Sunday, March 26, 2006

Why Google won't give you driving directions in Mumbai

Because nobody knows what the street names are. Or which direction (E-W/N-S) they run. Everybody goes by these really absurd landmark-based instructions like "Turn left at the second signal after the big lotus shaped petrol* station". Sometimes the directions require prior knowledge: "Do you know where Lilavati Hospital is? Right. There's a church adjacent to it, across from which is a lane, with a bank on the left. Across the street from the bank is the building you want".

We're doomed. No matter how much research you put into it, I just don't think directions like "Make a u-turn after you pass the wall with the paan* stain that looks like the Virgin Mary" is something an algorithm can spit out.

*For my American readers^H: petrol=gasoline; paan=chewing tobacco;

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Thursday, March 23, 2006

Visiting India: Day 10

Oh this is just the most wonderful time in the world to be alcohol-deprived. I could drink of course, but with the medication I'm taking, it might mean sacrificing my eyesight.

Don't think I'm chicken though --- oh no!! I'm only complaining because it's the wrong sense; if I (at least temporarily) lost hearing instead of eyesight, I'd be inhaling the stuff.

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Air travel -- Indian style!

The bit that really amused Jayita and me as we were flying up to Delhi on Tuesday, was that the meal actually had this little dairy-creamer-sized container --- with achaar! (pickle). Even better, the after-meal "mint" was a little sachet of saunf. Compared to the "budget" airline services back at the republic, getting great service at the budget price was a pleasant change.

Unfortunately, Indian passengers seem to be the most boorish bunch of twits in the world. For some reason, the wheels touching down are an immediate call to unbuckle seatbelts. Before the plane has even come to a stop, our daisys (as a dear friend likes to call us) are already rummaging around in the overhead bins for their loot. And while actually leaving the plane, the idiots can't wait for you to remove your own bag before trying to squeeze past. I thought we were supposed to be a "patient people"? Jayita commented that it was sad that Indians now have the money for en masse air travel, but not the commensurate courtesy.

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Sunday, March 19, 2006

(Not Just) Jazz by the Bay

On Saturday, Keith (my cousin) calls up and says "Hey, do you want to come to a concert at JbtB this evening? We're performing." (I should mention he's a bassist). Of course, I jump at the chance since:
  1. It gets me out of the house.
  2. I get to listen to some good music.
  3. I'm going to be in one of the nicer clubs in Bombay surrounded by really hot women.
A most excellent evening. I got to hang out and chat with Gary Lawyer who was performing. I've never liked his original stuff, but he did some nice renditions of a couple of Frank Sinatra and Al Jarreau standards. And he seems to be quite a likeable guy. The evening eventually wound down at about 2am, by which time I was thoroughly exhausted.

Btw, Indian women do sizzle.

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Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Homesick for Hitler

The trouble with visiting a real democratic, secular nation is that the inmates actually expect one to be... well, democratic and secular. Dashed inconsiderate of them, I say. These problems are non-existent back in the good old republic. There one simply "exports democracy" because any fool can see that the less of the stuff one has in one's own country, the better.

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Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Visiting India: Day 1 (encore)

<deep breath>

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The Poet: Bill Evans

I've always regarded Bill Evans as my dream jazz pianist. The following quote from an article by Gene Lees sums up how I feel about his music:
Oscar Peterson raised the level of playing the piano in jazz to the proficiency long the norm in classical music. One musician made his apt observation: "It was said in their own time that Liszt conquered the piano, Chopin seduced it. Oscar is our Liszt and Bill is our Chopin." The poetry of Bill's playing compels the comparison to Chopin, whose music, incidentally, Bill played exquisitely.
...from the 1988 collection Meet Me at Jim and Andy's.

Visiting India: Day 1

Oh yeah. Now I remember why I chose to live on the other side of the planet.

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Friday, March 10, 2006

Visiting India

Sunday afternoon I fly off to India to visit the aging flesh-and-b. Jayita joins me there in a week. Watch this space for updates :)

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Sunday, March 05, 2006

NicNac, jazz, and a Coezy weekend

The Coeman was in town for the weekend. Spent Friday evening at Nacho's celebrating his engagement to the lovely Nicole. One can't have Coe in town and not go to a jazz concert, so we caught Roy Hargrove at Yoshi's. I thought the pianist's solos were awesome with several shout-outs to Monk. Another point of mention: the sake at Yoshi's was exceptionally good. Too bad I can't drink for another 8 months.

Next week Ron Carter comes into town, but with the amount of work I have to get done this week, I see little hope of catching him.

Saturday, March 04, 2006


All of last week, I was at the Big Apple for the Search Engine Strategies conference.
  • Black-hats' tongues get a little looser after they've slathered some alcohol over it. Doubly so if they have to impress a female colleague.
  • Talk about a small world. As soon as I landed, I called Dhiren (friend from high-school, now in NY/NJ) and told him I'd be there for SES. His answer: "Really?! We have a booth there!". Sweet. Managed to hook up with him, catch up with his dad and brother, and meet the lovely Esther. Btw, his brother was one of the guys heading up Morgan Stanley's handling of Google's IPO.
  • Vanessa and I went to this Egyptian restaurant on Wednesday. She laughed at me slipping money into the moving targets which were the belly-dancer's hips, and I had my turn when she was picked to dance with her.
  • Central Park is pretty in the morning. Especially when it snows.
Unfortunately, I was too busy to catch any jazz. Next time.

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