Monday, November 22, 2004

Killing Me Softly

Ever played video/computer games while listening to songs? It can create some really funny situations.

Like once I was playing Age Of Empires, while winamp was playing some list. I was so engrossed in attacking a neighboring ally-turned-enemy civilization, though, that I did not realize where the song list was going. Suddenly all clanks and clangs of stone throwers and chariots are drowned out, and we hear some lines:

Please forgive me I know not what I do
Please forgive me I can't stop lovin' you
Don't deny me This pain I'm going through
Please forgive me If I need ya like I do

And we find ourselves laughing uncontrollably!

Another incident comes to mind is about some level in Half Life, where a barnacle caught Gordon Freeman (me) off guard. I had almost given up and was waiting for the inevitable. And the song Winamp was playing? Yep, you guessed it:

I prayed that he would finish,
But he just kept right on!
Strumming my pain with his fingers,
Singing my life with his words,
Killing me softly with his song

Wish these sentimental word could divert that merciless beast off me, but alas!

signing off,

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

An afternoon around Bangalore

Banashankari III stage - BSK BDA Complex - K V Road - Jaynagar 7th Block - Jaynagar 6th Block - Minerva Circle - Richmond Flyover - Residency Road - Symphony MG Road - Rex Brigade Road - Plaza MG Road.

Let me tell you some background. I am roaming to find if any theater is screening Fahrenheit 9/11.Now Symphony is showing King Arthur, Rex Vaastu Shaastra, Plaza Dil ne Jisse Apna Kaha, none of which me keen on seeing.

Plaza MG Road - Anil Kumble Circle - St Marx Road - Residency Road - Hosur Road - Adugodi - Koramangala - Sukh Sagar - 80 ft road - Maharaja Restaurant - Lunch Break.

Let me interject. The Aandhra meals at Maharaja is just awesome. You would not find similar puri and rasam for miles.

Maharaja - 100 ft Road - St John Hospital - PVR at The Forum.

PVR is not yet open to public! :O

PVR - Landmark.

Try to buy some books, but having bought two (Business Legends by Gita Piramal and The Authoritative Calvin and Hobbes) last week, I don't want to spend again on books. I'd rather finish whatever I've bought.

Landmark - Raheja Arcade - iWay internet cafe.

It's my friends' birthday, and I don't want to be late wishing them.

Raheja Arcade - Madiwala check post.

Probably planning to go home.

Madiwala check post - St John Hospital.

Changed my mind and planning to go to Innovative Multiplex to check if movie is showing there.

St John Hospital - 100 Ft Road.

Changed my mind again and planning for a long ride back home.

100 Ft road - Airport Road - Domlur - Military Hospital - Life Style - Richmond Road - Wilson Garden - Lalbagh - Siddapura Road - Jayanagar 1st Block - Banashankari - Home Sweet Home.

So here it was, around 50 km ride in quite sunny Bangalore afternoon. Boy, that was quite worth the sweat and sunburns.

That reminds me, once me and my roommates had gone on Outer Ring Road trip. That account later, perhaps.

signing off,

Friday, November 12, 2004


Recently we have shifted our base from BTM Layout to Banashankari. For the uninitiated, it is equivalent to shifting from Kurla to Worli. Or from Thiruvanmiyur to T Nagar. Or from Kothrud to Sadhashiv Peth. (My analogies have to end here, as I have not stayed in quite many cities!). And assume that your office is in Mhape or Shollinganallur or Aundh respectively. So while it means that we have shifted a bit towards the main city, that also means we have shifted a bit away from our office!

But the place is quite nice. It is quite opposite to our old house which was shady, dark with poor ventilation and all. It is fully furnished. The area is also good enough, with a good enough udipi restaurant (to replace The Udipi Garden) nearby. But nothing to replace The Friends or Idlipur or Appamghar. Or maybe I haven't searched enough yet.

As of now, I am the only one enjoying new house as both of my roommates are out of Bangalore. So feeling quite home alone types. (Actually on one particular day, because of some keys mismatch, I was indeed stranded home alone for quite some time! But don't want to tell that story to you. Seems I've been making fool of myself quite number of times in recent past!!)

More about Banashankari later.

signing off,

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

happy diwali!

what a lovely bangalore morning once again to start the day with. weather outside is absolutely spiffing. and no doubt, it promises to get peachier now that the holiday season is here, when its everyone's wish to be with their near and dear ones.

just want to wish a very happy, enjoyable and safe diwali to you and to your family and to your friends and to the dog in your gully. have a great time!

and if possible, please avoid bursting loud crackers.

signing off,

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

in search of bengali food

Claimer: All characters in this narration are real. Any resemblance to any living cat or a dead mouse is purely intentional.

I was in Calcutta .. oops Kolkata over the weekend, for an interview. It was around 11:30 when I got back from it and was free to explore streets of this city of joy before catching my flight back to Bangalore later in the evening. Naturally at that hour, pressing need was to find a restaurant to fill the tank up and next things afterwards. And who is better person to ask than the beautiful hotel receptionist? (BTW, I keep hearing a lot about bengali beauty. But here was the first disappointment of my short visit!) So I go and ask her.

"Excuse me, could you please suggest me some nice restaurant where I can have authentic Bengali food for lunch?"
She is dumbfounded. "Sir, we offer you various choices in continental cuisine, apart from Chinese, Mexican and .."
I broke in, "But I insist on Bengali food."
"In that case, you can go to A restaurant on B street."
"Where is this place?"
"It's near C."
"Sorry, but I am new to Kolkata, and I dont know anything about this place."
"In that case, Sir, I suggest you go to Suruchi restaurant on Park Street, which is just a few minutes walk down this road."
"Ok, thank you."

Now I leave, and head towards Park Street. I ask a cab outside and he says Park street is just at the end of Russel Street. I set off towards the end of the road. At a corner, I ask a paanwala about Park Street.
"Yahi hai dada."
"Ok. Ye Suruchi restaurant kidhar hai, kuchh pata hai?"
"Kuchh pata nahi dada."

I think, I can find it myself. Analyzing current temperature, air pressure, humidity and the fact that left being my favorite direction, I turn left from the signal and set off. (Other minor reason being crowd on left side was quite good.)

I keep walking down the street. I spot 3 pubs, The Park hotel, more than a dozen bhelpudi walas, chinese gaadis, and many more snacks corners. But no sign of any bengali restaurant. After another half km walk, I reach at one big junction again. Trusting left part (or is it right part?) of my brain, I turn left again. Another 10 minutes pass by without any event, unless you count lot of people eating a lot of chatpate items on the footpath, and thus increasing my hunger an event.

I am on verge of turning back and thinking of having bhelpuri on the way to hotel when I find ICICI ATM. Anyways, I have to take some money out of bank. While doing that, I ask the ATM security person about any bengali restaurant nearby. "Bengauli reshtaurant? Idhar kushh nahi milega shaab. Peechhe jao Park Shtreet pe. Udhar bahut milega." He retorts.

Forcing a smile, I turn back and come to Park street again. Shoulders drooped, steps growing heavier, I have become desperate to find some place to eat. I cross the road in hope that from other side, I can find something. (?? - Don't think too much about these few sentences. Remember I was quite hungry that time.)

I ask couple of people, but they seem too much in hurry to catch metro. One of them, though, just points with his index finger towards the other side of road and departs. I throw a glance towards the other side, and indeed find a board on which the much coveted words of the moment are written. Suruchi.

Rejuvenated, I cross the road to take a closer look at my destination. And it turns out to be Suruchi Sarees and Ethnic Dresses. Frustrated, I ask even the security guard at Suruchi about this Suruchi restaurant. He obviously is trying to suppress giggles. But resisting himself, he suggests me one place called Malgudi. "Bahot achchha south indian snacks milega udhar. Lekin non vegetarian nahi milega." Just great. I come from Bangalore to Calcutta to have idle/dosa for lunch.

But it is now 1:30 PM and because I am very much hungry, I am ready to settle even for that. I proceed towards Malgudi. But maybe many people must have been searching for Suruchi that afternoon, because I see a lot of people outside Malgudi, waiting for their turn and the waiter asking my name to be written in a long waiting list. This is too much. I again back out. I am told that a few blocks away is Pantaloon's showroom, there I can find two restaurants. A continental and Bombay Shivsagar. "Bahot hi-fi hai lekin.", I am warned. Of the two, the continental one is closed for cleaning. I reluctantly have a cheese pav bhaji in Shivsagar and return to hotel.

Maybe next when I visit Mumbai, I would go to an authentic bengali restaurant there. Any suggestions please?

signing off,

Monday, November 01, 2004

Mumbai visit - I

I was in Mumbai the week before last. It had been nearly 5 months since I visited Mumbai last time in April. And because of some constraints at work front meant I had to go two weeks before diwali, when I'd have got the chance to many friends.

But nevertheless, I had a good time there, even though most of the time I was just playing Age of Empires, Caesar III and Roadrash on my PC! Actually, it is unable to play anything else with its current capacity. Pentium II 350 MHz and 128 MB RAM, it's configurations are. But it has been a very good machine over past 4-5 years.

I remember we had ordered it before my IV semester PL*. I had C++ programming as one subject and I wanted to copy and practise some programs on my new machine! But because of some constraints from the assembler who had to go outstation just at that very moment, I got the PC during my exams, on the eve of C++ exam! I never got to do any serious programming on it! And continuing that, I never did anything else than playing endless reruns of hardest mode of Battle of Kadesh and Fall of Mitanni, where they all seem to favor my brother more, thrashing me mercilessly with the Chariots, Stone Throwers, War Galleys, Priests (and even one time Villagers, but not after that!) the first time I played, even to date. We save some enemy villagers till the very end, and keep them giving tributes, when of course we are winning. The red one in Battle of Kadesh indeed then becomes Re-Builder!

Then there is Caesar III. The game of which I am master till it is upto Clerk level. After that I never seem to have figured out why the heck people are leaving my city, why my Denaris keep diminishing, why the emperor is angry with me, why he is asking me of 25 furniture, where I cannot build timber land and I have not opened trade route to import timber. But when my bro takes it over, all I hear is "This city is wonderful place" or "Will that be a shave or a trim citizen? Life here is alright, isn't it?"

And I don't even want to talk about Roadrash or Need for Speed III or any other such racing games. I am a bad driver in real life and when my digital self takes over the steering wheel of a Nissan or a Ferrari, things aren't much better. I bang into each and every corner as a religious belief and mostly end up at last place. We even tried playing in reverse gear, but I was caught by the cop.

But nevertheless, I enjoy playing games very much and can go on and on and on.

signing off,

*PL: Preparatory Leave