Thursday, March 31, 2011

Road Safety is Foremost

While walking around the near desolate streets of Kolkata, late afternoon through evening today, something that I noticed was very heartening; Road Safety was not only on the minds or the Police, but also private participation in this field was evident.

The first was the colourfully branded Toyota Innova, which was an official vehicle of Toyota India for its Toyota Safety Education Programme. Following this I saw several Ambulances at various Crossings.

Toyota Innova

Force Motors Traveller Ambulance (Family Planning Association of India - Sponsored by Cognizant Foundation)

TATA MOTORS Winger Ambulance

TATA MOTORS Winger (High Roof) Ambulance (Kolkata Police - Transit Trauma Care)

Maruti Suzuki Van - Ambulance

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

India-Pakistan Match creates absolute Shutdown

Soon after the toss was over and M S. Dhoni decided that team India would go into bat, I decided to take a stroll on the streets around our office. Firstly, Park Street and the adjoining streets wore a more or less desolate. And where there was a Radio or a TV, people had gathered around. This is just as the match has started. I’m wondering what it’ll be like once the match gains momentum.

I guess this guy has also decided to call it a day!

A Crowd outside the Vibgyor Vehicles (Motorcycle Showroom) at Moulali at about 5 PM.

While other street shops were packing up, this guy had his ear stuck to the radio.

A Chemist Shop had more match viewers than customers.

10 Things to Learn from Japan

I received this little forward by e-mail this morning from a friend of mine and thought it was quite interesting. We could learn a lot from this 10 points that describe a nation and the resolve of the people in the face of adversity and national calamity. Kudos to the people of Japan who have not made such a public drama and have just got on with their lives after the Tsunami has destroyed half their country.

Not a single visual of chest-beating or wild grief. Sorrow itself has been elevated.


Disciplined queues for water and groceries. Not a rough word or a crude gesture.


The incredible architects, for instance. Buildings swayed but didn't fall.


People bought only what they needed for the present, so everybody could get something.


No looting in shops. No honking and no overtaking on the roads. Just understanding.


Fifty workers stayed back to pump sea water in the N-reactors. How will they ever be repaid?


Restaurants cut prices. An unguarded ATM is left alone. The strong cared for the weak.


The old and the children, everyone knew exactly what to do. And they did just that.


They showed magnificent restraint in the bulletins. No silly reporters. Only calm reportage.


When the power went off in a store, people put things back on the shelves and left quietly.
On the other hand, while driving to work this morning I heard on the radio how people were preparing to take the day off to watch what they're calling the match of the Century. Today's Semi Final Match of the ICC World Cup between India an Pakistan at Mohali is driving a nation to the brink of standstill. Even the Prime Minister is making time to watch the match with his Pakistani counterpart. How about that?

One Nation carries on with life after a Great Tsunami tries to bring it to its knees while another Nation is brought to a stand still due to a Cricket Match!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Still a Shopper's Paradise

I can guarantee you this, that New Market is the best place for shopping even today. The advent of Malls and Shopping Plaza's hasn't made a dent in the shoppers that swear by this age old shopping paradise. The best part is that, if you can't find it anywhere, you'll definitely find it at New Market.

Well today's expedition was my wife's desire for cloth material to make Salwar Suits. Man you can go nuts with the abundance of cloth there. Also her favourite Asian Art, a fine little shop for Silver Jewellery.

While she was doing her shopping, I used the time to indulge in some Photography. Again, New Market, also double up as a great place to shoot some interesting subjects. Below are some pictures taken with my Canon EOS 1000D. Some pics are with the standard 18-55 kit Lens and some are with the EFS 55-250 IS Lens.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Parama Island Elevated Corridor on Fast Track

I’ve been avoiding the Parama Island (Science City – ITC Sonar) on the E. M .Bypass for the past couple of months due to the construction of the elevated corridor from this point up to Park Circus. It’s an ambitious project under the JNNURM (Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission). I have to say that the company, HCC (Hindustan Construction Company) that has been awarded this contract is doing a marvelous job. Traffic isn’t getting affected too badly. I mean how much worse could traffic conditions get in Kolkata, right? Anyway the pace of work is like lightening. Within weeks a new section of pillars seems to project out of the ground. I’m guessing this project will be completed well in time of its projected date. Of course we will have to wait and watch.

But considering that this is funded by the JNNURM, I remember how the buses got converted in a jiffy under this scheme. Also under the JNNURM is the BRTS project – 8 lane project of the E. M. Bypass from Ultadanga till Garia with dedicated Bus Lanes and cycle lanes to. Work on this project is also underway.

Kolkata certainly seems to have been endowed with a flurry of development projects just before the impending Assembly elections scheduled for May 2011. Maybe we should have elections every year, what say?

Saturday, March 19, 2011

I shot the Super Moon!

I had been reading about this phenomenon called the “SUPERMOON” in the papers and wondered what the fuss was all about. I mean I had seen some full moons that were phenomenal, especially in really nice settings up in the hills where I had spent my childhood in boarding school. Anyway the deal was that this was the closest and biggest the full moon would be to Earth since 1992. So March 19, 2011, was day all astronomers would be looking forward to, I guess.

Anyway I had my in-laws over for dinner and while we were at the table, the topic suddenly came up and as we popped up onto the terrace, it was quite disheartening to see a black sky. I mean we could make out that there was a bright moon behind those thick clouds, but from the look of things, it wouldn’t me sending any of its rays down on us through that thick cloud cover.

So dinner continued and after we were done, noticed that it was quite bright outside. I quickly grabbed by Canon EOS 1000D, changed the 18-55 Lens with the EFS 55-200 IS lens and rushed up to the terrace and there before us was this splendid sight; a bright white “SUPERMOON”. I had very little time as I saw another formation of clouds gaining on the moon from the south. I started clicking away and even as the clouds overran the moon, I captured my piece of the SUPERMOON and I was happy to have witnessed this astronomical show.

Of course I don’t know if any natural calamities like earthquakes or tsunamis occurred due to this juxtaposition of the Moon being its closest to the Earth, as a lot of people believe. All I can say is that it was a beautiful sight to witness.

The next time there is a SUPERMOON will be on November 14, 2016. Hopefully I’ll have upgraded to a better camera and lens to capture it then. Meanwhile here are some shots from the Phenomenon which occurred today.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

An evening with Lord "Storyteller"

When my wife bought "Only Time Will Tell" the latest book by Lord Jeffrey Archer day before evening at Starmark - South City Mall, she was in for a big shock. Along with the copy, she got an Invitation to meet the Storyteller himself. Can you imagine her excitement, considering she has more books than I have model cars or planes or trains. The only dampner was that it was a single entry pass and knowing her, there was no way she would be going for the event alone. So I used some of my contacts to acquire another one yesterday and there we were this evening watching the storyteller bind us in his humourous tales of crossing the Atlantic in a Concorde and being on Television and radio for the first time and how he has to keep telling his publishers till date to print another 25,000 copies of his first book and surprisingly they disappear from the stands within a month even after having sold over 27 million copies till date. He even threw ina bit of Cricket, being an avid follower of the game. Dada, Dravid, Sehwag & Tendulkar being mentioned and a dig at how Indian Cricketers could never take 3 runs and that England & Ireland would reach the World Cup Finals. You'd get the joke if you were there.

By the end of the evening, after a brief Q&A session with some people asking some rather silly questions, the signing was announced and in the blink of an eye, there was a queue on the right side of the auditorium with Lord Archer staring at an empty seating arrangement and humourously played along to get on with the signing. Of course I was busy clicking and the next thing I feel my phone buzz in my pocket. I pick up and my wife is asking me if there's anyway she can get further up the line and I ask her where she is and I see her nearly at the back of the line towards the back of the auditroium. I think to myself, how does a person sitting in the first row end up nearly at the back of the line. I go back to her and notice her eyes swelling, fearing the worst; her copy of "Only Time Will Tell" will not get signed by the Author. Anyway depserate times require extreme measures; I ask her to come up to the front, I get on stage, past all the ushers and security, ask her to hand me the copy and Voila, what do we have. Absolute Joy, as I jump of stage and hand her the Book signed by Lord Jeffrey Archer himself.

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

B2B Movies yet again

Watched these two brilliant movies last evening, that too back to back in the same Hall at FAME South City Mall. Started with Black Swan which had Natalie Portman at her performing best as a obsessed ballerina seeking perfection. Mila Kunis and Vincent Cassel in supporting roles were good too. Ofcourse this movie is not for the faint hearted and definitely not for kids, in case you think its a cute movie about ballet dancing.

After that we watched a lighter Hall Pass starring Owen Wilson and Jason Sudeikis. A hilarious movie about searching for love in the institution of Marriage. The movie is a bout a 7 day vacation the two wives give to our protagonists from their obligation of Marriage. Its a laugh riot to the finish. Oh! and wait till the end of the casting if you haven't had enough. Again a word of caution, don't take the kids along, lest you want to be able to explain a whole lot of stuff you wouldn't want to be talking to your kids even when they're grown up.

Sunday, March 06, 2011

Two Awesome-Gruesome Movies Back-to-Back

Worthy of an OSCAR

Just got back from FAME Highland Park after watching this Oscar winning motion picture. The King's Speech was absolutely worthy of being bestowed with this honour. Based on a true life story of King George VI and his battle with speech impediment and how he befriends a speech therapist after prodding from his wife. Spectacular performances by my favourite British Actor Colin Firth and Geoffrey Rush. Helena Bonham Carter also puts on a fabulous performance. A must must watch.