Photobucket had recently changed their policy and now all the images from my 650+ blog posts are disabled. I am slowly editing them by moving my images to my own server at AWS, but it will take time. In case there is a particular old post you want to see the images of, kindly drop me a mail at and I'll keep that at a high priority. Thank you.

Friday, December 18, 2015

Chp 592. Acid Trip

So this will be my last blog update from Pune, as tomorrow I'll be on my way to Mizoram for my Christmas and New Year vacation!!! Woohoooo! :)

And I love the timing of this post, as this is my 50th blog update of the year, hence staying true to my promise of blogging at least 50 times a year. I may be physically lazy, but at least I know I got the writing department covered :D :P

Now this is going to be the first time I'm gonna travel back to Mizoram AFTER Prohibition had been lifted! So yeah, I'm curious and at the same time excited to know how life is like in Mizoram, now that alcohol is finally legal. I'm already experiencing the change now itself, as this time, none of my friends or relatives called me up and asked me to bring home a bottle or two for them. *phewww* :D :P

This trip is definitely going to be light on the luggage :)

Speaking of trips, here is a short comic strip I made, entitled "The Acid Trip".

Hope you like it :D :P


Yeah, Mizos will get the context on this corny joke :)

"Acid" is quite popular in our community, especially among kids. It is not that hallucinogenic recreational drug - The "acid" we get at home is freely available everywhere. It is sold in tiny packets and even comes in different flavours, mixed with different spices and chillis. We lick them slowly or mix them with water, or eat them with lime etc and it tastes so amazing. 

It's kinda like that moment during your school's Chemistry Lab exam where you forgot what test must be conducted on the given sample and so in order to avoid losing marks, you took the extreme step of tasting the chemical compound with the tip of your tongue to find out if it's an Acid or Base. Ok I swear I never used to do that *whistles past by innocently*

Till now, I don't think I have met any other community or people from other places who likes "drinking acid"... Thinking about it, isn't it supposed to be unhealthy maybe? Yet we love it. Of course being acidic is just the property of having a pH value less than 7. Remember the "Litmus test" back in school? The sour lime we eat or drink, the roadside nimbu paani stall, "hatkora" juice, vinegar, coffee, wine made from sour grapes, carbonated drinks like pepsi coke, all dairy products, the "soda" that we add to our "Mizo bai" etc are all acidic in nature.

Maybe this is one of the things I'll do in my upcoming trip back home - Talk to my cousins and friends who are in the medical field and find out what exactly are the ingredients in those "acid packets" we get in the market, how is it manufactured, and what are their effects on the human body.

Mizohican on an acid mission. :P

So until then, a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you all in advance in case I can't update my blog from home. Cheers everyone! :)

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Chp 591. Split-screen dream comes true

For the past couple of years, as a football Premier League fan, perhaps one of the most exciting times during the entire season is that LAST match of the season when there is still no clear cut winner. Of course this doesn't happen very often, but when it does happen, trust me, it is one of the best adrenalin rushes of the season!

For example, how many of you still remember the 2011-2012 season end? :D I'm sure Manchester United fans will never forget that moment :) As the last round of the season started, ManUtd and ManCity were tied with the same points at the top of the table. While ManUtd was winning their last match against Sunderland 1-0, ManCity was trailing 2-1 against QPR at Full Time! Though Arsenal too won their last match against West Brom that night, we were coming in third anyway, so my sms and WhatsApp messages were flooded with abuses and taunts from ManUtd fans flaunting their "newly achieved" title.

"We're always better than you Arse Anal!!!!"

"Haha pathetic Arsenal, we are the champions of this season!!!"

"Manchester United hi Pathian team a ni, Archhenal ho chu meidil ah in tla vek dawn".

"Beckham a pet goal mawi zia kha in lo hmu em?"

But then suddenly, in that very short remaining Extra Time, while my ManUtd friends were celebrating and downing shots like there's no tomorrow, ManCity went on to score twice to win their match! And so, with a higher "Goal Difference", ManCity clinched the title away from ManUtd in the very last minute!

I replied to all my friends who spammed me that night, trying to educate some of them that Beckham no longer plays for ManUtd, but they had already switched their phones off or blocked me by then. Dayymmm...

Anyway, what I want to talk about in this post is not about football fandom or rivalry, but the way we watched those matches. Since all the matches were taking place at the same time, we had to keep switching between different channels, or wait for the commentator to mention a goal being scored in the other matches. It was then that I wished I had multiple TVs or at least be in a Sports Bar with multiple screens...

But now, I have finally achieved one of my greatest wishes! To be able to watch multiple matches in one screen. Two weeks ago, Arsenal vs Sunderland, ManUtd vs WHU, Spurs vs WBA and Liverpool vs Swansea were taking place at the same time. And so, with my newly acquired broadband connection at home connected to my 32" TV that I'm using as a monitor, I was able to screen all four live matches at the same time!

Oh mannn what an experience indeed!

And as a reclusive and introvert bachelor living alone, I find this setup to be the most perfect and coziest way to spend a Saturday night. Great streaming speed on all four screens, along with great sound on my 5.1 surround sound home-theatre setup, and a glass of Rum+Coke just to set the mood right.

Of course I could use only one sound source and mute the other three because otherwise it would sound like I was watching a match with an Arabic running commentary :D

Not only was this a great experience, but the icing on the cake was the fact that Arsenal won while all the others lost or drew. We climbed up from 4th to 2nd that night :)

Eventually, they removed the ManUtd match and showed Arsenal match instead towards the end :D I ended up watching the same Arsenal match on two different stream channels. Oh man oh man :)

I decided to write about this post because watching an Arsenal match had indeed been a great experience this way. But unfortunately I won't be watching any more matches like this for the rest of this year as I am going home this weekend to home sweet home Mizoram.

Over there, first of all, the internet speed is not good enough to watch a live-streaming match. Secondly, I will be relying on whatever TV channels the service providers will be giving me. Thirdly, our next match against ManCity takes place this coming Tuesday at 1:30 in the morning. Now that may not be too late here in Pune, but in Mizoram that is an unGodly hour!

So yeah, hoping Arsenal can move to first position by the end of this year, and in case the last round of this current season is indecisive again, this is definitely the way I'm going to watch the matches!

So yeah, cheers everyone. :)

Ps. I mentioned I'm a Premier League fan not because I dislike other leagues. Of course La Liga, Serie A, Bundesliga etc are exciting as well, but as an Indian viewer, Premier League matches are broadcasted here in India at the perfect time - usually around 8 in the evening, whereas to follow the other leagues, most of their matches take place beyond midnight IST.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Chp 590. Early Saturday morning photo-shoot

After working from 9 AM to 10 PM every weekday, Saturday has become such a coveted day of rest and relaxation. The only time one can sleep as long as one desires - going to sleep late, getting up late completely relaxed, and yet no work to go to… oh how wonderful weekends are. Except of course, if you have other passions.

Some people spend the weekends waking up early to go hiking or cycling. A very dear blog friend of mine Chaitanya Vikas is a photographer, and that's how he spends his weekends – waking up early for a photo-shoot session.

Chaitanya had been visiting my blog since I ever started blogging a decade ago. You can actually see his comments on my old blog posts going back to 2004. Even though we got to know each other well through our respective blogs, the funny thing is, we finally got to meet face to face only just last month! And that was when he told me about his weekend (or holiday) ritual.

He, along with his colleagues Shirley and Umang, had started their "Stop Look Like" facebook page where they showcase their projects. All three of them are working at Veritas Information Management (which recently separated from Symantec) and even though professionally they are techies and tech writers, photography is their hobby. 

And so once they managed to find a volunteer as a model, they wake up early on Saturdays (or other holidays) for the photo-shoot session. Since this is a joint initiative, nobody gets paid. But in return, both the models and the photographers get to improve their portfolio for free. In fact Chaitanya and Umang occasionally land a couple of gigs at various functions and events when they're not at work. What better ways to get side income than doing something you're truly passionate about? :)

I told him to call me the next time he conducts such a photo op again. I was curious to know how people could waste such a perfect and blissful Saturday morning sleep to do something else that was not even related to their actual job. :D

Maybe I spoke too soon :P This early morning, what I thought was a giant bee buzzing and chasing me in my nightmare, was actually the sound of my phone vibrating. Chaitanya called me up at 6 freaking AM today to tell me they were on their way for a photo-shoot session.

We spoke briefly, as a part of me was still dreaming. Much as I wanted to go back to sleep, the inquisitive side of me beckoned me to get up, brush and get ready. There were also four miss calls and a message from Chaitanya at 1 in the morning telling me about the last minute confirmation of their photo-shoot session today. But by then I had already passed out slept :)

And so I quickly got ready and the guys were there waiting for me below my apartment.

Damn, I've been living in Pune for almost a year now, and I have never seen the road outside my apartment like that at 6 in the morning :D

The venue for today's location was at Pune Nagar Road. Usually they do it at Aga Khan bridge here in KP, but today they wanted to capture the luminescent brightness of the first rays of sunlight traversing between the tree branches as it penetrates the model's radiant pupil, or something like that. There were a lot of things they explained that didn't make sense to me :D :P

The jogger's path at Pune Nagar Road was quite deserted…

Shirley surveying the scene…

Shirley and Akanksha getting ready

The crew setting up the place…

One of the tasks of setting up the scene includes chasing away stray dogs who kept coming next to Akanksha. Who can blame the dogs, they are just as curious as I was :)

As they started shooting, there was the problem of people who kept coming in the way, like this one for instance…

…or this one :)

After all, it is a public place and everybody had the same rights to be there as well. Fortunately for us, all those people taking a morning walk were understanding and didn't mind us either. Nobody complained about us, and most of them, especially the old uncles, sweetly smiled at us.

Umang was giving out all sorts of instructions to Akanksha, telling her where to look, what to look, how to look, why to look etc.

I'm telling you, they are so passionate, and it was wonderful watching them deeply engrossed at work :)

Here is a more close-up view of the model in action

And there is such a HUGE difference between my OPO phone cam and the ones they're using. For example, here is me taking a pic of Shirley taking a pic of us…

And here is how we look from the other end!

Once Umang was finally satisfied with his photo session, it was Chaitanya's turn. I didn't take much photos of him clicking as I was also helping with the reflector screen…

Chaitanya explained to me the importance of the reflector screen, about how the silver screen reflects the gamma rays of sunlight onto the atomic particle of the HDR lens, or something like that, and I just zoned out :P 

Seriously, I don't know anything about photography, even though I love taking pics of my food using my phone cam :P Its kinda like how I'm a big fan of music, but many a times, my closest friends and relatives have accused of being tone deaf :D

For example, after the session, I asked Chaitanya for some of the photos they took with their cameras for my blog update. And he was like, "Sure, are you going to post the BTS photos as well?" and I was like, "Definitely". And then I rushed home to google what the hell are BTS photos, assuming it is some file format they're using. I know I can open JPGs normally, and I can open TIFF files with Photoshop. But BTS format? How to open BTS format? I googled and googled but found no solution so I finally messaged him…

"Hey, what do you mean by BTS photos?"

He replied, "Behind The Scene" photos.

*facepalm* :D

So here are some more photos from their cameras. The final product, as in the ones they're gonna use on their FB page is not in this list yet.

Soon it was 7:30 and the sun was up properly…

Chaitanya, Umang, Sunny and I took one last selfie together

They dropped me at my place again, and it was not even 8 AM. Most of my friends would still be sound asleep :) But was it worth it? Most definitely. It was a new experience for me, and a totally fun one too. But I don't think it is something I would want to do every Saturday :) It feels great to know people like Chaitanya and his friends who have so much passion to do this on a holiday, especially considering the fact that all this is done voluntarily!

So please do support my friends in their endeavor and "like" their Facebook page. This is also a great opportunity for those who may want to make a portfolio or looking for photographers to cover their functions here in Pune.