Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Elephantine explorations

TriMurthi Elephanta Caves
The Elephanta caves lie on an island close to the Mumbai harbor. Very similar to the Ajanta and the Ellora, the caves are cut into a hill; needing a slightly exhausting climb to reach. The lengthy jetty overlooks the Trombay Power station and winds like a snake into the sea. The caves are magnificent, but most statues are in a worser state than those at Ellora. The hill which hosts the caves is called the canon hill - due to the huge canon at the top, a relic I believe, of the British era. The climb to the top provides a breathtaking view of the entire jetty and the harbor area around.

A trip to the island takes an hour from the Gateway by boat one-way, so budget at least 4 hours for a visit. The ferry ride takes you all the way across the harbor and affords stunning sights of the setting sun at dusk.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

What a Pandora !

Pandora is just amazing! Its the best collaborative music recommendation/listening software I've come across online till date. Really nice flash interface.

Monday, November 21, 2005

The beaches of Alibaug-Kihim

I took a nice trip this weekend to Alibaug and nearby areas. Alibaug is a dusty, typical Maharastrian village-town. The beach is nothing great (Chowpatty is much better) and sadly dirty. However, it has a great fort a little into the sea and some impressive scenery. Kihim, which is on the way to Alibaug, is much more beautiful and pristine. It also has the calmest sea waters I've seen. The sea-bed is flat till quite a distance, and hence its possible to wade a lot in. Coconut and palm trees line the coastline and the houses look distinctly kerala-like. Overall, its a great place to spend a weekend from Mumbai. The ferry trip to/fro the Gateway and Mandwa is absolutely awesome - particularly at dusk. There is a great breeze, sailboats everywhere, huge ships on the horizon and the view of sunset is breathtaking.

To get there: The ferry from Gateway takes an hour and a half to reach Mandwa Jetty and costs 60 bucks. A half-an-hour bus ride from Mandwa (which comes with the ferry ticket) takes you to Alibaug. However, to get to Kihim, get down the bus at Chondi (on the way from Mandwa) and take a 10 minute rickshaw to the Beach.

More photos here

Dark as a Potter

The Harry Potter series gets darker by the part number and the movies sure seem to reflect that. The Goblet of Fire is by far the darkest HP I've ever seen. They show sunlight grey! - its almost like someone pulled a mask or put a filter on each frame. The way its going, I think they'll soon turn black and white in the next few parts (or maybe just black with a few white outlines, bah). On the positive side, great special effects and the actors are certainly becoming better.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Derivatives on hedge funds

Derivatives on hedge funds: based on a hedge fund, a fund of funds, or a customized, actively managed basket of hedge funds.

The beauty of derivatives is that you can structure one on practically any underlying having an associated risk profile. As the IDD article: Derivatives Markets Swallow Own Tail? says "These days, the derivatives markets are becoming so pervasive that they bring to mind the ancient Greek symbol Uroboros, the snake that swallowed its own tail"

Saturday, November 05, 2005

A trip to Vasai

Taking advantage of a free-day, I decided to do some exploring around Mumbai.

Vasai (or Bassein) is a coastal area adjoining the sea on the North of Mumbai. Vasai Road is two stops before Virar, on the Western line. An auto ride takes you to Vasai village, in which the Vasai fort is located. The fort is vast, covered with foliage and has a beautiful view of the sea but is dilapidated and poorly maintained. The auto fella, a guy by the name Ramu, warned me against wandering inside unless I was in a couple ;-) - so I chose not to stray far.

The Suruchi beach near the fort is pristine and beautiful. Almost undisturbed by visitors, unlike most beaches I've been to, its really great to stand in the crystal clear water and frolic around :D

The area has a very sea-side village feel, it reminded me of Pondicherry and Goa. A nice area to go on a day's picnic. Ramu says there are better beaches further up north, closer to Virar, must go someday...