Thursday, 31 March 2011

English Lessons - Indianisms: Pass Out, Graduate

When you complete your studies at an educational institution, you 'graduate' from that institution. You do not 'pass out' from that institution. 

To 'pass out' refers to losing consciousness when intoxicated. You cannot equate this to 'graduate', though you may use the word 'pass' when referring to your performance in a test.


Wrong: I passed out from XYZ University in 2004.
Correct: I graduated from XYZ University in 2004.

You can view a full article on Indianisms on CNNGo here:


Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Important Train Timings

Churchgate to Borivli -

First train - 4.27 am slow
Last train - 1.00 am slow

Borivli to Churchgate -

First train - 3.50 am slow
Last train - 12.30 am slow

Churchgate to Virar

First train - 4.15 am slow
Last train - 12.50 am slow

Virar to Churchgate

First train - 3.26 slow
Last train - 12.05 slow


Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Music I Listen To

Music I enjoy listening to:

3 Doors Down
Air Supply
Ben Folds
Black Strat Blues
Blue Oyster Cult
Breaking Benjamin
Bryan Adams
Carbon Leaf
Dashboard Confessional
David Lee Roth
Digital Summer
Dire Straits
Finger Eleven
Foo Fighters
Fountains of Wayne
Gary Moore
Goo Goo Dolls
Indus Creed
Iron and Wine
Joe Satriani
Judas Priest
Keb' Mo'
Kenny G
Kid Rock
Lemur Voice
Linkin Park
Machine Head
Mark Knopfler
Matchbox Twenty
Meat Loaf
Miles Davis
Mr. Big
Mr. Mister
Mumford and Sons
My Chemical Romance
Owl City
Ozzy Osbourne
Peter Cetera
Poets of the Fall
Rascall Flats
Richard Marx
Savage Garden
Secondhand Serenade
Seven Mary Three
Sonic Syndicate
Soul Asylum
Steve Vai
Story of the Year
Sum 41
The Animals
The Calling
The Corrs
The Cranberries
The Grateful Dead
The Killers
The Police
The Rasmus
The Wallflowers
Third Eye Blind
Three Days Grace
Toad the Wet Sprocket
Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
Vertical Horizon
White Lion
Yngwie Malmsteen

Music I don't care much for either way:

A Perfect Circle
After Forever
Billy Sheehan
Bullet for my Valentine
Canto Nono
Children of Bodom
Chris Isaak
DC Talk
Deep Purple
Depeche Mode
Dream Theater
Duran Duran
Eagle-Eye Cherry
Echo & The Bunnymen
Eddie Vedder
Eric Clapton
Fall Out Boy
Foster The People
Freddie King
Green Day
James LaBrie
John McLaughlin
Johnny Cash
Lamb of God
Lenny Kravitz
Limp Bizkit
Mad at Gravity
Maroon 5
Michael Jackson
Midival Punditz
Motley Crue
Paradise Lost
Pearl Jam
Pin Drop Violence
Pinetop Perkins
Pink Floyd
Porcupine Tree
Rage Against The Machine
Red Hot Chilli Peppers
Rob Zombie
Robert Miles
Sex Pistols
Sinead O'Connor
Stone Temple Pilots
System of a Down
Temple of the Dog
The Cardigans
The Doors
The Magic Numbers
The Prodigy
The Ramones
Them Clones
Van Halen

Music I don't enjoy listening to: 

Cannibal Corpse
Cradle of Filth
Cypress Hill
Erykah Badu
House of Pain
Insane Clown Posse
Mahavishnu Orchestra
The Cure

Expect further revisions & updates.


Monday, 21 March 2011

English Lessons - Indianisms: Revert, Reply

When you want to get back to someone, you use the word 'reply', not 'revert'. 'Revert' means 'to return to a former state'. It cannot be used in place of 'reply'. 

People commonly and mistakenly use 'revert' in business emails & letters, trying to sound professional, when they're really grammatically incorrect.


Wrong: Please revert at the earliest.
Correct: Please reply at the earliest.

You can view my full article on Indianisms on CNNGo here:


Friday, 18 March 2011

English Lessons - Indianisms: Reply, Reply back

You reply to someone about something. You do not reply back to someone about something. To 'reply' means to 'get back', so saying 'reply back' is simply repeating yourself.


Wrong: I replied back to her query.
Correct: I replied to her query.

You can view my full article on Indianisms, on CNNGo:


Thursday, 17 March 2011

Assorted Film Articles

Writer Mark Harris discusses the declining quality of art in Hollywood, beginning with Top Gun.

Natalie Angier on Natalie Portman and other smart people in Hollywood.


Wednesday, 16 March 2011

English Lessons - Indianisms: Go, Go for

You do not 'go for trekking', you 'go trekking' or you 'go for a trek'. There is no reason to add the word 'for' after 'go' when describing a simple action, though you may use 'for' when describing a noun.


Wrong: They went for trekking.
Correct: They went trekking.
Correct: They went for a trek.
Correct: They went on a trek.

You can view my full article on Indianisms, on CNNGo:


Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Fort Kochi

Few things make you feel as content as breakfast at a cafe in Fort Kochi.


Saturday, 12 March 2011

English Lessons - Back, Ago

You don't say that such and such thing happened 'years back'. You say such and such thing happened 'years ago'. It's 'ago', not 'back', for phrases like these involving durations. 

You may use 'back' colloquially when discussing durations (ex: it happened way back then) but the word 'years' is always followed by 'ago', never 'back'.


Wrong: I visited that place years back.
Correct: I visited that place years ago.

You can view a complete article on Indianisms on CNNGo here:


Friday, 11 March 2011

English Lessons - Crave, Crave for

You don't say you 'crave for' something. You say you 'crave' something. The word 'crave' is never followed by the word 'for' except when used as a noun.


Wrong: She is craving for ice-cream.
Correct: She is craving ice-cream.

Wrong: She craves for ice-cream.
Correct: She craves ice-cream.

Wrong: I am craving for ice-cream.
Correct: I crave ice-cream.

Also correct: She has a craving for ice-cream.

You can view my full article on Indianisms, on CNNGo:


Thursday, 10 March 2011

Why I am presently an atheist

Why am I an atheist?

I'm not exactly opposed to the idea of God. It's just that I haven't seen any proof that God exists. And in the absence of proof, I see no reason to believe in something on faith alone, just for the sake of believing in something.

Let me put it this way.

There is no conclusive proof that God is real. This fact equates the theory of God's existence with any number of other theories dealing with our origin. For example, I could say that the universe and everything in it was created by a race of supernatural space monkeys and there would be no way for you to either prove, or more importantly, to disprove this theory. And so it is with God. There is no way to either prove or disprove God's existence. Why then are we so ready to have faith in God's existence, and not in the existence of a race of supernatural space monkeys, when we really can't disprove the existence of either?

Let me put it another way for the Christians.

A theory is formed around facts. You don't first develop a theory and then pick and choose the facts that most justify this theory and ignore the ones that contradict it. Yet Christian science does this all the time. It's just a bunch of scientific facts twisted to justify Bible stories as being real. Which is why it's unscientific.

I'm not saying the Bible and Christian science are wrong. I have no proof of that. I'm just saying that there's no way to prove or disprove the truth of them either way. And by default, when you hear something that you cannot either prove or disprove (like if I told you the world would end tomorrow), you would simply choose not to blindly believe it until you had proof. Why then is belief in God any different?

You may say you believe in God because there's no other explanation for how we came into this world, and all other theories of our origin are incomplete. It's true that the theory of evolution is incomplete, full of holes and widely debated. That is why it is just a theory. There is no conclusive proof that evolution is real, any more than God is real. But that's no reason to automatically believe in God, is it? Disproving a contradictory theory doesn't make your theory any more real, does it? You'd still be left with having to prove your own theory. 

There's no reason why evolution and God can't both be complete rubbish. The 2 theories are non-dependent. Disproving one of them doesn't make the other true. Disproving the theory of evolution doesn't make God's existence real, just as disproving God's existence doesn't make the theory of evolution a fact. The truth is we can't disprove anything, so why bother believing in anything to begin with? Why can't we just let our lives revolve around facts?

This line of reasoning can be applied to any form of belief - Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism, Islam Judaism, etc. - where reason is sacrificed to faith in the supernatural, on the basis of lack of alternatives. You can't justify your belief in God on the basis that you don't believe/don't like/can't prove any alternative theories to God. That's no reason to sacrifice your reason and intelligence. Because your theory is equally unproven, you're just believing for the sake of believing. And there's no reason to do that.

Again, I'm not saying that God isn't real. Just that in the absence of proof either way, there's no reason to treat the theory of God any differently to my theory of space monkeys, or any form of imagination or fantasy.


Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Needs & Wants

What you want and what you need are 2 different things, though you may confuse them for the same. You might want a lot more than what you really need.

Over 2 years ago my computer kept getting stuck at startup. I called in an expert. He told me it was a problem with my RAM. And replaced my 3 year old 512 MB RAM card with a new one for almost Rs. 2K.

The same thing began happening in July 2010, almost exactly 2 years later. I called the same expert. Same cause, he said. This time, I had him upgrade to 1 GB RAM for almost the same price.

A couple of months later, the computer kept restarting itself at sudden moments, which I assumed was a problem with the motherboard, and a few weeks after, the monitor went black, though it was still receiving power (the monitor light was on, and I could hear the sounds of the computer starting, but nothing was registering on screen. I assumed the motherboard and monitor problem were connected, that my computer was finally dying, and was about to replace it with a new Rs. 12K (at least) desktop, when I had second thoughts, and decided to call a new expert for help, to look at the monitor only.

I did this because a new system would cost me a lot more money than a quick fix, and my ROI with a quick fix would work out better, as opposed to a new system, when you considered that I only use my desktop for basic stuff.

The new guy fixed the monitor for Rs.1K, telling me it was a transformer problem. That done, I did a little research online and then fixed the computer-continuously-restarting problem by buying a new motherboard battery for Rs. 25. Turns out you need to replace these every 5 years anyhow.

But a whole new problem cropped up. My internet/LAN cable stopped being registered on the computer. The internet cable worked on laptops, so I figured it was a problem with my computer onboard modem/LAN card. I went out, bought a new LAN card for Rs. 300, plugged it into a PCI slot in my CPU, switched my computer on, copied the IP settings to the new card, disabled the old one, installed the driver CD for good measure, plugged in the cable, and I had my internet back on again.

Now, I could have just bought a new 12K PC, or a 40K laptop, but I guess that's what I wanted, not what I needed. Don't get me wrong. I still want a fancy laptop, but what I really needed and got was a basic desktop, money saved in the bank, and a little knowledge about basic computer maintenance.


Sunday, 6 March 2011

Ideal Cream Parlour, Mangalore

Everyone was talking extremely positively about Ideal Ice-Cream in Mangalore - both online and when we got to town. Ideal is supposed to be the no.1 ice-cream/dessert place in Mangalore, with multiple branches set up, and FP & I managed to find one on our last day there.

                                             22 Jan, 2009

Well, I didn't try everything at Ideal, so I can't judge everything there, but I did try their most famous product - the Gadbad. And believe me, the hype didn't live up to expectations.

                                            Photo taken by @fmpinto

The Gadbad involves multiple layers of plain ice-cream scoops interspersed with pieces of fruit and cream. It wasn't bad, it was just average, forgettable, but perhaps that's just me. I'm a chocolate fan, and I feel I've had better ice-cream desserts. I'm sure Mangalore has better things to offer, and the next time I'm in town, and in Ideal, I'm going to try something else, preferably with chocolate.


Saturday, 5 March 2011


While getting tipsy with friends at Janata a few nights ago on Wednesday, 2 March, with the Cricket World Cup England-Ireland match playing on a wall T.V. in the background, I couldn't help but notice the way everyone in the room (well, almost everyone) was supporting Ireland.

Why was this? Why do we automatically align ourselves with one particular team each time a cricket match is on? Well, I think a lot of people just like supporting the underdogs. We would of course support India if they were playing, as national affiliations come first in the cheering order of things. And of course if we're neutral towards both parties, the fact that we just like one better as a nation also plays a part in whom we cheer for, the factors contributing towards 'liking' being that we don't hate anyone in that team, common race and historical factors, oppression, etc.

How would these factors play out over other international matches? Here are some examples. We'd generally support:

India in any match involving India.
Ireland, Canada, Kenya or the Netherlands in any match of theirs not involving India, as they haven't pissed us off in any way, and they're the underdogs. And we like the Irish. Something about kinsmanship with people from other occupied territories.
New Zealand in any match not involving the nations mentioned above.
The West Indies in any match not involving the nations mentioned above.
Bangladesh in any match not involving the nations mentioned above.
Sri Lanka in any match not involving the nations mentioned above.
Zimbabwe in any match not involving the nations mentioned above.
England only in matches involving South Africa, Pakistan or Australia.
South Africa only in matches involving Pakistan or Australia.
Pakistan in a Pakistan-Australia match, as watching Australia lose is more fun than watching Pakistan lose.
We don't support Australia in any match.

Do these loyalties carry outside the sport of cricket? I'm sure they do. When it comes to relationship spats, celebrity fights, wars, corporate feuds, etc., I'm sure we all subconsciously support, or at least want to support one side, one team. We want to take sides. Even based on the flimsiest of excuses. It's in our nature.


Friday, 4 March 2011

Assorted Music Videos

A couple of beautiful music videos I've come across recently.

1. Stjepan Hauser and Luka Sulic playing Smooth Criminal by Michael Jackson for two cellos. 

Arranged by Stjepan Hauser and Luka Sulic.
Directed by: Kristijan Burlovic
Director of photography: Kristijan Burlovic
Camera: Igor Burlovic
Editing & post: Ivan Stifanic
Technical support: MedVid production -

2. Jodi Ketiyaba Okole - Original Assamese song by Jitul Sonowal

Recorded at the studio of Eastern Fare Music Foundation.
Video - Parmita Borah.

And speaking of N.E Indian music, here's Vivek Menezes on Lou Majaw and music in the N.E:


Thursday, 3 March 2011

English Lessons - Comprise, Comprise of

You don't say that something 'comprises of' something else. You say something 'comprises' something else.

You never use the phrase 'comprise of' or 'comprises of'. It is always either 'comprise' (for plural) or 'comprises' (for singular).

This is because the words 'comprise' or 'comprises' mean 'made up of' or 'consist/s of'. So adding an 'of' after 'comprise' or 'comprises' is like saying 'consist/s of of'.


Wrong: This lesson comprises of 11 chapters.
Correct: This lesson comprises 11 chapters.
Correct: This lesson consists of 11 chapters.
Correct: This lesson is made up of 11 chapters.

Also remember to use 'comprise' when the subject in question is plural and 'comprises' when the subject in question is singular. For example:

These lessons comprise 11 chapters.
This lesson comprises 11 chapters.

You can view my full article on Indianisms, on CNNGo:


Wednesday, 2 March 2011

English Lessons - Discuss, Discuss About

You don't 'discuss about' something; you 'discuss' something.

The word 'discuss' means 'talk about'. Therefore, there is no reason to insert the word 'about' after 'discuss'. That would be like saying 'talk about about'.


Wrong: Shall we discuss about the budget?
Correct: Shall we discuss the budget?
Correct: Shall we talk about the budget?

You can view my complete article on Indianisms at CNNGo:


Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Bandra Food Tour

Following our first food tour this year on Jan 15, where ZP, SP, RG & I drove around Bandra, sampling various delights at Grub Corner, MikNeil, MacCraig, Cheron, Kalpana & Cad-B, and eventually lost a cell phone along the way, the one on Feb 26 was somewhat longer, with fewer people, more photos, and no car.

Yes, it was walking all the way, beginning at MacCraig at 1.00. The photos below were all taken by @DeeSeelicious

I've always considered MacCraig a somewhat smaller version of Candies, especially without all the school/college kids hanging about. They have a good selection of snacks, including full meals, though we tried the BBQ and smoked chicken rolls.

We walked through Pali to Mikneil next. I love the cosy look of the place. People out here are good at using little spaces to good effect. They were out of tongue sandwiches, so we settled for beef.

We walked down to Hill road, and then crossed over to the road behind St. Peter's and Stanislaus school, heading towards Chapel road, passing Kakori House, a take-away for one of Mumbai's best Biryanis. Saw this funny sight en route:

                                                         Chalk it up to cats being illiterate

Kalpana on Chapel road hadn't opened yet, so we headed to Speedy Grub Corner on St. John Baptist road, a few minutes away, for cutlets, chicken lollipops, and a mutton roll.

                                                           Nothing silly about their prices 

We walked back down to Kalpana, now open, for a beef pan roll.

The plan was to go on to Mocha Mojo next, and rendezvous with KD, but we couldn't help stopping at one of my favourite dessert places for some chocolate mousse.

I love the signs on the shop window.

Mocha Mojo next where KD had spaghetti with sausages, followed by a really large pitcher of beer with DC.

We chilled here, waiting for the day to get cooler, and then walked back to MacCraig for smaller desserts. Tasty.

And then on to Theobroma, for chili cheesecake.

Even a premier cafe isn't immune to the occasional grammar gaffe.

                                     A real chocolate orange mouse would truly be a tiered dish

And while leaving, we noticed that St. Teresa's church nearby had a bit of a double entendre for us.

Till next time...