Friday, October 31, 2008

Some Funny Stuff I experienced

Over the past couple of days some strange and rather amusing occurrences have been noticed by me. Like the other day I noticed one of my friends had his Facebook status reading as “is nursing a broken leg & recovering from an accident”. So before I ventured to ask him how he broke his leg, images of him playing some sport, or a fall down some steps were the first to come to mind. I completely eliminated a fall from a bike, because to my knowledge he wasn’t a biker. So when I did finally catch him online and asked him how he happened to fracture his leg, I was shocked to read his answer which was thus: “arre i was in an auto, its brake failed, flipped over & my leg got squashed under it - so now got a fracture, but am recovering :)”.

So now you tell me, is that shocking? With my experience with Delhi Autowallahs, it didn’t surprise me that much.

Another funny thing happened yesterday while I was walking back to office from Theatre Road. I turned to the corner and just entered Loudon Street towards Park Street. I had just about walked 20 feet down the pavement when A Tata Sumo pulled up to the curb and a person from the back seat enquired where the Theatre Road Police Station was. I replied back with a slightly confused look that I didn’t know where the Theatre Road Police Station was specifically, but there was a big Police Station just as you crossed Theatre Road on the opposite side. Infact I turend around and pointed it out to the now several persons sitting in the Tata Sumo. They immediately acknowledged and sped off.

Now you’re wondering why I was confused, right. Well I just gave Directions of the POLCE STATION to a POLICEMAN sitting in a POLICE TATA SUMO. How about that?

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Finally, A Good Hindi Movie!

Its 2.00 am and I've just got back from watching FASHION. I'm glad on two accounts. One that i finally took my bike out today after a long time and rode it to the Theatre and secondly that I watched a great Hindi Movie. This Madhur Bhandarkar guy does make some realistic stuff. First to dig deep into the industry and spend so much time researching intricate details of the nuances of the Fashion Industry and then to be able to shoot a film like this to narrate what he has researched. I am amazed. Priyanka Chopra does a great job as the pivotal role of Meghna Mathur a small town girl who rises to the super stardom of being a supermodel and her fall from grace in the movie and is supported by a great cast around her character.

Noteworthy are the parts of Kangana Ranaut as Shonali Gujral as the reigning Supermodel who Meghna dethrones, Mugdha Godse as Janet, the struggling yet wise model and friend of Meghna, Kitu Gidwani as Anisha Roy, the Owner of the modelling agency that makes the stars and also dances to the tune of Abhijit, Sameer Soni as Rahul Arora, the in the closet gay fashion designer who rises to fame, Arbaz Khan, as Abhijit Sarin the business tycoon who decides who will be king or queen of the fashion world and Arjan Bajwa as Manav who is a struggling model who helps Meghna when she is a struggling model too by sharing his apartment and companionship.

A must watch for all those who want to watch a sensible movie where you don't have to watch grown men and women dancing in the fields and singing around trees on mountain tops. The music is also blended in seamlessly into the movie.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Kali Puja

I took some time out before dinner to capture some pictures of a couple of Kali Puja Pandals. Well this side of the country Kali Puja is bigger than Diwali which more prevalent in North India.

Festival of Lights

Though the markets (stock that is) are taking a beating, plunging down to 7000 points, the festive spirits are being kept alive by some brave souls like me. I wasn’t going to let the slowdown dampen the illumination around us. So I went out and got some lights to put up at home and also indulged in buying some firecrackers. After dinner we started the festivities by lighting up. Ok actually the festivities had started a day before with the amount of sweets consumed. I think this whole lighting up crackers was a result of the sugar rush. Anyway once underway, we lit up phooljaris, anars, rockets and charkis. All that light and the occasional boom were quite exhilarating. The smoke was the downside of the entire evening.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Winter sets in

After two days of incessant rain and the weather man and news channels saying that a cyclone is hitting Kolkata, it has finally given way to a cold winter morning. Laying the weather forecasts to rest watching the twilight sky and smelling the fresh cold air, I can say this quite convincingly that winter is here.

Hope I can use my woollens this year.

Complete Sunday!

After Saturday’s weather and day long laziness and eating, I decided that on Sunday I had to make up for the calorie intake and a swim was definitely on the cards, cold or no cold, rain or no rain. So before we went to the club we made a pit stop at the food court at South City Mall. Lunch is important. So this time we decided to try the Sizzlers from Simply Sizzlers at the Food Court. We ordered a non-vegetarian sizzler and two Sea-food Sizzlers. Man was that a brilliant choice. Just seeing the trouble the guy went through to put that dish together was enough. The veggies were placed first and then the two tiger prawns’ one on top of the other at right angles and the piece of bhetki in between and the sauce poured on top finally finished with a scoop of white butter just enticed me to dive into it.

For Rs. 190/-, this was one of the best Sizzlers I’ve had. After that some pastries and we were off to the club. Well after a pit stop at Gariahat market that is. I can’t believe I went Sari shopping with the wife. I think maybe I’m better at this kind of stuff than she is. Oh we even made a stop at FAB India; and indulged in some shopping there too. I think I’m quite a Shopaholic! From there it was non-stop to the club and I went straight for a swim. The indoor pool was heated and the hour spent swimming definitely helped burn some calories. Of course the rain outside just got heavier.

But at the end of it all, it was a Sunday well spent. Aha it’s not over yet. From the club we decided to head back to South City Mall and watch a movie at FAME. Roadside Romeo was an entertaining movie. Considering it’s an animation and the first of its kind from Walt Disney and Yash Raj Films in India. The three main characters are voiced by Saif Ali Khan (Romeo), Kareena Kapoor (Laila) and Javed Jaffrey (Charlie Anna). It’s a must watch to see how Bollywood flicks can now also happen in Animation.

PSU inneficiency and committed Golfers pepper with steak

This Saturday, I mad up my mind after a lot of procrastination that I would visit the BSNL office at Ranikuti to change my BSNL Broadband internet plan. As per information from their customer care, all I had to do was go to the office and give an application to the AO (TR) for change of plan. So I did. Only to find out when I reached the office that the AO (TR) hadn’t yet come in at 10.30 am. Can you imagine I was out and about by that hour on a holiday? Anyway I waited for half an hour and finally got directed to a room where I met the concerned person, who told me that I didn’t have to meet the AO (TR) for this but the Commercial Manager. So I was redirected to the first floor where I met the person concerned only to learn that I could only get this done after I had paid the first bill of my existing plan. So I wasted a good Saturday morning at the Telephone Office. Well the saving grace was the sight of the impressive building. On my way out I clicked a picture of the palatial office standing all regal and white housing this overstaffed machinery that in the true sense wasn’t even required in this day and age of online technology. Such processes should be available by just going online and getting it done.

Anyway thereafter I went to the Tollygunge Club and spent the entire day in the Shamiana enjoying the view and watching die-hard golfers teeing off and coming in to finish their game at the 18th hole in the rain. These blokes are committed to the game, come rain or storm. Beers, French fries and steaks made for a good fest while I watched group after group till it was evening and time to go home.

Friday, October 24, 2008

RUSSEL PETERS LIVE in 'CALCUTTA'


I had been waiting for the day I’d see RUSSELL PETERS Live for the past five odd years since I saw his Comedy Now Show for the first time on my PC. Thereafter I had been scouting for more videos of the Funny man with his roots in my Hometown of Kolkata. We shared another thing in common, of being Anglo-Indians and dealing with the ordeal of explaining what the term actually meant. So like RUSSEL, I also tend to skirt the topic and often enough say I’m a Bengali, as the occasion warrants.

Anyway Back to RUSSEL’s Show. When I got to Science City, the first challenge was to get a parking spot, which fortunately I did. Then getting to the Auditorium gate, I noticed the serpentine line which had already formed. Fortunately I spotted some friends right at the head of the line and in typical Indian style cut in and was seated in the second row in a jiffy. The stage with one mike in the middle already got my laughter hormones or whatever it is that gets you to laugh to kick in. I turned back the whole half hour or more that it took for people to get in and seated. I was shocked to witness the entire auditorium getting packed.

Like all shows in India, though slated for a sharp 8.00 pm start, the show got on the road at 8.45 pm. The opening act was a fat white Canadian bloke who set it up for RUSSELL with a fifteen minute act that had the crowd playing to his tunes, till he finally brought RUSSELL on stage at about 9.00pm. One thing he conveyed to the audience quite convincingly and that was that FAT people were FAT because they EAT. Period!

RUSSELL got on stage and immediately got into his act. The first of his targets, and believe you me I had already identified two of them before the show, was the Old Sardarji sitting with his wife and son, right in front of me in ROW A on the left side of auditorium. The next one was at the other end to the right side of the auditorium in ROW A, a bunch of Chinese Girls. Thereafter for the first half hour RUSSELL had people in splits. The show took off further in the latter half much to the dismay and shock of the older audiences when RUSSELL got more explicit on the subject of SEX. Not that the younger people had any qualms. They were just enjoying every bit of the funny man’s jabs at the hypocritical approach to sex in the country that gave the world the Kamasutra.

He wound up with his classic sign off pulling out a piece I quite clearly remember him saying on OUTSORCED he had retired. But who can forget Ryan and “SOMEBODY GONNA GETA HURT REAL BAD”. With that he signed off to a standing ovation form “CALCUTTA”. That was his dig at the Government waiting for 50 years to change the names of “BOMBAY, MADRAS and CALCUTTA” to “MUMBAI, CHENNAI and KOLKATA”.

RUSSEL ROCKS! Oh and for those who missed his show.. Well you missed his show. Maybe you can catch him in Mumbai or Delhi or better still, watch more of his stuff on youtube.com, while I go get my Copy of his latest Red, White & Brown.

For tickets click and maybe see him in Person.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Rewarding Experience with Kids

A couple of weeks ago, I helped out a friend of mine, Nizar. He had made a request if he could bring about a dozen kids to visit our station as part of various extra curricular social activities conducted by him. He had previously taken them on a factory visit to one of the leading pharmaceutical companies in Kolkata. So I welcomed the idea and played host to the entourage.

The kid’s ages between 5 and 12 years were a lively, intelligent and inquisitive bunch. I first took them into the conference room and played teacher, teacher with them. It was the most fulfilling hour spent educating and getting educated myself as to the awareness level of children today. I took them through the intricacies of how a radio station works.

Thereafter I took them on a tour of the entire office and studios and letting them experience a show being hosted, being witness to one of our RJ’s being live on air.

At the end of the trip I gave them a send off with a customary goodie. Each of them armed with a 91.9 Friends FM cap. They intern gave me a Thank You card with their entire group’s signature’s on it.

In all it was a very enriching experience and a rewarding way to spend a Saturday afternoon.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Sunday Fiesta, in the True Sense

After what seems like an eternity, we made a visit to South City Mall. It’s our home-away-from-home. It was supposed to be a brief stop on our way to The Tollygunge Club, but turned out to be an elaborate stopover. We ate; shopped and shopped some more.

Our first stop was at the food court because I hadn’t had breakfast or lunch and this was much need. Foodtalk, the food court is the best place for a quick bite. So I ordered we ordered one Chana Batura (the biggest single Batura I’ve ever seen or eaten) and a sandwich with one large Pepsi to go. After that we made stops at Shoppers Stop, Pantaloons, Starmark and some other stores. We spent a good three hours at the mall.

After trying out their Saloon “Transcend” for a Haircut and shave we went for a swim at the club.

This worked up an appetite and the closest place to grab a decent bite was Comics. So comics it was, just off Southern Avenue. I think I filled my Stomach with the Jughead’s Fruit Overload and then was struggling with my Fish Florentine. The other order on the menu was a Hungarian Goulash. We skipped the sweet dish at the end, else I’d have to be carried out.

This was a Sunady Fiesta in the true sense; Shopping, Swimming, Self-Pampering and Food.




Comics
45 S R Das Road,
Off Southern Avenue,
Near Menoka Cinema,
Kolkata - 700026
Tel: +91-33-24637126

Sunday, October 19, 2008

A Tribute to The Doors!

I was looking forward to the show at Tollygunge Club in the evening. “A Tribute to the DOORS” it was called. The promise of Insomnia and Rishi & Samidh (of Hip Pocket) doing the show was good enough. After swimming in the evening, we made our way to the set-up at Far Pavilion. The show started quite promptly at the designated time of 7.15pm. We took up seats in what was turning out to be a full house in the back row. It was an open air-affair and after several renditions of the classics from Doors, it was quite evident that the group lacked the punch to deliver the magic of the cult band.

By the midway point, the MC apologised for the absence of Rishi & Samidh and asked the crowd to make do with Francis Lepcha who with utmost modesty declared that he had never sung any Doors number’s, but on one day’s notice had managed to come up with two tracks which he was going to attempt. He did the first one “Light My Fire” only to be cut-off towards the end due to a complete power failure on stage. Everything just went silent. He came back to say he’d leave that jinxed song where he had left it and would do his next one which was a more popular one called “Roadhouse Blues”. He even managed to get the crowd to sing with him on his two-song jig on stage.

By the end of his performance we decided that we had seen enough being done to poor old Jim. He must be rolling in his grave I was thinking. So we went o the Shamiana. We had thought of the Belvedere Room, but it was booked to the brink. From the Shamiana we heard the remaining part of the show over beer and Pepper steaks with Insomnia doing a better job now. Finally they had finished with their never-ending last track and we decided to call it a day having finished our meal.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Exotic Food, Sophisticated Ambience

On Friday after months of wanting to eat here, we finally made it to MEZZE located at Minto Park. Well most people would miss it as they’d be paying attention to the entrance it shares with SOHO which happens to be part of the same establishment but way more famous because it is one of the hottest night spot’s of the city.

Anyway once inside we were shown to a table right in front of a fish tank and a large window looking out into the street. The place is not very big and has some 10-12, 4 seating tables.

The white d├ęcor is very stylishly done and the menu is quite exotic. Well I say exotic because there’s a whole lot of Moroccan stuff on it, which is hard to pronounce. Well as long as they had hummus. Yeah! That’s as far as my knowledge of this kind of food goes. Anyway ordered the drinks first and so Gin n tonic for the Missus and Vodka and 7 Up for me followed by a Mezze Non-Vegetarian Platter. Man that was some platter. Probably the biggest I’ve ever seen and had to consume between two people. Well this was just starters and we were wondering once we got through this whether we really wanted to go for the main course. It had an assortment of Kebabs, breads, hummus and couscous. We ordered our next round of drinks and were soon joined by a couple of friends.

More drinks followed, till finally we were told that we needed to place the last order, as the place would shut down in a while. It was past 11 pm. Wow! How time flies when you’re having a good time. Meanwhile we kept the drinks flowing. We finally ordered a Harissa Chicken, which was some Moroccan style dish. It turned out really good.

To conclude the food, ambience and service was excellent. Well so was the price, which was on the higher side. Well I guess you pay more for exotic kinds of food and to be counted among the sophisticated set of society. I’d definitely go back if my taste buds crave Moroccan food.

Mezze
Ideal Plaza,
11/1 Sarat Bose Road
Kolkata - 700020
Tel: +91-33-22896059, 22896064

Yummy and Cheap too

On Thursday, after getting out late from work, I was quite indecisive about what to do. So while driving around, we happened to be close to Beckbagan Market where we realised there were Beef Rolls available. We decided to stop and have beef rolls. I had heard about them, but never really got around to tasting them.

We stopped on the corner opposite the market where there were a couple of Dhabas that made these rolls. We first ordered one each for the two of us. Then came a second round while I hopped across the road to buy a 500ml bottle of Pepsi. And then I went for my third one. They were so tasty I could have even gone for a fourth but decided to quit while I was still ahead. And how much do they cost; Rs. 7/- a roll. Can you beat that?

Thursday, October 16, 2008

15 Minutes

Today, there are just three requirements for murder: the motive, the means…and the media. Robert De Niro and Edward Burns pack serious heat in this super-charged action-thriller. When two Eastern European criminals decide that the fastest route to fame and fortune in the U.S. is infamy, they embark on a vicious, headline-grabbing killing rampage. Hot on their trail are a veteran homicide detective (Robert De Niro) and a young arson investigator (Edward Burns). Against a frenzied backdrop of tabloid TV and justice gone mad, they are drawn into the killer's explosive game of cat and mouse as the mean streets of New York erupt into a battlfield.

Co-starring Kelsey Grammer (TV's Frasier) and Melina Kanakaredes (TV's Providence), 15 Minutes is "a sheer adrenaline rush" (Movieline) that will leave you breathless!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

SWISS Band at SPE

Eliana Burki on the Swiss Alphorn with her band put up a splendid performance at Some Place Else on Monday, 13th October 2008. I would usually not go to Some Place Else on a Monday, save the SMS I got from Gautam saying that a Swiss Band was performing there and especially the fact that the lady would be on a Swiss Alphorn. I wanted to hear how a Swiss Alphorn could be integrated into Jazz music. To my surprise it went really well and sounded somewhere between a saxophone and a trumpet and not only did it go down well with Jazz music, the band also performed a lot of blues and ventured out to play a song from an Indian Film! The song was “Chak De” from the movie Chak De India”. I guess their PR person must have told them that SRK was big here. Well he's the biggest there is today in Bollywood.

About the Band:
Eliana Burki – Alphorn
Arnaud Francelet – Bass
Samuel Siegenthaler – Guitar
Adriano Regazzin – Piano/Keyboard/
Anthony LoGerfo – Drums and Percussion
Astrid Van der Haegen – Management and Technicals
Website: http://www.elianeburki.ch/

After being enthralled by their performance we made a quick getaway and headed out to Azad Hind Dhaba. I had been dying to eat some typical Indian Dhaba food for a while now. So when we got there the first thing was to quench my throat with Pepsi ( Dhaba Food without Pepsi is not possible). I got down to the ordering and it was 1 Chicken Bharta, 1 Egg Tarka Dal, 2 Masala Kulchas, 1 Naan and 1 plate Green Salad (which is also a must with this kind of food). Total bill Rs. 276/-

Gosh the thought of that food is making me hungry all over again!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Lost and Hungry

After Anjan's Show we drove towards Purna Das Road in search of this place called BISTRO that was getting a lot of rave reviews. Only to drive up and down Purna Das Road several times absolutely clueless looking for it by its address. Even after we asked half a dozen people and I called a colleague who lived close by, we ended up not risking it when we came upon Tangerine Wok & Grill as it was about 10.20 pm by then.

The ambience is really good. We ordered a Manchow Soup followed by Mixed Haka Noodles, Chilli Chicken and Shredded Lamb in Green Chilli Sauce. Well I didn't think any of it was hot and spicy though there seemed to be a lot of show of chilli. The presentation was fabulous and each dish looked exotic, but none lived upto their name. What actually made it worth it was the dessert, Chocolate Mousse Cake. It tasted as good as it looked.

I'd say it’s a decent enough place for a quick meal.


Oh after we finished, we’d decided we would find Bistro anyway, so that we could come back there another time. To our surprise it was just around the corner from where we had stopped to eat. Of course it looked like a hole in the wall. Let's see what it'll be like when we try it out.

Ami aar Godo

I spent the entire day in anticipation of this show and when I finally got to Gyan Manch and managed to park my car and got to the gate, I noticed a long snake like queue leading up to the auditorium. I was a bit surprised that so many people would buy tickets and queue up to watch Anjan Dutta perform. The branding seemed to me as though it was a 91.9 Friends FM show.

Anyway, finally after about half an hour out in the humid Kolkata Street, there seemed to be some movement and the winding queue disappeared into the auditorium. Once inside and thanks to VIP tickets from Anjan himself, we got seated in the first row; something I wasn’t too keen on, considering the size of speakers staring us in the face. But once the curtain went up and the silhouettes of the instruments on stage against the green screen, I knew this was going to be a well orchestrated show.

Sure enough, the lights went out and Anjan came on stage highlighted by the spotlight from the ceiling reading out from a sheet, the reason he had embarked on a show such as this. He followed that up with a couple of solos on stage; he was joined by his son Neel. They took the show forward and were soon joined by guitarist Rajkumar and later by drummer Saurav.

The show was interspersed with dialogue, mostly in the form of a narrative about his life and experience and also through a letter written to him by a Fan.

The music, essentially Bengali songs from his early days, like Ranjana and 2441139 among other hits got the full house into applause every time they heard one of the oldies. He even gave space to his talented musicians to go into some blues jams and solos on their instruments. His signature rendition of 100 Miles got the crowding singing along too.

He finally wound up the show by a father-son duet and then handed over the mantle to his son who wound up the show with two touching solos.

I just loved the classy lighting throughout the show and captured as many pictures of the transitions and moods.

Friday, October 10, 2008

This Just Might Be Paradise

An afternoon at The Tollygunge Club; what better way could one find to spend the day. Pepper Steak, Grilled Fish, Beer and a walk down the path into this abode of flora and fauna. Oh did I mention I came across a lot of birds and quite a few Jackals too?! After that 30 laps in the pool and a relaxing half hour in the Jacuzzi just made my day.