Friday, December 31, 2010

FAREWELL, 2010

lWhen Arjun and I raised our glasses to a good 2010 a year ago, I didn't know how epic things would turn out to be. You see, I had come off the worst possible year - a shitty job, losing a dear friend, and breaking up in the most devastating manner, getting stabbed in the back by people I never expected to.

2010 was supposed to be a new beginning. And hoo boy, it was.
So, with all the risks of this being another of those sentimental posts that people groan at and complain about on Facebook, I proceed. So to keep things filmy, let's give out moments in awards-category style, shall we?

Turning point of the year:
The FlyYouFools contest. I entered, won a consolation prize and the audience award. Now what that did was finally spark something in myself and a friend who was the editor at PaGaLGuY and the idea of satire MBA comics came along. Seemed like a worthy experiment. But I was slightly apprehensive, given I'd never cartooned anything publish-worthy and my last strip was made back in school. But heck, why not?

What followed stunned both of us - the response to the first comic was phenomenal. Finally, I took up the mantle of the entire thing, and went pro. And that triggered off many more things - Cricinfo, MTV, In.com and hopefully a few more next year.

But it all started with that FlyYouFools contest. So thank you, Saad, even if the bucket prize never reached me.

Moment of the year
I had the balls to mail Cricinfo with an idea I had. Having had several of my 'jokes' rejected by Cricinfo commentary. Was thrilled when they wrote back and asked for samples, but positively over the moon when they liked it and offered me a piece.

It was another matter that the initial idea bombed, but I'd like to think we all learn from failures. We salvaged the section by stripping it down to a more consumable format.

Personal favourite blogpost of the year
This post. I figured that my best post would materialize when I tried LEAST to blog like myself. So I blogged like four of the most awesome bloggers in India today, and I was right. I got 1400 hits that day (never crossed 200 before) and traffic ever since has been decent.

I have a feeling, though, that this post will be my Kanitkar moment - that quality has never come since ;)

Personal favourite joke of the year
Offices moving towards the suburbs gave Nariman Point a severe Bandra-Kurla complex.
I was particularly proud of this one.

Musical moment of the year
Finally, India has a fest we can boast of. The NH7 fest was probably the best organized event ever in the country. 50 bands over 8 stages in 3 days is not a joke, but these chaps pulled it off. Not without a few SNAFUs, including sets cut mercilessly short, but things will undoubtedly get better next year.

The runner-up moment would be playing this awesome medley with a bunch of crazy people at the All-India Pagalguy Meet earlier this year. This was the 'fun' song in an otherwise kickass set, but this is the video I go back and see all the time.

Gadget of the year
Get bonus, buy DSLR. Pixie, my Nikon D5000 was my constant companion for concerts. Although I've got a lot to learn, I'd like to think I've taken a few decent pics. My favourite shots: Pentagram and the Split/Indus Creed gigs.

#epicfail of the year
Project 72. Sigh.

Favourite comic of the year
Call me a geek, but this tribute to xkcd was the most brilliant thing I've seen this year: http://www.irregularwebcomic.net/1640.html

Favourite people to meet up with
Narendra Shenoy and Anand Ramachandran. Not only are they legends and incredibly funny, but fantastic people who never refuse if you want to meet up. And they're full of stories.

Finally, thank you!
To all of you here. It never ceases to surprise me that some of you guys come back to this blog to read the tripe that I write, usually done with minimal quality control. It was in Feb that I was over the moon at crossing 30000 hits, today there are over 76000. I still can't believe that. I always wanted to make people laugh (A trait developed since I started removing my trousers in front of my LKG classmates on my first ever day at school) and I hope that I will be able to continue doing that with the blog, the cartoons, the articles and other things in 2011.

Resolutions will be made later, but #Project72 will be one of them. I will also procure off the legendary Sennheiser HD650 and have what they call 'eargasms'. Also, I shall watch more movies, under the tutelage of Prof. @dharmeshG.

I am serious. #Project72 will be a success and I will... Oooh, pizza!

Have a kickass new year, everyone.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

MY TOP 20 PINK FLOYD SONGS

All I knew of Floyd, way back in Engineering college (yes, I matured late), I remember finding a discography with a Readme that said 'Listen to Floyd, educate yourself'.

Unfortunately, as much as I've tried to delve into the deeper meanings of their songs, I've never been one to overly analyse (I do faithfully, keep the incredible SongMeanings site open at all times though) their lyrics. Needless to say, I'm a Gilmour guy in the eternal Gilmour-Waters #youprefer debate. So the following list should really come as no surprise.

I'm not a huge fan of early Floyd. Piper At The Gates of Dawn had it's moments of fun for me, but that's like a cheap circus before moving onto the main thing. The golden era of Floyd for me, as for millions of others, remain the Dark Side Of the Moon -> Wish You Were Here -> Animals -> The Wall era.

So here are the top 20, in reverse order (and YouTube videos!)

20] Atom Heart Mother Suite : After you painfully move through albums 2, 3 and 4 (yeah, I'm not a fan of that era), this track hits you. First - with its sheer length of over 23 minutes. Then, the synth riff. Then, as you read what it's about, the various 'movements'. This set the tone for another epic of similar length an album down the line, as far as listening to the discography goes. The video is linked to a 10 minute live performance in '72, by the way.

19] The Great Gig In The Sky : The first time I saw this was during a PF Tribute show in Thrissur of all places. I was blown away by a lot of songs (I was listening to Floyd - rendition or otherwise - for the first time) but this one in particular mesmerized me. Whatay vocals by Clare Torry.

18] Sorrow : As much a Gilmour fan as I am, I really don't think much of A Momentary Lapse of Reason. This track to me is the album's saving grace. I just love the way it starts, and am willing to overlook the fact that it meanders off lazily like many tracks on the album.

17] Interstellar Overdrive : Among the weirdness of the first album lies this absolute gem. It's hard to think of anyone but Syd coming up with something like this, and is surely one of the definitive guiding moments for the band.

16] Breathe : We were led to believe that the first album was a whimsy of their then leader. The next few albums, they struggled to find a voice. They found their sound with one of the most epic tracks ever from Meddle. But something was still missing. The moment you hear the chatter on Speak To Me, you know something's gonna give. Breathe kicks in. Pink Floyd, ladies and gentlemen, had arrived.

15] Hey You! : Fantastic standalone track from a brilliant concept album.

14] Welcome To The Machine : Fantastic lyrics dissing the record company establishment. Lovely atmosphere. Space-age effects that were different from Piper because they sounded mature and fit in.

13] Dogs : Their last true 'epic'. The whole Animals album showed Pink Floyd at their peak - great musicmanship, writing and production. While I like Pigs better, this was the more hard-hitting. Roger Waters at his lyrical best. I mean, sample these:


And after a while you can work on points for style,
like the club tie and the firm handshake,
a certain look in the eye and an easy smile.
You have to be trusted by the people that you lie to,
so that when thy turn their backs on you,
you'll get the chance to put the knife in.


Simple, yet killer.

12] Wish You Were Here : The title track from their 9th album has #win written all over it - from the concept of an album for Syd to the radio intro. Easily their most sing-along track, as proved by its overkill by college bands and pretty much any group with an acoustic guitar.

11] Pigs (Three Different Ones) : Waters has never sounded more vehement. For the delicious lyrical output alone, this track deserves a listen.

10] Another Brick In The Wall - Part 2 : The song everyone knows. What a tragedy, however, that they do not know how it fits in to the rest of The Wall. Featuring one of Gilmour's sweetest solos and one of rock music's most recognizable basslines.

09] Coming Back To Life : I guess here's where I lose the Waters fanboys. Sorry, chaps. Those guitar solos are just too good to ignore.


08] Have a Cigar : Again, Floyd at their peak from (what I think is) their finest album. The intro is enough to kick you in the tum, and then the fantastic vocals by guest singer, Roy Harper. Like Led Zep would later title a song, hats off.


07] Marooned : My favourite of the Floyd instrumentals. Gilmour again showing signs of genius, which just makes the world sigh wondering what would have been had Waters' ego not got the better of him.


06] Shine On You Crazy Diamond (Parts I - IV) : And each member of the band does shine here, in this tribute to their first leader, Syd Barrett. That first guitar note is probably the most 'anticipated' in the history of rock. Bliss.


05] Time : With good earphones (yay, IE7!) you can bring out the true sonic brilliance of the intro. But you don't need that to realise this is a monumental track from a band that knows it's found its purple patch. With one of the most dry takes on modern life, which still remains relevant today, Floyd were making a statement. One that would continue for the next few albums as well.


04] Money : And a couple of tracks after Time, comes this. Show me one person who hasn't been taken away by the 7/8 bassline or the 'money-sounds-loop'. Or the sax. Brilliant, brilliant track.

This brings us to the final 3.


03] High Hopes : That guitar solo. Period. (for best results, see the P.U.L.S.E version)

02] Echoes : After muddling around for 5 albums and 5 tracks, just having heard the terrible 'Seamus', a first-timer could be forgiven for giving up on Floyd. And then - the piano. THAT piano sound. Only Pink fucking Floyd could have pulled off playing the same note for over a minute. You KNOW from then that the track is going to be freaking epic, you realise this band could actually mean something. And when you hear THIS paragraph:

Cloudless everyday you fall upon my waking eyes
Inviting and inciting me to rise
And through the window in the wall
Come streaming in on sunlight wings
A million bright ambassadors of morning


there are no more doubts. But it all starts with that piano note.


01] Comfortably Numb : While there's always the temptation to move away from the 'expected' #1 in order to look 'cooler' and 'more educated', I'd still rate this as their best ever song. For a variety of reasons. The lyrics. The music. The concept. The video. The way it's sung. The arrangement. One of the greatest guitar solos of all time. The last great song by Waters/Gilmour. Again, overkilled by bands left right and center (including a couple I was involved in, who killed it rather than overkilled it) but still revered by Floydfreaks the moment that first Bm kicks in. Again, best results - P.U.L.S.E version.

Any Floyd list, however, including this one, does tremendous injustice to the masterpiece that is The Wall, where each track lays the foundation for the next. Comfortably Numb sounds freakin' better when preceded by the 2 tracks that come before it, as does ABITW-2. Even if you're going to just listen to these 20, I'd recommend giving The Wall an entire listen, and looking up the lyrics as you go.

There you go, will probably come up with Led Zep or something in a while.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

THE DIWALI CRACKER SERIES - FOR IN.COM

Following are a set of comics I'd created for In.com for their Diwali celebration. Basically 16 different types of crackers.






























Wednesday, December 01, 2010

DON'T CONDOM THIS POST, PLEASE

It's that time again where I run out of ideas so basically I fill up space by pimping others' ideas. Heck, if they can do it, so can I.

So we turn our attention, on World Aids Day, to some fun with contraceptives.

@rameshsrivats: Muthalik Condoms : Will not allow fertilization unless the sperm marries the egg first.


@abhishekmadan: Adarsh Society Condoms: This erection is illegal.

@rameshsrivats: Shahid Kapoor Condmos.

@gkhamba: Manmohan Singh condoms. So polite you won't feel a thing.


@fakingnews: Hurriyat condoms. Use it after getting stoned.

@gkhamba: Paulo Coelho condoms. Available at Alchemists.

@maxdavinci: IIPM condoms: Dare to dream beyond durex

@diogeneb: Ferozshah Kotla Condoms. Dead rubber guaranteed.


@fakingnews: Media condoms. Now covers itself.

@fakingnews: Chetan Bhagat condoms. Available in two states for one night at call center.

@rameshsrivats: Ravi Shastri Condoms : Just what the doctor ordered.

@rameshsrivats: Kareena Condoms : For er... Saif sex.

@rameshsrivats: Mamata Condoms : Guaranteed that there won't be berth.

@siddev18: A.Raja Condoms: Hits 2G spots at a time

@rameshsrivats: @diogeneb Condoms : Moc'd son

Sorry if I missed out on some epic ones, Tweetdeck lost all my pre-6 PM tweets and searching for 'condom' on Dec 01 is not the smartest thing to do.

As I end all my Twitter compilations - follow these buggers. They're freakin' funny.