Wednesday, June 11, 2014

A Midsummer Night's Tale

Your topic for "Just  A Minute" is -the Football world cup. Your time starts now.

1. Pele-Maradona, Brazil-Argentina. Choose your poison and stick to it.

2. Extreme heat, we're talking 40C+ & humidity making sauna-tionalists feel at home

3. Late, very late night games as India's time zone is not on friendly terms with any country that dares to host the tournament

4. Inconspicuous, esoteric nations only found on maps coming to life

5. Endless World cup history and trivia

6.  Mom coming to the TV room at least once a night, checking on the score, before going for a quick shower to beat the heat

7. The sound of excited commentators wafting through the neighbourhood at unearthly hours

8. World Cup special magazines, read cover to cover, twice over

9. Dreams of becoming a journalist with The Telegraph to cover a World Cup at some point

10. The guarnateed load shedding (power cut) at least once during the game. Usually perfectly timed with the only goal scored

11. Discussing that tackle and that dribble during lunch break at school the next day

12. Newspaper clippings of the black and white pictures from the match played two nights back

13. Dad joining Quarter Finals onwards. Though it took the Semi-Finals and beyond to keep him alert after the half time whistle.

14. The secondary citizenship of a random country of our choice for those 30 odd days

15. The ultimate adulation and jubilation of your team lifting the trophy, or the heartbreak of the other team doing so.

The inevitable feeling of emptiness after Doordarshan (Indian national television channel) aired the final commercial. The beginning of the next four year wait. 

That wait ends today. Let the celebrations begin!

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Mealster - Review

[Updated with comments from Rohit, the founder]

Amazon's headquarter in Seattle's South Lake Union has a fairly large employee base, and surprisingly these people get collectively hungry right about noon time. To tackle this unusual problem there are cafes, restaurants, and food trucks dotting the area. However, demand seems to grossly outweigh supply, especially during the peak period of 12:00 -12:30 PM. Add to this the occasional lunch time meetings and the constant companion - Seattle rains. This gives rise to a demand for lunch delivered to your desk. Although this had been acknowledged for a while by one and all, it took sometime for a bunch of enterprising guys to come up with a business plan. 

Introducing Mealster. I'll let them explain how it works directly.

Fairly simple. And comparatively affordable, as for the same ~$10 price (inclusive of tips, taxes and delivery) you get food truck fare, usually less filling than the restaurant fare Mealster has been offering.

I tried them out for the first time today. Sign up and checkout was a breeze, you can use all sorts of cards and Paypal. Here's a snapshot of their menu for this week.

Meat option

Veg Option

And here's how it actually looked. If you have a 3D printer feel free to download a plate.


  • convenient
  • affordable (comparatively)
  • filling
  • tasty
  • healthy (I'd like to believe!)

  • need to warm the food as it can get slightly cold
Rohit: This seems like a hard / external problem to solve (e.g. esp in case of cold weather etc.). I would to add that the containers are microwaveable (and ecofriendly), so one can take out the raita and heat the container/food for 1 minute in the microwave (ease of reheating). We will try to look into options of having warmer bags that are used to carry the food boxes.
  • no specific time mentioned (between 12-1 PM)
Rohit: Great point. We are planning to come up w a delivery window for each building (based on our delivery route). We will keep our subscribers informed about updates via our mailing list and website.
  • lack of options as of now (tie up with only 2 restaurant - Chutneys and Sichuianese Cuisine)
Rohit: We are working to onboard new restaurants on a weekly basis, for the next few weeks. We will keep our subscribers informed about updates via our mailing list and website.
  • flight food packing feel and flimsy plasticware
Rohit: I have passed along this feedback to Nitin, the owner of Chutneys. They will be looking into better options.

Will recommend giving these guys a try.

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Movies Roundup 2013

And we've come to the end of yet another year and time to look back at what the silver screen had to offer. Saw a fair number of movies, and like in 2009, 2010, 2011, & 2012 made a quick note of initial thoughts and a rating on 10, purely on how much I enjoyed it. As always, very keen to hear your thoughts and exchange some notes. Welcome 2014 and let the show go on!

Let's start with the usual stats:

Year     # Seen Hindi:English:Bangla   Top Rating      Avg. Rating
2007     32               22:10:0                           9.0             5.78
2008     30               23:7:0                             8.5             6.35
2009     24               18:6:0                             9.0             6.85
2010     25               16:9:0                             8.5             6.62
2011     22               15:6:1                             8.5             6.77
2012     28               12:11:5                           9.0             7.33
2013     28               14:14:0                           9.0             7.12

Top honours go to (only movies watched in theatres):           

5. Gravity

4. Madras Cafe

3. The Impossible

2. Raanjhanaa

1. Prisoners  

All images courtesy of Wikipedia

Below you will find the detailed tweet reviews with links to original tweets, and also the Google Document with the completed data (the ones with the asterisk* were seen at home)

The Impossible - Makes you wince, grimace & hope as a family encounters one of history's worst tragedies. Outstanding performances. 8.5/10
Vishwaroop - Just another Islamic terrorism movie with a fake OBL. Couldn't get what the fuss was all about. Shabby but thrilling. 6/10.
Matru Ki Bijli Ka Mandola - Yet to make up my mind about this, 5 days after watching it. Pankaj Kapur brilliant, storyline shaky. 7/10.
Zero Dark Thirty - Starts slow and a tad long at 2.5 hrs but a brilliant hour long build up and climax. Perfect blend of facts & drama. 8/10
Silver Linings Playbook - Serious cinema meets romantic comedy propped by powerhouse performances & strong script. With a RNBDJ twist:) 7/10
Beasts of the Southern Wildfantasy, heartbreak & hope packed in 90 minutes of brilliance. Quven is the best 6 year old you'll see. 8.5/10.
The Attacks of 26/11 - A horrifying & spine chilling cinematic depiction. -ves being the "filmy" OTT Kasab & Nana's preachy monologue. 7/10.
Go, Goa, Gone - macabre, absurd, slapstick but hilarious. One of the rare instances of a real 'hatke', with a message not overdone. 7.5/10
The Great Gatsby - The classic comes to life, with full justice to the grandeur and reverie of '20s America. A+ performances all round. 8/10
Yeh Jawani Hai Deewani - classic feel good, urban, Bollywood romantic comedy. Predictable, good looking and definitely watchable. 7/10.
Iron Man 3 - remains the funniest, most human superhero franchise. Never seen before scale. Ben Kingsley brilliant, as is RD Jr. 7.5/10
The Internship - Almost looked like Google's best marketing/recruiting material! Greatest tribute paid to a company. Proud. Nostalgic. 6/10.
Now You See Me - Hollywood's answer to Abbas-Mustan. Grand twists & suspension of disbelief, massive scale. Thoroughly entertaining. 7/10.
Raanjhnaa - Unconventional & heartwarming. Superb performances by Dhanush, SK & others. Strong story, iffy end, brilliant music. Watch. 8.5/10
Man of Steel - A good thing overdone, with the focus on style rather than substance. Not much of a plot but superb action sequences. 6/10.
Lootera - breathtaking, picturesque cinematography. Music that stays with you. Promising storyline that failed to deliver in the end. 6.5/10
Chennai Express - Unpretentious Bollywood (besides an out-of-place sermon), stretched climax, SRK recreating '90s humour & charm. 7.5/10.
Madras Cafe - A rare political thriller. Taut story-line backed by research. Brilliant camerawork. Solid performances by ensemble cast. 8.5/10
Prisoners - frightening & thrilling, you root for the characters & argue right vs wrong. Marvellous story telling, sounds & visuals. 9/10
Gravity - the greatest movie experience I've seen. Average storyline, consistent acting & extraordinary visuals, especially in IMAX 3D. 8.5/10
Captain Phillips- A tense drama, with power performances by Hanks, Barkhad Abdi & team. Bit stretched. Remains true to the incident. 7.5/10
Hunger Games: Catching Fire - Remains true to the series style & theme. Ups the emotional content. Jen shines yet again. Abrupt end. 6.5/10
Dhoom 3 - Aamir Khan's 1st "so-bad-that-it's-good" movie since Mela. Script's as weak as a kitten but some thrilling action scenes. 4.5/10
The Wolf of Wall Street - Stylish, hilarious, & takes its R rating seriously. Reminiscent of Great Gatsby. 1 hour too long. Do watch. 7.5/10