December 27, 2007

Taare Zameen Par - True Gems Unearthed

December 27, 2007 Posted by Vijay No comments
I had the opportunity to watch the movie Taare Zameen Par yesterday in San Jose. Aamir Khan's directorial debut has been a well chosen one. There are two aspects which make it a well chosen venture. One, because there were no expectations which the movie came with, since it was not meant to be a commercial venture in any case. As a result, this gave Aamir the opportunity to gain a foothold as a director, and gain confidence from critics. Those same critics who may have thrashed a commercial venture lacking any common sense. Secondly, under his own banner, this gave him all the liberty to experiment with his skills at direction.

The movie starts off with a slowish pace and leaves the audience wondering initially, when it will get over. The concept of a child being pressurised by his parents without any clue of his suffering from dyslexia is something new to Bollywood. But, Aamir has carefully interwoven the message of less able children, with the pressure on children these days to outperform every single day. A message which clearly reaches out to every single parent out there.

The movie picks up pace slowly, but does drag on, with some unwanted songs in between. The songs only slow down the pace of the movie, and seem more like a publicity gimmick to add a commercial twist to it. The title track and the song Kholo Kholo take the cake, and are really worth listening to.

December 5, 2007

September 27, 2007

20-20 - Not So Plenty

September 27, 2007 Posted by Vijay 1 comment
And so, India brings back the World Cup. Albeit the 20-20 version of it. A celebration definitely deserving of such a wonderful achievement. The craze of the fans to watch their demi-gods come from the land of the springboks, was almost unimaginable. The crowds were pouring on the streets of Mumbai, even as the politicians tried to make a point themselves. Forget rooting for the victorious team, they were not even bothered to display the Indian flag, and were all too happy waving their party flags. The icing so to speak (pun intended) was indeed the seating arrangement at Wankhede once the team arrived after a 6 hour victory parade. All except Dhoni seated in the front row, were the able BCCI officials and politicians. Some things never change in India.

After India defeated Australia in the semi finals, The Australian newspaper reported that India was celebrating as if it had won the Soccer World Cup. Well, India sure did win the Cup finally, and Australia will have to wait for 2 or more years to get a crack at it. What The Australian probably doesn't realise is that cricket is a religion in India, and is the only sport where India can still claim as being a dominant force. India did win the Asia Cup Hockey tournament which recently got over, but it almost went unnoticed. In all the hype and hoopla of the first Indian Test series win in England in 2 decades, it was lost. And now, the Hockey players want their share of the booty. Is it a fair demand ? I would say yes, simply because, India still failed to perform in the more grilling 50 version format at the World Cup. And if one has to go by sheer weightage, 20-20 deserved only 40% of what a 50-50 should have received.

August 29, 2007

August 20, 2007

August 15, 2007

No Hail for Dravid's Bail

August 15, 2007 Posted by Vijay No comments
India's series win against England, IN England has given a breath of fresh air to India's cricketing reputation. As a new India emerges and the great nation celebrated it's 60th year of Independence, much progress has been made, even in sporting circles. Though not significant in the scheme of things of the accomplished performers of China or the U.S, Indians all over can take heart from the performances of players like Sania Mirza, Bhupathi-Paes, and also it's cricketers.

If one takes the significance of the series win in England by the Indian cricket team, it is no less than any other achievement. Although, with only 9 major test playing nations, India should have definitely fared better through the years. While one has to be proud of the achievement of this cricket team, it also raises questions about the future of Indian cricket. Critics have gone hammer and tongs at Dravid for not enforcing the follow-on against England in the Oval Test. But Dravid knew it best, and he took a decision.

Though as Sidhu paji's Sidhuism says there are no ifs and buts in cricket, one has to also realise that after a game is over, it is much easier to praise or criticise the decisions made. The Ifs and BUTS that come to mind are :

August 13, 2007

August 11, 2007

Attention Please !!

August 11, 2007 Posted by Vijay 1 comment
As I spend more time in the U.S it increasingly becomes clear, that people live here in a world of hype. That is not to say, that back in India we don't. What is surprising though, is the amount of attention and national focus a bridge collapse in Minnesota gets. As a sight of disaster, it is indeed tragic. But in terms of lives lost, not even a percentage close to the lives being lost everyday in Iraq. What is worse ? An unfortunate event which brings about the killing of 7 innocent lives under a bridge ? Or the horrifying sight of dead bodies strewed on roads every single day in Iraq.

Much like in India, the media in U.S catches on to anything even remotely controversial. Blowing up the collapse of the bridge all over the 3rd largest country in the world, is quite surprising for a person from India. In India, there probably are much more tragic sights of death and accidents every other day. But they barely get a mention on news channels. It's all about hype, I say. Though, I share the sorrow of all the deceased, I can't believe this news was covered for nearly a week ! I guess, killings in Iraq have become routine news, and the media wants something spicier.

Spicier leads to stories ranging from Lindsay Lohan struggling to move on with her career to Britney Spears fighting a court case, to gain custody of her kids. Even the missing underwear of Britney's wasn't spared and the media started to search for the place where she could have dropped it. In an open society, pictures which are obscene can easily come out in the wide open, and so, Britney's picture of the aforesaid miss-adventure was flashed across the nation. The news continued to flash off her bald head, as soon as she went into rehabilitation. I say, the media should also start posting ads for - "Missing - Brand New P$$ties. If found return to Britney". Or was it all a sting operation ? Maybe Britney had auctioned it of that night !

August 8, 2007

Rehman - He-Man Of Indian Music Industry

August 08, 2007 Posted by Vijay 2 comments
What drew me strongly to write this post, is this someone called Naresh Iyer. What a break for this talented youngster, who got rejected from the last 25 finalists for Channel V Super Singer contest. But that disappointment turned into joy, and of great hope, with A.R Rehman, the co-judge for that competition offering Naresh a chance to sing for his next movie.

Now, this singer, who is ruling the roost in Tamil Films, has made another achievement. And what a feather in his cap, apart from the R.D Burman Filmfare award for emerging singing talent ! He bagged the National Award for the best singer at the 53rd National Film Awards, results of which were announced yesterday. Honestly, I was really surprised that he did win the award, not because he isn't talented. But for someone so new, to win the award is still a rarity! Unnikrishnan the now famous singer in Tamil movies also bagged the National Award in his first song itself for , "Ennavale" for the Tamil movie Kaadhalan . Guess who the music director was ? A.R Rehman.

A.R Rehman's contribution to the number of emerging talented playback singers is incredible. In fact, when Kumar Sanu was all over the Bollywood Movies with his own style of nasal crooning (tad different than the now popular nasal twang of Himesh"Da"), no awards seemed to be coming the way of Udit Narayan. Unfortunately for Kumar Sanu, his honeymoon with Bollywood got over by 2000, and he became a struggling singer, and sang for hardly a couple of songs for A.R Rehman. But Udit was Rehman's choice, very often, and Udit came out with award winning songs like Mitwa, and Yeh Tara, both of which had music direction by A.R Rehman. Kumar Sanu has had to be satisfied with a world record, 28 songs recorded in a day and an unprecedented 5 Filmfare awards in a row.

August 2, 2007

Can the Dragon Drag On ?

August 02, 2007 Posted by Vijay , 1 comment
You come to the U.S and you are greeted with products which are seldom Made In U.S.A. The products on sale range from Made In Cambodia tags to Made In Pakistan. But none more than the Made In China tag. So much so, that anything you purchase has more than a 50% chance of being a Chinese made product. I was looking at the Creative Zen Stone 1GB player my friend has bought, and I turn it back, and I see it again !! Made In China ! While it has helped in kicking on the burgeoning economy of the Dragon, trouble seems to be round the corner.

U.S imports 40% of it's goods from China, which means, every 2 products in 5 that you purchase from the U.S is bound to have the Made In China label. But that label may soon be replaced, maybe even by the Made In U.S label. Chinese imports have in recent months come under sever scrutiny after alarm bells went around about the safety of Chinese imports. Toothpaste and cough syrup exported by China were found to be highly unsafe due to toxic substances. Of course, with such a huge demand, and massive industrialization, something had to give in, and worryingly, it is the environment.

Industrial waste has been increasingly polluting major water bodies. Since China is also a major exporter of seafood, there is a high likelihood of the fish also getting infected . To rectify this, the farm raised fish are pumped with antibiotics to keep the fish healthy and alive. Unfortunately, that has resulted in increasing cancer risks to consumers, and increased resistance to antibiotics.

July 31, 2007

The Priceless Cog

July 31, 2007 Posted by Vijay No comments
As India close in on what could be a famous win on English soil at Trentbridge against the second ranked Test team, as an Indian cricket fan I start wondering, which cogs on the wheel will start coming off this Indian team soon. At the close of play on the 4th day of the 2nd test, India needed just 63 more runs to get on the final day with all 10 wickets standing. What an opporunity, and what a memorable gift it would be for the stalwarts of the Indian team for who it would most likely be the last England tour. The list includes the famous Indian batting triumvirate - Tendulkar, Ganguly and the current captain, Dravid. Maybe even Laxman's last. But none more significant than the silent assassin - Anil Kumble.
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The humble, modest man, who hurries up batsmen in the crease with his fast leg breaks, came of age during the Australian tour in 2003-04. He has been the ever-reliable bowler for India, throughout the last 17 years. His services have been nothing less than tireless. He has gone on and on like a work horse, for providing his team the breakthroughs, or sometimes, bowl within his limitations to dry up the runs. Always up for a challenge, he has always been mentally the toughest of cricketers India has ever produced. He would realise, more than anybody else that he probably has not more than 2 years of test cricket left in him.

That should come as a wake up call to the cricket academy in the country, the BCCI and maybe even the ICL. Kumble has been India's answer to the Waqar Younis or Wasim Akram, always cleaning up the tailenders of the opposition, more often than not. India has always had a history of struggling to get rid of the tailenders, but Kumble in Test Matches has always gobbled them up, helping to boost his test wickets tally to an astonishing 561 wickets in only 116 test matches. At over 36 years, and nearing the 37 year mark, there isn't much time for Kumble, nor for the Indian team to find an able replacement.

July 30, 2007

July 28, 2007

No "FLASH" In the pan this !!

July 28, 2007 Posted by Vijay , 1 comment
I purchased the Cowon D2 flash based mp3 player a couple of weeks back. I am still in the U.S and got it ordered online for $190, taxes, shipping included. I have the 4GB black version of the player from Cowon. I must say, everyday I get back from office, only thing I can think of is, what is the next thing I can try on my Cowon.

An amazing player, with touchscreen. It does have a PDA like feel to it, but with a 2.5" screen, it can play videos and photos as well, without being too strenuous on the eyes. It offers a multitude of features. Here are a few to list :

1. FM Radio/Voice Recorder
2. Video playback/Photos (including slideshows)
3. SD Expansion slot (uses SDHC cards,extensible to 12GB with 4GB version)
4. Plays flash games
5. Notepad facility, to use paint like features.
6. Can read text.
7. Audio setting, allows user to change EQ settings for all modes like Jazz, Rock, Classic etc.



That is a lot of features for a tiny player. The highlight of the product thoug is its battery life. It offers a whopping 52 hours (company tests) of continuous audio playback, and 10 hours of continuous video playback. That is amazing for a player with so many features.



You can use your SD card in the player, and watch photos even as you listen to music (oddly though, not when you listen to FM). I use a Panasonic DMC FZ7 camera, and it takes photos of 2MB size. The player loads them very crisply, but not before pixelising the photo while loading.

The clarity of the screen is something one needs to see to believe. It boasts of 16million color 24 bit LCD touchscreen. I am loading some GILC videos, and converting them using the JetAudio freeware, and it plays them beautifully. And the sound quality is unbelievably good. You can crisply listen to every beat of a song clearly.

The drawbacks of the player are its frequent firmware upgrades, which can be cumbersome. But when the upgrade offers new features with such upgrades, why not take the extra trouble ? All the videos have to be convereted to Cowon compatible screen to play. Also, the touchscreen does not help in blind navigation of songs for some users.

Overall, the player is an amazing purchase. I found it in this online portal for buyers in India.

It certainly is not a flash in the pan by Cowon, who have come out with IAudio 7 which delivers a whopping 60 hours battery life !My suggestion to any mp3 player fan, who is looking for any alternative for the ipod, go for the Cowon D2. This is the player to watch out for ! Go get it !



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July 25, 2007

July 24, 2007

Opportunities - Plus Or Minus

July 24, 2007 Posted by Vijay , No comments
The land of opportunities, United States. Yes, it certainly has been for some years, and will be for a few more. That, is a reflection of the job market for all Indians coming to U.S. But it is a case of missed opportunities if you are planning to buy shirts from here. Though it is a U turn from job to shirts to purchase, it goes without saying that, it can be difficult getting the exact size shirts for those who are new to the U.S of A. Atleast that's what I found out.

After struggling to get a pair of sneakers in my last U.S visit, I wasn't hopeful of getting one this time. But, even after I bought FILA shoes from Bangalore after my last visit, I was sucked into the buy 2 get 1 offer at the Great Mall in San Jose. I got a Reebok pair, and thus I had broken the ice. I went on to get a pretty good mp3 player, the Cowon D2, which sports touchscreen interface and has loads of features. I bought the 4GB one, and thus my shopping spree had been initiated.

I have always been apprehensive of buying clothes from the U.S since the same variety, you end up getting in India as well. But, in India all of them are Made In India. So, for a change, I thought I should get clothes which are Made In Pakistan or Made In Cambodia. Where else to get these than in the land of opportunities ! Jokes apart, I shoved aside my apprehensions of getting the right size of shirt, and badly wanted to get some casual shirts. The prices too are similar to those in India. So, no big deal if I buy them from India or from U.S.

July 3, 2007

Sivaji @ Silicon Valley !!

July 03, 2007 Posted by Vijay No comments
The last weekend, was my first weekend in Silicon Valley, in what is (currently) my second visit to the U.S. Not too confusing a line if you read it carefully, but unlike my Confucius nature, there was no confusion for my cousin as to what movie he had been dying to watch since long. He had driven down from Sacramento for a function of our mutual cousin's (@ Fremont, CA), and we decided to go for Sivaji, the boss at Camera 3 Cinemas , San Jose. Till date, Sivaji, The Boss is the most expensive movie (over Rs. 90 crores, i.e. 22.5 million USD) ever in Indian Movie History. And Rajni, the hero, with this movie, became the highest paid actor in Indian Cinema as of today (over Rs. 17 crore, 4.2 million USD !!). To think that his fee, amounted to 19% of the movie expense can be validated by his unbelievable cult following in South India, Japan and Singapore.

The hype that it had created was so huge, that it stole the thunder from the Yash Raj Production, Jhoom-Barabar-Jhoom, starring the Big B. There was also a lot of skepticism because of the hype , whether the movie will do as well as expected. Music by A.R. Rehman should have helped boost the movie, but was that enough ? Sankar, accomplished director of movies like Anniyan, Mudhalvan (Nayak in Hindi), Gentleman had to hit the right balance between Rajni's irrepressible style and his own directorial skills, with the message of the all pervasive black money issue in Indian Society.

In the past 6-7 years, all Rajni movies have been loads of style, and less of substance. Still, be it Padayappa or Chandramukhi, Rajni's films pulled it off well at the box office. His style has been so over-emphasised, that his acting skills have been all but forgotten. Which is quite sad. But hey, if he can still pull off blockbusters at the box office as the hero of a mainstream Indian movie at the age of 57, who cares ? Watching Sivaji, reminded me of Chandramukhi, which I saw couple of years back in Tamil Nadu, with another cousin of mine. Lot of style in Sivaji too, the coin flipping horizontally, then vertically and landing in his palm. Then the chewing gum going in his mouth, after rebounding from his palm, were all there (Hard to imagine eh ?).

July 2, 2007

Some random facts (About Me)

July 02, 2007 Posted by Vijay 1 comment
I have been blogging for more than 2 years now, and have seen how bloggers tag each other. It passes on from one blogger to the next, like passing a baton. I have been avoiding from getting tagged, but I guess it is time to surrender to Sakshi's tag, who I also write for at desidabba.

Here are some of my facts which could be as dull and dumb as they get !

1. Since childhood, I have been Mr. Confus(c)ious for everyone around me !

2. I have my roots in Tamil Nadu, upbringing in Kerala, though I tend to follow more of Hindi.(example of the confuscious nature). So I know Malayalam (spoken,written), Hindi (Spoken, Written), Tamil (spoken) and English of course ! But none of them well enough :D

3. I love taking pictures using my digital camera, at the cost of making people around me look awkward.

June 21, 2007

Presidentially Silly

June 21, 2007 Posted by Vijay , 2 comments
Pratibha Patil's comments about the purdah and the veil under which she wants to hide herself after the controversy could hopefully save the Atlantis in landing safely and thus rewarding the many who are praying for Sunita Williams' safe return into the earthly presence where 2 legged humans and 4 legged animals roam around in the shelter provided by the ever growing wealth of Indian Cricketers whose money will not stop growing after the ceiling cap on endorsements for cricketers were raised, not taking into account the surprise acceptance of Kalam to contest the presidential elections in India, which has now taken an interesting turn, albeit still not turning as much as the Monty Panesar delivery which dismissed Dinesh Ramdin in the 4th and final test match in England which cannot even stand a chance against the quite irresponsible way in which India's former spinner Maninder Singh disputed suicide accusations even while he was grappling with trying to avoid and evade the accusations of drug consumption which put him in the spotlight, but which has today been over shadowed by the new Italian Avtar of Durga taking shape in the form of Sonia Gandhi's depiction as Sonia Durga Gandhi, hogging the important headlines story in CNN IBN, which may get much publicity amidst growing ecological concerns over China's infrastructure plans of building a road till the base of Mt. Everest as a journey for carrying the Olympic Torch for the 2008 Olympics.

June 12, 2007

Will Orkut Stay Put ?

June 12, 2007 Posted by Vijay 1 comment
Internet savvy world welcomed with open arms the rise and rise of social networking. Orkut, along with other social networking sites as hi5, have revolutionised how people stay in touch. If the messengers of the world (the IM ones) led the way of chatting and finding new friends, social networking provides a better way of meeting people with matching interests. The anonymity of the chat world has been replaced by the genuineness of the orkut world. Not quite well enough though.

Orkut has been in trouble on more than one occasion. In Brazil it had been asked to furnish information and data because of criminal activities which gained ground in orkut. Very soon, it came to light that there were anti-India communities existing as a group. This created another furore in India, with an issue being served to google. And a couple of days ago, Shiv Sainiks in Mumbai vandalised an internet cafe' because of certain groups in orkut derogatory material about Shivaji and the Thackeray family. There was also a murder of a girl working in TCS by her boyfriend after they developed relationships after meeting up on Orkut.

All this indicates the cons of having a networking site. But there is no dearth of such sites at all. To name a few, hi5, fropper, myspace, facebook and the list goes on. The fact that orkut gets dragged into all this is because of it being owned by google, and its spread across the world as a robust networking site. There is no denying that orkut has always had good things from its users, for having brought long lost friends together, in making new friends, and most importantly, the genuineness of the profiles on orkut. Of course there will always be those who will abuse the site. But why orkut is loved by its users is because of the detailed profiles which exist. That users with common interests can form groups is probably what has created a lot of problems.

Technology will always continue to surge ahead, and provide more opportunities for people to get closer. Social networking sites like orkut provide a lot of facilities, but there is always a flip side to anything which enables and equips people. The wrong doers, who will continue to persist and do wrong things. These could be people who want to evoke a sense of hatred, and incitement to create social disharmony. It could also be authoritarian rules which restrict usage of such sites. Either ways, technology will always be misused. The more it progresses , much more chances that it can be misused.

It is difficult to curb sites like orkut which has such huge following. What can be done about those who form groups with wrong intention is to report the site as bogus. This is an option which orkut provides. If a certain number of users report it as bogus, the group will be removed. One other thing that can be done is, to set a lower cap on the number of users who can join a group. If a group can boast of 500 members, then it can be made public. Else it shouldn't be. Moderation should obviously be a responsibility of the owner of the group. It should also be made mandatory that anyone who wishes to join the group has to go through the moderator. Though these are not easy to implement and follow, curbs like these can certainly help in orkut and other networking sites having more of a useful value than nuisance value.

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Vacant Reservation

June 12, 2007 Posted by Vijay No comments
While the Gujjars are now facing the wrath of the Government in Rajashthan, the democracy of India is giving rise to more voices demanding reservation. Rajasthan Brahmins now have demanded for quota on economic grounds. With India clocking economic growth rates of over 9%, it will be fun watching India go back to it's caste based culture. So, India would become an oxymoron of sorts. Maybe we could call India - Forward Looking Backwards. That this is happening is honestly not a surprise. With more people coming under the SC/ST & OBC quota, the remaining poor sections of society would feel they are hard done by. Being not economically sound, is enough for them to demand a right for a quota for their own. Which precisely is what should have been done, or still can be done. Alas, that is not the case, and India would be 100% reserved in a few years to come. Ironically that would solve matters too !

It is funny how the quota matter is boomeranging on those who conceptualised it. It is taking a turn for the worse. Offering reservation to the SC/ST, OBC has now led to more people requesting that they be tagged as backward too. Someone said it right, that India would probably be the only country where people want to have a backward status. And they don't mind it, do they ? While the Indian economy progresses, the Indian Society regresses. Indians a re embarrassing themselves, mainly due to the fact that there is no dignity of labour in India, unlike in the United States.

While Ford has nothing to do with reservation or quotas being demanded, he is certainly in the limelight for the simple reason that he rejected the BCCI's offer of coaching the Indian Cricket Team. As a result he has left the reservation he had, vacant once again. BCCI, in keeping up with the Indian Bureaucratic standards and it's own arrogance about being the richest cricketing body, was game enough to announce Ford as the Indian Coach, without first verifying with his availability. The BCCI and maybe even the players are bent upon getting a coach, so that there will always exist a scapegoat for Indian Cricket's establishment and cricketers. For any losses, blame it on the coach. For any victory, credit it to the cricketers. Handing a one year contract to coach the Indian cricket team, with a neighbouring cricket nation's coach being murdered in the middle of the world cup, can give any prospective coach cold feet. If BCCI thinks that a one year contract would be accepted by a foreign coach, they have got it all wrong.

On the one hand the BCCI insists in a foreign coach, because they bring in discipline and work with the boys closely, on the other, they want quick fix solutions in a matter of a year. One of the prime reasons why Ganguly's team was successful until 2005 was because John Wright was the coach of the team for almost 5 years. That is the amount of time a coach can really make a difference to a team. Though one can always argue, is there a need for a coach at all ?

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June 6, 2007

Celerity In Celebrity

June 06, 2007 Posted by Vijay , No comments
Bloggers can't have enough of media bashing. But I am sure all bloggers agree that it is wonderful that a subtle medium like blogging can keep the media on it's toes. Quite honestly though, the media is too strong for a medium such as blog, atleast as of today. So when I embark on yet another worthless coverage of a drug issue related to a celebrity, one can't but wonder what happened to the fresh memory of the violence in Rajasthan ? What happened of the Goa elections which just got over. What happened of the World Environment Day of yesterday ?

Forgotten by the media, thrust upon the viewers was the drug possession by a supposed celebrity, DJ Aqeel. Pray, with all due respect to Aqeel and his achievements, when did he get the "celebrity" tag ? Caught in the Dubai airport for possession of 0.4g of Ecstacy, Aqeel could face serious charges. This happened on World Environment Day, and the media, did after all get the opportunity to make Aqeel a celebrity. It is quite true. The more the controversy around an individual, the more famous the personality.

I was watching the 11:30 p.m show on entertainment on NDTV, with Himesh Reshammiya talking about his foray into acting with his movie Aapka Surroor. By Jove, didn't he love the media attention. The fact that he is cap-less for a few minutes in the movie is cause for a lot of attention ! Incredible , but true !

Similar is the case with the celebrity farmers of India. You are right, we are talking about none other than the Big B and Perfectionist Khan. Amitabh Bacchan should honestly have seen this coming, especially after his campaign for UP elections fell flat and gave way for Mayawati to start her political games. It is politics galore in India, but more on the lines of personal vendetta. Mayawati aiming guns at Mulayam, and Karunanidhi at Jayalalitha. But when celebrities come into picture, they steal the thunder from right under the Rajes, the Mayas and the Karunas. No wonder they get into the business of nosing in the celebrities' lives itself.

While Amitabh Bacchan is ready to face the law if accused of wrongly possessing land by claiming as a farmer, Aamir Khan has gone a step ahead and declared that he indeed is a farmer. These events are hotting up the competition amongst media channels. Who will get the exclusive footage of Aamir Khan tilling his land ? Who will do the sting operation on Amitabh Bacchan to prove that he is faking his claims of being a farmer. So much scope of sensationalism I say ! As for me, I can wait to blog the next media event. Our News TV Channels are the real source of entertainment these days.

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June 5, 2007

मुस्कुराहट की खोज में ..

June 05, 2007 Posted by Vijay 1 comment
एक मुस्कुराहट की खोज।
बिन चाहत की खोज ।
इस बात को लिए सोच,
हूँ बड़ा ही संकोच।

वोह कौन है जो बिन मुस्कुराये
बिन सोच के हिचकिचाये
अनजान बने और चाहे
कि मुस्कान लौट आये ?

जान पहचान ना होके ,
हँसी एक पल का देके,
चल पडे वोह धोल्के,
लाफ्टर चैलेन्ज में आके ।

June 4, 2007

No Cast(e)Away This ...

June 04, 2007 Posted by Vijay No comments
Some call them Gurjars, yet others Gujjar. Though the fact remains that both refer to the same caste of people , predominantly from Rajasthan, this minute difference in addressing this caste goes on to show whether even an accurate piece of news will get percolated to the common man. And when caught in a fierce caste imbroglio, as in the current case in Rajasthan, any wrongly reported news item can lead to serious consequences.

Thankfully, the demand of the Gujjars (or Gurjars, I still am searching for the right name of this caste) is so critical, that any piece of media news, is not bigger than the issue itself. After Madhya Pradesh and Bihar were split into 5 states, Rajasthan emerged as the largest Indian state in terms of area. To see the largest Indian state get into such caste problems is definitely disturbing for any Indian Citizen.

The issue here is caste based. A system which has refused to die, and only seems to emerge stronger with every passing election. Gujjars, currently have the OBC status, while the Meenas have the ST status (Scheduled Tribe) status. Owing to the non-recognition of the ST status, Gujjars have missed out on opportunities to be well represented in the higher echelons of Indian Society. The fact that the incumbent Chief Minister of Rajasthan, as a true politician failed to keep her promise of granting ST status to Gujjars didn't help either.

To hold an entire state under siege and then to carry out a fierce agitation for their demand of getting ST status can't be ignored even by the Indian Central Government. That is precisely what has happened, with the agitating Gujjars taking to the streets in Delhi as well. Vasundhara Raje is stuck between the Meenas and the Gujjars. While the Meenas don't prefer the Gujjars being given ST status, and threaten the Raje government, the Gujjars are doing the same too. A caste war which has now broken between the two castes has threatened to snowball all across North India.

Raje really has very few options. The funny part though is, there probably are no options to choose from either. She can't give ST status because of the Meenas, but she has to give ST status because of the Gujjars. Quite a dilemma this. The sadder part of all this though is the larger SC/ST issue in the whole of India. It is not difficult to imagine a similar kind of issue, if society continues to have a huge income gap between the well to do and the poor. This is no different from the caste war itself. Just that in the caste war there probably are protagonists in the form of casteist names and figures.

It is even more funny that this issue had to arise a year after the reservation row. While in the case of the reservation row, there was total agreement for allowing 50% reservation to SC/ST and OBC, in this caste war, there is no unanimity in picture. The fact that the Gujjars would still fall under this 50% reservation is a totally different matter. But with all due credit to the SC/ST and the OBC's while the protests against reservation last year didn't have any major impact, with protests being very minimal, the protests by Gujjars have been far more agitative, fierce and life-endangering. 25 lives lost in a week of protests is scary enough. This sort of violence never happened in the reservation row.

Just think if the General Category were to take to the streets, demanding SC/ST status. The remaining population of India would also come under the SC/ST category. That in a way would be ironic, for no vote bank politics would be even possible. On the other hand though, since all of the Indian population would anyway fall under 100% reservation, there probably won't be any cast based distinction. Of course these are quite unfathomable thoughts. But maybe, there is also a reasoning there to scrap any sort of caste based divide.

As a common citizen, all this makes me wonder, where all the political battles would be fought and lives lost. Caste within religions. Amongst religions. The Social Divide of the rich and the poor. And of course the issue of the minorities. So much to choose from as an election issue. But so much to tackle too. Vasundhara Raje may not have seen this one coming. This probably is also the reason why politicians know the game and know to play it well. That is why they are holding the reigns of power, and not a common man like me.

Head Back Home

May 30, 2007

A paradox called BCCI

May 30, 2007 Posted by Vijay No comments
Rahul Dravid recently raised concerns of the crammed international schedule of Indian Cricket Team. the sub continental teams have always been prone to injuries, and it is not an unknown fact that this is more so due to the lack of athleticism amongst these teams. On top of this, if the schedule itself for the team gets jam packed, it becomes much more difficult to field the best team on the field. Even otherwise, with the best team on field India struggles to put up respectable performances. With injuries to major players, especially bowlers this becomes doubly difficult.

The Indian team is jamp packed with matches. Matches in Ireland against South Africa, followed by a one off match against Pakistan. Then the tour of England, followed by the ICC Twenty/20 World Championship in South Africa. Wait, its not over. Even I am taking a break, because this will be followed by a 7 match ODI series with Australia at home, then a tour of Pakistan with 3 Tests and 5 ODIs, and finally the tour of Austraila which would involve 4 tests and an ODI tri-series. Phew, If writing this down is difficult, one can imagine how tough it can be on the players.

On the one hand the BCCI re-iterates that the schedule is not crammed, on the other it has suggested that an extra tour game before the tour of Australia is not possible to be shceduled due to lack of time ! How ridiculously contradictory can any sporting organisaction can be ? It is well known that Indian teams anyway struggle abroad. If the Indian team does want to try and put in a better performance with extra tour games, that too is not being allowed ! Really, there is only one way for Indian Cricket in this way. Down !

May 25, 2007

So Much For Saunf ..

May 25, 2007 Posted by Vijay , 1 comment
Saunf, the mouth freshener. Saunf, the natural digestive herb. Its become common practise across Indian hotels to provide bowls of Saunf to apparently calm the bowels of the customers. Though customers do crib about the alarming prices in good places to eat at, it now seems as an avengeful act when saunf is placed for free consumption.

At my office cafeteria, I have noticed atleast two instances when the tender palm of a female employee clasped the digestive enzyme in its physical existence in full capacity. My friend and I wondered whether that would serve as her dinner for the day. This is more so with the minted/sweetened saunf. Saunf is Aniseed/Fennel seeds, which are consumed after meals. But the customers at hotels vent their anger (I know its only exaggeration and not the truth) and avenge the huge bill amount by consuming saunf in spoons (and not spoon).

I don't wish to be a hypocrite. So I do admit I have done the same. But a palmful of saunf for the bowel ? Never. But hey, I do realise 2 spoonfuls is almost the same as a palmful anyway. So maybe, I have been the culprit at times. But I have not been so blatant as to carry a palmful around for long. Leaving aside the craze for saunf, it is indeed used as a fragrant spice to flavour pickles, chutneys and curries. Even confectioneries have piggybacked on its craze by coming up with saunf flavoured candies too.

N.B. Our caterers have decided to serve saunf as a separate meal at our cafeteria. (Of course I am kidding !!)

May 16, 2007

For Ur Co-et-al Kama

May 16, 2007 Posted by Vijay , 2 comments
Warning : Some of the words/sentences maybe offensive to some readers. Reader discretion is advised. No offense intended.

Look no step further, and read the Co-et-al as it is meant to be, for when you wish to abbreviate the topic of the post, it is all too obvious what it stands for.

Fumble, Fondle
Tumble, Cuddle
Snuggle, Meddle

Use F**K For Ur Co-et-al Kama !

In 5 years time, there will be a complete package for any couple who want to marry. Right from providing matrimonial service, to the point of procreation, all inclusive package deals. Just Rs. 2 lakhs. * Conditions Apply. I will come to the conditions part real soon.

I came across an article in Yahoo News about Indian Wedding Services Industry Corporate India will now sponsor and give complete packages for any lavishly spent Indian Wedding. Match Making To Love Making. Though Love Making as an industry is yet to see a greater demand, the way Indian Weddings are being conducted that day won't be far away either.

Nuisance That Makes Sense ?

May 16, 2007 Posted by Vijay 1 comment
Technology has grown leaps and bounds, spawning millions of jobs, consumer goods, electronic gadgets and what not. It is difficult to imagine a life without technology anymore. People frown upon you, if you don't own a mobile phone or a computer. The inevitable question that comes up is "How Come ?". Well, I had an opportunity to let go of my mobile phone, give it some rest, courtesy a prepaid connection, and double courtesy to BSNL. While I am glad I possess a K510i from Sony Ericsson, I can't say the same about my connection.

Though it is the largest communication service provider with the majority of subscriber base, it always lives up to the reputation of being run by the Government Of India. Why ? Because, the communication is only so-so, the branding is not in line with such a big service provider, and last but not the least, very scratchy service. Can you imagine, a prepaid connection card ending up with a negative currency balance of Rs. 76 and the customer not even realising it ? Well, that was a record which would be tough for me to break, but I did end up getting another negative balance on my card yesterday. Astonishing, that while the same currency let me accept incoming calls, in two hours time, I wasn't able to send/receive calls or messages, because it suddenly got updated with negative 4 rupees balance. There was not even a beeping sound which let me know that my currency is running out. Quite bizarre. The only saving grace my connection provides is its vast area of coverage across the length and breadth of India. No service provider has been able to have so much of penetration. It virtually acts as a GPS for me !

But why do we even discuss all these problems with mobiles, connectivity, low range and so on ? Because we have a mobile phone. Because, we have service providers. Because, we are offered tempting offers by way of providing services. Because we can keep in touch with our dear ones. All these have been enabled by one single invention, the mobile phone. The result ? Quite amazing. The world is almost at our feet one would imagine. Internet, music, movies, chat. You name it, you got it on your mobile. One wonders whether even computers may get obsolete one day !

So, why have a problem with the phones or the service providers ? They make our lives easy. Or that atleast is what its purpose is. But the side-effects of it seem to far outnumber the benefits. It's almost technology backlash. More advanced technology means, more choices of misusing it. Let me list out a few examples of the nuisance value of today's mobiles.

At Meetings

How many times, has one noticed an Aashiq banaaya Ringtone reverberating across huge auditoriums when a CEO/CIO/CTO addresses a large audience of employees ? Or even a project level meeting for that matter ? In spite of constant requests to turn off or put mobiles on silent mode, flaunting the ringtone on one's mobile gets more importance. Irritable would be an understatement when such a thing happens.

At Workplace

At one of our internal project level meetings I had made a request that employees in the project should at all cost put their mobiles in silent mode. Especially so at their workplace. How often have you heard a loud ringtone close to your desk, but the owner of the phone not to be seen around ? Honestly disgusting, for the very name mobile and use of it goes waste, because it lies static rather than being mobile in such cases.

Unsolicited Calls

How often have you received unsolicited calls from a friendly Customer Care Executive trying to sell their loan products from reputed banks ? What would our immediate reaction be ? Either to shout at them, vent our anger at them or derive innovative means to make a fool out of those poor callers, whose livelihood depends on these very calls.

Get Togethers Or Dates

The worst part I have felt, is when I go to meet my friends over dinner, and rather than we having a conversation, they end up getting calls left right and center. If that was the purpose, it might have made more sense having dinner with the caller than those who have gathered for dinner. Just imagine if five friends were to gather for dinner, and all five are hooked up on their mobiles, and having dinner. Would be anyone's delight to witness such a scene !

Technology et al

Finally, technology itself. Porn floating all around the internet, and easy access to sites through mobiles is widespread. High earning couples hand over expensive phones to their kids, and then expect them to use it responsibly. Forgetful of their forgetfulness to bring up their kids appropriately, they blame technology if phones are misused to capture and/or circulate lewd pictures or videos. Argument accepted. But technology is here to stay. Responsibility , better stay !

I am sure the list of nuisance which mobiles have had could extend beyond these points. But, the point to be noted is, technology is here to stay. Man has invented all possible luxuries to seek pleasure and luxuries. For only man made inventions can define the extent of satisfaction one can have through materialistic needs. But to use it or misuse it, is also in man's hands. A cycle which can never be broken, because we realise the good only when evil is around.

May 6, 2007

A$$-Ana

May 06, 2007 Posted by Vijay No comments
Strange, that the Indian word Asana can actually be dissected and re-modified as A$$-Ana, yet the meaning remains the same. Though the actual meaning in Sanskrit is seat, it of course is something where we need to be using our rear most a$$et on.

Strange, the more we look at it, the more obvious the commonality of a$$ in a$$et and a$$ana. That, my friends is precisely where I want to bring your attention to. Not to be vulgar or offensive as to bring your attention to that specific treasured a$$et. But when a programme is dedicated to whether a famed cricketer is doing the right a$$ana (notice my dollar sign usage. It is meant specifically to hide the obvious reference I mean to make), wouldn't one want to get frustrated, irritated, angry and upset at the time wasted at prime time 9:30 p.m on a Saturday ?

Clearly, Headlines Today doesn't seem to have any news of substance to talk about other than Sachin's A$$anas. It was hilarious to watch the anchor rope in a Yoga expert and give a demonstration of what Sachin is not doing right. It was all action, for a change, but it was clear. Sachin wasn't doing it right, and of course, as a result, the Yoga Instructor of Sachin's wasn't giving the right guidance. Mind you, this also probably meant that the instructor who appeared on the channel would get a shot at getting into the Indian Cricket Team as an instructor !

April 26, 2007

Overwhelmed

April 26, 2007 Posted by Vijay 1 comment
This one person from Meerut in UP, has been so tolerant as to go through my blog posts over a length of over three hours. Perhaps counting more even !

I can't be more thankful to this person. It's quite overwhelming honestly, coz, when I check my tracker staistics, more often than not the time at my blog spent is less than a second. Mind you, my site tracker doesn't check for milli or micro seconds. I didn't want to mention the exact four letter number for cipher in arithmetic. Hence the roundabout way :D















April 24, 2007

NEWS - No Essential Watchable Substance

April 24, 2007 Posted by Vijay 4 comments
One of the major factors which has brought about a sense of realisation and awakening in the new age India has undoubtedly been the media. Today, along with the hefty pay packets that a well to do Indian gets, their spending habits have also grown manifold. The sensex boom can partly be attributed to the risk appetite of the young Indian. Daring and Raring probably fits as the right phrase. Willing to invest heavily in stocks, keep track of the markets. The fluctuation, the trends, and every single move of the Government too. A decision or an announcement by the Finance Minister can have so much impact on the decision of these young investors. A budget session carries so much of importance and gains attention never known to India before.

All these, have had to do a lot with how the media has covered these events. Today there are innumerable news channels. Most of them Indian channels. Regional and National. This influx has given a heavy dose of information. It can almost be confusing just like how the UP exit polls by NDTV and Times NOW seemed poles apart. On the one hand, it is refreshing to see the common Indian citizen seek information, and learn the Government's moves, and thus more often than not conclude whether central Government decisions are fair/just/practical. On the other, skewed news items, with various interpretations can lead to the wrong information getting percolated.

Take for example the Face The Nation programme telecast on CNN-IBN yesterday by Rajdeep Sardesai. The topic for the nation was so communally flagrant, I fear for the life of Mr Sardesai now. The topic was - "Is Islam Incompatible With Democracy". That is no way to put across a topic for discussion leave alone have it aired to millions of viewers. There can be nothing worse than stoke up communal sentiments through the media itself. As a viewer who sent an sms to this poll yesterday rightly pointed out, democracy shouldn't be assessed by the religion it thrives on. It was honestly disgusting to see such a topic in a supposedly responsible television media channel.

April 23, 2007

Pointless, Meandering Rubbish !

April 23, 2007 Posted by Vijay , 1 comment
It is not difficult to get one's mind shrouded with thoughts. Atleast that is not very difficult for me. As a warning, I must tell the reader that what follows will have no sense or conclusion or opinion. These are thoughts which run deep, not skin deep or neck deep, but which tries to delve into the psyche of the present, past and the future, to an extent.

Starting with the tragic Virginia Tech killings, it was shocking to see how one person could massacre 33 people in a span of 3-4 hours. Following the news about CNN investigation report, it seemed that Cho the killer had had previous mental illness problems. He was declared as mentally ill in 2005 by a court. But that didn't prevent him from getting license for the guns which would be responsible for pumping in bullets into 33 innocent lives.

Why am I confused, though what I told above was straightforward ? Because, I am lost for words. This post is as meaningless as they get, but when one watches the media attention that the greatest Indian Actor's son's marriage gets, I fail to understand what else is news in India. Even when the trafficking by an MP was supposed to be the news of the nation, media was busy covering the wedding events unfolding at Prateeksha. Abhishek and Aishwarya Rai have been called Abhiash. India cannot ever stop copying how foreign paparazzi refers to alliances in the glitz world. Following in the same footsteps as their contemporaries in U.S called Tom Cruise's and Kate Moss's wedding as TomKat, and Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie's relationship as Branjelina. Terrible to see Indian media copying without shame. Abhiash it seems.

April 4, 2007

पाना चाहूँ लेकिन ..

April 04, 2007 Posted by Vijay No comments
चाहता हूँ पाने को उसे ।
पर दिल में है एक दर ।
कितनों से और डरूंगा,
खबर नही है मगर।

इस बात पे यकीन है,
पा लूं तो होगी ख़ुशी कि लहर।
इनकार होगा इस बात का है डर,
कैसे यकीन दिलाऊँ प्यार है मगर।

आंखें तो मिलती हैं देखने को,
हुस्न तो देखा है मदहोशी को ।
पता है क्या उसको में हूँ इधर,
उस नज़र को तरसता हुआ इधर।

नज़रें भी मिली नही अगर,
लग जाये तो सही उसे खबर।
है एक दीवाना बैठे बगल,
उसके ख़्वाब में हुए मगन।

Sources Change Courses !

April 04, 2007 Posted by Vijay No comments
Washing dirty linen in public. Sources Say, Sources say... Over the past week or so, lot of relaible sources have been leaking and giving information for our famed media channels. Now, who these sources are God alone knows. So, the very wod called source probably gives the press the freedom to bandy abotu anything and everything. Well, maybe I am being too harsh. But when sources keep giving insinuations of one about another, in the ongoing Greg Chappell V/S Players saga, one fails to understand if these sources are even worth the sound bytes.

Indian media has categorically announced to the entire nation that Indian Cricket has touched its lowest ebb. Come on, how often have we heard the same headline ? Match Fixing brought the same headlines, so did the Chapell-Ganguly face off. Either the media channels need to get a new headline or should just shut their mouth and not float around information which only sources have in hand. That India fared poorly is known to every cricket enthusiast. And no one can hide behind and shift blame on to someone else. But, this precisely is what the media is projecting to the nation.

It is obvious that the media wants the viewers to keep the TRPs high for their channels, so spice up Indian Cricket's poor showing with a new sop opera - Chappell V/S The Boys. Even before the World Cup report has been tabled to the BCCI by the coach and manager, the media has got hold of every possible angle which can give a dramatic twist to the turn of events.

March 30, 2007

Aila - Alvida ?

March 30, 2007 Posted by Vijay , 3 comments
I have always been a great fan of Ian Chappell. He gives candid opinions, on cricket. On why the game should be kept simple. Pre-World Cup in an interview he mentioned, that batting is a very simple thing. When one tries to analyse the nitty gritties, of the batsman falling over, playing across the line, opening the face of the bat, it dilutes the essence of batting. The best way to bat in a cricket match is - To defend the good ball, and punish the bad ones. As long as the bat is used to strike the ball, the batsman will continue to be successful.

His views on the game, with respect to the fact that coaches cannot be of major influence has been proved again. Dravid was given the team he wanted. Though apparently Greg Chappell, the almost outgoing Indian Coach (If I may put it that way) wanted Suresh Raina in the team. Now, why Greg even thought of roping in a below par performing Raina, only he knows. Infusing young blood is always good. But it should be taken in a sensible way after assessing performances. Now that we do know that a coach has only as much say as giving suggestions, how can he make a difference to a team on ehe cricket field ?

Cricket is probably the only game where the captain has to be intelligent, brilliant and tactful in his moves. No other sport demands such skills of tactfulness and strategy than cricket. As a result, any decision taken by the captain on the field gets scrutinised and comes under the microscope. Dissection of these views is more prominent these days with the vast influx of the television and media. So, unless a Hansie Cronje Earpiece help is given to a captain by a Bob Woolmerish coach, the game will remain as one which the captain has huge responsibility of. No coach can ever help a captain on the field. And in this context, maybe the Indian team maybe well off without even having a coach !

March 28, 2007

Indian Cricketers' Ads - Post World Cup

March 28, 2007 Posted by Vijay No comments
Mein Kaun Hoon Mein Kahaan Hoon, is what Sachin would feel soon, or has already been made to feel. For the first time, maybe in 18 years of a supposedly illustrious career, he is facing the wrath of the entire nation. People calling for his head, and demanding that he be dropped. And once he is dropped, Sachin, in his own unique style will say -"Main Kaun Hoon, Main Kahaan Hoon", "Aila, Mujhe Drop Kar Diya". He will probably hate buying his own Sunfeast biscuits.

Dravid (though not to be blamed for the World Cup fiasco) will not find anchor on the cricketing field, and would have to search for that elusive anchor switch at his own home. Surely, the wall has hit a wall, and darkness owing to electricity loss hasn't helped matters.

Dhoni, probably would have to cut his hair, or even tonsure his head, since it is doubtful whether he would be given a long rope. Since in Dhoni's case his hair is as long as one can imagine a rope to be, he shouldn't expect too much of sympathy. Maybe, shaving his hair would give a positive signal, that he is ready to start things afresh. From the ROOTs so to speak.

March 27, 2007

No Say In Stray

March 27, 2007 Posted by Vijay 1 comment
Sometimes, knee jerk reactions work wonders. With the stray dog issue now getting more prominence (courtesy, a responsible media, sarcasm intended) due to the debacle of the Indian Cricket Team at the Cricket World Cup, the animal right activists have woken up. Woken up, from the deep slumber should we say? How many Bangaloreans knew there were the following Animal Right Activists' Groups - Compassion Unlimited Plus Action (CUPA), Animal Rights Fund? Well, if you didn’t, they do exist. If not, they do now. Suddenly, they have started raising a hue and cry over the culling of Stray Dogs, especially in Bangalore.

I love animals, and there is no doubt that I love dogs too! But does that mean, I would follow Gandhigiri and try and love a Dog when it is attacking me? Dogs gone astray are quite an unfortunate thing. Firstly, if the Animal Rights Activists need to have any say at all in their objection to the culling, they should have pre-empted this backlash. They should have been proactive and started doing something to avoid the dogs going astray. Instead, when the menace of the stray dogs has taken alarming proportions, any sort of measure by the Civic Authorities is termed as knee jerk reaction?

Pray, where do these Animal Activists take root from? I would like to know how many of them have vegetarian food? How many of them boycott having food from Non-Vegetarian restaurants. How many of them volunteer to adopt all the strays as their own pets? Can they handle that? Would things have come to this extent, had they done something about it? I hate to stereotype while airing my views, but the media has a hand in this aspect too.

March 24, 2007

A Welcome Defeat

March 24, 2007 Posted by Vijay 1 comment
For once, I was hoping India would lose. I know my statement mocks at any sort of patriotic feeling towards the country from a countryman. But, the defeat for the Indian Cricket team in the already controversy-marred Cricket World Cup in West Indies can only test the resilience of the Indian Cricket team, and more importantly the so called "Billion Cricket Fans" from India. Whoever said there are a billion cricket fanatics in India, has really been responsible for the emotional responses from passionate cricket fans.

When I realised it was a do or die match for India against Sri Lanka yesterday, I was hoping India would lose. And even if India won, I would have still been happy. Why did I want India to lose ? Simple reason, that there are more important things for the billion or more Indians to do than watch a 11 member cricket team perform or not perform. That our country is so starved of sports personalities is so evident by the involvement of everyone. From the prime minister, to the Bollywood Stars to every possible News Channel. And who raises hopes and expectations ? The media. I would say, Indian media is probably one of the most exploitative in the world. How else can one define the gimmicks of every channel to rope in any available cricket legend, force them to wear Carribean Clothing, sit and make them listen to Vande Mataram, and finally give the same goddamn conclusion ? India has to win. India has to play Kumble.

Over and over in every channel, the conclusion was the same. But the personalities involved were different. Any layman would have realised India had to win. Of course ! Every match has to be won ! And then, the never ending chain of ads on Air, Ooh Aah India, Tigers on the ground, gully cricket ad from Nike, and dozens more. And all this in the hope that India would come out victorious. Now what happens of all these ads ? Do they get scrapped ? What is the point in even airing them ?

March 21, 2007

CWC - Controversial World Cup ?

March 21, 2007 Posted by Vijay No comments
Public sympathy and dismay over the Pakistani Cricket Team's Coach have now over shadowed the ongoing Cricket World Cup itself. Pakistan, yet again has managed to be in the cricketing limelight, inevitably for all the wrong reasons. The past 9 months have been tumultous for the Pakistani team. A forfeited Oval Test match in England, charges against Inzamam, Younis Khan refusing to take the captaincy mantle for Champions' Trophy. Immediately followed by the doping scandal ahead of the Champions' Trophy against Mohammad Asif and Shoaib Akhtar, a disastrous South African Tour, mystery surrounding Mohammad Asif and Shoaib Akhtar's non-inclusion in the World Cup Squad, and probably most damagingly, the loss to Ireland on Saturday last, followed by the death in mysterious circumstances of Bob Woolmer their coach.

The list seems like an action filled soap opera, except that they have done only bad things for Pakistani Cricket and is threatening to damage the gentleman's game with conspiracy theories floating around Bob Woolmer's death. Pakistan cricket probably has never had this worse a period of time. The biggest upset ever in ODIs against Ireland, and the very next day the death of Bob Woolmer in mysterious circumstances. Pakistan cricket has now hit a new low. If investigations going on Kingston, Jamaica are to be taken seriously around the death of Woolmer, it wouldn't be a surprise if some major heads in Pakistan Cricket would roll.

March 20, 2007

Chilling Out In Ooty

March 20, 2007 Posted by Vijay No comments
After 3 consecutive weekends of trips and treks, a long weekend could not have been spared ! First it was Mudumalai (or famously renamed as Malaigudi by the new age Columbus), then it was the Yelagiri Hills (Bangalore-Chennai Route), and finally Pakshipathalam (Wayanad, the other side of Brahmagiri). Physically taxing was the common refrain by the core group which ventured in all these 'expeditions'. Not surprisingly, I was the common factor in all these trips, and was about to join in the fun once again for the long weekend.

Ugadi, the Kannadiga and Telugu New Year fell on the 19th, a Monday. Though I was adamant and kept making statements "Mujhe Jungle Jaana Hai", I couldn't muster enough support to go on a trekking expedition. All had gone into relaxation mode. My only point of argument was, that if relaxation was the intention, sleeping at home in Bangalore made more sense than packing bags and going all the way to a Hill Station. But, I was willing to go with any plan, since a weekend Getaway was all I wished for.

Alok, Renjith, Anil, Nandini and I set out to make this trip happen. Renjith's suggestion of Ooty was and will remain a masterstroke, since we had apprehensions that the climate in Ooty in the month of March may not be that cold. I could't lay much claim to this theory since it had been more than 6 years since I last went there, and wasn't sure about the weather conditions. But we were in for a pleasant surprise, though not Renjith, who knew all along what he said.

February 28, 2007

Sanity Restored Is Insanity Gained

February 28, 2007 Posted by Vijay , 5 comments
When I initially hit upon this statement, it was more by chance than by intent. When I started thinking about it later, it made more and more sense to me. Of course, a statement like this is bound to raise eyebrows, and bring more amusement and giggles than any sort of constructive thought as to why a sentence like this would get even coined.

Coined, I understand is a big word. For once though, I wish to keep the rights reserved on this statement to myself. In order to make people understand what I meant by this sentence, I had to struggle, and quite expectantly, all my efforts went in vain. All were busy teasing, and laughing at such a strange and weird sentence as a name on orkut. Yes, this is my name right now in orkut, and when my friends, new/old add me in orkut, they tend to wonder who the hell is this ? I sometimes have to personally go to them and add myself in their friends' list, since my name isn't there, and now, nor are my snaps.

Importantly though, it started dawning on me that "Sanity Restored Is Insanity Gained" assumes much more importance than what people might otherwise think. Dismissing it as a moment of madness, is not acceptable, atleast not to me. There are some simple reasons why I stick to my point. There doesn't exist a single soul on this planet, who doesn't have a whacky side to him/her. No one is born perfect. No one is born dumb either. Everyone have their own unique traits, which could be odd for some, irritating for some others, and amusing for yet others. But there exists a streak of abnormality in everyone of us. The levels of which may vary.

February 20, 2007

They Just Can't Win !!!

February 20, 2007 Posted by Vijay No comments
Australia, posted an even better 346 in the 3rd ODI in the CHappell-Hadlee Series, only to watch in dismay as they lost yet again to New Zealand, by 1 wicket. Australia seem to have lost the habit of winning which it prided in, having lost 5 on the trot and 6 of their last 7 ODIs.

Incredibly, New Zealand were 116/5 but Mcmillan scored a blistering century(fastest ever by a Kiwi in ODIs), and then McCullum played a Boucher like innings to seal the exciting 1 wicket win. Australia, for all it's injury and resting woes, now have a mammoth task in hand to come out of this slump.

In the span of 3 days, the second highest run chase ever has been bettered by New Zealand. And in the last one year or so, Australia has lost trying to defend scores of 332, 434,334 and now 346.

February 18, 2007

Is Parity Restored In Cricket?

February 18, 2007 Posted by Vijay No comments
Today I witnessed the virtual obliteration of a mammoth total that Australia (Aussie) posted, by a re-vitalised New Zealand (Kiwi) Team. To overhaul a total of 336 with more than an over to spare, and that too by 5 wickets can be described as nothing but obliteration. That is precisely what the Kiwis did to the Aussies in the 2nd ODI in the Chappell-Hadlee trophy in Auckland today. And for the first time in a very long time, their No.1 spot has been usurped from them by South Africa in the ICC ODI rankings. Australia, without their Big Guns are now like any other normal team in the World Scene. Or, frighteningly for the Aussies, maybe even worse than the rest.

What started as a loss to England in the Commonwealth Bank Series in Australia, has now started to take alarming proportions. Not because the Aussies have now lost 5 of their last 6 ODIs, and not even because they have now lost 4 in a row. But because of the manner in which they have lost these past 4 ODIs. Attributing all the losses to the absence of a world class all rounder like Andrew Symonds is akin to how India attributed it's chances of winning and losing to the presence or absence of Sachin Tendulkar in the 90's. India has come a long way since then, and can beat any team now without Sachin's services. And to Australia's credit, never had its team depended on one player for its performances. But, it does seem now, that the absence of Symonds from the team has had some impact.

Without Ponting, Gilchrist, Symonds, Clarke and Lee, Australia seem as vulnerable as any other team. The interesting fact though, is even with the services of Ponting, Gilchrist and Lee, they lost to a supposedly weak England team in the Tri-Series in Australia, and that too 2-0 in a possible 3 match finals. This is not something the Aussies are accustomed to. Aussies have been all along known for their fighting spirit, to win matches out of nowhere, to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. But to lose 2-0 in the finals in Australia, and then to lose convincingly to New Zealand in the Chappell-Hadlee series, must be worrisome for Cricket Australia.

February 17, 2007

So, who wants a medal ?

February 17, 2007 Posted by Vijay No comments
No, I haven't put medals on sale for people to buy. This is what has come to be of the National Games. Though I am immensely passionate about cricket, I can't but sympathise at the state of the 33rd National Games in India. Yes indeed! The National Games are on in Guwahati if you are not aware that is (And is actually almost over!). What was more news on channels happened before the games began. And they were all about political games and not the sporting ones. ULFA plotted and executed a successful attack, just before the games. But little did they realise that, the country has much more important sports information to chew on.

That is the effect of cricket. The game, without any fault of its own has virtually killed off Hockey as the National Game, and has all but wiped off interest in the common citizen in upcoming athletes in India. The irony of it all is, that these same citizens will sit glued to television sets when the Olympics begin next year. After all, it's an international event, and demands that kind of a viewership. And then, the old cribbing of India's spineless performance crops up once again. But until then, the common Indian citizen doesn't bother what athlete, which event? Nothing. It's all cricket.

It is but obvious, that the star value attached to a sport is what will fetch wider audiences to it. If not for Sania Mirza, Tennis in India would have been what it was pre-Paes/Bhupathi era, inspite of Paes and Bhupathi's heroics in the slams. Sania's glam image, has done what the Ramesh Krishnan's of old, who actually managed reaching the semis of major slams couldn’t do.

January 26, 2007

Expression of Experiences - The U.S twist

January 26, 2007 Posted by Vijay 1 comment
Continuing on from the adventures on the Pontiac Grand Prix, there was a dinner arranged at Palo Alto. It was a farewell dinner for few of my folks who had toiled away by the time I had joined them. Gordon Biersch was the venue, and Non-Veg was on the cards for the few or more who were of the omnivorous kind. Being a veggie, and a non-drinker, I had to resort to a cup of piping coffee. Now, for all the wonderful sceneries and the friendly people that the U.S has, there are some stranger aspects which could be termed as uncomfortable for a new entrant from India.

Coffee gets served with milk/cream separately and sugar separately. Well, this can't be found in any hotels in India except the star ones. Besides, there are these finely grounded crystals of sugar that one can find in the U.S. When I had my black coffee and the cream, I just had to add Sugar. Well, the finely grounded crystals were in packets, and they were there, and I was oblivious to their presence. All I could think of was, sugar, in U.S resembles salt, in terms of the texture. I leave the remaining part of it for the reader to guess. But hey, I didn't go that far as to spoil the drink ! And believe me NaCl and C12H22O11 in coffee can be real spicy !

Anyways, going forward, I learnt an important lesson. If I need to have Dosa in the United States, I would be served, a cup of rice flour, a pan and some oil. And I would be ready to have my own Dosa ! Hey, do I get a stove too ?!! Over a period of time, staying at the U.S can be really entertaining too ! While shooting pictures lying on the Road in Monterey, an elderly woman passed by in her car and parked it in a parking lot. Well, she smiled at me and Sankar's antics on the road. But she was to be in for a surprise, since the photo shoot on the road went on for more than 10 minutes. Enougn time for her to come back and take the car and leave. Leave she did, but not before remarking to the 2 eccentrics trying to get a snap off the road - "Does your mom know about this ?". Well, back in India (soon it will be, here in India, but I will take one more week to return !) one wouldn't' have had the liberty to lie on the road in the middle of a city ! And even if we had the space and the guts to do it, we would have been taken away by the authorities.

Entertaining to hear the Americans speak it is ! If they want to say yes, it goes more like ... "aaa..haa ?". For example, if you guess where the restroom is and the guess is right, but to confirm you were to ask a passer by , the reply would be "aaa..haa?". Note the question mark at the end of the reply. It goes without saying that it would find a presence in any mundane talks they have. Another example goes like

Me : "So where did you go the last weekend ?"
Response : "I had been to New York?"

Weird that a question is again questioned !?? Hey, it is not as if the responder isn't sure that he/she had been to New York. This is just the way they talk over here ! If I had been a novice and heard this reponse, I might have replied back - " You don't know if you had been there ?"

What amazes about the US is the infrastructure. Smooth roads especially make driving a pleasure. Once I had gotten used to driving, I switched cars and got a brand new Chrysler Dodge Caliber. And I can proudly say I drove more than 900 miles on it in less than 3 weeks ! But, driving cars is really easy, once the traffic rules are well understood and all the sleepiness is shaken off. Then it a lot of fun, and more than anything else, I would miss driving on these roads. A drive into the Big Basin redwoods, was spectacular, something which I have never done even in India through mountainous winding roads.

I can't imagine in a week's time I would be heading back to my very own India. The honking horns which I never heard (except when I was driving !!) and the snail paced traffic which I never witnessed will all be in full sight back in India. What I have been truly missing has been all the cricketing action. An Ashes whitewash by the Aussies on the hapless English, a disastrous ODI performance by India in SA followed by a surprising test victory, and then of course, the sigh of the God on the Off side, back in form and action. I just hope, when I come back I can see Dada cement his place for the World Cup and show what India missed for an year ! I say this because he deserves a place, atleast in the ODI eleven. Last but not the least, I can get to stop by and ask innumerable passers by for directions if I lose my way. Passers by on roads in U.S are as scarce as there are Tigers on the planet.

January 25, 2007

Midnight Madness ..!!

January 25, 2007 Posted by Vijay , 3 comments
Warning : The following article contains information beyond any human thought or imagination. The reader is hereby warned that reading the article could cause severe bouts of uncontrollable convolutions which can lead to complications resulting in implications bringing about multiplications to the already existing complications. Reader discretion is strictly advised !

So, what happens when one is nearing the end of his/her stay in the U.S of A ? Well, in a week's time I will be going back to my homeland, India. And the feelings poured forth during my conversation with Sankar. Excerpts :

Sankar: India of the Burma of the Lanka
12:12 AM b* of the cable of sharapova
brain of the sankar of California
reserve of the army of America
me: countries of the paradise in the satirical phrase of the entire universal truth hidden behind the doors to heaven which are opening in the unity and integrity of the Indian sub continental atmosphere