Friday, December 28, 2007

Ridiculousness, thy name is Times of India

So, Benazir Bhutto is assassinated. A handful of days before an election which could have had serious changes in Pakistani policy, the leading contender in the elections is killed in broad daylight, by gunmen who literally shot her point blank. Instability in Pakistan has generally had a strong correlation with terrorist activities in India (hmmm.. wonder why)

So what does "The Leader Who Guards The Reader" do?

Lead off with 2 full page ads of Dhirubai Ambani's 75th birth anniversary, and have the leader on page 3.

If one ever needed proof that the ToI is beholden to advertisers.

Thoughts from the pot

If Life were an HTML form, friends would be check boxes and relatives would be radio buttons.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Rout Down Under

Here's my (precious) thoughts on the walloping we're going to get in Australia over the next 6 weeks.

- If you're not going to open with Sehwag or Karthik (i.e. your designated openers) shouldn't you ask the guy who you want to accomodate in the lineup to open, that's Mr. Yuvraj Singh. The whole idea of having Dravid open is borderline lunatic. It all boils down to the basic concept. Is Yuvraj Singh a better No. 6 batsman, than Dravid is a No. 3 batsman?

I don't think so.

- The way our team is structured, it begs for an opener who's an all-rounder of some sort. So, I'd make my team something like this.
1. Jaffer,
2. Pathan/Karthik/Sehwag,
3. Dravid,
4. Tendulkar
5. Ganguly
6. Laxman/Yuvraj
7. Dhoni
8/9/10/11 - Bowlers

To me, the way we're going, is wrong. If Dravid's comfortable at 3, he's damn well earned the right to stay there. I'd open with Jaffer and RP Singh to make sure Dravid get's his 3rd spot. If Yuvraj has to wait, he has to wait. If he can't wait, then drop Laxman / Tendulkar / Ganguly / heck, even Dravid. But don't make a bakra out of the man who has won more test matches of his bat than all the others in the lineup combined.

- The bowling's probably going to be a bigger surprise than expected. But even the best bowling options won't win matches if the batsmen don't score. I won't be surprised with a 4-0 blowout, but I think we might draw a game. Just a hunch.

Random musings

Am on a long(ish) vacation. Christmas day and Boxing Day (also known as Wedding Anniversary) are every year standards. Decided that 2 days at home would not be the worst thing in the world. Followed by the weekend, so squeezed a 6 day break on a 3 day vacation. Todays the first (non-standard) day off with no-one around so thought I should get around to doing somethings, I normally don't get to do.

So, what do I go and do? Something I have not done in a long, long time

-- Spend 2 hours and 20 minutes and counting on the internet with music playing loud. Reading magazines, blogs, cricket scores (damn those Aussies, screwed up my vacation), tennis scores, and then some..

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Things I think I think (Year End edition)

-- The big ticket in India right now is Narendra Modi. Honestly, (and I know I am going to get a few nasties back) I think he's a good politician. His "Hindu-card" is fake. He did what any Indian politician would have done in his place. There've been riots every where, and always there's been a political backing for it. And it's not just Hindu-Muslim, we've had Hindu-Sikh, Hindu-Hindu, Bramhin - Dalit, and God knows all other kinds of riots. People really don't bother that much about their identity unless someone instigates it. If anything, I'd even go on a bigger limb and say that Modi winning in Gujarat is the best that could've happened to Sonia Gandhi. She now has a "mascot" for the other side, for the general elections.

"Beta so ja.. Nahin toh Modi aayega"

-- The other big ticket is the Australia series. 4-0 Australia. Anything different is a bonus. Not that we should let them run us over, and I don't think with Kumble as captain that would happen, but I would build the reverse pressure. If Ponting's worlds best ever team cannot beat us 4-0, there's something wrong in this world. Imagine the pressure then, if the best that is possible, is the least that is expected?

-- It's been a great year for us. We moved into our house, we're now 7 months pregnant with our first child, everything seems to be going good (touchwood). Nothing much to ask for in the new year. Health and peace for everyone we know.

That's it.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Thank You All

 To all:
 My heartfelt appreciation goes out to all of you who have taken the time
 and trouble to send me "forwards" over the past 12 months.
 I want to wish each and every one of you a very Healthy and prosperous New
 Year.  Thank you for making me feel safe, secure, blessed, and wealthy.
 Extra thanks to whoever sent me the one about rat shit in the glue on
 envelopes, because I now have to go get a wet towel every time I need to
 seal an envelope.
 Also, I scrub the top of every can I open for the same reason.  Because of
 your concern, I no longer drink Coca Cola because it can remove toilet
 stains and may eat my guts out as well.
 I no longer drink Pepsi or Dr. Pepper since the people who make these
 products are atheist bastards who refuse to put "Under God" on their cans.
 I no longer use Saran wrap in the microwave, because it causes cancer.  I
 no longer check the coin return on pay phones, because I could be pricked with
 a needle infected with AIDS. I no longer use cancer-causing deodorants,
 even though I smell like a water buffalo on a hot day.
 I no longer go to shopping malls, because someone might drug me with a
 perfume sample and rob me.
 I no longer receive packages from, nor send packages by UPS or FedEx since
 they are actually Al Qaeda in disguise.
 I no longer answer the phone because someone will ask me to dial a number
 for which I will get a phone bill with calls to Jamaica, Uganda, Singapore,
 and Uzbekistan.


I no longer eat KFC, because their "chickens" are actually horrible
mutant freaks with no eyes or feathers.
 I no longer have any sneakers -- but that will change once I receive my
 free replacement pair from Nike.
 I no longer have to buy expensive cookies from Neiman Marcus since I now
 have their recipe.
 I no longer worry about my soul, because at last count, I have 363,214
 angels looking out for me in addition to all of you dear friends.
 Thanks to you, I have learned that there REALLY  IS a God but he/she
 only answers my prayers if I forward an e-mail to seven hundred of my friends and make a wish within five seconds.
 I no longer have any savings, because I gave it to a sick girl who is about
 to die in the hospital (for the 1,387,258th time)...
 I no longer have any money at all - but that will change once I receive the
 $15,000 that Microsoft and AOL are sending me for participating in their
 special e-mail program.
 Yes, I want to THANK YOU SO MUCH for looking out for me that I will now
 return the favor!
 So, if you don't send this damn e-mail to at least 144,000 people in the
 next 7 minutes, a large flock of pigeons with a wicked case of diarrhea
 will land on your head at 5:00 PM this afternoon and shit all over you. I
 know this will occur, because it actually happened to a friend of my next
 door neighbor's ex-mother-in-law's second husband's third cousin's
 Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!!!

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Doing your bit for women's empowerment

Women's education is the best solution, I am told for empowering women. I beg to differ. I have a slightly differing approach. Instead of degrees, I would encourage women to get driver's licenses and have the ability to drive and see different places.

There's plenty of women I know who have completed college, have had careers for years now, but still don't like their kids to mix with "that Muslim kid" or "that kid of gay parents". I am willing to bet the female bus driver is a lot more open minded than the female bank clerk who's travelling in her bus. If your daily routine involves going from one place to another, chances are your sphere of exposure is a lot better than sitting at home / in an office, irrespective of what you learned in college. If you are going from place to place, very soon you'd be driving yourself, instead of taking a bus / auto / cab.

I agree it brings the risk of more women drivers on the road (oh, come on.. you know what I mean), and it might screw up the environment with more vehicles on the road, but socially I think it would make a bigger difference.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Quote of the Day

..It means your alleged life is nothing but a program running in a computer somewhere, and the author reused code...

- Scott Adams
(on the Freakonomics blog)

Monday, October 29, 2007

Ambassadors of Sport

I don't follow American sport all that much. I do watch it, whenever I am in the US, but it's with absolute detachment. The kind of detachment you associate with a Will Smith summer flick. But there are some players you see who are really good at their games. So good, so natural, that even people who follow other sports, realize their talent. Kinda like Michael Jordan, Roger Federer or Tiger Woods.

Alex Rodriguez and Peyton Manning are two such talents. Manning is so good, even my wife knew his name.

Any others you can name? Any sport? Brian Lara would be my cricketing equivalent.

Friday, October 26, 2007

GSpace Puzzle

So, I go to GMail. As I am about to click enter, I see the amount of space available. I feel like an idiot to have sent the previous post.

So, I decide to do the correct thing, log out and get to Blogger and delete the post. And I see this..

Anyone else seeing this?

Thursday, October 25, 2007


Is it just me, or did Google just somehow mercifully double the space available for Gmail? My signup page says I have some 4.7 Gb available

Poker Thobda

Stephen Dubner asks an interesting question about why there's not enough desis on Poker Tables on the Freakonomics blog. My guess is it's a bit of all the reasons given in the comments by the guests & the readers. But my best guess is something like this:

Gambling at the pro level is not worth the risk for first generation immigrants from India. A large majority of Indian diaspora (I love that word) have come here by the rules. The last I heard, gambling was illegal, and has a social stigma, back home. It's just not worth it. There's just too much they have invested in their lives from the money based on their professional skills that they cannot risk losing it for the probability of making money. All they know about gambling is that Amitabh Bachchan was 'The Great Gambler'. (They ARE film watching engineering nerds after all)

Second generation immigrants (aka ABCDs) do not have such issues of battling the perception back home, since this is their home. Yet, they are still not at a critical mass level where you can see them play at the level that others play at. But it will start. Quite soon.

There's another possibility. Somewhat related, but on a tangent. The story of the normal first generation Indian immigrant really doesn't bleed. And if it bleeds, it leads. There might be a whole bunch of Indians playing there for all I know, but their story is not one of the everlasting hope that TV producers love. "Yeah, you know, I came on an F1 visa and went to Stanford, where all I could think of was how the dollar was worth 49 rupees. All I could afford was rice and beans." Yeah, right. Like that's going to get more people watch a TV show in the hope that their lives would turn.

Dumble Dry...

Meghna writes in a comment to my previous post. Here's what I found most interesting.

"I can hope that maybe they will see that being gay is not as awful as a thing as they are being told, but unfortunately, I don't think they will see it this way."

Honestly, I agree with you. I also feel it's not just your family, but probably an entire international society that is in denial. I am sure even the author recognised this, especially since the main target of the book series was children. So then can we accuse JK Rowling of deliberately keeping this away from the reading public so that the popularity of the series doesn't get affected?

But then, that's besides the point. My point was very simple. The series is so wonderfully popular, that people are creating a fantasy in their own mind for no reason at all. What difference does it make to anyone if the character was gay, or bisexual or actually a transvestite if it was not there in the books? Is it worth so much of news space and public thought?

However, Meghna, if your cousins are nine years old, I wouldn't worry so much. I'd be more worried about your uncle and aunt (i.e. their parents) who have supposedly seen the world, but are in major denial. Especially since kids have a sense of logic and propriety that is not very obvious. Simply put, imagine how you were at nine and all that you had been told, and look where you've come in the years since. If you can, surely kids of the twenty first century would not happen to take everything at face value of what their parents teach them? And I bet, if you tell these kids that Dumbledore is gay, they probably would care less.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Pulpy Fiction

Noted script writer Javed Akhtar, script writer for Sholay, while speaking as chief guest at the Save a Child Today mentioned that Gabbar Singh turned out the way he did because he was abused as a child, by his rogue uncle. This uncle, Makhan Singh, was a history sheeter with known cases against him in about 30 police stations in the Ramgarh area. Gabbar, who lost his parents when he was 3 in a police shootout while they were trying to protect Makhan Singh, was consistently abused by his uncle, who also used his young nephew as a conduit for his wild ways such as armed robbery and murder. To avoid this abuse, Gabbar ran away from home (if you could call it that..) at the age of 14 using his uncle's horse and single barrel rifle with no education to speak of and only 56 rupees in his pocket (which he had stolen from his uncle, who was knocked out drunk, one Diwali night). He had learned only one way to live.

Upon hearing Mr. Akhtar's comments, noted social worker Asim Sarode expressed the hope that this raised awareness about the pitfalls of child abuse and more cases would come out in the open.

All this is a complete hoax. It's as much of fiction as the whole of Sholay. But hey, if Albus Dumbledore can have a history, so can apna Gabbar!!!

Does it make any difference to anyone? Not to me, and should not make any difference to anyone else, if you ask me. I found the whole thing so idiotic. Especially the part where the audience responded with "gasps and applause". I mean, how exactly is this even news?? People have nothing better to do than to discuss fictional histories of fictional characters. Is it really so important to someone, anyone, that a character in a seven-part series of the most fanciful imagination possible had a history which was not covered? Grow up, and take it as a piece of fiction. If it was worth noting, it would have been in one of the books. She had seven chances to put it in there.

Am I missing something here?

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Help Again

What is it that they put in breakfast muffins in the US, that they don't put in anything else? For some reason I seem to have an upset stomach whenever I have the breakfast muffins. Everything is fine with cereal and eggs and milk and the rest of the crap they have in the hotel.

Friday, October 19, 2007


I have been trying very hard to get this on to my video iPod. I got it from Google Video, which normally allows downloading on to the Video iPod, except in this one case. Since I can't do that, I am doing the next best thing.

Putting this on my blog.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Pettyness. (Is that even a word?)

Yesterday I had a chance meeting with some of the IT guys from our office in India. They were recounting instances of how a lot of software professionals in other organizations have made so much money out of their on-site visit and how there's not much scope to do that in our office. Now, I'd have thought that's a good thing, right? But, I digress. Somehow I see a lot of this in India. There's hardly any pride in yourself, no feeling of ownership, it's just how you can benefit out a particular situation. Whether it is cutting traffic signals or making money out of a 2 month stay at Waukesha, MI it is all about yourself in India. There's a whole load of insecurity in that sense. There's no self belief, that you can handle anything the world throws at you that you don't need to try nefarious means to go that extra mile to benefit out of a situation. It definitely has something to do with the competition and the population in India that you try everything possible to get ahead.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Inferno in Newhall

There are times when you feel lucky.

It's been over 20 months since I last drove on this highway. But everyday, for almost 3 years, I took this road 4 times a day. Based on news reports, if I remember right, this tunnel is the connection between the Old Road and the 5 North and leads to the Truck route. The pictures were not very clear about the exact location, but when I read the news that's the one that popped into my mind. Actually the moment I read the headline "Fire in LA Tunnel" I just knew it was on the 5 North. Had to be. I just cannot get it over my head. We would take this road probably every week a couple of times, when the 5 North was unbearably heavy. Every morning I would take the old road coming in to work.

Hope there's not too many casualties. I heard one of the casualties was a child. May all affected find the courage to recover from the loss

I think once the traffic conditions ease, I doubt anyone going to Sylmar from Valencia / Palmdale will take the Old Road for a while.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Things they don't teach in the best business schools

There's something inherently charming, yet at the same time devious about this news item that I read. Definitely entrepreneurship at its finest.

There's some part of me which finds this extremely charming and wonderful, that people who've never stepped inside a plane, and who've only dreamed about sitting in one would most definitely find this experience exhilarating. Something like what I might feel if someone said I can sit in a simulation / replica of an F-16 fighter jet. Also, the faux capitalist in me, feels that "Captain" Gupta is indeed a visionary in finding a possible revenue stream out of a scrapped airline. You provide a limited service, you make the money.

At the same time, this virtual flight thing is basically making a benefit out of people's lack of opportunity. If flying was within the monetary reach of the average person, I am sure this idea would never have "flown". If you want to provide a service for the greater common good, you ought to be a little benevolent and make it a free trip, don't you think?

Now.. If someone were to make it an "airline finishing school" where they taught people how to behave on a flight, I'd support it whole-heartedly

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Things I think I think

- I am watching a baseball game, primarily because there's nothing better to do, when it occurs to me, that the American passion for data must have some relation to baseball. These guys are basically just blurting out statistics like game's just an excuse. There's a Chinese guy pitching for the Yankees. He's just pitched to two guys, and I already know that he's never pitched on 3 days rest, he's only given 9 home runs over some period, he's X of Y against left handers. I am sure, somewhere they also have a database on the middle names of baseball players or how well they have scored on their wedding anniversaries.

At some point, when a game becomes a statistic, I don't quite know how much fun it becomes to play or to watch.

- Expectation. It's such a heavy word. Almost every one has some expectations out of something. And almost every time you're setting yourself up for disappointment. If things work as expected, you're not very thrilled since you expected it anyway. If things don't work out, man you're disappointed. It's only when you exceed expectations that you're happy. So, if you don't have any expectations from anything, you're probably a very happy person.

I don't quite call it my Gautam Buddha moment, but I think I am on to something here as well.

- I don't know how this thought came to me this morning, but Captain Dumbfuck sounds like an awesome name for a B-grade comic book hero.

Captain Dumbfuck: Equal Opportunity Discriminator.

That's my anti-Gautam Buddha moment for this week. Definitely

- It's nice to see that Scrubs has so many reruns running on TV now in the US. Comedy Central, Fox18, even WGN seems to have graduated from Friends reruns. Else TV in the US is pretty much the same. Have not watched much of it though. Been too busy these days.

- GOD!!! Baseball is SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO Boring!!

Monday, October 08, 2007

Handwriting Blues

One of my oldest friends is on the blogosphere, and I didn't really know it. व्यक्तिगत - मनोगत - स्वगत, is Salil Divekar's blog. I should have guessed that he would be blogging. Astrologically, we are about as close at it can possibly get. Born in the same city, a day apart. (I know, I know.. closest is the same hospital on the same day in the next door delivery room, 1 second apart, but guys.. Bloggers factor of exaggeration!!!)

Anyway, what caught my main attention was his last post, which by the way, should not be the last one. (Note to SD, please write more often.) Ms. Doctor was, by far, the best teacher we had. Ask Vincentian, who graduated in the 90's and was there from the first standard, chances are he would agree with me. Those who graduated before that would probably have had teachers other than I did. Her insistence of good handwriting was legendary, and that's something I'd like to address here.

Of all the souls in the work force today, I think without any doubt that I am the luckiest one. If computerisation had not occured by the time I hit payroll age, I would have been in deepest of deep shit. The very fact that I am even remotely successful in what I do, has completely to do with computers. I guess I must have lost at least 5% marks in school due to my handwriting. If you're counting a 5% differential in my HSC marks, you're talking the difference between COEP and Bharati Vidyapeeth. You're talking the difference between an ATKT in SOM and an all-clear.

The very fact that you're reading this, is a miracle, because if you were reading my handwriting, you probably would be banging your head on the wall. Anyone who says that emotional crap about how computers have taken away the romance of writing, has obviously not read my handwriting. In almost every letter, I have to put an apology for my handwriting. It is different from line to line, let alone from page to page. Just thinking how my life would be without computers, makes me shudder. Especially my previous job, which involved a lot of documentation work. (On second thoughts, maybe the FDA would have approved the devices a lot quicker, and I would have risen through the corporate charts)

Ms. Doctor lived in a different world. A world, where rich people had Godrej typerwriters, and normal parents would write a letter to the teacher explaining the previous day's absence of the student. A world, that required ink pens and kids to learn the art of writing cursively and neatly. Most people of my dad's age have beautiful handwriting. They have it, because they needed to. I know I probably won't need it for writing letters to the teacher. They have parents login ids for St. Vincents now. (No kidding, you email the teacher)

I know they don't make teachers like Ms. Doctor any more. I guess they don't need to!

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Go Cardinal

It's unusually hot in Moline this weekend. Bright sunshine with an expected high of 91F. Considering average highs in October are 65F, one can say that it's a hot day.

But it's a mighty fine time to wear a Stanford sweatshirt

Saturday, October 06, 2007

The law of unintended consequences

Every act of mankind has its consequences. These consequences could be broken down into what we call "pros" and "cons". Once the act is carried out, the subsequent pros and cons occur as expected. However, the effect of these pros and cons on other things beyond the purview of the original act is almost impossible to account for. This phenomenon is termed by economists as the law of unintended consequences.

Here are some examples:

How Jane Fonda is to blame for global warming.

How the American Disabilities Act, intended for granting equal rights for people with handicaps, has actually led to a decrease in the number of opportunities for people with a handicap

All in all, this is a fascinating area to delve into. It's almost impossible to capture all the possible consequences of a certain act.

Maybe this is what we in India would generally label as Kismat!!

You gotta be kidding

I think I am going to start a new set of series (like the immensely popular Things I think I think) where I plan to provide links to the weirdest things on earth.

Like for example, we have actual scientists researching something like this.

What a good job. Going to a strip club for scientific research!!

Nulla poena sine lege

I gave up on track and field atheletics long ago. Nothing to do with the doping scandals, but I think it was when Carl Lewis retired, which if I am not mistaken also coincided with a introspective dawning of how unathletic I am. Marion Jones came in the limelight after this. She won 3 golds at the Sydney Olympics, which was unprecedented and also has never been done since. Despite widespread rumors of doping at the time, she cleared all the drug tests, and never actually failed a test till last year, when her first sample failed. She got reinstated when the B-sample was negative. So, technically, to date she never failed a test. She was rumored to be involved in the BALCO scandal, and coincidentally (or otherwise) her performances seemed to dwindle as the BALCO scandal started hitting the news coverage. Some said drugs (or the lack of them), some said injuries, some others said age. But the matter was soon laid to rest.

However, now she has come back in the news, as she has admitted using performance enhancing drugs knowingly. ( Read Here) And the question arises. What should be her punishment for taking performance enhancing drugs? Here's my stand. She might go to jail for lying to prosecutors, but you cannot take away her medals and her records. She may have cheated knowingly, but as far as the official method of verification goes, she cleared everything. She may have lost face morally and ethically, but the fact is that legally I don't think she can be touched as far as erasure of her records go. Whatever the substance was which was injected, there was no test for it at that time, so in theory it is legal at the time. That she knew it was cheating is an ethical question. Ex post facto law is illegal in most countries. I am not a lawyer, but I'm thinking if her medals are taken away, she could challenge in a court of law based on this theory, and have a credible defence.

If there was no punishment for the cream and clear at that time, you cannot punish her now because a punishment exists now.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Rose is but a rose

What's in a name, apparently is what the Bard asked.

Apparently, enough to get a tax exemption in the great state of Tamil Nadu.

Money quote:
...both are coming together in Thamizh M.A (the title of the film has now been changed to Kattrathu Thamizh to avail tax benefits)...

Honestly, I don't even know what I was doing on that page. I think I clicked something else on rediff, but landed here.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Lap -Top- Dance

Full disclosure: I too have only a laptop at home. However, it was bought when we were living in the US, to make full space utilization and since we were to move, it didn't make sense to ship a desktop computer with all our documents.

Is buying a laptop in the US cheaper than buying a desktop in India?(based simply on exchange rate conversions)

Lot many people I know who have gone to the US, have bought laptops for personal use while they have been there. I too have been asked to do a favour and buy a laptop on my trips, with promises or reimbursement. In most cases, they really don't need to work from home. Nor do they have much of a travelling job. The use of the laptop is for precisely three things.

1. Word / Excel documents
2. Downloading pictures from digital cameras
3. Internet / email.

Now the first two are not so important in most cases, but the third one is the most important one in this. The freedom to take your email with you is amazing. But there's a slight hitch. Wireless technology is not so prominent in India yet. You normally do not get Wireless at home, simply because PPPoE doesn't allow you without logging in. Nor do Barista / Cafe Coffee Day / Vaishali have wireless capability to be able to surf the net while having coffee. So in most cases, I imagine, you'd have a table on which a laptop resides. You can't move it around, since the internet comes through a cable, which unfortunately cannot move around.

So why a laptop from the US, when I imagine a much superior performing desktop machine can be bought in India, with Indian suppliers who help service it if something goes wrong, with better machine specs that can make your Internet experience more fulfilling?

Esteem Value is my answer. The 21st century version of "Neighbour's envy, Owner's pride". What's yours?

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Things I think I think

-- (For readers in the US only) I am going to be in the US starting Oct. 3 (next week) for about a month. I apologize in advance for not making it to your place. It's not that I don't want to come. I just don't want to promise. Think of it like all your friends in Hyderabad who insist you come over when you are visiting, but you are in Jaipur. Promises made have to be kept, and since I don't know my schedule as such, it might be a problem keeping to promises. I shall definitely catch up over the phone.

-- Twenty20 cricket is mindless entertainment. Cricket's answer to the NFL. Designed for the Sunday afternoon family entertainment. You will watch it and forget it in a few hours. No brooding allowed. If cricket has a chance to enter the American mindset, this one is it. You can sell it like baseball without the gloves, and see it run.

-- That said, I am not too sure the whole thing will succeed in traditionally cricket watching countries. What I see happening is something like rugby, where you play Twenty20 for club, and test matches for country. One day internationals would probably be a thing of the past in the next few years. It's already starting, with a Champions League proposed for next year. One change I would like to see is replacing the bowlers with a bowling machine, which randomly throws balls in any sequence. The bowlers are getting thrashed anyway. Why insult their self esteem?

-- Saw an interesting movie yesterday. Manorama Six Feet Under. Surprisingly good movie. Not as good as Seher, which is my most favourite "pleasant surprise" but quite close. Based loosely on Chinatown, could be a drab for some people, but not all.

-- Mr. Vase, if you like a post, you should comment on the blog. Emailing me is fine, but try to comment, so that I know how many people actually read stuff.

-- BTW, Mr. Vase is organizing a biomedical competition for engineering students to be held at IIT-B in the first week of January, 2008. Those interested should contact me, and I shall put you through to the Man.

-- All else is well in the world. Saturday, laziness, cricket at night.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Amchis Rock..

They tend to talk a lot, but I guess they have something for showbiz

Money quote:
Guru Dutt and Deepika are not the only movie personalities the Chitrapur Saraswat Brahmin community have produced -- there is Guru Dutt's illustrious first cousin Shyam Benegal, who just won the Dadasaheb Phalke Award, playwright and actor Girish Karnad, editor Guru Dutt Shirali, composer Bhaskar Chandavarkar, actress Leena Chandavarkar, actor Anant Nag and his late actor-director brother Shankar Nag, Guru Dutt's niece director Kalpana Lajmi, actress Isha Koppikar among others.

What's even more interesting is the list of comments going on below the article.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Have not written anything for a while.

Really, there's been nothing to write about right now. There is. But not right now!

Do check back in a few weeks

Saturday, August 25, 2007

If Only I could turn back time...

I saw her in the mall. And I knew instinctively it was her. She had changed tremendously from the last time I saw her. But she looked to be at peace. The years were showing. The old limp was still there. She passed by without recognising me, but I knew that I HAD to go and say hi. So, I went up to her and addressed her:

"Excuse me, Mrs. Chopra??"

She turned back, and looked at me. She instantly figured who I was - a student from the years gone by - but couldn't tell which one out of the hundreds that would have passed by her hands.

"I was your student - Chirag Panjikar"

"Oh yes, my... you've grown up.. You had a younger brother, right?? How's he doing?? And do you still live in Sangeeta Colony??"

We spoke briefly and bid goodbye, but that entire conversation left me with a mixed feeling. It is very gratifying to have your old teachers recognize you and your family in an instant even if they have not seen you for 15 years. But you do feel guilty, when you see a person being so genuinely nice to you, when all those years ago, all you did was hated her guts for giving you that one mark less.. You'd ridicule her nasal voice and her habit of saying "Am I right, boys??" after every new concept.. You'd make fun of her behind her back.. There are some teachers in school that you love, and some that you absolutely abhore.. In my school years, Mrs. Chopra would fall in the latter category.. If anything, if there's a reason I would attribute for my distaste for Biology, it's because she taught us Biology in class 8.. But I learnt something today..

Today I learnt that, regardless of what I thought of it at the time, it was never personal. Makes me pity that kid in the 8th standard all those years ago for being so juvenile..

It DOESN'T happen in India

I don't know how I land up reading the wierdest links. but this one is clearly one in the hall of fame..

To pique your interest, I shall quote the first line from the Article:

In one of history's more absurd acts of totalitarianism, China has banned Buddhist monks in Tibet from reincarnating without government permission.

I bet you are intrigued now to read on ...

Wednesday, August 15, 2007


Of all the things being read and said about India on the 60th Independence day today, here is the best line I have read thus far, and possibly is the most apt one:
If India didn't exist, no-one would have the imagination to invent it.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Strange but true

Today's Times of India has Dinesh Karthik on the front page, and Lalu Prasad Yadav on the sports page.

I am not kidding, go check.


A great set of articles, I understand it would be causing loads of controversy and only hope people take it in the right spirit. But it should be a great spring board for discussions and possible some brainstormed ideas.

Please read them in chronological order (one links to the other actually)

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Animal Instincts a.k.a. The Battle at Kruger

I debated long and hard about whether I should embed this or link it. In the end, I decided to embed it, simply because YouTube had embedding possible. I figured that if YouTube allows it, I should be ok with legal hassles.

But it is quite simply a must watch. If you have not seen it before, I suggest you watch the video. If you have seen it before, I suggest you watch it again.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Holy Crap!!!

You don't want to be stealing necklaces in Calcutta. Much as I like bananas and chicken and rice (not necessarily in that order), I am not sure I would like to go through the torture of having to eat 50 bananas.

But the best part of the entire silly news article was this and I quote:

A sweeper was paid to retrieve the exhibit from the toilet. Mr Mohsin was asked to wash it.

Instead of reporting on Bihari labourers who magically speak "English with an American accent", the Hindi news channels should report such "crap".

Definitely a lot more entertainment and a sure shot crime-prevention tactic!!!

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Things I think I think

-- I think now that we beat England (quite convincingly, that too) you really can't call Indians poor travellers. We have won more tests away that any other country not named Australia (including one in Australia, how many countries can say that???) in the last 5 years, and (I don't quite believe this) lesser test matches in India. Suddenly the talk of poor pitches in India is not heard any more. And to be honest, England got exactly what they deserved. A spanking on the backside. And no, there's no moral victory in sports, and you didn't deserve to win the first test. If you cannot bowl out the Indians in 95 overs on a fifth day pitch in your own home country, you do not deserve to win. You cannot bowl out Sreesanth in 5 overs (LBWs don't count, as they are totally subjective) you don't deserve to win. As for the mouthing and chattering, I really don't think we need to apologize for anything. We can safely say that we didn't start it. Some people drop jelly beans to distract opponents, some bowl head high beamers. KP got exactly what he deserved. Will remind him of what could happen on a cricket field the next time he is driving his Porsche Carrera. When Mark Prior says that 11 men are hunting together, what's wrong in being hunted by a head high beamer? There's an excellent article in the Times Online, (not apna raddi Times of India) by Simon Barnes.

Money quote:
The England cricket team are suffering from confusion. The players believe to a man that behaving like an arsehole makes you a better cricketer. The fact is that it doesn’t. It only makes you an arsehole.

Australia is not the best in the world because they talk a lot. They are the best because they score more runs and get more wickets than the opposition. The Aussies never distract, they play fair and are absolute gentlemen when it comes to the game. They would never need jelly beans to win.

-- BTW, Murugesh, you do get maids in the US. But it's ironic. Maids in the US tend to have a better life than the people who employ them. A lot of them are there illegally, don't have to pay taxes, can get by without speaking a lot of English, and tend to drive better cars than their employers (this is absolutely true for some of our friends in the US). I guess it has something to do with the fact that there are not enough maids in the US, so there is a skill scarcity. The fact that Anarkali gets only 1500 rupees per month (5 houses, 300 per) must have something to do with there being so many, that if she was to ask for 350, there would be someone who would do it for 300, and Anarkali would get 0 instead of 1500.

-- I am now coaching our young nephew Siddhant the intricacies of Maths (Algebra and Geometry). I open his Algebra text book and all I see are words. Why would Algebra books have any prose in it? More importantly, why would anyone want to learn Algebra if all they get is literature? There's not enough sums, not enough Maths in Maths books.

-- A few weeks ago, I had posted a blog as to how I would start a political party funded by the stock market. Now here's this website, Intrade, which is into prediction markets and where people play with real money and buy "stocks" in different prediction markets (Hillary nominations, Musharraf departing), and have shown startlingly correct results. It's enough to say that we would be able to predict election results with much better results than exit polls if people have their money on the line. The promise of a prediction market is simple and profound: if you ask a lot of people a question about politics or sports or Hollywood movies, and those people are motivated to answer it correctly, their collective judgment turns out to be fairly accurate. (Similar philosophy to why the KBC Audience gets the correct answer more often than not, their motivation being to do good to the contestant).

-- Work is hectic, life is fun. How about you guys?

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Catch-22 Economics

Murugesh writes in:

What do we do to change the scenario. BTW, in US,is it possible to get a maid servant.

Can you find out a solution to start for such issues. (I mean to bridge the both sides of India). you can blog on that. try to search for really practical solution.

I wish I knew the solution boss. We have an eminent economist for a PM, and even he is struggling.

Rich and poor are bound to happen in a classical capitalist system. For sure, there will be people who make more money than others, but the classical capitalist system provides avenues for the poor to make money. Getting them to depend on dole from the rich really does not help them. Because, the rich give when it is possible for them to give. Since it's not always possible to do so, one day this charity would stop and then the problem would persist. Instead if they are given a chance to work, to be employed then at least they have some skill to trade in exchange for money, thereby getting them to a milestone on this journey. Give a man a fish; you have fed him for today. Teach a man to fish; and you have fed him for a lifetime. (I think it's a Chinese proverb). And one thing is for sure, it might be a "low-fashioned" skill, and it might be illegal, but Anarkali is providing a skill to society, for which she is compensated. Through the years, she probably will see that her skill is not worth the same compensation as someone her age who went to school. Hopefully that would make her force her kids go to school even when the money is not there.

I would love to say that the population is also to blame, (Again, Anarkali's family has 7 children, i.e. more than the total number of first cousins that I have), but her parents have no incentive to have a small family. I can bet, not all their siblings survived childhood, and I would like to say its a fair assumption that not all of Anarkali's siblings have survived. When there is no guarantee that all their children will survive, there is no incentive to a small family. We have to improve the quality of public health care for the poorest of poor and much as I would like to try, I am not an expert. (On this subject, do check out Abhinand's blog and his work.) In the end it all boils down to treating every one the same, regardless of economic standard. If there are equal opportunities for every one, things will start to improve.

Most of the barriers though are in the minds of people. Human beings, being the only species with the ability to think (or so they think), are prone to pre-judging people they do not know. It's easier for them to attach a label (of economic bearing, religion, sexual preference, whatever) to a new person as an excuse to not associate with them, as against getting to know them, learning about how they live, their lifestyle. By attaching a label (or an adjective) they are blocking their minds from improving the status quo. Only those with a genuine incentive would do that, and there is no incentive provided by society since society is composed of the same pre-judging people who have no incentive to do so.

And no matter how hard I try, I cannot change the way people think. That can only come with time.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Personality Test

The walls are white. There's a huge mosquito sitting on the wall. It's too "full" to move, so you know you can just slap it to its death.

What do you do?

A. As promised, you slap it. It's dead. A mangled parasite, with some traces of blood on the wall, which you promptly try to wipe out with a wet cloth.

B. Just shimmy, so the mosquito wakes up. But it's too slow, and you catch it in mid-flight and squeeze it to death. The blood is on your hands, which you promptly wash off.

If you chose option A, you are probably in your parents house or a rented apartment.

If you chose option B, you probably own the place.

Based on a true-life conundrum.

A Life less ordinary

Anarkali is not a piece of fiction.

She is an actual person that is a part of our life daily. As you read this, she is probably sweeping the floor of our house. Or someone else’s house in our building. Most of the stuff I wrote is true, at least it is how she has described to me. Some of the part is creative license. The part about her mom telling her what age she should say (her mom told us she was 12), the part where I implied her dad used to drink and beat her mom. That is fiction, but I do believe that in no way did it add to the already dire situation that she faces. To this I apologise to her dad in writing.

But this one thing is true. I have never seen anyone enjoy the task of jhaadu / pochha so much. She does have her moods, especially when she comes in late. But she really cannot tell the time since I doubt there is a time piece that she sees before she comes in to our house. She doesn’t know much about the days of the week (all days being the same) and every Saturday we tell her to come late the next day (we’ve learnt from experience). D tried teaching her the months of the year, but she gets confused between the number of days in a week and the months in the year, and her standard answer to both is 10 (saves time). In another life, she’d probably be an engineer. But in her good moods, which are more common, she’s the most talkative kid around. Her amazement at the concept of the microwave, is seen to be believed. Though she’d rather have us buy a TV, since we could then see movies. The “Camputer” is something she has learnt. (It is a testament to how much India has developed as a software center, that she does not know what a desktop is. All the houses she works in have laptops.) All music is Radio Mirchi (brand conscious kids) and so are speakers.

What haunts me though for some reason, some haunting reason, is that she is smiling when she enters our house. You’d think she actually enjoys sweeping floors. And here’s the strange part. Around the time she comes in, I am on my way to get bread and I see kids from our building going to school.

Not one of them has a smile.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

A day in the life of Anarkali

Anarkali is 14. Or so she has been told by her Ammi. She has to say that she is 14 if someone is to ask her. She can count, but really once you cross 10, you don't have enough fingers on your hands to count so if Ammi is giving her the age she has to say, it makes her job a lot easier.

Since she stopped going to school last year (or was it the year before, she really can't tell) her life has become a little more fun. She wakes up when the sun shines in her eyes. On days that are cloudy, Ammi wakes her up. Either case, she is out of the house with Ammi in about 15 minutes. She first goes to the nice uncle and aunty's house where she does their jhaadu and pochha. The nice uncle and nice aunty are fun people. Always smiling and listening to her, and really jhaadu pochha is so easy. Definitely easier than learning science in school, which some of her friends are doing. The nice aunty also gives her some food to eat once she is done. And good food. Then she goes to the house with the young baba to do some more jhaadu pochha. But here there's also some bartan to be cleaned. The young baba goes to school (why would a 3 year old go to school, Anarkali wonders) and the aunty there does her stuff. Once she is done there, she goes for her main task. To the oopar ka maala, where she spends most of her day. There is a younger baba there who has to be taken care of. Anarkali is experienced in taking care of young babas. She after all has taken care of 3 brothers and 3 sisters. Along with taking care of the young baba, she does her usual jhaadu, pochha, bartan and also cleans the bathroom. When the aunty gets hungry, she lets Anarkali head out for her lunch, so she goes down to meet Ammi and Nani and they have lunch together. After lunch, Ammi and Nani sleep by the stairs, while Anarkali goes back to the oopar ka maala. Young baba is asleep after his lunch, so all she has to do is watch him going to sleep. After some time, Aunty says it is 5.30 pm and so Anarkali has to go home. She waits for her Ammi, who comes soon. Together they go home which is not very far. She helps Ammi make the gosht for dinner, which her Abbu brought home from work. Gosht is really nice, and Abbu is now a changed man. He doesn't come home all crazy any more and doesn't beat Ammi any more. He smiles at Anarkali also, sometimes. She also is busy with her youngest sister, who is just "itni si". After dinner, she goes to their common stall in their "housing complex" where there is a TV running. Today it's playing a Shah Rukh Khan flim. She thinks of her nice uncle and aunty, who don't have a TV in their house, and really cannot understand why they would want to miss out on the wonder that is a television. "I shall ask them tomorrow" she tells herself. Soon, it's time for bed. Anarkali puts her brothers sisters to sleep and then goes to sleep herself.

"What a fun day", she says "better than going to school and discussing Harry Potter and Something or the Other with your friends"

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Are you Racist?

Sounds like the world's worst opinion poll question, doesn't it?

Substitute Racist with Communal, Casteist, or any of the other "-ists" you can add after any of the "-isms" of the world, and I bet over 90% of the populace will say they are not. But the fact is that a majority of the people do suffer from some kind of discriminatory behavior. I do. Much as I hate it, I can say that I too suffer from some form of discriminatory behavior (and I would not like to take it further, except saying that I am working on improving my behavior). The more I think about it, there's nothing you can do to change the mind of people who are not comfortable with certain people. You can only do your bit to convince them that you can't really generalise people into silos.

Case in point:
1996 World Cup. The LTTE struck in Colombo. The Australians and the West Indians refused to play in Sri Lanka citing player safety, despite the LTTE announcing a cease fire specifically for the World Cup.

Cut to the 07/07 bombings in London from a couple of years ago. Horrible horrible event, and the worst possible thing that could happen to a peace loving country. Al-Qaeda has announced that Australia, the US and the UK are their targets. The Australian cricket team was preparing for the Ashes in England at the time. They stayed, and played out the series.

So, how come the same country feels safer when they are announced as targets and not when the terrorists say they will not attack them?

But I am not calling anyone racist. The Aussies felt a lot more comfortable in the UK than in Sri Lanka. Bound to happen. I am more likely to feel at home in Edison, NJ or Sunnyvale, CA than in Topeka, Kansas(if I am in the US). You can't change the way people think.

It all comes down to the lack of information you have about some other country / people. Globalization has brought these issues to the forefront, and globalization will help solve them. Trade between people will help interaction between people, and remove personal barriers. Something tells me, global trade will trump global terrorism and the world will be a happy place. Any other way, and your grandma was wrong.

Good would not always trump evil.

(Oh..By the way, the Aussies lost the world cup in 1996 and also the ashes in 2005!!)

Things I think I think..

-- It's very difficult to blog consistently.. Yes, that's the first thought that comes to my mind .. I have a solution now to my "oh-that's-bloggable-but-where-the-fuck's-the-computer?" conundrum (part solution so to say), but let's see how long it goes. I try as far as possible to write stuff.. I know I even have a stretch goal of writing a book, but I doubt that's going to happen. Blogging is the best that I can do under the circumstances.. But it's got to a point where all the stars have to be aligned for a good blog to come out .. I read Words (by the Unabashed Chocoholic) and I get all jealous on how she can write with such beauty.. I make a "sour grapes" note to myself that she's been to some creative writing class .. (and she does poetry) .. But the fact is, I would love to write like she does (I bow to Thee, O Master of the Good Blog), though her stuff at times has too much X-chromosome for my taste.. (that's not a criticism by the way, dear sis-in-law)

-- I am seriously considering organizing a Non-Cooperation Movement against Pune's auto rickshaws. I am going to do it. They are rude (not all.. some are nice) and do not hesitate to take advantage of the passengers. It is an economists dream to deal with the rickshaw waalas. Hardly any body now goes by the meter. Kids / Techies from out of town have spoilt them by agreeing to their demands.. All while a majority of the Ricks are now LPG operated and therefore the fuel cost is considerably reduced.

-- I don't miss the television. I now only see it when I go to my parents place or D's parents place. There's nothing to watch.

-- One thing I miss about LA is the restaurant variety, and the concept that every time we would go to a new place, we would come back pleasantly impressed. That doesn't happen here, because there's hardly any new place to go to!! There's a lot of new places to eat out, but having been old Pune residents there's a hesitation to go waste your money on something so ludicrously expensive. Since we were new to LA, we really had no old baggage

-- I was really saddened by the London bombing suspects.. Probably more than the train bombings in Mumbai last year. In the Mumbai case, there was a feeling that it was still uneducated brainwashed folks doing this. But here's absolutely educated human beings doing stuff like this. One is a PhD is Computational Fluid Dynamics, something so grandly difficult that I have no idea how the guys in my office do it, they show me their simulations and the cool stuff, but it still goes over my head.. (and they are just Masters graduates).. I won't be surprised if we (in our organisation) had interviewed this gentleman, given the fact that we are always looking for people with good educational background and with exposure to the western work culture.. It's obvious to me, that the current mode of tackling this problem is not working, since it's not stopped at all, and if anything there's more of this every day..

-- I have never said it in public, but now I do. George W. Bush is incompetent. Nuff said. Why would anyone believe in democracy, if the best that the US can come up with is him?

Friday, July 13, 2007

Can you answer this Mr. Darwin?

How is it that mosquitoes have evolved enough to be resistant to all the chemicals, but humans have not evolved enough to be resistant to mosquitoes?

Sunday, July 01, 2007

India has arrived..


I know this probably has something to do with my IP address being registered in India. But when you see an ad for Georgette and chiffon saris on the New York Times website, it has to count for something..
Posted by Picasa
You go to orkut, and you have many friends... One of them is honest enough to write that "The Daily Show With Jon Stewart" is his favorite show.. This brings out a wave of nostalgia .. You click on the auto link to see if there is a group somewhere.. There must be one.. but what comes up is a whole bunch of people who have this as their favorite show.. All's fine till here..
However, what got me intrigued was how many of these people were located in Kolkata / Mumbai / Delhi / Chennai / B'lore / Pune .. In other words, India.. As far as my knowledge goes, the show comes in an international edition on CNN once a week.. It's not as much fun as the original, but you can make do.. But the international edition is definitely not in the league of Frasier / Friends / heck, even the O.C. So it got me thinking.. 
Does the Daily Show come on a different channel daily or are these guys just aping the west by randomly putting channels? 
I would love to see the former as an option .. but I get the feeling it is the latter..

Saturday, June 30, 2007

Kobayashi the King

Life is not fair. I knew that long ago. But should it really tell me that I can put on weight even when I eat an extra chapati, while this guy goes on to become the Champion Eater of the world, looking like this?

Friday, June 29, 2007

If Heaven was an IT organization

Funny stuff floating around on the net..

Roles in Heaven :
Brahma -- Systems Installation
Vishnu -- Systems Administration & Support
Lakshmi -- Finance and Accounts consultant
Saraswati -- Training and Knowledge Management
Shiva -- DBA (Crash Specialist)
Ganesh --Quality Assuarance & Documentation
Narada -- Data transfer
Yama -- Reorganization & Downsizing Consultant
Chitragupta -- IDP & Personal Records
Apsaras -- Downloadable Viruses
Devas -- Mainframe Programmers
Surya -- Solaris Administrator
Rakshasas -- In house Hackers
Ravan -- ! ;Internet Explorer WWWF
Lakshman -- Support Software and Backup
Hanuman -- Linux/s390
Jatayu -- Firewall
Dronacharya -- System Programmer
Vishwamitra -- Sr. Manager Projects
Valmiki -- Technical Writer (Ramayana Sign off document)
Krishna -- SDLC ( Sudarshan Wheel Development Life Cycle )
Arjun -- Lead Programmer (all companies are vying for him)
Abhimanyu -- Trainee Programmer
Draupadi -- Motivation & Team building
Duryodhana -- Microsoft product Written in VB
Karna -- Contract programmer
Dhrutarashtra -- Visual C++
Gandhari -- Dreamweaver
100 Kauravas -- Microsoft Service Packs and patches

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Wi-Fi Memory

There's so much I would love to write on this blog, and I even think of stuff to write. But these thoughts come up when I am NOT by the computer. At the dinner table, in the toilet (always in the toilet!!), while driving (especially at the Big Bazar chowk, where there's people everywhere). But life gets in the way, and I never remember to jot it down. When, eventually, I do get in touch with a computer, I have forgotten all about it.
I am waiting eagerly for the day, when you have a wi-fi chip in your body, and any random thought you get can be processed on to the blog.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Traffic Rules

Yesterday it took me an hour and a half to get home from work.. Hour and a half of driving time.. Normally it takes me 25-30 mins.. Obviously, I thought something should be done about it.. The strange part is, that I have no idea what the problem was, since I decided to take a diversion (and got stuck in an equally bad jam there as well)..
I am also reading a book called the Undercover Economist (not while driving, don't worry.. It's too dark at nights). Highly recommended. My respect for Economics and economists has gone up tremendously since reading Freakonomics, and has gone up a step since this book. Why people do what they do, is such a great mystery, and economics attacks this problem. The author, Tim Harford, has addressed problems as diverse (and day - to - day) as coffee bars, supermarkets, and traffic through the eyes of an economist (an undercover economist) and has shown ways and means to solve the queues and crowd through economic incentives. He has shown the problem with the point of charging an upfront tax while buying a vehicle and not charging individual drives, and how this correlates with the traffic problem. London now has a charge for entering the city, and this has helped in a dramatic reduction in the use of the cars. Which brings me to my main question.
Can we have an economist in Pune solve the traffic problem??

Friday, June 22, 2007


A joke which only nerds would understand

      Once all the scientists die and go to heaven. They decide to play hide-n-seek. Einstein is the one who has the den...........He is supposed to count up to 100...and then start searching.....

Everyone starts hiding except Newton.........

      Newton just draws a square of 1 meter and stands in it right in front of Einstein.
      Einstein's counting 1,2,3......97,98,99.....100........ He opens his eyes and finds Newton standing in front........

Einstein says “Newton’s out. Newton’s out....."
Newton denies and says "I am not out........I am not Newton......"

      All the scientists come out to see how he proves that he is not Newton.

        Newton says "I am standing in a square of area 1m squared..... That makes me Newton per meter squared...... Since one Newton per meter  squared is one Pascal, I'm Pascal, Therefore Pascal is OUT.......!

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

How to spend 2 Crores...

A few months ago, I had asked a generic question about what one would do with Rs. 2 Crore if one were to win while playing with Shahrukh Khan (or a lottery). Not too many people replied (only my dear friend Murugeshbabu, who is also the only person who reads this blog), which basically shows the quality of the blog. Regardless, I had also mentioned that I would announce what I would do with the money should I play the contest and win. However, time went by and I never got to writing what it is what I would do with the money. So here it is:


I would start a political party. A party with a difference.


Yeah, yeah, sure.. You say.. every party says it is a party with a difference. What is so different about your party. Well, there is. I shall float the party on the stock exchange.


Stock Exchange????


Yes, and I do think it is a very smart thing, and really surprised that no one has thought of it yet. Governance is the product we sell. People who believe in our style of governance, buy our shares. When more people buy shares, the stock price goes up. When the stock goes up, people make money. What else would cause the stock price to go up? Votes, of course. More people vote for us, more the stock rises, greater the profit people make. You can call it bribing for votes, but hey at least it's legal. Also, if it is run like a company, the political party has greater accountability and less corruption, since people have a direct stake in the benefit of the party.


There are other advantages too:

-         You can easily find out the shareholder demographic. So, you can field candidates only where you are doing well, in the initial period. Similarly if all political parties were on the stock exchange, you wouldn't need opinion polls. Just the stock price could tell you who the winner would be.

-         Since the common man has his money at stake, he is a bit better behaved since a problem would cause his own money value to drop.

-         The common voter has a stake in the party, so there's a direct voice for him/her in the running of the party. I know the elections also guarantee that, but here inaction will hit your pocket.


I know it is a radical idea. But I am told there is a website setup in Ireland, where you can run just about anything on an e-stock exchange. The website predicted election results with a 90%+ accuracy rates in the November 2006 US elections by listing the Republicans and Democrats as independent organizations. It's based on the theory that the in a multiple choice, the correct answer is chosen by the most number of people. Heck, even Wikipedia works the same way. And if Manchester United and Century 21 can be on the stock exchange, my political party has every right to be so as well.


It sure beats taking Mallika Sherawat to the Seychelles. (normal KBC answer to what you would do with 2 Crore)

Spell Check

I h8 SMS lnge. Mst of t times I dnt undrstnd wht is sd. It is so cnfsing. Y is it so dfclt to rite a cmplt wrd? Y cnt u rite you instd of u? it is jst insltng 2 t readr.


I ran a spell check on this above statement. This is what came out.


I h8 SMS lunge. Must of t times I dent understand what is sad? It is so confusing. Y is it so ducts to rite a complot word? Y cant u rite you inset of u? It is jest insulting 2 t readers.


On the telephone it is fine. But when you write letters, I do feel you should still write complete English. I find spelling mistakes pathologically revolting. And writing "u" instead of "you" is to my mind a spelling mistake.


Makes me feel like all those years of studying English under Ms. Doctor and Mrs. Lobo were for nthng!!

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Stuck in a moment

“Indira would’ve made me President – Venkatswamy”

So screamed today’s headline in the Asian Age. Having no clue as to who this dude is, I decided to check out the article. Mr. Venkatswamy, is apparently a senior Dalit MP, whose goal is to become the President of India. Quite a noble goal, but then if no one has heard of your name, it might be a bit difficult. I doubt anyone has heard of Pratibha Patil either, but knowing what I know now, I’d say at least Sonia Gandhi has heard of her.

But it another thing that got me thinking. Mr. Venkatswamy said Indira Gandhi would have made him the nominee. He didn’t say Rajiv Gandhi or Narasimha Rao, or any other PM, but Indira Gandhi. Someone who died 23 years ago. There’ve been grown adults in India who have no clue about life in India during the rule of Indira Gandhi. But, Indira Gandhi lives on in the hearts and minds of Congressmen (and women). Why, I have no idea. But then, it’s the same every where. George Bush invokes Ronald Reagan whenever he’s in trouble, no matter that RR left the presidency almost 20 years ago.

All our pols (those that count anyway) are over 65 (Sonia is soon catching up). They’re past retirement age. Now wonder they think life was better in the good old days!!!

Making plans

You surf the web. You decide to check what's going on at your old company. There's mixed feelings about the stock price. You're happy to note that the stock has not sunk but it IS higher than what you sold it all off for (though not by much). And you realise there's a major conference coming up in May where they normally announce a lot of new stuff, and the stock's bound to surge.
And then you realise you are halfway through June.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Things I think I think (NIBM edition)

10. This is my first TITIT from our new home.. the internet connection is a bit iffy .. the connection is fine .. but figuring out getting the Netgear wireless router working out of a PPPoE connection was quite an experience.. I know I know that it is the duty of Tata indicom (and the like) to avoid other people using the connection, but for God's sake the internet is something that should be made easier.. If wireless internet is possible, they should allow it.. Anyway, if there's anyone with a netgear wireless WGR614 router who doesnt know how to get it to work off a PPPoE connection (Tata, BSNL, Sify), please get in touch..
9. The new place is getting some shape .. It feels like a looooooooong project which never gets done .. hope to post some more pictures in time.
7. This number is specifically for the 7 wonders of the world contest and the crappy propoganda going on for getting the Taj Mahal as one of the list. Hey, I am as patriotic as my neighbour.. But, honestly, I cannot add the Taj Mahal in the 7 wonders of the world list. Why?.. Simply because, I have not seen the damn thing myself .. How can I be fair to the others in the list if I vote for one which I have not seen? For the record, here is the actual site where you can vote Looking at the list I not seen a single one... and I bet all the people shouting from their rooftops have not seen them either.... So why oh why should I vote for the Taj.. I am Indian, but that does not mean the Taj should be there on the list.. The same people who want me to vote are the ones who spam us with mails how the Taj Mahal was actually Tejo-Mahalya and some Shiva temple which the evil Mughals converted... The same idiots are the ones who pollute the adjoining river so wonderfully, that the monument has a yellowish taint.. Grow up kids.. Mis-placed patriotism is of no use .. Go see all the other 20 ones on the list, and then decide if the Taj deserves to be on the list.. Not making the list will make no difference to you, nor to the Taj.. Also, I noticed the list doesn't include the Grand Canyon .. There's no way that's a list I want to have any part of.
6. While on this list, here are the 7 wonders of the world based on things I have seen in person (TV doesn't count):
        a. Pune Traffic -- Anyone who has driven here will know what I am talking about..
        b. Just about anything to do with Apple Computers
        c. Route 1 driving from LA to San Francisco
        d. The internet - C'mon, definitely it is of more use to you than seeing the Stone Henge
        e. The Grand Canyon - saw it from the window of an airplane. But it was awesome
        f.  The Pacific Ocean. - ON this earth, there is no single thing which is larger than the Pacific Ocean. And it still didn't make the list
       g. Dadar Railway Station, Platform #1, Central Line, 8.14 pm. Friday. - Get into the train, and then tell me it's something that's not a wonder.
5. Radio Mirchi is in serious need of some competition in Pune .. Obviously it's the most popular radio channel in Pune city. Unfortunately, even though it's not the best radio channel currently on the air, it's definitely the one that most people listen to. It's everywhere. You buy a car, your car radio is preset to 98.3 FM.. Same if you were to buy a CD-Player with FM .. But, in my opinion, it is taking the listeners for a ride.. Commercials are more prominent than songs.. On Sundays, the RJs are replaced totally.. They pitch it as "shut up, I'm listening" Sunday, but the songs are not on all the time. The ads are.. In terms of song time, I bet, there's no difference.. The funny thing is, if a competitor does come along, where would they advertise?? Can someone tell me if I can create a radio channel out of my iPod.. At current status, it can run for 15 days without repeating.. Surely people would like, no? Guys, at least play the songs full. Don't cut to commercial midway through the song. However, credit where credit due.. They are celebrating Fathers Day with the same gusto that they celebrated Mother's Day.
4. Father's Day .. Mother's Day .. Valentine's Day.. We never celebrated them when we were kids .. Somehow they never felt that important.. This is a no-win situation.. If you come out against it you are a spoilsport, a cold blooded insensitive twerp who has no graitude and sense of celebration. If you do support it, you are just spending money (which, coincidentally, is exactly what all the guys calling you all those nasty things want you to do) which would have been firmly seated in your own wallet. However, I am going to stick my neck out and say what's been on my mind. I do think it is a conspiracy of all the marketing companies, since there is absolutely nothing to celebrate between New Year and Diwali
3. Cheeni Kum is a good movie .. Never thought 20 years ago, that you would see Amitabh Bachchan in a lover-boy role.. I know my Hindi movies, and I don't recall a movie where it was a simple boy-meets-girl, boy-falls-for-girl kind of movie where Bachchan was the boy.. The Angry young man has changed for sure.. The music also is wonderful. Illayaraja is a great musician / composer.. Compared to him, others are music directors.
2. Speaking of Hindi film music, I am convinced that it is  Hindi film music which has stifled the development of the music scene in India. Ask anyone even half knowledgeable and he/she will agree.
1. Anyone else think Hrithik Roshan does steroids? Look at his body and compare it to the Hrithik of 2000.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Corporate Takeover

I don’t know if this is a good thing. The inner geek in me, says that my favourite site in the world has sold out to the moneyed suits. The practical side says that on the evidence of the deliverable will be much sleeker and better. Can't say which is better.

However, it would be interesting to note the changes in Cricinfo and how much accommodates it in the US version. Somehow I don't see Ponting displacing Manning from the front page, if the Super Bowl were on the same day as the World Cup final.

Mi Casa su Casa ... (courtesy Picasa)

As you may or may not be knowing, the last few months have been terribly busy with getting our new house set up. We finally have managed to get some semblace of normalcy, (and an internet connection) to be able to stitch up a few photographs on the internet. Seen above are a few pictures

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Astrology Rocks ..

"So, I have a personal question to ask you.. Do you believe in sun signs?"
This was the question that came on Google Chat from one of my friends. Luckily he allowed me to blog my answer instead of chatting it out, since it really is tough to speak about it one-on-one. I had to log out almost immediately, so I don't know the motive behind the question. But since I promised I would blog about it, here goes.
Personally, I don't believe in sun signs or astrology for that matter. I think I had written about it sometime before, but I am not sure. Cause and effect is a basic rule of science. Based on this, I cannot explain the effects caused by planets, stars, moons, and other celestial beings. I really cannot. I wear a sapphire ring on my index finger, and things have gone well ever since I started wearing it. That is for a fact, and you could say I can attribute it to the ring which "neutralizes" the effects of some plantes. It helps some people and harms some other people.  One thing I absolutely cannot understand is the concept of numerology. The reason I don't understand it, is that by changing the way their names are spelt in the Roman script, but not the traditional Devnagari script, it suggests to me that it is a Western concept. But I have not met one person outside of India who has changed the spelling of his / her name. I have met loads of such people in India and numerologists seem to be only in India. Shouldn't they then change their spelling in the Devanagari script? Why not just change the name instead?
All that is true, but I still cannot figure out why, and therefore I cannot really say that I believe in it. People have faith in some things, and in this case, I do not have faith in astrology. Some people call it science, some people call it a fraud. But really, I cannot say anything whether it is either, since I really cannot pass judgement on something that I really don't know much about. It's like asking me about modern art. People who have seen it, believe in it tremendously. I have never had exposure, so how can I say that it is crap?

Monday, April 30, 2007

Ban - galore

Personally, I am against any ban of any sort on any thing. It really doesn't make any sense to me that any government (or any authority) has any right to ban anything on society. Whether it is banning films or guns or eating habits, it really seems like someone else deciding for me that I am not mature enough to decide for myself.. It's even more ridiculous when a government does that. "You mean I am smart enough when you want my vote, but I am not smart enough to decide whether Black Friday is a good move or not?"  This stand of mine however comes under serious introspection when it comes to gun control.
Having been out of the US for almost a year, this topic was out of sight - out of mind for a while now.. However, just as I was about to come back for a visit, the tragedy at Virgina Tech happened.. And the topic is back. I think about it long and hard, but I still think a ban on guns is not practical. Much as you want it, it is just not possible to remove guns from society. Chad bhai (my ex-roommate in LA, and ex-cop) used to say that legal guns are hardly ever a problem, it's the illegal ones that cause all the problems.. And the more you ban it, more people want to keep it. So, you get bootlegging. Anybody who thinks that prohibition in Gujarat is a practical solution, should go to a place called Daman on the Gujarat shoreline, where it is a Union Territory.. Anyway, I digress..
That said, I personally think, it should be made mighty hard to get a gun. In the US, it is easier to get a gun than buying a house.. There are certain faux-rules which says so-and-so cannot buy guns, but as Mr. Seung Hui Cho showed us, it really is a rule only in name. It really is too easy.. You can buy guns in Wal-mart for god's sakes.. The reality however is that the NRA and other gun lobbies will never allow it to be tougher to get guns.. The second amendment was passed in 1787 (checked Wikipedia). My guess is that life then was much different then, what say. Heck, life in 1986 was different. The amendment reads something like, "A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the People to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed". Now, it seems to me that this amendment was setup before there was an army in the US or even the police.
By the same logic, warring factions in civil wars are necessary to the security of the country.

I'm Baaaaaaaack

Well .. Not exactly .. Have been in the US now for 5 days.. but not been able to blog at all.. Partly because I was sharing a laptop for the first few days .. (Was sharing a cell phone till yesterday) .. 309-230-5207 is the number in case you need to get in touch .. Turns out, I can't log in to blogger for some reason.. Maybe their system cannot recognise me coz I am out for a long time .. something like that I guess.. Or could have something to do with the hotel that I am staying in ..
The US feels somewhat different this time.. It feels like a place you go for vacation where you have been there before, but you know you are there for a limited period.. Moline is all green right now, the weekend was beautiful weather.. Considering it is 40C+ in Pune, it was a great feeling to have weather in the 20s.. Am here till the 9th.. Shall catch up with everyone as far as possible.. At least with some of the things I am thinking right now :)
Just checking to see if the email to blog version works, or I just cannot blog at all ..

Monday, April 23, 2007

In the US for the next 3 weeks

I shall be in Moline, IL starting April 24 (Tuesday) till May 9th. Hopefully shall blog more once I get there in my free time.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil...

Here is a researcher who has spent his life studying Evil. Had heard about this, and would love to have more info.

I guess the book could provide wonderful insights into why perfectly normal people can take part in communal riots and then melt away again into oblivion. Must read it during my US trip

Thursday, March 22, 2007

THE game tomorrow

I don't know who will win, so don't ask me.. I hope India wins, but that has as much to do with the fact that I have not seen them play than anything else. But I am banking on the fact that we have traditionally done well in must-win games in the World Cup.
I know that even if we lose we could go through, but I'd rather we win.. Simply because, we win, we carry two points.. SL helped us by wallopping the Bangladeshis.. Now we can return the favor..

Lorem ipsum

Yeah yeah yeah .. I know it is typing jargon .. but this is all I could think of as a title.. There's so much to write.. Since I decided not to get a camera along with me, this blog is the best thing to a time capsule I have for this trip.. What better way to intro it than to write something in Latin .. FYI, Look up Lorem ipsum on the net, I was very intrigued to find out that it is actually from the Roman days..

Anyway, here's my time capsule..

Tuesday, March 13, 2007:
Slept in: LH 757, Mumbai - Frankfurt

I know this is not part of the trip, but I have to start here, since I couldnt be here, if it was not for what happened this day (Well, if Tuesday never happened, how would Wednesday happen, you ask??, that's true.. but there's more than simple chronology at hand).. After running through a lot of hoops to get laptops from work, finally got one, packed all the office stuff and took the laptop to the IT group to finish all their formalities. Turns out that laptop was screwed up, so they gave me a different one. So, I took that and drove home. Locked the car home, and it dawned on me, that the office stuff was all in the bag which had the old laptop.. Ergo, two options.. Drive back or have someone bring it.. Lata and Abhijit helped (Thanks to you great souls, I am travelling 4 countries in 9 days.. Don't know whether I should have forgotten it!!) Anyway, off we sail..

Oh and btw, the World Cup just started.. Saw 3 overs of wonderful action .. Pakistan looks like it's going to get in to some trouble..

Wednesday, March 14, 2007:
Slept in: Zweibrucken, Germany

Landed at Frankfurt and made the wonderfully sane idea of taking the German Rail pass.. 189 Euros gets you in a train on any 5 days of your choice of the next 30. Took the train to Mannheim (1). Was there in some 30 minutes, and then took the train to a place called Homburg Saar (2). (You'll soon get an idea where this counting is going).. From Homburg took the taxi to Zweibrucken.. 20 minute ride... Good time to practise mein Deutsch on the unsuspecting German.. Went pretty good.. Also got compliments.. Turns out I am booked in a hotel called Rosengarten (Rose Garden) which houses Europe's biggest Rose Garden.. Decent hotel, but seems to be quite old.. Had lunch, checked in (yeah, the room was not ready) and after a quick shower and a shave headed out to ZX works.. Work went off quite well.. Got back to the hotel.. Was quite used to German TV from my last trip, so knew that there was not much on TV for me.. Had a quick bite and plonked off to sleep

Thursday, March 15, 2007:
Slept in: Zweibrucken, Germany

Hmmm .. Taxi to the factory, taxi back.. (You're not here to listen to my work stuff, are you??).. In all of ZX there's one desi (or so he claims) who works at ZX works as an intern.. Had dinner with him.. Sweet kid.. In Germany to do his masters and like most masters students, no clue with what the connection his Masters has with his job..

Friday, March 16, 2007:
Slept in: Schwieberdingen, Germany (or something like it)

Spoke with Amit Prabhu before I headed out to work and he asked if we could meet that night.. "Yeah, we can, but I am going to have to stay at your place, since I am going to my uncle tomorrow", "Sure, no problem, take the train to Zuffenhausen, I'll pick you up".. So have 10 minutes to pack, and check out.. Taxi to work, taxi back and then take my luggage to the train station.. Train to Mannheim (3), Train to Stuttgart (4), train to Zuffenhausen (5).. If I were to do it all over again, I would take 15 mins to pack at least, I don't know how I have stuffed it, but the bag feels like it has a dead body in it.. (Maybe the hotel staff chopped some one up while I had it in storage at their end)..

Prabhu came to pick me up.. We went for dinner at a wonderful Italian restaurant.. Discussed old times and spent long times discussing what the future holds.. Watched MI:III and marvelled how the Hollywood summer movie market can come up with utter tripe most of the times.. Discussed tricks on how snoring can be reduced (he does snore like the Amazon was being deforested).. You get the idea..

Saturday, March 17, 2007:
Slept in: Bietigheim - Bissingen, Germany

Prabhu dropped me off at Bietigheim after a 20 min drive post-breakfast. At my uncle's place.. relaxed a little bit till lunch time and a little bit after that. Then went for a unique experience.. Tanzsport Sud Lateinformation.. Groups of 16 (8 men, 8 women) go through a series of Latin formation dances for a 5-8 minute routine.. Saturday was the minor league, and Sunday was the major league (or something like that).. Milan, my cousin, is the star dancer of the major league team of Bietigheim, and was in charge of the arrangements.. And he had a role for me.. Jack the clicker.. They had a Powerpoint presentation made to introduce all teams.. And Jack the clicker had to click for every team.. Wasn't that bad actually, Since the laptop was connected to the projector and was way abover everything, I actually had the best seat in the room.. Not too bad.. Minor Leaguers were dancing like KG kids.. not much coordination.. Even I could tell .. wonder what the judges would say..

Oh and yeah, India lost to Bangladesh.. Still me having a good feeling, but they are in deeeeeeeeeeeep shit.. There's a distinct possibility that they might be out by the time I get back to India, and I won't see them playing.. (Well, may not be such a bad thing, on second thoughts).. But the night's sleep is guaranteed by hearing that Ireland beat Pakistan .. Ireland plays cricket???

Sunday, March 17, 2007:
Slept in: Venlo, Holland

After lunch we headed for more of the Tanzsport thingy, just that this time it was the major leaguers on the dance floor. Milan's team was pretty good, but there was one team which was really cool.. It was tough to say if they were dancing or figure skating.. Graceful.. Midway, had to leave since I had to go to Venlo in Holland.. (Heard they came 4th)..

Anyway, started from Bietigheim by train (what else)(6).. As luck would have it the train to Stuttgart was delayed (5 mins, not much), but once I got there, had to run with the luggage to another platform and the damn bogie was at the other end (near the engine)... This is was one journey (7) for which I had reservations, and it was a good thing.. The train ride was nice, I found out what life at 281 km/h looks like (things go by really fast) and at 8.45 I landed in Dusseldorf. And it was freezing.. I was told it was warm in Germany when I had inquired about the weather.. But turns out there was snow predicted for that night.. Easily must have been below 0C. And I am waiting at Dusseldorf station for a train to Holland with not a soul on the platform.. Finally the train (8) arrived and it was another hour to get to Venlo. Land in Venlo to this most surreal snow storm .. Its pouring snow, and if not for the iPod headphones, I would have had frozen ears.. Don't understand the language, struggled to find a taxi.. Suddenly foreign visits don't seem that cool now, do they? Got to the hotel and crashed around 10.45 pm.

Monday, March 19, 2007:
Slept in: Enschede, Holland

Thought for the day: If languages were software, Dutch would be in a beta version.. It's like what you get when you speak German and English at the exact same time, all while trying to gargle without water..

I am getting sick of writing this, but there's more train journeys in store.. Venlo to Niejmegen (9), to Deventer (10), to Enschede (11).. Got into the hotel and it was pretty good.. The hosts at Enschede decided to take me to dinner.. Had Kangaroo meat for the first time (Kangaroo meat in Holland, you ask... You find tulips in Australia, I say).. Was ok (just abouts, nothing special)..

Also, India won by a mountain of runs.. Hmmm .. Still there's a chance..

Tuesday, March 20, 2007:
Slept in: Frankfurt am Main, Germany.

Deutsche Bahn also gets late, ok??? Enschede to Munster (12, is it??) went off ok, but the connecting train got late .. 45 mins late.. My connecting train transit at Cologne had a 5 minute slot, so there's no way I can get that.. Eventually the train comes in (13) and it's peak time, and I dont have reservations.. So, I stand outside the WC.. Cool.. At Cologne, I take the train (14) to Frankfurt Airport.. Get to the Steigenberger Hotel.. Looks like a mighty fine 5 star hotel.. Was thanking my stars.. when the stars decided to go on a vacation.. They couldn't find my reservation... After tonnes of explanations back and forth, turned out there was a country cousin version of this finishing school graduate also known as the Steigenberger.. Was to meet Preeti for Dinner, and she also went through the same case of mistaken hotel identity.. Eventually both of us had to share from the buffet.. Both of us were soooo tired, we decided to meet next week in Pune (the food should be better)

Note of the day: They sell pirated DVDs at Enschede station.. Bought the DVD for "Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Great Nation of Kazakhstan" which was on display there.. It was in the official cover and all. After I bought it and was examining it on the train, I found that the seal was broken and the DVD was something like what you get at Fort.. The movie works (at least 3 mins were ok... Decided to watch it on the flight to Mumbai.. Lufthansa is showing Vivah.. Borat sounds better)

Wednesday, March 21, 2007:
Slept in: Getafe, Spain.

When your flight lands, there's normally one thud sound, when the back tires hit the tarmac.. Sometimes there's two when the front tires hit the tarmac.. When there's three noises, you should be worried.. Very worried.. After a lot of puzzling looks from all passengers, the pilot apologised for the weird landing by attributing it to some wind patterns (don't ask.. he spoke in Spanish, and my Spanish is limited to "que pasa"... What the guy next to me explained, I have no idea..

Anyway, checked into a hotel known as the AC Getafe... And if I want to live in a hotel it is this one.. It looks classy .. No other words for it.. Classy ... And they charge 13 Euros for 24 hours of internet (Why do you think I am typing so much?? More bang for the buck.. ).. Driving out of Madrid (the hosts have a driver assigned to me!!) I was reminded of Los Angeles.. The freeways are very very similar.. To get to Valencia, one has to go via San Fernando (serious, no kidding)and everyone has to (HAS TO) speak Espanyol..

But all in all, I am almost done with the trip.. Plan to sleep early tomorrow, sicne my flight out of Madrid is at 6am on Friday.. (Can you believe it, my travel desk actually booked a flight out for 6 am and did not tell me about it!!!!).. Have been living out of a suitcase, so packing should not be a problem.. Let's see how things go..

And btw.. SL beat Bangladesh by millions.. So now if we beat SL on Friday (reasonable expectations), Bangladesh has to beat Bermuda by a run rate differential of 6.44 (assuming India win on the last ball possible).. In words for you and me, they have to win by 324 runs.. So, basically they HAVE to bowl first and hope that Bermuda gets out inside of 100.. The more they give up, the quicker they have to score.. Suddenly, India's job looks quite clear.. Beat SL by as much as possible, but all is not lost if we win on the last ball of the game.. AS LONG AS YOU WIN, DIMWITS....

Btw, was pleasantly surprised by the extent of CNN international coverage of the World Cup.. How much of it has to do with the cricket and how much has to do with the "newsworthyness" of Bob Woolmer's unfortunate death, is anyone's guess...