Thursday, June 30, 2005

Down South, Part 1

If you're a true blue, born and bred Delhiite like me, you'll notice two things when you leave. First, you become chauvinistic and start defending your city against the vicious attacks and malignations of other city-wallahs. And second, GAWD, you start missing the autowallas. You cant haggle with someone in Kannada, and can't tell them, with a resolute face, "Nahin Le Chalna, To Mat Le chalo". Theyre no alternative you can rely on, the public transport sucks(in Bangalore), and, the people are just wayyy too honest..its unnerving. They actually dont charge you extra, or take you on circuitous routes across a strange city. It Sucks. I miss my lying, cheating dilli-walli janta...who chaarge me 30 bucks for getting from IIT Gate to Vasant Vihar.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Look out, Mr. Kakkar

You know, I've never really had a clear, or even fuzzy idea of what I'd like to end up doing after college. Well, actually I did but that was years back in my deranged youth where I wanted to be a Neurosurgeon. Since then, I've been in some sort of mindless limbo, jumping from one thing to the other, only knowing that I wanted to write. But writing in itself is not a career, you need to do something for cash in the pocket as well. Besides, you have to first WRITE a novel or general book, before getting paid for it. Basically, I was clueless.
But I've been thinking for a couple of months, especially since I got into SMU and saw the opportunities it might offer me. After ages and ages, I have a rough idea of what I'd like to end up doing post graduation. I'd like to work in an Advertising Agency. Eventually, I'd like to Run an advertising agency.

See, to figure out what you would like to do, you sort of have to figure out what you're good at and capable of. I'm good at coming up with fun ideas, I'm good at creating lines, and I'd like to think I'm great at managing creativity, both mine and otherwise.

So here's the plan for now. I study me arse off at college, major in Marketing or Sales, and hope to hell one of the placements is to some Ad-Agency or Publishing House or the other.


I've also been deciding which Co-Curricular Activities I want to take up at college. I've pretty much decided on SMU Ventures, Debating Society and the ubiquitous "Dharma Bums"(of which my long term aim is to become president, so that my near and dear ones can brag about it. Imagine the burgeoning pride father will feel when asked "So what does your son do at College? He is the President of the Dharma Bums"). That leaves two, of which I lean strongly towards Fencing, Kendo and dream wistfully of joining Muay Thai(Thai Kickboxing).
College is a time to learn new and exciting things, and there aren't too many other places, I figure, where Thai Kickboxing can be one of them. Or Kendo, for that matter.

Monday, June 27, 2005

Princess Jasmine and Her Corrupting Influence

I've been gone a while, and that has given me time to think of many things, important things, life shaking things. None of these, however, shall be mentioned right now. For evil and large conspiracies are afoot. Hell, they've been afoot for bloody ages, but no one really cared or payed attention. Until I woke up, and smelled the Coffee.

Disney is turning young impressionable girls into Sluts.

Okay, this isn't as *evil* as you might think, if you are a guy but see it from the young impressionable girl's point of view, and you realise the true horror of the situation.
See, I figured this out recently while flipping channels at a friend's place, and happening along a new phenomemon called Disney Channel, which showed a lot of crappy cartoons from my youth. The decent ones were never made by Disney, the only one I ever liked was Darkwing Duck.
To the point. One observed Alladin's Princess Jasmine and how she, in retrospect, was dressed like quite a slut. I mean, big boobs and low hanging blouse with full navel display isn't exactly your regular princess getup. They're usually quite overdressed. Mind then wandered to all the other disney female characters. Pochahontas: minimally dressed. Little Mermaid: Minimally dressed. Weird Chinese Girl who's name I've forgotten: Minimally dressed, and in the snow most of the time. See a pattern here? All animated disney female characters are scantily clad, and have inordinately large amounts of Cleavage!
What does this mean? It means disney is encouraging impressionable young girls to fit a certain image, which is decidedly slutty. The proof is there in our generation. Look at Britney Spears and Christina Aguili-something-hard-to-pronounce. They came from The Mickey Mouse Show, and today are decidedly the two sluttiest things to hit mordern popular culture.

Something sinister is at work, so all you conservative parents kindly wean your impressionable young girls away from Disney, it is the work of the devil.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

No More Fears

Move over Garfield. I had Lasagne today, baby.

PS: Till today, when I faced and beat it, I have had a phobia of lasagne in all kinds and forms, for the better part of six years.

So I'm fearless for a while, until someone sees fit to scare the bejeebers out of me with some new strange, freaky fobia.
(Fobia's the fear of wrong spellings, by the way, something I truly do not have.)

Monday, June 20, 2005

Not Just Paranthas

Indians, North Indians and especially Punjabi's have a very fixed concept of what celebrations should involve. Food. Good Food. Good food from a decent place. The search then is to find this decent place, once the occasion for celebration has been taken care of. Thanks to Sud, I have found yet another such place, and now wait for the occasion.

Sud had occasion to celebrate. You see, he's a qualified Smart Arse, and a damn good fellow at that. I'm sure you'll appreciate the beauty of this, as most Smart Arses are stuck up personality devoid freaks who spend their time discussing maths questions. The point is, he's now one happy smart arse as he managed Hawa (IIT AIR) of 176. Thus we felt obliged to press him for a treat and a decent one at that. Thus Sud led us to Not Just Paranthas, which is the point of all that I've said so far. The place itself in in GK 2's M Block Market, close to the Dominos.

You walk into the place, and it's got a nice cheery feel about it. It's not tried to copy a Dhaba, and has thus not failed miserably, as many of these new age restraunts do. It has instead gone for a look completely of it's own, semi-rustic, but with nice cheery colors, and pictures of Madhubala to boot(Freak out, Manav). The service however could be improved. It's not that our waiter was stupid, or impolite, or inneficient, he was just plain deaf, and couldn't seem to hear us whenever we called him. Once we got that bit through, it was all smooth sailing.

To the Menu. The menu is mostly, but Not Just Paranthas. They have all kinds, including in the styles of Chandini Chowk's paranthe waali gali. This is a style that I however, do not prefer. Thus, I had a Jodhpuri Parantha,(which was excellent) and Garlic Naan (which was even better).

A note about the Daal Makhni, which was given a special name which I do not remember hence I continue to call it Daal Makhni. It came with a Chef Reccomends sign, along with a explanatory line that this was Daal Makhni that was so good it would make you forget about "Daal Bhuka-Hara". I found this a great dig at the very famous, and quite crap Daal Bukhara so one had to try it out. True to it's boasted claims, this stuff was exceptional and the best daal I have ever had at any joint (believe me this is saying a lot).
Another interesting number they did was Stuffed Papad, which I found quite enjoyable. This was a good experiment. What was not, was the Pan Pizza Parantha, where again, 10 out of 10 for creativity, but boos and cat calls for execution.

The kukkad (chicken) was great too, but I always have a soft spot for Cashew Rich Gravies. Could have been spicier though, but in it's defense it didn't have a spicy warning sign on it. The last item we ordered was a Kebab that I'm ashamed I don't remember the name of, because it was highly interesting and very delicate and one of the better things I've had in some time.

All in all, I was inspired to overeat and stuffed myself silly. After all, I wasn't fronting the bill, nor was I going dutch. Thus, I cannot help you out with the last, seemingly important detail of the Expense, as I didn't care to look at the cheque.

Go there and see it for yourself, is my advice, and take some cash along. It's worth whatever you shell out.

Saturday, June 18, 2005

The Lure of the Interview

The St. Stephens Interview List came out today, and I'm on it. I've got interview calls for Physics and Chem, and I think I'll give the interview for Chem Hons. Why, you may ask. And why, I shall answer.

It's a St. Stephen's interview. One of the most hallowed and gaurded interviews a student can ever go through, it is said to be quite an experience. There are some who say it is as shit scary as an IIM interview, but these things are probably old wives, or old student's tails. It is, in short, a hell of an adventure, and that's something I simply can't turn down. Except, there are a few problems.

You see, a part of this whole Bhavya 5.0 thing I've got going now is that I've become Introspective, Circumspect, and generally far less likely to say exceedingly stupid things at the bloody wrong time. Great life skill to learn yes; but the fun quotient in life gets drastically reduced. My interview at DPS R.K.Puram, which I might have mentioned in passing, is the greatest example of saying the wrong thing at the wrong time. Sample now, in full.

Madame Chona: So do you want to join DPS?
Bhavya Khanna: I'm not sure, I don't really think so.
Madame Chona: So you did quite well in the English Admission Test
Bhavya Khanna: It was horrible, the paper had grammatical errors in it.
Ma: Kicks Bhavya under table, makes nasty glances at the same
Bhavya Khanna: Whaaat?
Madame Chona with bemused expression on face

Later That Day
Madame Chona: So decide, do you want to Join DPS?
Bhavya Khanna: (Reluctantly) I guess so...

This is actually the worst possible interview you can have, while actually getting into an institution, and I doubt seriously that even I can match myself in any kind of form. Which is why I look to the St. Stephen's experience as a bit of a challenge, I have nothing to lose their and no real desire to get in(Me already going to college, no?). It's just a set up for me to make a complete ass of myself again, hopefully in the prescence of one Mr. Anil Wilson.

But then, there's the whole bit of being circumspect. Damn and blast it all. Let me see if I can use Bhavya 3 for just one day...

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Apropos Nothing

Most of you dont know me, Most of you dont care
I'm eighteen anyways, so There
I fully intend this year to be joyous and carefree
So, almost, Happy Birthday to me....

Monday, June 13, 2005

Why I Dislike Politics

Okay, expanding on a theme I covered during the whole Journalism rant, here is why I think politics is inherently useless.

They don't DO anything! They add no value. They're parasites, but oh no, they're so much worse.
Every proffesion serves some function, they add value so to speak. This value can be of two kinds, either product based or service based. Now, the other wing of the Indian Government system, the Beaurocracy which I still consider to be a career option frankly closed to me, it serves a purpose. Administration is required, it's a nessecity, and all right they're not the most efficient or decent about doing their job but it gets done nevertheless.

So that brings us to the sticky matter of politics. Before I go any further, as an excercise please define the purpose and role of a politician. What is he supposed to do?

Many of you will answer, get elected into office. What office? What does his or her office entail? It seems to entail getting reelected back into that office, for the majority of their term, or ensuring other people close to them get elected into some political office or the other. Thus, the entire purpose of a politician seems to be to remain a politician.

But wait, they did have a role to play, as laid down by the Constitution that we have. They're supposed to MAKE LAWS. The excutive powers on the other hand, are supposed to make policy. As I pointed out in an earlier post, the last thing we ever hear Manhoman Singh, Sonia Gandhi or L K Advani ever did was pass a bloody law. No, we have had the same laws the Brits laid down in Victorian times.

But let us even analyse the claim that politicians in a democracy in some magical way represent the will of the majority, the masses so to speak. I got news for you, ya smart arses, in India at least there's only a voter turnout of at best 60%. At worst, it falls well below 45%. That means that the actual majority of the people no not so much as wish to have their will represented by a load of self serving clowns, who occupy prime residential area in Delhi, and occasionally fuck up our traffic when they wish to go for a joyride. (This is essentially because they think people might want to kill them, which is quite true. However they want to kill them because they're screwing around with the traffic, so it's a wonderfully recursive loop).

In the end, it's a question of what appeals and what does not appeal to your value system. I've been brought up, and have grown up to believe that there is goodness and respect and fun in providing value in return for compensation. That's a decent career, in my eyes. Politics is the art of removing value, and making a lot of noise about it. It's the lowest slimiest job human beings can have.

Friday, June 10, 2005

You're It

This is a testament to how ridiculously bored and nervous I am…here goes.
(I think I messed up the font...apologies)

Total Number of Books I Own

Hmm…never counted. Again, family pass downs, so lots of almirahs full of ‘em. But I prefer old and yellowed books and I’m not very much into buying books, but I’d still say, in the lower triple digits.

Last Book I bought

Strangely enough, the box set of Hitchhikers. Apart from that, Ice Station Zebra, by Alistair MacLean…I was traveling by train, and I love my action, I do.

Last Book I read

Tortilla Flat, by John Steinbeck. It’s a very short, very sweet little book, a prelude to Sweet Thursday. Like most Steinbeck books, it’s very plain, very simple, and makes you think a lot, and of course, ends well.

Five Books that Mean a Lot to Me

Five is wayyy too little, but anyhow.

  1. Pride and Prejudice-by Jane Austen: I don’t Care what you all say. This was the first book that I really liked, and I still do. It’s a wonderful love story, and, if you get down to it, has a lot of women’s rights and equality in it. A lot of my views on love and marriage can be traced to it, but basically, it is a good read.

  1. East of Eden, By John Steinbeck: One book which Definitely changed me, my favourite Steinbeck book. The writing is classy, and very appealing: Cathy makes you cringe; Sam’s house makes you lilt- you really get inside the story. The scene with the Azaleas, I think is the most romantic ever, the fight between ‘good’ and ‘evil’ is heartrendingly relatable, but most of all, I love it for teaching me the concept of Timshel…I shall write about it later.

  1. The Hitchhikers Guide: well, yeah, how could it not be here? For being one of the classiest humour I have read-apart from William, of course ;D– and the greatest re-reads.

  1. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass, by Lewis Carroll: if you think these books are for kids, you should just go drown yourself. It gives me comfort, peace, contentment and answers, whenever I read them, and I always enjoy it.
  2. Asimov’s Collections of Short Stories: Foundation was never Quite my thing, and reading his short stories got me really into SF. Each is so intricately crafted, it’s delightful. Susan Calvin was my personal favourite, also Nightfall (well, duh!)

I refuse to pick 5 people; I am heartily against chains of any sort. But, apropos nothing, if you haven’t, you reeaaaaallllly should check out Aerosmith’s rendition of Come Together. Damn, it’s Sexy.


The things one does for Kith and Kin....

So, anyhow, continuing on the Book Tag Meme (fine, it's a lot more "intellectual" than other floating crap on the net) here is my list of what's what.

Total Number of Books I Own

A lot. Seriously, a damn large number. My family has been purchasing them longer than I've even been around, and we've got a truckload. Or at least a Fiat-load, because that's what was used to ship out three crates of our books to my bro's best friend Baldy's house, due to reasons so long and complicated that they can only be best summed up by the phrase "My Family is Nuts".
Lets just say they run into Three Digits, and all the rooms of our house, as well as a couple of other houses to boot.

Last Book I bought

Well, from my own money, the last book I bought was Mostly Brilliant, the Box Set of all five Hitchhiker's Books with their original paperback covers. I love it, it's a wonderful collectors itemy thingie, and is going to be one of the few personal possesions(not including clothes and essentials) that I shall be taking along with me to Singapore.

Last Book I read

Freakonomics. The Review is somewhere on this page, go read it. It's a good book. I am currently in the middle of a book called "Flood", which is about, surprise surprise, Noah.

Five Books that Mean a Lot to Me

Tough list, because there are wayy more than five. They're all quite common, none of that exclusive nonsense.
  1. Hitchhiker's Guide: For defining what I find funny, for telling me about the concepts of lunch, for giving me a barrels of laughs, and plenty to think about.
  2. The Foundation Saga: For founding my beliefs in sociology, and how groups behave. For opening me up to science fiction, and the possibilities and situations it can explore. For generally being an exceptional read.
  3. The Fountainhead: For settling my teenage mind into it's core beliefs, for appealing to my own ideas of individualism, and beauty and giving them form and poetry in prose. For generally being a fascinating read, and for ruining my life by inviting comparisions from whoever else read it, as they started telling me I was acting like Roark.
  4. The Godfather: For exploring the interplays of power and reaching out to my sense of Duty and Obligation. For generally being one of the best books I'll ever read.
  5. Bill Bryson's Short History of Nearly Everything: For making science, geology, biology and a couple of other beautiful sciences come together in a remarkable read. For appealing to each and every grey cell in my body. For generally providing me with fodder for many things.
Well, those are the five for now. As I have said, the list is actually a lot longer, but these are the first five I could think of. Everything I have bothered to review on Blah! is in fact a book that in some way has influenced me, and I am a person very prone to being influenced by written matter.

Pick Five People do it on their blogs

Hah! Serves you right, you might have to read this nonsense all over again for I pick Vrinda to do it on Blah!, Skaranses for when he's free, Rashmi, to give it a shot on Youth Curry, Nisheeth, on occasion of turning 18, and Ish to fit the pieces into her Paheli.

Serves you all right for knowing me.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Bollywood: Still Growing Up

Bunty aur Babli disspointed, and yet had it's moments. I've seen a few hindi movies in theatres of late(hell, I've seen a few MOVIES in theatres of late), and bollywood is changing. Let me characterise two Rani hits, last years Hum Tum, and this year's Bunty aur Babli. Both have great acting performances, good sets, and excellent technical work. They look sharp and snazzy, and you can really get involved with the characters. So what's still missing? Someone who can finish off a plot well. Here's the thing, the last few big hit movies I have seen, they start great, but ineveitably end up terribly. Someone in the Bollywood fraternity has got to figure out how to finish things off, they seem to have the same disease as the equally famous Indian Cricket Team.

That said and done, I haven't seen decent fair from Hollywood in a real long time. Aside from the old gaurd, there doesn't seem to be a single new actor or actress who can hold you to the screen. Dialogues, which have actually seen a Major Improvement with bollywood (I really loved some of the touches and lines given to Rani and Abhishek in BnB), have completely fallen apart in Hollywood(Read Star Wars). No memorable lines anymore, is my point. No new ones, at any rate.

All said and done, I've got a feeling the summer hits two years down the line are going to be a lot more enjoyable than anything HOllywood can come up with.

Additionally, I had an epiphany of sorts. I've finally discovered the purpose of purposeless songs in Hindi Movies.

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Review : Freakonomics

By Stephen D. Levitt

And some chap named Stephen Dubner, who actually wrote it out.

This is an incredibly hearteningly wonderful book, that made me instantly regret now applying to University of Chicago, I would have got there just to get the opportunity to be taught be the author, for he is a rare genius.

Okay, so about the book. It comes with a statuatory warning, it has no underlying theme. It is highly random, and basically moves to answer questions that the author, an Economist has asked about the world, and tried to find reasons, based on simple economics and statistics.

His findings are startling, and you get that feeling of "Jeez! How in the world did he think of that!". If you don't, than congratulations. You're decently smart enough yourself, so pat yourself on the back. Alternatively, you're a ruddy egotic liar, and give it a rest already.
The questions he asks range from mundane to enlightening, from Why Statistics go to Prove Sumo Wrestlers and School Teachers are cheats, to why legalized and cheap abortion 20-30 years ago has led to a massive decline in the US Crime rate. Didya ever think of that? I think not.
The blurb on the cover said "Prepared to be Dazzled", and I must admit I was. If one does strive to find a theme in this book, it is to train yourself to look at the world stripped of all conventional wisdom, and go to the facts of the matter.

What can I say, I loved it!

Friday, June 03, 2005

Why I disklike Journalism

I work for a magazine. I hate journalism. Ironic, no? Contradictory? Absolutely not. Allow me to clarify.

What I dislike about Journalism in it's current form is that all it wishes to spread is fear. Open the newspapers, they're interested in telling you two things. What is wrong, and who's looking hot. Now, I'm fine with the second, I just don't feel that a newspaper, or a news channel is where I should be getting that kind of information. There's a time and a place for everything.

Except of course, The Slimes of India, where the added bonus of them trying to peddle their personal channel, or whoever pays them enough money for space is also thrown in.

The other thing I dislike journalism is that when it's not obssesed in telling me why I should be scared to be alive(Deaths, Murder, Rape, Meningitis, Pollution, you name it), they're telling me about the horribly interesting world of Politics. Now, here's combining two things I dislike. Politics, is well, inherently useless. Have any of you ever wondered to ask why we elect MLA's? They're supposed to pass laws, that's their JOB! How often in the news do we ever hear, such and such law was PASSED by our MLA's. If you look at the statistics, they don't do much of that anyhow, because most of the time they aren't even sitting in session. They're off trying to get themselves elected for the next five years of sitting around, trying to get themselves reelected. A Politician's Job is thus, to ensure he continues he has a Job.
That's exactly the way it is with Journalism, and the Media. The object of the paper, or news channel has ceased to be the actual content, but has simply become a function of perpetuating itself.

Thus, I pretty much stopped reading the papers about a year ago. Occasionally, when something of significance does happen, I give it a read through. Usually, I've heard about a story before I even bother to give it a read. Journalistic ventures have simply stopped being a source of New Information for me, for the simple reason that New Information does not exist in their content.

I watched Bowling for Columbine today, a documentry by Micheal Moore, where he reveals a chilling side of the United States, that the media there has now succeeded in reducing the entire population into a Culture of Fear. I worry that much the same is going to happen in India as well. So I'll live in my own world, thank you, and Shun the Slimes of India. I just wish they'd make Playboy and Maxim availible more freely in India, so that our esteemed Newspapers and News Channels would lose most of their current content, and return to some form of sensibility.