Saturday, November 29, 2008

Mumbai Blasts: Lateral thinking

Saturday, November 29, 2008 1
“Its time we stop being a secular nation!” my friend opined as we were sipping on some lemon sherbet. “There are far too many Islamist nations out there, so it’s not like they won’t find a home. Just drive these bastards out”

I was a bit shocked at his statement. Not knowing whether this was his attempt at black humour or if he actually believed in the segregation, I told him that a substantial portion of the civilians killed were in fact Muslims (You can check the entire list here), Indians.

My friend’s statement is one of the million opinions that the people of the nation have expressed after the Mumbai blasts which have, and it’s rather mildly put, devastated the nation.

“We must fight back” is the natural response to these attacks, but how? Will catching hold of these terrorists and then executing them on camera work? Probably this way tell the whole world that we will not take to terrorism lightly and can be brutal when the need arises. Or maybe this way give the terrorism the much needed media attention that they have been wanting and establish them as martyrs on the other side of our border.

Collaborating with Pakistan on combating terrorism is another line of thought. As this article points out:

If Pakistan truly wishes to turn back the tide of fundamentalism in its country, and stop exporting violence overseas, then it must have proper support and assistance from India.

Somehow it seems a little late for this. It’s been a while & they don’t really seem to be doing anything about it, as more and more cities are being attacked by the terrorist groups. These groups I am sure must have also appointed a creative lead for providing them with innovative names for their outfit (Deccan, seriously?).

I am also deeply worried by the level of infiltration that might exist in our organisations. It’s probably something that has not received enough media attention but I do believe that a lot of people on the inside are involved. Fake IDS, plans of buildings, secret information, access codes. I doubt if the terrorist intelligence are that good to do it all on their own. Mumbai Underground might have had a role to play too.

Other news items include the whole nation calling Raj Thackeray a eunuch who excretes from his mouth and that pretty much sums up his existence. The MNS has done nothing to help the situation in Mumbai and watched with their heads bowed as their city got molested in front of their eyes for three days. 

As a parting note: We should have been smarter. We should have picked up the hints right away. And where were the hints? In this article which no one bothered to take seriously.
Pakistan is as safe a country as India and we had even promised state level security for the Australians and other teams. This incident only shows the double standards of Australian cricket, 
-Shafqat Naghmi, chief operating officer of the PCB told fumed. 

Clearly unmistakable. :)

Thursday, November 27, 2008

GTA Mumbai

Thursday, November 27, 2008 3
Sometime around midnight as I log on to twitter, I am bombarded with repeated tweets quoting stats and posting links.

Mumbai was under attack.

Media people are saying that this time the target were the elite and the foreigners. In reality, no one was spared. The terrorist which claim to belong to the Deccan Mujahideen outfit (as @Manuscrypts puts it :WTF is this? The IPL?) just stole a police van and started shooting everyone in their vicinity, and beyond.

We were flipping channels trying to see one graphic image after another. It's not really a matter of opinion here, it was pretty darn scary.

As my friend and I were discussing while sipping a hot cup of coffee at the all night canteen at my college; this is GTA Mumbai.

Additional fact: The maker of the Taj Mahal hotel committed suicide by jumping off the hotel when he found out that the hotel wasn't built in the direction he had intended it to be.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Why I feel Yuvi is more attractive a cricketer then Sachin/Sehwag

Saturday, November 22, 2008 2

As far as the game is concerned,one of the main reasons why I’d rate Yuvraj as a more attractive batsman than say Sachin and Sehwag is because in essence Yuvraj is a finisher. Often, Yuvraj is the last man standing steering India to a decisive victory, saving it from the gallows by capitalizing during the slog overs. Quite the same reason why Klusener or Rhodes were considered more attractive than say Jacques Kallis or Gary Kirsten for South Africa. In the end it comes down to match winning abilities. Yuvraj drives some deliveries over cover, scoops one over long off and flicks one of point to win the match for India. I am not taking away any credit from Sachin, however he was considered rather selfish at times (at least in test cricket) by some. Maybe it were just the times, who knows. Yuvraj’s elegant stroke play, his knack of finding gaps combined with his herculean looks make him ideally suited to be admired not only in sporting circles, as well as the fan base, a substantial portion of which were women.

Another reason why Yuvraj is particularly more attractive than Sachin is because Yuvraj’s entry into the team was at a time when our team was going through a renaissance phase. A time when we proved to many that we could rise from the ashes of mediocrity. It was during this time that Yuvi rose to prominence, as a killer fielder, fielding with a sort of arrogance that made batsmen think twice before stealing a run.

Its tough to isolate our thoughts and compare how we felt about Sachin when we first saw him perform. Hence, a situation now comes to surface where Sachin is ageing and hence has lost most of his aggression and is more cautious and leading more of a hermit’s life where as Yuvraj is at his peak; scoring consecutive centuries and still spitting attitude where ever he trots.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Hayden's boo boo

Sunday, November 16, 2008 1
Ah how good I felt after going through news portals last week.

What started with an angst against the passionate yet unruly Indian cricket spectators as well as the presumably lethargic Indian batsmen has now become a platform for us to showcase our achievements.

Reactions follow a typical pattern:

An introduction leading up to Hayden's comment.

The next paragraph features why Hayden's comment is factually wrong, with links to the relevant statistical data.

The third para demands that Hayden issue an apology; followed by some kinds words directed towards his mother.

Since the second paragraph would also unfailingly mention our wonderfully executed lunar mission, Hayden can give himself a pat on the back for contributing to this unique SEO method for promoting Chandrayaan-1.

Those trying to bank on satire have been dealt with severely, for example Their reaction to his post forcing him to apologize for his actions (seen in the update section of the post).

Akram is pissed and so is the BCCI. Australian Cricketer's Association has even suggested a shrink accompany the team on every tour to tackle the stress their players encounter on such tours. Though the ACA have not mentioned explicitly mentioned Hayden's name here, the implied reference should not be missed.

But then there's the other side of spectrum too. People from all walks of life are coming forward and joining Hayden's Sympathisers Anonymous (HSA). This tweet by a BBC Mastermind winner who has been identified solely by his initial J, says it all

Friday, November 14, 2008

Play Ball

Friday, November 14, 2008 0
Minutes before a friend's birthday, where he would be subjected to the vilest of rituals, my wingie Yogesh had an interesting experience to narrate.

His teacher had a very innovative method punishing them while at school. She would make three children stand in a circle and slap each other in a clockwise (or anti clockwise) manner. As Yogesh explained it to me (and as you would have figured by now), this method went on fine till each student understood the dynamics of the situation and did not fall for the bait. Gentle nudges could never harm anyone.

It's when one of them fucked up.

To express anger at the gentlemen who slapped him earlier, the second guy would whack the third guy. And it'd be proper. This would set the wheels in motion at top notch speed.

Such innovation should be appreciated. From the teacher's point of view this is much better than throwing dusters and rulers at children and thus jeopardizing their career, instead why not let the students punish each other? After all, now the ball would be in the student's court. Now all that'd be left would be how
they'd play ball.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

The Big O

Wednesday, November 05, 2008 0
Ah yes, its going to happen now.

Just like when Usain Bolt won, the news papers had a gala time coming up with headlines to suit their fancy. Bosey has articulated that in a brilliant post. Similar stuff is going to happen now.

Obamania, Breaking the Barracks!, Remember, remember the 5th of November and what not. Twitter is flooded with it and so is every other blog apart from the mass media obviously.

Come on people. Don't pretend you weren't expecting him to win. Quit acting so surprised, just like you did when Hilary was chucked off.

Source Pilani: Empowering Rural India

Inside Goenka Public School, which is situated in the bustling center of Pilani village, is housed one of India’s fastest growing rural BPO’s.

Welcome to the world of Source Pilani who are redefining the concept of CSR in rural India with their socio-economic approach to BPO’s.

A brainchild of L K Maheswari (the current Vice Chancellor of BITS Pilani), who convinced the Goenka family to invest in such a venture; he’s played a crucial role in scaling Source Pilani to where it is today. Giving a shout out to the alumni and getting them on board to man the ship, today the gritty team of Manoj Vasudevan. Sandeep Thalluri, Ashish Khandelwal and Bharat Bongu are putting in tons of man hours in order to put Source Pilani on the map.

The establishment of a rural BPO was mainly to tackle and capitalize on the problems faced by the urban BPO’s such as high attrition rates, increasing salary costs and sky-rocketing real estate prices. This lead to the belief that such a move would provide a host to some of the biggest opportunities such as access to a large pool of talented work force in and around Pilani, world class infrastructure facilities. Apart from this it would also help in building a brand name of the Goenka’s in the social entrepreneurship sector.

Today Source Pilani has several clients including some international ones. One success story which the founders narrated to me was regarding their work in the medical transcription domain:

“We partnered with Truworth to deliver Medical Transcription services. We have been consistently achieving 98.9% quality. Trueworth started realizing cost benefits of around 30%”

Source Pilani has also been providing data entry and form processing services to JhunJhunu (district in which Pilani is located) collectorate for e-Gram and NREGS. They have been delivering exceptional service despite the complex work flow. They deal accurately with a large volume of data of 890 villages and were recognized and felicitated by the district collectorate for the outsourcing services they provided

With revenues already in lakhs, an ever increasing list of clients, a stable workforce of 60 skilled personnel who are regularly rewarded based on their performance and a board consisting of BITS Pilani faculty and Alumni, things look bright for Source Pilani.

They are currently also participating in Tata NEN’s hottest Startup award, you can vote for them here

Alternatively, you can also SMS HOT117 to 56767

Monday, November 03, 2008

Thank you for all the memories

Monday, November 03, 2008 5

After nearly 15 years of watching him run back to his run up; skip, hop and fire some googlies, it’s finally time to bid adieu to Jumbo.

Easily one of the most humble as well as gritty players on the field, he never made his presence felt since he wasn’t the flamboyant kind. You would never see him lead any of the endorsements on TV, yet when it came to the field, he’d take charge and always deliver (pun intended). I guess that’s why it came as a sort of surprise when he quietly decided to say good bye to the game.

He was the learner, the studious kind with the determination to conquer any batsman who challenged him. He seemed like the checked shirt clad problem cracker in your IIT-JEE coaching class who would never get perturbed by any thing thrown his way.

Never a huge turner of the ball, his biggest strength was his line and length, deadly accurate. The number of times the batsmen missed and were bowled or caught leg before the wicket is simply difficult to count. And then there was the faster one. Kumble could easily pass off as a medium pace bowler. No wonder Nayan Mongia( India’s then wicketkeeper) started wearing a helmet while keeping up to his deliveries during the late nineties.

If asked about the three greatest performances of Anil Kumble, I’ll list them as:

Firstly, his awesome spell in the finals of the Hero Cup. At the end of it, he came out with figures of 6/12 against the West Indies. Here he just tore through the West Indies middle order.

Then the 10 wicket haul against the Pakistani Team at the Ferozshah Kotla. There was a little controversy surrounding this performance, the reason being the first wicket of Shahid Afridi was not out. However, such is the game of cricket. It’s about capitalizing on the opportunities that come your way. And capitalize he did. Only the second bowler ever to achieve such a feat.

And of course thirdly, one of the most memorable photos to have ever been shown on Indian Television. A bandaged clad Kumble jubilant after capturing the wicket of Lara

This particular performance in the West Indies wasn’t really anything spectacular as far as the result of the game was concerned nor did it bother the statisticians much, but the amount of patriotism that it spread throughout the country was extraordinary. Kumble was suddenly a war hero.

Over the years, he just kept on picking up wickets here and there. Little did one realize that he has accumulated 619 of those.

It was a very tough decision, especially when you have performed for 18 years and been so competitive," he said at the presentation ceremony after the match had ended in a draw. But the body helped me make the decision. This injury also helped."His departure from international cricket couldn’t have been more fitting.
-Anil Kumble, Jumbo.

Thank you for the memories!

Saturday, November 01, 2008

A myth busting ad campaign

Saturday, November 01, 2008 4

This seriously cracked me up. After I regained control over myself I was thinking that perhaps India too should come out strong with a similar campaign against the stereotypical views that some people in the west might be having about our nation.

But then there was also a little voice in my head which urged me to think otherwise. This was probably because deep down I knew that some of the stereotypical (just some) views about India were true. If a person were to confront me asking "Hey uh, is it true that there are like uh cows and buffaloes roaming near the entrance of the Taj Mahal?", I would smile and say yes, sometimes.

But keeping such instances aside, I would love to see some campaigns which through their viral nature can bust some of the stereotypical views that people have about India , so that, the next time a foreigner comes to India, he isn't startled looking at a Hard Rock Cafe here or people speaking fluent English.

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