Friday, December 31, 2010

Goodbye 2010

Last Day of the Year MMX A.D. At the end of 2009, I had made a few promises to myself. Its time to take stock of what happened to them.
  • Watch an IPL match (Done. Watched the finals & 3rd place match in the DY Patil Stadium)
  • Try the random bus travel on a 20 rupees ticket (The ticket price has gone up to Rs 25, but did not do it)
  • Travel in a train (Done. Only Local Train)
  • Visit a new place (Done. Lonavla, Hyderabad. And on official trips visited offshore also)
  • Read More (Difficult to quantify, but have done this, 1984, Thousand Splendid Suns, Catcher in the Rye, Immortals of Meluha, Love Story, Animal Farm and some  more)
So 4 out of 5 cleared. In addition blogged a lot more. In fact started a fully dedicated cricket blog. Tried a bit of photography also. Had my first ever chopper ride and then a few more. After almost 5 years since I started working I got my first increment (change of company, doing an MBA, global recession had prevented this earlier).
Lost a loved one. The same story of more people going out of life than coming in continues. However the social networking circle keeps on increasing (can relate it to the light & shadow effect of umbra & penumbra).
2010 ends with the first major change in the past two and a half years. Change of apartment.
Goodbye to another lousy year. Sometimes I do wonder why did I ever grow up?

So here are the wishes for 2011. Continue the Pursuit of Happyness. Find the 3 things to be happy (Something to do, someone to love & something to hope for).

Wishing a Happy 2011 to all readers.

Bidding Adieu...

Last Day of the Year. Arrive in office and see the following mail from a colleague who sits in an adjacent cubicle.

Sub: Bidding Adieu...

Dear All
I had been with you all for almost an year and its been the best time of my life
Though it is hard to say, this is the truth...
I know that you people
would not have expected this so soon from me....
I had been thinking of leaving for a long time…. Now that I have finalized I m telling you guys.
I'm leaving by the end of this month.
I will let you know to where I go within a few days.
Thank You for all the support and love you have given me. It was nice working with you all.
It was difficult for me to come up with such a decision but change is inevitable.
Hope u enjoyed my company .... Bcoz I very well enjoyed a lot with you guys....
Hope u will always remember me... Plz keep in touch...
All the best to you all for your future endeavors.!!!


Now this was a shocker to say the least until I scrolled down and found the following text.

With Love & Regards
Yours Only
Year 2010

Have to say this was one perfect practical joke.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

10 From 2010: Songs

Time for another Ten from Twenty Ten. For this list I turned my attention towards the year's music. And frankly speaking finding 10 songs for the year was some task. This is alist of songs which caught my ear this year (nothing else). So here goes.

10. Zor Ka Jhatka - Action Replayy
Sung by Daler Mehndi, Richa Sharma. The song sounded different. And MTV/Channel V played it repeatedly as promos every morning for more than a month.

9. Udi - Guzaarish
Sung by Sunidhi Chauhan. Nice lyrics with flamenco beats.

8. Tujhe Bhula Diya - Anjaana Anjaani
Sung by Mohit Chauhan. Almost slipped unnoticed till I saw a post on facebook about this song.

7. Bin Tere - I Hate Luv Storys
Sung by Shafqat Amanat Ali, Sunidhi Chauhan. Saw the film during a flight. And this was a song played on repeat by my flatmate for a month or so.

6. Sheela Ki Jawaani - Tees Maar Khan
Sung by Sunidhi Chauhan, Vishal Dadlani. The current national obsession. Katrina Kaif was the main reason for the popularity of this song. Although women named Sheela and their relatives would certainly not like (sorry HATE)  this one.

5. Munni Badnaam Huyi - Dabangg
Sung by Mamta Sharma, Aishwarya Nigam. 2 new voices, a remixed song, with Malaika Arora gyrating to it in a Salman Khan film. The song had to be a hit. Amongst others it also increased Zandu Balm sales.

4. Waka Waka - Shakira
Shakira's song for the football world cup. From May to July this was the song everywhere. A Columbian singer singing an African song in English for a football tournament played in South Africa becoming a superhit in India. Just one word, Globalization

3. Wavin Flag - Knaan
Became popular as part of the Football World Cup. The original lyrics really convey the pain felt for his homeland Somalia.

Sung by Raahat Fateh Ali Khan. At present the best singer in the business. Should have been the best song in most lists.

1. Azaadiyan - Udaan
Sung by Amit Trivedi, Neuman Pinto, Amitabh Bhattacharya. A true coming of the age song. Talks about a new beginning, new thinking. And the movie is set in Jamshedpur.

Have to say this, it is a pretty bad list, summing up the state of indian music right now. Most of the songs appearing are the ones being seen on TV first. Making this list wasn't an easy task given the pretty low recall value of songs.

Hoping for a musically better 2011.

Friday, December 24, 2010

10 From 2010: Arbit

Twenty Ten is passing by and it is time for some annual list making exercise. Following is a list of 10 arbit and unrelated things which happened in the year 2010. A random compilation of memories would be the most apt description of this. Here goes in random order, 10 from 2010.

1. Legend of the Year - Rajnikant
The number of SMSs, mails, blogs which have been inspired would itself have created a record. Chuck Norris, Jack Bauer have been totally overpowered. A classic line - Chuck Norris once met Rajnikant. He was reduced to being a joke on the internet.

2. Musical Instrument of the Year - Vuvuzela
Popularised in the football world cup, it drowned the commentary, made watching footbaal a pain in the ears. No one liked it, no one stopped it. It was just there.

3. Place Name of the Year - Eyjafjallajokull
The Icelandic volcano which disrupted almost the entire European air traffic. Disasters dont have a more exotic name.

4. Management Jargon of the Year - Sweat Equity
The IPL-Kochi franchisee mess did give a new management jargon. Sweat equity. Pretty powerful term. Afterall it led to the resignation of a Union minister.

5. Brand Endorsement of the Year - Zandu Balm
Munni badnaam huyi aur phir zandu balm ho gayi for her darling. Result - Quarterly Sales of Zandu balm increased by 35% post the release of song.

6. Loser of the Year - Prashant
Someone's blind faith in a mental conversation with Lord Ganesha led to picking two wrong choices for the 5 crore jackpot question. And he ended up getting 3.2 lakhs after having won a crore in KBC.

7. Promise of the Year - Larissa Riquleme
In the space of a few days, Larissa became the most famous Riquelme on this planet (beating the Argentine footballer Juan Ramon). Her promise to the world certainly helped garner a lot of neutral support for Paraguayin the World Cup. Though wasn't to much avail as Paraguay lost in the quarter-finals. (She still kept her promise though)

8. Overexposed Gimmick of the Year - the MRF Blimp
It was there in almost every single IPL game. The camera would go up to the sky. The "marvel of tecnology" that was the MRF blimp would come into the picture. And the commentators would simply go crazy. In the next few breathless seconds they would mention everything from tyres to the pace academy to SRT's bat. Whatever goodwill MRF had generated in the hearts of the cricket followers through the Pace Academy had surely disappeared.

9. Anagram of the Year - Sir U Made Lakhs
Suresh Kalmadi. He and his team probably made crores. But the anagram could only come up with Lakhs.

10. The Leak of the Year - Wikileaks
The year ended with wikileaks. On a daily basis a couple of hundred secret cables from various US embassies are being released into the public domain. And a set of governments, officials, companies are getting red-faced. The best line - The last time there was a deluge of this proportion Noah had to build the Ark.

So this is 10 from 2010. A collection of arbit events for the year. Forget this year, Dont worry be happy. Blow your vuvuzela to usher in the new one.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Rush & Rage

Everywhere I look people are in a rush. And if they are forced to take a momentary pause in this rushed existence, something inside them snaps. And they take it out on the nearest available person. And it is this rage on the roads which I am talking about. I have seen lots of examples of this in the past few days on the roads of Navi Mumbai.
Today morning was extra eventful. In the 15 minute bus ride to my work place, it seemed everybody was angry and just waiting to take out their frustration on each other.
Due to the ongoing road rebuilding exercise, the main roads have all been halved. So traffic is plying on just one side, with small markers acting as the road divider. But as everyone is in a rush, people won’t wait on their side of the road. So if anybody sees a traffic jam, it’s time to just cross over to the other side in hope of finding a way forward, without giving any thought to the people coming from the other side.
Scene 1 – A couple were sitting on the roadside near the bus stand after having fallen off the bike they were on. Reason trying to move ahead through the traffic and ramming into the road marker.
Scene 2 – The bus was moving and then had to stop inspite of an almost clear road. This because a biker had nearly got crushed between the bus and another car which were moving in opposite directions.
Scene 3 – Repeat of the same incident, except that no one came in real danger, but the bike rider started abusing the bus driver. The bus driver did not respond, although the fault was clearly the biker’s.
Scene 4 – After getting down from the bus, I crossed the road (which is at full breadth here, no construction going on). However there is a heavy traffic snarl on a daily basis, as people try to enter the office. After crossing the road, I heard a commotion. A truck was parked/ stuck bang in the middle and another person had climbed into it and started beating up the driver. I don’t really know what had happened (After all I myself was in a rush to swipe in on time).
Scene 5 – This happened a couple of days back, which I managed to view from my balcony. Seemed a bike and a cycle had collided. The people had started fighting. Soon the verbal fight turned into a fist fight and then one of them picked up a stone from the road and hit the other person. Thankfully not much damage was done.
These sights are becoming too common an occurrence. Any rush hour traffic would have some hold ups because people have got into a fight. People trying to overtake others; jumping on the wrong side of the road; pedestrians running across the roads. No one even thinks of waiting. And perchance they are interrupted in this rush, the rage takes over. The first angry abuse, the retort, get off the vehicle, time for more verbals followed by fisticuffs, then maybe even weapons. And doesn’t end until something really foolish happens or the need to rush overpowers again.
God only knows what would happen if something like the 10 km long traffic jam in China takes place here.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Bad, Worse, Worst

Bad Thing - A meeting scheduled for after work hours (beyond 6 PM)
Worse Thing - The meeting is scheduled after another meeting
Worst Thing - The meeting is cancelled after you wait.


Monday, December 06, 2010

"Literally" Translated

Saw the film "Phas Gaye Re Obama". Overall the film was really fun to watch. There was one scene in an  English speaking course class. There are a couple of guys talking and do not notice the teacher entering the class. And this angers the teacher who gives them a verbal lashing "Teacher enter class, you no notice. Your Mother-Father manner this".... and goes on and on.

This reminded me of some other examples of such literal translations. During my engineering days, these were attributed to certain professors. And there were some more. So here goes.
  • Open the doors of the windows and let the atmosphere come in.
  • My legs are answering. I will sit down.
  • The HOD just passed away.
  • In the morning I appointed a servant. In the evening he was disappointed.
  • Fell from the sky and stuck in a date (आसमान से गिरे और खजूर में अटके)
  • Pulled and hit. (खिंच के मारा है)
  • Rotated hit (घुमा के मारा है)
  • Sit go (बैठ जाओ)
  • Dont rotate my brain (मेरा भेजा मत फिरा)
  • Whose father what goes? (किसके बाप का क्या जाता है?)
  • GreenMangoMore (No hindi for this :P)
    And to end, here is an untranslateable sentence - "कल दो प्रकार के होते हें, आने वाला और बीता हुआ." Now try translating this to English.
    P.S. To be expanded as more such lines come up.

    Friday, November 26, 2010

    With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility

    The Bihar assembly election results are out. The ruling JD(U)-BJP alliance has returned to power with an overwhelming majority. Winning 206 out of 243 seats says a lot about the faith that people of Bihar have in this government. The reasons for this are not too difficult to fathom. The previous five years have given sufficient evidence that we can have hope.

    I was in Patna during Diwali at the time of  the 5th round of voting. Now being an occasional visitor, I saw for myself what people/media have been talking about. There are definite signs of development in and around Patna (I can’t say about other parts). Infrastructure is improving, the roads are better; there are flyovers everywhere in Patna. Even the cinema halls & markets have improved and seem a bit cleaner. Having had Ram Vilas Paswan, Nitish Kumar & Lalu Yadav as Union railway ministers has ensured that Bihar has the best rail connectivity in the country. Air connectivity has also improved tremendously. But the biggest change has been in the perception of the law & order situation in the Bihar. This has been the one area which the Nitish government can take full credit for. People can think of staying out longer. Overall lots of positive signs are there.

    Now, for a list of requests that I have for the Nitish government. (A friend has already covered quite a few points here)

    1. The Bihari Self-Respect
    For all practical purposes, I have been a non-resident Bihari within the country for quite some years. "You don't sound a like a Bihari" is a statement people make thinking that its a complement when actually it feels like a slap in the face. People talk about Bihar as the byword for everything associated with lawlessness & backwardness. For the first time in many years people are referring to Bihar with a positive note. It’s no longer just another running joke for the country. And yes, it does feel nice to be associated with a state where words like development, education, growth are mentioned rather than poverty, kidnappings and lawlessness. We have a habit of living in the past. We refer to our glorious history when Pataliputra was the cultural, political capital of India. But those days are long gone. And we need to build from the present. Please ensure that the Bihari self-respect is no longer attacked.

    2. Alternate Urban Centres
    It is good to know that new educational institutions are being opened, industries are being setup, investors are coming to the state. I have a request. Please do not open these in Patna. The city’s infrastructure cannot sustain so much growth. In fact it is more likely to hamper the growth. Alternate urban centers will definitely prove a good idea. Rajgir can be a good starting point, though I am no judge in these matters. A state cannot develop in patches.

    3. Traffic & Public Transport in Patna
    The number of vehicles has increased while the existing roads can’t be widened any further, resulting in traffic jams everywhere. A good starting point can be removal of cycle rickshaws from the main roads. This proposal would be met with huge uproar. But if implemented will certainly ease up the traffic. Given that no elections are scheduled in a long time, now should be a very good time to take this step. Also a revamp of the bus services will help. The Indore model can certainly be one of the options.

    4. Cleaner City
    A lasting memory for anyone visiting Patna is of a paan-stained city; government offices, shopping complexes, roads everywhere it’s the same. I can’t suggest how to improve this though, except heavy fines.

    5. Education
    Bihar has the lowest literacy rates in the country. And to aim for development, education of the masses is the very first step. And this has to done at all levels starting from the primary sections and not just by having an IIT or IIM in the state.

    So these are my requests from the new government of Bihar. And I have written this blog because I have Faith. And to end, all I can say is Nitish Kumar would do well if he just remembers, “With Great Power comes Great Responsibility”

    P.S. These are my personal views.
    P.P.S. It seems funny to talk about change after having re-elected the incumbent government.

    Monday, November 22, 2010

    Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows Part 1 - Review


    Its the beginning of the end.
    Thats what the promos said. And it was a good beginning. The last book of the Harry Potter series has been split into 2. A good decision, I must say as the films have not bee able to cover the details in the limited time. Except for "The Sorcerer's Stone" & "Chamber of Secrets", the rest have deviated widely from the storyline.
    Deathly Hallows Part-1 sticks closely to the story for most of the parts with minor deviations in the detail. There were parts which could have been scary, but for people (like yours truly) who have "studied" the books it wasn't. In fact the biggest suspense was at what point would they break off.  And it is a movie made for Potter buffs
    Some highlights of the film
    • the awesome scenery (looked straight out of LOTR movies)
    • the scene of the seven Potters
    • the animated tale of the 3 brothers
    • the snake transformation scene
    • the little bits of humor in a movie which is otherwise quite dark in nature (Definetely not recommended for kids)
    But the real fun was in watching the film with another HP-crazy fan. Pointing out the deviations from the book, predicting the dialogues, waiting for the action scenes to arrive. But there was a minor irritant in the presence of Muggles (non Potter readers) in the hall. They had neighbours who were willing to help them out by explaining what was happening, and adding to the noise level in the theatre.

    Now waiting for the July 2011 release of Part-2, which promises to be action packed. Also in all likelihood, the end of end.

    Wednesday, November 17, 2010

    A Love (?) Story

    Following thoughts are collected from random sources. Readers (if there are any) are requested not to draw any conclusion about the author from these ramblings.

    (From a Facebook status message)
    "I will never ask you to be with me... but I will always wonder what could have have happened had it been "We"?"

    This reminded me of the following lines from Silsila

    मैं और मेरी तन्हाई
    अक्सर ये बातें करते हें की
    तुम होती तो ऐसा होता
    तुम होती तो वैसा होता
    तुम ये कहती
    तुम वो कहती
    तुम इस बात पे हंसती
    तुम इस बात पे हैरान होती
    मैं और मेरी तन्हाई....
    Loosely translated (Me and my loneliness often wonder what would have happened if you were here. You would have said this, you would have talked about that. You would laugh at this, you would be surprised at that).

    Conclusions drawn
    1. The world is full of romantic fools.
    2. There are creative jokers who enjoy writing about them.

    Thursday, November 11, 2010

    Travel Time

    It was a short trip. 3 day official holiday combined with 3 days of Casual Leave (Aside, I love the term "Casual" Leave). And I went to a flying trip home for Diwali. Did not expect much to happen in this short period but yet it was full of interesting little nuggets.
    • People love to queue up. The announcement for boarding was made and immediately almost fifty people were standing in the line at the entrance. Everybody had a booked seat, the flight was not going anywhere without them but people still chose to stand in the line carrying their luggage rather than sit in the waiting area for the lines to clear up.
    • An early finish to the journey can also be frustrating at times. I was watching a movie and the flight landed 10 minutes prior to the scheduled arrival. Thus missed the climax. Thankfully it was a predictable story and nothing great to watch but still.
    • Diwali is the festival of lights. God knows why some believe in making it the festival of sound.
    • It was the occasion of another major festival in Bihar. The Assembly Elections. And for the first time in my life I was at right place to cast my vote. Unfortunately the name was missing. But I did participate in the voting process. Helped my grandmother cast her vote. So no ink mark on my finger but EVM used. And thus happened my first ever participation in the great Indian democratic process.
    • Travelling in and around Patna, I saw for myself what everyone has been talking about. There are signs of development, nothing very substantial but definite signs. One can have hope.
    • A visit to a site for an apartment under construction. Immediate thoughts went to the movie Khosla Ka Ghosla. 
    • Rural life is still at least a couple of decades behind the urban life. No power at times, No cable, No internet, No mobile signal, Thinner newspaper (no supplements). Life seems to step back quite a few years. Due to the easy pace time literally crawls.
    • TV watch - Saw a person lose 96.8 Lakh rupees on KBC. When you have no clue about the correct answer, when everyone is advising against playing for the jackpot, then why try? The person took a double chance, got it wrong both times. And why did he play? Not because he knew the answer but because he had a "one minute talk with Lord Ganesha", who advised him to play. Blind Faith? Somehow it was fitting that he lost.
    • Reading a book while waiting at the airport. Notice another co-traveller reading the same book. Enough evidence that the book is a success?
    • Return trip - New observation - Wigs are also now part of uniform for the air hostesses. Learning - When in doubt about some random observation about the world, put it on Facebook.
    • Booked a pre-paid taxi from the airport counter. Found out that the taxi drivers have started a new money making scheme. Claiming that there was a shortage of taxis, they were trying to put more than one commuter in the same taxi. Simple Supply-Demand?
    It was a total of 6 days, fun filled, slightly dull for some time, but lots of happenings.

    Friday, October 15, 2010

    The Commonwealth Games - As I Would Remember Them

    October 14, 2010
    The Closing Ceremony of the 19th Commonwealth Games. That the Games took place at all could be considered a success given all the negative hype which was surrounding it. It may have been many things to many, but this is what I would remember the Games for (my perspective maybe quite limited because I am sitting in Mumbai while everything went on in Delhi)
    • The pre game fiasco. Not on time, things collapsing, dirty, atheletes withdrawing, corruption everywhere, even the theme song. As a public relations disaster dont think there have been many on this scale.
    • Then came the opening ceremony. In my opinion the perfect showcase of India. And this went a long way in removing most of the earlier fears. The closing ceremony was a bit off a letdown though except for the marching band (Or maybe my expectations were much higher).
    • The crowds. We always do things in extreme. Either the attendance was poor or there were complaints from atheletes getting distracted by the noise from the crowds.
    • The joy of getting to sing the national anthem many times.
    • The two hockey matches. India-Pakistan & India-England semi-finals. Awesome atmosphere and fantastic performance from the team (that we received a thrashing in the final is a different matter)
    • The 4X400m womens' relay team winning the gold. And the noise was well unbelievable. And this had to happen almost simulataneously with the hockey semi-finals.
    • Sushil Kumar's wrestling bouts. He came, saw and conquered. As simple as that. Winning a semi-final bout in just 9 seconds. No fuss.
    • Paramjeet Samota winning boxing gold. Somehow I saw all his bouts live.
    • Archery finals. Saw them both. Dipika Kumari's perfect 10-10-10. The men's medals ceremony was alongwith Sachin Tendulkar hitting his 14,000th Test run.
    • Attempting to understand Lawn Bowls. Now this was one weird game. Though seemed fit for people of all ages.
    • The India-England ding dong battle for the 2nd spot. Saina Nehwal won what could be considered the most important badminton match in history to win gold and take India ahead of England on the last day.
    • There was a theme song made by A R Rahman specially for the Games. I think a modified Jai Ho would have been the better choice. Anyways Jai Ho was the song which played more often.
    • Overall India achieved its target of 100 medals and overall 2nd spot. A better reflection of how much India has improved in the sports arena will come in the next month's Guangzhou's Asian Games.
    As an aside, the Commonwealth Games also managed to distract attention from the Ayodhya judgement. We should be thankful for a safe games. And hope this increased awareness continues to give good results in the future.

    And now that the Games are over, its time to nail all the jokers who almost turned this into a huge fiasco.

    Time to nail the corrupt.

    Monday, October 04, 2010

    The Games Have Begun

    The spectacular opening cenremony for the Commonwealth Games have shown once again the power of the last minute work. There were fears that the games may not take off at all, nothing was ready. Once the ceremony had begun, all such fears proved to be unfounded. The old philosophy of doing the waork at the very last minute prevailed.
    Here are my thoughts on the opening ceremony.
    1. The show looked good, or rather would have looked better if not for DD's coverage. The show began live and turned out to be deffered live as ad breaks came in between. Other "breaking news" & twitter were far ahead of the "Live Telecast".
    2. The highlights of the program was definetely the aerostat (blimp's big brother).
    3. The march past of the atheletes. Here is a confession.Apart from Bindra I had not heard of even a single flag bearer before. The cheers when Pakistan marched in was, well, amusing. We love to hate them. And it was a great feeling to see the huge Indian contingent march in. England's Nehru coats were also interesting, as were the Kiwi's angavatrams.
    4. Speech time. Kalmadi booed. President, Prime Minister & Prince Charles - nobody cared. Huge cheers for India, Sheila Dixit & APJ Abdul Kalam. Couldnt have been a better popularity index for our leaders. It was nice of kalmadi to mention Atal Behari Vajpayee in his speech though.
    5. Gandhi, Indian Railways, Folk Dances, the many drums, the tiny tabla player, Hariharan's welcome song and Rehman's Jai Ho to finish it. It was a perfect showcase of India without trying to Bollywoodize it.

    In the end the Games got off to a rousing start. Twitter & Facebook timelines also suggested the same. Lets hope for a fantastic games as well (on the field).

    P.S. In the euphoria of the spectacular opening ceremony, lets not forget all the corruption scandals. The guilty better be punished.

    Thursday, September 23, 2010

    Ayodhya

    The Ayodhya verdict is slated to come out tomorrow, 24th September. Things are already tensed up as the verdict is awaited. I have faint memories of the Babri Masjid demolition in Decembe, 1992. And the understanding of the situation at the time was even fainter.
    The controversy had simple origins. There was a mosque in Ayodhya, standing for at least a few centuries. However it was claimed that it was situated on the very site of an existing Ram temple. Some people wanted the temple to be built back at the very spot. Now these are controversies in which the matter of people's beliefs comes in. Facts get merged with mythology. And to be honest there is no clear cut response. There was a massive agitation. The BJP became a political force leading this. Rath Yatra, Kar Sewa were the terms which hit the headlines. The atmosphere was really tensed up. On December 6, 1992, the masjid was demolished in the agitation. Riots followed in the aftermath across the country. There were commissions of enquiry. But as is the usual case, no results
    Since then the whole situation is stuck in a limbo, which somehow seems to be the ideal situation for this kind of controversy. Let time take over and the matter may get buried. I mean whats the point of raking up the matter again in trying to find a solution when solution is not going to be accepted by all parties. Court rulings cannot decide on matters of faith involving millions of people.

    P.S. The Commonwealth Games fiasco has done one good thing. Most of the media focus is on the Games mess. Otherwise our 24X7 news channels would have been harping on the verdict, creating more unrest and uncertainty.

    Wednesday, September 15, 2010

    Engineer's Day


    Take a look at the picture above.
    An optimist will say - "The glass is half full".
    A pessimist will say - "The glass is half empty".
    Whereas an engineer will say - "The glass is 2 times the required capacity".

    Happy Engineer's Day to all engineers

    - From an ex-engineer.

    Wednesday, September 08, 2010

    Rain Rain Go Away

    Sometime back in a not too distant past, I had wished for rains. My wish got fulifilled. And I celebrated the occasion with a post dedicated to rain songs. I had heard of rain dances (e.g. Ted Moseby in HIMYM) and rain songs (e.g. Tansen's Raag Megh Malhar) to start the rains. Did not know that a blog post could have a similar effect. It now September and its still raining. And I am tired and bored of it. Now just wondering, are there any methods to stop the rains (it can shift to the other parts of the world if required). I know of a nursery rhyme though. Not sure if it will work.

    Rain Rain Go Away
    Come Again Another Day
    Little Johnny Wants to Play
    Rain Rain Go To Spain
    Never Show Your Face Again.

    Ok the last bit can be deleted. Why make the Spaniards suffer. And it should definiteley show its face again.

    Tuesday, August 17, 2010

    Oxymoronic Feeling

    Jobless in Overtime

    Now can anything beat this depth of oxymoronic feeling @#$%^&

    Saturday, August 14, 2010

    India @ 63

    Tomorrow is Independence Day. This time August 15th being a Sunday it does not give the usual holiday feeling also. And continuing with a tradition which I started in 2007, its time for my annual review of all things India. Or rather what happened in India as I saw and remember it. (Previous editions are here: 2007, 2008, 2009)
    The last year was bad. Thats the easiest way to describe it. From the Naxal/Maoist problem, Telengana issue, Inflation, Foreign policy fiascos specially with reagrds to Pakistan. Railway accidents, Monsoons, to the Commonwealth Games fiasco, nothing went really right. Somehow get the feeling that the country is getting increasingly misgoverned. I had more hopes from UPA-2, given that it was free of some of its allies. But the government has been disappointing. And worse than the government is the opposition. And with no elections around the corner, this has led to a scenario where the government is highly stable and still not doing anything.
    The worst memory of the year would be the massacre of the CRPF forces in Dantewada. The country is effectively at civil war which somehow people refuse to acknowledge, and most dont care about. And the less said about the intellectuals supporting the Naxal cause, the better.
    The business scenario is doing fine irrespective of all this. We got a new national symbol. The rupee symbol does look good.
    On the sports front, cricket rules. The team is now no. 1 in Tests. IPL had its big scandal. Other sports are messed up as usual. Hockey India elected an 83 year old lady as its head, before sports ministry derecognised it. There was an incresed awareness about hockey with India hosting the World Cup. But havent heard anything about the team since then. In football, our loyalties are divided between Argentina & Brazil in the World Cup with India no where in the picture. Individual sportspersons provided some joy. Saina Nehwal without doubt is the sports person of the year. Vijender was ranked no. 1 in boxing. While Leander Paes is still going strong in doubles tennis. Rohan Bopanna's partnership with Aisam Qureishi has also been noticed. Tejaswani Sawant won a Shooting World Championship.
    As for movies, it was the year of 3 Idiots. Music front was ok but nothing really memorable.
    Television continued to scare. News channels seem to have gone worse. Reality shows are becoming increasingly unreal. Movies & Sports (when they dont show WWE) are the only channels worth watching left.
    On the social networking front, Twitter ruled. With more and more celebs joining twitter, there were a few controversies (led to the resignation of a union minister), fake ids etc. There were some dedicated reporters whose job description seemed to be noting what celebs said on twitter.

    So this in short was the year that went by for the country.In fact I am myself surprised that I could not put in positive thoughts in this post. (maybe i should be thankful that there was no repeat of the 26/11 incidents).
    Praying for a much better & positive post next year.

    P.S. read somewhere that I should be thankful that I am free enough to be able to post this unlike some other nations.

    Friday, August 13, 2010

    Just Wondering

    The world is saying Thank God Its Friday while me is saying "हे भगवान्, अभी फ्रायडे ही है!" The angst of working (correction - going to office) for 6 days a week. Sitting all alone in a conference room, which is getting colder with every passing moment, waiting for a meeting to end in the next room, cant help but wonder
    "Am I going to get bored to death or will I freeze to death?"

    Not sure which is worse.

    Tuesday, July 27, 2010

    The Weather Forecast

    Weather forecasters are a much maligned lot. Nobody says that they are ever right. When they are right, nobody notices. When they are wrong, everybody does. Yet the profession has still survived. And people do check the weather forecasts. 
    Mumbai residents though do not need any weather forecaster. They can safely say, "It will rain the moment I step out on to the road". (during the months of June to August).

    Here is a picture of a weather forecasting stone in England (found this via a forwarded mail)

    Sunday, July 25, 2010

    The Language of India

    A little conversation today made me wonder what is really the language of India.
    I was approaching Raghuleela Mall (Vashi, Navi Mumbai) when I was stopped by a lady in an auto.
    Lady: "Excuse me, is this the Inorbit Mall?"
    Me: "No, Inorbit is on the other side." (while pointing towards the general direction)
    Lady: "Thanks"
    Now, there is nothing much said here. But the entire conversation was carried out in English, not Hindi nor Marathi. Two Indians in India holding a random conversation asking for directions in a foreign language. Just made me wonder "Is English now becoming the preferred language for general communication in India.?"

    Friday, July 23, 2010

    Lonavala Trip

    July 18, 2010
    A day trip to Lonavala with some friends. The drive from Mumbai was great and the weather was simply awesome. It rained just enough to make it pleasant without creating trouble during the drive. So our lot drove though Lonavala & Khandala, took pics and ate the famous Chikki also. Here is a little photo collection of the place. Best part of the trip, it was random and just happened.

    The Drive


    The clouds, the hilly terrain, the winding roads
    The misty weather

    Khopoli township

    Trees in Water

    A post about the trip would not be over if I do not mention the most popular reference, the Khandala song.


    Friday, July 09, 2010

    My Day of the Bandh

    Monday, July 5th, 2010
    Bharat Bandh called by all opposition parties over fuel price hike. The bandh could be called a success. It certainly disrupted my life a bit. I did not go to work. First time since my days in Assam has any bandh had any effect on my life. Last time it was in February, 2006. ULFA had called an Assam bandh and my flight from Kolkata to Dibrugarh via Guwahati was halted in Guwahati itself. Alternative arrangements were made to reach Duliajan next morning by road. But that is another story for some other day.
    Coming back to the Bharat Bandh. I wasn't sure whether I should step out of house or not. So I did a quick SMS survey of a few friends and colleagues asking them about their plans. The responses were as usual mixed. 
    "In two minds, not sure, wait and watch".
    "Not going, not that brave"
    Some called to say they would be going. 
    And finally came the answer "Just reached office".
    Now reading this range of response I decided to look out. The traffic was much less. I could see a bunch of policemen also. Public buses plying on the roads. Though they were fewer in number (so it seemed to me) and there were certainly less people in them. I almost made up my mind to go. But at that moment also decided to switch on the TV. Switched on to the news. All I saw was a local train being stopped, buses being pelted with stones. Our round the clock news channels were certainly making all eefforts to motivate people to stay at home by showing repeated clips of violence at public transport and the deserted roads in Mumbai. And so the mind was made up. No way I was going to go out now.
    And I also wondered "By not going to work, was I a participant in the protest movement, and supporting the people who called the bandh, or had I simply taken a personal safety decision?". This question I put on Facebook and Twitter. There were a couple of interesting replies.
    "Neither... you are simply bunking"
    "You are not wrong"
    I am not sure what, if anything, was gained out of this bandh. Seemed to me a massive exercise in futility. Nothing really happened. With no elections in the horizon, the government can simply ignore such activities. Many people took it as an extended weekend. Loss to the exchequer must have been huge though. I used up a leave.
    And for the people enforcing the bandh, it must have been a really LONG day at work.

    Saturday, July 03, 2010

    Hand of God or Hand of Devil

    World Cup Football, 2010
    2nd Quarter-Final, Uruguay vs Ghana.
    Last minute of Extra-Time. The sores are level at 1-1 after 120 minutes of struggle in which the teams dominated in phases. Ghana make a last ditch effort to score the winning goal. Off a free-kick, the ball floats in dangerously in the penalty box. After multiple hits around the penalty box it is finally going into the goal, with the goal keeper beaten. But before the ball could cross over the goal line, Uruguayan player Luis Suarez blocks it with his hands and prevents it from crossing over. A deliberate handball and a foul. Suarez is immediately shown the red card and Ghana awarded a penalty. Ghanian striker hits the crossbar and the ball goes over. And the referee blows the whistle. The game went into a penalty shootout which Uruguay won 4-2 and proceed on to the semi-finals.
    The Ghanian players were gutted and so were their supporters, the entire African continent. They had been denied the chance to become the first African team to reach the World Cup semi-finals by the thinnest of margins. The Uruguayans were celebrating.
    The focus though was on one man, Luis Suarez. No one is quite sure whether what he did was right or ethical. It was certainly legal. He has probably made the greatest self-sacrifice in footballing history. But in doing so ensured that his team still had a chance. And it was a chance which the Uruguayans did take. Suarez did commit a foul (a deliberate one) and was duly punished also. Ghana failed to capitalise on that.  He didn't get away with cheating. He is going to miss the semi-finals but has ensured that the rest of his team doesn't.
    Ghana maybe feeling cheated. Uruguayans are celebrating. But the neutral observers have been left divided. Suarez's act is in the proper grey area. He was punished for a crime but his team survived because of his crime. In one sense the perfect crime and the ultimate self-sacrifice for the greater cause.
    It certainly was the Hand of God for the Uruguayans but "Hand of Devil" for all Africa.

    Sunday, June 27, 2010

    70-68

    Wimbledon 2010, Gentlemen's Singles 1st Round, John Isner (USA) beats Nicolas Mahut (France) 
    Score: 6-4, 3-6, 6-7 (7-9), 7-6 (7-3), 70-68
    Match started on Tuesday and ended on Thursday, with a playing time of more than 11 hours with the final set itself lasting over 8 hours. On Wednesday as the final set reached the 20 all stage, everyone's attention had shifted to Court 18 at Wimbledon. Soon the score updates and match details were pouring out everywhere. My Twitter and Facebook timelines were flooded with score updates. And at 59 all the match had to be halted due to bad light. The commentator announced that the game would resume for a third day on Thursday and reminded everyone that this was not a cricket match but a game of tennis which is going on. Thursday was a historic day because the Queen was visiting Wimbledon for the first time since 1977. But attention was totally on the goings-on in Court 18. Isner and Mahut played 20 more games before finally Isner managed to break Mahut's serve in the 138th game to win the match.
    Probably every single professional tennis record got broken. Longest Match, Most Games, Most Aces (both player broke that by a huge margin). In fact the final set itself was much longer than any tennis match ever played. The match already has a wiki page of its own now. The scorecard failed during the match as it could not keep up with the number of games. And the best twitter comment was about Norwegian officials rushing to Court 18 to negotiate a settlement between the players. It even managed to steal the headlines from the ongoing football world cup.
    It was a remarkable game representing probably everything that is good about sport. Two players fought long and fought hard. Neither conceded an inch but they played in the right spirit. And what really stands out is that  in the bigger context this match meant nothing. It was just a first round match. There were no trophies or big prize money to play for. The winner was most likely going to emerge too exhausted to may be even stand on his feet, forget playing in the next round. Which was exactly the outcome. Isner lost in straight sets in just over an hour in the second round. He was exhausted but he did come to play the 2nd round and completed it, thus showing true respect for his opponent Mahut. Isner later withdrew from doubles. Sometime in sports it seems unfair that there actually has to be a result. This was one such instance.
    This post is for the two men who gave the world a remarkable game of tennis to be remembered forever. To John Isner and Nicolas Mahut.

    Wednesday, June 09, 2010

    Two Years

    June 9, 2008. Two years since the day I joined my current job.
    Seems a fairly long time. But feels insignificant as my work involves interacting with geologists who have no interest in anything younger than a few million years.
    So time to take stock as to what happened in the last one year. (First year report is here)
    Overall mixed feelings. I have stayed here for two years & dont really seem to be going away in immediate future. Doing my best to destroy the notion that IIM grads change jobs every 12-18 months (:P).
    I am still living in the same creek facing penthouse with the same two people. Quite a stable life.
    Office has shifted from a bustling floor of nearly 200 people to an isolated room of 3 (my Zone of Silence). Work life still revolves around excel sheets & powerpoint presentations.Still in the same profile. I made my first official trips. In fact 3 of them, all to Kakinada. Flew in the corporate jet, the first chopper ride and the first trip made to offshore. And also a few arguements & tiffs.
    Life outside work. Nothing to write about. Mafia Wars, Farmville, Twitter, TV.
    As for the general outlook to life. World seems to be drifting away. The "Out of Sight, Out of Mind" philosophy fully at work.
    So two years down the line, I am older, slightly more experienced, a bit richer, but happier?
    Read somewhere that a person requires only 3 things to have a happy life:
    Something to Do, Someone to Love & Something to Hope for.

    My Pursuit of Happyness continues.

    Monday, June 07, 2010

    Its Raining

    5 nights ago, I wished it would rain. There were intermittent, sporadic showers. But no monsoon rains. At least not until today. It rained in the night, It rained during the day. And I got a little wet coming back from office. But absolutely loved the weather. There is something marvellously uplifting about the rain. The pit-pat-patter of the raindrops on the windows, getting soaked in the showers. Just marvellous. 
    And the rains will make the heart want to sing. Here is list of random rain songs which came to my mind.

    1. Shubha Mudgal's - Ab Ke Saawan Aise Barse
     Hoping for a great rainy season. Full of energy, this is a song celebrating the arrival of the monsoon.

    2. BJ Thomas - Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head
    If I am outside while it is raining, the song automatically starts playing in my head.

    3. Saawan Barse Tarse Dil - from the movie Dahek
    Soft romantic number, and Sonali Bendre, nothing more to be said.

    4. Ek Lakdi Bheegi Bhaagi Si - all time classic from Chalti Ka Naam Gaadi
    Kishore Kumar, Madhubala, a rainy night, a broken down car and simply MAGIC.

    5. Saawan Ka Mahina Pawan Kare Sor - from the movie Milan
    Shor nahi baba sor, SOR

    Thursday, June 03, 2010

    Let It Rain



    Just Past Midnight
    Lightning & Thunder But No Rain
    A Cool Breeze
    Body Wants Sleep,Mind Doesn't
    Gmail, Facebook, Twitter All Ckecked
    Daily Blog Updated
    Nothing To Watch On TV
    Don't Really Know What I Am Doing
    Dreading The Days Ahead
    And Looking Forward To Them As Well

    Just Let it Rain

    Friday, May 14, 2010

    Homework in Today's World

    Found this article here. The picture here really is the sign of times now. There is now a business in doing homework for nursery kids also.

    Wednesday, April 21, 2010

    The Sea... and Me

    It had been a wish for quite some time now. And it finally got fulfilled last week. I made my first offshore trip (not a foreign country, but a petroleum installation). Not having visited any offshore installation so far had been a big gap in my petroleum engineering career (rather, former career). So finally managed to visit 2 installations in the Bay of Bengal earlier this month.
    The Sea is an enormous thing. And it is beautiful. Blue waters, Waves moving, Fish swimming in the sparkling water, Dolphins jumping around, Finhing Boats everywhere, the birds. Yes it was beautiful. And looking all around, it made me think quite a bit. Maybe it does to everyone. The realisation that I am just a small human being comes up as I see the water everywhere, all around. And yes, it was a lonely place too.
    Unfortunately, my mobile phone was taken away  (safety reasons), so no pictures to share from that visit. Only memories.

    And Yes, another item checked on the List

    Wednesday, March 24, 2010

    Where do you see yourself after 5 years???

    Its that time of the year again. The CAT results are out. The interview lists have been drawn up. And the qualified candidates would have probably got a registered post from the respective institutes. The contents of the post would be (a) A letter intimating the date, time & venue of the GD/PI; (b) a 6-10 page form to be filled in and brought alongwith other required documents to be submitted at the same time.
    Your elation at receiving the interview call then slowly diasappears as you read the form. The first page with all the personal details would be the easiest to fill out. But then start arriving, the really weird questions.
    • Where do you see yourself after 5 years? (Honest answer, I dont know)
    • Where do you see yourself after 10 years? (Again, I dont know)
    • Where do you see yourself after 20 years? (OK, I exaggerated a bit here)
    • Why do you want to pursue management as a career? (For the money, Honey, but see if anyone can give this answer)
    • Narrate an incident when you had to show leadership skills? (???)
    • Narrate an incident when you had a disagreement with people around you? And how did you handle the situation? (???)
    • Narrate an experience which changed your perspective of life? (Seriously!!! Almost all of us have had pretty normal kind of lives. Where the hell does this life-changing, earth-shattering experience come from)
    And it can go on and on. People with work-ex could still cook up something to write in here. But even then its not easy. Most people (yours truly included) manage to put in something and just try to get around and go through it. My suggestion, just write in whatever comes to mind and do it honestly. Browsing the net and creating artificial situations doesnt help. The only point of these questions as I see is that they they are trying to test your creativity and writing skills.

    Why am I writing about this now? Anyone who successfully clears this process immediately becomes a consultant in this matter for the future generations to come. So results are out, interview calls have come and telephone calls, pings, scraps, mails seeking guidance have started coming. So just felt like writing about those experiences.

    And for the question about where I see myself after five years, its been four years down the line and I am still to figure it out :)

    Thursday, March 18, 2010

    The Bugle, The Dog & Mr. Pavlov

    The IPL is on. Which means that there is something interesting to watch on TV every evening for the next 6 weeks. However this post is not about the cricket. (All cricket related posts are on the crickiblog).
    Everyone who has watched even part of matches would have made this observation. Every now and then comes an irritating sound and the crowd goes wild. Its referred to as the Bugle and the in-stadium DJ plays its whenever he feels like. But the response is always the same. A loud cheer from the crowd. And this seems to be an universal phenomenon. It happened in South Africa last year, and its happening in India also.
    Is it part of natural human instinct to cheer when you hear the bugle. Or has it become a case of "Classical Conditioning experiment", like Pavlov's Dog (dog started salivating on hearing a bell ring it associated it with food) with  the crowd in the stadium cheering when the DJ pushes the bugle button?
    My theory is this. The Bugle seems to have originated in the South African domestic Pro20 games. The Bugle would be played whenever the crowd had a cause to celebrate and the crowd would cheer. In IPL2 the crowds were mostly neutral to the teams playing. So they would cheer whenever the bugle got played. And television coverage brought this to Indian audiences. The bugle came to India during the Champions League. The crowd reaction stayed the same. Now regardless of the match situation the crowd cheers on hearing the bugle.

    Wednesday, March 03, 2010

    Phir Dil Do Hockey Ko

    Phir Dil Do Hockey Ko...
    The Hockey World Cup has got under-way. This is the message that Virender Sehwag, Rajyavardhan Rathore & Priyanka Chopra are giving to the country. The ad campaign is catchy and effective.
    Hockey in India has acquired a somewhat mythological status. We have got enough Olympic gold medals (8 of them) to ensure bragging rights as probably the greatest hockey nation of all time. The team won six consecutive gold medals from 1928-1956 without being beaten even once. The exploits of these players are told as epic tales. Dhyanchand has been selected as the Indian sportsperson of the 20th century. But sadly that era is long gone. We failed to even qualify for a place at the Beijing Olympics. 
    The decline has been steady. There have been a few false dawns in between. The Asiad gold in Bangkok, 1998; The near-miss in Sydney Olympics; a couple of Asian Championship wins but after that its all back downhill. The administration has bungled big time. The KPS Gill regime was removed and replaced by a temporary committee but there isn't much sign of improvement. Indian Hockey has been in news mainly for the wrong reasons in the past couple of decades. Even the players threatened to go on strike for not being paid. (Sounds similar to West Indies cricket story)
    It is in this context the Hockey World Cup is being held in New Delhi. India took on arch-rivals Pakistan on the opening day. It was lovely to actually hear the national anthem sung by the large crowd present at the stadium. The crowd was loud and cheered on the Indian team as they destroyed Pakistan 4-1. Our media went over the board as they always do. Cash prizes were announced for the players. All this jingoism came crashing down in the next game as we lost to Australia 2-5. Now some people started asking for the rewards to be withdrawn. 
    But what was most heartening to note was that people actually cared a bit for the tournament (I was asked the hockey score in office while working late during the Australia game). The tournament broadcasters reported TRPs way beyond even that of cricket matches. Just hoping this kind of support continues after the World Cup also regardless of the result.
    After all Hockey is our national sport and  was the sport which brought India on to the global sporting map.
    फिर दिल दो ह्वाकी को...

    Sunday, February 14, 2010

    Invictus

    Invictus is a beautiful film. Its a tale of how sport can unite a nation. Invictus tells the story of 2 men, 1 sport & 1 nation. And how they came together.
    For some reason, this movie slipped under the radar and is yet to release in India. Given the divisive forces currently prevailing all over the country, Invictus is must watch for everyone. Sports unites, brings people together and helps in healing wounds. Thats the message of the film.
    The movie is set in South Africa just coming out of the apartheid era. Nelson Mandela (in my opinion, one of the greatest human beings alive today) had just become the President. This is not the story of his struggle. Its a story of how he used the sport of Rugby (described as a game for hooligans played by gentlemen) to unite the people of his country after the apartheid had ended. South Africa was hosting the Rugby World Cup in 1995. The Springboks (as the South African rugby team was known) were considered the representative of the apartheid era and rugby was not a game popular with the largely African population. Mandela called upon the captain, Francois Pienaar, and asked his help. Inspired by Mandela & Pienaar, the Springboks went to work both on & off the field. The team entered the tournament as underdogs and went on to win the World Cup. Mandela himself attended the final dressed in the Springboks colours with Pienaar's number on his back. And after winning the Cup, Pienaar says "We had the support of 43 million South Africans"; justifying Mandela's faith in the power of sport to unify the "Rainbow Nation".
    Invictus is one of the more inspiring movies of recent times. It never goes over the top or tries to over-dramatize anything. Clint Eastwood's direction; good performances by Morgan Freeman (as Nelson Mandela) & Matt Damon (as Francois Pienaar), a good soundtrack make for an almost perfect film. 

    I thank whatever Gods maybe 
    For my unconquerable soul
    I am the Master of my Fate
    I am the Captain of My Soul

    Monday, February 01, 2010

    Republic Day

    "Bharat ke nikame batcho Valentine Day ya Friendship Day hota tou ab tak 50 sms ajata. So wish everyone Happy Republic Day"

    This was the text message I got from one of my friends on 26th last month. It may have been written in jest but was pretty thoughtful. Left me wondering, does Republic Day have any meaning as such. I sang the national anthem when the President hoisted the Tricolour, watched the parade. And spent the rest of the day watching India take on Bangladesh. Otherwise it was just another normal holiday for me. Didnt really feel much patriotic ferovr as such.
    Just wondering...

    Saturday, January 23, 2010

    Give Me A...

    The following are not my words. I take no credit for the modifications to the lyrics. And if the anonymous lyricist wishes, I'll be glad to mention your name here.
    So here goes, the office-goer's take on the song "Give Me Some Sunshine" (from 3 idiots)
    Saari umr hum
    Targets chase kar liye
    Ek pal to ab humein
    Jeene do Jeene do !!!
    Na na na….Na na na….Na na na….Na na nana na….
    Give me a Holiday
    Give me a break
    Give me another chance
    I wanna go home once again
    Kandhon ko Targets Ke bojh ne jhukaya
    Jhoot bolna tho khud
    BOSS ne sikhaya
    Target complete to chhuti, varna kismat futi
    Likh likh kar pada hatheli par
    Commitments, Escalation Mails, MIs ka chaala
    Risk, Product & Credit Team ne poora..
    Poora bheja pakka daala
    Career to gaya
    Biwi bhi gayi
    Ek pal to ab humein
    Jeene do Jeene do
    Saari umr hum
    Targets chase kar liye
    Ek pal to ab humein Jeene do Jeene do
    Give me a promotion
    Give me an increment
    Give me some bonus
    I wanna see some money again
    Na na na….Na na na….Na na na

    Wednesday, January 20, 2010

    Indians & the Aussie Open

    The year's first tennis grand slam, the Australian Open has begun. 3 days into the competition and we have seen some good tennis action and a couple of upsets. This time both the Men's & Women's sections are relatively wider open.
    Federer & Nadal have lost just that bit of their top form to ensure that others now have a little chance against them. Davydenko & Del Potro would also count amongst the favorites. Likes of Djokovic, Murray, Roddick & the local guy Hewitt cannot be ignored. The Australian Open does have a habit of bringing in surprise finalists over the last few years (Johannson, Tsonga, Baghdatis). Lets see if there are some surprises in store this time around.
    The return of the Belgian duo of Clijsters & Henin has added to the unpredictability in the women's section. Add the Williams sisters, the Russian brigade (Kuznetsova, Dementieva etc), Ivanovic, Jankovic and it becomes even tougher to predict. And you never know what the likes of Wozniacki, Wickmayer could do.
    This time around India is also pretty well represented (relatively speaking). We have Sania Mirza in the women's side (she lost in singles first round though). In the Men's doubles we have 5 players representing India (must be some sort of a record for the country). The two big guns Bhupathi (with Mirnyi) & Paes (with Dlouhy) are there. Neither of them has the won the Men's Doubles in Australia, the only slam missing from their CV. But unlike earlier they have more company in Prakash Amritraj/Somdev Devvarman and Rohan Bopanna (with Aisam-al-Qureishi).
    At least in doubles we have the numbers. Its the singles where India is still struggling. Though there are some hopes on that front also with the upcoming Yuki Bhambri coming through the ranks & Somdev in the top 150 currently. Hopefully the singles representation would also increase. With Sania saying she'll quit after marriage, the women's side would again become empty.
    here is hoping for a couple of Indian winners at the Australian Open.

    Tuesday, January 12, 2010

    The Status of "Colours"

    Last week, an interesting phenomenon took place. A variety of colours had made an appearance as the status message on Facebook. White, Black, Red, Pink…in fact the entire spectrum was represented in the status. And the key point - only the females had this status. The male “Facebookers” were left wondering what this was all about. The truth came out soon. The ladies had kept their bra colour as their status message. This was done to promote awareness of breast cancer throughout the world. Someone had thought of this interesting way to promote this good cause. Chain mails ensured that this message went out far and fast. And soon there were colourful statuses everywhere.
    But did it have any actual impact? Creating awareness about health issues is a great cause and needs support by everyone. No doubts about that. But how does posting the colour of your bra help in raising breast cancer awareness. In fact, it appeared more like an attention seeking exercise than anything else. Actually knowing the truth only gave a weird feeling. Imagine seeing the status, knowing the truth behind it and then seeing the person… Really weird.
    I am not sure how much the cause has been helped by this subtle message but at least breast cancer has been mentioned in the public domain quite a few times because of this. A much better awareness movement is the Jane McGrath Day celebrated at the SCG. The entire ground turns pink in the annual New Year test. The teams also sport pink caps which are later auctioned off for the cause. In my opinion, a far better way to raise awareness. Talking directly always helps.

    P.S. No one has been able to trace the source of this idea. Could have been a guy who found an innovative way to make women reveal these details. Or could have been a genuinely concerned person who wanted to raise breast cancer awareness.

    Monday, January 04, 2010

    The Noughties

    Another decade has come to an end (or not if you go purely by mathematics, but I prefer Mr. Zaltzman’s logic that no right thinking person would consider 1990 as a part of the eighties). It is a decade (2000 A.D. to 2009 A.D.) which has also defied proper naming. Many names were suggested, some referred to it as “the zeroes”, others called it “the oh ohs”. I personally prefer “the noughties”. So here is a tiny glimpse of what I went through in the noughties.
    It can be summarized pretty quickly. Decade started with exams. Lots of them. Class 12 boards & various engineering entrance exams. And dropping a year made this period last 18 months instead of six. They were tough times, but a certain goal was there, which was realized though not fully. Following this was a four year golden period of college at ISM. End of it some new thoughts arrived. Further studies or a job? I chose the latter. However climbing X-Mas Trees, Well Killing, attending to nitrogen pumping didn’t exactly suit me. Couple of months later, a bit disillusioned decided that the first course would have been better. Cleared CAT, got into IIM-I. (It was as simple as that). So after a year in the oil fields was back in college. Two more years spent in college, quite a few myths broken, it was time to be back in real world. Now it’s about filling excel sheets, making ppts & word docs. And that’s what I have been upto in the last 18 months of the decade.
    Ten years is a pretty long time. I entered the noughties stepping out of teens and end it going through a full blown quarter life crisis. Quite a few other things have changed. My home town for one. First half was spent calling Jamshedpur as home and second with Patna as home, without actually spending much time in either of them. Friends made, friends lost, new friends made, old ones regained. It’s been a decade of change. To be honest, the noughties were pretty exciting times.So that was the noughties for me. Would love to do a review of the tens here (that would have meant 13 years of blogging). I know it wont be as exciting as the last one but lets see. After all tomorrow is another day.

    Sunday, January 03, 2010

    Growing Bihar - A New Hope

    The first good news from Twenty Ten is here.
    Bihar's economy has grown at an annual rate of 11% over the last 5 years, quite a bit higher than the national average of 8.5 %. These are the first official stats to prove whats been already felt in the state. The state is changing and hopefully for the better. The post Lalu-Rabri era has been showing positive signs. The roads in and around the capital are in a far better shape. Flyovers have been built all across. The railway station is in a far better shape than most would want to believe it. Shops & hotels are open for longer hours. Roads dont get deserted by 8 in the evening. More flights are going to Patna. Institutions for higher education are also coming up in a big way. Schooling had always been good because the people of the state have always valued education as the means of earning a good livelihood. Cinema Halls are again attracting families. Shopping malls & multiplexes are coming up. All this I have seen changing in the past 3-4 years. As I am more of an occasional visitor to the place now, the changes are far more visible (in and around the capital at least). However quite a bit needs to be done. And firstly some other urban centres need to be developed fast in Bihar. Patna will not be able to sustain this growth alone. The city does not have too much scope for expansion left. Rajgir & Gaya would be the most suited in this regard. But a start has been made. We can only hope for the better.

    P.S. There does seem to be lot of goodwill for Bihar specially in some parts of the media.

    Saturday, January 02, 2010

    The Lone Idiot

    A big, useless, needless, media hyped up controversy is going on over 3 Idiots credit issue. I have read Chetan Bhagat’s “Five Point Someone” and have seen Rajkumar Hirani’s “3 Idiots”. The two have similar stories. I can’t measure what percentage the similarity was, but it’s substantial. Good book, good film, film evolved from book. End of story for me.
    However this post isn’t about the controversy, after all it’s their business not mine. 3 Idiots is amongst the better movies of 2009 (haven’t seen all, so shouldn’t tag it as the best). The characters I could easily connect with. I have seen them all (maybe not as one person but as bits & pieces amongst my engineering friends) with the exception of Rancho. He is different. After all no one I knew studied for the sake of learning, it was mostly for passing exams, getting a job. Our education system does create machines. I am not sure how many people are really doing what they wanted to do but are just trying to fall within the society’s norms. Rancho says “Engineering karke MBA kar liya, phir bank me naukri kar raha hai, to engineering karne ka kya fayda?” Quite true (I have done almost the same, so I know). However the problem is we don’t even know what we want to do. I did an engineering course which I had not even heard of prior to the entrance exams (After all, you don’t give IITJEE with the intent of doing B.Tech, Petroleum Engineering from ISM).
    The movie did make me think about what I have been doing so far. Maybe it’s a time to change? Not anything drastic; just try to live life better. After all I have just been through the lousiest year of my existence. So things can’t really go much worse. And it’s never too late. I don’t know where I will be or whether I will succeed; but have to give it a try. Twenty Ten is going to be better year for this “Lone Idiot”.

    P.S. This was drafted 30,000 ft in the air on the back of the printout of the ticket. Anything to pass time :)