Another Intellectual Being

Review

Raindrops, Roses, Sunshine and again


I wake up on Mondays thinking that it is absolutely idiotic to go to college. My college, although a scumbag on all counts suddenly decided that we should not have more than 3 classes on Monday. So I wake up at 7:30, fight with sleep and cold water and everything, then jostle through traffic at 15 different points of my route and finally reach college at 9:15. Whoosh 3 hours later I am free for the day with nothing to do, Happy that I am now free, Sad that tomorrow I have college till 5pm, bastard I tell you.

It was hot today but Madame Haldar was convinced otherwise. She thought it was the beautiful autumn sun that we both love. I thought that it was hot. Anyway I gave into her ideas and we decided to go to Old Fort to click pictures and do boating. It was to be our first photo walk in a long long time.

On reaching Old Fort Barnita discovered that it was really still quite hot and we turned into sweaty messes in just about 5 minutes. However the camera kept dragging us on, once you are possessed by it there’s no letting go. So we went crazy and kept clicking lots and lots of pictures but finally the heat got to us. We even gave up on the idea of boating.

Cooling ourselves with a glass of chilled Lassi and a Coke we headed out to have lunch as our stomachs were rumbling quite loudly. Now this is the point where something really funny happened. We had decided to go to Khan Market but somehow I just couldn’t manage to find it. We followed the road signs and asked people, the whole shebang but we just couldn’t find it.

Wandering about a bit more in the car we reached Lodi Garden which was also were we had one of our best photo walks and Barnita had clicked an amazing picture of a tree. Suddenly my brain churned up some distant thoughts and I remembered that the Alliance Francaise Cafeteria claimed to have some nice and cheap food and hence with Barnita’s approval we both set out to a lunch in Alliance Francaise.


The surroundings encouraged us to try out a French dish and there were definitely some on the menu. Yay. 😀 I really wanted to have fish fingers for a change and that really made Barnita happy. (More on my affliction towards fish later) The other item on the menu I had my eyes set on was the Chicken Cordon Bleu. Sadly both the Fish Fingers and the Cordon Bleu was unavailable. I settled for a Poulet a la Normandy(Grilled Chicken with Mash Potato and Salad) – Rs. 200, a Mushroom Cheese Omelette – Rs. 50 and the usual culprit a singular Lemon Iced Tea – Rs. 30. The quantity was quite generous but I found the Mashed Potato a bit dry and the Grilled Chicken a bit undercooked, but the flavours were intact and nice. It did well to fill our stomachs and the Omelette was just the way I liked it so no complains there.

After lunch it started raining and Barnita had an amazing idea to go boating near India Gate. After wandering around various roads in Lutyen’s Delhi we finally reached India gate. The boat ride was nice and romantic and a beautiful end to an amazing day.

ON the way back it started raining cats and dogs and Barnita went crazy clicking pictures. 😀

Sadly and obviously there was a part involving us being stuck in traffic for 40 minutes but that can still be overlooked.

All in all an amazing day after a long long time. 😀

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Jodhpur : Sand and Crackers

You get off a rickety Indian Airlines aircraft that is supposedly as old as your younger brother and walk into a quaint Jodhpur Airport that looks nothing bigger than a small-ish hotel.

You wait endlessly by the luggage belt as the IA handlers properly mis-handle your luggage and you cannot do anything as a pane of glass separates you. You could definitely go back through the entry but you may be easily mistaken for a terrorist.

You go out into the heat and find the pleasantness of the car you rented for the day. As you go towards the hotel you pass by various parts of the city. The new city, grand hotels, stone quarries, old city, barracks and then you finally reach your hotel, an oasis of green in the midst of a stone city, the majestic Bal Samand Lake Palace.

You feel almost royal; knowing that you would be the only guests during your entire stay. Yay to proper royal treatment, heck you can even treat it like your own palace. After a short afternoon siesta you head out to the gardens to absorb the abundant greenery surrounding the place. Peacocks roam around a few feet away from you, unperturbed.

Then you climb a steep set of stairs to the porch (If you can call it that. Seems more like a roof.) and the glistening reflection of the setting sun catches your eye. You’re face to face with a beautiful lake. Hills all around, not a single soul in sight, almost like your own personal lake. You order a pot of masala tea and sit down to look at the beauty whilst a flock of pigeons coo on the parapets.

Slowly the sun sets and you feel a little distant, you feel isolated from the world. The thought of being the only people in a huge castle is kind of haunting but you always find ways to cope. A little running on the treadmill and video games never hurt anyone.

The next day you head out to explore the surroundings, Mehrangarh Fort is your first stop. It almost looms over you like figurative image of mount Olympus the home of the Greek gods. You climb up all the way and through its various museums. You pick up a lot of garbled knowledge from the guide, a few overpriced souvenirs and get out of there. The next item on your itinerary is a long drive to Khimsar Fort amidst the bloody heat.

While at Khimsar you have a quiet and peaceful lunch and afterwards you head out to see deer in open jeeps, your absolutely messy long hair slapping your face. You finally reach the areas of the deer and see Neelgai, Black Bucks and the odd Chinkara. You begin to wonder how people could ever kill such wonderful animals. The camera goes click-clickkity-click-click faster than you can see them. Suddenly you look up and realize that the sun is quite low and if you don’t hurry you would miss the sunset over the Khimsar Sand Dunes.

You reach just in time but the climb to the top is akin to climbing a high peak; contribution of the horrible diet you have and your amazingly high centre of gravity. Yet you finally are up and click a beautiful sunset over a few cups of tea. Today was Diwali and you miss not being around your girlfriend, She’s back in your town and you’re in no town. Just to cheer your brother up though, you buy a few local fire crackers and explode them back at the hotel. Diwali seems joyful again, the gloomy feeling is gone.

The next morning you’re up and ready to go back home. This time around you get a better aircraft from Indian Airlines and as you land in Delhi you can see the pollution from miles high in the sky. What a wonderful way the city welcomes you back.


The Magnificence of Italy

Great fields of Olives greeted me as my plane was landing in the Rome Int’l Airport. I love olives and believe it or not, these fields made me optimistic about my trip around Rome. Since childhood I had imagined the awe inspiring structures of the Roman Empire and how it would feel to be amidst them. And in totality my dream did come true. The magnificence of the 3000 year old city knows no bounds; every corner you turn brings you face to face with a monument that cannot simply be placed in this era.

I turned my imagination up a notch and began visualizing how the Romans used to live in the birthplace of civilization. The gladiators fighting in the colosseum, the roman forum full of roman philosophers, the likes of Marcus Aurelius and Plotinus. I was feeling quite majestic myself and it took quite a lot of self-restraint on my part not to pick up a sword and charge.

After reveling in the outer beauty of these wonders I went inside. The art on the ceilings, the intricate and exquisite detail on the statues were an amazing experience. You can never admire them enough, not in front of them and neither in afterthought. Each painting and sculpture had a style of their own, each different from the other. Yet there were some made centuries apart which looked almost the same, it was marvelous.

Having soaked in the many sights of Rome I had a carnal urge to move towards the smells, the famous Roman cuisine. I hogged on everything that I could lay my eyes on, Pastas, Pizzas, Gelatos, everything vanished in a jiffy. The food is definitely worth dying for; I’d happily give up everything to be amongst this kind of food for a lifetime. The varieties of Pizzas, Pastas, Meats and Gelatos available were mind boggling.

Rome is a wondrous city, a city perfect for wanderers, perfect for people who get lost in the city and not the people. You can sit and admire the beauty of Rome for hours to an end, yet every time you begin to write words will fall short. I’ve definitely marked Rome as one of the places I would love to go back to, maybe this time on a Roman Holiday.


The Brick House Diner

After wandering about on the tracks of an isolated train station in the heart of Delhi for about 2 hours, Hunger dug its vengeful claws into my empty stomach. I was dying for a cold drink and some relaxing food. Barnita suggested we head to Satya Niketan and try out the newly opened ‘The Brick House Diner’.

The first thing you notice as you enter is the amazingly cute red décor with the cabins done in the same way. Red Vinyl sofas and chairs, and the only other red thing, the ketchup bottles. No other condiments get in the way.

You get the whole diner she-bang: sandwiches, milk shakes, hot-dogs, burgers, fries and pastas. The menu focuses on a lot of breakfast options but somehow the paranthas don’t really drive home with the theme of the place and without the paranthas the only option left was the Ultimate Stack.


We ordered an Edible Iced Tea (Rs. 85), which is their new innovation, consisting of Jell-O shots in a base of Iced Tea.

The iced tea tasted very natural, not like the synthetic Monin syrup ones and the Lychee flavored Jell-O shots added a little extra zing and fun to the drink.

The Chicken Nuggets (Rs. 80) were nothing out of the ordinary but the Sweet Chili Garlic Sauce that was served with it was very tasty. Bhuvnesh, the owner helped us out while placing the order and was friendly and gave the place a very comfy informal feeling which is good when you’ve had a tiring day.

He specially combined the Sauce from the African Peri-Peri Chicken and made us a special Peri-Peri Chicken Pasta (Rs. 200) with actual chunks of the steak. It was fiery and yet smooth, but it somehow lacked a zing that usually drives the taste home. Maybe a little more sharpness would have helped.

The Ultimate stack (Rs. 150) came with an Omelet, a Pancake and two Sausages which was a shortfall from the two pancakes written in the menu. Bhuvnesh was quick to notice the mistake and gave us another Ultimate Stack on the house which added a nice touch. The pancakes were golden brown as expected and very soft. A dash of maple syrup and they tasted like heaven in your mouth. The sausages were well done but I don’t think it was made by them, the omelet was very good with the cheese in it and the extra portion of Bacon (Rs. 40) I added was lean and absolutely well done, 10/10 for the bacon.

Somehow we still had place for some more and were searching through the menu. Barnita mentioned Burgers and Bhuvnesh told us that it was their speciality, so we decided to try out the Burgers as well. Being an absolute Bacon-freak I just had to order the Baconnator (Rs. 150) while Barnita ordered the Chicken Grilled Teriyaki Burger (Rs. 100).

A bite into the Baconnator and the different combination of flavors just exploded in my mouth. The crunch of the crispy fried Bacon, the sweet taste of the caramelized Onions, a layer of abundant cheese and the absolutely juicy lamb patty with just a hint of pepper. I’ve had a lot of burgers; I seriously mean a lot and none of them played around with my taste buds like the Baconnator did. The Chicken Teriyaki Burger also did not fail to surprise, the zing of actual Japanese teriyaki was omnipresent throughout the Burger and yet again the patty was soft, juicy and absolutely lovable.

The only dish that actually left us wanting for more was the Peri-Peri Pasta, except that it was an absolutely joyous experience. The ambience was lovely; the Food was a serious touch of class and the 10/10 for the owner, Bhuvnesh.

I’d give it a 4.5/5 and would surely love to come here again. This tiny little diner has a clearly paved way ahead; it is going to do wonders. Bhuvnesh, if you’re reading this, keep the Bacon ready. 🙂


What Blogging Means To Me

 

Quite matter of factly I started blogging just to catch attention of people, to be noticed and maybe to be even taken seriously. I never quite caught on with the phenomenon of blogging initially. I just wrote different kinds of things, poems and all and posted it. I had always fantasised about being known and renowned for my writing ability. I was a clear cut wannabe when I started out on the blogging circuit; I actually thought blogging would impress the ladies, hard luck there. I made a blog wrote some poems and forgot about it, after some time I read a blog and the spark ignited again but I had to make a new blog. And like that I was never constant with one blog. A few posts and I got bored and left. This happened over and over again. Until I struck upon the idea of the Prince of Prose blog.

 

I declared the blog open with a very proud and whimsical introduction. Aptly followed by a very dark poem about a beggar. It was quite a disturbing and hopeless time in my life. The 12th Board Exams had just gotten over and I was struggling with college. It suited my frame of mind and hence I made the blog. I poured all my angst into it. Sometimes creativity, sometimes thought sometimes just someone else’s Apricot. Then college began, along with the journey of fiction, I wrote two incomplete novels at 12000 words each.

 

I’ve missed writing in the blog for 3-4 months at a time but I’ve still stuck with it. So on the occasion of my 50th post I thank you all for sticking with my blog, my long obsessive and flowery writing and my irregularity. Thank you all, I’m very much indebted to you!

 


Nice Guys Finish Last

This rant was written for the Wharton Undergraduate Journal

This is a tribute to the nice guys. The nice guys that finish last, that never become more than friends, that endure hours of whining and bitching about what assholes guys are, while disproving the very point. This is dedicated to those guys who always provide a shoulder to lean on but restrain themselves to tentative hugs, those guys who hold open doors and give reassuring pats on the back and sit patiently outside the changing room at department stores. This is in honor of the guys that obligingly reiterate how cute/beautiful/smart/funny/sexy their female friends are at the appropriate moment, because they know most girls need that litany of support. This is in honor of the guys with open minds, with laid-back attitudes, with honest concern. This is in honor of the guys who respect a girl’s every facet, from her privacy to her theology to her clothing style.

 

This is for the guys who escort their drunk, bewildered female friends back from parties and never take advantage once they’re at her door, for the guys who accompany girls to bars as buffers against the rest of the creepy male population, for the guys who know a girl is fishing for compliments but give them out anyway, for the guys who always play by the rules in a game where the rules favor cheaters, for the guys who are accredited as boyfriend material but somehow don’t end up being boyfriends, for all the nice guys who are overlooked, underestimated, and unappreciated, for all the nice guys who are manipulated, misled, and unjustly abandoned, this is for you.

 

This is for that time she left 40 urgent messages on your cell phone, and when you called her back, she spent three hours painstakingly dissecting two sentences her boyfriend said to her over dinner. And even though you thought her boyfriend was a chump and a jerk, you assured her that it was all ok and she shouldn’t worry about it. This is for that time she interrupted the best killing spree you’d ever orchestrated in GTA3 to rant about a rumor that romantically linked her and the guy she thinks is the most repulsive person in the world. And even though you thought it was immature and you had nothing against the guy, you paused the game for two hours and helped her concoct a counter-rumor to spread around the floor. This is also for that time she didn’t have a date, so after numerous vows that there was nothing “serious” between the two of you, she dragged you to a party where you knew nobody, the beer was awful, and she flirted shamelessly with you, justifying each fit of reckless teasing by announcing to everyone: “oh, but we’re just friends!” And even though you were invited purely as a symbolic warm body for her ego, you went anyways. Because you’re nice like that.

 

The nice guys don’t often get credit where credit is due. And perhaps more disturbing, the nice guys don’t seem to get laid as often as they should. And I wish I could logically explain this trend, but I can’t. From what I have observed on campus and what I have learned from talking to friends at other schools and in the workplace, the only conclusion I can form is that many girls are just illogical, manipulative bitches. Many of them claim they just want to date a nice guy, but when presented with such a specimen, they say irrational, confusing things such as “oh, he’s too nice to date” or “he would be a good boyfriend but he’s not for me” or “he already puts up with so much from me, I couldn’t possibly ask him out!” or the most frustrating of all: “no, it would ruin our friendship.” Yet, they continue to lament the lack of datable men in the world, and they expect their too-nice-to-date male friends to sympathize and apologize for the men that are jerks. Sorry, guys, girls like that are beyond my ability to fathom. I can’t figure out why the connection breaks down between what they say (I want a nice guy!) and what they do (I’m going to sleep with this complete ass now!). But one thing I can do, is say that the nice-guy-finishes-last phenomenon doesn’t last forever. There are definitely many girls who grow out of that train of thought and realize they should be dating the nice guys, not taking them for granted. The tricky part is finding those girls, and even trickier, finding the ones that are single.

 

So, until those girls are found, I propose a toast to all the nice guys. You know who you are, and I know you’re sick of hearing yourself described as ubiquitously nice. But the truth of the matter is, the world needs your patience in the department store, your holding open of doors, your party escorting services, your propensity to be a sucker for a pretty smile. For all the crazy, inane, absurd things you tolerate, for all the situations where you are the faceless, nameless hero, my accolades, my acknowledgement, and my gratitude go out to you. You do have credibility in this society, and your well deserved vindication is coming.

 

I don’t think I need to add anything else. I found my vindication. I hope you find yours.

 


Book Review – Samit Basu | Turbulence

Superheroes have always been indispensable part of the Urban Fantasy. Be it superbeings from alien planets (Superman), Bug bitten masked avengers (Spiderman) or Millionaires in Body Suits (Iron Man), their fan following has always been much celebrated.

Samit Basu, fabled author of the Gameworld Trilogy is back with another fiction novel based on Urban Superheoes. The story revolves around a few main characters with lots of significant side characters thrown in, almost like an Indian Justice League.

Aman Sen, the protagonist is the one with the eerie geeky superpowers. He can manipulate networks with his mind. Even the Internet bends to his will.

Uzma Abidi is a British-Pakistani who has come to India as an aspiring Bollywood actress. Everything works out quite smoothly with her infinite charisma.

Vir, an Indian Air Force pilot has the ability to fly.

Tia, a troubled housewife from the north-east has the ability to multiply and do all the things she dreamt of.

But one thing unites them all. They were all aboard British Airlines flight 142 from London to Delhi. They were all given superpowers as a result of what they had dreaming about, all of the passengers, but now someone had been hunting and killing the passengers one by one and Aman needed to know who.

The search leads the Desi Justice League to Jai, an indestructible one-man army with an old fashioned goal – military conquest of the world. Going through the pages we encounter Shera, a conservationist turned man-tiger, Anima, a girl endowed with special powers from different animes, Zothanpuii, a north eastern woman in Delhi with ass kicking powers, Namrata, a mass manipulator and so many more. It is in totality a gripping read with some manageable dry parts in the middle. The story is quite simply put about how a nerd kicks a strong, good looking mans arse both by winning the day and getting the woman of his dreams. I sense a bit of Bollywood creeping in.

After having read the Gameworld trilogy with its twists, turns and plot changes, I find myself demanding more from this book.

The whole plane-incident giving superpowers is loosely based on the Fantastic Four saga wherein the four travellers are given superpowers almost in the same way.

Page 203 to Page 207 exactly imitates a segment of the new Artemis Fowl book titled Artemis Fowl and the Atlantis Complex wherein Artemis develops a disease known as the Atlantis Complex which gives him a split personality who is madly in love with his colleague, Agent Holly Short. Same is the case with Aman Sen when he tries to overuse his powers. His alter ego surfaces and expresses his feeling/lust for Uzma.

And hidden in there is a classic reference to ‘The Watchmen’ which says ‘Superman exists and he’s not American!’

For people who have not read Samit Basu before I would suggest you give it a read. It is a fast paced book sure to grip you from the start to the end. For a returning Samit Basu fan, I’m sorry to say but this book is a wee bit disappointing.

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