Tuesday, 29 December 2009

2009- A Round Up

That's another fabulous year coming to an end. It has been a roller coaster ride for most of us with the world-wide recession, job turmoils, RIP MJ, Obamotopia, Tendulkar's 20, Woodsaga and a lot more. Some good and some bad. My year wasn't too different. The "one last time" visit to Pilani as a student was a wholesome experience. 15 days of ecstasy filled with assorted "highs". One last shot at The Age of Empires and Fifa, Movies, Sitcoms, Series and more. January and February went by looking forward to and reminiscing from the trip to Pilani respectively.

2009 was the year of Journalism with Digital media coming to the fore with all the might and power. One of those things what we could have done without was the hype that media created for Kareena's saree act or the Woods' bedroom act. Social networking took a new shape with the prominence of Facebook and Twitter. 09 was the year of linking and networking of course. Blogging became popular all the more and personally i was part of that Blogger revolution. The months of March and April indicated some respite after a dull ending to 2008 on the economic front.

I became a graduate in June and the eventual melancholy for missing college days ruled over me for about a month since then. First Job, Heavy work, Coding miseries, Corporate tamasha, Late nights, Team outings and other common buzzwords did buzz past me in the months of July and August. 2009 has been a 'year of reading' for me and I managed to cover a wide variety from Wodehouse, Orwell, Mohammed Hanif, Khaled Hosseini, Forsyth, Ken Follett to Gurcharan Das, Tharoor, Jhumpa and Naipaul. Later parts of the year witnessed a first order ruckus revolving around CAT and the mouse. A 'colossal failure' would more or less capture the essence of the CAT 09 saga. So after calling it 'RIP CAT09' after November, the footballing world caused surprises with the Big Four in England taking a beating. Now, the stage is set for a competitive season overall. An obsession for writing and journalism began to evolve and i started devoting a lot of time on political, economic and social writing in the month of December.

Overall, Not a great year. It did have the good's like the first job, great football, good movies and awesome books. The bad's were there too with RIP MJ, Religion and Politics, Dirty Media, Swayamvars, Hype on Climate change, Costly movies, Costly food, CAT meltdown and more......

Looking forward to a better year in 2010 with better health, better wealth and better knowledge. A Very Happy New Year to all !!

Monday, 14 December 2009

Interview Special

It is the era of "starting-up" and young, first generation entrepreneurs are a celebrated lot these days. As part of an interview contribution to The Viewspaper, I barged into the office of a young entrepreneur from Hyderabad. I felt like one of those modern-day journalists who hold the mic as if it were a scabbard and speak about all and sundry as critically as possible. They call it blade under the tongue approach. I mean, one feels empowered at such an opportunity(of being the journalist). The plight of Tiger Woods, I bet, would give an idea of what journalists can do

So that is that. Coming back to the interview under discussion, it was by and large a smooth affair. However, the parley did stand to offer an episode fraught with surprises. When asked, how he mustered the courage to quit a well paying job to start up on his own, the entrepreneur said it was slightly complicated.
He said: 'the motivation to start' came from the last discussion he had with his ex boss when the latter said "You're Fired". So the advice basically was,
  • Begin the groundwork for the start-up when you still hold the high paying job. But make sure you work well enough to avoid the pink slip.
  • Exploit the famous "Work From Home" option that most employers provide these days. It is a wise idea to "Work For Home" on such occasions.
I smiled at that, thinking it to be a nice gesture at such revelations. He didn't acknowledge though. From then on, he used the interview as an opportunity to lecture a juvenile sitting in front of him. I did ask a few witty questions to highlight the journalist at work but to no great avail. During that awfully long story, I kept doing the 'ucch ucch' and 'ummm' 'umm' regularly and said "it was tough to convince venture capitalists these days", trying to notch an opinion as a display of wit. He grabbed that chance to tell me they were looking for donations and bravely asked me if I could help him by "donating" whatever I could. To say I was shocked at this would be to cheat the reader grossly. I was flabbergasted would be a better way of describing the state of affairs. I was breathing hard (understandably) after the recent turn of events when his wife timed the "filter coffee" perfectly. I thought the wisest thing to do at that point was to cut loose and run. He tried delaying tactics on me by passing on the coffee mug to me and I acted smart by asking the wife if it was filter coffee to change topic and she replied saying it was not filter coffee but Bru. Then, I said it was really nice meeting him to close things down. I could have said I am not affluent enough to contribute by way of any donation at that moment or some such thing to that effect. But like the 'Wooster's pride' that Wodehouse talks of, there is this Sekhars' pride that emerge victorious on these occasions.

At the end of the day, I did manage to hold my purse intact by thoughtfully shooting questions like 'how much would the town bus cost me for my return journey' and 'how costly was the Hyderabad lifestyle in general' and all that sort of a thing, to prove my penury.

To say I had a tough time overall and that it was one of the weirdest conversations in life would be to grossly understate the affair. God Save these People.!

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Googly!

It is on the match-day of some Ireland vs ******** qualifier and here is how the conversation builds between two friends.

"Any score yet?"
(obviously being told Ireland the country had scored)
"Oh cool, who scored?"
(obviously being told the name)
"Yeah, but who scored?"
(friend repeats)
"Yeah I get it. Who scored the goal?"
(etc. etc.)
"Yeah. I get we scored. But who scored the fcuking goal??!"
(at this point his friend obviously takes a different approach, explaining that Ireland had scored the goal for Ireland)
"Oh. Right."


Now what's wrong with these westerners who keep such grotesque names for their children? Can't people have less controversial names considering the welfare of the poor human race?

Oriental names are no better anyway. I don't remember if i have shared this incident on blogosphere earlier. But it's worth a repeat. I know an acquaintance from China whose name is 'Ye Hi'. All's fine till now. But how will one compose a mail in English to this revered gentleman if situation need be?

Hi Hi,

Thanks for the blah blah.. It's been a pleasure to have worked with you blah blah...
P.S: I have fallen in love with your name.
Pradeep

or?

Hi Ye,

How's it going at your end?
Thanks,
Pradeep


Draws me blank. Hi Hi? Hi Ye?

God save humanity.

P.S: The above piece of information does not intend to hurt the feelings of any reader. The intent is solely to highlight the variety and diversity in various cultures around the globe. It is nothing but a praiseworthy vignette that finds space in the field of cultural studies by and large.

Amen!

Saturday, 14 November 2009

Journalism-Philosophy-Cricket-Life, My Stochastic Journey

How often has an article from the 'Times of India daily' been motivating or mentally stimulating? The question should be lauded for the humor content in itself :-P. The answer to it is 'Most often not'. Today, journalism is a field with high levels of cash flow in its arena and as is rightly said, in today's environment, 'Media means Business'. Having celebrated the luxury of being India's largest daily for ages together, the newspaper has created a new dimension in the field of advertising and media. Sex, Fun, Youth, Masala, Movies, Paparazzi news, Celebrity talk and a few more on the same lines can be termed as suitable labels for most of the articles that are covered these days. Nevertheless, Economics, Strategies, Terrorism and Politics do take center-stage in the Editorial section with contributions from stalwarts from the above mentioned domains. So I have in no way taken up an evaluation of the celebrated daily.

Having said that, what I wanted to write in this post was something completeley different. The first paragraph is more of a digression and the basic intent was to write about a full page article on a recent edition of the Times.

No points for guessing the topic chosen for discussion as terms like 'Master Laster', 'T-20' and twenty-"Ten" are ubiquitous in recent-day print and media. Yes, it was an article on 'The great Man'. A lot has been spoken and debated about his closeness to 'Divinity' in the religion of cricket and of late, even in a newer religion called 'Sport'. I am not going to grind that grain once again. What caught my eye was how motivating that article turned out to be.

I have heard of an incident in North India, which is not the sort that makes the headlines but yeah, interests a few amongst us. - "On a train from Shimla to Delhi, there was a halt in one of the stations. The train stopped by for few minutes as usual. Sachin was nearing century, batting on 98. The passengers, railway officials, everyone on the train "waited" for Sachin to complete the century. This Genius can stop time in India!!". Now how does the process of 'deifying' happen? What are the ingredients that enable one to become a candidate running for that post? Trying to figure out answers to these 'almost always' rhetoric questions, I realized the answer lies in removing the abstraction in them. Take the example of the same game and the gentlemen who've evolved in the last decade. I can think of England captain Kevin Pieterson's debut about three or four years back. In a period of six to eight months of international cricket, the 'modern media' that we were referring to at the beginning of this discussion, elevated him to a status of being compared with the master. Terms like 'Next Tendulkar' and 'English Master' did the rounds owing to his aggression and technique. 4 years into the arena and take a look at where he is now? He is undoubtedly one of the most important players of the English cricket team today. No denying that fact. But why isn't he tipped to be the next sensation any more? Genius is made out of perseverance, determination and a host of other virtues. But to me, the most important ingredient to it is 'feet on ground' and that is in coherence with the answer to the 'KP question'.

Achievement is something that every one of us encounter and come across in various stages of life. But the way we treat those encounters with 'achievement' is all that matters. The answer to that intriguing question on ingredients was in one quote from the Master himself - "Let the world think of our past. We should think of the future". An adage comes to my mind at this juncture. "You are very unique, just like everyone else". So, celebration should be a fleeting phenomenon when it comes to a bigger picture of life and its obstacles. Having said that success has to do with a combination of a variety of virtues, some more important than the others, one should stay motivated to reach the pinnacle of glory and be smart enough to keep that place until another touchstone is spotted high up the same ladder of life.

Anjali Tendulkar revealed in an interview that Sachin has sleep-walking tendencies and surprisingly, she said "Now we know what it takes to make a genius". I mused for a while after reading those two lines for i am an astute 'sleep-walker' too. But jokes apart, what was meant by usage of 'sleep-walking' is important. The determination and obsession that leads one to think of his duties day in and day out is what makes the genius. Sleep walking in most instances is associated with toiling minds and continuous thought flows during sleep as a result of the obsessive nature of the mind.

Masters come and masters go and we, for our part incessantly speak of them. But the paradigm shift from the connoisseur's role to the artist's role is what should be mulling in our minds and food for that kind of a thought comes from such great personalities and their lives.

Now, as a vindication of the levels of confidence and fearlessness involved in such instance of genius, watch this - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oez4TSdZvJI

Monday, 9 November 2009

The Forum that is worthwhile

From now on, I have decided I would bring the most hilarious set of comments on The Football365 Forum after every match week to this space for the benefit of 'Football Freaky' readers of this blog.

Here is the latest one after the highly anticipated ManU - Chelsea clash



"- A Man Utd team that is meant to be out of form and grinding out results played the better football than Chelsea. This is a Chelsea team that is meant to be cutting through every team that stands in their path. Man Utd will hold no worries about the rest of the season. Undoubtedly as the season gets to Christmas, Utd will hit their stride. 5 point gap or not, Fergie will still fancy his team's chances.

- John Terry must be wearing Jamie Carragher's lucky pants because he can now haul Valencia down in the box. The rest of the world calls that a penalty. A referee at Stamford Bridge doesn't call it anything!

- Deco is crap. Playing good against Bolton is not an achievement. When John O'Shea is playing better than you, it's time to consider retirement or playing in Italy.

- Jamie Redknapp needs to sack his tailor. He is wearing the tightest trousers on Earth every time Sky do coverage and if he eats anything with a single calorie in it, they will split open on live TV.

- Obertan looks like a much better buy than Nani. I know that is like saying "Sleeping with Megan Fox is better than sleeping with Vanessa Feltz" but Obertan could still be a flop. But he came on, linked up intelligently, showed a few tricks that were productive and not show pony-esque. It might be too much to hope but Utd might finally have a genuine successor to Giggs on the left wing.

- Carrick must be dreading the return of Hargreaves. Fletcher and Anderson are clearly ahead of him and rightly so. They both offer more energy, arguably better passing and more power. Hargreaves fully fit and Carrick may find himself reduced to Carling Cup & FA Cup games.

- And finally...Johnny Evans should be knighted. Any man who wins a header against Drogba whilst drop kicking him in the chest deserves the nation's respect. Especially when he gets away with it!"

Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Hilariously Red

Adding to my previous post,

A fair few points from Liverpool's cakewalk over Man United. I am aware some Liverpool fans will see it as a ref rant; however it has a fair amount of criticism for under performing United players and appreciation for the best striker in the world as well as a funny.

- Man United played awful. They had no answer to Liverpool's 13 men.

- Liverpool played excellently well as a team, it was impossible for me to pick a man of the match. In the end I decided to go for that Liverpool player who was impeccable in defense, surging in midfield and clever in attack. We have missed that kind of box to box play provided by Andre Mariner last night since the good old days of Keano.

- Giggs and Scholes, with due respect to them, when played together won't trouble most teams. Giggs, Scholes and Carrick when played together won't trouble any teams.

- What must Anderson do to get a game ahead of Carrick?

- I would personally cab Dimitar Berbatov to whoever wants him. But I think nobody does...

- Can we sue Tottenham for selling us two counterfeit footballers for 50 million notes?

- Jamie Carragher is now officially the only defender in the world who is allowed to haul down players that have the ability, pace or temerity to get past him anytime, anywhere. Seriously, I will never know how he and Lucas saw the game through.

- Fernando Torres is simply unstoppable on his bad days. And he is simply unstoppable on his good days. I doff my hat.

- It is better to play with 10 men rather than having Nani on the pitch.

And ending with a funny...

- Liverpool may just get one of those Europa League spots now.

P.S: This is another person's view from a famous football mail forum and i found it HILARIOUS!!!

Monday, 26 October 2009

Man U vs Pool

A few thoughts from the much awaited showdown that was more of a hen fight...

1 - Liverpool were easily the better team, and thoroughly deserved the result.

2 - The pre-game ideas of Liverpool fans that winning this game would get them right back in the mix, was hugely misguided. Instead of looking at the game as "if we beat the champions it proves we are still in it" they should have looked at it as just one more match worth three points. That, at the end of the day, is all they got.

3 - Three points gained on United, but only one on Chelsea. I didn't read one - not one - Liverpool fan mention the fact Chelsea would still be way in front of them after the weekend (before you even try and say they might not have won, it was Blackburn at the Bridge!), which leads one to think that Liverpool fans are only interested in bettering United. Obsessed?

4 - Andre Marriner was p**s poor. In no way is this some attempt at an excuse for losing, as i said Liverpool thoroughly deserved that win. However, if you look at it objectively (in other words, if you aren't a Liverpool fan) how can you say that Evra being booked after two challenges, yet Mascherano not getting booked until his 15th(ish), and Lucas amazingly not getting booked at all (!!!) is correct?

Add to that the possibility of a penalty for Carragher's first half challenge, the two barges on Giggs in the area within 5 seconds of one another, and Carragher's absolutely unbelievable reprieve for the foul on Owen. I was disappointed with Evra's yellow card for two reasons; one because it is an early booking for a defender and that is never good, but two because i thought that would be the barometer for yellow cards for the rest of the game. As it turns out it was only the barometer for United, not for Liverpool.

5 - Carragher's challenge on Carrick. The obvious answer is "HE GOT THE BALL, LA!", but he barely, and i mean BARELY, touched it. As has been mentioned many times, getting the ball doesn't exonerate you from punishment. Had Carragher not managed to take Carrick out, then the ball would still have been at Carrick's feet, so the fact he DID take him out means penalty.

6 - Torres is the best striker on the planet. Not quite 100% fit, pain killing injections before the game, only one sniff of goal, and the winning goal is his. Awesome.

7 - Torres is also a cheating little s**t. In the same way Ronaldo received massive plaudits for ability, but huge criticism for his "gamemanship", so should Torres. The first foul - and "foul" is being generous to the ref - Vidic committed on him and he was straight at the referee complaining, obviously trying to get Vidic in the s**t. As i said he is a truly great striker, but it is about time he was vilified by fans and media alike, about his diving, cheating, whining ways.

8 - United should accept any bid they might receive for Vidic. If we get £20m then we have done well. He has been found out big time! He turns like an oil tanker, his pace over five or ten yards is awful, and as a result he is getting more red cards than we can handle.

9 - Yossi Benayoun is one of the most under-rated players in the league and his through-ball for Torres was the pass of the season so far.


10 - I say again, Liverpool deserved to win, and i have no problems with the result, well done.

Thursday, 22 October 2009

Do You Challenge Queue-Jumpers and Line-Cutters?

It was a heavy doze of morning mails and i was not very gay when i entered the training room for a day long training on 'individual contributions and role behaviors' in an organization. By and large this topic didn't impress me in the first place. I held on and went through really tiring sessions on psychology, management and a host of other abstract subjects. I had to miss breakfast in the morning in order to make to the training in time (which was a mandate stringently observed).

The thing happened when we got our first break for lunch. With my tummy rolling and hunger striking me like never before, i stood in the unusual long queue in the cafeteria. I was somewhere around 37th or so when i joined the queue. That added salt to the hunger wound. And then came a small gang of 6 members who had no sense of etiquette and barged into the line as if it didn't exist. Impulsively, owing to my already built up frustration, I lost my temper and challenged that lot. After heated exchanges, they exhibited some kind of social sense to everyone's relief.

Now the reader is advised to consider the above paragraphs as a prologue to a dangerous discussion on psychology.

Disclaimer: To read on, some specific qualifications are quintessential. High levels of patience/ Interest in psychology/Both

Queue is a classic example of how groups of people automatically create social order out of chaos. But this social order can be fragile when faced with chaotic threats, like that of the queue-jumper. Suddenly we have a social psychology experiment on our hands: how fragile is this spontaneous social order and what will people do to protect it? In the answer to this seemingly mundane question may lie an important truth about our behavior in groups. Earlier, people were strangely reluctant to challenge queue-jumpers, suggesting our spontaneous social order is fairly week.

Under what conditions people would protest at queue-jumpers? It depends on two variations. The first variation is the number of intruders. The second, when there are two or more people between us and the queue-jumper, objections drop.

I mean, are we all afraid to question these brazen heads that jump queues or cut lines? No is the answer. In my opinion, there are a few reasons why we don't intervene.

1.Challenging queue-jumpers could mean losing your own place in the line.
2.Social systems have to tolerate some deviance otherwise they may quickly break down, i.e. a fight may start and everyone is delayed while it is sorted out.
3.The line is co-opting those who threaten it by tacitly accepting them so that they gain an interest in the queue and the queue becomes stronger.

After all, queue-jumping is tolerated as long as it doesn't threaten the line too much. People want to avoid social disorder because their own interests (getting served) are tied up in an orderly queue.

So, next time when you are in a queue observe how many people protest immediately at the queue jumper. If no one does, please do it yourself. Alternatively, a good idea of fun is to watch a crowded place for a queue and keep observing. Wait for intrusions and enjoy the ruckus and fights.

Happy queuing!

Wednesday, 14 October 2009

Enjoy Maadi

I have been cribbing for quite sometime about life at Hyderabad not being too eventful and i have contrived to a decision that if one has to enjoy life and spend money, one has to work in Bangalore.

Reasons:

1. Most/All of your friends invariably work in Bangalore.
2. You have numerous malls and weekends can't get better with the 'bird-watching opportunity' one always gets at these hangouts.
3. Since almost all of your college chums sit here, there is no scarcity of gossip.
4. You start biking like crazy for otherwise commuting is usually tough on weekdays.
5. Your virtues get better as you need to exercise a lot of patience owing to traffic.
6. You will not find any difficulties in knowing Bangalore's geography as it is almost a straight line on the map.
7. If you are a 'tamilian' you tend to feel at home for the language is spoken almost at every street corner.
8. Most/All high paying jobs are available in the city for almost every Indian company has a branch here.
9. You become immune to most/all air-borne diseases as the normal amount of Carbon Monoxide you inhale is awfully high and it overrides or suppresses other problems.
10. You can travel to any of the other three South Indian states by an overnight's journey.

If you are a Southie, Bangalore is 'the' place to be in.

P.S: Can somebody who has read this post find me a job at Bangalore? (Lol)

Monday, 5 October 2009

Testing Times

September went by without any activity on my blog for various reasons viz.. pressure at workplace, too many long weekends calling for hometown vacations, my recent engagement with an NGO and so on and so forth. But life was eventful elsewhere as it did take dangerous turns and slid down slopes for many around the world.

I just came back from a week-long vacation down south and after a frightfully long time got a chance to read the newspaper(funny i know... but i had been traveling most of the time). Looking back, I see that the last few days have been eventful all round the world. Tsunami in the US, Earth Quake far east, Boat capsizing in South India, Floods in a couple of states. Nature has been quite busy with all its fury. It suddenly reminds me of an old Nostradamus prediction that natural disasters along with genocide(read terrorism) will start something that would later be called the "Third World War". One should not forget the fact that two of Nostradamus' most famous predictions were the first and the second world wars. This strikes a chord no doubt. Starting from the early 2000s, we've been reading all about climate warnings, terrorist attacks, famines, floods, katrinas, tsunamis, quakes and what not.

I mean, where are we heading? An old email forward comes to my mind at this juncture. There was this prediction of the world coming to an end in 2012. To be frank, i am not a person who believes in these cheap email tricks which cause a ruckus for a short period. But for some reason I see a coincidence. What if Nostradamus chose to call the 'end of the world' as the 'third world war'? I am in no doubt whatsoever that on first reading these things sound extraordinarily hilarious for i experienced that feeling when i did the proof reading of this post.

Funny or not funny, I think it's high time we got ready to face the worst. Recession coming to an end is the only thing i can think of, that has widened a lip or two and twinkled an eye or the other in these testing times. But Economics and Finance are after all man-made. Why don't we stop celebrating these petty victories and start seeing the bigger picture. Nature, our Creator, is angry and science is not able to stop her disastrous outbursts.

Disclaimer: This post was not a call for action or some revolutionary movement. I tried to think aloud and i am sure except for thinking, nothing much can be done about famines, floods and quakes. So i strongly detest the idea of mockery or intended pun at the basic intention of this post via comments.

Cogito Ergo Sum (I think, therefore I am)

Monday, 31 August 2009

What I spend money on


A lot is being spoken about inflation and GDP these days and I recently chanced upon an article on how obsolete the WPI (Wholesale Price Index) calculation in our country turns out to be. (For people to whom this acronym makes little sense, The Wholesale Price Index or WPI is the price of a representative basket of wholesale goods. Some countries use the changes in this index to measure inflation in their economies, in particular India). That kick-started a new train of thought about how one spends his/her money these days.

Coming back to the WPI argument that I intended to make, the calculation still considers what Indians used to buy in the 80's. A bucket that includes a whole lot of age old consumer goods like GoldSpot, Cibaca, Palmolive, Vanaspati and hair oils that are not to be seen in the market these days. Now,coming down to what I (a middle class Indian consumer "today") spend my money on. It ranges from a relatively high amount towards the realty sector in the form of house rent to a moderately high amount towards books which are prone to smell the aroma of fresh paper in the shelves after years and years to come.

The month usually starts on a bright note marked by the routine SMS that the banker sends to indicate a salary deposit into the account. I mean, the first week of the month makes you feel happy as the double digit figure, that appears on the account balance field each time one goes to the ATM to draw money, attracts attention. The second week starts on a slightly doomed note with a proportion of the money that made you rich for a week debited automatically towards a couple of EMI payments. As a result, the breakfast menu in the second week shows up "3 idlis and chutney" for Rs.10 in place of the the Kellogg's cornflakes (rich in cereals) that showed up last week. The last week of the month does not have the item called breakfast in the day's itinerary at all whatsoever. What now? Food drew up a few thousands in the first three weeks.

Weekends usually contribute a lot to the big hole in your purse as a rule and i don't stand to defy anyhow. A Sunday morning reading ritual at Coffee day/Barista over a costly cup of coffee is a routine list item till the third Sunday of the month.Tamil is an extraordinarily beautiful language and it has an amazing term to describe this aforementioned behavior on Sunday mornings -"S****u Kozhupu". Weekend instincts ask for the "periodic inebriation" (If i am allowed to coin a phrase for convenience purposes) once again and it takes up a few hundreds out of your pocket. Now, to peep into the accounts file, one gets to see an amount of the order of 1763.85 or something of the like at the end of week 3. Ten breakfasts, luncheons and suppers to be taken care of till you get richer once again by virtue of another deposit.

Landmark visits, Night time cool drinks, McDonald's home delivery, Domino's Pizza, Bike petrol, Adidas/Reebok 40% sale, Big bazaar super dooper dhamaka offers, Kwality Walls Ice creams and super market pastries/chat items are other contributors which effectively contrive to throw you into a state of poverty close to month end.

It is Week No.4 on the calendar and one goes broke!!!

With my cell phone in hand (which needs a top-up asap) and eagerly looking forward to getting that SMS which comes on the last day of each month, I sign off wishing the working class readers of this post a rich month ahead.

Thursday, 20 August 2009

The August of Swine, Wine and Football

The idea of writing monthly round ups came from one of my "Hall of Fame" list members. One delves into all kinds of funny projects like writing about the happenings over the past month and the like at times and this habit in my opinion is not totally insane. Mostly useless stuff though. The thing is like the poor cat in the old adage where he sees a group of fellow felines jump into the nearby stream owing to the hotness of the mid-day sun and jumps in as well since there is not any other interesting piece of employment he can think of for himself at that moment. You know what I mean. As in, I am more or less trying to be part of this rat race by gibbering about a few things that happened around me over the past month.

The month of August started with the agonizingly high number of flu cases in the country whose root causes are attributed to kissing pigs and licking sows. This interesting habit of kissing pigs and licking sows was observed to have been cultivated in the far west sometime back. I mean, I am not criticizing the westerners who did these things nor am i blaming them. It is just an observation mostly contrived from scientific deductions. [Citation here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sQRrgTD13qI].

Moving on to other highlights of the August of interest now, the month marked a good intake of the parent compound of
ethyl esters - in the form of a bachelor party organized by a close pal who apparently threw the bash in view of his wife being out of town for quite a while. That session was a special one for, like in other bachelor parties, the topics tended to be of the interesting nature. Girls, School crushes, Love and Sex to name a few. The amount of chemical being spoken about here went to a new high in the history of consumption thus making this session a "hit of the month".

The footballing season kicked off in this period under investigation and the first half of the month was more of looking forward to the start of the new
EPL season. The transfer market took a bullish trend after cash rich galacticos and the sheiks at east lands got the prices soaring with their set of insanely high transfer bids. Nonetheless, it was interesting to find out about the new outlook of the English teams who took to field on the 15th August.

That is that for august and that was mostly all i wanted to fart about in this post. I promise to come back with even more boring stuff as the year progresses into the risky days of September October and further ahead.

Saturday, 1 August 2009

Chasing the Capitalist

"I do not know of any book that describes the impact of India's economic policies on her growth as analytically, logically and vividly as this one" - N.R.Narayana Murthy on "India Unbound" by Gurcharan Das.

The socioeconomic transformation of our nation has been well documented in this novel by the much acclaimed writer and public intellectual. If one is looking for a perfect introduction to contemporary India, it is here. Something tremendous has been happening in our country right since the dawn of 15th August 1947. India had to go through various phases in this epoch that started after the spring of hope in 1947. There was the lost generation in the era of 60s and 70s which went through Caste based demarcations, licensing blues and a surge in inequality. And then came the rebirth of dreams in the form of the "Golden Summer of 1991" and then we had a new country. We are what we are today, solely because of all the things that happened in the summer of 1991. Financial reforms came out in unbelievable speed and efficiency and the country was starting to enter the limelight.

In 1947 we were a free lot and there was a lot of enthusiasm and energy in the air. Nehru stood at the fore and showed signs of able leadership. Everything in the country started to happen in an organized fashion. Bureaucracy was the order of the day. The License Raj was at the helm. Entrepreneurs were a titular lot. This was the era of socialism. And soon, economists started realizing the negative implications of Nehru's ideologies. Things became worse when Indira Gandhi decided to build upon what her father had laid. The war in 1971 and the emergency that followed didn't help things anyway.

Our nation, which once was prey to dogmatic colonists in search of riches and treasures was becoming a poor nation after all. Harvard graduates were coming of age and the Indian top brass needed a good overhaul, when Prime Minister P.V.Narasimha Rao gave powers to two such graduates Dr. Manmohan Singh and P.Chidambaram. And then, the rest is history. The economy began to grow leaps and bounds year after year after 1991. This was when the country went through a phase called liberalization. I would prefer to call this phase-"the quest of Capitalism". The west had proved a point which their capitalist methodologies and The tigers of Asia viz. Hongkong, Singapore, Japan et al. had followed suit by now.

The country allowed investment and gave powers to budding entrepreneurs. The bourgeoisie became a buzzword and reforms were underway to get its size soaring year on year. This growth was fueled by a variety of foreign investments mainly due to the abundance of highly skilled software professionals in the country and the open society that was on offer due to liberal tax regimes.

The book touches each of these eras and paints a clear picture of the Indian economy's trajectory over the past 60 years. Our economy has been one that should be placed right at the center of an imaginary line drawn between socialism and capitalism. The learned top brass that we have as our representatives today have carefully sketched the coordinates of the point on that imaginary line. Arguably, that has been the main reason for India's nonchalance and tactical brilliance in having avoided the traumatic consequences of the recent global slowdown.

Verdict: This book offers layman friendly discussions of economic theories of poverty and serves as a key guide to the country's recent past.


Saturday, 25 July 2009

How about this one to beat the recession?






I was stumbling upon the internet on a lazy Saturday morning and i noticed this thing about a campaign in USA called the "Recession 101".

It was a little common sense on the Billboard. Those were a few i liked.

Thursday, 23 July 2009

On Humour

I came across this quiz called "What type of Humor is yours" on Facebook and i found it pretty interesting. It was more like those common IQ tests which are famous for asking you a bunch of really unrelated questions and in the end giving a result, apparently derived from your answering pattern. This one interested me though, for the result said that my humor falls into the category of "Humor by Exaggeration".

Talking of humor, i really can't stop myself from mentioning about the nuances in PG Wodehouse' writings. That in my opinion is real humor. I call it so just because i see it covering all types and variations including- "Turn of Phrase", "Pun", "Exaggeration", "Understatement", "Irony", "Sarcasm" and "Satire". What remains to be addressed is the way each person reacts to these types of humor. It is a common observation that some people are aroused when a joke comes in the form of sarcasm and some others may like a simple turn of phrase.

When I see that humor can be classified, defined, debated and discussed, I immediately relate to how we encounter many of these instances day in and day out. Philosophy and medicine have not stopped short of recommendations relating to smile, laughter,fun and happiness as therapeutic catalysts. I appreciate the "Slapstick" form of humor specifically. It takes a chunk of inborn talent for one to be good at slap sticks. I have had a couple of friends whose colloquial discussions include a plethora of these.

These are some points that one could consider when trying to be humorous on any given occasion.

1.
To be funny, the humour should be said in a spirit of fun.
2.Humour should be unannounced and told with a straight face (you don't want to laugh before your audience does).
3.The humour will die if you fumble over words or stumble during the punch line.
4.In public speaking, as it is with conversation, the telling of humour should be effortless and natural.
5.To be effective in public speaking the humour should be relevant to the points being made. It is woven into the fabric of the speech.

“Turn up the heat,” said John coldly- no matter what, 'is' a joke. But it depends on the timing of the sentence delivery. You may see how bad it looks when i have quoted it here (disastrously out of context).

To wind up, I confess boldly that I am in the middle of a small exercise to improve my hilariousness and hence the post--which I am sure is itself a huge "Slapstick" to the readers. Hope someone out there likes to read about humor.

Let the reader live in peace......Amen!!!!

Wednesday, 15 July 2009

For a Change

The idea of writing a book review on the blog has always fascinated me and rightly so, I haven't hidden that little fantasy of mine for there have been quite a few of them in the past. There have been awfully long ones on History, Humor, Literature and what not.

S0, for a change, I have decided to cut the crap and write a few (really only a few) sensible lines on what i think of the two books i have read recently.

A Prefect's Uncle-P.G.Wodehouse

This was the Second book that came from this genius after an outstanding "The Pothunters".The school time story touching upon cricket, stolen money and an embarrassing uncle hits heights of humor many a time in the course of its hundred and fifty odd pages. This one is more of a progress since the first novel for him and the inimitable turn of phrases that he employs (the trademark Wodehouse perfections) are there in this book already.

The Small Bachelor-P.G.Wodehouse

Wodehouse captures an era that probably never was but many of us wish it had. He does one of his best jobs, capturing Twenties' New York at a roar in this neatly done up farce. Just like reading a screwball comedy, laughs come often and out loud! The Small Bachelor is not to be missed by any true aficionado of P.G. Wodehouse

Monday, 6 July 2009

Downtown Tadipatri !!!!~!!!!





The merits and demerits of the "Life at the Country Side" is an age-old topic and i have come to discuss the same in this space. And here I am, back from a first-hand country side Experience. This post is dedicated to my visit to a small township on a hillock near downtown "Tadipatri" where i spent my blissful weekend. Tadipatri is a small town located en route to Chennai from Hyderabad and it is worth mentioning that it boasts of UltraTech's largest Cement Plant in Asia.

To start with, i concede to the fact that "Life downtown" is always a better bet than the one which involves the hustles and the hullabaloo of the metro. As part of the "clan" at college which threw tantrums at villages and village dwellers from down south, I have been actively involved in mocking at the way civilizations have, by far, neglected those people, who we are at this point, debating about.

My weekend involved a really splendid outing to my best friend's sweet home near Tadipatri. Nature was at its best and the gated community had loads to offer when I did my first sightseeing around the township on Saturday. The greenery and the peaceful community that inhabited this township, was so new to me for I have more or less grown up in a city, brought up with all the mall culture and other typical metro offerings.

I would like to introduce the four characters in this post who would be henceforth referred to as "
Sir TPJ"(Daddy), "Rchie"(Sissy), "Chota Don"(Friend) and "Aunt Bliss"(Mommy). To talk of Sir TPJ, it would be a gross understatement if i just say he is a revered gentleman who commands a respectable position at this Township which nurtures a group of little over 1000 people from various parts of the country. Aunt Bliss is a wonderful cook and she loves cooking " elaborate four course meals" "three times a day". Fresh vegetables for lunch and dinner came from nearby gardens and the delicacies straight from Aunt Bliss' kitchen are worth mentioning. Rchie is the sweet sis who is currently enjoying her summer holidays back home and Chota Don is waiting to join college for his post graduate studies.

The wonderful weekend involved the fantastic walk down the park, delicious food served at regular intervals throughout the day, Malayalam movie on Asianet, UNO Card games, badminton outing, late night wodehouse humor, hot career discussions, dinner time family chit chats, Channel V Music hits, evening time lychee treats, endless football story times and lastly, the marathon Wimbledon final to finish it off. That final was one of the best tennis matches that i have been witness to, till date. A-Rod was at his career best only to lose out to the damned luck (courtesy: Fedex's "Black Magic") at the end of the day. The 5 hour finale bade good bye to me along with this cute family of four who took up the task of entertaining me for the weekend.
Needless to say they did a fantastic job out of it and i would fail miserably if i miss out on mentioning the elegant Urbana "Tie and Handkerchief set" which was my parting gift.

This post is purely a tribute to the place and people that made my weekend downtown so remarkable. When it all turns nostalgic later one day, and i go back to turn the pages of my life fervently, these two pages would without doubt be a "highlighted couple" that would keep me entrenched in emotions for ages to come.

P.S: Uploaded a few snaps




Wednesday, 1 July 2009

Book Review: A Case of Exploding Mangoes

Fiction Based on Assassination is an interesting topic in the modern era which is pregnant with instances of terrorism and genocide. Mohammed Hanif's first book takes this subject and the novel is a plot about men plotting to murder other men. The timing with which the book has been published could not have been better for when it rolled out, General Musharraf was busy fighting Islamic Terrorism and NATO Forces were monotonously dealing with the mights of Taliban. Pakistan remains something of a mystery for most people in North America, occasionally gaining notoriety for acts of violence against women, political assassinations, and insinuations about its ties with the Taliban and the insurgency in Afghanistan. The author hails from Pakistan and in his first work has decided to touch upon the history of his own nation.

On 17 August 1988, a plane carrying General Zia ul-Haq, the military ruler of Pakistan since 1977 and America's staunchest ally in the first Afghan war, went down in flames, killing everybody on board. Zia was accompanied by some of his senior generals, the US ambassador to Pakistan and the head of the US military aid mission to Pakistan, all of whom died. There was no real investigation and no culprit was ever identified or, at any rate, announced. The novel gives an account of all the plotters who were involved in the mysterious death of the First Citizen of Pakistan (then). The style of writing forces one to brand this a "war novel" but the contents make it one with a mixture that includes Religion, Terrorism, Sex, Violence, Humor and Politics.

General Zia's death threat has been daunting since its outbreak about a year before the real demise. The protagonist, Colonel Shigri in this "so called fiction" is one of the plotters who works ardently to sketch a revenge against the Army General for the death of his father who used to serve the army too. The novel exposes a number of plain facts which are yet untold in the context of detentions and tortures suffered by victims jailed by men in uniform --be it any army in the world.

Apart from this revengeful plot by Ali Shigri, Pakistan's number Two, General Akhtar is trying his luck with another plot aiming at the same end result. The name of the book would go unjustified if i don't mention the plot by the "Secretary General of the Mango Farmers Association of Pakistan". The book unintentionally ends up explaining the birth of the modern terms-"jihad" and "mujahideen". In the end one goes back to square one for the climax keeps the reader at bay and the controversy behind the mysterious death of the General remains as it was.

If one doesn't mind sporadic attacks on religious sentiments, this book is a good one for the way things build up to the D-Day when General Zia boards the Pak One for the last time in his life. But given the fact that this book is a product homogeneously from Pakistan, the religious zeal in Hanif is understandable. Mockery on India, Indians, Indian Army, Indira Gandhi, Nehru, Hindus, Christians, Jews and what not is to be digested while one reads through this fabulous account of the Assassination of General Zia Ul Haq, the then President of Pakistan.

Wednesday, 24 June 2009

Life would have been better If

  • If I did not stop quizzing after high school because it involved a lot of preparation if one had to make a mark when on stage
  • If I really cultivated the habit of reading way earlier in life (say 7th standard or something)
  • If I concentrated on my chess and took it further when i started playing during my school days
  • If I did not take up engineering after school
  • If I did not opt for a dual degree from BITS ahead of a Comp. Sci degree at Anna University
  • If I knew after school that Journalism was a decently paying career option
  • If I did not appreciate the fact that getting high when in college was a fantasy
  • If I had inherited loads of money and a big business to look after when i graduated
  • If I really utilized my five years in BITS for constructive purposes
  • If I had the courage and money to start up on my own when I wrote my first business plan
  • If I really did not think MBA was the easiest path to money
  • If I did not choose Software Development for my First Job just because it pays me well
  • If I was born in a meagerly populated country
  • If I knew how to manage time better
  • If I was not the lazy goose that I am
  • If Engineers in the country got high paying management jobs right after graduation
  • If I could work from home always instead of going to the workplace daily
  • If I had realized PG Wodehouse is the most hilarious writer quite earlier
  • If I don't suffer from "lethologica" as frequently as I do
  • If I was really not in the position to write this post after all
These are a few of the million things that I regret for having done in Life. I bet everyone has a big list like this one and I know this post is one with which I can tag other bloggers after all.

After writing so much of what i feel, I am sure i have made quite a big deal "Thinking Aloud".

No points for guessing that I am a big pessimist after one reads this.

Saturday, 20 June 2009

Yet Another Book Review: "Ring for Jeeves"

No matter what one might argue about PG Wodehouse's style of writing and the lack of seriousness and essence in the stories that he narrates, he is undoubtedly one of the most gifted authors who has the knack of taking his readers through a moving humorous novel each time he attempts to draft one. "Ring for Jeeves" is a typical one which is full of humor and sarcasm that offers a leisure read with all satisfaction.

The novel is arguably one of the most hilarious works ever offered, for the portrayal of characters is absolutely outstanding. In Biggar, the instrumental character in the plot, Wodehouse paints a naughty but witty hunter who plays an important role in the "All's well that ends well" climax that's in the offering. The protagonist Bill plays a dummy hero as he rides upon Jeeves' wit all through his difficulties in handling the comic villain Biggar.

What amuses me most is the way Wodehouse portrays wealthy widows in England for he mocks thoroughly upon their innocence and gullibility. The novel takes one through an entertaining ride with all ingredients of a hilarious British milieu.

The novel is a must read for light readers who enjoy the language and satiric tendencies more than the essence itself. It gives the right feel of PGW and his style of writing. A big hats off to the most hilarious writer of modern times.

Wednesday, 17 June 2009

Book Review: "Great Indian Novel"

Shashi Tharoor’s debut novel’’’’The Great Indian Novel“ presents a lot of material for many accusations. However from the title to the content you have to be a “proper" Indian down to the last bone in your body, if you’re going to truly appreciate this book. This is a satire and as is the case with such works you have to be an insider, to really “get” the joke.

So with that i would say, the book does bring about a successful marriage between The Mahabharata and Pre-Independence politics. For, the Mahabharata is probably the earliest account of the struggle for power and control.It is the story of the great war of Kurukshetra between the Pandavas and the Kauravas- the story of the war to establish the right over the Indian throne.Underlying it is the eternal conflict of Dharma versus Adharma. So on a bigger note, the concept of the book is tough to imagine. Outstanding i should say has been the thoughts behind it's creation.

The author through the voice of Ved Vyas takes us through the major events that shaped India’s destiny in the period that eventually culminated in freedom from the British. The second half of the book deals with the rise(& decay) of independent India & the woman who ruled her. It takes the characters out of the Mahabharata ,paints them with unmistakable traits of modern Indian politicians & in the process,turns both the ancient Indian epic & history on its head.

A Mohandas K Gandhi who stood up for his ideals & for his country was elevated to the status of a Mahatma. However we gloss over the fact that he had his failings. Whether it be eye-brow raising eccentricities like forcing his wife to lie naked next to him as an ultimate test of his self-control or more profound ones like his inability to prevent the partition of India despite his promise never to let that happen. He was only an ordinary man albeit one with extraordinary vision.

Would our history have been different if he had not had to maintain his image? We don't know. The novel makes one think on these lines is what i intended to convey.

Verdict: The marriage was a success, no doubt. But the reader has to put in extra efforts to appreciate the satiric way in which the novel has been narrated. Nevertheless, it gives a great picture of India from behind till date.

Worth a leisure reading when one really feels like contemplating on the two biggest phases of Indian history.

Monday, 8 June 2009

Vacation and Back

It's been quite sometime and bang... am back after a blissful week. The much needed vacation came my way and i literally had a chance to forget the stinking codomania for sometime. And it turned out to be an 'unforgettable 9 days' back home. The annual family tour was the highlight of the agenda. A four day trip to yercaud really helped me re-experience some fun and frolic. A reunion with cousins after a disastrously long time..not to say the least.

Friday, 29th May
12:15 PM - A high priority issue on my name is unsolved and needless to say, they expect me to fix it before i leave in exactly 1 hour and 45 minutes.

12:45 PM - Lunch time and still no development. Fretting around not knowing what to do. Boss comes down to say i would not be required to fix it, instead finish the pre vacation duties like time sheets and keep the task list neat and clean. What a respite!!!!!

1:15 PM - Last minute mails and other formalities underway, hunger strikes!!!!

1:30 PM - An express lunch- a frankie and a fruit bowl, for i have to catch the aero express to the areodrome at 2:30 (Hyderabad airport is close to an hour's drive from any part of the city)

2:30 PM - Just in time for the shuttle to the airport. Tensions levels coming down. Mind starts drifting to chennai and the trip to yercaud

6:00 PM - After a 2 hour long text-mania, the ceasefire on a personal war which lasted for more than a week comes to an end. Respite again.

7:00 PM - Home Sweet Home...Paruppu satham, Vatha kozhambu, Urla kazhangu roast, melagu rasam, appalam, thair sadham, oorga!!!! Mom at her best

10:00 PM - Mind is totally out of office and out of Hyderabad.

After a tense countdown, i finally got to board the train for an eventful summer vacation with the usual gang of 25. Cousins, Uncle, Aunty, Grand Parents to catch up with.... All wishes and congratualtions for having got an offer letter last week amidst the recession rods.

Mountain Top, Fresh Air, Ilayaraja music on the mall roads, Bajji kadai, Evening walk, Late night phone calls, Chat(Oor Vambu) sessions, Dumb charades, Tandoori dinner, 5 Star Lunch....The trip was great but for the sporadic incursions from a thousand miles away (U know what i mean, corporate world!!!!)

Back to chennai for a couple of more days to catch up with friends, Tea shop excursions, road side pani poori, Radio one with Suchi, Delicious food, Saturday evening Sun TV Movie, Relatives home, Weekend shopping, T20 World Cup cricket,Afternoon naps, 4 PM Novel with chai...it was all great till sunday night.

Monday morning Flight to hyderabad was a new experience, for i saw ( and travelled in) the smallest aircraft that i ve seen till date. A 30 odd seater with no head space, leg space et al.. Kingfisher Logo on the boarding pass and an Air Deccan Logo on the flight. A sad one and half hour journey..complicated by the discussions with one of the dumbest co passengers encountered ever. Reached home at 10 am and had to rush for a seminar at 10:30 am.
Work was waiting, Inbox was overflowing and boss was ready with the next iteration of codomania assignments.

I am back to WORK...Tougher assignments, no national holidays till august, Deadlines tighetened, Saturday workdays for the next few weeks,The Software Engineer is back with a bang......Sigh!!!!!!!

P.S. : Vacation pics coming up on the next post.

P.P.S : I Apologize for the use of a bunch of vernacular phrases and words here and there in the post. Unavoidable.

Thursday, 14 May 2009

Bidding Adieu!!


It's been a while since i wrote something in this space and i would blame my mad-ass workplace for it. Really long since i even got some respite from "coding to glory".

August 3rd, December 14th, January 6th, May 14th...These are some dates that a handful of highly overrated engineers in the country would seldom forget, for these are fixed dates when semesters start and end at BITS, Pilani.

I am nevertheless proud to belong to such a place- Bits, Pilani. But what saddens the thought is the fact that it is all coming to an end. In a way i have delinked myself from that lovely place when i opted for a double semester PS (For people who are unaware of these amazing BITSian terms, read as internship). Technically a student still, until i complete my second semester stint here mid june, I sense a feeling of doom and dismay.

Yeah..I'm gonna miss this place like crazy..I’m gonna miss a lot of things..and if I start listing them down..its gonna go on n on n on...

A few things i would like to mention

ANC, Wing Cricket, GymG Football, Amazing winters, FIFA, Counter Strike, AOE, Common Room EPL, Temple, Sky Lawns, CDC Tutorials, 404,Gandhi::223,Gandhi::223,Krishna::440,Malviya, SAC, Oasis 2006, Pahadi Trip, Sleepless nights, The unforgettable relationships, C'NOT, ICF-PS1, The Sand Storms, Krishna Redi, Kulu Manali Wing Trip, Dualites' lonely world,OT, OR, IPC, My Hercules Cycle, 24*7 music, prison break, RAF Movies, BOSM, Ganga gate, Bluemoon shakes, Bluemoon hot coffee, Sky Lab Cheese Pizza, Late night walk at the staff quarters..............

Yes i am going to miss this place. I felt it as i wrote down some of those million things that would never come back into my life.

The Freedom, The Friendships, The fun, The frolic...All of it seem to have become past when i ponder about them. It hurts to say goodbye...but reality awakens me. I bid adieu but with no sense of happiness.

P.S:An ode to everthing and everyone that came in my life in those 5 years at the best place in the world.

P.P.S:Million faces...Million expressions...Million hearts...Million memories...One place...One love...BITS Pilani!!!!!!!

Wednesday, 6 May 2009

What a win!!!!

After last night's champions league semi final can i please put two myths to bed?

1. Ronaldo is a big game bottler

2. Wenger has a plan


P.S : F365 Mailbox excerpt

Monday, 4 May 2009

Book Review: The KiteRunner

Without revealing much of the story and its plot, what i have tried to do here is give an account of what the reader goes through in this stunning piece of work from Khaled Hosseini. It is a recommended read for all. In short, the novel gives a transparent, devastating and ruthless account of lives in Afghanistan during the Russian invasion. I was pretty much moved by the way the story shapes up to a fitting climax at the end.This post would be more of what one feels while traversing through the astounding waves of emotion and thought in this book, than being a book review.

I want to start with a few lines on the author. Khaled Hosseini was born in Kabul where his father worked as a janitor for the Afghanistan Foreign Ministry. In 1970, Hosseini and his family moved to Tehran where his father worked for the Ambassador of Afghanistan. When Khaled Hosseini was a child, he read a great deal of Persian Poetry and many other translated works. Hosseini's memories of peaceful pre-Soviet era Afghanistan, as well as his personal experiences with the hazara tribes of Afghanistan led to the writing of his first novel, The Kite Runner.

The novel is a straight forward and an overly transparent account of Afghanistan during the Soviet Invasion. He takes us through the period that marked the fall of Monarchy in Afghanistan with the help of two characters Amir and Hassan. Amir is portrayed as a well off boy from the Pashtun Community (read superior community) who is brought up in the typical rich family arena. Hassan is from the Hazara tribe which forms a small minority of Sunni Muslims in Afghanistan. The characters of Amir's father and his Friend Rahim Khan are well sketched and respectable. The story narrates the life of the protagonist Amir right from his childhood days. Hosseini has drafted an excellent account of Amir's childhood days with Hassan. Hassan who is the son of Amir's father's servent Ali is the trump card in the pack. Hosseini has used this character to keep the readers' emotions at a high throughout the book.

Hassan is a successful "kite runner" for Amir, knowing where the kite will land without even watching it. One triumphant day, Amir wins the local tournament, and finally his father's praise. Hassan goes to run the last cut kite, a great trophy, for Amir saying "For you, a thousand times over." This part of the novel is where the reader is prone to get really fervent. Hassan's rape and further complications due to the village "Teen King" Assef moves one quite a bit. Amir who pays his price for socializing with a Hazara finally frames his friend and his family's exodus by planting a watch and some money under Hassan's mattress; he falsely confesses.

After the Russian invasion Amir and his dad flee to Peshawar and later to America. He marries an Afghan in the streets of Fremont, California, with who he falls in love. The second part of the novel takes you through Amir's return to Peshawar and then to Kabul to meet Rahim Khan where he learns about Hassan's death and a few other confessions that increase his desire to meet the lone survivor of the Hazara Family. His pursuit for Hassan's only son who is in Kabul is very well written and makes the reader involved. The last part of the novel gives many answers to the questions that Amir had had since childhood. The "All's well that ends well" climax gives a sigh of relief to the reader after going through tough emotions all through the novel.


Monday, 27 April 2009

Gimme a Break!!!

Round Up - Last Weekend

Liverpool's first goal was scored thanks to Mascherano diving and winning them a freekick. Their second goal was scored thanks to Lucas assisting Dirk Kuyt with his hand. They win 3-1.

United are awarded "a controversial penalty" one week after they were denied a stonewall pen against Everton, which cost them their place in the FA Cup final. They then go on to play the best football United fans have seen all season scoring a further four goals. They win 5-2. Yet for some reason the media claim Howard Webb has handed us the title, with no mention of Liverpool's good fortune a few hours earlier.

Liverpool are the media darlings, whilst Manchester United have to settle for being Champions. It's a hard life.


PS : Extract from the mailbox @f365

Wednesday, 22 April 2009

Season Two- Unveiled


There has been a lot of talking about IPL Season II moving to South Africa making way for a safe and secure Election process. The debate and discussion about the shift in venue is well over now. Questions about the eccentricity and the enthusiasm for this second edition of the tournament have been coming through. Now that the season 2 has got off to a start, it is time to find out what has changed and what has not from the inaugural edition of the tournament. The start did make a success story. The newspaper headlines had the catchy slogans. But is the cricket fan satisfied? What does he feel about watching all this from a distance?

For a start, i would like to analyze how big a fan i am of this highly spoken about version of the game. This shorter version has always been interesting. The fervour and passion was sure to come right from the inception of this form of the game. Season 1 was really interesting. The teams did not manage to accrue passionate fanatics supporting them die hard. The cricket lovers were more enthused by the very nature of this form of the game and did not resort to wildfire regional supporting tendencies. I was one of the kind too. I did manage to cross my fingers for Chennai Super Kings sporadically during the first edition and i would owe that gesture to the feeling of local support being a long time dweller of the city. But as the build up for season 2 started, the passion increased. I wanted to own a yellow jersey to support the team through season II. I decided that i would watch a few games at the stadium too. Those hopes were dented by the decision to move the tournament overseas. With so much homework from my side done, i geared up for the inaugural match. But at last i ironically managed to miss the match in view of my last minute plans to go to Bangalore. I learned about the results late in the night though.

Fellow supporters told about the loss to Mumbai Indians on the opening day. Surprisingly it did not create any hard feelings for me. May be it was too late in the night for me to fret and discuss the sad story after all for co-supporters would've done the post match analysis which i missed citing personal reasons. I thought i would catch up with the tournament in full swing and with complete ecstasy from the next match day. But the interests were not sustained. As i returned to work on Monday, i could just not think about it with the backlog items at the workplace daunting me after a tired weekend. I watched a couple of slog overs in the CSK-RCB match late night after i got back home.

I noticed the same dip in the passion levels with my fellow fans not knowing the reason though. But whats quite clear is that the move overseas has brought down levels of interest as one cannot enjoy the ecstatic atmosphere in the stadium if the tournament had stayed in India. The idea of screening the matches at multiplexes was welcome during the build up to the season. But nothing materialized at the end, lowering the hopes for a sizzling month of IPL fever. Watching the matches this season i reckon would just be more of a time pass activity rather than being a fervour. I do support the decision to move the tournament away from the country for security reasons, but i somehow feel the passion and enthusiasm which showed positive signs during preseason have died down nevertheless.

Tuesday, 7 April 2009

Thirty-30

Thirty things I would like to do before I am 30. This is yet another Tagged post (this time by one of my old school pals).

Ok here it goes....

1. Add a PGDM behind my initials.
2. Work for a consultancy firm and analyze a big thing like the Tata Nano Release or an RIL-RPL merger.
3. Complete the IMDB list of Top 250.
4. Read all of the 90 odd works by P.G.Wodehouse.
5. Start a Retail Chain of something really innovative-may be jewellery...lolzzz
6. Create and shoot an advertisement for Vodafone or Pepsi.
7. Play a protagonist in a documentary.
8. Win an All India Chess tournament.
9. Carry my bat in a 30 over a side domestic cricket match after opening the innings.
10. Taste Champagne.
11. Watch a United-Arsenal match at Old Trafford.
12. Watch a football match on boxing day at a pub in London.
13. Walk along the LOC in the kupwara sector or Poonch District.
14. Design my dream home from scratch.
15. Eat all possible chocolate varieties from around the world.
16. Cook an elaborate meal for a group of 10.
17. Build a Personal library of over 500 books I have read.
18. Give a lecture on Theology or Philosophy at some prestigious management school.
19. Go on a world tour with family.
20. Eat only chocolates from morning to night on a single day.
21. Spend a night on a star cruise deep in the middle of the seas.
22. Shoot 10 terrorists in a guerilla fight.
23. Serve the Indian Air Force for a short period.
24. Be a commentator alongside Harsha Bhogle for an India-Australia match down under.
25. Conduct a Sports quiz at the national level.
26. Own a super market in some hill station.
27. Write an article for the Time Magazine.
28. Dine with Warren Buffet on a moonlit night in Mexico.
29. Coach a Division II football team in England.
30. Officiate an international cricket match.




Thursday, 2 April 2009

SouthFull

It was a windy sunday evening. I woke up from my afternoon nap, which is becoming kind of a ritual during weekends of late. A mini sandstorm had just passed by. The weather was really awesome. A perfect one for a romantic walk or something along the seashore. I streched myself and got out of bed to get the picturesque bird's eye view of the IT park nearby, from my third floor apartment. It was gratifying. I walked out to get some cool breeze coz it was one rare evening in the month of march when the temparatures usually start to soar. I walked towards the tea shop with my room mates for a cup of 'chai'-customary on a sunday evening. As I walked past the narrow lanes with the low walls that helped many couples on lazy weekends, I started to feel as if I was walking through lush green fields, enjoying the scented fresh air. I got lost in thoughts as my mind wandered. The picture of the green fields in my mind slowly made me feel nostalgic. I wondered about those small vacations to less known villages in south tamil nadu about a decade back. The village atmosphere has always interested me a lot since childhood. I was excited by the freshness in the air coz these valleys have really low pollution levels

Having spent the most part of my school life in Chennai, I have always had a liking for the serene and calm valleys in the southern countryside. I have a bucket list of things to do before i die and the first in the list is to live a year or two in a hill station running a small shop for daily bread. That sounds pretty weird for the detailing of the occupation and stuff in those couple of years. Looking up into the black sky and wondering how many stars there are in the universe, from a hill top--an out of the world feeling I would say. The most attractive thing about a hill is the fact that you see the most beautiful creations of mother nature below you--I mean, the altitude. It gives you a feel. I am running out of words to explain the beauty of it.

Avoiding the hustle and bustle of city life, one really gets to experience paradise on earth. The other thing about small towns of the south that interests me is the annual festival that happens as a custom. It is known as 'thiruvizha' in tamil and it would be a once-in-a-lifetime-experience for a city dweller. Crowds thronging the narrow street that has those exhibition stalls and the legendary eat outs-Absolutely amazing. The event is a chance for people from nearby towns and villages to spend a lazy weekend evening with their spouse and children. I have been to a couple of these melas during my earlier summer vacations. And both the times there was this light drizzle early in the evening that makes the climate really enjoyable. One can embark on a new chapter of life in these towns located on the hills and the nearby valleys. It instills a feel of romance. The ice cold fresh waterfalls in these hills have made me dumbstruck many a time. These places are fraught with the complete beauty of mother nature. I got immersed in the thoughts of the life in such places which are known to have very low population densities.

I sprang back into reality when my friend patted from behind to tell me that i had walked past the tea stall. The weather was pleasent yet. I had my regular cup of 'chai' and walked back to catch up with the weekend premier league football. It was the early kick off that i wanted to watch that day. I wanted to think a lot more about those but i ended up watching the lunch time football with the usual packet of potato chips and my mug of beer.