Tuesday, 24 June 2008

Website - Sky Design

I wandered upon this design company’s official website recently, and was quite shocked (in a good way) at the level of quality present therein.

I guess I’m used to more mediocre stuff. The firm’s name is Sky Design and their web address is:


These guys seem to have created a lot of beautiful work worthy of international recognition. The question is, how do I now go back and face mediocre websites and products after experiencing this.


Monday, 9 June 2008

Book Review - Adventures in Antarctica

This book, written by Suravi and Rishi Thomas, is a true account detailing the kid's travel to and activities in Antarctica in 2005 along with their parents and other travellers. Diplomatic residents of Chile, Suravi and Rishi received places on a Chilean Navy ship sailing to Antarctica as a Christmas gift from their parents. They were 15 and 12 at the time. The book details the many stops they made both on their way to and in Antarctica, including the wildlife they encountered, bad weather, and the people they met.

The photos that the kids took in Antarctica were probably excellent but their reproductions in print form are not good enough. The writing also needs further editing as there are a few grammatical errors in the book. Also, for a kids book, it seems too content heavy with many continuous paragraphs and not much engaging content for kids. Apart from these points, it really is an interesting book - you see Antarctica through the eyes of children and learn a bit about the continent too.


Movie Review - The Green Butchers

Rarely do you get to see a movie as fresh and entertaining as this one. This 2003 Danish movie directed by Anders Thomas Jensen is a dark, morbid comedy about two men, Svend and Bjarne, who set up their own butcher shop. They both have personal issues which confront them as they go about their business, which leaves an impact on the way they do business as well.

Svend can be described as having very low self esteem. He tries to hide it with false confidence, rudeness and pride. However, anyone can see that despite his loud, arrogant, rude nature, he’s hurting inside and it won’t take much to turn him into a nervous wreck. Bjarne has his own skeletons which aren’t so apparent.

They break away from their employer, the town’s reining butcher, to set up their own butchers shop. At the end of their first day however, they find themselves with no customers and Svend accidentally locks the electrician in the meat locker. He discovers the body the next morning, but when a customer places a sudden large order, he makes a rash decision, does the unthinkable, and serves a part of the body to the customer, soon earning Bjarne’s wrath.

With no choice but to continue with work as they can’t go to the police, matters are complicated when they discover that people actually like the human meat. Svend, obsessed with his sudden popularity, wants to continue killing people, against Bjarne’s opposition. Added to this is the fact that Bjarne’s twin brother, who happens to be slow, has just woken up from a coma after Bjarne has taken out a loan against harvesting his organs, and is now pursuing Bjarne everywhere, even though Bjarne doesn’t want to meet him. 


Willingdon Rain Dance

Attended a rain dance at the Willingdon Gymkhana this Sat with friends.

The evening started off on a quiet note. Left home at 6.00 P.M, hung around St. Peter’s in Bandra till about 7.30 when TP, SL, M, G, K and a friend showed up (tried to get a Kesar shake from Karachi while waiting) but they were out of Kesar?!? Then travelled to and hung around Willingdon realising that it was 8.30 (the event was supposed to start at 7.30) and they were still setting up scaffolding that would in turn hold up sheets that would protect the tables and chairs around the dance floor from the rain. Befriended a friendly cat while we were waiting.

Once everything was set up though, the party started quickly. It was fun, despite the fact that we had to move thrice, the first time because we were too close to the speakers, the second because our table was getting dripped on by too much rain, and the third because we wanted to be nearer the action. Drinks and snacks were really cheap – 60 bucks for a Pepsi and two rums. Around 50 bucks for a plate of snacks like Tandoori chicken, etc. Which was good since we were hungry. Variety was good too.

Three of our party had to leave early, two of them being sick (admirable how they still came) and the remaining three of us wound up soon after. TP and I then headed to the Mumbai Times Cafe (Fifth Floor, Crystal Shoppers Paradise, Off Linking Road, same lane as KFC, Bandra) to catch the Euro Cup at about 11.30 with his friends. As we walked from the elevator to the MTC, we saw a guy being carried out by two other guys; he obviously had had too much to drink. As they passed me, I patted him on the back and said something to the effect of “it’s alright, hang in there”. There’s nothing that raises your hopes of a place like seeing another guy stumble out drunk. The reasoning is, if he’s had a good time, chances are, you will too.

Upon entering however, I was disappointed. The atmosphere didn’t appeal to me. It resembled some kind of restaurant/lounge bar. However we were assaulted with EDM being played at eardrum shattering levels that actually made the furniture vibrate, which was more akin to a nightclub. Now, I like cafes/restaurants/lounge bars and I like loud music, but I don’t like them together. You want loud music when you’re dancing in a club, not when you’re in a cafe/restaurant setting where you’d like to talk to the person next to you instead of being forced to simply sit/eat/drink and nod your head in turn to the music like a zombie - because that’s all you can really do in a place like this. There was of course a small place measuring about 4 square feet in between two lounge areas where a few people were dancing but I’m not sure that was supposed to be a dance area in the first place; and it was only guys dancing?!? Did I miss something?

In retrospect, this appears to be the case in a lot if Mumbai’s so called lounge bars. You don’t go there and ‘lounge’ out of choice. You really don’t have a choice cos they don’t let you do anything else. You can’t dance to the great music for lack of space which is taken up by seating, and you can’t talk to anyone either because of the loud music. A waste of two completely good resources.

While TP took his friends back to his place, I went home.

Monday, 2 June 2008

Wildlife NGOs - A Quick Summary

I've been following the work of quite a few NGO's recently and while I'm happy at the number of organisations and people vying to protect Indian wildlife, It's also interesting to see that each one has a definite vision and and clear purpose. While the goal of each organisation may be the same - to protect India's wildlife and environment, the paths that they follow to achieve this may be different. I've described a few of the major ones below.

Wildlife Protection Society Of India (WPSI)

Provides support and information to government authorities to combat poaching and escalating illegal wildlife trade.

Wordwide Fund For Nature (WWF)

Conducts education and awareness programmes for the public, studies threats related to wildlife and the environment using scientific information gathering and works with local NGO's and government agencies to develop and implement solutions for these threats through education, capacity building, policy development, etc.


Lobbies for issues of concern and campaigns to spread awareness of the same.

Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS)

Focused on research based conservation. Research followed by government lobbying. Also conducts education and awareness programmes for the public.

So each organisation has a different vision. While WWF India is involved in more or less the entire spectrum of conservation programmes, WPSI is mainly focused on combatting poaching, BNHS on scientific research, and Greenpeace on activism.

Rajasthan Royals Win

The Rajasthan Royals won the inaugral IPL tournament yesterday. Can't help feeling a bit proud of them since they're owned by a company I'm associated with.

I did attend the semi final match between the Royals and the Delhi Daredevils at the Wankhede stadium at 8.00 PM at Churchgate on Friday with about a hundred other mates from the office (the company graciously paid for our tickets). While the match was exciting, it was quite one-sided as the Daredevils didn't put up much of a fight.

It was my first time attending a live cricket match in a stadium, and Wankhede is legendary, though those who attended the Royals-MI match at D.Y Patil tell me that that stadium is a whole lot better. It's hard to describe the excitement that we felt watching a live match. We couldn't see the ball half of the time but still cheered for each run and even danced on the benches for every four and six.

The continuous cheering left our voices sore for the remainder of the night, and for my compatriots, probably for the next day as well. It was also sweltering in the stadium sitting under the harsh floodlights for 3 hours. We were drenched in sweat from more or less the time that we took our seats, and didn't stop sweating till we left the stadium. Not to mention that food and water were hard to come by and priced double, which didn't stop the office guys from trying to buy packets of water and ice cream in between cheers and jigs.

Still, I was ready to party after the match. Everyone else, on the other hand, seemed exhausted, probably because of the above reasons, and quickly trooped back home, leaving me stranded with nothing to do. Not one to let my office friend's apparent ineptitude for fun dampen my spirits, I called up MD, met him and three other friends at Kandivli, and hit a couple of bars. Strange that suburban bars are so crowded at 2-3 A.M in the morning.