Friday, September 30, 2005

A Thought on Life & Maria Sharapova

I happened to receive these forwards sometime back. In those days, there were better things to write on my blog, but now my mind is completely empty, so there’s nothing to write about.

This one is a thought on life, as quoted by George Costanza, Jerry Seinfeld's best friend. I agree with what he had to say. My outlook in life is similar, may be it’s due to the fact that I have crossed the golden period in one’s life – the 16-23 age group.

The next one is one of the best forwards I have received. The title of the forward was “Men Concentrating on their Work”. An apt title.

Life - A Standstill

My life has come to a perfect standstill. The same set of rituals over and over again, life has become so monotonous.

I’ve been doing the same things over the past 5 days. Keeping my alarm at 6:15, snoozing the alarm till 7 and wake up lazily by 7:15. I realize that I am late by 7:30 and that’s when my flight takes off. Get ready in a jiffy, rush to the office, barely managing to get in time. After checking my mails and doing some early morning chores, if at all there are any, I go out to have my breakfast, which is usually Puri Masala.

The day flies past in the office. Let’s not talk about my work in the office, since it’s a sensitive issue and its better to leave it alone. So fast forwarding the time, I reach back home.

At home the only thing I do is listen to FM radio channels and read novels. I had started “The Sum of all Fears” in the second week of September, and I am yet to finish it. Usually I finish books in a week or so, but this one is a huge one around 1100 pages, so I am taking my own time. The first 200 pages were extremely slow, the author was taking his own time to build the story. Now that I am nearing the 500th page, the plot is getting better and I hope the last 300 or so pages are absolute page turners.

Since the book was the best selling novel throughout the world in the year 1991, it has to be a good one. Plan to finish it by next weekend. I have bought the next book to be read, The Negotiator by Fredrick Forsyth.

So to break the monotonous life, I decided to pay a visit to my parents during this weekend. I’m leaving for Bangalore tonight and plan to catch up with a few friends there. Hope I get the required break and return afresh on Monday.

Life becomes such a big pain when you are frustrated!!!

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Google Earth - A "Threat" to Indian Security???

The front page of The Time of India screams “Google Earth Exposes IAF Bases”. The article goes in length to explain, that after acquiring satellite images of the three Indian cities, viz Bangalore, Delhi and Mumbai, our national security is at risk.

The article said how one could use Google Earth, zoom in on Bangalore and view the airport, Yelahanka Air Base and HAL factory. It said that our fighter planes and helicopters are clearly visible, along with their camouflaged hangers.

Then the article speaks as to how one can zoom into Delhi, our national capital and see the Rashtrapati Bhavan or the Palam Airport. Moving over to Mumbai, the news article claimed that one could zoom into the port and see various naval ships. It claimed that INS Virat could be viewed clearly.

So according to The Times of India, the Indian national security is at risk, due to these satellite pictures.

After reading the article, the first thought was that if such things are possible with Indian cities, then it should be true for other cities as well. I was shocked to read in the paper, that US Government had blacked out the photographs of White House, so the first thing I did was to check it. I found that the claim was false.

The White House was seen with better resolution that The Rashtrapati Bhavan, all the lawns, trees, the fountain in front of the building, everything was seen clearly.

To prove that the report by The Times of India is nothing but a false rumor, I searched for Langley Air Base, one of the oldest and important Air Bases in the US. The images that I got are as shown below.

It’s a shame that a newspaper like The Times of India, choose to publish such an article. This was never expected from a paper which is more than a hundred years old and is the number one news paper in many cities. What did the paper think would happen if Google published such images? Our enemies would use it to strike us?

Our enemies which has the capability to strike us already have every square inch of the country mapped using spy satellites, others would have got the required information from such countries. They would have better images of the facilities than the ones given by Google.

I am wondering what the editors were doing. Did they find this news so disturbing that they had to put it in the front pages of their publications? If the US or any other country had no problem in such photographs being shown on Google Earth, then why should India have any issues?

Monday, September 26, 2005

Salaam Namaste

Watched the movie on Saturday, in Melody. It was the first time after coming to Chennai that I was watching a movie in a theater other than Satyam. I had been to Melody before, when I was in Chennai during my 11th standard, which was way back in the year 1997. I had been there to watch Gupt, the sound in the theater was amazing. Even now, the sound is good.

The first thing that amazed me was that the balcony ticket cost Rs.70/-. While if it were Satyam, one would have had to pay more than 100/- for a seat in the balcony.

Now, let me get into the movie. For the people who have not watched the movie, they can stop reading here. The movie is certainly worth a watch, so go watch it.

Since the movie is from the Yash Chopra stables, it’s not a surprise that it’s a love story. The story goes like this.

Location is Australia. The girl, played by Preity Zinta, is doing her higher studies in medicine, against her parent’s wishes. Her parents wanted her to get married, while she would have none of it. After she leaves home, her parents sever all links and she is left to fend for herself. So she takes up the job of a Radio Jockey at the local FM station, Salaam Namaste, which targets the Indian diaspora.

The boy, played by Saif Ali Khan, is an architect by qualification, but a cook by profession. He became an architect since his dad wanted him to be one, but he had more interest in cookery. After his course in architecture, his dad got him an offer to design a hotel. The owner of the hotel did not like his design, but liked the food that he cooked, so he was appointed as the head chef of the hotel. He soon grows to be the best Indian chef in the city.

The boy is a late riser. He has missed many classes, appointments and meetings due to this habit. One such appointment happens to be an interview by the girl at Salaam Namaste. Our girl hates people who are not on time and waste others time as well. The boy never turns up for the meeting as he is sleeping, and the girl is angry at him.

To take her revenge, she starts all sorts of negative publicity for the restaurant where the boy works as a chef. As a result, the sales of the restaurant go down. The girl vows that she would not stop the negative publicity until the boy publicly apologizes to her for coming late on her show. Thus starts the enmity, which no doubt would blossom into a love later in the movie. As of now, its hatred for each other, given a chance they would have gone at each others throats.

The boy and the girl happen to meet at the marriage of a friend of the girl. The boy comes there as the cook in the marriage. Not knowing their real identities, the boy and girl meet, sparks fly and they are head over heals in love with each other.

Soon after knowing that there is something between them, they get to know each others identities, but that does not prevent them from falling in love. The problem with this couple is that both of them do not want to marry. They feel that their freedom will be curbed and also if their choices are wrong, then they might have to repent later. But neither can stay away from each other.

So the boy suggests that they try a live-in relationship for sometime, so that they get to know how compatible they are with each other. The girl is reluctant initially, but agrees since she cannot live without him.

They find a house, and pay one years rent in advance. Both pitch in equal amounts for the advance. The boy puts the money he had decided to invest in a new hotel, while the girl takes a loan from Salaam Namaste, which meant that she would be working without any salary, until the loan amount in repaid.

After 3 months of staying together, the inevitable happens, the girl is pregnant. They also realize that they are extremely compatible.

When the girl reveals the news to the boy, he goes hysteric and asks her to abort the baby, since he is not ready to become a father as he has other plans to do. He also feels that the boy will spoil the future plans of the girl. In spite of all the pressure from the boy, the girl decides against aborting the baby.

The girl has to stay in the house, since there is so much money invested in it, so they stay in the house like two strangers, obviously in love with each other, but unable to cope up due to the child.

Finally, all’s well that ends well. The boy gets his share of Gyan, from his cook, his friends and from a set of strangers, and gets back on tracks. He realizes that his love for the girl is true and he should accept her as well as the kids. (I think I forgot to mention that the girl is pregnant with twins)

Overall a good movie. I loved the first half, the second half was overall manageable, but the final half hour is simply unbearable. The director has made a mess of the ending. I suppose he ran out of ideas.

The director, Siddharth, appears in a cameo role as a taxi driver. Abhishek Bachchan is good as the narrator of the movie, but the moment he makes an appearance during the last half hour, all hell breaks loose. His attempts at comedy fall flat. May be he should have stuck with the narration only.

Before I end the review, one word about Javed Jaffery. He is the house owner of the boy and girl. His acting, along with the dialogues makes one roll with laughter. He plays his role to perfection.

Sophisticated beggars

Read this interesting article on the website of The Times of India. This is Change Management and Adaptability at its best!!!

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Amity Business School - Derecognized!!!

I had mentioned in my previous post, that I always used to wonder how Amity used to consistently rank at no 12 in most of the business school surveys. Looks like my questions are going to be answered.

AICTE has recently withdrawn its approval to two of its courses – the full time and part time MBA courses. I found two articles on this news. One by Yahoo! News and the other by The Telegraph.

My heart goes out to the 150-200 odd students whose future is hanging in the balance.

I also happened to chance upon these two blogs, iipm and iipm delhi. It was really hilarious as to how they went about commenting on each others blogs to promote IIPM. I believe it is one of Arindam’s “Count the Chickens Before they Hatch” strategy being put into action.

Its high time management education in India attains maturity. I don’t know how much more money would be wasted or how many futures would be sent down the drain before we see some change in the scenario.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

A Sumptuous Dinner and a Disastrous Movie

Had a wonderful evening yesterday. Anirudh and I decided to meet up, since we had not met for a long time, and also we very badly wanted to watch a mallu movie in theater. So we decided to meet in front of Kumarakom, a famous mallu restaurant in Arcot Road. Arif, another of our TAPMI classmate also agreed to join.

I was not aware of the fact that there were two Kumarakom Hotels in Arcot Road. One was very near to the Nungambakkam High Road, while the other was a bit far away from Nungambakkam High Road. The one farther away from Nungambakkam High Road was the original and the tastier of the two.

As usual, I went to the wrong place, and messaged Anirudh that I had already arrived. Anirudh called after 15 minutes enquiring about me. I told him that I was standing at the entrance of Kumarakom, and to my surprise he also claimed that he was in front of Kumarakom. Then we realized our mistakes and decided to have dinner at the old Kumarakom.

We had Kappa. Meenkarri, Aappam, Parota, Chicken curry and Mutton stew. We ate like we had not had food for a long time. The food was amazing, and any mallu in Chennai who loves to eat non-veg and has not visited this place, then you know where to go this weekend.

After the dinner, we proceeded to Anand to watch the movie. Mohanlal’s Onam release Naran was running there and we decided to watch it. The reviews about the movie were not good, but since we had decided on watching a movie, we went in.

The movie turned out to be a real torture. I never expected this from a Mohanlal movie. Firstly Mohanlal was not suited for the role. He is too old to play a strong, fast moving, fighting machine who terrorizes the village in which he stays so that people remain good. The movie lacked a story and the first half was totally directionless. There was some story in the second half, but by then the only thing the viewer wants is to get out of the hall and go home.

The movie showcases Mohanlal and nothing else. No other actor has any significant role, except for Siddique, who plays the villain.

For people who have not watched it, I’d recommend you to skip it.

Being a die-hard Mohanlal fan, it pains me to watch him play the kind of roles that does not suit his age. Its high time Mohanlal realizes it and switches over to the roles that suit him and his age. If he continues to take roles like these, people will soon get bored of him.

He is a remarkable actor and I love his acting. I consider him as one of the best actors in the Indian film industry. There are so many of his movies, which I do not mind watching over and over. But that was a different phase and this is different. I hope both he and his directors realize this soon and we can see him more good roles like the ones he played in Devasuram, Kireedom, Kilukkam, Chitram....... there are so many movies that I can add in this list!!!

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Sania to play in a Burqua???

I was shocked to read about the recent fatwa issued against Sania Mirza regarding her dress during her on court appearance. Shocked due to the fact that the clerics choose to overlook the fact that the girl had taken Indian tennis to a different level, the choose to turn a blind eye to her recent performances, they choose to forgot that she is ranked 34th in the world, and worse still is that she has reignited the passion Indians had in tennis after Paes-Bhupathi duo’s heroics in doubles.

For the so called protectors of Islam, its not important as to what Sania has managed to achieve in such a short period of her career in tennis. She has managed to come up to the top of world tennis, even after being trained in India. For many youngsters who are aspiring to be on the top of tennis, Sania could be the ideal role model. And the most important thing is that in a country where no other sports other than Cricket gets its worth, Sania has managed to get the attention of both the people as well as potential sponsors.

For the clerics, the dress Sania wears during the matches have become a concern. I cannot believe how people can be suppressed in the name of religion.

I might be ignorant about Islam, but I find it hard to believe that Mohammed wanted the women to be oppresses. I cannot believe that God wants woman to stay in the house, look after the various needs of a man, and not to have any freedom of her own. I am sure that no God would have willed that women should be looked down upon or oppresses as in many countries around the world.

Every religion has its share of humiliating women. For the believers of Hinduism, in Ramayana, Rama asked his dutiful wife to prove her loyalty to him by walking over fire. For the believers of Christianity, a number of women were condemned as witches and burned in the 1100’s in Europe. But to find stories of this kind in today’s world, where man’s knowledge about the world he lives in has reached its peak, is disheartening.

I am not against Islam, but to hear stories like these from lands ruled by them, I am forced to think how narrow minded they can be. I am sure no God would have laid down rules that they are making their people follow.

I hope the fatwa on Sania is resolved soon. I also hope it does not have any impact on her career. I hope that she continues to bring laurels to the country.

Please note that my views are based on my comprehensions of descriptions of various events. The views are mine alone and I do not intent to hurt anyone, I apologize if I have hurt a sentiment or feeling.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005


I’m leaving for Kerala today. It’s been a long time since I celebrated Onam in Kerala. A lot of my relatives will be coming and its going to be a gala time there.

Will be leaving tonight by Allappey Express, and returning only on Monday 19th morning.

So wish you all a very happy Onam!!!

Eevarkkum Ende Snehamniranja Onashamsakal!!!

Su Do Ku

The first news about this new grid game came when I was in Bangalore, during the two month holidays I had before I joined my job. The article came in Business Standard. The article spoke in lengths about the craze the game had created in Japan and other eastern countries. The game was moving to other parts of the world and was starting to create flutters in Europe.

The article claimed that the game would soon take over the US and the Indian subcontinent. The article also said that even thought the puzzle looks simple, its not an easy puzzle to solve. It required the person to use reasoning and logic to solve it, and the article also added that a daily practice of Su Do Ku might keep the person’s brain sharp.

Within 2 weeks of the reading the article, I started seeing the articles in newspapers. It was for the readers to solve the puzzle. I subscribe to The Hindu, and it too has a daily puzzle to be solved of varying degrees of difficulty. Even though I used to see the article daily, I never attempted to solve one until yesterday.

As usual, I reached home without anything in my mind. Somehow the size of the book I am reading presently puts me off, so I could not muster the energy to continue with the book. That’s when I saw the puzzle and decided to solve it. The puzzle was marked as a Very Easy one and so I thought of trying it.

The puzzle requires the solver to fill up a 9X9 square grid with numbers from 1-9 in every row and every column. The condition is that a number cannot appear twice in a row or a column. The big 9X9 square is divided into 9 3X3 squares, and these 3X3 squares should in turn contain the numbers from 1-9 only once.

I messed the first one up, and by the time I finished messing with my second puzzle, I figured out the way to solve it. So I got 2 more puzzles from the stack of old newspapers and I was off.

By the time I slept at 12am, I had solved 4 puzzles. One Very Easy, one Easy and two Medium. I tried my best with a Hard puzzle, but even after breaking my head for 45 minutes, I could not solve it.

The Very Easy ones are real easy, I was able to solve them in 10-15 minutes. The Easy ones took 20-25 minutes while the medium ones took 30-40 minutes. So going by the standards, a Hard one would take near an hour.

Shall definitely solve one in the near future!!!!

Monday, September 12, 2005

The Last Juror - Book Review

After my last book review, which was for “The Runaway Jury”, I had mentioned to Sushil that it might not be possible to read two books by the same author back to back. I ended up doing just that, I read “The Last Juror” just after completing “The Runaway Jury”. So here I am writing the review of “The Last Juror”.

The story starts off with Joyner William Traynor, starting his internship at The Ford County Times, a local newspaper of Clanton, Mississippi. The owner, Wilson Caudle, had driven the paper to bankruptcy through years of mismanagement.

Traynor, who was doing his course on journalism, quit college after numerous attempts to clear the exams. With the help of his wealthy grandmom, known as BeeBee, he gets a job as an intern in Times.

After Times files for bankruptcy, Traynor, now known as Willie due to a mistake made by Wison, offers to buy the newspaper. He borrows money from BeeBee and buys the paper.

When he bought the newspaper, Times had a circulation of 2500, and was mainly reporting news about the white people and also the main news was obituary. Willie started taking interest in building the newspaper to greater heights, since he knew that he was sitting on a gold mine. He only needed to do the right things.

Willie started focusing on the people, started reporting on the lives of the people who have been through various struggles. He also focused on sports and other thingst hat concerned the day to day activities of the people of Clanton.

His newspaper circulation started to increase, and things were moving on smoothly until the cold blooded murder of a widow, Rhoda Kassellaw, by a member of one of the darkest families of Clanton, The Padgitts.

The murderer, Danny Padgitt, was caught red handed and was produced before court. The Padgitts were known to intimidate and bribe people, and so to have a fair trial, the judge Reed Loopus, made sure that everything was under control.

Meanwhile, Willie befriends a black woman, a woman who has risen from the bottom of the society to get a respectable position in the world she lived today. Her name was Calia Ruffin, who was married to Eshu for more than forty years. She had raised eight children, seven of whom had doctorate degrees. The eight had to abscond from Clanton to save his life, since he had an affair with a white married woman.

Calia and Willie enjoy a very good friendship, with Willie spending an afternoon every week enjoying the food cooked by Calia. Calia in turn told her story, of her rise and resolve to teach her children and earn the respect she currently enjoyed. She also proof read Times and pointed out the mistakes in them.

As time passes, their friendship grew stronger and he became a member of her family. The Padgitt case was also drawing to the climax. The jury was being chosen and Ms. Calia was chosen as a juror, the first black juror in the history of Clanton.

The case starts at the earnest, and Willie earns the wrath of the Padgitt family for his coverage of the murder. He puts the pictures Danny, soaked in blood, which was captured soon after the murder and also puts in the account of various secret sources which clearly indicated that Danny was a cold blooded murderer.

The murder witnesses many attempts by the Padgitts to prove that Danny was not the murderer, but finally the jury finds him guilty and sentences him for life on two accounts – one for rape and the other for murder. Before the verdict was announced, Danny threatens to kill every juror in case he is indicted in the trial. The jury awarded him the life sentence instead of awarding him the capital punishment.

Life sentences in Mississippi was for 10 years, and Danny’s life sentences ran concurrently, and unknown to most of Clanton, Danny’s case came for Parole hearing at the end of the eighth year. Willie gets winds of the news and appears for the hearing, he prevents Danny from getting his freedom, and earns more hatred from the Padgitts.

The next year, Padgitts offered more bribe and finally are able to secure Danny’s release, much to the dismay of Willie and the jurors.

Out of the 12 jurors, one has died and two had relocated by the time Danny was released. And within weeks of his release on of the jurors is killed. Within a month, one more is killed and there in another attempt on a third juror.

Willie fears for the life of his friend, Ms. Calia and also for himself.

Spoiler Warning: The ending/plot of the book is discussed below.

It turns out that the two jurors which were murdered and the third one on which the attempt was made were the only jurors who did not want Danny to earn the capital punishment. This information was relayed to Willie by Ms. Calia, who in turn informs the sheriff.

This prompts them to believe that Danny did not have any hand in the two killings and the attempted one. Their fears turn out to be true, as both the murders were committed by a one time lover of Rhoda, who was schizophrenic, and wanted to take revenge on Danny, as the “voices” of Rhoda and her children had commanded him to do so.

He knew about the three jurors since he was a close friend of the judge Loopus. So he killed the two and made an attempt on the third so that the authorities could apprehend Danny on suspicion and bring him in public, where he could utilize the opportunity to get his final revenge.

As expected by the schizophrenic lover of Rhoda, the authorities arrest Danny on suspicion and when he is produced in court, he is shot.

Overall a very good read, but I found some parts too boring. One section which clearly comes to my mind is the description of the churches, which Willie visits to put in his newspaper.

Again Grisham’s writing style and the simplicity of the story gets through and you end up liking the book.

Operation Clean

If bachelors are staying in a house, then the house is not considered to be well maintained. It’s a common notion that there will be things strewn on the floor, things ranging from clothes, newspapers, books, mobiles, mats, sheets, and the lists are endless.

Our house is no different. I had undertaken a similar cleaning exercise on 28th of last month, and by 11th, the house had become so dirty thanks to the rains and the dust that was brought in by the shoes.

Since Gokul had moved in with me, it was easier for 2 people to clean the house rather than one poor fellow to clean it up. Looking at the condition of the house, and since it was a leave for both of us, we decided to undertake the painstaking exercise of cleaning the house.

We kept procrastinating till 11am, and finally at 11 we got into the mood and started the exercise. I decided to show off my skills with the broom while Gokul decided that his skills are better in mopping the floor.

Over the next 1 hour and 45 minutes, we cleaned 2 bedrooms, a hall, a dining room, a store room, a kitchen, a balcony, a work area and two bathrooms.

After the exercise, the house was sparkling clean, not even a speck of dust was visible anywhere. It was such a satisfying experience – we had put in the effort and the results were showing.

I prefer to clean the house myself rather than let a maid do it. Its true that it saves you a lot of inconvenience, but nevertheless, the house is cleaned to your liking and you know that you have put your best foot forward towards the effect.

We celebrated the event by heading off to Ponnuswamy’s hotel to have a sumptuous lunch. I had a plate of Chicken Biriyani along with a plate of Ponnuswamy chicken. After stuffing ourselves with food, I went home and crashed straight into the bed for a well deserved sleep.

Today morning, as I stepped into the office, our receptionist enquired as to what I did on Sunday. I proudly told her that I cleaned our house. She replied, “Bachelors, so you do it yourselves. After marriage it’s the headache of your wife to keep the house clean. For you its just an activity during your transition period, while for married-working women like me, it’s a never ending routine!!!”

Food for thought, keeping in mind the fact that she is a member of the huge middle-class society, and that too with a 2-year old kid to take care of.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Se7en Things....... I've been tagged!!!

I've been following this new tag that has been doing its round in the blog world. I was quiet happy that noone has tagged me, and I was not expecting to me tagged, untill Prakash leaves me a comment - "I've tagged you".

So here it goes..... I've tried my best to get the things straight from my heart......

Se7en things I plan to do before I die
  • Build a house
  • Buy a few cars
  • Visit every continent in this world (Might drop Antarctica, but I’ll try my best)
  • Drive a Hayabusa & cross 200km/hr – I’ll die of happiness if I buy it!!!!
  • Fall in love
  • Get married
  • Start a hotel/resort with few of my TAPMI friends

Se7en things that I can do
  • Learn swimming
  • Read more books
  • Make more friends
  • Donate a part of my salary to an NGO
  • Exercise regularly
  • Start taking life seriously
  • Service my bike regularly

Se7en things I can’t do
  • Eat brinjals or bitter gourd or ladies finger
  • Listen to boring speeches
  • Stand selfishness or self praising
  • Stop admiring beauty, especially of the members of the opposite sex
  • Tell a girl that I love her
  • Forget or forgive people who have hurt me
  • Live without Internet

Se7en things that attract me to the opposite sex

  • Eyes
  • Smile
  • Intelligence
  • Long & curly lock of hair
  • Compassionate
  • Mischievous
  • Courageous and Bold

Se7en things I say most
  • Ende amme
  • Aiyyo
  • Teri maa ki aankh
  • Abey Yaar...
  • Shit
  • OK
  • I See...

Se7en celebrities I wish to meet
  • APJ Abdul Kalam
  • Sachin Tendulkar
  • Amitabh Bachchan
  • Julia Roberts
  • Steve Waugh
  • Stephi Graph
  • Stephen Hawking

Se7en people I am tagging

Thursday, September 08, 2005

The Fantastic Four & A Fantastic Night

Had been to Satyam yet again on Tuesday night to watch The Fantastic Four. The movie was good. I would recommend a watch-it-once for the movie. There is nothing great about the story or the characters, the movie failed to introduce the characters in a better way. The graphics are good.

Hope the sequel would do a better job at it. I liked Spiderman much better than this one.

The movie starts with a scientist, Richard, who believes that mutations are caused by the exposure of the organism to cosmic rays. He predicts that a burst of cosmic rays from the sun is on its way and they could do tests and prove his theory. Together with his partner Ben, he seeks the help of Victor, who owns a space station. Victor’s assistant, Susan and Richard were one time lovers.

The four, accompanied by Susan’s brother, Johnny, reach the space station, only to find that the cosmic rays are going to arrive well ahead of time. They are unable to take any protective measures, and all five end up getting exposed to the cosmic rays.

After crash landing back to earth, they start discovering new abilities in them. Johnny can turn himself into a ball of fire and can fly. Susan can become invisible and also create force fields. Richard can stretch his body to any shape and length. Ben turns into a very strong and powerful creature, which makes him loath his abilities since he has lost his good looks and his wife leaves him due to his looks.

Victor’s companies board members fire him for his inabilities to create profits, and in rage he discovers that his body is changing into a metal, much powerful than titanium. He can draw power from other sources like electricity and can cause extensive damage.

While the first four use their powers for good, like saving lives of people, Victor uses it to kill all the board members. He understands that his powers can be matched by the other four, so he plans to annihilate them.

Meanwhile, Richard creates a machine which would reverse the process of mutation created by the cosmic rays. Richard, Susan and Ben are desperate to get back to their original selves. Johnny accepts his mutation and thinks that its cool.

Victor gets winds of this machine and tricks Ben into using it. After hitting Ben, he takes Richard hostage and super cools him in an attempt to kill him. He later unleashes a heat seeking missile on Johnny.

Johnny escapes by misdirecting the missile on a ship carrying garbage. Susan knows what is happening and goes to help Richard. Ben realizes his mistake by getting back to his old self, and he converts back into the creature. Together the four manages to overcome Victor by freezing him after heating him to a very high temperature.

The movie ends with the four coming to terms with their powers and promising to do good for the human race with their powers. Also shown in the assistant of Victor, recovering his body and taking it to his native Latveria.

The movie got over at 12am, and we (Gokul & myself) came out to find that it was raining. There were no signs of a let off, and after waiting for half an hour, we decided to go home. By the time we reached home, we were drenched.

Once we reached the flats, we realized that we had not taken the key to the staircase door. So we were stranded outside our own flats. We had the keys to our house, but we did not have the keys to the staircase, which would take us to our house.

So we had to go to one of Gokul’s friend’s house nearby. We did not get any chothes, so had to sleep in the drenched ones, and that too under a fan.

There’s no need to guess what happened after that. You can read about it in the post below.

Cold, Cough, Fever, Stomach Ache & Body Pain - is't it enough??

I hate it when I am not feeling well. Be it something serious like the Jaundice I had during 2002 or the mild cold which I keep suffering from on a regular basis.

The very moment your body shows signs of sickness, your entire perspective about life changes. You fell like why it had to be you, or why of all the days you had to fall ill today.

Today I am suffering from fever, running nose, severe cough, stomach pains and my entire body is paining, especially my necks and back. I cannot sit or lie down without experiencing any pain or discomfort.

I got drenched in while I was in Bangalore on Saturday. After returning from Bangalore, I got drenched on Tuesday night also. By yesterday morning I had a running nose and by evening I was having fever.

Today morning, it was worse. I could not sleep properly yesterday night, kept waking up every now and then. Now I am in my office, sitting in the ac with a fever, and the stomach pain is not making my time in the office any better.

I met the doc in the office and he prescribed a few medicines to me. One each for fever, stomach pain, running nose and cough. I hope I start feeling better soon. Do not want to go home.

If I go home, I would be all alone. My roommate would have gone to work and the entire house would be empty. Loneliness is the last thing I can take when I am not feeling well, so I am sitting in the office, so that I can see some human activity going on around me.

I am missing my mom a lot now. My mom used to say that I would act like a small child when I am not feeling well. I loved to spend a lot of my time simply lying on her lap. I loved doing it, and today I am missing her a lot. I would never have taken medicines if I were at home. Just lie down on her lap, keep taking food and other ayurvedic kashayams which she gives me. I would have been fit within a day.

I hope I get back to my normal self as soon as possible.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Waiting at Chennai Central

Unlike the last time, I had not forgotten anything at home when I left for the station. So there was no need to return back home, once I had left it.

Everything went on smoothly – I had dinner, got a bus and reached Chennai Central at 9pm. Well before the departure time of 9:45pm. The train was to depart from platform no 3. So I reached platform 3, and all my dreams of a smooth journey to Bangalore came crashing down.

The rake(bogies of the train sans the engine) had not yet arrived on the platform. From the vast experience that I had after traveling in trains, I knew that the rake arrived at the originating station one hour before departure. So in my case, the rake should have arrived on platform 3 at 8:45pm, but the rake had not arrived even at 9:15pm. I smelt trouble.

The rake finally arrived at 9:35pm and I was all set to sleep within 10 minutes – I was waiting for the train to leave. I kept looking at the watch, it showed 9:45pm, after sometime it was 10pm, but the train had not budged. So I ventured out into the platform to see what the trouble was.

In the very next platform I could see Allappey Express – it was supposed to leave at 9:15pm. So I knew, that there was some trouble and the trains would be late. Enquiries with TTE’s and RAF’s proved to be futile. Those poor souls were also trying to find out why we were late. There were no announcements from the control room either.

Finally after walking up and down the platform for the nth time, there was an announcement at 10:45pm. “Due to power tripping at a station after Arakkonam, all trains would be late by half an hour.” This announcement was made after our train was already an hour late and there was another train – Nilgiri Express – which was 2 hours late.

I made a trip to the row of shops, to buy a Pepsi, and finding no other way to kill time, I called my parents and told them about the development. Then I called up Ganesh and talked to him for sometime.

At 11:15pm another announcement came. “Due to power tripping at a station after Arakkonam, all trains would be late by an hour.” It was not getting any better. We had been waiting for an hour and half, and announcements were being made that the trains would be late by an hour.

All announcements were being made in Tamil till now. Soon after the announcements at 11:15pm, the lady gave an announcement in English. It was one of the worst sentence anyone could make in English – full of grammatical mistakes – and it did not make any sense. Since I knew Tamil, I understood that she was trying her best to convey the message from the previous announcements in Tamil, in English.

The power was restored to the tracks by 11:30pm. The first trains started moving out and our train slowly chugged out at 11:50pm. The train was 2 hours late, and I was hoping that it makes up for the lost time during the night. I was expecting the train to arrive 1 and half hours late.

The train arrived 3 hours late at Bangalore!!!!!

Hail Indian Railways!!!!

Monday, September 05, 2005

Mumbai Vs New Orleans

This was the sign outside one of the many shops in New Orleans –

“Don’t try. I am sleeping inside with a big dog, ugly wife, 2 shot guns and a big sledge hammer.”

This pretty much sums up the situation in the hurricane ravaged New Orleans. The total failure of civic authorities in a country like the United States is shocking. Considering the fact that New Orleans is a very small city when compared to Mumbai, but I could not stop myself from making comparisons between the flood ravaged Mumbai and New Orleans.

Mumbai has a population of 1.26 Crores, whereas New Orleans is inhabited by 43 lakh people, but the situation after the natural disasters in both the places were in absolute contrast when comparing the populations.

The situation was the same in both the places, every nook and corner of the towns were flooded with water. People could not venture outside and life had come to a complete standstill. The comparisons between the two places stop here.

In Mumbai, as news started pouring in, there were news about how people helped each other, shared food, set up make shift tents to harbour people who were rendered homeless. There were stories as to how young men had risked their lives to save people stuck in buses and flats. There were stories of people standing outside their homes, giving whatever possible to the needy – be it food, clothing or shelter.

New Orleans has scripted a different picture. After the ravaging by nature, it was the turn of the people to ravage each other. There were cases of looting, arson and rape. Armed gangs took over the town, killing people to preserve themselves.

Survival of oneself was of utmost concern, and people were ready to shoot and kill others for this cause. There were not many cases where people had formed groups to help each other or to try and collectively face the major hurdle.

Another shocking news was that the first airdrop of food, water and medicines took place after 2 days. The government was found totally unprepared and their entire mechanism failed.

Equally shocking was the scene were people were seen scrambling for food dropped by the civic agencies. I was left wondering whether the footages were from The United States of America or some African country.

The mismanagement of the situation has led me to believe that Compassion for fellow beings is something that is lacking in the people. They came out as extremely selfish and uncivilized.

America…. There’s a lot you can learn from India!!!!

Friday, September 02, 2005

An Update

Another weekend is approaching, and before I leave for Bangalore for the weekend, let me look at what happened last week.

There were no major adventures, so there was nothing to write about. I was not very regular in blogging since there was nothing much to write. In between I managed to squeeze in two posts regarding a few books that I’ve read.

I have a new roommate now. So there’s no more loneliness awaiting me when I return back home. At least there’s someone I can talk to at home.

The trip to Bangalore should be good. Planning to meet a lot of friends and to watch a few movies.

Happy weekend!!!!

Thursday, September 01, 2005

The Runaway Jury

Mr. Wood dies of lung cancer at the early age of 51. His widow, Celeste Wood, with the help of a set of lawyers, led by Wendell Rohr, set out to take the tobacco companies to the court, holding them responsible for making the product which killed her husband. Their argument was that tobacco companies purposefully kept the tobacco levels high, so that more and more people gets hook to the habit, which would earn them billions in profits.

The defense is a conglomerate of four tobacco companies, who have already fought 56 cases against them. Most of them ruling in their favour, and others ending as mistrials. The defense employs a notorious consultant, Rankin Fitch, whose job is to ensure his client’s victory, without consideration to cost or legality of the method he adopts.

All the cases that have been won by the defense has been due to the involvement of Fitch, who painstakingly studies the potential jurors, and selects the best which would provide them a decisive victory. Once the jurors are selected, Fitch again gets to work. Trying to dig out information, contacting the relatives of the jurors, bribing them, pressurizing them into voting for the defense.

This particular case is going to be different because of the presence of one Nicolas Easter. Fitch could not unearth any information about his background, but his mannerism and behaviour prompted him to select Easter as a juror.

Once the 12 jurors have been selected, Fitch starts getting calls from a female who identifies herself as Marlee, who claims that she can control the jury and deliver the kind of verdict which suits her.

To demonstrate her powers, she predicts what Easter and other jurors would be wearing to the hearings of the case. She dumps the members of the jury according to her will.

Who is she? All attempts by Fitch to trace her ends up at dead ends. Is she after money? How can she control the entire jury? Whose favour will she swing the jury? Who will win the case?

Spoiler Warning: Climax and other twists discussed below.

Marlee’s real name is Gabriele. The only daughter of a couple who both died of lung cancer due to prolonged exposure to cigarette smoke. She meets Easter, who was a law student and gets to learn about tobacco cases. She learns how people like Fitch are manipulating the results in favour of the tobacco companies, who continue to poison the people.

They devise a plan to get even with the tobacco companies and elaborate a plan to get Fitch to think that they are working with him, but at the climax, the couple plans the verdict in favour of the plaintiff.

The movie which was released in 2003, was very similar to the novel. The major difference being that the movie switched tobacco companies with gun manufacturers. In the movie, the plaintiff was the widow of the owner of a large company, who was killed by one of his employees, who managed to obtain a gun illegally.

The movie also differs in the number of jurors who get bumped off from the jury. In the novel, 3 jurors are bumped off by Easter, while in the movie, just one of the juror is bumped off.

Also, in the novel, towards the end, only Marlee comes to meet Fitch, while in the movie both Marlee and Easter meet Fitch. Also in the novel, Marlee promises to return the 10 million she accepted as bribe from Fitch for delivering the verdict he wanted.

Overall a good read. I would rank it a step lower that The Firm, which is the best of Grisham’s four books that I have read.