Bhuwan's Ramblings

Friday, December 28, 2007

Adios Chanakya, we will miss you!

It was a bright and sunny day when my friend and I rode the quintessential DTC bus, got off at Chanakyapuri and walked over to the theatre for a show of R D Burman’s last musical venture, 1942 A Love Story. It was the first movie that I saw with a friend. I was elated with the new found freedom and my adolescent hormones danced in perfect harmony as I took a deep breath under the open sky. It was not that my parents had ever imposed anything on me, but I am sure that all of us have had this feeling. That day set the stage for many future firsts at this theatre, including my first movie in the front-stall with hostel-mates and the first for which I bought tickets in black on one wintery night. This was also the theatre where I returned to movies with my parents with kaun! The theatre was always technologically ahead of its time be it with surround sound or digital systems. I still preferred this over the newly opened snazzy multiplexes …

Under the theatre on the ground floor was an equally timeless place where I had my first pizza, maybe in 1992. In fact, I hated it at that time and it took a second trip to this place to make me fall in love with the pizza. The next 15 years followed with numerous trips to this place, ranging from chit-chat with friends to dinners with parents and others. Gradually its increasing popularity made it so crowded that we had to come specifically during non-peak hours to get a seat. When I met with my childhood friend in 2007 and asked where would he like to go, he replied “Nirulas, of course”.

On December 27, 2007 the Chanakya theatre stepped into history after 37 years!

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

taare zameen par

I really don’t know how to express my feelings for this movie. It may well be one of the best movies that I have seen so far, a sensitive and real depiction of a child’s heart and mind. I am sure that every individual would be able to relate to the protagonist in some way or the other. The child’s thoughts are true not only for dyslexic kids, but also for each and every kid around us. This also includes adults, when they were kids.

With outstanding performances, heart rending music that blends into the story, sensitive lyrics and a subject that is close to all this is a must-see.

I loved the following song … the meaning of each word will however come about only after seeing it in the movie

Main Kabhi Batlata Nahin
Par Andhere Se Darta Hoon Main Maa
Yun To Main, Dikhlata Nahin
Teri Parwaah Karta Hoon Main Maa
Tujhe Sab Hain Pata, Hain Na Maa
Tujhe Sab Hain Pata, Meri Maa

Thursday, December 20, 2007


A lot has been said recently about the Orient Express Hotel’s snubbing of the Tatas and the retaliation letter from the Tatas. It is about time that the west (the developed world) realizes that the east is coming …and its not by an accident but by intelligence and hard work. The behavior by Orient Express Hotels shows a clear prejudice and lingering colonial thought process. The following excerpt from a Financial Times article summarizes the changing global scenario -

When Jamsetji Tata, its (Tatas) founder, proposed making steel for the British-run Indian railways in 1907, Sir Frederick Upcott, a colonial administrator, scoffed. “Do you mean to say that Tatas propose to make steel rails to British specifications?” he asked. “I will undertake to eat every pound of steel rail they succeed in making.”

A century later, the Tatas paid £6.7bn ($13.7bn, €9.4bn) to buy Corus, the successor to British Steel.

It is time for the west to wake up from their dream!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Delhi in 19th Century

I came across some maps of Delhi in the 19th and early 20th Century ... always wondered how would it be to stay in the Delhi of the late 1800s ...

Delhi - 1857

Delhi - 1893

Delhi - 1924

Monday, December 17, 2007

Dus Kahaniyan

It looks like that a new genre of movies is evolving in Indian cinema - the short story compilation. The movie industry seems to have figured out the 20-20 format to cater to the short attention span of today's population that does not have the patience to sustain through a Test match. Dus Kahaniyan is one such compilation that has been directed by different persons. Among the set of some interesting and sit-through stories, the two stories that stood out were gubbare and rice plate.

Gubbare brings out the importance of the fact that time, which in a universal sense is unlimited, is limited with respect to an individual or a relationship. It is up to the individual to maximize the share of happy moments before they slip away without the person ever noticing it. In the fast paced world today where everybody is looking for readymade solutions to happiness, this story gets the closest to providing it. Even though it’s not a new story I still rate it the best of the lot.

Rice plate talks about our preoccupation with ourselves and our preconceived notions such that we fail to observe the real world around us. It is true not only for the hindu-muslim setting shown in the movie, but also for any setting where we either have a preconceived notion or a notion based on only one or two incidents regarding any individual or community.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Airport ... Aerotropolis!

I had a 3 hour wait at Chicago’s O’Hare international airport today, the maximum time I had spent at any airport for a domestic flight. This gave me an opportunity to reflect on the changing face of airports in the world. O’Hare international airport, world’s busiest airport in terms of take-off and landings, is like a city in itself, a direction in which all major airports are heading. Our very own Delhi’s Indira Gandhi airport is also being developed into an aerotropolis (dunno who invented that word!). Today’s airport has gone way beyond being just a transportation hub where you start, end or transfer through a journey. In addition to a variety of food and drink joints, airports now offer shopping malls, business centers, executive lounges, prayer rooms (recently a sikh prayer room was approved at JFK airport), entertainment options and above all Wi-Fi internet connectivity. Wi-Fi connectivity varies from monthly accounts of $40 that can be used worldwide, to $30 for US domestic usage, to 24-hour pay-as-you-go for prices ranging from $2.5 (Rs. 100 at Delhi’s IGI) to $7 (Chicago’s O’Hare, London Heathrow and many others). Internet access coupled with the increasing use of cellphones and availability of roaming features instantly convert any airport gate to an office room. This has increased the usefulness of the waiting time at airport, especially for connecting flights. The airlines can leverage this by keeping greater connection times between flights (without losing customers) while optimizing their own operations. Better optimization would result in lower prices which would keep customers happy. The usefulness of connecting time assumes greater importance for international travel where the connecting times vary from 2-8 hours. After a quick wrap for dinner, a finished report and this post, it’s only 30 minutes to go …