Friday, 27 April 2007

Silent raindrops

Back home again. It's probably a good thing how many posts have begun with those words :). What's not so good is that I'm almost invariably extremely tired while typing them :-<. Got back late last night in fact, somewhere in the vicinity of 3 am. Another 7 hour stopover, mercifully in Bangkok. So I took the time to actually find the exact spot where I was sitting two months back and plonked. Even watched a movie :). It scares the shit out of me, the way I'm beginning to get comfortable with this sort of stuff :-<.Got to see a rather nice sunrise in Perth. Everywhere else it was raining. Phuket looks extremely inviting. And a friend of mine was telling me how they'd actually rented.. wait for it.. an island for a day!!!!! Anyway, I was there just for the half hour it took to refuel the aircraft. And by the time we left thunderclouds were very much in evidence. In Bangkok it was already raining when I got there. It was still raining when I left. And looks like it's been raining here in Kolkata as well. Which is a good thing. Gives my system a bit of time to switch from winter to summer.

Sometimes surprises have a way of hinting of their arrival. And sometimes they don't.

Currently: tired
Listening to: Air - Alone in Kyoto

Thursday, 26 April 2007

The beginning?

Came across this yesterday. And it tickled my imagination I suppose. I know that no one's going anywhere near this new planet they've discovered anytime soon. But there's no harm in fantasy is there? :) So suppose in a few years they do figure that this planet indeed does have water on it's surface. Then in a few more years they figure some way of going around the 20.4 lightyears in less than that time or something... All sorts of possibilities might crop up. And then will we remember yesterday as the first step in man's colonisation of outer space?

Currently: in transit :-<
Listening to: Radiohead - My Iron lung

Wednesday, 25 April 2007

Perth Motorshow '07

I'm actually quite surprised how I haven't had a single post labelled 'cars' or 'bikes' in over a year and a half!! Other than the occasional mention of the F1 season that is. Be that as it may, I was very surprised to find out last week that Perth hosts it's own annual motorshow! And once again, true to form, I'd timed my stay perfectly. Needless to say, I also dragged along a few of my friends here, and then promptly lost them once inside :P. Yes, I'm like that.
Lamborghini Murcielago
no matter how many of these you've seen before, you see a Lambo, you take a picture of it if you can

This one wasn't as much fun as the last time I'd been to a motorshow though. But then that was KL, 2 years back and in the mean time I've gotten rather used to seeing the kind of cars I used to dream about, on the streets. Hell, I've even seen an Audi TT in Mumbai! On that particular occasion, in my misdirected hyper-enthusiasm, I had attempted to explain to Beerbal exactly why I was so excited to see what he described as 'merely a car' :-<. I think the last person I've actually known personally, who shared my kind of enthusiasm for all things automobile, is currently a Lieutenant in the Indian Army and I haven't seen him in five years :|.
Maserati Quattroporte

There were, nonetheless some very very nice pieces on display. Among my favourites were the Maserati Quattro, the Jaguar XK, the Targa West Lambo shown above, the Aston Martin DB9 and of course the seriously mean Aston Martin V8 Vantage!! And then there were the new releases, the Hummer H3 that, despite the makers' claims looks just like the older ones, the new Tiburon that looks a lot cleaner than it's predecessor, the new Audi TT which I quite like for having got rid of the signature front end and the bunch of regular and uninspired ones, like the Peugeot 207, some new Holdens, Volvos, Mercs, Mini Coopers... It's quite fascinating how many cars have acquired rather stunning projector lamps these days. Oh and Merc's apparently gone and got itself a B-class now /:). There used to be a time when I had respect for them :-<. And oh yes, there was this genuinely wicked concept car from Mitsubishi, the Lancer Concept Sportback :). Ah well, I suppose I should start paying a bit of attention again to the goings on of the world that's given me better, happier, grander dreams than anything else I can imagine...

Currently: dreaming
Listening to: Lunatic Calm - Leave you far behind

More Perth Motorshow pics here.

Sunday, 22 April 2007

Sunday night tales

Finally, a weekend when we overcome the fierce and overwhelming desire to simply vegetate :D. Yet another trip to Freo, this time ostensibly to show the newest SE in town some elusive signs of life. (I swear, the Perth office must have never had this many of us doing our office rotations here. Ever.) And what better way to make the trip than a nice relaxing cruise down the Swan river. Also, the trains were shutdown :|.Ran into this massive bunch of yachts out on a sunny Saturday afternoon spin in the river. Wind-puffed sails look nice. Especially in a mad variety of colours :). So we got there, had lunch, hung out at the beach. And then went hunting for the memorial at the supposed highest point in Fremantle. It's not exactly of Olympian elevation, but the view was nice. And there was the torpedo! :DWatched the Sun do it's thing. Namely, set. Lazed on the lovely green grass for a long time. Getting a massive kick out of taking pics of people taking pics of people taking pics of... you get the idea :D. Four shutter-happy fingers on four cameras, what can you expect :P. The rest of the weekend? Well, dutifully spent devouring movies, books and music, and of course sleeping :).

Oh and the tatt's been officially ratified as 'pretty much completely healed' \:D/.

Currently: tired, without any possible reason for feeling so :P
Listening to: Dave Matthew's Band - Crash into me

High colour

Details. They are the soul of things. And when you begin to notice them, the joy of things. It's been a while since I've been moved (read bothered) to post about movies. And it's not like I haven't watched new ones! Thanks to the proximity of a rather well stocked DVD rental store, and truck loads of spare time and willing company :D. But then today I watched Amelie (or, The Fabulous Destiny of Amelie Poulain as I'd rather call it).The vivid, and mostly limited colours (at least the only ones allowed a bright expression seemed to be red green and yellow). And the expressions!!! They were just so crystalline! I could have been reading a book :). I just cannot believe this was the same woman in The DaVinci Code though!!!

Currently: completely charmed :)
Listening to: Muse - Sunburn

Saturday, 21 April 2007

On madness

I've always loved to play the insane, the deranged, the somewhat unhinged. That's perhaps because sanity is boring. Whereas insanity, that's really inventive. Being sane is merely adhering to habits, ratified and endorsed. Being insane is the ultimate 'thinking out of the box' :D. (Unless of course, you are in fact insane, in which case, that is the habit, I suppose, though hardly ever ratified or endorsed.)So then, getting to the heart of the matter, am I insane? Trouble is, it's real easy to be sane. All it takes is blind (or at least shortsighted) conformation. And as much as I hate to admit it, I'm just too lazy :-<.

Currently: introspective
Listening to: Pearl Jan - Nothing as it seems

Thursday, 19 April 2007


Fear of the dark. All kids have it. Kids are smart. Then they grow up, and sometimes, somewhere down the line, we convince ourselves that there's nothing to be worried about. And then, sooner or later, we trip over.That wasn't any kind of fatalistic prophetic statement that I came up with to scare people by the way. That's what seems to me the best way to resolve The Picture of Dorian Gray in my rather harshly rattled head. I suppose each person might have their own interpretation of the book. Each one sinks into the narrative to a different depth. The trick is to manage to come back up by the end of it.

The Renaissance knew of strange manners of poisoning-- poisoning by a helmet and a lighted torch, by an embroidered glove and a jewelled fan, by a gilded pomander and by an amber chain. Dorian Gray had been poisoned by a book. There were moments when he looked on evil simply as a mode through which he could realize his conception of the beautiful.

-- Chapter 11: The Picture of Dorian Gray, Oscar Wilde
Currently: recovering...
Listening to: Moby - Flying foxes

Sunday, 15 April 2007

Lemon drops

The once familiar pattering of raindrops. On leaves, on the umbrella half hidden under the lemon tree, on the zig-zagging red brick courtyard.
It's a strange hung-up sort of feeling. Like there are things you want to remember, but at the same time, don't. It's a drizzling, grey, clouded over Sunday afternoon. That's why. (Yes, yes, blame it on the weather :D.)

Waiting for the Bahrain GP to start! Hope Ferrari wins, (or even better, Ferraris win). Will make for nice podium pics, especially given that I have my personal correspondent waiting eagerly at the sidelines this time :).

PS. Subho Nabobarsho to all you Bongs :).

Feeling: blue
Listening to: Gorillaz - El Manana

Thursday, 12 April 2007


Everyone seeks it. Few ever find it. And if they do, not everyone likes what they see.
Maybe it's better not to look too hard.

PS. Love the ocean, build strong walls, and beware of coffee :).

Currently: looking out my window
Listening to: Portishead - Roads

Tuesday, 10 April 2007

The holiday - II

Right, so carrying on from where I'd left off, day 2 in Sydney. So on the previous night, we were ambling along one of the wide, and still almost busy roads, at an hour when most Perth main streets would bear an aura of complete and utter desolation, and suddenly we see a Ferrari showroom! Yes, my respect for the city instantly went up a few notches from already lofty heights :D.
So first thing in the morning, we headed back. I got a Ferrari jacket, surprisingly, not costing an arm and a leg. And I spent a little bit of time drooling over the 612 Scaglietti's and 360 Modena's on display :P. A good start to the day :D.
Eventually we made our way to the Circular Quays. On the way of course we ran into someone we knew from the boat! What are the odds?! Anyway, headed off for the bridge, after having gawked at the Opera House for a suitably long time from close range :D. Even the bridge had this coverall-wearing, safety-precaution-laden trip you can do, getting on top of the bridge and all that jazz (by which I actually mean on top of the bridge), but we chose to amble along the broad sidewalk. Stopping often, clicking away like there was no tomorrow.
There's something about bridges this extensively built with metal girders. I've been around only two. Actually walked on that is, not thundering over them on a train. I somehow have more.... respect for them than I do for, say, suspension bridges and cable stay bridges, like the Anzac bridge right next door for example. Inexplicable, I know.
The bridge isn't too long though :). And we were soon walking back, for the first time noticing the number of people who seemed to be out running! It's gotto be a national thing, you'd see similar things in Perth. So anyway, we made our way back, dodging runners, and other tourists, who were fairly numerous actually. And we came by a whole neighbourhood of old brick houses, The Rocks. Some of them looked like cafes. You could almost imagine fireplaces crackling within :).
And then it was time. To get up close and personal with that product of billowing sails, orange peels and a Danish mind :). I was really too engrossed in the fabulous structures, and angles, and colours, and sounds (there was part of a practice session in progress), and well... basically I wasn't paying all that much attention to the rather too detailed descriptions of our tour guide.
So I don't really remember a whole lot, but there are things that do stick out. Retracting seating galleries. Provisions for a disco in The Studio. Self cleaning tiles. The world's largest air organ. Decidedly sci-fi looking sound reflectors to provide feedback to the artist before the echo from the walls.... I couldn't help but notice though, everywhere, the seats seemed to be bright red :|.
Yes I wasn't kidding about the orange peels. This is the 'spherical solution' (sounds like a nasty complex mathematical model doesn't it, which it is actually...) that was used to design the outer shells.
Oh well, then it was time for lunch, and off we headed for Manly Beach. Yes, not the famous and fabulous Bondi, Manly. And I totally did not mind the fantastic ferry ride that provided a ride around the front of the Opera House. In the process of course I pretty much managed to acquire a continuous slide show of it from almost all possible angles :P. It's fun to do the whole tourist thing every now and then.
We also managed a fairly close look at the diminutive Fort Denison (pic foreground). Which at some point used to be the maximum security prison. Freo was more impressive. Unless of course these chaps had cells below water level, which would have been seriously evil... Anyway, we also passed by Shark Island, which is supposed to look like a shark's fin from the sky, and Clark Island, which is supposed to have been a failed attempt at gardening by one Lieutenant Ralph Clark :|.
But eventually we landed up at the very opening of Sydney Harbour (or Port Jackson), the gap between the very imaginatively named North Head and South Head :). (Yes, I completely love my camera: w-i-d-e-angle :D.)
And that's pretty much where Manly jetty is. You get off the ferry, walk a few hundred metres across the low thin strip of land, and there you are, wide open sea. This is about as far east as I've ever been I think. Yup, 151 deg 17' E, I checked :P. That's actually farther east than Sakhalin! Too bad we weren't there at sunrise. So we 'watched' the sunset instead. Facing east.
And watched the dad and son playing cricket. And surfers on the waves. People reading, running, walking dogs.... I chose to just sit back for a bit and go over the complete whirlwind that was slowly drawing to a close. And I had to be rather harshly brought down to earth by a phone call about my upcoming office rotation no less :|.
Anyway, we did get a little bit of the sunset :). A little walk down the darkening beach. A quick sip of hot chocolate and we were heading back once again towards Circular Quays, seagulls keeping the ferry company as we sat out on the open upper deck.
We headed back to Darling Harbour for the last dinner. Even managed a table by the waterfront :). There's not a whole lot more to say, except that at some point soon after, my cam ran out of battery once again :).
The third and final morning the sky finally decided to cave in. But by the time we were out for breakfast, the company reduced to two, everything was washed clean, and bits of sparkling blue were struggling through. With a little time to spare before it came down to one, we discovered a little park down at the bottom of Victoria Street.
Turns out I actually have family in Sydney :). Yes I would have met them earlier, but I was too busy enjoying myself :D. So I did manage to meet them in the afternoon, but not before a leisurely amble, zigzagging past the finger wharf, the Art Gallery of New South Wales and St. Mary's Cathedral before settling on a bench in Hyde Park...
...watching kids chasing soap bubbles :). Pretty much summed it all up for me. Yes, the perfect holiday.

Currently: slowly settling back down to earth :-<
Listening to: Colin Hay - Overkill

More Sydney pics.
Even more Sydney pics :P.
Sydney panoramas.

Monday, 9 April 2007

The holiday - I

This is one that has to come with a warning, it's going to be really long :D. There's so much I'd want to put into this, so much that managed to pack itself into four days that it left me quite dizzy in the end! So much, that I'm sure to miss out on a whole lot of things :P. But I suppose I should start at the beginning.
So we were crew-changing out of Melbourne for a change, and somehow, I found myself part of a plan to visit Sydney for 3 days before heading back to Perth! The crew-x plan was to helo out to West Sale, and from there fly out to Melbourne. The craft we saw awaiting us was by far the smallest I've ever been on!! A tiny 7-seater that kept bouncing up and down rather alarmingly every now and then. And which, after barely 10 minutes into the three-quarters of an hour long flight showed the fuel level to be zero on both tanks. Yes, not low, zero. The driver pilot tapped the dials a few times, flicked a few switches off and on at random, then pounded one of the dials lightly, and the needles obediently rose back to the half full mark :|.
Clouds and smoke imitating clouds, the tiny shadow of the plane disappearing as it went higher and higher, the weird track literally sheared through the landscape by the high tension electric lines. And the ninety mile beach that ran absolutely arrow straight for as far as you could see, even from the sky. The trip to Melbourne was quite nice actually. Saw the Melbourne skyline from the flight, and at that point I was wondering if that was as close as I would get.
Fortunately, it wasn't. Given a few hours till the flight to Sydney we chose to go into town. The first thing that struck me about Melbourne was how old it looks! (I hadn't been to Sydney yet at that point :|.) Compared to Perth that is. Some very weird and very large 'decorative' architecture notwithstanding. And of course the whole city, i.e. with lots of people milling around thing as against deserted streets on a Sunday mid afternoon was quite refreshing! Thankfully there was someone we knew in Melbourne, and eventually found our way to the Yarra River banks between the old and reverend looking Princess Bridge and the new and very contemporary Southgate Bridge. And soon we were off again.
By the time we arrived at Sydney I was very beat, not surprisingly, having been up for a good 22 hours that included a complete shift. The start wasn't so much fun actually, the lodge we'd booked into advertised free airport pickup, but at the airport we were informed that that facility had been discontinued :(. So we cabbed, and the Original Backpacker's Lodge turned out to be somewhat less than what we'd expected :|. However, that turned out to be a good thing, not once did we have the slightest inclination of spending any more time in it than absolutely necessary :D.
So next morning we set out. First principles: a satisfied stomach is the best way to start a good day. Thankfully, the restaurant pictured above proved to be the perfect answer. We ended up having breakfast there all the three days! It was great, watching the quiet Victoria Street liven up at the opening time of the school down the road, other backpackers, some living there for months, going about what had become their regular lives. Phone calls, long and short, on the phone booths that lined the sidewalk. And of course the gorgeous sunshine filtering through the thick spray of leaves overhead.
So on that first day we went ambling down the street, not knowing that soon, unexpectedly, we would be treated to the first look at the Sydney Harbour Bridge! We could actually also see the tips of the Opera House 'sails'!! Not like we weren't behaving completely like tourists at that point, me poring over a map as usual, leaving it to the others to make sure I didn't go banging into trees n stuff, and all of us happily toting cameras. But from then on that behaviour was just reinforced :D.
From there we made our meandering way through side streets and alleys, past wrong turns and dead ends, to the St Mary's Cathedral and Hyde Park. It's really awesome, the way they have this massive chunk of green, smack bang in the middle of the city! And at one end of the park lies the Archibald fountain. For some reason I found the water in the sunlight mesmerizing, little sparks slipping off the stone, a million tiny shards of light scattered by the million drops.
All the while, however, we were actually gravitating towards one of the most noticeable features of the cityscape, the Centre Point Tower. For a city with so many tall buildings, they really had to make something extraordinary to draw attention (which is exactly why it was built by the way, to attract shoppers back into the city from the growing suburbs :O). And with a height of over 300m, I'd say they were on the right track.
The Sydney Tower, as it is also called, houses restaurants on three out of the four levels at the top, and the topmost is an observation deck. We made our way there, and the views were quite stunning! The thick glass did mar some of the effect, as did the rather noisy presence of a large number of very excited school kids on a field trip :). The elevator on the way up, however, wasn't a scrap on any of that express stuff we'd seen on the KL Tower, or the Petronas Towers. And, scarily enough, you can actually see sunlight filtering through the edge of the elevator doors!!! We were told later that this was because of the wind slats built into the long 'neck' of the building to stabilize it in high wind conditions.
Besides fantastic views out to the harbour's opening to the sea in the East, of Hyde Park, and of Darling Harbour, we could also see the Garden Island Naval base and the Harbour Bridge, but the view of the Opera House was sadly blocked by a couple of nasty huge high rises :(. What especially caught my attention was the National Maritime Museum, with these two fine vessels parked outside!
While the 3.8x zoom is good, I was looking for even more. So I decided to get my cam some additional help. Looking through one of the many eyeglasses scattered around the deck provided an even closer look at the Courage class destroyer, HMAS Vampire and the Oberon class sub, HMAS Onslow!
Higher above was the Skywalk. A guided and heavily guarded tour around the open scaffolding above the observation deck, at a rather impressive height of 260m! But we had a little time to kill in between, and we wandered into the old and very distinguished looking sandstone and marble Queen Victoria Building (or QVB) hemmed in by the tall glass and steel skyscrapers.
The interiors were quite strikingly different. Huge arches, massive stained glass windows, quaint shop signs hanging over posh modern stores. All in all a rather nice interlude before we headed back for the sky :D. When I'd said heavily guarded earlier, that wasn't exactly supposed to mean any kind of weapons or anything, merely the strict precautions taken in order to save the visitors from flying off the scaffolding in case of heavy wind conditions. Which unfortunately meant no cameras :(. But they took pictures.
As we walked around, with our harnesses hooked onto the guardrails and all, the spectacle of the world's most beautiful harbour unfolded before us. And it was definitely worth the trouble! I'm not unusually scared of heights, but when at one point, the platform started moving outwards without warning, that had to be one of the bigger scares I've received in a while :P. But it was all good fun.
Afterwards, we went over to the Anzac Memorial at the other end of Hyde Park. With it's calm Pool of Reflections. And it's sculpture of the Soul of the ANZAC. And it's thousands of stars. It stands, a quiet memorial to more lives lost during WW I, amidst the busy city bustling by barely a few metres away. The subway line actually running close to it's foundations.With sunset finally approaching, we headed towards Mrs. Macquaries Point. Funny name, I know, but fantastic views! We watched the Sun set over the Harbour Bridge and the Opera House. You would have thought the sky was at it's especial best, or maybe it was just the setting :). The bats of course added to the ambiance :D. My camera decided to run out of battery right then. In fact all three of our cameras decided to run out of battery :((. And my hope of capturing a true phantom of the Opera remained a dream :-<.I did manage a few parting shots in the dark, this one with a tripod borrowed from a Swiss couple, before heading for Darling Harbour, and dinner, and a long chat sitting by the quays, watching the moonlight play over the water. Then the long and interesting walk back. During which we spotted the Ferrari showroom!! But that's a tale for tomorrow. There's really no way I can finish this today :).

Feeling: sleepy :P
Listening to: Norah Jones - Tennessee Waltz

More Melbourne pics.
More Sydney pics.

Saturday, 7 April 2007


Have you ever waited for a dream so long that you never thought it would ever come true? And when there seems to be that chance, you barely breath of it, in case the fragile possibility were to shatter into a thousand shards, a fragment of broken heart trapped in each. But I got mine :). Why, of course, is a different story. Rather long and convoluted, and probably somewhat off the sane and sensible scheme of things... But how does it matter :).

Feeling: glad
Listening to: Pearl Jam - Breath

Thursday, 5 April 2007


They are horrible things. Can't live with them, can't live without them. Can't understand them. If you do understand them, can't control them. If you can control them, you can't really find much reason or sense in them..... And you can't ever ignore them, not really. You can try, but they're like a sty. I speak from experience. You can not ignore them. You see them all the time, and if you don't, then it's because of them.... whatever.

Sadness. Or is it melancholy. I have heard people decipher feelings of an alien mind from just a look at an expression. But I'm not one of those people. It bewilders me. Keeps me fascinated for ages, one expression. Or maybe it's many. I don't really know. What I do know is that I saw what I have not seen too often. Maybe never before. Seeing in another what I seem to have felt, at another time, another place. I wish I had seen more. Or maybe it's better this way.

Feeling: drunk
Listening to: Porcupine Tree - Glass arm shattering.

Wednesday, 4 April 2007


Bestest holiday EVER!!!!! Four days and over 600 clicks. Half a day in Melbourne, and then three in Sydney. I could just die :-<. Weather to live for, company to die for, and a city... simply WOW :).

Currently: so completely beyond happy :D
Listening to: Darude - Sandstorm