Saturday, December 27, 2008

WITnessed : Got Milk!?

When I was giving the All India Engineering Entrance Exam in Bombay, I was staying at Neela Massi & Tipu Uncle's place... (They're both one of my coolest Aunts & Uncles respectively!)

The morning before the exam, Neela Massi was being the good motherly aunt, and making sure I was relaxed, well rested and especially well fed, while I was cramming last minute as usual...

Neela Massi : Do you want anything else to eat?
Pratik : (With my nose in my notes, and my mouth full of fruits) Thanks, but I'm fine... : )
Neela Massi : Will you have anything else to drink? I've got fruit juice - orange, grape etc...
Pratik : Cool... I might have some juice later... Thanks... I'll take it don't worry...
Neela Massi : Should I get you some milk? How do you like your milk? There is hot milk... But if you prefer cold milk, I can cool it...
Tipu Uncle : (chimes in) Yes Neela, do that!
Pratik : Nah its fine... I won't have milk...
Tipu Uncle : I mean just cool it! : ) Let him cram in peace... He'll ask if he needs anything!

And we all cracked up! lol

This happened back in April 2003... But it was so spontaneous and hilarious that I still remember it!

Quick Links :
Erm... What exactly is "WITnessed"?
The full WITnessed series...

Friday, December 26, 2008

WITnessed : Religiously Healthy...

Sneha : Toni, are you guys religious? As in do you go to Church often?
Toni : No we went only for my daughter's baptism! Haven't been there ever since.
Stephania : I think I'm the only one who here who goes to church. Last year I went for an entire week... but then I didn't go anymore!
Toni : Yeah going to church is like going to the gym - you go for a week and then forget all about it!

- Contributed by Sneha... : )
[Feel free to share your "WITnessed moments" and I'll put em up on the blog...]

Quick Links :
Erm... What exactly is "WITnessed"?
The full WITnessed series...

Thursday, December 25, 2008

WITnessed : Christmas Gifts...

On chat with my mom a week before Christmas...

Medha : Ok What do you want for X'Mas
Pratik : a biiiiig hug
Medha : That definitely! : ) Looking forward to seeing you soon son!
Pratik : let me finish...
Medha : ?
Pratik : a biiiig hugE GIFT! :D
Medha : lol! k...
Pratik : But I'll take the hug too ha!

Merry Christmas folks! : )
Let me go give my mum her gift, and a HUGE hug, and hopefully get a HUGE gift myself! ; )

[This post was pre scheduled... No, I wasn't sitting on my computer blogging on Christmas Eve...
In fact most of my posts are pre scheduled... So that I have one new post every day rather than 5 on one day, and then none for the rest of the week...]

Quick Links :
Erm... What exactly is "WITnessed"?
The full WITnessed series...

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

WITnessed : Tis the Season To Be Jolly...

At Barista on Vaibhav's Happy Budday (Dec 23rd)...

Vaibhav : All right people... Order you're stuff!
Yash : I'll have a mango smoothie!
Khushboo : I'll have a strawberry smoothie...
Neha : Who orders a mango smoothie at this time of the year?! It's not even mango season... Strawberry smoothie sounds soo much better!

After the smoothies arrive...

Neha : (after sipping Khushboo's strawberry smoothie) Hmm... Strawberry smoothie is not bad!
Khushboo : Mango is actually better...
Vaibhav : Yup... its yum!
Neha : (to Yash, with a sweet smile) Let me taste... Give me a sip na...
Yash : Nope... It's not the season! : P

Quick Links :
Erm... What exactly is "WITnessed"?
The full WITnessed series...

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

WITnessed : One Stone, Two Birds... Purely Unintentional...

After an hour long, discussion-filled dinner with Neha, Pranip and Yash...

Yash : I don't like Big Bang Theory (the sitcom)... Its too repetitive...
Pratik : Hey! You remind me of that Indian guy Raj in it!
Neha : Hahaha! Yeah!
Pratik : The guy that can't get himself to speak in front of attractive women!
Neha : Hahaha! Yeah! Totally! *sudden realization* Hey! Wait! No! He speaks to me..!

Quick Links :
Erm... What exactly is "WITnessed"?
The full WITnessed series...

Monday, December 22, 2008

WITnessed : Sleepwatching...

After a long day in the mall, we were on our way to a movie in the evening, and Birte [1] (Sneha's roomie in Pretoria) was feeling sleepy...

Sneha : You can go home and sleep if you want Birte...
Birte : No its fine... I can sleep in the movie...
Nana : But why would you want to go to a movie if you're sleepy?
Birte : I don't want to go home and be alone...
Nana : But you just want to sleep right?
Birte : Ya, but still...
Nana : Now don't say that you don't want to sleep alone!

PS : Nana is my Grandmom... who just turned 72 this month! : )
[1] For the non Germans... Birte is not pronounced "Berty"! Her name is pronounced "Beer"+"ta"... or Berty... depending on your mood... : P

Quick Links :
Erm... What exactly is "WITnessed"?
The full WITnessed series...

Sunday, December 21, 2008

WITnessed : Cyclists Beware!

Over dinner...

Udayan : Yaar, the other day Bagga and me were going to that awesome eating joint, but the cops were on the road so we had to turn back and go elsewhere! [1]
Pratik : Yeah these cops are damn annoying man! You should get a cycle! These cyclists are so lucky... They've got nothing to lose...
Udayan : Except their lives!

[1] They havent registered their bike in Andhra Pradesh State, and so the cops fine them every time they catch them.

Quick Links :
Erm... What exactly is "WITnessed"?
The full WITnessed series...

Saturday, December 20, 2008

WITnessed : We are family!

Manisha was hanging out at my place in Hyd with me and my new housemate Avi...
She was being a cranky kid as usual, and I chided her for something...

Manisha : We're like a little family... Dad (pointing to me), Mom (pointing to Avi) and I'm the baby...
Avi : I'm sorry, I don't agree with that!
Manisha : Of course we are! See I'm the kid... And...
Pratik : Stop back answering Manisha! And go to your room!

Quick Links :
Erm... What exactly is "WITnessed"?
The full WITnessed series...

Friday, December 19, 2008

WITnessed : Language Barriers...

Rohan, Aditi and Pri were watching "Indian Laughter Challenge" and while the others were cracking up, Aditi had no clue what was going on...

Rohan : In the middle of the jokes Aditi kept asking me to explain what he was saying!
Aditi : Obviously! You both were laughing your asses off, while I'm trying to understand what they're saying. They speak so fast! I can't understand such fast Hindi!

A little while later...

Pratik : Hey Aditi, remember what Rohan said to Fa over dinner last night? I'll put that up on WITnessed...
Aditi : Nah, I don't remember...
Pratik : You were sitting right next to him and cracking up! Do you even listen to your boyfriend's jokes, or just laugh like that only?
Aditi : Listen, ok! *typical Aditi eye roll*
Fa : And it wasn't even in Hindi Adu!

Quick Links :
Erm... What exactly is "WITnessed"?
The full WITnessed series...

Thursday, December 18, 2008

WITnessed : Eatiquette Reloaded

We were at a table on the lawns of a beautiful fort in Jaipur for Pragati's engagement.

Fa : (says something funny about Rohan)
Rohan : Farah... erm... (searching for an intelligent comeback)...
uh... (searching for any come back)... Go f*** yourself!"
Pratik : Haha! The universal comeback!

After he's done eating, Rohan rinses his hands under the table with a glass of water...

Fa : Rohan you ghati! Can't ask for a finger bowl kya?!
Rohan : At least I wash my hands after eating, unlike some other people...
Fa : I know how to eat properly OK, without getting my hands dirty... Unlike some other people!
Rohan : Yeah you don't use your hands na... You just go and lick the plate directly... *gesturing*
Fa : (exasperated) Rohan... *pause*... In your own words, go F*** yourself!

Quick Links :
The Original "Eatiquette"
Erm... What exactly is "WITnessed"?
The full WITnessed series...

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

WITnessed : amBUSHed!

I'm sure everyone's seen the video of boots being hurled at Bush... It's a must watch!

Mubin : Did you see that!? An Iraqi journalist flung his shoes at Bush!
Pratik : Yeah man! That was damn sad! I'm pissed off!
Mubin : Huh!?
Pratik : He had not 1, but 2 shots at him, at close range and still he missed Bush! Would have been hilarious if he'd have hit him!
Mubin : Hahahaha... Yeah! But I was damn impressed with how Bush ducked out of the way just in time...
Pratik : Yeah! But where was the Secret Service!? I can't believe the guy had enough time to take off his other shoe and get another shot in!
Mubin : Imagine if he had some weapon on him... like a knife! lol... Bush killed by a knife... in these days of snipers and Kalashnikovs etc!
Pratik : A knife straight to the head...
Mubin : But that won't work with him... No brains anyway! What if they got him in the eye!
Pratik : Haha... Gross!
Mubin : Then even if they manage to save him he'll have to wear an eye patch for the rest of his life!

Quick Links :
Erm... What exactly is "WITnessed"?
The full WITnessed series...

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

WITnessed : Motivation!

Manisha : I need some motivational talk yaar! Not been able to focus on work lately...
Pratik : Take me to Coco's tonight, and I'll give you the best motivational talk ever over dinner... ; )
Gitanjali : *all enthu* Motivation!? You need motivation!? Tell me... For what?
Manisha : Ya... For work ya... I've been very blah lately...
Gitanjali : *very matter-of-factly* OK, cool, so you want to quit work... and...?

(Gitanjali, still enthu, is confused now as Manisha gives up while Pratik is laughing his ass off!)

Quick Links :
Erm... What exactly is "WITnessed"?
The full WITnessed series...

WITnessed : Aromatic Lunch...

At lunch in the cafeteria...

Makku walks in with his burger and joins us... Just as he starts unwrapping his burger...

Neha : *sniff sniff* EW! Whats that smell!?
Makku : What smell?
Neha : Is it your burger?
Makku : What you talking about!? My burger smells good!
Neha : I don't know... you just got the burger, and I got that weird smell...
Abhay : Don't forget that Makku also came along with the burger!

*laughs all around*

Later during the meal, we're talking about coming into office early and meeting for breakfast at 930...

Neha : I have to leave by 9... So give me a wake up call by 8:35... Actually 8:45 will also do...
Spandana : Wake up at 8:45 and leave by 9! People do the calculations...
Pratik : No time for bath... That explains the "strange" smell!

Quick Links :
Erm... What exactly is "WITnessed"?
The full WITnessed series...

Monday, December 15, 2008

I Wanted to Change the World...

A poem relevant today, when everyone is excited/agitated and wants to change the world...

I Wanted to Change the World...

When I was a young man, I wanted to change the world.

I found it was difficult to change the world, so I tried to change my nation.

When I found I couldn't change the nation, I began to focus on my town.

I couldn't change the town and as an older man, I tried to change my family.

Now, as an old man, I realize the only thing I can change is myself...

Suddenly I realize that if long ago I had changed myself,

I could have made an impact on my family.

My family and I could have made an impact on our town.

Their impact could have changed the nation and I could indeed have changed the world.

This was engraved on the tombstone of a monk in 1100 AD.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

WITnessed : High Maintenance!

Georgia Ice Tea machines, with the promise of unlimited free chilled Iced Tea were one of the highlights of moving to our new Building (3) in Microsoft, Hyderabad.

Unfortunately, as one of my colleagues pointed out... The machine on our floor turned out to be pretty High Maintenance!

Friday, December 12, 2008

What you looking at!?

I was passing by the Botanical Gardens on my way to work one day, and I noticed a little crowd of people standing by the fence staring into the gardens... I figured there must be some Telugu movie filming going on in there.

The next day I was passing by and the crowd was still there, peering in through the fence. I had to find out what was going on there! [1]

So I pulled over and crossed the road. I found a spot between all the peeping heads, and got a peep in myself... The garden was beautiful! Lush green grass, lots of tropical looking trees lined with blooming flowers of every possible hue...
But there was no sign of any movie shoot!

If not a movie shoot, then what were they admiring sooo intently? They seemed to be pointing and staring at some plant... It seemed like a pretty regular bush to me.

I was confused... till a second later, when I noticed a couple sitting right behind the bush...
I wonder if they realised that that apart from holding each others hands, they were holding so many fans in rapt attention!

Bloody voyeurs! lol

So I took out my phone camera & decided to give them voyeurs a taste of their own medicine...
And they were as blissfully unaware of me as the couple was of them! : )

[1] I've seen a Telugu Movie shoot at Golconda Fort before, and it was too funny seeing Rahul Dev being a Telugu villain. The action scene was hillarious, so I could only imagine what a Telugu romantic scene would be like... Plus, some of these Telugu movie actresses are hotties!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

So what can YOU do about terrorism...?

...apart from whining, bitching and complaining?

The Terror Attacks in Bombay on the 27th of Nov were a disaster. Many people lost their lives, many more lost their loved ones. My heart goes out to each and every one of them.

Such events always elicit a whole range of emotional outbursts and responses. A lot of people have been openly advocating "wiping out Pakistan" and such emotionally charged, destructive ideas. But the silver lining is that everyone's agitated, and everyone really wants to do something about this problem.

I was involved in a very interesting mail discussion just a few days after the attacks, while wounds were fresh and emotions were charged. My good friend, Tarika was expressing her sadness at the irrational jingoistic talk of war and revenge going on, and offering alternative, peaceful solutions and viewpoints. There were ambitious young adults (like Ta and I), and a lot of accomplished "more experienced" adults like Ganesh Natarajan on the thread, each offering their 2 paise on the topic...

My response sums up my thoughts on Terror, and something each one of us can do about it...


Tari, I can see why you were hurt. Its ludicrous to "blame Pakistan and all Pakistanis".
But I'm impressed that so many of us are passionate about solving this problem, and sensible/open to discussion. Lets hope this passion translates to action, however big or small.

Here's a good analysis of the motives/consequences of the attack -

Here's my take on the "terror" issue:

First Things First...
Let's call the terrorists "Jihadis". Evidently, they came from Pakistan.
Also lets not forget that the Pak Govt itself is also a victim of terrorism inside Pakistan, and I'm guessing they'd like to curb the Jihadi's too.

Why did they attack Mumbai?
The Jihadi's didn't have any specific demands. They just wanted to make a point. A well orchestrated and strategic point that could not possibly be ignored. (The earlier blasts in India hardly elicited any reaction)

So what IS the point?
Before Mumbai Attacks : Pak Govt was helping US on the Afghan border against Taliban and Jihadis.
After the Attacks : The Indian govt is likely to pressurise Pakistan Eastern border. The US needs Pak forces on western border, which will have to be diverted to the eastern border.The US will pressurise India to calm down.
They just wanted to stir things up in India so that all three of their adversaries - Indian Govt., Pak Govt. and US Govt. waste time fighting amongst each other, instead of uniting against them.

Mayhem in Pakistan just gives the Jihadis even more power and freedom.

First and foremost, the Indian defence/police/security/intelligence forces need to get their act together!
Option 1 : Take over Pakistan. Clean out the terrorists. Rebuild the country.
(This is just too messy and expensive! No one is going to want to do that, and rightly so.)
Option 2 : Partner with Paki Govt to curb the Jihadis. The Pak govt is closest to the problem, and can be the most effective in solving it.
Manmohan and Zardari need to be intelligent... They need to work together [1] to clean up the mess. [2]
The US will help us cos they have a stake in Afghanistan, and need to clean that up as well.

So what's the "real" problem here? (Understand the "enemy"...)
The Jihadi masterminds are super smart, educated (and often philosophical) people with their own vision of how the world should be... In their minds, they are visionaries who are realising their destiny! And they use brainwashed young, hot blooded boys as pawns to push their own plans and agendas...

Destroying the terrorist training centres would be a big first step, but that's still attacking only the symptoms. We have to identify and cure the root cause. We might not be able to get each and every "visionary mastermind", but we definitely need to wake up the pawns and keep them productively occupied.

How do we WIN 'the war on terrorism'?
If there's one thing I've learned from resurgent crime and terrorism, it's that you can never win "against" them.
You just can't afford to play Win-Lose games, even if you're on the winning side...The problem with Win-Lose is that when you stop playing (beating them), the "losers" are gonna get back at you... (Just look at the Naxalites, Zimbabwe, South Africa etc)

Humans, today more than ever before, are "connected", for better or for worse. There cannot be a "them". There's only "us". Any viable long term solution has got to be Win Win.

What can WE do?
Mature, evolved people like you and I need to step up and spread some light in these dark, idle minds. We need some hard core Muslims [3] to get up and challenge fundamentalist ideology, teaching the kids to love and create, not to hate and destroy in the name of "God".
We have organisations like Isha Foundation and Art Of Living in India, which adopt villages, and educate+train the unemployed/uneducated/idle youth, equipping them with skills to make them self sufficient and productive.
We need similar efforts in Pakistan, and Afghanistan, in India and all over the world.
The problem is universal... In India, Pak, Africa, Ireland, everywhere! And not just in Hindu's or Muslims or any particular religion/sect.

Doing my bit...
I'm taking my first baby step. I've spoken to a couple of Muslim friends of mine (Indian and Paki), and we're planning to start an online community/blog thing to get things moving and gain momentum. Let me know if anyone's interested.

- Pratik

[1]Apart from solving the problem, Manmohan & Zardari need to play the political game right in order to remain in power. (An unfortunate result of the otherwise decent system of Democracy)
For Manmohan that means he needs to look like he's taking action. [pressurising Pak border].
For Zardari, he needs to look strong, secure and independent of India/US.
And the Kashmir issue makes co-operation even more difficult.

[2] Cleaning up includes punishing the terrorists and all their supporters, stifling their funds etc etc etc.

[3] Especially Muslims, cos ideas coming from an evolved Muslim might be more palatable to the ignorant, impressionable "less evolved" Muslim in Pakistan.

Monday, December 01, 2008

WITnessed : Untamed Africa...

(while Sneha was in South Africa)

: So hows it going in Africa? Do you actually have to go hunting every evening before dinner?
Sneha : No I don't need to hunt Vikas, I'm vegetarian... :P
Vikas : So then all the wild buffaloes must be pissed off with you!
Sneha : Why? I don't think they'd be offended that I'm not eating them Vikas...
Vikas : Of course not! They'll be pissed cos your eating their food!

Quick Links :
Erm... What exactly is "WITnessed"?
The full WITnessed series...