Sunday, December 30, 2007

Goodbye 2007!

Someone once said, “People often worry about what they eat between Christmas and New Year when they should actually worry about what they eat between New Year and Christmas”. Hopefully all you people doing the binge eating (and drinking) should learn from this! ;-)

The year 2007. The year that was. At least for me! Those of you who know me well probably know I'm not one to send cheesy e-greeting cards via email. I believe in the sanctity of the written (in this case typed) word. So I thought I'd just put some of my thoughts on cyberspace as this year comes to a close. and this is a little different because it's my first blogging year!

As we ponder upon the year that's just passed us, we think about how we could have done things differently. We think about how we could have made better decisions and altered our fate. We think about what we want to achieve in the coming year and the rest of our lives. As for this year, some things went wrong, some things went right and some things simply happened. We partied till morning, we drank all night, we got raises, we got promotions, we got married and we got children. We got chicken pox, the flu, diarrhea and some new strain of virus that got our bowels doing a different dance! But we survived! At least those of us reading this did. Those of us that didn’t are probably in a better place where there’s no need to file your tax returns, no need to think about entertaining surprise guests and no worry in the world (and more importantly they do not have to listen to Himesh Reshamiya and Lindsay Lohan sing anymore!).
As for me I always believed even numbers were good for me. The 2s, 4s, 6s and 8s were usually good for me. But this year was different. A lot happened in 2007. I got a new perspective at work after sorting out some stuff (and some people). I got a new perspective on my love life. I realized I'd finally found the woman of my dreams and proposed to her. For those of you wanting to make a trip to Goa, India next year, the wedding's tentatively set for the 8th of November 2008. And finally, I got a new perspective on life!

I'm thoroughly happy with myself (those of you with naughty thoughts, it's not what you think). I'm just happy with the way things have turned out. While we all give thanks to God (or whoever you think is responsible for the great big jig we call life), here's raising our glasses and cheering on the New Year; a year filled with new hope and promise. A year filled with joy and pleasant surprises. A year that will hopefully be – the best one of our lives!

Here’s wishing you all a Happy New Year!
PS - Special New Year greetings to my homies - Lord Raj, Rubick, Rayboy and a few anonymous characters for keeping this blog alive.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas!!!

A little poetic banter from BarryUno for the people of the bloggin world:

Christmas is more than just a festival,
It's more than having lots of fun and merriment.
It's more than exchanging presents and gift giving,
It's more than kissing under the mistletoe with sentiment.

Christmas is about celebrating life with new spirit,
It's about trying to make all wrongs right.
It's about taking it to the next level,
In this great big journey called life!

Wishing you and your loved ones a fun-filled and blessed Christmas!


Tuesday, December 18, 2007

People and cars!

I have made an astute observation. The car you drive speaks about your personality. For the most part it does........and definitely more-so in this country!

For someone to drive a Toyota Echo or Nissan Sunny simply means that he or she has absolutely no knowledge about cars and couldn't give a damn! He or she wants to get from point A to point B and couldn't care how that trip is made. The interiors are shabby and cheap. Albeit all the improvements and additional accessories Nissan has introduced in the new Sunny, it still feels like driving a gypsy caravan without prizefighter Mickey O'Neil in Snatch!

The same goes for people that drive the Echo. Looking at the instrument panel is like looking at a cheap Casio calculator. Needless to say the shape of the car is a complete turn-off. It's like a frog made of fiber! Or maybe something you'd get if a Corolla spat out a car! I'm glad they stopped making it. The replacement - the Yaris also has a lot to be desired but at least it looks better than its predecessor!

The people that drive these cars; what can we say about them? According to my observation, these are the people that do 80 kmph on a 120 lane! They're the ones who'll wait for an eternity to cross an intersection. And they'll drive so defensively that you get the feeling they're driving like everyone else on the road wants to kill them. Pisses the hell out of me!

Bottom line; if you can't afford anything else, wait. Get a used Lancer, Corolla or Peugeot 207 but don't buy an Echo or Sunny!

Monday, December 17, 2007

Full Circle!

Life is a full circle! Of course most of you know that already and for those of you who don't.....I'm sorry, you've got to either read more Buddhist philosophy or marry Richard Gere!

I have noticed of late that I keep bumping into people I used to hang out with in school and college. I randomly meet people I first started working with. I even meet people I've pulled nasty pranks on when I was growing up! Which brought me to thinking last night......about what Baz Lurhman said in his rant Sunscreen a few years ago. "The more older you get, the more you'll run into people you knew when you were younger" or something to that effect. And this is so true!

I'm probably reflecting on this cos I turned a year older last month and it's the end of the year etc etc. But it is something that hits home nonetheless. And as I grow older/younger and wiser I look forward to seeing more of the people I knew. Talking about the good old days when we used to blow up condoms thinking they were balloons and set them across the village river about 2 decades ago (we couldn't possibly have known what they were actually meant for).

Have you fine people experienced this?

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

The "Yesterday" syndrome!

I'm perplexed by the "yesterday" syndrome. What do you do when your boss or one of your colleagues from another department comes over and asks you to do something? Most of us decide to take the project on and start preparing for it. It's only when the person who assigns you the project says "I want it yesterday" that you start doubting your decision of joining your present company.

Let's face it; the whole "I want it yesterday" syndrome was pretty cool back in the day when it was first made popular. It showed passion and determination. It was used sparingly and with meaning and you sort of respected the people who asked you for stuff yesterday. Nowadays about a decade after it was made popular, a lot of the people at work use that phrase a lot. I want that report on my desk yesterday. I want my car serviced yesterday. I want to be able to fly to the moon and back after going to a tanning salon on Jupiter and a gambling trip to Las Venus – yesterday! Come on people, give it a break!

It's bad enough that we've got so many things to in so little time at work because our superiors keep dumping work on us like we're a sate-of-the-art food processing plant in France. Now we have to deal with morons who ask us to time travel to the past and get stuff done. What initially was seen as passion has been transformed into a rabid joke that is taking over every office. What does that mean in one line? Our bosses are procrastinators. If you think the task had to be completed yesterday, you should have given it to me the day before! It's as simple as that! Why wait until today to assign it to me? What it proves is that these people are not good managers and collaborators and they're even worse at planning!

Do you people have any such gripes about the "yesterday" syndrome?

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Winter in Kuwait!

Kuwait isn't that charming to begin with. I mean I like it here to a certain extent (this is a fact clearly visible in my previous post) but sometimes it does get a little too drab. When I say drab I mean the landscape, the people etc. It lacks color! And excitement!

However come winter and I tend to get a little excited. Perhaps it's because of the winter fashion. I'd like to think that I'm quite trendy and that's one thing I like about winters. Albeit there aren't any opportunities for snowball fights and sleighing but at least we get to experience fashion and ever-changing trends. Winter in Kuwait always gives you a chance to dress up and exhibit your sweaters, jumpers, cardigans and what not!

Another thing that excites me is Christmas! Allright so it isn't as big as it is in the US or even India but there is a certain charm to it here in Kuwait as well. People decorating their Christmas trees at home, putting up their hangings and's a cute little sight if you know what I mean. The fact that it isn't as commercial is what makes it special. It is because there aren't many or any official events associated with Christmas here in Kuwait apart from a few X'Mas balls (the dancing variety not the kicking ones) that makes it more personal. All there is to do is visit your relatives, eat christmas savouries and get drunk while eating (in some cases while cooking) your turkey lunch! I find this scene quite charming.

Finally, it's the last month of the year so most people I know are in a very contemplative mood. Should I have accepted that job offer, should I have asked for a raise instead, should I have boinked that chick without protection......are only a few of the many questions they ask themselves! And so they make new year's resolutions - I will accept the next best offer that comes my way or I will aim for a higher salary this year or I will make it a point to carry a box of Durex Play at all times! ;-) Needless to say, it's quite a sight listening to them tell you their resolutions. All in all a very interesting month!

What excites you about December? Does it excite you at all?

Monday, December 3, 2007

Why do we live here?

I just got back from a vacation in London a week ago. If you're wondering why I didn't post anything on this blog since then it's because I proposed to my girl in London, she said yes and I was just reveling in the joy of being engaged! Now that the effect has worn off (to a certain extent) I am back to my blogging ways!

For the most part of my travels in the past, I didn't really bother about coming back to Kuwait from a vacation. Probably because it didn't matter that much at the time. On this return journey however, I just got this sinking feeling as soon as I landed into Kuwait. Partially because I was missing my fiancee. But more than anything else, it was because I was back in the land of the rude. In a country where the phrases "please" and "excuse me" have as much value as a screaming nun in a cemetary! I was transported from a land where people (although snooty) are polite, to a land where people are snooty, impolite and to a certain extent downright dumb. I refer to the people at immigration desks (including the women). Does it really cost them to be polite? Maybe smiling is something they reserve for weddings or hitting on people of the opposite sex and think it is wasted on travelers coming into the country but at least be civil instead of yelling out orders.

Makes you wonder doesn't it? If it wasn't for the money, we'd be long gone from here! Damn shame!

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Overweight and unrelenting!

This blog-post of mine is to educate some of my fellow Indians. Having worked at the airport for the past 2 years now, I am always inundated by people requesting me to help them with their check-in at the airport. Suffice to say, I work for National Aviation Services more popularly known as NAS. Our primary role at the airport is to provide ground support to airlines that WE handle and fortunately we DO NOT handle Indian Airlines, Air India or Kuwait Airways (they handle themselves) and as such I have no power as an individual or as part of NAS to help these people that request me for favors at the airport. I have actually stopped telling people where I work because the moment you tell them, they just assume you work behind a check-in desk and you can help them sort their problems.

For the most part, people want to check-in excess baggage and want to get away without paying for it. Heaven forbid the airline staff refuses to take the bags on, these people will start ranting about how the airline mistreats them and as passengers they have the right to take on however much baggage they want to.

People, people, people – you’re all idiots to think that you have the right to check-in as much baggage you want. The airplane is a somewhat magical invention that carries tons of weight including passengers and cargo, defies the laws of gravity and transports you from one land to another in a matter of a few hours. Wonder of wonders, the airplane (as magical an invention as it is) has a payload capacity and you have to find it in your good hearts to forgive the airline staff for not checking in your 80 (extra) kgs. Indians in particular have had the reputation of transporting their entire households on one flight and they continue to do so. Believe me people, it’s perfectly normal. Perhaps it would be wise to use a freight forwarder to move your goods (just in case you absolutely HAVE to transport your entire household) to India instead of yelling at unfortunate staff that have the unforgiving job of reasoning with dumb-ass passengers on their inability to accept their excess baggage.

And one last thing – those of you who know me, don’t even dare call me and ask for a favor when you’re traveling. I’ll end up ripping your bags, shredding you vacation clothes and giving you a wedgie! Bon Voyage!

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Stand out....don't blend in!

I am dumbfounded by the lack of creativity in Kuwait sometimes. I'm talking a about the same voices you hear doing jingles and commercials on Kuwait radio every morning. I'm talking about the same automated voice you hear when you call at least 3 or 4 leading banks in Kuwait. For some reason people making these cheap works of shame seem to think that associating a familiar voice in their automated voice system will enhance their reputation as they feel they're using a celebrity voice to a certain extent. Little to those fools realize that people CAN spot the similarities in the voices. For an organization of any international repute, it's important to have a clear-cut image and segregate it from the usual hum drum. Oh ye exalted people of the advertising world (in Kuwait), can you absolutely not find another voice to do those jingles? Having to hear the same voices over and over again just irritates the living crap out of me (sometimes it is good when I'm constipated but otherwise it's just annoying)

I just have one piece of advice for you - stand out instead of blending in….you idiots!

Sunday, October 21, 2007

A Crane in the neck!

Kuwait has been bitten by the construction bug. Everywhere you go, you see buildings being constructed at a furious pace. Gone are the days when it would take over a year to get a building constructed. Nowadays you have a 12 storey apartment complex come up in about 6 months!

What really bothers me apart from the shoddy construction that starts to crumble even before you've managed arrange your furniture, is the way the entire process is managed. Cranes blocking the street during peak traffic hours, scaffolding material lying around on a public road along with cement and rubble. It's bad enough that the standard of material the contractors use is poor, now the standard of contruction is just as bad if not worse. Apart from causing huge blockages in traffic which can be a nuisance when you're off to work in the morning, what's worse is they do it like it's their damn birthright - to block streets.

There are numerous methods of construction (mainly adopted in developed countries) that require minimal usage of public areas. Seeing how technology has improved so much that you can (seemingly) build complexes in a matter of months, I'm sure the same can be done to conserve the sanity of the landscape around construction sites! In fact in places in Europe and North America, contractors are fined heavily for blocking public access, something the government in Kuwait should seriously think about considering the construction boom that has hit the country.

For now I am just annoyed at having to take a longer route to get the the highway from my house thanks to two large cranes that have partially and completely blocked access for me respectively. A crane in the neck I tell you........or is it 2 cranes in the ass? ;-)

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Indian TV - It gets worse by the day!

I'm not saying I have all the time in the world to watch cheesy Indian talent shows but when it's Ramadan and you get home at 4:30 and have lunch, you can't take a nap too soon, you can't work on anything from home so what do you do? Watch some Indian telly.

And from my last post where I pointed out how judges show partiality towards certain contestants it get worse. Now some dingbat judge (we know her as Alka Yagnik) decides that women are getting voted out on purpose and it's a big conspiracy etc etc. The channel then goes on to air sentimental footage on how some ladies think it's unfair that boys get all the votes and the girl that is ousted gets another chance.

Damn you people, do you know anything about TV programming? And what's with the hosts saying it a show for the junta and right out of the blues, judges are given veto powers, arguing rights and permission to show affection towards one contestant? This might be good for TV ratings but it puts a very bad taste in some peoples' mouths. Especially the people who think India is one of the world's largest democracies!

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Indian Television Singing Competitions are a big SHAM!

People, I am back from a sabbatical – and needless to say it was good! On with the blogging then :-

For the past few months I have been watching a few episodes of Indian television singing competitions like Indian Idol, Star Voice of India and Sa Re Ga Ma Challenge! Now I'm not a guru on Hindi music although I have been known to occasionally pop in an RD Burman CD every once in a while and while the singing talent at these contests is extraordinary, what pisses me off is the amount of emotion and drama that is weaved into the shows. First it was the weeklu serials, then it was the soaps and now it's the singing contests. They just don't know when to stop.

It's not like the soaps have given us respite from all the emotion (that in most cases doesn’t make much sense) but now the producers have succeeded in making these talent shows emotional as well. Talk about one of the contestants recently getting his old grandmother on stage to get some sympathy votes. (With all due respect to his grandmother who was really very sweet) Or the contestants getting overly emotional and sobbing their asses off when they're eliminated! Get a grip on yourselves people, I know to some it may be a dream to be on television but don’t you believe in the saying "all good things come to those who wait"

I find most of the judges of these shows extremely unprofessional (except Alisha Chinoy on Indian Idol). The judges don't seem to know what kind of behavior is allowed on screen. If they're trying to be controversial like the nut-jobs on shows like Pop Idol and American Idol, then the producers should know that there is a difference in being controversially fair and insanely stupid! Our Indian judges don't seem to be able to make that difference. There is a certain unwritten code of conduct judges need to follow for these kinds of shows. They can't be putting down other contestants and side with their favorite in the manner that some judges on Indian television have been doing for the past few weeks now. They can criticize but they can NOT be biased towards any candidate. Last year American Idol saw Paula Abdoul severely reprimanded by her producers for her (supposed) partiality towards one of the contestants and this wasn't even proved, it was just a speculation!

Another thing that annoyed the hell out of me is that these shows have mentors and once their candidates get ousted, the mentors get all loud and emotional themselves and start canvassing for their students and do silly things like vow to never come back to the show again. Some mentors have even gone on record to say that Indian viewers don't know how to vote! Come on people, the concept of the show demands that the people vote for their favorite contestants and if the Indian population has voted for their choice, they do it out of their own judgment. If the judges or mentors want the candidates of their choice to win the contest, perhaps the lame-brain producers should think twice before making it a voting show for the masses and just let the judges decide themselves.

Damn shame!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Kuwait - in the 80s!

Having spent a considerable amount of my childhood (1984 -90) in Kuwait, one can surely understand why I loved the eighties. Although my love for the era and the place was not evident back then (I always wanted to grow up and start shaving) looking at things presently, one can only turn to nostalgia of the yesteryears and remember the great times.

I remember the TV shows they used to show us. Mainly KTV and I have to admit compared to some of the other regional channels back then KTV was a hit. Bringing us hit shows like Silver Spoons, Macgyver, The A Team, Magnum PI, Knight Rider and the likes. I won't get into these since I've already posted on 80s shows earlier this month. Do you guys remember Chart Attack? Compared to channels like Dubai One and MBC, KTV is crap now!

I remember the old Salmiya shopping area even though I wasn't much of a Salmiya guy. We as kids loved going there and hanging out. The Gulf Road was barely ready (at least during the early eighties) and there weren't as many traffic lights.

My mom used to work at Safeway across from the Crowne Plaza (the Holiday inn back then). The sixth ring road was fairly new and less traveled and I remember waiting at least 5 minutes before I could cross it and go to Kids R us and Safeway!

Safeway and The Sultan Center were the only 2 supermarkets in the country that were open 24 hours. The co-ops were just crappy!

I don't quite remember if Pizza Hut was around but Pizza Italia was the best and they always had some kind of promos running. Of course Kentucky Fried Chicken and Hardees were some of the other few international fast-food joints and Hungry Bunny was THE place for burgers. I think there was an Arby's too but I didn’t go there that often. I remember Wimpy's too!

As an Indian the only live local band I knew of then was "Next of Kin" who I think are still in action (the old dinosaurs). DJing wasn't DJing, it was just playing a tape recorder connected to an amplifier. Walkmans were THE thing for us kids back then and so were Archie comics!

As an Indian I remember the rivalry between the Indian School Salmiya and New Indian School Jabriya. We used o get into a lot of fights with all the spray painting and stoning!

I remember Atari & Nintendo. Atari was more popular and I had about 3 sets that I eventually broke (due to overuse)

I also remember Like Cola and RC Cola. Vimto and Shaani were very popular and so was Sunkist!

The Holiday Inn had the first bowling alley (which I am told was a discotheque earlier) and was quite the hangout for young adults. And whatever happened to that boat they had turned into a hotel (was it the Marriott?)

I remember Muthanna Complex in Kuwait City being the only "cool" place to hang out with the clothing stores and the gaming arcades!

I remember the Rubick's cube being a major source of entertainment along with game-in-watches and those other Casio watched with calculators!

I remember Farwaniya and Hawalli being Palestinian ghettos and the Palestinians themselves were quite the kingpins driving Trans-Ams that were a tad bit noisy.

I don't remember the roads being as congested as they are today and people drove a lot better and with a lot more consideration & road sense.

I remember Kuwait – it was certainly a better place to live in. Maybe it's just because we were kids then and didn't have a care in the world except homework and collecting skittles for prizes! Things have definitely changed now.

All in all they were great times. Ah nostalgia – makes us grow old sometimes! Do you guys remember anything from the eighties in Kuwait?

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Independence Day Blues!!!

Indians all over the world have attained a great amount of notoriety! Some people have been hailed as enigmatic leaders, some are talented musicians, (a few) are gifted athletes, many are intelligent educators and even a few visionary gurus. India is one of the strongest and fastest growing economies of today and is making a huge impact on fashion and entertainment in addition to international commerce and industry. Needless to say this was not always the case and by and large, the media is to be thanked for this. The Indian media has played en enormous role in the transformation of India from a perceived nation of elephant riders, hungry kids, old beggars and snake charmers to showcasing it as a country with rich traditions and human diversity. It's a country where people are strong willed and determined to make a difference in today's world. And no matter how crappy they dress or how thick their accent is, they will make it if they want to!

About 3 years ago, before I discovered the wonderful world of blogging I had sent out an email to all my Indian friends. It was an email on India's Independence Day and the various ways Indians celebrate it all over the world. In essence it was sent not to deride the larger Indian populace outside the country but to educate people on the true meaning of Independence. I received a lot of feedback – mostly positive, some negative and even got into a verbose diatribe with a few of my close friends on how independence needs to be perceived.

And here I am again – trying to make my point to the few people that have yet to get the message. We do not celebrate Independence because we have extra cash to buy fire-crackers or silly colorful stickers to stick on our cars and bikes. We celebrate it because we are proud of belonging to a country that has so much to offer!

I am proud of being an Indian not because of some silly email that is making rounds once again reminding us of Sabir Bhatia's contribution to email by inventing hotmail or the fact that India has not invaded a single country in a zillion years!

I'm proud of being Indian because it has instilled in me the virtues of patience.

For if I hadn't stood in long lines waiting to pay my electricity bill ten years ago, I would not have enjoyed the quicker service now.

If I hadn't to walk through doors and doors of bureaucracy and red tape in India a decade ago, I would never have realized how much worse it is here in Kuwait.

If it hadn’t been for the grit and determination of a handful of somewhat noble (or should I say visionary) politicians in the nineties, India would still be in the slums.

I'm proud of being Indian because it has made me street-smart and I can finally tell when someone's trying to con me.

I'm proud of being Indian because it's made my immune system stronger and my intestines can digest almost any kind of edible food after my bhel puri escapades on chowpatty beach, Mumbai India!

I'm proud of being Indian because back home 10 AM tomorrow means 10 AM tomorrow (no matter how many people in Kuwait say Indian Standard Time thinking it to be a mockery of sorts) and not Inshallah 10 AM tomorrow which could mean anytime between 10 AM tomorrow and the next 3 weeks!

What most of us here in Kuwait do is criticize. That's because we're just lame-brains and that includes me. We're quick to find faults in the way people think and react when incidents happen in India little realizing that we'd probably do the same thing if we were a part of that society. We think we're more successful because we drive better cars on better roads. And that India really needs our money! Truth be told people – she doesn’t!

I will not end this with a corny greeting like "Happy Independence Day" but with a hope that readers will try and understand the true meaning of Independence. Peace!!!

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Designer Babies!

The media have over the past few years thrown about issues of stem cell research, assisted reproduction and cloning. The making of designer babies as some people like to term them has been in the news for quite a while now. And while countries like the US have initiated and set of boards and committees like its Bioethics council to discuss and proliferate issues related to biomedical technologies.

Some of you may know I write for the popular magazine bazaar in Kuwait and my feature for the coming month is intended to shed some more light on biomedical technology and its pros & cons. As such some of your comments may be used in the article if you don’t mind me publishing your names or we could just use your nicknames in blog-land (don’t know how readers will react to a "flaming carrot")

I personally am not a proponent of designer babies. The fact that we're messing around to create the perfect human being is just plain "wrong" to me. For me biotechnology is more about finding ways to cure some of the most common ailments and diseases in the world today. Some of you may argue that stem cell research has the potential to substantially change the way people are treated for diseases like cancer, Parkinson's and leukemia and while that is true, some scientists have been trying to use the findings of embryonic stem cell research to go to the next level; selling the concept to wealthy families in the guise of designer babies.

A reproductive technology like in-vitro-fertilization is to a certain extent acceptable if the recipients of the artificially fertilized babies are couples that can not conceive a child but there have been reported cases of couples resorting to in-vitro fertilization to just get better children. This is like challenging God to a contest saying we can make better and flawless human beings.

Any views people?

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Are you working late these days? Perhaps you shoudn't!

How many of you guys work late? I don;t mean an extra 30 minutes or anything, I mean a few hours. Get home just in time for dinner or sometimes even have dinner in the office?

I have worked late or the past 5 years of my life. Maybe not evey day but at least once a week. For some reason this kind of culture is slowly but steadily creeping into most companies in Kuwait! I recicved this forward from a friendtelling readers how employees in large corporations in bangalore work late just for the free internet and coffe! As cheap as this may sound it is atually the truth. Kuwait is not far behind! In my previous jobs the entire Finance department used to be in until about 8 or 9 pm! Senior managment thought the guys were real hard workers. Nobody realized that they'd only walk into the office at around 11 am pretty much making up for working late thus erasing any extra hours they'd put in.

Bosses too have become acustomed to a certain employee that puts in extra hours while most of the time he or she is just downloading songs or surfing the internet for books, movie reviews or ordering that accessory for their car! And what happens inadvertently is that the boss gets acustomed to the "late" hours and once there is a change in lifestyle (like the employee in question gets married for example) he or she may not be able to put in those extra hours. Then the once diligent and enthusiastic worker gets another label - "a work shirker".

Isn't that a bit cruel? Aren't we entitled to have a life of our own? I sincerely believe that your employer pays you for your services for the 8 hours (or however many hours your company sees fit!!!) you put in on a daily basis. How you manage your work and your time is entirely up to you. If there's something that needs to be done, you've got to get it done. Unless there's something that needs urgent attention or unless you're an ER surgeon you have the right to enjoy your evenings and your weekends. So for those of you who intentionally work late: cultivate some interest or find a hobby. Or just plain and simple - get a life!

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

The Eighties - Reliving the music!

Thanks to my previous post about TV shows in the eighties I've been inspired to put up another post about the music at the time. Eighties music has been inspirational to a lot of people for a lot of reasons. Great music, weird dress sense, bad hairdos would be the way I'd describe the era!

Listed below are some of my favorite tracks of the eighties:

Take on Me – Aha
Billie Jean – Michael Jackson
Every Breath You Take – Police
Thriller – Michael Jackson
Rebel Yell – Billy Idol
With Or Without You – U2
Karma Chameleon – Culture Club
Broken Wings – Mister Mister
Maneater – Daryll Hall and John Oates
Enjoy The Silence – Depeche Mode
Piano Man – Billy Joel (this was actually sung in the 70s but I listened to it in the 80s)

The list goes on! Anyways, peeps, please feel free to put in your favorites – web space is infinite…or is it? ;-)

Monday, July 23, 2007

What're your favorite TV shows of the Eighties?

I was just reading a post on Rayboy's blog about some producers in the US wanting to make a newer version of the popular TV show Knight Rider (one of my all-time favorites as a kid) which is what insposred me to post this. (Thanks Ray)

Being an eighties kid, I grew up watching tv shows like the A Team, Knight Rider, Simon & Simon, Matlock, Remington Steele among many more. One of my favorites of course has to be Moonlighting. While the A Team showed the world how a bunch of vigilantes can also be "nice guys after becoming a modern day version of Robin Hood & his band of merry men and Knight Rider inspired the youngsters of the older generation to go and get themselves black Trans'ams, Moonlighting not only revived the career of Cybil Sheperd and made a star out of Bruce Willis but gave us a highly entertaining TV series with action, adventure drama, comedy & romance.

So how many of you watched these shows in the eighties? Any favorites? What did you think of their clothes and their dress sense? And the technology back in the day? Feeling a bit nostalgic for some reason....

Monday, July 16, 2007

Orkut to be banned in Kuwait?

This post stems from the article I read this morning in the Arab Times stating that the Ministry of Information plans on banning acess to the popular community networking site in the near future. Are these guys for real? Afte the governments of Iran, Saudi Arabia (no surprises there) and the UAE (surprisingly) Kuwait is soon to follow apparently.

Orkut is a communitiy based website similar to hi5 and facebook that enables users to post profiles, comments and network. A lof of my friends and other people I know have actually got in touch with lost friends through this website and it's one of the most popular sites in the world especially since it was bought by Google earlier this year.

The governments mentioned above are supposedly afraid of the content that is posted on this website and the fact that users can create multiple profiles and this may lead to fraud, racism and probably propogation of violence and hate groups. Seeing that the internet is one big cauldron of information that can by and large be controlled by users, I don't see the point in banning a site like orkut. What the government does not realize is that there are ways to control this sort of thing. Perhaps they can poilce the site and restrict access to objectionable content. It beats banning access to the site completely. Come to think of it no site or community on the internet is safe from this. That doesnt mean you're going to ban the internet entirely does it?

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Choices choices choices - This time, what smartphone do I buy?

Having used imate PDA phones for the past 4 years now, it's going to be a little difficult for me to get used to a different PDA/smartphone but it's about time I switch phones methinks. For the past few days I have been comparing various smart phones with the intention of getting one soon but can't seem to make up my mind. I've narrowed it down to 3 phones now, the imate JAQ3, the Samsung i600 and the Blackberry Pearl.

While the JAQ3 is my first choice at the moment, it is the first phone from imate to look and feel similar to a Blackberry and I have had qualms about the Blackberry since day one. Just like its predecessors the JAQ3 has good battery life (a must for a power user like myself), Quadband, GPRS with Push Email, a front placed QWERTY keypad, a decent camera with movie recording capability (for those specially over-the-top moments) and the usual Microsoft Windows Mobile for the on-the-go user. And it's got a stylus which I'm very very used to! Overall I think it's a pretty decent phone.

Second we've got the Samsung i600 with a sleek and sexy design. The thumbwheel is similar to the one provided by Blackberry and the Windows Mobile interface is a familiar sight for the hardcore imate user. (Don't you just hate the Sony Ericsson and the Handspring Treo interfaces?). The only weakness I see (apart from the slightly small QWERTY keypad which may take a while to get used to) is the battery. Samsung smartphones have been known to be battery drainers and how this one runs in the market is yet to be seen. Perhaps that is one of the reasons they give you a second battery.

The third in this review is the Blackberry Pearl 8100. The one really good thing about Blackberry is their marketing although the phones themselves have been getting rave reviews in Europe and the US. I honestly have a hard time buying what Americans buy! The Pearl comes with the usual Windows Microsoft interface, superior push email capabilities to add to the already much talked about email functionality of this phone with EDGE support. However the phone is sans 3G (don’t know when we'll get the full use of 3G in Kuwait but….) the QWERTY keys on the keypad are a little too small and according to some people that already have it, the phone capabilities of this piece are a little below expectations.

So there you have it; 3 good phones and I need to make up my mind by the end of this month. Any advice or input people?

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Dumbasses - How many varieties do you know?

This post has been inspired by the large number of stupid people that inhabit the world. With all due respect to everyone reading this blogpost, I am going to whine a little about how certain people just piss you off by being rude, inconsiderate or plain stupid.

Dumbass 01:
These are the people who will try and suck the life out of an elevator button thinking it will get to you faster if you press harder.

Dumbass 02:
These are the people who get to an elevator, see a bunch of other people already waiting for the elevator to get to them, press the damn button a few times just for reassurance. They're the smartases who think that nobody else has pressed the button and it is solely their duty to do so and prevent the rest of the people from looking like fools. (perhaps in Kuwait it is attributed to the "vasta" factor) pull a few stirngs, press a few buttons....

Dumbass 03:
This category just runs into an elevator as soon as the doors open often not allowing persons already inside to step out. These people are either in a real big rush to get hit by a truck or are just desperately in need of a potty break.

Dumbass 04:
Ever knew people who casually ask how you're doing when they see you on the street or at the dricleaners or your local bakala (local convinience store)? Notice, they say "How are ya?" instead of "How ARE you?" My guess on this is that if he or she says "How are ya?" they're really not in the mood to know how you're doing. It's like a lackadaisical approach to the whole greeting."How ARE you?" on the other hand warrants to a few other questions"How is the wife? Kids ok? Blood pressure under control? Watch Die Hard 4.0?" etc etc etc.

In due course of time I am sure I will find at least another 4 dozen categories of dumbasses to write about but in the meanwhile, this will have to do.

Monday, July 9, 2007

The reality that is Dubai

I couldn't get too many days off work so I decided to go to the closest "quick vacation" spot around - Dubai. I guess spending time with my girl is the best time spent as far as I am concerned but that is not the point of this post.

Now I've been to Dubai about a zillion times before and I've noticed that things change almost in a flash. Whats annoying is that the people are getting more and more artificial every time I go there. The fake accents, the fancy restaurants, the designer clothes and night clubs seem to be a facade. I'd rather live in a place that has a little more heart. Like Kuwait!

I know what most of you will be thinking. Kuwait? And heart? The truth of the mater is I was born here and have spent a considerable amount of my life here. Perhaps it's the comfort level, perhaps it's the people. Or my familiarity with the roads and the ever changing rules for expatriates that change in a flash (much like the skyline of Dubai). But on the whole I think the people in Kuwait as rude or incompetent as some of them may seem) still have a kind of innocence. That innocence has been lost in Dubai which is now turning to be a well-oiled corporation.

Do I like it in Dubai? Yes, I do. I like the pace of business and the profesionalism people display there. I like the recreational avenues, the malls, the bars and the nightlife. But would I live there? I don't think so.

Sunday, July 1, 2007

A New Passion - Come Sing With Me

So there I was last thursday night waiting for something exciting to happen and while we all know that in Kuwait this could take anything between 2 days to about 7 years in some cases, my friends and I decided to jam. Three guys in a room with some equipment; laptops, speakers, amplifiers, one acoustic and another electric guitar and a set of keyboards - and we think of strumming a tune.

Nothing in particular, we just strum and yoodle (try yoddling after a few drinks and about a pack and a half of Davidoff Lights!). People, I kid you not, about 3 hours later we had actually written a song, composed the music and sung dummy recordings in our makeshift studio in 3 pitches......and that too in 2 different genres; rock (the original version) and reggae!!!

Come sing with me,
A distant melody,
A hardcore symphony.

Don't change yourself,
Don't sow unsure seeds,
Don't make yourself bleed.

You've got to be yourself now,
You've got to do what's right.
You've got to make life work for you,
Without taking a bite.

You've got to be yourself now,
You've got to do it right.
You've got to make life work for you baby,
Without taking a bite.


To some of you pros out there this may sound like some childish or drunken (or perhaps both)attempt at a Kuwaiti-Indian version of Rockstar but I think with some practice, dedication and the right strategy, we might be on to something big here.

I'm not saying we're the next big thing after Supernova. Hell, we might not even want the accolades and the fame. All we want is something to do creatively, something to collaborate among friends with, something to entertain with. And possibly a cult following! ;-)

In the meanwhile my friends - come sing with me!

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Karaoke Kings - In Kuwait???

Karaoke is one of those new fads that actually allows you to become the lead singer of the rock band you always dreamed of fronting. At least if you don't mind losing your inhibitions after a few minutes at a karaoke bar.

Karaoke bars of course were always around but the prevailance of new gizmos and software has now made it possible to bring it home to the confines of your own living room! And we here in Kuwait are doing just that (it's funny what the absence of a good pub or bar can do to you).

Karaoke singing is a great release, a way to let all the events of the day disappear, to let loose and have a good time! If you're feeling a bit voyeurish, you can just sit back and enjoy everyone else’s attempt to sing karaoke (and look stupid mind you). It is quite entertaining, listening to people that are really good, people having fun with it, and people that just have no clue whatsoever(these are the people you might want to clobber with a baseball bat because they've murdered the song for you)

All in all I think we've finally managed to catch on to a new fad and we'd hopefully like to hang on to it until we get bored (which will be in a few weeks) or until the next best stress release is released! ;-)

Monday, June 25, 2007

Does love make the world go round? Hmmm....

It's my girlfriend's birthday today and we're about a few thousand miles apart! She's in london and I'm in Kuwait. Doesn't that suck? Well, maybe not for you guys reading this post but for the two of us it really does!

So what do people dating long distance do when their birthdays come close and they're nowhere near each other? They talk on the phone, send flowers via the internet, they send about a thousand racy, sensuous text messages and hope this will do the trick until they meet next. In my case I'll be meeting my belle in just under 10 days so holding my excitement (among other thing) might be a good thing to do!

But what boggles the mind is that after about half a dozen failed relationships (and a few visits to hooters in Chicago whenever I got a hance to) I've managed to find a girl who totally understands how quirky I can get when my food doesn't taste right or when my house is a mess. But on a more serious note, she's one of the few people who can stand my sarcasm (other people just appreciate the wit and get offended with the sarcasm) apart from my close friends. We've been together for over a year now and that in itself is a record (for me of course)

Aahhhh love! don't know if it really makes the world go round as some people say but it sure makes me get a nice feeling all over! (I'd go on but I am very serious about this girl (her name is Eva btw) so I'll stop here.

So for those of you in love, good for you. For those of you still trying to find desperately need to go out there and get some! (love I mean). And maybe if it's long distance, one of you can tell me how you're supposed to get by occasions like birthdays and anniversaries.

Are you a LOSTIE?

Lost, the advertnure drama series that's presently airing on ABC in the US (they just ended their third season) has got to be one of the most entertaining television series I've ever seen. It's one of those shows that keeps you interested in what's happenning. It's a show following the lives of plane crash survivors in a remote island somewhere in the South Pacific.

What draws you to the show is the way the storyline unfolds. In essence the show follows 2 storylines; one with the current plight of each survivor and the second, from some significant point in a character's life in the past. Somehow everyone seems to have crossed paths at some point and that's what makes their present scenario mnore interesting for the viewer.

I've watched all the three seasons on DVD and I have to admit I have managed to become a "Lostie"(that's what Lost fans are called methinks)

While Magnum PI, the A Team, Miami Vice, Remington Steele and Moonlighting (my all time favorite TV shows) all had their own charm, Lost promises to deliver a unique experience to viewers looking for more than the usual crime stories and familiy dramas on the idiot box.

For thos eof you who haven't stepped on to the bandwagon, I suggest you try hooking into some re-runs if you can or do the next best thing - get the DVDs.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Hipocracy - how dumb to people actually think we are?

Isn't it funny how people say something and mean the total opposite of what they say?

Now I live in Kuwait which is to be honest not an extremely bad place to live in. That is if you don't mind the racism once in a while. And every now and then you meet people who say that they're totally opposed to racism and are al for equal treatment you actually think to yourself "here's someone I might actually get along with" or "finally I've met someone who respects people for who they are and not for the color of their skin or their religion"

And while in your head you\re thinking of how cool this person is, he or she will make a real dumb statement that'll make you want to stuff yesterday's leftover linguini down his or her throat!

Hard to believe? Well I'm telling you the truth - except for the linguini part. I'm Indian so I'd rather use chapati (an Indian form of bread similar to pita bread) instead!

Ok people I'm just getting started on bloggin so please excuse my inane rantings sometimes.