Sunday, August 29, 2010

The trip to Greece - Part II

All that drama didn't deterioate our enthusiasm levels. We were like kids entering disney world. After the 2 days of train journey, the cabin in ferry was like heaven. We went out to the deck area took snaps(this is very important for us). I am generally not acrophobic but if it is water underneath then I get really scared.

We gorged on our bread, salaamis and cheese stuff and crashed to sleep. I don't know about Venky and Swadheen but all the time while I was trying to sleep I was thinking on what would I do if something like titanic happens to the ferry. The next day morning we got up early in the morning to find some good view. It was a great feeling standing at the edge of the ship. When you look at the mountains around, you feel the ferry is hardly moving, but when you look down at the white foam formed in water as the ferry cruises in, you realise how fast the ferry is running. In the below you can see Swadheen, Me and Venky (L->R). Check out the path of the ferry in the other pic.

* Patras *
At around 10am we reached Patras.We didnt know where to get out of the port, so we were randomly walking..only to be picked by the police standing at some place. And then it starts all over again. One of them calls out "so you Pakistani or Bangladeshi??".. Then we say "No! we are Indians". Then the normal tradition of showing passport. They ask some basic questions, Why have you come etc. It's so boring like a recorded audio we say the same blah blah story everywhere.  We somehow managed to get into the middle of the Patras city. It's a cramped city with narrow roads, too many shops, open restaurants etc. There were so many restaurants that you get nice smell of kebaps etc all along. You will see the local Greeks enjoying the food in these restaurants and then you see some dark people(don't mean to offend anyone) everywhere probably illegal immigrants selling pirated DVDs, CDs. Before starting...

Friday, August 27, 2010

The trip to Greece - Part I

I got this wonderful opportunity to tour all over Europe during my exchange program with the college, CERAM (Now Skema) Business School, at Nice France. In a span of 3 months I had been to around 13 countries totally and of all the trips one thing which is most memorable is the trip to Greece. I believe even Swadheen and Venky would agree to this. 
It was a 7 day trip and during those 7 days we went through so many hard ships which makes the trip a lifelong memorable one.  The encounters with the notorious Italian police, the fake police in Thessaloniki, the hostile Greek police, acquaintance with the thief and the transporter  like car chase are some of the highlights of this trip. So here we go…

To many people Greece is some kind of an exotic place, owing to the great history it has. The first thing that used to come to my mind when someone says Greece was the Trojan war. And in the recent past it was Sparta from the movie 300. Lets not talk about the Euro crisis. So was hoping to see remnants of those wars, architecture etc. And I was also eager to see the Greek beauties (from the famous Helen of Trojan war). In fact I dint know any other female character apart from her. So with that little knowledge about Greece was a lot excited about going to Greece.

Now our base location was Nice, France. From there...

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Google rocks!

Today I happened to login to my gmail through IE and was pleasantly surprised to see this option to call phones option in google mail.

Wondering, where is Google heading to?
It is a potential threat to any organization in the world.

You may see the Call phone option in the chat list. When you click that you get the pop up to make calls.

I could not find this option in firefox browser

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

My calendar for the day

All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.....
and now if that all work is only meetings then it makes him a lunatic

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Thank God it's Raksha Bandhan

Today early in the morning I got a call (ISD) from my sister. For a second I was scared if something was wrong and was praying GOD for it not to be.

Then I get the wishes.."Happy Raksha Bandhan" ..phew~ was my expression..

I didnt know that it was Raksha Bandhan..for GOD sake am in this gulf idea on whats happening there in India. Forget festivals, I sometimes get confused on days's friday-saturday weekend here.

Coming to Raksha Bandhan, earlier it was a festival celebrated mostly in northern India but now it is equally prevalent in southern India. I've seen rakhis sold in villages down south also.

This proves that festivals like these which signifies love & care among  people will always be embraced by every religion and region.

In the evening I called up my sis as I felt like talking to my nephew and twin nieces. I am attaching the audio of the short conversation here ->
My Nephew & Nieces
(It's in my mother tongue - telugu) I am sure they would be proud of their uncle when they grow up.
PS: Please bear with my loud voice, I was sitting in my hall and you get the echo.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Thought for the day!

శత విహాయ భోక్తవ్యం - సహస్రం స్నాన మాచరేత్
లక్షం విహాయ దాతవ్యం - కోటిం త్యక్త్యా హరిం భజేత్!!

వంద పనులు విడిచిపెట్టయినా వేళకు భోజనం చేయాలి. వేయి పనులు విడిచి స్నానం చేయాలి . లక్ష పనులు విడిచి దానం చేయాలి. కోటి పనులు విడిచి దైవ ప్రార్ధన చేయాలి…

I'll transliterate and translate the meaning for the benefit of everyone.

Satha vihaaya bokthavyam - sahasram snaana machareth
Laksham vihaaya daathavyam - Kotam thrukthya haaram bajeth

Meaning:- You may skip a hundred other activities to have your food, a thousand activities to take bath, a lakh activities to donate alms and a crore to offer prayers to the almighty.

Source :- Jyothi's Blog

Friday, August 20, 2010

The marathon continues

This week was the shortest ever I felt, I still feel the last weekend was just day before yesterday and now am in my 4th weekend. Time just flies when you keep counting weekends and not weekdays.

As usual I've been watching movies till now. I've watched 3 tamil movies and 1 hindi movie.

Madrasapattinam (Tamil) Rating : 3.5/5
This is yet another movie which has some parts inspired by Lagaan like the love between the firang girl and our desi hero and wrestling match between hero and fiance of the girl(british officer). But overall the movie is ok. The music is very good. I loved the song thaana thaana

M.Kumaran Son of Mahalakshmi (Tamil) Rating : 3/5
Totally mass oriented movie. A good time pass. The comedy portion is really good. Apart from that its a regular masala drama. It's a remake of the telugu movie "Amma Naana O tamil ammayi". So in telugu the heroine,Asin, plays a Tamil girl and in this one she plays a Malayalam girl.

I Hate Luv Storys (Hindi) Rating : 1/5
Got so bored with this, but I had nothing better to do so was watching it till the end. I liked Sonam in Delhi6 but in this one she dint look that great. The story is pathetic and the comedy really sucked.

Sillunu Oru Kaadhal (Tamil) Rating : 4.5/5
This one is the best movie I've watched this weekend. It's again a love story. But the story is different. Jyotika and Surya acted really well. The music is also another highlight. It's only  after watching the movie, I discovered that it was by our Oscar winner. I loved this song "Munbe Va En Anbe", beautiful tune.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Yes! I can cook

Silly Pulav
It's my recipe so I believe I have all right to name whatever I like.
I am not an expert in cooking, but as they say necessity is the mother of invention.
You get so many recipes on net, but many a time all of those required things wldnt be available with us. I am talking about people who are located far away from India; These days you still get something. While I was at Nice,France it was very difficult for me to get Indian spices, so managed with whatever I had. I dint have a pressure cooker also then.

I am going to write how I managed to cook chicken/veg pulav. The method is same for both. Infact for me all curries are same. One template method just the specimen changes

You need minced onions(2), cut tomatoes(1-2) and cut green chillies (2-3).
Fry the onions and green chillies together. Add turmeric powder(1/2 spoon).
If you have ginger garlic paste add that (1 spoon). Add garam masala powder (1/2-1 spoon).
Fry for sometime, not till it becomes charcoal ..till you think it is fine..i keep for 5mins on medium flame.. then add the tomatoes pieces..and let it all boil for some 5mins.. you may add chilly powder (if u like it spicy).
I am assuming you have an idea on the quantities of chicken and rice.
Now add the Chicken/vegetables. Mix it all well properly..and let it cook for 10mins.
You may add the rice to this and let all the things cook for 2-3 mins..add water to it.
Unlike generally for boiling rice we take water double the volume of rice, here we'll take equal volume. So if you have taken a glass of rice, pour a glass of water to it.
Now to the mixture add sufficient enough salt. 2-3 spoons. Now all this depends on each one's heuristics.
Now transfer this whole mix to a big glass bowl and keep it in microwave for 30mins(again depends on how much time it generally takes for rice to cook generally on it). Some of them come with the preset options for cooking rice.

If you prefer to cook in pressure cooker, you can do that as well..just transfer it into the cooker and stop it after 2 whistles..that should be fine..

This is my own recipe..not read from any website...just an improvisation, Wonder if it is actually cooked like that but I never cared to check cos, I liked the way it tasted.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Happy Independence Day

This is the official instrumental of the National Anthem of India.

The below video is what our Indian Idols have contributed to the nation

From time immemorial historians all over the world have been writing about India. I am not going to write about India, cos how much ever I write about the greatness of our nation it is like a drop in an ocean.
I just want to say that I am
"Proud to be an Indian"

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Movie marathon

My 3rd weekend in Doha just got over. So far it has been a movie festival for me.
I watched 3 tamil ,2 hindi and 1 telugu movie
The following are those,in the order I liked them.

Vennila Kabadi Kuzhu (Tamil)     Rating: 5/5

As the title suggests, it's a movie centering on Kabaddi. Has mild similarities with Lagaan and Chak de India where the underdogs team end up becoming superstars. I loved this movie. The story, the characters and the whole setup was very realistic and natural, unlike many of the telugu commercial movies. It's a touching story.
The actress Saranya Mohan is very pretty in this movie.

Amrit (Hindi) Rating: 4.5/5

It's a Rajesh Khanna movie. It was screened on Zee Aflan. As expected a sentimental and moving story. I liked the story and the way it was made.

Raajneeti (Hindi) Rating: 4/5

As some one said it is indeed a mahabharata in 2.5hrs. It was like watching mahabharata in fast forward mode. It's not a bad flick and I can recommend this movie to others. It's all about political strategies.

Vasool Raja MBBS (Tamil) Rating: 3/5

I've watched Munnabhai MBBS in hindi and Shankardada MBBS in telugu. This movie is not that good when compared to the other versions. Kamal doesnt seem to miss any chance of exposing his biceps. Every alternate scene you see him flexing it.
But I am a big fan of Kamal Hassan, he is one complete actor. Sadly none of his recent movies are my favorites.

Yaaradi Nee Mohini (Tamil) Rating: 1/5

It's a remake of the telugu movie "Aadavari Matalaku Ardhaale Verule". The telugu movie is much better than the tamil version. Danush was definitely a wrong pick for the lead role. Wonder how can people digest the fight stunts of this boney guy.

Don Seenu (Telugu) Rating: 0/5

Worst of all movies I watched this weekend. The story is so pathetic, wonder how can some one think doing such movies. It was supposed to be a comedy movie, but no scene was worth a laugh. Throughout the just gets worse as u go on watching it...making you throw up at the climax.

Next am going to watch
Madrasapattinam (Tamil)

Sunday, August 08, 2010

My dream is to fly over the rainbow, so high

I like this song . You may find the original one here. Yves La Rock

When I was a kid, like most of us, I used to look high up in the sky at aeroplanes and wonder when I would get to fly in a plane and when I would get to travel to other countries.
Used to dream of flying in plane, served unlimited chocolates by hot air-hostesses, flanked by clouds on both the sides of the plane, look down at houses and lilliputs through the window......

Little did I know that air travel is not all hassle free thing.
As of today I can say I am a frequent flier, but not of any particular airline.

Just for the numbers sake, I took around 60 flights so far starting from the first one in 2003( Anil,Meghamsh,Anurag,Keerthi & Bhargav should remember this for pushing me into the plane as I was sick then). And I've seen about 6% of the globe and been to around 18 countries.

Now coming to the interesting part, some of the incidents I faced. I can bet I've experienced all types of issues with air travel except to the fatal ones (touchwood)!. Some are to be blamed on me also.

Flight delay and wait at airports.
Itinerary:- Hyderabad->Chennai->Muscat->Riyadh.
Riyadh Airport Gulf Air

This was in the year 2006 when I was going to Saudi for my onsite project at Riyadh. A direct flight generally takes 4hrs(Emirates). But the great TCS booked me this long itinerary just to show off their loyalty towards Gulf Air(cheap flight). My luggage was a huge suitcase, 1 backpack and a laptop bag. This was my first time going out of the country and was going alone as the other person who was supposed to travel with me dropped out at the last moment. And that too it was to gulf land so there were butterflies in my stomach. Took a Kingfisher airline at Hyderabad Begumpet airport to Chennai and reached at around 8pm. My next flight was at 4am. I sat there in airport watching at people moving in and out, for me every minute was like an hour. That was one of the most boring moments in my life. I sat till around 10pm cursing TCS everynow and then, then comes the nature call.. I had to relieve myself urgently..had this whole luggage in front of me and cant leave it also...kept holding it for long time and when I realised I cannot any more I took the trolley kept my luggage on it and pushed it till the toilet, then I discover the toilet is so narrow cant take the trolley inside.. I looked around one moment I thought I will leave it there..but somehow dint, I thought of asking someone to watch my luggage and was looking for reliable people around....then suddenly I spotted a cloak room far outside the airport..phew~..I went out showed the security the eticket.. dumped my luggage in the cloak room..kept my lappy with me..obviously...felt relieved....thanked GOD for saving me :)..the flight was delayed by took off at 7am..was awake all the time..after reaching Muscat again there was delay with the next flight..around 6hrs. Finally when I reached Riyadh..I realised it took me 30hrs to reach that place.

Note:- Never ever board a Gulf Air flight. It's worse than a red bus(literally). All kind of mass and cheap people board the flight. By cheap I dont mean the people are poor. They behave insanely. Trying to touch the airhostess, throw the food stuff down, keep the used plates along the passage,fight with airhostess for an extra drink..etc..

Sleeping in airport
Itinerary:- Kolkata->Hyderabad
Kingfisher Kolkata Airport
This was in the year 2008 when I was in my first year in IIM Calcutta, I was coming home to Hyderabad. I booked the Kingfisher flight which was at morning 6:50am. The airport is 50kms away from the campus, so we generally leave around 4am by taxi. Since I was traveling alone I dint want to take chance so I kept awake the whole night, at around 3 am called the taxiwalla, and reached the airport around 5am. Got my boarding pass and the security check was also done. The area near the gate was crowded with people waiting to board. I saw there was still 1hr time for boarding. I somehow managed to get a seat. Was looking at the clock..and in no time I was in dreams..I heard an announcement that the flight was delayed by 15mins. To this day also am not sure if it was in my dream or in real. So then I thought, ok I can sleep for some more time.....

Kingfisher Kolkata Airport

After a long time...I woke up from my deep sleep and it was the pin drop silence which disturbed me..... There was no one around me...Then I remembered that I had a flight to take. I dint find the kingfisher flight in the charts also...ran to one kingfisher crew asked him about the flight. That man said the flight already left and I could see the frustration in his face, he yelled at me asking where I was all the time when the announcements were going on. I said "I was sleeping here(pointing at the seat)" and asked them how could they miss me. Then there was another crew member with a sorry face. I asked them, "now what? Can I get another flight immediately?"...At that moment..there was one girl(Kingfisher crew) standing at that gate.. shouting at me to run fast.. I ran fast towards the gate..then she told me get into the bus immediately..she ticked on my boarding pass..and I jumped into the bus..It dropped me next to the Kingfisher flight and left..... I was a like lilliput standing all alone next to this giant airbus plane.... Then after 5mins arrived the stairs, the captain opened the door for me. It was one embarrassing moment for me. I just avoided everyone staring at me.....could see some awkward faces...and murmurs..aaah wwoo...I just sat at my seat..slept till the breakfast arrived..and in no time we reached hyderabad..and even till then..I couldn't believe that I actually managed to take the flight.
Ok the story is not yet over...

Friday, August 06, 2010

I feel sick!

It's my 2nd weekend here, and is no different in terms of boredom when compared to the 1st but increased frustration levels thanks to my ill health. I am suffering from cold and fever and I've no mood to do anything in life. Today with great difficulty I had bread and maggi as breakfast n lunch.

I need some rest, not that I slogged the whole week. All I did was attending meetings.

I look worse than the image above...