Wednesday, November 18, 2009

A Walk through Belle Isle....

Over the weekend, we visited a place called Belle Isle at Richmond, VA. This is a small island about 53-54 acres located on the James River within the city. This place also doubles up as a city park open to all.

The entire Richmond skyline is visible from the footbridge including some huge buildings in Downtown Richmond. The view is indeed breathtaking in the evenings. (Find some pics we clicked on this post).They should definitely give you a reason to visit this place once :-), its beautiful!

There are lot of activities you can do here. Many people can be seen doing activities like jogging,kayaking, rock climbing, picnicking on rocks amongst speedy rapids, walk trails, swimming etc.

This place is also home to some wildlife like ducks, squirrels, herons. When you take a walk through the island, you can see most of nature's best along the way. Birds, trees, water, the rocks....all in their natural glory!

The History Board at Belle Isle said that it was a Civil War Prisoners Camp. One can see the prisons, some other old ruined buildings, each having a history of its own. You can also see the Hollywood Cemetery, Tredegar Iron Works from the banks of Belle Isle!

This place is unique considering its serenity amid the city's surroundings. Would definitely love to visit this place to do some more hiking next time around :-)


Bollywood Connection-Yet Again?

Simply Horrifying! Bollywood connection?....oh no, not again! Did they need another controversy?
Why is it that Bollywood cannot restrict themselves to movies & showcase their skills in making good movies? Shiney Ahuja Case, RGV-Deshmukh case during 26/11 attacks, Underworld connections, extortions and so many more.....Do they really need controversies like these again to make their already public lives more public?
I wonder what the entire fraternity will have to say to this!

They will do one of the following things:
  1.  They will outcast the person in question & act as if they do not know the person!
  2.  They will declare they have nothing to do with it even if there is proof staring at their faces! 
  3.  They will sound the 'We are one big family' & justify every person's wrong-doings!
  4. Wait till the news dies down & carry on with their lives like nothing happened
Learn Bollywood....Learn!
Learn before its too late...its high time you stopped justifying all the wrong things being done in your industry!

Read more on the link below:

Bollywood Link? Emraan Hashmi knew Headley | Watch: Hashmi-Headley link: "TERROR LINK? Sources say investigators have found phone records that link Emraan Hashmi to Headley.Leads to link Headley to Pak 26/11 handlers |

Monday, November 16, 2009

NDTV Social: Home Page

NDTV Social: Home Page

Office Dairies....

Want to know how a typical day at office looks like? What makes work situations a topic that has many of us amused? What makes Dilbert tick? I'm sure we all relate to this situation at some point or other in our daily lives. Here is an interesting & hilarious account I received from AK, one of the members of this blog on the nuances of this word called 'Office'. Read on....

"Friday 11/09/09:

6:00 am: Alarm screams, buzzed it down. My sweetheart yanks it down to the floor and curses me to get up and shut my alarm down by myself. I am busy sleeping and in rarity do listen to her at this hour. They say the sleep at this pristine hour matches nothing... Sleep on good old Gulliver; you have many more seas to cover.

7:30 am: Check the time again, in a decent shape to get ready for work. Damn, the climate now a days is wicked. I suddenly feel like Calvin and his eternal fight with the blanket. I try hard and hard to free myself from the tyranny of the blanket, but the ever brutal blanket wants me to be its slave for eternity. With the help of my princess, I win over the battle with Mr. Blanket and head over to the bathroom.

8:30 am: Suddenly active with the outburst of the shower head that has been angry with me all this while. Eat breakfast and get ready to conquer the world only to realize that I have been hit hard with the cold winter in Richmond which makes you realize that you equal a tiny figment of Gods fart.

9:30 am: Open up the laptop, stare relentlessly till it boots up. I don’t understand what’s wrong with this beautiful machine which makes me want to stare at it even before it’s up and running. I mean the curves, the sleek design, the way it handles me!!! Sorry I got lost for a minute.

10:00 am: This damn thing won’t start up. It’s been 30 min; staring at the computer as if it’s the last beautiful thing on earth and I am going to do anything but get her.

10:15 am: We are finally up and running, are we not pretty boy??? I assume a role of a warrior to protect the world surrounding me because every city needs a vigilante who has to protect their own kind. Be it rain, wind, sun, darkness etc anything that can stop and stare at humanity; I am going to brave it all to give solace to my people. Brave as I am, just short of indispensable gadgets which aid me to nab all kind of criminals. The name is COON (inspired by South Park – Eric Cartman).

10:45 am: Woke up after saving innumerable humans and another life forms in fantasy land. I am back! Again staring at the computer to start some kind of work. Suddenly my co worker comes with a worried face questioning my position in the solar system. I say I have a legal right to be here as I am the chosen one. She doesn’t get it (ha ha ignorant humans). I go on to ask her about her problem – it seems that I was supposed to finish documentation a week ago and was lagging behind …… way behind the schedule and it is affecting the project!!! Damn humans!!!

12:30 lunch hour: My coworker is still staring at me and she continues to do so until I finish my work today!!! Damn Humans!!!

2:30 pm: My watch seems to be running slow. I can barely hear its heartbeat. My watch has been my good partner. Ever since I started hiding my real identity with the world, my watch has been my confidante. At times, we strike a long conversation, but I don’t know what, my watch doesn’t seem to want to talk to me. May be its mad as well, that I am not able to give it much time now a days. There used to be a time when we both went for long drives, used to hold on to it so closely that it would almost suffocate. But as always, I have moved on from worldly things, since I have got new responsibility now. My watch has to understand and tread along, I cannot stay sad and see the crime spiral up around me. I have to act!!!!!

3:30 pm: Damn these watches… when will you come around and tell me the correct time (i.e. 5:00pm). Don’t you understand the importance of time!! Yes make up what ever you want buddy... I am not listening to you. It’s my way or the high way!!!

4:30 pm: Miracle happens and my co worker has to run some errand. I am actually not afraid of her, but I am worried that she is going to tell on me. I am not afraid of that either which will make my manager keep a close eye on me. I am worried of that as the manager will want to have status from work every now, more often than required. I am the COON and I can come up with excuses right? What the hell is the super hero supposed to do when confronted by his manager? Now the manger is a tricky fellow, like the ones who steal your food when you are hungry and will die if you don’t eat that French fry lying in the plate. The poor little French fry, looks so divine, the golden ruffled feathers it has, a shiny head and more over it is resting in the pool of tomato ketchup. How often do we realize that we also want to like a life like that?

5:00 pm: I am getting impatient as to why I have been held hostage against my will. There is no one to shout my rights to. What kind of office is this? Its 5:00pm already and nobody is ready to budge out of the seat and start for home. Do you know how tormenting it is just to stand by and wait for the line to begin? Its not that I cannot start with a line, but there is a decency involved in everything you do. The story goes back to ages when I was a kid – like 1000yrs back. It was a sunny day and I was about to get out of the house. I was fond of sunlight as it would give me energy to survive, it was my daily routine. One fine day, general disarray happens to stomp on our town and I was challenged to fight him. I didn’t know who I was at that age, aggression came naturally to me. I volunteered and went to wage a fight with disarray. I was wounded in the combat and shipped locally to one of the village hospitals. The hospitals were in delipidated condition, no water, no nurse, a single doctor for 2000 patients. I was nursing, well, eating all the natural goodies as I was shifted to a forest surrounding. I ate roots, dates, trees, barks, almost anything that moved, lived or vegetated. I was then moved to the now gitmo base – desert land where I had to feed on lizards, squirrels and snakes. I loved that life.

5:30 pm: The only soul in the office about to leave, unruffled by the world around, pledge to make sure the humanity is saved beyond what it has known. I hear a fire alarm and start screaming “SOMEBODY HELP ME”!!!!!!!!"

I was left smiling & open-mouthed as I read this....way to go AK, I couldn't agree more :-)

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Andaz Rajkumar Santoshi Ka....

Hero:   "Aap mahaan hai, Shaktimaan hai, Buddhimaan hai,
              Keertimaan hai, Gyani hai, Daani hai, Antaryaami hai,
              Balki... main to yeh kahoonga ki aap purush hi nahi hai
Villian:  Kya????? (With a raised eyebrow...)
Hero:    Mahapurush hai… mahapurush" ;-)

Do these lines ring a bell? For most of us who have grown up through the early nineties, am sure this is one line we wouldn't have missed from the cult movie 'Andaz Apna Apna' (AAA).Starring Aamir Khan, Salman Khan, Raveena Tandon, Karisma Kapoor, Shakti Kapoor etc, this movie was one of the best made comedies in Hindi Cinema! To this day, it remains a favourite among many movie lovers including me :-)

AAA was truly a cult movie in those times. A classic example of pure humor devoid of the derogatory comedy we see in movies today. This movie didn't have cheap dialogues or a mindless mockery of the word called 'comedy'. It wasn't slapstick or tasteless. It was a pure laugh riot! So pure that you would love it for the sheer innocence of its protagonists. Watching the two heroes always trying to outwit each other evoked a laughter unmatched! Cant believe these are the same two Khans we see today! They have come a long way, haven't they? :-)

If you are assuming I'm writing this post 'coz I watched this movie recently, you're wrong! No, I didn't watch this movie this week but I thought I needed to give an ode to the man who made this movie after I watched one of his recent movie 'Ajab Prem Ki Ghazab Kahani' (APKGK). The man called 'Rajkumar Santoshi' (RS)!

Yes, the same man who has given us movies like Damini, Ghayal, Pukaar, China Gate, Lajja, AAA, Halla Bol, The Legend of Bhagat Singh etc. His movies may not have always been blockbusters but always had original content. His screenplays were original & his direction was unique in the sense of not compromising on content for commercial success. To this day, he is counted among some of the good film makers still remaining in Bollywood!

So what happened with APKGK? Was APKGK an attempt back in the comedy genre like AAA? Did you finally succumb to the commercialization of Bollywood Cinema? I am not bashing APKGK 'coz let me be honest, it deserves a fair review. Ranbir was outstanding & you've definitely captured the simplicity of his character.

On the plus side, the execution was simple & sweet, had good music, a wonderful fresh on-screen pair in Ranbir-Katrina. On the flip side, it wasn't path-breaking! You didn't have a story out there and ended up with cliche content. On watching this movie, something made me wonder, were you trying to make another AAA???? It very much looked like you wanted to come back to the genre of comedy after all your good but not commercial attempts at real content.

Know what? I do not blame you! Bollywood does it to the best of people!
This post of mine is an ode to you & your kind of film making!

Your direction may not portray the gloss of a Karan Johar or the romance of a Yash Chopra. You may not give us the very hard-hitting movies of the Bhatts or the Bhandarkars. If there is something you really give us, it is an original!

Most film makers take the easy way out by copying successful scripts but there are very few directors who know their craft well. And you are one among them. You may have movies inspired by books or incidents, but there is something about your content & direction that only a man who appreciates fine film making would understand!

Sadly Bollywood does not run on talent alone. A box office success is necessary to establish your credentials. Maybe your deviation from serious cinema back to comedy was an attempt to re-establish yours. Do you really have to?

If actors or producers knew that fine film making consisted in not just another Bollywood box office success, but also the courage & ability to inspire a true blue intelligent audience, your kind would definitely survive the onslaught of a mindless genre of trash cinema! Never mind, its gonna take years to realize that!

We may continue to have box office successes no doubt but one day Bollywood needs to wake up & take a hard look at innovative content 'coz there in lies the key to capture the intelligent viewer's mind & heart!

Until then, no matter what Mr.RS, keep making good movies, good work never ever goes un-noticed!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Go Organic- Maharishi City leads the way!

I was busy doing something in the kitchen & suddenly this program on television caught my attention.A show called 'Extreme Towns'. Basically this program features some small towns which have something unique about them. In this particular segment, a place called Maharishi Vedic City at Iowa, USA was being featured. The unique aspect of this town is supposedly Indian Spirituality in everything done here. Be it the schools, universities, businesses, hotels etc, everything done here is aimed at making life more stress free & peaceful.

This city was founded in 2001. Every resident here practices a law belonging to ancient Indian Science called the Vedic Natural Law. It has transcendental meditation as its USP. This when done daily gives one a serene calmness & inner peace! And do you know about the other best part of the city or rather a law enforced here? All constructions done here must have their buildings facing east & food served everywhere must be organic!

The doors facing east is a part of Indian Vaastu & the organic food served is also very Indian in its preparation. Isn't this amazing? The Western countries have taken the best out of our culture & here we are, continuing to take the worst out of theirs! Time we learn ah!

Now the reason why I thought of writing this post is to stress the importance of going organic. Watching this show just gave me the impetus I needed to write about the benefits of organic food. So what is organic food? Pure Organic is defined as those foods where pesticides, herbicides, insecticides are restricted(Source: Wikipedia) You can read more on this link:

There are loads of benefits going organic. Foremost thing being, you aren't getting infected with all the toxic pesticides that unknowingly & in small amounts enter & corrupt our digestive systems in the long run.The effects of pesticides in food may not be very visible in the short run but prolonged usage definitely does more harm than good to our bodies. They also contain a higher levels of trace minerals, antioxidant phytonutrients, vitamin C. These foods supposedly contain 25% more nutrients than conventionally grown foods. There are loads of sources on the internet for the advantages of going organic for the serious organic food lovers or would-be organic folks! I have already mentioned some of them above by compiling them from the internet.

Recent surveys have indicated  that more & more people are going organic to avoid chronic illnesses arising out of toxic present in food. Whether the organic foods prepared here are actually pure or are grown according to standards set by the regulatory authorities is yet debatable but well it certainly has benefits, a notch higher than conventional foods so why not try it? There are pros & cons to everything we do & if the pros outweigh the cons, isn't it worth giving it a shot? :-)

Organic food is easily available in US. Most of the stores like Walmart, Costco, Ukrops etc have them. They are a little expensive compared to the normal conventional foods so it might be tight on the budget but you needn't go completely organic from the word go, just make small important substitutes & gradually look out for deals, coupons etc & try getting a good bargain!

Contemplating going organic, maybe not completely (Old habits die hard you see :-)) but will atleast try & make an honest beginning! :-)
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