Sunday, August 31, 2008

"It Could Happen to You" - Watch it

A lazy hot sunday afternoon spent watching this fabulous movie, It Could Happen to You. We have 'Tata Sky' at home so there is this handy little option which gives you a snippet of the movie. I have seen this movie before but I didn't remember the name, but after reading the snippet, I remembered and made the good call to watch it.

I wont spill the beans but its a movie about a Cop which promises a waitress to split his lottery ticket fortune in lieu of the tip. As luck would have it, he wins the lotto and a cool 4 million USD. The man keeps the promise (A promise is a promise), his wife doesn't like it and so on. Its not a court-room drama, its neither a emotional essay or a moral lesson movie. Its a very simple and easy watch movie, with brilliant acting by Nicholas Cage and Bridget Fonda.

If you have watched this movie and liked it then comment, we share something in common , if you dont like it then too comment :), for all the good reasons. And if you watch this based on my recommendation and then like/hate it, then comment for sure :)

'Bachna Ae Haseeno' - Quick Review and my gripes

I was at Fun cinemas, Pitampura, Delhi, the other evening, watching the new block buster 'Bachna Ae Haseeno'. We were there in a group of 6 since we got some free tickets for the show, so owing to large group, overall mood was peppy and there were reasons to be busy other then just watching the movie. Fun Cinemas, Pitampura is not in the best of locations with a ad-hoc parking and a foul-smelly auditorium.

Bachna is a movie around a 'killer' (why he was termed Killer and how he miserably failed there, later) who has two affairs and he dumps the two girls. When the 3rd girl tells him that she doesn't want to marry him because she doesn't , then his past haunts him, he goes back , finds those two girls who are now shattered to death and are living a recluse to bit**y life, says sorry, peps their life up, comes back and gets happily united ever with the 3rd one.

Ranbeer Kapoor plays the killer and Minissha Lamba, Bipasha Basu and Deepika Padukone (is the surname something to do with a shuttle cork, kone) are the three Haseenas. There is a friend of the Hero, played very well by Nitin (I guess I am having the right name) , son of legendary Paintal. Except Puneet Issar who plays Mahi's (Lamba) dad and Kunal Kohli (brilliant as a surd) who plays Mahi's hubby, there is no one else.

The story starts with Switzerland (Minisha episode) where she misses her train and then she and Raj Sharma (Ranbeer) drive to Zurich on a scooter. She falls in love, he falls in loves (pretends) and just after a lapse of 24 odd hours when she realizes that he has been kidding, she is devastated.

I have two problems at this point. First Ranbeer didn't do a single trick to be the 'Killer' so as a story writer, add more meat and juice to his character, work hard, think of twists and work on this character to really make him look like a 'killer'. My 2nd probelm is that Mahi (Ms Lamba) who is already engaged , she finds this junkie and likes him, they kiss couple of times, there are no intimate moments, and there is no time which really nourishes this love, it was a one-night-stand with no protection (since there was no need of one, since it never happened). Why this minor interaction leaves her into a lady who disbelieves love, goes into a semi-recluse and what not is hard to understand. Do you really think that such a mild and minor encounter would make someone into like this. C'mon. Director was more busy with shooting exotic locales, designer dresses that noone really cared a shit for character-establishment.

So that was Swiss. Then comes Mumbai. Ranbeer now works for Microsoft , earns well, has his own small apartment, finds the hot Bipashu as his neighbour. They get close. Again reels were spent showing the glamorous Basu then 'killer' Raj, they get into a live-in relationship. Later Raj has to leave for Syndey for some long term work and he is not ready for marriage, so on the d-day when they were to assemble at the courts, he plays truant. Basu is devastated. This devastation was better managed then the earlier one since they were together for a long time but all the while no time was spent to even shoot a single sequence where their relationship was explained.

Anyway, then comes Deepika. Deepika Padukone is a Icchadhaari specie. She is first seen as a cabbie, then she is also from B School , later she is seen as a super-mark. Love happens, she quits, Raj remembers what he has done in the past.

So far the movie is about promiscuity, skin, exotic locations, more skin, bright and happy faces, good cars, more exotic locations (Rome - Italy n all that). After this you get some sanity and content in the movie. He comes back , says sorry which has been managed so well. For the first time, it appears that someone is thinking, there is some real story.

It finishes pretty abruptly, Raj comes back to Sydney, his friend shows him a new car which they never drive (why the hell was that scene), comes back home, meets Kone, they get together.

Ok. so that about 'Bachna'. Dont spend too much money to see this movie, if you want to see Swiss, Cote d Azure, Sydney and some of other good beaches then watch it.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

'Adopt' - You never know who you will bring home

There are hazaar brilliant ads but occasionally you hit into something which you really like. While I dont hate the ones which try to play around your emotions (by showing a impoverished child for example) but they dont sort of click.

I just found this in my mail box and I tremendously liked it. It gives such a big + spin to Adoption without adding any angle of charity to it. Brilliant. I dont know who conceived this but if you know then let me know. Great work.

Title: Encourage Adoption
Headline: Adopt. You never know who you'll bring home

Monday, August 25, 2008

How to insert Photos in Wordpress 2.5

I have this travel website which is powered by Wordpress 2.5 and occasionally I get queries around adding a picture to a post. So I thought that I would write a small primer which may be helpful for a wider community.

1. Collect all your photos in one single folder on your local machine. This would save you time when you are uploading since you wont have to pick and choose. So if you have shot 80 photos (just 80) on your last trek, and if you want to share 10 (just 10) then identify these 10 photos and copy them in some temporary folder. Remember to copy these 10 files, and dont move them. Always keep your originals safe.

2. Once done, re-size them using some Image Editor program. Usually pictures shot from a digital camera are pretty heavy, large in size. The actual size depends upon the site design. For Ghumakkar, 500 pixels BY 350 pixels look good. This would help to have your story come up quickly. In general choose something like 1024 X 768.

2.1 In Windows XP and Windows Vista, select all these photos, do a right click of mouse and choose 'E-mail'. You would get an option to resize. Choose 1024 X 768. After a while you would notice that all the pictures have been attached to an e-mail message. Select all of them, Right click, copy, paste in the original folder.

I am attaching the screen shots for Vista. On XP, it would be similar though it might look a little different.

Select all the pictures. Right Click and choose e-mail

Choose a lower size like 1024 X 768

Attaching to an E-mail

I use Microsoft Outlook for e-mails. So here's how it looks.

2.2 Download a free s/w like Google Picasa or Adobe Photoshop Album Starter Edition and use it to resize.
Google Picasa - Click here
Adobe S/w - Click here

Even if you dont do this step, you would still be able to move ahead, its just that it would make the page heavy and readers of your story would need to wait a little extra time to view all the pictures.

3. Now lets come back to 'Compose' window under 'Write'. click the 'Add Photo' icon which is just after 'Add Media' in the top icon-toolbar.

Click this button.

You would get a new window. Click 'Choose Files to upload'. Select all the files in the folder where you have copied all the pictures in step1. The window would look like this

Now you are done with uploading all the files.

If you would notice then there are three options on the top in the above window, viz.
1. Choose Files
2. Gallery
3. Media Library

First is for adding more files. 2nd is for accessing the files associated with current post and library is for all the files which you have uploaded so far.

Now go to 'Gallery' and then click 'Show' against the file which you want to insert.

Add a relevant caption , notes. Choose a size. For Ghumakkar I would recommend that you choose 'Full Size'. Word Press Administrator can control this size. And you are done.

There is another good feature in WP which is about 'Inserting a Gallery' and I would briefly talk about that later but as of now, we are done as far as inserting a picture is concerned.

Let me know if this write-up is missing or confusing or could benefit from some more clarity. I would act on that and would try to improve it. Of course, if its works for you then leave a happy comment. So enjoy and happy photo-showing at your next WP Post.

A good website for Kids, for Internet enabled parents

It all started with Google Image Search. It was so easy for me to tell my 3 year old about any animal, any bird, any plant, in fact almost any thing by doing a image search at Google Image Search. As with many things, fad ended after a while. From Google Image Search, we moved to since we can pull any music video on demand. My home wireless is good enough to let us watch a song video with not too many buffering-buffering distractions. This carried on for some time and like many things, it also stopped happening. Though we still use youtube, to show her, her own videos and to show her videos to other people.

While all this was happening, we also happened to browse through some of the other sites which plays kids' jingles and poems and have lots of lessons around primary English, Alphabets, Counting etc. Most of these were forgotten as quickly as we have learned about them.

So amid all this, my wife hit on to a site which we have been using till now. I realized this today morning that I have probably been here for last 1 year, I think more. And my 3 year old, loves it. So I thought that it makes sense to share the link with fellow internet-enabled young parents.

This site is called 'Starfall' and is at The home page is not really new-age design but very clear and not cluttered with million things. When you choose any lesson, you are taken to a small Adobe Flash based program which is interactive and is much more richer (music, sound, videos, animation etc). I am mostly on Mozilla but I would think that this would work on IE and Safari, on the assumption that Flash programs are pretty much browser agnostic.

I really like the 'Alphabet' section since all the 26 letters are shows in big sizes and when one chooses one of them, you see pictures and sounds of animals/object with that letter. There are also some interesting exercises like 'Make the Match'.

I guess, I would close here. If you do go there and like it then let me know, write a small comment.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

iPhone and us

Finally, Airtel and Vodafone announced the availability of iPhone in India. Just like lots of wannabes I was also waiting for this. I work for a IT company and its not uncommon to find colleagues who are traveling to US for work.

About 3 months back, two persons (Ram and Krishna - yeah, the gods)in my own project bought an iPhone for them. It cost USD 440 to them and it was fairly easy to have them work with our local GSM cards. All was well. I had almost made my mind to buy them and asked one of my friends (Manish) to bring it with him. He was visiting Desh. The friend, a great money minder, thought that buying a iPhone at USD 440 is a bad idea and prices would come down. Also in terms of technology, features its not a great buy.

So, I deferred the decision. After a while iPhone supplies went low and everyone knew that Apple would release a new one , a better technology and a lower price. All this happened. iPhone 3G was launched and you can get it at USD 200 and then you have to pay more for getting the service. As of now it costs around USD 500 in America (I might not be updated here, it might be for less).

Our local boys announced that they would launch it soon and on being asked on the price, they played silent.

Finally it was announced yesterday and boy, at RS 31000 its a steal. I mean it only makes sense to use a iPhone if you can managed to steal it. I dont know whether its Apple who is making money or its Mr. Bharti or Mr. Vodafone but its definitely a high high price for a gadget like iPhone.

I do not plan to buy it any more. A price like INR 15000 is a better price. If you want to lock your customer then have him upfront pay somthing like Rs 10000 and then adjust that against his monthly bill but at Rs 31 K, its a straight case of fleece.

I am sure there are people out there who would have this kind of money to blow it here but I dont see iPhone getting the success it got in US. By the way, today morning my friend Sudhir sent me a mail citing some of the reasons for not buying iPhone. Incase it matter here is the list

1. You can only sync music and video through iTunes. Want to drag-and-drop content from your hard-drive? Would like to sync music from another store -- from Amazon, for example? You are out of luck.

2. You can only install apps through iTunes. Never before has a cellphone maker slammed the door to an open development enviornment and received nothing but praise for doing so. Imagine Microsoft creating a gated software ecosystem and installing themselves as the gatekeeper. They would be eaten alive by the press. Apple gets a free pass.

3. Apple deletes useful applications. Nullriver's modem app went to the grave with no reason stated. Apple's digital business is dependent on the music and movie industry's whims. How long before the industry dictates which applications we can run?

4. Apple might not accept apps which might be detrimental to its own business. We won't hold our breath for competitive products to appear on the iPhone anytime soon.

5. You can only run one third-party application at a time. An instant messenger that runs in the background and collects messages while you are away? Not happening.

6. Apple might not allow app vendors to open up their apps. The terms of the NDA that potential application developers for the iPhone need to sign, effectively restrict redistribution of the source. Apple has created OSX on the back of FreeBSD; Safari on KHTML, SproutCore library used in MobileMe, and now they have built a layer on top that excludes others. Nik at TechCrunchIT laments that "the same community who demand all from Microsoft, feel gifted and special when Apple give them an inch of rope... Applications can only be installed from a single source, iTunes, and open source applications and distribution is near impossible. How do you install an iPhone application without iTunes? Where are the community advocates arguing for a standard interface, openess and free code?"

7. Limited Bluetooth use. The iPhone 3G has Bluetooth 2.0 with EDR but can you transfer files over Bluetooth? Does it support A2DP? Stereo Bluetooth? No on all counts. As of now, all you get from Bluetooth are headset voice calls, and that's it.

8. No copy-paste. This might be more of an interface issue that Apple is seeking to solve, than anything else. But it only underlines the drawbacks of a walled garden. If development was as open as say, it is on the Palm platform -- you would have a hundred different solutions by now, and at least one you could actually use. This also underlines how much the innovative spirit is killed by a controlled development environment. The iPhone ecosystem doesn't encourage software tinkering and probably won't spur garage breakthroughs that drive the industry forward.

9. No MMS. While you can e-mail photos, multimedia messaging is absent from the device. And speaking of videos...

10. No video recording. In the world of YouTube, the iPhone 3G does not offer video recording.

11. No voice command. For a touch-screen-only phone, voice controls would have been a huge plus for hands-free or one-handed control. Can we expect this functionality to be added by a third-party app?

12. Hardware locked to carriers. You cannot use any SIM card with this GSM device. How stupid is that? Hello monopolies, goodbye competition. Thanks to carrier lock-in when the phone launches in India, the iPhone 3G might not even enjoy 3G until months afterwards. How do you like them apples?

Sorry Airtel, Sorry Vodafone, you guys disappoint modern India. Either you are trying to make some money by selling handset which you didn't create or you are letting Apple make money through us which you can easily handle, after all building these millions of telecom users should actually mean that we should be getting things for lesser price then otherwise.

Monday, August 18, 2008

My new hair-cut and new look

I think my wife is right when she says that Pihu is a attention seeker like me. For last many many years, I try to change my look by sporting a new hair cut or a new beard cut. It may be difficult to believe but in 2000, for 3-4 days I used to shave just on one side of my face and that left a little stub on the other side, not strong enough to notice from a distance but if you are in a conversations with me then the beard on on of the sides were pretty conspicuous by its absence.

This is nothing big to feel about, I think people like me just try to flaunt too much. Probably we live with some complex which makes us do this minor crazy things.

My current look is a very clean and tidy military man look, though I am sure I fail in terms of muscle and brawn but here it is.

This is a self shot pic so haven't come out well but you get the idea. Not long back, I had long hairs, long enough to tie. My saloon guys tells me that I am losing hair and I need to get careful, put more oil, do a steam etc. Very soon I would be on the wrong side of thirties and time to get into action.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

The Cosmopolitan Lunch

Its a very unusual post-independence day morning, with no sun and un-relenting rains, it doesn't make a good day for a holiday like saturday. As I sit here in my home-office with the large glass wall in front of me, I see a gray unending sky. It helps to look far and beyond when you are on 8th floor, its not really gloomy gloomy but its definitely not sunny. I need to step-out and visit the other corner of Delhi on preferably a public transport and I needed some motivation to sustain that, so here I am sharing with you a lunch conversation, a cosmopolitan one, I had the other day.

It was a usual office lunch, the table occupied by young and daring engineers as well as some of the old and daring ones like myself. Only the other day, on one of the train stories by my friend Karthik (read here), I commented about my only-big-train-achievement of my numerous routine train travels, the one where I took a bath on a station mid-way i.e. while the train re-filled and re-rejuvenated to get enough power to take us further 500 Km of the total 1400 odd KM journey, I sneaked to the waiting room, took a shower and was back. As luck would have it or rather as Paulo said that the whole world conspires to make it happen, there was a train conversation on the table.

C asked me on how far Darbhanga is from Varanasi, since she would be taking a train which goes till Darbhanga. Being from Darbhanga, my curious question was about the train name. It was to be 'Swatantara Sainani Express', a real tongue twister name for the IAS aspirants who horde from numerous North Bihar towns and villages and come looking for that dream and stay put in dingy, poorly list Katwaria-Sarai holes. Anyway, I told her and its not one of the best trains to take since its mostly running late and the conversation carried on.

I did't want to be looked down as someone who would use the zeroth opportunity to flaunt so I waited for the train conversation to mature. I was trying to time my best line at the best juncture, the point where the audience could just feel the tension growing and make the most of as I said before, the only-big-train-achievement. Its one of those things we were taught while doing endless theater workshops, its called timing, you need to deliver at the best time.

So the conversation went from trains to personal experiences. As expected the experiences were around failed engines, flooded rail lines and delayed trains. C shared that she and her family were once stuck at Guwahati for 2 days since the Brahamputra decided to play high. I also addded some of my lesser-achievement experience so as to help to conversation to gain mass and momentum. A shared that how some villagers-farmers blocked the traffic while he was coming from Aligarh. While all this happened, V had to tell us that how they, a group of 9 young engineers, were really lucky and brave to make a long journey with having just 5 confirmed tickets. This was booed down by all so-called non-Delhi wallahs, lead my your truly (which is so bad, really) and ably supported by A and C. After all having 5 confirmed tickets is a luxury on which an average Samastipur-ia or a Gorahpur-i would take his whole of family of 20, 9 is like a free ride.

While all this was happening, I did find time to share my bomb which got a lukewarm response. But thats not the intent of writing this. The intent was the sheer divide between the rail-traveled and locals, in current case Dilli-wallahs. One of my close friend who stayed all his life in Delhi, has never traveled overnight on train till he started working. There are so many of them. In all the train conversations, this outside group tries to look and sound smart. I think I just realized that I am the biggest of those smart-alecs. Not that I really repent it but thats what been these train conversation been going. This group of smart-alec would know things like how to release the vaccuum to stop a train, what is shunting, what is crossing, how you can just take a platform ticket and board a train and then ask for a ticket, and so on.

Having stayed in Delhi for last three decades, I fail to acknowledge being a Dilliwallah when train conversations happen because every year, my mother with her two young kids would take us to this real long ride, while our friends would either head for Nainital in UP State Transport Bus or would rather spend the summer doing nothing. But probably that would halt for a while, if not stop, after this so called awakening. :)

Coming back to cosmopolitan lunch, A C V and myself are from different places and we had our own stories while we all ate typical north Indian meal of Roti, separated boiled rice (khilay khilay chawal), daal, sabji and so on.

Another of those interesting lunch notes. I now need to get up and head for the other corner of the city where my wife and 3 year old are waiting for me. My biggest motivation to do this is that I would be able to buy some good beer pints on the way back, as I drive back to our home in this sub-urb in her car.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Olympic Gold, What next ?

Abhinav Bindra finally did this for India, a country of over a billion people. What a tremendous feat. First for India since we haven't had a Gold by an Individual performer so far. When Hockey gold medals stopped, we stopped getting any. Though there was this occasional tennis or a weight-lifting one.

Now, when we have got one the big question is that what next ? So while I was brooding on this topic, I got an idea and over last two days I have spoken about it to few people and everyone agreed. And I thought that I would rather share it here, may be it really make sense.

The idea is that we should start to focus on ONLY skill based games. In other words, we should not be spending money on Athletics or Soccer or any of those high stamina, physical power games. Rather spend time and money on Archery, Chess (I think its not part of Olympics as yet), Shooting, Badminton, Table Tennis etc and dont do 100/200/400 m races, swimming, boxing etc. If we have to choose athletics then may be get trained for Marathons and not 100 m sprints.

The logic is that probably our body is not built for those sports. Even our hockey was more skill and less power. Ramesh Krishnan who did some wonders was mostly on touch-play rather them power-play like Pete Sampras. May be the kind of climate we are in, the kind of food we eat, may be the kind of philosophy we all grow with is not suited for these sports. We are a tolerant lot and probably you need a much aggressive guy to make that 100 m sprint, which as a society we are lacking.

Just an idea. If you like it then comment. May be its the golden idea we have been waiting for :)

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Where do I host my websites ?

This is a question which I am asked many time and then I give them the name and they forget and ask me again. As part of this conversation, they also ask me queries like

* how many e-mail accounts I can have ?
* How much space
* How much data transfer
* Is the service good
* How long you have been with them and how would you rate them
* and so on

So I thought that I would write a small post.

I host my sites with
and its been almost one and a half years. I was referred this place by someone who has been running a site for a while.

My requirement was very simple. I wanted a host which can allow me to do almost everything by myself. The worse thing which one has to do in this business is call someone and then ask them to publish something or get DB access or whatever. Also, it has to offer a rich set of tools like databases, blogging s/w, billing s/w, e-mail clients, scripting support and so on. I had setup many sites at my work and the most frustrating part is when you can't install a new Perl Run-time because the server belongs to someone else and he would want you to port your code in Php or Python.

Hostmonster has all of this. I pay USD $ 100 every year and as part of that I get unlimited domain hosting, hundreds of e-mail id and so on.

You can also get shell access which is really handy. Though I haven't used that so far since I am able to get everything done through the UI itself.

I have not used any other hosting directly in the past but my experience so far makes me recommend this provider. Click on above link to know more, also if you do sign-up then I get a cut :)

Making a file with no extension acccessible on IIS

We were doing some tests and as part of one of the tests, we had to access a file which was hosted on a server running IIS 6.0. The program was making a http Get request and was getting 404. Yeah, the fabulous 404 error. What was really happening was that server was returning 404 for all files which has no extension.

We searched around and asked local experts and almost everyone could tell us on how to add a file extension but almost every one had no clue on how to add a Mime type with no extension. We tried many crazy things.

So we searched and searched and finally were able to get past. Since it took some time for us to find a relevant info on web, I thought that I would write a small post on this. So here's what you need to do.

Go to IIS, then Server name and then the domain name where you need to make a file accessible with no extension. Click 'Properties' and go to 'HTTP Headers' and then click [Mime Types]. I am not giving step by step as I am assuming that you would be able to figure this out.

Now comes the real part. In the 'Mime Types' dialog, click [New]. You would get following.

Enter the following information:

* Extension - *
* MIME type - application/octet-stream

Remember the screen-shot has some other extension. Just ignore that and enter '*' for file type and application/octet-stream for MIME type and you are good. Hope this information is useful for you.

Friday, August 08, 2008

Setting a meaningful WP sender e-mail

I have a blog which is hosted on Wordpress. Its a travel blog and I wanted that Authors be notified when a new comment is made on any of their posts. So I did the relevant settings but funnily the sender e-mail id is I have taken the hosting from

This was my first experience with a website so I sort of let it go. Once the site was old and I had more information and time, I started looking for a solution. I found the solution here

and it worked. In a nutshell the solution is
1. Look for a file called php.ini. Its usually on the root
2. Look for a following command and add -f option followed by e-mail id.

sendmail_path = /usr/sbin/sendmail -t -i

3. Copy this file to WP blog root.

You need to ensure that the e-mail id which you are using is correctly configured in cpanel.

This did solve the initial problem. Now users were getting e-mail from a relevant id. But still it was not looking very elegant as there was no sender name. I wanted to see if there could be a way where I can set a 'Sender' name instead of an e-mail ID.

I asked Ritesh and he was not aware so I did some research and buoyed by the initial success after Reading Ritesh's article, I found a solution.

I did following

sendmail_path = /usr/sbin/sendmail -t -i -FfromGhumakkar

I was expecting that it would set the Sender name as 'From Ghumakkar' but WP actually now setting the real commenter as the sender, which is all the good.

If its useful to you then do write a small comment.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

India in slow motion - By Mark Tully - Review

I recently read a book by Mark Tully, its called 'India in Slow Motion'. This is the first time I have read anything by Mark Tully, the famous BBC man and I am very impressed by the narration.

The book is about 'Poor Governance' and talks about social/political/cultural issues around governance. To me the book also sounded like a travel book and I picked a lesson or two in detailing things from Mark and am gradually applying them in my recent travel stories at Ghumakkar . There are about 14-16 chapters with chapter talking about a issue ranging from Carpet makers in Mirzapur to Gujrat rain harvesting solutions to Cyberabad and so on.

Mark and his partner Gilly have traveled extensively to capture the story at grass roots, the real reason behind the poor governance and even though it may appear that it would be a tough and a boring read, its not. Probably because the narration is super, the detailing amazing and most importantly its a real experience book and not a gyan by someone.

What greatly impressed me was this non-judgmental style of writing. Mark comes out as a great man of tact as writing against a particular government or person could get one into a problem but he handles it with so much of tact that its sounds convincing, true but yet very much un-biased.

I would recommend this book to anyone who wants to know about India. Its also a great read from travel point of view.

I have just picked up 'City of Djins' by William Dalyrymple and I hope to finish that in next 2 odd months. Yeah I am a very slow reader :)

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

The Asia Kitchen - Noida - Review

There was a time when everything would happen at Sector - 18, whether thats shopping, eating out or movies. Then over time, we had more malls and more development. I still remember that 10 years back, sector 62 used to appear so far. Over time the other side of NTPC has seen lot of growth with the mushrooming call centers and software development centers but one thing which was greatly lacking was good dining options. Shoprix Mall in Sector 61 has a food-court and there is this quickie joint called 'Pulse' but nothing impressive so when we heard about 'The Asia Kitchen' in Sector 63, we were pretty sure to check it out.

We went in a large office group. Its located on the road which connects Model Town Chowki (on NH24) to NTPC, sector 62 is on one side and 63 on the other. Close by milestone is Hospital Fortis.

The place is spread over two floors, basement and ground floor. I may have failed to notice it but may be there is first floor too. We went to basement. There is a private room which can host 16 people and then there is this rest of area which can host 40-45 people.

Ambiance is pleasing, well lit without being too bold and nice and clean setup. There are sofas and chairs as seating and the table is a little high so a more formal, fine-dining kind of place.

Food is nice, good preparation. I had Thai Chicken with green curry and that was nice. We had lots of starters and overall food was well praised.

Service is prompt and good. May be there weren't enough people on that day but we found that they have put at least 3 people to serve us, a group of 8.

Variety - This is one area where they greatly lack, there are hardly many choices, esp for vegetarians. I think they would need to work on this since no one goes to a restaurant to have Dal Makhani and Aaloo Jeera. For Non-Veg as well there are not too many choices. They claim to server Indian, Thai and Chinese but frankly I could not find more then a couple of Thai dishes.

Price - Its a bit pricey. Not too expensive but can hurt so watch out while you order.

Alcohol - They do not have permit so no alochol. Mock-tails were pretty ordinary.

So Overall here's my report card
Ambiance - 5/5 (not extraordinary but clean, appropriately lit, fresh, spacious setup)
Food - 4/5
Variety - 2.5/5
Service - 4.5/5

Since there are not too many great new options in Noida so if you have exhausted the usual list then you must try this place.

Friday, August 01, 2008

Aaj Pehlee tarikh hai

The charm of Pehlee Tarikh is gradually disappearing for me since I get my pay check on last day of a month. Also the money goes to bank and even though the e-mail alert from my bank is a pleasant mail to look at, the old world charm is sort of gone.

One of an old friend reminded me of this im-mortal song by Kishore, the number is called 'Din Hai Suhaana, Aaj Pehli Tarikh Hai'. And here a link of a site where you can listen this.

I used to get cheque in my first company, that was in 1996. It was a small company being run out of a garage of a large bunglow in 'New Friends Colony'. Even though from my second job (which was at Newgen Software) the money used to go to Bank but it was always in first week so there used to be a little buzz around this. I think some part of it is also to do with the fact that back then the monthly salary was much more critical for minor day-to-day grocery expenses, now that sort of affects less.

Anyway, enjoy the song and let me know what you feel.