Saturday, April 30, 2011

Breaking the (movies) spell ...

Breaking the long spell of not watching any movie in the theatres was a week where I saw not one but 2 movies … one in Sharjah and another one in Dubai !

The first one was Dum Maro Dum … saw it in Mega Mall in Sharjah. It was a weekend and we decided to catch a movie. Went to the Mega Mall and found DMD as the only hindi option. Saw it.

The second one was Scream 4 at The Dubai Mall. This one was unplanned, unexpected. Won the tickets to the premiere show through facebook  The movie is being released here in Dubai on 5th May and Reel Cinemas were having a special premiere screening of the movie for a select audience on 25th April (almost 10 days in advance) …

So now that the spell is broken and I have seen the first 2 movies in this year (in theatres, that is) … lets see when do the next ones come up  Hopefully immediately in May !

Self Talk

Self Talk !!

(At the 5-Star YAS Hotel in Yas Island near Abu Dhabi)

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Master Chef

MasterChef India … in Dubai !

Well … that’s masterchef all right


What you don’t see here is … Khana jal raha hain !!!
he he he

Monday, April 11, 2011

Weather Surprise …

Sharjah's weather took an unexpected and extremely wild turn yesterday. In fact it was not only Sharjah but across UAE, but since I was in Sharjah staring out of the window at the strange weather, I can only vouch for that.
When we returned home from office in the evening, the weather wasn't much different. Some wind was blowing and it seemed that it might be a pleasant evening.
After an early dinner, while Nisha was cleaning up the vessels in the kitchen, she called out to me and told me that dust was coming in through the exhaust fan. I laughed at first saying that the exhaust fan blows outwards and dust goes out from it and not in. Nevertheless, I went to check and found that the exhaust fan was indeed blowing inwards. I thought something was wrong and its direction was reversed. I switched it off only to find it going in the opposite direction with greater speed.
At this time, we realized that there was a lot of sound / noise of wind blowing outside. The windows are usually closed and the dark film on the panes did not really give us a view of the outside where it was already dark evening. I realized that the wind outside was blowing so fast and furious that the exhaust fan had lost the battle with it and was actually turning in the opposite direction. Within minutes there was a layer of sand/dust on all surfaces of the kitchen, including the vessels my wife has just washed.
We checked out the view outside from the window in the living room and saw the Sand storm'ed weather outside. Lightning every few moments and heavy gusts of wind. After some time, rains also started but they were light. After about hanf an hour, things settled and we decided to step out.
We got ready and by the time we switched off the lights and opened the door to step outside, we heard the familiar sound of 'mumbai rains'. I refused to believe my ears. Have now spent more than 20 months in Dubai/Sharjah over the past 3 years and have never really seen the typical Mumbai kind of rains.
We checked out the window once again and we were greeted with a sight that was least expected. Torrential kind of rains, little bit of water flooding on the road, slowed down crawling traffic, heavy wind and some amount of sand still floating around. The lightning flashes were seen for quite some time.
It was the first time I saw such rains and weather here in Sharjah.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

March Reading …


I had expected this month to be slow one for reading and it indeed was … I read much much less as compared to Feb …


1. Sherlock Holmes: The Adventure of the Beryl Coronet by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

A short story where Sherlock deduces and explains why he does not believe that a person who was caught red handed is a thief. He also examines the clues and deduces the exact chain of events and goes ahead and recovers the stolen part of an item. The guilty party escapes and the innocent released from prison.


2. Sherlock Holmes: The Adventure of the Copper Beeches by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Sherlock Holmes deduces everything (the plot, the motive etc) but there isn't much to do. There wasn't much to be done and there wasn't even any direct explanation of the deductions. No crime committed and no one punished by law.


With this story, I completed "The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (12 stories published during 1891–1892 in The Strand)".


3. The Three Investigators & the Mystery of the Moaning Cave by Robert Arthur

This one was also like teenage Indiana Jones kind. A cave, moaning sound from cave, ghost stories, etc. all put together in a single capsule. It even had a situation where the kids get trapped in a cave which practically no one knows about. A very interesting one


4. The Three Investigators & the Mystery of the Talking Skull by Robert Arthur

I very distinctly remember reading this one during my childhood. I actually remembered some of the chain of events. Although I did remember what it was all about, I still could not remember how the skull talked J which made the reading enjoyable since I kept on wondering how the skull talked (as if I was reading for the first time)


5. Sherlock Holmes: Silver Blaze by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

I started the next series of Sherlock Holmes stories with this one. This was "The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes (12 more stories published during 1892–1893 in The Strand as further episodes of the Adventures)". Interestingly, this series ended with the 'death' of Sherlock Holmes.

The first story of this block was about a stolen horse and a murdered jockey/trainer. Sherlock not only recovers the horse but also ascertains the murder of the jockey/trainer. And he does all this by examination of footprints (& hoof prints) …


6. Sherlock Holmes: The Yellow Face by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

This was one story where Sherlock is completely wrong in his deductions and his conclusions are far from the truth. The story climaxes in a situation which he least expected. This was yet another story where there was no real crime committed and it had a 'happy ending'. In fact, Sherlock got no role to play in it at all and he was soooo wrong in his deductions that he actually said something remarkable to Watson.

"Watson," said he, "if it should ever strike you that I am getting a little over-confident in my powers, or giving less pains to a case than it deserves, kindly whisper 'Norbury' in my ear, and I shall be infinitely obliged to you."

Thats it .. only 6 !!

Dunno how, but I listed "Trouble in Gangtok by Satyajit Ray" one as the last entry in my February reading. Maybe I had thought of reading it and started reading but never moved beyond the first page. That's how it snuck into the list but never got read eventually. Sadly, I could not read it this month also. So no Feluda on my February Reading list


Some more reading which was started but not completed within the confines of the month …


Labyrinth by Kate Mosse

I started reading this one to break the monotony of crime and detective stuff. It was a slow read since I was reading only 2-3 pages during the 10 minute drive from my home to the office in office transport. I haven't completed this one yet.


Alice in Wonderland

I decided some time ago that while I read mystery and thrillers, I would also like to read the classics that we used to read in childhood. Alice in Wonderland is the first one I picked up. I also saw the movie last year and felt like reading the simple story all over again. It was fun. I started this and read this while having lunch at office every day. This again was not completed since I was reading only a few pages every day. Strangely I even felt bit bored reading this. Was it too childish for me??


Series Completion Score (as of 31st March 2011):  

Three Investigators     11 out of 35

Feluda                         04 out of 35

Sherlock Holmes         16 out of 56

Total                           31 out of 126

Sunday, April 03, 2011

Is it just me or was it really the case?

I somehow feel that this Cricket World Cup did not really have the kind of explosive innings people look forward to. I expected a higher number of sixes and fours, team scores of 350+, more centuries and half centuries, plenty of great 'difficult' catches and a lot more explosive batting!!
I have a feeling that this world cup did not really deliver to those high levels … but then … I speak from perception and not from facts. I did not really find a good source of proper consolidated facts … of different world cups to compare.
But then … I am not really a Cricket Buff and I might not even be looking at the right places. Can someone point me to the comparison pages / links / statistics on the net !!!

And yes … Congratulations to the Indian Cricket Team for bringing home the cup. Kapil Dev would be a satisfied man today … and so would Dhoni. Sachin would feel relieved at holding the World Cup while he is still playing first class cricket.


I got a reply. From the most expected source !! My dear friend and Cricket Buff .. Shubham Choudhury !!
The reason for the WC not having a deluge of 6s and 350+ scores was the pitches. The pitches across all 3 countries were not very flat, but slow and low. The pitches in Bangladesh and Srilanka are always like that, but the pitches in India were slow due to the time of the year. Due to the heat, the pitches become dry and start to develop cracks in India, and become low and slow instead of being flat. Even the usually flat pitches in Ahmedabad and Mohali did not produce a lot of runs. This is the same reason why the IPL does not have huge scores either, as it is played in summer every year when pitches are very dry. The only pitch that produced multiple 300+ scores was Bangalore, which has the most mild weather of all indian venues.
I personally do not like matches with 350+ scores. Such games destroy the utility of bowlers. Cricket should be a contest between bat and ball. Both should get equal weightage. Bowlers should not be reduced to bowling machine status. I prefer a match where both teams score about 250, someone makes a 100 and someone takes 5 wickets too.
You can find all the stats he wants using the Stats Guru tool on Cricinfo. It is one of the best statistical query mechanisms I have seen.20:10

Friday, April 01, 2011

Email in Motion ... Gmail Motion !

WOW … Gmail takes a leap !    
Gmail Motion … yeah …that's the new improved Gmail for you ..
Gmail Motion uses your computer's built-in webcam and Google's patented spatial tracking technology to detect your movements and translate them into meaningful characters and commands. Movements are designed to be simple and intuitive for people of all skill levels.
Before you click on 'Try Gmail Motion'; make sure you see the video explaining the concept and showing you the 'motions' to navigate through you Gmail-Motion mailbox.
EnZoy !!

Google's April Fools Day Prank?

Over the years, I have always looked forward to the Google's April Fools Day Prank ... It has always been fun to read ! 
Where and What is the prank this year ...
havent seen it yet
nor is there any help from google
(i searched and did not find ... just imagine)
Anyone knows ?? tell me ...