Archive for May, 2012

I kept staring at that small piece of rock (approximate 36 square-inch) which  was not reliable enough to risk my life on. I do not know how long I was staring at that but it seemed like hours . A  thousand thoughts crossed my mind . It was the first time when I felt like praying to GOD .Trust me it was the first time I prayed .Then  I thought of looking at the surroundings for the last time before I take the decision . I took a glimpse .

Well , In short I was standing at 500 ft above ground ,  15,500 ft above sea level , climbing a steep 75 degree slope of a  half naked eroded hill made of loose rocks and boulders which were rolling down frequently.  I was standing on the middle of a waterfall and waiting for the last action to cross it . If I look down I could see the Gangotri glacier stretching 20Kms long and 4kms wide. No site of greenery as far as eyes could see. It was like crossing a desert of rocks and boulders . Retreating was pointless . I looked up to get a glimpse of the lakshya (final destination). 100mts left  to reach Tapovan .

My total weight 130Kg . No am not that fat!! 75kg  is of my of  my once athletic  body and a 55kg backpack . I had to do a  full stretch to place my right foot on that 36 square-inch rock which was covered with moss and looked slippery . Then cross my left foot immediately from behind and do a full stretch again to reach the other side of the waterfall . And I had to do this real fast because  that small rock was just not stable enough.  I had to make sure I do not lose my body balance in this process or else I will  fall through the waterfall and my body will be untraceable. Unfortunately it was not a part of AXN Fear Factor, else it would have followed with a loud applause and half  naked chicks  jumping and clapping and maybe giving me hugs and kisses. Sigh …

After completing the most difficult 100mt climb of my life we reached Tapovan . And what i saw once I reach there ? You guys must be dying to know that . Well its a place which cannot be described in words.I tried write a paragraph 5 times and none of them were worthy enough.  Let it be portrayed through photographs.

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All of that would not have been possible without the help and support of the entire group which consisted of 11 guys ( Tanay, Garg, Gunjan, Jhankar, Major, Ruru-da, Achintya, Subhodip, Vineet, Khatri and me ) and 11 porters including one guide. Crossing a rapid  on 2 thin logs, walking on the edges of the mountains were one wrong step will make you fall a 1000ft , step jumping on loose rocks to cross glaciers or spending the coldest night of my life inside a cave  would not have been possible without them.

Lets give you a brief idea of how we reached Tapovan from Haridwar. We took a traveller van and after  8 hours of riding through the winding snake-like highway along the river Ganga we reached Uttarkashi,  a small town on the banks of Ganga. Next day we left for Gangotri, its a small town at 10,000ft altitude with a beautiful view of Ganga and snow peaked mountains. Its also a pilgrimage spot as this is where the Ganga used to originate according to the Purans, the source has now moved back almost 20kms to a place called Gamukh. We reached Gangotri in the afternoon after a dangerous ride through landslide hit roads. From there the next day early morning we started the trek. We walked 16Kms and reached Bhojbasa(14,000ft), the only place with human habitat between Gangotri and Tapovan. After a night’s rest in the tent we started off  for the last half of trekking. We crossed Gamukh (the birthplace of Ganga) and walked through the  cold desert of loose rocks and glaciers to reach Tapovan. The main motivation which kept us going was the view. I had to pause after every 15 minutes for a 360 degree view of the place and each time it was more beautiful, exciting and dangerous. It was breathtaking and out of the world experience, specially for city dwellers like us. It’s like a dreamland where everything is out of proportion and massive. This experience will make you realize the value of life and many more important lessons.

I am grateful to Himalaya Trekkers for this opportunity. By the way, I might write one more blog about the experiences during my 3 night stay in Tapovan and how we survived there. Don’t miss it.

Cheers to life !!!

P.S : If you want to know more please ask.

English: Gangotri/Gaumukh Namarupa Mahayatra 2...

English: Gangotri/Gaumukh Namarupa Mahayatra 2009 (Terminus of the Gangotri Glacier, Gangotri, Uttarakhand, India) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’m not really fond of TV series. Apart from a few exceptions like F.R.I.E.N.D.S or The Big Bang Theory, I’ve never been able to sit through more than a couple of episodes of any. When a friend of mine offered to lend me a couple of seasons of the 2010 BBC series “Sherlock“, I was reluctant to take it up. Little did I know then, that this Sherlock Holmes would be fond of location trackers and would be addicted to texting from his ( or anyone else’s ) mobile phone. That’s right. The BBC series Sherlock ( 2010 and 2011 ) portrays the super sleuth in our modern-day world of laptops, smartphones and Google Maps. And I must say, whoever had this idea, it has worked, and brilliantly.  When I sat down to watch the first episode, I had to resolved to quit it at the first uttering of, “Elementary, my dear Watson.” Instead, my first viewing session lasted a little over three hours, two episodes back to back.

The series, created by Mark Gatiss and Steven Moffat is loosely based on Sir Conan Doyle‘s work. The episodes have been created by liberally altering and adapting using the shorter stories in the Sherlock Holmes series. Benedict Cumberbatch, whom you probably have never heard of) plays a young, restless and superb Sherlock Holmes. This Sherlock solves mysteries making liberal use of smartphones, location trackers, graffiti artists as well his famous “Science of deduction.” He even has a live blog that you can actually visit: http://www.thescienceofdeduction.co.uk/ Martin Freeman, whom you just might remember from Love Actually (the porn actor), plays the legendary Dr. Watson. Just like Sherlock, Dr. Watson is also nothing like you might imagine. He’s a young veteran of the Afghanistan War, misses the war according to Sherlock’s brother Mycroft, and is far more active than Sir Doyle described in his books. The archenemy Moriarty is there, played by Andrew Scot. Interestingly, he is not portrayed as a professor living a dual life like in Conan Doyle’s originals. Here he is a criminal. He is unpredictable, cold and menacing; a ruthless anarchist who is determined to destroy Sherlock Holmes no matter what the cost or the consequences. Irene Adler is there too, played by a very beautiful and sexy Lara Pulver. Good news for perverts and warning note for responsible parents : There’s a nude scene of her in the series. In all honesty though, she doesn’t show much.

The best thing about this series is the refreshing new approach to the Holmes legend. The characterization of Holmes and Watson might seem a little along the lines of the Guy Richie movies, but there the similarity ends. The changes made in the original stories to suit the modern backdrop have been reasonable and aesthetically done. If you like it, and most of us will, you will have one complaint though : the scarcity of content. So far, there has been only two seasons with three one and half hour episodes in each. BBC has just confirmed that there will be a third season, so let’s look forward to it.

Moriarty

I wish I was an alien at home behind the sun ,
I wish I was the souvenir you kept your house key on.
I wish I was the pedal brake that you depended on,
I wish I was the verb ‘to trust’ and never let you down.

And they have never let me down. You know, its very difficult for something to be my favourite as am a big critic and its almost impossible for that thing to stay in that position for 5 years. When the field is music you can understand the competition and being a music buff, I have searched, researched on all kinds of international and national bands. I found and heard almost everything from Pink Floyd’s ‘Comfortably numb’ to Devang Patel’s ‘Pichhadi pe kutta kata’. But I havn’t found anybody else who lifts my spirit out of my body and  pumps my heart so fast that I feel like an animal and sometimes slows it down so much that I feel like dead. The lyrics so powerful that it gives me the strength to be a rebel and bring out those feelings which I have never felt before. They are Pearl Jam. A 5 member powerhouse. Inspiring millions and rocking the world since 1990.

Like Nirvana, Alice In Chains, Mother Love Bone they also started from Seattle, USA. Then within a very short span of time they won hearts of millions all over the world.

” Till date, the band has sold over 31.5 million records in the U.S, and an estimated 60 million worldwide. Pearl Jam has outlasted many of its contemporaries from the alternative rock breakthrough of the early 1990s, and is considered one of the most influential bands of the decade. Stephen Thomas Erlewine of Allmusic referred to Pearl Jam as “the most popular American rock & roll band of the ’90s.” Pearl Jam will be eligible to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2016.” [courtesy http://www.wikipedia.org].

Trust me you don’t need the opinion of some referrer from Allmusic to know that they are the greatest. Just listen to them and you will realize it better than anyone.This 5 member band consists of  Matt Cameron as drummer, Mike McCready as lead guitarist, Stone Gossard in rhythm and lead guitars, Jeff Ament as bassist and Eddie Vedder as an idol.

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Jeff Ament and Stone Gossard initially started a band with the tremendously charismatic Andrew Wood on the vocals and called themselves Mother Love Bone. Later in an interview Gossard said Andrew was the person who made them feel like rockstars for the first time. Later Andy died due to drug overdose, they were devastated and they needed a vocalist to replace someone like Andy. Then Mike McCready and Cameron joined in but still no vocalist. Months later they heard the voice of the ‘new kid’ Eddie from a demo cassette that Jeff  found and the band finally got everything that was remaining. I haven’t heard a person like Eddie with so much voice modulation. Eddie has this amazing baritone voice which makes you feel like the voice is coming from the sky and beaming all over you like God speaking to you. He can scream like an animal  and has an amazing range in his voice and has also worked with the famous Sufi singer Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan.Then the band went for several world tours (not yet in India though). If you see Pearl jam live shows  through the years you can see how they got mature and how innovative they always are and how they will always surprise you with stage jumps and crazy expressions and emotions. Starting from the famous stage jump in 1992 PinkPop Festival  and then MTV Unplugged, Immagine in Cornice which is like a tour video and many more. Recently Cameron Crowe made an awesome documentary on them called PJ20, do watch it. While watching the shows, you just can’t take your eyes off Eddie. He has this way of communicating with the crowd which makes you respect him, respect his thoughts  and makes you be like him. He will push you to the edge and hypnotize you with his words, expressions and gestures. You will feel free and different.

Each song will give you a different trip. You will feel like a madman if u listen to ‘evenflow’, ‘porch’ or ‘do the evolution’, you will feel like floating when u listen to ‘release’ ,’thin air’ or ‘given to fly’. You will feel pain when you listen to ‘alive’ or ‘last kiss’ and songs like ‘wishlist’ and ‘better man’  will give you hopes. They have released 9 albums till now.

Listen to them all. You will get to hear the amazing chemistry in their composition which is only possible when amazing musicians play with each other for a really long time. I have heard a lot of  amazing lead guitarist like Jimmy Page, David Gilmour, Van Halen, Slash, John Frusciante, Jerry Cantrell and many more, but the playing of Mike McCready just fits with the songs so well that even if he is not technically talented like David Gilmour or Van Halen, Mike sounds more real and passionate. Jeff Ament on the other hand does a wonderfull job with the bass, you will realize that the bass lines are pretty tricky in songs like Jeremy and Alive. Matt Cameron is just awesome. He is one of my favourite drummer. My favourite being Mike Portnoy (used to play for Dream Theatre). Stone Gossard is a mastermind composer and he together with Eddie have composed those wonderful tracks through years.

One last thing I want to say : Hey Eddie …. am already saving up so that one day I can see you perform. I promise you I will bribe and beg to the security and will definitely meet you personally and when I do so , God help you.  Stay away from fans like us.

Love you Pearl jam!!

Pearl Jam koncert 2006-ban a bécsi Stadthalle-...

Pearl Jam koncert 2006-ban a bécsi Stadthalle-ban. / Pearl Jam 2006 Stadthalle, Wien (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Indian actor Aamir Khan

Taslima Nasreen receiving Ananda Award.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Madame Taslima Nasreen is upset. “Who’s that?”, you might ask. Well, folks, she’s the Rakhi Sawant of the literary circles. That cheap woman who has been trying to earn some cheap publicity since the early 90s through the oldest proven way. By creating a controversy. Now most people of her kind, the honorable Poonam Pandey, Kim Kardashian et al, go for creating a shock among the population and then riding that controversy to sell things; books, reality shows, lingerie lines etc. This lady, had a brilliant plan. She has been writing consistently(Yes, I’ve read a few, out of curiosity) to the effect that Islam is..well, not that holy, The Prophet was…well, not a nice person and practically every man, especially a Muslim man, from her own uncle to every renowned author and artist, is a sex-offender and a child-molester. Sorry about not being more specific, but I cannot write the specifics without vomiting, and they’re certainly not worth reading. In short, what she tried to write is sort of halfway between Mein Kampf and Letters to Penthouse, with neither the fire of the first or the pleasure of the second. But I digress, I’m sorry. I am not going to not going to waste my time judging the literary merits of her writings, for the excellent reason that they don’t have any.

We hear that her ladyship is upset these days. She has been upset since she learned that Aamir Khan‘s Satyamev Jayate has generated a lot of interest and concern among the populace. Her problem, in her own words, “From now on film stars should talk about social problems on TV. Everybody will listen to them. Ppl don’t listen to human rights activists (sic).” Right. For starters, who’s the human rights activist? You?? Kinda forgotten, haven’t we, that two people died in a police shooting in Kerala while protesting against your filth, and you declared that you’re not sorry? Besides, what exactly is it that you’re upset about? You always claimed to be a champion of oppressed women. You should be cheering that people are finally waking up to the realities of female foeticide. Why does it bother you that people listen to filmstars and not to you? Isn’t it more important that they are listening? The lady also has a few more grand ideas and suggestions.  She wrote, “Dear Salman Khan, please talk about rape, domestic violence and dowry murder on TV tomorrow. Ppl should know about these problems(sic),” and added, “Dear Shahrukh Khan, pl talk about sexual abuse & sexual slavery on TV. Ppl shd know about these problems. We talk, but we’re not film stars(sic).” For once, I agree. If they do, people will listen. You know why, you fake? Because these people are good at what they do. And people tend to listen to such people. Yes, the glam factor plays a role too, of course.  And I would be the first to agree that the stars often take up social activities to promote themselves. What on earth is wrong with that? It’s how they earn their living. And if some social good comes of that marketing plan, it is good for everyone.

Yes, I know what you’ve been thinking since that tweet. “Uh-oh, I just proved, with my own words, that I’m concerned more about my popularity than those issues and those poor women I holler about.” Don’t worry sweetheart, all hypocrites sooner or later let slip their true colors. Seems this was your turn.

The second grand idea the mad woman had, is even better. “I’ll put a film star’s name as author of my next book and will put his/her pretty face on the cover(sic),” she wrote. Yes, please do. We’ll be spared your filth. A lot of people will be spared the trouble of rioting and protesting. The police will be spared a few difficult days of public disturbance. The government will be spared a few debates. And we will be spared your ugly face on morning television, hopefully. Anyways, in case you’re really truthful about this great idea for your next book, and you seldom are about anything, may I suggest that it’s Deepika Padukone’s pretty face you choose, not just for the cover but for all the pages?

Tell me, Ms. Nasreen, you have cried and raved and ranted a lot about the fact that you don’t have a country to call home. Have you ever asked yourself why? Have you ever wondered, why is it that in a country like India, where even Baba Ramdev is popular, you cannot find a home? I don’t know what exactly is the problem you’ve got with Islam and it’s believers. And I honestly don’t care. What I do know is this : If a million of my countrymen, (and make no mistake, they are my countrymen) are offended when you open your mouth, you better shut up. You don’t believe in Islam or The Prophet? I’ve got news for you love, I don’t even believe in God. And I’ve always said so, along with my reasons when asked, to Hindus, Muslims, Christians and Buddhists. Nobody has asked for my head, nobody has demanded that I leave the country. It’s time you learned that the constitution guarantees freedom of Speech, not Abuse.  Yes, I’ve always known that TV shows are meant to be sold, and nothing else. Nobody ever pretended otherwise. Why are you so mad? And finally, let me get this straight, you are upset that people are paying more attention to Aamir Khan than they ever paid you? That’s hilarious!

I’ll tell you why you’re not so popular as Aamir Khan, despite all your pathetic efforts. I’ll tell you why everybody hates you. I’ll tell you why nobody listens to you. It’s because they see through your bullshit. They saw through the Viswa Hindu Parishad’s bullshit, they saw through the neo-nazis propaganda, they saw through George Bush’ WMD theory, and now they have seen through yours. Tough Luck, sweetheart, happens to you all. If you’re still confused, I’ll make it more simple.

It’s because you cannot fool too many people for too long. Remember the name of the show you are so upset about?

“Satyamev Jayate”

Truth Alone Prevails, Bitch!

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Thanks Again. Happy Reading!

“What can you say about a twenty-five-year-old girl who died? That she was beautiful. And brilliant. That she loved Mozart and Bach. And the Beatles. And me. Once, when she specifically lumped me with those musical types, I asked her what the order was, and she replied, smiling, ‘Alphabetical.’ At the time I smiled too. But now I sit and wonder whether she was listing me by my first name — in which case I would trail Mozart — or by my last name, in which case I would edge in there between Bach and the Beatles. Either way I don’t come first, which for some stupid reason bothers hell out of me..”

It has been more than 10 years, probably more than 12, since I read those lines for the first time. I can still quote it word for word, any given day, no matter how bad the day has been. Love Story. By Erich Segal. Before I read the book, someone told me that an entire dorm in some Ivy League place had phoned Erich Segal one night, in tears, to ask why Jenny had to die. After I was finished with the book, I didn’t blame them. I wanted to do the same.

Oliver Barett IV, handsome harvard jock and campus hero, born into immense wealth and stature. His family, through generations, having donated a lot of buildings to Harvard and his father having expected nothing but the best from him all along and taking it for granted when he had succeeded in meeting those expectations consistently.

Jennifer Cavilleri, a smart, feisty and lively Radcliffe student majoring in Music. An American of Italian descent, brought up by and living with her devout catholic father Phil. Jennifer is the firecracker who lives everyday like there’s no tomorrow, the beauty with brains who never fails to come up with a devastating one liner.

The two of them meet at the Radcliffe Library one afternoon and sparks fly. Before you know it, they have been to a couple of Hockey games, fallen in love, Oliver has fought with his father and walked out of his money, the two of them have gotten married and the happy couple has shifted to New York. And again, before you can catch your breath, Jenny is dead and the story has ended. Don’t bother shouting “Spoiler! Spoiler!” The beauty of Love Story, ironically, is not in the story, but in the way the story has been told. The book does not have one single bland sentence, one that it could have managed without. Every one has an impact on you. They would make you chuckle in one instant, hold your breath in the next, and bring tears to your eyes in yet another one. The conversation between the couple is awesome, the supporting characters perfect, the main characters out of this world.

Oliver with his pride and insecurities and his grim struggle to get out of his father’s shadow, the loving, caring, doting Phil, the formidable Oliver Barrett III and his struggle to hold on to his dear son on one hand and to satisfy his ego and his pride on the other, and above all, the bewitching, beautiful, witty, smart, blunt, naughty Jenny with all her beauty  and wit and charm and her smashing one-liners.

Sample this, ”  ‘Jenny, we’re legally married!’
‘Yeah, now I can be a bitch.’ ”

It might seem pointless to write about Love Story, as it is a book that most of us have already read. However, the purpose of this article is not to be a review. Me reviewing Erich Segal would be blasphemy anyway. This is more of a tribute. I have been a fan of Segal for a long time now. In my opinion, Love Story is not even his best work or his best novel. That honor would go to The Class or Acts of Faith, two other of his creations I’ll never forget. Love Story, however, is different. While it’s probably not his best story, it has to be the best writte. You have to read it to feel it.

Most of you, I’m sure, have read it already. If you’re literate and you have not, believe me, you should.

I was introduced to this by my girlfriend and since then every week I check for its new episodes in torrents. The 22nd episode of the 4th season is currently running on Star World. The story starts like this : Castle acted by Nathan Fillion is a famous mystery novelist who had killed off his main character in his book series and had writer’s block. One day he was brought in by the NYPD for questioning regarding a copy-cat murder based on one of his novels. He was intrigued by this new window into crime and murder, and uses his connections with the mayor of New York City  to charm his way into shadowing the captivating Detective Kate Beckett, played by Stana Katic. Castle then decides to use Beckett as the model for the main character of his next book series starring “Nikki Heat”. Beckett, an avid reader of Castle’s books, initially disapproves of having Castle shadow her on her cases, but later warms up and recognizes Castle as a useful resource in her team’s investigations.

Kate Beckett

Kate Beckett (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The characters in the series just creates a perfect balance for the viewers to enjoy. They are a set of warm and friendly characters . The main character is Richard Edgar “Rick” Castle, the mystery novelist who helps NYPD in their homicide cases with his out of the box thinking. He is also a cool and amazing single dad and a rich,charming, intelligent, quick-witted  playboy. The other main character is Kate Beckett who is a hardworking, dedicated  first-class homicide investigator of NYPD , she joined the force after her mother was murdered in an unsolved case. Kate is helped by Detective Javier Esposito and Detective Kevin Ryan and both of them are funny and hardworking. Alexis Castle is Richard Castle’s daughter and father daughter relationship  just warms up and gives the viewers a perfect relief after a head crunching murder case. Martha Rodgers is Richard Castle’s mother who stays with him and his daughter who also creates a warm and homely environment when needed. Together they solve amazing murder cases and Castle’s out of the box creative mind and charisma spices up the whole investigation process into a different level. The homicide cases are also very interesting, unique and are of varied nature involving everything from terrorism to fairy tales.

I thought of mentioning this in the blog so that you guys don’t miss such a wonderful thing. All the episode are available on the net and you can download the torrents. Let me know how you felt.