Accenture's “Indian Independence Day” Outing

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We Indian Accenture employees at South Africa decided to celebrate the Indian Independence Day eve (14th August, 2010) in the form of a get-together filled with “action and appetite”.

Action – What better way to celebrate Independence Day than to do it with a game that is akin to a religion in India – Cricket!! We decided to commemorate the leaders who architected the freedom struggle in India and South Africa. We split ourselves into teams and named them Team Bapu and Team Madiba (Nelson Mandela is affectionately called Madiba). We thought that it would be apt to celebrate the Indian Independence Day remembering both of them.

Inspired by the game of Cricket is an action packed version that is played in South Africa called the Action Cricket.  This is an exciting team game that last for approximately 70 minutes that combines fun, fitness and competition, and its simplicity allows people of all ages to enjoy the game weather - men women, young old, or cricketers or non-cricketers.

Our game was as exciting and action packed as promised. It started with the Team Bapu electing to Bat first and got off to a great start with about 96 Runs at the end of the third pair’s batting. The game changed drastically towards the end of the innings as Team Madiba managed to get the fourth pair out multiple times, reducing the final score for Team Bapu to 68 Runs. The Team Bapu managed to regain control of the game in the next innings with Team Madiba scoring just about 20 Runs at the end of second pair’s play. As the game progressed Team Madiba improved its game and now it was moving towards a cliffhanger. It was Team Madiba in the end which held on to its nerves and took the Victory Lap.

Appetite – After that exciting match between Team Bapu and Team Madiba we freshened up and headed out for our lunch to enjoy some great Indian food at Bukhara – Indian Restaurant. The restaurant claims that the food there is “arguably the Finest Indian Cuisine on Planet Earth”. Though the team thought that it was too tall a claim – But the Indian food that we enjoyed there was undoubtedly one of the best in South Africa.

It was once again that we as a team came together, had lots of fun (like always) and took back some really fond memories. What a way to celebrate Independence Day being away from India !!

Long Weekend that went by ..

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Last weekend was a long weekend with Monday being public holiday on account of National Woman’s Day in South Africa. So I had added responsibility to pass time for one more day. So I decided to pack up my day with activities of all kinds.

Day 1 – Pretoria Darshan 

Joburg’s twin city Pretoria … We have been so close to this place, probably crossed this place as well several times while visiting other places but we could never make time to actually go see places of interest in Pretoria. So this was the time we decided to go visit places in Pretoria. We started our Tour with a visit to the Union Building office to the President of South Africa – I would have liked to meet Mr Jacob Zuma, but he was a bit busy that day so I told him “Not to stress too much .. Its ok”. After that was the quick visit to the Krugar house and Melrose House – which were basically Museums. We then had an lunch at a restaurant that gave below average food which was priced exorbitantly – Geet Indian Restaurant (My advice to people – Let it pass … Its not worth even a try !!). Post that disaster of a lunch we headed out to our last destination for the day – Vootrekker Monument. This monument was built to honour the Voortrekkers who left the Cape Colony between 1835 and 1854. I am not much into history but if you are interested in the long story then here is the link. It was a nice photo opportunity for me and I present to you some of the best shots of that day.
Day 2 – Bruma Flee Market

I have been here several times and this was yet another time when I went there. My time to leave back to India was approaching and I thought it was right time to buy some souvenirs to take back. So, I spent half a day to pick up some neat stuff to take back home back home.
Day 3 – Nanhua (Chinese) Temple

This was my second visit to the temple. I had last visited the temple of the Chinese New Year which was a nice experience with all the crowd and fireworks and food stalls.  This time around it was a different experience. It was silent and serene – with practically no one in the temple except us. I tried capture some different aspects of the temple this time around. We had the pleasure of eating nice Chinese vegetarian lunch with the Chinese Monks at the temple. We left the place with a peace of mind that stayed on with me for the rest of the day. We ended the day by seeing the movie – Once upon a time in Mumbai (A nice movie). Here again are the best shots of that day.

Untill next time ...

Review: Inception

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In short – A Intellectual Masterpiece Movie !!
Inception showcases a unique and complicated ‘idea’ in the form of a movie. What is discussed in the movie is so abstract and complicated that its commendable that someone (writer and director Christopher Nolan) was able to bring it to life through this awesome audio visual treat. I feel that to describe every plot in detail would take away the magic of this film you must see yourself to believe.

The plot in short - DiCaprio with the help of a team works his way into people's subconscious to steals ideas from their minds. In his last assignment he is assigned not to steal an idea from someone, but to plant one inside that person's mind. The difficulty comes when certain people are trained to block their ideas from being taken. Hahah !! I can see raised eye brows !! .. But wait … Its more interesting than what it sounds. Imagine making a movie what that as the subject.

I feel Nolan did a great job in putting together this intellectual movie. There was still a lot about this film I still didn’t understand (similar to what I felt when I saw Matrix first time), and may require multiple viewings to better understand.

Infact, the movie just takes over you and challenges you with so many new ideas and concepts, that you come out itching to know/read more about what was shown in the movie. In a strange way the movie plants an “idea” (like in the movie) into your mind … and as Chance Cole says “Once once we change the idea in the subconscious mind, we don’t have to mess with it any more – Just leave it alone and let it do the hard work”

Go watch it !!

World of Beer, African Craft Market and More Movies

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Was out of action for the last two weeks. As my return date approaches (end of September), days are seeming to move painfully slower than usual and its making life increasingly unbearable. To make things move faster, I have been filling weekends up with some outing or the other. I also pack up the rest of the weekend with movies so that it ‘atleast seems’ that time is moving faster.

The World of Beer: I have been seeing this building from my office from the 24th floor for sometime now … I thought that it was time that I finally make a trip to the World of Beer. 
The South African Breviaries Ltd has invested in this unique museum which explores just on topic “Beer”. Its actually amazing how one can create substance enough for 1.5 hours of tour on Beer. The Museum uses Displays, Audio and Video to take you through a journey of Beer right from ancient Mesopotamia, through Africa and Europe. The tour unveils beer heritage all the way to a honky-tonk pub of Johannesburg mining camp days and a traditional Soweto shebeen. The Tour also gives you a taste of traditional African Beer which is served to you in a Ukhamba. You are also served a glass of Beer in a olden day Pub setting with Piano and all that … So to be a part of the spirit of the event, I decided to taste the beer. I did finish my glass of beer but I wouldn’t say that I liked it. :) … But the experience of knowing the history of Beer and the process of beer brewing was really memorable.

African Craft Rooftop Market, Rosebank: This is a nice collection of Stalls offering African craft, handcrafted items, clothes, furniture and jewelry all under one roof – where you are encouraged to bargain and get a nice deal in whatever you want to buy. I also indulged myself to buying some things that would remind me of South Africa and I did get some good deals. The key is – as always – to start by quoting a really “ridiculous” price and you would be surprised by what you would end up getting finally. Patience and sweet talk are the key requirements to bargaining.

More Movies: I have been watching movies like crazy for the last month or so … Let me see what I recall
  • Tamil: Masila Mani (Masala to the core), Kallori (Village-side college story)
  • English: Shutter Island (Nice/Vague movie with a “The Sixth Sense” kind of revelation ending), Stag Night (Lots of gruesome scenes of violence), Sherlock Holmes (Absolutely Awesome movie .. Robert Downey has acted with such finesse that I was absolutely in awe. Would there be more such in a series coming up !?! I Hope so !!), Everybody’s Fine (Nice Family movie with awesome acting by Robert De Niro as always), Its Complicated (Cute and funny movie on post divorce love story !!), Collateral (Gripping thriller, Wonderful acting by Jamie Fox and Tom Cruise) and Zombie Land (gross comedy movie)
  • Hindi: Khatte Meethe (Horrible Movie by Priyadarshan – guess he can stop making movies)

Untill the next post ...