My Travel Map

Monday, October 22, 2007

Singapore Exposed - the good, the bad and the ugly!!!

5 good things about the city
§ You are never too far away from anywhere. You can reach any place within 1 hour, even at peak hours.
§ There is a shopping mall around every nook and corner-->your girlfriend/ wife will be happy-->you will be happy.
§ You can get food 24/7 and you can get all kinds of food.
§ The sex ratio is skewed in favour of females, most of whom believe in the maxim - less is more.
§ Everything is so bloody well planned and efficient!

5 bad things about the city
§ You are never too far away from office or for that matter, home. No refreshing change, whatsoever.
§ The underground remains crowded even on weekends - full of shoppers and their unfortunate boyfriends/husbands/noisy kids.
§ Much of the small talk is dominated by food - new places to eat & new cuisines to try - that's all people talk about!
§ All the females look alike and you can never tell whether they are aged 13 or 30.
§ There is no excitement - its never unpredictable!

5 odd things about the city
§ People like to make out on escalators in train stations.
§ The Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) services are not that efficient - they can stop in the middle of the tunnel, the doors of the train and those of the platform may not necessarily match and to top it all, they don't even announce which side of the train the next platform is on! (whoa Kolkata Metro rocks!)
§ Booze is so damn overpriced!
§ You'll see more elderly people than children on the streets - the birth rate is like the 10th lowest in the world and the Government provides financial incentives to people having babies!
§ Discussing politics is taboo.

5 ugly things about the city
§ There is a surveillance camera everywhere.
§ Freedom of speech? - even the Singaporeans accept the absence of that la!
§ There is no concept of a family dinner; husbands, wives and children are known to eat out at their favourite joints before coming home.
§ Taxi drivers are amazingly some of the most racist people on the road.
§ And yes - who can forget - Death to Drugs!!!

Thursday, October 11, 2007

An Attempt at Narcissism

And hereby, my comeback into the blog arena is being marred by a controversial self-obsessed post, itself inspired primarily by the Orkut profile of Suneet Kumar (well to put it into perspective - even he saw it on a friend's profile so I guess IPR is not much of an issue here).
So here goes my attempt at telling things about myself in a cute way - Its Just About Me :

* My favorite colour is light green. Don’t ask me why.

* I have about 30 friends who would hate me if I didn’t make it to their wedding. I can’t possibly make 30 trips to India in the next 4 years, though. Maaf karna, bhailog.

(Update 1 - 04/03/2009 - I've already missed those of Dhingra, Satrajit & Yash)

* I prefer co-operation to competition. In a competitive environment, I’ll be a dove. As a general rule, I dislike hawks.

* I measure time by minutes and not every 5 minutes. If the time is 4:24, I won’t say its 4:30 or even 4:25.

* I can be the most mature and responsible guy you have ever met, or the kiddiest. Depends on whether you are male or female.

* I prefer tea to coffee.

* The only virtual games I have played with any hint of proficiency are Snake III and RoadRash.

* My favourite novelist is P.G. Wodehouse. If you haven’t read him, you won’t understand me fully, ever.

* I think I’ll make a good boyfriend and an even better husband.

* I wait for Friday every week coz it’s the only day I can arrive in office in jeans.

* I want to do some kind of service to society some day. No clue how to go about it.

* I don’t dream big. Never have. Never will. Take life as it comes.

* I want people to appreciate me at work.

* I love kids. And I don’t like people who don’t.

* I derive much of my strength in life from Joydev. I won’t even begin to describe what this association means to me.

* Illumination and Controls are two of the best things to have happened in my life.

* I have really ever loved only two places – Durgapur and Kolkata. Surprisingly, I miss the cities more than the people I know there.

* I am a hopeless romantic optimist and spend much of my time thinking about non-existent females in my life.

* I have a very good memory when it comes to names, phone numbers, license plates, roads, directions, birthdays and the like. I could never memorize a poem for more than 2 days though.

* I'm a very good listener. Another way of saying that I’m not much of a conversationalist.

* I’m very good at 29. My father never taught me bridge.

* I am one of the few drinkers I know who used to like vodka and whisky equally. Now scotch is all I can tolerate. Never much a sucker for rum, though.

* I can flirt with girls effortlessly while chatting.

* I'm very bad at interviews and group discussions. Hopefully will not have to encounter too many of those in future

* I stayed awake for 61 hours once.

* I used to be a loner and liked it. Till DFE, Patel Hall happened.

* I am a big unabashed foodie. I am recently trying to master the art of filling my own stomach.

* I can play passable soccer, table tennis and badminton.

* I want to have a Fusball table in my house one day, a la Joey and Chandler.

* I have experienced wild weight swings. From 67 kg pre-IIT to 52 kg in 3rd year to 65 kg now.

* I like to dance when I am drunk. I only like to dance when I’m drunk, though. And not with girls.

* I'm usually superficially unfazed in all kinds of situations. As they say, mujhe kabhi load nahin hota.

* I like watching new Hindi releases and don’t much care about reviews.

* I hate chewing gum and bubble gum.

* My sleep is getting lighter these days. Still, do not expect me to pick up your call if I’m sleeping.

* I maintain that cigarettes are highly injurious to health. My health is deteriorating sharply.

* Thums Up is the only carbonated drink I’ve ever liked. Mountain Dew came close.

* Last but not the least, I’m not very innovative or creative, but I can write well. Proof of the pudding is in the eating :))

Okk I must admit - I was bribed one bottle of Jack Daniels to write this post ;)

Thursday, July 19, 2007

The Pink Floyd Experience - adapted from the experience and expressions of Sourojit Bhowmick...

The dream of watching the God live is one that most of us do cherish...and I am yet to realise my dream...however, here's a sneak preview of what can be...the words are not mine...rather they belong to my dear friend Sourojit Bhowmick, who is currently pursuing his PhD in the US of A...

"As I start writing this, I just pray that I do not forget, those 3 hrs, in the years to come.
Somehow I would like to hold those scenes in my mind, for the rest of my life. I will write what exactly I saw , felt and experienced. There may be many spelling mistakes and errors .. as I am writing in a flow…almost closing my eyes and remembering every moment of that DREAM…
Let’s begin …. The mega event was at the New England Dodge Music Center (a place where legends like Jim Morrison, Coldplay, Metallica, GnR to the Beatles have played.). So the show was from 8 pm, and we started at 6 (hoping to reach by 6:30). We got the first taste of Pink Floyd hysteria, when we reached the express highway, just 6 miles from the center. Now here I would say, in my 1 yr of stay in US... I have never seen traffic jam in the express ways… not even in the busy NY express way … but mannnnnn... when we were just 6 miles from the center... We could c the line of cars!!!! It was crazy!! People were shouting... Throwing beer bottles... doping … from the cars!! There were all sorts of squads around...SWATS, Dog squads etc etc …. But the best part of police here was … THEY NEVER INTERRUPTED THE FUN!!!!!They didn’t even stop ppl from doping n boozing! They were just watching for vandalism!!!!

Neways... when we reached the arena, the magnitude got me!!! it was like entering a packed Eden Gardens, for the first time !!!!! Around 40,000 people!!! From all age groups!! Hippies … druggrs, rockers, wheel chair bound people, old, young, men women of all sorts!!!!! It was just overwhelming!! So we went and secured our spot… about 40-50 mts from the stage ….. Just below the overhead ceiling. And behind us, was the wiiiiiide lawn sitting area... it was like a hill... And completely packed!!!!!

The show began with the trademark whiskey bottle and cigarette...on the screen... n then smoke came from the left on stage,as if someone was smokin … n thennnnnnnnnnn. .. a black figure .. in jacket & black pants .. emerged, with a guitar in hand.. accompanied by the euphoric thunder of 40,000 people … when they saw the living legend …ROGER WATERS was ON STAGE …in front of our eyes !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! .. I could c people crying... when the first sounds of his guitar hit us... Those first strings from “in the flesh”… as he sang “so ya ..thot ya ..might ..”.His voice reverberated all across the arena,and we were mad . After that … it was just pure magic ….. He gave us one song after the other … in that memorable voice!!! And the awsm vocals of Dave Kilministr, synth of Harry Waters (Rogers’ son)…. With the GREAT Jon Cairn!!!!!!!!!! And Andy Fairweather (The Pulse Concert Guys) …

The Wall part 1 had its usual head banging affect!!!!! There were ppl everywhere... Doping n drugging!! … It was going on…With psychedelic lighting... This led to Syd Berett’s face on screen... “Shine on” was coming...N then when we reached ... “Shine on you”... There was the harrowing picture of Syd Berrett on screen ... and slowly a laser face of Berett appeared on the crowd!!!!!!! …Suddenly he started those famous lines ... “Remember when you were young … you shine like the sun” …. That was it... we were just hysterical!!! Every single person was singing! It was dark ... n everybody was lighting some light. ..And holding it up... And swaying!! It was a scene worth watching!!!!! There was a laser that also swayed with the song.

The lighting and special affects was throughout unparalleled … during “set the controls of the heart of the sun” …. There was a fire on screen .. and then the smoke of the fire .. from the screen .. suddenly started coming out n spreading on the crowd !! such was the affect. It was pure psychedelia , and we were being hallucinated by music and machine !!!! While during “Time” and “Money” .. the whole video was on us !!! as if we were being grinded inside a clock …. I know , u wont believe .. unless u b a part of it .. but this is what each and everyone .. present there felt !!!!

After “shine on”, we could c a radio in the screen, some one was tuning … there was a silence in the crowd... We knew ... what was coming... “Wish you were here”!!!!! The moment those guitar chords sounded …. We just knelt down in respect …. While Roger Waters said “So u think u can tell…”… the affect was heavenly!!!! Millions of small bubbles (like the soap bubble)… came from nowhere...And covered us!!!!! …. I must say here... something was soo emotional... it brought tears to our eyes …!!! Every one was just singing and swaying … everyone had sparkling eyes... tears dripping!!!! Wish You were Here, a song that had moved a generation .. was having its tremendous emotional affect !!! Following this there were other gems like, Fletcher memorial, perfect sense, animal (sheep)… and then was “leaving Beirut” … another masterpiece!!! He spoke again… “Thanks for coming… u have been a great audience”...He explained why he wrote this song ….and then sang it. Those of you who have watched the video of this song in youtube ..must know that its based on cartoons …. And there also it was cartoon, but the only speciality was .. sometime the cartoon figures came on the crowd .. from the screen .. thanks to the laser affects !!!!!!

After this song .. HE came near the crowd .. n said “Its been long .. will take a 15 mins break .. but will b back” Now the break was memorable... coz they left the huuuugeeee pig balloon from the stage... n crowd was passing it ... so that it can come out from below the ceiling area... To the open area ... n man... WE TOUCHED IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It was just AN electric feeling… n then it went behind us… to the lawn area ... finally into the sky!!!!!

The next part of the show was …the main Dark side of the Moon... and I really don’t have words to explain it!!!!! There was everything on stage!! Fire, smoke, moon landing, astronaut, and a huuuge moon!!! (Which became bigger from a small size, in that break of 15 mins) .
Part 2 started with “speak to me”,,Breath , great gig in the sky , on the run … and then came “brain Damage” . So before “brain damage” he thanked the crowd again … n introduced the band members. And then he started “The Lunatic is on the Grass…” and as it started... we could c that there was a sudden cloud on top of us … n then lasers were crazily moving on us …suddenly in the stage there was that world famous prism!! It was moving slowly on us!! It came on top of us,n a light from one end …entering the laser prism…And vibgyor coming out from the other end !!!!!!!!!! The whole “dark side of the moon” Prism logo was there on us... Made by lasers!!!!! We were all speechless to c that creation !! n the lines …“And if the band youre in starts playing different tunes,Ill see you on the dark side of the moon”!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I dunno wat happnd … but I was just overwhelmed by the music .. tears in my eyes .. looking at the greatest music innovator of our times !!! everyone was staring at the laser …. As he sang this song with impeccable precision , as all the other songs !!!!!

The brain damage song signalled that the show was comin to an end …. Then after a few other tracks like eclipse , break in the wall II, and bring the boys back home , Us n Them …. the stage darkend … waters said thank you … n he was leaving !! we were all shouting .. “don’t go” … there was a mass sadness !!! the show was over and we couldn’t accept it !!! BUT SUDDENLY out of the dark .. a ghastly voice said “Is there any body out there?”.. GOD that was like too much of a hysteria !!!!!!! N next that everlasting music .. from “comfortably numb” .. with a whitewash of light !!!!!! … all hell broke loose .. every single living being , must have shouted at that time !!!! .. Roger “God” Waters was singing “hello heloo .. is there anybody in there?... just nod if u can hear me” … the words from the god himself !!!... comfortably numb sounded as if , I was listening to the original track from the CD !!!!!!! ….. again .. we were lighting matches , candles , lighters , ciggerettes , torch .. into the sky !! .. swaying …to the music !! It was crazy !!! Listening to one of the most famous songs of this century .. from its creator ..!!!!!

With “Comfortably Numb” the stage was dark again … n this time it was permanent. We could not believe that the show was over … infact no one could !!! we didn’t even feel that we were standing /shouting and swaying for 3 hours non-stop !! after the song .. everyone was standing ….. speechless .. atleast fr 3-4 mins .. n slowly we realized it was over .. people started movin .. very very very slowly. No one wanted to leave the arena…. We cldnt believe that , we had seen the living legend .. we couldn’t believe that we were so lucky to watch the god himself !!!! Me anurag and Veda , stood there for almost 30 mins more … there were fireworks in the sky … n we were just quite … it seemed that we were just out of a dream …. N then slowly started moving with the crowd …..

I would like to specially add something here about the crowd .. there were ppl .. doping , drugging , boozing all around !! people were druggd out .. n u cld just c them swaying and dancing like a child. And the best part was , beers were being sold inside the arena itself !!! policemen were everywhere .. but what I like that .. 99 % of them didn’t had guns (which u c with every policeman here) .. !!!! they watchd ppl drugging n dopin .. but didn’t stop !!!! they just kept an eye …there were people of arnd 60-70 yrs age !!! am not exaggerating !!n there were wheelchair bound floydians too !!!!.... that’s why they say .. Pink Floyd is not a music group .. it’s a mass movement !!!

So that was my experience .. I may have messed up with the song sequences .. but mostly they are correct.. I cldnt explain every single lighting, and also didn’t talk about all the songs e.g Any color you like , Mother etc .. coz words can explain them .
But I just pray that these memories never die ….. AFTER ALL .. I FINALLY DID SEE .. THE DARK SIDE OF THE MOON .."