. FAVORITE SOUND?

early mornings in a hill-station.
sound of waves

7. WORST FEELING IN THE WORLD?

helplessness

8. WHAT IS THE FIRST THING YOU THINK OF WHEN YOU WAKE

how many vessels are out to wash today? :-)

9. FAVORITE FAST FOOD PLACE?

None

10. FUTURE CHILD'S NAME?

hmmmm....

11. FINISH THIS STATEMENT. "IF I HAD A LOT OF MONEY I'D...?

buy a house in the hills (or on the sea-side) and a motorcycle and travel around India and the world.

12. DO YOU DRIVE FAST?

hmm.... not very.

13. DO YOU SLEEP WITH A STUFFED ANIMAL?

nope :) I get stuffed with food sometimes.

14. STORMS-COOL OR SCARY?

scary cool!!

15. WHAT WAS YOUR FIRST CAR?

the first car I ever drove was a big white ambassador which I promptly drove up the kerb and knocked the bumper off. my friend (it was his dad's car) was cool enough to take the blame.

16. FAVORITE DRINK?

Tea!!!

17. FINISH THIS STATEMENT, "IF I HAD THE TIME I WOULD....."

relax with a book


18. DO YOU EAT THE STEMS ON BROCCOLI?

Yes, contrary to popular belief broccoli does not taste yucky. it does not have any taste at all and I love it.

19. IF YOU COULD DYE YOUR HAIR ANY COLOR, WHAT WOULD BE YOUR CHOICE?

White!!

20. NAME ALL THE DIFFERENT CITIES/TOWNS YOU HAVE LIVED IN.

Chennai, Cuddalore, Bangalore

21. FAVORITE SPORTS TO WATCH?

Used to be F1, sometimes basketball. Not Cricket!

22. ONE NICE THING ABOUT THE PERSON WHO SENT THIS TO YOU.

is that there are lots and lots of nice things about her. like that infectious smile, that bright talk and more..

23. WHAT'S UNDER YOUR BED?

used clothes, belts, pens, clips, etc. etc. etc.

24. WOULD YOU LIKE TO BE BORN AS YOURSELF AGAIN?

:D that question is too spacey to answer. questions of the existential nature are already crowding me.

25. MORNING PERSON, OR NIGHT OWL?

Morning person. hate staying up late.

26. OVER EASY, OR SUNNY SIDE UP?

sunny side up

27. FAVORITE PLACE TO RELAX?

under a tree or my now-unused bean bag

28. FAVORITE PIE?

apple pie. definitely not mincemeat pie

29. FAVORITE ICE CREAM FLAVOR?

none.. my teeth are too sensitive to the cold

30. OF ALL THE PEOPLE YOU TAGGED THIS TO, WHO'S MOST LIKELY TO RESPOND FIRST?

anyone wants to pick up the tag?

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