Safe Travels.

Long time, no see.

Brother where art thou be?

A lot happened during this year (just like every other year). Quite incredible then that I write this 360 days after my last update. The world has been up to its mad usual self, and I’ve marched on like Hercule Poirot on an icy Tuesday night. (I just coined that reference. I might not be legit at all). I got a job, moved into a nice house and bought a Honda. However, the highlight has to be travel.

  • 2014 started in NYC (which is not my current abode, since I’m now based out of Boston)
  • I traveled to India in the summer. In India, there were trips between Mumbai, Pune and Bangalore
  • Later in May, my travels took me to Istanbul in Turkey and Athens in Greece
  • Countless trips to New Hampshire
  • Heck, even work is a 25 mile one-way commute every day

In the spirit then, the next twenty odd days will see me making trips to South Florida and DC. I’m especially excited about my first Florida vacation – as a single explorer – where I’ll be staying with an extremely nice couple I found on airbnb, near Hollywood beach. In addition to the Ft. Lauderdale area, I’ll be visiting Miami, and at least the Palm Beach or the Keys. The trip to DC arises out of enrollment in the “Washington Seminar Program” – which is (hopefully just) a conference structured administrative program. The reason I signed up was that it’s basically 3 credits at the price of one-and-half.

Re. Florida: At first slightly apprehensive about traveling alone, someone remarked last night that I was twenty-six now (unbelievable) and needed to do this. I absolutely agree. Here’s my plan – I’ll be just like one of those backpacking tourists, ready to immerse in the surroundings, sprawled on the beach with a book and a drink, hitting random bars and partying with strangers. I should be okay, right? Anyway, I’ll be making a chronicle of how it goes, either here or on tumblr. Vines, videos, pictures. They’re all coming. Should I buy a monopod?

Books have been ordered by the way –

  • The wind-up bird chronicle, Haruki Murakami (I could never finish Kafka. Maybe I’ll find this more interesting)
  • Fodor’s South Florida 2015 travel guide (I did mention being “very” touristy?)

I’ll carry my copy of Animal Farm, just in case I magically get through those above within the five days. There’s also going to be a lot of planning (starting tomorrow). Maybe I should learn a language. A language would be fun.

Awesomeness comes naturally to those who’re too busy ignoring it

Until later then.


To be perceived super-cool, I’ll add some pictures from the summer now.

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Istanbul – Blue Mosque, Bosphorus and Baklava (lots)

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Athens – History, Beaches and Women 

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Football on Tele tonight


Not much to scribble on here tonight. The thing about major tournaments, and I will include –
1. FIFA World Cup
2. European Championships
3. Cricket World Cup
4. T20 World Cup
5. Indian Premier League
is that once they are underway, they do make for excellent entertainment for the evenings. The even better thing about them is that they all generally show up in successive years (of course the IPL is an annual competition). Hence, the European Championships in Poland & Ukraine have been occupying most of my evenings lately. I’m backing the fantastic German team to go on and win it, although defending champions Spain and France will surely have different ideas. Who are you supporting ?

Welcome home Robbie !

Roberto de Matteo has been appointed the permanent manager of Chelsea in a 2 year deal. Finally, common sense has prevailed. The guy won both the trophies that he could have with us during his short 11 week role last season; and it was outrageous that the club were considering the out-going manager of one of those he had defeated during the Champions League run – Guardiola, for the full-time job.

Robbie, as he’s fondly called by the fans, may not have a glorious history in football management, but he’s a Chelsea man through & through, having played for the club for more that  seasons before eventually retiring. In those five seasons, he was part of a team which sowed seeds for the unparalleled success of the next generation. He won 2 FA Cups, 1 UEFA Cup and a League Cup as a player, to add to his recent FA Cup & Champions League triumph. On twitter, I came across this very interesting tweet –

On a personal note, the thing I like best about Di Matteo is that he gets it. He understands Chelsea Football Club, the players, the fans.

This is exactly how I felt about Robbie too. Yes, we could have landed another high-profile, supposedly world-beating manager from across the continent, but no one could have had that link with Chelsea as Robbie has. He is a fan himself, has spent long hours in that Stamford Bridge dressing room, knows about the pressures of facing each different opposition and how much more the fans want triumph on a particular day than another (not to say we don’t want victory everyday). But most importantly, he is connected to those players, because he was once one of them. Of course, only probably JT was around when he was a player, but over the course of years, he’s got to know most of them pretty well.

His critics have pointed to his mediocre league form towards the end of the season. But its important to remember here, that of his 3 league defeats, the 2 against City (away) & Liverpool (away) were largely inconsequential since the team were heavily involved in its Cup double winning run. The only game where we probably should have played better was against Newcastle at home, when Papiss Cisse’s 2 moments of brilliance won the game for the visitors. But, then again, a victory on that night, with the results that followed, would have still only meant a 5th place finish, meaning Europa League football next season. Robbie, by winning the Champions League, ensured we play in the competition next season. If you had asked me, I would have happily taken that Premier League run-in to the end, knowing we were going to do the FA Cup & CL double.

We started the 2011-12 season with a new, young manager who had been appointed on the back of his Europa League and Portuguese League success, with an aim to build a new generation of players at the club. We all know how that worked out, but in 2012, we will start with another new, young manager appointed on the back of his Champions League success, only this time one who had won it for us !

Welcome home Robbie.

Apologies ‘Mr. Minister’

First of all, I’m not yet ready with the promised piece on architecture as a career option. However, in building the work, I have compiled a basic set of questions which I shall be covering –

1. Why should you choose architecture ?

2. How do you prepare for the various architecture exams during the formative (+2) years ?

3. What exams can you give for admission to the best colleges ?

4. What colleges can you choose, by cut-offs ?

5. And finally, which are the best rated architecture colleges in the country, according to both, students and employers ?

I hope it makes informative reading. I should confess, at this point, that I haven’t been able to go too far in my research as yet.

Now over to the day’s review. The highlight has to be Dibakar Banerjee’s Shanghai. I went into this movie with high expectations, but somehow it never really clicked with me.

Not for a moment, would I blame it on the performances by the cast. I thought Emraan (sir) was once again excellent, and Abhay Deol was a perfectionist as ever. Kalki Koechlin was once again on her ‘wacky’ act (which, although strong, has now started becoming repetitive and irritating). There was that imaginative camerawork and story-telling, but then it all just didn’t click. Why ? Because it was all just once too much. It was all that modern cinema in a story told too many times – about corrupt politicians, innocent rebels becoming victims, protagonists fighting for their rights and so on. Shanghai is slow-paced, and grows up on you so much so that by the end you just want it to end. I am a fan of this brand of movie-making, but I don’t accept redundancy easily, unless it has a spark about it.

I’d go for a 2/5 for Shanghai. I do recommend it as a one-time watch, especially for the great Farooq Sheikh

The evening ends here with a very well-deserved win for Croatia over Northern Ireland in the group C game of Euro 2012 at Poznan. The entire Croat squad really impressed me tonight, and with Spain’s draw against Italy earlier, I would really fancy them to make it to the quarter-finals.

Have a safe night everyone.

A miss and an eventful day

After a run of 20 straight nights of posting on the blog, I missed the one on Friday. I still intend to have 31 new posts in a month since that memorable night in Munich as a tribute to my European Champions Chelsea.

Today was another day of studying for the GMAT ( although as it turned out once again, only for a couple of hours ), some intense hours of tennis, and the Hell in the Cell UNO night. That last part might seem weird but we have a very competitive ( full of frequent scuffles ) UNO  battle going on in the house. Tonight’s epic battle ended in an unbelievable 4 way tie, with the defending champion DK retaining his title, after creating some of the most dramatic moments in the final games (yes, I was this (.) close ).

Confession Time – It has also been a  couple of days when I was successfully played by a girl after a long, very long time. Gracious in defeat. Payback awaits 😀

Tomorrow, I plan to do a piece on Architecture as a career option in India. I’ll try to keep it as informative as possible. Happy reading !

Ted Mosby – Architect !

Captain Planet

Captain Planet, He’s our hero; Gonna take pollution down to zero

 Watching Captain Planet team up with the Planeteers, fight against the perpetrators of environment crimes, is one of my most cherished childhood memories. Sadly, as it later dawned, Captain Planet existed only in the cartoons.

Now I’m not claiming to be an environmentalist here. In fact my habits would show I’m quite far from being one. But why I refer to this iconic planet-protecting superhero of my childhood this World Environment Day because he had a simple message for all of us – “When our powers combine, we can save the planet.” It is with this spirit that I can look into myself and realize I can make a difference.

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Saving the planet should not necessarily have to be about fighting pollution crimes. It begins with me – I can start with the basics, for eg. by using the air-conditioning judiciously; by applying proper waste disposal by using the correct bins for plastics and organics; by not letting the water run incessantly in the washroom. Its little things like these that will help bring about a larger change. We may not realize it yet, but the biggest challenges that lie ahead of us ( and in very near future ) are going to be those of sustainment and replenishing energy. Is it so difficult ?

It might be very little, but I convinced my flat-mates to keep the air-conditioning off tonight. In fact, its been a wonderful wind circulating through the house all evening.

Lets do our bit – Reduce, Replenish, Recycle. The power is yours.

(Picture courtsey Benprice )

That thing about girls

I’d simply go ahead and quote a little from Sallinger’s Catcher in the Rye tonight –

I was half in love with her by the time we sat down.  That’s the thing about girls.  Every time they do something pretty, even if they’re not much to look at, or even if they’re sort of stupid, you fall half in love with them, and then you never knowwhere the hell you are.  Girls.  Jesus Christ.  They can drive you crazy.  They really can.

There isn’t any night club in the world you can sit in for a long time unless you can at least buy some liquor and get drunk.  Or unless you’re with some girl that really knocks you out.

The trouble with girls is, if they like a boy, no matter how big a bastard he is, they’ll say he has an inferiority complex, and if they don’t like him, no matter how nice a guy he is, or how big an inferiority complex he has, they’ll say he’s conceited. Even smart girls do it.

If a girl looks swell when she meets you, who gives a damn if she’s late?  Nobody.

I mean most girls are so dumb and all.  After you neck them for a while, you can really watch them losing their brains.  You take a girl when she really gets passionate, she just hasn’t any brains.

It’s funny.  All you have to do is say something nobody understands and they’ll do practically anything you want them to.

Blog time

I have absolutely loved updating the blog regularly these past couple of weeks. As a result, I decided to do a little re-vamp. The new theme is called iTheme-2 (yes, it is supposedly based on Apple’s cool presentations). There is also an update in the Additional Reading page – a very interesting article on refreshing your blog; things that could basically light up the “blogging fire” again. As promised, I had also added a little piece on Responsible Drinking and related relevant information in the Causes section. I really appreciate all my readers (and everyone else who reads anything). The piece on my memories of summer vacations shall be titled “Garmi ki Chuttiyaan”. I mean to put it up here soon, just not been getting into the proper “feel” for it. Nothing more to add tonight. I will continue with Archer’s – Only time will tell. Happy Reading !

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That idiom literally translates to “To reform and begin again, a fresh start” and that is exactly how I feel about tonight. There had been far too many weekends, endless Saturday nights which had been wasted in a drunken haze, or as it was justified, in stress-busting. But this was a unique Saturday, one which hopefully signifies a change for the good.

To begin with, it was an early morning start. Believe me, that itself is a rarity, and I’m not talking only about the weekends, I usually start really late on all days, I really do. It was followed by a very useful couple of hours of studying for the upcoming GMAT. A massive three course “Marathi Thali” was for lunch. Now, I’m not a big fan of Marathi cuisine, but the food at Shreyas (here in Pune) was sufficiently satisfying for it to be mentioned here. Anyways, on my way back, I got into this discussion with my friend, on the pros and cons of getting an MBA degree; knowing that we were both of the consensus that eventually even an MBA would lead to a similar “White-collared labour” situation. He brought up the necessity for working on one’s own projects in order to break the shackles and as one thing led to another; I was discussing my father’s persistent habit of bringing up start-up ideas and then not really going anywhere with them. The stage where my dad would always give up would be at deciding names for the supposed website for his plans.

I had been discussing a couple of my “vices” sometime back. I guess another would have to be the fact that I’m usually very fickle. It’s like; I would suddenly have this great zeal for working towards something, and then another morning I could wake up, and be totally uninterested. I’ve always been like that, and maybe I get that from my dad. So here I was, fresh from this discussion on making my own way, and about how my father had always encouraged me at it, yet there was nothing to show from either of us. I came home, and started researching the various options for creating a website. I finally chose godaddy for the hosting. And so here I am tonight, the owner of my very first website – www.safalmantra.com Yes it is work in progress, but I really hope it works out.

My dad was really excited with the prospect of us finally getting started with something, and I would be talking more about the idea behind safalmantra in my coming posts. For now, let’s just say, it’s an honest attempt at helping the youth discover the best options towards a better tomorrow.

As promised, I will also be updating the Causes section highlighting the need for responsible drinking with a special mention of groups that have been actively working towards the same.

Happy reading !

Tomorrow – An adventure

This is just going to be a short piece as I’ve some stuff to finish working on before I call it a night. I have an early start tomorrow ( plan to wake up at 8 actually ) which is fair enough since I wake up late all week. Tomorrow, I look forward to starting off with something new; an adventure ( hard-work & adventures go hand in hand , don’t they? ). Also, I plan to keep this an alcohol-free weekend, and for good-measure I’ll be doing a piece on “Responsible drinking” in the causes section tomorrow. So, I’m hoping for a wonderful & enlightening tomorrow, are you ?