Sunday, November 19, 2006

Don-Ad'don' rather

Don-hmmm... i was wwwwaiting for this movie from a long time. I saw it today.. the second week the reviews already being in from frnds and websites.

First impression was that of being a movie which was very cool in its appearance, the typical ritesh sidhwani-farhan's combination. The first half has a good amount of pace even though it painfully tries to rehash the original. When vijay speaks to the kid after the song, you can even feel Amitabh's accent. Even though i looked at my watch a couple of times I was willing to give the movie a benefit of the doubt. But then the second half, christ almighty, first all the movies which had any sort of action (2f2f,conair et all) keep figuring in. Not taht i perse dislike any of these things, but after a point it really gets painful 'coz SRK is no actor (except possibly in Swades) and the rest of the cast is well.....miscast. Priyanka does look gorgeous but stupid dialogues cant take you very far can they?

We all expect slick production these days and that is definitely there, but c'mon Mr Akhtar you can do way better than this. And for the twists....yawn...most of them do not leave you with any lingering questions and they just pass on through the script.

Boman Irani is out of his league, Rampal is not even needed, Koppikar is invisible...and mac looks dumb ( i like the older one better).

Overall 6/10 for me, a bit of an addon as mentioned in the title..but AB would be saying, 'jis school mein aap student ho, hum us school ke principal reh chuke hain ' :)

The Departed

Departed: (first line, purely direction wise Omkara was way better :D )

Cast: Matt Damon, Di Caprio, Nicholson(a.k.a Frank in the movie), Charlie Sheen, Wahlberg( he rocks), Alec Baldwin.

Sorry for the late review: so will start with some lines that would make you think abt seeing the movie. ( anyone in mumbai, drop a line i wont mind it for the 3rd or 4th or 5th time)

Opening line:
Frank: iam not a product of my environment, my environmnet is a product of me.

Frank is a Irish gang lord who rules over the neighbourhood of Boston. Colin sullivan (matt damon) is the hot shot police recruit who joins the intelligence department out to get Frank. But he is Frank's protege and owes a lot to him.

Enter Billy Costigan(Caprio), a kid with a 'gang' background who wants to a policeman. But is forced to become a mole in Frank's gang.

Now both sides have mole, and the rest of the movie is a simple cat and mouse on who finds out about whom and who dies first.

Of course you have the vulnerable Madolyn (Vera Farmiga), to whom both young men fall for, but she does not interpret the narration.

Caprio is great as the guy who never knows when the world would shut down on him. You should see him say 'Yes, Frank, i can be like you, but i dont want to'.

Damon plays the part. But king Jack takes the cake. " i smell a rat", "i always have had p**** form and could never understand someone wanking off in the theater" "you like the little c*** sucking on your d***""

The end is trademark Scorcese, and his adaption of this Hong Kong movie is brilliant. Some of the Boston'isms i hear from my friends are not too far from reality.

Another teaser:
Ya marriage looks good. Your peers know you are not gay. And when women look at your ring they know you have cash and your d*** works.

9/10. :D

In Orbit Malad

If someone were to doubt that the fact about a consumer culture boom in India, then he/she must visit inorbit on a weekend. The crowds must been seen to be believed. You get them in all shapes and sizes. Big, small, beautiful and not so beautiful, yuppies, families all of them.

The reason is: The most obvious one is the fact that urban a megalopolis like Mumbai has very little space, to walk or to talk. To chalo, shopping hi sahi is the motto.

The mall itself is a beautiful structure. Built in a kind of coliseum (round) manner, it has 3 levles of construction. Getting to the mall by road is through SV road and take the diversion to Malad Jogeshwari link road. From stations like malad or goregaon will cost abt 20 bucks by rick. The mall has ample parking space so anybody worried abt that front can chill. Amenities like clean water and toilets are a huge plus too :)

The circular walkways are a shopping paradise. Wtih three chains like lifestyle, shoppers stop( each of these at 2 levels) and Spencers and a lot of designer/exclusive( Ritu Kumar, Marks and Spencer (errr..thats quite designer in India), Body Shop, UCB, Planet Sports, footwear ....). You have alternate shops selling stuff from nameplates ( i dont recall the right word :), for your home), jewellery ( at a nook beside lifestyle on ground floor) and a nice paint-it-yourself store that allows you to paint what ever you want on ashtrays,coffee mugs etc and let you take it home.

The Food court: Yum....for all the crowd around this place ( lots of BPO's around), this place gives the widest array of food ( althought malad has lots of eateries,more on that sometime) except probably very little exotic stuff. Coffe day, barista, pizza hut, rajdhani ( amazing thali at 125) moti mahal( dal makhani) , thai lotus(try the sizzler) are all good.

You do have fame malad to unwind. My only grouse, Ruby Tuesday as the only watering hole. food at ruby sucks.

Of course the Crossword makes In Orbit the complete mall. And ya you do have lots of events happening at a centrally located lobby. So people in mumbai chk it out ( if you already havent) and non mumbaikars, check it when you are here. If you get bored you always have hypercity :)

PS: Huge locational bias, the mall is my second home :D.

movies that changed bollywood

No particular order here: (Mainstream Only)

Dil Chahta Hai: The simple tale of love, told through the experiences of three friends, this movie raised the bar of movie making for ever. Slick production, amazing performances and music and a great eye for detail ensure you can keep watching DCH.

Hum Aapke Hain Kaun: The mother of all soap operas, this feel good movie did exactly that made you feel good. Eminently hummable tunes, elaborate sets are rituals and plethors of emotions turned the tide for using entertainment as medium of showcasing lifestyle.

Sholay: One word: Blockbuster. This is the first and the truly big blockbuster which has fans across generations. And you tend to pick characters you like and they become immortal. The cult of sholay.

Satya: The ultimate gang flick. It tracks the grim realities of the underworld which is so entwined in our normal lives that you wouldnt probably realized it. Hard hitting performances and a raw urban energy made Sathya the benchmark of all such films

Zanjeer: Rise of the angry young man. The tall brooding and upright officer was the beginning of the rise of the Big B. Add to that the innocense of Jaya Bhaduri and the presence of Pran and Big B as a phenomenon begins.

Munnabhai: I dont know whether this genre will be repeated or not. But this series of movies throws back ot Raj Kapur times (excpet the immense sorrow :D ) where you have good people and bad people who are not assumed to beyond redemption. Humurous street lingo and good chemistry between the actors ensures that this might be a 'formula' that might work in future too.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

random thots

web 2.0 enterprise 2.0 social networking entertainmetn parties, home, cities, culture, revolution, change, food, cost of living, cost, money, simplicity, complexity, intelligence, speakers, computer, lampard, chelsea, nolan, bolton, allardyce, henry, van persie, rossi, federer, social ineqaulity, sc/st caste 'creamy layer', UP wala, bihari, dilliwala, orkut, jhoom, meditate, satcharita, books, tickets.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Money from equities

who makes money from equities and why is so much money chasing this field:

1) American domestic consumption fuelled by the housing boom ( now going into a bust). The boom was primarily due ot very veyr low interest rates which meant that you could buy houses. You sell those houses at a profit and consume the money.

2) who was providing the money for this.. the world is willing to, becuase they need a stable place to invest. which means that the us has a very high capital account deficit. ( their trade balance aint doin too good either coz of the higher oil bill)

3) so no one produces anything in america and the bank says so mcuh so that all debt values are known. so the money geos ot markets where there are lot of variables like in asia

4) hedge funds want alpha returns and this is available only in volatility :)


companies-> pvt placement

there are a lot of other channels for money to flow in and out.

will keep writing in

kite runner

the book by khalid hosseini is one of hte good books i have read recently. thought are acutlaly drawn into the setting, you imagine hte scenario's as its unfolding, feeling good bad, torn and look for redemption in the end. teh characterization of people leaves no doubt to how the world would be when seen if the talibanesque style were to succeed. but as the cab driver says, you have seen only one afghanistan. our world views is also determined by what we have seen, not as much by what the reality is. When the two intersect we are left numb by the acts of violence. When you meet people like assef and their world interwines in yours, thats when true violence stares in your face. And what about redemption, Amir found it, but many people would never probably find it in their lives. They would just be thinking about hte time s they could say... for you, a thousand times over.


Equities as an asset class are wierd at worst and extraordinary simple at best. Company makes money and its stock should be a value of that and the future cash flows possible right ? But it doesnt work that way-the movement of the stock is purely determined the kind of press the industry generates in the short run, and by the number of hedge funds that are present in the market the short run ( 6 months) can give the weak a heart attack. Add to this the day trading speculators and you have a good cuisine to ruin your blood pressure. But the long run price very much factor of the additional money a company is able ot add to its shareholders. As buffet says Options and futures might just be speculative investments, as I am getting involved inthe market, i understand they are an important aspect of price discovery. The amount of risk that options enable you to diversify ( or speculate) or put your money in equities means that they would always exemplify the overall equity risk. will write more on this. Schumi retires, fed ex moves on, sachs is the largest hedge fund, man are we moving or what ? :)

Sunday, September 10, 2006


House of flying daggers:
Dunno what exactly the movie was trying ot represent. Shot in amazingly beautiful locales for an extremely pathetic or no story line at all, it shall remain one of the movies that i would want to forget.

Plot: The house of flying daggers is a cult who is against the govt. Torn in this struggle is a young woman who is captivated by the man who she is supposed to kill Pathetic dubbing later we realize she is dead and the seasons are changing.

Munnabhai: Feel good over and above all and likeable.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

killing of prof

Akhil Bharat Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) ... hmmm.. its a pity that i am starting my updates from bombay with this 'esteemed' organization. Their activities include

1) Getting classes closed because one of their brethren was fined( coz he bunked too many classes)

2) Agitation and clashes with authorities

3) The erstwhile platform ot be a youth BJP leader.

In Hyd ABVP is a part and parcel of life. If you are from OU then you have heard of them. Nizam's used to be their nest. You learn to live wiht them. Their right wing fanaticism not withstanding they were a menace at best, but toothless and they did get some of the things right. Their anti-ragging campaign for one( the hostelers would not vouch for it tho). It apparently started out as a student movement which wanted to keep alive hte swadeshi spirit in students and look after student interests against vested interests. Considering many of hte students come from poor backgrounds and have a chance to be exploited a noble cause indeed. But what it has now become is a hooligan hotbead at best and at worst the microcosm of the apathy of the student community as a whole.

The fact that they keep beating up or getting into scuffles with vice-chancellors et all is pretty well known, but going to the extreme of killing a professor? Why is the reaction not swift. After all this is not a professor whose killing we all accept because thats what he deserved (leave alone the ethics/morals of that). Where are the culprits? the BJP sarkar, the bastion of the old teachers(from lahore) and all the people who have some sort of justice in mind should probably book all the students who were involved under 'the intent of murder'.

And this in the time when higher education is in a state of flux. Lots of students, no teachers. Who will come in? Again only the elite private institutions will benefit from this in the long run.

We have to see else we shall be the next victims.

Sunday, August 27, 2006


Its been a long three months since I last made a post. Basically no access from office and I am too lazy to do it from any other place. What has been up with me? I have let Mumbai get into me more and more in spite of living a semi campus kinda existence. Used to live for a long time with kishore for about 3 weeks still I found a place close to my office. About 15 min s walk from my office ( which itself is beside one of the best malls in Mumbai In orbit ). My job ( funny I am thinking whether they would do a blog search sometime) is at a KPO basically taking advantage of time zones and the pay difference. Time with kishore went of pretty fast till he moved on to the US about 4 weeks ago( hmmmm july 31st, life moves on fast I guess).

Office is a series of cubicles with enough space for 2 people and divided over 2 floors. I used to wrok on the chill floor ( no boss) till I had no work and now since I am full time into work I don’t bother where I would sit. The times have been very interesting, have met a lot of great people during the last 2 months and some may last till a long time. I still keep up the conversations’ with all the junta from campus ( err… not all I guess), but that would decrease now I guess. My personal life hehehe that would go for a toss soon I guess. Things change. I just don’t get it why it should change most of the times. Well, maybe I am not in with the crowd I guess.

Now for the first time, I am actually working and I am forced to take a look at things around me. So from now on I have decided that my blog would also contain stuff that I think about but never find the time to think through. Lets see how many days I manage to keep up the enthu.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

ze trip

spent the last 1 week in chennai/blore.

My age old impression of chennai changed a little bit for the better

this time around. The people are coming in, the public transport is

decent and the people err. the mass rules. The centre for reservation

exists in chennai ( it was the first state to have pro reservation

demonstrations :D) and it seems the movement will only get stronger.

God save the king. I have always thought of chennai as the land of

dichotomy. On one hand you have hte leading political parties going

gung ho about atheism etc and on the other hand you have a spectacular

pouring of faith every morning. But its mostly the women that i have

observed, thats one thing across TN you find hardworking women and

loitering men. The men have things like politics, booze and caste to

discuss, while the mortal women are left to think of issues like

rearing up children etc. Caste is very clearly in, and people from

marginal voting castes will soon be out of tamilnadu unless htey are

extremely rich, extremely brilliant or both. The first withering state?

not yet, the institutions that the meritorious built are doing fine and

will do so for another 10 yrs and then the chaos would begin.

Me and sud spent the first day at prusty's watching champions league (

after his bro in law took us out for dinner on his bday), the second

night me ash and sud were at jeeths place after a night at ranjeeth,

and then the next day me spent at venkat's after he decided he dint

want ot travel to chennai ( our man if off ot spore ). After returning

from blore, i stayed for one more day for an intvw at Irevna( more on


Chennai has srue changed ( i stopped noticing i think). I went ot

Tiruverikadu, the buzz is gone from the place. The sellers of religion

are there and so is the goddess, but i dint feel anything

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Steven Gerrard

God gave him the shots is all I can say. Brilliant skills, grit, leadership and a human side endear this 25 yr old ( not sure abt his age) to fans all over the world. Been watching him from a long time and I am pretty sure that if england has to anything at this world cup gerrard better see lots of the ball. The thing about him is that as a player he can be pure inspiration and from the tiem he has been given the captainyc ( form the insipid hyppia) he has shouldered the team. I often joke abt liverpool being relegated if gerrard does nt play. But his growth has been extraordinary. He has always had the talent( thats why everybody wants him), pace scoring ability ( not gr8 dribbling tho'). But he was prone to go into listless play, awful tackles and injuries. But Rafa seems ot have energized him. Gerrard always wanted trophies and realized that the best way to get them is to do eveyrthing himself. Istanbul and Cardiff are the prime examples. He will be there and be counted. Beginning to like him like all those sporting greats who deliver when things are down. He has had his bad moments too. Many red cards and tantrums about wanting to leave liverpool. I hope he stays fit till the world cup or the world shall miss a great player. Svne would do a gr8 thing by putting in a holding midfielder and allowing steven gerrard to do what he wants. Then we shall have fun.

Three cheers to gerrard

V for Vendetta

Managed to watch this movie after trying( mentally albeit) for a long time. It was worth the watch even if I paid 180 bucks at IMAX. This was my first visit to the theatre which has caught the imagination of the hyd public. A theatre cum shopping mall concept the place is choc a hoop with people, most of whom dont know what better to with their hard earned money and free time. The movie was recommeded by Ramanan and has the wachowski brothers(matrix) in its credits? does it deliver? boy o boy it does.

Opening with the lines "Remember Remember the 5th of November", the film is essentially a adaption of the concept that ideas do not die and it just takes an idea to change an existing social system. Somewhere in the future, US is ravaged by civil war and Britain is ruled by strong willed leaders who will go any lenght ot protect their power. In a big brotheresque situation filled with the usual control of state media, propaganda and a cynical populace, enter V. A man wearing a mask who has a message for the people to wake up through the symbolic destruction of monuments. The introduction is absolutely mesmerizing with v ( i later found it s that guy hugo weaving ) delivering mouthfuls of words that started wiht v to a stunningly beautiful natalie portman. Through the sequences in which V tries to spread his message the lives of evi ( portman) and V get linked inextricably. The villianish govt headed by Sutton ( i hope i got hte name right) and his team is out ot stop v. V is a creation of a project to create a weapon of biological warfare is is out to avenge what was done to him. He helps portman overcome her fear and delivers the nation. The movie has brilliant cinematic movements and stupid fight sequences too that kept me enthralled. The mask is not removed ( its symbolic too) and its difficult ot kill an idea tho' v dies.
4* for the movie.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006


For most of my thinking (err.. rather the attempt at it) and my voracious reading I believe I have come to certain conclusions:

1)As the reverend would put it, you make a continuous set of choices in life. For most people the easy choices is good enough because that gives them a certain kind of happiness. The difficult choices would lead to a differnt kind of laugh, a life which Iam certain would be far more fun that just accepting the first thing that is available.

2) The future is already there. You are just unravelling pieces of it using the clues that are available. The future does not change whatever you do at present, but since you dont know what it holds you might as well have fun. Time as units cannot be destroyed or created, so the future is a also a part of time.

3) The frame of reference determines an individual's understanding of good, bad, right, wrong etc. Remove this frame and a man is truly rudderless. The rudder probably is a set of principles which define an individual s character.

4) There is no true live and let live policy. Every choice you make is detrimental to another being in someway or the other. So find a cause and fight for it. To each is own but collectively?

5) The Dutch shall win the world cup :D

Monday, May 08, 2006


It is important to understand that Democracy as a system of governance has its own system of flaws. It is in a way a kind of free market where in the the public chooses who will be their best representative. As with any such choice, people tend to use their biases and thier mesurements of gain/loss to determine who suits them best. That the average voter in many cases does not have too many options is one side of the coin, but in general he is guided by short term gains over long term good. Why this becomes particularly intriguing is the fact that most of the democracies of the world are slowly degenerating into dying societies. The US, UK, France, Germany etc represent what can inherently go wrong with democracy. The problem is compounded by the fact taht very few people actually know what they want from their governments and if their wants are satisfied, are they going ot give a free rein ot the govt's?? Most govt 's in a multiparty system hadrly represent the entire population and it serves them to maintian a divisive agenda so that they beocme stronger among their vote base rather than popular as a whole. What is the solution? A stronger judiciary for one could help in setting public standards and the media could play the role of a watchdog easily.

Sunday, April 30, 2006

watch out rossi!!

the moto gp brat pack is here and they ahve one message " move over doc". Pedrosa, Melandri, hayden, the aussie ( cant recall his name). Remains to be seen if the doc and his yamaha team respond over the course of the next few seasons. weak bike, but the doc is one guy who can and will respond.

me in vague phase of counselling people. i ma the best man to do it i guess because for good thing or bad i just think and do very little on the ground.

appa once again keeps proving that it is beyond the capacity of cyncial beings to understand why parents love their children so much. that shall remain another of mysteries i never will be able ot crack

satyarayana got killed. he took a risk and it did not pay off. thats all i see to it, taliban is hostile. people know it. to expect it to be a bed of roses is funny and sad at the same time. are we actually so attached ot our loved ones that we may not be able ot handle their pain? why iam i so cynical.

real needs a lot of new players and so does manu. real will win next year, they always bounce back. enough of the stars tho, get the players

Saturday, April 29, 2006

tell me your dreams

What exactly are my dreams? to be an immaculate drifter over and above all? to do all the things i want, which essentially means that you never know what to do. The log that is drifting in the water probably never thinks that it has to pass the hurdle to drift some more. In that sense iam not a drifter. But, Iam a drifter in the sense that I rarely get out of my comfort zone. Reading comes naturally to me, so i read everything that I can and in most of the situations i just have to use little bits of the vast amount of information that i just manage to glance through. Actually the reading part too has decreased over a period fo time I guess becuase i have been much more busy imagining stuff. Come to think of it, the imagining part too is restricted to a certain heroic/devilsh image which is probably what i want of myself. Then there are trends which i keep observing and observing some more, like a log which wants ot be swept off by the next current. Is the current the rihgt one, how would i know except in retrospect. Iam I afraid? yes in many ways and of many things. Christ i discovered i am even afraid of water. But again the log whcih will keep at the obstacle to drfit some more. Catch that trend which will allow me to drift some more. What i can do is another question? get out of the comfort zone, ask the unconfortable questions? maybe, but what about the answers. Maybe even more drifting. Let there be light. People do have dreams. The business man is looking for the next opportunity. he dreams of becoming big, of money. The athlete is looking for that one perfect thing which would give him glory. some get many chances some get very few. But it is this chance that keeps most people going. But for most of other people, 99.9 % of the people the everyday life is probably devoid of dreams. It may even turn to resentment over a period of time. A case of what if s and trying to gain pleasure satisfying yourself rather than actually being satisfied. Probably not even thinking about it. Like a cockraoch which will be trampled upon or die its death on its life. Probable. What are my dreams? What the fuck are my dreams?? They are no more than things that i have wanted to do for a short period of time. The next wave for the surfer, ot ride on to have have fun, ot rise and fall. But what are my dreams?? You live because you dream. Thats ironic. Ask everyone whether they have dreams, they do not. They just mask things that these are their dreams. Maybe the people who actually dream die, probable. Probable. That is the only dream that i have lived till now. The probability of hitting the right trend. To find out if i had fun doing things. Actually maybe you dont really need to have fun doing it, you just do it thats all. To have emotions about anything is ascribing too much/too little importance to it. Whats the point in doing it? What are my dreams??

Friday, April 28, 2006


For an inherently cynical guy like me an operation served as another lesson, well another one in a season of lessons i guess. Basically i needed to get operated for removal of fatty tissue which had got embedded in the form of hernia. A minor operation at that but since i had the priviledge of joining on a credit note i joined in as in patient in Kamineni. Dont know if that is the procedure or is it a method to collect a lot of money but i was put through a host of test s before the operation day. I was apprehensive alright but the cynicism helps i guess in that you do not expect to be surprised. I was only feeling bad becuase as usual Appa had to bear the brunt of the work because of yours truly. I always speak of unconditional love, he probably represents that. I dont ever recall being told 'Srickant do this or that', hehe except in one case :). When they put you on the stretcher you realize that the age old game theory comes into hand. Everything just rotates, you put your life in the surgeon's hand, he can basically do anything. For all the mistrust that humans place against each other inthe normal life it is amazing how much trust we have in the experts. Reservation my foot, if the doc 's credentials aint good he would not be able to garner a single patient. My case was taken as exploratory, which meant that it could turn out to be anything. Again for an information fed person like me, enough to set the alarm bells ringing. Wehn you are under those lights with strange people ( nurses and other doctors) asking you strange questiosn so as to help you relax while being given the anesthetic is a dreadful feeling. You just dont know what will happen ot your body, given to the surgeon with your and your guardian's consent. Appa must have been pained even more. Woke up after a long time with pure and absolute pain towards the left of my abdomen. For some time i was awestruck buy the strength of the emotion. The pain was stupendous, but then the nruses explained that only a little bit of flesh was removed and i had been stitched up and asked me not ot go to sleep. Pain exacerbates as soon as you begin to feel it. My mind was wandering towards people who intentionally pierce their body, to soldiers who get cut up in battle, to people who get cut up in bomb explosions and to mothers who allow themselves to be completely cut up for the sake of their unborn child. Pain, how they must feel that pain. It is probably one of the greatest levellers. Did i have doubts about my belief in God, those were gone in the few moments when i was wishing the pain and the burning to be gone completely. I was on drips till the anesthetic wore off and eveyr time i woke up the burning and pain seemed to worsen. The only thing i could think of was pain, my whole body seemed to give way to the pain in some way or the other. I managed to keep it off my face lest appa was too alarmed. But that pain i understood must be minimal when compared with the pain of millions of others. And pain gives you a chance ot look at life in a different perspective i guess. Maybe it will change for the better or for the worse, that is debatable as usual. I also understand how pain unites. My small operation and the resulting pain united me in a small way with the millions of others who were feeling pain in some way or the other. No wonder many of these people form organizations, religious orders etc. Nothing connects like pain. I am lucky to have had excellent care but there are many who shall not have the chance. Again i was left questioning my role if any in the actions that take place. Do i happen ot have any free will? or it purely an illusion. my feeling of pain was the biggest surprise of my life. but it is an illusion too as it wont last for long. maybe thats how things are supposed to be, illusions, some merely lasting longer than the others.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

trekking...long time due

Chalti Jayegi, Chalti Jayegi… IIMI ki masti chalti jayegi
Lala la la lala la la …. Lala la la lala la la

The team:
Amol “Pahadi” Gupta
Ankit “Chindi” “CCC” Jain
Amit “SwacC””YO Meen” Singh
Saket “Lakha” “Snakeit””Tilu” Lakhotia
Saurabh “Bhai” “Dittu” Loomba
Srickant “Sri” Rajagopal

Famous one liners:

Amol: Yaar, mein to Pahadi hoon, ye sab mere liye normal hai ( referring to the cold)
Ankit: Bhai log…… ( yes, it continued throughout the trek)
Amit: Yaar raste ke liye kurkure vagaira le lete hai
Saket: Abe dekh loomba, Amol phirse has raha hai
Srickant: C’mon Amol, Amol: Yo baby

This was a trip that had been planned since the last 1.5 months, mainly by our pahadi bhai with inputs from sources all and sundry. Our group increased from 6 to 10 and finally settled down to 6 again with Shrey dropping out at the last moment. Me and Bhai asking for a tough as nails trek with the others trying to get a ‘reasonable’ trek in. Amol choose Shambu ji’s Yeti adventure based on the twin advantages of cost and flexibility. That was the beginning of his fame in the northern parts of India as “Gupta Ji”

I have the chronicles from the day the trek started but a few memories from the time we started off IIM Indore campus.

All of us except Loomba ( hehe, it was the beginning of the ‘exceptional’ Loomba) had already sent in our luggage but to be on the safe side Amol got us a taxi too. We left by the Intercity on the 3rd of March and reached Loomba’s place from Nizamuddin around 8 AM on the 4th. Loomba’s Mom greeted us with (forgot the name, round thing  ) and achar.

Saket: Mein ye kha nahin sakta yaar, mere moon ke chale hai. He continues eating half of the those on offer.

T V, Newspaper and a huge lunch later ( Rajma Chawal and Roti Sabji, due to the exceptional rajma the roti was given a rare go by) we set off to Haridwar( arrived at the station with just 10 min left ). We bought a lot of stuff that we felt would be useful on our trip including medicines, candles, torches, tissues, toilet paper et all, withdrew money, I got my shoes repaired etc in Delhi. We met Amol and his father at Haridwar station and 3 of us went by car and the other three by auto to BHEL guest house around 7 km from the Haridwar Railway station. Amazing rooms ( TV et all), great dinner (puri choley etc) and the next day we were off to Uttarkashi.
Saket and his fixation for “kitti” began en route to Delhi.
Amol’s mom also likes ‘kitty”
The junta spent the entire train journey to delhi by reading the year books end to end ( not to mention giving special comments to singla)
Puri,sabji was the dinner enroute to delhi ( the beginning of Saket’s mouth ulcers)
SwacC spent 4 hrs in Loomba’s house trying to figure out how to buy train tickets online =)) and Saket swears that “Agar mein uske saath ATM mein nahin hoto to sale ko naya system samajh mein bhi nahi aata aur who card nikalta hi nahin”
Haridwar: We reached Haridwar in the evening and the town seemed to have gone off to sleep. Amol’s father told us that the population would be around 20k and BHEL formed one of the important nodes of the city. The Har ki Paudi is outside the main city and seems to be pretty well maintained. The entire city is deeply religious ( no booze, little of movies etc). The place around the station was still bustling with activity.

5th: Amol’s mom had packed dry poha and sandwiches for the journey. Much of the journey was spent listening to the latest music in Sagar’s Tavera. ( The route to Uttarkashi was blocked in 2 directions) We reached uttarkashi at around 2-3 and met our guide. He seemed to be a decent chap and he made us stay at Hotel Bhandari ( 2 rooms at 250/ night) . We were to leave the next day and we were going to push him for a 6 day schedule instead of the planned 7 day one because we wanted to do white water rafting in rishikesh on the 12th. We ate at a restaurant ( hehe, 5 Rs off on listed price because we came through a contact), roti, alu jeera, dal, panneer et all. The guide asked us to rest for the night and said that he would meet us the next day with his team after making the necessary arrangements. We spent the rest of the day on the banks of the river ganges, making phone calls and making the necessary arrangements to take us away from civilization.
6th morning: We left after having bfast ( alu parathas) in a Mahindra vehicle ( remembering time and again that only Mahindra could survive in such a terrain), reached Hanuman Chatti with our team. Shambu, Anil Rawat, the cook, Budhi ( all staff), Dhiru, Suresh, Suresh, Jai Singh and 3 other porters.
Sangam Chatti: The starting point for most of the treks to the upper reaches of the mountains, the place is along stream of ganges with small shops serving snacks etc dotting it. A new tourist center of Nigam is coming up there. Donkeys and Bolero’s are galore there.
We leave Sangam Chatti at 12:53 PM. We have our rucksacks packed with stuff. ( All of us plan to buy the gear sooner or later). The rucksacks end up being pretty heavy :D. We take snaps of the map of our trip. We reach Nala Chatti by 2:06 PM. We need to cover only around 8 km for the first day and the steep climb is pretty good for our spirits. Shambuji was speaking about an alternate trek to Dayara mountain passes to witness the snow. We stop at Agora village and have tea there. Saket is hungry by the end of it and Amol is the ‘leader’
Asked for the first impressions of the trek to Vavra ( we reached at 4:10 )
Loomba: The fun is continuing and I hope it will last forever.
Amol: I feel close to god and Iam sitting in the lap of nature.
Ankit: Enduring and Enjoyable
Swac C: The best trip I have ever had
Loomba: Life couldn’t have been better ( You see Loomba cannot have the same number of quotes as others )
Saket: Much much more than I was expecting.
Vavra: Situated along the river Vavra is a very good place to camp at. As with most of the locations loo’s have been erected but the open spaces are more inviting ;). The bridge over the flowing water ( literally) and the higher camp site were fun for first time trekkers like us.
Dinner at Vavra consisted of Panneer mutter, dal chawal, roti. We were greeted by chai and biscuit enroute to Vavra by one of the porters.
7th Morning: The first of our all natural ‘hagga’ sessions. In spite of being a bunch of guys the average time it took to get out of camp was around 2 hours. Abe haath dhone wala soap kahan hai, muh dhone wala soap kahan hai et all. The fact that the girls “ Saket, Swac C and Loomba” spent 1.5 discussing which sides to sleep in the tent did not make matters any better.
We leave Vavra at 9:00
At 10:15 we encountered our first steep climb. We had asked for the shortcuts so as to reach dodital early and Shambuji was obliging. We stuffed our sleeping bags inside for fear of rain and needed ot rest constantly. Me Saket and Amol were having the worst of it with each stopping to encourage each other. You realize once you start walking that it is always you vs you. How far you can go on is purely dependent on yourself. Fuck the terrain. We reached Kachhori after 3 hours, it’s a point 8 km form base camp for the day. We see our first snow en route to Manji at 12:15.
Kachori: It is a point where normally a shop would have been there to cater to the tourists. But now in non-season there is nothing but sheds and we could just thank our stars that we went in non commercial time.

We reach Manjji at 12:45 and stop for an extended break and eat outdated stuff: parleg biscuit, nestle milky bar wafers, perk, priya gold biscuit and parle elaichi biscuit, the bill 250 bucks =))
Manji: Manji is situated at the summit of a near vertical trek and gives trekkers their first glimpse of snow. There is snow all around the place were tea was offered. Again during seasons the place must be full of dhabas etc but now the dead trees, the huts, the ice and the earth merged into one giving it a almost heavenly look. The trees provide excellent photography points.
At 1:15 all of us had an experience of our first snowfall. It was as if small molecules of thermocol was falling all over you. The pieces hit you and vapourized. We started skidding on the ice and and tried ot photograph ourselves doing so. Shambuji was getting restive with the snow as he felt the path would become hazardous. We left Manji at 1:35 and by 2:00 we were engulfed in full fledged snowfall. All of us had layers of snow on us. One of my biggest fantasies was to walk on a mountain in the snowfall and boy did it get fulfilled. The terrain became slippery.
The Demonstration Effect:
The slippery rocks meant that junta started falling like nine pins. Saket to his credit ( over Loomba ) fell the maximum number of times, he was showing us how not to fall. The cold was making the ice very hard and the trek became very tricky. Swac C had the first close call and the team had to hold him. Only Loomba had any grip on his shoes and the rest of us were betting on our ‘kismat’.
We reached a Shiv mandir enroute ( given by some Tata ) and the 8 KM was pure fun. The snow meant that we dint get too tired too. We managed to reach Dodital at 3:45 PM. It had taken us 6hours and 45 min to cover the distance of 14 KM.
Dodital: A small serene lake right out of my dreams. The lake was fed by water coming out of the melting snow and the water was continuously replenished. This was not the season for dodital and were the first team this year and hence we had near exclusive use of ‘nature’s cradle’. We spent around an hour hitting each other with snow, sliding over the snow taking naked photographs and setting up camp. The lake begins where the snow ends. It is like the dress of a female. Hehe you never know what begins where and where one is supposed to look. The excess water from the lake flows in the form of a small stream which is barricaded by rocks. The place is demarcated into various areas. Virgin hard snow everywhere.
Loomba ka fighting Chalta Rahega:
And then came the French woman and Loomba showed immense respect for the guest and sauntered off for a walk, much to the chagrin of Saket who was thinking about their van. What can you say “Dost Dost na raha, bhai bhai na raha” 
We went to check on the other side about what was on offer for us during the rest of the trip and the snow scared us into believing that we could not go ahead with the abysmal gear that we had. A slight scare with Marion’s ( the French Woman ) guide looking for her and me and Saket went ahead ot look for Loomba, who was too busy ‘fighting’
We had our fill on stunning Vegetable soup for the afternoon and dinner was alu , dal, fried rice, custard coffee ad roti. The first bonfire of the trip welcomed us after dinner. Kapde sukhalo, Shambuji ke bate suno, talk about anything you can remember.
8th morning: I began to sleep less ( mainly I think because my nose was completely blocked ) and ended up waking atleast an hr before the team. As always tea and biscuit welcomed us. All of us wake up and the next thing the whole team is trying ot catch a glimpse of the naked French woman.
Saket: Abe Ankit teri power kya hai?
Ankit: 3 in both eyes
Loomba: Meri bhi 3 hai. Actually its 3 in one eye and 3.25 in another.
Saket: Dekh Loomba, sala Amol phir se hans raha hai. Sale Amol tune to Loomba ka career single handedly khatam kar rakha hai.
10:45 Start to Dharwa Top with Shambhu, Budhi and Dhiru. We had alu parathas in the morning and had packed the same for lunch. We were told that the climb would be difficult. The trek started and we needed regular breaks to catch our breath. And every time you looked up Loomba was there. You cannot keep him down. He would walk on with Budhi and wait for the team. Slowly the trek got harder and harder. We had parathas achar, toffees, choclate in between where the water ended. Some breathtaking views of all round followed. We were climbing on ice. Pug marks of bear and trails of other animals followed us all round. Shambuji casually remarked that one of the purposes of the stick we were carrying was to combat any animal that came in our way and of course the more important purpose was to get much needed balance. Some times the snow gave way ( again Swac C was the guy who fell), sometimes it slipped and most of the time you looked down and your heart stopped. The 5 km was ardous sometimes but the top kept us going. It was beautiful. Each of us had settled in his own pace. Loomba, Saket me and Singh were at the front while Ankit with his torn shoes and Amol with his fear of heights were following us a little bit behind.
I was totally out as were reaching the top. My breathing had almost stopped ( my stupid sinuses at last gave way) but the fun is in going that one step ahead.
We reached a kind of plateau near the summit.
Ankit and his machis: hahahahahahahhahahahahhahahahhahahahahhahaha
Loomba made some structure by placing ice in piles, following dhiru. Ankit dunno what bit him ( till then he kept saying jisko jo karma hai karo) broke one structure. Seeing that Loomba was getting senti he broke the other one too. That set off Loomba.
“ Hamesha aise hi karte ho”
“iam not part of the team”
“ koi van nahin hai”( you should have seen saket who was worried about his movies)
“ mein kisi ka bhai nahin hoon”
“ I will go where ever I want and I can go alone”
The scene would have been pretty hilarious except for the fact that Loomba was going ot the edge of the cliff. Swac had gone ahead and I followed him and what followed was one the most hilarious things you can see.
Ankit ne Loomba ke gaand me aag lagayi aur phir machis jalane pahuch gaya. He knew that it would take a long time to burn up and kept at it. From a height it was quite a sight. Amol could make no sense of it and kept shrugging his head. Amol wanted to turn back but kept with us for the team.
I was thinking:
There walked 6 soldiers
Hoping to have the time of their life
They walked into heaven
And then they kept walking
It was precisely that, for most parts of the walk no one knew what the other person was thinking. It was very difficult to think about other things while trekking ( and hence its one of the best exercises). You are thinking only about that jutting rock, your pace, your team’s pace, the destination the risk et all. All of us were lost in some way and changed in some way, you see nature in its pristine beauty and it touches you.
You could actually say only one thing “In god and Shambuji we trust “ :D
2:15 Swac C at the top
2:30 me at the top. We egg on loomba to come through and the others. We are asked to climb down quick because of impending bad weather.
Dharwa top: Basically 5000 mts above sea level in a swarm of ice. You can see all the way to Uttarkashi ( according to Shambuji) and far far away. You see peaks that you want to climb onto. Every step of yours will take your foot in by a considerable depth. It invites you into its arms almost.
We start the fun trek err slide down. Guided by Dhiru we started sliding down on anywhere we could slide. We slid rolled skated, skied did everything that we could think off on snow.
I reached base camp at 4:24 and the others reached in around 10 mins time.
Amol: Accomplished the impossible
Swac C : Nothing is impossible
Ankit: Thrilling, enchanting, wanted to pat god for having created this
Loomba: I ve had the tiem of my life.
Saket: If words were to be framed to define this experience I would have framed a line
The evening was spent discussing the trek and all things sundry from group work to idiosyncrasies of various individuals. Amol declared that a pahadi needs only ‘do bheega zameen”
The dinner was alu, dal, roti and rice.
9th :
The next day morning at 7 the team is working as usual. Since we could not go further we had decided that we would take a detour from Manji so that we could walk along a new route.
I spent 1 hr walking in various ice blocks at Dodital. Had wanted to sit and think in ice and it was fun. The devil lies in the details. The mountains prove to you that you can only be prepared the rest of it happens and purely probabilistic. How you respond is the question.
Shambhuji was to arrange for a person to call to Haridwar to Amol’s house so that the Taxi reaches Uttarkashi instead of Barkot.
Amol’s Message”
Taxi uttarkashi aa jaayeaur 12 baje aa jaye. Snow ke karan plan change ho gaye. Taxi uttarkashi aa jaye.
Swac C ‘s message
Pranaam etall followed by
Real formal stuff
We reached the Mandir at 10:32.
I reached Manji flat at 12:00 and got to the first trace of civilization. England was 54 for 2 at lunch. We wait for the team. I had wanted to match the pace of the porters and man was that tiring.
The way the snow mixed with the land in Manji was amazing. This time we had chai at Manji. The snow seemed to indicate to me that things are only relative. The snow then melts into water and is absorbed or flows away.
Amol: Life is like a roller coaster, you think that he toughest part has come but it has yet to come.
Problem with life in the fast lane is that you get to the other end real fast.
Swac C: Clarion call mover ur sweet ass girls and the other s said “ ya pussy”
Loomba: Beginning of the end and longing to have more such trips in the future.
Some banter:
Saket: Abe sade barah baj gaye
Amol: Ghadi peeche kar le kya?
Ankit: Amol + Chimpanzee= Captain Chimpi
Saket: Hagga bagga ho gaye ( only saket can explain that :D )
1:25 we took a detour from the line that would take us to Vavra. 3:00 we had lunch and reached Morsun by4:30
Morsun: A small clearing bang in the middle of nowhere. You reach it by crossing a small stream ( Amol wet his legs and got his 2 bheega zameen :D ). This was the site of our biggest and longest camp fire. We discussed our insti, people, placements, group work, howlers,googlies et all. The rest of the evening Swac C, Saket and Loomba ( with Amol and Ankit chipping in sometimes. Amol knew his favorite songs completely, errr almost).
Vegetable Soup, Chowmein, roti sabji kadi ( good ) rice et c and we crashed at 10 PM
We set out at around 11 and reached Sangam Chatti at 2:15. Had maggi and chai there after a splendid dip in the ganges ( basically I convinced Saket that it was not tantamount to suicide and he obliged. He then convinced the others that it would be fun).
We reached uttarkashi and stayed in hotel ganga ( all arranged by Shambuji who was more than happy to oblige us because we had not created any problems with the payments).The night was given to Romanov and Amol and me were arguing with Swac C late into the night. Most of it was general good natured fun I thought with issues like the newsgroup and airtel account dominating the discussion. Damn vodka never gets you high or high enough.
11th. Amol woke me up with a punch. We left for Rishikesh in Sagar’s Tavera again. Reached Rishikesh by the evening on a pretty good drive ( coz I dint fall asleep) and stayed at hotel gangour ( the same place where loomba had stayed put when he had come here the last time. Unfortunately he dint get to use the same bed hehehehe )
Rishikesh: Seems to more commercial than Haridwar. Still bears the same look of sleepy religious towns. The river and the Jhula’s form important nodal points of the town. We had our dinner at Chotiwala (since 1958). Huge thali to quell our huge appetites.
Our rafting expedition was to start off the next day with a trip to the marine drive.
12th: We had bun and butter/ chai and proceeded to marine drive. Our rafting guide Gajpal took us through the basic steps of rafting and we started with Ganga Maiyya ki jai and Madu dada ki jai chants. We wanted to overtake everybody on the river that day and seemed ot have no match. The fun parts were the body surfing ( you jump into the rapid) and the highlight:
Amol “ pahadi” refusing to jump from the pahad: Amol had decided that he wanted to be (in) famous in northern India. So he refused to jump from the 20 feet height. It was the final part of our trip. Half of India was present there “ abe kudega” “ 500 ki lagale, nahi kudega” “ab to kud ja mere baap, laundi bhi kud gayi” Swac C went to encourage him and jumped into the water 4 times. But pahadi dint jump.
To be fair “pahadi” hadn’t needed a woolen cap or gloves for the most part of the journey. But as Amol says it’s the depth of water honey, it’s the height.
We tried to race with a real big group finally and just about matched them finally after a large number of water fights. We landed at Ram Jhula in a huge downpour but the adventure group’s office ( himalaya ventures) helped us change and move out of rishikesh. All of us boarded a single bus and moved on to delhi and haridwar respectively.
If I were to recall the images that I remember the most:
Amol: First of all his immaculate planning and flexibility. His pahadi jokes and his refusal to jump ( a choice, we all make choices)
Ankit: Bhai log, jugad ho jayega, kept on and on. Someone must rewrite the laws of physics to accommodate him.
Amit Singh: The surprise package. With his good stamina and amazing amazing voice Swac C was a revelation. (Even if I was constantly trying to pull his leg, no offense mate, the core position remains “ if you are god, I am an atheist” )
Saket: The guy does not give up and can lighten up any situation. His trying to get ankit to pack his bag , jokes on loomba and their damn van
Loomba: The quintessential bhai. The team player. Followed the teams pace again and again even though he could have gone at any pace he wanted to. . The same thoughts I had through my stay at IIMI, loomba is as close to perfection as you can get. ( hehe , ok his handwriting and his fighting left apart )
Some things that got confirmed:
Loomba has to have the last say: Even though Saket managed to single handedly destroy Loomba’s bravado ( with Amol laughing and Ankit providing the machis)
The fixation with a certain ‘k’ continued
Group work with Amol, Ankit and Saket would have been fun
The MBT gang are going to have a whale of a time in Pune
Saket and SwacC could open male beauty parlours and SwacC should do a course on 7 sigma at IIMI
Saket, SwacC and Loomba cant sleep without deciding( in about 1.5) hours how to sleep
Pahadi Amol, will remain a pahadi, whatever that means
To end I would say that this trip would have different meanings for each of us. Much of what I have written is a chronicle of facts. Please feel free to add to this and mail it across. At the end of it all I would say for each of us it is a victory. A victory to our spirit of adventure. A victory to a group of people who can stretch themselves to have fun.
To each his own.
Chalti Jayegi, Chalti Jayegi……..
written for the group by me