Guitars… confusion…

So, I thought I’ll get a new guitar.

Easier said than done! Trust me.

I went in with the assumption, that my (supposedly) super ear will guide me to my new guitar. I couldn’t have been more wrong. It turns out, my super ear failed me on more levels than one. 🙂

Well, getting the acoustic one was somewhat easier, now that I look back. All you had to do, is check the sound, built, and the action. Of course, the size. And, somehow, back with the acoustic, the cost of the guitar varied nicely with the built, and looks. I found a decent one in just a couple of trips to the music shop.

The thing with the electric guitar kit is there are far to many variables in the equation. The cost variation is also somewhat spectacular. Add to it the fact, that I feel kind of unable to differentiate between sounds generated by those complicated instruments. Oh, did I mention the done variations, and the pickup coil options!

The setup at the music shop was simple, with one processor and one amp. The sales person just kept on hooking different guitars, and playing them with some knobs being flicked here and there. The end result was that I could not really latch on to what he was trying to say.

Single coil pickup or double coil. To me, it sounded much the same. He kept talking about the power, and the clean factor of the sound. It felt as though some one tried to explain stock market to me. I gave up on that particular guitar. It was a beginner Stagg.

In came the next ibanez. Supposedly of a little premium quality. Hooked it up to the same setup, and started his usual routine. Boy, time for me to get thoroughly confused. Frankly, it sounded same as the previous guitar 🙁 Maybe, I’m tone deaf or something, but  I had no idea why one of them would cost 7. 5k INR, and other 20k.

The confusion prevailed further, when I saw some Fenders at the similar range.

To add more fuel to this fire, I got to know that there are effects Processors with similar effects, but one being superior than other. I did not care to listen, the shop did not have them for try outs.

Ditto for the amps in there. About 5 varieties. but none to demo.

I’ll try to give my super ear another run at another shop, but one thing was pretty much evident here. Guitars did not make much of a difference here. Or they did, but I could not perceive. Maybe, I’ll need an expert to guide me through this mysterious myriad of options.

Any Experts?

Where have you been? Making some Punjabi choumeen!

So I had been absent from this blog for quite some time. Ok, A REALLY LONG TIME!

It had been a crazy few months. For I think about a month out of those, I had lived without internet connection at home. That’s quite a feat, I think. Commendable to say the least. I had (not so recently), shifted house, from a well established residential community to a place which was absolutely bare to begin with. I had to do it up from scratch. And do a lot of things, trust me.

It was quite nerving with, and those with weak heart or depression tendencies, be warned. Those who live single, be warned!

*Thanks to all the folks who helped me, stood by me, during the strenuous phase where it seemed (even to me) that I was losing the plot!

—————–

Any who, things are much more easy paced now. I believe that I’m back to leading a comfortable existence day-to-day activities do not seem a chore.

So, after quite a stretch of eating regular Indian grub, I was longing for something new, something different, something that’d offer the good ol’ taste buds some sense of excitement. And I decided to make some Chinese food at home.

After a lot of deliberation and consideration I decided to make hakka noodles and chilly paneer.Fair thought, you’d think. I thought so too, till I got to the point of getting and boiling noodles. That was the time i realized i require some spring onions, ajinomoto, and some vegetables I could not possibly procure from my local vegetable vendor. Well, I had two choices . abandon all the processing, and go out to eat some spicy biryani, or stick around and make some thing from those boiled noodles, and whatever stuff I had. I decided the second option. The spicy biryani and me don’t go down so well together. My kitchen will need to be really broke for me to consider having that again . (Yeah once bitten, twice averse).

So, me and the punjabi in me decided to get working. and I put some nice “Yamla Pagla Deewana” soundtrack in the back ground on crazily loud volume. Gulped down a full Pepsi glass. I really needed some nerves to do what i was about to do.

I needed spring onions, I had regular onions : after successfully making “Bhindi do pyaza”, my confidence in onions has increased by leaps and bounds. I believe every dish must have a dash of those shallow fried onions, brown and transparent in color. Though the recipe prescribes, it should be done with only little frying, to induce the taste of somewhat raw onion juice in the dish. Yeah that flavor in authentic Chinese certainly is no tadka.

So I did, and I had some vegetables. I needed peas, capsicum and cauliflower and cabbage shred to make some nice Hakka noodles. I had some Beans, carrots and apple gourd (tinda).

Close enough!

I cooked it just like I would make some nice gravy. without spices, and the turmeric routine. Some similarity had to be maintained. 🙂

Next up I needed some soy sauce and vinegar. Absolute essential to getting that tangy taste.

What I had > Amchur(dried mango powder) and lime juice! Will do, I thought to myself. Anything that can save me from that sorry excuse for a biryani.

And i cooked, and cooked with an unfaltering belief that I’d make something edible.

This is what it looked like. This is one of the best examples of the popular sayings, “appearances can be deceptive“:

 

My comfort zone – and attempt to step out from it.

This is oddest thing, I think, as I compose this post. I look at it, and feel as though I need a new challenge. Although this is definitely not anything spectacular, as the things I mentioned in my previous post, it seems as though it might require quite some effort on my part.

For starters, let me shed some light on the problem. I feel I’ve been on facebook too much, and although it’s not really a problem per say, I have kind of taken to it like a fish to a pond. Especially after I relocated. Although, I feel the recent push-mail + fb messages are the major culprit, but I’m not keen on any analysis of the root cause here. I used to be totally off it, and now it seems I’m living a life in there.

Yes, I admit there’s a party going on in there, but I’d like to step out and catch some fresh air. So, here’s me saying that I’ll be off facebook for some days to come. I do not know beforehand how long my break would be, but I’m hoping that I at least make it ten days from now on.

 

So this is my out of office message, out on vacation.

I’ll catch up on reading, writing my blog, watching movies, cycling, and going out, but going to be off facebook limits, for at least 10 days.

So long!

Bringing on the good times.

Ever since I’ve moved into Malaysian Township, I’ve always wanted to fire up my kitchen and cook me a meal. Overcoming many a hurdles, like procuring a gas stove, obtaining a gas cylinder, I made it to the point where I could manage to make some snacks, breakfast and other absolutely essential things in the first week itself. But never had I cooked a meal. The reason ? Cooking alone is such a drab. Also, to make a meal, one requires small quantities of lots of things. I decided to play “the lazy bum”.

Then came the long weekend. The three day weekend, due to the south Indian new year. The one in which I decided I’ll stay at home and set it up, have the things ready to have my kitchen humming (or I could have gone to Bangalore). By the end of the day two, I had done most of that, and day three seemed like a perfect day to start cooking the meals.

There was an interesting set of developments though during that weekend.

  1. India managed to win the world cup on day one. (Yo… )
  2. My cousin had given birth to a perfectly healthy, and a very cute looking baby boy (Yipee… ) on day two.
  3. Day three was Ugaadi. It’s like a new year in South India.

By the end of day two, I was feeling so upbeat, that I decided that instead of having the kitchen off to a elegant but tame kick off, I’ll have it roar and start with a blast ! I decided to launch it open with a house-warming party which I had been planning around here and there. I invited some friends over.

In the morning, I noticed my in box had been buzzing with activity, and I was expecting a guest count of 10 people. Now the situation was such that I have never cooked for so many people. Also my last cooking adventure was a fiasco, and people wouldn’t touch my creation with a 10 ft. stick, because they feared it might electrocute them. So feeling a bit out of sorts, I decided to face my fears and do it. I could have ordered, but I promised these people I’d cook for them.

And I bit the bullet.

My plan to  the day was that I’d get the house thoroughly cleaned up by the maid, in the morning, after which I’ll get stuff to use, eat and decorate. Well, that day being new year, the maid conveniently decided to take it off (I was not even informed).

Never mind, I thought to myself. It is a big festival. To have the show go on, I decided to do the cleaning myself. Never mind the increase in effort here. There was the point when I realised that water taps had also decided to take a break. When I called the Facilities, I was told that there was some repair work going on near my block. (I was the marked man for the day 😉 ). With no definite time frame to have this work finished, my cleaning plans were thrown off track. I had to improvise, so I used packaged water to mop, and clean my toilets. Talk about vanity !!

After doing all that, I decided to focus on the main task at hand. I had to cook. I had decided to make “butter chicken” (A nice, spicy, rich indian gravy), for those eating non vegetarian, and “Kadhai paneer” (Cottage cheese in capsicum and onion mix) for people who were vegetarians. The ratio of non veg people to veg people got skewed big time to favour vegetarians as the new year was accompanied by some days called “Navratris” (Days of abstinence, Hindu version 🙂 ) .

I went out to get the raw materials. When I got back, I realised I was running late by an hour. Thankfully, to one of the guests, I had specifically told to be on time. I knew for certain the others would be running late, so I wasn’t really panicking. So this person, Mr. R.A shows up bang on time, and I explain to him the state of my current affairs. He was great and kind hearted, and he offered to make some “dal” (pulses), which I had decided that I’ll order. He started, and I must admit, hosting a party is always so much better with a co-host (sigh!).

Cruise mode on

With the presence of a friend (and he knew how to cook!). The things began to happen, thick and fast. We whipped out the gravy for the chicken, and I started to progress towards making the cheese dish, Pretty soon we were from tomatoes and onions to nice smelling puree. Also, exactly then other people decided to show up.

I suddenly remembered there was no booze in the house. Since I don’t drink, collect, etc. I’ve once used Vodka to effective use as a cleaning solution :). (Yeah, I clean toilets with packaged water, so this should not come as any surprise !!!) I asked this other friend, MR. RK and Mr. AA to fetch some things and whatever booze for me. They also obliged (I’m so thankful to both of them). Soon we had everything rounded up, and the music playing loud and nice. The atmosphere kept getting better, and we all chatted up nice and easy. These people belong to the same college as me, so we had that bit of common ground.

House full of engineers ! yay!

Endnote

  • My nicely laid out table and make shift coffee table were left unperturbed. The conversation was so engrossing that people did not bother getting up to eat. In the end, I decided to serve them on the floor itself.

    Table laid out, before and after
    Dining table.
  • When the food was eventually dished out and sampled by the connoisseurs :), I got a major thumbs up! So much so, that I affected one of the vegetarian guy to try it out. I’m not going to let the name out here, because we signed a Non Disclosure Agreement. My lips are sealed. Another emphatic embracer of Navratri routine decided to chuck the concept and he went at the chicken big time. :). I think I’ll put the picture of what was there on the serving dishes. It’ll give a better idea.
    Butter chicken
    Saluja ka dhabba - Butter chicken

    Kadhai Paneer - Saluja ka dhabba
  • The dal was made with a technique which I was not aware of till now. Now I am. It was good. End result : that was polished off too! Finally, the ice cream brought over by yet another of the kind hearted guest (Mr. TP), was consumed with as much vigour as one can exhibit.
  • In the end I think, the party went off quite well. We bonded, had a good time, and left happy.

    The king of Good times

 

I had a good time. The house might be nice and ornate otherwise, but with friends and people, it really comes alive. Here’s hoping we have many such events in the coming future. Cheers

 

BTW

Delhi To Hyderabad. On road !! Why would you do it?

So, almost everyone I talk to about my road trip plans has a similar line of responding . It starts with an exclamatory wow! and settles into more introspective “What?, Why?, and How?” . Also, there are people who go like “Hey … you’ll break your car/back/face“. One of the very interesting questions I got asked was “What will you do about the heat?“. A very interesting remark that’s gotten stuck in “That must have been the biggest risk you’ve ever taken in life“. Of course people tell you things. When they care.

My reasons for deciding to do it.

Any ways, it is certainly not a trip people take on an extended weekend. The distance is pretty steep, and I have no idea of the state of roads as of now. One thing I do know is I haven’t been doing any sort of major travelling since the past two years. I do feel the time to take a break and go for a hike. I believe this is a right time as I do not have that much on my plate. Touch the wood 🙂

My car has not had many chances to be taken on a longish ride so far. All it has done is “stop … go”, while I’ve travelled during the day time (to work, mostly). It’s just so crowded here in Delhi. On some occasional nights, when we got to go out to some party, or something, it did get a chance to flex it’s muscles, and purr along happily. Overall, it has been a rather staid life for her. Took me to office, at times, my sister to work, and then back to home. For this very reason, I am kind of detached to my car. I do rave about cleo from time to time, because I have history with it. Hope the feelings develop for Dhanno after this ride. Hope Dhanno enjoys this dash! (Dhanno is the name of my car)

Friends agreed to accompany. Now I would have never even dreamt of doing this alone. More than being scared of the daunting distance, I think I’ll simply get bored to death. Who in their right minds would do such a distance alone? Either they’d be really passionate about their rides, or must have some justifiable reason to do so. As of now, I cannot possibly conjure up a reason to do this alone. But when Mr. X and Mr. T decided to tag along, this was also checked off. (Mr. X has in fact done distances up to tune of insanity, but I suspect he likes driving in general) .

Apprehensions aside, my relocation has presented me with a very interesting opportunity to do this. I’d never go to visit someone for that big a distance (on road, that is). Now I do not think I would ever step into some of the states I’ll get a chance to go into. I do not have reasons, do I? So getting to see interiors of Uttar Pradesh,  Rajasthan,  Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh was a turn on. I’m so short on travelling experience it’s not even funny. Even girls laugh at me at times.

All of the points, might seem pretty irrelevant and tiny if considered separately, but together give me a formidable reason (least for me) to drive Dhanno from New Delhi to Hyderabad.

The story shall continue. Stay tuned….

Microsoft WPF and dizzying speed of development.

First up, a confession. I was never a big fan of Microsoft Technologies, but now, I think I’m in love with the WPF platform.

People who have newly started to make foray in the world of User Interface development, WPF will make every task seem trivial. It seems to provide hooks at all imaginable places, and also it throws in commonly used design patterns that make a developer’s life easy. She can really focus on the problem at hand.

For products where time to market is critical, WPF does seem like a boon. At times I wish if there were such a flexible tool in linux. Lot’s of (linux) developers/designers might be interested if such a tool did exist across platforms.

Nokia … listening?

A badminton court

There was this empty plot adjacent to our house. There were a few people, who’d wanted to play some game in the evening. The plan was (evidently) on for past 2 years. Finally, the defining moment happened.

Two people met up, both wanted to play,  and weren’t just talking out of their hats, when they said “LET’s DO IT”.

It is nicely leveled, floodlit, and a stone’s throw away from the house. Sanjay … thanks. You’re the man!

Neighbors .. “what is the excuse now?”.

Lets’ all play!

My kudos

Finally.
After a lot of thinking around with the idea, and considering the various available options, I hereby take a step (or shall I say a dip) into the colorful world of blogging.

I have an idea about why I need to do it, but it’s only vague, and at the moment, seems ungainly.No explanation just an attempt to explore the unchartered territories, and perhaps get a different view, on what makes blogging such an addictive activity.

I take this post to thank certain ppl who inspired me to start writing.
So , without further ado, hats off to

  • anurag
  • panne
  • pro
  • and the very artistic kesto