Sunday, November 30, 2008


I usually have something to about most of the cities i've visited or stayed in for a certain period of time. (Sometimes even about cities i haven't visited, but thats a different story)
I've just returned from Agra, with a fresh set of experiences from the city..So this is one in the line of those continuing rants!
Indian or not,,,every person who can call himself educated has heard of the Taj Mahal, and consequently most will know the name Agra. Here are some of the specialties of Agra.

The Taj Mahal
One of the most beautiful building in the world, A sign of undying love and all..I'll leave the description to the professionals and the poets..I'm sure you've heard a lot about this glorified tomb which got everyone in the world to notice Agra. I'll tell you some which you might not have heard..
Legend has it that shahjahan got the thumbs cut off all the builders so that they never build something as great or exquisite as this again.
Rumour has it that The Taj mahal was actually a shiva temple! The rumour has been circulating via email since a long long time..If you didnt receive this fwd yet and are actually interested, contact me, i'll send it to you.

Another Agra speciality, one which has gotten Agra even more famous amongst Indians. This is a unique sweet that almost has a texture like jelly. If you've not tried it,,,you are missing something!

Being 'bhayyan' land that it is, weapons are quite common here. Lots of people end up carrying country made weapons. Someone i know once told me, that in a weddings in their family in UP, pretty much every guy 15 and above has some or the other type of gun in their hand!! And they go around wildly firing them into the sky during the celebrations. Considering that its UP, i didnt think his claims were too far fetched!

Another trait of bhayyan land. Any car can be equipped with a siren! If it is bolero/sumo/qualis etc belonging to UP, then it comes factory fitted with them special for UP. Some people go that extra step and even fit one of those red flashing bulbs on the car. Basically,,,whether you have registered or not, you have to get a siren, and every time u want to go fast or zip through traffic, you turn it on. Because there are soooo many sirens blaring all around, not many people care, but then, it gets you more noticed than a horn, right! And more so, if you have a siren on the car, the cop won't stop you even if u run over 25 people.. So its all good!!

There's something interesting and sometimes even unique about the roads/traffic in every place. But this place is just awesome. This wasnt in Agra, but close to it on the way on NH2.
There was a bridge. On one side it got damaged. Normal people would repair the bridge and continue with life. Lazy people would close that side of the bridge and only use the other side for both ways of traffic. Now the people here are special. So what they do, they put a bloody red light in the middle of the bridge!! So we have 18-wheeler trucks coming in and waiting on the upslope! The driver says, THIS red light is not for stopping, but it means that we have to slow down while we shift to the other side of the bridge! A new definition, but we're no one to question it. Now as if this nonsense wasn't enough, the day we went, there was a baraat coming in on the wrong side!! They were walking/dancing in the lane that was so generously gifted to us on the other side of the road! A baraat going on a bridge/flyover is unheard of anyways, but one on the NH in a place like that!! The only thing we could say is,,this can happen only in UP!!

This is the most enjoyable thing about Agra. Let me explain. I had to get to some place in Agra.
The conversation with every person i asked for directions was something like
Me-->"bhai saahab, ye kheria mod kis taraf padega?"
person telling way-->"Aap aise jao"(showing some gestures similar to the above shown gestures or sometimes no gesture at all)
person--> " bas, wahaa se aap siddha nikal jao", (followed by a similar gesture)
Me-->"phir wahaa se seedha kitni dur??"
person-->"bas ji seedha nikal jao, yehi koi X kms hai". (X ranging from 0.5 to 10!!)
When the first couple of ppl told me this i thought that Agra is a small place so the road must actually be going that way. But the destination was nowhere in sight! Finally, after asking about 15 ppl and 1 hr of travel i reached. Each person gave me directions in the exact same way!!! Not one of them every used the words "left","right","daaya" or "baaya". (For all you ppl who are weak in hindi. "daaya"-right turn. "baaya"-left turn, and "siddha"-> go straight, the way it is said in agra.)

The people in Agra have solved all problems of travel !! Noone needs any GPS or SatNav or even a map. Everything is "siddha".. Wherever you want to go, its just one twisted hand and straight all the way!! "All roads lead to Rome",it was once said. Agra is much greater, cos even in Agra, all roads lead siddha to wherever you want to go!!

Some of the ppl in my office recollect with great fervour, the time when they were in Agra, and reached a dead end and asked for directions. The guy says, "aap bas seeddha nikal jao" pointing his hand towards the dead end gradually making the hand take a U-Turn and then some other turn. But who cared,,it was all siddha!!!

It is said that most females are bad at directions and at maps.(Some of them i know are pretty good at them though). Apparently most guys don't stop to ask for directions.(Another generalization which i don't totally agree with). But Maybe this idea of simplified travel is another tribute in honour of "shah jahan's eternal monument of love", the tribute of the people of Agra to lovers, by stopping fights between the guys who dont ask for directions and the females who can't follow them!! Everything is just siddha!!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Death By chocolate..concluded

(I'll be continuing from where i left off in the last post,, so if you have'nt read that,,read it first before reading this one...otherwise u wont understand anything)

Dateline->5th sem, college
Venue-> Bake Hut, Jaipur

Will get back to the story...But first a tribute to the great place..
Bake Hut--> Its a bakery in mall conveniently placed right outside our college!! This is THE place to get pastries/cakes in Jaipur. Very thoughtfully, the whole bakery is seperated from the outside crowd only big a completely see through glass. So basically everyone can look in and (inevitably) have their mouth watering as they walk by...At this outward facing glass, is also a table where ppl sit and eat, confirming to those out side the delectable offerings were not only for show...

So, on that fateful evening,,
Pandu and I entered bake hut, to be enthusiastically(almost evil) welcomed by nano who had made all the prior arrangements. We were asked to sit while the "cakes" where being brought forth..The cake was actually 8 pieces of DBC neatly arranged in a circle..(For DBC description read prev post..again!)..Now what was brought out was not one,,but two cakes!!! One per person!!I was thinking it would be one between the two of us..Now that would be, a peice of cake!! But 16 peices of DBC!! Thats like more than aaaaall the females in our college would eat,,combined!!
(a national level engg college,so you can understand the scarcity)

Though the pressure of upholding our reputation was bearing upon us, the sight of soooooo much GR8 fooooood brought out a faint smile on our faces, and so we began! Spoon after spoon was dissapearing in our mouths. Meanwhile, everyone walking by slowed down to watch. I could almost feel all of them cursing our selfishness under their breath.A few others walking by thinking how MAD we were.. A few ppl even stopped to click pics with their mobiles. Shameless as we were, we didnt really mind them looking,,and maybe it even motivated us to eat more! A couple of little kids even stopped and refused to move for a while, watching us with dreeeeeamy eyes,,probably thinking,,that we were in heaven,,only to be pulled away by their moms soon who seemed like she was muttering even more abuse to us..

Amidst all this, we were running through, two,,three,,three,,three,,three,,three and a half....err..four..Then it was tooooo much chocolate!!! I went and had a glass of water just to clear the taste..Pandu followed suit.. Refreshed, we started off again..By this time,,around 5-6 friends of ours came along and were watching us..After this we were supposed to go for a treat..By the time i reached 5 i had another 2-3 glasses of water..Stupid chocolate taste,,doesnt leave ur mouth easily..Then someone had a coke,,i thought,,maybe the gas would help,,and kept sipping after every bite..By the time i finished 6, the 500 ml bottle was over..Meanwhile pandu continued with only a couple of glasses of water, albeit at a reduced pace..

Of the friends there, cheering and irking us to continue on were kanta, gujjin and nano,,booing and jeering were kedappan, murmur, kix and makhija(yes,,all these are names of the ppl),,though everyone ultra-excited by the prospect of the madness!! The cheering was for obvious reasons,the booing was because,,if we left anything,,they would get it..Like hyenas waiting for lions to have their fill and leave,,poking the lions every once in a while..

With Mcdonalds right above us,,there was never a time in my life when i wanted a McD burger more(actually,,it must be the only time i Wanted a Mcd burger),,or maybe even a packet full of mirchi!!But eating other stuff in middle was against the rules.. By this time,,every spoon was becoming painful..I was feeling like puking cos it was tooooooo much bloody chocolate!! I somehow trudged through another half peice over the next 5 min and couple of glasses of water more..And at 6 and a half peices,,i felt,,a bite more and i would throw up..(That would help me finish,,but i didnt want to win that way..)..And so,,for the first time in college history,,,i said,,"I cant eat anymore!!"..Within about 2 seconds,,there were a few lunges and the rest of the cake disappeared...The only traces left were bits of chocolate around the mouths of the ppl around..

Pandu was continuing steadily,,though he was behind me,,he showed (not many) signs of slowing down..My respect for the person increased many-fold in this time..He continued with the same pace and a smile on his face. I was cheering him on..I thought he'll finish it for sure..But then,abt 10 min later,he just finished the 7th pastry,,and even he fell..His remaining pastry too had the same fate as mine..Disappeared in a flash...

Our heads hung in shame, we forked out the cash. The bake hut owner was more than pleased, for getting soooo much publicity and sale! He had a smile on his face since we walked in,,maybe even he was interested in the outcome!!

Immediately after this, we went on a treat with real food(courtesy kix and gujjin)! and needless to say,,pandu and i were the first to start and last to finish even there...So we figured, it was out chocolate limit that was at the test,,not the food limit..Then pandu told me,,he stopped eating earlier,cos we had another treat waiting..True or false,,nobody knows yet...But i think he's capable of it..

The aftermath-->
Now that i look back,,maybe the name "death by chocolate" signifies something..The death of the appetite for it..I used to loooooooove sweets and chocolate and all..After that day, i think twice when offered.. Sweets dont seem half as enticing as they used to..I am usually satisfied by a piece or two..And the same with chocolate,,i've never eaten chocolate ice-cream since..And i keep my distance from pure chocolate the likes of dairy milk..Its been 2 yrs,,and still i eat them only in small quantities... never know,,maybe that one day ensured a life long freedom from diabetes for me...Maybe i've found the cure to it,,sort of like a vaccination!!

The challenge was attempted by another strange soul called soumi, who said he knew no limits of eating chocolate..Sadly,,even he failed..Though he went on to accomplish much rarer (and maaaaaaaybe even greater) feats in life,,which few people can replicate...

Pandu- volumes can be written about him..The rare goan in an engineering college, with lots of eccentricites and lots of specialities. He enjoys the honour of being the most teased person in college by me..

Nano-(college) Yes,,his name stems from his size..One of the thinnest characters u'll ever see..The epitome of weight loss even!! I would say he's on of the characters who resembles me in most ways possible! Most of our interests are the same..

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Death by Chocolate...part 1

Dateline:-around Septemer 06..(5th sem,college)
Place:- Jaipur

I love food! The more i get, the better!! The reputation for my enormous appetite had spread far and wide. There were few who could match my eating prowess. "I can't eat anymore",,Never had i uttered these blasphemous words.Wherever we went, i was one of the elite class of people who were the 'dustbins' in college. We were the people who could always finish the food that was there. Make no mistake, it was a great honour and people looked upon us in awe, for it was because of noble souls like us, that food NEVER got wasted, and everyone went home with a clear conscience. The general attitude whenever we went out was, "order as much as you want, adi is here, nothing will go waste!"..

One of the few people who had a seemingly endless void in them like me was 'pandu'..Yes, one of my best friends in college who has many many other distinctions, the most famous being "Pandit ho ke meat khaata hai!!"..He was another dustbin, and the two of us, together made sure no mountain of food was too high for us!

Death By chocolate-(DBC, as its popularly known)
One of the most mouth watering delicacies every made. Though it as many forms, Its usually a big pastry smothered with chococlate. If you dont know what it is, i'll give you and idea. Take a big dairy milk bar. melt it on to a chocolate pastry and then add more chocolate sauce on top and then add chocolate+sugar to taste. That would give you an average piece of something resembling a pastry and aptly named-'Death by chocolate'.

There was this awesome bakery near college called Bake hut. The best pastries/cakes i've ever eaten. Needless to say, they had the most amazing death by chocolate too! 2-3 females sharing one piece of it was a normal sight. We used to have one per person on days when we felt rich! It wasnt meant to be filling but it was gooooooooooooooooooooood....

It is basic human nature to try to do something that unique, tread ground never tread on before..So nano(another friend, more on him later) got this wild idea, he keeps getting these with alarming frequency. So he says with a glint in his eye, " I have a challenge for you", "you and pandu have to eat one cake of DBC"."Challenge",the one word i can't resist! I asked him what i would get if i did. He says " If you finish it, i'll pay the bill, otherwise you have to". Simple, i thought. Someone is willing to pay for my eating!! A challenge where i get all i can eat!! What could be better than that!! On the same lines, pandu agreed too!

A few days later nano calls me up one morning asking me if its fine for the evening. my reaction "For food,,always!!". So the stage was set. Two un-vanquish-able dustbins Vs LOTS and LOTS of chocolate! yes,,it would be a piece of cake..

To be concluded in the next action packed post.....Keep checking!!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

5th of november

"Remember, remember, The 5th of November,
the gunpowder treason and plot.
I see of no reason, why the gunpowder treason,
should ever be forgot."

For those who haven't heard this rhyme, go watch 'V for Vendetta'!!Its a damn cool movie!
Though the rhyme is not originally from the movie, you'll love it once you watch the movie!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Rocket science..

Everyone loves to fly..Everyone loves the way of rockets fly..Its an event in itself..Though,,i'm not gonna write abt chandrayan-1 or something like that..People are going all ga-ga over the mission and are raving about the rocket science used in it and all.. But I am not rocket scientist in the true meaning,,so i'd rather talk about the other, more contemporary type of rocket science most Indians know abt!

Yes, i'm talking abt the 'rockets'(firecrackers) that pretty much every Indian is aware of..You'll get them in flashy boxes usually with a pic of some actress/sportsman with some fancy/deadly name and sky filled with explosions or colors above their heads...Make no mistake,,the pictures are in no way related what the rocket actually is..I dont even know how many types they are called now,,but i like to keep it simple and i classify them as - rocket bomb, the light-walla rocket, the siren rocket and the (lesser known,but super cool) parachute bomb!

Snippet from history-->
Rockets were not always used for diwali..They used to be used in India during street-fights/gang fights!! The rockets used to be made in a way so as to fly horizontally above the ground and go and explode at a certain distance!!
Source:- My grandfather!! He's seen these fights first hand and His elder brother apparently was an expert at making these rockets!!

Despite how wild this claim may sound,,there is a funda behind the motion of these rockets..This info comes straight from my grandfather, after the above stated point, there's no way u can dispute it!
Funda-> Place the rocket horizontally on your finger, in such a way that the head (the explosive part) lies on one side and the stick on the other side of the finger. Sort of like a scale. If it balances, then the rocket is supposed to go straight ! simple!

But coming to the actual fun of diwali rockets..They tend to be very temperamental..You never really know what they'll do..Usually, a whole box of rockets behaves in a similar way..Its more fun to talk of rockets based on the way they fly (or not)..I suppose i could divide them into a few types,,like->
1. The zoomers-> Go straight up, very fast and do whatever they are supposed to (siren,light,bomb etc..).Safe, not very interesting or eventful,,unless fired in a direction other than up!
2.The fizzers-> They dont rise, they'll just fizz out all of their stuff in the bottle,,not moving an inch..Its more like opening a cold drink bottle than firing a rocket..
3.The Turners-> they come out at hyper speed, and with the same speed turn towards some side and zoom away until they hit something (or someone)..Run and hide when u get a batch of these..Will scare the living daylights out of unsuspecting junta around..
4.The twisters->They'll go up a little,,and start going round and round in really tiny circles..And most of them keep ascending while doing this!! They are the most puzzling of the lot,,and also the most fun to watch!!
5.The U-turns-> They use power to go up, they use power to come down..And they land less than 20 feet away still spewing out sparks..All in a nice little shape of an upside-down U..
6.The thinkers-> These are the most interesting of the lot,,they'll slowly rise a couple of feet high,,maybe even float in air for a couple more seconds,,and at once choose one of the above behaviours, gain a high speed and zoom away!!
7. The fat-asses-> Nothing can get these guys to move out of the bottle..No amount of fire will propel them upwards, their asses will be firmly planted in the bottle..An even worse case of this is when they dont even send out any fire,,they just explode knowing that its no use trying!!
8.Tussssssssss->This is one category that applies to almost every cracker..They're stubborn and wont fire up even if u light them..They'll just eat up the wick and sit there doing nothing..They are the most dissapointing..

The maddest rockets ever!!
place-> hyderabad - Duttasai apts
Karthik's and his brother left some crackers over from the earlier diwali..This contained a few boxes of rockets too..As they are the most fun to watch, with great anticipation the rockets were brought forth..Now, noone reailsed that they had gone soggy in the time and noone dried them in the sun..The rockets,,as they seemed weren't too happy abt it..They were at their moody best..Every rocket was more innovative than the last..They each tried to outdo the madness spread by the earlier rocket..After every rocket,,ppl used to run and hide,,cos noone was safe from the ire of the rockets.Some went along the ground, some into the postbox, some into karthik's house (which was right above),some just went tuss or died, the best and most faithful ones performed a hyper-speed U turn and landed in the 'kanjoos marwadi's' house(The house beside our apartments where they never used to return the ball if it fell in..They must've been the most hated characters in the colony, thus the name..), much to the pleasure of everyone there, who even applauded the rockets for expressing our dissent..Eventually,,every rocket became an adventure with the anticipation reaching phenomenal levels and the reflexes of every person their being tested as they performed daredevil acts escaping the rogue rockets!! Never was, or never will be a box rockets as much mad and as fun as that !!

Come to think of it, is it even right to call it rocket 'science'..Cos even after so many launches and billions of dollars and years of calculation, if even NASA can't properly launch rockets,,Then maybe it is more of a probability function or a game of luck than an actual science..

Karthik-> One of my oldest friends..Was the first person i met in my apartments..When i was in school,,I think i spent more time in his house than mine!!The only person who ALL of my friends in hyd know regardless of how i know them.. He loves the phrase "lite le " and shows the same attitude in pretty much everthing he does! Though I wont go into the nicknames here for his sake...