Monday, March 28, 2005

juice it up!

ok, this post is an endorsement by degreecopy for fruit shop. i normally don't drink fruit juices. i can't remember a single occasion in the past few years(!!) when i had one. but for the past two-three weeks, i've been downing a lot of fruit juices, courtesy fruit shop.

these guys produce the most comprehensive range of fruit juices and milk shakes. no sandwiches or burgers or any of the nick nacks. they just stick to what they do best: produce the most awesome juices and milkshakes. and the stuff is absolutely amazing. the prices are very affordable (starts at Rs.10, for the lime mint cooler) and the packaging is bloody awesome. especially, the takeaway bags.

the majority of their customers are regulars who keep dropping by every other day. it's probably the affordable prices that make such frequent visits possible. but the whole experience makes one feel like going there, time and again. if you haven't been there, check it out pronto. fruit shop has branches on greams road, in beasant nagar (near the beach), spencers and probably a few other places.

Friday, March 25, 2005

score, or else...

it's exam season once again. and every other day the newspapers carry stories about students committing suicide, unable to cope with the stress of exams. it's sickening, really. the state of our education system, which gives priority to marks and percentages, above all else.

the education system is probably india's biggest scam. one that has millions of students, parents and teachers firmly in its grasp. it's absolute rubbish- the way exam results have been glorified to be the 'be all and end all' of a student's future. scoring 90% is no guarantee of a successful career, neither is scoring 60% the fast track to mediocrity.

how about aptitude and interests? why are these two parameters treated like pariahs when evaluating the capabilities of a student? one probable reason: taking these two factors into account could lead the student to making career choices that supposedly don't offer much 'scope'. that's where some parents have a problem with where their kids' interests actually lie.

screw the 'score by rote' system. making career choices should be based as much on these two factors, as on a good education (not to be confused with scoring 90%). together, they offer a better chance of professional satisfaction/success than a bloody exam.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

lunch with maravan attapattu

yes, people, i met atappatu today!

for some reason, rather than eat at our respective offices, my wife and i decided to go to the food court in spencers plaza for lunch. it was the typical office crowd at the food court, and as i sat down, i saw this thin bald guy. he was sitting with a lady and two other men, and ordering food. i pointed him out to my wife. is it him? are you sure? how come he's lunching in food court? the fact that the sri lankan cricketers were in chennai for muralitharan's wedding only strengthened my suspicion that this guy could indeed be attapattu.

we were pretty kicked about the whole thing, and decided to confirm it with a waiter who had just served atapattu, and was coming towards us. the guy confirmed that it was indeed atapattu.
so the moment we finished our lunch, we just walked up to his table, and took his autograph. the man was busy downing a masala dosa, but was sweet enough to sign my little notepad. i tried figuring out the letters in his name, and then realised he had signed in sinhalese. big deal, so what? it was a pleasant surprise that made me feel very good. i've never got an autograph of any cricketer. now you know why this post makes me seem like a gushing school boy!:-))

Saturday, March 19, 2005

shoo, sammy, shoo

after a very long time, the first page of the newspaper made for interesting reading. poor narendra bhai was denied a visa by uncle sam. the fellow was supposed to attend some chai-paani hoteliers meet in amreeka. but will now have to settle for the dhoklas at the patel joint in gandhinagar.

anyway, the reason offered was very interesting. modi did some monkey business during the godhra riots, which led to the death of countless innocents. what he did was shameful. no mistaking that. the americans deplore his role in the riots, and see no reason to open their doors to him. fair enough. the americans are well within their rights to deny anyone a visa.

i just have one question for the american embassy: can the rest of the world apply the same logic to the pea-brain from texas? for creating a ruckus in afghanistan. for opening a war theatre in iraq. for trying to take the same theatre, albeit on a smaller scale, to iran. for cheering on musharraf and the north koreans.

modi bhai screwed up in gujarat. but the empty warhead in the white house has taken his cowboy games outside the u.s. how about denying him a visa to the world?

Thursday, March 17, 2005

the ghost of tehel-cam

tehelka started it. now every journo looking for a sensational story plants a spycam, and watches gleefully as he reaps a sleaze story. the magazine section of today's economic times carried a story about how fading filmstar shakthi kapoor was caught on spycam with his pants down. literally. apparently the guy offered to show an aspiring actress the way to stardom via his bedroom.

there was just one problem: the role of the actress was played by a journo planted by suhaib illayasi. remember him? he's the guy who used to anchor sensational crime stories on tv a few years ago, until he landed in a spot of bother over his wife's suspicious death. after that, the guy disappeared from the scene for a while. until now, that is.

he's back, and he needs his wattage of the limelight. true blue journalism is hardwork and takes up a lot of one's time. the alternative: the tehel-cam. easy, fast and sleazy. all it takes is a scape goat. and poor shakthi, part of bollywood's sleazeball club, was the perfect bait.

what shakthi did was stupid. but what suhaib did was cheap and reflects a lazy, anything-goes journo. in tehelka's case, it was an issue of big ticket defence deals which involved india's security. but it was a controversy from which tehelka never recovered. suhaib, on the other hand, is a sleazeball journo. shame on him.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

don't kill the messenger

what comes to mind when you think of great ads? the usual suspects: hutch, fevicol, thanda matlab coca cola, to name a few. of the three mentioned here, hutch is struggling and coke is cutting ad spends to stem losses. fevicol seems to be the only one doing ok. but hey, fevicol is the gorilla of the adhesive market. there are lots more brands out there who've done good ads. but i'm not sure all of them are really reaping the benefits in the market. which raises a fundamental question: has their advertising failed in its duty?

i don't think so. it's really stupid to blame good/funny/interesting/even provocative advertising for the failure of the product. a good ad has done its job when you see it, walk into a store and ask for it. beyond that, a lot of other things come into play. the store may not have the product, the store may get a better margin from the competitor, the brand could be competing in terms of shelf space with lots of other stuff, you might get a bucket free with the competing brand. and, oh, by the way, here's the most common reason: it might just be a pooper of a product.

there's only one problem with a good ad: it exposes a bad product faster. if you've got fabulous ads peddling your stuff, and still haven't garnered much of the market, maybe it's time to look within. stop blaming the ads.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

blood on your pizza

they are the cowboys of the 21st century! they are the pizza delivery guys zipping through traffic, to meet a 39-minute deadline. it took a pizza guy for me to discover a speed machine hidden deep within the humble bajaj scooter! that's how fast these guys go. there are times when i'm just plain pissed off with these guys. the way they zip through traffic, with not an iota of concern for the other guy.

and then there are other moments. when i actually feel bad for them. today was one such day. i was waiting at a traffic signal, on my way back home from work. and this pizza guy, typically, was zooming down the road. until he stumbled into a bump on the road. and came crashing down. they were all scattered on the road: he, his flaming red pizza bag, and different parts of his scooter. a few good souls immediately rushed to help him. but our cowboy had little time for all the attention. he just scooped up everything. and... what else, zoomed. he had his job to keep, you see.

the incident gave me a different perspective of the whole pizza delivery business. i order, and the company makes tall promises about delivering the food on time. may be we should spare a thought for the guy who completes the chain. either he's a risk to himself, or to others on the road. while it's great to have piping hot food on time, it's clearly not worth spilling blood.

Saturday, March 05, 2005

your city sucks

in my 26 years, i've lived in two cities: 22 years in bangalore and the last four in chennai. which puts me in a very unenviable position. the chennaites still think i'm one of buggers who denied them the kaveri. and as for the bangaloreans, i'm the mannina maga (son of the soil) who ran off to kongaland.

nothing thrills a member of either gang more than telling me how the other fellow sucks. some of the gems that have come my way from the bitch queens on both sides:

ooof, the autodrivers in bangalore... buggers ride on one bum, and take you on a journey to hell.

there is no greater sign of having arrived in chennai, than the stink of the coovum.

who the fuck called bangalore a garden city? the pollution makes it a gas chamber city.

nightlife? in chennai? loada crap!

but here's the thing: this is only the reaction of those guys who've never had to jump cities. or they are simply incapable of accepting the fact that every city has its share of good and bad. if you don't like the place, don't fucking go there, man! it's as simple as that. stop whining.

Friday, March 04, 2005

this is a bloody nightmare!

ok, i've got a confession to make. sometimes writing a blog is like... the most fuck all experience on earth!! here's what usually happens in such situations. i feel like blogging. so i log in, press 'new post', wait for the page to load, and... stare at the monitor. not having the slightest clue about what to write. the staring goes on. sometimes for 10-15 minutes. like i'm in shock after watching an alien whiz by on his UFO, after stopping for a refuel at balakrishna petrol bunk. i make interesting discoveries at such moments: time flies faster when you stare at a monitor in search of a subject for your next post. now, this is what happens on a good day.

on a bad day, i fill in the 'title' line, and write a few line of copy. and then..... delete the whole thing. just like that. it's the most illogical thing that i have to do, and it irritates the hell out of me. but i gotta do it. for the life of me, i don't know why. on such days, i write on two or three topics in the same post, one after another. and delete them all. all the while my bp will be rising steadily, and my temper ready to burst out. what makes the whole thing even more annoying is that the only ass to be kicked in such a situation is mine!

some big shot writer once said something to the effect that all you have to do is sit in front of a typewriter and open a vein. poof!

yup, i just opened a vein. watch me bleed, people!

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

press releases of india

the other day, i commented on someone's blog that the times of india's pg3 culture has killed journalism. and then a wicked thought hit me: must blog about the toi.

i have only one complaint against the times. guys, stop pretending to be journos. please. i mean seriously, you do a pr guy proud. the way you dish out press release after press release. and then you have the nerve to put them under a masthead. buggers, you don't even leave the poor masthead alone. the other day, i saw lalu bhaiyya chugging on a train around it. found it difficult to choose the bigger clown between the two of you. every second story is about a product launch. diaper launch here, actress cuts the scissor for pappi aunty's weight loss clinic, cricketer signs up with paani-puri waala. that's the news from toi, on any given day.

but here's the thing: i can at least read the stuff before spitting venom. the toi's partner-in-crime, the economic times won't even give me that pleasure. try reading the front page news about the budget the day after it was presented. you had to be one determined soul to plow through the lines, first thing on a weekday. WHY DO YOU DO THIS TO YOUR READERS? why can't you guys do a simple, clean layout? so i can just read the bloody news. oh, wait a minute. i forgot.

you guys are into press releases, not journalism. sorry.

the copy drinkers