Thursday, September 11, 2008


Wow, it's been exactly 3 months since my last post! Seriously, that long? Time has flown by indeed.

On the personal front, nothing's much changed. New project, new football season (wait, that's not personal!), same old job, pretty much the same pay scale too (even with the salary revisions we had last month). Oh yeah, we've got a new dog at home now - a labrador pup and he's a cutey! :) Also, my good friend Rajesh has started blogging, so please do visit his blog which is pretty interesting..I'd say it's a techie's view on the corporate-socio-political aspect of life. Seriously though, he speaks sense about a variety of sensible topics, much unlike me! :P

Anyways, I've been thinking about the saying, 'What goes around, comes around' today while listening to JT's song with the same title. Most people tend to perceive that line in a negative sense - It's almost like this - you do a bad deed and then karma comes around and kicks you in the arse. The row-seap analogy. Accurate enough, but not quite. It can also be used positively, you can actually help someone, and then you are rewarded for your good deed somewhere down the line.

However, what I wanted to say is that we never hear the line 'What comes around, goes around'. Why is that? At first, it seems to be exactly the same as the first one. Again, not quite. What is different about the two is this - Think of a circle with two points A and B. Imagine two people standing at these points. Now think of a bullet being fired along this circle (Yeah, I've watched 'Wanted', but it doesn't matter here! :P). In the first case, the person A fires the bullet, and then sometime in the future gets hit by it from behind. Here, the person A pulls the trigger - he is responsible for his actions. That is why we hear the first line often because it makes more sense, right? You are responsible for your own actions.

However, let's look at the second line - Here, you are the recipient of somebody else's action. In terms of our example, the person standing at A gets shot from behind. And then he reacts to it. Now what makes this line too very important is that we, as humans, will tend to behave in the future just as we've been dealt with in the past. So if someone does something extra-ordinarily nice to you, chances are that it's going to remain with you, and if your chance comes by one day, you'll try to behave in the exact same way to someone else too.

Let me provide a recent example from my own life. A few weeks ago, me and my friends were having a good time at Legends-of-Rock. The tracks being played that day were awesome and kept getting better as the night progressed. Then the distinctive techno tune of a new track started blaring from the speakers. I'd heard it before, and I only knew it cos I'd heard it being played as Team-Intro music for the Chicago Bulls and Manchester Shitty. I just couldn't get the name of the song though, so while I rapped my knuckles in desperation against my head, I kept telling Somu, "I know this song man, I know this!" You know what I mean right, it's like the at-the-tip-of-your-tongue-feeling (Or back-of-your-arse, as Sid would say), and it can drive you insane! Next thing I know, a huge, ripped, scalp-shaven guy (who'd been watching me from a nearby distance) comes by, puts his arm around me and says, "Let me put you out of your misery." Whoa, time-out, I almost freaked out cos it sounded like a one-liner from a Western flick just before you shoot a guy. Well, you know what, he did shoot a bullet, but of the kind I was talking about above :)

He said, "I've been watching you despair about not being able to guess the song. It's Alan Parson's Eye in the Sky." Phew! I was like, "Errr...Yes! Thankyou sir!" (Well now I know better, thanks to Wikipedia - the initial music is actually from the song 'Sirius' which then blends into 'Eye in the Sky', and Alan Parson should be known to all Floyd fans for working on the DSotM album). Just another random person, but it did stick in my mind. A week later, at Hard Rock, I was just on my way to the men's room when 'Layla' started rippling in through the speakers. After I was done, I got out and was making my way back to my seat when I noticed a firangi begging the bartender, "Dude, please tell me which song is this! I just can't get it!" The bartender surprsingly didn't know too and was like "Uhh..don't know, sir." I first thought I wouldn't bother but I then remembered the incident from the week before and I knew exactly what he was going through. So I went over to him and said, "Mate, it's Eric Clapton's Layla." You should have seen his face. He was overjoyed and flushed with emotion and said "Thanks man! Thanks! Damn!" Made me feel good no doubt but the firangi's thanks were not due to me, but to the guy who'd helped me at LOR.

Simple, 'What comes around, goes around'.

That's all, but I wanted to say something else too..oh yeah, JARR! It stands for Just Another Random Rant. But I hope it made some sense too :)

Thursday, June 12, 2008

The mango thieves

Last week, my aunt checked their letter-box like she usually does every morning and found a neatly folded piece of paper. She opened it and found it was a letter, addressed to her and uncle. The first line went like this -

"Njan athmahatya cheyyan pova. Ningal kaaranam."

"I'm going to commit suicide, and it's because of you."

Two weeks earlier

My uncle and aunt stay just a few houses away from us. They have a lush mango tree outside their front porch, that leans out over the gate. This is the mango season, and both uncle and aunt had been waiting patiently for the mangoes to ripen. However, in the past few weeks they noticed that the good mangoes kept disappearing every morning. Not sure what was the reason, uncle decided to keep watch one late evening.

And sure enough, once the sun went down and it started to get dark, he noticed three young boys, not more than ten years of age sneaking up to the front madhil (courtyard wall). Two of them helped the other onto the mango tree, and then one more climbed up too. So while one of the boys kept watch, the other two furiously scoured the tree for the best mangoes and kept throwing it down to the kid keeping watch, who would then out them in the polythene bag that he had.

Now my uncle is a smart person. He didn't just rush out to scare them and drive them off. Instead he waited till one of the boys had traversed one branch of the tree that wasn't that close to the front wall, but much nearer to the house itself. Then he rushed out and "jumped" the kid. The boy just froze and was too scared to do anything stupid like trying to climb back out, cos chances were that he would just fall and break a limb. But his partners-in-crime were fast. The other boy (who looked like the gang-leader) was out of the tree in a flash and over the wall. He grabbed his sidekick (the one dutifully carrying the mango sack) and they were both off like the wind. You don't get much loyalty these days from anyone, even fellow thieves!

My uncle then told the boy to get down, or he would get into more trouble, so the boy who was already scared out of his wits did so. Now my uncle can really get angry, or even better, he can really "act" angry and make you feel his wrath if he wanted to. So he caught the boy and made him sit down in the front porch. He then told him that he was going to call the police, and that they would come in their nice little jeep and take him away and put him in jail. The boy went pale and started crying loudly. He said that today was his first time and that it was his friend who put him up to it. After some time, aunty came out hearing all the noise and tried comforting the boy by saying they wouldn't do anything and that it was alright. But the boy was almost out of breath now, crying like there was no tomorrow. Finally uncle let him go and he ran away into the night still sobbing.

Cut back to the present

My aunt had totally forgotten about the incident, and so had no idea what this letter was about, but she would understand as she kept reading. It went like this (in broken malayalam) -

"Njan athmahatya cheyyan pova. Ningal kaaranam. Aa divasam ningal enne cheyyatha thethinu chumma pidichillay? Enittu policinu kodukam enne paranjile? Ningalu enthina enne ippalum pidikan nokkunathu? Athu konde njan athmahatya cheyyan pova. Njan chumma parevalla, sherikkum. Njan orru pravasham oru kai nokhiyatha, pakse athu paali poyi. Athoonde njan pinnem shremikum, ningal policinay vilichal. Allengil njan adutha pravasham aa vazhi verumbol ningal enikku orru manga therenam.

Ennu snehapoorvam,
Ningalude manga katta paiyyante kootukaran."

Let me translate it for those who don't understand the language.

"I'm going to commit suicide, and it's because of you. That day you both caught me for a crime I did not commit, and you were about to call the police and put me in jail. Why are you simply trying to catch me now also? Therefore I'm going to end my life. Don't think that I won't try it. I had tried it once before but the attempt failed. So I will surely try again if you call the police. If you don't want me to suicide, you should give me a mango the next time I come that way.

Yours lovingly,
The friend of the boy who stole your mangoes."

If that doesn't make you smile and feel at least a bit sorry for the kid, nothing will :)

Monday, June 02, 2008

Kings of Europe!

Yeah, I know..I'm ten days late to rant n boast about this, but I at least have an excuse that I've been celebrating the win all these days. ManUtd beat Chelski 6-5 on penalties, in a gripping match that had me nerve-wrangled at the end of it. Very emotional too, may I add.

Penalty-shootouts are easily the most twisted and sick way to decide the winner in a football match, but it's the most entertaining too. And this final's shootout ranks right up there in the my list of the most-heart-attack-inducive shootouts ever. Ever. Call me a coward, but I just couldn't bear to watch it straight, and so, like a 10-year old kid, I covered my face with both hands and watched every kick through a tiny slit between my fingers. Screaming all the time. John Terry's slip and miss was followed by one of the most pure moments of euphoria in my life. Then Van der Sar saving Anelka's kick, and the realization that we were European Champions for the 3rd, it's just a little too hard to put into words. It's all a blur now, and I can only remember jumping up and down as if I were on a trampoline, doing a rockstar knee-skid towards the television, hugging Shyam and Sohan, things like that. The exact same feelings every ManUtd fan was going through around the world.

I had put up a poll on this blog - whether ManUtd would do the double or not, in the faintest hope that the dream would come true this year. Now it's seems almost unreal that we've done it. We had our moments of luck in the final, but we were undoubtedly deserving champions of England and Europe! I'm so proud of my team! :)

Tuesday, May 13, 2008


I returned from the US on the 11th, the last day of the league season. It had been a long journey back (24+ hours, three flights) and boy, was I tired. But within me, a mix of excitement and tension was building to it's climax. This was the D-day, the day when hopes would be dashed or dreams fulfilled. The day that would earn bragging rights for another year or a post-season of despair. The last day of the Barclay's Premier League, with both ManUtd and Chelsea equal on points at the top.

A win would see us retaining the title for a second year running, a draw/loss (along with a Chelsea win) would see them pip us to it at the finish line. After a season of exciting and brilliant football, the latter would be just too horrible to comprehend. By the time the match started at 7.30pm, I was a nervous wreck and it was only going to get worse. For around 20 mins in the 2nd half, both teams were leading 1-0 and a goal either way would seal the title's fate. In the end however, it was a time of pure ecstasy with us winning 2-0 against Wigan, and Chelsea drawing 1-1 with Bolton. These moments are what makes being a fan so special.

This season has been different for two reasons. First, in my seven years of following the league, this is the first time the title race has gone all the way till the final day. Second, this is the first season where I've watched more than 50% of the matches online (due to being out of the country and not having access to cable TV for 4+ months). This win means it's our 17th league title now, and we need just one more to equal Liverpool's record of most league wins. It's been one the best seasons ever and it's not over yet! That's right, there is still the small tiny minuscule matter of the Champions League final on May 21st.

Win there also and this season would be the biggest ever since 1999.

Sunday, April 20, 2008


It's not often that I put up a post on music, though it runs through my blood. However, some things just beg for whole-hearted appreciation, there's no denying that. This post is solely dedicated to one such endeavor.

A couple of weeks before, I was asked to take a look at the site blackstratblues. It's a website put up by a bloke named Warren Mendonsa, whom many of you having interest in music/bands based out of India might have already heard of. He's the guitarist of the band 'Zero' and though I've never heard them play, I just can't wait to see them play live as soon as I get back from DC.

Well, this site is for his first (and hopefully not last) solo album called 'Nights in Shining Karma'. It consists of eight tracks (all instrumental) and each one is unique. The album starts of with the track 'Incense', that sounds so pure and gripping. You feel the track just crying out - 'You're listening to something special. Don't tune out, there's more magic yet to come.' The next track is 'Soar the sky' which is again beautiful and keeps you hooked on.

Then come the masterpieces. The next two tracks are my personal favorites - 'Anuva's sky' and 'Blues for Gary'. All I can say is - Just go listen to it! Anuva's sky is obviously written for a loved one, and the feel you get from the song is just brilliant. It just throws you into this realm of positive energy and hope. Blues for Gary is Gilmorish jazz (if I can use that word) and is another beautiful creation. Honestly, I've run out of superlatives so I'm gonna stop. The last song in the album is 'Bombay Rain' which is powerful and delivers a punch throughout.

The best part about this whole thing is that the album is available for free download on the site. I ain't joking - I've been listening to this album atleast once everyday for the last two weeks, it's almost like a ritual now! Don't wait for another second, just go to the site and listen to the album (it plays automatically) or download it (192kbps) and enjoy!

Sunday, April 06, 2008

My first random celebrity sighting!

Most people have never had the thrill of randomly sighting a celebrity. It's just too rare an experience, unless you live in Hollywood which ofcourse multiplies your chances by a factor of seven. (Again, a very random number chosen by me.) When I say random, I guess "by chance" would be the more meaningful term. That wouldn't include going for a cricket match and seeing Sachin. Or going to a film award show and seeing Shah Rukh. That would mean you see someone like Brad Pitt in a bar, or maybe Sharapova at the Gucci store. Something along those lines. Wishful thinking I know..but forgive me, I was just trying to drive the definition home! :)

Oh by the way, Shrek met Fardeen Khan at Mumbai aiport a few months ago. He was smoking away and some guy asked him for a light. He turned around and it was Fardeen! heh. Anyway, I finally had my chance yesterday, and the most weird thing about it would be the fact that I didn't even know he was a celebrity, let alone recognize him! Let me elaborate further. This is how the events unfolded...

Me, Shrek and Nick were in Chinatown yesterday at 4am, cos we were hungry after a night of partying. In fact, Chinatown is where most club-goers head to for dinner, since they're open at odd hours and are in close vicinity to downtown DC too. We'd just reached there and the place was jam-packed with a very tipsy crowd. So we were patiently waiting for a table along with two other Chinese guys who were around our age. Suddenly, one of the guys were like, "Hey, doesn't that guy look like A.D.?" and his friend was like "Yeah, kidding". I looked in the direction he was pointing, and I saw a pretty well-built afro-american guy with his friend. At the mention of the word "A.D.", he looked up and glanced over at our side, and turned suddenly back to his food.

You should have seen the look on the Chinese dude's face. There are some things money can't buy, for everything else there's MasterCard. You got it, priceless. He was like, "Oh..Oh..dudeeee..IT IS A.D.!!" And his friend too went wide-mouthed, and was like "Oh myyy Godddd". The Chinese guy almost started jumping with excitement non-stop..up and down..up and down. At this point I could not take it any longer, so I asked him, "Hey dude, who the hell is A.D.?" Again the look? Priceless. He looked at for me dumbstruck for two secs as if I were from a different planet. Then he went, "Dudeeeee!!! You don't know who A.D. is???? He..he...he's like the greatest footballer currently!!!!"

Alright, intermission. Let me give you some insight about our footballer in context. The guy was Adrian Peterson, running-back of the NFL team, the Minnesota Vikings. He just burst onto the scene last year, and won the NFL Offensive Rookie of the year award. He also won the MVP award for the Pro-Bowl game (something similar to an All-Stars NBA game). Now, that is pretty impressive. Alas, I only got all this info googling about him after I got home yesterday night, so at that time, he didn't make any impression on me.

Okay, back to the Chinese restaurant now. We finally got our table (4-5 tables away from A.D.) and the two Chinese guys got the table next to ours, and by this time, around 4-5 more of their friends had arrived too, along with their girlfriends. All of them were going gaga and stealing glances at him. The girls tried to coax the guys to go take a picture with him, but they were just too shy. Finally one of the girls had enough, and decided to go over to him. She went and said something and then he stood up and had his picture taken with her. All hell broke loose after that. Her friends rushed over too...and soon almost every single gal and guy in that place wanted to shake his hand, have their picture taken with him etc. I have to admit, he was very patient and amiable as well. After around 10 minutes, he decided to leave though and had his dinner boxed. Our next-table Chinese friends came back to their seats and couldn't stop gushing over him. "Duude...wowww...check out this pic!" and all that. We had an excellent time watching these events unfold, while polishing off our dinner of Singapore noodles, Kung-pow chicken and spicy fried squid.

In hindsight, I think it was a good idea heading to Chinatown for dinner.

The cost value? Great.
The entertainment value? Priceless :)

PS: Nick took some pics from where we were sitting, so when I get them, I'll post those later as an update.

Monday, March 17, 2008

770 Miles. In Three Days.

That's right! One helloffaa Road Trip is what you get.

I'm pretty sleepy already so I'll be sadly making this post short. We (Shrek + me) rented a car and drove all the way up north to Pittsburgh this weekend. We had friends who are currently at the Carnegie Mellon University, so accomodation was no problemo. I've never been to CMU before so just visiting the place was an experience itself. It easily gives you a feeling of standing on sacred ground. And the place looks steeped in heritage and history. Simply brilliant. Oh, and the Pittsburgh University's Cathedral of Learning is just like Minas Tirith! Sweet.

Next up was a visit to the Andy Warhol museum. Ron Mueck sculptures were so scary and yet beautiful at the same time. Nice Experience. Saturday evening was the big event. The Bon Jovi concert at the Mellon Arena. Daughtry opened for them and man, I really like them now! The stage and the whole setup was brilliant. My first indoor concert. Bon Jovi rocked the house that night and we couldn't help jumping of our seats for his biggest hits. Richie Sambora take a bow!

On Sunday we drove further north to Cleveland, Ohio. To the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame and Museum. Brilliant experience again. Located at the shore of Lake Erie, now frozen due to the winter, and just next to the Browns stadium, the Cleveland NFL team's home, the sight was almost unreal. The Rock n Roll hall of fame had some great exibits, especially the latest one on the Doors. The Pink Floyd props just made my day. Seeing all the artifacts they had in the place just blows you away. Real-life outfits and belongings of artists ranging from Elvis Presley and Jimi Hendrix to MJ and Madonna. The museum has a great store too, and I ended up blowing quite a bit of cash here.

We returned back today morning, tired from all the travel and lack of sleep. Yeah, and a lot of wrong exits too :) Here's some pics from the trip!

@CMU: Rise to the Top

Just the frozen Lake Erie and me.

Downtown Pittsburgh.

I love this pic - the Cleveland Browns stadium is in the background.

The men, the machine, and the map :)

The Rock n Roll Hall of Fame, Cleveland, Ohio.

PS: Three of the above pics have been taken by my teammate, Shrenik, who's one of the most amazing photographers I've seen (ahem, ahem..I'm doing major advertising here Skrek!). To see more of his pics, goto his flickr photoblog.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Live-In Jeans. Literally.

Warning: This post was written well past midnight, while waiting for my laundry to finish up. So please excuse the pissed-off nature of this post...I just couldn't help it given my helpless situation.

Well, I guess the title should say it all. If not, let me explain a lil more.

I'm back in the US of A for again. I'll be here for the next two months, so it's the not the shortest trip. Arrived here three days ago via Emirates (and hence via Dubai, which for me was a big thing, cos it was 14 yrs since I last lay foot in that place). Anyway, everything was fine until then, the flight, the complaints. We arrived at JFK (this time I have a team-mate travelling along with me) at 7am, got our luggage out and re-checked them in again for our next flight to DC. Arrived at the Reagan airport at around 2pm in the afternoon.

That's when everything started going downhill.

We waited at the baggage claim area patiently..all the people in our flight got their bags and left, one by one. My team-mate Shrenik got one of his bags (luckily the bigger one), but that's all. I didn't get both of mine. We then went to the airlines office and spoke to them. They took down our baggage codes and filed complaints. Then they very sweetly told us that there was nothing to worry about and we would get our bags by the next flight from JFK, which was that evening. They took down out hotel address and promised it would be delivered before nightfall.

That was 2.45pm, Monday.

Right now, it's 12.27am on a Thursday.

It's been three freakin days!

Well, almost three days till we got 2 bags. We had no updates of any of them till yesterday, but yes, we got two bags today night at 10pm. One of mine and one of Shrenik's. Unfortunately, but not very surprisingly, the way my luck has been recently, it was my SMALLER bag. The bag that had my sandals...around 3-4 used clothes..and some maggi and stuff. That's it. Everything else is in my other bigger bag! (sob, even my ext. HDD). To make things worse, the dharwad peda box I'd packed in had broken and all the pedas were lying crushed in between with my clothes. :(

The attempts to contact the airlines and enquire about my bag have been at the least, frustrating even bordering on sadistical humour. Bad enough that its a 1-800 number and you have to first answer a mechanical voice which sounds like a retarted robot. Then after all the pain and giving your reference number and other details, they route you to a helpline where finally get to speak to a human. That's when you start wishing you could instead have continued speaking to the robot. I ain't joking..they speak to you as if they were only supposed to read off 10 given lines. If they don't know the answer to your question, they just repeat any one of the 10 lines randomly. Today the guy asked me to give him my Indian address. I was like.."whhaa..what do you want to do? Deliver it back to India!?" But I didn't tell him that, I just gritted my teeth and told him. almost makes you wanna bang the phone down and start laughing at the same time.

Anyway, enough said. Truth is I still don't have a single update as to where my other bag is right now. I can only hope and wait that I get it, better late than never.

Alright, that's that..I''m off to the laundry to get my clean clothes..and I'm actually feeling excited. Why? I've been wearing the same pair of jeans non-stop for the last four days, ever since I got out of home.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

06.02.1958 3:04PM

One cold and bitter Thursday in Munich, Germany,
Seven great football stalwarts conceded victory,
Seven men will never play again who met destruction there,
The flowers of English football, the flowers of Manchester

Matt Busby’s boys were flying, returning from Belgrade,
This great United family, all masters of their trade,
The pilot of the aircraft and the skipper Captain Thain,
Three times they tried to take her up and twice turned back again.

The third time down the runaway disaster followed close,
There was ice upon the wings and the aircraft never rose,
It ran upon the marshy ground, it broke, it overturned.
And seven of the team were killed when the battered aircraft burned.

Roger Byrne and Tommy Taylor who were capped for England’s side.
And Ireland’s Billy Whelan and England’s Geoff Bent died,
Mark Jones and Eddie Colman, and David Pegg also,
Before the blazing wreckage went ploughing through the snow.

The trainer, coach and secretary, and a member of the crew,
Also eight sporting journalists who with United flew,
and one of them was Big Swifty, we never will forget,
the greatest English ‘keeper who ever graced a net.

They said that Duncan Edwards had an injury to his brain,
They said that Jackie Blanchflower would never play again,
Matt Busby he was lying there, the father of the team
Six months or more did pass before he saw another game

Oh, England’s finest football team its record truly great,
its proud successes mocked by a cruel turn of fate.
Seven men will never play again, who met destruction there,
the flowers of English football, the flowers of Manchester

-The Flowers of Manchester

Thanks to RR cos if it wasn't for checking out redRants I would have forgotten to pay my own respects to the Busby Babes. Here's hoping to a great year for us Reds. Let's hope that we can win the Champions League or perhaps even win the Treble this year - that would be such a brilliant tribute to these great men.