Wednesday, June 27, 2007
24 June 2007, Sunday
Mumbai meeting point: Center One mall, 7:30 AM
Joint G2G meeting point: Amby Valley Gate, past Lonavala.
In Mumbai the rains poured heavy from Saturday itself and even trains were stalled the night before the ride. I woke up at 6 AM and rode out to the meeting point. I reached Center One at around 7:15 AM. There were 2 other XBHP members waiting there. Soon by 8 AM we had a dozen riders dirty in the downpour smoking and calling the rest of the pack. Had the good fortune of meeting Bunny the co-founder member of XBHP. He did manage to take a few good snaps even in the rains. We were joined by 4 female pillion riders all eager to pass time. We moved on to McDonalds at Panvel Highway for a healthy breakfast before our adventure.
A lot of time was wasted at McDonalds and plans were going off schedule. Majority of the riders then moved ahead as the Pune city riders had left for Lonavala – the group meeting point for celebrating XBHP’s 4 years; together with Mumbai city riders. I was joined by 2 other Bulleteers from Bombay Bikers group and we set out to catch up with the rest. Also a Yamaha R1 riding XBHP member showed up and went with the first batch towards Lonavala. He never made it to Lonavala as he wuss-ed out of the climb.
NH4 highway was a dream run in the rains. Smooth, clear and the Bullet thumped along happily. We reached Lonavala and turned for Amby Valley entrance where the G2G was going on. I missed a lot of stunts and didn’t even get to meet any Pune members due to this delay. The climb to Lonavala’s Bushy Dam was steep and twisty. Fog was blinding and then the wind blowed. The hellish wind was almost knocking off people and 2-wheels off the road. The dense fog was navigated with headlights at noon time.
As I made my way further uphill towards Amby Valley gate, most of the XBHP riders were coming downhill, post the G2G. Man that sucked bitter after all the effort I had put in. But I didn’t want to risk life or limb to catch up with those Indo-Jap contraptions. I sailed smooth at a steady pace even more careful during uphill twists. The heavy rains were added de-motivation for me to rip or rev hard.
Mumbai Bikers Club members were also there and I rode up to Cloud 9 Resort where the smaller gang was still hanging out at a dhaaba (small roadside foodstall). After hot tea I was a lot happier and the guys and gals made me feel better; so it was like I hadn’t missed a thing. We had some Indian fast food and took more snaps. I had not dared to bring my SLR along in this trip. But others got some good pictures. My mobile phone took some grainy photos and these are posted here.
A tyre puncture of a rider had us further delayed and we got that fixed with major pulling and pushing to get the tyre off the bike and then putting it all back together.
I was not too disappointed as I knew what to expect. These guys were gonna rip their bikes whether it rained or snowed or poured missiles from Al-Qaida. All in all I made some good acquaintances and caught up with other friends I had ridden with before.
We left late past 6 PM and I kept slow on the downhill twists. I caught up with my group after the end of NH4 towards Panvel. We had some more coffee and snacks at a restaurant – Himalaya Punjab – a good one with quality food. Then on, everyone headed for Mumbai and I reached home around 8:30 PM.
I got to use my brand new Cramster Touring Jacket on this trip. Glad didn’t have to test the jacket’s performance – no falls. I had my tool-kit and first-aid kit but realized I should think about the possible punctures, battery fault, spark plug and engine oil.
A great Sunday, no birthday cake, but the wind blew our mental candles and the chilling cold was worth all the effort. You never need a jacket or sweater in Mumbai for winter. So experiencing this freeze was momentous.
Sorry for the poor mobile phone pictures at Flickr Album.
Thursday, June 21, 2007
Internet at our homes is now as common as the house-fly. We are part of forums, blogs, communities, subscribe to websites or newsletters, etc. We have an entire existence online. We live in this virtual world, interacting with other humans and sharing ideas, views, opinions and thoughts; sometimes even our emotions.
Most of these online platforms to our banter is limited to the number of people connected. It is also limited by how the virtual platform operates. For example, If you don’t login to a given free email account for over 3 months, it expires and your email account is no longer available.
Similarly for our domains, forums, etc. we have a limited life. Now of course if we choose to leave one or more of these platforms, we can do so anytime and may even say our goodbyes.
But what happens when you die offline. Suppose you no longer exist in the real world and your friend in Japan or Canada is eagerly awaiting word from you. How does anyone get in touch with people who have stopped logging in? Are these people with dormant accounts alive and taking time out? Or are they too dead to respond? Maybe they are okay, just handicapped and can’t use the internet anymore. Or maybe they didn’t care for their online friends and just logged off a bad habit.
But if this person is dead, how can anyone know? Does anyone have a backup plan for saving the online persona or at least informing interested people online about the offline demise?
It is scary that all my posted thoughts will have no platform for posterity. If you think your blog doesn’t have readership now, well even if they are real gems, with death comes eventual online obscurity. Unless you are a rich celebrity with an estate or a trust fund for your fans there is little doubt that with offline death you would also die an online death.
A risky plan would be to share passwords to frequented sites with family members or friends. This is not always a safe plan as it may be too embarrassing to reveal these thoughts as you have declared in the online platform. If anyone has a fool-proof plan for this, I would be very keen to know.
Saturday, June 16, 2007
I hate the current fare of Indian Cinema and TV programs as well.
Almost all the VCDs/DVDs I own are Hollywood or Chinese cinema or a rare European one.
The only Hindi movies I love and own are Black and White movies starring Dev Anand. I have like 17 VCDs of his B&W movies with beautiful lyrics to legendary composer SD Burman's songs as sung by the other icons - Mohd. Rafi and Kishore Kumar.
As for Amitabh Bachhan (Big B), if you would like my opinions of his current movies - I don't even have the right words to describe the apathy. From Amitabh's older movies I would recommend:
* Sholay (same as Seven Samurais with only 2 warriors)
* Satte Pe Satta (same as Seven Brides for Seven Brothers)
* Zanjeer (created the Angry Young Man image for Big B)
* Shaan (the villain is straight out of a Bond movie and great)
* Bombay to Goa (comic movie with major part shot in a bus going from Bombay to Goa)
* Agneepath (from rags to riches, peasant to Mafia Don, very lovable movie, Action)
* Hum (Action, Romance, Comedy, complete palate)
I avoid Shah Rukh Khan crap like the plague.
Other movies I have enjoyed recently are:
* Omkara (Shakespeare's Othello set in rural mafia - sort of a Western genre take on Shakespeare)
* Honeymoon Travels Pvt Ltd (6 couples on a Honeymoon trip, comedy, relationships)
* Bunty Aur Bubli (stars Big B with his son Abhishek and Rani Mukherjee - Comedy, great songs, trendy)
ART FILMS are very rare but some real gems here:
> Shyam Benegal's adaptation of a classic fiction novel - Suraj ka Satvaan Ghoda - translated means - The Seventh Horse of The Sun.
> Matrubhoomi - means Motherland - the brutal rape scenes here may put you off sex for a long time. A futuristic look at a real possibility in India due to female foeticide and human trafficking.
> Split Wide Open - urban sickness
Well Hollywood movies are very professionally done with a target audience in mind with clear classification into genres. No one raises eyebrows to someone breaking into a song in a Hollywood movie because it is expected - in the Musical Genre. So everything is tailored and dissected.
In Hindi films, originality is rare. They are called Masala movies because majority of them try to get a Formula based on which they make their movie. Sort of mixing all genres into an awful dish (which I don't like to eat). These idiots want to target each and every human in Asian subcontinent and the market is growing with people in Egypt and Turkey and Middle-East admiring this junk.
It reminds me of the scene in The Mummy where all villagers go Zombie and mouth "Imoteph...Imoteph...Imoteph..."
Now the most annoying thing for a Western audience - the breaking into a song. Well its part of the masala and has to be there as "Entertainment". Plus they bring in more profits through Audio Sales and MTV playtime. (Yes, Alas MTV has succumbed to this madness. Now for English language songs I have to beg the cable operator to air VH1).
Playback singing is a lucrative career.
But some movies make good use of songs. I loved all the songs in Omkara (Othello) for instance - relevant, topical, fits in the mood, fits the moment. Vishal Bhardwaj Directed, Wrote, Composed Music and Sang in this movie.
Friday, June 15, 2007
There is a dangerous virus being passed around electronically, orally, and by hand. This virus is called Worm Overload Recreational Killer (WORK).
If you receive WORK from any of your colleagues, your boss, or anyone else via any means DO NOT TOUCH IT. This virus will wipe out your private life completely. If you should come into contact with WORK, put your jacket on and take two good friends to the nearest grocery store. Purchase the antidote known as Work Isolating Neutralizer Extract (WINE) or Bothersome Employer Elimination Rebooter (BEER). Take the antidote repeatedly until WORK has been completely eliminated from your system.
You should forward this warning to five friends. If you do not have five friends, you have already been infected and WORK is controlling your life.
I normally don't like to use jokes or writing from the internet or email for my blog posts. I like my blog to be solely my write-ups. But this was irrestible temptation.
Thursday, June 07, 2007
As noted in our previous post, Webcomics are going strong.
Recently, Fredo & Pidjin series celebrated its 100 episodes and 2nd year on the Web. They are having Contests and Giveaways for their audience. A really creative contest (among its 3 contests) is where fans create their own Fredo & Pidjin strip/cartoon and submit it to richard.pidjin at gmail.com
I of course sent my cartoon pronto. Also there are lucky draws for posting comments and writing a blog entry for their celebration.
Fredo & Pidjin have held my attention for quite some time. Their humour is definitely falling in adult category but it is not a comic with reckless abandon to the senses. It is funny due to its obvious takes on puns and daily evil-pigeon life.
I am most interested in their World-ending Attempt Roles (or W.A.R. as I call it) – what is it good for ? – absolutely gut-wrenching, stomach-churning, mind-boggling laughter – that’s what.
When you read some of these inanely simple but ridiculously uproarious jokes; you will be hooked and waiting, like me for the next Monday. Looking forward to a Monday? Yes when you have the Webcomic as lovable as Fredo & Pidjin, that’s what you start doing.
So get out your pencils and JPEG editors and apply for your take on these cool and drool pigeons.
Tuesday, June 05, 2007
After careful introspection I decided to make one last daring infiltration into Soniya Royal Enfield. As the Manager was busy scuffling with the chai-walla for 8 annas; I slid open drawers and frantically looked for anything with ‘Machismo 500’ written on it. As the chai-walla submitted defeat to the argument of the
As he bragged of sales; I fished for more information – turns out most of the limited edition Machismo 500 will come to Aamchi Mumbai and based on their record Soniya Royal Enfield will have the top hand.
I slid out thanking my stars; and praying to Ethan Hunt for this blessing. On my trusty Bull I sped away, only to stop a few meters from the showroom, greedy to see what I had siphoned from the showroom.
Turns out, while I was “extracting” the data, a crucial part about the Company’s test-ride of the Machismo 500 (in
And another thing, just between us spooks (& Bull lovers), Machismo 350 AVL is still being sold but it comes now with compulsory disc-brake and electric start – price Rs 103,000/-
Unveiling the New Legend!!
New Bike – Highlights
- The Biggest, Largest & Most Powerful bike from the Royal Enfield Stable
- Retro styled bike with Modern Engine
- Limited nos bike (only 500 nos/year)
Retro Styled Bike
- Flawless Chrome Tank & front Mudguard
- Customised Accessories
- Poly Urethane Wind Shield
- Twin Spring-Coiled Seats
- Leather Saddle bags
New Powerful Engine
- 500 cc Lean burn Engine
- 23.8 bhp, highest in
- Tractor like Pulling Power@40.85 Nm Torque
- Push Button Start
Five Speed Gearbox with Left-hand Gearshift
- Optimal Combination of Power & Speed
- Max. Speed of 130 kms/hr (Bullet 500 - 120 kms/hr)
Unique Digital TCI (Transistorized Coil Ignition) System
- Variable ignition timing for different speeds
- Higher Spark duration & intensity
o Better pick up & Mileage
o Smoother ride, reduced vibrations
o Easy Cold Starting
Bigger CV Carburettor BS-29
- Better Performance
- Consistency in fuel mixture
o Better Acceleration & throttle response
o Easy Startability
o Consistent Mileage
Biggest Brakes* in Indian Bikes
(280 mm disc-front brake, 150 mm drum-rear brake)
- Effective & Good Braking
o Good Brakes make it ideal for Cruise trips
Rear Gas Filled Shock Absorber
- More effective Damping
o Better riding Comfort even on Bumpy road
New Slim line Modular Wiring
- Better Current carrying capacity
- Slimmer Wiring
o Aesthetically better
o Better Reliability
- 12V-14Ah – Maintenance free
- Hassle free
- Easy Startability
- 12V, 45/40W Headlamp
o Powerful lights for better visibility
- MFR Tailight
o Better Aesthetics
o Better lighting
This post will self- destruct if known outside our clique.
Saturday, June 02, 2007
Clerihew is a humorous poem written in a particular style and named after the creator Edmund Clerihew Bentley. Below are some of my attempts through past year in chronolgical order (of any improvement ? )
On Star Wars last movie:
What's up with Anakin Skywalker,
He's hell bent on wreaking Disaster;
From a promising disciple in Myth,
Has become the Dark Knight of Sith.
On Star Trek:
The charisma of debonair Captain Kirk
Beautiful females an occupational perk
If I were to ever steal his girlfriend
I'd be zapped beyond Frontier-bend
My favourite comic-book Hero:
If you visit the legendary Phantom,
You may be warned by the tom-tom;
He is the Ghost Who Walks the wooden,
The swamps, the caves and beloved Eden.
Getting all Mythological:
The hero - benevolent Prometheus
Infuriated the Olympian ruler Zeus.
At Caucasus, Ethon gnawed at our God
Who winced in pain as the eagle did nod
A friend at IHIQS (and his user id):
A dear friend is my Gestalten
Any who denies this is plain rotten
He reads, writes, plays guitar & chess
Of course true genius, anyone's guess
On the creator himself:
What a silly man was Mr.Clerihew
Wanted to give poetry whats long overdue
I wrote him some rhymes, just my two hoots
He jumped in a lake tying dictionaries to his boots
My Boss at Gyanmandir, Reliance:
Dearest Shobha Cecil
Grinding at Reliance mill
She would be way more successful
If she gave shit back to the bull