The Machine(s)

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Image: Pulsar 220

The Challenger: Bajaj Pulsar 220

Blame it on Archit. He’s my friend from Class 1, and a hardcore bike enthusiast. And he’s convinced me that I should seriously consider the new Pulsar 220. It’s about 5k cheaper than the Fazer I mused about, and has a 220 cc engine churning out a massive 21 bhp. And the red version is too sexy to resist. The only downside is the relative abundance of the Pulsar, which make it look pretty much run-of-the-mill. But it so isn’t.

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The Yamaha FAzer

The Yamaha Fazer

At length I have decided to get the Yamaha Fazer. A vehicle is a must; getting around on foot is a pain, literally and figuratively. And a car is too expensive till next July, which again is too long a wait for a person who is as impatient as I. Hence, buying a bike is the natural choice.

The Yamaha Fazer has been in existence for a long time, but this one’s an entirely new model. A 143 cc, 4-stroke, air-cooled engine, wide 100/60-140/60 tyres, lots of gauges, strong looks, and an affordable price-tag make this bike the very next thing on my wishlist, though I’m a bit confused about the colour.

But whatever colour I choose, I can’t wait to turn the throttle of my first bike. πŸ˜€

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The Slant-Drill That Caused A War

As Petroleum Engineers, we’ve learnt at length about the technique of directional drilling. Also called slant drilling, this is how we can drill into petroleum reservoirs which can’t be reached by drilling straight down. It’s quite simple to understand: suppose you have an oil reservoir 5 kilometres below a city, you might not be able to drill to it from inside the city; getting a permit will be way too expensive. Instead, you’ll get hold of a piece of land outside the city and drill at an angle to reach the reservoir. (For the uninitiated, reservoir is not a tank or anything like that, rather a large amount of rock, deep, deep down, which has oil trapped in its pores).

Now the fun bit. One of the reasons Iraq stated to justify its invasion of Kuwait in the Gulf War was that Kuwait was allegedly slant-drilling into the Iraqi oilfield of Rumaila. So, in retaliation for this invasion of Iraq’s assets under the ground, Saddam Hussein sent his troops to capture whatever Kuwait had above the ground. Of course, global watchdogs like the United Nations condemned the invasion and George H.W. sent his troops to stop the oilfields of Kuwait from slipping out of the hands of the West. Wonder why the United AbomiNations didn’t object to that, though.

As would have been quite likely, the claim of the cross-border slant-drill has never been verified. Saddam Hussein is now dead, and Iraq is overrun by American troops thanks to the Second Gulf War, for which Barack Hussein Obama was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. Iran now has a certain Mahmoud Ahmedinejad at its helm, and it seems like the Yanks are interested in the oil west of Iraq too. Where oil flows freely, blood does an imitating act. Fortunately, our desi oil hardly flows.

Posted in Science, World | Tagged , , , | 10 Comments

The Day Of The Derby

(I know I wrote about football just a few days ago, but I’m a guy after all. :P)

It doesn’t get better. Liverpool host Manchester United for the now-famous North West Derby. Both teams are bogged down by injuries, but Liverpool have a more urgent need for the three points. That’s because they’ve lost four games on the trot now. If they lose this one, it’ll be the first time since 1953 that they’d have had such a poor run. Never mind, I still want United to win. We need the points to go back to the top of the Premiership table. In fact, I think if Liverpool lose tonight, it’ll be good for them because then they wouldn’t have to think about the EPL; they’d be out of contention then. It’ll take the pressure off, and they’d be able to concentrate better on the Champions’ League. Now, now, I’m just playing here.

For me, however, this match has a personal significance. My dear friend from college, Shivam, happens to be a staunch supporter of Liverpool while I’m the old-school Man United fan. In fact, most of my erudite discussions relating to football are with him, my other pals either too busy (that’s more like the norm these days), or ignorant about the beautiful game. Hence, this happens to be our derby. He got a double last season (means we got beaten by them both times) so I hope today I can give something back.

πŸ˜€

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Censure That Censor, Please

Oscene

A Kiss: Way too Obscene

Well well well, guess what’s new on the English movie channels airing on Indian television these days. Yes, you guessed right, they’ve started editing out kissing scenes from movies. That means after MJ pulls down Spiderman’s mask, what you’ll see next is the two pulling away. If you’ve not seen the uncut version, you’ll never realize there was a liplock which was, you guessed right again, obscene. No, not beautiful and romantic, an onscreen kiss is downright obscene. Ask the guys at the Censor Board and they might as well tell you that watching kisses on television can make men sexually volatile and hence lead to an increase in crimes against women. But hey, this is India. Here, even holding hands in public with your wife can be labeled an obscenity (psst, people don’t say “I love you” to their spouses; no wonder they’ll scream when they see you pronouncing your wife as the love of your life).

Angelina's back: obscene

Angelina's bare back: almost criminal

No wonder, then, that bare backs are also conveniently edited out. If kisses can be obscene, watching these is downright iniquitous. Now of course, most Page 3 parties have women showing about as much skin on their back as Angelina Jolie in the forgotten Wanted scene. The latter is obscene of course, because the general public can see it. Now, a simple question arises: what is the need for these ridiculous censors when everyone has ready access to the Internet? And, if the Censor Board feels these scenes (which weren’t even regarded as obscene here in India a few years ago) have a derogatory effect on the psyche, what about news channels splashing fantastic breaking news of an impending destruction of Earth and mankind? Or the shows on TV which make money by exploiting (and trivializing) human feelings towards babies, or those that make people believe (via a truth chair) that extramarital relations are a must-try?

The strategy is simple: they’ll do all this, and the next time an innocent girl is raped in Delhi, they’ll yawn and say, “We’ve done what we can. We’ve even removed all the crime-inducing scenes from movies. We can do no more. Go home.” I get miffed further when the subtitles running on these English movies (I don’t need subtitles, didn’t you know from my English?) replace the mildest of expletives like “damn” and “hell” with “darn” and “heck”. Ask a kid in middle school to blurt out the gaalis he knows and he could go on for hours. Moral of the story? You might have ready access to anything on the www, but the Censor Board will know it’s kept you away from your basic instincts by this:

Coming soon!

Coming soon!

Posted in India | Tagged , , | 4 Comments

Guffaw!

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It seems now that the beach ball was too light for the football to take any deflection off it. What happened in reality was that Pepe Reina was disoriented by the balloon, and instead of covering the shot from Bent, his hands involuntarily followed the bright-red entity. You can’t blame Reina for it, though. Just plain bad luck, I’d say.

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Being a United fan (a hardcore one at that), I can’t grant myself the concession to admire rival teams: namely City, the Gunners, Liverpool and them Blues. But once in a million weekends comes a moment when I get to pity one of them. This Saturday, it happened at Sunderland. For those who’re busy watching T20, here’s a round-up. Darren Bent, one striker who now looks ever more assured of an international berth for England, tried shooting one toward the Liverpool goal. The mercurial custodian Pepe Reina had covered the shot, but it took a deflection from a beach ball (believe it!) which was thrown onto the ground by someone in the crowd, and ended up in the net.

Sorry if you call Anfield your Mecca (I hope you read this, Shivam :P), but this made my day. No more cribbing about our loss to Burnley. No more worrying about Chelsea, though that was partly thanks to Wigan. This weekend, Liverpool was the show-stealer. Of course, I do feel sorry for them: poor run of form, the Gerrard-Torres axis out of action, and then, this stellar piece of bad luck. But then, worthy of a good, hearty laugh. Maybe Rafa Benitez will sign the beach ball. It’ll do a better job than Voronin, I’m sure.

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Mirror.NEQ.Camera?

Have you ever felt this? When you look at your face in the mirror close-up, you find yourself, full of life. You see every part of your face: the ridges of the lips, the curve of the brows, the depression on the chin. Everything. It somehow pleases you, and you say to yourself, “I ain’t bad to look at, am I?”.

Then during the day someone takes a picture of you, and you instantly start wondering how you look. Whether it’s an urge or a fleetingness, you do want to see the picture. However, when you get to see it, the person you see in it is someone who only slightly resembles the one you saw in the mirror.

I don’t know about you, but I sure go through this every now and then. The ‘I’ in pictures seems to be starkly different from the ‘I’ in the mirror. In some cases it’s my smile which is too wide, or my hair, or my lips, blah. However, there are those rare occasions when the picture comes out perfect. And I’m relieved; ah, that’s me, finally.

Hmm?

P.S. What would happen if you went through the above, liked that rare out of rare picture and put it up on your social networking profile, only for it to be immediately rejected by someone who matters because your skin is a tad shiny in it?

P.P.S. If you don’t know what’s happening here, my ON button just blew up. Have a good day.

Posted in Journal | Tagged , , | 6 Comments

Three Reasons Why Arunachal Pradesh Is A Part Of India

This news has been doing the rounds so much these days, that I had to write about it sooner or later. Now, for the uninitiated: Arunachal Pradesh is a state in the easternmost part of India (Arunachal literally means the land of the rising sun; the state is named thus because it is where the sun rises first in India), a state that had temporarily been occupied by China during the border conflict of 1962. Today, it is a part of the Indian nation, and yet, China suddenly seems to have become fond of what once was and now isn’t. Why is it a part of India? Well, here we go.

In the war conflict of 1962, China achieved military superiority, and there is no doubt about that. They annexed what was rightly theirs (the Aksai Chin) and what wasn’t (Arunachal). During the conflict, both sides faced immense logistical difficulties, Aksai Chin being a freezing salt desert at 5000m above sea level, and Arunachal being in the Himalayas, with dramatic peaks towering over 7000m. Soon after the occupation, China simply vacated Arunachal and shifted to its pre-war positions in the east, for reasons unexplained to us common people in the Indian heartland. Whatever the reasons might be, Arunachal has basically been Indian territory excepting that short period when China had occupied it. And thus that stands today.

Leaving aside the military reasons, Arunachal is a state which is culturally a part of India. Though ignored at first, the beauty of the area couldn’t remain shrouded for long. The state has not only seen an increasing number of tourists from the rest of India, but also seen rising is the number of immigrants who have settled down, finding the peace, tranquility and scenic beauty too hard to leave behind. And there are others from the economically deprived classes, who went to Arunachal in search of a steady source of sustenance, and can now be found running shops or roadside eateries. It is safe to say that Arunachal has the essence of all other states of India: indigenous culture, indigenous people, and among it all, a cultural diversity which mingles into the uniqueness of this wonderful land.

The third reason is my personal favourite. China is an autocracy. ItΒ  might be part of the Security Council, it might be ages ahead of us economically, but it is ruled by a select bunch of people. Poles apart is India, a democracy, where people at least can choose who rules them. We’ve had elections in Arunachal recently, and 70% of the population turned up to cast their vote, far higher than the average turnout during polls in other states. This, more than anything, is proof that the people of Arunachal identify with India, that they are willing to live on in a free world, that they are willing to be called Indian. And maybe this is proof that they have the same dream for India as the great Rabindranath Tagore had:

Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high
Where knowledge is free
Where the world is not broken into fragments by narrow domestic walls
Where words come out from the depth of truth
Where tireless striving stretches its arms towards perfection
Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way into the dreary desert sand of dead habit
Where the mind is led forward by thee into ever-widening thought and action
Into that heaven of freedom, my Father, let my country awake

Jai Hind.

Posted in India, Love | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments