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Thursday, March 29, 2012

Rahul Ram Foundation Lecture



Thanks to Parul for sharing the video although at an odd time (11:30 pm). And now, its 1:20 am and i cant sleep now. Before you read forward, just watch the video.
 But it was a great to listen to Rahul Ram.  This is what thass is all about. Just loved the talk! It is no secret that i am a big fan of Indian ocean. I am yet to see Leaving home, have been saving it for a good day to enjoy it properly. In this lecture, Rahul traces his life path as he was growing up and how he ended up being a musician. But his stories are marked with a very careful analysis of how we (Indians mostly) live (Humor on us is the best humor) and he basically shows us a mirror. But in the process, he offers many many sound advices and they are very practical. So he is someone who is preaching ideological way but at the same time he has practicality in view and he is very honest about it. Things that stood out for me -

1. If you want to do something on your own, just remember that you will be poor for a long time, just be prepared for it.
2. Always assess what you are doing, it is quite possible that you are not meant for it. So, this is something to be very careful about.
3. Happiness and money have no relation.  A very known fact but sometimes i forget.
4. Live in a village, just be part of an NGO that is doing good work in a village and just experience it.
5. His general rant about people doing MBAs after IITs..... and to some extent a general rant about MBAs.... loved it! :)
6.  There will always be people saying that you are a fool. Be polite but don't listen to them until your assessment says otherwise.
7. Money is needed to survive. Do not forget it.
8. And then one day you find, Ten years have  gone behind you, No one told you when to run, you missed the starting gun.
9. Lastly, i have to watch Gulaal now.




Saturday, March 24, 2012

Cafe hopping in Bangalore

So, it's been almost 45 days in Bangalore and here is the update on cafes at Bangalore so far.

Overall, bangalore has scores of cafes and CCD is the dominating chain. But none of them have been Philz level. Most of the cafe's are actually restaurants selling food such as pasta/paninis and what not under the guise of a cafe. My other complaint is the size of coffee mug, smaller than any of US's sup and the lack of simply brewed cup of coffee.

But inspired by this article - http://tsr.net.co/2012/01/cafe-hopping-in-bangalore I also decided to do my own cafe hopping today morning.

Koshy's cafe/restaurant: A very old place,must be about 40 yars old, the decor is still like those old ones (reminded me of Indain coffee house), it is a place to go just to remember those good ol' days :) Had cold cofee (good but sweet) with a brunch of omlette and toasted bread. The omlette with toast is definitely recommended. Also, they have a bike rack in front, hurray!!!

Next, based on the article i wanted to go and try Java city but google maps was wrong/out of date. Couldn't find it, so decided to check on Au Bon Pain and again the directions on Google maps is out of date. But found Au Bon Pain at Brigade and residency road.

Au Bon Pain: Fancy American style restaurant but again with small portions but the coffee is not that expensive. They have Baguette bread, and other interesting sandwiches which were tempting to try. The Latte that i ordered was decent, not that strong.  Receptive people, they even turned off the tv on my request.

The chocolate Room: Barely a month old, the chocolate room offers an awesome view of the Brigade street. It has tons of hot chocolate options, frappes, pancakes etc etc all featuring chocolate. I tried the classic Hot chocolate,  it was decent, again sweeter for my taste. Rates are on the expensive side. But the decor of place is great, they have lots of space and it reminded me of Peet's at Castro. Will definitely be going there again to check on their cafe. (My secret hope to get the Palo Alto Univ Ave hot chocolate is still unfulfilled....Bay area spoils you badly :))



General good cafes that i have visited -

~ Hotel Airlines : Located near Cubbon park, this place has filter coffee which is good (quantity wise as well). Even with a bad service, this place is a good hang out because you sit under big giant trees in an open space on simple chairs and tables. Just for this ambience, you are willing to forget everything else. Highly recommended.

~ Ants Cafe: This came from Parul's recommendation. Again it is mostly a restaurant, but coffee is decent. But this place is special because Ants is actually Action North East Trust. They sell handicraft stuff from North Eastern local manufacturers and they follow fair trade practices. Their collection is a must to check out and is something that draws you again and again. 

~ Claytopia: This came from Gurshi's reference. Not sure if it can be clubbed a cafe but definitely a great hangout place. I tried the Thai coffee and it was a disaster but still the ambience makes it special.

~ Krishna Sagar on Langford road: Haha. This close to office darshini is now a friend. He fills my coffee mug at the cost of three filter coffees (INR 36). Not only that, when i asked him to prepare a less sweet FIlter coffee he was able to make the correct ratio with 40% unsweetened milk and 60% sweetened milk. He also makes it extra song on request. This is a life saver if you ask me :)

~Kalmani coffee at Garuda mall: Good! Strong coffee, less sweet. Reasonable rate. Good place to have filter coffee.

CCD: I hate them. Here are my reasons : (a) Their quantities are even smaller than the rest of the world. Tried their exotic flavors and they are even smaller. (b) They are like Starbucks, have no emotional attachment to the coffee and (c) The ratio of price to quality/service is royally screwed up.


What Bangalore needs:
(a) Free WiFi at cafes.
(b) Simple black brewed coffee with large mug sizes
(c) People who serve should be more educated about the coffee and its history
(d) Live music at cafes.
(e) Good coffee.
(f) Stretch:  Invite people to open startups from cafe

If there is any cafe @Blore which has four out of above six, they can count me as a regular any day. 

The Hunger Games (film)

Random musing:
There is a special feeling when you go in to watch a movie based on a book that you have already read. For one thing, you feel smarter than your fellow movie watchers (these guys have no idea what they are about to see).  In another front, you focus on just the cinematic aspect of it. There is a lot of comparison that goes between your visual imagery developed from the time that you read the book and the movie imagery.  The focus on details is higher and you are able to read the subtle acting nuances which may have gone unnoticed. It is almost equivalent to watching the movie for second time but a bit better. And personally, there is a lot of anticipation around music. When i read a book, there is a visual imagery but there is no audio that goes along..... I think the power of cinema is that it can combine visuals with audio and that just creates an experience that makes it special.

 Random musing around the movie:
Before the movie, i posted on facebook that i was disappointed by the lack of hype here in Bangalore (and in general India). I am pretty sure that in US, every channel would be airing the movie's ad and it would be talk of the town everywhere. But i was pretty happy with my movie watching experience. I went to the first day first show, the morning show on Friday (was so hoping that there would be a midnight show for this release :P). Thanks to being in  namma Benagluru, the cosmopiltan city, the show was almost full and there were enough young adults in crowd to yell at the top of their lungs when Gale/Peeta  were introduced. There were enough foreigners who joined in and they were also happy about it. 

Now, about the movie.
I knew the movie would be good from the moment i heard that Jennifer Lawrence is going to be Katniss Everdeen. After watching Winter's bone, i have been her fan and i know she has great talent.  Hunger games does right in casting Jennifer, Stanley Tucci (no one can do better than him in that role) and Lenny Kravitz, but IMHO it failed to do so for Peeta, Effie Trinket and Seneca. Peeta was taken just to give it the twilight like appeal i guess.  Haymitch guy is trying to act like The dude from Big Lebwoski, Jeff Bridges himself may have been a better choice.
Overall, the movie is a damn good movie, very true to novel, full of action and a wonderful soundtrack that gels very well with the movie. The actual game is handled quite nicely.  The only places where i think it lacked some credibility were - (a) Rue should have given one more scene to justify the effect, (b) The hunger aspect of hunger games does not out and also hunger in districts is not highlighted.
I also liked the handheld camera effect (close-ups and jarry motion) created throughout the movie. AFAIK, it was the Bourne movies which started this genre taken up nicely by Daniel Craig's Quantum of Solace and now copied everywhere. Fast editing also gives nice effects. 
I think this is as good a movie as you can make  from the script. And with the music, it is a treat to watch for those of us who are sucker for "good" masala movies.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Rahul Dravid

Now that all the news of Rahul Dravid's retirement has settled down, let me write my views as well.

Cricinfo link - http://www.espncricinfo.com/india/content/player/28114.html

Article by his wife after retirement - http://www.espncricinfo.com/magazine/content/story/556979.html


Harsha Bhogle - http://www.espncricinfo.com/magazine/content/story/556769.html


Guradian take - http://www.guardian.co.uk/sport/blog/2012/mar/09/rahul-dravid-india-genius-boundary


I think the above links tell more about the man that i could ever write with my knowledge of literature.  But here is my version of things  -


Whenever i see an Indian match and India is batting, no matter how good or bad is the opposition, i always have an uncertainty in my heart - at every ball, i believe that it could be a wicket-taking ball and any batsman, howsoever he is set at the crease, i believe that he could get out.  That batsman could be Sachin, Dhoni, earlier Ganguly and more so if he is Sehwag. But the only exception to this feeling has been Rahul Dravid. If he is there, i was always confident that the wicket will not fall on the next delivery. I dont know who gave him the title - The wall, but it has been so appropriate.  "Thou shall not fall" that's what i think.

When you look at Dravid's batting, one realizes that he is not the most gifted player, he is not stylish or anything but there is one adjective that is always present - determined. He is simply determined to face the next ball and it is his determination, the "never give up" attitude that makes him a delight to watch. I forgot the fact that he was also a keeper. It is quite sad that the Dravid-era of captaincy was bad for Indian cricket but at that time nothing was working. And plus we were also playing overseas for the most part :)

Dravid's off field behavior is to admire and respect. In his retirement speech, he said that so far he has been living in a cocoon, in an un-real world..... I wonder these days who would make such a statement. Honesty kehte hain isen.

Also, Dravid is very special to me because his career coincided with my hay days of cricket watching. My cricket memory starts with 96 world cup and i remember Ajay Jadeja, Robin Sinfh, Srinath, Prasad and Raju very well from those days. But it all fell apart and it was 4 years of frustration because even though the talent was there, the team overall was not winning. But yet, the brave persisted. Genius comes in many forms and to Indian cricket it was Sachin, Dravid, Kumble and Ganguly who shaped it. These were the guys who just stuck at it, even with all defeats they wanted to build games on their own shoulders and always were trying to prove a point. And comparatively speaking it was the hardest for Dravid because all he had in his defense was a sportsman's grit and on that alone he has built his career. I still believe that 2003 world cup team was the best Indian team in the last three decades and that was the team that deserved to have the seat at finals. So when Dravid retires, it is like one school friend is saying good bye and we both know that this is the last time that we are meeting.

I will always remember Dravid as the example he has set before us. Whenever there are things that are not going in my way, whenever this world feels full of problems, whenver i am about to give up, i think i would just need to remember his face and there will always be a solution that he has taught me - Persist and it will happen. 

Thank you Rahul Dravid.


Everybody loves a good drought

Everybody loves a good drought
By P Sainath.

Finally, i have finished the book. What an excruciating journey. The story goes like this - I first came to now about this book while doing the Human rights course at NLSIU. There were couple of chapters from this book in one course. Very very tragic but very informative as well. Inspired i got the book in US and then started reading but after about 40-50 pages i gave up as it was getting too depressing for me. And then this week, as part of the Bangalore Politically inspired book club meetup, i had to finish this book in three days. Reading this time, (a) there was a sense of urgency to finish it, but also (b) there was a sense of being stoic-ness in me which made me just run through the book without any emotions or feelings.

About the book -
A must read (if you can) for a middle class Indian. We (middle class Indians) feel that we are impacted negatively by everything that is bad in India....we often forget that the rise of India has helped mostly us only. And there are people in villages who still suffer from the issues and are yet to see the changes that we have witnessed. This books talk about lives of those people. Sainath covers the poorest of Indian villages and the tales are shocking, depressing and sometimes just makes you hit your head against the wall. Inspite of the satirical titles, almost every tail talks about some kind of frustration. But there are also couple of success stories hidden in that book.

The writing is quite simple and direct. Sainath also is quite critical about his profession and other media agencies. The fact that these stories were not covered before is a failure of media to him.

 The meetup event was ok. It was the first Bangalore Politically inspired meetup and only one person other than me showed up even though five had RSVPed. I am not at all disappointed because (a) generally, i do not expect a big gathering, (b) meetup is not so popular in India and (c) it is going to take time. But i had a good time with the one person who showed up.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Coonoor

What is the reason behind a successful travel trip?
No planning and low expectations.

Travel trips bring sanity back to life and god (if he exists) knows that i surely needed one. The Coonoor travel trip came when Parul suggested that Coonoor may be better than Kanyakumari. Since i was open to any place, i said yes. Coonoor, quite frankly, is the best thing that has happened to me since i have moved back.  Here is the story (Keep in mind this is going to be a long post) -

In any travel trip, all my planning involves that (a) i book a place to stay and (b) There is a way to get there, typically a car. Once these two are done, i do nothing more. I stand by it very strongly because - (a) It forces me to go there and talk to people there. And local people have more experience about things. (b) Low expectations. So i am always happy when something unexpected comes along the way and it makes me happy.  (c) And lastly, i am always happy to do nothing and just enjoy nature/read a book/spend time alone with me. So even if nothing happens, i am happy that i got to spend time with me.
 In US, even with the above facts, it was still quite organized because my interaction was limited to the people at tourist information centers but in India, its the local people and i think it makes it even better.

The stay - Parul mentioned that somebody offers cheese making course at  some farm at Coonoor. Fascinated by discussions around farm stays in India, i googled and came to know about Acres Wild. Acres Wild made all the difference to my trip from an ordinary one to a great one. Acres Wild is run by Mr. Mansoor Khan and his wife. At his website, Mr. Mansoor has mentioned things to do, places to eat/visit and everything about Coonoor that he has found so far. I never read any of that until Parul passed a link which said that Masnoor is actually a film director behind movies such as QSQT, Akele hum, akele tum etc and is a cousin of Amir Khan. He is now a full time manager at Aces Wild and now give lectures about Peak Oil highlighting some of the fundamental issues behind problems that the world is witnessing today.
At Acres Wild, Coonoor, what followed were some of the fundamental discussions with Mansoor. We also ran into the founders of Printo and some other folks and together, it seemed that a group of like minded people had got together and every one of us were searching for solutions to probably the same question.  The discussions with all of them not only gave interesting insights about how people think and atleast made me glad that i was not alone.

From Coonoor

Mansoor is a candid person and he is quite frank about his work at Acres Wild. At the farm, he is trying to make a case for sustainable living with cows, chickens, farming, ponds fishes, bio gas and trees. They make cheese, bread, soaps as well.  His place is a must place to live at Coonoor and if i go ever again, i would not settle for anything else. He admitted that the farm is his way to prepare for the inevitable and giving back to his descendants in a small manner that he could. The place is quite simple, serene and has a view that just makes staying there quite addictive.

The journey:
 First i thought that i would buy a car before it starts but that seemed like a big decision in short period of time. So, i went with a self drive rental car. Many people were surprised to see that we were driving a cab without a driver. It was fun to see the reaction on their faces.
The route included going to Mysore but in order to get to Ooty/Coonoor we crossed Banthipur forest reserve and Mudumalai tiger reserver. Both are fantastic places to drive through with trees both to your left and right. Near Ooty, there is the Ghat road with 36 hair pin bends and it was fun to drive on them. It took us 8 hrs.

The trip (Mar8-11):   If there is ever a need to read a primer on things to do at Coonoor, just read the below itinerary, it is quite the best.
Day 1: We left Bangalore about 6:30 am. The breakfast was at Kamat Lokaurachi. A cooperative like place serving good authentic south indian food in a natural setting. A must-be place to stop (You may find these lines repeated several times.) Lunch was skipped and we reached Ooty at about 3 pm. We had booked a youth hostel which turned out to be quite bad. So we ditched it and went to a hotel. In the evening we went to the botanical garden and at first just sat there to let the weather sink-in (It was great) and then went for a walk to see trees. Its a good botanical garden and that 40 min walk is recommended.  Dinner was at Shinkow's (a recommendation mentioned at Acres wild site). Shinkow's is a 60 year old chinese restaurant serving good chinese food at reasonable prices.


From Coonoor


Day2: We started again at 6:30 am and left to Coonoor. First we visited Lambs rock. We parked our car about a km away from Lambs rock and did a small hike from there. On the way we took a detour to a kattcha road which crossed a rivulet and went to a tea estate. We were happily strolling there until we were shooed away by the tea leaf pluckers. Lamb's rock also has a 500m trail and its quite good. Then we drove up to Dolphin's nose which gives a 270 degree view of Nilgiris. After this, we checked in to Acres wild and there, it was so serene that we decided to just spent the day there doing nothing. Having got the evening free, i took the free time to update my blog after a month and also started the movie - The lives of others. Writing blog while watching sunset behind Nilgiris just made me happy.

From Coonoor



Day3: Got up and took an hr walk around the farm. No plans for the day so far. Mansoor gave a recommendation about a tea tasting tour and we were generally thinking of going to Rallia dam. Everything fell in place when we read this article - http://www.thehindu.com/life-and-style/metroplus/article398839.ece and the number given below coincided with Mansoor's recommendation. The breakfast was bread and home made garlic cheese (delicious). Then we went to Tranquilitea for Tea tasting and it is a must-do there. Sandeep gave a fantastic overview of how tea's are made and what is meant by different forms of tea. Sandeep's family has been into tea business but he realized that a lot of quality tea is only made for export, So he created Tranquilitea to let Indians get a taste of it. His tea estate and farm house has awesome views of the town. It was my first time tasting tea and i liked it.  Tea has to be made at 70 deg Celcius and for exactly three minutes to get the right flavor. Tea leaves also need to be plucked with care - two leaves and a bud to get the right flavor and texture. There were so many other things that can be only learned by years of experience and here it was to us told by a person who was our age but so much passionate about the craft.

From Coonoor


After Tranquilitea, we went to Raliah dam. To get to dam, you have to park your car near a temple and walk from there. And then we got lost while going to dam. Getting lost is one of the best things per me when it is morning. Eventually we found it and it was beautiful. A body of water surrounded by trees in all directions. At the dam we met Mr. Raj Shekhar who started talking about the dam and lives of Toda tribe there. There is a 12 family Toda tribe about 3 kms away from dam. RajShekhar has a frequent contact with them, we heard stories how Toda tribe are so strong, their women give birth and are at work next day; how they don't trust the alopathic medicine and knows how to use natural leaves/herbs for basic wounds. And other so many stories in a simple 15-20 min walk.

From Coonoor


After Raliah, we went to the Green shop at Upper Coonoor. Green shop is a fair trade shop and i was too excited again to see the locally made items with such great finish. Ended up spending 1K Rs there. Next, we had lunch at the Thali place next to Variety sarees shop. We also went to the antique shop but by then i was too tired to do anything. (Driving in ghati roads although is beautiful but taxing as well).  At Acres wild, i finished my movie and then the whole evning/night was spent in a lively discussion with Mansoor, Parul, Printo founders and their friends.

Day 4: We headed back to Blore. Again the drive was beautiful. At the national reserve we spotted laguna monkeys, deers, peacocks etc. There was late lunch but it was at Ants cafe Indranagar. Again a must have place to visit. It was also on my todo-list.

All pics can be seen at -





There are also some videos but they need to be edited out.




Friday, March 9, 2012

Tree @Botanical garden

The tree @Botanical garden

The tree stood there silently.
There is a circle around his roots,
so that no one can enter.
There is a barb wire on one of his low hanging branches
So that no one can sit on it.
He could not bear the noise around him,
But he was old now and like any old man,
nobody was paying any attention to him.


He couldn't remember how long it has been
Since he had been there.
Some white man wearing khakis had planted him
Along with his friends.
His friends who wished him happy birthday
on any random day in a year.
who cracked jokes at his enormous girth
who would clasp roots just like best friends clasp fingers
 But most of them are gone now.
One by one, they were taken away.

There were new trees
where his friends who used to stand.
First, he ignored them because of grief, anger, pride
how can they take his friend's place.
Now, they ignore him
because of generation gap.

People come, people go.
Some see, some admire.
Some pee, some ignore.
This silence has been a long one.
He wonders if anybody
will talk to him ever again. 

Ender's game

Yes,  i have read the Ender's game now. Again this is a cult book whose reference comes up often when talking to Americans. It might be a little late to understand them but better late than never.

Overall i like the book. Very simple language, small book and overall an interesting story. I was not completely able to visualize all the scenes but overall i got the feel of the book and it was a good read but not great. For some reason, reading this book after the hunger games trilogy is not a good idea as after hunger games, i was fed up with the whole young adult genre and this book falls in the same level. No prose, just action and it seems quite hollow to go through some of the scenes, so much so that it seems fake and implausible at many places. For example, the scene at which Ender builds the boat and his sister comes in, that seems just too cliched.  I like the twist in the ending.
But overall, i am not as impressed as the sci-fi guys are. It is written for teenagers and i believe i am too old to read it now :)

Bangalore - The 2.0 experience

This post is about the 2.0 experience at Bangalore. I have been trying to do too many things at once in a city that wants its own space. Also life has been little unkind but that's how it goes. This post is to summarize how too many things have gone wrong at the same time in such a short time.

When the stuff came from US, after unpacking everything, i still couldn't find (a) the screws to put my tv on stand and (b) my toolkit box that i loved so much. Not sure where it is now. Thought too much about it and scanned all my stuff thrice but still no clues. No sherlock to help :(

My personal macbook pro's battery was dead because i had not switched it on for the last three months.  Luckily the apple iStore was nearby. (Some luck finally!)

I  had to leave my battery with them, but i was using the laptop with direct power. One movement, the power cable came out and laptop switched off. It had to be given for a reformat.

Trying to get an address proof was a big pain. First, there was apartment hunting and then later the rental agreement was not returned after a week of moving in. All of this meant that no address proof and nothing happens here without a valid address proof.

Trying to get an airtel connection was pain. Even though they said that it would happen in 4 days, it took 10 days and the guy calls up that he will come and install on the day i was out of station. (I think it is not working again)
After the net was installed, i tried to use the wifi router that i got from US. That was a cable router and Airtel is ADSL. sigh!

After opening my desktop box and configuring all connections, when i switched on the power supply, there was a spark and the cpu SMPS was gone. Went to a store and did the diganostics with the technicial, apparently everything works (thankfully) but the SMPS is gone. That particular SMPS is not easy to get in India. Results awaited.

Took my bike for a ride near Leela for some work. On the way back,  there was a downhill, so i got good momentum but then there was potholes in road and in that the bike rack screws came off and so did the bike rack.

Have lost my copy of P Sainath's Everybody loves a good drought, not sure where it has gone.


When life gives you lemons make lemonade.





Movies in Jan-Feb, 2012

After i landed in US in Jan, after spending three weeks in India, i was dying to watch movies. So started my movie streak. It has pretty much reduced to zero now but i am pretty sure it will catch up. Here is a list of movies that i saw.

In USA:

Tinker Tailor Soldier spy - Honestly speaking, i have to see this one another time. I was so tired when i went into this movie that i couldn't follow it properly and believe me, there are lot of finer points here. Plus Gary oldman is very fascinating.

The descendants - Liked it! Easy, calm movie from Alexander Payne. Good acting by George clooney. Liked the Hawai backdrop, an interesting subject but handled gracefully.

The girl with Dragon tattoo - I liked it so much that i have been waiting to see it another time. Having seen the swedish version and having read the book, i was still looking forward to the hollywood remake and it does not disappoint. It is a taut thriller and protagonists do a good job.

Extremely loud and incredibly close -  Directed by Stephen Daldry and hated by almost all critics as being too dramatic, i seem to have liked it. I like Stephen Daldry's direction (loved the Hours and the Reader) and i seem to enjoy this one as well. Based on a book and about 9/11, i think this movie did a good job in telling the story... people seem to think that it was about 9/11 but it was not. 9/11 is just a tool where the movie begins.


Albert Nobbs - Saw it as part of the camera cinema club.  Found it ok. Ofcourse Glenn close as Nobbs was exceptional but overall i didn't found the movie to be as involving as i would have liked.


From USA to India:
The Help - Saw  it during the flight. I was crying badly after watching this one. A very good feel good/inspirational movie with powerful performances. Same genre as the Freedom fighters, this movie even though is a 6 pointer on imdb, but i always enjoy it.

Glengarry Glen Ross - I have heard so many things about this movie, people making references all the time, people quoting lines. On this flight, i just put it on and sat through it. A very different movie, way different than i had imagined. It seems at first glance that there is no plot at all but then the finer print comes up, its a movie about us. It is a reflection of our image, of how one part of us work and act. I liked the movie but still fail to understand why it has such a cult status.

Declaration of War : Awesome. In the same genre as a documentary (like My son Zacchary), this movie is re-enactment of what the director had to go through when their son is diagnosed with Brain tumor.  Excellently used Vivaldi score at one point! And what a story, the fact that it is based on a true story makes it even special.  Excellent and highly recommended! 

In India:

Agneepath (the new one) : Saw it with Zoheb at Innovative at Marathalli. Sat in balcony after such a long time, i had totally forgotten about the balcony concept. It brought back all those Chitra/?? Korba theatre days. The movie was average (close to disappointing ) but it was the background score that made it for me. Also the scene in which the local hijras come with talwars etc, that was fun. Ending was horrible.

The Artist: Saw it with parents and i liked it. It was different, refreshing and brought back the look and feel of those old days. Saw it at Garuda mall where again most of the co-viewers were old people. The ticket seller gave me a warning before i bought the ticket - It is a silent movie in black and white, do you really want to watch it? I laughed and said yes. Liked the scene in which she puts her hand in his coat. Liked the dream sequence as well. Overall well done!

Watched again : Love and Death :)
Missed: Hugo.


Life in Feb 3 - Mar 7

This edition of Life in Series is brought to you from the hills of Conoor while sitting at the beautiful Acres wild farmhouse. I have skipped an installment the installment when i spent three weeks in US. I will try to recall them but today i want to talk about life after returning to India.

I landed in India on Jan 30 and stayed at Diamond district for two weeks. It has been a great month so far. It has been crazy hectic and simply crazy.  Here are the highlights -

~Attended Swarathma's concert at Freedom Park. It was organized by the JMS management school as their fest event, the entry was free. Liked the band a lot. Fusion/rock  band with very political lyrics/songs. Will post in detail about them.

~ Apartment hunting was painful but fun. In the end i have settled in Charles court near Brigade road. I like my apartment.

~ Went to Karnataka Chitrakala Parishath with parents. Good art gallery, liked the collection and overall glad to see that it exists and maintained decently.

~ General bangalore explorations - In my attempt to re-understand how India operates and since i had to buy lots of stuff for the new place, i have been exploring many places within bangalore.
Went to Chickpet, the wholesale market. It was fun to walk on those small streets. Tiring and sweating as you have to walk everywhere and if you don't know where things are, it is a big issue.
Went to Home Town, i believe it is one of the most expensive places to buy home stuff.  It was really expensive. Then after seeing the cheapest and most expensive went to Lifestyle, commerical street market, Malleswaram market.

~Food: The kerala cuisine at Claypot was quite delicious. So was Gurshi's treat at Sunny's. Went to California pizza kitchen just to check it out, ok but will not go again. Liked the food/decor at Oye Amritsar. Ammi's Biryani was a treat to eat at office.  Andhra cuisine places - Bheema and Nagarjuna are still a delight.

~ Visited Iskon temple. The laddoos taste still good :)

~Hotel Airlines: A nice open place to have coffee in Bangalore. Liked it even though their service was quite bad. Felt like sitting at Philz (minus the coffee ofcourse)

~Watched The Artist at Garuda mall and Agneepath at innovative cinemas.

~Got my stuff shipped from US. Bike ride on Indian roads is fun but in a different manner. Slow traffic is a big help for me :)

~ Read Ender's game.  A different blog post for detail.

~ Trip to kolkatta for recruiting. Hectic but good fun trip with colleagues.  Got to set up written papers which was a good experience.