Saturday, May 29, 2010

First day of US vacation - Bayside Miami, Hooters

Consecutive day at the Hooters and the bay side of Miami. I would be game for such an option any day. Introduced to 'Hooters' to just previous day, I now admire their market positioning. Outlandishly flirtatious but not cheap. ' Debonair' magazine in India thrived on similar concept. Singapore was their first international outlet 13 years ago.
Watching Athletic chiseled bodies of young women evokes an admiration for their physical fitness. ' What's their hiring policy ? ' Well, they have a standard size uniform, those who fit get selected , those we don't gets chucked out ' , a quick repartee from Latino guy with eyes fixed on sharp curves. Most of them appeared students who worked part time and they worked with passion and speed but not with great intelligence. But again physical beauty is no measure of intelligence quotient. Orange colour remind me of Holland, Shiv Sena and Bajarang Dal. I wonder how many years India would take to have hooters without fear of being ransacked by these two zealot organizations.

Another power boat ride next day but this time crowd was terrific. Four black male hunks played with each other physically, laughed boisterously shaking their bodies with tattoos of Christ and cross all over. One even had his b'day date tattooed on his back, while the other one with huge waistline had a tough time pulling his ever sliding shorts that exposed half of his underwear. When their gals joined, they matched them in size with their bulging breasts fighting hard to pop out from hanging cups of coloured cottons held by thin wiry strings. Tensile strength of the stitched threads passed the quality test. Akshta found another same age girl to run around as Colombian woman commented her having Latino Indian looks.

GPS is neat and it must be saving gallons of petrol on earth. When entered as ' South Beach' it took me to South Beach Cafe , when entered as 'Miami beach' it took me to 'Miami Beach hotel'. A lesson for a car driver be specific on the place. A vacant plot next to Angelina Jolie and Madonna is waiting to purchased and so are empty condos along the sea front.

Our car is Chevrolet red impala. Akshta chose it. Looks great amidst green foliage, foaming sea waves under blue sky. Ford laudedale has a neat neighbourhood and next door pizza in Italian restaurant beats all those from pizza joints. Miami is third in terms of skyline in US. I doubt that. Walking past South Beach Art Deco housing was nothing extraordinary but story of Gianni Versase murder next to his home took to me the riveting story of his murder - just a week before tragic event of Lady Diana's car accident. A vacant plot with cardboard placard giving names and age of US war heroes was grim reminder of US casualties in Iraq and Afghanistan. A fitting tribute to them by ordinary citizens on Memorial day,


Sunday, May 23, 2010

Fledgeling Wings needs Support to fly

Chirpy, Boisterous young girl in late 20's dream of something that not many Indian girls of similar age group would dare. She wants to sing, dance and merry by marrying an old man who has cushion of money and has abundant space to give her an opportunity and access to pursue her dreams in artistic world. Her parents think the same way as other Indian parents. They lock her on the house and frantically search for a suitable groom. Her artistic wings are now clipped and she is incarcerated in bedroom cell but her parents born before the advent of Internet technology kept an escape window open for her. She is now on the net looking for a matured man who can restore her wings and make her leap towards her creative utopia.

Will she succeed in her endeavor ?


36 Hour Sunday

36 hour Sunday in my life spanning three countries, four cities.
9am : Singapore
5pm : Tokyo
12pm Arrival in LA
2pm : flight to Miami canceled so stay put at LA airport.
Till 730pm : at LA airport then fly to Las Vegas
9pm : Arrival in Las Vegas
10pm : depart for Fort Lauderdale
Total number of hours in a day :36 hours.In air : 27 hours On land : 9 hours, plus Transit time 1 hour Narita, 7 hour in LA and 1 hour in Las Vegas.

Delta upgrades me to First Class from Las Vegas to Fort Lauderdale but in a small aircraft, its equivalent to economy of SQ. At 10,000 ft and above, Delta airlines provides free WiFi but my Internet is jammed. Only way I can do it is by resetting my phone but it my i Phone needs a pin. On some day, nothing seems to go right ! Welcome to the Land of Honey.

I have some special relationship with LA airport. In my previous travel, from Mumbai to LA , I was accompanying a customer and we missed each other at LA airport. I had to spend whole night at airport in the company. On my return from Seattle, Air India canceled the flight and subsequent flight didn't arrive for two days. Chaos and many rounds of LA airport.

This time American Airlines flight got canceled and I had to spend seven hours at the same airport.But I was lucky to meet a nice guy at the counter for AA who put us in Delta via Las Vegas. Last time, Air India wanted me a fax from Mumbai booking agent. I had lost my battery power on my mobile and I couldn't reach anyone and top of it was Sunday. Like vultures, hoard of irate passengers pounced upon Air India manager and the staff at LA airport. This time AA staff thanked me ' for not yelling at him ' , perhaps they are all used to such treatment by angry and demanding passengers.

A frequent traveler generally develops a patience when things go wrong and they do sometimes with circumstances beyond the control of the ground staff.


Thursday, May 20, 2010

Marathi Graffiti and Blog

Friday, May 14, 2010

Business and Celebrities

Is there any law that can prevent using historical celebrity for the purpose of business ? I was to travel to Munich and I was tempted to book hotel Leonardo De Vinci. In Bangkok , I stayed at Rembrandt hotel on Sukhamvit road. An entity that has no match to the qualities of Rembrandt paintings. I was told that this hotel is owned by an Indian. This hotel boasted flat screen TV and free Wi Fi but both didn't work. Govt has clamped curfew on both these media tools that are capable of rampant spread of right and wrong information . But You Tube and foreign media filled up the void space.

I enjoy watching the behaviour of celebrities. More so, if they are conscious of people watching them and how do they handle the the adulation, staring and intrusion by their admirers. Air travel gives an opportunity to observe and enjoy this.

Vaijayanti Bala was next to me on my flight from Mumbai to Chennai. Her seat was on window and mine was at isle. She politely made a request of exchanging seat I was to happy to comply. Being past her prime, not many in the crowd did spot her but she looked very elegant. Not an ounce of fat on her body, she was perfectly attired and adorned with every little paraphernalia. Be it her purse, bangles, rings, make up kit. She carried herself as if she was to grace public function. Her son , who I initially thought to be grandson was busy doing work for Natyalaya - her dancing school. Only upon landing, when she profusely thanked me for giving her an isle seat, we struck a conversation. She was proud to tell me about her two terms in parliament when I asked her about her being active in politics.

Sunil Gavaskar during flight from Dubai to Mumbai and Rishi Kapoor at Maurya Sheraton B'fast lounge kept to themselves.


Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Actor MacMohan passed away.

A face that appeared in many Hindi movies only for minutes but his character lasted far longer than his movie name . He had squeamish feminine face and frail physical frame. He looked to me like a younger brother of Hussein - an Indian but now Qatari national painter. It's nice of Amitabh Bacchan to write about his fellow actor who shared only few frames with him but put sizable meat on Amitabh's charactor.

I remember his standing with me in an elevator of Savera hotel in Chennai. His wiry body and bearded face is still fresh in memory as much as his role of antique shop owner in movie Mazboor.


Sunday, May 09, 2010

Khalil Chishtee - creating a world out of plastic trash

Creativity can take any form , from any source. If that creativity stirs emotions, it has a lasting effect of a lifetime. A chance visit via Esplanade theater lobby made us discovery of the magic of Khalil Chishtee who has replicated a world that many in India and the Subcontinent would easily identify and empathise with. He calls it a world of suffering and he has created this from plastic trash bags. Can score of plastic bags be squeezed to make different shapes and sizes ? It's not all that impossible. But can these plastic bags that transform into an object would evoke expression, emotion ? They do with hands of Khalil Chishtee. He calls himself noamdic with no place as his home and names this creation ' Dreaming of Dreaming ' dedicated to creative people who have lived very ordinary life through their suffering and became a victim of organized society , so much so that their creative dreams became an impossibility. Meditative Buddha is also fascinating and makes sense when he is placed away from the the society of 'Dreamers'.
' Between You and Me ' is the theme of this year Singapore Arts festival and I am sure there would more fascinating artistic forms be on display.
Andrea Bocelli is an awe inspiring singer and for me he is an European equivalent of our Kumar Gandharva . I missed his live concert at Botanical gardens, Singapore but Khalil Chishtee made my day with his amazing creativity.


Wednesday, May 05, 2010

US Visa: an agony of wait

Two and half a minute of work but Two and half hour of a wait. However, this is one place where no one can dare to ask Why and When. Everyone is treated in fair manner , he be a mechanic on a ship or smart clad rich business person. Everyone sits in row of plastic molded chairs with eyes glued to the red LED digital number that displays one’s token number along with the window number. The place is fortified edifice called United States Consulate and the mission of every visitor is to secure US visa stamp.

I am not bemused why our number came last after almost everyone in 9am batch had left. After all my surname Pappu belong to the notorious names that have chronicled in the list of Indian police, customs, court and politics of mayhem. Pappu Yadav, Pappu Kalani and some more. A background check is necessary when this Indian name appears on any application. There could be another reason as well. Sudan, Syria, Yemen, Iran all are bête noire of US Govt and my passports have visa stamps strewn all over. Add to that few from Saudi, Lebanon and I must be a perfect fit in their template of profiling.

There is nothing much one can do in this long agony of wait. No mobile, No laptop, No magazines or newspapers. But the entertaining part is to be a privy to the conversation between a visa seeker and a giver. There is a notice board that displays banned list of organizations by the US Govt and visa denial for those associated with these organizations. I wonder which fool would mention his association with such organization in his visa application. Not all of them are from Pakistan, Iraq and Palestine but two from Japan, One each from Israel, Columbia and Kurdistan as well.

Last week, when we had been to Gleneagle Hospital for health check up , parking was hard to come by at early morning. Now I know the reason, this hospital is opposite side of US embassy and doesn't have any parking space at all.

Saturday, May 01, 2010

Happy B'day Maharashtra

Happy B’day Maharashtra .

Mumbai, Kalyan, Igatpuri, Nasik, Shirdi, Sangamner, Chalisgaon, Nagpur, Pune, Alandi, Aurangabad, Karad, Satara, Sangli, Miraj, Kolhapur, Hatkangale, Gadhinglaj, Roha, Pen, Panvel, Chiplun, and thats all. I am run out of the places in Maharashtra that i have spent my time. What a pity !!

I have passed through Akola, Amravati, Badnera , Wardha on way to Nagpur and Kolkatta by Kolkatta Mail or Geetanjali or Solapur, Barshi by night when I took a journey to Chennai. But a vast trackland of Maharahtra still eludes me. I am yet to touch my feet on Matheran, Mahabaleshwar , Pandharpur and yet to traverse the country of ‘ hard and toughened stones and people ‘ . A description that described of Maharashtra in poetry of Vasant Bapat ' Rakat Desha , Kankhar Desha, Dagdanchya desha ' . Few more descriptions that I can think of Maharashtra are ' Mangal desha , Pavitra Desha, Maharashtra Desha by Govindagraja' ' Bahu asot sunder sampan ti mahan, priya amucha ek maha maharshtra desh ha 'and this powada ‘ Jai Jai Maharashtra Maza , Garja Maharashtra Maza’ .