Tuesday, 31 July, 2007

Go Goa!

If you've been wondering about the absence of posts on this blog,rest assured, as there's nothing to worry about.It was just that I've been in Goa for the past one week,having a perfectly lovely holiday and even now,I'm not in Nagpur,but in Mumbai(leaving tonight).

OK,so this post is going to describe Goa as I saw it!

The very first thing that strikes about Goa is the lush greenery spread out just about everywhere you look.We'd disembarked at Madgaon and since we had a reservation at the Royal Goan Haathi Mahal Resort,we proceeded directly to the place.The resort is situated in Mobor,very near to the Cavelossum beach.It is a peaceful place and an extremely ideal place to be at if you are going at this time of the year i.e. during the monsoons,coz you can never tell when it's going to start raining.The five days that we were there,we were greeted by the rains every single day,which did spoil the fun to some extent,but then we did not give up and went sight seeing while having a bath(rain bath that is).


The first day,we went to tour North Goa.Our tour included Dona Paula,Panjim city and a Boat cruise.

Dona Paula-

The name sounded really attractive but it was actually not very interesting.At that time we didn't know the history of the place and it just looked like a very boring place to look at the sea.It was much later that we got to know the history when the bus driver on another tour mentioned it.Apparently,it involves a local tale of a rich girl Dona falling in love with a poor boy Paula, and not having the parents' consent, they commit suicide at that place,(hence the name),a Romio Juliet or a Heer Ranjha kind of a thing.

Then we went to the city of Panaji or Panjim as it is locally called.Not really too much to look at or admire there,so let's proceed to the next destination.

We then went for the Boat cruise over the River Mandovi and it was awesome!!The whole scenery is just so beautiful that you feel like letting your camcorder keep running and recording every moment. The cruise lasts an hour and it takes you right up to the edge of the place where River Mandovi meets the sea.It gets quite rocky when you near the sea,and the light drizzle really brightened up the evening,coupled with the songs which drifted up from the lower deck where dancing and partying had been going on.Frankly,I know I wouldn't have had even half as much as fun on the lower deck as I had on the upper one.It was just amazing!!!!!!!



Then we returned to the resort and rested for a while before having our dinner.Almost nowhere in the whole state of Goa will you find a place which serves exclusively vegetarian stuff, and that becomes a BIG problem for rigid veggies.Also one can easily substitute chai in our lives with hard drinks in theirs.Like in every nook and corner of the other cities,one can find a chai ki tapri, here one can find that almost every shop sells these drinks!

Day 2 -
The day was wasted almost entirely,thanks to the rains!We did go the Cavelossum beach but it turns out that it's an extremely desolated kind of a spot,atleast in the half season which in hotel terminology is called white season.There really wasn't much to do,except standing alone on the beach and letting the waves wash the sands from under your feet and honestly, it gets boring after a while!So we didn't really stay for long.But there is a distinguishing feature of the beach and that again,we discovered later.It is one of the few beaches which have whitish coloured sand,and it is supposed to make it look different and more beautiful!Though I really didn't feel so.

Day 3-
This time we were determined to beat the rains and so proceeded without a fixed destination in mind.We went to Madgaon,roamed about a bit in the city and well, the only place that we visited during the day,worth mentioning is the Colungate beach.It is the most famous beach of Goa and people throng to the place in huge numbers,especially during the full season.When we visited the place,there were a tolerable number of people out there but the environment somehow wasn't the same as one would find on say,the Juhu beach or even the Chaupati beach.

Day 4-Wasted!Except that we changed accomodations to Hotel Goa Woodlands in the main Madgaon city,partly due to the extremely high taxi rates to just about anywhere from the resort.The hotel was almost as good as the resort.

Day 5-
This was the day when we actually visited the older version of Goa.We first reached Ancestral Goa,the place where the only house of Portugese architecture has been preserved for public display.It is a 252 yrs old mansion which belonged to Arujo Alvares who was an advocate.Since the nearest court was at Panjim,therefore he judged matters from his own house.The ancient ways of life have been preserved quite well.The history of the place is deeply related to the spread of christianity in Goa.Apparently the Portugese gifted houses of this type of excuisite architecture to the 35 families who converted their religion,about 6 generations back,but that still fails to explain the spread of Christianity to the extent it has spread, to me.The house is now maintained by the 6th generation of his family.It also houses a collection of different types of statues of "Ganesha" to which the present generation still adds.Then we visited the museum Big Foot which has a history attached to it as well,and it is famous as a "wishing spot".There was also the sculpture of Saint Mirabai which has reached the Limca Book of records for being the longest sculpture made out of a single laterite rock.
Then we visited two temples-Shantadurga Temple and Mangueshi Temple,the first one dedicated to the Goddess of peace and the second one to Lord Shiva.
Then we visited the very famous and very ancient church "Basilica of Bom Jesus".It is said to contain the sacred remains of St.Francis Xavier enshrined in a silver casket,entombed in a marble masoleum.It is indeed very huge and a very very ancient place to be at.
Then we visited the Colva Beach,which is second to the Colungate Beach in fame, but has apparently more activity,as I perceived.Maybe it can just be attributed to the Sunday but whatever the reason, this beach was certainly a more lively place.

Day 6-Departure!But we visited Vasco in the morning and the rains once again marred the prospects of visiting the markets,so we did a bit of sight seeing from a taxi,and it so turns out that the city has nothing really interesting for tourists to see.

So this was an extremely dispassionate version of Goa from me.But I would like to mention a few facts.I never imagined Goa to be as it was,thanks to the exposure,coming mainly from movies,serials and books,maybe.So naturally,with such high expectations,Goa was kind of disappointing!

I for example,never in my wildest dreams imagined that Goa was absolutely lush green.Anywhere you look,it's either green or blue.I never knew that Goa was such a major industrial hub.Ports,I knew,but industries,I didn't!There are many many industries which have their plants and factories in Goa,yet there is not even the trace of pollution.I often wondered what the people of Goa did for a living,besides hotels and now I have the answer,Industries!Usually local people are employed in these industries.The people here are quite talketive and helpful,if you know how to approach them.And after every few miles, on the roadside,you can see a small temple kind of structure,just like anywhere else,only with the cross inside.The local population is mainly Christian and the people speak usually Konkani or English or Marathi with a definite Konkani touch,which is a little difficult to understand!

But the next time I am in Goa(yes,there is definitely going to be a next time),I'll be going during the red season i.e. sometime between October and March,preferably December end to be able to experience Goa in it's full vigour,colour and passion!!!!!!

Sunday, 22 July, 2007

And it's here!!!FINALLY!!!!!!!!!!

Yes,I am indeed talking about the book which has been making the world go reeling for goodness knows how long,exactly,HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS.Yes, I've just gone through the book and it's been simply.....AMAZING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I settled down at around 10 in the morning and got up just,on the whole,four times till 6.30 in the evening.Those of you,who are expecting a review here,I'm sorry but I'm going to be ripped apart from limb to limb by Harry Potter fans who haven't completed the book as yet,if I reveal anything about the book,so I'm not about to even try!

But I must mention that Times of India spoilt the whole BIG surprise for me before I read the book.My brother was reading it yesterday and I was spending the day online.Their site had put across the deepest secret as a big bold headline and to I had to prevent myself severely from going into it.Huh!Talk about sensitivity and spoilers!How many people do they think can finish the book on the first day,and that too in the afternoon.I'm SHOCKED!I mean,c'mon, you can't print the whole secret of the book and that too as a bland headline without pointing that it was THE greatest spoiler.For fear of finding the same thing again in the newspapers(and of course there would be lots more in it),I just completely abandoned the newspapers this morning.

I'd request the newspapers to be a little more sensitive to such things henceforth on their websites as well as the newspapers.

Wednesday, 18 July, 2007

Harry Potter!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Wow!It was just amazing, the movie adaption of the fifth in the Harry Potter series, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.I saw the movie today(actually wanted to see it on the first day but my friends found a fine time to fall ill one by one) and it was just fabulous but I guess seeing it in Hindi spoiled the effect to some extent.Apparently, the sole multiplex(upto this point) of the town decided that the movie didn't have a market in the city in English :(

Oh,anyway,I'll take the CD after a month when it comes out.And I know it fully well that I would not have sat down quietly till I saw the movie.So,anyway,it's no use my telling the story to anybody since everybody who's read the book obviously knows it.

But I would like to say that I found the movie going too fast.Unrelated incidents came up together.Dialogues originally by someday were put forth by somebody else in the movie adaption.And strangely enough,I'd cried bitterly when I had read the book after Sirius died, but I was quite calm while the movie was going on.Maybe I can attribute it to the pizza,sandwiches and pastries we'd shared amongst ourselves, but maybe not!Infact I'm pretty sure I can't.

They left out way tooooooo many things.After just 15-20 min I found that half the book was over.I understand the need for compression but I really can't help feeling bad about it.And hearing some of the things being translated in Hindi made me laugh and cry about at the same time.It was horrifying to hear some of these translations.But anyway,I'll have to give credit to the filmmakers for the movie they've made.

My suggestion?HP fans, if you still haven't seen the movie,shake your legs and get going.Non HP fans,I'll still say, don't miss!So long.

Monday, 16 July, 2007

HOWGRBM

What??????????????Come again!

These are your reactions,Right?

OK,I'll solve the mystery.It actually stands for "How Opal Will Get Reviewed By Me", undoubtedly a result of reading about HOWGIH and HOWGAL.This is about "How Opal Mehta Got Kissed,Got Wild and Got a Life", one of the most controversial books of last year.I guess I'm late by an year in reading and reviewing the book, but that hardly matters!

For those interested in knowing the controversy surrounding the book first(I preferred reading about it at the end),here it is:
http://www.thecrimson.com/article.aspx?ref=512948

So, what is the story all about?

It revolves around a 19 year old gal(Before reading the book,I really thought Opal was a guy) whose life's aim is to get into Harvard,undoubtedly the dream of her parents!Opal is a geek, a nerd who has no business getting into fun or anything for entertainment.For 17 yrs all she and her parents have cared about is getting her into Harvard.Every moment she eats, sleeps, drinks, walks, talks,it is all about Harvard.

And then,the hard hitting reality is like a pail of cold water when the Dean Admissions at Harvard tells her in her early application that despite all her academic abilities,she needs to get a life!(Is Harvard really that kinda place?)

And then starts her family plan to make her wear skimpy outfits,oodles of make-ups,get a boyfriend,become chic and blah blah blah.......

But one thing about the book I noticed was that it was way tooooooooo over the top.I mean, how many parents are you going to find who are going to be willing to let it all happen to their kids. How many parents are going to ask their kids to have to have gfs/bfs and (*gasp!*)kiss them too and (*double gasp!!*)an Indian family at that??????Even if it is a family of NRIs,fine, progressive too but to this extent?I doubt it!

The book has been written by Kaavya Vishwanathan,a to-be Harvard graduate herself,born to an Indian doctor father and a doctor mother.As an NRI,she has experienced her Indian side and used it well in the story but she's blown it over the top!

While everything else may just be believable,the parents' point of view is nowhere near realistic,even if it is just fiction!Just how many parents sit and discuss their child's future as if they're signing some kinda big money wiggling contract,complete with conferences and meetings and websites???

Well, but the book does state one true fact, the pressure the kids feel due to the parents and the society is too high,so much so that a child may be required to sacrifice the whole life in trying to achieve which in the first place,he or she is not interested in pursuing!!

Overall it makes a good fictional read and I expect the gals are gonna enjoy it more than the guys i.e. if they really are what they project themselves to be,not interested in girly stuff like fashion and nails and manicure and pedicure and blah blah blah..................Well,so long!

P.S. For those who are interested in knowing more:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kaavya_Viswanathan

Thursday, 12 July, 2007

Goooooooooogle It!

This is 'The Google Story', written by David Vise and Mark Malseed.It is a book which describes the journey of two teenagers from the PhD at Stanford University to the glorious heights of success.The Google Guys as the starters Larry Page and Sergey Brin are popularly called are two people who have converted their passion into a profession and a very successful one at that!

For the first time ,this book reveals the most intricate trade secrets of Google.It talks about the initial dificult times the founders had to face and the problem that every upcoming project faces, i.e. raising funds.These are perhaps the only people in the corporate world to have never never compromised on their principles, even in the thickest of times.

Their dream stemmed from necessities and the lack of availability of good searching options.As students they faced a lot of problems because of lack of good search engines that would provide relevant search results over the internet.So young and talented, these guys decided to make a search engine keeping in mind the consumer,instead of being business-oriented.And indeed the end result is what we all see today.

Google is not just any search engine,it is more than just synonimous with any query, any project, any kind of curiosity which is answered almost instantly with the most relevant search results.At the time when I started using the net to gain information,google was the one and only site that I used and I hadn't even imagined that the search engine was such a recent phenomenon.So naive I had been to assume that it had always been there,and I had never bothered to find out the story that lay behind the scenes.Of course,I'd always been curious about how the company made money because all search results seemed to be free.But now I know that the Google Guys,smart as they are,have used the ingenious method used for decades by the television i.e. through advertisements.But there's again a catch, in the sense that these people have never waivered from their initial purpose of serving.Therefore,ads displayed on Google are only the ones which are the most relevant to the topic currently being searched which gives not just Google it's money but also helps people who are serious enough to buy, the best places to buy the stuff from.

The Google guys have not had it easy but then they aren't the kind of people who would fall too easily.This book is an absolute must-read for those who are interested in going in for business as also for those like me,i.e. people who get inspired by success stories or even those people who are just curious enough to know what lies behind Goooooooooogle,which of course has become a very intricate part of every net savvy person!

Wednesday, 11 July, 2007

CEO woes II

This in in continuation with the first ever article I wrote on my blog redarding CEO woes which can be reached from over here http://yehhaitadka.blogspot.com/2007/05/ceo-woes.html

I have no idea about the authenticity of the statistics displayed over here but it could be as true as the Prime Minister's resume I posted earlier http://yehhaitadka.blogspot.com/2007/05/prime-ministers-resume.html. Same source, you see.


Anyway,have a look at this:-

Salary & Govt. Concessions for a Member of Parliament (MP)

Monthly Salary : 12,000

Expense for Constitution per month : 10,000

Office expenditure per month : 14,000

Traveling concession (Rs. 8 per km) : 48,000 ( eg.For a visit from kerala to Delhi & return: 6000 km)

Daily DA TA during parliament meets : 500/day

Charge for 1 class (A/C) in train: Free (For any number of times) (All over India )

Charge for Business Class in flights : Free for 40 trips / year (With wife or P.A.)

Rent for MP hostel at Delhi : Free

Electricity costs at home : Free up to 50,000 units

Local phone call charge : Free up to 1 ,70,000 calls.

TOTAL expense for a MP [having no qualification] per year : 32,00,000 [i.e. 2.66 lakh/month]

TOTAL expense for 5 years : 1,60,00,000

For 534 MPs, the expense for 5 years : 8,54,40,00,000 (nearly 855 crores)

AND THE PRIME MINISTER IS ASKING THE HIGHLY QUALIFIED, OUT PERFORMING CEOs TO CUT DOWN THEIR SALARIES...

This is how all our tax money is been swallowed and price hike on our regular commodities...... And this is the present condition of our country: 855 crores could make their life livable !!
What a great democracy we have.............

Tuesday, 10 July, 2007

Life ho toh aisi!

This is the importance of Life Insurance.And to explain this, the advertisers could just not have chosen a better advertisement.The latest ad featuring veteran retired "children" playing cricket relived a well chosen and an extremely common scenario in this cricket crazy world.

I did try to sift through the net to find out if the video was available online but to no avail.But anyway, anybody who watches even a little bit of TV must have seen this ad.

It shows retired old gentlemen enjoying life and playing cricket, while two young kids do what most elders do.It starts with the cricket ball falling in somebody's house where two kids are "busy" playing video games.The "children" apologize in that cho shweet childirly manner holding their ears and saying "sorry" but the "elders" are very angry and refuse to hand the ball over to them.Just then another "kid" who'd been watching the match comes forward and remarks "Buddhha bahut khaduus hai,mere paas dusra ball hai" meaning "this old uncle is very sour but it doesn't matter cause I have another ball", after which the "kids" start teasing the "elders" because they have found another ball.The ad's closing scenes include a "kid" bowling with another batting and the rest of them fielding, when the wicket keeper shifts the wickets so that the ball promptly goes and hits the stumps and then the players start arguing about whether it is "out" or not.

What touches one's heart is the common placed scenario with a role reversal.Young kids acting like the way elders do and the "oldies" enjoying life after retirement.Besides this,the acting of each and every person present there on the screen enlivens the whole concept.The young kids are so flawless with their acting,they go straight down one's heart forcing grins and smiles out of the most grim looking faces.

But there's one fact that's hidden away in it most subtly.The young kids were cooped up inside their houses playing video games,when kids are usually the ones on the fields.Well, this is not just role reversal taking place, it also clearly indicates the position the young kids are in today.They have become slaves to electronic gadgets and no longer care about those outdoor games.Well, this had better change soon! *sigh!*

What I have described here about the ad can't get even close to the visual effect.So try to see the ad for yourselves and put some smiles on your faces.I'll try to record it myself and put it on you tube for everyone to share and if anybody's listening,please try to do it.

Monday, 9 July, 2007

Wanna Know My Mood!

And so The King remains THE KING!

Wow!that was some 4 hours of adrenalin pumping action going on at the centre court.I'm talking,of course about the much awaited Wimbledon final match between the two legends,to borrow from the commentators,between the King of Clay and the King of Grass.

And well, that was some match.A five setter and a nailbiting finish with Federer fianlly getting the luck in his favour against Nadal,as he so modestly acknowledged himself!And I will say that I'm going to have to agree with him.Both the players looked so even from the beginning through the match right up to last set where with Federer breaking Nadal's serve,finally the scales tipped in his favour.After this match,I think I'm going to never never miss another match between the two,final or not!Not if I can help it!

This is the stuff legendary battles are made up of.It was a great going.As for the details of the match,I'm sure that's available on every news website.So I'm not going to put it up here.Much as I would love to!But I will go to the extent of saying what probably,newspapers are not going to recount!The cameramen sure knew Federer's girl friend very well!For after every shot, the camera zoomed right onto her face.;)

Well, anyway,if someone loves tennis and missed the match,my greatest sympathies and Go and Catch a Replay if you can!

Sunday, 8 July, 2007

The Cool Clock!!!!!!!!

It's WILLIAMS Show Time Again!

Venus Williams put up a grand show to defeat French woman Marion Bartoli in the Wimbledon Finals yesterday.Venus has come a long way from a time when people thought that the reign of Williams sisters is over forever after the two sisters struggled against injuries.Although Marion lost 6-4,6-1, yet anyone who saw the match knows that she did never gave up without a fight.Bartoli had come up excellently against other competitors

Yet,there seems to be a lot of difference in the Venus of yesterday and the Venus of today i.e. the pre illness period and the post illness period.Both the Williams sisters are heavily built and although Venus has always been the sturdier one,yet while watching the match,she did come across as slightly ill to me.I mean, her cheeks looked punched and she looked a lot leaner.

I must say,that I've never really liked the Williams sisters too much.But it could be because of the tendency of supporting the under-dogs.There was a time when they were like the 'Roger Federer' of today.The result was well-predicted even before the tournament started.But with Roger Federer we do have Rafael Nadal who could put an end to his winning streak as we once saw Justin Henin Hardene do it, who incidently is my favourite Women Tennis player.

So,we have another day of action left at Wimbledon with the Men's Finals and I'll be looking forward to catching all the action live from Wimbledon.

Saturday, 7 July, 2007

The new Lux Advertisement!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IEYjshPwnXQ

This is the new Lux commercial, which undoubtedly set many heads turning to the TV sets during the "break-time".I don't know about the others but the Hindi jingle did catch my ears.Even after watching the commercial, what I'm still unable to understand is that what exactly is the advertisement trying to portray?Is it the feminity,or is it the beauty,or is it simply trying to tell that hot air balloons are cooooooool?

The ad is undoubtedly one of the best.But it would be so much better if I knew the exact meaning of it.Anyway,I'm hoping you'll be able to help me.

So keep watching!

I can't xplain it any better than THIS!



Please pay attention and start when you are ready.Please don't forget to wish good byes to your family,friends and relatives.If possible,leave good bye cards.

By the way,please notice that once START comes into function,Quit becomes kinda useless!

Another prince(ly) act!!

A young kid-fell into a deep pit/borewell,condition and situation-critical,incessant rains, army employed, worked for hours to save the child.

Sounds familiar,eh?

Well, this is something similar to what happened a few months back.I am talking about of course, the much-too-hyped story of the young kid 'Prince' of a village in Haryana,who if was not a prince earlier, then became one after falling into a deep pit, and being rescued by the army.But this time it was a similar story with a few changes, like the name and the location.This kid was 6 year old 'Suraj' and was a resident of a small village near Jaipur.

But there's another marked difference in the outcome of things as well.Where Prince survived, became a real prince and the photo gleamed from the front page of the next day editions of the newspapers, complete with the coverage for the whole day from different news channels,and the story about the bravery and the consistency of the army was the talk of the town,Suraj perished.And what about the coverage?One would have to peer and poke at every corner of the newspaper before being able to locate the very unnoticable and quite illegible column to get to know about the fate of the boy.

So what exactly is it that I want to point out?

There are two things,actually.One is the fact that after "The Prince Incident",the news channels have made it a point to cover every such incident with this news preceeding the one about the attack on the Lal Masjid and the alleged but unconfirmed air attack on Musharraf and the one about Indian docs and engineers being involved in the failed terrorist activities in London.Indeed, one would think that those matters would hold more importance than these ones,being of international level with close relation to national importance!

Secondly,the way the two incidents were portrayed in the newspapers.I don't have to even start saying anything about it!!!!

Will our media ever GROW UP?