Saturday, December 31, 2005

Lord of the Ringing

Yup, this new year's eve is going to be spent in the usual amazing way. Sitting at home, watching TV and chatting away to glory.
Btw, I'm not being sarcastic.

Amit's post on the issue quite conveys my feelings.

Cya, next year.


UPDATE

Got dragged into one of those parties in Mumbai. Welcomed Mr.2006 with smoke, loud noise and lots of filth lying around later. The chocolate cake at the end seemed to be the only good part. Looks like I've found another item for my crusade campaign.

Cheers,

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Beware, I have a Sprachgefuhl !

AWAD can sometimes spring up gems like this one.

(PS : Internet presence may be severely affected in the following days due to a number of reasons including a peculiar position of the planets and a slight twitch in my left hallux.)

Sunday, December 18, 2005

AN OPEN LETTER

Dear Mr. Friedman,

My name is ____________, and I am a second year engineering student in Pune,India at a government technology school. While discussing the 'flatteners' in your latest book you seem to have ommited a major sub-reason for the rapid disemmination of information and powering, of the Indian masses in particular and the Indo-China in general. That is 'illegal information purchasing capability' in the form of PIRACY.

As you have rightly pointed out, the internet (unlike telecommunications) is highly language specific (only english speakers are sufficiently empowered) and such capabilites in regional(indian) languages also depend majorly on literacy. In a country with about 60% literacy (pls verify) this is too less, add to this the figures for English literacy and internet penetration, the percentage that seem to be driving this flattening,from India, is small, but nevertheless significant.

However, you must realize that almost all of the 'zippie' generation can hardly afford to even dream of purchasing original software and indeed other intellectual content that is powering this knowledge drive. The whole zippie generation runs on pirated software, right from their copies of the latest Windows xp and Office to movies, music and even niché products at home use like Photoshop and Macromedia Flash.

The government crackdown on this phenomenon is incredibly minimal and mostly related to office spaces. However, the INDIVIDUALS that are powering today's flattening in the third world do so on mostly pirated stuff, and you will be astonished at the extent of this problem. The risks of getting caught are vitually minimal for a young teenager installing unauthorised copies of Windows, and so even those who can afford to pay, don't. Though companies (esp. large ones) rarely risk reputations, the small, young home user has hardly anything to lose when using a piece of pirated software.

Therefore content, made not by open source platforms but by corporations , (which Bill Gates claims to be better), is ALSO FREE. Therefore due to a laxity in the implementation of these laws, the third world has the added advantage of listening to the latest American popstars, tuning into Harry Potter 4 as soon as it is released, at home, and buying extremely cheap, pirated books off the roadsides, is incredibly simple. The First world simply cannot even realize how easy, and how cheap it is, for me in a India to get a pirated copy of 'The World is Flat' for a measly Rs. 150 compared to an enormous Rs.710 in licensed bookstores. [The normal teens monthly spending would be around Rs. 1000 - 1500 and he can't afford to blow half of it on this book]

Therefore this free information that Indians have access to, is a major driving factor in accelerating the pace of the-catch-up process. And this problem is spread out in esp. the South-East-Asian markets and also probably China. (that is for you to investigate!) The 'empowered' zippie that you make out to be, is reading stuff on the net off a pirated copy of windows (obtained from his local dealer), wearing fake Nike boots and a fake Manchester United jersey (though manufacturing piracy is less prevalent in India and more in SE-Asia) listening to an amazing playlist right from Bob Dylan's country grooves to the latest Bollywood number.

The issue is not the 'morality' or 'outrageousness' of the observation - but simply the fact that this is a major factor in giving third world countries an edge over the first world. Thus in this case, a law and order breakdown has actually benefited the intellectual revolution. Or has it ?

Thank you,
Yours Truly,
____________



PS : If someone really knows TLF's email ID, please tell me about it.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

A few pointers

Morales' Bolivia ? The Economist finds out.

Keane goes to Celtic, and Peter Crouch scores, twice.

And Kapeesh writes eloquently about ..., well, find out for yourself, here.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

England's Road to WC Glory.

Step One :

Play Trinidad AND Tobago,(not win) draw with Sweden and finish second in group

Step Two: (PreQ)

Beat Germany 5-1.

Step Three: (Quarters)

Beat Argentina 1-0

Step Four:(Semis)

France. Concede penalty which Pires promptly misses and Gary Neville scores much to his own suprise. Win.

Step Five: (Finals)

Meet Brazil. Half time 2-0. Paul Gascoigne appears, wearing plastic breasts and cocktail stains on his shirt and urges the lads to do it for England (well, no one quite knows what he's said but it works). Terry nods in one and Gerrard scores the other. Extra-time. Crouch comes one and scores, fainting in the process.

There, simple.

(Simplified Robbo)

Sunday, December 11, 2005

The best thing about Rock Concerts

You don't need to tell people to turn their cell phones off.

This is Big

... and stupid.

Roy Keane has apparently passed a medical at Real Madrid, and should be moving there anytime soon. I think this by far, is the final cap on a series of stupid decisions that Florentino Perez has taken, since when he ushered in the Galacticos era.

Keano is a great motivator, but he's 34, he won't be motivated and all he's looking for is a good time. If Gravesen cannot get a game, a similar but younger player Keano's chances seem extremely slim.

I only hope Perez did this 'cause Keane came cheap. I don't see any other reason for Spanish in an Irish accent to be heard around Madrid anytime soon.

(Wonder what Beckham might be feeling as he sees England acquaintances slipping by, saying hi at Real Madrid)

PS: This is the only link I could find, and the seal of confirmation is still awaited as far as this news goes.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Grrrrrr.... Grrrrrrr......

If you like me watched Cartoon Network during the mid 90s you might be well acquainted with Penelope Pitstop and the whole funny crew of Wacky Races . And you might chance on having heard that famous 'Grrr...' by that pointy nosed evil looking car-driver and his dog. Yup, Dick Dastardly and his pet dog Muttley have finally got their due place in the spotlight. The Times in a recent 'study' has concluded that Dick Dastardly is the most dangerous cartoon driver. And as for our dear Homer, he's not far behind either at second place while Fred Flintstone makes it to third, for his 'pedestrian' efforts.

And all those aaj-kal-ke kids - who watch tiny TV etc. with stupid talking lorries and what-not, this stuff was 'real' good and of course, 'real' dangerous.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Ici, Il fait beau !

Some musings from the garden city.

* Saw my first Kannada film (Amruthavarshini) on the State Govt. Volvo bus service. This was after they made me sit through Garam Masala, and switched off the wonderful reading lights they have there.( Go and sleep, why do you want to read?). It's funny how I understand what they're saying - but never quite get even one word in the songs. Also the Kannada film was definitely better than Garam Masala, but hey, that's not saying much.

* How can a govt. bus show the latest movies on pirated CDs. They've got no right to tell others to stop if they can go flouting the rules on every bus they have. I don't think the anti-piracy campaigners have quite grasped the gravity of the bus-movie-showing business. And why can't they show serials, episodes, musical programmes etc. instead of bad, new, movies?

* Was pleasantly surprised to see Venkatesh Prasad smiling down on me from the Andhra Bank hoarding. For some reason I've always had a soft corner for VP.

* I'd seen bangalorepotholes.com before going and I'd heard someone saying that the roads in Pune were better. No need to be worried, my Pune Brethren - we are still number one.

* It's quite cloudy and pleasant here - so the weather's fantastic. Also got to have a look at Chinnaswamy Stadium and saw ManU thrash Portsmouth 3-0. So, so far, the going's been good.

Cheers,

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Mozilla Firefox ver. 1.5

Mozilla has released ver. 1.5 for Firefox. You can download it from here(around 5Mbs).

Also gave me a good opportunity to finally shift to Firefox. Realized immediately, what a fool I was, not to do it before.

Cheers,

I think, therefore ICANN

ICANN - the mai-baap of all domian names, really needs to get it's act together.

It's
a) Molopoized the business of allotting domain names. There needs to be a better system, are more importantly a more respresentative body.

b) There is increased lethary as far as the pace of sanctioning new suffixes goes, and the internet on the whole needs to be more functional and flexible.

c) There are various other issues and complaints as to the nature of it's functioning. I think only the BBCI can rival ICANN for it's level of 'opaqueness'. The ICANN meetings schedule is aimed at being representative but keeping meetings in places like Carthage, Mar Del Plata and Accra ensures that most of the do-gooders don't attend, thus making the whole group a monopoly of the few.

It's high time control was diluted and fairer sytems be adopted. For the internet to grow rapidly, it need's a better system. As for me there is an urgent need for the ' .blog ' suffix. With the transmogrification of the blogsphere, ICANN should have been responsive enough and this problem should have been fixed long before.

Cheers,

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Look ma, where I found a libertarian !

Lalit Modi is the new Vice President of the BCCI. Sharad Pawar has finally acceeded to the much vaulted port-key of Indian sport, which means rich rewards for all those on his side. One of Pawar's aide-de-camps has been Lalit Modi, the suave, tough-talking self-professed cricket afficanado from Rajasthan. In fact assuming from his previous track record as the Mumbai Cricket Association's President and the President of the Maharashtra Olympic Committee , Pawar as a Union minister will not have enough time to look after the day-to-day affairs of the Board, Lalit Modi is the man you should be courting in case you are in line for a favour with the BCCI. And if this is the case, then there is cause for joy - for, at least from what he says, Modi seems to want to make good, all the bad publicity a certain other person has brought to his particular family name.

Lalit Modi was the one of the foremost opponents of the Dalmiya regime, when the TV rights issue came up, arguing against various clauses in the agreement. He championed the cause of BCCI setting up it's own TV cricket channel, thus broadcasting to millions of viewers all the live action, including building up a strong programming portfolio for broadcasting quality content
when India is not playing. He argued that this would enable the BCCI to make more money, without periodic hassles over telecast rights and the subsequent debates over the advertising revenue cuts etc. His voice seemed to have been lost, especially since focus shifted to the crucial elections and the subsequent postponing of the telecast rights issue.

Now with the emergence of Pawar, Lalit Modi will probably get the free hand he long desired. He himself is a businessman, and seems to have a lot of new ideas and will bring some dynamism and professionalim to the post. He proposes hiring the best talent ( "IIM graduates" ) and appointing CEOs for the different areas like Finance, Advertising, Media and Public Relations. In fact, he has spoken out harshly against the much-criticized zonal selection process and proposes having a one or two person committee ("a Gavaskar for example") to do the job.

Modi points out the fact that the BCCI being the richest cricket body in the world and responsible for generating tremendous amounts of revenue for the ICC in particular, and the sport of cricket in general, fails to assert itself on the world stage. He cringes at the fact that the BCCI does not have a proper website, symbolizing a lack of profesionalism and transparency.

Many have pointed out these issues and indeed very simple solutions exist to solve these. The point to be made, is that, we now have a person with similar thoughts and ideas and a desire for action in a place of power. Modi fought a long battle to gain the presidency of the Rajasthan Cricket Association against a Dalmiya-backed incumbent of 33 years. He then vociferously held
up against the TV rights issue. Now that he is in a place where he can change things, he has a lot resting upon his shoulders.

With the vanishing of Ganguly's aura of invincibility and Dalmiya's omnipotence (and indeed a new 'academically sound' captain and a coach) one wonders if this really is the dawn of a new era in Indian cricket. However I find it necessary to put on record, my gratitude towards Ganguly and Dalmiya, for taking Indian criket on the front foot. There were a lot of positive things that
the duo gave to Indian cricket, which lent us some respectability on the world stage. However, in analogy with the timing of John Wright's departure, this is the right time for the changover of guard on the national scene.

And Lalit Modi, with a fresh infusion of ideas seems be the right man for the job.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

The Birth of a Question.

As the figures roll us by,
To get us drunk - and keep us high,
In spirits of the work that's done,
And in stead, for years to come,
There are a few things that spring to mind,
Puzzles and riddles of another kind.

What's the day but a number's cry,
Birth's farewell, Death's secret spy.
Or are the moments some brownie points -
For the years ahead with creaking joints

Or perhaps, just a little tap
To run us harder, to bridge the gap
Just a gentle wish, to live-it-up
And to fill the day with a happy cup

Or even perhaps a jolt from time,
That today's dollar will be worth a dime,
But the day, today, is nothing more,
Or better and fuller than the one before

Easy it is, for me to ask,
So set yourself this simple task
The day today, when tomorrow gets
See yourself what it forgets

And that is where the answer lies -
Buried deep beneath,
Those "Happy Birthday!" cries.

-Abhishek

Friday, November 25, 2005

George Best (1946 - 2005)

One of the greatest there ever was - May your soul rest in peace.

Details.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

EUROPEAN FILM FESTIVAL

special crossStyx Spotlight

Where - National Film Archives of India (NFAI), Law College Rd.,Pune.
When - 1st to 7th December
Entry : Free, First Come First Serve.

Schedule :
1st Dec. : Hotel Rwanda (UK)
2nd Dec. : Enduring Love (UK)
3rd Dec. : Samia (FRA)
4th Dec. : Mitr - My Friend (IND)
5th Dec. : Kannathil Muthumittal -The Peck on the Cheek (IND)
6th Dec. : Aprilkinder - The April Children (GER)
7th Dec. Gegen Die Wand - Head On (GER)

All films : 6:30 PM except Mitr: 8 PM.

Comments :

I don't thing this festival is much publicized, but the films look promising. Hotel Rwanda is a film I've heard a lot about. Also I haen't ever watched a Mani Rathnam in Tamil. So really want to watch Kannathil Muthumittal. So if you're in town, or don't have exams(like me), or don't have anything better to do, then this should be really good. I'll try an catch at least a couple of films.

Oh, and for more info you can call NFAI at : +91-20-2565 8253.

Cheers,

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Of two people and two papers . . .

Today's Sunday pull-out of both The Maharastra Herald(MH) (run by the Sakal group and not to be confused with The Herald, or the Deccan Herald) and The Times of India would make an excellent case study about the nature and content of the two newspapers.

The colour supplement along with The Sunday Times today, which might have been read by many, features Vikram Seth - fresh after a release of a new book. The much famous, the much in-the-limelight and definitely one of the most cherished sons of the Indian literary fraternity. The piece is poetic and languid, and carefully crafted. It's breaking at the barriers of scaling literary ladders while describing the subject at hand. Seth - with his bisexuality, a caring family and numerous best-sellers would be an interviewer's delight - and an editor's cover page target. And so as all the equations churn out the right munbers, Seth makes it to the front page. A few weeks after the release, his book needs another gentle push on the swing, to keep the stone rolling, to keep the publishers happy. And so Seth smiles, he gives off a few snippets and anecdotes from here and there - and thus is fixed another peg in his marketing campaign. Of course, the papers love it. Seth is after all - glossy, magazine material.

The MH carries a article about Ruskin Bond. The pages are not glossy. Colour is barely used, with a sketch used instead of a photograph. The piece wanders. Pulling Bond's leg about his technological naïveté. Mistaking the mobile phone for a TV remote - his dusty old typewriter and even his routine domestic problems with the LPG connection. The piece articulates his commonness, his simple style of writing and the reactions of a sleepy town to it's most remarkable inhabitant. There are a few worldy references about Vishal Bharadwaj's much-acclaimed movie version of Bond's book - The Blue Umbrella , and also to Bond's reactions to a previous adaptation - Junoon. A courte formal Q&A interview about his writing and a vivid description of the life he is leading. The article is rooted in it's affection for everything simple. Almost a Gandhian love for Bond's small idiosyncrasies. The piece overall is a synechdoche for the values of the paper in general. Common people, common values and a simple, lucid style.

I must say that I enjoyed reading both the pieces, In the Humble Author's Garden (Nona Walia, Vikram Seth) and Ruskin Naturally (Malini Nair, Ruskin Bond) with an equal, eager interest. However the point being made is about the sensibilities of the two papers - one highly tuned into the stream of trends, circles of wealth and power, fashion and currency and the like - while another is strongly rooted, going about, making a niche, documenting simple, day-to-day, matters-to-the-common man news.

Is there is still hope that a newspaper might emerge, with no keep-advertisers-happy compulsions, in-tune with the haute couture as well as with the hoi polloi. Not an unbiased newspaper - because bland, off the lip reporting would be unpalatable - but a paper that takes a stand, argues for it and hears out it's opponents. What is need is a reader sensitive newspaper, and I, at least in Pune, don't have one.

(PS : The lack of such a newspaper makes it easy for me to conclude, without any further research, that the existing print media industry is controlled, if not fully at least partly by a some setup of external 'string' controls. Experts in this field are free to point out the exact details. )

Cheers,

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Schizophrenics No More !

Ok, we are now officially COEPians. A new board(boards?) has been put up and tomorrow there is a programme to annnounce this formally. The Maharashtra Herald readers might have read this already. Since most of my fellow students are on their bi-annual pre-exam hibernation break, I though this place would be a good place to tell all. Also I intend to rub the smiles off some of my seniors' faces, who separated themselves, under the name guise. So, you, you and particularly you - alteast I will graduate from a college with the same name as you all.

Also here are a few snippets from today's papers.

Lila Poonawala (Alumnus and one of the main campaigners for the name restoration)

On Thursday, I would again enter 'my' college. PIET sounded very alien. I was at the forefront of the alumni agitation for the restoration of the original name. I had persued the matter upto the CM..."


R Vasudevan(of Vascon Engineers)

"There is sense in restoring the original name. Industries are spending billions on building brand names and. So there was no sense in losing a brand name that has built up over a 100 years..."


So from tomorrow we all will be proudly COEPians again.

However there is a catch.

The official name reads : 'P.I.E.T 's COEP' -

So if you were worried about sanity prevailing, don't. Tell everyone, everything is as mad as ever.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

The Long and umm.. Short of Aussie Soccer

UPDATE : Australia have defeated Uruguay in Sydney via penalties.Read match report here.


First the updates : Australia and Uruguay meet tomorrow in Sydney in the second leg of the play-offs for the World Cup in Germany next year. Australia lost the first leg away in Montevideo 0-1. So like every WC, they face the uphill task of beating twice champions Uruguay at home.

Now the pathetic state of Aussie soccer :

Oceania(the group from which Australia comes) does not have a direct entry into the World Cup. The winners of Oceania play against the 5th team in South America for a place in the WC. Every year Australia thrashes all the stupid teams like Fiji, Papua New Guinea and New Zealand and proclaims itself the king of Oceania. Then it promptly goes and gets it's ass kicked by some South American team.

This time around their coach is Guus Hiddink, who one might remember from his exploits with South Korea at WC 2002. Also one report suggests that the match was a close one, so is it that not everything it lost ? Maybe. But considering the resources and player quality - the Socceroos should have qualified for atleast one world cup.

The A - League :

The Aussie local league, the A League is basically concentrated around the major cities. There is a wide disparity between the teams on either coast, with only one team from Perth participating. Some teams from around that area play in south-east Asian leagues simply because it's cheaper and nearer. The erstwhile National Soccer League could not be termed to be very competitive and had to be revamped into the A-League much like America's shift to the new system. There is also a inability to attract foreign players in the league, keep good local talent to help the newer generation and equally a lack in top-class quality. One exception could be Dwight Yorke, who seems to love the Fosterous life in Oz-land. He's currently playing for Sydney FC(IIRC).

The Players

Australia has produced extremely good players, those who can compete on the national level, at least recently. Some names playing in Europe include Tim Cahill(Everton),Mark Schwarzer(Middlesborough), Mark Viduka(Middlesborough) and John Aloisi(Alaves). An important name not taken is that of Harry Kewell(who probably became the first Aussie to win the Champions League), because of his friction with the Aussie Football Federation, and his subsequent retirement from international football.

The Future:

The Australian Football Federation has taken an extremely significant and important decision by deciding to be a member of the Asian group, thereby having to qualify along with the likes of Japan and South Korea. This should ensure that a)they play more regularly against better opponents and b)that their chances of qualification grow manifold. However it's bad news for Asian teams like Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and China who had an extremely good chance of qualifying. Asia has 4 slots, and now with 3 being clearly taken, there remains only one spot to keep fighting for.

Tomorrow's Game

Uruguay are a tough tough side to beat. With the likes of Alvaro Recoba(Inter Milan) and apple-of-everyone's-eye Diego Forlan(Villareal) along with Dario Silva, Marcelo Zalayeta and company I personally don't think the Aussies will be able to do it. Also a world cup without the Uruaguan team would be take some of the shine off Germany '06.

However in 4 years time at South Africa, if the Socceroos qualify then that could be start of the rise of a new power in world football. The American already have achieved much and the copy-americans that they are, don't expect the Aussies to lag behind. Also the talk of Australia hosting the WC in the future could materialize if this happens, which could prove a catalyst for this process.

Till then, the average Aussie will have to be content paying 25 bucks an hour to the beer-fetching bikini-clad model, as he watches Gilly pelt Pollock and company to all four corners of the MCG.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

My Favourite Columnist

Here's Robbo is a longer-than-usual treat.

Last week he called American Sports - "freak sports". Responding to a disgruntled reader he writes -

Look, the Americans won't win anything as long as they're playing a game where draws are OK. They cannot stand drawing. Finishing a game, shaking hands, saying that was all right and going for a pint. They can't do it. It's not in their mentality.


David Seaman recently go rid of his much criticized pony tail (that being the most criticized hairdo after Pietersen's peacock shock-locks). Everyone's happy and maybe that was the reason he could't jump well enough.(Ronaldinho anyone ?).

And when someone said Robbo thought cricket was better than sliced bread, you know Robbo can write about more than cricket.

And frankly sliced bread isn't that great. I don't know about you but I prefer a nice uncut floury bloomer, which you can cut into any size you like. Sliced bread is a much overrated invention if you ask me.


And previewing the England Argentina 'friendly' Robbo wrote :(responding to Crespo's comments about playing with knives in the mouth)

Well if they come out with swords, we'll come out with...pens

What we can also do with the pens is use them to write '1-0 World Cup 2002' on the back of their shirts so they've still got a reminder when they leave the pitch.


And if you haven't had enough - Read the full thing.

Cheers,

Damn!

Missed this. So much for being a true-blue fan.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Hey you ! What's with the poppies?


Not many people could have forgotten the scene in Mangal Pandey where Toby Stevens tells the British lady, in presence of all the officers about the opium wars and the about the British coercing the Indian farmers into growing poppies. The Englishman's fascination with poppies indeed goes a long way.

When Aussie journalist Edward George Honey suggested the 'moment of silence concept' as we know it to mark Armistice day, another interesting tradition sprung up - Wearing a poppy on your sleeve. So every year as it nears the 11th of November all the Englishman (Aussie and Canadians too) turn out in their best Sunday coats with a bright red poppy planted to it.So everybody, from Alex Ferguson to Tony Blair and from the creme de la creme to the hoi polloi, is parading their bright, red poppy. I also remember the poppy making an appearance in many a classical British Detective Series. In Sherlock Holmes too methinks?

Shouldn't we guys in India do something too. What about all wearing Gandhi topis on Oct.2 ? That would be fun!

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Prisoner's Dilemma

He hurried long the road. "Maps are good" he thought. He hadn't been in this quarter of town before. Hell, he didn't even have time to observe the silent surrender of the night dew to the already boggy earth. His eyes sighed, a good opportunity missed. But it was not everyday that you had rescue your girlfriend from the Melgrinthians. And now, was definitely a bad time for unaimed, unsolicited musings. Look at the map. "Next left turn". Sure? Yes.

There it was in front of him. The huge floating tower of the Werlocks. Time left : 25 dits. Lots of time to go and get a slimy key. But not nearly enough when you had to beat the guards, slash some Werlock necks and then search over 20,000 gidders of neatly arranged lockers. Wow! 20,000 gidders! That would have bought a lot of Melgrinthian counties, a gild for every locker. He took a deep breath. Pictured her in his mind. Checked for his wand. Right! Lets go.

The next 20 dits went off in a flash. He could barely remember what all had happened. A lot of Werlock blood had flowed, for sure. Anyway, he had made it to the passage to the Chamber of Tirkamati, the abode of the key, the only thing that
could get back his beloved _____. The key in your hand, and _______ was free. One small problem Mr. 20,000 gidders, only 5 dits and one key. He had to try.

He pushed open the door. In front was the largest idol of Tirkamati that could be found anywhere on the whole of Aeqia. And to the left and the right were what looked initially like a massive wall of segmented steel. He looked at the heavens. The timekeeper indicated 4 dits remaining. He decided there was no time to lose.He decided to start from the left. He proceeded to mount the hoverator placed near the idol. The 6th row from the top would be a good place to start. A 1000 lockers a dit would mean he could cover only 1 in 50000 of all the lockers. He had to try. The hoverator took him up a 100 feet and he started from he right end. A quick glance at the Keeper and he opened it. There it was! A shiny golden key - Staring at him.

Harsh stared into nothing. He hoped option A was correct.

"Lock kiya jaaye!"

Monday, November 07, 2005

For quizzer's sake !

The ruling FRELIMO Party of Mozambique has decided to redesign it's flag - most famous for the AK 47 and Red Star. The committee to redesign this flag includes an architect and former public works minister along with a painter and a writer. Also a design competition has been launched and the committee is currently studying proposals for a new design.

When the constitution was amended recently, an additional rule necessitating a change in the flag was passed. However, now that the time for actual change has come, there is a widespread opposition to the move. The opposition RENAMO party, has fought tooth and nail against the move. Curiously enough it was RENAMO which was one of the major benificiaries of the SA support. They say the gun represents the nation's triumph over the South-african sponsored factions which caused long drawn out civil war. Infact a leader was quoted as saying "If the star represents communism then the US would be the most communist state in the world."

Though the move seems a logical move and the FRELIMO party seems pretty set to ring in the change, following generations of quizzers would lose a piece of flag trivia, that was very dear to me, atleast.

Read this excellent full report.

Cheers,

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

League Quiz - November Edition

Me and a friend are doing a quiz as a part of the Pune Quizzing League. The details are as follows :

1. Scope : General / Trivia
2. Date : 5th November, 2005
3. Day : Saturday
4. Place : Persistent Systems Pvt. Ltd.,
Senapati Bapat Rd. Pune.
5. Time : 4 : 30 PM
6. Teams of 2 / open for all

You can check out the interactive map and sample quiz.

Make it there if possible. Promises to be a lot of fun.

Cheers,

Monday, October 31, 2005

My Resolution this Diwali.

Every Diwali Jnana Prabodhini, a reputed Poona school sends out it's students to sell crackers to mostly other kids, and these kids pan out across the localities and collectively sell a lot of crackers. They get a commision and thereby a large number of enthusiastic kids go out every year selling their stuff.This is in stark contrast to efforts by other schools, notably DPS, who make efforts to reduce the mindless cracker-bursting that goes on. No doubt this contributes to their entrepreneurship skills, but aren't their other ways to achieve the same objectives. Selling lanterns or diyas for example.

Not only is it contributing to air, noise and water pollution but also leads to a large amount of garbage being deposited on the roads. Also most of these crackers are made using child labour,at least in some places and buying such crackers would amount to supporting such heinous activites. Also a country already ravaged by endless monsoons, pot-holed roads, terrorist blasts and railway accidents can ill-afford small/large mishaps causing additional strain on public resources.

As a kid, I've always despised bursting crackers and I feel I've contributed somewhat to the 'say-no-to-crackers' movement. This year I felt that more needs to be done, so I've decided to convince one kid every year, not to burst crackers. I did that today, with a cousin of mine. If any of you could also so the same, then we would be contributing in a small way to saving the country from all the things I talked about.

Here's wishing all the readers of crossStyx a Happy, Safe and Cracker-Free Diwali! Go out and have a blast, figuratively that is!

Cheers,

Thursday, October 27, 2005

What is it with Genius ?

George Best
The BBC reports that George Best is fighting for his life. The Manchester United legend and Northern Ireland star who has already had a liver transplant, is currently critical in a hospital in West London. The genius that he was on the pitch, never quite could cope with life outside the limelight and has had a long history of bad behaviour and health problems.

'Great One' no more :

Anyway, the whole point of this post was to record the Addick's stunning win over Chelsea yesterday in the Carling Cup. Charlton continued their great start to the season with a win over Chelsea (2-1) via penalties. The Great One was quick to blame the heavens.

Also Liverpool were knocked out by freshly relegated Crystal Palace. So both of last year's finalists are out and should make the road a bit easier for Arsenal and Manchester United.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Quote for the day

" Q. Which famous sports person's middle name is Farookh ?
Ans. Michael Shumacher " - Parnab Mukherjee.

Find out more about Rolf Schumacher here.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Let's talk about life !

Not often in Marathi do you have new faces breaking the barrier to give you a fresh sound and a fresh style. Marathi music/theatre has always been the domain of established poets and music director-singer combos. This formula gave us years of amazing music, but with PuLa's passing away and the ending of the Yashawant Dev, Madgulkar, Kusumagraj era the most that the Marathi creative scene can boast of are a few decent actors most notably Atul Kulkarni and Shreyas Talpade, who might be better known to Hindi audiences.

However a new duo of Salil Kulkarni and Sandip Khare has emerged on the music scene. Both are quite young, come from a predominantly science background (with Sandip being an engineer from COEP) and most importantly they bring a fresh new youthful face to Marathi arts. Sandip is the lyricist/music director while Salil mostly sings the songs. Their first show Aayushyawar Boolu Kaahi . . .(Lets talk about life) is a smash hit and is running to packed houses in an art-famished city. Their second programme/album 'Namanjoor' (Not acceptable) is also an amazing collection of songs and should do extremely well.

They sing about the various facets of life, about the common man accepting life's restrictions, about our two minds, about the rebellious youth breaking society's restrictions and they strike a chord in the heart. The words are definitely the plus point and hopefully with some experience the duo should be able to realize the nuances of the trade and become a bit more professional with the technical aspects of recording/singing/composing.

So here's wishing Salil/Sandip a long career giving us fresh soulful songs. Till then to both of them, bon chance!

MICA Update :

Won't go into excruciating detail. My able friend has already done the needful here. Perhaps a few reminences, however twisted, but later. And yes, I second Kunal's observations about the fairer sex at MICA. Oops, sorry, Mathew Sir, for the faux pas.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

I, The Unofficial COEP Chronicler.

(my sincerest apologies to those not interested in updates from COEP, Pune)

News first. The hostel's got broaband which seems to be working in places, and is yet to become operational in others . Those who have computers and are lucky enough to have it operational in their block can plug in. Heard some reports about downloading fees/annual fees. Need to keep an eye on that one. Most reports regarding the speed seem positive.

The badminton court has got a grant to be completely redone. Work is expected to start soon, and hopefully one of the bright spots in college would become a bit better. However they need to change the draconian law wrt the timings. Needs to be open between 10 and 5 too. As for the TT courts don't know what's the take on that one, but hopefully that should be done as well.

College cultural activites were officially inaugurated with a usual dance, music programme. I've always envied people who could draw/paint well. Lots of such people at college. They had amazing sketches being drawn in the bg while the acts went on. Was totally absorbed watching that, through the ruckus in the fore. What was apalling in one sense, and exciting in another was the fact that senior teachers adressing the gathering were hooted at, and there was a general sense of an audience uprising. Mob-psychology anyone ?

Promises, Promises . . .
The college's alumni association is trying to go the extra mile to assure the students about it's grandoise plans for the college. These include :

1. Totally online processing of fee payment, admission etc.
2. Complete lease-line connectivity with an increased speed and a wider network.
3. Alumni data collection project.
4. A seemingly 'activite extraordinaire' - giving laptops to FEs which they pay off after a few years of graduation and
wi-fi hotspots across college.
5. International tie-ups with renowned foreign schools etc.

My advice, complete the subway first.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Remember, David won.

For all those who don't know already, this is what happened :

Gaurav and Rashmi wrote on their respective blogs about how IIPM, the management school perpetrate their lies (about facilities, foreign trips, placements, faculty etc.) through various fora. This involved a point-to-point critique of IIPM's fraudulent practices and their flouting of advertising norms, by luring gullible students into their institutes. This really pissed off the guys at IIPM (note the growing power of blogging) and caused them to serve a legal notice on Gaurav and JAMMag(the magazine for which Rashmi writes). This was fine - as this was a personal battle amongst Gaurav/Rashmi and IIPM. All this while some really crazy IIPM students went about plastering the blogworld, with really absurd, extremely shocking and downright gross comments on rashmi's commentbox and on newly created blogs.

Sample this :

' At 2:08 PM, IIPMstudent9 said...
... So here's my advice - take your ridiculous allegations and shove it. I'm glad my institute has issued notices against Gaurav Sabnis (a fake name, probably you masquerading as a man again!)...Here's wishing your tiny, yellow magazine a quick death. And us students will do all we can to hasten it...'


This is only a sample of the extent these seemingly out-of-mind students are going to malign Gaurav and Rashmi. I've been to a lot of websites, but not one of them contains a point-to-point rebuttal of the allegations leveled at IIPM. This only goes to prove the veracity of the allegations and IIPM's attempts to divert from the truth will not be tolerated by the blogging community.

What was shocking, was IIPM's attempts to involve Gaurav's employers IBM, by threatening to burn IBM laptops. This finally lead to Gaurav standing by his principles and resigning from the company. This decision cannot be praised enough.

All that remains is for the blogging community to prove in either the courts or to the advertising regulators about IIPM's long practice of throwing dust into people's eyes. I realize finding ways to overcome the money power of IIPM won't be that easy,but a concerted and united effort from all of the blogging community would go a long way in helping Gaurav and Rashmi prove their point.

Till then, please visit these sites and pick up more links from here for a full-rounded view of the happenings :
Gaurav clarifies
Amit
Sambar Mafia
Technorati:IIPM

Monday, October 03, 2005

Didn't We Know That ?

Voilà, the Pigeonhole Principle.

courtesy Wikipedia
Statement : If there are n pigeons and (n-1) holes then there must be atleast one hole which has more than one pigeon.

Why should you know it? par exemple you can find out with how many people you are likely to share your birthday with and that you have the same amount of hair as atleast one person in your town. Go here, here and here for more.

Friday, September 30, 2005

Exam Notes

Exams give a good opportunity for catching up on lost tunes. Heard Mr.Tambourine Man after a long time. Heard it throughout the day. Simply marvellous. That and Blowin' in the Wind. Exhillarating! Blowin' in the Wind for simplicity of lyrics and Tambourine Man for it's wild wild imagery. "smoke rings of my mind" - "Silhouetted by the sea, circled by the circus sands" - " the jingle jangle morning" " the twisted reach of crazy sorrow." - That and Dylan's trademark style! No words!

*****

Saw an old episode of Dekh Bhai Dekh soon after Sarabhai vs. Sarabhai. I thought the latter was one of the best sitcoms I had seen. DBD blew it away. Different genres but still simplicity wins. The saw Tom&Jerry. Seeing it for the nth time, makes no difference!

*****

Discrete Structures is a subject that would interest a lot of people who enjoy recreational mathematics. Learnt about how to analyze graphs and use it to solve that clichéd 'haat na uchalata kaadh' (figures to be drawn without lifting the pen) problems of the past. Euler and the famous Königsberg bridge problem. Interesting that.

*****

Sick and tired of the whole Saurav & Greg saga. Karthikeyan isn't doing to well, we lost predictably to the Swedes, even Mirza can't seem to do better than make headlines for different fatwas. In England ManU aren't in the happiest of times despit a scratchy Champions League win. Vishy seems to be the only bright spot. Another long, dark, dismal trough in Indian Sport? Seems so!

*****

A couple of weeks ago saw Dansh and Madagascar on the same day. Madagascar was sweet - something I would gush over if I was a girl. Apart from that nothing mentionable. Dansh was a huge disappointment. First time director Kanika Sharma's tale set during the MIZO uprising is an interesting experience to say the least. Kay Kay is competent but not stellar, Aditya Shrivastava (CID fame) and Sonali Kulkarni are the other two characters around whom the film revolves. Sonali Kulkarni turns in a surprisingly good/fresh performance and Shrivastava too is OK, but the direction is patchy to say the least. Some positive moments but otherwise thorougly passable fare.

Friday, September 23, 2005

'Bechara!'

It was dusk. And, it was dusty. The dirt of a huge meandering red machine deposited gently onto a small black puddle nearby. As the particles gently kissed the surface, a passing vehicle stirred up the concoction leaving behind a trail of raw energy into the humble pool. It's heart jumped and then gradually settled down, into it's usual routine of being black - and still. After all, it was dusk.

Unlike others in many parts of town, this particular puddle had only one black cousin. A bit larger but somehow more empty. Funny, he thought. What was also, not funny, but definitely remarkable was a car passing along the way into the distant darkness at this odd hour. The tyres caressed it like feeling a soft scar on the skin. It whirred air into it's lungs, making it feel cold, suddenly . But it knew - as it had known the minds of those who rode over it for ages, that something, was not right.

He could remember it distinctly. He was 12 years old. He was with his father on their yearly vacations. It was his yearly moment of childish exaltation. Right from the announcement of the date, to the destination, to all the small details of the preparations excited him to the core. He loved his father for being what he was. A glowing tribute to the 'abstract noun' called fatherhood. He brought him fighter-guns and hot-wheels, he took him out on little father-son adventures or picnics, he taught him to play ball, to catch a frisbee, to swim! He loved their small sojourns out of town , everything they did in the little time they had together. He craved for that time. He devoured that time. He was - his mother.

However this year was going to be different. He sensed it from the moment he knew that they were going to be visiting relatives. Usually they went on a 'real' holiday. He could never forget that mystical cruise last year to Singapore and his first tryst with the mysteries of the green. But relatives! That was different. He, like his father, loved the open, the serene - the uncomplicated. He hated big lipped aunties kissing him on his cheek, or over-smart cousins in their shiny new ghagra-cholis trying to pester him into doing nonsensical things. He hated the plastic smiles and most of all that slight shade in their eyes,the slight emotion-'bechara!'

All that - again. He meekly sat in the car. He wasn't in the mood for talking. He was masquerading as 'the grumpy little kid'. He knew his father didn't like going too. But there were some things that had to be done. Some duties and some relations that had to be kept. It was, after all, his cousin sister's wedding. They reached after the long 8hr drive. He would have loved it, had it not been for the extremely unwanted destination. They reached. Shit! They were all there. All of them. The whole group of over-dressed and over-sized aunties and their pesky little kids. He promptly wriggled himself out of getting wet cheeks by sneaking out into their room and tried as along as possible to go unnoticed - unobtrusively reading a worn copy of his only Dr.Who. The wedding was to be the next day. Come dinner time he was smoked out of his cubby hole and once on the dining table became a central target for all to stare and sometimes question. 'Bechara!' - he had heard them gossip, 'the mother died at childbirth and Manoj? Where does he have time to take care of him. Look how quiet he is! I am telling you Kamal, its not good for kids his age to be so quiet.' and then the tape would wind to the usual story of his dad's remarriage, him not having any siblngs etc. He watched the mouse scurry across their old, grand pastoral mansion floor. He could almost see the glint in it's eyes. Half-smirkingly he too retired to his own private hole.

The wedding went off as most weddings should not, but do. They were to leave the next day. He promised himself a good sleep with that thought for the night. He was however unfortunatly but predictably mistaken. The guest-list was now at it's overflowing best and what better occasion to celebrate a wedding than to have an even extended falsity under the guise of 'Private Reception Party'. He looked at his wiry frame in the mirror as he got ready. He could see his chest-bones staring at themselves. He pulled on his underpants, put on his jeans and managed to extract a decently not-crumpled T-shirt from his valise. Thus armed he entered into the main hall. A gory sight of ruffling red, glistening green greeted him on his entrance. Flaying dupattas, flirting teenagers on the dance-floor and his own cousins enjoying themselves thorougly to the tune of the latest hindi number. He didn't know the song. He didn't know the beat. Here, his life was off-track.

'Ojas, come here' - someone shouted. It was Kavita Aunty. She was looking exceedingly gargantuan in a tight 'number'.'Come beta, dance with Rashmi.' He had no choice. He tried, this was after all the fist time that he was doing something as weird as this. He flayed his arms and tapped his feet. And all the aunties had a good time. 'Look at Manoj's son. Pukka tribal dancer!' Later they would regale themselves by looking at the video tape of the event. 'I never thought anyone could ever dance sooo badly!!' 'Look at my Rashmi, how gifted she is! Look at her expressions, kamal she's got her mother's genes, i'm telling you! ' There it was, another rendez-vous, another label - 'bad dancer'. They came back. 7 summers and 6 monsoons passed.

The freshers party had gone badly. He'd tried to grow a stubble. But it wasn't nearly as stiff as it ought to have been. His hair were their usual unruly selves. And his bony frame was no better than 7 years before. And neither was his dancing. He watched with envy as his friends would move with rhythmic grace at every song. Now he knew the number, he knew the beat, he even knew his partner - he just didn't have the step. He stepped out of the suffocating air of the disco. He hated it enormously when he couldn't summon up the courage. He would recollect Kavita aunty and her massive eyes. He settled on a drive.

He saw a tramp selling those yellow coloured wiping cloth at the signal. He should target the cars which are clean than those which aren't. Those who keep them clean would be the more likely customers. .You aren't convincing people to clean - just selling your product. I would make a good manager he thought. Green light, another moment, another thought. 7 years back. 'Bad dancer' - Why didn't the aunties kiss you now?

He hit a huge empty pothole. He swerved. 'Damn Shit!' a large meandering red machine can really pack a punch.

'Bechara!' - said the black pool. 'Something, was not right.'

~ Abhishek

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

GoogleFight

Ever wondered if ManU's more popular or Arsenal? If your girlfriend's better than Pam? Ever had a fight with anyone about which actor is better? Then this website is for you.Don't forget to check out 'the classics' and the 'fun fights'. Amazing what all people have done using google.

courtesy : clickOnline

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Mera Bhaarat Mahaan

Heard an interesting concept a few days back. I was talking to a COEP alumnus who is now settled in the US and currently engaged in research activities. On asked whether he planned on coming back to India etc. what he said really changed a line of thought I had before.

He said that as we shun caste-based reservations etc, gender based social inequalities or look down upon the classification of man into various small sects and classes, similarly we should learn to look beyond the national frontiers and man-made borders. He said, that we are global citizens and our first responsibility is towards humanity in general. It is wrong to ask 'Did an Indian do this ?' in the same way as it is wrong in asking if 'a woman did this?'No doubt one is proud of our background or where we come from - but looking at where we are going in the wider picture could be extremely useful at times.

Using this argument I could then go on to justify a lot of things like the prosperity of some world economies, the brain drain and so on...

On the whole, is this what separates a Mohan Bhargav from a Manoj Kumar ? I think so.

Good News & The Wikipedia Entry

It has been learned from reliable sources that P.I.E.T will soon go back to being COEP. Subject to an approval from a certain committee, the announcement should come soon enough.

This after an extremely 'contentious' entry on Wikipedia from someone who seems to be an alumnus. IIRC it said - 'Finally in a rare case of common sense prevailing the COEP brand name was later retained.' It now stands corrected, but in desparate need of more information.

Dude, we share your concern - but potential recruiters/colleges might be reading that.

PS : On the other hand this entry for FC seems to be pretty nice.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Finally it's over!

After weeks of speculation Michael Owen decides to move to Newcastle. Two factors must have made up his mind - a) This is a world cup year and he needs regular first team football b)The arrival of Robinho and Julio Baptista to the already burgeoning striker list means less and less first team football at Madrid.

So that's that then. Shearer and Owen, Englands best 2 stikers in the past decade should make an interesting combination. The arrival of Luque from Deportivo seems a good move. So all in all things should look brighter for the magpies, however the pressure on Souness to perform and on the injuries to players would be the major stumbling blocks. I don't think anyone who loves british footie would like Newcastle to go down. They deserve their place in the first division just on name much like Arsenal,ManU and Liverpool.

From bursting on the world scene with that wonder goal against Argentina, to the Anfield Darling to Spain has been quite a journey for Owen in a short time. Somehow unless Newcastle perform much beyond expectations(esp. with their loss in this year's InterToto Cup) Owen does not seem to 'belong' there. Anyway here's wishing him all the best!

Read the offical report here.

Cheers,

Friday, August 26, 2005

My Two-Panse on Pande


---warning---

Not reading the following may cause you to waste a good 100 bucks and 3hrs used best elsewhere



End of the first 'sextet' of exams seemed a suitable enough opportunity to watch this.

* a movie definitely inspired by the Mithun genre and suddenly springing the idea of a historical comedy.

* Low hemlines and some really *ahem* dialogues.

* Corny and some appaling/disgusting scenes

* Toby Stevens and Aamir Khan do boost their performance in parts, but IIRC The Times rightly put it as - 'Aamir Khan has taken himself too seriously for a Manmohan Desai type flick'

* An entirely passable music score, ordinary and below ordinary performances from the two leading ladies (RM and AP resp.) and a really mystifying storyline. Not to mention to 'claimed' historical distortion.(try The Sepoy Mutiny/The First War of Independence is the bloodiest struggle in the history of mankind.)

* Actress Mona Ambegaonkar of CID fame actually has two whole scenes in which the only thing she is doing is first breast feeding a 'gora' child. Then some stupid bastard went over and asked her what her role in the movie was.

There's neither the out and out laugh rioting as with Kisna nor 'high-end' quality as with Lagaan. Nothing, in short, for one to watch or rather watch out for.

There - I've saved you a 100 bucks.

Some Quotes 'this guy' would like:

* Beware of a thick book - Richard Wagner

* No real Englishman in his secret soul was ever sorry for the death of a political economist. - W.Bagehot

* Around the splendid public buildings we are erecting in Philadelphia, there stood till very recently a stiff and angular structure of wood. Like that scaffolding is the Tariff around the edifice of our national industries. It is not aesthetic. It adds nothing to the beauty of the edifice. But we cannot do without it. - Robert Ellis Thomson

* Well, I don't give a [expletive deleted] about the lira - Richard M. Nixon

* Of the rivalry of first-class powers for the control of foreign markets, whether for the sale of goods or the investment of capital, has proven itself a menace to the peace of the world (and that such is the case, no one will care to deny), the explanation must be sought in the arrested development of political relations rather than in the in the development of industrial conditions. The integration of political control has not kept pace territorially with the expansion of commercial interests. - Henry C Adams

* For every problem, economists have an answer. Simple, neat and wrong. - H.L.Mencken

* In the long run we all are dead - John Maynard Kaynes

* The world has narrowed to a neighborhood before it has broadened into a brotherhood. - Lyndon B. Johnson.

* Rich Men's clubs take care of their own members and we are told to fend for ourselves. -Indira Gandhi

* When you get there, there is no there there. - Gertrude Stein.

[From MODERN INTERNATIONAL ECONOMICS - WILFRED J. ETHIER]

Monday, August 22, 2005

Dear, Be careful in America !

After detailed dissection of the prospects of Double Cross - Ek Dhoka, I am rubbing my hands in glee at this new piece of data coming in. Apparently after being unceremoniously deported from India, Nigar Khan has apparently found 'work' in Italy. She is acting in an Italian film called 'Dita Smeralda' along with a 'locally famous' actor called Luigi Cassandra. Apparently after ditching Sahil-I've got muscles too-Khan, (after these astounding allegations) she has moved on to greener pastures. Also rumoured is an alleged link-up with famous designer Roberto Cavalli.

Currently the only info available in relation to the movie or the actor in question seems to do with Ms.NK. Till then, find out more here,here and here. As for the title, click here.(courtesy JR)

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Mrs.Smith and her Development Plan

The United Nations has announced that it will soon release a fresh list of developing countries. The sole criteria for the countries to be chosen on this list is for them to get a child adopted by Angelina Jolie. So, as of now, Cambodia and Ethiopia are the two lucky ones to get a seat on this elite group and there is fresh news of Sri Lanka joining, as it has been discovered that Brad Pitt who is under Ms. Jolie's care is originally Sri Lankan. In fact he is said to be the American agent for the Tamil Tigers, secretly aiding their activities. This includes the famous training/educational videos made for the S.Y.B.Ter students in colleges across SL covering the two most difficult subjects a) Discrete Structure and Loot Theory (Ocean's 11) and b) Introduction to Advanced Weaponry (Mr. & Mrs Smith). He is also said to be the Norwegian Govt. in disguise trying to fool the SL government into a false pact. Apparently he also has a dog called 'Oslo'. He claims he picked up the term from some NRI Bengali who was trying to say 'I oslo na.. wont a woife.'

'Popular Mechanics for Kids' reports that he threatened an employee of the Sri Lankan embassy from disclosing this fact leading to this employee getting married to David Schwimmer on another training video. (It is interesting to note, though trivial, that the writer of the article in question, Pallavi Kharade, who recently got a job at PMK came up with the brilliant idea of plastering Aniston's photo all over, leading to best ever sales in the millenium. She has been nominated for this year's Pulitzer for 'great contribution to making children understand how nice boobs should be'. There are certain reports from Pune, India about copyright violations, but they seem to be currently busy finding jokes from the Internet.)

It has been reported that the newly formed consortium G4 have shifted their agenda from becoming a member of the Security Council to finding a place in Jolie's homes for one of their millions of homeless kids. The G8 have strongly opposed this move towards a multi-polar world and have said that Jolie should not have anything to do in shifting the balance of world power. George Bush when asked about this, candidly replied that he strongly supported the idea of a multi-polar world and promptly went on to question if this was biologically possible. Tony Blair is said to have agreed fully with 'George's Views' and Jacques Chirac said that even if whatever Bush said was possible, France would not allow it, it being morally unethical and utterly self-indulgent.

Meanwhile the Indian Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh and his Japanese counterpart Mr.Koizumi have said that they would personally handpick the Honda workers who would make the sales pitch for the G4. In response Prakash Karat, the Indian MP has gone on record to say that such an irresponsible use of the country's labour force would lead to a massive outburst of political opposition. Later in the day, a physically handicapped and mentally spent Jyoti Basu would back this up vehemently. The BJP president L.K.Advani called for the Prime Minister, the entire cabinet, the deputy ministers, the bureaucracy, the state congress MLAs, the President of the Dabbawalla association, Uma Bharati and the office chaparasis appointed under the Congress rule, to immediately resign. Narendra Modi and others have called for L.K.Advani to resign for yet another careless statement by not mentioning Mrs G's foreign origin issue and saying 'Sharma Jee, Nah' instead of 'No, Mr. Sharma'.

This has lead the new UN GS, Mr. Handi Paratha (worthy successor to Mr. Kofta inNaan') to clarify that by 'developing' country he meant that Ms. Jolie herself was a 'fully and beautifully developed' country. This has created a furore the world over causing great protests amongst the more 'well-endowed' nations. The PM promptly sacked his Honda team and has now asked a delegation of any 10 girls from COEP to attend the conference on behalf on India. Pakistan President Parvez Musharraf had warned India about being over-confident, but on seeing this particular crop of beauties has sporting accepted defeat. Another interesting observation has been the sudden increase in the sales of large sizes in Kashmir. India has accused Pakistan of trying to infiltrate it's 'maal' over to India. Also worth noting is the rise in number of 'eligible bachelors' travelling to J&K.

After much deliberation and discussion Ms.Jolie is expected to come up with her list any time this week. Meanwhile the Indian PM and his financial think tank are busy allocating the new cash-flow to massive programmes of rural 'development'.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Excusez-Moi

I haven't been blogging for a few days and as usual I will claim that this was more due to a paucity of time rather than paucity of ideas.( Though the discerning reader might guess that this is not entirely true. Hell! I've been reading too much of DNA.) Anyway, a return to blogging with this long due post on Helicon. Do check it out.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

The sun sets . . .

The sun sets across the sand
And I get together with my merry band
And play and dance and sing aloud
To form a larger, merrier crowd.

Aloud they cry and shout about
Without a strain of joyous doubt
Each and every note is true
Like wonder sky and golden hue

One voice more strong, deeper still
Emerged out of that merry hill
And the flame between too rose
Leaping tongues and tranquil prose

It played about on every face
A yellow shade and a merry place
And then the lips moved to make
A sound of quite heavenly uptake

Something that would stir the lore
And bring the Heavens weeping to the shore
Not quite joyous, not melancholy
It opened the petals, so gently...

The scent flowed out but remained still
Within that flower, on a lonely hill
And all round they spread the mirth
But we had enough to last the earth

And when they were done dancing around
I perched upon that higher ground
And looked again at my merry band
As the sun set across the sand!

-Abhishek

Friday, July 22, 2005

In case you haven't heard,

Yes, Mirza's amazing run has come to an end against experienced Akiko Morigami. She lost 6/4 6/3. Read all results here.

Another interesting tit-bit - Manchester United's famous sign outside their Old Trafford stadium had a quite interesting story to tell two days before. Apparently someone messed with it to read a 'four lettered word'. How?, don't ask me! Full Story

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Count Me In !



Robbo! At it again

After he ranted about cyclists roaming around France(when they could easily have caught the bus) and argued and hyped up England's chances for the Ashes, this time he takes a final deep breath of air via a friendly banter with 'Davo'.


First there is the usual 'import' player rant.

"Well yeah, that's another great move by the selectors - getting rid of your best player in Thorpe and bringing in a South African - what's that all about?

Well we've got no pride when it comes to pilfering other countries for international cricketers.

Well yes - Andrew Strauss, another South African, Geraint Jones - Papua New Guinea. And where's your captain from, India? Oh sorry, that was your last captain
"

And then more about his new found love for Giles.

"And what about those spinners?

Listen, Ashley Giles has managed to convert himself from an absolute no-hoper in to one of the most boring and effective bowlers in Test cricket. We're very proud of him.

He's learnt that he can only bowl on leg stump over the wicket and it'll be driving you lot mad. I can see Gilchrist losing his rag and taking a big swipe on the fourth day.
"

And then as usual he plays down England's talents and raises their chances.

"Well may the best team win - and I'm pretty sure that will be Australia.

Well I hope the best team doesn't win - so that'll be an England victory, then.
"


And if you want to read the whole thing - read it here

Saturday, July 16, 2005

I'm dying to know who this guy was!

The BBC reports Harry Potter's book launch in Delhi. And yes, the reporter is quite perplexed.

" The muzak(music?) was strangely Eagles and hip hop as the children played a Quidditch game with small brooms and colour balls, participated in a crossword contest and did a magic jig.

In the best tradition of India's intensely political capital city, an uneasy, inarticulate politician had been curiously invited to be master of the ceremonies.

"I am a stranger to the world of creative arts," he mumbled. "But I hope Rowling keeps writing these books."
"

Read the full article here. Also read about India's representative. And yes people have already finished reading it and if you are not particularly a fan you can also read the .chapterwise synopsis(spoiler!)

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Linear Capitulations

It wasn't what you'd call the ideal start. Agreed that more wasn't to be expected - but somehow there was a feeling of dryness in the mouth and confusion in brain. There was this mishmash of colourful, inebriated, heady dreams convoluted by the stark, dreary realities of the present. He thought about Monet's impressionist works - those must have been done in such a state he thought. A strong dose of colour, an inherent wonderful haziness of the future against the strict guidelines of the canvas and of the title to satisfy. He remembered someone saying, 'they take you to the top so that they can then push you down the deep ravine at the other end'. This seemed like the precipice. It was like climbing the Everest only to find that there's already a big party in progress. It felt very unjust, that the greatness of his achievements should be sucked away, not by some living mortal being upon whom he could shower his blame, but by innocent yet distinctly stark realities.

Meanwhile the winds blew, and they pushed the clouds towards the city, and being inherently laden with water they burst down upon the boggy earth. Up went an array of water protective devices. Most of them black, somewhat tattered umbrellas and some of them in quite lovely colours, all somewhat oscillating about their oscillating mean positions. It would be interesting to note that in a certain section of town where Monet and the Everest were being thought of at the same time, this concentration of umbrellas took the form of a somewhat curious centipede. It would not be curious to the reader anymore if it was stated that this particular concoction of mostly black and some coloured umbrellas belonged to the standees of a particular queue outside one of the city's most prestigious educational institutions. It would also be a good time to introduce the reader to the person in question - not that it would mean revealing his name, for that would be quite unnecessary, but to mark him as one of the many students of this particular institution. That he was a not-pudgy but certainly plump, extremely sharp-minded (not that it is an absolute term) and at the moment a quite frustrated young chap would be enough data to enable the reader to comprehend the forthcoming events.

An extremely curious word for such unorganized stacks of people is rather paradoxically called 'line' in certain parts of the region in question. The reason for the formation of this queue is not exactly clear and this seemed to be the case with most of the people in the queue too. The point is, that the whole scene is that of quite incessant rain into an already soggy ground, a whole mass of unorganized people clustered around a particular institution in the city. Now if you are a 'plump, extremely sharp-minded individual 'chances are that you have one of those afflictions which they rather wrongly call 'absent-mindedness'. So it was with him - and as a consequence he had forgotten to bring his umbrella.

It was then that he looked around. Now he wasn't the kind of person to particularly notice or give any special attention to the fairer sex. Not that he was not interested, but only too pre-occupied. It was after his discovery that he was going to get wet unless something was done that he noticed a most remarkable face standing behind him. Now in such an unorganized queue there isn't a distinct behind or an immediate predecessor, which you could single out, but this particular face was certainly one, which would be nearer his backside than his front. Seeing his quite pitiable state, she immediately stretched out her arms to offer him some protection. Now, this wasn't one of your the-guy-and-the-girl-under-the-umbrella kinds of situations. In fact far from the romantic connotations this arrangement was helping neither. His left shoulder and a part of his head and the same with her right shoulder were now getting quite damp as the heavens poured their hearts out.

It wasn't that he had never been with girls before. Nor was he nervous, uncomfortable or any of those other words you tends to use when two quite private teenagers are caught in such a situation. "A rather dodgy day, isn't it?" he remarked. "Yes, quite" she replied. Her voice didn't quite reach him, maybe due to the distance between them or more probably due to the general buzz of people talking in the air. It was at this precise moment accompanied by a loud thunder from the skies that they both squeezed in suddenly to assume that now discussed position. It was at this moment that suddenly the equation changed. Maybe the Controller up there modified some variables or the characters in question pressed the right keys. All that casual air was replaced by a palpable tension, not sexual but definitely attractive. Those innocent words could now suddenly be labeled by some observers as 'smalltalk' and the whole setting in general to be quite favourable for a development of events in the romantic direction.

He could suddenly smell and even see the fragrance rising off her exposed neck and invigorating him via his nostrils. He could suddenly see a drop of water sliding off her arm into the puddle formed beneath them and feel her bodily heat sending his senses in to quite a tizzy. Suddenly not only her words but also her heartbeat could be heard and all the frustration, all the pain, all the antagonism he had suffered continued to pale in front of the deep blue eyes into which he was staring. It was, as said before, the turning-on of the right switches to make the whole matter quite romantic. After about what seemed to him to be quite an eternity, but to the watch he was wearing 10 minutes, the rain started subsiding and the air began to clear. Slowly the umbrellas receded to their compressed selves and the umbrella above his head too was removed. He however was now talking to the girl about her artistic inclinations and he felt sure that by the time he reached the window, she would probably be inviting him for a coffee. The long queue suddenly seemed blessed and the wholly malfunctioning systems seemed quite godsent. The rain had stopped, the air had cleared and the girl was talking. What more could a guy want!

"All girls please form a separate line at window no.3" the office clerk shouted. It seemed that not only had the party taken place, but it was he who had to clean the dishes.

The Man's a Genius !


"Football is a simple game - you run around for 120 minutes and then the Germans win "

Friday, July 08, 2005

Ramu ke Chole!

Finally the man makes it clear. Today in a TV interview RGV said that he was definitely going to remake Sholay and even went to the extent of inviting Ramesh Sippy to the 'floor' to give a green signal to this much anticipated project. RGV made it clear that unlike Sarkar which was 'a tribute' to Godfather and largely adapted, not following the original script 'Ramu ke Sholay' as the interviewer preferred to call the film was going to follow the story almost exactly. In fact 'exact' is the word RGV used himself to describe the new Sholay.

He said however that though the story of a family getting murdered and hiring 'assassins' to take revenge would be the same, it would be set in modern day Bombay amongst the underworld. These situations would then lead to the original Sholay story. The dialogue, the clothes and environments would be adapted but the story would remain the same is what he essentially meant.

So expect another underworld film on the lines of Company, I think expect a similar look to the Satya, D and the like. However what RGV does to emulate the spectacular success of the music of Sholay remains to be seen. Delivering song hits is not exactly his forté.

Another interesting thing to watch out for in the coming weeks would be the casting. The effervescent duo of Jay-Vijay would need some living up to from today's generation of actors. Does Ramu delve into his bag of 'favourite' actors, does he rope in some big names or does he pull out another fresh face? Personally I think he will stick to established actors and expect someone from the Ajay Devgan, Abhishek Bachchan, Vivek Oberoi maybe even new-kid-on-the-block Randeep Hooda to fit the bill.

However when asked if the BigB was going to be a part of this epic venture RGV said, "Actually, we are currently working on the cast. It remains to be seen if Mr.Bachchan can fit into the plan of things. It would be a great experience working with such an amazing actor again. I would definitely love it if it works out." Ok, I am kidding. He said "No."

Thursday, July 07, 2005

G maa.ne Genius !

India's own G8
SoniaG, AdvaniG, VajpayeeG, Pranab MukherjeeG, rG(v)-barG, Kelly DorG and of course SardarG. Oops! I almost forgot blogger's own famous jee VinodG.

Le Tour de France

I don't know how many people here really follow The Tour, but I am a great fan. Ever since Ten Sports started showing it live I have been hooked because as with Formula 1, this is as much a race of tactics, experience, teamwork as of raw talent. I know that the people on top in most sports also put in that amount of hard work, dedication etc. but nowhere is it as evident as on the Tour.

Case in point is the ever-faithful George Hincape. He is the only person who has stayed with Armstrong on each of his 6 triumphs, first with the US Postal team and then with Team Discovery Channel. As most people know the race is won in the mountains. Mainly after stage 11 and the level 3 and 4 ascents of the Pyrenees is what separates the wheat from the chaff. But on all such stages as yesterday's and today's which saw dangerous, possibly fatal pile ups at the dangerous turn in the end are lose-lose situations for all the top runners. The only people looking forward to race on the relatively flat pieces of road are the specialist sprinters like Boonen, McEwen and Stuart O'Grady. For the title contenders like Armstrong, Basso, Ulrich etc. the most they can hope is to finish with the peleton and ensure safe passage to the next day. Where a person can win is in the time trials, like how Armstrong pulled out a large gap to his main rivals in just 20 minutes of riding on the first day compared to no significant mileage gained in the ensuing 5 day-long stages.

However what these stages do test is the ability of a team to hold together, protect its main man and warm up the legs for the big climbs in the mountains. Racing jostling for positions among 150 riders at 50 km/hr on extremely thing tyres and on narrow bending lanes is as dangerous as racing in the tried and tested cockpits of F1 cars. I think more men have died in the last few years in cycling than in motor racing.

It will be exciting to see how the race pans out in the next few days as to how Armstrong will handle the steep ascents of the Pyrenees. He has not raced much this year (being in a Pete Sampras like state) and it needs to be seen if he can pip Kazak rider Alexander Vinokourov who I think will be his main rival to the maillot'jaune come 21st of July at the Champs Elysses.

Till then, au revoir!

Mere paas bhi nishaan hai!

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Friday, July 01, 2005

The Führer's Man

Word got around as the winds rolled in,
That the Führer's man was coming to town,
Scanning the path and lording the way
The Führer's man was coming to town.

Like the mellowed sun setting apace,
Slowly, then faster, now surely gone down
The waters seeped and then flowed for sure
That the Führer's man was coming to town.

Clippety-clop you could have said,
But for the army's blaring horn
Deaf was a man who didn't hear it,
That the Führer's man was coming to town.

The children silent, their eyes speaking
As ever a pair of open eyes,
They knew that there lies a foreign face,
The Führer's man in an earthly guise.

Around the books, with the Rabbi,
They stood and waited for the storm,
Heaven and earth watched together,
The Führer's man at the barn.

Rat-a-tat rat-a-tat he knocked the door,
Then tore down the physical shore,
Huddled together was his prey
The Führer's man then completed his chore.

God flew about in bits and parts,
As he knifed along in the air,
The men bound and chained inside
And the Führer's man in the chair.

He sent along those little rats,
To their final heavenly treat,
Then smirking, contemplating
The Führer's man settled on his meat.

Another dot on the map,
Another morn the sun bore dowm
Another cry in the sweet air,
The Führer's man is coming to town.

Snapshots

I was dying to see this place. Unfortunately could not eat there.


. This is what COEP lukkhas do during Diwali.

Jee Sarkar!

Not often do we, discerning movie-watchers think in terms of box-office and collections and so forth. So I recently got hooked to this site called indiafm.com A place where you'll get all the latest info and also pretty good reveiews that cater to not only the junta but also to the large population dependant on movies for a living like exhibitors(read theatre owners), distributors etc. The only person who I think, delves into 'kya chaalta hai aur kya nahi' kind of stuff is probably George.

He would probably justify a particular song or a particular sequence to enhance the film's selling quotient.(read what i would call sleazy skin-show)Thinking if i were a director ;-) , would I do what the director has done at a particular point is a good line to take before reviewing a Hindi film. This is something that i will always keep in mind while reviewing something in the future. And while we are on the subject of reviews, check out Taran Adarsh's review of Sarkar.(Spoiler Warning!)

Thursday, June 30, 2005

Temp - late

Time to move on. The old template was really a generation behind. So temporarily I am shifting to this template. Somehow the same text in this new format seems very alien. Hopefully a new original template soon . . .

Friday, June 17, 2005

Uncyclopedia

If you thought wikipedia was good, check this out. A link I picked up from some newspaper is absolutely amazing. Sample this article on India :

"India was discovered in 1492 by Christopher Columbus, circumnavigating the world to find China. India's capital is named Deli, after the fact that so much processed human meat is consumed there. India is the second most populous country in the world, after Luxembourg, with 137 quintillion (1.37*10^17) people. .....

As India was too large, it was divided into pieces in 1947 to help the people to fight with each other in an organized way and pretend that their backwardness is not as important as their need to fight....

The people of India used to be very civilized until they got bored of it. Then, some Europeans saw India and decided they wanted it. When the Queen heard them whine for it, she decided it was ok for them to have it. Then, one very old bald man said that we must not fight for independence. That will confuse the British. The British got confused and left.
....

"

This and many more such venerable treats.

Cheers,

Monday, June 13, 2005

Black Friday

Director - Anurag Kashyap
Based on the book by Hussain Zaidi

Anurag Kashyap brings forth an amazing forthright and complete story of The Bombay Riots of 92. Many would call it a 'pachanaama' - i.e. a detailed all round unbiased report. A depiction so complete, so bold and so detailed that the only people who would have any complaints are the people at whom fingers have been pointed.

The movie is in parts. Starting with actual events during those few hours of terrible violence, it then goes on to detail the socio-political environment before the events which lead to the circumstances that ensued. Then given in vivid detail is the training and selection of those militants, the detailed planned execution of the bombings, their escape and then the very public exercise of legal proceedings,investigations and the related quagmire. The movie is so amazingly complete that there are absolutely no loose ends. Any person walking out of the cinema hall will feel that he can write a thesis on the Bombay Riots.

The detailing, the vast landscapes and environments in which the movie is shot, from the sweaty slums of Mumbai, to the dusty villages of northern India, the streets of Delhi, the backwaters of the Konkan and even Dubai is splendid, showing that no effort has been spared in making of this movie. Sometimes script writers work tirelessly to conjure up stories to entice the throng of moviegoers. However looking at this movie what actually happened is nothing short of a fairy tale. The turning faces of religious politics leading to Babri Masjid, in turn causing communal tension, the planned and passionate Islamic reply, then the internal factionalism within the militants, the inter-gang rivalries and the various happenings within the Police departments would leave any script writer gasping for breath. And only real happenings can weave all these various threads into a single fibre without any abrupt aberrations. What Kashyap has done is that he has not tweaked around. He has tried to keep facts as true as they are, thus relying on the inherent strength of the storyline for the film's success. The cast does a stellar job and Kay Kay's performance is first rate.

Black Friday is however not a documentary. It is a highly informative, fast moving and a passionate proof to the world that this country can produce first class film makers. Add to it the spellbinding background score by Indian Ocean and what you have is a movie you just can't miss. Such a pity that it has been stuck up because of a trivial legal reason. If it had to be stuck up, maybe some political biggie should have lobbied against it and so on. Anyway in the version I saw there were a lot of explicit statements which would ruffle a lot of well preened feathers. Kashyap is dreaming if he feels that this version would screen without the snippety-snap.

In all I wish such films were made about every great historic happening in our nation's history(which ends in 1947 according to our text books). The fact that i watched this long film sitting on the floor of the first row of Screen 5 at E^2 without a twitch is enough testament of the movie to attract audiences. As for the nomenclature maybe Kashyap meant it as a double take on the day that the movie was supposed to be released.

Cheers,

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Ferrari - One Day

For all you Ferrari fans out there yesterday's race must have been refreshing. However lets not get too excited. In terms of sheer race pace Ferrari were quite off the mark. It was their good fortune that first the Renaults and then Trulli dropped out just when they were going to pip the Ferraris into another mediocre result. These teams are taking risks in order to maximize car-potential and hence they may drop out. But next time, especially the Renaults will be back with a vengeance and Kimi is in the form of his life. I don't see how Shumi will pip these guys and so at best he may come 3rd. Even Montoya seems to be catching up and come Indy - his old hunting ground, he will be a considerable foe.

So unless the guys from Maranello get their act together this season will be just what it has been - a violent struggle for 'reasonable' results. Like all Ferrari fans I dream about the day I see Schumi's traditional leap on the top step of the podium and the technicians guzzling that huge bottle of the winner's champagne.

Cheers,

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

CAUTION - Unauthorised Activity Detected

For all of you who do not know about The Activity Club - it now gets it's own blog. So check it out here till I and Kapeesh figure out a way of getting other members involved.

Saturday, June 04, 2005

Of Buntys,Bablis,Ruffled Hair and Pani Puris

Exams are over - And after a long time I have some really solid vacations to savour. Hence I am in Mumbai my fav. city to cool off. Last few days have been really good. Here's how:

1. My bad fate with hazaron khwaishen ... continued. I went to 7-G multiplex at Bandra to watch the film, but only ended on the wrong side of the ticket vendors sneers when he pointed out that the movie was at 10:30 Pm not Am. So I bought tickets for B-aur-B and cooled off in the remaining time snapping some amazing pics at Linking road. I watched the movie - which I must say was above expectations and then headed off to ELCO market in Bandra where my mom says we get the best pani Puri in the world. Actually there has been a huge debate in Blogsphere about this particular topic so I must confirm that this pani puri is probably the best I have had and most definitely the most expensive at 25 bucks per plate. (But hey not everyday does someone serve pani Puri with disposable gloves). Overall amazing fun rounded off by an evening visit to Crossroads.

2.Main action - Ate pani Puri which my uncle claims is the best ever. It came close but ELCO was better. Then had an amazing swim at the club and rounded it off watching the 'piano' on star-one.

3.Again tried to watch hazaaron .. but then I was disallowed from entering when I could not produce age proof. How sick ! Maybe Sudhir Mishra should get royalties from other producers from the number of people who come to watch his film and watch others.(I saw 3 films trying to see hazaron - and yes,Sudarshan saw kaal in the same pursuit).Saw Naina which is the crappiest film I have seen in a long time. Anuj Sawhney (of nayee padosan infame)sucks and Matondkar is the same version from bhoot - the only good thing is the sound and special FX but hey I would rather see that in Star Wars that on haring Cross station. And yes a gift from god for bearing the searing heat and dust is an
occasional attempt at stellar observation. I saw Saif Ali Khan with his Italian(?) Girlfriend from close quarters. I am not in for much gossip mongering but when in Mumbai do as Mumbaikars do.

Joke of the day -

Q: Why is Saif Ali Khan a zero ?
Ans: Because he has to negotiate an Italian defence.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Ode to Frustration

How many times have you ever heard
Of a wise man without a beard
Of towering love and showering rain
But without sorrow - without pain

This is one such funny tale
That takes you not through hill and dale
But through common ground of yore
Here's something you've not heard before

Once there was a small town nearby
Clear blue springs and an open sky
And there were some boys and cute little girls
Like threaded beads on a chain of pearls

To school they all went from june to june
From the day's first ray to the shimmering noon
And they danced and sang and played around
Under beautiful skies over lush green ground

Then one day there came to town
A teacher who would make your heart go down
That is, if you are one of those boys
Who would romp about with all their toys

Marching around and bossing about
Those little boys would destroy and shout
And leave the playroom for the poor girls to clean
Who would then cry about how those boys were so mean

Here in came the teacher to set the record straight
He would be strict with Jack and be soft on Kate
For every toy that the boys would break
He would take away their daily piece of cake

And this he would give to the girls
Along with some pastry and a couple of twirls
And if this would not make them stop
He would promptly hand them that cream lollypop

So as the punishment continued for the boys
The girls got to play with all those lovely toys
And that is how it was always to be
This is the history behind it - don't you see

This is why when boys always muck up
Girls promptly go and then suck up.

~Abhishek