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Showing posts from 2010

Food at Clarke's Quay and Newton

If you're visiting Singapore, one thing is guaranteed. You'll never go hungry. With multiple eateries at a stone's throw from one another in Little India, to gigantic food plazas like Newton, there's enough non-vej and vej people. We wanted to try out Clarke's Quay on our first day but thanks to rains- oh yes it rains almost everyday in Singapore-we had to postpone till after 2-3 days. Clarke's Quay is a cluster of about 30 odd eateries alongside the Singapore river. A few blocks away is the Boat Quay which also has similar restaurants. These restaurants serve almost any cuisine there is to be tasted in the world. From fusion Indian, to Thai to Chinese to even just desserts, there's ample on the platter to savour. I am a sucker for Thai food and apart from Chinese, you must taste Thai food in any of these East Asian countries. The restaurants that are immediately adjacent to the river are meant for families, whilst those that are a bit inside are pubs and o…

Clean and Green Singapore: First Impressions

There's a sense of comfort you get when you enter Singapore. First, it's spotlessly clean airport- whose magnificent size you don't get any idea about till you actually enter it through the departure lounge or are transiting through Singapore- greets you with open arms. There's ample of space and the airport is uncluttered.  But you get a sense of Singapore once you hit the road. Trees are the dominant theme; you'll find them everywhere. At the side of the roads, in the middle of roads on road dividers, on open grounds and not-so-open grounds fighting space with the concrete jungle- unlike anywhere you'll ever see- sprouting from the sides of- and almost  underneath- the flyover and growing tall almost the height of the flyovers, you'll find trees everywhere. Singapore is one of the greenest cities I've ever seen.


The other thing that hits you- if you're Indian- is that you'll see a lot of Indians. Especially in and around a place called Little …

Amitabh's KBC

There's something about Amitabh Bachchan when he hosts Kaun Banega Crorepati (KBC). He may be the biggest movie star in Indian cinema, but he appears our next door neighbour when he is on the hot seat. The kind whose house you can go to every day in the night and casually ask "bhai, kya haal chaal hain aake?"Or if I were to put it less diplomatically, go with some beer, straight to his kitchen, fetch two glasses, open the bottle, pour beer, offer him one and say "kya boss kya ho raha hain, how are you man?" Or the old uncle in the building who kids address as 'Hello Amitabh uncle, how are you?' as he gets off the building lift with a jhola tagged over his shoulders. Ofcourse you can't walk into Jalsa to ask these type of question, let alone with a bottle of beer in your hands, his security guards will throw you out. Nor can you break the cordon around the place where he's shooting for a film, and rush to him to seek an autograph. But when he is …

Anti Censorship: An upper crust fixation

Last week, when the Government of India ruled that two Indian TV reality shows (Big Boss and Rakhi Ka Insaaf) to be moved at late night slots (after 11 pm) and not be shown during prime time, I observed that it did not go down well with the civil society and thinkers alike. After all, isn't 11 pm too soon these days? Kids can easily turn on TV after 11 pm too. In today's hectic world, we are invariably awake- probably eating dinner- at that time, so it's not hard for us to switch on TV after 11 pm. But most importantly, is censorship required? If the viewers want to watch, who are the authorities to not to allow us to?

I've never been a fan of Indian censorship, either in its naked form (the moral types) or in disguised form (structured process) but there is a limit. Though censorship in India is a bit hypocritical and outdated, there are times when someone needs to interfere. The rubbish that gets shown on TV- in the name of reality shows- is nauseating. Both these sh…

Barclays ATP World Tour Finals in Mint

Men's tennis' top eight players share their views with Mint, on their best and worst of 2010, ahead of the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals (WTF), which begins on Sunday. The world's top eight players qualify for the WTF. It's all here; Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and all of them spoke to Mint via an emailed interview.


http://www.livemint.com/2010/11/17200402/Flashback-2010-before-the-gran.html?h=C

Harry Potter and the Social Network

Watched 'The Social Network' last Thursday and 'Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - part 1' today. The Social Network is a classic film and surely one of the best of 2010. It's about how Facebook was founded, allegedly amidst theft, greed and deceit. I don't know how much of the Facebook story is true- I've heard that Mark Zuckerberg has distanced himself with the book 'The Accidental Billionaire' again allegedly a semi-biopic of him, and on which this movie is based upon. Nevertheless, if you're on Facebook, you must watch this film. I bet you'll look at FB a bit differently after watching this movie. It's not an action movie, yet is extremely engaging and fast-paced. There's not a dull moment. performances from the lead actor, his buddy and the entire staff is amazing. Despite being full of dialogues- and spoken really fast at at that you mat miss out on a few lines here and there- it captures your attention; the script runs lik…

Guzarish: A caricature

A serious matter such as Euthanasia ought to deserve a better tale than Guzarish, a movie by Sanjay Leela Bhansali, starring Hrithik Roshan and Aishwarya Rai. I watched the movie yesterday and came out disappointed.    At the end of three-hour extended marathon, Euthanasia came across as merely an excuse to paint an artistic canvas and create lush and the kind of opulent movie sets a cinematographer would love to create to win the the chance for an Oscar. But apart from the way the film looks- which by itself is unbelievable since it looks straight out of an ancient tale- there's very little else the film offers. You don't root for Euthanasia, you don't vote against it, you don't know why we should argue for it or against it.

The movie's central character Ethan Mascarenhas (Hrithik Roshan)- an ex-magician- has been paraplegic for 14 long years after a magic act went horribly wrong. He is looked after by his nurse, Sofia D'Souza (Aishwarya Rai) who dresses herse…

Spirituality in Surat

We Parsis often underestimate the efforts that our dastursjis (priests) take in their day to day work, offering prayers. Many of us believe that reciting prayers on a day to day basis- repeatedly almost the same prayers for years and years- becomes a very easy feat over a period of time and therefore no effort is required. All I would say to them is to please attend the Nirangdin ceremony. I had the privilege to attend a Nirangdin ceremony at the Surat Shenshai Atash-Behram last week. I am not an expert at this, so I won't go into details of what this ceremony is all about, but I can offer a simple explanation.

In Zoroastrianism, a bull's urine plays a very crucial role in important events such as weddings and navjotes (thread ceremony to induct young Zoroastrians into the effect; much like a Hindu's thread ceremony). But this is no ordinary bull; this is supposed to be a bull that does not have a single black hair on it. It's sacred and presently there are few such bu…

Happy Birthday

...to my blog. It turns THREE today. Exactly three years back, on 24 October 2007, I started my blog. This particular week of October is associated to me at some level with new beginnings. Blogging has been a phenomenal experience for expressing my own views. I started this blog because I love writing. Also, because I felt there is so much that needed to be said, to be expressed and shared. Ofcourse, not everyone likes to hear what I have to say and I have experienced this the hard way. But feedback is crucial and I have got plenty of those from a small motley loyal readers that I have, so am always grateful to them. Keep the feedback coming, guys!

In the past three years, I have seen blogging flourish in my country, India. Credible blogs can be found across areas and there are those who are really committed in updating the blog. I wish I could say the same for me, but ever since I switched jobs- ironically in this week of October a year back- it's been a bit tough to be regular a…

Monitoring a gentleman's sport

You may root for the players when you watch them duel on a tennis court, but there's a whole army of people working behind the curtains to ensure maximum pleasure for the fans as well ensuring the greater good of the game. Chair umpires and line umpires are only two groups of this vast army. Mint gets a lowdown on them, their life and times of the court and how to become one, if you're interested. 
http://www.livemint.com/2010/10/20211307/They-know-where-to-draw-the-li.html


MTNL Triband is very bad

Beware of MTNL Triband if you're scouting for a broadband internet connection in Mumbai. I have had their connection for the past about three years. My experience with MTNL is that as long as their connection works, it's amongst the best. It's fast. But if the connection goes bad or if your connection develops some problem, which is quite possible, then God save you.

The product-  MTNL Triband- is good, but their after-sales service is pathetic. MTNL Triband's broadband call centre (1504) is the single worst call centre I have come across. 90% of the time, it's busy (aap kataar mein hain). So many times I have called up this number and when someone picks up at their end, the line goes dead, as in complete silence and no reply from the other end. It takes hours and hours to finally get through. By that time, more often than not, we give up and move on. The image of a 24-hour call centre is a big mirage at MTNL. It's a shame that a government organisation should …

Endhiran Mubarak

Aamir Khan has admirers. Salman Khan has fans. Amitabh Bacchan has followers. But RAJNI has devotees. This is what I saw, experienced and felt after watching South superstar Rajnikant's latest blockbuster release, Endhiran (tamil version) at probably the last remaining bastion of Southern cimena, Arora Talkies at Matunga, central Mumbai. Part of my office Mallu / Tamil group of about 10 people, I was amongst the three who did not know Tamil. But was that important? Is that a hindrance? Naaah!!! A resounding NO. As it turned out, it was the the most thrilling movie watching experience of my lifetime. It dwarfed what I felt when I first saw Jurassic Park at Sterling or Inception or even Twister (I wasn't much impressed by Independence Day; was amongst the minority who liked Twister more than Independence Day)  
Arora Talkies wore a festive look. There were posters and banners put up by various Rajni fan clubs. An almost 40-feet tall gigantic effigy of his character from the movie…

Who is the greatest tennis player of all time?

Uptil a few years back, we all thought tennis star and former World No. 1 Roger Federer would very soon lay his claims on the GOAT (Greatest Of All Time) title. He may be 29 and claim he's still not done yet, and Rafael Nadal comes along and threatens to outrun him in the GOAT race.

Read Mint's story on GOAT debate...

http://www.livemint.com/2010/09/22210617/Is-one-of-these-two-men-the-GO.html?h=B

Celebrating Dabangg

At first, it might sound surprising that Dabangg is still running houseful and after a little less than two weeks since its premiere, it's still not easy to get tickets. But once you watch the movie, you'll know.



Dabangg mainly caters to the front benchers, and God knows there are plenty of those in India. But what really helps Dabangg is its simplicity. Chulbul Pandey (Salman Khan) is a cop in a small town in Uttar Pradesh. He's street smart, practical and devious in his own way, with shades of grey but also has a heart. There is a baddie who goes about his extortion and illegal business. As Chulbul goes about punishing small time criminals, before laying hands on the big baddie, he falls for a damsel, marries her, at the same time fighting fires in his own backyard.  

Dabangg entertains; there's no doubt about it. It's classic old school Bollywood at its best. It celebrates Bollywood. Not necessarily the kind I subscribe to, but atleast it's great time pass. Th…

Nadal - Djokovic in US Open Final

Another opportunity missed on a Nadal-Federer grand slam final. It seems decades ago since these two heavyweights met in a Grand Slam final. Their anticipated final this year was looked forward to for many reasons. They have never met in US Open before. Nadal has never won a US Open. To lay his claim on being the GOAT (Greatest Of All Time), Nadal would need to win the US Open. And had be beaten Roger Federer here on Sunday, it would have meant that he had beaten Federer in the finals of all the four grand slam events. We'll have to wait another year for this to happen, if at all it is destined to happen.

But props to Novak Djokovic on beating Roger Federer in the semi-finals. He saved two match points in the final set to win a gutsy five-setter, 5-7, 6-1, 5-7, 6-2, 7-5.  On Sunday, he stands between Rafael Nadal and his  ninth major. After playing late on a Saturday and an exhausting five-setter, less than 24 hours before his Final, I wonder how much recouped will Djokovic be in …

Three Cheers to Meter Jam

Meter Jam is back. The highly successful campaign to create awareness about the callousness of a section of taxi and auto drivers is back with a bigger edition on 12 October. If you've ever been refused a ride in autos or cabbies, if you've ever been spoken to rudely by them or if you've been a victim of meter tampering, 12 October is the day where you must avoid them. (Though I must add not all taxi drivers and auto drivers are dishonest)

http://www.mumbaimirror.com/index.aspx?Page=article&sectname=News%20-%20City&sectid=2&contentid=201009092010090902034135266aa2a15

The other point I want to make is the sheer lack of taxis outside railway stations. Years ago, there was a perfectly managed taxi queue outside Mumbai Central railway station. Atleast one policeman used man the queue and ensure that taxis don't refuse passengers. A couple of years or so back I alighted at Mumbai Central and went to the taxi stand, that has since changed its place. All drivers re…

Fake, but entertainment

Am I glad that I don't follow cricket? Perhaps. Am I relieved that I did not get swayed by the histrionics of the Fake IPL Player at its height? Definitely. I don't know what to make out of it. Looking at the Fake smiling on TV, happy about relieving himself and coming out, answering questions of tons of his fans, who despite being massively misled into believing something that they thought was gospel, but was infact nothing more than someone's figment of imagination, as he basked in his glory on TV that showed him like a trophy, like an achievement of being the first TV channel for breaking the identity of the Fake and kept reiterating how many zillions of phone calls they've been getting ever since they broke the story, I don't know whether to be happy or sad.

Let's get one thing straight. The world has moved on. We've all come a long way. In the world of reality shows where contestants shed rivers of tears, even strip their dignity to get ahead, this one…

And the best reality TV show is...

Reality TV shows have crossed the line of bizarre and have become icons of mediocrity. These days the amount of crying that reality TV shows, especially those blasted singing and dancing competitions, dump on us is not funny. If there was an award of who cries the most- and God knowing the way our TV bosses work these days- there might just be one of those too in future- these participants could give a tough competition. 
But, all hope is not lost. Lost amidst a sea of mediocre reality shows is this jewel. My vote for the best reality show goes to Masterchef Australia. Don't get me wrong; singing and dancing is also a huge talent and some of the mighty talented kids, especially those on the show Chak Dhoom Dhoom, have shown that at such a young and tender age, they can give the best dancers a run for their money. But the mere proliferation of such shows across multiple TV channels have ruined the charm. 
Masterchef Australia has that much-needed charm. It's a cooking reality sho…

Peepli Live

It's celebration time when we see a meaningful film being made in India that is devoid of the usual rubbish mushiness and pop corn romance that makes little sense and call for unnecessary flood of tears that seem to go nowhere. Or, say, when they pick up a realistic subject and attempt to allegedly make a story out of it. In an industry that turns West every time it falls short of original ideas, here's a movie that is both contemporary and as original as it gets. The trick in the Indian context, however, is to pick up what appears on the surface to be a typical tear-jerker, possibly a social issue (something that our TV serials amply do these days) and turn into a product that keeps the histrionics at a bare minimum, appeals to a wider audience and doesn't sound preachy. (I caught the morning 10.40 am show at Pune's Inox (one of my favourite theatres) and the hall  was about 20% occupied, mostly by young college kids. They were having a ball of a time, laughing merril…

Tomas Berdych Has Grown Up

Of the two men's semi-finals I watched during Wimbledon 2010, I enjoyed Tomas Berdych v/s Novak Djokovic. This match had it all. Don't let the score board of 6-3, 7-6 (11/9), 6-3 fool you into believing that this was a completely one-sided match. Djokovic fought till the end, but was no match to the finesse of Berdych. I always like to view matches where there is a lot of variety. Nadal v/s Murray was bit boring to watch on this count and it was quite simply a baseline slug fest where one would keep hitting shots, the other would just keep retrieving. But Berdych-Djokovic match had drama. It had fine shot-making too.

Tomas Berdych is a talented player. I remember watching him in the finals of the Mumbai Kingfisher Open a few years back (September 2006) where he narrowly lost to Russian Dimitry Tursunov in three close sets. Ever since while Berdych has moved up, slowly but gradually, Tursunov seems to have disappeared. Berdych is such a player that on a good day he could beat a…

What's The Point?

What's the point of these commercials that show death defying stunts to sell a product and then carry a disclaimer at the end saying they're too dangerous and not to be imitated! If it's a bike, show me a features of it and what it can do and how it is different from several other bike models on the road. Don't show how the bike goes through a tornado and faces a tsunami. India does get to see tornadoes and tsunami hit us in 2004 for the first time in as a long as I can remember. Yes, India gets a lot of floods, even those that paralyze the entire cities. If that were to happen, God forbid, will this bike just zoom through it all while the entire city, trains, cars, buses gets stranded and come to a standstill? Your guess is as good as mine.





P.S. I remember a camera advertisement that was on air a few months ago where the couple does some stunts to get that perfect picture. I tried to youtube it but could't find it. The girl is the pillion rider, she takes the came…

Corporal Punishment Should Be A Crime

Whenever I hear about a student being either driven to suicide or takes of public humiliation at the hands of the school teachers, I cringe. The recent incident (here and here) of a Calcutta-based student, Rouvanjit Rawla who committed suicide because he was caned, beaten, tormented and humiliated in front of his students only goes to show that the Indian education system has still a lot of catching up to do.

The response of the school is most pathetic:

The Times of India reports... "As a school, we deeply regret the loss of young life. Attempts being made to hold the school entirely responsible are certainly misplaced. There are times when children need to be corrected and helped. The idea has always been to inculcate a sense of values amongst them. It is also important for the school to ensure that there is an environment conducive to learning and often corrective measures have to be taken to ensure this environment is not vitiated in the interest of the larger student community …

Relaxing in Manali

Our first day of the Manali-Shimla trip was a disaster, thanks largely to Kingfisher Airlines (KF) botching up our schedules. Our flight was cancelled and we weren't informed on time. We were put on a newly pressed KF Red flight that was to have departed two hours behind our original schedule, which got further delayed by another hour. So we reached Chandigarh at about 4 pm and started for Manali at 5 pm. After 11 agonising hours navigating one of the worst-kept roads I have ever seen and constant throwing up, I reached Manali next morning at 4 am.

We didn't do anything much on day#2 except sleep and take rest. Manali is a beautiful place to go if you haven't seen it already. We've pretty much lost the main town to rampant construction and civilisation, but the outskirts of Manali and the surrounding scenery is beautiful. Large and never-ending mountain ranges, mountains so tall they seem to reach the sky, lush green deodhar trees like forests dotting the hills and mou…

The Common Man Is Everywhere

I watched the 100th show of the 'R.K. Laxman's The Common Man', a one-man play based on the life and times of The Common Man; quite literally the mascot and the representative of India's middle class man. Ajit Kelkar plays the part of the common man. Through audio-visual slides that show select Laxman's cartoons of the Common Man, Kelkar chronicles the journey of Laxman right from the time he started and gave birth to the common man all the way through various socio-political changes the common man has seen.

His daily cartoons on one tiny corner on the front page were as looked after- or probably more- than the stories.  He is India's best known and widely respected cartoonist and has aptly chronicled- apart from Behram Contractor (Busybee; The Afternoon's founding editor)- the life and times of the Indian mass through changing times, political and economical, in India as seen through the eyes of the common man; his chief protagonist who is present in many …

Nice Ad

Indigo Airlines' latest TV commercial hits the bulls eye with the one quality that best describes India's best low-cost- I wouldn't call it 'budget' as I feel the term is derogatory- airline. This commercial is one of the best on air at the moment.

Courts or Governments?

Haven't you wondered sometimes that what if our Courts- the High Courts and the Supreme Court- were to rule us, instead of the Governments? Sure, Government is government, after all, but perhaps when it comes to protecting our civic rights and ensuring that the basic quality of life is not compromised, the courts have time and again did what the government ought to have done long time back. The recent Bombay High Court order to the municipal corporation to notify Shivaji Park as a 'silent' zone must have come as a welcome step to hundreds of residents of this area. Sure, a government without corruption is not much possible anywhere across the world. Even the US governments have had a fair number of critics; what the Bush administration did with Iraq can be unpardonable. But one thing you've got to admire about developed nations is that when it comes to civic issues, like infrastructure, better roads, noise pollution, your right to live and such matters, the governments…

Motormen Strike Down

Thank God that the motormen (train drivers) strike in Mumbai is finally over. It's been a harrowing 24 hours for many Mumbaikars. Yesterday, 3 May, I left my office in Dadar for home at about 7.15 pm. Station is a stone's throw and I got a train (Churchgate-bound) in about 2-3 minutes. Unfortunately, the train chugged its way to the next station, Elphinston Road and just stopped. I waited for another 15 minutes before I lost patience and got off. Other people were also losing patience and we were all getting quite restless. It's just a horrible feeling to get stuck inside a stationary train, I can't quite explain it. I decided to walk to the main LBS road, near IndiaBulls Centre One complex if I can catch a taxi. Buses too, though there isn't a single bus from there that comes to where I live. 


I tried hailing a cab, but taxis were not stopping. That's a surprise. Whenever some public transport such as trains or BEST buses goes on a strike, taxis usually make a …

Postcards from Panchgani

I just came back from a much-needed break in Panchgani. This is one of my favourite places on earth. I go here and forget all my worries. Poona comes close, but the weather in Panchgani and the pure air is unmatched. The twin hill stations of Panchgani and Mahableshwar are one of the most important and popular hill gateways in Maharashtra. I have been going there for the past about 18 years and I can never get tired of it. Unfortunately, there is so much of construction happening that it's not funny. Panchgani was definitely much more beautiful in its ancient days that present times. But atleast it creates employment opportunities for the locals, so there's some comfort. Plus, the thriving jam factories of Mapro and Mala in these twin hill stations, bodes well for the localites.

Summers have become very hot here now, though. Till you are in the foothills of Panchgani- in a small called Wai- the heat is unbearable. It's as bad- or maybe even worse- than Mumbai. Only when you…

The Public Relations Machinery

As a journalist, I deal with public relations (PR) people day in and day out. When I started my career around 10 years back, I used to get calls from PRs around once a week. 10 years later, I find that not a single day goes without getting atleast one call.

The PR industry has arrived; it's alive and kicking. They have become sassy, street smart and more polish. Young boys and girls do look at PR as a career opportunity now. On the flipside, they have become very aggressive. Looking at the number of calls I get in a day, it looks to me as a flourishing industry, pay scales notwithstanding and I am not aware of. The reality is, we've got to deal with it.

PRs have become sophisticated. But at the heart of every PR even today is this hunger to get maximum publicity for his / her client. The way they push their agendas have gone for a serious makeover, though. Earlier, PRs used to ask us openly "so when are you going to publish all this?" One PR women had the gall to ask…

A Little Bit of Privacy

On around 29 March when news of Sania Mirza's impending marriage to Pakistan's former cricket captain Shoaib Malik broke out, she said to the Times of India, “This is the biggest day of my life. I have been in the media glare for too long, and would appreciate a little privacy at this very personal moment in my life.’’
There's an unsettling irony in what she said. Yes, privacy is what she wanted. Everyone knows, though, that celebrity marriages in India or anywhere else in the world is fodder for the paparazzi, media, fans and the general public. Perhaps she knew. Or perhaps she underestimated. Yet, little must she have expected, that not only her marriage would be the talking point (or breaking news, whichever way you look at news these days) of various TV news channels, newspapers, but also politicians would comment on whether she may play for India or Pakistan after marriage and such thing. I can't believe, even I am talking about it too. Add to that, copies of the g…

Little Miss Sunshine

Although I had watched Little Miss Sunshine more than a year back, I recently ripped apart the packing of its DVD that was lying in my DVD cabinet for months. There's no better way to spend a Sunday afternoon at home. Dysfunctional families have been immortalized in Hollywood, both on the big as well as the small screen in movies and series like Six Feet Under, Brothers & Sisters and so on. Perhaps also Home Alone?

In Little Miss Sunshine (LMS), you got a failed motivational speaker who motivates half empty classrooms but can do little to help his own flagging career. His family resents those little winner-loser speeches that he vomits on the dinner table and cringes when he is about to start to rattle them off. You got his dad, the coke-snorting potty mouth whose vocabulary starts and end with the four-letter word. The son is mute because he's taken a vow to remain silent till he is allowed by his parents to become an air-force pilot. The wife' brother is fresh out of…

Taxis at premium at 5-star hotels

Mumbai Mirror newspaper reports that taxis in Mumbai fleece their passengers if they are called for, at few or more 5-star hotels.  The story shares experiences of passengers who called for taxis at these 5-star hotels and were told by the cabbies that they will charge a flat rate instead of what the usual meter shows up.

I have myself experienced this. A few months back I had gone to Grand Hyatt hotel at Kalina, Santa Cruz, Mumbai to attend an office conference. We asked the security guards at the entrance to hail a cab for us to go to, i think, Phoenix Mills, Lower Parel. I don't remember exactly whether we called for a black & yellow (B&Y) taxi or a cool cab, but it was definitely either of the two. The cab came promptly and we got inside, only to be reminded by the driver that he'll charge us a fixed rate. We deciphered that this 'fixed' rate is definitely higher than what we'd have to pay if we go by the meter. We refused to pay him the fixed rate and …

What Does Your Name Mean?

My dearest friends Khushru and Tanaz Medhora of Philadelphia, US, just gave birth to their second child. However, unlike their first child (baby Kaizeen), this time- atleast to the best of my knowledge- they took pains to shortlist not just the names of children but also their meanings. Another dear friend of mine gave birth to her first child (a boy) last Friday. Today morning, she sent me an SMS (and also to a few others I presumed since it wasn't a very personalized SMS) asking for a vote to select one of the three baby names she and her husband had shortlisted. This is a first; couples shortlisting names and asking their near and dear ones to help them vote. Her SMS was short, crisp and systematically crafted. Three baby names with their meanings. So that our job becomes easier.

I think this is a new trend. Young couple (today's generation) are seeking to find out the meaning of names they want to assign their babies. My cousin Erich & his wife Havovi in US did it a fe…

Doctor, Pilot and the Engineer

Creativity is one of Indian advertisement agencies' strong points but also leads to a lot of duplication at times. Take, for instance, our insurance policy commercials. Especially those that are aimed at kids. Almost everyone wants to be a doctor, engineer or a pilot. Nobody wants to become a sportsmen. Those few of our kids who want to become a sportsman, it's only cricket (main bada hoke sachin tendulkar banuga) and not any other sport. Ofcourse, it'll  be hilarious if, say, insurance kids suddenly say they want to be kho-kho players when they grow up so buy Min London Child Policy. But seriously, what is wrong with someone aiming to be a good kho-kho player? What about tennis? And why the hell no kid wants to grow up to become a journalist?

I am most surprised that insurance companies selling 'dreams' to kids do not think that journalism is a profession worth aspiring for. Even though you don't rake in the moolah the kind you do being a pilot or a doctor, bu…

Symphony at Kala Ghoda festival

Never attended the Kala Ghoda festival before, so today was my first time. I attended a recital of the Symphony Orchestra of India (SOI) at Horniman Circle, on the foot of the Asiatic Library. The stage was on the Ballard Pier - Regal Cinema road and we were supposed to sit on the steps of the Asiatic Library. Traffic was diverted, obviously. The performance was supposed to start at 6.30 pm but started about 10 odd minutes later.

It started on a high note with the orchestric rendition of our national anthem. I say, the Indian national anthem is probably one of the best in the world. The tune is marvelous and it's a completely different experience when you hear it in western classical music. I noticed quite a few Indians in the orchestra which was a delight because we'd certainly like see a lot more Zubin Mehtas out there. It was supposed an hour's extravaganza but it got over in just under half an hour. They played the Palladio; a popular item on the western classical char…

Do You Have A Dark Spot?

Quick question: If you are going for a job interview, what is more important? Flawless complexion or talent? When I was a kid, my TV told me it is the latter. Hence, the many commercials of Complan (I'm a Complan boy / I am a Complan girl), Boost (the secret of Kapil Dev's energy), Bournvita and even Dabur's Chavanrash. I watch TV these days and I get the impression that it is the perhaps not talent, but our looks that really matter the most. Nutrition commercials can still be seen, but they get dwarfed and lost amidst countless of those that are hell bent in removing every little dark spot, dullness, grey hair, white hair, split ends or whatever little thing you have on you, to ensure you are set for a good life ahead. This is today's irony.

The reality of Indian television is not just the garish TV serials. It's also the beauty / fairness / hair commercials. 10 signs of ageing, 100 signs of hair loss, 1,000 ways to beautify yourself, fairness creams, for not just…