Monday, December 1, 2008

Voice of the common man

With the investigations revealing newer truths daily into the Mumbai war, as the media has chosen to call it, the common man has many grievances to report. Some of them in my list:

  • No resignations please. No, you cannot run from your responsibilities. If you have screwed up something, you need to stand back till it gets fixed. Running away from responsibilities cannot be called "Taking moral responsibility". Work under pressure till you close the case and then offer to resign. I am sure this resignation is a holiday in disguise and this whole drama would be forgotten when it comes to election time again.
  • No movies on this war please. I remember the movie "Shootout at Lokhandwala" about one such real life incident where the terrorists were given real life caricatures and it was one of the roles of a terrorist who walked away with all the laurels. Hence, NO movies on this.
  • Keep media away from the actual sit of the operation. With unrestricted access to the place of operation, in addition to projecting the forces as heroes (which is commendable), it also provides accurate and classified information on TV of the hideouts and operation details which are accessible to everyone including the terrorists bosses who can communicate with them very easily and hence, aiding the terrorists in turn. This was depicted very clearly in the movie " A Wednesday" where the protagonist shows clearly how the media can be used to gain accurate information of the operation.
  • Stop ALL ties with Pakistan. With more and more evidences showing a Pakistani hand, we need to stop all sort of ties with Pakistan. Stop all Samjhauta Express trains and buses, imports,exports (including movies,songs and artists), cut off all cricketing and any other sporting releations with them. To go a step further, with the power BCCI has over the ICC it can threaten to boycott any series where Pakistan participates hence, meting out a South Africa like treatment to Pakistan to make it loud and clear to the world "Enough is Enough". Some of this was done after the attack on the Parliament. This is bigger attack than that , then why not this time.
  • Stricter laws dealing with terrorists is needed. Mercy petition from terrorists should simply be thrown like the files which are stacked up in the Govt. Offices. Terrorists must go through a spine chilling experience before they even think of attacking India. Terrorists should not be turned into heroes. No. Not even their names should be reveled to public. They are anti-social and should be dealt in the same way.
  • Take the warnings seriously. The warnings from ATS and other investigating agencies are not mere "instincts". Also, I fail to understand how did they enter so easily through the sea with the presence of so many coast guards and navy fleets in and around Mumbai. Imagine if it is this easy in a place like Mumbai how easy would it be along the long coastlines of Gujarat where there is nothing apart from the marshes of Kutch.
These are the voices echoing inside this common man. Lets hope at lease some of them are heard!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Tale of 2 cities

We Indians had our own share of "Tale of 2 cities" during the turmoil which happened over the last few days( 4 days to be precise). It all began on the fateful date of 26th Nov when some terrorists waged a war against the financial capital of the country. About a 1000 kms away, another metro, considered one of the lifelines was preparing itself for the nature's fury. If the terrorists were from Pakistan, the cyclone "Nisha" came from the Bay of Bengal, the credit for the christening goes to East Pakistan(Bangladesh). The battle was between the terrorists and the army,ATS,NSG,Police in Mumbai while in Chennai after 2 days of continous rain in Chennai, it was a battle between the Sun and the clouds with each playing hide and seek with Chennaite's life for another couple of days. It can only be called irony that both these battles began and ended on the same day. The precision with which the terrorists had planned the events and the fury of the nature during the rains over Chennai are unparallel and lets sincerely pray that it is not repeated in future. In both of the cases, the common man could be felt wanting for more in terms of the relief measures and the counter-offensive against the terrorists. One thing is for sure, both the cities were not at all prepared for this kind of day. Perhaps we need to do some more introspection before claming about 7.5% growth in GDP and Chandrayaan success. We need to get the basics right.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Chennaiyil Oru Mazhaikalam

Some random thoughts on a not so random day. I say not so random because in my Chennai life so far , I haven't seen Anna University exams getting postponed due to rain in addition to schools and colleges being shut for the day. Alas! there are some souls like me who still have to work [sigh].

The continous torrential rains caused due to the low pressure bring in my mind the title" Chennaiyil Oru Mazhaikalam". This happened to be the title of the next Gautam Menon's movie after the phenomenal success of Kaaka Kaaka . Now the buzz is that this is the next movie from his camp again after the mixed resonse to Vaarnam Aayiram. Also, this will be the first time A. R. Rahman will work with Gautam Menon whose movies have been known for their beautiful songs, coutesy Harris Jayaraj. This reminds me that I am yet to see Vaarnam Aayiram.

Also running through my mind is that amidst this rainy weather is the thought that we have to go to offices. How I wonder our offices were also shut or at least we were allowed to work from home. I mean, companies should think seriously about this option. Imagine the amount of cost cutting it can achieve from transportation,electricity,AC costs and the goodwill it will gain from the employers. To take it a step further, I would suggest that each team should come to office only once in a week and hence dividing the total number of teams into 5 groups working from office on any one of the working days. This will lead to cost saving of 80%. And if this is made a permanent option then they can curtail the building costs also providing seating space for only 1/5th of the employees. Agreed that additional expenses will include giving laptops to everyone and broadband connection but I guess most of the companies already have internet allowance as a part of their monthly salary and computer buying option as a part of the total CTC. Hope, someone who can take such decisions reads this.

Another thing to be felt happy about is the very fact that my company has transportation. Otherwise, coming in public transport or own vehicle in this rain would have been a mountain to climb.

Good that there are no matches scheduled in Chennai these days , otherwise the list of matches being washed out in Chennai would have got another entry appended to it.

The rains also remind me of my childhood days in Bhubaneswar where it used to rain cats and dogs and once we could not see sunshine for 7 long days.

Hoping to see sun again soon.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Border Gavaskar trophy

The Border Gavaskar trophy of 2008 will be remembered for reasons many for each one of us. My own diary of the series

  • The most unaustralian side I have seen. When do you see an Australian team with not a single bowler who has average less than 30. How often you hear of figures like 0/199 in 30 overs for an Australian bowler even if it was in a practice match.
  • The most sporting (read uncompetitive) Australian team I have seen in recent times. The only episode of unruly behaviour came from the Indian camp in the form of Gautam Gambhir. Perhaps, rightly they have learnt to lose now.
  • It was Indian festival all through. The series ran parallel to the most famous indian festival Diwali came as a blessing in disguise to Indians. Begining from Sachin's record breaking run, we had Anil Kumble's grand farewell and Dada's winning farewell.
  • War of words was started and also won by India for a change. This is primarily because Australians chose to remain silent this time and Indians ... well we had all of them speaking volumes. Once again the focus was not on war on field but off the field. Indians should have surely avoided it especially the Gambhir incident.
  • Post series win Indians have been on a rampage giving one statement over the other and claiming that we are the no.1 side in the world now. Australians attained the no.1 status after tasks like beating Sri Lanka in Sri Lanka and beating NZ in NZ. India is far from doing these. India won a series at home which is nothing but expected because home pitches are tailor made. If Indian attains the same win in Australia then may be we can claim to have moved a notch towards the no.1 spot.One more important factor what I felt was the matches were mostly decided by the spin of the coin and not the spin of the ball. Whoever won the toss dominated the match. Had Australia been luckier than probably we would not have been celebrating this.
  • The last day of the series was something to watch out for. The aggression with which Aussies came out to bat especially Hayden and the way Indians matched their aggression, it was test cricket at its best.
  • No doubt Ponting will have more than a few questions to answer over his game plan of preferring to think about the ban in the next series and letting a winning chance slip away in the final test.
  • Australians have learnt to lose in spirit. Indians have just started their winning ways. Hope they handle their win maturely by not giving any horrendous statements.

Friday, October 24, 2008

mundinam parthen:indru thaan ketten

I listened to the song "mundinam parthen" from the latest Gautam-Harris combination movie "varnam aaayiram" and this blog is dedicated to that song. Now, let me make some things clear, this song is not the best one I have ever heard or probably the best I will ever hear but still, this happens to be my first blog about a song. Before you close this page, let me go to the topic.

This song undoubtedly one of the best I have heard in recent times. The song begins with a small prelude and then guitar takes over eventually giving the reins to the singer Naresh Iyer who takes the song to great heights as usual. Soft guitar follows the song throughout along with the beats and the saxophone piece played out in between stanzas is something which is very novel and great from Harris. Never before I have seen him handle saxophone and guitar so nicely.

The song leaves a lasting impression and is definitely addictive. The lyrics by Thamarai is at its usual best and this one is a super romantic song ably in the subtly of the words and feelings expressed. To me this song is a winner all the way and find some space in my heart and my new ipod for a long time for sure. And I am sure, the video should be equally exciting.

Link for the song: Click here

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Back to cricket

It has been quite a while I wrote abour my favourite topic, cricket. And thanks to Zaheer Khan, I got the topic to write about. To be very precise about my point here, Zaheer khan's comments about australian team are uncalled for. Statements like this australian team is the most defensive australian team are completely uncalled for.  It is clearly evident from the score cards as to who dominated the game. The very fact that Ponting dared to give a sporting declaration with a target of under 300 on a day to finish is enough to show the amount of courage he has and the amount of confidence it has in his bowlers. Then , it was left to India to find out ways of delaying the inevitable and to put it in best words for India, they managed to salvage some pride in this tailor made slow pitch for them. Yes, it is a fact that Aussies are missing a key spinner in their side for this tour, but nevertheless, this match was always under australian control for me and we just managed to sneak through. Hope such statements from players do not start the war of words again and eventually we end up losing the main focus on the game .

Friday, October 10, 2008

The unforgettable tour 2

Here goes the second part of the so called unforgettable tour which I made to LA. After a wonderful and entertaining day at the universal studios and an overnight stay at the hotel, next morning we headed to the supposedly, happiest place in the world. The place where the clock never strikes midnight, the place where everyone irrespective of their age becomes a kid. We thought we would be the early birds by making it there before others come in but we were in for a rude shock. By the time we entered disneyland after wading through the marathon crowd on foot, we saw the entire world there. Again due to maverick planning of our tour guide, we managed to hit all the famous and not to be missed spots first.

As soon as we entered, we saw a breathtakingly beautiful disneyland railroad station and the street called main street U.S.A. And there was goofy waiting for us to take snaps with it.

First on our list was the most famous indiana jones ride. After a really long walk to the ride from the entrance into a cave like structure we were made to sit on a jeep prototype and then made to ride on rough roads having lots of ups ,downs curves and artificially created dangers. The best part was the statue of a man hanging from the ceiling as if he will just jump into the jeep and the big dummy stone being rolled over as if it would straight land on your head. After around 5 to 10 minutes the bumpy ride came to and end but not before giving us very nice thrilling moments.

Next was the best of the lot, the pirated of the carribean ride. This ride was a very smooth ride , no ups,downs,thrills whatsoever. But the effect they have created of the sky and other sets relevant to the movie inside this ride gives an out of the world experience. At one point it looks like the end of the world, meaning there is a dead end in the ocean and the way it looks here in the ride is nothing short of the real experience. This ride lasted for more than 10 minutes and all the time as expected we were seated on a boat navigating on an artificially well created ocean.

After this rather calm and spellbounding experience, we were headed for some short and quick thrill in the form of splash mountain. Which is nothing but just another water ride with a steep and thrilling fall at the end of it. A good place to take some memorable picture at the cost of 15 bugs though.

Next we headed to the other side of park , tomorrow land where our first destination was space mountain. The amount of thrill felt in this ride cannot be expressed in words. Your carriage(if we can call that fast moving thing a carriage) , moves at breathtaking speed in a pitch dark auditorium kind of structure. The only small source of light throughout the entire ride is some artificial shining star. The twists and turns, the steep climbs and falls, the sharp U turns, all at a breathtaking speed and pitch dark environment, this is surely enough to give a nauseating feeling but fortunately and intelligently we had hit upon this ride just before lunch. The single thought that came to my mind after this ride was about the amount of testing and planning that would have gone in for this ride .Our guide was smart enough to get us fast pass for this one when we were enjoying the other rides.

Fast pass means you do not have to wait for the next ride in the queue. You will be given a ticket with the ride timings and you can just report at that time.

Once done with space mountain we went for lunch and that’s when the other group among us who wanted to hit california adventures, the adventure park opposite to disneyland moved on after lunch. And post lunch we were left on our own as our guide moved on with them and this is when we were left on our own for the rest of disneyland trip . Post lunch we were not sure where to go and we lost lot of time and post lunch rush at all the spots was very high.

After deciding to go to the Findind Nemo submarine ride next, we boarded Disneyland monorail , not knowing that it is less for sight seeing and more for real transportation from nearby hotels to the disneyland. So we reached back to the same place after a rather disappointing ride on monorail. My personal recommendation, use monorail only if you have to , otherwise it is just worth a snap.

Once back from here, we found that the queue for the much hyped submarine had a waiting time of more than 1.5 hours and hence, we made our way to the the nearby autopia but again a long queue and a waiting time of more than 20 minutes. This was a kid dish version of the go carting experience, and to be frank the hot sun blazing us did not allow to enjoy this either.

The next we decided to give the finding nemo submarine ride a try nevertheless and waited in queue for more than 1 hour and 15 minutes before getting into an kid dish submarine ride. With all artificial fish and creatures underwater, I would say this one was not worth the 75 minute long wait but nevertheless when you become kid you are bound to enjoy all these stuff.

Once done with this we headed to the other side of the park , Mickey's toon town to meet all the famous characters created by Sir.Walt Disney. And yet again another queue at Mr.mickey's house as if it is a visit to tirupati devasthana. We finally waited and took some nice snaps with the richest mouse of the world in his own house.

Next after having a stroll around the toon town which was indeed very beautiful , we took the Disneyland traditional railroad back to the main area from where we began our morning trip as it was time for some refreshment before the ultimate fun.

After meeting our California adventures folks and then taking all the memorable snaps, finally we went and waited for the two best part of the day.

First one being the disneyland parade. Where all the world famous disney characters, you name them they are there march in front of you in their beautiful and decorated carts. Mickey,minnie,goofy,snow white and the seven dwarfs,pinocchio,donald duck all of them were there and this whole parade lasted around 18 minutes and I had to see the entire parade through the small 4" display of my digital camera as I was recording the entire parade video. To say the parade was awesome would be understatement by all means.

Finally after the parade, we managed to grab something to eat and then started the rock music by an unknown brand singing songs unknown to me but the whole auro surrounding the place was enough for one to be engrossed in the music. It went on for around 40 minutes for every hour and we managed to watch it for two consecutive hours and it was a nice experience. The amazing sound effects created using the high tech instruments was indeed a superb experience.

After buying some souvenir, we went to back to the main street U.S.A reluctantly though, from where we were supposed to see the next of the show stealers. It was the disney fireworks. It started at 9 pm with all the other lights put off. It was by far the best fireworks I had ever seen. The amount of precision they maintained and the flawlessness which was observed can only be felt and cannot be described.

After about 20 minutes of this fun, we were all set to go back but the park was open , open till midnight. We returned back to our hotels, with our minds, hearts and cameras full , full of some everlasting memories. For me it was a day of mixed responses but the two events towards the end of the day the parade and fireworks worked for me. They stood out as the man of the match for this one day entertainment package. As one of the pamphlets of disneyland read " here you leave today and enter the world of yesterday ,tomorrow and fantasy", we experienced the world of fantasy. The world where everyone turns into a child.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

The unforgettable tour I

There has been no trip for which I had done so much pre-planning like this one. Right from the moment I landed here, I eyed the long weekend for a visit to LA and had been eyeing at various options available to me for this trip and when nothing worked out we joined the tour operated by joy holiday. It was a 4 day trip and it began on the Saturday, 30th August 2008.  LA is at a 7 hour drive from San Jose and the journey was pretty much comfortable and mostly uneventful . The moments that stood out in this journey are a visit to the winery, a Danish town called Solvang and the best of it all, the drive from Santa Barbara beach along the road adjacent to the ocean. With my favourite music playing on my ipod and the scenic drive, I was in heaven but alas soon it was dark and the marine drive came to an end. We reached LA at about 9 pm that night and checked into hotel after yet another struggle for vegetarian food in US.  A average hotel room but all we had to do there was just sleep overnight and get ready the next day. Ken our tour guide had given us a strict deadline to keep. Morning 7.30 AM we were supposed to be on the bus. And to everyone's surprise not even one group in the bus delayed and we set off for the first day of adventure at the universal studios, LA. After a journey of about an hour into the city, we landed up in universal studios and my first impression of the place, well it truly is a place not to be missed. 

Our tour guide made nice plans for us, he had all the ride timings in his mind and hence, all we had to do was to be with him and follow his spartan timings. First we set off to Simpson's ride, the newest attraction to the universal studios. It is a ride fully based on simulation. They trap you into a seat and just shake the seat, the way you would feel when driving on a really pathetic road on india say hosur road, bangalore but the effects they create around you in the screen make you really feel as if you are flying. The ride was simply awesome but a short one. Once done with the simpson's we moved to the other part of the studio where rides like mummy and jurassic park where there.  

The jurassic park was a very quite ride apart from a steep fall at the end and  the mummy was kinda ok, nothing much to crave about but what is commendable in these are the amazing sets they created for the riders to feel as if they were really there in the movie playing the real characters. Next we headed to the nearby special effects stages. After making one feel how the real characters in the movie would have felt, this was a place where they showed us how fake the hollywood world is.  They showed almost every trick they use in their movies and a short sample of how all this is done in a very engaging and enlightening way.  

Our next ride was the Backdraft. A set of the the movie backdraft which is based on the life of firefighters. Here the set which we all stood in caught fire right before our own eyes and we had a glimpse of how difficult the life of the real firefighters would be . It had amazing effects which will linger in memories for a long time.  

Next, we headed to the universal studio tour and here our guide was slightly off the target and we lost some 15 minutes , but nevertheless the tour was amazing. They took us to different sets which were and are still used in some of the hollywood movies. We saw sets of movies like Fast and The Furious,Psycho,King Kong and many other and the very famous serial Desperate Housewives. Also, we experienced how the create floods and rains in the movie. This tour of more than 30 minutes  was a great experience and some ardent fan of english movies would have had the time of his life time for sure. The man who stood at the psycho set with knife still in hands just to give the feel of the audiance shows the amount of thought that has gone in to entertain people.  Once done with this we went for our lunch, once done with it, we chose to do more of quite things. 

We headed straight to the Terminator 2 : 3D show. I would term all these 3 D and 4 D movies here as the next level in entertainment. You have real people and a screen running the characters, you have breeze blowing over your head when a helicopter flies above you and the 3 D effects they create.... simply marvellous. The next stop was Shrek 4 D. Where you feel all the adventure and jerks sitting right there in your chair in addition to the 3 D effects and the water sprinkled over you when the same is happening on the screen adds to the thrill.  

Finally we landed up in the biggest attracion of all, the water world. Well , the set of this movie have been amazingly re-created right here with a big space for audiance to sit and man how it was packed. After a struggle for the seat and waiting for the show to begin, it was more than 20 mins of great fun and excitement. With the plane crashing into the sets towards the end of the show marks the climax of excitement. Though I did not enjoy the movie water world, this show was among the best I have ever seen in my life. Awesome stunts and action sequences and some snaps with the star added to the glory of this. Our last stop was a trip to the horror house and frankly nothing much to be scared about. 

This marked the end of our trip to Universal studios. Overall the experience can be summed up as an effort to make the visitors re-live the moments the characters would have lived, to feel the same thrill,fear and excitement the characters would have felt. To be more precise, it is entertainment taken to the next level.  It is indeed worth all the praise you might have heard and all you are going to hear in future because they are on a trot to improve it and take it to the next level.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Feel proud to be a human

Most of the time looking and aspiring for better things in life, we forget to appreciate and relish the very fact that we are humans and the life is to be enjoyed. A film preaching this very simple but usually ignored message is "The Shawshank redemption". Now, this is a very old movie but I may look crazy to be writing about this now. But the fact is that I watched it only recently and that it left such a mark on my mind that I can write about it even after another 30 years . Now to get to the movie, it is one of the most under-rated movie according to me. And I read somewhere that it didn't make money and to everyone's surprise it didn't win even a single oscar. Though it does not contain any earth defying stunts and a complex narrative, it is a film with a true heart in its right place. It is the story of hope and freedom. It is the story of celebrating the very fact that inspite of all our problems in life, we are human and that itself is worthy of celebration.

The protagoinst of the story is Andy, who is convicted of double murder, which he claims he has not done, and hence, he is subjected to 2 life sentences in shawshank prison. Now, shawshank prison is portrayed as one of the toughest and worst place to be in. And the prison inmates have lost all their hope about life, some even fear about going out. But Andy comes in as a fresh air. He , with his skill with his bank and money matters starts helping inmates and also prison guard and also warden in the meantime getting a lot of favors for the inmates like a very good library. Mid way through the movie he find proof for his innocence, but then when that proof is also lost forever , he still shows a lot of compassion in recovering from the situation. His character is a benchmark in taking positives from the toughest situations in life and then moving on with life with a smile. What happens to Andy and some of his friends marks the rest of the story culminating in a brilliant climax.

The movie is marked with remarkable script,dialogues and acting. The narration by Morgan Freeman is simply awesome. All characters live their part. Though the pace of the movie is really slow, by the time it gets over you end up yearning for more. And each time I see the movie, I derive out a different meaning out of it, probably a different message it wants to convey. And at the end of each such viewing, one thing is for sure, I feel energized to take up the challenges in life. In fact, this is the best movie I have seen yet. Like they say in the movie , Remember hope is a good thing, in fact..the best of things... I will be hoping that you like this blog and keep visiting this page of mine again and again.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Mysteries of mystery spot

Visiting a lot of places grants you the virtue of reviewing them and here I am reviewing one of the places I visited last weekend. The Mystery spot, Santa Cruz. Santa Cruz is a small town situated around 35 miles to the south of San Jose. Santa Cruz boasts of a beautiful beach, a theme park and mystery spot. Now before we headed for it, I did some homework about it over the net and found it to be a good place to visit. However, the whole story was not as honky dory as the homework was.

The first mistake we did was to go on a tour without a person who knows to drive a car and of course without a car. Nevertheless, the took the greyhound bus to the place from greyhound station of San Jose. The journey took alomst 1 hour and there we were estranged at the Santa Cruz bus stand , clueless as there were no taxis around to take. After a wait of almost 1.5 hours at the bus stand and many calls to the call taxi service, finally we found a taxi at around 12. Mystery spot is in the outskirts of this small town, in deep red wood forests. Next, came the shocker, we had a huge sunday crowd there. We stood for the tickets and and got the tickets for the 3 pm tour. Even though there were 45 minutes tour starting every 12 minutes. That was the amount of rush there. So we were left waiting for another 2 hours for our tour.

Now to the tour, as every other thing in US the tour started bang on time and we got a nice tour guide. Mystery spot is a place where the laws of gravity go haywire.

The first thing we saw here was a plain platform. With one part of it inside the mystery spot border and the other outside it. The magic here was the difference of height between 2 persons who stand there. The difference in their heights vary a lot when they change places. To be precise, one looks to be shorter when he is inside the mystery spot boundaries.

The next thing to experience was the uphill climb. The slope which looked to be less steep was difficult to climb and the slope which appeared more steep was easier.

By the time we finished climbing, we reached a tilted wooden hut. This was built for the purpose of tourist attraction only and it was built straight. But due to the mysterious gravitational force here, it started tilting on its own and here it was tilted at about 15 degree. If you are inside the house, ideally you should be tilting at the same angle as the house but thats not the case. Wherever you stand in the house you are tilted at the same standard angle of 17 degree. Now to prove this point, there are planks in the room with a different angle so that you can stand countering the tilted angle of the house. But again you stand tilted at the same 17 degree.
Here, we saw things rolling upwards on the plank indicating the anamoly in the gravitational force.

At the other side of the house, we were shown some more instances of height illusion on a flat plank and then our small mystery tour was over.

Now I won't call this place breathtaking probably because you are really not allowed to spend your own time and do some research on the things over here, and thats probably because, we don't know what is wrong where and it would take a long time to discover things yourself. And seeing the sunday rush expecting this is too much. But at 5 $ ticket, and in a car's drive from San Jose this place is definitely worth. What more, you can flaunt some very brilliant photos and videos.

My contribution on you tube.

One more trivia about this place is that, the owner wanted to buy the flat piece of land which is currently parking place for mystery spot. The owner was forced to buy the mountain which is the mystery spot earning thousands of dollars every day.

Another very mysterious aspect of the place was what do Indians have to do with this mystery spot? I mean more than 60% of the crowd there was indian. It was not a one day story. Prove to this, there was dal and rice served as a dish at the local eatery.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Johny Gaddar: Watch it

During the evening hours of my stay here and when office spares me, I managed to see a movie which I wanted to see since a long time and it is Johny Gaddar on you tube. The movie is very much worth the hype which I had heard it from word of mouth because the box office collections of the movie suggest a completely different picture.
The movie begins with 5 goons planning for a 'deal' where everyone has equal amount to share and equal share in profits also. The real story begins when one of them, the gaddar plans to ditch others and take the whole money for himself. Now, the audience is aware of who the gaddar is from the very moment the treachery comes into the mind of the of the gaddar himself. So, what keeps the viewerd engaged is what one might wonder. It is the casual and cool way of the characters, the apt characterisation, the bang on spot dialoghes and the excellent cinematography. Now one might wonder, cinematography has no role to play in such a movie where there are no songs and no foreign locales but what impresses you is the way the cinematography manges to reflect the mood of the movie. The screenplay is another stellar. As for the performances, newcomer Neil couldn't have asked for a better debut and he manages to perform well also. Dharmendra in his new second avatar has been a reveleation like the movie 'Metro'. Other members support aptly. By the end of it all, when you feel the gaddar has just pulled it off and also for some strange reason I felt happy on that, the last sting is left. Songs by Shankar Ehsaan Loy are another plus for the movie especiall, the title song for me. Must watch for people who have a taste for interesting and sensible movies.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Life in San Jose

Well, I am in San Jose for the past 2 weeks and will continue to bless this land with my presence for another 10 weeks. So how's life here, or how's life different here. These are some of the points which were markedly different from what I had seen or experienced so far.

  • San Jose(esp the region I stay in) is the most artificial place I ever will see. Yes, it even beats the places you dream about. Everything here is just about perfect. Where else do you find deserted roads all through the day. The VTA train which runs for local transportation also runs all for itself.
  • Where do you find trains and buses running bang on time. I mean, if the train is supposed to come at 7.23 it will come sharp at 7.23 .
  • There's not a spec of dust on roads. The reason for this is that the roadsides from where sand can fly into the road is covered by wooden flakes which are left behind from construction of trees.
  • The climate seems to be tailor made for comfort. Well that is for the time being though. Sunny and windy afternoons and chilly but comfortable nights.
  • The city is amazingly clean and the people unbelievably friendly.
  • The city is well planned in all aspects with perfect roads and infrastructure.
  • But even though they thought of all this they missed to think of an important aspect which one might need and that has to do with toilet. Hope you got it.
Not until I visited places like San Jose downtown and San Fransisco did I realise that this place is no dreamland and it is indeed a place very much on earth with all the earthly things like traffic,rush,poverty,begging etc etc. So I am out of my dream now.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Inflation the true picture

Came across this price list board in Sri Rangam. This board tells the story of inflation.

P.S: For those who cannot read Tamil, the board shows the prices of various dishes.

Monday, July 7, 2008

BSNL land line and broadband story

If I was found searching for antonym for the word "service" on my desktop wordweb , the credit goes to BSNL. First the broadband stops working for no reason and no one picks up at the customer "service" center. When contacted to one of the agents whom we knew, he gave all stories(not solutions) possible by him. Like reconfiguring the router and changing password etc etc. Finally when we were able to raise a complain we came to know that the problem was that the phone number was itself gonna change and without any prior notice and without any change to my physical address. The reason being that some exchange is being changed. So now here I stand with a new changed phone number and I have to inform all my relatives and friends of the change. Whats more taxing is that this is the phone number which is updated in all my previous employers,passport and all other important documents. As of now when called to the older number they redirect to the newer number by a message, but I am not sure how many months that message will be played.

And by the way the antonym for service happens to be a simple "disservice".

Sporting extravaganza on the weekend

This sunday I witnessed two big sporting extravaganzas. One being the cricket final for Asia cup played between India and Sri Lanka and the other being the Wimbeldon finals and I was found switching my channels at every chance I get. Though cricket failed to garner my interest for long (as has beent he case of late with 50 over matches) , some moments truly stood out in cricket as well.

  • India's decision to field 8 specialist batsman and only 3 genuine bowlers came as a surprise move to me but nevertheless, Dhoni should be appreciated for thinking out of the box.
  • Though the match was a lackluster fair especially if you were supporting India, the presentation had its own drama. Rameez Raza in his typical anti-India comment quoted the statistics of India losing out 18 finals out of 22 played from 2002. Dhoni was quick to bounce back with " At least we came to finals, some teams(Pakistan) even failed to make to finals." Bravo Dhoni once again.
And what a tennis match it was. Inspite of rain interruptions now and then we were in for a treat. The match initially in Nada's favour found the champion in Federer when he bounced back like never before with 2 set wins. It was a contest of Champion vs The Aggressor. It was the match between two men who showed true character. How else do you explain the amount of focus and determination shown by both during this 4 hour 48 minute battle of nerves. Hats off to both of you! I could only wish for some more of the match.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Some random thoughts

The issue which is taking the whole country by storm these days is sky rocketing inflation. Now added to that are sever shortage of fuel and a indefinite truck strike which is set to create a sever shortage of essential commodities which in turn will raise the inflation again. And as has been the trend in recent times in movies and various talk shows , people are blaming IT companies and the economic imbalance it is creating in the society for all these. Is the blame game right? I feel no.

The Govt. has failed to capitalize on major opportunities of growth and employment generation and this is the major cause of the economic imbalance existing in the country today. Which sector of Govt. in the past 61 odd years of Indian independence has created as many job opportunities as the IT sector. And why is Govt. not coming ahead in implementing some of the key development projects in India for instance the interlinking of rivers which is all set to generate more than 2 lakh jobs and eradicate the problem of floods and drought. It is because of the petty politics of the parties where they pull each other's legs which is the main hindrance in the successful completion of such projects and not the economic imbalance created by the IT sector. IT sector pays more. Agreed. But the reason for the same is that an IT company initial investment is very minimal and the profits it earns are huge. No IT company pays employees as a charity. Hence, Govt. must concentrate on uplifting of other sectors for equal growth rather than trying to pull down IT's growth.

However, I feel that the IT cos and employees on their part have to be more socially responsible. Especially in the aspect of saving fuel. The entire world will face a very severe fuel shortage in near future with the current growth rate in all the sectors. IT cos should invest some amount of their research in fields to develop energy efficient computers which will cut down fuel usage. Also the employees should shed off their ego and refrain from using unnecassary ACs. I mean, you don't need AC at night 9 pm even in the sultring heat of Chennai in the bus or cab. And the lightning used in the IT cos is also a major concern for me. The lights are shielded with glass walls. All this is done just for a decoration purpose. But makes lights useless in terms of their primary role.
Also, the buildings should be constructed in a way to promote natural light to peep into. Many a times sitting in the office we do not realize what time of the day it is. And lastly, we employees can resort to some basic energy saving tips like shutting off the computer at EOD and switching off the monitor whenever away from seat. I know some companies have already started to work on these but majority still have not.

Lets save power and lets save the world.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Dasavatharam: Leaves us gasping for better

Kamal Haasan is one of the rarest gems in the world who I think lives,eats and sleeps cinema. And when you have him saying Dasavatharam is the biggest film in his career you are bound to go to the theater with huge expectations. That was exactly the feeling I had when I went into the theater. Was I let down by the genius this time around? The answer is yes and a No.

Dasavatharam is a multi layered film for me. It is a very very ambitious attempt to make in Indian cinema. There are three main elements in the film according to me. One is the concept or the basic story line of the movie, which is usual in Kamal's movies of late like Anbe Sivam,Hey Ram etc. Second being the fact that Kamal has dared to do what no one else has ever attempted, playing 10 different characters with different makes ups, mannerisms and voice modulation. The third aspect for me is the special effects involved in the film. Majority of the film has scenes involving special effects. Kamal as a script writer had a difficult task to manage a script which accomodates all three of them in a logical sequence with a smooth flow. And as is typical to Kamal he adds his own doses of humour and atheism here and there.

Now to my interpretation of the movie and what I liked and disliked about the movie. To me the movie has two faces one atheism and other theism. It is the way you look at it that it will reflect upon you. The fact that the idol caused the tsunami due to chaos effect which killed thousands of people makes one feel "enna maari kadavul idu" but when we think of the fact that the tsunami saved tamil nadu from total extinction due to the bilogical weapon makes a statement in support of theism. This is evident in the film as there are characters who represent atheism and theism alternately. Also, the film stresses upon the fact that good and evil co-exist in the society. The synthetic bio-weapon is inside the statue of God for majority of the movie. Also, one of the avtar(role) of Kamal is the villain of the movie. To me the concept of the movie is an Indianised version of Dan Brown's Angels and Demons.

The movie has lot of interlinked scenes and characters and Kamal has left it to the viewer to interpret them in his/her own way.

To get to the point of what I liked about the movie.
  • The movie opens really well. The opening sequence and the mere screen presence of Rangarajan Nambi is awesome. Kamal throws a stellar of a performance as Rangarajan Nambi.
  • Rangarana Nambi's acting is superb even though he lasts for hardly 15 minutes. It is truly of Kamal standard.
  • The basic premise of the story and the concept involved is very good and the effort taken in showcasing these on the big canvas needs to be applauded.
  • Make up for some of the roles like Christian Fletcher,George Bush and Naidu are really good.
  • It is indeed an edge of the seat thriller.
  • The humour quotient provided by Naidu is really good.
Now to what I disliked about it:

  • The special effects in the movie is rather poor in some sequences. For example, the scene during the first scene when Rangaraj is taken in a boat to the sea. I feel these animations could be avoided in the first place instead of doing such a shoddy job at it.
  • Make up for some roles are really shabby like Avtar Singh,the patti, the Dalit leader(his full body is not black). How can a genius like Kamal miss something so obvious.
  • Avtar Singh doing typical Kamal steps was something which can only be laughed at.
  • And what was Kamal thinking when he thought of the first/last scene of the movie where Kamal is delivering a speech. I mean, what was the felicitation for. The dupes for Kalaignar and Manmohan were poor. George Bush dancing before going to the mike, well.................. The movie should have ended with Kamal explaining the chaos effect to Asin , both of them leaning on the statue of Vishnu.
  • Too much make up on faces of the majority of characters prevents us from seeing the usually brilliant facial expressions on Kamal's face.
  • And the biggest sore point of the movie for me was the music. How can Kamal do such a gruesome mistake of chosing Himesh for music for such a film. A film which he is terming to be his biggest in his career.
So, can we say that it is a bad movie. Definitely not. Just that Kamal fails to live upto the expectations we have from him. Just for the sake of playing 10 characters he has created certain characters/sequences which has played its part in hampering the script and narration. I feel Kamal had too many things in his hands to deliver and hence these small goof ups. First, the concept of Chaos effect and Butterfly effect in itself is enough to be written into a full length script with inter-related characters and sequences. On the top of it Kamal in his typical self praising arrogance chose to play 10 characters. To add to all these he had sequences which needed international quality special effects. Special effects are definitely very good when thinking of standards of Tamil films. But when viewers these days have so easy access to movies made in Hollywood and when we are trying to catch up with the movies being made there, the special effects in Dasa leave a lot to be desired. So in an effort to make an all please movie Kamal has failed slightly to impress and deliver what he is known to deliver always, THE BEST.

Note: Had this been a movie by any other star than Kamal then all these shortcomings could be neglected but not with Kamal.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Chose this Happiness :In the pursuit of Happiness

Sometimes simple things impresses you the best. Amidst the hype surrounding Dasavatharam, I watched a simple and moving movie. "In the Pursuit of Happiness" starring Will Smith and many others. Though it is quite an old movie but I got the chance to watch it this weekend only. And indeed it was worth all its praises I have heard from friends. For me the highlight of the movie was the narration and the dialoghes. It goes on to prove that you do not need path breaking graphics and animation to make a wonderful movie or you don't need a very complex narrative beating user's intelligence every now and then to make a brilliant movie. It's simple but poignant tale makes an excellent watch. It is the story of triumph of human aspirations and hope.
There are no unexpected twists and turns in the movie, 15 minutes within the movie you know what you are gonna see in the movie but it is the way it has been portrayed on the screen wins your heart. Each scene in the movie is a beautiful piece of art but the one that scores for me is the one where Will Smith baffles his son to seek solace for a night inside a public toilet.
The movie watching experience is summed up nicely by Will Smith himself in the climax where he says " This .. this very little part of my life is called Happiness".

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Book review of "3 mistakes in my life"

With huge expectations I grabbed the third book by the author Chethan Bhagat titled " The 3 mistakes in my life" within weeks of its release. Here is what I felt about it.

What I liked
  • The book is written in typical casual Chetan Bhagat style which makes the reading a wonderful experience.
  • The characters are next door characters to which we can easily relate.
  • The way Chetan describes certain events and characters is absolutely mouth watering. We somehow start aspiring if we could be there in that situation.
  • IT surely makes a compelling read. It is undoubtedly a book which cannot be put down before finishing.
Now to what I did not like

  • Just to sensationalize things certain characters and events have been penned. That looks amateurish.
  • It is like a typical bollywood movie with doses of romance,action,humour and even it has characters traveling abroad. It has long drawn action sequence as well.
  • The flow is not natural at places.
Overall, it surely is a good read but I found it to be no where near five point someone by the same author.

Monday, May 19, 2008

This Kuruvi should be shot down! Immediately

If I am blogging amidst my really busy schedule , there must be really a very strong reason for that. And indeed it is. On Saturday I was subjected to Nazi style of torture for 3 hours the difference being that I was the one who voluntarily chose to be subjected. Now if you want to escape from the same self-subjugation , please go thru this.

On Saturday morning I gathered enough courage to watch the latest Vijay movie Kuruvi. Not that I remember too much of this horrible movie to share with you , but surely I can share with you the torture I experienced. The movie begins with an amateurishly shot car race scene. Vijay's histrionics during this scene make u cringe in the seat. But if you thought you had enough, the film proves you wrong. Vijay lands up in Malaysia in search of a "Kocha" as Kuruvi only to beat up the goons in their own bar. Somehow the movie drags till the portion where Vijay discovers the truth about his father and "Kocha". From here the second half of the movie talks about how Vijay single handedly lands into the villians's fort to kill him and free his father. Running parallel and rather uninterestingly is the love track between Trisha and Vijay. It is really hilarious when Trisha compares Vijay to Mask of Zorro Antonio Banderas. Director should have portrayed Trisha as playing a blind character or a mentally retarded person to justify this comparison. The long drawn action sequences and the gory violence in the second half only goes to prove the movie ends on the same note as it began. There is nothing , absolutely nothing watchable in this movie. Vijay is his usual self not showing any sings of improvement. All villains act as if they are not going to act in future and they want to finish all their acting dues in this same movie. Trisha is as horrible as ever. Songs and their placements the lesser talked about the better. Vivek is horribly wasted.

To sum it up, instead of seeing this movie in a AC hall, you can bake yourself in the Chennai's hot sun blazing down at 43 degree for 3 long hours . At least you will end up making up some Vitamin D for yourself.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

IPL: A Walkthrough

IPL has been a blockbuster. Like it or not, you simply cannot ignore it. With more then half of it over, its time to recollect some of the important milestones. Some moments which stood out . Here is my list of imp events in no specific order.

  • Harbhajan Slapping Sreeshant: This will rank as one of the top event in the IPL. Never before in cricket we have seen such an incident involving players from the same team. Harbhajan has been portrayed as synonym for indiscipline and as for Sreeshant, well statements like" Don't cry like Sreeshant" have become common.

  • Rahul Dravid not good enough for T20: This event comes as the biggest proof for Rahul Dravid's inefficiency in the shortest form of cricket. Not that this is the first instance. But here he has failed in all aspects batting,captaincy,leadership,chosing the right players resulting in backlash from team owner Vijay Mallya.

  • IPL means money and everyone loves money: Players from all over the world enjoy playing for IPL or at least they pretend to enjoy playing for IPL. Gilchrist retiring from international cricket citing "age" and speculations about Hayden considering retirement in another year are some proofs. Pakistan board planning to come up with PPL (with the same money spinning plans as IPL) ,well I won't call it exactly a proof but a rather immature attempt .

  • McGrath still the one of the best: With his stingy bowling, he surely has proven that he still is a match winner. Delhi still manages to find ways to lose in form of other bowlers is another thing.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

IPL Loyalty Dilemma

Off late I am in a new state of dilemma. This is over the tsunami which has taken frenzy over the entire nation called the IPL. Whichever TV Channel you open or whichever radio station you tune in to people are ga-ga over it. Now I am not going to write about whether it is worth the hype or not. Time will tell the answer. My dilemma here is to decide upon which team should I be supporting. And I think this must be a common feeling.

There can be numerous logics in deciding which team to support. I tried the following:

When I looked for my favorite players, Yuvi and Pathan is in Punjab , Gilli is in Deccan, Gayle is in Kolkotta, Warne is in Rajasthan, Murali is in Chennai ,McGrath is in Delhi, Jayasuriya and Sachin are in Mumbai and last but not no way the least Nathan Bracken and Praveen Kumar are in Bangalore. So, I am torn into pieces if I decide to support based on players of choice. But still If I manage to make a decision, I would go with Punjab.

If I go by the logic of location of the team on the map and my nativity , Chennai is the place where I belong while Bangalore is the place where I have some wonderful memories and Delhi is a city I really really like. But still as nativity counts above other factors this factor draws me towards Chennai.

Then, I decided upon to support the best team, but with surprise results being thrown in like Royal Challengers being dismissed for 82 going on to beat Mumbai Indians. When I thought Rajasthan Royals were the odd men out in this league they came up with a surprise win over Yuvi's men. Still going by this philosophy, as per the points table Kolkotta team looks to be favourite. But the level of uncertainity raises serious doubts over this philosophy.

And if I decide to go by the team ownership and ambassadors of each team, one side we have Shahrukh Khan (for Kolkotta) and Preity Zinta(for Punjab) from Bollywood while the rest of bollywood seems to be rooting for Mumbai , Kris Shrikanth and Vijay (Oh! God didn't they find anyone else) are rooting for Chennai cement's Chennai team, Business tycoon Mallya has Bangalore to his name and so on. Based on my preference of the ownership, I would go with Bangalore team.

And in case I decide to think as silly as to decide by the gersey, I felt Delhi's gersey was the best and Chennai's the worst.

So, here I am still unable to decide whom to cheer for apart from the cheer girls as of now.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Banes of reservation

It is shocking to say the least that supreme court has passed the judgment on the reservation row  justifying the 27% reservation for "Other backward class" in educational institutions. I fail to understand how this reservation is going to help the real "needy". If a person from the OBC can make it to an engineering institution then I don't think he is backward enough to be given reservation for entering into IIMs. And I do not see how this will help the really backward villagers to gain their primary education and forget IIM, at least  attain a matriculation. I am not completely against reservation.( Though this may sound cliched, this is the truth.) Reservations need to be made on the economical status and the residential status . I have personally seen in my own Govt. Engineering College seats from ST rural going vacant which clearly says that people over there have not risen enough to attain education upto Class 12th. How will reservations in Engineering Colleges and AIIMS help is anyone's guess.

Consider this:

  • One out of every 2 students passing out of IIMs henceforth, doesn't deserve in the first place to be there.
  • If the power hungry political parties have their say, this is going to be true with all the Engineers graduating out of India when the same law is passed for private Engineering colleges of India. This wil in turn increase the money laundering done by Private institutions in the country.
  • More and more patients will die due to doctor's negligence and more and more bridges will collapse because of the quality of doctors and engineers graduating out of our country .
  • With outsourcing industry already facing threat from other countries and US election promises, this will hit India further.
  • IITs,IIMs and other premier institutes will surely lose their global recognition though not immediately.
  • This step will further boost the confidence of the political parties to introduce reservations into Private sector Jobs as well
Well , Have I written anything path breaking here. No, all of us know this and realize this. But none of the political parties dare to raise their voice against this injustice fearing to lose the  vote bank in an election season.  The only relief I see here is a clause in the judgement which says that this needs to be re-considered every 5 years. Lets hope this nightmare lasts for only 5 years.

Friday, March 14, 2008

The dogs of war: Not as good

Of late I have turned to be a termite , gobbling up lot of stuff all useless of course. Hence, here I am writing about the 3rd book of Frederick Forsyth I recently finished. Titled "The dogs of War" it is a tale of treachery and double crosses. Once again Forsyth surprises by the meticulous detailed planning for the toppling of the Govt. in erstwhile African state. And as always it is full of information about the black market of weapons,African politics and the difference between Capitalist and Socialist economies. In addition, he provides a certain humorous situations in the narrative wherein the humour is at the expense of the poor uneducated Africans.

However, when it comes to the story, one is left wanting for more once you turn the last page. Lots of strings are left untouched. And the operation seems to be over very easily and smoothly. It cannot be recommended to a non Forsyth fan to turn him into one, but it is a defnite read for a Forsyth fan like me.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Search unix here

Got an interesting search tool for unix lovers. Click here to use it and find out how to create one such google custom search page.

All credit goes to the creator of the site. Me just a postman. :)

Australian Mind Game

Australia have been using this mind game since a long time. Right from the time when the tag " Ugly Australia" was given to them. It has always worked and this time is no different. But the difference is this time it has worked out for the opponents.

Consider this. Which was the turning point in both the final games of CB series during the Australian innings. For me and many other I talked with it was the wickets of Symonds and Hayden. Out of the total 4 wickets( 2 players in 2 matches) harbhajan took 3 . Now you would ask me what has this to do with mind games and sledging. Turn back news papers of the past week or so and you will it full of stories of wars of words between these individuals. Now lets leave out the investigation of who started these and who retaliated. But the ultimate effect is that it affects your performance on field.

My logic is that once you know that you are involved in a mental game with an individual you become mindful of the individual rather than the game he is playing or the ball he is bowling. I think this has been primarily the problem with Australia. They want to dominate people on and off the field with both actions and words. The same was the scenario between Sachin and Shane Warne some years back when Sachin was in the form of his life and the same is now. I believe when you are hostile towards someone you tend to under perform against him. It might be that you start taking him very casually and start committing mistakes or that you become over aware of his performances that you forget to play your natural which ultimately leads to your downfall in the eventual battle of actions. So my logic is see each individual player as a player and not as an individual with whom you have a grudge.

I think Sachin is a perfect example of this. He never indulges in any of the word battles and he shows all his aggression with his bat and saves all his mental energy for the game.

Accept or defy my logic. Comment me.!

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Safe path chosen by Chidambaram

This is the first time I have followed budget so closely and it deserves a mention over here. So here I am with my own review of the budget. Jotting down the merits and pitfalls of the budget.

Disclaimer: Information provided here must already be known to you . Opinions expressed here are mine.

First the merits:

  • Farmer's loan waiver has to be the man of the match for this budget. This will help crores of farmers across the country.
  • Income tax slab revision is another master stroke targeted towards the middle class. The revision is beyond expectations. The salaried class is all set to benefit hugely from this move up to a whooping amount of 45000 a year. Another point here which might be missed is an amount of 15000 is eligible to be exempted from tax under 80G for medical insurance for parents.
  • Cars ,bikes,fridges and other household items will be cheaper from April 1 2008. Another arrow in the quiver targeted towards the election.
  • Lots of new institutions, 3 IITs among them and many other sops for education.
  • Duty on cigarettes without filter raised which will turn people towards "safer" filtered cigarettes.
Now for the pitfalls. The biggest pitfall with this budget is FM has NOT spoken about many crucial aspects. He has simply chosen to avoid them.

  • Nothing being told about extending the STPI sops beyond 2009 March, IT cos future still hangs in balance.
  • Nothing being told about Interlinking of rivers. As soon as summer comes this issue is set to rise its ugly head.
  • No announcements about the pay commission report on revising the pay of Central Govt. Employees.
  • Increase in duty for packaged software, another small blow to the IT industry.
  • No change in the corporate income tax, corporates were expecting a reduction so that their operational costs get reduced.

FM has tried to please everyone with the budget but as an IT professional I feel betrayed except the decision on the other IT, income tax.

Agree with me or counter me... let me know.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Rules change in cricket

On behalf of cricket Australia  I propose the following changes to the cricketing rules  to enable Australian players and teams to continue their winning ways.

*) Any bowler who picks more than 10 wickets in any series in Australia will be treated with rotten eggs and will be boo ed by the crowd.
*) Any player who responds to aussie sledging must be immediately banned for at least 3 matches.
*) Any comment which an Australian player makes is made in the spirits of the game as it is "fun" and any comments from the opposition is NOT.
*) No team can beat Australia in Australian soil, even if they manage to do that , for the next match three of their main players should be dropped or banned from playing.
*) No opposition team can lodge a complaint against any Australian player.
And finally these set of rules come to effect immediately and these will be modified and new rules added with each match and each series with the sole consent of Australian cricket team and board.

Welcome to the new world of domination in cricket by Australia!!!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

The Afghan: Must read

Being quite busy in the new place settling down and the fact that blogspot is blocked in my office has contributed to the delay in posting. Here I am back with another of my review on the book “The Afghan" by Frederick Forsyth which I managed to finish today.

Afghan is the latest offering from the master of thrillers and it surely lives to the high expectations I had after “The Negotiator". As is my cup of tea, it is a fiction which gives us with lot and lot of facts and edge of the seat thrill.

The story begins in Pakistan when the Brits get a hint about a Al-Qaeeda mastermind plan. The rest of the story goes about how the Brits and Americans bond together to send an imposter into the Al-Qaeda to figure out what the plan is. Giving any further insights into the story will be injustice to the book.

My favorite part of the book being the part when he talks about the two warriors, the original Afghan and the imposter. How each of them became the stalwarts in their respective fields. Esp. the portions involving the Afghan which give us a good insight

into the Afghan story, the evolution of Mujahideen,Taliban and Al-Qaeeda. These are the portions where I understood the

ideologies behind each of these forces . Some more facts which I got through this is that the so-called West friendly countries like UAE,Singapore, Malaysia etc. have their own supporters of Al-Qaeeda who are fortunately comparitively dormant.

The book is so detail in all these aspects that one starts wondering if Forsyth was ever involved in any of these. :)

Same is true with the details of the operations performed by CIA and other US forces. His knowledge of the subjects is encyclopedic.

By the time I ended up reading this, one fear starts lingering in your mind. If someone plans an attack to this precision as is done in the novel, it is really difficult to counter it.

Hats off!

Friday, February 8, 2008

IT crash

Is the IT dream over? This question is pondering on everyone's mind. With the dollar values refusing to surge ahead, this is very much a valid question. If any such thing happens, IT is all set to become the most scary profession to take up. The IT companies and Govt. of India who have reaped out so much benefits from the industry should have some moral responsibility to bring it back to track. Companies have made such huge profit during hay days and now it is time to pay back. It is time they adjust with slightly lower margin of profit. As for the Govt., it should take some economic steps like some more sops for the industry to keep it alive. They should just think about all the employment IT has created for the country and the whooping amount of honest tax payers who belong to this sector.

Finally, we the IT people, should be ready for any inevitable change and be prepared with our armors on.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Indian cinema != Bollywood

I was delighted to see the NDTV entertainer of the year award for the year 2007 being given to Rajnikant. Not because I am a hard core Rajni fan or a big admirer of the movie Sivaji . But because of the fact that Indian media has started to recognize beyond the horizons of bollywood. There have been always quality movies which come out of 'woods' other than bollywood but most of them have gone unrecognized. For instance, it fails my understanding as to why was Paheli sent to oscar last year and why is eklavya being sent this year. I know of many movies which were better than them in Tamil, the only regional language movie I follow and am sure others following will give more of such instances. So it is time the term bollywood gets redefined and no longer means Indian cinema. World should realize that bollywood is not Indian Cinema and there is much beyond that. Its time we stop seeing the movie industry from a myopic view point.

One last note on Rajni, according to me he is the most bankable actor in the whole country. Have him in the movie and you can definitely achive six sigma level success or may be more.

Check out the video.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Battle of Perth 2

This happens to be the most exciting test match of my cricket crazy years. And hence ,I am writing a daily account of the match here. India are right at top at the moment. Indians began the day well on an aggressive mode with Viru going for the shots. It is a pity Sachin and Dravid failed to capitalize on their first innings form. Dhoni played a hand after a really long time . But the hero of the day has to be Pathan. Sent in as a the night watchman after Wasim Jaffer failed yet another time, he played a gem of an innings. Laxman played his usual best against Australia. RP Singh gave some thrills towards the finish and Indian tail wagged than longer giving Australia a record score to chase. Aussie run chase has begun on wrong note with both openers failing to fire again and Pathan the tormentor again. Ponting seems to be steadying the ship with his aggressive best. This is a cracker in store for the weekend.
Being an Indian fan and also a Steve Waugh fan, I want Indian team to come victorious and as of now the prospects look 70-30 in favor of India. With the early morning conditions , Indians could well peg back the Aussies with some quick wickets. Hail India!!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Battle of Perth 1

With the verbal battle between CA and BCCI over , the focus now shifts to the action down under in Perth. With Australia showing some discipline on the field , no sledging so far in the match and only genuine appeals and Indians putting up a fight on field rather off the field, this match is poised to signify positive cricket again. The focus is on whether Australia can manage to win without their usual sledging and mental game and if India can come out of the mental block of not winning on a pacy wicket of Perth. All in all a cracker of match in store. Hope the better team( for me India :)) wins.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Australia : Down Down

Australians are the champions, in one day cricket, test cricket and non-cricket. Yes, what happened in the one of the first test matches of the new year was NOT cricket. Right from the horrendous umpiring decisions ( a whooping 11 in number) to the 'sportsman spirit' shown by the Aussies have been unprecedented. And I sincerely hope no one repeats also. This Australian team has earned the dubious distinction of being the most 'aggressive' and unfair team I have ever seen play cricket.
When you have players who nick the ball with a loud noise and still stand their ground hoping umpires would rule them not out and the same player who has clearly grounded the ball while taking a catch off the pad appeals his heart out , you know something is not right and this is not a fair game. I had high degree of respect for Adam Gilchrist as he was one of the most honest and fair player in the Aussie team but when he appealed for Dravid's pad nick which would surely be visible to the keeper, it was clear to me, this team is all out in full strength in full cooperation to win the record 16th test by ANY means. Sincere appreciations to Anil Kumble and the Indian camp who have tacked the whole issue very nicely putting across their views in a very tactical way. Till last night I thought it was 14 men against the Indian team including the 2 ground and 1 third umpire, now it is clear it is a 15 member team, including the match referee. I mean how can you give a decision without conclusive evidence. And that too on Australian charges, who have been synonymous to sledging in the past,present and the future. This is not cricket and this series doesn't deserve to be finished. Indian team should call off this series and come back home and teach Australian board a lesson. Teams like Sri Lanka, Pakistan will endorse this move of Indian team if it happens as they have also been subject to hostile reactions.

In a nut shell, the cricket has lost in this game and an over aggressive and unruly 'mob' of men has won. Winning a match is not everything. Winning hearts is more important and Kumble's men have won that.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

World of ads

Some days back had a very good experience. Through one of my friend from the ad world I got to see some of the best ads which have been featured on television ever. It had memorable ads like mile sur mera tumhara,hamara bajaj, nirma, titan watches,surf excel, le sancy soap, and many many more. It was truly a nostalgic and wonderful feeling , reminding one self of the childhood days when we used to see 20 minutes non stop ad before mahabharat serial used to begin and then non stop serial. If we compare these ads, my personal favorites were the one of cadbury's dairy milk. The music, the theme, the catch line of " kuch khaas hai zindagi main" all are stupendous.

Click here to view my favourite one.