Saturday, July 31, 2010

Poor Trisha

Very interesting day it has been - 10:33pm and I'm finally back at home after an eventful day. Morning went in some regular household work and then on a ride with my colleague to inspect a couple of places on ECR to check whether they were suitable for an office outing. The first place which was the unanimous choice in our team turned out to be a flop - why would you want to pay money to play games on a public beach? The second one was an amusement park and at least you get to go on a few rides for the money you pay! I wonder how amusement parks in Chennai make money - they wouldn't have repeat guests and on weekdays they'd probably not have any. Wonder how much profit they can generate considering the amount of people they have to employ to maintain the place. My colleague took the extra pain to come over and pick me up from home and drop me back home - he's done over 100 kms today.

Next up was driving over to a hotel for a function hosted by a magazine (a magazine for which I had written a few articles a year ago). I handed over the car to the valet - my first time and I was quite hesitant to give away the keys. On enquiring at the reception I was told that the function was being hosted at their new branch and not here! The staff told me different routes, all of which seemed familiar but I really wasn't confident about any of them. Finally I realized that the route he was talking about was the route I had taken to reach this place! And off we went in the reverse direction but just because there was no right turn at a signal junction we had to go a kilometer down the road to take a u-turn. Since I wasn't sure of the location and didn't want to get stuck going back and forth on the main road, I parked the car on a side street and started enquiring. After 10 minutes of walking we reached the hotel. It was 7:10pm, ten minutes past the scheduled start time.

The show begins

The chief guest was a famous South Indian director (Gautam Menon) and I was reminded of a forward email that proclaimed that he hasn't done original plots. The event was a small one; with around 100 seats available. Even though we were late we did get a couple of seats (but within the press area!). A small band was performing on stage and the lead singer was trying desperately hard to get the crowd to sing along - after five or six attempts, one section of the audience responded to him - Thank God else the guy would have been embarrassed. After four songs the show began with the announcement of results for some contests. A little later, while a video clip was being played amidst the dimmed lights, Trisha stepped into the hall in a pink dress with perfectly straight hair. Now it made sense as to why there was so much press in the small hall. Around 10 to 12 cameras went to the front and started flashing at Trisha for ten minutes. And the first thing that popped in my mind was, "Poor Trisha - can't she have a little time out." She wasn't the chief guest and yet there was so much of flashing on her. It must be so hard to do even normal things because cameras will be following her everywhere. And to add to it, she was wearing a bright pink dress whose bottom was like a skirt but seemed like it would be quite uncomfortable. In the afternoon ride my friend was saying that she was the most beautiful actress in the South; and from my seat she did seem pretty. But I did feel sorry - sacrifices for popularity - sacrifices for being a celebrity - can't even vent out feelings in public and need to be extremely cautious outside.

There was a fashion show in which we had some more celebrities appear - like Arya and Deepika (the squash player). It was the first time I was viewing a live fashion show and it was a little amusing - the way each model walked the ramp twice, the way they had to stand like a statue for a while, their unnatural walk, their smile at an empty corner of the room when they came close to the cameras, 200 eyes gazing intently at them and at least 10 cameras recording each of their moves. Modelling is also tough to do - having to put on so much of makeup, changing costumes in 5 minutes etc. One of the masters of ceremony for the fashion show, in his over enthusiasm to spontaneously crack jokes, made a sudden comment that was quite vulgar. I really don't think he even dreamt of saying what he did! But the words were spilt and he had to move on.

The suit that Arya wore didn't seem to suit him; looked partially informal and something seemed odd; I'm not a fashion conscious guy but something looked odd - perhaps the colour combination. On the other side, if not for the celebrities we wouldn't have had so much press people out here. If they were to call for a press meet you can rest assured that the place would be houseful. There were a few speeches before the fashion show along with the release of the anniversary edition. The dinner was sumptuous with even some Mexican food that I tried out (made fresh and served - some form of bean burritos but the cook called it something different) after having desserts - sugar free carrot halwa and chocolate mousse. Before we left we saw the models having dinner; they were probably more pretty with the glossy makeup now washed off their face! Actor Parthiban and the hero of the Tamizh Padam were also around - they were giving interviews to a couple of TV channels - NDTV was also present; wow - talk about Star Power! Inside the hall Deepika was giving interview to another channel and a couple of anchors from SS Music channel were also present.

Fortunately our car was in the same condition as we left it in, near the main road - no one had bumped it and there was no traffic police lock on the wheel for parking in the wrong ! The drive back home at 10pm was fun with hardly any traffic and even a couple of traffic signals not working; beautiful weather, beautiful ride and a beautiful song - ...In dino, dil mera, mujse hai, keh raha...tuuuu khwaab sajaa...tuuu ji lae zara...

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Part 14 - A hectic day in the park

At the point where Bur Dubai and Deira Dubai meet, was the Dubai Creek park - there was a water body surrounded by land. The park had a dolphin show at specific timings daily. The ticket rates varied - we picked the day on which it was the cheapest. Having travelled on buses and metro, we opted for the bus instead of a taxi since taxis would be quite costly for such a distance. A couple of bus changes took us to the park and we were just in time for the dolphin show. You can make an online booking and pay at the counter.

The place wasn't crowded since it was a weekday. We went straight to the indoor stadium. The show duration was for an hour - seals and dolphins stole the limelight; there were plenty of school children to fill up the seats and the dolphins added to the fun by splashing water on the audience. We picked up a couple of cute dolphin souvenirs from the stall outside the stadium. My niece took a ride on a pony followed by which we headed to some building located at the center of the park. We headed here after enquiring about a little notice board which said there was a planetorium in the park. The structure was called "Children's city" for which the entrance ticket was separate. This 'city' had even fewer people - it seemed as if most people were hardly aware of what was present inside. Even my sister had never been here before. Since we had time for the next planetorium show, we had our junk lunch and visited the various areas within the building. It was quite awesome - reminded me of the Birla Planetarium in Chennai; the only problem out there was that they never maintained the equipment; but here it was relatively well maintained. Each exhibit demonstrated some science concept - you could try the experiment, see the result and then read the short theory to understand the concept - electricity, force, pressure and what not. Wonderful place for inquisitive students. Going through everything took well over two hours; there were even ineresting exhibits on the concept of how aeroplanes work.

After that we took a 4 seater cycle and went roaming around the park - it was nice initially but quite tiring after a few minutes; two people cycling with 4 people sitting is very taxing on the legs (the bicyle itself having a considerable weight). The cable car ride was not operational because wind speeds were too high for safety. My nephew and I took the cycle on short cut routes cutting across lawns and even on the mud close to the Creek. Not many people new that there was an abra (boat) ride in the park. The place was almost like you had to figure out what facilities were present. We had gone one entire lap around the park to locate the abra ride!

Next stop was the Dubai museum; I had been there only once when I was a kid but always remembered it as a pretty good museum. We went through the Bur Dubai shopping area to reach the Dubai museum. I noticed a few shoe shops on the way and decided to come back later to this area to check them out. For now our mission was getting to the museum. To our good luck, the museum would be open for another hour. Just after we entered, a large group of touristers entered the museum - they were part of a tour trip and the tour organizer was rushing them through the museum (the drawback of being stuck with the tourist guide!). I'd have to say that the museum did seem fairly similar to what I had in my memory. After zipping through the museum we took a cab to the nearest metro station. From there we headed to the Airport station and from there took a bus home. One nice feature of the RTA was that they didn't charge for each switch over; in case you jumped from one bus to another within the space of a few minutes then it would be considered as a continuation of the original ride and you won't be charged a fee on the second leg of the ride. Same was applicable between metro and bus. At 10:30pm, we reached our stop and hopped into a Sangeetha restaurant for dinner - had a mini tiffin plate that was tasty. We were dead tired when we reached home.