Thursday, January 31, 2008

Dream Day

It was a day of dreams. A day when things that happened were never expected. Just dreamt of.

It started with a phone call that woke me up, at 9:32 morning. A junior of mine I barely knew, called me up and said his partners in the Antakshari had left for home and asked me if I could join him. Already out in the preliminary rounds of Antakshari by a tie breaker, I should have been excited at the thought of getting a wild card entry to the finals, which I was later when I was completely out of my sleep. For the time being I just told him I had no problems joining him and I would be there at 2, the scheduled time.

I broke the news to my preliminaries' partner motz first. Then to Tyagi, who had been in during the preliminaries' second round. And then to Jayant, who had to play against me once again now.

But probably these many people only knew that I was into the finals until the afternoon, after which people came to know one by one. And finally, I was at the stage of Channa Reddy Auditorium playing finals of the Hindi Antakshari as team E, with Sahil and Rakesh at 3:15 pm.

Our start was good. Not as a contestant actually, but as a singer. The first round was easy and there were number of choices for us to sing. Sahil suggested me 'dard-e-dil' and the song was appreciated as I myself felt I was singing good. Something to be happy about. Second song in the round I sang was 'Pyar deewana hota hai' which was ok.

The second round was a pick-a-slip-and-draw round in which we had to guess the movie by the figure drawn by our teammate, and then sing the title song of the movie. Fortunately it wasn't tough and I knew the title song of 'Kati Patang' too. Smooth going.

Then in the third round we had to guess the song on the basis of an music only audio clip taken from the song. For us the song was Aaj main oopar and we were sharing the top position with 2 more teams.

Then we had to sing 'mukhda' after listening to the 'antara'. This was interesting because I was unable to recall the mukhda of the song till the last line of the antara that was being played, though I was singing along. And then, as the antara was over, there was mukhda again, and I just kept singing. And that was the automatically answered. Unbeaten yet.

Interestingly, only when I discussed which songs I had sung on stage did I realize I had sung this song which was from a movie called Ajnabee starring Akshay, Bobby, Kareena and Bipasha. I mean, I don't know how I sang a song that unconscious of everything else other than those few lines, on such a big stage.

Then there was the 5th, final round in which we had to see a mixture of 2 videos and guess the songs. Here our team was 15 points ahead of the two teams just below us, and 25 ahead of the third team.

And this round bore 30 points.

God save me!

It's ok. It's just a game.

Is it possible that we get no prize?

Leave it. Play. Enjoy.


Team A did tell both the songs. Doesn't matter. They had gone too down.

Team B told one song out of two. 15 points. 75+15=90.

Team C told both correct. 30 points. 85+30=115.

Team D identified none. 85.

And we could guess just one. 100+15=115.

A tie with Jayant's team. Once again.

Tie breaker again. One audio clip. It was confusing. And my partners got confused. With me getting nothing. So was Jayant, but his partner saved him.

And we lost a tie breaker again.

Now Jayant and team was first and we were second. But the home teams were not to be given the first prize according to the VIT rules. Well, okay. Team C, the highest scorer among outsiders was declared the winner and Jayant+, second, and we, third.

But then I wasn't going to be playing by the morning and at 4:30 I was with the trophy for having the third prize, first time from my college, no regrets, no problems.

And then I got congratulations and appreciations for my songs. To tell the truth, I was in heaven.

After sometime I went to my room and took a sleep. And then I was in the rock show at 8:45, which had to start at 6. The first part was of no use for most of us as we were hardly interested in rock and what the guys were playing we neither knew nor liked.

The second band, Bandish was welcomed as it started with 'O Humdum suniyo re' and kept on singing popular Hindi and English songs one after other. The guy didn't sing songs very good except a few like 'Saiyyaan' and 'Bheegi Bheegi si hain raatein' but was liked as the last one had been a disaster and this one was singing good songs in an 'okay' manner. And that was the reason we did enjoy him pretty much. Much more than my expectations as I never expect a thing from the 'rock night' of Riviera. I just go because I do not want to be sitting in my room.

At the end of the day, I had a trophy, a small amount of cash prize, and a day I could remember for long, all a dream till morning.

Monday, January 28, 2008

I'm watching TV!!

I was off the TV, except for songs, and some mindless stuffs like 'Sun Yaar Chill Maar' and 'Lagegi' (Now Hass Ley India) of Bindass. Basically, of all the things, I had left series of any type, from those of Ekta Kapoor to UTV to Fox. No Saas-bahu and no Friends either. In fact I have never been a loyal fan of either at any time.

But more than four years after leaving the TV, this time I got back into a series. This one is called Kyle XY.

Yesterday, after watching 'Howrah Bridge' (starring Ashok Kumar and Madhubala, black and white of course) I just 'downloaded' 2 episodes of the series from Varun's computer. (Actually we all stay on a wireless LAN and I just copied it on to my computer) And I thank God that I downloaded just two episodes. I slept after 5. Had I had more, I have no idea when I would go to bed, taking into account that each episode of the series is of 42-44 mins long.

The series is about a guy who is 'born' almost 16-17 years old in a jungle, and has an incredibly sharp mind, through which he learns things fast even though he is as unaware of things around him as a newborn.

Till now, the story is that a doctor of mental patients takes Kyle to her home and he learns to live his life there. Interestingly the guy doesn't have a belly button and there seems to be some mystery behind him.

Well, in less than 24 hrs I have watched 5 episodes of the series that is more than 3 and a half hours. I hope I'll be finishing the season one, consisting of 10 episodes, within a day or two.

Rest of the world is as good as it used to be. Riviera is about to start in the college and preparations are going in full swing. Today there was preliminary round of Sand Castle Sculptures in which there were some beautiful Mahals of sand there.

Hope the Riviera makes the coming week interesting.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

No dream too big

Thanks Jaypee. (Happy? Ankit ji, Jaypee wale)

For this title of my blog. Actually I realized that, of the things that felt almost impossible to me at some stage, many have come true. In time, less or more, I have achieved many things.
It was class V when I got the first big target. When I was in yet-another-school-of-my-town and I had to get an admission in the sixth class of the town's best school, which conducted a test for the admission. According to the stats of that time, almost 650+ students used to take the exam and finally 240 students were taken. Though, there were 300 students by the admissions were over, courtesy Management Quota.

I took the exam and my coach assured my father that I will pass the test easily. And when the result was out, I was second on the merit list. I was surprised, though others were not that surprised I felt. To them it was just 'good' or 'very good'. But it was not unexpected like it was for me.

Then I entered the classrooms of the school and found myself among a whole new group of students. Almost all of them new to me, except a few who had been with me during the coaching, Mostly Achal and Saket. And then, there were half yearly exams of class VI, in which they used to show us the copies before giving the results. So after I had seen 4 copies, in the interval, I was thinking how it was happening that I was on top. I was a good student. I was always on top during my last school. I had studied this time too, but I didn't know I would top here. Though I expected to be somewhere near that, as a subconscious dream at least if not in conscious.
It was going normally, I was mostly on top, once on second position in my class, till class IX. Next year was board exam and I worked really hard. And I got 72%, something too low from my expectations. And probably that was when I stopped dreaming.

I think I did, but actually I never stopped dreaming. Just that I was not that affected by things after that. I took my XII exam, got first rank in my college, missed the merit list of board due to less marks in my one of the strongest subjects, Hindi (I still was the editor of the college magazine's Hindi subsection). But it didn't matter that much now. It wouldn't even if I would have got less marks. Though it never meant I stopped studying or became lazier. Because somebody inside was still dreaming.

And then there were exams I took during my XII year, and then my drop. And I worked hard again. Though not hard enough for the IITs. I don't know who inside me was not interested in going there. I was, of course. I was preparing for it. But somebody inside wasn't. And then the result of AIEEE was there. I had got 8321 rank. I thought I will be under 12000 only. But this good, it was a bit more than my dream this time. I had expected 10-12k. Though I missed my 'favorite' college by a difference of just 2 ranks at that too, I landed in VIT, Vellore, a college my mother didn't let me apply for separately.

2000 kms away from home, near Bangalore, where my didi lives, my cousin to be precise, who currently teaches in a top engineering college there. It was a dream come true again. Because those colleges of Noida, Ghaziabad and nearby areas were too real for me. I wanted to go to some different place. Something better, and for being better it should be far away too. And I got that.

I was a student from a Hindi medium throughout my school. I didn't (and don't) speak much English in college also as I don't like to. But my aim was CAT, the common admission test for MBA, from the very first year of my college, that started becoming showing signs of some ambiguity as I started coming near to getting a job. And soon I decided I'd take up the job and postpone MBA for two years. Later, though, on my friends' insistence, I changed back my mind but I didn't give it my complete attention, that it required I came to know after seeing my results, especially XAT and even SNAP.

MBA is today my unfulfilled dream, whereas TCS, as far as I see, is going to be a dream fulfilled. As I was somehow interested in getting placed in the TCS the first day I came to VIT.
But it's not always just about academics. There have been things that I thought were not possible. And still I worked to achieve them. And then they came in my routine. Be it talking to girls or seeing my name on Google. Well, being from a Hindi-medium-small-town-semi-government-boys-school, I hardly used to talk to any girls till the end of my first year in college, when one day my friend, Tyagi said I should be talking to girls otherwise it might trouble me in the future. And today I have very good friends among girls.

And the second, more recent and comparatively tougher dream was about the Google. I started using the net properly after coming to college only. The start was from essentials like mail and the addiction came from Orkut. But I always thought how could I have my name on Google, in second-third-fourth page at least, if not first.

Then I started blogging in September '07. And resultantly I could use some interesting keywords and find my blog on Google. But one day I found my name was there on number 64 in results when I googled 'Harshit Gupta'. It was the time when I knew I was near my dream and I decided to get my name as higher as possible. Time passed and one day I reached page 1 of Google, on searching Harshit Gupta. Today my name as keyword gives my name as eighth result on Google. And if I search Harshit Gupta Vellore, the first result is my page. So, though my voter ID card shows my name wrong, I have got an identity somewhere.

And that is what will inspire me to dream.

Friday, January 25, 2008


There are too many crows around us nowadays. Whether I am roaming at the nearby Vellore Fort or eating near the Enzo's - the single-bedroom sized supermarket for our hostels, or in the college's food court which has is open from two and a half sides out of four, I am afraid of the staring crows all around. And that is the reason I am feeling a significant drop in the number of lies I tell in a day, as I've been listening to Bobby's 'Jhooth Bole Kauva Kaate' since childhood. Actually they taught some such proverb in the Hindi class in school also, but being a 24x7 music n movies fan, I prefer Bobby.

And then there was something in the late 90's from Hrishi da that reminded me of the proverb. He had made an I-think-it-was-flop movie called Jhooth Bole Kauva Kaate with Anil Kapoor without his mustaches, and Juhi Chawla, probably the only movie in which Sajid Khan acted. At that time I was surprised how the movie could fail as it was from Hrishi da - the master of masterpiece comedies like Chupke Chupke and Golmaal and close-to-everyone's-heart movies like Anand and Bawarchi, none of them selling for less than Rs 99 a CD even today, in the era of Rs 28/30 a CD and Rs 34 a DVD (courtesy Moserbaer). But recently I started feeling that the failure of Hrishi da was nothing, after I saw Ram Gopal Varma ki Aag and then Sanjay Leela Bhansali ki Saanwaria, followed by Anurag Kashyap ki No Smoking and even Rajkumar Santoshi ki Halla Bol. In fact I've heard that Nagesh Kukunoor also has joined the club with his Bombay to Bangkok.

Anyways, I was talking of excess crows (sorry for including excess of more dangerous stray dogs, I got no disposal for them yet). I think we can send these crows to the US as I recently read a study which says 'Bush lied 259 times', and tells us that President George W Bush and top administration officials issued 935 false statements about the national security threat from Iraq in the two years following the 2001 terrorist attacks. I think either the number exceeds the lies by Indian politicians or more probably, the researchers find themselves unable to count the number of false statements by our politicians, or maybe there are too many politicians in India which makes it impossible to count the lies. Whatever the case be, we know there are enough crows in India but the security around every liar, or non-liar politician is so tight, that no crow can touch them. So, in the interest of crows, as well as Iraq, it would be better to send these crows to the US, at least some of them.

Additionally, we can send Himesh Reshammiya with the crows to sing 'when you tell a lie, a crow will bite you'. Not sure of the other effects, but many in India will be able to breath easy if they both go, crows and Himesh.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

NDTV, the acquainted newcomer

It has not been very long, not long enough to be out of my memory, when after every news hour on Star News, one of the best news channels of that time, we used to see two parallel, glowing lines, moving to write NDTV, and then the Star sign followed with the usual 'this is star and you are watching star news' etc. Then suddenly in April '04, Star News started looking different, as the contract of Star with the NDTV was over and NDTV had left Star to start its own news channel.

This was the start of NDTV 24x7 and NDTV India, the English and Hindi news channels of the NDTV group. And then NDTV started Profit, another channel that gave business news. That was all NDTV was expected to do. But last year, in September, NDTV came into something new. It joined hands with the UB group (of Vijay Mallya) and started a lifestyle channel called NDTV Good Times. The channel is not very attrcating though, still there are some things worth watching like the 'Lounge' presnted by actor-director Rajat Kapoor.

And this time, NDTV did something not-that-unexpected, but in an incredible style. It started NDTV Imagine, an entertainment channel, expected, but the programs it brought with it made all the difference. In this era of reality shows, a reality show called 'Say Shaava Shaava' was fine. But it started 'Ramayan' too. The super super popular show of its time, the dharm and sanskriti show that used to hold the Indian masses 20 years ago, was re-launched by the same people (the Sagars) in an altogether new look. This was something that holds the capacity to bring NDTV Imagine in majority of homes, especially in rural and town areas. In fact I think Ramayan will be able to get audiences from everywhere, at least in the start. And it seems Ramayan will be able to find many of its viewers coming from the regular saas-bahu audiences, thus harming the Star.

Anyways, I just hope the competition gets tougher and we get better, good quality programs.


Simply Rajat

He acts. And he directs. He talks. And he listens. He plays a host to take up topics that need to be discussed but hardly ever are. A person who is almost a celebrity today - a celebrity in the making - actor, director, host - Rajat Kapoor.

Rajat Kapoor to me was yet another character artist when I started identifying with him, around the time when 'Corporate' came. But it was 'Bheja Fry' that made me know his name, not to forget again. Then, I saw 'Mixed Doubles' directed by him where he had acted too and I was sure Rajat was a person always looking for something new to do. And this time he is there, again, with his yet another 'different' movie 'Mithya'.

And then there was 'Lounge', a program that re-established his identity in my mind. The actor-director Rajat was seen in a different look, performing a different role in Lounge on NDTV Good Times. In fact this was the only program on the channel that caught my eye. Here Rajat plays host for a show where topics of social importance and relations are taken up. The two topics I followed were 'effect of children on romance' and 'adoption of children', the latter including important points like how and when should the adopted children be told the truth about them.

Truly speaking, I found the show one of the best talk shows I have seen and I would like to recommend it to people who like serious stuff.

And this time Mr Kapoor is coming in yet another new avatar. He is hosting the 'Lufthansa Nat Geo Genius' on the National Geographic Channel. The show is an Indian version of an internationally acclaimed quiz show and will search for the person who knows the most about each and every country in the world.

Well, all I can say for now is, keep watching what more he has in his bag.

For his small autobiography, you can see his page:

Saturday, January 12, 2008

The failed 'Halla'

If you go for the movie, do not think you are going for a Rajkumar Santoshi movie, and you may like it.

Well, in the start it seemed that Rajkumar Santoshi is being too influenced by others, by Madhur Bhandarkar and other directors of commercial art movies. But Santoshi is a master of his own brand and should not try hand at such things. Also, the cast he has taken cannot be used to do those experiments.

After sometime, when Pankaj Kapoor enters, movie gets better, but the Santoshi-pace is hardly ever found in the movie. Even the script is not that good. The 'Khakee' touch is all gone. 'Khakee' to me, is a movie which you enjoy even when you do not know the story of the movie. And when you come to know the story in the mid of the movie, there is something you can feel. But 'Halla Bol' hardly has any touch of that greatness.

Though, there are scenes that are pretty good, but most of them are already aired in promos. Pankaj Kapoor is the only image you take home with you. Ajay Devgan is just fine and Vidya Balan has performed well in the few places she could. Darshan Zariwala is good. Anjan Srivastava and Sulabha Arya have played their small roles fine, too.

Music is not very good, except for one song, 'Jab tak hai dum'. The lines of late Dushyant Kumar in the song have been provided with all the zeal they require to reach the hearts of viewers, but the moment is short lived.

Actually the direction and acting are not bad but the slow speed and old-fashioned dialogues at some points make it weak and boring. And again, the fact hits harder when you go to the movie knwing it's a Rajkumar Santoshi film. The end too is not great and the movie almost fails to deliver its message strongly.

In short, do not go to the movie for Rajkumar Santoshi. But if you still need a reason, Pankaj Kapoor is the person to look forward to.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

I think I have told a lot in the title itself. It is one of my favorite pastimes while i am online. Write any words or combination of words you can think can (or cannot) make the name of a blog, in any language you like, in your address bar, followed by dot-blogspot-dot-com, and enjoy. There are very good chances of finding blogs almost more than 90% of times. And interestngly, most of the bloggers are dormant, and there is either very old material or sometimes no material at all. But many a time there are intersting things found.

For example, one day i wrote the word chitra (picture) and found something unbelievable. I had seen and read English reviews of Hindi movies many times, but this blog was writing reviews of English movies in Hindi! I could really not believe it. Though the page was dormant, it had more than 125 posts, not all Hindi. In fact most of them were English but the pages on top were all in Hindi. The reviews consisted of both Hindi and English movies.

Anyways it's interesting to see different type of blogs by these different people, the blogs being in almost every name from bluewaters to soundofsilence to throughtheyears to simply blue-dot-blogpot-dot-com.

If you too are free like me, you can try this, even use the words of your interest.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Finally, Out!

It was a bit surprising for people to see me there on that stage. Not because they thought I couldn't do it. But because they had seen me 3 feet below last time. In the Anna Auditorium.

It was Hindi Antakshari's second round in which they had to first select 10 teams out of 25 and then 5 out of the 10. And finally 2, for the inter-college finals in the Riviera, VIT's annual festival.

Last two years I had been in the organisation of the Hindi Antakshari and had prepared questions for it. But this time I decided to participate instead of organising. And finally I was a participant in the pre-final round of the Rs 10,000 contest.

The proceedings were all intersting. 26th Dec, we were given a written paper in which there were certain questions related to songs and movies. 25 teams were selected from almost 80 present, among which I was in the first. Yesterday the game started with those 25 teams and the teams were divided into 5 pools of 5 teams each. Knock-out antakshari was played in 5 corners of the rectangular Anna Auditorium and 3 teams were eliminated from every pool, sending 10 teams for the next, rapid fire questions' round. The rapid fire was easy for me as I've been pretty much okay woth such types of questions. Hence I replied 3 questions out of 4 fast enough. And after the rapid fire round, the results showed that 4 out of 5 teams were final years' and all of them from my friends' circle, the Mohalla.

Here I would like to say thanks to the administraion of the show for keeping everything fair and open because otherwise, 4 teams from the same group can be questionable at times.

Anyways, we were celebrating one another on the stage as we came up and I had to agree with the statement made by Udayan, the main organiser, that 'Experience matters'. So, there we were, Me, with Vishal and Abhishek on my team, the second team comprising of Dhruv, Jayant, and Mohan, the third - our least expected team - of Parry (Pradyut), Jeet, and Tyagi (Amit), the fourth one - a second year team, and the final one, of Ritvik, Apoorv, and Ankita.

The game started and went smoothly for the first two rounds and we were on top with jayant's team. In the third round we couldn't guess the song we were given after listening to the music, and we came equal to other two teams. In the next two rounds, the second year team went ahead of us and we were on second with Jayant and team.

And now, since there could be only two teams in the final according to our college, we had to go through a tie breaker. We did. And both the teams couldn't answer the first question. Tie again. The next question was answered by both the teams this time. Tie again. This time it was a mixture of two videos with some other song in background. We couldn't get both the videos correct. And finally, Out!

Anyways, the game was really enjoyable and it was a great scene when 80% of the stage captured by the 'Mohalla'. At last, the game was a memorable experience which will last long in my memory.

Monday, January 7, 2008

In the meantime...

It's been long since I posted a blog. But that doesn't mean I had nothing to say. I had a lot. Just that I didn't have an Internet connection available with me and didn't have time to go to a cyber cafe.

In the meantime, a lot has happened. 2007 ended and people celebrated the arrival of yet another year. Though I could not understand what was there to celebrate for, and finally I told myself that people celebrate just because they have to. Because they need a break from their routine lives. And probably because they want to forget all their problems in the noise of a party.

In some other corner of the world, India lost to Australia again, but this time it was probably a 15 against 11 game, with two umpires, one third umpire and a match referee playing against the Indian squad.

I do not know if they'll stick to it, but BCCI finally said they'd not go to Canberra if the ban on Harbhajan Singh is not revoked.

'Miss u dada!'

I mean, I am not at all a fan of Saurav 'dada', but today i was thinking it would have been interesting to see dada leading the team in today's scenario.

I started and completed Erich Segal's famous 'Love Story'. And then started Premchand's 'Sevasadan'.

Took XAT, yet another MBA entrance examination for yet another top college called XLRI, Jamshedpur. Wrote a one page essay on 'Consequences of Gender Imbalance - Third World War'.

The most interesting part of the exam was the cricket related photos hanging on the walls of the St. Joseph's Boys' High School, my exam centre. First, I was surprised and elated to see a photo of Jonty Rhodes along with 1996 Cricket World Cup schedule as I started upstairs for my exam hall. Then I saw photos of Robin Singh, Ganguly, Agarkar, Nikhil Chopra and a close up of Master Blaster Sachin with 5 different poses facing 5 different sides at the bottom of the photo.

I found it to be a great way to inspire. in fact I found I was getting inspired seeing the faces of these cricketers.

I shopped from Tata's Star Bazaar and Big Bazaar for a friend in Bangalore and used the Super popular Forum mall as a subway between the two supermarkets.

I saw an interview of Darsheel Safary (aka Ishan Awasthi, Taare Zameen Par) on the idiot box and saw SRK receiving the best actor award, Katrina Kaif getting the best actress award, sharing it with Rani Mukerjee, and Om Shanti Om getting the best movie award and confirmed that 'idiot box' was probably the most suitable name for the device.

I saw a live blog, that is, the 'Lounge' on NDTV Good Times in which Rajat Kapoor talked to Renuka Shahane and a few others (I couldn't recognize) on 'Romance past kids'. I had surfed through this program many times in the past but this was the first time I listened to the people and it was a really good experience.

Bought a copy of 'The World is Flat' and read through 50 pages of the book. Yet another good experience. A good book for those who understand little economics but are interested in knowing the economy is going today.

Actually, done a lot more too. Hope I get a chance to tell u later.