Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Ogre The Second

PS: In case you are reading this for the first time, you' re advised to check out Episode I HERE!

Again a word of thanks to Jugal

Episode II

Rebuked by Darth GoPet of the evil ShiT, young Padh-wan Tike Myson sets out on his quest for Da One who is supposed to clean the ShiT and restore balance to The Farce. His journey takes him to the remote wastelands of the Table to seek advice from exiled Master Lattu Phorda...

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Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Ogre The First

Made in collaboration with Master Jugal Kenobi and with new and explosive effects (as compared to this)

Episode I
Long long ago in a kingdom called Far Far Away...

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Sunday, May 27, 2007

Channel V Launchpad

A special mention to Mamoni for reminding me of this gig and Ankur for the Carl Zeiss lens without which the media wouldn't have been possible.

Continuing with my efforts of bringing to you the best live music happening in Mumbai, this week we take a look at the ongoing Channel V “Launch Pad” band hunt at the Hard Rock Cafe (HRC) in the Bombay Dying Mill area. For the past 5 weeks now, every Saturday from 4-7 PM, rock music lovers in Mumbai gather at this world famous franchisee to check out 2 great bands perform live. The winner of this band hunt will get a chance to perform at the HRC in New York

The format is simple. The Rock Street Journal (RSJ), in association with Channel V, has chosen the current top 16 semi-pro bands in the country and invited them to perform live at the HRC in Mumbai. After four Saturdays of intense competition, the judges will finally identify the top 4 bands, who will then fight for top honors in one Mega Final Show. The judges panel consists of Luke Kenny (Channel V Programing Head), Amit Saigal (RSJ Founder, who was absent today) . Today's special jury members were jazz drummer Gino Banks (of Helga's Fun Castle, which was part of last year's Launchpad) and the two good men from Bombay Black, Naresh & Paresh Kamath

I have been following the rock scene across the country for quite sometime and it is really heartening to note that despite the negativity and almost zero commercial success associated with rock music here, it is still very much alive and kicking. In fact, Indian bands now-a-days are more open to experimentation and they are playing a lot more originals. Most bands have now stopped playing covers and the audience also seem to appreciate originals much more now. In short, Indian Rock is happening!

Cutting the chase, the first band to take up stage was Span from Kolkata. Span are a motley group of musicians and as they explained, the diversity of musical tastes and ages in the band led them to call themselves as Span. They played a complete original set. It was a rocking performance, with a special mention of their vocalist and frontman Neel. Musically they were perfect note to note. They classified their music as Alternative Rock and a lot of influences ranging from U2, The Police, jazz, rock 'n roll to Coldplay were visible in their music. The only aspect of their performance which they would do well to improve would be their stage presence. Musically they are as tight as Beni's leather spandex pants (a friend of mine who has saved a pair from his bikes 'n heavy metal days in Shillong ), but if I check out a band playing good original music, I would like them to talk to me about their music or at least “rock” with me. This point,when brought up by the judges, Span replied that since they had limited time, they didn't talk much about their songs. That is understandable, but I would still like to see these Bangla Rockers “rock” a little bit more.

Next to take center stage was one of my favorite bands in India, The Superfuzz. Combine Greenday, The Ramones, Nirvana and Blink 182 with dollops of attitude, and you will have The Superfuzz brand of Indian punk music. I have watched these kids grow up, right from the time I first saw them perform at IITD couple of years back when they were still in school. They might have grown a little more facial hair, but the brashness and uncompromising attitude in their music is still intact and my love affair with them continues. Wicked fuzz and distortion tones, meaty bass lines, intelligent drumming, numerous tempo changes and some high pitch singing into the microphones make the Superfuzz sound come alive.

There is not much variety in their music, which anyway is not the highlight in the punk genre which is all about attitude. Their songs usually last around 2-3 minutes each and they don't bother to talk much during the show. This was pointed out by Luke Kenny, to which lead vocalist/guitarist Sanchal countered by saying that their audience doesn't care about what the name of the song was or why they wrote it. They just want to rock to their music. When it was time to perform the encore, Luke announced “... OK here is another nameless song from The Superfuzz”. Sanchal then casually goes to the microphone and blurts out the name of the song and starts the riff. Kenny boy, you've just been Punked!

The last item for the evening was the Bombay Black guys doing an impromptu jam session up on stage. Just check out the video.

PS: I won't be able to cover next Saturday's bands as I will be in Bangalore, covering the BIG one, Aerosmith Live @ the Palace Grounds, Bangalore on the 2nd of June 2007!!!! I will try to post whatever media I can, but since I won't be allowed to carry any equipment inside the venue, I won't promise you much :). Oh.. and please click on the google ad below :D

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Wednesday, May 23, 2007

The Art of Gifting

It's your parents 25th/50th marriage celebrations and if you are like me, you will be more lost than Paris Hilton's Chiwawa in Bihar. And if your last brilliant gift was an All-in-One Emergency light cum tape + CD + FM player cum torch light and of all things a swiss knife too, you need serious help. This article may or may not solve your problems, but a total faltoo timepass is guaranteed You can now either choose to read further and risk brain and physical damage or close this browser window and go to the nearest mall and pick up a nice pair of costly designer watches for your parents (DIE!!! you rich buggers!!!)

Will the reader return or walk off to the nearest Mall? All this and much much more after this short break. Stay tuned and don't go anywhere

If you have managed to survive this far into the show, let me congratulate you and also warn you that the road ahead is not easy (life never is..smirks). Only the one with a strong heart and stronger sense of timepass than the author will eventually '..bujhao his satya ki pyaas'. The challenge here is huge and most of you will eventually dropout and bitch about the ones who actually make it to the finish line, so all you Jane Goody wannabes... you are not welcome here.

Now comes the stage where we sit down and think hard about what makes a gift for such special people really special. It is of course very hard to define that, as for most parents, just a call from their kid(s) is enough to light up their day. Since most of us don't do that much these days and come up with convenient excuses like “ time from work..” “..every time I call them, they ask me when I am getting married..” and so on, this would be good time to make up for all the heartache you have caused and make sure that your parents don't bug you for the next couple of years for marriage (sigh.. if only this were true...).

Essentially this is what such a gift should have:

  1. A very personal touch

  2. Something which celebrates their togetherness as a couple

  3. Something which makes them realize and cherish their long time together

  4. Elements which make them remember how it was like when they set their eyes on each other and the romance and love they share (before you came with your dirty nappies, teenage tantrums, financial demands and of course your marriage issues :-P)

  5. Things which connect them to the people they really love and care about

  6. Something which tells them why they are so special for you

Hmm... I can sense a general feeling of skepticism and bewilderment in you. “in your dreams” is what most of you want to say, I am sure. But ladies and gentlemen, I am sorry to disappoint you because such a thing is possible (No Sharan... the pair of watches don't make the cut!!).

What it is and how it can be, find the answers after this short break. Don't go anywhere...

OK that was not a commercial, but just Sharan's reaction when he read the above paragraph.

So without much ado, allow me to break the suspense of this mystery gift. It is nothing more than a simple, handmade (or printed if you as lazy as Sharan) anniversary book cum scrap book cum photo gallery. Surprised? Read on to find out how you can take this simple idea into a really Jhakhass project.

First of all, you need to plan this project at least a month or so in advance to the day when you want to gift it. You will need to drop in at your parents and relatives places and collect all pictures of them. You need to talk to their immediate family (sisters, brothers, cousins, uncles, aunts, childhood and closest friends etc.) and get as much information about them as possible. You will also need to talk to your parents and ask them some rather insightful questions like:

  1. Their childhood (school, college etc.. growing up years)

  2. Loves in their lives

  3. Their ambitions in life (yessir... they also had ambitions. Trust me on this one :) ) and what happened to them

  4. First meeting with each other and how did their love blossom (some stories are even wackier than most romantic movies you watch!)

  5. Problems they had in life (inter-personal, economic etc.) and how did they overcome them.

  6. How was it like having you as children and seeing you grow up and move away

  7. Lots and lots of interesting anecdotes (during vacations, everyday etc.)

  8. Lastly and most importantly, get them to write each other a testimonial (if anybody has a good idea on how to get it done, please share)

Of course you will have to very innocuous while doing all this, so as not to raise any suspicions. After you have gathered all the information and dope on your parents, now you can sit down and collate all that information into a concise form called A Hard Day's Work.

But before that, please be subjected to the last ad of the program

The story so far:

You have done your research, collected the data and collaterals and are extremely tired (reading this story of course..) and want some help in making sense out of all that data.

Now the actual fun part starts. You can now start work on the book concept, the design and layout. A simple template would look like this

  1. Cover design with a nicely done collage of pictures showcasing their lives together

  2. Forwarding note from you and your siblings

  3. Table of contents

  4. Introduction on the individuals (bibliography has to be written and this is to emphasize and celebrate them as individuals)

  5. Testimonials on each other just after each introduction

  6. Celebrating the 'couple' with pictures, anecdotes etc.

  7. Celebrating the 'family' again with pictures, anecdotes etc.

  8. Testimonials from you and your siblings

  9. Testimonials from their childhood friends, siblings, relatives etc. peppered with pictures, trivia and messages

  10. Milestones for each person connected to them in a yearly fashion with pictures (like birth, school, events, marriage, kids etc. till present)

  11. Ending note wishing both persons all the best

Like I said right at the beginning, this is not an easy project to execute and the option of a pair of watches is still cute, but make sure you do it with feeling 'cause at the end of the day like they say, it's the thought that counts and not the gift :)

This is a pretty wild idea and 99.99% of us (including myself) probably won't/can't pull it off. If anyone does, please let us know :). Lastly a word of thanks to Jahnavi, whose dilemma led to me formulating this grand plan.

PS: Please do click on the google ads/links. Even I want to be rich

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Monday, May 21, 2007

When Hypnos Strikes


Location: Near Sion Station, Mumbai
Date: 20th May 2007
Time: 6 AM in the morning
User Mood: After being bitten by bed bugs all over the body, take a guess
What was the user doing: Coming back from Nanavati hospital after checking in an ill friend
Tip: Stay away from Joey's Pizza. Friend got food poisoning there
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Tuesday, May 15, 2007

10 Things Men Have Learned From Women's Magazines

Disclaimer: This fictional piece of human psychology has been written with absolutely no research or groundwork by the author. He doesn't claim to understand women even a little bit and all his “enlightenment” about women came during the years he spent at a monastery called the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur where the only contact he had with the fairer sex was through literature (of the wrong kind), online chats (which usually turned out to be a batch mate/senior masquerading as a woman) and during cultural festivals (usually accompanied by their own set of bodyguards). The situation hasn't improved much since then.
The views expressed have been done after expert (mis)training. Please don't try this at home.

May 2007

“..A ooman's body iz az camplax az har mind..” so said the wise (sic) guru addressing a room full of well preserved upper class middle aged women. When confronted with 'camplax' questions from his flock, like “..will a good relationship with my daughter-in-law help lower my cholesterol?” our Guru asks them to 'look heavenwards' and does what any self respecting man would have done in his place. Reach out for a women's magazine for answers! This scene is a recreation of a TV ad for the launch of a new women's magazine called Prevention, which is doing the rounds on national TV these days.

While the ad may seem comical, when you think about it, it actually starts to make sense. A women's magazine is the easiest and the most entertaining way to enter the 'camplax' world of the female brain. A lot of men buy women's magazine simply for the fact that most of them carry a lot of skimpily clad women. While this is all good, it also gives us a lot of insight on how the female brain works and why they are the way they are. And you women folk thought that these magazines where every page tells you that you are overweight, over the hill and are wearing the last century's fashions are meant for you? Get wise! The publishers/editors of women's magazine are smart. By featuring saucy centerspreads and come hither models they can also target the menfolk and moreover, a women's magazine is the only erotic material that he can check out in the house without his spouse giving him an earful or more! And if you thought that all the tips and tricks they give you on how to 'win your man', 'hide an affair', 'win the power battle between the sexes' were for you, think again. They actually help us in being ahead of the game (more on this conspiracy theory some other time)

Since this is an article on what we, men have learned from reading women's magazines, here we go:

1) When you have PMS we can now identify the signs, like easily irritable, hoarse voice, dressed like you don't give a damn and a tendency to throw things at you (in other words a “wife”)

2) Whenever you come dressed in your seductive best, with full war paint on your face, it just means that you are in your most fertile period of the month and your internal conditioning of trying to attract potential mates just takes over and you do it without even realizing it. Similar behavior can be seen in the animal and bird kingdom, where potential mates call out to each other using special mating calls and in the flower kingdom where plants 'flower' to propagate the species.

3) The ecstasy a woman experiences in dressing herself up can only be surpassed when she dresses someone else up. The sufferer in most cases turns out to be the poor unsuspecting boyfriend or spouse. A more dramatic effect is noticed when this experiment is carried upon the woman's teenage son. Try to imagine a shopping trip, when the mother-son duo enters the men's section and she starts selecting underwear for him, pink polka dotted that too! (reminds you of good old times doesn't it boys?). This habit too has its roots in genetic conditioning and the first signs you see are when as kids, you see the female child dressing up her dolls (even if she has a set of manly looking trucks, they will usually be called Papa truck, Mama truck & Baby truck) and does up her doll house.

4) We now know that when you cozy up to us randomly for no reason and acts extra nice,you must have done something horrible and are trying to prepare us for the shocker

5) When you tell us your problems, in most cases you aren't looking for a solution. You just want somebody to hear you out which is not possible with us. Our genetic conditioning just makes us look for solutions to any problem (In other words, don't come to us with your sob stories while we are at our Playstation). If we DO hear you out, it just means that we are thinking about the benefits we are going to reap after you are done.

6) The next time you give us the cold shoulder, it is not because of something we said or did. It MIGHT be because of something we said which we didn't do which could have done if we didn't say that we would do and even after doing it we didn't have to say that we would do it simply for the fact that we didn't think that we would do what we said. Really 'camplax' creatures you all are dahlins!

7) Women like their partners to make them laugh. Going by this rationale, the clowns at the circus should be the most sought-after guys in this world. So all you single hopeless men with ill fitting clothes, bald heads with loud and colorful personalities you know what to do.

8) Most women won't mind an affair/fling with a 'bad' boy. This made me realize why my mother would always try to make a 'good' boy out of me. She simply didn't want me to have any action with the fairer sex!!

9) Most women have a 'controling' nature. This again is genetic conditioning when, as primitives the responsibility to ration food items used to fall upon the women folk. So if we look at the life cycle of a man, he is controlled by his mother as a kid, his girlfriend when he is young, his wife in marriage and his daughter when he is old. This shows that a man is actually 'free' only in college. So all you college going guys enjoy your freedom because some female is lurking around the corner to take it away from you forever :).

10) Your wife and your mother can never be friends. The relationship can be cordial at best.

OK! the last point I didn't get from a women's magazine. I got it from watching K-serials :).

PS: If you liked this article and want to support the author's women's magazine buying spree (it's a little costly you see), kindly use the google search engine below for a search query
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Monday, May 14, 2007

Jazz Curry

Disclaimer: The author would like to state that he is not an aficionado of Jazz and the review/comment is purely from a n00b POV and thanks to Sharan for the pictures and videos

Date: May 11 2007

Its been 4 months since I shifted to aamchi Mumbai from sadda Dilli and I truly am enjoying myself. I always used to think that Mumbai's nightlife and culture was overrated. Until now! I will probably write about it in a later blog and lets keep our focus on Jazz for the moment.

Jazz music has always been a mystery to me. I always wanted to listen/learn Jazz but just like some of the things that you always put down for a later date, this was the case of Jazz with me. So when my good friend and colleague, Sharan told me about this Jazz concert, organized by Grateful Live ( at Ravindra Natya Mandir, featuring some of Mumbai's local Jazz bands, I lapped it up.

It would be unfair if I didn't say a few things about the venue first. The Ravindra Natya Mandir is one of most underrated venues I have ever been to. Wonderful location, decent infrastructure and good acoustics. Its surprising that this venue is not used as much as it should be. The stage has seen illustrious performers like Ustad Amzad Ali Khan and Pundit Ravishankar and so there is also a lot of history attached to this venue.

The auditorium started to fill up pretty soon with a lot of pretty women, dressed to kill. At least I wasn't complaining :). The backdrop for the evening's performance was a shot of Mumbai's Marine Drive beach area (during the Ganpati festival i assume) by one of Mumbai's well known amateur photographer Mr. Jehangir Merchant and he was kind enough to allow the organizers to use this image for the show. It will be on display in London at an upcoming art show. It looked more like the skyline of Singapore or Hong Kong and I was pleasantly surprised to know that it was shot in Mumbai.

The event kicked off with the compere for the evening giving some information about the bands, the music that they were going to play and also on the history of the auditorium. The stage was set for a great evening of music.

First on stage was Junckt, a six-piece ensemble band. They are a regular on the Mumbai club circuit for a long time now and were performing for an exclusive audience for the first time. They started out with a pan flute and acoustic guitar piece, with the rest of the band joining them for the rest of their performance. They followed it up with a couple of Bobby Hancock pieces along with a host of their self compositions. They sounded quite tight, with the saxophone and trumpet providing a great brass sound. Their flute player was in top form throughout the evening and it was evident that he was having a great time performing. The performance lasted for 40 minutes. Perfect start!

One of Mumbai's most revered musician and music teacher is a gentleman called Mr. Mickey Correa, now well into his late 80s. Musicians who have studied under Mr. Correa look like the Who's-who of the Indian music scene. This platform was used to honor his contribution to music and the standing ovation Mr. Correa received when he walked onto the stage was richly deserved. Here's to his health!

Next to come up on stage was Imaad. Imaad has illustrious parents in the form of actors Nasseruddin Shah and Ratna Pathak. He looks very much offbeat with his almost afro hairdo, geeky glasses and grungy clothes, almost like a post-modern Neil Young (heh.. i just made that up). He performed 4 of his original solo compositions with his guitar and harmonica for accompaniment. Very impressive I must say. Imaad is a good songwriter and what he lacks in vocal quality, he makes it up for with his lyrics. Thin and gawky that he is, he looks a little uncomfortable up on stage, but give him his guitar and a microphone and he can mesmerize you with his Bob-Dylanesque songs. Absolutely no pretensions. Just some great songwriting

After Imaad's performance, it was time for a 15 minute break, with most of the audience using the break to grab a quick bite. Sharan and me were too busy checking out the women :)

The last performance and the main act was by Something Relevant ( They have recently come out with their album, which is available on their website. Their set consisted of a lot of original numbers and a couple of jazz covers. Their music can be best described as long extended Jam sessions with influences ranging from jazz, folk, blues and good old rock-n-roll. They are a seasoned lot and it was evident from their tight sound and energy laden performance. Before their show, a page with just graphics were distributed amongst the audience. No effort was made to explain the pamphlet. It became evident only when they performed one of their originals and every graphic item on the page started to make sense, relating the images to the lyrics of the song. BRILLIANT! :) Nothing better than a little humor thrown in. Delectable solos on the saxophone, guitars and the piano/keyboards and you almost wanted to jump onto the stage and be part of the jam. If only...

The evening ended with the band performing an extended session of the by-now cult song “What's up?” by the 4 Non Blondes.

It was 10:45 PM in the evening by then and hunger and thirst took over and after saying adieu to the beautiful peoples around, I caught a cab and made a headway to Narimaan Point to catch up with my cousin and a common banker friend, who was still at her office, for a drink and some grub. These are the times I thank my luck that I didn't end up being a banker (No offense meant.. I completely trust them with my money yo!)

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Friday, May 11, 2007

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

I grew up with TMNT. Always nurtured this dream of directing a TMNT movie. So here's a collaborative TMNT movie.

Thanks to Jugal for the script and Sharan for the "actors"

Done with the Introductions, time for some serious discussions....