Sunday, December 28, 2014

Philately: Old hobbies die hard

Yeah, we are in the age of Whatsapp and social media. The telegram is gone. Sending letters by post is a thing of the past (less than 10 years actually). And collecting stamps is now a lot more expensive hobby and I completely doubt if anybody pursues it now. But then, so many of us did at one point of time.

“Where is my stamp album?” I asked mom couple of days ago.

A standard sized hard cover blue book it is. I forget where I had bought it. A book fair, probably. But I am sure the collection would have begun before the album came into my hands.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Looking back: The Best of 2014

50,000 hits on the blog in the last 12 months- something's got to be working for me. The blog’s going to reach the 100 thousand mark soon! (that's just for the record, I am NOT boasting at all) Thank you guys for all the likes, awesome comments and reads! 

The end of the year is a time when we want to look back to what transpired through the year, with us, our friends, people we know well, people we would have loved to know better. I thought it was worthwhile to take a look at some of the most popular posts on the blog this year. Some of these might be etched clearly in your memories; some may have faded away. And so, here is a 'throwback', 'flashback', 'bolt from the past'- call it whatever. Until the dusk of 2014, I hope you shall enjoy this journey.

Friday, December 19, 2014

The facebook birthday wishes

The thought for this post first came to my mind probably 2-3 years ago and the will to write about it simply kept on increasing over the months. There is no doubt about it that facebook has made our lives a lot easier by reminding us of all the birthdays that we would otherwise forget for sure. I was in for a surprise this morning when I clicked on the today’s birthday link and in the text box which used to be for writing our birthday wishes, a sample text appeared: Happy Birthday, FirstName!

This facebook ‘improvement’ immediately brought me back to this blog post and I felt I ought to post this right now.

Source: Google
Our closest friends would perhaps ignore facebook completely and call us up to convey their wishes on our birthdays. Many would take up the cheapest and easiest new-mode in the market- Whatsapp. Text messages are now defunct, but you might receive that one rare text message from a friend.

Sunday, December 07, 2014

Oh Delhi winters, where art thou?

For the love of Winters

It's mid October in Delhi. When it's 7 in the evening, it is pitch dark outside. You step out of home and are suddenly met with a slim level of smog and a definite chill in the air. You know it- Winter is coming! The Delhi winters!

A full month passes and you still keep wondering why you don’t have to take out your sweatshirts and blankets and room heaters yet. The afternoons are still hot. Any layer more than a single full sleeve shirt is too warm in the weather. You want the temperatures to drop.

The foggy Delhi winters. Image Courtesy: FirstPost
A couple of weeks more and the fans are now switched off. The balcony doors and windows are closed in the evenings. The blankets are out but you tend to switch on the fan at a slow speed and put the heavy blanket on. Any other combination makes the temperature too hot or too cold.

Wednesday, December 03, 2014

Nainital: A Mountain Wedding Affair

When we travel, it is never just about the places we visit, it is also about the people we meet on the way and how they influence our journey.

With our bags packed with the warmest of clothes for the alleged near-zero temperature, we were headed up the Kumaon to Nainital, to attend a wedding that had kept us excited for a few weeks now.

"Where is the lake? I can't see the lake!" I shouted as the bus conductor waved at us to get down saying we had reached our destination. The bus journey hadn’t been anything short of bad and I wasn’t prepared to delay getting my sights on the star of the place I had previously only heard of, seen pictures of online and read a personal account of visit more than 3 years ago.

Imagine waking up each morning to a view like this with a cup of hot tea (or Bournvita) in hand and
the morning sun rays falling all around. What more can you ask for? (Naini Lake, Nainital)
We got down and were headed down a street. A few steps and there it was- the huge Naini lake. Finally!

It was the early morning hours and the sun wasn't very high in the sky and we our host family rushed up a hill into our abode for the next few days.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Life before Birth- When I was in the Army

It rarely happens that I start a blog post with the title already decided. ‘Life before Birth’- I thought this is a good title to begin with, against the usual- ‘life after death’ epithet- although how much it justifies this post I wouldn’t know until I finish it over the next few minutes.

Hold on, this is NOT about the philosophical theory of life and death and rebirth nor is it about the Egyptian belief or anything like that. Although yeah, some parts of this might actually be signifying something in those orders. I am sure you are going to enjoy the humour of this because this is simply about a 'dream'.

When I was young, I used to have a dream a lot many times. One dream, numerous nights. And I remember it distinctly till date: it was a battle scene. There was a war going on. There were bunkers made on the border (just like in the film Border, one of my most favourite films till date) and the enemy was taking over. A group of armed soldiers kept running and shooting. I am watching it all from a third-person perspective. Suddenly I am on top of a huge wall, probably a high bunker. The story is now unfolding in a first-person narrative. This is when I realise that I am a small kid and I am scared and crying. The enemy reaches near me and point their guns towards me. I wake up.

Yeah, that’s it.

Monday, November 10, 2014

What 'Interstellar' forced my mind to think

This post got featured in the Tangy Tuesday Picks on Blogadda.

Note: Written in the minutes following my return home from watching Interstellar. Long chain of thoughts rendering a sleepless night. Alas, the movie leaves you blank and forces you to think and rethink what you just saw. But no, this is not about Interstellar. If you haven’t seen it yet, no spoilers here, I promise. (But why haven’t you gone and seen the film yet?)
Screen grab from the 1984 commercial by Apple Inc.

While watching a film like this you actually have the 'I am a tiny speckle in the larger scheme of things' feeling. These larger scheme of things- are they not something so omnipotent yet so cruel, something so amazing yet so powerful?

I mean, come to think of the 'what ifs' and their consequences around us in the world we live. What if all of it, everything around us, it's pre-planned, pre-destined or, even better, being looked over by someone? What if the running around for a job, having a happy family, a nice home, all of it- is not significant at all? What if the 'they' kind of reference (from Interstellar) actually exists? What if there is someone out there, looking over all of it? Yeah, we have ‘God’ and are 'mere players who have to play our parts and leave', but then, come to think of it- how amazing and funny the entire drama would be to that ‘God’?

Monday, October 27, 2014

The Domestic Air India Experience

Four years ago a lucky situation led to me taking my first air journey. It was a two hour Indigo flight from Bhubaneswar to New Delhi and I was travelling alone. Yes I was nervous. I had no clue how everything functioned in air travel and I made sure the entire journey was a memorable one. (Read about it here)

For Diwali this year I wanted to visit my grandparents in Bhubaneswar and got tickets booked in Air India. There were a few reasons for this:
One, I have earlier travelled in Indigo, Spicejet and Kingfisher and want to try the public carrier of the country this time.
Two, Air India serves free food and there is an in-flight entertainment system a.k.a. ‘television’.
Three, Air India goes from Delhi’s Terminal 3 and I wanted to explore the huge T3 (once again).

View from the waiting lounge of Terminal 3 Domestic Departure, Indira Gandhi International Airport, New Delhi

So, a day before Diwali I was booked on the evening flight from Delhi. The common thing with domestic air travel in India and travelling on Delhi roads is that both take roughly the same time. If you drop somebody at the airport and return home, by the time you reach home 20-25 kms away enduring Delhi’s traffic, the other person has already reached their destination 1500 kms away. Keep this in mind, I left from home 4 hours prior to the scheduled departure of my flight.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Book Review: ‘God is a Gamer’ by Ravi Subramanian

Title: God is a Gamer
Author: Ravi Subramanian
Publisher: Penguin Books India
Pages: 310
Genre: Thriller
Price: Rs. 299

Reading the book:

First things first- Before reading this book, I had never read a thriller novel by an Indian writer and been superbly satisfied at the end. Nor had I read any of Ravi Subramanian’s other books which would have probably made me aware of his writing style.

All I knew about the book was that it revolved around the virtual world of ‘bitcoins’ and was the first book to do so. A blogger friend had recently termed this as the ‘best book of Ravi Subramanian yet’. And that’s it. I knew nothing else. Looking at the book and the back cover synopsis, it was not very clear what the story is about, although the tagline ‘Is revenge a crime?’ kept me wondering what kind of revenge was being talked about. I had to read to find out.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Ghar Wali Diwali Celebrations

I can hear some distinct sounds of bursting of crackers somewhere in the distance as I sit to write this entry. Diwali is still a few days away!

For the first time in 7 years I would be in Odisha for Diwali. But I somehow am sure that the experience this year would be very different from how I have known Diwali since childhood.

A picture from the 2011 Diwali celebration at my colony, from my sister's albums. I was a few hundred miles away in Delhi.
Sambalpur, Early 2000s:

Two major celebrations happened each October-November in our colony. The Durga Puja (for which we usually had a 10-day long break) and just a few days later, the two day break for Diwali and Kali Puja. Both Durga and Kali idols were made and the pandals set in clear visibility from our third-floor apartment.

Friday, October 10, 2014

The Sixteenth Hour: Epilogue

A fast paced suspense thriller called 'The Sixteenth Hour' from the highly enthusiastic team members of Team 'Supernova'.

Read the previous part of the story here. To start reading the story from beginning, check the first post here.

The sun had set across the Mumbai skyline and Shekhar and Tara were perched on their drawing room couch on the 12th floor of the Rustomjee Towers watching the evening news bulletin. Roohi was cuddled in Shekhar’s lap, after hours of not knowing what had kept her parents running across the city the whole day. The little girl was even told that she would be missing school today.

“After what could be termed as a huge black letter day in modern Indian history, unexpected events now seem to be taking a closure. The Mumbai Rajdhani Express that was hijacked last evening a few minutes after starting from New Delhi, was safely brought to a stop at Mumbai Central Station today morning. The railway minister has accepted the negligence and announced that all the passengers would get refunds for their tickets within 48 hours…” the news reader said.

Wednesday, October 08, 2014

Chapter 25: Living a Lie

A fast paced suspense thriller called 'The Sixteenth Hour' from the highly enthusiastic team members of Team 'Supernova'.

Read the previous part of the story here. To start reading the story from beginning, check the first post here.

All that had been happening in the last few hours didn’t seem to make sense at all to Tara. With the kind of information she had recovered regarding Xombie, she expected an incident like this since many months now. But she had always thought that Sarkar was on her side. She had the Home Minister of the country in her confidence although she had been careful never to reveal the information even to him. But now it was the same man who along with their old Lonavala neighbor had plotted such a huge attack. She could only wonder who else was involved.

As she flew the helicopter over the rain washed Western Ghats, she had no clue how she was going to get the train to stop. Should she track down the train herself or did she have time to go straight to Mumbai Central station and get the authorities? With Shekhar’s face flashing across all media channels as the hijacker, she had to make sure that her husband was safe in case the train did stop.

She looked at the radar, adjusted the direction and flew towards Mumbai Central.


Thursday, September 25, 2014

Chapter 15: The Countdown is on!

A fast paced suspense thriller from the highly enthusiastic team members of Team 'Supernova'.

Read the previous part of the story here. To start reading the story from beginning, check the first post here.

The train hadn’t stopped at Kota and now it was nearing midnight. There was a scheduled stop at Ratlam, but Shekhar knew that the train wasn’t going to stop there as well.

Hats off to whoever planned this entire hijack, he thought. Hijacking a passenger train and that too the Mumbai Rajdhani! Some serious planning ought to have taken place. We have no way to exit the train and no way to contact the outside world.

But as far as Shekhar knew the home minister was involved in this. Sarkar could easily have made sure no media channels take up the issue for a few hours. But with the train not stopping at Kota, clearly the authorities know something is wrong. There ought to be high alert by now! The entire country would be glued to their TV sets right now following minute by minute updates.

The scene inside the train hadn’t been very good these past 7 hours. Shekhar, Cyrus and Jennifer were the topic of discussion everywhere. They were after all, the only three names that the hijacker had taken on the public address system.


Friday, September 12, 2014

The Sixteenth Hour: Prologue

A tale from the highly enthusiastic team members of Team 'Supernova'.

The Rajdhani Express started gaining speed as it left the platform on New Delhi railway station.

As he placed his luggage under the berth and took his seat in the AC two-tier compartment, Shekhar Dutta smiled to himself. In less than 16 hours, he was going to be back in Mumbai, the city he had made his home many years ago and the city which now housed his little family.
Design Credits: Siddhesh Kabe, Team Supernova

Being a freelance writer who specialized in travel writing, he had travelled the length and breadth of the country over the past few years. It had been a welcome relief to get away from the confined-to-desk job he had had for nearly nine years. It was his marriage to Tara that had allowed the much required change.

“Excuse me, would you mind moving a little away from the window?” a female voice startled Shekhar.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Tales from the Streets of Mumbai

Within the first few days of my arrival in Mumbai, my flat mate and old college buddy who welcomed me there told me, “As you must have realized, this is a city very different from how we have seen life in Delhi. It’s been just a week since your arrival and you have seen such a different way of life here. Just imagine how much you are going to learn in the weeks that are yet to come. Each and every day we get to learn something new in this city.”
Captured this amusing scene at Marine Drive. Walking from Nariman Point to Churchgate and getting caught in the rains unaware.
(August 2014)
I stayed in Mumbai for one and a half months and was back there again last month for a week to attend a film festival. Such a short time, but I have non-exhaustive tales to tell from my experiences in the city. A change in metro, change in language and the lingo, the fact that I was from Delhi- all of it made some leaf turn and added new experiences to my memory. Here I am sharing a few of these amusing tales, which I am glad I got to witness first hand. I hope you enjoy going through each one of them.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Raahgiri Day- An amazing start to a Sunday morning at CP

With the extensive campaigning over the last many weeks, I had heard and read a lot about 'Raahgiri Day', a cause supported by The Times of India. I knew that it had something to do with 'getting cars off the road' and 'making streets pedestrian friendly'. As much as I wanted to go and attend a Raahgiri day, the timing of 6-10 AM on a Sunday morning didn't work out. I wasn't ready to sacrifice the few extra hours of sleep in the morning on the only Sunday in the week.

Early morning joggers at Raahgiri Day, Connaught Place, Delhi
These days we certainly see the sunrise rarely and the days when we see it are usually the ones when we haven't slept all night. It was one such lucky sunrise this morning thanks to an overnight stay at a friend's place for his birthday. I was headed to Connaught Place (CP) to witness a Raahgiri day.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Book Review: 'Private India'

Title: Private India
Authors: Ashwin Sanghi and James Patterson
Publisher: Arrow Books
Pages: 448
Genre: Suspense Thriller
Story and Style:
Private India is a suspense thriller set in the heart of Mumbai. A series of murders during the Navratri festival, has the detectives at Private India on their feet. Santosh Wagh, the agency’s India bureau head, looks into the case as he deals with his personal losses and constantly tries to make the right choices. Will he able to join the dots and catch the murderer before further loss of innocent lives? 

I could draw some distinctive similarities between the style of Private India and Dan Brown's Da Vinci Code. I particularly liked the antagonist's parts of the story when the narrative switches to a first person- a clever technique to hide the major plot giveaway, something that a third person narrative would have spoiled. 

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Why I started watching 'Yudh' and saw it till the end

I started watching Yudh. And I finished watching Yudh. Yes, two important statements. And now let me explain, why. Why I watched the entire series and what I think about it now that it is over:

Poster of Yudh, Courtesy- Google


Big ensemble starcast. Big name associations and seasoned actors: Amitabh Bachchan, Tigmanshu Dhulia, Kay Kay Menon, Nawazuddin Siddique, Sarika, Zakir Husain, Mona Wasu. New faces: Aahana Kumra (Taruni), Pavail Gulati (Rishi), Ayesha Raza (Nayan).   And then there was Anurag Kashyap looking over the entire project as the Creative Director. This had to be something different, something big, something we haven't seen before. And so, all eyes turned to the TV sets on 14th July at 10.30 PM to catch the pilot episode of Amitabh Bachchan's first fiction tv show. My personal reason? I just worked with BigB, how could I not see his new show that was being talked about so much?

Friday, August 08, 2014

Delhi-vs-Mumbai: Travelling in a City Bus

How many times have you been to a new city and travelled using a bus/train/auto to get around? How was the experience? Were you nervous/anxious or chilled out? Let’s take a look at the state of mind of a commoner in a new city (Delhi & Mumbai for now), travelling from home in a city bus for the first time, in an unknown route and going to a yet-unseen destination. But before that a tip on the lingo at both the places-

Delhiites have ‘bus stops’, have automatic closing doors on low floor buses which come in red, green and orange colours. The buses are run by the Delhi Transport Corporation, DTC.

Mumbaikars have ‘bus stations’ or ‘bus sthaanak’, have NO doors on standard floor buses and are all red. The buses are run by the Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport, BEST. Double decker buses don’t run on Sundays and are limited to a few routes.
View from the upper deck of a double-decker bus in Mumbai. Note the difference in height and the Devnagri numbering of the bus routes
Please do note the intended humour and puns at various places! ;)

Thursday, July 31, 2014

A Petrifying Experience on the Mumbai Locals

This post got featured in the Tangy Tuesday Picks on Blogadda.

A lot of times unexpectedly we are witness to events that we can’t forget for a long time. These are some visuals our eyes see and probably shock us but we can’t take them out of our mind even after persistent trials. They just wouldn’t go.

I remember seeing this lady lying near the Emporium Complex in Connaught Place, back in November 2010. Striking visual. Forced me to think and even write a blog entry (Read here). But the image, it just never goes away.

And then there was another recent incident that I was witness to. A much graver one. It was a Sunday and I was at Goregaon Station in Mumbai. Half past 12 in the afternoon.
The morning hours at a typical Western line station after the 7-10 AM rushhour. Location: Goregaon Station, Mumbai
Sundays for Mumbai local travellers could be problematic if one is not aware of the ‘megablocks’. I was to take a train to Dadar, from where I had to catch the Jan Shatabdi to Aurangabad. I learnt that the slow trains were running from platform #4, instead of the usual #2 due to maintenance work. I climbed the foot over bridge and got down at #4, to find a fast train standing at the platform. If a train is already standing when you get to the platform, do not take it. You can always wait for the next one rather than risking your life, my friend had told me right on the first day of reaching Mumbai.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

One day as an AD on a Bollywood film set

The SUV took a sharp left turn right before me, moved a few feet and came to a halt. I held the walkie close to my mouth, waiting for visual confirmation. As about 10-15 people gathered around the SUV, the back door opened and I, less than a few feet away, spotted him. I was right. As he got down and swiftly followed the red carpet into his vanity van, I spoke slow and clear into the walkie, controlling my excitement, the news everyone was too eager to hear: “Mr.Amitabh Bachchan is on location!”

It had been a sleepless night after coming home late the previous evening from office. I was way too excited. I woke up as soon as the alarm went off at 6 in the morning. In less than an hour, I was out in the auto on my way to the location. (Okay, rikshaw- still trying to get used to the Bambaiya lingo!)

“Just get me involved in any project. I don’t have much time but I would really like to see how it all works. I want to experience life on a set, for a shoot. I have no clue of the magnitude and amount of work and efforts involved in film production, and before I leave Mumbai I would really like to experience that,” I had told my friend almost a month ago. Things somehow have a magical way of working out in your favour when you are desperately willing to do something.

‘Make sure you are on time. Be prepared to be thrown out if you are delayed by even a minute’, I had been warned yesterday. I reached the studio 45 minutes early.

Wednesday, July 02, 2014

#Mumbai: 40 Days of Adventure

I arrived in Mumbai in the early hours of a hot summer morning in May. Just a few moments after stepping out of the air-conditioned train compartment at Mumbai Central station, two distinctive things had registered into my senses- the stench in the air and the high level of humidity. Welcome to Mumbai!

Chuski Ice cream Gola at Juhu Beach, Mumbai. I somehow love my expression!
As I lay awake on my berth the previous night in the train, millions of thoughts and questions had crossed my mind. I was not able to determine how things were going to be. ‘No clue what I am going to see when I step out of the train at Mumbai. No idea how things are going to be. I might just love it all. Or I might simply hate it. I don't know. Everything is uncertain. But I somehow like this feeling- it doesn't happen very often- it's a combination of excitement, nervousness, anxiety and some kind of a very different feeling. This is the kind of adventure I have wanted for so long. I like it.’

Well technically, I was in Mumbai for an internship. More importantly, I was in Mumbai because I wanted to see, live and feel life in this city. I wanted to determine answers to certain very important questions of my life. It’s a quest for self-discovery, I told myself. These were going to be 40 days of adventure.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Inspired by one man- it’s been 6 years of blogging!

Exactly 6 years ago on the afternoon of 13th June, I was sitting at home in front of the computer, casually browsing through the net. My 10th Board results had come out and now I was waiting for the admission lists of various schools in the capital. I had arrived in Delhi just the previous day with no clue that I would be spending so many of the coming years in this city. As I was browsing, I remembered hearing on TV about a ‘blog’ that Big B writes. I searched for it and soon found the famous ‘blog’ of Amitabh Bachchan. I went through this new ‘website’ and it didn’t take me long to understand the meaning of the word ‘blog’.

I went through Amitji’s blog and read extensively. This man, he everyday writes about his daily life on this blog and so many people around the world read it. Within half an hour of posting a new entry, he has as many as 300 comments- I was awed! If he writes something and is so popular, then may be even I can become famous by writing about my life daily on a blog, I thought.

It is funny, but yeah, this is when I went ahead, made an account and started my own blog. With 100 % inspiration from Big B- not for acting or anything on those lines, but for ‘blogging’. If he can do it, why not me?

Last month I moved to Mumbai for an internship. As I have mentioned earlier, coming to Mumbai had been a big dream for me. I even made a huge checklist of things I wanted to do when in the city. One of the pointers read-

“Selfie at Mannat, Jalsa and other ‘star’ homes and marvel at the ‘biggies’ separated from me by just a gate. And probably at Jalsa hope to get my blog’s inspiration to join me in its 6th birthday celebration next month.”

And so within days of arriving at this city, I went ahead with a friend and got this picture clicked in front of Big B’s bungalow in Juhu:

In front of the house of the man who inspired me to blog at the first place. Location: Jalsa, Juhu, Mumbai

Standing right there, in front of Jalsa, it was a different aura. The man who unknowingly inspired me to start blogging, and ultimately made me realise my potential for writing, lives just beyond these walls. A sense of achievement and pride. I couldn’t suppress my smile!

It’s been 6 years since that eventful 13th of June 2008 afternoon. And I still continue writing. No, I don’t have 300 comments on my entries within half an hour of posting them. But yeah, I do have people reading my blogs and telling me that they liked a particular entry or that reading my blog helps them to lift their spirit. When somebody I know takes up blogging, I make sure that I check their entries, go through them and comment on them. If a new comment on my blog makes me feel good, I ought to make others feel good too.

I was inspired by one man to blog, and now somehow so many people have come up and told me, ‘I am inspired by your blog and I want to start my own. Please read, comment and help me improve.’ It’s such an amazing feeling! Indescribable!

Here’s a picture of my blog’s 5th birthday celebration cake last year. College was just over and we were out for a get-together and I used the opportunity to have a ‘cake-cutting’ ceremony and celebrate 5 years of blogging. This time around, being in Mumbai, I sure shall cut a cake, but somewhere deep down my heart, I sincerely hope that the one man who inspired me to come along these 6 years somehow comes across my blog and leaves a comment. Can I ask for a bigger reason to celebrate?

Not a 'cake' cake. But a cake. My blog's 5th birthday cake. Location: Select Citywalk, Saket, New Delhi
So for now yeah, parting words: Happy 6th Birthday dear blog!

Thursday, June 05, 2014

A too ambitious and frank 'CV', is it?



Address: ----
Mobile: ----
E-mail: ----

Education Details: 
Took up Science after Class 10 because I scored more in the subject than Social Sciences and because 'it would keep all options open'. For two years, I barely got the concepts of Physics, Chemistry and Maths. Somehow managed to pass the 12th Boards and joined a course which I thought would take me closer to my dream of making a film.

3 years of BJ(MC) at a not-so-famous college gave me all the opportunities I never dreamed of.

The quest to get a ‘Dr.’ attached to my name and the curiosity to learn something that has fascinated me for years, amidst many other reasons, got me enrolled in a Masters course in VFX and Animation at a prestigious national institute last year. Getting a good placement at the end of the course- can never figure in my priorities.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Mumbai Calling…Finally!

I don’t know what it is about this city that attracts me so much to it. What is it that keeps telling me to go and see this place? Why do I feel so attached to the place even before setting my foot on it? Why am I so much more excited to go to Mumbai than I ever was for going to Delhi? On the prospect of going to Mumbai, why have I always thought ‘it will happen when the right time comes’? I don’t know.

I hope in two months time I know most of these places. Picture Location: Kingdom of Dreams, Gurgaon (November 2012)
Just for note- Flashback to September 2006- the first thoughts of going to Mumbai had taken shape in my mind. I just didn’t know how or when it would happen, nor did I give much thought to it then.

And a little more backstory- Flashback to May 2012- prospects of going to Mumbai and internsing at a production house. Looked awesomely inviting. But I chose to go to Film City Noida and intern at Times Now. Mumbai will happen when the right time comes.

Wednesday, May 07, 2014

5 types of friends we have after college ends

Of course there is a reason why I am writing this entry. It’s not even been one full year since my (grad) college ended, and there already is such a huge distance between my friends (The dooriyan badh gayi hain types). We already seem to be losing touch and hell yeah, that worries me! What got me thinking about this post was a WhatsApp message I sent a couple of nights back on a college friends’ group chat: ‘Because I won’t be in town for a long time after the coming weekend, so please let’s meet up’. Yes, the word ‘please’. We don’t usually need to use that with our good friends, do we?
Yes, the word ‘please’. We don’t usually need to use that with our good friends, do we?
The best thing I do when I have some worries in my head is to write them down, and so here it goes- this is an entry which I am expecting would be both cathartic and fun for you. And probably, it would remind some of my friends of certain aspects of life, because let me be frank- these characters are indeed based on some or the other characteristics (and once in a while, modified characteristics to suit the context better) of some of my very dear friends! Of course, offence intended! [;)]

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Why do I blog? The 'Dosa' Paradigm

It is so funny how we can get the weirdest and the most amazing ideas at the most unusual places and situations. I was sitting at the nearby south Indian corner this evening and had ordered myself a masala dosa, one of my most favourite meals. As soon as the dosa was placed in front of me I began wondering how many people start eating a dosa from the sides and how many start right from the masala area in the centre. I can write a good blog entry on this, I thought and laughed.

As I started with the dosa, my thought process continued exploring the concept and I asked myself- Come on, why would people want to read about their ‘dosa’-eating habits? 

A typical masala dosa! Image courtesy: Google Images
It is so amazing how thoughts can connect one thing to another. From dosa, I further questioned myself, Why do I continue writing my blog, even though I know I don’t have many visitors? It has been nearly 6 years, and I am still blogging. Why? 

This was when I remembered the current topic on IndiSpire- What inspired you to be a blogger? What is it that still keeps you going? And that was it. Let me write about it, I thought.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Part V: Ramoji Film City- A Pictorial Journey

When our Hyderabad trip (December 2013) was being planned, if there was one place which was on top of my priority list of Places to Visit, it was the Ramoji Film City. I had heard a lot about it, seen the ads on ETV for so many years, my maternal aunt had been there few years ago and it would be my first real ‘film city’ visit! I was superbly excited and we scheduled one entire day of our 3-day trip for it.

As it turned out, one full day is just not enough for seeing everything at Ramoji! Yes, it is that vast! Spread across 1666 acres, it holds the Guinness World Record of the largest film studio complex in the world. I wanted to see each and every bit of this entire studio on my visit, and if luck might favour, catch the shooting of an actual film there.

Now I wouldn’t want your experience to be spoiled by descriptive details about the tour and everything at Ramoji, because I think not knowing what and how exactly things are around there, was the best part of my Ramoji experience. It’s a place that requires a real visit to satiate one’s sense- in all senses! No, I am not telling you how it feels to walk right from the Mughal streets of Agra to the American Wild West, through haunted houses to Jaipur's Hawa Mahal, all in a few moments! Also, how can I forget the four-sided building with four different looks from all sides including an airport and a public library, and the railway station which looks like a city station from one side and a village station from the other and has a train with rubber wheels on road and not rails?

That is why I decided to take you through a huge pictorial journey with little tid-bits from me here and there, which would, I am sure, attract you to this amazing place. All pictures courtesy: My family and me. And I have hugely reduced the picture sizes, so I hope they don't take much time to load.

Sunday, April 06, 2014

Emergence of K-dramas in the Indian TV circuit

Ok, so How I Met Your Mother ended last week and the whole online community was abuzz with happy, sad and angry reactions by fans the world over to the finale. A couple of months ago, the legendary Dr. Hur Jun made his way to the Indian television, and well, wait a minute- Dr.Hur Jun? Who?

Now check what is common to all these terms: Samsung, Psy, Gangnam Style, Hyundai. Famous brands, popular songs- what’s common there? Korea!

Dr Hur Jun- popular Korean drama series, now being broadcast in India
You are probably not the only one with this kind of a reaction. Till about a month ago, even I had no idea that we have Korean television shows running on Indian channels in India. While the American shows have kept me and almost everyone in my friend circles deeply engrossed, the Korean shows haven’t made a mark, yet. And I don’t blame anyone except my ignorance for the same.

Friday, March 28, 2014

My name is 'Aan-ta-rik Un-way-shun'

My name is Antarik Anwesan. Now wait, what? Antariksh? Space?

“No! Say it as Aan-ta-rik Un-way-shun”, I would reply to almost each and every person who would hear my name for the first time. I don’t seem to recall a moment when somebody got my name right the very first time they heard it. I have almost always repeated it at least twice and have given up on getting the pronunciation right. Hardly anyone gets it.

So yeah, the name. There is a lot in a name. I don’t know what my father was thinking or what libraries he consulted when he devised such an unusual name for his son. He robbed me of his surname. And as I have grown up I have taken pride in not having a surname. It sets me apart from the entire world! Yeah, Anwesan is not my surname!

Friday, March 14, 2014

The Quest for a Known Face | A Short Story from Vaishno Devi

I looked up and down the street, frantically searching for a known face. Hordes of people chanting ‘Jai Mata Di’ kept going in both directions, each time reminding me of the old song on Doordarshan I had heard as a child. The old and disabled were on shoulder carry chairs, the young and non-walkers on horses and the majority on feet. Even at this time of the night, way past midnight, there was no change in the number of devotees taking the 12-km walk up or downhill the Vaishnodevi shrine. As far as my perfectly normal eyes could see, I couldn’t find my family anywhere.

Day and Night time view of the walking path to the Vaishno Devi shrine at Katra, Jammu, India.
I checked my phone. There was no network coverage. It was almost 1 o’clock, 40 minutes since what I now realized, was a situation where I was ‘lost’.

Sunday, March 09, 2014

How about ‘investing’ Rs.300 on watching 30 'good' films this month?

Let’s face it. Be it a college student, a Saturday night filmgoer, a man taking his family out for a show, or anybody else who loves watching films, this is something we all know, accept and have thought about sometime or the other: We want to see a film, but... The ticket prices are high. Not many very good movies out there. Only once in a while a good film comes out. We wait for a couple of weeks to see the ‘new release’ and pray for a reduction in the ticket prices. We don’t want to spend extravagantly on a film. None of us are the PVR Gold Class viewers who would spend more than a 1000 bucks on a single film! We would rather go for the easiest thing- watching a pirated copy of the film. Ultimately it’s we, the cinema lovers who miss out on some good film viewing experience.

Well, now how would you react if you could actually ‘invest’ the money that you would otherwise spend on watching a film which probably you would term ‘boring’? What if you don’t spend the 300 bucks that you would have spent on one good (or probably, boring?) movie show(s), and instead use it to see more than 30 guaranteed good films by student filmmakers from across India and beyond on the big screen? Intrigued, aren’t you? At least I was when I first heard of it. Because this is possible. And this is happening:

Project Frame 14- An initiative to bring cinema close to young filmmakers and cinema lovers across the world.
First Frame 2014 would create history by being the first international students' film festival to 'crowdfund'

About Project Frame 14, let me tell you something serious and really important: 
This one's gonna go down in history! Stories will be told and shared. Anyone and everyone related to films will know about this, talk about this. And they are doing so as you read this…

Because these college students are huge cinema lovers and they are out on a mission. A mission of bringing cinema close to young filmmakers and cinema lovers across the world. And nothing is going to stop them from achieving it.

Here’s a call to you be a part of Project Frame 14. be a part of history-in-making. be a part of India's first ever international students' film festival to go for 'crowdfunding'. 

Take a look at the initiative. Come forward, do your bit. Blog about it, Spread the news, Contribute. 

And before you move to read some other and more interesting blog post, I urge you to watch the video and read all about it at the link below. All about the ‘Project Frame 14’ initiative and the concept of ‘crowdfunding’, a concept which is already on its way to revolutionize the way individuals fund their projects.

Because when you read about it in a newspaper or magazine story within the next few days, you wouldn’t be proud just because you knew about it first but because YOU HELPED CREATE HISTORY.

As for me, I am a film lover who wants to go and watch all the films that release on every Friday, or at least the best one every week. When I asked my parents if I could have a separate amount fixed each month specifically for watching movies, I was told I must reserve it from within my pocket money. No separate allowances! Well, this month I feel I would rather not spend on a couple of commercial films at the multiplex and instead ‘invest’ 300 bucks in Project Frame 14 and watch more than 30 very good films.

If 500 people contribute Rs. 300 each, these guys would make history. I have their back. What about you?
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