Monday, June 29, 2009


Here is another award from dearest Cynthia dedicated to all visitors of this blog. Cheers

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Hidden dangers

Saturday being my off day, I was off to a mall. Entered a book stall. Saw a line of heavy books on Sigmund Freud. Picked up one. Opened a page at random and read this.
Two sisters and their brother lived in the US happily when the brother got a job outside the city and moved out. The sisters kept a paying guest, a handsome man. Both were happy with guy. He was well behaved and the neighbourhood liked him. One day, one of the sisters was in her room when he entered, undressed himself, did not touch her or harm her and moved out. In a few days, he vacated and was almost forgotten. But the sister in this incident started developing symptoms of strange phobia. She fell sick and repeatedly thought that the neighbourhood looked at her with suspicion that she loved the guy and missed him badly. When the psychologist asked her whether any harm was done, she denied. She was in a denial mode throughout. The problem arose as she refused to share the truth with anyone close to her.
Moral: When in trouble, share your views with some confidant. Don’t feel shy.
At this point my phone rang and my girl friend said “Hi”.(Haha, I know, what is in your mind naughty. She’s a friend who happens to be a girl).
Around midnight, I was reading Sidney Sheldon’s Tell Me Your Dreams. There is a page where Dr Salem will hypnotise murder convict Ashley and ask her questions. He will find out that she suffered from multiple personality disorder. It was so gripping I got scared and couldn’t sleep for sometime. Checked the doors and windows, put off the AC and opened the balcony. Are you grinning again?
OK, stay alone, read the book at midnight after having a dose of Freud.
Again Moral: There are hidden dangers if we do not share our thoughts.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

By hook or crook

He was a man with that lean and hungry look. When I reached Dubai’s only Krsna temple, he came and sat next to me in a chair.
“I can read your face. You are deeply distressed,” he started on his own.
“Really? Did I ask you?” I shot off.
“I know astrology. You are married and you have two kids,..,” he continued. Shucks, his guesswork worked.
“Am not interested. Look for another victim.” I got up.
He held my hand. “I do prayers at the cemetery at midnight. You do not know my powers. If you do not pay me for a special ritual, you will get a bad news before you reach home today,” he dared to say this to me.
“OK. Lemme face the bad news instead of paying you. And I am also worried,” I said.
His face brightened.
I continued. “I am worried about you as you do not know who I am. You aren’t going to reach your home today,” I managed to scare him.
He remained quiet for a moment, got up and moved on murmuring something. I kept looking at him, as would a tiger look at a jackal, until he disappeared from my vision.
PS: Nothing happened. On the contrary I got a good news that my report appeared in a Delhi magazine and I would get $100. Never fall a victim to such crooks if you come across one. If possible give a kick on their butt.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Can’t stop loving you, MJ

I just switched on the computer on Friday morning and Delhi blogger Priyanka declared on chat the depressing news: “MJ is no more.” What? Which MJ? I screamed. “King of Pop,” she replied.
I closed my eyes for a minute. The immediate reaction in my heart was one of anger and sadness. Only recently I had read in papers that the star was annoyed with agents who booked 50 live concerts for him at London's O2 Arena. He actually agreed to do only 10 gigs. "I'm not a big eater - I need to put some weight on," he complained. Why did they pile up so much pressure on him? Why? Bring back our star now, you bums..
It is well known that MJ had gone through tough times. In a documentary by British journalist Martin Bashir, Jackson said his father often brandished a belt during rehearsals and hit his sons or shoved them into walls if they made a misstep.
At 11, you sang, “I want you back,” MJ. We, your ardent fans, want to sing the same song. But we understand reality. Stars like you never fade away, MJ. You shine for ever. Your voice will continue to echo around the world.
The media is full of news about the star. The world is stunned. I cannot add anything new. But let my one tear join the sea of tears being shed all around for the king.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Fat of the matter

Weight is a weighty issue these days.
“You have put on weight,” “You have lost weight,” have become common usages when we meet acquaintances.
When I met a friend yesterday, she looked hassled. “The doctor has asked me to shed weight or face trouble,” she said.
“OK, join the gym immediately,” I suggested.
“Are you mad? I am 44 and have never stepped into a gym,” she said.
“Go for dieting.”
“You know my appetite,” she retorted.
What about yoga?
“My God. I cannot bend this way and that way.”
“Good, I will give you a solution. Try walking one hour every day,” I said.
“That I tried last week,” she replied.
“What great? Every time I returned home I became so hungry I ate double the normal. It’s all back to square one.”
“Bye, bye,” I vanished from the scene.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Bloggers, unbreakable link

Priyanka Tandon wrote;
"Hi there,
If you remember I had contacted you regarding my dissertation. I am sending you 2 sets of questionnaires considering that you are both a blogger and a journalist. I realise that you blog personally but some posts are very journalistic in nature. I request you to answer back in an in-depth way." -
As the subject is about blogs, thought it would be interesting to share this Q&A with you all. Sorry about the length. Cheers...
What are the basic motivations that allow you to blog about news and journalism?
I do not exactly blog about news. But maybe because I have been a mainstream journalist for the past 27 years, my writings get the journalistic tinge. I write mostly about my personal experiences. Two motivations: One, I can see a very visible improvement in my writing skills thanks to my regular postings. Two, I have made a variety of friends in different fields like engineering, medicine, media etc. Name it, you have it. Like a friend said, it makes us wonder, we are very free when we discuss our problems with a virtual friend, than in reality. The feeling of sharing among bloggers is so great, one has to be involved to actually get a feel of it.
Are blogs an important source of information other than the professional methods available?
Yes. As a journalist, I have noticed that bloggers break some news faster than even the journalists. Will give an example. Danish cheese was banned in the UAE for sometime following a controversy. It was through a blog that I got to know first that the items are back on the shelves.
Do you think blogging about news is equal to performing journalism?
Yes. Unfortunately, I do not know whether we get paid for breaking news through blogs.
How do you think journalism blogs affect the functioning of mainstream media?
The print media has already lost the race to TV and Internet. If there is an accident on my street and even if I capture the moments instantly, I have to wait for the paper to be printed the next day. But the TV and Internet can flash instantly. Like the boss of my leading media company in India once said, “We print media are now eating the leftovers of television.”
Many scholars agree that blogging and journalism, in fact, go hand in hand, do you agree?
Not necessary. There are thousands of non-journalists who run effective blogs. In fact, some of them are better than those by trained journalists.
What do you think is the future of news bloggers in India?
I presume it should be bright. I am yet to know myself how to sell oneself as a news blogger.
Questionnaire (for journalists)
There is a lot of speculation these days that blogging is the future of journalism, do you agree?
If you take into account there are 200 million blogs presently, the speculation indeed has some basis. But how commercially viable is it going to be is the question yet to be answered.
In your opinion, should news bloggers be given the same privileges as that given to professional journalists?
Absolutely. As long as the goal is to bring out news information to the public, who does it does not matter. There should be the same privileges.
Are news bloggers a threat or an advantage to mainstream media?
It depends. Like I said print media is already losing on newsbreak. What is news? Something that is new, right? But with tech explosion, news is broken within seconds in other media. News blogs can be advantageous if as an editor I were to pick the clue offered by them and follow up with an effective story. For ex, we did follow up on the Danish cheese returning to Dubai shop shelves as soon as we noticed the news in a blog. It can turn a threat if bloggers offer serious analysis of news proceedings as is presently done by newspapers.
How do you think bloggers challenge/help journalism and its principle function?
By offering tips for news breaks. A journalist can make a huge story by just picking a line in a blog.
Do you think news bloggers play an important role in the Indian media?
Sorry, I have not seriously studied this aspect as I am away from India presently (for the past eight years). If you ask me about media in general, it is a big YES, Most mainstream journalists do keep an eye on the blogs. I noticed this phenomenon when the famous Gulf News newspaper quoted my new blog in one of the columns.

Monday, June 22, 2009


Thought photos can speak better than words. Lost my card reader and bought a new one only yesterday. You know how lazy I am. Hence the delay in posting my India visit snaps. Sorry if you are bored.

All in the family - Dubai

Amar, Akbar, Antony - or- Faiyaz, RR and Dominic at Bandra park

(Taking a break- Chennai-Mumbai car ride)

Just a click: Mumbai-Pune route
A surprise visit by blog friend Pankaj
Guinness holder Nayak, Philosopher Faiyaz and blog friend Nikki

Joy ride in Borivli park fun train

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Man, I am sorry

I don’t know anything about Genghis Khan and hence bought a 400-plus page book on the Mongol hero by John Man. Went off in lightning speed, skipped a page, another, another…yawn….sleep.. another.. I have “finished” reading.
And now, I don’t know anything about Genghis Khan.
Hey, I am not blaming the author, come on. I agree I am an awful reader.
OK, read this interesting piece in Bhavan’s Journal:
Goethe’s famous novel, “Sorrows of Young Werther,” sought glorification of suicide. Goethe was hardly 25 when he wrote it and the novel proved to be a startling European success. Following its publication in 1774, a spate of suicides was reported all over Europe, especially among love-lorn youth. Though I am also in the youth category, I don’t wanna read this book.
Life is short, let’s make it sweet. Right?

Saturday, June 20, 2009

The great escape

“It is a gain for one to renounce the friendship of fools,” fumed a companion, quoting Tamil literature.
“Why are you angry with me?” I asked.
“Not you. That stupid friend of yours. He took a loan from me citing your name.”
“Why did you offer him money before crosschecking with me?” I asked.
“I thought he won’t cheat. Anyway. How much you have got in your pocket?”
“Gimee. I will return tomorrow.”
“I can’t,” I replied.
“It is a gain for one to renounce the friendship of fools,”
I replied and escaped.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Paris in Dubai

A senior reporter of a competing paper who is a good friend flashed a shocked look.
“Don’t tell me boss that you are not going for Paris Hilton press conference. She’s in Dubai and is the talk of the town,” he exclaimed.
“First, it’s not my beat. Second, meeting celebrities has not helped me greatly. Maybe, Orianna Fallaci (God knows whether spelt right!) became well-known as a journalist interviewing famous personalities. (I remember she once wrote that Maomar Gaddafi was eyeing her male photographer when she was trying to grab his attention) But I am no Fallaci,” I started my lecture.
“…!!” he listened.
“Even if I interview Hilton, after the meeting her chauffeur will drive her away to the world’s only seven-star Burj Al Arab Hotel and I will be left searching for the low-priced public bus to Sharjah. Why run after celebrities? Should we ourselves not be celebrities?” I went on.
“Celebrity. Youuu..?” he laughed like a roaring lion, picked up his bag and bade farewell still giggling when he opened the door. He was convinced he was talking to a mad man.
“You darling friend,” I called out. “I got a namesake award for good reporting in Mumbai and the top newspaper flashed the news “Navi Mumbai’s celebrities awarded.’”
After he left, I had a hearty laugh at my own joke.
As for me, I feel every person who enters this blog is a celebrity.
What say?

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

No money, no sleep!

The cockroaches have gone and the bed bugs too. I have been left alone, to sleep and dream in peace about that 28-year old Tunisian beauty I met last week (What is your problem if my imagination runs riot, darling?). Which makes me wonder.. Would I have been able to slump into slumber this peacefully without the Dhs 100 I paid for the bedbug-buster guy? So does it mean money can buy happiness?
This also brings me to this beautiful letter our great friend from Canada has written. I admire her thoughts and sure you too will. This was her response to a post where I mentioned government needs to help public on housing and money may be linked to happiness.
Fida Wild wrote: Don’t count on the government for better housing. What we need are private investors with a great conscious and an “un-greedy” mind. Dear friend, u r no hypocrite at all… u r a responsible householder. Having money or being materialistic is not the same. With the first one can help others, the second is a choice – even a poor chap can be materialistic – just look at all those unnecessary cell phones out there. Jeez, I am talking too much :)
No Fida, you are not talking too much. You are talking sense. Absolute wisdom. Thanks.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Bug bites, my friend bugs

After the cockroaches come the bugs. The bed bugs have arrived and I already lost two nights’ sleep. And I have summoned a Syrian pest control guy, who did a wonderful job eliminating the cockroaches last week by pasting some medicine through injection on the walls. It’s an easy system where you do not have to remove anything and just go about your work normally at home.
When I narrated this to my colleague, he was not amused. “You yourself are a bug, why you worry?” he joked.
“It is because I have some creepy-crawly friends like you,” I retorted.
‘Keep away. Don’t spread the bugs,” he told me, when another colleague joined us.
“Hey young man (OK, OK, he called me old man). How you doing?” he said, giving me a hug.
“Don’t touch him. He has bed bugs at home,” said the creepy.
The new guy replied: “Bugs bite. But you bug.”

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Rice-roti conflict

As we shifted home in Chennai, I had bought a new cupboard. Two hefty guys agreed to lift the heavy cupboard to the second floor.
“Just give a helping hand,” suggested the heavier guy.
I did. And within seconds I realized the entire load was on me. The two guys were sweating as profusely as me, but at least they were getting paid for it.
After we managed to reach the second floor, the second one suggested that a cold drink would be great. The first one insisted that the amount negotiated was less and they needed extra money.
I agreed to both the demands out of sympathy.
But the worst was yet to come. Collecting the money, the hefty guy commented: “Sir, you should eat better. You sweat so much even after lifting a little weight. Stop rice and go for rotis.”
What audacity!
(Roti is a traditional bread in India and Pakistan)

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Bury the worry

I was watching a CD containing a lecture on human excellence by Prof KR Rao. Some interesting points I thought should share with you.
* Dream is not something that you get in sleep; it’s one that does not let you sleep and makes you work hard towards a goal.
* Einstein was planning to give a speech when he saw a shoeshine boy. He noticed that the boy had not washed his face. He asked the boy to polish his shoes, and then offered an extra dollar if he washed his face. The boy vanished in a second and returned after doing so. What will you do with your extra dollar? asked Einstein. “Well, I will give it back to you if you comb your hair,” replied the boy. “I realized then that all of us need to learn everyday,” declared Einstein in his speech.
* Learning is not just for earning.
* He lives who lives for others: Vivekananda
* Keep your mind open, nothing enters a closed mind
* Let not worries bury you, you bury the worries.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

'Vada-pav’ philosopher

I am blessed with some excellent friends and promised to introduce them whenever possible. You have to know this interesting man.
Faiyaz Hardwarewala is his name, but he should have actually been christened Softwarewala, going by his soft nature.
FH is in media relations and has worked with leading companies in Dubai. His recent stint was with a famous publication. He has roamed around the luxurious spots of Dubai as a journalist.
Is he rich?
Well, that’s the story all about. Simple living is his philosophy.
FH prefers to work in Dubai for a few years, chuck his job, return to Mumbai, pick up a bicycle, take railway season ticket, spend time in libraries, have "vada-pav" and such other simple food, talk philosophy with friends, especially Ayn Rand brand. Once the bank balance starts pinching, he starts looking out for a job again. BTW, vada-pav is a snack (bread and potato mix, hey, whoever knows what it is don’t laugh at my explanation) sold in roadside outlets and restaurants in Mumbai and is inexpensive.
“I want to live my life the way I like. Take it or leave it,” he argues.
As a true buddy, I am worried about him, but secretly I admire and envy his guts.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Tech, buck and muck

A typical scene at Marina beach, Chennai

There are some best things I noticed during my recent trip to India, and some worst.
First the good ones: Prosperity is visible. Some people who once talked about taking loans to buy bicycles are now owners of motorcars. Technology is the key word and I saw several vegetable vendors, sadhus, carpenters and haircutters flaunting their cellphones and motorcycles. Developments in medicine have helped some people move with artificial hearts, legs, glittering white imitation tooth and much more (I don’t know what is on your mind, naughty).
Youngsters get much better salaries than what we used to get 10 years ago.
Now the bad side of the story:
The one-point mission in life for most people seems to buy a one or two-room kitchen of their own. The utter failure of successive governments to offer affordable housing to all Indians is responsible for this. The entire life is spent working to buy a roof. If cheaper houses built by government flood the market, private sharks will learn a lesson. But are not private sharks and public big fish hand in glove?
Many do not know the meaning of hygiene. There are no proper public urinals and pissing on the roads is a common sight.
Road network has improved a great deal. Travelling from Chennai to Mumbai by car (1,200 plus km) proved quite easy. The road tolls every three hours may be expensive, but worth it.
TV serials have brought discard in many families. The elderly prefer to watch serials where family revenge is the buzzword. When the youngsters ask for cricket match or latest movie, an argument ensues, brews and ends in mini-family war.
Politicians command no respect. Many are convinced that India is progressing despite the politicians.
Materialism is all-pervading. But I cannot talk on this subject. I will preach money is evil, but run for it on the sly. I am a hypocrite on this. When the pocket gets empty, it’s better to turn a philosopher.
The secret: Deep inside, I realize simple living and less desires bring the door of heaven closer. In fact, it brings heaven to earth.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Back in Sharjah

I was sitting on the sands of Marina beach in Chennai day-before yesterday with family and today I am back in Sharjah, home alone, surrounded by 568 cockroaches (hey buddy, just a wild guess). Will call pest control guys for sure. Well, life is indeed tricky. I know most of you are annoyed as I was not regular in my posts and comments the whole of last month. Promise, will try to catch up for the lost time during vacation, which also brought some domestic challenges. Catch up and there are lots to share. Sincere apology to Himanshu as I could not catch up in Bangalore despite my promise. Meeting famous blogger Nikki of Mumbai along with my friends was a great occasion. Special thanks to Nitu and Pankaj for staying connected throughout. And Vivek..hey the list will go on man.. Just one BIG THANKS to all of you straight from my heart.