Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Stand by me...

Exams are on! Which means sleepless nights, sleepy afternoons, race against time to finish revision, aching hands (no longer used to writing :P). Anyway, not around to update anyone on the exams scenario. What has taken the cake amidst the bleak circumstances, is the London tube condition. The monumental plans for the London Underground which has every weekend caused a shortage of trains, and suspension of services on certain lines. Planned engineering works they say. Anyhow, with summer approaching the prospect of travelling by tube seems quite a daunting task. It can get really, really hot n humid down there. Transport for London is working to alleviate the situation but it seems to be quite a few years before they can show any results for their efforts.

With regards to the tube, what happened today morning left me with the short end of the stick. I generally takes about 40-45 minutes from my apartments to the uni, including a 20 min ride on the tube. Now, the sodding station I have access to is catered only by the Heathrow bound Piccadilly service. The other nearest ones are a good 20 minutes away by bus, which again is at a frequency of roughly 10 minutes. Anyhow, my destination, South Kensington is well served by three different lines, so, if one goes down there are ways to reach there.

As I was saying, things went terribly wrong this morning. First, I overslept and nearly caused a major catastrophe there, which thankfully was averted. Second, on arriving at the tube station at South Ealing, I came to know that Piccadilly (the blue line) was partly suspended between Hammersmith and Hyde Park Corner due to delay in engineering works, while the rest of the line experienced severe delays. (I strongly recommend consulting the tube map snippet below to understand the situation, source: Transport for London) South Kensington being right in the middle of the no-go zone now, it left me in a terrible soup. Having not foreseen such a terrible turn of events, I had left about 90 minutes prior to the start of exams. with an hour to go, situation was pretty bleak. Having weighed all options, me and a few of my classmates came to the conclusion that we were going to be late. The only way we could make it in time was to hail a cab, which mysteriously had dried up. Legging the 11 mile distance was certainly not an option. Forced to submit to the abysmal conditions, we got on the tube at South Ealing changed at Acton Town onto the District Line (the green one) which has a notorious reputation for being slow. Finally we made it!! 10 minutes late to the examination hall. The first 10 being reading time, we didn't really miss out on the writing time, but a harrowing experience nevertheless. Thankfully, the question paper left us smiling. :)

Lessons learnt: Shit happens!! Prepare for it if you can.

Meanwhile, a classmate of mine shared this song with me and honestly speaking I do love it.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

It's almost showtime!!

Yep, that's right. less than 36 hours to go before I write my last set of theory papers. I'm hoping that this would be the last set of my life. Lets hope so. Wish me luck!!

Going ahead with the scheme of things as laid out in the last post, I present to you a few clicks of the London snowfall, the worst of its kind in nearly 2 decades. It brought things in London to a standstill for more than 24 hours. Clearly, London was not prepared for this. Read the following article on BBC: Heavy snow disrupts London travel.


Firstly, a disclaimer! I was not drunk when I wrote that last post. I was merely under a trance having listened to the soundtrack of Sin City for more than 3 days. Oh, and you could say I was also distraught with certain state of affairs with regards to a particular module, so much so I was in a murderous mood. So there, having settled affairs and washing my hands off any drunken behaviour, I shall now proceed to bore you out of your brains. Keep the knife handy in case you want to stab yourself, or the glass of water else quit reading (the eyes do need a rest!!).

Now, since you are reading this line, I'm assuming you have followed either of the first two options I mentioned or have devised an ingenious way of yours to stave off the onslaught on your senses. Frankly, I do not intend to write about exam stress. Let's face it, we all know the works. It varies a trifle bit here n there, but not much. In the end it still is a mental trauma, a PIA and a system of evaluation which despite its glaring fallacies is still around.

My first observation this week is, pay attention when you are cooking. Especially if you are dealing with spices. On one such occasion later last week, I happened to cook some chicken. Unmindful of the proceedings, I believe I went a bit lenient on the spices. The fumes told me the story pretty quick. However, not to be deterred I proceeded with the entire show and served a very delicious looking preparation.

Observation no. 2: Appearance can be deceptive applies to food and not just women!! (more on the second half of the lesson later!!). The seemingly delicious and innocent looking chicken had the power of a few nukes hidden am sure. It was HOT!! Now, don't get me wrong here. I'm one of those , who generally like their food hot. Especially Indian food. I relished having it. With some veggies n steamed rice to go with it, it was a nice enough dinner (considering am a bachelor with limited culinary skills, you can make your guesses from the picture on the right!). What I had never prepared was for the aftermath!! Believe me when I say I ran through half a roll of the paper, before I was fine, though posterior was very much on fire. And this was within 2 hours of dinner. Haven't cooked chicken since. Am surviving on my boiled/fried vegetables, instant noodles, omelletes, breads. Chickens can wait for the time being!!

Observation no. 3: Time does fly!!! Oh yes, it does. Not with wings if that's what you are looking for, so stop imagining a clock flying across the sky with its wings spread wide open, neither is this Hogwarts. So, when we say time flies, the general essence is of what we have been told always. It seems only a few days ago that I returned from Glasgow, whereas it was been more than two weeks in reality. *** sighs ***

Observation no. 4: I find the graveyard outside my window to be quite beautiful. Have been clicking a few either later in the evening or early morning.

Observation no. 5: I need to get back to business, 48 hours more to showtime.

Cheerio :)

Thursday, April 23, 2009


sharp n cold, swish n thrust;
small n fast, swish n fire;
long n hard, swish n hit;
wet n warm, swish n blood;
sad n cold, swish n die!!

Monday, April 20, 2009

At dinner...

I never had been an admirer of such glamorous dinner parties, where the rich and the famous dine together. In the name of style and fashion, money is squandered which may have been beneficial to some. Philanthropic thoughts!! As I walked up the stairs to the fancy mansion, am greeted by the butler. Does he even know me? I doubt. The lighting has been well done, the chandelier was exquisite, the waiters doing the rounds with the drinks where impeccably dressed. Everything was picture perfect. The monstrosity of extravagant show-off!! But, I can't find him. The guests cannot be avoided.

"Hello, how are you doing dear?"
"Very well, thank you!! I hope you are keeping well these days."
"Oh yes! but, old age has been catching up you know...."

I interrupt...

"Ah there he is! If you would excuse me please, I'll be right back."

I made my way across the hall. This was rude, but anything to get away from the old hag.

Dinner is served!! Let's see where is it that I get to sit. Charming company I have here, an oil magnate, a TV presenter, an aging socialite, a rich playboy with an important father and an actress. Ah, now I see him. He is sitting at the table on the my right. I just need a few moments with him. I engage in small talk with the presenter on my right and allow him to brag about his successful show on air regarding current affairs. The shrimp is magnificent. Though as always the caviar is what I love the most. Almost time for the dessert. The playboy has his eyes all over the actress, and she is fawning over the magnate. The socialite just looks at all of them. She has such a bored expression. I never noticed when the presenter stopped and the magnate started. He is rich, important but a bore!!

I look at him. Enjoying his dinner. Wiping the corner of his mouth with the dinner napkin. He seems to be enjoying his conversation. And his meal. A hearty meal calls for a smoke. His favourite... Dunhill. Good choice!! Guess I'll join him. He is alone on the roof. Ideal moment for the conversation.

"Quite a nice evening, isn't it?"
"Oh yes, it certainly is. Ideal for a night out in the wild. Care for a smoke?"
"No, thank you. I have mine."
"I insist!! It's Dunhill, one of the finest."
"Well, if you insist. Incidentally, Dunhill is what I smoke."

I waited till he lit his cigarette.

"So, you here alone?"
"Ah yes! My wife couldn't join me tonight. She was held up."
"You love her?"
He was surprised at the question but smiled and answered, "Of course, I do. Not all rich couple are on the brink. You aren't into journalism, are you?"
"Not really. I'm into music. Am a musician."

A few more drags. The conversation has to draw to a close now, its almost time.

"You did tell your wife, you loved her, today, didn't you?"
He was surprised, "Why do you ask?"
I smiled, "Goodbye."

His breath had started shortening. Time for me to leave.

"Why?" He was gasping for breath now.
"Never make a promise you can't keep." I could see he understood now.
"Who are you?"
"Told you", he breathed his last, "the musician."

Some people never realise when the inevitable stares them in the eye. As I leave by the front door, I hear a shout. Have they found him? I took of my wig and made the call.


Sunday, April 19, 2009

The nadir and other things.

The past week has been terrible. Probably the low point of my student life. Its the nadir!! The reason you find me being so negative about the whole show is that, with exams looming around the corner (just a week away), I seem to have developed all sorts of tastes. Rather the dormant ones have surfaced again. Anything, to stay away from books.

Anyhow, have been lately obsessed with the Sin City soundtrack, but not sure about spending 5 quid on getting the audio CD collection. Maybe I would, after 1st May. I get it now, I'd listen to it all day, non-stop, which might force my flatmates to declare me insane (which I believe at least one must have already thought of). Even though, I saw the movie quite sometime back, I discovered the soundtrack recently. Or may be paid attention to it. Whatever it is, the constant exposure to the music n thus the related graphics and videos on YouTube has left me in quite a dark frame of mind. But, I guess sanity prevails, as I'm not yet dreaming of it.

Moving on election days in India. Youngsters are either headstrong on who they want to vote for (more likely hog-washed by family or someone else they look upto) or totally clueless about the proceedings. The latter are probably in a dilemma: "To Vote or Not to Vote". I suggest, go for the voting and then vote none if that's what you think is right. Let not your name be used to cast fraudulent votes!! That is something which the youth can do - apart from mugging/studying for university exams.

IPL fever grips Indians and other followers of T20. Personally, am not much a follower, but the quick T20, is like instant noodles. Its short, quick, thrilling and most important of all, it sells in this fast paced life. Frankly, though I still prefer test match to T20, I probably won't have the patience to watch a test match, nor the time. But T20, is for the weekends, or evenings after work. Grab a crate of beer, get some mates and switch on the TV. 3-4 hours of chillout. Add to that some barbecue or eat outs and you've planned a splendid weekend.
As of now Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore have won a match each by defeating Punjab, Chennai and Rajasthan respectively. Kolkata versus Deccan is on and from the looks of it, Kolkata is eating the humble pie tonight, unless Deccan manage to squander it all!!! Anyways, bottomline is this match hath no sparks, at least till now!!

Have I been writing long enough?? I don't know. The clock says 17:47 hrs, which means I really need to go hit the books now. Duty calls!! I hate exams... whoever thought of it, in the first place!!!

Enjoy this track: Cells -The Servants, Sin City theme. Oh, and if you haven't seen the movie, go watch it!!!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

What was she thinking??

There are times when you wonder what exactly drives people to be absolutely crazy and dumb. On Friday afternoon, one such lady decides to enter the enclosure of polar bears at the Berlin Zoo at feeding time. What happened next watch in the following video (courtesy CNN):

Read the news article here: Polar bear attacks woman at Berlin Zoo

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Time flew...

The last few months have been crazy. Time flew by and there was little I could do about it. Exams happened, barely scraped through. Another term got over, another bout of reports, videos and presentations. It's all over now. Before I knew it, half the course was over. And here I am studying again for another set of term exams. Meanwhile, I did go about visiting a few places, bought myself a guitar (a cheap one, just to while the time away) and London had its worst snowfall in 18 years.
So, instead of inciting you to murder me of boredom induced by my scribbles, I'll let you take a glimpse of things as I captured in the past few months.

This post shall have pictures of Jersey Islands:

Sunset at St. Oeun's Bay

St. Helier's fort

My humble abode

Street at St. Helier

Recharging batteries

Well... after my last bout of thoughtfulness I realised, to actually concentrate on the task at hand I need to get away from London and recharge my batteries. With exams looming large on the horizon it really was important for me to get down to the dirty task of sifting through notes and lecture presentations of the term gone by to ensure that I knew enough of the stuff to get a good score. However, the mind refused to concentrate. It was at this juncture that an old school friend of mine turned up as a saviour. He has been studying medicine at the University of Glasgow for about three years and that's where he was inviting me for the weekend. Having last met him nearly 4 years ago, when he was had come around to India (he was finishing up with BSc from King's College, London), this indeed was a trip I would have been more than glad to go for.

A little check on the modes of transport available - road, rail n air, I settled for an overnight journey by road on a National Express coach scheduled for departure on Friday night (that's exactly a week before). Needless to say, the journey was pretty sleepless. Barely having slept on the journey, I was disappointed to find Glasgow being drenched by the weather gods on Saturday morning. And we were early. So, I just about waited around at the Buchanan Bus Station till my friend turned up (we shall refer him as R henceforth). Right after, R turned up we went for a coffee. Being about as early as 7:30 in the morning, hardly a few shops were open. Luckily, the nearby McDonald's had just started business. Saved our caffeine parched souls. A little bit of chit chat, while we waited at the bus stop. It was at this point that it struck us, that we could take a walk back to his accommodation. It was a 45 min walk, but given our past track records from schooldays, this was probably a warm up walk (which indeed it turned out to be later). A long walk and a nice chat!!

A little bit of rest, a breakfast and we were off for a bit of walking tour of the University of Glasgow's Gilmore Hill campus. What ensued was a long walk of about 3 hours. Back to quarters and it was lunchtime. Evening saw us headed out to nearest pub, where his chums had gathered. As the evening rolled by, more trooped in as did the number of our drinks go up. Now R, has decided to get me drunk (I still wonder why) and had sworn not to leave the pub till so (despite my warning him against it). As fate, would have we left when the pub close around midnight, R a bit high, while the old self being absolutely normal. I faintly remember him calling a gutter later that night before we retired to bed. A dinner of haggis with gravy was on the cards though. Now haggis is a traditional Scottish dish, so a must have if you are in Scotland. Its made of pork, so in case, you are sensitive to it ask for variations if they have it.

And so, lazing by and basically being the useless gits that we truly are, the next couple of days rolled by, till it was time to trudge back to London on Tuesday night. Thankfully, I had a co-passenger who didn't snore and the bus was fairly comfortable to allow for a good night's sleep. Now my co-passenger while returning was an 80 year old lady, who was travelling all the way to Kent to attend her elder sister's 90th birthday. Quite a commendable effort on her part, as she was travelling all along. Had a nice chat with her and was quite amused at her expression of "Oh dear", which perhaps punctuated most of her sentences. An old english habit?? I am not so sure.