Tuesday, December 22, 2009

A Trip to Gopalaswamybetta, Bandipur and Mysore


The last weekend was an amazing time - took for a trip to the Mysore region with a gang of friends. Just after midnight, early Saturday morning, 7 of us (including self and the missus) trooped into a rickety old Qualis and made our way to Gopalaswamybetta.

We reached the hillock at around 7 am only to be treated to rib chilling cold and mist and fog! Some pics from the Godly place where mist hangs around till noon apparently!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Hitchcock Rocks!

Have been watching Hitchcock movies in the last couple of days and have fallen in love with the man's style!

Psycho was the first one I watched. Though I kinda guessed the plot half way through, there were some elements in the movie that kept me doubtful until the end. Can guess what kind of a rage this movie must have been in 1960 when it was released. Similar movies are still being made today, 50 years after the master made his version! Hitchcock was surely ahead of the times.

The second one was Rope. A very short movie - just an hour and a quarter. But very stylishly made. Loved the strong characterisations, and the amazing histrionics of everyone involved. Each character was amazingly convincing - especially the important 3 of Brendon, Philip and Rupert.

* Spoiler Alert *
The plot of the movie thickens bang after the titles, when we find Brendon and Philip strangling a friend of theirs - as they converse after that, you chillingly realize that they committed the murder simply to prove that they were capable of doing it! Simply to establish that they could commit the perfect murder and get away with it. As you slowly get out of that, you get to know that they are throwing a party in the same room as the venue of the crime - to be attended by the nearest and dearest of the dead man. What makes it further gripping is that the food is served right on the chest inside which the dead man was dumped! A gripping tale right till the end!

I just loved the dialogues in the movie, especially Brendon's cheeky references to the murder in the presence of others, with a naughty, sly smile. A slew of double entendres!

One aspect of the movie that sets it apart is that the scenes are all loooooong. In the sense, that the camera is kept rolling for a loooooong time. And they have tried to make it seem like the entire movie was made in one shot, but you are able to identify where the cuts are made - something that let me down. Surely, Hitchcock must have known better!

But overall, I am stunned by the man! Hear from a friend that Shining is a great movie of his. Should catch up with it sometime.

--------------- Errata -------------------
Just got an alert that The Shining is a Kubrick movie. Sorry for the faux pas!

Monday, October 12, 2009

GM Diet!

I am not so much of a supporter of diets. I believe more in working out rather than in cutting one's intake. The missus is a proponent of dieting. And I usually fight with her over this.

But I heard about the GM diet a couple of days back. Anyone I spoke to about this had a good thing or two to say about it. So in a sudden pang, we decided to jump into it yesterday.

The version we're following is here.

My updates:

Day 1:
86 kg before the beginning of the diet.
All fruits day.
Was kinda tired of all the fruiting and pissing around all day! And had to suppress a lot of temptations :(

Day 2:
84.7 kg! 1.3 kg down in a single day!
Today's an all vegetables day.
It's evening, and slowly getting used to the diet.
It feels great though :)
More tomorrow..

Day 3:
85.2 kg :( Gone up a few hundred grams! Not worried though.. The first 4 days are only supposed to be preparation for the last three days of dieting, which is when the actual weight loss is supposed to happen. Lets see.

Day 4:
84.1 kg :) Ah! Back on track!

Day 5:
83.6 kg - Not a stellar fall from yesterday. Nonetheless its a fall at least!

Day 6:
83.1 kg - Things look great!! 3 kg in 5 days!!
But alas :( This was the last day of my diet :( Given that this is my Thalai Deepavali, couldn't really argue with the in-laws on the validity of my diet. So broke the diet today!

And didn't measure my weight for 3 more days. Kept feeding heavily on sweets and stuff. Finally reached 86 after all the munching on the occasion of Diwali. So am back at square one, but the diet prevented me from reaching 89! In that sense, was successful!!! And the inches I lost haven't come back (as yet). And now am quite conscious of the amount of food I take, and am able to say no anything, however tempting it might be!! So on the whole, I give this diet a thumbs up.

(Note: Some people complain against this diet, saying it might lead to side effects like loss of hair. I have always been losing hair rather fast, so I didn't notice anything odd)

Friday, October 09, 2009

If you're happy and you know it...

Small is big nowadays. From Twenty20 to Twitter, the message is loud and clear. One more example in this list is FML.

FML is not a very popular site - as yet. But I think it will grow bigger. The concept is simple: it eats on our tendency to gossip, to pass judgments on others, and to crib about life in general. And it is only a couple of hundred characters in length. One more instance of micro blogging a la twitter.

Drawing from this idea, this post is an attempt at another form of emo-blogging (sorry, my coinage!). This is a request to all readers to mention what made you HAPPY today. Please don't use more than a line or two. It could be a smalllllll thing, but then small is big!

So go on!! Keep the page growing for ever...

Saturday, September 12, 2009

A trip to the land of the blues - IV

Trip to Mauritius: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4

He he he.. I haven't given up on this series :) Not yet at least! Cos my best moments of the trip are yet to be featured! Anyway, am getting bored of narrating stuff. So planning to put only pics in the 2-3 remaining posts. Here goes...

The next day began at Ile Aux Cerfs (pronounced ee-loo-surfs) beach island - Awesome place for adventure sports.

Amazing ride this!! Zooming around and falling into the ocean!!

Me - almost reached the rubber thingee.
Wifey - swimming for dear life a few metres away.
We didn't realize the ocean was only 5 feet deep beneath us!

Tandem Paragliding - this wasn't scary at all! God knows how!

They dip you once during the trip :)

A cruise ship on the way back from Ile Aux Cerfs

Outside our hotel room - just after the rains



The stillness after the rains
(reminded me of that blue-colored Alaipayuthey shot)

Carrying a tripod around helped!

This was the REAL colour in REAL life then (8 PM)!!
Never knew nature could be so strikingly colorful

Now on to some photography lessons of sorts. The following three shots appear pitch-dark because they were taken at around 10 PM with the auto mode set in the camera.

What follows are pics of the same frames taken with the controls set manually. Basically just had an extended exposure - about 15 seconds for the first and second; 30 seconds for the last. No flash was used for these shots. Flash kills beauty in the dark!

This last pic won me a photography contest :)
(The 30-second exposure pic)

That was Dec-31 2008. Celebs at midnight!

Just when we had almost retired for the night, the revelry began all of a sudden. Fireworks lit up the sky and the ocean. And a Sega dance troupe began performing. (Sega is the Mauritian Belly Dance). Here's a video:

Mauritius Pictures

Saturday, August 15, 2009

IIMB - Independence Day Video

Sometime a couple of months ago, Rakesh came up with the concept of creating a patriotic video for IIMB. Mile Sur Mera Tumhara was the last rage, and he felt it was maybe time to try out a new one. So we set out working on ARR's Jana Gana Mana.
The videos were shot in a single day - surprisingly almost everything went off well that day. We had fixed time slots for the shooting for everyone - from the director of the insti, to the housekeeping staff. We simply couldn't afford to get delayed anywhere given the packed schedule. And we also had to tug along the heavy camera, monitor, tripod, blowers et al and run all around the campus. Was a verrrrry hectic day! Luckily had a good cameraman - Mr Rafiq who understood exactly what I wanted. And even more luckily have a very devoted wife who wanted to be the 'squirrel' and ended up being a lot more!
Anyway, here is the final product of my first 'professional' attempt :)

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Wedding Photographers in Chennai?

As Nov gets nearer, the home front is getting more and more active. As D-Day (literally!) arrives, my sis D is harder to talk to. If only her phone were any smaller, you would think it was her earring - always by her ears! And ISD isn't a barrier anymore. VoIP to the rescue of the future 'woip' of an America maaple.

To the point: This post is a request to all Chennai-ites - please suggest some good wedding photographer in Chennai. I am looking at online sources and reviews, but nothing like first hand reviews!

So if you folks know someone good in Chennai, do let me know - in the comments or by mail!


Update: More than 8 months later, I keep getting many hits on this particular post. So some gyan for those who land here from Google:
- I ended up booking Mr Sabari (Priya Vision, Coimbatore) - he is an amazing photographer with a very artistic eye. Drop me a mail for his contact (vishwa (dot) suren at gmail)
- Udhaya from Trichy is another great choice. See Chandy's comment below to get to Udhaya
- Raja Ponsingh is the undisputed leader in the Chennai wedding photography market. If you have landed here from Google, the odds are that you have already seen his webpage. He is expensive, so if your budget does not allow booking him, Udhaya or Sabari can be good alternatives.

(All these three are people who do concept wedding photography. They do not simply shoot pics and put together an album. Their albums are like story books with each page themed to a particular concept. Just see their portfolio to know what am saying)

Sunday, August 02, 2009

GMAT @ Tech

This is an impulse post. Just heard from Techian junior Srikkant that he has scored 760 on the GMAT. This is something I wanted to tell him, but posting here as they are derived from some convictions I have in life.

Awesome da! Congrats and best wishes! The most important thing now for you is to make proper choices.
And live with them.
I often am asked by people if I settled for less despite my GMAT score. I personally don't think so, though I am not sure how many will be able to see the sense my decision makes to me. When I took my GMAT, it was just a backup option for the future in case CAT 2007 didn't work out well. By God's grace, both worked well for me, and I stuck to my priorities I had decided on before the results came out. I am extremely happy with IIMB and am sure I made the best possible decision when I had the choices in my front. So also when I chose Tech over Anna Univ after my class 12. People still curve their eyebrows when they hear of that decision of mine. But again, absolutely no regrets from my side. Totally happy with that choice too. But had I not been so sure of my happiness with these decisions, others could have drilled into and weakened my conviction about these past choices of mine. It did require me to be considerably apathetic to others' opinions and stick to my guns, and that did require some effort.
So, in short, make your choice with good reason, and NEVER EVER regret about it later.

Well that ends the letter of sorts.

I personally got very excited hearing of this news from him because GMAT had never been so popular an option at good ol' Tech. Placements had always been choice no. 1. GRE and GMAT were not too common until around the time I graduated. GRE was becoming hot at that time and saw loads of Techians seeking US visas. GMAT is still awaiting that sort of patronage from Tech. When I chose to write the exam, there were no seniors to guide me. Found it a bit difficult to accumulate exam gyan from different sources and organize them into a package of sorts (and hence happened my GMAT posts on my other blog). But again, around that time, a few of my mates at Tech took the GMAT too (JP thalai, Rathu thalai, Phalgun, Deepthi etc).
I hope successes like these will lead Tech folks in greater numbers towards the GMAT.

(p.s.: For the uninitiated, 'Tech' is the general word used to refer to PSG Tech in and around Coimbatore.)

Monday, July 20, 2009

A Trip to Elephanta Caves Mumbai

This was one of the trips I went on during my internship at Mumbai. Muru gracefully agreed to come with me and was a real pain in all the wrong places with his constant bickering at my slow pace.
Lesson #1: Never take non-photography-enthusiasts on a photo walk. Or if you do, make them the models. They will shut up for a while (at least, Muru did).
While it was a nice trip overall, and for once it was great to see a well maintained place of interest inside the subcontinent, the dilapidated statues at Elephanta are a sore sight. The more one looks at it, the more painful it is. And mind you, this is not the result of inept maintenance. A few hundred years back, the Portuguese landed at these caves, and used the statues as target practice and defaced them!! As a result, what we have today is a bunch of ex-statues. Really painful to see if you know the story. While one goes expecting 1000 yrs of history, all one gets to see is 400 years of misery.
Anyway, the sob story apart, here's what transpired in that hot Mumbai afternoon of April 2009.

Adra Sakka Adra Sakka!

It's quite a long walk (half a km) from the jetty to the base of the small hillock atop which the caves reside. There's a small train that ferries people along this route.

The principle icon of Elephanta Caves - The Trimurti

That's my model - Muru - posing shamelessly as passersby look on

Practical geometry!

1 kilo mutton paaaarrrrcelllll!

Frankly an awful pic. But liked it for some vague reason!

Trip to Elephanta Caves - pictures