Friday, May 15, 2009

Our trip to Los Angeles Part II

Since Mariott does not have an Indian menu, arrangements were made for our meals from indian restaurants like India's Tandoori , Gill's Indian Restaurant and Tanzore (Beverly Hills). On the first day, we were pleasantly surprised by the saag ( north indian dish) in the dinner delivered to us from India's Tandoori. When we went for lunch the next day to the restaurant, I complimented the restaurant owner, Gurmeet Multani for the 'pleasant surprise'.
We were booked for the Studio Tour of the Sony Pictures Studio starting at 10:00 AM but due to the traffic we got late by a few minutes and were told to take the 2:00 PM tour instead. To make the best use of the time at hand, we decided to hit Beverly Hills, the up market shopping place in hollywood. Unlike other shopping places in the US, Beverly Hills is one place where price tags on the items is on request.

In the studio tour we were conducted around the entire Sony Corporation including Columbia Pictures, MGM (Metro Goldwyn Mayer) and explained the nitty gritties of film making. Infact it was only when we entered the building of the Columbia Pictures that I came to know that Oscar Awards is just another name for the Academy Awards. The awards are neatly showcased in the main lobby of the building and the indian presence in the awards is in the form of film 'Gandhi'.
The success in the production of a film depends on three factors - location,budget and time bound completion of the project. To overcome the constraint of shooting on different locations, Sony has made improvisations in it's premises. Post 9/11, shootings at airports across the US have been banned. As an improvisation, Sony has made an airport like building as its office.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Fauji Diary - Keeping in touch

Sometime back I had created a group on the internet for all my army coursemates to remain in touch with each other. It was'nt very long ago when we used to write letters, send greeting cards on new year, raising days or send first day covers (release of special stamps in the army to commemorate a special occassion) but with the advent of mobiles and internet, the world suddenly seems like shrinking with no need to 'keep in touch'. Social networking utilities have further made the task easier. Among all these new age activities, some special bonds continue to stimulate and delight you even with their age old charm, 'happy hour calling' being one of them.A few days back, I received a 'happy hour' e-mail from one of my friends. The e-mail brought back memories which had almost faded in my memory.
A few years back,while myself and my friend (writer of the e-mail) we were on board 'Goa Express', sharing a berth both being in RAC. Our common destination was Belgaum, where we were heading to attend the Commando course. In the evening, while the dinner was being served, one of the waiters stumbled and the dinner plates fell on our seat. Expecting a cleanup, we waited for sometime.Since the waiter wanted to complete his assignment of serving the dinner first, his priority to the cleanup was low. My friend went to the Pantry Car to look for the waiter who was busy cooking with the turner (palta). Infuriated at his callousness, my friend tried to take the turner (palta) from him. To his bad luck, the turner accidentally hit the waiter and a pool of blood filled the forehead of the waiter.
The staff of the Pantry Car made an issue of the entire episode and halted the train at Pune station, some of them even lay on the track in protest. Goa Express is the chariot of the students studying in Maharashtra and 'donation colleges' of the south. The presence of so many youngsters in the train further aggravated the situation. Without bothering to find out the reason, some of the students again bashed up the pantrycarwallahs. It was commotion all around till the matter was solved in a fauji style by one of the army Major who was also travelling in the train. He just said that since the pantry-car men are not letting the train to move, officers please take out your guns from the trunks to ensure that the train starts off from the station.
The Pantry car wallahs quitely sat in the train and the journey could be resumed.