Sunday, December 19, 2010

Rajinikanth - I Like

Rajinikanth (Tamil: born Shivaji Rao Gaekwad on December 12, 1949) is an Indian film actor, media personality, and cultural icon. He made his debut as an actor in Apoorva Raagangal (1975), a Tamil film directed by K. Balachander, whom the actor considers his mentor. It was K. Balachander who re-christened him as Rajinikanth after a character in his play Major Chandrakanth. He then worked in Tamil cinema often portraying antagonistic characters and gradually rose to acting in lead roles. Other than acting, Rajinikanth also worked as a producer, screenwriter, and playback singer. Apart from his film career, he is also a philanthropist, spiritualist and serves as an influence in the politics of Tamil Nadu.
(Source - Wikipedia)

Hmmm, I have been sitting for 10 minutes trying to figure out what to write about Rajini. He means a lot of things - he has always been there, right from school days when I was in Chennai. I think at that time I was not too impressed by him (I hope he doesn't read this :-) It wasn't like I was going to give up playing with the other kids to watch a re-run of Billa or some other 3-hr movie where one hour was spent on fighting, forty five minutes on weeping, shouting and other emotions, thirty minutes on songs and some story interspersed in the meantime.

Unlike my friends from Tamilnadu, I think I missed the good phase of Rajini movies because I left Chennai in 1989 and all the major hit movies and some of the greatest dialogues came after this time.
1991 Thalapathi; 1992 Annamalai; 1993 Yejaman; 1995 Badsha; 1995 Muthu; 1997 Arunachalam; 1999 Padayappa
I went back to Chennai in 1995 for college but never got into a Rajini craze. I think it was only after starting work and having real access to cable TV that I managed to see some Rajini movies. I found them quite entertaining. I realised that his movies are quite entertaining (the ones I mentioned above). The storyline is strong and keeps moving. It does get a bit monotonous because it is usually e centered on Rajini overcoming evil and great hardship. The theme is rags to riches or sometimes riches to rags to riches. The comedy is quite good and Rajini does have a great sense of timing. Of course, his dialogue delivery is superb. I am guessing the reason they are called punch dialogues is usually cause they invigorate the watchers interest. The songs are catchy and the cinematography / editing etc seem to be really slick.

I have seen two videos of Rajini on YouTube, which were taken during the launch of Endhiran. I would like to think that the first one shows the kind of person he is and what he continues to be. The second one, no doubt shows him to be a crowd pleaser, masterful with his timing and totally at ease with what he is.

Conclusion - catch a few of the movies I have mentioned. I don't know if you can get it but I would recommend watching it in Tamil, subtitled in the language of your preference. Only then will you get the PUNCH, the thrill, the satisfaction of watching a Rajini movie. Leaving you with a few famous dialogues of his to get you going

Baasha - What I say once, consider it said hundred times...
Arunachalam - God proposes...Arunachalam disposes...
Muthu - When I will make an entrance, where and how.. nobody will now. But when I do make one, it will be at the right time.
Baba - An explosion is caused only when a bomb is thrown. "Baba" just has to say something to cause an explosion.
Shivaji - Pigs come in a group, Lion walks by himself

Friday, December 10, 2010

I Hope I Grow Into Growing Older

It took so long
To realize
And I can still hear
Her last goodbyes

Now all my days
Are filled with tears
Wish I could go back
And change these years

I'm going through changes

by Black Sabbath - 'Changes'

I have become kinda addicted to action movies. Earlier, I could watch any kind of movie - action, old westerns, romantic comedies etc etc. I asked myself - why the change in preference? The only answer I came up with was that I was growing older and action movies made feel - you know - kick ass. The adrenaline, the recklessness, the ability to move your body the way you would at a superb physical condition (I like the combination of those words).

I do feel that I'm at a pretty good phase though. Well paying job (can afford Scotch), two cars, rented apartment at a nice location in Delhi, platinum card which if lost could cause a serious hole, the best family and the best wife in the world, wonderful dependable friends... If you read my last post, you would know that I ran a half marathon in 2 hrs:4 mins and that my friend is a pretty good timing. Even then, there is a nagging fear in my mind. Most of the time it comes up when I see my parents. Its not easy to see that there is not a single black hair left, a little loss of memory, a little less sure of themselves. It does happen so very often that I call them up and ask where they have been and they would be going or coming from a funeral. I know, very morbid.

At one time, I asked myself - what is the mark I have left on this earth? A billion people in India, six billion i the world, living RIGHT NOW. Forget about the ones who died. Whom do I remember - Adam, Eve, the rest of the biblical characters, the Good Lord, Napoleon, the Indian Freedom fighters, Adolf Hitler, Muhammed Ali, Mariah Carey? Whose gonna remember me? So I toyed with the idea of doing 'charity'. Step out, use my weekends, help the underprivileged. I am ashamed to say I didn't do a thing. In fact, my wife's cousin asked me to organise funds for charity as a part of my run and I didn't raise a paisa. I was busy at work and barely had the time to train but the fact is I completely forgot about it.

Coming back to the topic - I wish I could freeze frame life right now but I like the way each day unfold into the next (unless I haven't slept enough). Something new comes up else my routine keeps me going. Some of it is good like our new Nikon SLR camera. Some of it makes me feel older - like the dance class we joined where 90% of the batch consisted of 12+ students. I mean, what do you relate to? Its all good mate especially when you use a few few angles to beat the young uns :) So hit the gym, listen to some hip-hop, shake a leg, have a drink, make the ones you love feel special - that's my formulae. Whats yours?

Friday, December 3, 2010


Random - without definite aim, purpose, method, or adherence to a prior arrangement; in a haphazard way

Lots of random thoughts come to us - some make us smile, lots makes us think, few make us laugh - if we are lucky and one or two make us despondent. Its all good, mate. That makes me think of two things - one is hows it going?? We start off with - its all good but.... the second is Australian = Mate = Fosters (Australian for beer).

Australia makes me think of the movie with Hugh Jackman and Nicole Kidman. Good movie, quite entertaining, Hugh Jackman is quite inspiring - makes me want to hit the gym everytime, Nicole Kidman makes me wonder if Katie Holmes was a better choice, Tom Cruise shoulda won the Oscar for A Few Good Men or Jerry Maguire, Renee Zellweiger looks really hot in Jerry Maguire but old these days........

Random - difficult to deal with, but nice to flow with. If you are in the mood. Random drive by shooting - touch wood, no one I know had to deal with it. Random kindness by a stranger - nothing comes to my mind. Rude behaviour - not very random but still disconcerting when you come across it especially when you are driving.

My sister had a toe fracture and has her toe in a cast. First one in the family. Every time I go for a medical check and I keep No, No to questions like "Did you have a fracture?", "Did you have jaundice, typhoid etc?", it feels good. Luckily, no one asks if I had IBS :)

Conclusion - that's what y'all are looking for. Well, you don't feel random, you been lucky. So go ahead, enjoy. If it doesn't last, the good times will come again.

Like the Japanese say - I Like

Saturday, November 6, 2010

The Airtel Delhi Half Marathon (ADHM)

I don't know what is wrong with my health. I fell ill in May, then June, then August and again over the last weekend. I don't know whether it is the stress at work but I can definitely blame my absence from blogging on that. Otherwise, my food habits have improved and I go to the gym quite regularly especially after the weather cooled down in Delhi. Of course, regular can be defined in many ways. As one of my learned friends said - "Yeah, I go to the gym regularly, I go once a week." Well, I used to go three to four times a week. Ever since I started training for the ADHM, it has reduced because I run on the road.

When I say road, I means the roads of the colony I stay in. I have been running at night because I have completely lost the ability to get up early in the morning on a consistent basis. The few days that I tried to get up early, I ended up psyching myself so much the night before that I couldn't sleep before 01.00 am. Till date, my wife pulls my leg for 'Project Sunrise' - a theory of mine that I shall now expound for y'all out there. Before the age of electricity (and other modern forms of lighting such as gas lighting), people had to get up at sunrise and go to sleep / rest after sunset. From the time of the early hunter-gatherers to the last century (this date has been arrived at only because it goes with the flow, no bloody research whatsoever), the human race didn't have a choice. You couldn't read up late, you couldn't party, you had to sleep as soon as the big light in the sky went out. So the longer we stay up, we are going against all those centuries of conditioning. I told my wife - I am gonna get up at the crack of dawn, get ready, hit the gym and do all sorts of things before the rest of the world rouses itself. I even went to the extent of checking the time of sunrise in the newspaper and setting the alarm for the afore mentioned crack of dawn. Well, all it achieved was one more arrow in her quiver.

Running at night has been very pleasant. If you are familiar with Delhi you will know that every colony has parks, big and small. Well, there is one right outside home but it is shut at night. The walls are not high but the lighting is very poor so I start with the one behind my house. I orbit around this one a couple of times and then head out on the roads of the colony. I can easily do a ten minute run to the other end of the colony and back. The weather is fine, obviously there is no traffic and the stray dogs are too lazy after extenuating themselves the whole day. The few people on the road stare at me curiously. I always feel like stopping and explaining - "Its not that I cant afford a gym. I am a member of one of the popular ones close by. Its just that I am training for the ADHM. Have you registered? No! You bloody wuss." But you know what - after about five minutes, I start feeling the physical strain and automatically slow into a rhythm that I can carry on with for the rest of the run. Then, I forget all about work and my mind wanders all over the place. When the run is over, its like coming out of a pleasant daze. I normally finish at the park, cool down with a few stretches and then head back, take a hot shower, some nice food in front of the TV and crash. Waah waah, kya baat hai. I cant say that all the tension is busted but yeah its pushed way back.

So far, I have not given any useful information about the Airtel Half Marathon. I confess - I don't know much about it. I know its on Nov 21st. The registration closes on 10th Nov. The days have been quite sunny and the forecast is pretty much the same for that date. If there is some breeze, it will be fine otherwise the latter part of the run could be sunny. So if this post appealed to you, log on to the website and register NOW. Go for the Great Delhi Run at least. It will be like you are part of a carnival and I promise you will have fun. If nothing else, it gives you an excuse to tank up on beer cause you will definitely need the liquid nourishment. Hoping to see you there, cheers and all the best. 

Saturday, June 12, 2010

FIFA World Cup 2010 - Schedule In Indian Timings

If you want the schedule of the matches being played at World Cup, you just need to go on to the site and find it. But obvious, you may say. Now, I will never confess to being technically challenged. Why - the discerning reader may ask? Because I am not, Yo! What I did was I logged on to Google, typed in the keywords and I couldn't find it. I then decided to go on to the FIFA Official Site and there it was, neatly mapped out. There is also a neat little link that converts the timings to your zone. Ah, the things technology can do for you. If you are really keen, there is also a pdf document which you can download. It is in South African timings so just add another 3 and 1/2 hours to get our timing.

I missed the opening ceremony, Shakira and the first match between SA and Mexico. I was at the gym, then headed home, took a shower, had dinner and was contemplating watching the inside of my eyelids when I thought of checking the action on ESPN. Hmmm, France Vs Uruguay at 11.50 pm. I continued to surf channels and was still awake when the match started. Suddenly, I could feel some of the old excitement coming back. I hardly knew any of the French players - Anelka and Ribery sounded vaguely familiar but I wouldn't be able to swear in court. The Uruguayan players drew zip, zilch, nada. Where was Thiery Henry!!! Anyway, the match started and I was glued to the action. I think by match standards it was okay. Unlike cricket though, the action was constant and fast paced.

Well, half time came up to find both sides goalless. I decided to call up Appa (Dad) and relive the old days when all of us used to sit up late to watch the World Cup. I first went and made a cup of coffee which was what we would normally do at half time (then it was tea actually). As expected, he was awake and watching the match. We went on to judge how France seemed to be a physically fitter and stronger team while Uruguay seemed to be facing co-ordination issues. This triggered Appa off. He stated his opinion that unlike the old days when there was so much more play making and flamboyance, nowadays the plays were much more organised and staid. According to him, England and Brazil always were clean teams with less fouls but Germany, Italy and even Argentina were pretty rough and ready kinds. He reminisced that Maradona was so good, despite being short and stocky, he could move so fast and it seemed like the ball was glued to his feet. Now all this would have been pretty interesting except that this is the same raag he gives every World Cup. I started cribbing that he was boring me and that I shouldn't have called only. He chided me saying that it was not his fault if I remembered everything. On this happy note, we decided to end the call while predicting that the second half would continue to be similar to the first.

The second half was better than the first. Many more yellow cards, one red card which France really tried to capitalise on and the arrival of Thiery Henry. Alas, it turned out to be a goalless draw. I hope the matches today and tomorrow turn out to be better. I need to stock up on some essential supplies - beer and chips :)I'm only worried about sleeping late on weekdays cause the matches end at 2:00 am. I guess this is why they call it the World Cup fever.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

The Heat Is Hot - In Delhi

Sorry, that was a bad play on the lyrics of the song by Glenn Fray - The Heat Is On. Just the right words for the climate in Delhi though. Whew! Chennai seems cooler man. Really. It can’t be nostalgia for sure that is making me remember it that way. During my last stint in Chennai, my landlord had installed an a/c unit in the bedroom and I used to make a beeline for it as soon as I stepped in. I was a bachelor then so I could lounge around in bed and only get out to surf the net or cook some food. I didn’t have anyone telling me to do this or get that. Disclaimer - I am a better man now ;)

After experiencing the heat of Delhi, I have learnt a few things. The thing that wears you down is that the heat never lets up. Just like the winters where it remains cold for days on end, the heat too gets to you after a point of time. Get into your car in the morning and the first rivulets of sweat start trickling down. If you happen to leave your lunch box in it, you definitely don't need to heat it. During the day, it becomes very difficult to step in and out of office. The air you breathe is so hot that you feel like choking. When you reach home sweet home, you can’t walk barefoot as the floor is nicely heated up. There is heat oozing from the sofa, the mattress and the cupboards. Feel like washing you face? Don’t open the tap lest you get scalded (we normally fill buckets so the water is relatively cooler). The other thing is that along with the hot wind comes a lot of dust. The maid normally dusts the house twice a week but recently that doesn’t seem to be enough. There is always a layer of dust by the time you return home.

People also tend to fall ill a lot. Cold and fever are common, so are bouts of vomiting and stomach upsets. I was out in the sun for two hours and had to rush to the nearest loo. In the short time my parents were over, my Mom had a bout of vomiting. Both of us recovered in a short span but it was yuck very unpleasant. We actually had to cut their trip short (why we called them over at this time in the first place is another story ;) The other day one of our fears came true when the landlady handed over the electricity bill. Whoa, the figures Rs 3840 leapt out of the bill and did a merry jig in front of my eyes. Till then, I had never seen a bill of more than three figures. Appetite is another thing that goes for a toss. Here I speak for myself as the average Delhiite does seem to have a very healthy appetite and come to think of it, they seem to be carrying along just fine.

The last few days have been a bit cooler though. The Met department had got it right that the monsoon is coming and there have been a few brief showers. The rains in Delhi always leave me a bit disappointed. In Kerala and to a somewhat lesser extent in Bangalore, it rains for extended periods. Chennai and Mumbai have shorter, slightly furious bursts that leave you drenched before you can find shelter. In Delhi however, there is a lot of hoo-hah before it rains. I have faced it many times while walking from one office to another. The wind springs up and blows like crazy. It makes little twisters and dust devils and you have to cover your face. Then the smell of rain hits you and you feel like a few drops of rain have fallen. You put your hand out expectantly and look up into the sky for deliverance but nothing comes. You wait for another ten minutes and still nothing. Damn, you turn around and head back in. After an hour, you head out to your car and lo, the few drops of rain that fell in the time you were inside have become crusty with all the dust that was blowing around. Good luck driving home mate. There has also been a time or two when I heard thunder and stepped into the balcony but phooey nothing to show. It was only last night that there was a brief but solid spell that even left the road wet . Of course today is much cooler thanks to this. A few spells like this should see us through June. July is when the rain is supposed to really kick in - lets see to what extent. Then the good weather till Oct and then the cold......

Drawing inspiration from Bing Crosbys song - Let It Snow, I can also look positively at the summer and point out a few good things

- A cold beer tastes even better than before
- Clothes dry in a jiffy
- You have an excuse for everything
      - ''Go buy groceries. No Darling its so hot"
      - "Why didn't you do this? Sorry Boss, its so hot"
- Shorts and skirts, spaghetti tops are in fashion. Like one of my friends said - Boy it must be getting really hot. The dresses are getting smaller every day.
- A cold beer tastes even better than before (did I say that before?)

See, there is a silver lining to everything. So go ahead, get a tan, get a beer, get a hat but try and ‘chill out’.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Jayanta Hazarika - I Like

In one of my earlier posts, I had blogged about our trip to Nameri. As I had mentioned there, it was a five hour drive. To kill time, my father in law (Deuta) had taken a fine collection of CDs including the likes of Dire Straits which we could play (yeah, he is a cool guy). You know, it feels really good to start a journey listening to Mark Knofler play that sexy lead.

One of the things that came out of the drive was my exposure to the Assamese music legend, Jayanta Hazrika. I had never heard of him although everyone has heard of his elder brother, Bhupen Hazarika. I'm sure you are humming the song Dil Hoom Hoom Kare right now! Aah, as soon as the CD started playing, Ma piped up from the backseat and started signing away. A subtle change came over Deutas face also and he started tapping his fingers to the tune while smiling slightly. I smiled politely and took my eyes off the road to quickly scan the CD cover. My heart sank when I saw that there were over 15 songs but what to do!

As the first song was getting over, I realised that he had a very soothing voice and the songs reminded of old Hindi songs, maybe of the SD Burman / Salil Chowdhury varieties. I was actually expecting his voice to be something like Bhupendas voice - deep and rough. Anyway, I settled back to listen to the rest of the songs. After about 8 or 9 songs, suddenly there was this cheerful song which came up - Rambha Menoka Kimba Juthika. It was really catchy and had a nice beat to it. Anyway, I was concentrating on the road and trying to avoid abuses from the women in the backseat.

On our way back, I actually asked Deuta to play the CD again. It was better than before!! I enjoyed a lot more songs than before. It was totally within the settings - a trip into the countryside, Bihu festival, the long road undulating before us and this melodious collection playing. Anyway, the trip got over and we came back to Delhi. Within a day or two, I started scouring the net for the Rambha song but to my chagrin, it was nowhere. I went on to YouTube and tried listening to a few others but in my impatience I couldn't find any that I liked. After two three days, I finally calmed down and started listening to other songs. I then stumbled upon a user called Bohagboliya who had a nice collection of 12 songs uploaded. It is in karaoke style with excellent fonts and cool graphics.

Anyways, the point of all this is that good music leads to more good music and Jayanta Hazarikas songs continue to give me pleasure. I still wish I could get my hands on that song but in the meantime y'all sample these songs and let me know if you too felt the magic

Monday, May 17, 2010

Do You Have To Be A Narcissist To Be A Gymmer

nar·cis·sism - inordinate fascination with oneself; excessive self-love; vanity

Of course, the word gymmer doesn't exist. I am just using it here loosely as a person who goes to the gym regularly. Since I have been going to the gym for what, close to 5 years I realise that my theory has been developing subconsciously all this time. I remember when I started going to the gym. I was in Bombay at that time and I really missed playing some kind of sport. Talwalkars was quite close-by and I decided to join and go regularly. It was not too big but the way they had arranged the layout and the huge mirrors that they had put up made me feel good. As usual, people were milling around in front of the mirror making grotesque faces while pumping iron or hitching up their clothes to study their arms, stomachs and other body parts. I quietly sniggered to myself and thought to myself "I would be different. No ogling myself in the mirrors, I would quietly work-out and leave asap." I remained my modest self for sometime because my routine became quite erratic after I moved to Chennai.

I had transferred my membership to the Chennai Talwalkars and I didn't like the place. After this, I moved to Fitness One which was quite close to my place. Lots of space with plenty of cardio machines and a separate weights training area - Wow. Even then, it took me sometime to get into a routine and then I was transferred again. History repeated itself, I was not happy with FOne and I moved to Talwalkars. I was lucky to get a good trainer here and I started working out pretty regularly. It was at this time my behaviour started changing. I caught myself looking more frequently in the mirror and saying - "Hmmm, my biceps are looking nice" or "Hey I do look muscular in this T-shirt". The amazing thing was nobody else was saying anything about these changes (damn, I was not getting my moneys' worth). On the good side, people had stopped saying that I was too thin and once in a blue moon someone would say - Hey have you put on weight?

Then I started spending more time in front of the mirror at home. I won't get into the details but a lot of flexing and tough looks were happening. I would also catch my sister or parents when they were around and subject them to questions like is my body looking better or ask them to hit me on my chest or biceps!! Being the youngest does have some privileges :) Anyway coming to the main point of the story, I caught myself checking out said self in the mirror. I felt a bit guilty and saddened by the fact that I had become one of Them. Then I was like - Why not, you know. Things have definitely improved over the last couple of years. And then BAM I was like if things keep improving, would I spend more and more time in front of the mirror? I looked around and realised that the people who were spending more time in front of the mirror were people who were more fit/toned/bulked. Don't get me wrong, when you do any kind of exercise, you need to have a mirror to ensure that your posture and movements are correct. However there is a certain kind of look which you can only make out only if you are a regular. Enough said - there is nothing like a 'better' body. As long as you are feeling healthy and are comfortable, everything is fine. It definitely justifies staring in the mirror. Just remember what happened in the legend of Narcissus and don't turn into a flower.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

My First Run In Delhi @

After a 5 month hiatus, I finally went for a run in Delhi and it felt GOOD. Part of it was laziness but mostly it was because weekends have always been kinda busy with some domestic stuff happening.

I first heard of when I went for the Bangalore Ultra Marathon. There was a paper insert with the stuff the organisers were handing out. Talk about timing - at work, talks were on about my move to Delhi. Within a few days of reaching here, very proactively I signed up as a member on their site and started getting updates on runs. In the initial days, most of the runs seemed to be in Noida and I was in the guest house at Westend. Since I didn't have my car yet and I didn't know the route (imagine trying to find Sector 61 early in the morning) and it was soooo cold, I had enough excuses to not go.

The run which was held on last Sunday - 9th May was at Gurgaon. As usual, there was a timely reminder sent out by Rahul Varghese who is the Chief Runner. He is an ex-MNC marketing head with 25 years of experience which he quit to explore his then new passion of running. As the days came closer, I started feeling nervous because a) I felt I haven't done enough training b) It had been a long time since my last run. On the eventful day, I got up at 4.30 am (blinking like an owl) and as usual took almost an hour getting ready. How I envy people who can get ready in a jiffy. I then drove like mad and reached the start point by 5.40 am which was the time most people also came in (the 10k run started at 6.00 am while the 5k was at 6.30 am). The start point was near Rose Park which is further down from Crowne Plaza Hotel, Gurgaon. The park has a huge parking lot and so have no worries of parking. After 5 minutes, Rahul came up carrying a small megaphone and took us through the run and the route. It was quite light hearted with him claiming credit for the good weather and comparing us to Olympic runners :) Post this, one of the sponsors - Elemention Gym had their trainers stationed who took us through a good warm up routine.

By this time around 40 runners had gathered and we started at sharp 6.00 am. The start point was the parking lot and the run was on the road. The distance one way was 2.5 kms and so we had to loop back and then do it all over again. Since it was so early in the morning, there was hardly any traffic. I had set my playlist to finish in exactly one hour because I wanted to better my previous time of 62 mins.  I started off and the first two kms went off smoothly. Then I started to feel the strain. As usual, my upper back started to pain. Then my breath started getting ragged and I was like - "Did I get up at 4.30 am to do this? Why am I going through this hell?" After what seemed like ages, we finally came back to the starting point and I started getting my second wind. I checked the time and saw that 28 minutes had passed by. Simple math meant that I would finish the run in 56 minutes :) but I had to factor in that I was slowing down. I wanted to speed up a bit then but tried to keep a steady pace till I reached 7.5 kms. All the while, I was wondering how much of time was left. I took the turn without stopping to drink water as I was scared of breaking my rhythm. I started stepping up the pace by focusing on overtaking the person immediately in front of me. Not as easy as it sounds because that person was in front by virtue of running faster than me in the first place. Still, I gritted my teeth and pushed on. You are not going to believe the next part - first there was a foreigner whom I would overtake and then he would catch up again. This happened 3 or 4 times till I decided enough is enough and sprinted ahead to put a few extra metres between us.My next target was a bald specy guy and the fun started all over again. By this time, the last km came up and the strain really began telling. My lower back and my legs started protesting big time and I slowed down. Just as the end was in sight, a couple of things happened - the songs ran out and that meant the hour was up. Also the foreigner overtook me at this time along with two others. Oh crap!! I finally crested the finish line and hurriedly pulled out my iPod to check the time. Hurrah, I had completed it in 1:01 hrs - one minute better that my earlier time. This combined with the euphoric feeling of completing a run successfully gave me an instant high. Course that was in my mind, my legs were still looking for a place to rest my bum. I sat down and waited for the world to steady. People were milling around chatting about their run, comparing, laughing or just cooling down. The organisers started handing out some packets and I was hoping it was completion certificates (like a Red Indian collects scalps, I collect paraphernalia ;). Unfortunately, it was only information leaflets. I quietly got up, did a few stretches and left the area remembering why it was that I came to these runs - for the happy ending.

p.s - do check out the video. It is not in exact sequence but done quite well.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Mariah Carey - I Like

Well, there it is - out in the open. No more Mr. Cool Guy who knows some s**t about rock or at worst hip hop. AT the risk of repeating myself, I do like Mariah Carey. Now when I say its for her voice / songs / talent, everyone is going to scoff.

Ok it is true that when the Honey video launched, my jaw dropped. The worst part was at that time, there was no Internet (I think). How to watch the video again? I had to wait for ages for it to come again on TV. Luckily now it is all over the internet. Even now, I have the song on my iPod and I can listen to it anytime.

Today, I wanted to listen to some slow songs and Mariah's song - My All suddenly struck me. Do check out the video. She must have been pretty young at this time and her acting skills are no good but what a voice. I then went on to listen to I Still Believe. Couple of things I heard about her are
- She was a waitress before she hit the big time
- She can do all the eight octaves / notes in one breath
- That means there are eight notes. I must try this once. Parental advisory will be required at this time.

Of late, she had released the album Memoirs Of An Imperfect Angel. She has also been in the news for a) her marriage and b) talking about not losing weight so that she keeps her "natural curves".  I always think that celebs must be having a very tough life. They have to posture in public, spend enormous amounts of money on designer clothes, work hard to avoid the press, face so much scrutiny. The pressure to just look beautiful and be squeaky clean must be killing.

So do what I do - respect them for their work. Go buy a CD of Mariah Carey's songs, pour a glass of wine and chill out. You'll have fun.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Our Visit To Nameri - Prashaanti Tourist Lodge

The best time to go visiting any city is when one of their main festivals is on. I know, I know - air tickets will be more expensive, hotels costlier, more crowds jostling around but the city feels nice. There is an under-current of excitement as well as a festive mood in the air. People are out shopping, visiting relatives, dining and everyone seems to be enjoying the moment. Such was the case when my wife and I went to Guwahati for Bihu. Luckily, the weather was in favour too as it would rain briefly at night and that made the whole place cooler (way better than Delhi at least). It also made our drive to Nameri very pleasant as the countryside had enough greenery to please the eye. Having three women in the backseat giving helpful tips does need some distraction :)

The reason we chose Nameri as our holiday spot was the fact that our uncle Joy Mama had set up a resort under the Assam Tourism Directorate called Prashaanti Tourist Lodge. So off we went - my in-laws, wife, sis-in-law and I. Nameri is about 200 kms from Guwahati, towards Tezpur from where it is a further 40 kms. We went over the Saraighat bridge and took the NH 52 via the towns of Baihata Chariali, Mangaldai, Rowta and Orang. The roads till Rowta were pretty fine. After that, there are a whole slew of bridges which act as speed breakers as they start and end with a bump with lots of potholes in between. Apparently, the town of Orang is famous for its rasagollas but the shop we stopped at did not look hygienic and hence I avoided trying the delicacy. Before the town of Tezpur, we took a left and also better directions than I can give here as there are many twists and turns and lots of small towns through which the road lies. Once the turn-off is taken towards Tezpur, the road becomes quite narrow and there is construction work going on but it is still motorable.

Luckily for us, Joy Mama had also left from Guwahati the same morning and caught up with us. We were following him when he suddenly took a mud road into the bushes. Ah, it felt like we were almost there. Big trees on either side, clean air and blue mountains in the distance - I couldn't wait to get out and stretch my legs after the 5 plus hour journey. We had to drive in second gear as the road was muddy with rains and there were a quite a few pot-holes with water (it is be advisable to avoid smaller cars in the rainy season). We crossed the famous Nameri Eco Camp and reached the resort which we later learnt was just behind Eco Camp.

The resort is about 2 acres big. Right in the centre is the lobby cum dining room. It is a big thatched structure, open on all four sides. At the back is the kitchen and around are the six cottages separated by patches of lawn. On the outer periphery, Joy Mama has been doing some gardening and has successfully managed to grow different varieties of chillies, pumpkin, papaya, tomatoes and the likes. The rooms are clean and comfortable, with attached bathrooms. They are two bed affairs with the option of providing a third bed. The whole place is very quite and the view is quite nice, surrounded by greenery. The mountains of Arunachal Padesh are visible in a 180o arc, which my father-in-law and I kept looking at while lounging in the armchairs.

Now, Joy Mama is a fantastic cook and of course, we got special attention. We had some excellent dal, rice, fish fry and cabbage subzi for lunch and then retired for some rest. In the evening, we were having tea when we got a pleasant surprise that the local villagers were visiting the resorts and would be dancing the traditional Bihu dance. We laid out chairs near the front lawn in anticipation and sure enough, they landed up. There were about twenty of them in all, with youngsters around 10 years old going upto 25 years. They came in singing, accompanied by drums and cymbals. The girls were quite graceful and the guys were very enthusiastic. What I liked most about the whole show was that they never asked for money and when we insisted, they had a small ceremony where we had to place the money in a plate covered by a gamusa (ceremonial towel), lay the plate on the ground in front of them and kneel down. They sang out a blessing and only then accepted the money. Once they left, we sat around talking while Joy Mama was busy in the kitchen preparing our special request of smoked pork and chicken curry.

Before going to sleep, Joy Mama told us that the sunrise was quite spectacular as the whole place lights up but that meant meant getting up per 6.00 am. Whoa, I was on a holiday, how can one get up so early ;-) Anyway, we still got up at around 6.15. By then, the whole room was filled with sunlight. After a cup of tea, we went for a 1.5 km walk to see a tributary of the Bramhaputra. It was a pretty spot where the banks were filled with rounded pebbles and the water was cool to touch. Definitely not majestic (thanks to summer) but the current was fast flowing and seemed a bit risky to swim in. In any case, I did not carry a pair of shorts and cursed myself for the lack of fore-sight. We then headed and breakfasted on puris, aloo subzi, chilli subzi and omelette's. After a brief rest, we checked out and came back to Guwahati via the same route. On the way, we stopped at Hotel Shyamlee in Mangaldai for lunch. It was clean and the a/c was working. We had a nice veg thali with chicken curry and fish tenga.

As usual, the holiday seemed quite short and we wished we could have spent some more time there. Ideal for a long weekend or a stay of 4-5 days, this is the place to go to if you want to combine sight-seeing the North-East with good food and lounging around. Some of the things to do here would be
- Make this a base camp and then go on to visit nearby places like Bhalukpong, Bomdila, Dirrang, Chela Pass, Tawang etc.
- River rafting, jungle trekking, bird watching is also possible.
- - For the ladies, shopping is an option where you get to purchase mekkala chaddhar, shawls, blankets made by the viilagers.
- Nameri National Park is close by and could be a day trip.

Joy Mama can be contacted on / 9613853943

Here is the photo link of a few pictures of the place. Happy holidaying!!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Short Stories Seem To Be Back

I read somewhere that short stories are no longer a preferred medium of writing and that the whole culture of writing them is dying out. After that, I found it to be true as I could only find really old stuff like RK Narayan and Ruskin Bond on the shelves of my library. I am happy to announce that in the recent past, I have found two books (published recently) comprising short stories which were very enjoyable.

The first one was by John Grisham called Ford County. Now, I was a bit sceptical of picking this one up because the last few books by JG were quite sad. The thing with best-selling authors is that you just can't resist picking up the book as one tends to think "This one might be better than the last one and if it is not, how bad can it get"? Luckily, this one turned out to be one of the good ones. Ford County is a small town somewhere in the US and has a very small population. The stories revolve around people from here, who lead a slightly simpler life than the typical city folks. Simple and direct, in tune with the settings, they are quite fast paced and that keeps your interest. There are no elaborate plots and twists (unlike your typical Jeffrey Archer) and the stories take you to an uncomplicated end. Most of them have happy endings or not so sad endings and thats a plus.

The other one I read was by William Dalrymple called Nine Lives. This guy has all my respect. I am one of the last people who would read a travelogue or a quasi-history book but from the minute I come to know that WD has released a book, I just have to get it. His books remind me of P G Wodehouses creations cause you can read them effortlessly. As written by the author in the preface, Nine Lives captures stories that he encountered during his travels which he could not weave into a whole book. Even with all the modernisation around us, the people showcased in these stories are connected to the spirituality that existed in the old days. Be it an idol maker, a jailer or a so called mad woman, all of them lead simple lives which are dedicated to finding and serving God in any of his forms. Superb variety, lots of information neatly encapsulated and easy reading make this a pleasure. I also realised the amount of travel and research WD does and how much rich material he comes across and leaves out. Its not like he just does Delhi and the Mughals, he has travelled across the whole country - Kerala, Rajasthan, Bengal and Dharamshala. Although I feel envious, I don't think I would like to spend too much time with tantrics and sufi saints. Reading it from a safe distance is thrilling enough. I hope he comes out with some more of these stories soon.

p.s. - I'm now reading R K Narayans Gods, Demons and Others. For a crash course in Hindu mythology, this seems to cover all the important stories...

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Taxi Driver - Another Martin Scorcese Notch For Me

I like to categorise myself as one of those people who came to know Martin Scorcese through the film, The Departed. Till then, he was always one of the great Italians of Hollywood - like Francis Ford Coppola. Once I saw The Departed, I was impressed and energised and wanted to find out more about his movies. On reading up on Martin Scorcese, I realised I had seen some more of his movies - Casino, Gangs of New York and The Aviator. I also read that he had directed a movie called Raging Bull, supposed to be his greatest movie. I totally enjoyed that one and was very impressed by Robert De Niros portrayal of a boxer who reaches the top but complicates his life due to his temper and jealousy. It also carried the same style of aggression, sudden violence and yet a slickness that kept you gripped throughout. I made a promise that I would watch all his other movies and then completely forgot about it till I watched Taxi Driver.

Before you go any further, do play this video. It is the theme score of the movie and it is perfect for the movie. The character played by Robert De Niro is that of an ex-Vietnam soldier who comes back to New York and finds work as a taxi driver. He seems to be doing well and keeping himself busy, except that he just cannot sleep. He also falls for "Betsy" - played by Cybill Shepherd who looks really hot- who first agrees to go out with him but later rebuffs him. After this his life goes downhill and he starts losing touch with reality. He also meets Jodie Foster who is a young prostitute and tries to save her from all the other "scum" of New York.

The movie builds up nicely to the climax and makes you feel sorry for Robert De Niros character while wondering what the hell is up to and why cant he just get a grip? The areas where he ferries his fares are among the seedier parts of town, full of prostitutes and pimps and they seem to pull him down further. I loved the way his decline seems so inexorable that he just has do something really reckless and violent. All the while, the saxophone from the theme song is playing in the background and gives a very haunting feel. Also, the movie will always be remembered because of John Hinckley Jr, the guy who attempted to assassinate Ronald Reagan did so after he watched the movie continuously and became obsessed with Jodie Foster. Now if that doesn't make you want to watch the movie, what will??

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Exploring Nizamuddin - Thanks to Intach

Well, this one is people who combine being history buffs and have no problems getting up really early on Sunday morning. Well I am neither and getting up at 6.30 am after sleeping at 12 am after driving to Agra and back on the same day was a teenie-weenie bit of a strain. But Dad was in town so off I had to go.

My sister is a whiz on finding out stuff to do via the Internet and she sent me a link for an article detailing INTACH and the walks the Delhi Chapter holds every Sunday morning. First a little bit about INTACH, in their own words - "The Indian National Trust For Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH) is a nationwide, non-profit membership organization. INTACH was set up in 1984 to protect and conserve India’s vast natural and cultural heritage. INTACH has made significant contribution over the years in conservation and protection of our natural and cultural heritage."

I went on the Intach Delhi Chapter site and was happy to see that there was a walk on Sunday the 8th of March. The fee seemed nominal too - Rs 50/- but like I said earlier, timing was the issue. There was link on the page for registering and I left my phone number as they had written about a callback. Suddenly, on Friday evening 4.49 pm, I realised that they hadn't called me and in all probability the office would shut at 5.00 pm. I frantically placed a call and got through to someone who gave me the name and number of the co-ordinater. She confirmed that the walk was very much on and to meet outside the Nizamuddin police station at 8.00 am sharp.

Dad and me reached before time and parked the car in the lane next door. We even found a newspaper vendor on the opposite side who sold Malayalam Manorama (that's me, a mine of info). We met our guide Sapna outside the police station and chatted for a few minutes while a couple and a group of three joined us. Sapna informed us that the purpose of these walks was not to visit well documented sites such as Humayuns Tomb, Red Fort etc but to show people who had a greater interest in history lesser known monuments. She was a volunteer and belonged to a group of people who were passionate about these monuments and their preservation. She informed us that we were going to walk into the Nizamuddin Basti and see the shrines of Nizamuddin and Amir Khusrow. She gave us a brief introduction on Nizamuddin and then the area that we were going to see. The basti is a bit rundown and there were lots of Muslim men who had gathered at the various shops or drinking tea. We entered the shrine through some winding alleys lined with lots of shops selling religious books, CDs and roses to put on the grave. As we entered the shrine, we were asked to remove our shoes. We first saw the shrine of Amir Khusrow and then on to the shrine of Nizamuddin. The good part of all this was that Sapna really knew her stuff. The fear I have of taking guides at historical places is a) do they really know their stuff b) they seem to be in a bit of a hurry and wont let you wander off but with Sapna there was no such problem. She calmly took us through the many people thronging around and answered all questions with facts or possible explanations. There were a few other graves next to these shrines of prominent people such as Jahanara Begum as this was considered holy ground to buried in.

After this we moved on to Nizamuddins Baoli or water tank, which the saint is said to have blessed. We also saw the tomb of Akbars wet nurse, Ji Ji Anga and her family. It was in such a dilapidated condition with walls all peeling off and kids playing cricket outside. On our way out, Sapna also led us to the tomb of Mirza Ghalib which is not normally open to public viewing but she resourcefully managed to get an entry. All this took us nearly two hours. I had enough by the end of it as my feet were feeling very dirty and we were standing for all this time but Dad was very satisfied. He had answers to a few questions that were puzzling him and he was impressed with Sapnas knowledge. So if you are interested in history and would love to walk around these grand old buildings steeped in lore, do head out. You'll have a good time, I promise.

p.s. - Check this link for more information

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Wah Taj - Our Trip To Agra

Like I said, last weekend was heritage weekend. My last post was on our Friday night visit to Red Fort. The next morning we got up ambitiously at 6.00 am thinking we will leave by 7.00 am but alas we could leave only by 8.00 am. Now everyone will tell you that Agra is about 200 kms away (true) and the drive takes four hours (false). This seems possible only if you leave the city (probably) before 7.00 or maybe on a Sunday. Since it was a Saturday, we caught the morning work traffic as well as the jams at Badarpur and Ballabgadh and hence took 5 hours. The route we took was Ring Road towards Ashram, right under the Nafed House flyover and then straight down the NH2.

The roads were pretty good once we cleared Faridabad. The drive, while peaceful, is not very scenic. It reminded me of the Bangalore - Chennai route via Hosur Road. The traffic was fairly disciplined and we didn't have any close calls. We were carrying enough snacks / juice / sandwiches so we didn't make any stops save one at the McDonald's before Agra. My suggestion would be to stop here and finish lunch as once you enter Agra city, it becomes quite congested and difficult to spot a hotel. We just had a coffee here which was a mistake as it was very sweet. Since we reached Agra by around 1.00 pm, we decided to have lunch first. We spotted signboards of ITC, Trident and Oberoi which seemed to be in the same direction as the Taj Mahal so we stopped at the first one we came across - ITC The Mughal. The buffet was priced at Rs 850 a head and was quite good with Chinese and Indian Cuisine.

After lunch, we took directions from the hotel staff and were on our way. As you reach the Taj, you will be forced to park your car and take a battery operated 10 seater buggy/ auto / horse carriage. The buggy is the cheapest option at Rs 10 and is very convenient. Dont forget to buy the entry tickets next to the parking lot at Rs 100 a pop. Well, we entered through the West Gate and took a few pics of the main gateway - Darwaza-i-Rauza and then entered through to see the Taj Mahal. Man, was I blown away!!! I didn't go with great expectations as I was like - Yeah ok, how great can it be? This was amazing though. From far it looks very pretty and as you come closer, it becomes exquisite. From every angle, it looks great and I kept stopping every few minutes and admiring it. Once we took a circuit of the Taj, we entered in to see the tombs. The inside was extremely crowded and noisy. Also it is very gloomy inside so we didn't spend too much time but quickly exited. There are two buildings flanking the Taj which are also quite nice.

By the time we were done seeing the Taj Mahal, it was around 3.30 pm so we decided to chuck going to Fatehpur Sikri as it is around 40 kms and proceeded to Agra Fort. At the Taj, I did not feel the need for a guide but here I certainly felt that a guide would have helped. Though there were plenty touting themselves, we did not take one and did the tour ourselves. Luckily, there were notices at the important spots. Lot of interesting spots here so we had a good time. We finished in an hour or so and headed back to Delhi after a cup of chai outside the Fort. The return journey took us about four hours so it was not too bad. The few key things I would change on my next trip would be that I would definitely do an overnighter. Probably leave in the afternoon and check in to a resort for the night. Start with Taj Mahal, then Agra Fort, lunch and on to Fatehpur Sikri. Then head back home. Also, I'd do some research on a guide for Agra Fort and maybe Fatehpur Sikri. The other thought that kept playing in my mind was the legend that Shah Jahan was to have built a black marble Taj Mahal on the opposite banks of the Yamuna. That would have been truly awesome!!!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Sound And Light Show - Red Fort

This weekend was heritage weekend as my Dad is in town. On Thursday and Friday, he went by himself to the usual tourist attractions - Red Fort, Humayuns Tomb, Qutub Minar and the likes. Since I was eager to join him, I suggested that we hit the Red Fort for the sound and light show. I did a dip check with my colleagues. They said that it had been a long time since they had seen it, however it was pretty good. I also called the number provided on the Delhi Tourism website and they told me the timings were 7 - 8 pm for the Hindi show and 8.30 - 9.30 pm for the English show (which was the one we went for).

First of all, I was surprised to know that it was fairly centrally located. If you are coming from CP, then you head to Barakhamba Road, go past the first rountana - gol chakkar, take a left at the first signal and go straight down. It is about 2-3 kilometers down that road. At Dhariyagung, the road becomes narrow and crowded and there is quite a bit of traffic. You will find two ould guard posts on the way, made of stones (like they have in fortresses). This means you are on the right track. The chaos continues till suddenly Red Fort looms on your right. Now the question comes - where do I find parking? I was hoping against hope that there would be parking outside the Red Fort for visitors with big signs pointing the way but no such luck. When I crossed the first signal after seeing the Red Fort, I suddenly spotted an MCD authorised parking on the left and swung in. There was plenty of space and I easily found a spot bit there was no attendant and not much lighting so I fear for the safety of car parked there. After all, Delhi is supposed to have the highest number of car thefts. The parking is about 5 minutes walk from the entry point so it was quite convenient.

On nearing the entry point, I was mighty impressed by the Red Fort. It looks long and massive and hulking in the night lights, just like a fort should be. I wouldn't have been surprised if some sentries in old armor stopped me with the cry 'Halt! Who goes there, friend or foe?'(just kidding, probably would have tucked tail and run away crying ghosts). Instead, there were quite a few armed soldiers on duty, looking very bored. The show is hosted in an open area which has the Moti Mahal on the left and the Diwan-I-Khas and three other buildings in front. The walk from the entry point to here is about 5 minutes and is a nice buildup to the show. The show started before time with how Shah Jahan built the Red Fort. Then it goes on to describe how it passed through the times into the hands of various rulers, the British and the freedom struggle. It is a dramatised version with lots of dialogues and songs and hence is a little short on the information. To sum up,

Setting - benches with backrest, pleasant at this time, some mosquitoes, no water or food is sold
Sound part - good quality, well enunciated, painfully loud at times
Light part - the buildings described above are lit up at various times, initially eye-catching but gets repetitive

Overall, my recommendation is that one should go for the show to see the Red Fort by night. Let your imagination run wild a bit when you are in. Don't expect too much of the show itself but you might enjoy the lighting effect of the buildings. Lastly, if you are able to make it early, do check out the Hindi show as I think the dialogues will have much better flow and impact. Do let me know how it turned out.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

If You Need Stuff In Delhi

The purpose of this piece is to help you find stuff in Delhi. There is not much I can add now as it has been only three months but I figure that I can keep updating it periodically. I hope I am that resolute. It is still easier for me to do it than say a guy who has been staying in Delhi all his life and has so much more to write, right!! Yeah yeah I know I am a regular do-gooder, just without the cape and all

South Indian Food in Connaught Place (CP)
I was thrilled when I saw a Saravanna Bhavan in CP. Due to the Kaveri water problem (at least that's my theory) there were no Saravana Bhavans in Bangalore and so I was really happy to see one here. Man, did I get a shock when I saw the prices. I mean Rs 40 for a cup of coffee is really expensive. I know the rentals in CP must be among the highest in the country but still... Now there is a roadside joint on Jantar Mantar road which is run by malayalees and serves similar fare. Delhi is, as you may know, famous for roadside food (and if you are moving here / just moved, you will be told this a countless times) . Now this place is quite dinghy and often there is a pool of scum water floating nearby. However, I can vouch for the quality of the food having eaten there. I would rate the food a 3 out of 5 as the sambar is not sweet, there is enough spice in the food and it is served piping hot. So if you have a strong stomach, do try this place out. There is a Kwality Walls ice-cream cart always parked next to this joint so you can cool your mouth off after that.

Kerala House - Connaught Place
Hey, I am a South Indian who is missing home food. Obviously, I will crow about my achievements in finding these places. Amazingly, this place is also on Jantar Mantar Road, diagonally opposite Patel Chowk. Another dinghy place but decent Kerala food. The lunch fare is unlimited thali with red rice, sambar, rasam, butter milk, two veggies dishes, 1 papaddom and lime pickle. This is at a reasonable rate of Rs 30/-. You can also buy fish fry (which is quite good) and fish curry again at Rs 30. Hey, I have heard good stuff about Andhra Bhawan as well so will head out there one of these days.

Big Chill
The first thing that struck me when I walked into the place was the amazing posters that were framed on the walls. Not originals but very good quality prints. I had a good time checking out them out. If you are an old movie buff then you will enjoy this a lot. The food is continental and quite good. There is quite a bit of variety with pasta, pizzas and the usual conti fare. The desserts are very good. In fact, they are so good that you will feel like having one just by yourself. So starve yourself a bit before giving so you can give it your best shot.

Anupama Sweets - Kailash Colony Market
I really like samosas and I found this place in Kailash Colony market where the samosas are good. My wife likes the chaat too (if I ever started a chaat shop, I would call it Dimaag Mat Chaat :-) The place is quite basic. It reminds me of the Udipi restaurants in Mumbai but a bit posher. The service levels are a bit slow and the people behind the counters are very insolent so go when you are chilled out. I am yet to eat their sweet selction as well as their dosas and idlis so will update at the earliest.

I need to find a place in South Delhi which sells idli batter cause I am tired of eating bread for breakfast every morning. Also, need to find a shop in South Delhi that sells Kerala masalas, pootu podi etc. Sigh sigh, it will take me some time to get settled. I like Delhi though. I think it is a jugadu place where you can manage the stuff you want but you gotta be a little tougher, little more aggressive but still chilled out. Go figure!!!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Back To The Gym

After three months, I have finally joined a gym here and have started working out. Feels really good too. I was a bit worried that I would feel lazy and not be able to go regularly. Now that I have gone four times after joining (this week), I feel confident that I am going to go regularly.

The first good thing is that it is very close to home so I can easily go in the morning. The flip side is it is cold in Delhi and getting up in the morning is a big BIG challenge. The alarm goes off at 6.30 am and then I keep on snoozing it till 7.15 am. Then it is a mad mad rush. The other good thing is that the trainers are testing me quite strenuously to check my fitness levels. Yesterday was 10 minutes of cycling, 10 minutes of running and about 5 sets of leg exercise ( X 3 sets X 12 reps). Amazingly my legs were not paining today. Ha ha ha.

My next goal is to go for a 10 km rum or a half marathon. I have joined running and living and Delhi runners but have still not been able to go for a run. The obvious reason is that I don't have a car but I suspect that I am too lazy to wake up on a holiday and head out. Which reminds that I spent 3k on a pair of Nike squash shoes and since then have not gone to play.

Another thing that keeps me going is that after coming to Delhi, I never once had a cold or fever despite the really cold winter. Even my oh so delicate stomach was in good shape. I attribute this to the time I spent in they gym and that is why I am such a big advocate of gym-ming. Fitness truly is (one of the) key to a peaceful state of body and mind.