Archive for February, 2010

Gym Class Zeroes: 5 Dudes That You Need To Steer Clear Of


Anyone who works out at the local gym knows this. There are 5 kinds of dudes at every gym. You can hate them, despise them but you can never ignore them.

Zero Number One: The “I don’t need to hit the gym, but I want everyone to drool at the well-sculpted body of mine when I wear my body hugging tee” dude

This guy wont stop until he’s sure everyone in the gym has noticed him. He’ll walk around for no apparent reason, will do crunches in odd places, and will pour water on himself as if he’s been walking barefoot for miles in some desert. He’ll make weird faces while doing push ups, weird noises while doing dumbbells and will even try to give you fitness advice. He’ll even lesson you on various techniques and will try to correct you in almost every exercise you do. Overall, Zero number one is one to be avoided at all costs if you want to leave the gym with your self esteem in one piece.

Zero Number Two: The “I can and will beat your calorie burnt count on every machine that you use” dude

This dude is downright scary. He’ll chase you throughout your gym routine trying to go one up on everything you do. You manage 50 crunches, he’ll do 51. You burn 100 calories on the mill, he’ll push himself until he almost passes out but will still beat you. And when he absolutely cannot beat you, he’ll give you that look of absolute loathing and you’ll wish that you were never born at all.

Zero Number Three: The “I don’t know how I got here and I have no idea what any machine here does” dude

This guy looks as nervous as Bambi learning to stand up. He’ll sweat without working out, will avoid large electronic machines for fear of being electrocuted and will ask you awkward questions like “Sweat conducts electricity, doesn’t it?”. He’s most probably in the gym because his girlfriend or his parents told him to go, or was tricked by a friend who most cruelly told him that working out was “fun”.

Zero Number Four: The “Huh! This gym has no equipment. I’ve been to loads of  gyms and this one is the worst” dude

Even though he has a belly and visibly looks overweight, this guy will boast that he has been to every gym in town as if it were a matter of great pride and valor. He’ll sneer at everything in the gym, narrating stories of how well equipped other gyms in the town were. He’s also the most talkative dude in the gym and wont stop until you’ve heard him talk about XYZ gym at ABC street for the hundredth time. You will also be surprised to find out that he has still subscribed for your gym for the rest of the year.

Zero Number Five: The “Dude how did you do that!” dude

This dude will actually make you feel good about yourself even though you weigh about the same as a hippo on a McDonald’s diet. He’ll ask for tips to improve his routine even though he’s actually not that overweight. He’ll treat you like his personal trainer and will ask you to supervise all his exercises which you will happily agree to do. He’s also the most cheerful person in the gym. He’ll never miss a day and will expect the same from you. He thinks you define the word Fitness and will revere you so much so that you’ll wonder if he’s hitting on your sister or hoping to get laid with your girlfriend.

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Kandisa – Yesterday,Today, Forever


Kandisa

“Kandisa Alahaye, Kandisa Esana Kandisa Alahaye, Kandisa Esana

Aalam Balam Aalam, Aamenu Aamen

Sliha Mar Yose, Almaduba Kudisa

Aangen Dhanusa, Nehave Dukharana


Aalam Balam Aalam, Aamenu Aamen

Sliha Mar Yose, Almaduba Kudisa

Aangen Dhanusa, Nehave Dukharana

Kandisa Alaha, Kandisa Esana,

Kandisa La Ma Yosa Isaraha Malem”

What is fact, is always beyond fiction. What is truth- is beyond resurrection. The pundits today take a surprising spritual turn. Not out of compulsion, or misery,no. It was the omnipresent symphony within the melancholy, the voices – the sheer resplendence within it.

One must have heard of Indian Ocean – a name synonymous with college fests throughout the country. The band has taken the country by storm, and has been riding the waves of fame since the early 1990’s. Their unique blend of rock with indo-centric tunes, give them a very subtle and soulful appeal. I was lured into this song through another album of the “Bandeh” fame.

The jive within their voices made this pundit yearn for more. The next step was procuring the album – Kandisa. I was startled from the early softness and mellowness. The language was Greek to me. But as the saying goes- Music has always triumphed over barriers of language. The percussion followed – very steady, yet soft. The guitars were beyond comprehension – hats off to Susmit Sen and Rahul Ram.

Kandisa was much more than an engineering college fest anthem as I found out after further reading. It is an ancient prayer in Aramic- a language that traces its roots from the Babylonian yore. It kicks off with an invocation to the Strong Powerful one above- at whose feet one falls humbly. This actually lays solid ground to the fact that civilizations have shared an eternal bond with God. He has forever been the powerful one – across all faiths and religions. The prayer proceeds stating that this fact shall forever be in memory. And so it has for thousands of years.

The prayer concludes with a simple invocation of the Holy immortal One to be merciful. The prayer may be a simple invocation. But as humans, i forever wonder as a mute spectator- have we not modified this wisdom to suit our devilish needs. The requirement of a recent Indian film requiring the defence of a certain faith in very fragile fabric of our contemporary, is a brute hypocrisy of how high our society has sunk to has sunk to. Kandisa may be a mere invocation- but the truths that lay interwoven within its syllables- carries its burden of communal tolerance and harmony.

Some have gone on to ridicule Indian Ocean for having defaced the original syllables of the incantation. However, the passive pundits here not only congratulate them but see them as Pundits within their own right. Messengers of God – is what suits them better. Kandisa, just like Aramic might have been reduced to the sands of time. However, its discovery in benevolent tunes – sung to the greater glory of mankind; is what will keep it aliver for eternity.

Percy Jackson And The Olympians: The Lowdown On The Latest Fantasy Adventure


Joining the ranks of fantasy adventure movies like The Golden Compass, Harry Potter and The Chronicles of Narnia is the latest: Chris Columbus’s , Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief. It’s based on the first of the series of 5 books written by author Rick Riordan.

The Movie

Unfortunately for Indian audiences the movie isn’t scheduled to release in India any time soon and since the Pundits have reluctantly agreed not to encourage piracy hence we wont be providing any torrent  links for you here (but we also do believe that our readers are capable enough of searching popular torrent sites themselves!) What we CAN do for you is give you a lowdown on a couple of important characters and other stuff so that you don’t feel lost during the movie (as can happen in any book-adapted movie).

Demi-god: A demi-god or a half-blood as they’re more commonly known, are children of the gods themselves. Yes, apparently gods too sometimes feel the urge to come down to Earth for some frolicking with mortal females. Our lead character Percy Jackson is a half-blood himself, his dad- The lord of the Seas, Poseidon. Half-bloods inherit powers of their parents so Percy can breathe underwater, can talk to horses (creations of his father) and can cause seas to rise by his will.

Satyr: Satyrs are protectors of Half-bloods, they seek out potential half-bloods from human schools and lead them to their home at Camp Half-blood. Satyrs have an acute sense of smell and can recognize danger from quite a distance away. They look like normal humans but below the waist they have the body of a goat with hooves, fur etc.

Gods: Immortal, Cool and Greek. The Gods and Goddesses from Greek Mythology are all real here. Apollo, the Haiku writing, Maserati driving, God of the Sun; Aphrodite, the beautiful, enchanting, Goddess of Love; Ares, the ever deceptive, Harley riding, God of War. Other gods include Dionysis (Mr.D as he’s known, and more commonly called ” The Wine dude”), Artemis, Hephaestus, Hermes etc. The all important gods, though, are collectively known as the Big Three. Zeus, the Lord of the Sky, Poseidon, the Lord of the Seas and Hades, the Lord of the Underworld.

Olympus:  Known as the Home of the Gods, it’s where the big three are most likely to be found and where the annual meeting of the gods takes place every summer solstice. Its location apparently changes as the power in the world shifts. Currently above the Empire State Building, although noone knows how!

The Lightning Bolt:  The object of intense interest in the first book is also the most powerful weapon ever created. Wielded by the King of the Gods, Zeus, it can cause unimaginable destruction if in the wrong hands.

Kronos: The evil Titan lord who was blown to bits and cast into the depths of Tartarus by his own sons i.e the gods Zeus, Poseidon and Hades. Even though hardly alive, the deceitful Titan continues to act but through the actions of Half-bloods, guiding them through dreams so that one day he may rise again.

Monsters: Every Half-blood’s nightmare, Monsters can smell the scent of Half-bloods and are driven to them by nature. These include Minotaurs, Furies, Nemean Lions etc. They can never be killed but instead turn to dust and reappear unharmed, years or sometimes decades later too.

Anaklusmos (a.k.a Riptide): Percy Jackson’s ubercool sword which can kill Monsters but cannot harm mortal humans. Made of celestial bronze and disguised to look like an ordinary pen, it can magically return to Percy if he ever loses it.

Medusa: Played by Uma Thurman, she’s the famed monster seductress whose look can turn anyone to stone. Punished by the Goddess Athena to have serpents instead of hair, she’s the basic definition of the word Evil. Sneak A Peek!

A fun adventure movie with a few twists and quite a bit of comedy too. As if Uma Thurman as Medusa wasn’t enough, its also got Peirce Brosnan as the Centaur Chiron. The Pundits believe that this is one not to be missed.

Riders Of The Storm: The IIIT Rock Show Reviewed


Its not everyday that one of the most recognizable Indian bands in the world comes down to Hyderabad for a gig. So when I heard that Motherjane was going to headline the rock show at IIIT’s fest “Felicity 2k10”, I didn’t need a second invitation.

The show was supposed to begin at 7 PM “sharp”, but as things go here there was an “unavoidable” one and a half hour delay and by the time each competing band for the Battle of the Bands event was done with their sound checks, we had already finished our can of Coke and were on the brink of our You Suck chants. Fortunately though the first band “Almost September” did eventually take the stage and belted out the Porcupine Tree hit “Blackest Eyes” followed by a few of their original compositions which I must say were very well written and played. The crowd too swayed to the reps of “Frieda come take me away!” suggesting the growing popularity of this open-genre band.

Metal ruled the roost for most of the remainder of the show with bands covering Iron Maiden, Metallica et al. A special mention of the band Anarchy whose covers of “Fear of the Dark” and “Noble Eyes” really pepped up the crowd and had them asking for more. Other bands who competed were Cerebral Assasins and Skrypt, about whom I cannot comment much because I never did and never will understand Death Metal. But yes there was this chick guitarist who seemed to be hitting all the right notes both with her instruments and with the crowd too!

The local bands of the college Apotheosys and Karmic Blend (If I’m not wrong) also did their one song performances but the crowd seemed to agree that they would rather they hadn’t! One of them covered Rage Against The Machine’s “Killing in the name of” so horribly that at one point the vocalist was squealing so bad that it seemed like he was about to give birth or puke, or both at once. The second band who had…. wait for it… a male-female duo of vocalists, were a little more kind to the crowd when they covered “Sweet Child O’ Mine”, but it had little to do with their music though I must say!

Cut to 11:30 PM and it was Motherjane’s turn to turn up the volume. What took me by surprise was the fact that their arrival was preceded by a well organized, almost perfect drill by the roadie crew. A sign of  their growing reputation as a global yet Indian band. Then when the half painted faces of the 5-piece band did come into view, the crowd went berserk. The band played their most famous songs from their hit album “Maktub”. Songs like “Mindstreet”, “Chasing the Sun”, “Blood in the apple” and quite possibly  their greatest hit yet, “Fields of Sound”. Interspersed in between was a beautiful guitar solo of the Indian patriotic song “Vande Mataram” which left the crowd in complete awe of their unmatchable genius. Their new single on the topic Peace, as given to each representative band of a country by Amnesty International, was also well received.The insanely rhythmic yet Indian riffs of Baiju and Deepu, the hard and well rounded bass notes of Clyde, the heart thumping drumming of John and the melodic yet rockworthy vocals of Suraj, left the crowd in a trance as we swayed and headbanged into the night. The sore throat and the pain in the neck that followed the next day was completely worth the experience and even though this was my second time watching them live, I cannot wait to hear them again and be rocked by the phenomenon that is Motherjane.

(For complete set of pics: http://www.flickr.com/photos/omkarparkhi/sets/72157623477270362/show/

Credits: Omar Parkhi)

Up the Ganges – towards Rudraprayag


“The caress of the silken zephyr, enchanted the senses.
The enchantress blowing forever downstream,
the mighty vales giving her shelter, path and guidance;
over the Turquoise waters-shimmering in symphony.”

– from ‘Up the Ganges’ by RS

The ostracized senses were one again aching for some calm. And lo, it did transpire. The stage was set for a trip up to  Rudraprayag, a remote part of India up in the highlands of Uttarakhand.  The roads forever tested our patience as we glided our way along NH-58 which followed the course of the river Ganges. Precipitous drops, steep inclines and  ravines irked our nonchalant spirits throughout.

The adventurer in us never died down, forever there to lead and march forth- forever onward. We realized en-route that our Geography textbooks were indeed right- “the higher we go the colder it is”. The ascendancy towards the clouds was a frenetic experience – each metre higher was another step  closer to the peripheries of civilization. The vegetation had a marked transition from dense forest groves near Rishikesh to that of scrubs and pines in the higher altitudes. The road up the river valley brought us to our first stop – Devprayag.

Devprayag – is a little town nestled in the hills of Pauri Garhwal. What makes it all more important is the fact that it is the confluence of the Rivers Bhagirathi and Alaknanda. Thus, the physical birth of the Ganges occurs here, and then makes its onward torrentious run down to the Indian plains. From a point strategically perched upon a nearby ravine, one can be witness to the confluence – apparently two sisters in a tight embrace. Each sister river has a color of its own- thereby adding more beauty to the spectacle.

From Devprayag – the road ran up higher into the hills, chartering a serpentine run about the river Alaknanda. An hours drive away, one came to a the quaint little town of Srinagar. The chilly evening did really catch us unawares. Our destination was still another hour away!! We had never made our way through such an infinitesimally desolate piece of highway. It was apparent that the next soul was incontestibly, hundreds of kilometres away!

Dusk loomed large. At near nightfall, did we catch a glimpse of our destination – another confluence. This time, it was Rudraprayag – the sacred confluence of the Alaknanda and the Mandakini;. From here, the roads bifuracated to Kedarnath and Badrinath – two of the holiest shrines in the country. A tunnel was situated towards the end of town, the darkness of which enticed us ever further. Being intelligent adventurers, we knew that ship has charted its course and our trip had come full circle.  Perhaps, fate intended us further for a later date – who knew when.

The Celebrity, The Sneak, And The Betrayal


What do Elin Woods, Toni Terry and Cheryl Cole have in common, apart from fancy names and burgeoning bank accounts? To put it mildly, each of them were betrayed by their celebrity husbands, in one ingenious way or another.

While Tiger Woods took to affairs with nightclub managers and cocktail waitresses, John Terry revolutionized the meaning of “team work” after his escapades with Vanessa Perroncel, the former girlfriend of Wayne Bridge, his former Chelsea and current England teammate. Ashley Cole, though, was miles ahead of  the game. He allegedly cheated on Cheryl, the Girls Aloud singer, with five women during their marriage! Can you blame the men though? They’ve got the money, they’ve got the looks and what logically follows are bimbos and affairs!

The pundits believe that these women should rake in the media moolah while they can and when the interest dies out demand huge sums as alimony, as the drill generally goes. And people please stop feeling bad for them. Sure they’ve had their “hearts broken” but I wouldn’t be surprised if they’re already planning their move, if you know what I mean!