Thursday, September 29, 2005


I you have not already come across this lovely blog, its time to get hooked to it. Alternate Movies is promising.

Long time back, I posted the links of Javed Akhtar's autobiography published in his book Tarkash. Here is another window to that, and some other arrows of Tarkash.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Ankhiyon Se Goli Marey

Andew Flintoff believes he was shot at by someone in the crowd while playing a match in Delhi four years ago. The most intriguing part is that he escaped unhurt. Either he was wearing a bullet proof jacket, or he is Phauladi Singh.

Or else it was a case of Ankhiyon Se Goli Maarey!

Thursday, September 15, 2005


Simple words said almost a century ago by Ayodhya Singh Upadhyaya 'Hariaudh', yet so relevant even today.


Previous Poem - Vivashta

Labels: ,


Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Like Ishan's blog, Anand Shivshankar's blog also has to be one of the most under rated blogs around. Please do visit, and make sure to read the older posts as well, especially the one on Goa. Words flow like music. Simply Superb!

Lucknow : Shaam-E-Awadh

Koi Kissa Mujhko Khush Aaata Nahin
Haan Magar Ek Dastaan-E-Lucknow

Like Benares is known for it's Subah-E-Benares, i.e. mornings of it's ghats and temples, Lucknow is known for it's evenings, Shaam-E-Awadh along the river Gomti - Lucknow's lifeline.

As the luck would have it, Lucknow's finest structures are built either along this river, or just near buy. So as the sun sets in the evening, and one happens to be on the banks of Gomti, or boating along, Lucknow's skyline presents a breathtaking view.

Mahatma Gandhi Road runs along the right bank of the river, from old Lucknow in the west to the huge cantonment in east, with the magnificent buildings, and gardens, flanking all along way - this is the right way to start Lucknow Ki Sair.

Last November when I was home, I borrowed a bike from a cousin, and set about the same path. Be it Imamabaras, countless parks, British Residency, Arched Gates, Clock Tower, Satkhanda Palace, Chhattar Manzil, Tombs, HazratGanj - every thing comes on the way.

For you friends, Lucknow Ki Sair has just begin. Hope it is enjoyable.

Labels: ,


Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Who Killed The IIT JEE

They had been planning to kill it, and finally they not only killed it, they also succeeded in beating it to pulp. That's the new IIT-JEE format for you. I am not saying this because I had been lucky enough to clear it once, but because I sincerely believe so.

First, the welcome changes. Putting a minimum cut off of 60% at Plus 2 level, and restricting the number of attempts to two. The effort now will be more focused, if not already, and those seeking admission would be the serious contenders to the seats.

Now the shocker. Making the whole paper as an objective type, with a few descriptive write ups. All this to reduce the burden on students! Reduce how? They still have to study the whole course, if there is one, and to add further misery to that, they have to now mug up the theory for write ups as well. Maggus will have a field day.

The earlier numerical based questions looked for perfect, analytical, and sharp minds. Of course, flukes like myself still make it, but such number is less, and mostly the deserving ones make it. Now, with only objective set up, they have reduced IIT-JEE to a National Defense Academy paper, or is it a test for presi writing?

I will share a secret. Not many know how I cleared the objective chemistry paper during prelims of National Talent Search Examination(NTSE). I was appearing for my tenth board(ICSE) that year, and organic chemistry was not in course.

I knew only three of twenty five chemistry questions in NTSE, that included the chemical formula of Epsom Salt. Rest of them were organic chemsitry ones. With no negative marking, I blindly marked the rest of the answers as option 'C', and cleared the cut off courtesy law of averages. That usually goes with the objectives.

Of course, IIT JEE will have negative marking, but then, that will almost rule out intelligent guessing, which is so inherent part of giving such papers. Some times one answers by eliminating other options, at other times one uses contradiction. The fear of earning negatives will rule out such answering.

We always know that pains at the time of preparation is easier to manage than the pains at the time of giving the paper. This sort of objective questioning would introduce more pains at the exam level. God save the students, and their quality at IITs.

Monday, September 12, 2005

The 37 years old, never-say-die Agassi Express chugs on. The moment you write him off, he returns back like never before. His service returns are still the best, back hand has the same old spunk, while the baseline play holds itself in it's good old stead.

While I left for the office after watching him lose first two sets during his quarter final match against Blake, I thought the match was over. Luckily, Agassi did not believe on same lines. He won the last three sets, and the match. Even Blake sportingly acknowledged - "What a match too lose!".

But his opponent in finals- Roger Federer, is fifteen years younger, and one up on most of the aspects of his game. Still, what a final it was. Every point was well fought. Federer eventually won in four sets. Perhaps, to view the match set wise would be unfair. This match should have been enjoyed point by point, game by game. What a display!

As far as Federer is concerned, if he continues the way he has been doing right now, the exploits of Pistol Pete Sampras would soon be distant history because he plays those shots in reality which other mortals only play in mind, and dreams. Ask Leyton Hewitt.

Labels: ,


Friday, September 09, 2005

Creativity Khallas

Call it batteries down or whatever - but these days I never seem to have a topic to write.

Like they say, a captive mind is a more difficult situation than a captive body. It seems my personal problems, whatever they may be, are making my mind devoid of any eloquent ideas. A fit case of Bhookhey Bhajan Na Hoain Gopala!

Readers are always intelligent enough to read that, and since matter doesn't seem to be up to the mark - or was it ever - that is getting reflected in the number and the quality of comments. Though, a few loyal ones do make the presence felt, and some stray new ones make customary comments, I won't blame them.

Lack of interest is not the case, but preoccupations is certainly is. There is a haze in personal life which needs to be cleared. Whether it will get cleared or grow thicker, will time only tell. How much time, I don't know. Oont Kis Karwat Baithega, that also I don't know.

However, this blog will stay for time being. I am hoping for the best.

Thursday, September 08, 2005


ShivMangal Singh 'Suman''s Vivashta - one of his famous works.

He has used some very beautiful lines like 'Mai Na Aaya Tumharey Dwaar, Path Hi Mud Chala Tha'. Judge yourself this fantastic peice.


Previous Poem - Varsha Ne Aaj Vidai Li

Labels: ,


Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Ghadiyali Ansoo

Heard that Laloo has apologised to Muslims for his past mistakes that he might have committed. Awwal To he didn't do any wrong to Muslims, as far I can remember. Even then if he decides to apologise, then there is a long list of apologies that he may have to tender to the people of Bihar.

Forget it Laloo, we know election dates are announced, but we also know that your vote bank is safe and sound, so no need for these Ghadiyali Ansoo. Even if there is some problem, Buta Singh is there Na. He will be of great help, which he is already. Par vote Ke Liye Ab Rona Tumhey Shobha Nahin Deta. Use old trick - Maskhari Kero, vote Paao.

Monday, September 05, 2005

Lucknow: When You Get There

The nice thing about the modern rulers, be it British, or local administration, is that while constructing any modern edifice, they made sure to maintain the harmony between the old Nawabi architecture, and their new one.

Take a look at this gorgeous Railway Station building structure in a larger photograph. Any visitor is awestruck with its grandeur the moment s/he steps in the place.


Lucknow's Charbagh Railway Station, till 1867, was a combination of four large orchards. The present Station building was constructed in 1926 with domes and minars of Saracan design, intended to harmonize with the architecture peculiar to the important historical buildings to the city which date to the days of the Nawabs of Awadh.

The building constructed in red brick has a frontage of long verandahs adorned with Mughal arches. A central portico leads to spacious loggia, on both side of which on two floors are administrative offices. refreshment rooms, waiting halls and retiring rooms. Constructed along the length of station, and approached by over-bridge and sub-ways are a number of platforms running into enormous lengths of receiving incoming and outgoing traffic.

Just adjacent to this old building, there also is a newer building catering to North Eastern Railway with similar architecture. Even the new reservation center also has the Nawabi touch. The platform ones is the third longest in the world after Kahdakpur and Sonpur. There are a whopping thirteen of them in total. The building now is a part of World Heritage Site.

The Amritsar station in Sunny Deol's Gadar is in fact Charbagh station rather. Bunty and Bubbly also gives a peek in, and so does the umpteenth number of Lucknow based movies set in fifties, sixties and seventies.

Whenever you visit, do spare a moment or two to marvel this magnificent edifice.

Labels: ,


Lucknow: A Brief History

History is a boring subject, therefore, I didn't want to dwell upon the city's history. But since Nikhil specifically requested for it, I would put it up in brief.

Lucknow was initially part of the Kaushal kingdom belonging to lord Ram. When Lakshman was returning to Ayodhya after dropping Sita at guru Valmiki's ashram in Bithoor, he stayed on the banks of river Gomti for a few days.

That place was a smallish hillock, rather not even a hillock. It was a Tila(if one is familiar with the term). He even built a small temple over there. It is believed that Lucknow's foundation was laid by Lakshman himself, and that's why Lucknow was erstwhile known as Lakshmanpur. That Tila, today, is known as Lakshman Tila.

Later, Lakshmanpur changed to Lakhnawati, which further morphed into Lucknow. Till early eighteenth century, the base of such hillocks were solely occupied by Brahmins, Kayasthas, and some stray Rajputs.

Then came in Nawabs. They were ministers of Moghuls who were sent to keep control over the area. First amongst these was sent by Aurangzeb. But unlike religiously biased Moghuls, Nawabs were peace loving, pious, large hearted and secular. They celebrated both Hindu and Muslim festival with same fervour. These Nawabs were of Iranian origin, hence they were of Shia cult.

This magical blend of secular Shias, and peaceful original Hindus gave rise to the famous Ganga-Jamuni tehzeeb of the Awadh region. This is perhaps the reason why even at the peak of Hindu-Muslim riots during Babri Masjid demolition or Gujarat riots, hardly a life was lost here without any curfews. Even 1984 Hindu-Sikh riots had muted effect over here. It's a perfect cosmopolitan city.

Nawabs remained till 1857, and after that last of the Nawabs were shunted out to Calcutta and it was ruled by British cantonment since then till independence.

That makes the brief history of the city.



For All The Teachers


I will replay the post I made last year on this day - To Ma'm With Love. Old timers on my blog must have already read it, but still, can't give a better tribute to my teacher. A little birdie from the alumuni association informed that she has left the school is now settled in Delhi with her brother. God bless her.

Though Teacher's Day belongs to every teacher, because in a sense each one of them are involved, one or the other way in building our personality, but there are a few teachers whom we owe more than the others. While others do their job, some actually go beyond their brief. Apart from being knowledgeable, they are so selfless, loving and friendly, that even Dr. Radhakrishnan would be proud of them.

Not only me, but most of my class mates would remember Ma'am Pramila ManSingh. She was our English teacher in IX and X standard. She was one of the reason which made those two best years of my life even better. She was barely six or seven years elder to us, and was very thin. She had a very pretty, friendly smile. I still vividly remember the day when we became friends.

She had barely taught for a few days, when one day we came to know it was her birthday. She brought some Cadburys for the class, and the moment she opened the packet, almost whole class swarmed her. I some how remained at my seat and waited for others to finish. I had already given up on idea of getting the sweets, when to my pleasant surprise, she threw one of the toffee towards me when already there were many still swarming her. That day I knew, she was special.

She handpicked me to be my guardian teacher, visited my place often. She gave special attention to my pathetic English, introduced most of us to good English books. Her class used to be a good friendly atmosphere. She was very understanding of our crushes, and even tried to play match maker for some. Apart from being caring, she was very intelligent as well.

She made a very hard effort to decipher the meaning and significance of the tough poem - The Captive Air of the Chandipur by Jayant Mahapatra. This poem was in Panorama and was prescribed for our boards. It went over the head of most of us. Even the poet himself had no idea why he wrote that poem, but she made it possible for all of us.

There many such incidents, which made her special. She will always be there in a part of me. A very Happy Teacher's Day - Ma'am. We all love you.



Friday, September 02, 2005

Lucknow : The Beginning

The first question beckons. Why Lucknow as a tourist destination? No Rajputs, no Mughals, so where is the architecture? Well, to fill the gap of above two - there were Nawabs, British, and there have been a little bit of French too. All of them came later than Mughals and Rajputs, hence the architecture is fairly modern.

Nawabs were Shia Muslim, hence the architectural style largely resembles that of Iran, rather more so of Constantinople. For that reason, the city is also known as 'Constantinople Of India'. Historians have gone far enough to say that pre-1900, Lucknow was culturally and architecturally most advanced city of India.

But since, during the first war of independence in 1857, Lucknow played a major part (there was a massive massacre of British soldiers under the guidance of Begum Hazrat Mahal), 75% percent of Nawabi architecture was demolished, and an important British cantonment was set up through out the city to curb ghettoism. That brought the British architecture in picture, but at the cost of some glorious Nawabi one.

In fact, now dilapidated remains are not because of Archeological Survey of India's ignorance but due to mass pulling down of the edifices. Only important religious place were spared, while other palaces and official edifices were pulled down.

To get the more feel politico-cultural situation of that time in Lucknow, I would recommend three masterpieces of Hindustani cinema - Satyajit Ray's Shatranz Ke Khiladi, based on Munshi PremChand's story by the same name; Shyam Benegal's Junoon based on the war of independence; and Muazzafar Ali's Umrao Jaan - a story about the tragic life a fictitious courtesan. All three are must see.

A French architect named Jean Claude Martin, visited Lucknow during the Nawabs and loved the city culture so much that he settled over there. He designed and got constructed various beautiful structures with French designs. Hence the French connection.

City is also known for it's parks. Many old ones, a few new ones. Then, food is the major major USP. Every corner of the city has something or other for a food lover. Nawabs were good at it, so are the current inhabitants.

So looking forward to this new journey. Hope to keep you hooked.



Tourist Placard

I wanted to do this for a long long time now, but was not sure how would it be taken up by the readers.

Actually, since I belong to Lucknow, and it's pretty interesting place to be in, but still, as a tourist destination, I guess it's true potential hasn't been realized. It has a lot to offer for the travel bees, but somehow I feel a lot is yet untold.

It may neither be cleanest or greenest city in the country, nor it may be the most happening one - but still it has strange charisma which is enough to charm a visitor for their 3-4 days of travel. I want to help them out.

Here is my plan. Intermittently between my regular posts, I will be dropping in some posts about Lucknow which a tourist may love to have. It may also induce the tourist inside you to force a planned visit after reading these blogs.

I promise you that it will not be a typical boring account of mundane tourist information. I will make it interesting, and comprehensive, laced with photographs. Later, I might do it for Pune as well.

Let's see how it comes out.



Of Swiss Alps, Scottish Highlands, Dutch Windmills

Do check out what Ishan has to offer. Good travelogues, and much more.