Sunday, August 31, 2008

Bihar Flood Relief: How can you help?

Important: This post is being updated regularly. If you have any useful information please send it to me and I will put it up here.

If you want to help Bihar Flood Victims, here is some useful information.

I mailed Flood Help Desk by Hindustan Times Patna and this is the transcript of their reply:

Donations to CM Relief Fund:
1) You can do online transfer to the account of Chief Minister Relief Fund
SBI, Secretariat Branch, Patna
ACCOUNT NO- 10839124928

3) Demand Draft & Cheque can be made in the name of Chief Minister Relief Fund (Payable at Patna.)

Send it to:
Chief Minister Relief Fund,
c/o Chief Minister Secreteriat,
4 Deshratna Marg,

Donating essentials like Polythene sheets , Tents, clothes etc.

For Patna people:
* You can call to Apada Prabandan Vibhag Control Room. Phone Numbers: 0612-2217305, 2215027, 6452572
* You can give your things to Red Cross society, which is engaged in helping the flood victims.
* You can contact the Deputy Collector Mr. Parvez Alam on (9431185767).

For Delhi and NCR people: Contact Bihar Bhawan (011-23010147) to find out more information on essentials collection drive going on there.

You can also donate to:
Other Links: Bihar Flood Relief - 2008

Specific Requests from Ground Zero

1. Medicines required urgently
Dr. Kalpana Shashri(09430830986) is working actively for relief of women in flood affected areas. She urgently needs these medicines:

1. Gention Violet Powder form - for fungus infection for women
2. Micostetin Veginal Tablet - for uterus infection
3. Metronidezone and Furozolidone - for diarrhea and dysentri(check spelling!)
4. Vitamin A

and Large amounts of plastic sheets (thick ones).

This material is urgently needed. For address to send material etc. please contact Dr. Kalpana Shashtri.

2. Volunteer doctors needed

Sreedevi a volunteer with AID India, Mumbai requests volunteer doctors for working in Bihar with other AID volunteers. Please contact her at 022-67120122 or 09967712384.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

When I am too lazy to write!

Ankur's status message: Stop judging me
My status message: I am choosy. I love 'Pink' Floyd!

Ankur pings me: No, you are old. You love Pink Floyd.
I ping Ankur: Stop judging me!

Ankur says: :)
I say: :)

Friday, August 15, 2008

Movie Review: Bachna Ae Haseeno

(Originally written and first published on Please see the original article here)

Now this is a quintessential Yashraj Film. Because even though most of the story may unfold in Switzerland (Yash Chopra discovered it for Indian cinema), Italy and Australia, the film is not complete without a bhangra in saada Punjab. There are three beautiful women and there is plenty of talk about love. OK, if all that doesn’t convince you then there is plenty of DDLJ too! Now if THAT doesn’t make a film a ‘Yashraj Film’, then what on earth will?

Let’s get one fact very clear in the beginning itself. This is not the greatest YRF movie, but it may be sufficient to get them their first hit of this year. The premise of this story is remarkably interesting: commitment-shy guy meets three different girls in different stages of life, dumps two of them, gets dumped by the third and then sets the things right for the first two. (Yeah, someone was watching ‘Devil Wears Prada’ too!)

It really could have been cracker of a movie. The story has brains (In the age of ‘Singh is Kinng’ this factor sure comes as a relief!), director Siddharth Anand has got a trademark wit and style,screenplay (Devika Bhagat) almost consistently maintains a standard, dialogues (Anvita Dutt Guptan) retain their humor till the very end and acting too is certainly good.

The problem is “out of sight out of mind”. The film doesn’t stay with you when you walk out of the hall. There are no moments that you will recount with friends and laugh. There are good moments when you feel good for the characters but only for that pearticular moment. No, you are not planning to watch it again!

But that’s not bad as it is two and a half hours of entertaining cinema. If you can’t afford to go on a world tour, watch hindi films. Last week ‘Singh is Kinng’ gave us a free trip to Egypt and Australia, this one throws in Switzerland and Italy too. Sunil Patel’s cinematography is surely top notch! Vishal-Shekhar’s music is good but they have done better job with the background score. After a very long time I have liked the music of a Yashraj Film. (The last time I liked the music was ‘Chak De! India’).
Ok, now you want to know who is the best among the girls? Tough one. I already rank Minnisha Lamba as good and versatilt actress and she shows why. Be it the bubbly romantic Mahi waiting for her Raj or Mrs. Ahluwalia, she lights up the screen. Bipasha Basu has already said that she feels like ‘Big B’ being the ’seniormost actor’ in the crew, so how can Big B go wrong! But for me, the most ‘improved performance’ is that of Deepika Padukone. She gives a super confident performance and mind this is just her second film!
And second film this is for Ranbir Kapoor as well. This guys shows why he is touted as one of the best newcomers. His character spans across ages and his acting does justice to all of them.

But there is one surprise element. This guy playing Mr. Ahluwalia has delivered a knock out (pun intended!) performance. Believe me, he totally eclipses Ranbir when he is on screen, he looks and acts so good. I am not telling you his name, I don’t want to reveal the biggest secret of this film.
So, how is it? As I said, it’s not great, but it has got its heart and it is entertaining. So an average rating of 2.5 stars. This is your best bet in cinemas this weekend!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

News Television Awards 2008

I am an avid watcher of happennings in news media and so when the season's first awards for news television were given I was watching them closely. Here is my 'analysis' of this year's News Television Awards given by

(Complete list of winners here)

A look at award categories makes you wonder why we have got so many variants of 'Best Channel' awards. There are three kind of best channels if you please:
> Most Popular (Hindi/English) News Channel
> Numero Uno (Hindi/English/Business) News Channel
> Best News Channel (Critics' Choice) - (Hindi/English/Business)

Can someone please explain to me what is meant by Critics' Choice awards for news television? Is News TV a cinematic experience that is appreciated differently by different people hence difference between jury's and critics' choice?

And why are 'Most Popular' channels being awarded? Are they not making enough advertising revenue by flashing their TAM Ratings. (If you didn't know, this award was actually based on TAM ratings!) And that is making even more confused. Times Now keeps on showing off higher TAM rating than NDTV 24x7 and CNN-IBN then why was NDTV 24x7 and not Times Now given the 'Most Popular English News Channel' award? (Was it because Times channel was to be conferred with Best News Channel (Critics' Choice) English award?). 'Aaj Tak' was most popular hindi news channel.

Whatever is meant by 'Numero Uno' channel, CNN-IBN and NDTV India won in english and hindi categories respectively. Modesty is one factor that you should not associate with CNN-IBN. A day after their victory, the news headline on their site was: 'Deja vĂș:, CNN-IBN win NT awards again '. Ohh such arrogance! NDTV India was sober as always in their celebration.

But what was most surprising was that three channels shared Numero Uno business channel: NDTV Profit, CNBC TV18 (which also won critics' choice award for best business channel) and CNBC Awaz!

Overall NDTV channels won 25 of the 47 awards and Network 18 channels won 21 (why was news scroller on CNN-IBN claiming that Network 18 has won maximum awards?). UTVi, News X and Voice Of India were chosen as the channels to watch out for in the coming year.
Shekhar Suman managed to get Star News on the tally being best anchor for an entertainment show. Zee News anchor Romana Issar got 'The Indiantelevision.Com Editor's Special Award for Excellence as an Anchor'.

Talking about Hindi channels, NDTV India eclipsed every other channel in programming as well as anchors. It won 13 awards far ahead of Aaj Tak (4), IBN 7(3), Star News (1) and Zee News (1).

Among English channels CNN-IBN(11) lead the pack followed by NDTV 24x7 (8) and Times Now(1) . NDTV Profit (4) won the contest against CNBC-TV18(3) and CNBC Awaz (3) in the business channel arena.

While it was heartening to see the only hindi 'news' channel win really big, I felt the english awards being a tool for appeasing everyone! Let's hope that winners prove themselves worthy of awards and runners up give them a run for their money in coming year, because a good media is good for everyone.

Friday, August 08, 2008

The moment. Found and Lost!

Some moments turn themselves into such sweet, romantic (without anyone to romance, in my case!) and peaceful

Looking at rosiehardy's photostream on Flickr and listening to Israel Kamakawiwo'ole ('Somewhere over the rainbow') I felt strangely at peace! Maybe it's romance in Rosie and Aaron's photos (they are a 'Flickr couple' and their story is oooh so romantic!) or the soothing voice of Israel or a beautiful wet saturday morning when I got a well deserved and highly cherished personal time... whatever.

This feeling is very similar to the one when I sat on Ooty platform reading Mark Tully's 'India in Slow Motion'.

And then Ami switches on the TV and that moment is lost.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

It's up and running!

Yeah...seems submitting that bx- error helped!

Ladies and Gentlemen! Presenting a new look 'Journey of a Thousand Miles' v2.0 (beta). There are still some rough edges which I have to iron out, but hope you like the new look. Please send me your comments and suggestions.

Image: Snapshot of my first ever blog post dated 2nd March 2005, dedicated to God himself!

Sunday, August 03, 2008

How Blogger maimed my blog

You see the new look of this blog, a much stripped down version of its former glorious self (ok, atleast I thought so!). Denuded of all its widgets, links and images it makes me shed copious tears everytime I see it.

This is because someone (or some many) at Blogger care a damn for users. This is what happened:
I wanted to change the looks of my blog from quite sometime and though I knew it is not going to be as easy as in Wordpress, I still searched for a good template and decided to upload it. I downloaded the existing template and uploaded the XML file of the new template. I was shown the list of widgets that would be deleted. When I press 'Confirm and Save' I get an error telling me that something wrong has happened and my action can not be completed at this moment. An error code is shown (in unusually large font!) bX-xdmtya and other blog specific details and I am told to report it to Blogger support or the Blogger Support Google Group.

Have you ever reported an error to Google? There doesn't seem to be a straightforward path for doing that. On this 'Blogger Help Group' people post their problems and if you are lucky then you can find some solution to your problem otherwise your problem becomes a part of the heap, which it seems mine has become. After more frantic searching I found a link for reporting the bx error codes. Here is the link

I don't know what to do about my lost widgets. Will try to figure out something very soon!