27 January, 2009

Neemrana Palace and Hotel

I went to Neemrana (palace and hotel!) over the Republic day weekend. It was my second trip there and I noticed how the new wing which was being built was now complete. I was also taken aback by the entry fees - Rs. 500 per person. Just as a comparison, entering the Taj costs Rs 20 (for an Indian, Rs. 750 for a foreigner). I was not very happy and promptly turned back. I have been inside and I know that it is not worth Rs. 500.
The other thing about Neemrana I remember from last time around was that their dinner was overpriced.
Anyway, enough with the cribbing.
I love driving through this bit of Haryana and Rajasthan. You get to see a country on the move. There are villages with electricity and irrigation and fields full of a mustard crop, which shine bright yellow in the sun. (Remember ddlj?). The fields give way to industrial parks, which again are bright new things. The ride is smooth and fast.
All this is quite a big change from 10 or so years ago. Now would a nice time to run through a list of thens and nows, but just one - my favourite one - internet speeds from 1991 (zero) compared to today!
I wonder if it is only our generation or every generation which thinks that they have seen the 'old' and the 'new'.

12 January, 2009

Jai Ho Slimdog*

Watched the first show of the movie here in Gurgaon yesterday.
Technically, it was the premiere show, which was a first for me. I think that this movie will get a few Oscars. I will tell you why I think so. After the movie got over, the song 'jai ho' started playing while the credits rolled. Not one person got up. Usually, the last shot marks the beginning of the race to the exit, then to the stairs and then to the car park. The end-of-movie race is a 'working model' of the rat race. All defining characteristics are present. It is not ex, every one else is your enemy and there is no real payoff. But race is always there to be played and participants take it very, very seriously.
This movie paused the rat race in this small movie hall by about 5 minutes.
This is why I think it will win.
The movie was about India, had only Indians in it, was very mainstream and still was not Bollywood in the least. I did not think such feats were humanly possible.

* Oh yes, I want to be a Slimdog. (Thanks Ved!)


2008 was a blur. Too many things happened -

- Coming back and setting up
- Trying again and hoping and then giving up and hoping for the best
- Hiring and firing, winning and losing
- Working hard and hardly working
- Setting up processes and then rubbishing them (I would not know a good process even if one hit me on the head)
- Driving around and then being driven
- Meeting tonnes of new people a few times
- Meeting fewer and fewer people more and more (aka, nt=c) (I love it when life can be expressed as an equation)
- Partying and then deciding that I am too old and fat for it
- Gaining weight and gaining more weight...
- Shaving my head
- Spending tonnes of time with my parents and sister (after about 16 years)
- Trying to get married
- Trying to figure out if relinquishing control is ok
- Getting used to Delhi
- Getting used to Gurgaon!
- Getting back the nonchalance which is required to read the papers every day
- Writing more, reading more, reading less nonsense
- Looking back at life in London, not regretting moving back!
- Loving it

12 months, 10 trips, lots of friends, countless conversations and memorable moments - I hope and pray that 2009 is as eventful as 2008.