Sunday, September 30, 2007

A hearty start...

It's not very often (infact, this is definitely the first time) that I log into my blogger while a Formula 1 race is in progress. But this race at the Fuji Speedway is somewhat different given that 8 laps are down even as I write this, and the safety car is still out there, for (obviously) safety reasons. Though I had set the alarm to wake up in time (this being a Sunday), but a well-wisher called up well in advance so that I could also listen to (and see) Paula Ali (she definitely was looking hot today) before the race began.
A number of players have taken pit stops already, and I have already gone through most of the Sunday Slimes of India hoping for the weather in Japan to improve (talk about being a global citizen), and this being the World Heart Day, I have started my day with a very appropriate diet of Lays chips, while contemplating a more tummy-filling pit stop (of course I am trying to think of more heart-friendly options).
A quarter of the race is over (there's no "race" still), much more than half of the chips' packet is empty (half is empty to start with anyways), I am feeling sleepy again, and my laptop's superlative battery is giving warning signals as usual (sometimes I wonder if they have put in AA cells in there).
And there's news finally -- the race has formally started, the confusion is on, even as cars start crashing...the safety car will probably be out again...methinks it's time I get back to the race... what a perfectly calm start to the World Heart Day...

Friday, September 21, 2007

Downtown Train..

It starts with “Outside another yellow moon, has punched a hole in the night-time mist…” and goes on to talk about Brooklyn girls, and heart attacks, and thorns and roses, and of course, about downtown trains. I heard this song for the first time about 15 years ago, thanks to my sister who was into picking up the latest grammy nominations cassettes (and who is, as I might have mentioned in passing, responsible for my love of the English language), and perhaps thanks also to the fact that I hadn’t been introduced to rock (as I know it), and would therefore not look with disdain upon anything that was “pop”ular in nature.
I don’t know under which strict genre this song falls, but it has somehow stuck in what appears to be more than a corner of my brain; and every so often, as things move within my head, this song perhaps gets dislodged around, making me listen to it again. And as I write this (while admiring the extremely picturesque late monsoon view from the Pune-Mumbai expressway), what comes flashing by are not the exact years that have gone by, but the phases of life that touched and went.
The time when I was the age of those Brooklyn girls, till the time I moved out of my home to stay away, and have been shifting houses (not homes, thankfully) since then. Then the phase when I started earning (for myself, and for those “carnivals”). Then back to school (“I know your window, and I know it’s too late…”), and then now, dropped into a city where the trains (downtown or otherwise) are literally “full” in much more than the actual feel of the word.
And thus here we are, subjecting ourselves to the vagaries of these journeys, almost half expecting to hear an answer to “Will I see you tonight, on the downtown train…?”

P.S.: "Downtown Train" is a song by Rod Stewart

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Of directions

There's a certain kind of expertise this country's travelers have built into their DNA. It's a kind of daily practice of adventure activities like treasure hunting. Anybody who needs to visit different places in a city everyday (read salespeople :)) would probably agree with me that reaching a place in time is like finding that X which marks the proverbial spot. You get all kinds of pointers from anyone you ask. To modify a well-known adage, "directions are like ass-holes, everybody's got one".
From the very direct "just next to the CCD on SV Road" to the slighly obscure "take the left from where it says No Left Turn", to something more complex "after you have crossed the toll booth, keep going till you have traveled on two fly-overs and then take the second left from under the third fly-over just before the Shiv Sagar", to something so outrageous that it would take hunting dogs to figure out the damn place "take the first right after the children's school on the left, then keep going straight till you see the HP petrol station from where go straight till you reach a three-way fork in the road, take the right-most road till you reach the ladies' tailor, and then ask him for further directions..."
Part of the excitement of visiting a new restaurant is in finding the shortest path to it (of course the shortest path will go through a number of left and right bylanes of which if you lose count, you might have to just come back home and make an omelette for dinner). Reminds me of those obscure optimization problems we used to do in those courses on Operational Research. Except that it was on paper and you could literally go all over the place with your guesswork.
But gone are those days, and tonight I am planning to visit a new clothes showroom somewhere in Santacruz west. Any directions, please?