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30 March 2013

A night with the stars

Tonight, just because it is so hot out here in Bangalore, I am planning a night under the blanket of stars. I am planning on taking my Black Dog, a mat and some good old music and sleeping on the terrace. That’s my style to beat the heat. I have been doing this for years now. Earlier it used to be my Dad, my brother and I. Now it has my daughters and wife coming along while Dad dropping out. However, this year is different.
I am a free bird this year. No extra packages. That means, not only can I do star gazing with my good companion the Black Dog beside me, I can also do lots of Bird Watching. A full time khulla saandh! What I am planning to do is however, carry my Grand Dad’s telescope along. It is at least a hundred years old. It was handed down to him by his father and later my Dad inherited it. I don’t know much about the stars, however I am eager to learn. For that reason, my laptop and my smartphone go with me.
Smartphone because I have located an app that shows which constellation is right over my head and laptop to find out all about the constellation. The Bangalore Astronomical Society is a good place to start for beginners. Information about Star Gazing is freely available on their web page as well.
Another kind of star gazing that almost every Indian on this planet would have indulged in without doubt is the palm reading/future prediction/horoscope reading! I had been to one such place just to know what it is like. Man, do these guys mint money or what! That gives me a business idea. I think I must start that in my free time. What do you guys suggest? must I or mustn’t I? My previous stint trying to predict was with the stock markets, that did not work out. I am wondering what the outcome out of this other prediction profession might be!

29 March 2013

Ciao from the Series

I have had pleasure writing this series. Each character has been a figment of my imagination and a creation I cherished. I would have loved to create characters the way my favourite writers have created theirs, but then I am limited by my own imagination. While I shall strive to create one more series in the future I have not thought of what that would be. For this story I had the entire story line at the back of my head. But the next hasn’t taken birth yet.
Going ahead, I shall be focusing my personal experiences once again, probably document them in more detail; but then it all depends. For now, it’s going to be back to having a nice large peg of Black Dog tonight after my wife and daughters left to their granny’s house. I am a free bird tonight. I love the thought of savouring the world’s finest Scotch but then it has to be done responsibly. I have always advocated this. Drink Responsibly and drink in style!
So if you are planning on having fun outside the confines of your home at a bar or a restaurant, do not drink and drive. It is not safe. There are a lot other ways to get back home. It is not expensive to hire a cab. It is cheaper than your life. Life is the most expensive thing that we own. Yet we do not own our life. It is owned by the people who love us, whom we love and those who wait back for us at home. If you are going out as a group, ask a friend who is not planning to drink to accompany you. He can drive the car a lot more responsibly.
It is said that with alcohol in your blood, you are more susceptible to commit mistakes. Why, even the hot looking woman you just saw waving at you from across your table, she may not be that great when you wake up the next morning!
Until the next series, it is Ciao from me. Be safe, drink responsibly, drive safe and always wear your seat belts!

Busy past few days!

Over the past few days I have been utterly busy! So much so that I could not devote time to myself! My older daughter Jisha turned two yesterday which called for celebrations! Celebrations meant kids, their parents, hosting all of them and also taking care that every one went back happy!

Celebrations also meant that there were guests, friends and relatives alike at home. It also meant the added responsibility of seeing to it that none of their sentiments were hurt.

At the end of the day, all of them enjoyed. My Wife left for her parents’ today with both my daughters. It means many things to me. Primary being that I am going to miss my daughters like hell now that they are not around and secondarily that I am now a bachelor for a little more than a month!

Well, my wife definitely wants me to come down to Bombay for a longer duration this time around. I have been maintaining a status quo on that. I am absolutely undecided. I may or may not go there at all!

Four Seasons Viognier and Khaman Dhokla

Few days back I was given a bottle of Four Seasons Viognier wine (a type of white wine) and asked to review it. I am a totally non wine drinker and pairing Wine with food comes a bit unnatural to me. I have always known Wine to be paired with non vegetarian and non Indian food. Since none of the hotels would allow me to take my wine in and also because I would never have non vegetarian food, trying and reviewing this wine was a nightmare. However, after a lot of maska polish to my wife and mom (wife was easy, mom was hell) I managed to get to sit at the dinner table with a little wine.

I had specifically asked that a mildly spiced food be prepared. The women folk at home were already pissed off with my pestering since morning so they decided to get back at me. I was served Khaman Dhoklas. Now if one were to try and guess what my expression would have been then, let me give you some clues. It was that of a contorted owl, a wide gaped donkey and snooty rat combined! How on earth can one pair wine with Gujarati food. But I was wrong. The wine went excellently with the Khaman Dhoklas. So here I have for you the recipe of Khaman Dhoklas! Now since my mom is already asleep, I can do nothing but borrow Sanjeev Kapoor’s recipe. His original recipe can be found here.

Ingredients

Gram flour (besan),sieved 2 cups
Yogurt,beaten  1 cup
Salt  to taste
Turmeric powder  1/2 teaspoon
Green chilli-ginger paste  1 teaspoon
Oil  2 tablespoons
Lemon juice  1 tablespoon
Soda bicarbonate  1 teaspoon
Mustard seeds  1 teaspoon
Fresh coriander leaves,chopped  2 tablespoons
Coconut,scraped  1/2 cup

Method

  1. Take gram flour in a bowl.
  2. Add yogurt and approximately one cup of warm water and mix. Avoid lumps.
  3. Add salt and mix again.
  4. Leave it aside to ferment for three to four hours.
  5. When gram flour mixture has fermented, add turmeric powder and green chilli-ginger paste. Mix
  6. Heat the steamer. Grease a thali.
  7. In a small bowl take lemon juice, soda bicarbonate, one teaspoon of oil and mix. Add it to the batter and whisk briskly.
  8. Pour batter into the greased thali and place it in the steamer.
  9. Cover with the lid and steam for ten minutes.
  10. When a little cool, cut into squares and keep in a serving bowl/plate.
  11. Heat remaining oil in a small pan.
  12. Add mustard seeds. When the seeds begin to crackle, remove and pour over the dhoklas.
  13. Serve, garnished with chopped coriander leaves and scraped coconut.

28 March 2013

What Next?

Suman and Rishi returned home in high spirits after the Elvis event. The two were singing songs aloud, literally bringing the roof down. The two had downed quite a few pegs. Driving back home would have been a nightmare. Thankfully they had booked a cab back home! Rishi believed in dinking responsibly. They got down a little away from the gate and started walking down towards the house.
One thing led to another and the two had a steamy sex session. Suman had never been with a man like this before. It was her first time. She had always maintained that she would lose herself to only the one man who she would marry. But she hardly knew Rishi; and after her run in with the goons and the kidnapping, it had set her thinking all the more.
She walked out of the room and decided to pour herself a drink. She looked at the collection that Rishi had accumulated over a while and chose Black Dog Quintessential. His collection of glasses and other accessories was always a source of his pride. She chose the best one. She had just finished pouring out one for herself when Rishi called out from behind, “Pour one out for me as well.” “How will you have it? Neat or…” “You know fairly well I always like my Scotch neat, no water.” “Yeah of course. But I still wonder if I know you at all” Along silence ensued.
Suman continued, “You know, I always wanted to lose my virginity to the man I would choose to marry. Till the last week, I thought I knew you really well. But now, now I have serious doubts.” “What do you want to know?” “Everything.””Would you be able to digest it?””I want to get married to you. If I have to decide, I need to know all about you! In fact I am not even sure if your real name is Rishi.” Suman screamed.
Rishi started off right from the part when he worked as a software engineer, how he was laid off, how he met Sunny and how Sunny offered him his first case. Suman was not convinced. She felt Rishi was making it all up. He was faking it. Rishi took her to his secret chamber under his bar. Here he showed her all his collection of guns, and all his certificates. They looked authentic. Suman and Rishi came back into the living room.
Suman looked pensive. Rishi was now getting worried. He did not know what was going on in her mind. He prodded her. Suman did not answer. Rishi went back to his room and came back with a box in his hand. He bent down on his knees and “Suman, will you marry me?”

27 March 2013

Viva Las Vegas

Danny sensed the dislike that Rishi was having towards him in an instant. He was used to it. He tried to lighten the mood with some cross talk recounting to the group how he and Sneha met in Maldives and how much fun they had. Rishi was not impressed yet. The dislike that he harboured grew by minutes. He would not let it get better of him. It so wasn't him. Danny called that all of them meet over at the Black Dog organised Elvis night that evening. Everybody agreed to it except Suman! She hated Elvis! Just could not stand him. No idea why, she just hated him.
Suman needed a lot of convincing, in the end she agreed at the only condition that she would leave if she was getting bored! All agreed! They knew Suman would not ditch them so easily. Once there the event started off with little known facts about Elvis. People were amazed at how very unknown the celebrity had been to them!
Within minutes into the event, the singer started off with the best romantic singles of Elvis to set the mood. Women everywhere were clinging to the men they had come with. Every lady was emotional. Elvis’ songs brought out the emotions! Songs starting right from “Are you lonesome tonight”, “You don’t have to say you love me” to “I can’t help falling in love” had every one swaying to his tunes. With the evening getting a little too sombre and people just listening to the songs, the singer suddenly changed track and started with Elvis’ rock songs! The very first being “Jailhouse Rock”!
People suddenly found a magical thing pulling at their legs! One after the other almost everyone was on the floor dancing away to the tunes! So much so that even Suman who was cribbing until then started tapping her feet. Danny and Sneha were enjoying the songs the best! During romantic slow songs the two danced slow and when Rock came around, the two were literally throwing and spinning each other around! The singer virtually took them through every song that Elvis had sung!

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26 March 2013

Two Contemporaries

Rishi an Suman decided to catch up on beauty sleep after having a harrowing night together. But sleep was not easy to come. Suman continuously tossed and turned while she slept in Rishi’s arms. She was utterly scared and mortified. She was not used to being through all that happened. Heck she had not even seen a real gun let alone touch it. The entire experience was hair raising and blood curdling for her. Rishi on the other hand was used to all this gore. He could take it in his stride, forget it ever happened and even move ahead. However, lately even he had gotten concerned about Suman’s security. He had decided that he would speak to Sunny and get out of this profession altogether.
Around 10 in the morning Suman’s phone started ringing with a loud shriek. Suman woke up with a start and instantly knew who it was without looking at her screen. It was none other than Sneha. She had set a shriek as the ringtone for her contact number. So every time she called, Suman knew it was her mad friend calling. Suman answered the phone. What Sneha told next was enough to send her scurrying first for her clothes and next for the door. She had to reach her place ASAP and that was difficult if she did it on her own. She did not own a vehicle yet! She decided to wake Rishi up.
Sneha had asked her to come to the golf club. Suman was not sure why but did not question. There was no point. She wouldn’t say anyways. When she reached there, the first thing that caught Suman’s eyes was the endless greenery that she saw around her. She wondered since when Sneha started taking interest in these sports. Her answer was not too far away. She obviously could not get onto the golf course without any member escort. She decided to call Sneha up again.
Sneha was seated in the bar that was attached to the golf club so it was relatively easier accessing her rather than the golf greens! Thank goodness for that. Suman was worried for a minute! When she made it to the bar, for a change Sneha was not drinking her favourite scotch but was rather sipping a breezer! One welcome change since her return from the Maldives! Sitting next to her was a man sipping Black Dog scotch who looked to be around his mid thirties. This man sat at the corner of the table next to Sneha smoking a fat Cuban cigar. Sneha introduced Suman and Rishi to Danny. He was not what Suman had imagined him to be. She hadn’t met him earlier, but then she had heard a lot about him.
Rishi had met Sneha just once at the pub weeks back. He hadn’t seen her but heard a lot about her from Suman after that. And more so after the two girls had discussed him at length when Sneha was in Maldives! There was something about this man that was unsettling Rishi and making him uncomfortable. He was not sure what that was. He decided to take care of that later.

25 March 2013

Series Break, Once More

In no mood today once again to write the story. I have had a severe acidity attack which has resulted in a bad and terrible head ache. Dad always told us when we were kids that he never knew what headaches were until he was 30! He hadn’t tasted tea until he went to college! I now know why he never had a headache until 30! He was 30 when I was born! He turned a senior citizen this year and I 30! With two kids, now even I can boast, I never knew what headaches were until I turned 28!
My older daughter Jisha was born a few days after I turned 28 on the 28th day in the 3rd Month of the year. She turns 2 in less than 3 days now. I would be having a few friends and lots of kids from the street over for it. However, later that evening, I am planning on a nice large peg of Black Dog and some spicy Paneer Chilly. It’s not that scotch can only be paired with non-veg food. I am a pure vegetarian. We don’t even have eggs at home.
This time I would not be alone. My in-laws are going to be here. So that would mean my brother and I don’t drink alone. I would have my Dad, Dad-in-Law and my brother along! The more the merrier! Any ways, not much to write but I am leaving you with a recipe of Paneer Chilly that I intend to cook myself and serve it with style!
This is a recipe by the master chef Sanjeev Kapoor! You can find it here as well.
Ingredients
Cottage cheese (paneer) 300 grams
Oil 2 tablespoons + to deep fry
Corn flour/ corn starch 3 tablespoons
Garlic,crushed 3-4 cloves
Onion ,halved and thickly sliced 1 medium
Green capsicums,cut into thick strips 2 medium
Green chillies,sliced 6 to 8
Vegetable stock 1 cup
Salt to taste
Soy sauce 2 tablespoons
MSG 1/4 teaspoon

Method
  1. Cut the cottage cheese into medium sized diamonds.
  2. Heat sufficient oil in a wok, roll the cheese diamonds in one tablespoon of corn flour and deep fry on medium heat until the edges start to turn brown. Drain on absorbent paper.
  3. Mix the remaining corn flour in half a cup of water.
  4. Heat two-tablespoon oil in a wok, add the garlic and stir-fry for half a minute.
  5. Add the onion, capsicums and green chillies and continue to stir-fry for a couple of minutes.
  6. Add the fried cheese and stir in the vegetable stock. Add the salt, soy sauce and MSG and mix well.
  7. Add the corn flour mixture and cook on high heat stirring and tossing until the sauce thickens to coat the cheese and the vegetables.
  8. Serve hot immediately.


24 March 2013

Escape to Freedom

The Dragon stood right in their path blocking them from getting away. The Dragon and Rishi stood facing each other. Neither moved so much as an eyelid but both had their hands on their guns. The Mask was not dead yet but he was not completely out yet either. He got up struggling to his feet. He stumbled and fell. He had received a really strong blow. He crawled towards the Dragon. Rishi knew that if the Mask and Dragon got together it would put him to trouble.
Rishi’s Bobcat was still hidden away within his palm. Just when the Mask was within his range, he pulled the trigger with one hand and threw the knife from his belt towards the Dragon. The gun shot created the diversion that Rishi wanted. The dragon pulled his gun out to shoot at Rishi, but it was too late, the knife hit the target. The Dragon was down and out. The Mask was not however. Rishi had missed his mark fair and square.
The Mask quickly got to his feet and ran for cover. The gun shot had brought a lot of their men out into the open. The Mask called all his men to shoot at Rishi and also stop him from getting out of there alive. Rishi pulled Suman and dived behind a wall of Black Dog cartons. He asked her to be right there and not come out until he asked her to. He gave his Bobcat to her and asked her to use it for her safety. Suman’s hands shivered taking the gun.
Rishi pulled his Beretta and quickly checked the bullets. The gun was still loaded. He slowly looked out to see where the Mask was. He was hidden behind the table. Just then a bullet whizzed past his head lightly grazing his hair. He could smell his burnt hair. Rishi quickly dived back. He knew he could not stay hidden for long and would be caught if he stayed hidden there for long. He decided to risk it. Rishi got out pointing his gun at the nearest shooter and fired. The Shooter was dead. But the problem he was faced with was not just that one shooter. The Mask and all his men posed a big problem. A bigger problem was he did not know who was where and how many were there.
Rishi was back behind the wall. He pulled his flask of Black Dog and took a large swig out of it. He had to be prepared for any result now. He got out and started walking towards where the Mask was hiding. Men tumbled out in front of him like drums on a slope. Each man was dead before his bullet hit Rishi. Rishi was close to the Mask when he ran out of bullets. All the men and the Mask now came out of hiding. He had a clear view of who was where and how many were there.
The Mask gave a roaring laughter. He was sure Rishi was as good as dead now. Rishi shouted for Suman and asked her to run towards the door. The Mask laughed even louder. Rishi charged towards the Mask and pinned him down. The two got into a fist fight. The Mask still had the gun in his hand. The two wrestled to get a control over it. Suman was standing a little away from them. She was frozen! A gun shot rang in the air. There was blood on the floor. Both Rishi and Mask were stained. The two parted and lay motionless. The men were stunned as well. No one knew who of the two men were hurt. After what seemed like ages, both got up, Rishi had the gun. He fired two more rounds. The Mask was finally dead.
The ordeal was far from over yet. They still had to get back to the car. The two made a dash. They finally knew they would now be free. The sun was breaking into a dawn. A new day had just begun.

23 March 2013

Enter the Dragon

A masked man brought Suman into the room dragging her by her hair. “Looking for her?” he asked Rishi. With this he threw Suman next to his chair. Suman’s hands and legs were bound behind her by ropes. Luckily she was not blindfolded. But then, he did not want Suman’s involvement into whatever he was doing. It was not what he had planned to tell her, but then it was one of the hard facts of his life which she would have come to know of sooner or later. Better for her to know his reality on her own. Saved him the trouble of explaining, saved him the trouble of finding out if she still wanted to be with him after this.
Suman fell on her back and was writhing in pain. They had not inflicted any injury to her but then she was hurt due to their being slightly rough with her. Rishi had always shied away from relationships because he never liked being in the sticky situations like the one he was in today. No point crying over spilt milk now. He had to face it come what may now.
He had known the masked man and the other together as the Dragon team. The two had worked together since time immemorial. It was said that the Mask did not take his mask off even when he slept. Rumours were that his face was so horrendously damaged by his father that it was not possible even for his mother to recognise him. He had run away from home that day wearing a paper bag as his first mask. He never took it off after that day. He had met the Dragon Boss as a co-traveller on a trawler on his way while running away from home. This is when he had been introduced to the world of crime. He had taken to it like a fish takes to water.
The Mask came around and gave a heavy blow on Rishi’s face. The two were here to exact their revenge. Revenge for being sent to jail. They had been invincible and unstoppable in the world of crime until Rishi came along. After that Rishi had successfully tailed the two and had ensured that the two were behind bars. They had been tried in the court of law where they had both been awarded life sentences. They had both been moved to separate jails in different locations. They had vowed their revenge in full public view.
Dragon asked Rishi, “Wondering how we got out?” and roared with a resounding laughter. “There never were jails built that were strong enough to hold us in for more than a few weeks! So what if there were thousands of police personnel deployed.”
Unknown to them while they were raining blows on Rishi, Suman had eyed a broken bottle of Black Dog thrown a little behind her. She quietly slid behind and started cutting her ropes apart. She wanted to get out of this hell hole fast. Rishi was the key to take her out, she somehow knew this.
The Dragon received a phone call and went out to answer it. He indicated the Mask to leave Rishi alone and follow him a little far away from ear shot. This was Suman’s chance. She quickly untied hers as well as Rishi’s ropes. The two managed to free themself successfully before the Dragon team got back. Rishi had pulled out one of his Beretta 21A Bobcat and had hidden it safely within his palm.
The Team got back. Rishi was not sure how many were with them but he had been left with no choice. The Mask came closer to him with the knife. Rishi had no wonder in what awaited him next. He wanted to catch the Mask by surprise. When he was close enough to Rishi, he got a heavy blow in his groin and collapsed on the ground in pain.

22 March 2013

Ghosts of the Past

Rishi got back to his car to compare the location that he had just received with that of Suman’s last known location. The phone had been stable and had not moved since the last few hours. Either that or the location reporting had somehow turned off. The two locations were different. While the phone seemed to be in a warehouse, the location he found was off by a margin.
Rishi wondered what to do. He could either follow the bread crumb trail that he got off the phone or he could go to the location he found at the spot. He checked his glove box for the gun. It was there. His trusted Taurus PT709 Slim was safely tucked inside. So were a few spare bullets. Two spare Beretta 21A Bobcat were hidden away safely within his shoes. One Beretta 93R was strapped to his chest. He set it to fire at burst mode for dire consequences. He also had a classic scout’s knife hidden within his belt.
The car started like the purr of a cat and he was fast on his way to reaching the last known location of the phone. He was not sure what to expect. But he had to take that risk. The warehouse was a good 10 kms away. He set up his smartphone to navigate him to that location through the fastest known route. Since it was past midnight he expected the roads to be empty and empty they were. He was racing away with the navigation system on full blast at a high speed. He was there in no time.
When Rishi reached the warehouse he found it to be an abandoned old warehouse that may have been used to stock liquor. Several broken bottles and used cartons lay strewn around. He quickly read the name off one of the cartons. It read Black Dog. He was careful not to ruffle so much as a leaf just in case the people inside got alerted. He could hear a few muffled voices coming from inside. They were mostly sounds of women and a few children. He still could not risk it. He moved with the agility and swiftness of a lion to catch the people inside by surprise. Instead he was caught surprised. He was hit on the head by something hard.
When Rishi gained his senses a few moments later, he found himself tied to a chair with the spotlight on him. He could feel that his Beretta 93R was no longer with him. He did not know about the Bobcat though. His face was soaked wet and there was a man standing right there before him with a knife in hand. Next to him on a table lay his gun. He could feel his temple pulse with pain and trickles of blood around his eyes clouded his vision. He knew this man. He was the same person whom he had had jailed from one of his earlier cases. He had been wanted for murder, assault and felony. Suman was nowhere around.


21 March 2013

Bread Crumb Trail

Rishi reached Suman’s Office to find it closed. There was nobody around as expected. He however found a dazed and sleepy watchman who had been woken up from his slumber by Rishi’s arrival. The watchman would not answer any of his questions. It was obvious. He was still sleepy. There was no point shaking him up. No, money would not work on a drunken and sleepy watchman either. He had to use other methods. Before he did anything, somebody walked down from the office. Fortunately for him, this colleague of Suman’s knew her. In fact, he knew too much about her to his liking. He introduced himself as Rohan.
Rohan told Rishi that Suman took the metro to get home. Even today she had left on time with Rekha to go home. Rekha and Suman always left work together and lived nearby. He offered to take Rishi to the metro by the route that Suman took everyday. Once there, he left the place without a trace or a goodbye. This astonished Rishi. He was not used to such disappearances from the folks who helped him or offered help.
At the station, Rishi could do nothing but look around. He found Suman’s bag lying thrown on one side of the road. It was lying strewn and the contents of the bag emptied. Nothing in it seemed to be in order. The money was missing. Nothing that remained was valuable. It was clear that someone had taken all the valuables from it. Was it still possible in that case that the phone really was with Suman and not with this person who had emptied the bag. He rummaged through the bag once again. He found the bracelet that he had gifted her hidden in a corner.
He was now not sure if what he had was a bread crumb trail or a real one. He was not sure what to be done now. He started looking around at the surroundings once again. May be some clues may have been left behind. He found pieces of paper that looked like they had been torn only a while ago. Next to it lay a bottle of Black Dog and two broken glasses. He picked up the pieces of paper. They were pieces of a torn photograph. He quickly got around to placing them together. A few pieces had flown away with the wind, but the face could be reconstructed partially. Only the upper half of the face remained. The face was known. It was Suman. He quickly pulled out his smartphone and clicked a photograph of all the evidences.
He flipped the pieces. It had random numbers scribbled. It did not look like a phone number. But then he was not able to understand what it could be. He pulled his phone out and tried to see if it was a location co-ordinate. He quickly punched the numbers on his screen. It was a location.

20 March 2013

Where is Suman?

Rishi was calling Suman since the last four hours. Her phone was ringing continuously since the last four hours. He was very worried now. He called her office up a few hours back but then the watchman there confirmed she had signed out at around seven in the evening. She had not come back since then, neither had any one heard back from her. He even visited her house but found it locked. Her neighbours had not seen her come home. There was no point calling Sneha since she was not even in the country. He did not have her parents’ number, but then she would have definitely told him if she was going back home or there was some problem back then.
He was stuck with no leads in this case. He took a swig of his Black Dog. He had told Suman to keep her data connection on all the time so that they could Skype whenever they felt like. He had not thought about checking her online yet. She wasn’t there. This could only mean that her Location reporting would not be available either. Nonetheless he tried checking her last known location. It was a warehouse ten miles away from her office. What could she be doing there? Was her phone stolen? But if that was the case, why hadn’t she come back home?
There were a lot of unanswered questions, none of them seemed to have any leads. He was frustrated. He felt like a novice. He felt he had hit a dead end. He could not tell the cops. They would not even file a missing complaint before 24 hours. But then it may be too late by then. For whatever you know, her life may be in danger. He did not know where to start from. He had not visited her office yet. He should start from there. He had advised Suman to keep a pepper spray in her purse for her safety. If she was in danger, had she remembered to use it?
He fiddled with his laptop keys while he thought what to do. The TV roared at full volume. His fiddling with the keys changed the map view from last known location to location trail. She had travelled from the office to the Metro station and from there to the warehouse. It was an unmarked warehouse. He finished a full glass of his Scotch in one swig and got up from his chair. He had to do something and that something had to be done fast, really fast.
Rishi changed into his tuxedo and put on his hat. He had to work in style of the private detective that he was. He had to save her at any cost.

19 March 2013

Missing

Suman and Rishi had been having a great time with each other. Life was going really smooth. Suman had even started imagining what colours the new curtains in their new house would be. Rishi and she had been spending a lot of time with each other. For a change Suman’s work at office had also been going very smooth. Unknown to her, however, a danger had been lurking in her own backyard.
One of her colleagues, Rohan, had proposed to her a few months back during the Black Dog Evening with Rob Schneider. She had declined it. This had not gone down too well with him. He had ended up spoiling the evening for her. She had so very longingly looked forward to the day. She had even planned to end it with style by hitting the discotheque later. But now all that had been put off! Her mood had been completely put off. All thanks to this once known as a sweet guy, Rohan.
Rohan had tried persuading her many times in the past. He had once again attempted it a few days back. This time Suman had had enough and she had given him a strong dressing down in front of the entire office. This had hurt his ego too much. He had vowed revenge. His humiliation had been too much. He had not been thrown out of the office but he had received a stern warning.
Suman was walking down from her office to the Metro Station with Rekha, her associate producer. Just then Rekha’s boy friend came by and she left with him. Suman was left alone. She was close to the station when suddenly a car skidded to a halt next to her and she was pulled inside. She was caught totally unawares. She tried resisting but it was futile. The person was a lot more powerful than her. Her pepper spray was in her purse which she had dropped in the melee when she was dragged in. Thankfully her phone was still in her pocket. She still had hope. She tried to scream, but a hand was cupping her mouth hard. It was impossible to scream. Suddenly something was pressed against her nose and she started feeling dizzy. She lost consciousness.
When Suman awoke, she found herself at a place she did not know. Her hands, legs and eyes were all tied. She had a cloth tied across her mouth as well. It was effortless to struggle. All her efforts to free herself were getting futile. She could hear a few voices coming from a little away. The sounds were muffled. She could not make out who the voices belonged to. She strained her ears to listen closer but it bore no fruit.

18 March 2013

Angling Championship–Final Day

Danny had had a spectacular day 2. He had caught and tagged one of the biggest fishes of the game. He had been happy. But he wanted to remain unbeaten. He knew that in case of Angling, patience was the only key that he had. He had to employ it to full use and benefit. He had reserved his Black Dog Fly for the last day. He wanted it to be his lucky charm. Day 3 dawned, the participants were instructed to cast their lines.
Danny’s Black Dog lay immersed in the water for hours. He hadn’t tasted success yet. He pulled up a flask from his hipster and took a swig of it. It contained his rationed Black Dog Scotch. He pulled out a book and got down to reading. He knew his day would be long and tiring today. It was not the physical stress that he was expecting but then it was the mental and emotional stress. He felt a light tug on the rope. He waited for the line to tense further. It did not. The tug remained light.Danny was getting frustrated. He had expected a strong tug and a big fish. But then a light tug meant that he would not have too huge a fish caught. Nonetheless, if he wanted to free the line for another fish, he had to unhook whatever was on the line.
He rolled the line backwards but then as soon as he started it, he felt a strong hit on his boat. Much like as though something had hit it from under. It did not persist, he did not bother. He went on to rolling the line back when the line suddenly got tense and the tug on the line really strong. He now knew he had something good. He pulled on the line hard. The fish definitely was a good catch. He did not realize when he had let himself get dragged to the end of the boat.
The fish was a fighter and he still hadn’t caught sight of his opponent. Because of the strong pulling, the boat started to rock. The fish was trying all that it could to get away. Danny neither wanted to lose the fish nor his boat. After pulling for what seemed like hours, he caught the sight of the fish. It was a sailfish! Bright blue coloured fins kept emerging from the water once a way. Danny felt his energy being sapped away. He could not afford to give up now. He had almost made it. After some ten more minutes of effort, the fish gave up instead. It had gotten tired. It was now relatively easier to pull the fish close enough to weigh and tag.
This was the easier part. Tagging the fish. Well ,compared to pulling it out of water, this definitely was easier said. The fish turned out to be an astounding 75 kg in weight! It definitely was one of the heaviest fishes caught in these areas! He was proud. His record shall now remain unbeaten for a long while now.
Post championship party was all about discussing his catch. Single handed getting such  huge fish had been a strain. The line had cut through many places no his palm. But he wore it as his prize. His prize of winning the championship unbeaten! Sneha was in his one arm, the other side pocket held his lucky charm. The Black Dog Fly.

17 March 2013

Series Break

I have again come to a point where I am at a loss of words. I am really finding it difficult to mince words. If someone were to come down and put words in my mouth, I would lovingly accept them and pen them. Sadly, no one is going to do that. Every writer who has been portrayed in movies, every artist at such a stage is shown to take support of Scotch. I’m planning the same tonight as well. I don’t know how much it is going to work but then I am going to try it.
I am also planning to pick up one of my favourite book from the series that I have been following. The series written by Amish. The Immortals of Meluha and The Secret of the Nagas. The final book in this series is out already now and is waiting to be read. The Oath of the Vayuputras. I have come to expect a lot from the series after reading the first two books. I wonder what Amish has n store for me in his third and final book. How he manipulates the life of Shiva is fairly interesting read.

Whatever you say, I have come to kind of like semi fictional, semi mythological stories. In fact I own a mini collection of that. All these books are classics in my own accord. Lamb by Christopher Moore, Yajnaseni by Dr Pratibha Ray, Krishna Key by Ashwin Sanghi and now finally the entire collection of the Shiva Trilogy. If I were to really look at the Godly figures these books were addressing, I have one on Jesus, one on Draupadi from Mahabharath, one on Vishnu and one set on Shiva. Yet, if I look back at my collection, I am missing so many Gods here! Indira, Brahma et al.
I love reading my books in solitude with no disturbance. But then one thing that I would never want to set aside is my choice of Black Dog. That is the best company I can have with a classic book! How I wish I was of legal age to drink when I studied Shakespeare in school! I would have definitely enjoyed him a lot more! Even today, when I get a chance, I would definitely want to read a Shakespeare. But then again, I think I may have grown out of him now. One shot at school was good enough.
Talking about the classics, I have teamed Rabindranath Tagore and Black Dog. Let me tell you, it definitely is a wonderful combination. While the book grows on you, so does the Scotch. Neither wears away from your senses so soon. Tagore is known for his masterpieces and slowly building up the character. I think Black Dog took a page out of his writing. It so slowly grows on you that you would not want to let it go. Much like a lover wanting leave your arms and go home after spending a passionate evening of romance.
So while I romance my books and Scotch, you go ahead and see if you can catch up on some beauty sleep. It’s Sunday night here. I am planning to live it up in style. What about you?

16 March 2013

D-Day

Danny arrived at the championship venue with Sneha in one arm and his equipment slung over the other shoulder. He was wearing Khakhi shorts and a bright coloured open neck Tee. He had paired it with boat shoes. His hired Dhoni was marked and ready. It was a bare boat and nothing was allowed on it. He was supposed to row the boat himself. All the participants were explained the rules once again and were also explained the grounds that could allow disqualification. The rules and regulations were based on the rules that were laid down by IGFA. Those participants who were not a part of the MGFA (MALDIVES GAME FISHING ASSOCIATION) were registered and incorporated into the association. The main sponsor of the event was Black Dog, this meant none of the participants needed to pay for the membership.
The bugle was sounded and the participants were asked to get on to their boats. The chosen location was The northern end of Gaafaru Falhu on Male’ Atoll at latitude 4 degrees 50’ North to the southern end of Vattarurah on Felidhe Atoll at latitude 3 degrees 11’ North and bounded on the eastern sides of Male’, South Male’ and Felidhe Atolls at longitude 73 degrees 55’ and on the western side of the above Atolls at longitude 73 degrees 10’.
MGFA Fishing Area
The championship was supposed to be spread between 3 days. Day 1 started at 0730 hrs and ended at 1700 hrs, Day 2 and 3 started at 0630 hrs and ended at 1700 hrs. The competitors were supposed to tag and weigh before 1830 hrs on all days.
MGFA Itenary
When the clock struck 0700 hrs, all the participants were asked to leave in their boats to their desired fishing locations located in view of the judges. At 0730 hrs, a gun shot sounded which let the participants to start fishing. The first half of the day went fairly dull. None of the participants had caught even a single fish. By evening few participants had caught one or two fishes but none noteworthy. Day close was sounded, the participants returned disappointed.
Sneha was back with Danny. He was not disappointed but definitely tired. He wanted to relax. The participants were all invited to come together for a round of scotch. Black Dog was on the house. Scotch allowed the participants to relax and let their hair down. All of them shared their experiences and also tips from other earlier championships that they had participated in.

15 March 2013

Angling Rules

Danny had been as excited as a kid right from the morning. It was but obvious. This was something close to his heart. He was so excited, he wanted to get up and be there way before the championship time. It was scheduled at 5 in the morning. Every participant was handed over a set of rules. They were strict and hard!
Rules of the championship:
  1. There must be no cruelty towards any fish.
  2. None of the fish would be kept. They would be caught, measured, marked and released.
  3. Any type of fly line and backing may be used. The breaking strength of the fly line and backing are not restricted.
  4. Leaders must conform to generally accepted fly fishing customs. A leader includes a class tippet and, optionally, a shock tippet. A butt or taper section between the fly line and the class tippet shall also be considered part of the leader and there are no limits on its length, material, or strength. A class tippet must be made of non-metallic material and either attached directly to the fly or to the shock tippet if one is used.
  5. Regardless of material used or number of sections, rods must conform and cast according to generally accepted fly fishing customs and practices. A rod shall not measure less than 6 feet (1.82 m) in overall length and any rod that gives the angler an unsporting advantage will be disqualified. Overall butt length may not exceed six inches when measured from the centre of the reel foot to the end of the butt. Overall butt length for two-handed or Spey rods longer than 11 feet may not exceed 10 inches when measured from the centre of the reel foot to the end of the butt.
  6. The reel must be designed expressly for fly fishing. There are no restrictions on gear ratio or type of drag employed except where the angler would gain an unfair advantage. Electric or electronically operated reels are prohibited.
  7. A conventional fly may be dressed on a single or double hook or two single hooks in tandem. The second hook in any tandem fly must not extend beyond the wing material. The eyes of the hooks shall be no farther than 6 inches (15.24 cm) apart. Treble hooks are prohibited.
  8. The fly must be a recognized type of artificial fly, which includes streamer, buck tail, tube fly, wet fly, dry fly, nymph, popper and bug. The use of any other type of lure or natural or preserved bait, either singularly or attached to the fly, is expressly prohibited. Only a single fly is allowed. Dropper flies are prohibited. The fact that a lure can be cast with a fly rod is not evidence in itself that it fits the definition of a fly. The use of any lure designed to entangle or foul hook a fish is prohibited. No scent, either natural or artificial is allowed on flies. The use of scented material in a fly is prohibited.
  9. Gaffs and nets used to boat or land a fish must not exceed 8 feet (2.44 meters) in overall length. (When fishing from a bridge, pier or other high stationary structure, this length limitation does not apply.) The use of a flying gaff is not permitted. Only a single hook is permitted on any gaff. Harpoon or lance attachments are prohibited. A rope or any extension cannot be attached to the gaff.
Actual rules are available in detail here.
Danny looked at his Black Dog once, turned it around and looked at it again. He wanted to reassure himself that this definitely was his winning bait. He had other baits too, just in case. But he knew he would not need them. This bait showed off his style!
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14 March 2013

Angling Championship Preparations

Sneha and Danny had been having a gala time at Maldives when they saw a poster calling people for a fishing contest. Danny was fairly excited. He had been dying to go fishing for a long time now! Back home on his ranch, he went fishing every now and then. It was his favourite pass time! It was a different story that not all the fishes that he caught ended up on his table and that there were often many days when he caught none!
He now wanted to buy all the best equipment for this contest but then the first thing that he had to do was register. At the registration desk was a nice lady who caught his attention. He started to flirt with her. Sneha was observing all this. She waited for a while and then her purse landed with a thwack on Danny’s head. He had to cut short the crap and get out of there. He could not afford to hurt Sneha, not when their relationship was still just budding!
Next stop, Fishing Equipment shop! Danny wanted to buy the best hooks, the best lines and the best Rod! He wanted to win the championship at any cost. It was a matter of his prestige! The prize was secondary, it was the satisfaction of winning that he wanted so very badly! He was not sure what Sneha would think about it, but Angling was close to his heart. He had learnt it from his father. And his father from his father. It had flown down passed on as inheritance for generations now. It was how they lived in style!
But even after buying all of this, one thing was missing. A bait. He was particular about the bait that he used. He only used the Black Dog! This store did not stock one. They had alternatives. He did not like alternatives. They were against his train of thought. This resulted in store jumping. He spent the better part of the evening hunting, scrutinizing, reminiscing the baits he saw at every store. Finally he found his bait. He was happy. It was the perfect one. Tail, a tuft of olive-yellow pig’s wool; body, black mohair; gold and silver tinsel with orange silk between; two or three black hackles; galena at the shoulder; wing, grey speckled turkey, two long slips. The hook, 3 1/2 inches long and 7/8 of an inch wide, and the succeeding flies rundown to 2 inches or even smaller.
Now all that remained was to hire a boat. That was not as easy either! Sneha was now getting impatient. He had to quickly wind up. But he could not afford to be slack! However, the rules of the championship restricted his choice. So he could finish this fast! He hired one of the Dhonis that were available.
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13 March 2013

Taking a break from the series

I have been facing the flak internally almost everyday that I am writing the series. I am not a regular writer but then with this, I was planning on trying something innovative. However, I found it fairly stifling. I had the story line there, up and ready when I first started writing the story. Somehow, I don’t see it progressing the way I want it. Thinking of the way the characters come together and how they interact on a daily basis has been difficult given the fact that I am spending almost all my day studying for the Six Sigma Certifications that I have lined up for myself.
I am planning to complete the Green Belt certification today and hope to be Black Belt certified by end of month. It is not too much to ask but then I cannot forget the fact that I have two beautiful daughters to play with everyday. Even as I write this, my older daughter is jumping over me from my right to my left just for the fun of it and I am juggling the writing bit as she does this! Any ways, for tonight I have a plan to watch a nice movie on the TV while I sip my Black Dog.
I explored the TV guide and there is a Bond movie playing on. Classy huh? I have never been a fan of the ultra classy movies, Harry Met Sally, Benhur or even The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. I have not been a fan of the extreme gore inducing movies like Species, Aliens vs. Predators etc. But then, I prefer movies like the games I love to play! Need For Speed series inspired The fast and the Furious, or was it that the movie inspired the game, I don't know. But then the cars are something I would die for! Another movie series that I loved was the Men In Black and the Bad Boys! both movies were extremely fun to watch and entertaining.
These movies were all that I could watch with the family, but then like all women say, “Men are dogs” and because dogs need their daily fix of bones, there are some movies I do love but then I would not dare watch in front of my family. Brother and wife are ok, but then not my parents and kids! The American Pie series is one such and so is There’s Something About Mary. Both hilarious movies but then best advised with parents and kids on a vacation! And when they are on a vacation, what better way than to live it up in style and catch up with every favourite movie a glass of Black Dog Scotch in hand and the remote in the other!
Ciao for now. And if you have been reading my series, please do motivate me by commenting on at least one of the posts in the series! I badly, terribly need it! I am getting demotivated faster than fizz escaping soda!

12 March 2013

Drunken outburst

A few hours into the night after Suman got home, her phone started ringing incessantly. She tried ignoring it but it would not go away or stop. Finally she got out of the bed and picked up her phone. It was Sneha. There was no point ignoring it. She would not stop. She picked up the call. With a drunk Sneha on the other side, she knew she had a long night ahead. Sneha had been out of the country for nearly a week now. This was the first time she had called from there. The first thing she blurted out was that she was in love! From there on it was only down hill. Being a motor mouth, she started rattling off.
Sneha said she met Danny soon after she reached Maldives! He was her perfect match. He so very resembled the Greek Gods! He looked so much like Hercules! He was really strong also. She said he could bring her the stars if she asked for them! They had gone swimming together, they had even gone surfing! Oh what a wonderful time the two had had together. Sneha started overwhelming Suman with all kinds of details. Even intimate ones.
Suman picked up a bottle of Black Dog and poured herself a large peg. She needed better company. She went about reminiscing all the things about Rishi. She kept pouring herself pegs upon pegs. She did not realize when she got as drunk as Sneha. She realized she had drunk too much once she had finished one too many a bottle.
Sneha went on to say how she and Danny had gone out on a date. Danny had gone so out of the way to book the entire restaurant for just the two of them. Then there was a band playing the most romantic songs! The entire restaurant was lit with candles! Oh how romantic! The icing on the cake was that he found out that she loved Black Dog Quintessence and found one specially for the night from all of Maldives! He gifted it to her while the band was playing Celine Dion’s “My Heart Will Go On”. It so very reminded her of Titanic! She felt like she and Danny were Rose and Jack! His gift of Black Dog so very reminded her of the sketch that Jack had gifted Rose!
Sneha went on with a lot of details after that, but Suman heard none of them. She had fallen asleep, dreaming of Rishi.




11 March 2013

Dinner Date

Rishi and Suman left the party feeling fairly giggly. They had had a little too much of wine already. Since there was nothing much planned, hunger took priority and they decided on having dinner. Now all that was left was deciding on whose place the date was supposed to happen! Both agreed to go down to Rishi’s place.
Rishi was not one of those regular bachelors who tend to have a fairly badly maintained house. His house was spic and span and smelt fresh with freshly changed Orchids and Roses. Suman looked around his house with wonder. She had never seen such a marvellous house. Good that she did not take him to her house. He would have thought so wrongly about her.
Rishi started his cooking. He knew she ate all kinds of cuisines. He had a stock of fresh chicken and some herbs at home. He decided to make the Kashmiri Chicken. He knew it would go really well with the Black Dog deluxe. He had prepared himself well. He knew it would not take him too long to prepare. But what he wondered was how comfortable Suman was feeling. He decided he had to make her feel at home. He offered her a few books to read, but she was not interested. She offered to help him in the kitchen instead. He did not know whether he had to be elated or scared. His previous experience had been with his mom and that had not been good. She had scared the day lights out of him!
Rishi got into the extensive process of preparing the chicken. He preferred to have his chicken marinated and drunk well in the sauces. He asked her if she was willing to have a Black Dog until they waited. It gave him an opportunity to show off his Bar and its collection. She was impressed. He showed off his extensive collection of all kinds of liquor. He saved the best for the last. His collection of all kinds of Black Dog Scotches!
Their chicken now appeared marinated. Rishi quickly finished off the rest of the cooking. They spoke about their life’s ambitions until then. Suman definitely had a lot of dreams. However, Rishi never told her that he was an undercover private detective. This was one thing he could never ever afford to divulge. He told her he had his father’s business that he looked after and beyond that he made a good deal of money from his stock market investments. Suman was not impressed. She thought he was living off his father’s money!
They moved the dinner to the table. Suman quickly set up the table and Rishi poured out Black Dog Deluxe for both of them. Suman took her first bite and she was impressed. Rishi definitely was a great cook. The pair of Scotch and Chicken worked great too! Rishi obviously had a lot more planned. His fridge was stocked with chocolate and cheese. He had planned for that as a dessert. It wasn’t too late in the evening. So a few more pegs would do no harm, he was sure.
After dinner and dessert when they were sitting back and discussing the party earlier, Suman got a call from her parents. This brought her back to reality. She decided to call it a day. But Rishi had not had enough. They barely knew each other enough that they could be jumping into the bed and feeling each other’s bodies all over. It was too early for that. He was not even sure if he could ask for a good night kiss. He decided he would drop her back home. Suman declined. She said she stayed at a distance of 10 minutes from Rishi’s home.
Rishi persisted. Suman finally gave in and she agreed to walk down to her home.

10 March 2013

Out Investigating

Rishi had no option but to leave early that afternoon to be at the Mayor’s party. He had managed to arrange himself an entry in there through the back door. He had paid his way through the team that was providing the catering service. Once in, he changed into his tuxedo and blended in with everyone.
Rishi next placed his ear pieces in nearly all corners of the party hall as possible. He even managed to slip one right into the Mayor’s pocket. Thankfully he did not realize it. He had one receiver in his ear that he could use to listen to all the ear pieces one at a time. His subject was not in yet. He knew he had to be patient. He had this urgent urge to pull out his smartphone and start playing Donkey Kong or Pacman. That was the only thing he thought that could liven up the party. But he just pulled out his smartphone to check the time and his mails. He had been waiting and dying to meet Suman. It was a double D-Day for him today.
Just as he was checking his mails, a short tap on his shoulder disturbed him and pulled him back to the party. He turned around to see who it was. He was shocked out of his wits. It was Suman. She was here with the elites. After all, she was a Page 3 butterfly too. He had known it the first time he met her at the bar. She was as excited to see him as he was shocked to see her. He had half expected her here. At this point, though she was being a distraction, he could not tell that to her on the face.
In the background, Kenny G took the centre stage and was welcomed by the Mayor. The party soon started to get interesting. He belted out his best numbers with is Sax and trumpet. Rishi’s subject walked in just then. He was impeccably dressed for the occasion. Suman buzzed into his ear that he was the most sought after socialite in the town. He was also known to be very philanthropic. Just the last week he gave away about forty – fifty lakhs at a fund raiser. Rishi now knew what the money exchange would look like. The Mayor and his subject would both mask it to look like a philanthropic activity. He needed to find a way to get through the artificial cover.
He decided to scan his earpieces starting from the one in the Mayor’s pocket. He got nothing worthwhile. Next he shifted to the one he had placed at his subject’s table. Nothing here either. No choice but to scan the other earpieces when he chanced upon a private discussion. It was between the two private secretaries. He should not have forgotten this angle. The conversation was a complete give away. In the garb of Black Dog’s Kenny G performance, the Mayor was doing the only thing that he was not supposed to. But that was not his concern. He now had all the details that he wanted about the new road contract, details about how the money would be handled et al. He now had his new man. He had had an easy evening, that with living in style!