Sunday, May 28, 2006

No Show!

"We unlock the code tonite!".This was the message i sent AW after i got tickets(from ticket point) for the Da Vinci Code. 10.45 pm, Friday night, E Square. Now, having read the book and being completely bowled over by it, I was naturally excited about watching the cinematic adaptation of Dan Brown's best. And knowing that Ron Howard had directed it and Tom Hanks was in it made it all the more alluring. I remember Ron Howard as a 18 year old kid acting in a sitcom called Happy Days which ran in the USA in the 60s. So feels a bit weird to see him so much older and directing now.

Now, after having a particularly enjoyable evening on Friday on the hill and in Barista, i had settled down in front of my laptop to play Need For Speed: Underground 2. I was in the middle of a particularly tough Street X race.2 Laps out of 4 down and i was in third position. Bad state. Suddenly my cell phone starts to croon Sweet Child of Mine. I curse, pause the game and answer the call. Its Ticket Point. "Iam sorry sir. But tonites show at E Square for Da Vinci Code has been cancelled due to techinical difficulties". I say "WTF????" I am a bit stunned at this sudden unpleasant turn of events. So i dont react and jump down the throat of that ticket point person. I get back to my game now. At this point of time i am quite incensed. Which consequently makes me pull out 2 of my greatest Street X laps ever and win the race with a lead time of 6.43 secs! Now after that rush, i call up AW and tell her teh bad news. She, surprisingly, is pretty reticent about the whole thing. We decide to go to E Square and take a chance anyways. However, AW reaches there at 10:00 pm and starts to shhot off at the person at the ticket counter. He announces that there is no show at 10:45(Although their board and screen show it as housefull!). So now i cal back the ticket point guy and yell at him. But to no avail. He just assures me a full refund and thats it. I cut his call in between his defence. Iam that mad!

So AW and I deicide to take our chance with the 11:30 pm show. She has left 500 bucks with the guy at the ticket counter(which left him as confused as a baby in a topless bar..thats a Sidhuism by the way) so that we can pouch the tickets if any should rear up. So i drag my dejected butt to E Square and join AW and her hubby in the food court. As soon as AW sees me she retorts "Are evdha ka padla aahe chehra...Its just a movie!".(Again, for non-maharashtrains or non-indians "Why you so glum...Its just a movie!"). I give her a weak smile and snatch her N91 away from her and start to tinker with it. Just for something to do. We discuss the various "amazing" features of the phone for a while(with AW telling me in between to take a deep breath, relax and cheer up) till their Dosas arrive. They start to nibble on their south indian preperation while i still play with AW's phone.We then move down to the ticket counter to find out if our 500 buck carrot worked. AW suddenly has a brain wave and askes her hubby(Mr. SC) to go to the ticket pointer counter and just present them with the coupon. He promptly rushes off while we sit outside chatting up.

Soon we see SC come out with a smug grin on his face and with three tickets in his hand. AW gives him this awesomely happy smile and we congratulate him on his charm and how the next time if i had problems i knew who to call. We check the ticket to see which screen the movie is on and proceed towards Screen 1. We are sitting on a bench there discussing the reservation controvesy when i just glance at the tickets to see what seats we had. And thats when i see it. Right there, printed in big black letters, impossible to miss. X MEN 3! That moron at the ticket point counter had given us ticklets to X MEN 3! And we being bigger morons had not checked!

We truged our way back to the ticket point counter and returned the tickets and got my coupon back. SC grinned sheepishly as we walked back to the car with our tails between our legs. Due to someones miscommunication we had been robbed of an opportunity to see a great movie. We rode back home and AW and SC dropped me off. I shall unlock the code i vowed!..Sunday..I shall!

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

When Love and Hate Collide...

"You could have a change of heart, if you would only change your mind,
Instead of slamming down the phone girl, for the hundredth time,
I got your number on my wall, but I ain't gonna make that call,
When divided we stand baby, united we fall,
Got the time got a chance gonna make it,
Got my hands on your heart gonna take it,
All I know I can't fight this flame,
You could have a change of heart, if you would only change your mind,
Cause I'm crazy 'bout you baby, time after time,
Without you,
One night alone Is like a year without you baby,
Do you have a heart of stone,
Without you,
Can't stop the hurt inside,
When love and hate collide"
When Love and Hate Collide - Def Leppard

Till today, this song to me was just another classic by a rock group that ruled the charts in the 80s and early 90s. Great lyrics, great music, great soul in the way it was sung. However, today i really understood what these lyrics meant. I understood, cause i felt them. Felt every word. Cause thats what was happening to me! I was associating my every action to the lyrics in the song.

Every failed relationship gives its share of harships to both the affected parites. But why is that one always gets more hurt than the other? Is it because this person has seen more into the relationship than there really is? Is he/she still hoping for a rebound relationship? That his/her partner might return to them? The answer to all these questions 9/10 times will be in the affirmitve. But why subject ourselves to this torture? I am doing it and iam asking myself the same question. Why? Its time to move on. Shes moved on effortlessly. I can do it too. Its simple right? Yup! Simple to say it. Difficult to do!

Fact of the matter is as long as you have feelings for your ex-partner, every contact with him/her is going to bring back memories,(good and bad), regrets, "if only" questions and subsequently emotional torture. So what is this a result of? Love? Hate? I really dont know the answer.

What i do know is that there is no place for love or hate after a relationship has ended. If there is place for anything, its memories. Good memories. Cherish the good times you had together and move on...Dont let love and hate collide...the resultant bang could wipe you out..

My feelings right now prompt me to lyricise another great song:

"I still got your face,
painted on my heart,
carved upon my soul,
etched upon my memory baby,
I got your kiss, still,
burning on my lips,
Touch of your fingertips,
You smell's so deep,
inside me baby"
Painted On My Heart - The Cult (OST - Gone in Sixty Seconds)

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Capital Memories

Lets rewind to the 10th of March. Mr. DS calls me STD from Delhi at 12:00 am. I say, come on, doesnt this guy sleep?.He starts off with" Sun, ek pen aur paper lekar aa aur main jo kehta hun vo likh le"(Get a pen and paper and write down what iam saying). I say "D its 12 in the night.Cant we do this tomorrow?".But he insists on it. So i get the necessary writing implements and sit groggily on my desk. And then he start giving me my flight details. This could have waited right?. NO, but Mr. Impatient wanted to tell it me then and there. So after the requisite scribbling is complete, he says to me "Ab to tujhe aana hi padega.Ticket ho gayi!"(Now you have to come. Tickets are done!). I say fine dude. Iam there!

Lets forward from the previous rewind to the 3rd of May. DS lands up at my house at 8:00 pm with a full bucket of chiken from KFC. I got hungry is what he tells me. Yeah right!!. So we sit and wolf down 7 pieces out of the 12. I bid goodbye to him at around 10:00 pm and remind him to be ready at 4:30 am the next morning. We had a 6:15 am flight.I give my suitcase(and the stuff in there) a few finishing touches, write a cd for my discman and do a recheck of the "equipment" iam taking along.Alls in order.Iam good to go! Ab dilli dur nahin! (I could say quite literally this time round)

Woke up at 3:30 am. Gosh!.I havent seen what 3:30 am looks like in years!I wake up all groggy and by the time i get ready its 4:35 am. No i start to panic and rush with all my goodbyes and drive my car in a hurry to DS's house. Hes getting a bit hysterical too by then. Soon all bags are in the dicky and we are of to the airport with me at the wheel. We get there in time and complete all the formalities and move out to the runway where we see our plane..KINGFISHER!!!!!

Now we had heard a LOT of good stuff about Kingfisher airlines. And if it was anything as good as the beer they make, we werent going to be dissapointed. And dissapointed we werent!!WOW!It was an incredible experience. Now i have a secret to share here. This was my first airborne experience (since experiences when you are 2 years old are not counted). And what a first experience it was!

The plane was incredibly kitted out. LCD screens for each passenger. Free headphones for each passenger. Yana Gupta coming on and giving out all the pre flight instructions. Excellent food. And to top it off, the Airhostesses were to DIE for!Man! I had decided to take a nap during the flight but it was impossible for me to close my eyes!I would have loved to fly all round India in that flight if they had let me!As we started to approach landing at Delhi airport i got a nice aerial view of the capital city. Saw the Lotus Temple, various 5 start hotels, few schools a few government buildings etc.

After landing, we were transported to the baggage claim section by a bus. Not bad. I was blown away by the sheer size of the Delhi airport!However i really do feel that we can find better names than one of the Gandhis' to name prominent places in our country. I think its the height of sycophancy. Nevertheless, it was a while before our baggage came sliding over the conveyer into out waiting hands. We loaded our trollies and were off to the exit here DS's girlfriend(along with her gorgeous best friend) was waiting for us. We loaded our stuff into her car(a red Swift) and set out to Gurgaon where he stays.

Enroute I had my first dekko as of how Delhi traffic operates. Quite like Pune, only difference being that the 2 wheelers are replaced by cars. So off we went weeding through the rush hour traffic towards a CCD in Green Park. What a way to kick of a monumental(for me atleast..what with all the monuments i was gonna see..*chuckle*) Delhi trip!! Had a great chocolte fantasy though. So with that out of the way we headed off to D's house in Gurgaon. Took us a good 1 hour to get there.

Now as you enter Gurgaon you are simply blown away by the amount of high rises there. Seems like people have seen the movie Vertical Limit too many times!(Bad joke i know!). But, jokes apart, its a great engineering feat. And the number of malls is mind boggling! You would think that all Gurgaonites do is watch movies and shop!We started to approach D's house and as we turn into his complex I am greeted with very well paved driveways and HUGE(by Pune standards atleast) buildings. We ride up the lift to his house on the 6th floor and as soon as we enter i am greeted by my smiling host(his mom). I get an affectionate pat on my face and am promptly led into the guest room where i unload all my stuff. Soon after we are sitting chatting in D's room drininkg lime juice when he announces that we are having lamb for lunch. So he and I set of to a joint called the Red Coral to buy the lamb.

En route, D puts on "Numb" by Linkin Park on his car stereo and we cry ourselves hoarse trying to sing along with Mike Shinoda and the gang. Next up is D generation X. Party time! We soon reach the Red Coral located on MG(thats Mehrauli-Gudgaon not Mahatma Gandhi!) road. We enter in and order us the lamb. We sit cooling our heels(well heating them up considering the AC was kaput!) and talk ventures to the nightclub called Nasha adjacent to this joint.On our entry, we had seen various floral arrangements with mogra flowers which didnt look like an entrance to a nightclub, but something else. Nevertheless....Soon the lamb came and we were on our way. Lunch was a grand spread. Chilly garlic rice, chilli chicken, the lamb, beer, soft drinks, the works!. I ate (and drank) hertily and we were back in D's room fiddling with laptop. Little had we started that it was time for a movie.

So, D, his girlfriend and I bundled into his Ford Ikon and headed off to PVR Metropolitan, a mall, in Gudgaon. En route, i was given running commentry by D about all the malls in the area. I must have seen about 12 different malls in the radius of 5 kms from his house. Wild isnt it!We saw this AMAZIG building which housed Microsoft, Epson and Nokia! Talk about global integration! Then there was an entire mall for furniture only where there are 10 furnished mockups of master bedrooms, guest bedrooms etc!Soon we reached the theatre and got the tickets for Gangster. I entered in to find this huge shopping megacentre. It had everything from bowling alleys to a Bose showroom! We headed up towards the movie halls and soon settled down in our seats. The movie was good. Songs amazing! Quite enjoyable. On our way out we stopped in the BOse showroom to get a demo on their latest home theatre system. MAN! The man sure knows how to make sound systems!Simply mind blowing!With a sticker price of Rs. 2,30,000/- it had better be though.

We got home soon after the movie and i settled down to unpack my back. We had dinner at 8:30. Nice home cooked meal. I enjoyed myself completely. After that we headed to D's room to begin our gaming session for the nite. We started with Cricket 2005 and continued with NFS-Most Wanted upto 4 in the morning!

Next day we were supposed to go to D's aunt's house for lunch. Now both us sleepyheads woke up at 11!His mom began to get hysterical cause we hadnt gotten ready by 12:30. We finally left at 12:40 and headed to GKII to his aunt's house. There again i had amazing Aam panna and then we all settled down for lunch. Lunch was a well spread affair with chicken, dal, salad, boondi ka raita, beans and potatoes and garam garam rotis!Dessert was diced mangoes!Yummmmyyy! At 4:30 we left his aunts house to pick up D's girlfriend and subsequently headed out to Saket, a theatre in GKII again to watch 36 China Town. It was a good movie, well scripted, even if a bit juvinille at times. But fast moving and overall entertaining. We got out of the theatre and i was arguing with a roadside vendor about the price of a second hand Bourne Identity when a TV crew from NDTV India walked up to me and D and asked us if we liked the movie. I answered first and was asked to do so in Hindi. Then i was asked if Shahid and Kareena would get married in real life. D was asked the same questions. We were told that our interviews would be aired at 12:00 am at night on Raat Baaki. Euphoric at our seemingly 15 seconds of fame, we bought ourselves an icecream called Bailey which is icecream with irish cream and liquour. Mmmm...Delicious! We then headed to a place caled Colonel Kababs in Defence Colony to have "authentic mughlai" food, as D put it. We had kheema roti, kheema and murg bhayanker. Was pretty good. I dont know bout authentic, but it sure was scrumptous!After that we headed home and soon settled down to gaming again. At 12:00 am we put on the TV and sat down with baited breath to watch ourselves on TV. Wasn to be. They didnt air the piece and we watched in dissapointment as the show ended. To perk ourselves up, we got back to gaming and played on till 3:00 am!

Saturday was going to be sightseeing day for me!We headed out at around 12, picked up D's girlfriend and then moved towards India Gate. It took us a good 1 hour to get there.On the way, i got to see the famous AIIMS flyover, Delhi Haat and a few other places of interest.

After we got there, I insisted on walking up to the India gate even tough it was terribly hot outside. As i walking up towards it i felt a sense of awe creeping over me. I walked closer and began to read the inscription on it. I dont remember the exact words now, but i do remember they were very well written. Filled me with a kinda pride for my country that i cant put in words. We then asked a guy with a camera to click our photo infront of the India gate with our camera. The poor guy was so sweet, he clicked our picture even though its his business to click photographs of people posing in front of the gate. I thought what the heck. I gave him the requisite 50 bucks and asked him to click a picture of us through his camera now. And i wasnt dissapointed with the result. The photo came out quite well. I was particulatly impressed at the enterprise of these people!Aquiring expired polaroid prints at throwaway prices and using these to make a living out of clicking pictures of enthusiastic tourists(like myself). Ingenious!

From the India gate, we proceeded towards Rashtrapati Bhavan. As we approached the sprawlig structure, we were greeted with what has to be the smallest traffic signal beacon in the world! It is housed in a minaret like structure bang in the middle of the intersection with 4 such small beacons on each side of the minaret! The beacon goes green and we start to move towards the main gate of Rashtrapati Bhavan slowly. As we approach the beautiful structure, i cant help but notice the colonial architechture, the HUGE wrought iron gates, the sprawling landscaping. Fit for a President!

We then proceeded towards Parliment House which i got to see from the car since we werent allowed to stop our vehicles there. We then went to Connaught Place to have lunch. We had some good Chinese food at a place called Nirula's. Then i had a sumptous chocolate eclair and picked up sinful chocolate chip cookies for aai at home. From Nirula's we went off to our 2nd ajor attraction of the day. The Metro!

Now as you enter the Metro station you are greeted by will lit corridors, spankingly clean enviornments, lucid directions and most of all, the feeling of welcoming!We move to the ticket counter and ask for a route which will take an hour to and fro. We decide to take the metro from Rajiv Chowk(station where we were right now) to Rajouri Garden. Fare? A mere Rs. 16/- per head. Now as we move to the spanking platform, D and I start to click pictures even though i recall seeing somewhere that photography is prohibited. D takes them blatantly. Me discreetely. And sure enough, after bout 2 mins D is hauled up by the security personnel for clicking pictures. The pester him for about 2 mins and then let him go with a warning. We silently board the train(which has arrived till then) and take our seats for this momentous ride.

As the ride progresses, i get more and more impressed with the Metro. The approaching stations announcement, the graphic displays of the route, the timing of opening and closing of the doors, the speed of travel, the comfort of travel, the cleanliness inside the cabin were simply brilliant. And add to that a frequency of 5 mins, you have a surefire winner on your hands. No wonder almost all shuttles run full!

With our Metro ride to and from Rajouri Garden we head back out to Connaught Place where D's girlfriend heads off home and we move our butts to the shopping paradise for computer geeks: Palika Bazaar! You are frisked while entering this shopping spectacle. An irony of sorts considering that 99% of the shops in Palika Bazaar are run by the underworld. But nevertheless, we enter and head straight for the game cd stores. The first store(or stall if i may call it) we stop at has a smiley young individual at the helm peddling his wares. We browse through about 400 CDs and DVDs and pick up about 6. Average price Rs. 60/- each! Thereon, we move to a store selling movie DVDs. There after browsing and pestering the guy for about 45 minutes, i pick up 2 DVDs. One a Clint Eastwood compilation with Where Eagles Dare, The Good The Bad The Ugly and Firefox and one with all the four Harry Potters. Then i pick up a Zippo lighter set for my dad and a nasty looking knife for myself. Then a USB joystick for gaming! D shops for a few more arbit stuff and we head out of Palika Bazaar with our pockets considerably lighter, albeit with hands considerably heavier(what with carrying all that stuff). We now start to walk through Connaught place and suddenly D scream out "I smell KFC!". The man keeps walking and find a KFC 20 metres from the place where he exclaimed before! And then says "I didnt know there was a KFC in CP". Eventually it turned out they had just opened a week back. D had just smelt KFC out! Unbelievable! Talk about your canine attributes!

We then moseyed along to a restaurant called PiccaDelhi in CP where we were supposed to meets D's parents and a few of their family friends for "early" dinner. It was a quaint place with English decor all around, but with a menu that served worldly cuisines. We were the first of our party to arrive. By and by everyone started to trickle in and by about 8:15 pm all 10 of us had settled down in our seats. Now i ordered a fettuchini pasta in wine sauce along with a Grren Attack mocktail which had aam panna, mint, line and all the greens of the drink world!Was pretty good!Cant say the same bout the pasta though. It was just bout OK. However, we were kept very well entertained throughout our meal by an actor who was masquarading as Charlie Chaplin. And he was doing quite a good job of it! He kept taking pot shots at all the waiters and mingled with all the guests aside from doing his normal routine. Pretty entertaining!

After al the commercial angles were settled, we all trudged back to Nirula's for ice cream. That done, we said goodbye to our guests for the eve and D, his mom, his dad and your truly set off for home in his dad's Honda CRV.Yes a CRV! My first ride in the premium softroader and i wasnt at all dissapointed. On the way home, i got to see the famous(well now infamous) Delhi Public School, Mathura Road. On getting home, we got to the computer immediately. We were dying to try out all the stuff that we had bought earlier at Palika Bazaar. Well most of the stuff worked except a few of the DVDs and a couple of CDs. Soon we had installed Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and were going "Kawabunga"! Slept at 3 again!

Next day we woke up late again and spent the entire day indoors resting and sheilding ourselves from the scorching sun and oppressive heat. For dinner i had a scotch with fish and chips!Mmmmmm...We finished it off with mangoes! Watched America Pie 4 - Band Camp and then dozed off.

Monday we decided to go to Palika Bazaar again. To return the stuff that hadnt worked. We decided to take the metro from Dwarka instead of driving all the way down to CP again. The road to Dwarka was simply amazing. Baby butt smooth with trees all around, well marked out directions and the works. The road network in our country is definitely moving in the right direction. The Metro station at Dwarka was another well laid out destination and being a terminus we got a shuttle within 2 mins. The ride to CP took just a shade under an hour. We then had lunch at KFC with another friend who i hadnt met since i got into Delhi. Post lunch we moseyed along to Palika bazaar again and went place to exchange the stuff. That done we walked back to the metro station and amde a beeline for home as soon as we got down at Dwarka. We were totally pooped!

D's parents took me out for dinner that evening to a place called the Golden dragon. It was a good place, good food, with incredible portions in each dish! Satiated, we all made our way back home and i was so tired by then, that after an hour of TMNT, i hit the sack.

Woke up early next morning and wasnt feeling a 100%. However, we had a lunch decided so i went along to this place called The Big Chill in East of Kailash for exclsively authentic Italian food. On the way over, D showed me this street off MG road where they have all these temples. It will simply blow you away! The amount and size of the temples there is incredible! I was staring with my mouth agape for the entire duration we were on that street. Soon we picked D's girlfriend up and made our way to Big Chill. D and his girlfriend ordered the shrimp pasta while i ordered a veggie pizza. Post that, for dessert i had the much recommended, squiggy cake. Was quite delicious i have to say!And the food was quite authentic too!After lunch, we headed home and i got a tour of Siri Fort on the way. This is the place where the 2010 Commenwealth games will be held. Was a good facility, but need some work before it can be ready to host such a huge event. But theve got time and iam sure theyll make it upto the mark.

Getting home, i was already feeling low. I got into bed immediatey and was soon diagnosed with fever running at 103 deg F. I did my packing swaggering side to side, had my dinner, spoke to two of my best friends in Pune, who gave me tips on as to how to make it back home in 1 piece, talked to aai, popped a pill and crashed. Woke up next morning drenched in sweat, but with fever gone. I dressed hurridely and it was time to bid my hosts goodbye. I got through that and as i approached the car in hte parking below i looked back at the house that had been my home for the past 6 days. I was going back yes. But with cherished memories.

Now the ride to the airport was a revealation in itself. For D, on how to get to the airport in the maximum possible time and for me as to how to keep calm when the eventuality of missing your flight is staring you in face. But we managed to get there in time and i bid farewell to my buddy, my roomie for 6 days! As i walked to the Air Deccan check in counter i was both excited(at the prospect of going back home) and sad(at my trip coming to an end). As i was waiting in for the secutrity check, i noticed a board displaying the people who did not have to go through the security check procedure. The list included The Prime Minister, The President, Union Ministers, Chief Justice of India, Visiting Foriegn Disgnitaries, Ambassadors etc etc. One name at the end of the list caught my eye and left me flabbergasted. The name was... ROBERT VADRA! Why does Robert Vadra need a free pass through security? Who is he? Just cause he is Sonia Gandhi's son-in-law? Talk about sucking up to the "queen"!

Now Air Deccan was quite a different experience from Kingfisher. To say the least. First of all the flight took off 45 minutes late. Reason being that the Delhi airport radar had failed. Yeah right! Nevertheless, the aircraft by itself was great. The people in it though were far from it. The atmosphere in the plane was more like a ST bus in the air. But isnt that what Air Decan is? A low cost people carrier? Case closed.

I finally made it back to Pune at 12:00 pm. After the de rigeur wait at the baggage claim i headed out to see my sis waiting for me. Never felt so good to be home!But never felt so good to go somewhere either!