Nilesh Gonsalves

Dec 312009
 

I do not consider myself to be an expert reviewer. But this is the first time I have seen a movie in 3D, hence this enthusiasm.

Avatar is a well done movie. Forget the storyline. Its always the same every time. Either USA is in trouble, or we earthlings are meddling in to others affairs. Its the second case is here. This earns and average review for storyline. Of course, a lot of imagination has gone in to plotting the entire movie, with a blend good blend of real life and animation. But most of the points are earned by the visual treat that the movie offers through imagination in animation. I saw the 3D version, and I was not much impressed with the 3D effects. Of course, there was a depth to the image, but somehow I was yearning for more. Except for 2-3 sequences, the entire film did not fascinate me in 3D point of view. May be I had been over expecting, this being my first 3D movie(I mean the first 3D I have seen, not the first I made). Or may be I should have seen it at some other theatre.

Anyway, the film is quite entertaining, even with an average story, simply because of the graphics. A good watch for kid. And watching it one time would do no harm to anyone. Overall I would rate it 3 1/2 out of 5.

Dec 302009
 

So I completed my tour to Aurangabad. And am back with some good memories, and few bad ones too.

To say about Aurangabad, it seems just like any other cities of India, hastily developed, neglected. But its proximity to many of the tourist destinations, has kept the city on the map. First, it has the panchakki (a mill running on a water driven turbine, the water for which comes from few miles away, naturally) right in the heart of the city. Then there is the Bibi ka Maqbara(the tomb of Aurangazeb’s wife). This monument is built on the lines of the Taj Mahal in Agra, except that it is bit smaller. Then we have the Ajanta and the Ellora caves, with all their carvings, paintings and sculptures on rocks. The grandeur of these places is quite spectacular. Also there is the Daulatabad fort, which I managed to climb only half the distance because of  tiresome mount. With all this historical places surrounding it, Aurangabad is one big center for tourism in India.

All these places have many things in common. They are very old. They are spectacular. And they are not maintained properly. The fort was completely grass ridden. There can be spotted few futile attempts to restore the surrounding of these places, but the entire process of tourism is not in place for the ease of the tourists. And this, after paying for the entry tickets at each of these places. There were around 3,00,000 tourists on that single day when I visited the fort, so the calculation goes to 1500000 rs per day during the holiday season.

Speaking of tickets, each of these places had different rates for Indians and foreigners, which does not go well with me. And so I comment. The ticket price for foreigners, was rs 250 where as for Indians was rs. 5 at the fort. Shocked by the difference? You go to a tourist destination in the world, and I don’t think there are separate rates for different people. Its a well known fact that most of the foreign visitors to India are cheated/looted in one form or the other. But this by the government!! This can be likened to racism. Though, we would label any such act by other country as racism, in this country we call it tourism.

With all it splendors, and all its shortcomings, this truly is “Incredible India”

Dec 272009
 

So I decided not to go to Hyderabad. What a waste of my leave!! And because of whom? The supporters of  destruction.

It seems that people all over the country have no work to do, other than carry out the schemes of their leaders. In the name of a separate state a large amount of  property destruction owned by general public and the state is carried out. “Leader” threaten the country with fast until death if their demands are not met. This can be likened to holding the entire country for ramson.

There are lots of issues like hunger, population, shelter, internal and external security. But none of them is concerned about that. All they want is a separate state, so that they can have control over their own people. And also over lots of public funds.

I finally had to decide that Hyderabad is not a good tourist spot at this moment, and have to stay away. So now I have made a hasty plan for Aurangabad. Will be leaving today and be back on 31st Dec.

Dec 232009
 

So its that time of the year, when all the paper mache and the bells, stars and the decorative lights, come out of the attic. And the Christmas tree is decorated, with an expectation of pleasant season ahead. And in my house, I cannot neglect to bring out the Getco, my humble oven, which has assisted me during my countless baking experiences in this short life.

Yes, it’s also the time for Cake. Though, I would agree that there is no specific time to have a cake( and eat it too.) Eating a good cake is one of the most pleasing experience, a person can have in life. Cake is said to be the dispersant of all the worries and troubles. An entire novel has been written around the cake(which I read and found to be light and interesting).

Personally I have never loved a cake, if its not the mawa cupcake from the merwan bakery(at Grant Road in Mumbai)(here, I deviate from my rule of not advertising any establishment or product through my post, simply because I have not found any competition to those light, delicious cakes, and they are worth making an exception.), or if I have not made it personally. I have had many cakes from different bakeries, and many I liked, but none I loved.

I personally bake a cake atleast twice a year(Cooking being one of my hobby, and baking a cake being at the core of it). Once for Christmas and once for the Easter. I have tried many cook books, seen many TV shows, to find out the best method of preparing a cake. But I never seemed to get it right. The cake was either heavy, or more crumpled. Until last year, when the brother-in-law, of my brother-in-law(whew!! exhausted while typing it twice), gave me a very basic recipe for preparing a cake. And I found it to be one of the best for home made cakes. So let me share it with you all.

You require 1/4 kg butter, 1/4 kg Refined flour, 1/4 kg Powdered  Sugar, 6 Eggs, Vanilla Essence and Half a teaspoon of Baking powder and a pinch of Salt. You can also use equal quantities of Semolina(Rava) and Refined Flour to get 1/4 kg of the mixture instead of using refined flour. Any bigger size you require, increase the ingredients in proportion. And finally you will need all the dryfruits that you want to have. Some people prefer to soak the dry fruits in white rum, to get a different flavour. I am extremely sorry for all my veggie friends, but I do not know how to make a veggie cake. I can’t imagine how a cake can be without eggs. No offense meant.

Its very easy. Whip the butter, Whip the eggs. Mix them. Add sugar. Mix well. Add flour ( or flour and semolina mixture) and mix well. Add a teaspoon of vanilla essence and mix well. Then add half a teaspoon of baking powder and a pinch of salt. And mix again. Be sure not to leave lumps of butter, sugar or flour during all this mixing. And loo!! You have the batter.

Now just add some dryfruits(if you need a fruit cake), and get it baked at your local bakers or in your oven. Use the oven’s manual for correct temperatures since I do not know them( my getco didn’t have a temperature indicator. There were only two modes, baked or unbaked, which was determined by a thin poking stick).

My getco is no longer functional after all these years of service. But my neighbouring baker is in good business. So I am destined to bake my own cake this year too.

Happy Baking to all…… and Eat Cake.

Dec 212009
 

I still remember my visits to Mumbai( then Bombay) as a child, with my parents and my brother. Those were the few occasions every year when we paid visit to the town for shopping, movies and the most important of all, the Bandra Fair( the Mount Mary Feast). The most exciting part of the trip was the journey by the local train from virar. I still remember how we would run from the ticket counter behind our parents, just in time to catch the train. We would fight for the window seat( yes we surely used to get window seats in those days), which would end up with him winning the seat for most of the journey.

But times change, and the mumbai local train surely has endured the changes. For one, its has been subjected to the acts of nature in form of natural calamities and the acts of human destruction in the form of terrorism. It has witnessed the deaths of many people due to human errors in form of accidents. I still remember the fatal evening in the year 1994, when many women lost their lives in an incident involving the ladies special train. And also the very recent serial bomb blast in the july of the year 2006.

There may be no end to it. But this doesn’t mean that it put a stop to the lives of people. May be this is the only option available for commute. But as I travel in the trains today, I see the common man, managing to find a foot-space in the already overcrowded boogie. And he manages to undertake this journey, which sometimes lasts more than two hours, standing on one foot.

The common man prespires  and tires up easily in the heat of poorly ventilated trains, but his desire to reach his destination doesn’t allow him to give up. And there is always humanity present in the trains. I see many a times, elderly people and women being given preference for seating. Water is not considered a personal property, no matter whose bottle it is. And keeping self busy in some for or the other during the journey, normally is the priority with everyone. Maybe a quick game of sudoku, some music, a book for reading or even movies on mobile are common methods of  “timepass”. Everyone gives full consideration for everyone else. Though occasional spats on the issue of space at the door, are not an uncommon thing.

This is life, life in the mumbai local trains. Which refuses to bow to any hurdles it faces. And it keeps on going, from 3.30 in the morning till late in the night. Without so much as a stop for a quick breathe. A salute to the commuters who endure this travel. A salute to the motormen of these trains, who stay alert through out the entire journey.

A salute to the spirit of the mumbai locals.

Dec 202009
 

The high court is of the stand that the state has to compensate for illegal detention for petty theft. The amount being thought upon by the court is 5000 rs per day.

Now an ugly thought creeps up my mind. Take ‘our’ kasab. He now claims to have been held in custody, 10 days before the terrorist attack, and the police has framed him up for no reasons. He even claims to have never seen an AK-47 in his life. Now suppose, just suppose, that he manages to hold up his statements in the court. And despite all the proofs, and especially the photograph (of kasab with a gun)clicked by the leading news paper’s daring photographer, suppose his lawyer succeeds to prove that he was a petty thief, in the wrong place at the wrong time. Just suppose.

Kasab will be eligible for a compensation of (more than 365 days X 5000) more than 18 lakhs rupees. And the counter keeps on increasing as long as he is in custody. So mr. kasab, you are fighting for a lot of money along with your life(though, I, and all the Indians believe that you have no consideration for life, going by the act that you committed on 26th nov 2008).

Dec 192009
 

Do you know who am I? Do I know you? Then why is it that we pour out our hearts to each other?

Its been a long time now since we started using technology for communication in some form or the other. Post was the oldest communication method in one form or the other. But upon the advent of the new millennium, electronic medium of communication has become more profound in use. Blasting out emails in lieu of telephonic conversation( may because of its cost implications) has become a habit of a sort. So where is it taking us?

You write an email to your friends and loved ones, but the emotions are lost. Even if you try to be more poetic in your composition, you will need the abilities of someone like Garrison Keillor to express the feelings on the receivers side. A firing email from your boss is of no use unless he presents himself to mouth the words. Basically, this mode of communication has just turned in to a few clicks for editing the readily available drafts on the internet. Click, Click, Click….Send. That’s all it is to emails.

Now take a case of expressing via blog. It can be dramatic, it can be funny. It can be sarcastic, it can be punny. But it can also be a computerised software application with an ability to compose something, based on the information available on the internet itself. So, who am I typing for right now? Is it really Magali who is going to read the post. Is it really surwil who is going to comment on it. Are these real people who spring up in the form of number of page hits per day? Or am I living in the world of the Matrix?

The is uncertain. I do not feel anything when I try to communicate electronically. I remember the times when I had long conversations with my friends on the phone. There was a satisfaction of being alive with a person from a distance. But this mode of communicating seems to be made for people who are uncertain about their decisions and need to keep on using the delete button for editing. Blog, yes we can discount it, as some sort of composing is required to bring out our thoughts. But email, no its not personalised. It doesn’t reflect you fully.

We need to go back t the past. We need more personal communication to have a lively relations with others. This culture is not bad, but we need to restrict ourselves somewhere.

Dec 172009
 

“Do you take this video game character to be your wife?”  No not a wedding scene in some latest sci-fi movie. It has happened in the real world. A man named sal9000 married the love of his life in Japan. But its with a difference. The love of his life goes by the name Nene Anegasaki, and she lives inside Nintendo DS video game called as love plus.

Basically, love plus, is a dating sim, inline with the virtual pet created in Japan few years back. It has a behavioural pattern of a girlfriend, and the user can interact with the character in different ways. And interact in this way!! Marry!!! And with a promise not to leave her, even if the upgraded version comes in the market.

I have heard of wedding fires being lit on a plane and under the water. I have seen photos of the bride, the groom and the minister, hanging in mid air hundreds of feet above ground, and conducting the rituals. And I have read about lot more innovative ways of going about this marriage business. But this virtually is world apart. 

This man refuses to give out his real name, since he is afraid of jokes and insults, but then, his images have appeared on world television, and his marriage was broadcast live on the internet. So I guess, his family has already gifted him a honeymoon package. I am just concerned if he intends to bring about some form of life out of this union. If he manages, which side will it land, the real side or the virtual side.

You know people, I thought that the topics were drying up for my blog. But now I feel that there is enough foolery in this world to write about. So hoping to be back soon.

Hehehehe…… In Japan, of all the places!!

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