Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Top 5 best Action, Adventure or Mystery TV Series

You know it is that time of the year, when music albums like ‘Top Remix Hungamas of 2009’ and articles like ‘2009: The year almost gone by!’ crop up like scandalized politicians!  It is that time of the year here at TMH too! And the entire team (wink wink) here at TMH thought that it would be a good time to slip in a list of ours too!

This is a list of 5 best action, adventure or Mystery TV series. A cleverly designed category that maps to the way the human brain organizes information (wink wink). Let’s get to it!

Prison Break: At #5 we have Prison Break, a series which combines action, adventure and loads of impossible ingenuity. It is at #5 because it does tend to stretch reality through lots of co-incidences. Only a tad though. An awfully good ‘watch’ nevertheless!
Honorable mention: Heroes

Castle: #4 is a whodunit murder mystery series with a superlative cast. Smart, funny dialogues coupled with excellent plot lines make this TV Series an unbeatable one. Extra points for the lead actors: Nathan Fillion and Stana Katic. Honorable mention: The Old FoxAgatha Christie’s Poirot.

X Files: Coming in at #3 is the X-Files. A dark, chilling, mystery series, with oodles and oodles of small-town America thrown in for the mood. David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson do ample justice to the main characters. The first few seasons were probably the best ever. The truth… is still out there!

Star Trek – The Original Series: This is at #2 only because it is from the sixties, mere technicality. Childhood defining, this series had it all: Mystery, Adventure, Charm, Action and Space. Space – The final frontier. This series has changed television, technology and millions of lives. Honorable mention: Star Trek - Voyager

House MD: At #1 is this medical mystery. Probably the smartest, funniest and coolest TV series ever. A supremely talented cast led by Hugh Laurie, who plays the role of a genius doctor leading a team of diagnosticians. Smart dialogues and Sherlockian deductions, this is the grand daddy of all TV series.

If you feel that any other TV series should have featured here, drop us a comment!

A recovering economy, tainted politicians stepping down and with monster policemen almost behind bars, 2009 is in fact closing on a high note. TMH wishes its millions of readers’ (wink wink) lots of hope and cash in 2010! (Wishes are for real! – No wink wink)

Monday, December 21, 2009

Avatar - The Phenomenon

I have never seen anything like this before! Nothing!

This movie has re-defined film-making, taking things to all new levels. I was a bit apprehensive seeing this movie at first. All Friday morning I heard reviews from radio-critics saying that the film is ‘good’ in an ‘ok’ sort of a way. Go to the theatres to enjoy the special effects – they said!

Radio critics argued, there weren’t many plot elements, the story is too simple! They failed to see that, that was exactly the intention. Epics don’t have complex stories. Odyssey, Ramayana, Mahabharata, you name it. The setting is magical – and therein lies the secret! Like Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings and Star Wars, Avatar takes you on a journey to a very possible, yet magical setting. Simple, fast-paced story telling with enough plot twists to keep you glued to your 3D goggles! Now I know radio-critics weren’t around when God was handing out the noodles!

Almost all 3D movies I have seen in the past are about comical houseflies making it to the moon or blurry documentaries on humpback whales! The single most popular tool used by 3D directors in the past was thingamajigs poking out of the screen. Now clichéd, like horror movie screams. James Cameron has deliberately avoided that annoying avenue. He has composed each shot with careful attention to the depth of field in a way that makes you feel immersed in the action.

Now, other 3D movies will look up to the Avatar’s ankles!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Quips on the go!

President Zardari had a $60 Million embarrassment recently. Which was his third most embarrassing moment; after his $100 Million and $200 Million embarrassments!

According to this news report, terrorists have sneaked into India. Authorities are looking for Pashtoons and Afghans. While that may be a good idea, they may also want to look at people carrying AK-47s, grenades and howitzers!

Sources have revealed Tiger Woods’ 14th mistress! In other related news the Tiger signed hefty sponsorship deals with Play-Boy, Hole-in-One, The Birdie and the Bunny, Strokes under par and Iron Drive, all pro-golfer magazines!

Abu Dhabi has given Dubai $10 Billion in a surprise bailout package! Who was it that said Santa Claus did not exist?

The Italian Prime Minister, Silvio Berlusconi was hit in the face with a bronze statue! Shoes, as a sign of protest, have become passé now! What next, the kitchen sink?

Scientists have recently found that even fire-flies can get addicted to alcohol. Fireflies are now swarming to local bars and pubs, companies are rushing to create special beers for fireflies, sales are up, all in all there is a new buzz in town!

There are 2 days left and prospects don’t look bright for Copenhagen. Roland Emmerich, the director of 2012, took this opportunity to announce his new movie, 2013, a sequel to 2012. At least this was good news to someone!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Dead on Arrival!

Dedicated to the millions of hapless WinMo users.

If you have a smartphone running a version of Windows Mobile 6.5 or earlier, you already know about the 10 (give or take a few) applications that make up for the entire ecosystem. iPhone users may have access to a billion applications. Good luck trying to download them all. Hah; problem of plenty. We are, oh so happy with the 10 or so apps.

In what can only be termed as a superhuman effort, Microsoft launched its own appstore called Windows Marketplace for Mobiles with a collection of (hold your breath) 800 apps. Now we have a problem of plenty. Well you may think that it is a start, if not anything else. But there is a minor catch! Only a teeny-weeny one!

The marketplace does not work for Windows Mobile 6.1 or 6.0. I don’t know if it does for 6.5. Even though Microsoft says it does. Webshot below! Good news my posterior end!

I tried accessing the marketplace and was cheerily greeted with the message “Loading…” eternally. After which my phone hangs – much like our beloved windows desktops.

This can mean 2 things. The geniuses at Redmond haven’t heard of the term ‘testing’. Or they got this project outsourced to a national park in Congo, to a team of extremely hairy 300-pound-gentlemen and women.

Screenshot of the path-broken marketplace!

I have this incredible urge to go and break something. Ciao!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Amazing Visualizer!

For fellow geeks out there - try out this visualizer from the University of Utah, which lets you zoom down to the level of a carbon molecule, from a coffee bean!

Link here.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Global auto giant infringes on the Professor’s Patents!

Protest! I take strong exception to this blatant infringement of something that has been legally published, claimed and patented by the esteemed Professor way back in 1958. By professor Calculus in Tintin’s adventure in the Red Sea! If you are thinking “Oh him, he is not a real person!” you have got another ‘think’ coming! Blistering Barnacles!

Here (You can visit this link later) is the link to Nissan’s idea of personal transportation in the future! Note the uncanny resemblance to the Professor’s invention featured below as well!

Photo Courtesy here and here.

Legal eagles will note that what Nissan proposes is at best a crude, boxy imitation of the Professor’s sleek, aerodynamic design. They will also note the design similarities, while Nissan has an inflexible control stick; the Professor had thoughtfully included a flexible control stem to help with maneuverability and balance. Surely these design changes will be implemented in Nissan’s next prototype.

The professor will be turning in his grave to see his invention being copy-pasted like this! What has the world come to these days! I was worried about global warming for a moment there.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Google does not have a world map!

Strangely, I remember reading (somewhere) that the world was charted or mapped quite some time back. Guess I was wrong! Click on the image for a larger picture.

Back - Phew!

I have been out for quite a while, which my non existent readers wouldn't have noticed.

Well back to the point - The voting you see below has closed, a long time back! Banner 5 won, Duh!

Thanks to people who have voted, Amit, Girish, Pushpak and relatives!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

TMH Banners!

All right - No more long and boring reviews which are longer than the movie!

How about a poll on which was the best TMH (That would be - The Morning Haha) banner! Incidentally, all of these photos were clicked at different places. Not by design really! Click on the photos to see a larger image.

Banner I: My first banner! I clicked this photo of a crossing in Mumbai. The traffic blurs made it interesting.

Banner II: This was a close up of the bar at my home in Pune. 

Banner III: I non-violently shot this pigeon on a platform at a random station in London.

Banner IV: I shot this flower in Bhandardara. (A quaint town, on the banks of a large lake, near Pune) The wind was strong, which explains the motion blur. 

Banner V: I clicked this 'photo' from an apartment in Kolkata, on the 22nd floor. I used panorama perfect lite to  stitch a couple of photos together to create this panorama. Also added the film grains myself.

Now use the voting buttons on the right hand-side of this post to choose your favorite! I will acknowledge everyone who voted for the most popular banner in my next post!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Life Partner - The reluctant review!

Spoiler Warning – If you have spent hard earned money to see this movie, I would call you the 2nd most dumb person on this planet. Dumbest being, yours truly, who spent to watch this atrocity and is now blogging about it. If you haven’t seen this, I would urge you read this post instead! All plot bumps and potholes have been revealed.

Like the movie, let me do a bit of character development.

Hero #1: Vertically challenged, dark and effeminate star kid; he plays the role of an orthodox Gujarati boy, whose objective in life is to get married. You admire the single mindedness of this character. We movie goers usually think about a couple of other things, like breathing and eating, not this bloke.

Dysfunctional Dad: An uber-othrodox Gujarati and dad of Hero #1, he maintains a strict regime of oily hair-dos and oilier breakfast in his family. Streaks of Utpal Dutt from Golmaal appear in this character, in the way he protects his manliness, aka his moustache.

Hero #2: Not vertically challenged, not dark and effeminate star kid; he plays the role of a banker, who drives a Maserati convertible and gets promotions on a daily basis without working.

Hero #3: Actor-turned-MP-turned-Actor, fighting the battle of the bulge, double-chins, dark-circles and other thingamajigs, plays the role of a Super - Divorce Lawyer. He usually does song and dance routines, when he is not peddling divorces.

Now onto the story! For the first time in history of blogging has any blogger gone so far, revealing the entire story of a movie. Hold your breath!

Act I – Opens with Hero #2 driving his Maserati on an airport runway. In the car are his girlfriend and Hero #1.

Hero #2: Let’s overtake this plane so that I can kiss my girlfriend!

Hero #1: Don’t you have office tomorrow?

Hero #2: No, they gave me a promotion. (Song and Dance follows).

Hero #1: Then let’s go to Gujarat and get married?

Hero #2: Ok. (Marriages, more songs and dances follow)

Act II – Opens with Dysfunctional Dad reprimanding his daughter-in-law for commenting on a stock price.

Dysfunctional Dad: So what, if you have a degree from IIM Ahmedabad? Waiters here in Cape Town have degrees from IIM Ahmedabad. (Score: Life Partner 1; IIM A: 0)

Wife of Hero #1: Do not insult my father! (Hero #1 promptly gives her one-tight-slap!)

Hero #2 to his wife: I am sick of doing all the donkey-work, washing clothes and cleaning potties! Why don’t you do something?

Wife of Hero #2: Who does all the partying around here? Hah? Who? Answer that!

Hero #3: I can see business coming my way! (Divorces, sad songs and item numbers follow)

Act III – Opens with Hero #3 getting married. Please refer to item number for Hero #3’s love story.

Wife of Hero #2: I will blow everyone here at this marriage party. (With a bomb strapped to her, of course!)

Dysfunctional Dad: My eyes are opened, forgive me son (Hero #1)!

Hero #1 to his wife: Quick marry me before she blows us up! (Wife from IIM A agrees!) (Score: Life Partner 2; IIM A: 0)

Hero #2 to his wife (Who is threatening to blow everyone!): Ok I will do the donkey-work! (Wife drops the bomb and marries Hero #2!)

The End!

You can start breathing now!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Captures from Singapore

Vantage Point

Urban Sunset

Stroll by the river



Monday, August 3, 2009

My favorite snowy movies

These are the movies which make you feel colder in a warm and fuzzy kind of a way! Makes you wish you had a fireplace. These are the choicest, the best snowy movies that will leave your teeth chattering! The following list is in reverse order of preference.

Snow capped mountains and mountains of editing errors, make for good watching. Watch out for the boom mikes. A few laughs are always good.

Another movie featuring snow capped mountains and an action packed thriller.

A movie that gives you the tickles. You begin to feel sorry for the bad guys in the end, and cold!

A classic, what can I say, one of the best movies ever.

Even though this is an animated movie, the storyline, the characters and the setting all come together fantastically.

This movie is 30 degrees below zero. Add crime to the mix and you have potent combination. A must watch, curl up in a quilt and set the air conditioner on high for best effects!

This movie will chill you to the bone. Exotic locales, trains, crime, suspense and tons of snow. A combination that can rarely be beaten. This would end up being one of my favorite train movies as well. Look out for that list!

These are the movies that you would watch if the summer in Delhi is getting too hot to handle or if you are in the mood to travel to Siberia without getting nasty frost bites! Let me know if there are other movies which you think should be on the list.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Pune to Bhandardara (Driving directions)

When I planned a vacation in Bhandardara, little did I know that there would be no internet resources on how to get there! I found no help articles or posts on the internet telling you how to drive to Bhandardara from Pune. So this is my good deed for the day!

Bhandardara is town perched on a hill-top, about 210 kms from Pune. There is a dam and a lot of nature for you to admire. The maps I had downloaded from the internet were not of much help (As I got to know later). You will know that a Wrong Turn can have mad consequences, if you have seen this movie. But thankfully I was able to avoid taking such turns on the way to Bhandardara. In fact I felt like Magellan or Columbus, on an adventure into uncharted roads. Going boldly where man has gone before but not posted an article about it on the internet! Bhandardara – The final frontier! Yeah, gave me goose bumps too!

Here is a turn by turn guide to driving from Pune to Bhandardara.

  1. Take the Pune – Nasik Highway (NH 50). Drive. Drive. Drive.
  2. Cross Narayangaon on the way. There is a charming restaurant by the name of Ivy Lounge just outside Narayangaon. You may choose to break here and pick up a bottle of wine. Then Drive. Again. Yes.
  3. Note that the scenery is breathtaking. We, Indians tend to get caught up in the driving.
  4. Drive till you reach Sangamner. About 150 kms from Pune. This is a dusty, crowded small town, not much different from a host of other dusty, crowded small towns.
  5. Take a left just after crossing the ST bus stand. Take another left turn at the next junction. Drive, drive till you reach Akola.
  6. Drive on till you reach Rajur. I guess this is where you will start seeing signboards showing you the way to Bhandardara.
  7. From Rajur to Bhandardara is another 20 odd kms. The drive becomes better as you near Bhandardara.
  8. There is a left turn (Well marked) which takes you to the MTDC or Anandvan resort.

Enjoy Bhandardara. In case you feel the need to thank me, send me an email, and I will take it from there.

Monday, June 8, 2009

More Quips on the go!

President Musharraf has admitted to ISI’s links with the terrorists. Now that he is no longer consequential this did not become a news item!

I did not quite get this article. I mean is it trying to say that the newly elected and married MP does not have time to go on a honeymoon OR is it saying their 5-year honeymoon starts now?

Sheetal Mafatlal has been detained for carrying a Crore’s worth of undeclared diamonds. Officials became suspicious when all the other passengers on the flight were wearing shades, that too in the middle of the night!

It’s raining laptops in Tamil Nadu now. Cut to 2050. It will be raining luxury yachts and private jets. I am settling in Chennai. Who cares for actual rain!

Apple just launched the iPhone 3GS. It has a whole new set of drool-worthy features. Those who just bought the iPhone 3G, try not to punch a wall or something.

Apple also reduced the prices of the old 3G iPhone model to $99. Consumers in India will be able to buy one from Airtel or Vodafone at $600. Consumers in India, try not to punch a wall or something!

Australia knocked out of the T20 World Cup. Ricky Ponting will captain Kolkata Knight Riders in IPL 3. I am sure Kolkata Knight Riders will do better in IPL 3. I may be an optimist, but I am definitely not mad!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

iPod winning post!

The following article won me an iPod in a contest ...

Long Post ...

Are winters becoming extinct? Or am I the only one thinking of that? That smart turtleneck sweater, that black leather jacket and not forgetting the thick, heavy quilt; all of these have been lying unused for ages now.

Argument: If winters are the same as it were, say 15 to 20 years back, then why did I require these things in the first place? It is smack bang in the middle of January, and I still need the air conditioner while at home or office or in my car. I don’t recall that being the case 15 years back. That’s when the sweater, jacket and quilt all came in use.

Let me slide into what would be a more scientific construct than smelly woolens.

Is the Earth truly warming up?


CO2, which is one of the many green houses gases, has increased from 250 ppm (parts per million), during the pre-industrial levels, to 400 ppm. This has been termed ‘anthropogenic green house gas emissions’. In other words we have helped nearly double the CO2 concentration in the atmosphere. Models are ineffective in predicting what final increase in average temperature it will have. But it is an established fact that, there will be an effect, most likely a warming. How much? We can’t say!

According to public domain data, the average surface temperatures have increased by 0.48 °C. It is a lot. The averages are spread over the entire surface of the earth. That is a lot of area and the increases are spread thin. Average temperature increases in cities (also termed as the Urban Heat Island# effect) will probably be in multiples of 1°C. Is this an effect of increase in CO2 levels? Yes.

It is now an established fact that majority of the glaciers are receding, trees are migrating northwards (as lower latitudes become warmer), Jelly fish populations are exploding (Jelly fishes thrive in warmer waters), migratory birds are changing migration patterns, grass has been found to be growing in Antarctica, the Ross Ice Shelf is crumbling, the Arctic ocean may be soon be navigable in summer, the last 10 years have been the hottest in recorded history … the list IS endless.

Ok am scared stiff, now what?

If you are thinking global catastrophes, ice ages, earthquakes, wildfires, freak weather and more recession, you are on the right track … let’s put it this way: You walk into a multiplex and the only three movies being screened there are ‘RGV ki Aag’, ‘Drona’ and ‘Chandani Chowk to Chinchwad’. A disaster of epic proportions, right?

The imagery is disturbing!

However, the Gaia Hypothesis*, proposed by James Lovelock, says that the Earth has an internal self-regulating mechanism to maintain equilibrium. In my (layman’s) terms, the Earth will find a way to reduce global temperatures.

Hurrah! We are saved! Let’s go burn some fossil fuels!

Hold on to your engines! The Gaia hypothesis also says that the increased human intervention will result in the planet not being able to regulate itself efficiently. This will result in the Sahara Desert extending to Paris by 2040, droughts and famines will significantly reduce human population and the tropics would be as live-able as the inside of a blast furnace. And no, it won’t be turned off.

Oh Blimey!

But it’s only a hypothesis. There is a certain probability that all of this does not happen as early as 2040. If people decide to take the initiative to reduce emissions, maybe we can delay the inevitable. We can all do our bit to control carbon emissions. We could all use less energy, conserve and recycle; maybe we will still be able to visit Paris in 2040.

Any takers for my old quilt, by the way?

Shubhadeep Dhar

References & Notes

* Gaia Hypothesis: Originally proposed by James Lovelock as the earth feedback hypothesis, [1] it was named—at the suggestion of his neighbor William Golding—the Gaia Hypothesis, after the Greek supreme goddess of Earth. [2] The hypothesis is frequently described as viewing the Earth as a single organism. Lovelock and other supporters of the idea now regard it as a scientific theory, not merely a hypothesis, since they believe it has passed predictive tests. [3]

[1] Lovelock, James (2001), "Homage to Gaia: The Life of an Independent Scientist", (Oxford University Press)


[3] Lovelock, James (2007), "The Revenge of Gaia: Earth's Climate Crisis & the Fate of Humanity" (Basic Books)

# An urban heat island (UHI) is a metropolitan area which is significantly warmer than its surrounding rural areas. The temperature difference usually is larger at night than during the day and larger in winter than in summer, and is most apparent when winds are weak. The main cause of the urban heat island is modification of the land surface by urban development; waste heat generated by energy usage is a secondary contributor.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Quips on the go!

Angelina Jolie wants to adopt an Indian child. Me me me! Okay, my hairline is receding, so what! Me me me!

Mamata Banerjee wants to turn Kolkata into London or vice versa. Please be serious. Jaguar and Land Rover better watch out if you have set up a plant on fertile land!

Here is a link to the best job in the world. In other related news smug your-job-sucks-mine-doesn’t grins have been rendered redundant.

Here is an article on how you can use an iPod to make calls. Then again calling from an iPhone is way cooler than talking to your mp3 player.

Sahara has sued Jet Airways for non-payment of their yearly installment of a gazillion crores. What happened to the good old “Recovery agent”? Man I miss the old days!

Airtel is officially the most congested network. Duh!

GM plans to launch a ‘mini car’ in a last ditch effort to save itself! I have heard that West Bengal offers great investment opportunities for automobile companies.

March has produced a lot of failures at the Box Office. Producers, we are just not in the mood to watch movies you know with the recession and heat and stuff.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Reality TV to the rescue?

Elections. Dance of Democracy. A nation gets ready to vote its next set of rulers. But can we take democracy to the next level? Can we marry democracy to the virtues of capitalism? I will wait for you to get back onto your chair.

How about having a reality show which allows the nation to vote for one Lok Sabha seat from each state (For starters!)? And no this won’t be a song and dance routine though I know many of you would have liked it. We could have an elite panel of judges comprising of former presidents, prime ministers, law makers, leaders, academics and intellectuals choosing the best of candidates applying from a state.

Channels would be asked to bid for hosting the entire show and in return get broadcast rights and advertising revenues. It could even be called “Dance of Democracy” or “Indian Neta” … nah too corny. I would like it to be hosted by Arun Jaitley or Kapil Sibal (unless they are contestants too!). This could even help recover some of the gargantuan expenses we have every time we have an election.

The process could be rigorous. Contestants would have to present their views on Development, Infrastructure, Economy, Human Rights and Security in the ‘Speech-contest’ section. There could be debates on rural upliftment, fiscal deficit, exports … Boy there could be a lot. Leaders would have to tell the nation how they want to take their state and nation forward. Negative marks will be given for “Promises”!

Voting could be on the basis of judges’ marks and SMSes in true reality TV fashion. To vote for Mr. G K Knowledge please send a sms ‘VOTE 3645’ to 123321. We could even throw in a couple of Judge-tantrums and glycerin-tears to jack up the TRPs. A TV show like this would pull viewership from the neighboring planets!

But apart from the TV bosses building Scrooge McDuck vaults, it would probably be a true democratic election with the entire state choosing their favorite candidate from amongst the millions. Much better than the current process where you get to choose between Mr. Jailed Swamy and Mr. Mafia Sarkar.

Think about it. Maybe 50 years down the line this is how elections will be fought. Am I a visionary or what?

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Terminator - Me? Cool or What?

Terminator 2 – Judgement Day. Arnold, with his steely one-liners, an attitude that was deadlier than his shot guns and biceps that could power a truck, redefined expectations of an entire movie going world.

The movie changed me. I was fascinated with the endless possibilities of technology. At the time when the movie came out, an android that could interact with humans and also thump bad guys was a joke. Today it may be still be science fiction, but we don’t hear the chuckles any more.

The coolest aspect of the movie was Arnold could see these cool numbers and this flashing red text in his field of vision telling him his battery was running low. Quite like my laptop these days. Ever since then I wondered how cool would it be to have a heads-up display that could be just like that.

There is nothing like being able to access irrelevant data while walking down a park. A heads up display like that hooked up to the internet through your mobile device would need plastic wraps to protect it from drool.

Immediate applications could be:

  1. The moment you meet someone, face recognition could pull up details from your online photo album or LinkedIn.
  2. You could watch your favorite movie while jogging on a treadmill. (A big upgrade from your iPod).
  3. You could browse the internet or check email while taking a bubble bath.
  4. It could be hooked up to your mobile phone or car and throw up all sorts of information on traffic, maps, directions, sales at local stores, news and warnings, all the while you are driving. (In an unobtrusive kind of a way!)

Shivering Cool! Guess what, today I found the exact same device on Time magazine “best inventions of the year”! Check it out!

Remember drooling on your keyboard will not look good on your office security cameras!,28804,1852747_1854195_1854152,00.html

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

A message in Public Interest!

An article in the Sakaal Times this morning, on the police imposing fines for driving without a seat belt brings up a very important, albeit frustrating, point. Yesterday, I was at a crossing in Pune where I saw people being fined for driving without seat belts on. Yet the same policemen allowed two-wheeler drivers without helmets to go free. This incident reeks of discrimination and has unfair written all over it in font size 200. 

In the article the correspondent asks if it is logical to impose a fine on not wearing seat belts when not wearing helmets (which is definitely more serious) is overlooked. Accepted this stinks of discrimination, but is in no way wrong, legally or otherwise. 

Haha. The article also goes on to question the validity of the law. In a city where average speeds do not exceed 25 – 30 kmph, it asks, what use is a seat belt? It may be useful in cities (like Delhi or Mumbai) where speeds can exceed 80 – 100 kmph. It may be useful to check for seatbelts on expressways or highways. Not here. 

This is a very serious concern. It is this very attitude of questioning laws that has prompted drivers from not wearing helmets or seat belts. They think “Why should I wear a helmet when I am Valentino Rossi’s cousin twice removed” or “Compared to me Schumacher is co-ordination challenged hobo on a tractor!” 

These laws have been mandated not just in India but across the world for a reason. Even if we have 2 PhDs in neuroscience, we should not be questioning the validity of laws that are put in place by lawmakers. These laws are meant for our safety. 

Now let’s look at a logical construct at why seatbelts are required at all speeds. Countering the argument “Seatbelts are not required when speeds are low”. 

Let me elaborate. 

  • What if you are driving at 30 kmph and are involved in a head on collision with a 10 tonne truck driving at 30 kmph. You will realize that, with belts, maybe you can escape with a whiplash injury. Without belts, severe concussions, fractures and a face that will look like a Ramsay brother’s movie prop. 
  • What if you are standing still at a crossing, (According to your logic, it is even safe to remove your seat belts) and you are rammed by a truck from behind. Same consequences. 
  • Seatbelts are extremely useful at preventing minor injuries and even deaths in low speed collisions. Especially if there are women, elderly or children in the car. 

You might have gotten the drift by now. I accept the current drive by the authorities is discriminatory, but nevertheless absolutely necessary. Do not forget to wear helmets, seatbelts and clothes.

Sunday, February 1, 2009


Photos of some seagulls I clicked during my trip to Diveagar, near Pune. 

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Are winters becoming extinct?

Are winters becoming extinct? Or am I the only one thinking of that? That smart turtleneck sweater, that black leather jacket and not forgetting the thick, heavy quilt; all of these have been lying unused for ages now.

Argument: If winters are the same as it were say 15 to 20 years back, then why did I require these things in the first place? It is smack bang in the middle of January, and I still need the air conditioner while at home or office or in my car. I don’t recall that being the case 15 years back. That’s when the sweater, jacket and quilt all came in use.

According to Wikipedia, the average temperatures have increased by less than 1 °C, but the averages have been spread over the entire surface area of Earth. This map on Wiki has a smoothening radius of 1200 kms. Meaning, the ‘resolution’ of this map is a circle of radius 1200 kms. We could cover the entire surface of the Earth with ~120 of these circles. In other words we don’t have enough data points.

If we could somehow increase the resolution of the map, we could see how much greater the variation would be. This could then explain why we don’t need sweaters in winter any longer. Some cities, I can think of, have probably gotten hotter by at least an average of 5 °C.

10 years into the future, would our winters disappear altogether? Would the entire year be just Hot Summer and Hotter Summer? James Lovelock, the proponent of the Gaia Theory says that the Sahara Desert will extend to Paris by 2040. (This page is an interesting read, scroll down to the section ‘The Revenge of the Gaia’ if you don’t have enough time!). Well we certainly will see a lot happen during our lifetimes!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

‘The Morning Haha’ v2.0!

It is that time of the year when bloggers are re-discovering and re-inventing their blogs. It’s time I did too. I have added a new header to ‘The Morning Haha’ (I know you can see!). The photo was also clicked by me at a random crossing in Mumbai. I then used my meager photoshop skills to edit it. Also added a labels section to better classify my posts (In fact there are quite a few of them now!) 

Tuesday, January 13, 2009


This was what one of my class teachers used to write on someone’s forehead, especially those who we would call ‘tattlers’. MYOB stands for ‘Mind your own business’. 

And ‘tattlers’ were an exceptionally irritating breed of elementary school inmates who would rather peek into what someone else was doing than minding their own business. And the moment someone in the classroom erred away from the dictums of elementary schools, a tattler would stand up and say ‘Teacher, teacher … He is not using a red Nataraj HB pencil”. 

And promptly my class teacher would brand ‘MYOB’ on the tattler’s forehead! Justice was swift. Alas not all class teachers were like that, especially those who, I fear, were ‘tattlers’ themselves. 

I wonder what has happened to that breed. Are they still lurking around only to jump at the opportune moment? Or have they become elementary school teachers? 

They are living in our midst. They still poke their noses into what is essentially not their business. Mind you, detectives and law enforcement personnel are not tattlers at all; they poke their nose in what is very much their business. I am talking more like over-weight neighborhood aunties, who think peeping is next to Godliness. Or, the short, dark, shifty uncle who is the head of your co-operative society. Well, we all know them, and have come to accept them as a part of our society! After all, these are the elements that make for a colorful society (Co-operative or otherwise!). 

Haha, but when I come across articles like this, I am forced to say to Matthew Parris - MYOB! He is essentially poking his nose into what is not his business! Tintin comics are not intended for people with hormone-infested-brains! So we should leave the character analysis to those who are qualified to do the job; i.e. elementary school students. 

Matthew Parris (and many other like him) has essentially applied the ‘gay’ stereotype to a comic character, found similarities, and hence the conclusion that ‘Tintin is gay’. By the same logic I could apply the ‘comic’ stereotype to gay people (It has been done in numerous movies) and conclude that ‘Gay people are comical’. Funny?

Sunday, January 11, 2009

House of Horrors!

If you like little girls who haven’t shampooed in months, chain-saws gone wild, severed limbs (moving or otherwise) and lots of ketchup, then here is a list of the best, the ‘caviar’ of horror flicks! Do not watch these movies if you are

1. Pregnant

2. Over 60 or below 10 years of age

3. Have a heart ailment

4. ‘The Cinderella Man’- kind 

Now that I have gotten the warnings out of the way. Let’s get dirty! 

#5: Saw series:  I know it is technically not a movie. But with 5 parts to this ketchup franchise, it forces a mention. People are forced to hack away a limb in order to save themselves, only to be killed later. Nice. 

#4: Blair Witch Project: Very ingenious. The concept and the ‘first-person-narrative’ adds to the horror. Its strength is that it is believable. If you thought this was scariest you ever saw, then you have another ‘think’ coming! 

#3. The Descent: Top notch production values. This movie will make you claustrophobic if you are not one. You heave a sigh of relief when it ends. Only to be surprised again! 

#2: 1408: This movie has a great cast, acting, and a storyline that keeps you guessing. Best thing to happen to a hotel-in-a-horror-movie since Psycho. Watch this one at your own risk! 

#1: Hostel: Keep your spare pacemaker handy. Don’t do this one alone! Set in an ex-Soviet bloc run down city, with a story that makes werewolves look like teddy-bears, this is the gold-standard of horror currency! Beware!

Others worth a mention:

  • Wrong Turn 1 & 2
  • Hills have eyes 1 & 2
  • Wolf Creek
  • Hostel 2
  • House of Wax
  • The Texas Chainsaw Massacre
  • The Grudge
  • Mirrors

Friday, January 2, 2009

New Year Updates!

Like I predicted in one of my earlier posts, Ghajini was released as planned and the stay order was withdrawn. I also saw Ghajini after paying close to 600 bucks for 2 tickets! (I guess being dragged to the multiplex by the nostrils would have been less painful) But then I said to myself, the movie was not half bad and the spending was good for the economy. 

Ghajini had a surprise for me. I had earlier commented on how Adlabs was screening an A.R Rahman composition of the Jana Gana Mana in lieu of the National Anthem. (My most commented post till date. Although, most ‘comments’ were mine!) I was pleasantly surprised to hear the original tune being played this time. No ‘Bharat Bhalla’ production thingamajig. I had in fact sent in a couple of emails to Gold Adlabs on the issue. I can’t claim to have effected the change but it feels good that this happened. Nice! 

Happy New Year!