Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Random Musings for the new year

There never really exists a right way and a wrong way to do something, does it?? You are faced with a situation, you react. Or you don't..

But even not reacting is a reaction in itself.. It is a decision taken by you to react according to the situation based on the facts available. Only time will tell if the results would be favourable..

So, how can one say whether it is a right decision or a wrong one before make it??

And by the time you find out, regardless of the outcome, it is a moot point..

Monday, December 29, 2008

Sandgroper's Movie Minutes -- Ghajini..

Oh Aamir!!!!!
 
Why???
 
Looks like you saw the original "Memento", decided to copy it, and so tattooed it on your eight-pack abs, but forgot how the movie went.. And there was no polaroid to click scene by scene..

Friday, December 26, 2008

December 25.. Christmas day, Pune.. M.G. Road.. Roughly 7.30 pm

Mighty crowded even by M.G. Road standards.. No chance to cross the streets with traffic and with the impromptu walk plaza that occurs on holidays and weekends.. Hawkers everywhere, people everywhere..

As I approach the car, I see a bag lying unattended right behind my rear tyre.. I ask the nearest hawker who the owner is.. He shrugs and walks away..

I freeze..

A looong minute later, the true owner, another hawker, takes the bag.. But for that one minute, a whole range of emotions went through my mind...

Sad to say, but the terrorists are affecting our daily life!!!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Things I think I think - 2008 edition

2008 has been fun.. became a father for the first time.. Also, turned 30.. India's doing well in cricket, and the Indian economic story is not quite the Cinderella story that most people hoped for.. Elections are coming, and security is the new buzz word.. A black man stands to become the leader of the world, and China is now the best sporting nation in the world..

But I still think that I think ..

So here goes..

- If 26/11 (as they call it now) had happened 2 months later, the UPA would have lost the summer elections big time.. Not that they won't in this situation, but at least they have some chance of damage control right now.. The best thing going for them (in my opinion) is that the only candidate the opposition has is L.K. Advani who is 81, while they have Manmohan Singh who's 76, and therefore can go another 5 years to become 81.. Other than that, there's no real reason to vote for either of the two..

- Now if you vote for me in the next Lok Sabha election, that's another story...

- Is India in a better shape than the US, economically?? I really don't know, but it does appear so, doesn't it?? Tata Motors is not bankrupt, nor has HDFC gone bust .. Not yet at least.. The US still drives the world economy, but not sure if it's going to last.. Not to say that we're peaches.. Our trade deficit is high, and our balance of payments are still at a slight worrying factory.. But the fact is that we have had some experience of living life with austerity, which the US seems to have lost.. China is also doing good, but has now come perilously close to the danger level of overheating.. And the funny thing is that the world economy stands to lose more if China goes bust..

- Speaking of security measures, and having a police state and all that.. Someone threw his shoes at George W. .. And missed.. So he tried again.. and missed again.. And he called George W. a dog.. the worst insult to make, outside of calling someone a pig.. and then they put him in jail.. That's it.. No killing everyone from his tribe with Sarin gas, no neutering all the men on his side of the family, no gorging eyes out of the women of his clan.. Nothing.. Just jail.. All the things you do to free a country and this is what you get..

- But then, this also tells you that the best security in the world can only do so much.. If the shoes had had nails in them, or something funnier, it would not have been so funny.. Tells you that all the kings horses and all the kings men cannot stop a single nut job from doing what he feels is his duty..

- Anyway, now time to go to sleep.. Before we go, here's something for you for the holiday season.. Call it an election campaign video..

Have fun for the rest of 2008..

See you in 2009..

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Different Drums and Different Drummers

This last week, I was in training.. For the first time in my life, probably, I was in non-technical training. And, for the first time in my life, I was actually influenced by the training. It was the usual, managerial type training, "Influencing without Authority" or something like that. I went with a slightly cynical mind, so I don't quite remember the exact title. But I did come out of it, slightly converted. Some things in the session hit me real hard. This following passage was one of those things. So, in the spirit of what I learnt, and want to share, I am reproducing it in its entirety:

Different Drums and Different Drummers

If I do not want what you want, please try not to tell me that my want is wrong

Or, if I believe other than you, at least pause before you correct my view.

Or, if my emotion is less than yours, or more, given the same circumstances, try not to ask me to feel more strongly or more weakly

Or yet, if I act, or fail to act, in the manner of your design for action, let me be.

I do not, for the moment at least, ask you to understand me. That will come only when you are willing to give up changing me into a copy of you.

I may be your spouse, your parent, your offspring, your friend or your colleague. If you will allow me any of my own wants, or emotions, or belief, or actions, then you open yourself, so that some day these ways of mine might not seem so wrong, and might finally appear to you as right - for me. To put up with me, is the first step to understanding me. Not that you embrace my ways as right for you, but that you are no longer irritated or disappointed with me for my seeming waywardness. And in understanding me, you might come to prize my differences from you, and far from seeking to change me, preserve and even nurture those differences.

Friday, December 05, 2008

The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars. But in ourselves..

Imagine this for a second..

You go out with your family for a quiet dinner.. It's your parents anniversary.. So you, your brother, your parents and your significant other go out to this nice, quiet restaurant.. It's slightly pricey, but days like this don't come often, do they? As you go enter the restaurant, you have to first pass through a metal detector. Then they put make you take your belt out and your shoes out and your jacket out, and put that through an X-Ray machine.. Once that happens, a policeman makes you stand with your hands and feet wide apart, and touches every part on your body to make sure there's nothing suspicious..They also say that in spite of the air conditioning, they'd rather keep your jacket with them for security reasons..

Oh and by the way, enjoy your meal..

I know I am going to get killed for this.. But I really do think that for once the politicians are not to blame for the Mumbai horror..

Terrorism happens.. The state can do something, when the opponent is another state.. When a single person / group decides to do something, the state is completely powerless... There's no way Shivraj Patil would know if I Google how a bomb can be made, make it at home and blow up my building..

The easiest option is to blame the system.. People are confused, they know something bad has happened, and they know someone is to blame.. It couldn't possibly be the cricket team, and it couldn't possibly be Bollywood, so it must be the next obsession.. The politicians.. They are not here to defend themselves.. They are weasels anyway .. They cheat, they lie, they do everything for their own "faayda".. They don't know how to control the security, when they take up all the Z-class and Y-class, and ABC-class security.. Why did the cops have to battle with lathis against grenades.. Why did they not have the commandos come in earlier?? Why don't they give the police more power??

Why?? Why?? Why??

The easiest option is to go to a police state.. Most people want that today, it's the need of the hour, they say.. But would you like Shivraj Patil (or PC. right now) to know the websites you go to?? As kids, you hated your parents snooping on you, and now want the world to know?? You might think today the need of the hour requires the system to know every single individual thing about you, but you really don't .. You're just following what the easiest option is.. The problem with the police state, is that there is no end to it.. The danger never really goes away.. Not now, not ever.. Deaths reduce, but the hordes who might die, would die anyway.. 15 might die instead of 100.. But tell that to the families of the 15.. And you have 15 more people who become terrorists themselves..

No... I am not the peace loving idealist.. But hear me out..

What you need to be is be prepared.. You can never prevent a terrorist attack.. Especially if you are not liked around your neighbours.. For all the terror of the Osama clan, the most terror that the US has been under was under the days of Unabomber.. You never knew when he would strike, and you never knew who he was.. But you need to be prepared for a strike.. You need to show the terrorists, that hit me with your best shot, and I can still prevent any deaths.. The Japanese have not sought to use technology to prevent earthquakes.. They just built paper houses.. Israel does not do much to prevent terrorism in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv.. It simply makes military training mandatory.. You have to show the terrorists, that even their best shot is going to be nothing more than a simple mosquito bite..

I bet 20% of the deceased could have been saved with some common sense.. We never have placed the importance on emergency response.. All the pictures that you see where the folks (good samaritans, them) are carrying the injured holding all their limbs.. Carrying them like in the old days when the kings would go on Shikar and get the "kill" of the day.. For all the talk about the politicians not doing their job, consider this..

Not one of the hotels had an updated layout.. Not one of the security folks set off the alarm for people to leave the building.. If I know right, the terrorists went from the bottom up, taking the stairs.. You're telling me that they were quicker to get to the sixth floor (of the Taj, no less) than it was for people on the sixth floor to come down via the emergency exits??

Did any of the loud crappy TV news channels, say anything about the lack of basic first aid knowledge?? For all the noise about bureaucratic hassles, and how politicians are sucking the life-blood away from us, how many people know the first thing about first aid?? CPR lessons bring the giggles out.. Even basic bandages and slings cannot be made properly.. I know, I am trained in Emergency Response, and I am bad.. How many died of loss of blood and trauma against actual wounds?? How many died of carbon monoxide posioning due to fire?? How many of those who died knew that the simplest thing to do in a fire is to wet a cloth and hold it against the nose?? How come in a hotel which is primarily a hangout of non-Indians, and most of the rooms are occupied by non-Indians, the people who died were Indians?? And this, when the terrorists were looking for British and American passport holders??

And while I am on this topic, here's something to think about..

India lost 3% of its GDP in 2005 due to road accidents... 94,985 people died in 2005 in road accidents in India.. In 2006, more than 100,000 were killed.. And I bet the number has gone up in the last two years.. For all the Kashmirs and Godhras, Bodolands and SIMI activitists, I bet we have not lost so many in terror attacks.. Thus well mannered, patriotic Indians have killed more of their countrymen than nefarious, brain washed Pakistani terrorist jehadis.. But it never hit the news channels.. it never hits the papers.. it doesn't figure anywhere on the top of the list of election promises..

If the terrorist lies in us, tell me, what could poor Shivraj Patil have done???

Sunday, November 30, 2008

10 guys took India hostage over the last week.. The only good thing that came out of that is that Shivraj Patil resigned..

So how do you avoid this from happening again??

Some folks advocate handing the cops more power.. Let them catch people on suspicion or presumption..

Guilty by association would become an acceptable result..

It wouldn't be so simple would it??

Something I always wanted to ask George W.

If the terrorists don't like the way we live, and want to attack our freedom, how come we're acting like them??

If we're acting like them, then how come we're winning??

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Etiquette ATKT

Should you take it as a compliment, if someone copies your out of office message and cut pastes his name and telephone number?
 
Not that it matters, but a lot of people do it.. Somewhat similar to the copy-paste customization that occurs during festivals on the SMS messages that float around.. It bugs the *&*( out of me..
 
It bugs me that they didn’t take the time to write a message indicating that they would be unavailable.
 
It bugs me that they would rather use a readymade message and reverse engineer it to suit their needs..
 
It bugs me that I did all the "hard" work and they piggy-backed on it..
 
It bugs me that they don't really mean what they say, because in the end it's what I meant to say and not them..
 
It bugs me that they beat me to it!!!
 

Monday, November 10, 2008

Work Life Balance sheet

Believe it or not, I turned 30 a few weeks ago.. The journey went roughly like this..
 
0 - 3 --> Learning the basics.. Talking, walking, eating, toilet training and the like..
 
3 - 6 --> Pre-school… Not really that important in the grand scheme of things, except that had I been bad at it, I probably wouldn't be writing a blog right now.
 
6 - 18 --> Primary school, middle school, high school .. Also called basic education.. Already, based on statistics, I belong to a privileged class.
 
18 - 22 --> (Milestone) --> Probably the most important thus far.. Engineering college.. Something that most people dream of.. Could be broken down into 2 phases..
        Phase 1 --> The most almighty struggle imaginable.. Makes one question everything from science to core human beliefs to doubts about the existence of a fair God in Heaven above
        Phase 2 --> Piece of cake.. A cake so good, almost regal.. King Midas type.. Touch everything, turns to gold.. People think you're the next coming of Einstein.. Found someone to spend the rest of my life with..
 
22 - 23 --> A year off.. Also worked as a software programmer.. Really don't remember much there of it.. I'm told it was work.
 
23 - 25 --> Masters.. Of what?? Who cares?? A Stanford degree puts me in elite company.. The specialization doesn't really matter..
 
25 - Present --> Spent in a job.. Some job or the other.. Just a job..
 
*****************
 
The scary part is that the last line could last another 30 years..
 

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Three's a crowd

There's a saying which goes something like, "Everyone remembers who won, No one recalls who came second."
 
So, imagine the fate of those who came third!!
 
I always came third in class growing up. There'd be competition between the same two guys for first and second, and always the same two guys for third and fourth. I almost always won the race for third.
 
Thus, third was always a fascinating case study for me.
 
And always my favourite..
 
        There was always Mark Waugh to Tendulkar and Lara
 
        Always Becker to Lendl and Edberg
 
        Gold Spot to Thums Up and Limca..
 
Good enough to get to the top, and in another era would probably have been the best.
 
But never really knew how good things could have been, because the top two places were always taken.
 

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

All that glitters...

19 January 2009

Everything was packed.. He looked around one last time..

Tomorrow they'd leave back for their original home.. 8 years in this house, and it was time to move on.. It was his last job ever.. It all seemed so easy at the start.. His dad too had been in the same job all those years ago, and he had a walk in the park..

No more would he ever have to work again.. Even for all the money in the world.. And to think that this was what he wanted to do all his life..

He'd just go back home and do nothing.. He'd aged at least 20 years in the last 8 years.. That's what his wife always told him.. She'd been the one person who'd believed in him all these years.. Probably the only in this world who believed in him any more.. He'd given up on drinking about 20 years ago, but man.. what would he give for a drink right now??

He'd been through so much over the last 8 years.. Probably the only time he really had fun was at his daughter's wedding.. She looked so beautiful that day.. Probably the only day when he'd not been thinking of his job.. It all looked so serene that day..

The only day he'd felt peace.. Tomorrow night probably would be the second time in 8 years that he'd feel at rest..

There was only one thing he could do any more..

George W. Bush held his face in his hands and cried..

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Sandgroper's Investment Science... Part I

Schadenfreude...

... is an English word of German origin.. It means deriving pleasure out of someone's misfortunes.. It's what I always feel like, when someone tells me despondently that they lost money in the stock market..

I seriously enjoy their despondency.. Because it's stupid.. You never lose money in the stock market.. You are only in trouble if the company goes bankrupt... Else, you are doing fine even if the price of the stock is down.. because all that means is you don't sell it now.. You just wait till the price is right... Stocks pay off only if you have time on your hands...

Ergo.. If you have a 5 month old, and you want to pay for her marriage, invest in stocks now and sell when you feel the price is not going to get any higher.. If you have a 25 year old, and you want to pay for her marriage, get a loan from HDFC..

And hope that it's stock falls enough for it to crash..

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Thought for the day

Is it me, or are there just too many experts in this Internet driven world?

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Thank you ladies..

I called them the "H4 St. Jude Widows - Valencia Chapter".

They were 5 women, each Indian, each married to someone who worked in the company I worked. Not all of them had the H4 visa stamp (only 3 of them did) but they all were born and brought up in western India 3-4 years apart, and all happened to land up within the 4 mile city called Valencia.

Husbands went off to work and thanks to the INS (and the 9/11 terrorists), the H4 widows couldn't quite go to work themselves, till their green cards (or EADs) arrived. They were each other's support structure, some had cars, and so often times the week's Safeway trip was taken care of. There was a Mother Hen, who'd take care of all her "brood". She drove the agenda (and the Beetle). There was a Wise Owl, who'd be the one who everyone turned to for advice. Then there was the Little naive one who'd have to be explained everything, but her enthusiasm and simplicity would bring a smile to everyone. There'd be the traditional Indian wives, who'd do everything the husband said..

All in all there was a bunch that you made Hindi serials out of.. The good ones, not the Ekta Kapoor ones... There'd be an occasional birthday or festival, where the perpetrators of getting them to Valencia would join them and good fun would be had by one and all.

That was almost 3 years ago.

Kids happen. People move on. None of the H4 widows live in Valencia any more, and with Yogi having quit St. Jude last week, every single one of the husbands are now working in different organizations. When we call anyone of them, they confess, they don't quite know what's happening the lives of the others.

I don't know what life would have been for me, without them. But almost definitely, my wife wouldn't have had as much fun in her US tenure.

This is the least I could do, to salute the H4 St. Jude Widows - Valencia Chapter .

Friday, October 17, 2008

Epiphany

It hit me in the shower this morning…
 
The only reason I go to work, is that that's the only "safe" way I can pay for my house.
 
The day I pay off my house, I see no reason why I should continue to have a job..
 

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Go Cardinal

Browsing the net, I found something that I never EVER thought would happen.. So, I decided to publish it before reality strikes...

 

Friday, October 10, 2008

Terror comes home

Have you met a terror suspect?

I have..

I have met Mohammad Asghar Mansoor Peerbhoy...

I won't say how.. I won't say when.. It's not fair to those who are close to him

Long long ago..

At a time when there was no Hindu or Muslim in our world..

At a time when we were simply XYZ's brother and XYZ's classmate ..

At a time when nothing really really mattered..

Who do I blame for this??

How can I blame anyone for this??

Is he guilty, or is he innocent??

I am not the one to decide.. even "He" cannot decide..

There may be no "He"...

If there is a "He", "He" would be ashamed..

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Blogger's Block

That previous post read like a 3rd standard essay, didn't it?
My writing has become sooooooooooooooo bad...

Life in a 4 Wheel Drive

I am the driver of my car...

I make mistakes - drive fast, occasionally hit slow moving vehicles, many other things - but I am the driver..

The safety of all the passengers in my car is my responsibility..

One thing I cannot do is sit in my own car in the navigator's seat.. It's unbearable..

And one thing I cannot stand is people insisting to drive my car..

And people in my car hinting that I am a bad driver..

So that's two things I cannot stand..

I don't quite mind getting lost..

But I take responsibility for getting lost..

And I don't regret getting lost..

It only shows me new routes of going from point A to point B... Can be used in an emergency..

When I come to a fork, without directions, I go on a hunch.. And no regrets later, even when I get lost.. There's always a U-Turn available..

Or a left / right turn.. and I get back where to I should be..

That's me in my car..

And if you are not that fond of it, you can sit in a different car..

Identity Crisis

Which of these describes me best?

Thursday, September 25, 2008

How to save yourself from a terrorist attack..

Start bashing up your neighbor..
 
Start looting the nearest shop..
 
Beat up the shop keeper while you are at it..
 
Start a fight with your best friend..
 
Do anything but do not (I repeat, DO NOT) be a bystander..
 
Bystanders are always innocent..
 
And terrorist attacks kill innocent bystanders!!!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Fizzling Investments..

My campaign manager writes asking what my position on the investment bank fiasco is.. or to put it in his words..

R u planning to write something on the Lehmann’s and Merrill lynchs and the like…..the end of investment banking…..in general….and is it anyway going to affect john deere di daal and roti….


The last part, I shall ignore, since it is official Deere matter. There's a reason I am in (Virtual) Manufacturing and not in Finance. It is not right to talk of my current company being exposed to the financial crisis, since I am not the best person to talk about it.. Nowhere near..

But, about Lehman Bros, and Merrill, and AIG, and all others, it's surprising that all the MBA Finance hot shots didn't know enough finance to know that if you give a loan to someone, you better make sure that if the guy defaults, you have some way by which you get your money back.. They call it surety, and you don't need MBA finance to know that.. If my bhaji wala needs a loan, he leaves something with me as surety (girvi in Hindi).. Even uneducated people know that.. if the surety is a loan by the bhaji wala to someone else, and on and on, it's kind of difficult to keep track of all of this..

About the bailout from Uncle Hank, I don't know the details. I believe the deal is that the US government is going to buy into AIG / Bear Stearns / Fannie Mae / Freddie Mac and then sell it off, once things start to turn around. But, if that is the case, wouldn't it be better for some private firm to do it? Unlike Uncle Hank, they would have a direct stake in turning around their investment.. If you are guaranteeing that the sick firm will improve, why would someone buy it (later) at a higher price, that what they are getting for now? If they don't have the money today, how would they have the money tomorrow, when the same thing is going to cost more?? That's basic logic, isn't it??

On a personal note.. My wife is the only person I know who has an offer letter signed by Hank Paulson. In retrospect, it seems like a mighty fine decision that she didn't accept.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

My terrorist is better than your terrorist

OK.. This is not an attempt to trivialize matters of life and death.. But the capitals of India and Pakistan were both hit by bomb blasts exactly a week apart... If "intelligence" agencies are to be believed, both were by home grown teams of terrorists.. One blast in Islamabad and 5 in Delhi... but the one in Pakistan was much stronger and killed many more people.. the amount of expertise required for carrying out such an operation is very difficult, and would have been impossible to conduct totally in secrecy..
 
Can we say that our security is better than their security??  Can we say that the intelligence in India is so good, that it can prevent a Marriott??  
 
Or can we just say that it really doesn't matter??
 
People have died in both... Let's not let these guys win by doing exactly what they want us to do...
 

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Cheerios...

The mood is a lot better today.. nothing to do with Saturday.. but overall looks like it's a brand new day... so everything ok people.. don't worry too much..

I'm still in the race to the Lok Sabha ..

Friday, September 19, 2008

Recalibration of all that's important..

Those who know me from my teenage days know that I have a very short fuse.. I was the typical teenager - misunderstood, "me against the world", somewhat of a loner.

But now I have changed..  That was many years ago, I'd tell myself.. That was a young, immature version of me, I'd tell myself..

I'd always tell myself that if I ever met him again, I'd say "just relax.. Nothing's so bad to get angry about it.. It'll just pass"

For the last few days I'm seeing that guy again.. I am losing that patience that I had built up in me.. I am getting cranky, and pissed off.. Feeling misunderstood and taken for granted.. But I don't say things any more… I keep it bottled up.. When the pressure gets too much I erupt.. When I do blow off steam, it aggravates others… Those who are near and very dear to me..

And that disappoints me even further…

30 year old men are not supposed to cry for no reason..


Thursday, September 18, 2008

A job can at times get frustrating... You, as an individual, are always working hard.. But you feel bummed.. You feel like your work is not recognised.. You feel like people are taking credit for things they don't deserve and also not take all your hard work seriously..
 
Someone from work got diagnosed with Cancer.. Not here, but in the US..I didn't know him personally, but know him from work.. Went for lunch ./ dinner a couple of times.. I don't know the seriousness of the cancer, but the specter is there.. I last met him a year ago, jovial and happy.. 2 boys and a girl.. all slowly entering their teens and full bloom of life.. and how happy and excited he was to know that..
 
That's when you realise it's just a job... Temporary and fleeting in nature and bound to change.. Everything changes... job profiles change, seasons change, people change, circumstances change, times change...
 
Only birth and death are permanent..

Friday, September 12, 2008

Live Chat Transcript

This actually happened today..
 
9:45 AM me: not much..
  only when sleepy..
  hey .. anyway .. time to go..
9:46 AM am on vacation today.. so loads of work to do..

What's worse.. it came very naturally

Microsoft Kibosh

My Google Chrome doesn't work any more.. Uncle Gates put the kibosh through Windows XP service pack 3..
 
At least that's what I think.. IE7 works, but Chrome doesn't.. I didn't bother with Firefox and Safari..
 
After I installed the SP3...
 
Damn Windows..
 
Damn
 
Damn
 
Damn

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Hobby Horse

They told me at emergency response training class today that a major cause of heart attacks is stress..

The trainer also told me that research says that if you spend 2 hours a week on a hobby, you wouldn't have very high stress levels...

2 hours a week is roughly 17 minutes a day..

So to save me some stress, I decided today to spend 17 minutes on my primary hobby..

Today though, I have no idea what to write about..


Phew.. The things I have to do to avoid a heart attack..

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Does Google Chrome work for you?

Am biased to all things Google, but yes.. It does work.. Works just as fast as IE7, and even has the capability to go incognito to ensure the browser history is not captured.

Still young days, but I rate it above the Safari and even above Firefox for now. Though Firefox has been around for longer, and I still don't know too many of the bugs of this thing..

Monday, September 01, 2008

Wise advice from the strangest source

We bought two toilet brushes, which came with fragrant cards for room freshening. To lighten up the mood further, they even had messages on them, like a fortune cookie. One of them said
 
"Life is what you make of it"
 
Imagine, a toilet brush telling you that on a Monday morning.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Things I think I think

- I think Barack Obama will not become president.. Much as I would like him to be the President of the United States, I would be very surprised if he did. Probably because it's his race or his inexperience, but the fact that he's still neck to neck with John McCain, even when everything is going bad for the Republicans, means that he's probably not going to beat the establishment. Would be something like our Indian Olympic Boxers, who normally fight hard, beat the World Champion and then gallantly go down fighting to the eventual winner.

- I still think I ought to contest the next Lok Sabha elections from Pune.. I think that's easier than getting my voter ID card done.

- I think there ought to be a penalty on false marketing, and companies should be audited on their advertising authenticity. I went to ICICI to start a joint account with Annika, and I was greeted by their ad which says that they will sanction a loan in 30 minutes flat. It took me roughly 43 minutes to get to the counter. You think they can do a from scratch loan sanction (from raw material to finish product, as we say in our line of work) inside 30 minutes, if the waiting itself is 43 minutes?

- I think when God (if he / she exists) sends us to this earth, He / She should also say "You'll have a good life... Conditions Apply"

- I think Ratan Tata is in serious need of visiting a Baba Bengali.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

An Observation

A single man approaches his colleague with an invite for his wedding.

A female colleague…

...always speaks with him to get more information about the wedding, the time, the bride, the education. Some even get personal and ask more about how many siblings, where parents work etc. All in all a good time is had by one and all for roughly 20 minutes.

A male colleague…

.. if single, says "Congrats" (or some version thereof)
.. if married, says "All the best" (or some version thereof)


Monday, August 25, 2008

An Old Fogey Post

Every generation has it's distinct features.. The 60's had their independence kids, and the 70's had their revolutions.. The 80's generation had the weird haircuts, and probably the worst movies ever.. and general boredom.. I keep telling D as to how people who were teenagers / early 20s in the 80's were probably the unluckiest in Indian history. Most of them are abroad now, trying to get over the ennui of the 80's in India..
 
I belong to the 90's generation.. I'd like to know what we have distinct about us.. I'd like to think we owe more to Manmohan Singh than we'd like to admit.. We are the generation who knows how dreary life was in the 80's to appreciate what we have today.. The amount of growth and prosperity all around is stunning to all of us, simply because we have seen life where getting a landline number was a 5 year wait, and a Bajaj scooter was the prize possession of the family.. We know what a ration card is.. We were also lucky to be around at the start of the internet concept.. I think it would have really bothered me if I did not have my name as my email id.. My generation was lucky.. Almost everyone I know my age has their name as their primary email..
 
The 21st century generation is quite simple to define.. It's the internet generation.. It's the Orkut generation.. The SMS generation.. In a sense, it is the true independent one.. No baggage of the pre-liberalization India.. You want it, you get it generation.. Not bothered by their what their email ids are, as long as they have a page on facebook or orkut, which they keep changing any way...
 
Probably that explains the Bindras and the Vijenders and the Sania Mirzas of today..

Friday, August 22, 2008

Marriages are made in the mind..

I am told in rural India, people directly ask what caste you belong to. I don't know, but I am told it happens. In urban India, they don't ask this to your face. But when they find out you're a Konkani guy, and your wife is Mallu, they do ask you this..

"Sir, you have a love marriage??"


Maybe they live their secret desire vicariously through my married life. Maybe, it's a symptom of how suppressed we really are in terms of expressing our love openly. Maybe it's just their amazement, to how our parents agreed to it. I don't know, but I have heard this so many times, that it's not even funny. The funniest thing is that after almost 5 years of marriage, and having seen many marriages work (and not work), I really don't if there's any difference in the married life of those who have had a "love" marriage and those who have had an "arranged" marriage. I know a guy, whose parents went against his wishes and got him married to someone of their choice, that didn't work. So, they gave in to his wishes and let him marry someoen of his choice and that didn't work either.

There's no such thing as a soul mate, in my opinion, you have to understand each other, and that's more important. The phrase soulmate must have been devised by some greeting card marketing manager, I think. If you are not willing to change, it's never going to happen, love- / arranged-/ or whatever other type of marriage. A Marriage is something where both partners have to give a little, take a little, and come up wiht the best there is for all concerned. It's been a blast for me personally, but while most credit of that should go to the boss, I guess I should also get some brownie points.

That's why my standard answer to this standard question is:

Self - Arranged

Sunday, August 17, 2008

I think... therefore I am ...fake

They say that man is superior to animals because of his ability to think..
 
I beg to differ...
 
I have a four month-old who really cannot think.. She smiles at anyone and everyone when her sleep is complete and she is fresh.. She screams and cries with anyone and every one when she's sleepy.. She's got the biggest smile in the world (Using some Daddy Exaggeration Factor) and there's no motive behind it.. If she's happy she shows it, and when she's sad, she shows it.. Whatever it is, it's genuine..
 
How often would you hear the phrase "genuine" when referring to adults??
 
Isn't there always a motive behind what we adults do??

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Somethings are just beyond your control...

Mohan was a normal kid growing up.. Very normal for someone born in the mid 19th century.. His mother, Putlibai, the first three wives having apparently died in childbirth. Growing up with a devout mother and the Jain traditions of the region, the young Mohan absorbed early the influences that would play an important role in his adult life; Didn't have too many friends around, but then since his dad was the "diwan" in the Porbandar court, he was pretty good friends with the son of the crown prince of the state.. Good friends as in, he was in the same class as the prince's son, Diwaker Saaheb, so most of his needs were taken care of... Not everyone his age had the privilege of being in the same class as the prince's son.. So, along with the son of the Naib Subhedar of Porbander, Mohan was in the inner circle for Diwaker Saaheb.. As a student, he was mostly average, and that was anyway a blessing in disguise, since you never want to score better than the prince, now do you?

As was custom, Mohan was married off at the age of 13, to Kastur Makhanji. By 15, they had their first child, but the child survived only a few days.. However, God had good things in mind for the young couple, so they were blessed with a baby boy soon. They named him Hari, in praise of lord Krishna. Now that he had a family to look after, Mohan required some occupation.. Diwaker Saaheb's father was now the king of Porbunder, and so Mohan was able to become a courtier in the court and would help the state treasurer with the accounts of the state.. He was no flash with numbers, but he could do his sums, and that's all that was expected of him.. Raje Saaheb, tragically came down with tubercolosis, to which there was no cure at the time, and Diwaker Saaheb ascended the throne of Porbander.. He was in need of trustworthy people and he knew Mohan from his days gone by.. Mohan became part of his inner ring of people..

As Mohan's "career" grew, so did his family.. His wife and he were blessed with 3 more children - Manilal, born in 1892; Ramdas, born in 1897; and Devdas, born in 1900. He was able to provide for them quite well and the family lived in a large enough house right next to the royal palace..

And so the story went. A normal, unheralded life. Lived and died all in Porbander.. Never had to go so far as the bigger state of Vadodara..

That was the life of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, in a parallel universe. A universe, in which the British never came to India.

Somethings, are just beyond your control...

Monday, August 04, 2008

Cogito ergo Sum

Babboo writes in response to my previous post..

God's in the little thing.. He's in your Annika and he's in your thoughts and in your beliefs and your conscience. The only clothes he needs are those

No? :)


God is indeed in the small things.. In things which cannot be explained, but you know are there.. In things which make you go WOWWWWWWWW.. In things where you know there is some scientific explanation to it, but it cannot be designed by current levels of human imagination.. As I write this, the TV is playing a serial, where all we are getting is an entire religious ceremony of Sri Datta Maharaj.. And it all feels so forced..

The problem I have is not as much with God, but more with the CEOs of the GOD industry.. The guys who have dressed Him up in clothes which suit their image of Him.. Clothes, which keep reinforcing people's image of God, but are nowhere near capturing the essence of what God actually is.. Clothes, which only help these CEOs get rich and no one else.. Clothes which keep adding falsehoods to what God actually is...

I have a confession to make here.. I go to temples, often - but not as often as some of my near ones would like.. However, I have no idea what to ask for.. For a long time, I would pray diligently like told by my elders.. Even believe that prayer would be an added help to achieve what I wanted.. But as I started to think about it, it really didn't matter how much I prayed.. I had to do what I had to do to get what I wanted to get.. At that point, to me, going to a temple became more of an exhibition of publicly displaying how pious I was.. I wouldn't say I got a brainwave or anything.. Nor am I saying I am perfect.. but slowly I started analyzing myself.. and I all I found was that if I started concentrating on what I needed to do, and concentrate well enough, I would get it... And even if I didn't, it was proportional to my efforts.. And, that's what I do in temples..

Concentrate...

God lies in me..

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Can someone answer this?

Does God wear clothes?

If so, does (S)He change them?

If so, how often and what does (S)He wear as a change of clothes?

What about underwear? Can you imagine.. Billons of years, and no underwear??

At least does (S)He wear something fashionable, or something out of the ordinary?

And what about shoes?? If God's a woman, she ought to get a good pair of heels for herself, right??

All the folks who wrote mythological serial scripts.. How do they know what fashion trend God follows?

If everyone knows that there is a God, why do we call it "Mythology"?

Why is it always Hindu Mythology, but never Christian Mythology, or even Islamic or Buddhist or Sikh Mythology?

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Business Class

Is business an art or a science?

Judging by the scores of business books which keep flooding the market, it seems to be a science. Ditto for the hordes of people who join Business Schools the world over. But succeeding in business requires the ability to see the future trends, which is not always something that can be taught. Indeed, if someone were able to see the future, he/she might chuck the business they are in and probably get into the betting market. I was reading "Good to Great" when the Fannie May / Freddie Mac bail out news came in. We were having a case study on how great Enron was, when the Enron flameout happened. Business books & cases have a (valid) criticism that they are more out of showing examples of past occurrences for showing how businesses should work, i.e. making a science out of it, when actually it may have more to do with intuition or even possibly luck.

I don't know the answer to the question I asked above, but I would be very interested in knowing your thoughts on this.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Instructions on how to be an Indian Cricketer

Could not have been put better by uncle JRod. For those of you lazy to go to CWB here it is.. Copied in full

********
Walk to a public place.


Loosen belt.


Drop trou.


Remove underwear.


Bend over.


Grab ankles.


Now hold that position for about 4 days.


You now feel 30% of the pain that India are feeling right now.


And that is without your mistakes being reviewed.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Here comes competition

No sooner that I declare my intention to run for the election, than along comes the competition to gun for me.. (Mrs. Lobo would be proud... correct usage of "No sooner.... than")

This morning along with the Times of India, I get a pamphlet asking me to donate to the noble cause of getting Mr. Arun Bhatia elected. Now, let's not get ahead of ourselves guys.. Singh is still King.. There's time for the election.. Plus, to my knowledge there's a limit to the amount you can spend on the election.. If everyone was to pay up, Mr. Bhatia would go over the limit, and my money may not be spent..

However, I shall do what no known election candidate has done till in the known history of mankind.

Advertise his / her opponents.

http://www.arunbhatiaelect.org/index.htm

Why should I advertise an opponent, you ask?? Well, for one, you can immediately see the difference between a tech savvy person who has the werewithal to withstand changes due to technological advances and who can channel technological advances to change society in the fast changing 21st century, and an ex-IAS officer who needs money because he cannot run his own website and therefore has to raise the funds to pay for it.

So.. now we have 3 known candidates..

An ex-officer
An ex-pilot
An ex-student..

Seriously, I already have a large votebank cornered.. There are few IAS officers, and fewer airforce pilots.. But almost everyone can relate to being an ex-student..

Btw.. I have already outlined my evil plan for funding my elections long ago on my blog.. Refreshing your memory..

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Singh Is King...

Wonderful news from the Lok Sabha.. The government will stay in power for 6 months more.. 

Gives me enough time to start working on the juggernaut that's coming when I stand for elections..  I already have an IIM graduate lined up for my campaign manager.. He is currently on paternity leave, shall introduce him to you guys once he gets back.. Oh, and once he completes his first year at the IIM.. Right now wouldn't have been the best time.. 

I don't think my manager would approve my leave.. 

Atif Aslam...

..is the least melodious singer to have crossed the border without a visa.. 

..sounds like a bathroom singer who learnt to play the guitar in the shower

..should stick to singing solos.. Duets bring out actually how bad he is.. 

I have nothing personal against him. Honest. But the guy is about melodious as a frog with a sore throat.. 

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Do as Uncle JRod says

Passing the message from Uncle JRod at the CWB blog.
**********
Dearest friend,

A grave injustice is about to unfold.

Are you willing to put a stop to it?

Strangled whispers out of Bendigo St in Richmond say that either Bill Lawry or Tony Greig is to be dropped from the channel 9 commentary team.

Now unless you were born slow, got hit on the head at a young age, or hate life, you will agree that it must be Tony Greig.

Tony Greig is, has and always will be a terrible commentator.

He gets names wrong, he miss reads the game, he barracks all the time, and he talks hours and hours of dribble.

Outside of Sri Lankan administracrats I couldn’t think of anyone who would like him.

Bill is a god.

If someone is boring, Bill will out them.

If something is exciting, Bill will orgrasm over it.

He is passionate and one of the best cricket commentators ever.

Mark Nicholas told his commentators of the 2020 world cup to channel Bill.

Has anyone ever wanted to replicate Tony Grieg?

Greig had to stop his pitch reports from just before the game, because his microphone was clearly hearing the chants of Greig is a wanker from the stands.

And he actually phones in his podcasts, poor form.

I do not disagree that Bill has slipped a little over the last few years, but even if he gets to 10% capacity, he will never be as bad as Tony Greig.

Sign up friend.

He is not a Victorian icon.

He is not an Australian icon.

He is a cricketing icon.

If we get 1000 responses I will send this to Channel 9.

Click here, and Save Our Bill.

Proudly brought to you by cricketwithballs.com, saving the world, one cricket blog at a time.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Dilli ab door nahi..

Here's my top reasons why I think I should contest the next Lok Sabha elections from Pune

7. I have potential to be a good politician. I look good (not as good as the Scindia kid, but not quite Amar Singh either), I speak the 3 main languages spoken in Pune (Marathi, Hindi, English) fluently along with it all its 10 or so dialects (Anglicised Marathi, Anglicised Hindi, Anglicised English, North Indian Hindi, North Indian Marathi, North Indian English, Puneri Marathi, Non-Puneri (but Maharashtrian) Marathi, Sadashiv Pethi English, Camp English, Puneri Hindi), I pay my taxes regularly, I actually drive my own car. In short, I am one of the people..

6. I am not a bad politician either. Been married for almost 5 years now. So, every sort of situation can be handled. The confidence is there.

5. The country now needs young blood, and I need a stimulating challenge. Every politician says so. (About the young blood part, not the challenge part). Probably why a politician ranks as high as Dracula in public estimation. Even "yuva neta" Rahul Gandhi is 8 years older than me.

4. I have an advertisement at my desk with Saurav Ganguly posing which says "With Chirag, my India can dream big". So, I have all of the Durga Puja Sansad of Pune members in my camp already. Now if only I can get Sachin Tendulkar and MS Dhoni to do this ad...

3. C'mon, admit it. If you're reading my blog, I think you think I make sense most of the time. Not bad for a politician.

2. I heard the deposit is Rs. 10,000. People spend more on mobile phones these days.

1. How much worse than Suresh Kalmadi can I be?

There, I said it. Give me more such reasons and massage my ego.

Monday, July 07, 2008

It's a matter of perspective

Babboo writes

Wow Chirag..
You eat in steel plates and have the option to go to the local nai to get your shave
My husband here will come back to India in a heartbeat for these things alone

You should start a blog of just the stuff you experience this way back home.


Well.. I don't think I can start a blog about it, but I can definitely blog about it..

For every time we have the local nai to shave my face for that much cheaper, we also have the possibility of the rickshaw walla charging a flat 10 bucks extra..

But then the rickshaw walla costs 2 dollars to go from NIBM to Magarpatta..

But then he also "accommodates" 5 other people in your rickshaw and asks you to "boss jara adjust" with a wink..

But then each of those 5 share your fare and in the end you end up with paying roughly 15rupees (30 cents) from your pocket..

But the 60 bucks you saved, you end up paying to the Telephone department, because you didn't pay the bill on time, and they don't quite grasp online payments..

But then, calling your family is no longer an ISD call..

But then your family is also right here running your life for you..

But then the family is also there at night to take care of Annika..

But then you have no idea what's going to happen when the family's going to go back home..

But then you have a help who does that and cooks and cleans for you..

But then the hired help also subjects your kid to all sorts of witch craft to avoid the "evil eye"

But then, it works!!!

But if it doesn't, who the hell can you sue??

It's all a matter of perspective and priority.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Things I think I think

10. It's back.. Yeah.. Long time, since I came up with this list.. So, it should logically be lots of things.. but then, it's been so long, that I have forgotten half the things that I think.. But anyway..

9. The world's a small place.. There's a guy in this world called Ronojoy Nandy.. Went to Vincent's (a batch junior to me), works in Intel. Was earlier in Phoenix, but now is in Austin, TX.. Was in India for a month to be with his mom, who's unwell. Lived on Shankersheth Road for a long time. Goes by the nickname of Dabbu

So how does this make the world a small place??

I actually have never met him or spoken with him. As of last Sunday, I didn't even know he existed. I have only heard of him from different sources, who we share as friends.. Folks in Pune and in the US.. Two totally random utterances about him in the space of two days by two people who have absolutely no connection to each other in my presence, have allowed me to piece a picture of Ronojoy.

Fascinating.. Isn't it?

8. Open letter to the "Stainless Steel Utensils Manufacturer's Association of India (Pune Chapter)".. Guys, wouldn't it just be easier to paste your brand sticker on the surface which does NOT touch the food? I cannot eat from a plate where the sticker is touching the food, (nor can most people, I assume), nor can I remove the sticker, because that exposes the glue on the sticker to the food surface. Ask any Seinfeld fan about what happens when you are exposed to too much glue.. Just stick it on the outside surface.. How tough's that?? Apparently these guys eat in ceramic utensils!!

7. This one came to me this morning at the barber shop..

Is Gillette, truly, the best a man can get??

Even keeping aside all weird interpretation of the word "get" and just go with the shaving connotation. I use Gillette's trump item, the Mach III Turbo, and I shave every day. Mostly good, wife's happy, but a good shave, always requires two rounds. Plus, it always has the risk of a shaving cut. This, when I am shaving my own face.

Now go to the local barber and ask him for a shave. Trumps anything the wicked imperialist multinational could come up with. If only he didn't drown me in Old Spice aftershave, I'd walk down every day!!!

6. Nadal or Federer?? Can't say. At the French I went for the Fed, and he got his backside handed to him. I'd still say the Fed, but every time I do that, it's Nadal. Heck, it's Nadal every bloody time, anyway..

5. Asia Cup. ZZZZZZZZZZZ

4. We have a TV now.. Samsung Slimline 29" with Digital Dolby, and boat loads of goodies. We also have cable. But we have no bloody idea of what to watch.. Any suggestions (besides sports)???

3. Presenting.. Cricket with Balls, the best cricket blog I have read in a long time .. At least since the time Neil Harvey was around!!! Read their In Bed with Daniel Vettori and I rest my case..

2. Kids from my office, who are reading this.. I hope you aren't doing it in office time.. Coz if you want to know what I think, just come to my desk..

1. I think the boss is angry.. Errands to run, while the baby is asleep.. So, Ciao

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Commentators explained

You've probably never met them.. If you are reading my blog here, I think you never have been on TV. So you've probably never met the ex-cricketers who give their expert comments on TV, are you?? But you have met them..

Ravi Shastri - The guy who at the start of the school year would have been the odds-on favorite for head boy, but never really got there coz there really was something about him which made the teachers uneasy. If you wanted a fight, he'd be the guy you would like to have in your corner, but was such a romantic that all the girls would swoon at his mere sight..

Tony Greig - The old rich man who would change his favorite blonde for the latest bimbette in town. Never known to be reliable, but could be relied to be drunk for the family reunion and grovel for more.

Tony Cozier - The accountant who had a thing for numbers and history.. In another age and time, would have been the loyal Munimji given his capability to remember anything and everything related to cricket.

Richie Benaud - Yoda on Earth

Sanjay Manjrekar - The guy who was in the same class as the world chess champion in school, but today works at the local video library. Reminds every one in hearshot that he had once defeated the champ - at table tennis..

Aamir Sohail - Thinks he's God's gift to womankind and every time a girl speaks to him, she's mentally undressing him. Would have been a rock star in another life, with groupies and all, and hopes all this can hide the fact that he's a 40-year old virgin..

Wasim Akram - The genius who would always come up with a wonderful solution to all the tough situations in life, but actually has no clue how it came about.. He was at his most useful when he would shut up and do his thing..

Sunil Gavaskar - The freedom fighter uncle, who hates everything made by the imperialist west.. You always thought that since he was the MP of your town, he could be the biggest thing around, but his principles meant he was always in the opposition..

Rameez Raja - The guy who was the only guy who spoke English in his village, coz he was the only guy who had studied up to Std. X

There.. Tell me you haven't met them..

Saturday, June 28, 2008

There are jobs.. and there are careers..

Not everyone who has a job has a career... Not everyone who has a career has a job..

In a job, the money is important.. In a career, money is probably the last thing on your mind..

Folks with a job, tend to do it because everyone is doing a job.. Folks with a career pretty much do what they feel like..

You could have 30 jobs in your life and not have a career.... You could have no job in your life and have a career

Many CEOs have jobs
Many beggars have careers

There always is a job market.. There almost never is a career market..

A job is almost always based on your past experience. Nothing of that sort is required in a career

Folks with jobs are almost always looking forward to Sunday.. Folks with careers tend to bother more about the work at hand..

Monday morning blues are strictly for people with jobs. Folks with careers don't really care

Engineers primarily have jobs, however a majority act like they have careers..
Doctors primarily have careers, however a majority act like they have jobs..

If you think you have a career, you probably just have a job..
If you really don't care, you probably have just got yourself a career..

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

RIP George Carlin

One of my favourite stand-up comedians, would never stand for bull-shit died on Sunday. He's most known for his "Seven Things you can never say on television" monologue, but since that is not really applicable in India (we do use a lot of those words on TV), posting one of his next best monologues as a tribute
 
When it comes to bullshit, big-time, major league bullshit, you have to stand in awe of the all-time champion of false promises and exaggerated claims, religion. No contest. No contest. Religion. Religion easily has the greatest bullshit story ever told. Think about it. Religion has actually convinced people that there's an invisible man living in the sky who watches everything you do, every minute of every day. And the invisible man has a special list of ten things he does not want you to do. And if you do any of these ten things, he has a special place, full of fire and smoke and burning and torture and anguish, where he will send you to live and suffer and burn and choke and scream and cry forever and ever 'til the end of time!
 
But He loves you. He loves you, and He needs money! He always needs money! He's all-powerful, all-perfect, all-knowing, and all-wise, somehow just can't handle money! Religion takes in billions of dollars, they pay no taxes, and they always need a little more. Now, you talk about a good bullshit story. Holy Shit!
 
But I want you to know something, this is sincere, I want you to know, when it comes to believing in God, I really tried. I really, really tried. I tried to believe that there is a God, who created each of us in His own image and likeness, loves us very much, and keeps a close eye on things. I really tried to believe that, but I gotta tell you, the longer you live, the more you look around, the more you realize, something is fucked up.
 
Something is wrong here. War, disease, death, destruction, hunger, filth, poverty, torture, crime, corruption, and the Ice Capades. Something is definitely wrong. This is not good work. If this is the best God can do, I am not impressed. Results like these do not belong on the résumé of a Supreme Being. This is the kind of shit you'd expect from an office temp with a bad attitude. And just between you and me, in any decently-run universe, this guy would've been out on his all-powerful ass a long time ago. And by the way, I say "this guy", because I firmly believe, looking at these results, that if there is a God, it has to be a man.
 
No woman could or would ever fuck things up like this. So, if there is a God, I think most reasonable people might agree that he's at least incompetent, and maybe, just maybe, doesn't give a shit. Doesn't give a shit, which I admire in a person, and which would explain a lot of these bad results.
 
So rather than be just another mindless religious robot, mindlessly and aimlessly and blindly believing that all of this is in the hands of some spooky incompetent father figure who doesn't give a shit, I decided to look around for something else to worship. Something I could really count on.
 
And immediately, I thought of the sun. Happened like that. Overnight I became a sun-worshipper. Well, not overnight, you can't see the sun at night. But first thing the next morning, I became a sun-worshipper. Several reasons. First of all, I can see the sun, okay? Unlike some other gods I could mention, I can actually see the sun. I'm big on that. If I can see something, I don't know, it kind of helps the credibility along, you know? So everyday I can see the sun, as it gives me everything I need; heat, light, food, flowers in the park, reflections on the lake, an occasional skin cancer, but hey. At least there are no crucifixions, and we're not setting people on fire simply because they don't agree with us.
 
Sun worship is fairly simple. There's no mystery, no miracles, no pageantry, no one asks for money, there are no songs to learn, and we don't have a special building where we all gather once a week to compare clothing. And the best thing about the sun, it never tells me I'm unworthy. Doesn't tell me I'm a bad person who needs to be saved. Hasn't said an unkind word. Treats me fine. So, I worship the sun. But, I don't pray to the sun. Know why? I wouldn't presume on our friendship. It's not polite.
 
I've often thought people treat God rather rudely, don't you? Asking trillions and trillions of prayers every day. Asking and pleading and begging for favors. Do this, gimme that, I need a new car, I want a better job. And most of this praying takes place on Sunday His day off. It's not nice. And it's no way to treat a friend.
 
But people do pray, and they pray for a lot of different things, you know, your sister needs an operation on her crotch, your brother was arrested for defecating in a mall. But most of all, you'd really like to fuck that hot little redhead down at the convenience store. You know, the one with the eyepatch and the clubfoot? Can you pray for that? I think you'd have to. And I say, fine. Pray for anything you want. Pray for anything, but what about the Divine Plan?
 
Remember that? The Divine Plan. Long time ago, God made a Divine Plan. Gave it a lot of thought, decided it was a good plan, put it into practice. And for billions and billions of years, the Divine Plan has been doing just fine. Now, you come along, and pray for something. Well suppose the thing you want isn't in God's Divine Plan? What do you want Him to do? Change His plan? Just for you? Doesn't it seem a little arrogant? It's a Divine Plan. What's the use of being God if every run-down shmuck with a two-dollar prayerbook can come along and fuck up Your Plan?
 
And here's something else, another problem you might have: Suppose your prayers aren't answered. What do you say? "Well, it's God's will." "Thy Will Be Done." Fine, but if it's God's will, and He's going to do what He wants to anyway, why the fuck bother praying in the first place? Seems like a big waste of time to me! Couldn't you just skip the praying part and go right to His Will? It's all very confusing.
 
So to get around a lot of this, I decided to worship the sun. But, as I said, I don't pray to the sun. You know who I pray to? Joe Pesci. Two reasons: First of all, I think he's a good actor, okay? To me, that counts. Second, he looks like a guy who can get things done. Joe Pesci doesn't fuck around. In fact, Joe Pesci came through on a couple of things that God was having trouble with.
 
For years I asked God to do something about my noisy neighbor with the barking dog, Joe Pesci straightened that cocksucker out with one visit. It's amazing what you can accomplish with a simple baseball bat.
 
So I've been praying to Joe for about a year now. And I noticed something. I noticed that all the prayers I used to offer to God, and all the prayers I now offer to Joe Pesci, are being answered at about the same 50% rate. Half the time I get what I want, half the time I don't. Same as God, 50-50. Same as the four-leaf clover and the horseshoe, the wishing well and the rabbit's foot, same as the Mojo Man, same as the Voodoo Lady who tells you your fortune by squeezing the goat's testicles, it's all the same: 50-50. So just pick your superstition, sit back, make a wish, and enjoy yourself.
 
And for those of you who look to The Bible for moral lessons and literary qualities, I might suggest a couple of other stories for you. You might want to look at the Three Little Pigs, that's a good one. Has a nice happy ending, I'm sure you'll like that. Then there's Little Red Riding Hood, although it does have that X-rated part where the Big Bad Wolf actually eats the grandmother. Which I didn't care for, by the way. And finally, I've always drawn a great deal of moral comfort from Humpty Dumpty. The part I like the best? "All the king's horses and all the king's men couldn't put Humpty Dumpty back together again." That's because there is no Humpty Dumpty, and there is no God. None, not one, no God, never was.
 
In fact, I'm gonna put it this way. If there is a God, may he strike this audience dead! See? Nothing happened. Nothing happened? Everybody's okay? All right, tell you what, I'll raise the stakes a little bit. If there is a God, may he strike me dead. See? Nothing happened, oh, wait, I've got a little cramp in my leg. And my balls hurt. Plus, I'm blind. I'm blind, oh, now I'm okay again, must have been Joe Pesci, huh? God Bless Joe Pesci. Thank you all very much. Joe Bless You!

Friday, June 20, 2008

Ray Mali for a day

Who's he you ask?

Even though Sharad Pawar acts as if he is the power in the ICC, Raymond Mali is the President. The Acting President, that everyone seems to forget. He's so unknown, that his middle name is (seriously.. no jokes) Remember!! Anyway, this post is not about Raymond Remember Mali, but rather what I would do if I were to be the ICC president for a day.

So, here goes.

1a. Rule that the States/Provinces have no business running cricket teams. The IPL has shown that privately run teams seem to have a lot more incentive to make money, and so make cricket that much more fun to watch. I can bet there were more people in a single Kolkata Knight Riders game at the Eden Gardens, than there were for the entire home season combined of the Bengal Ranji team. Thus, the domestic game would completely be run by franchises. Each domestic season (all 11 test playing countries) would be between 15 - 20 weeks. All domestic first class games would begin on the Tuesday, and be 4-day affairs, till the Friday. The Sunday would be reserved for the 20-20 game between the two teams. Something like the NFL, all the 20-20 games would be televised on national TV. Assuming you have 8 teams per domestic circuit, by breaking them into two groups of 4, you can conduct the entire home-away business within 15 weeks, with 3 weeks for the first class knock-outs (2 semis, 1 final) and 1 week for the 20-20 knockouts. Foreign players can be traded (so, Mumbai Indians could trade Luke Ronchi from the WA Bushrangers or Ishant Sharma could play for the Sussex Lions) and will be with the team throughout. However, there would have to be a limit on the number of foreign players on the playing XI. (The IPL is again our savior in this regard). Thus, you can have your IPL, APL, EPL, SLPL, PPL, NZPL, or whatever the hell you want to call it. The English have the Premiership, the Spanish have the La Liga. That didn't stop Beckham from playing for Real Madrid. Can work for football, can work for cricket.

1b. A player can play for only one club in the world. Each top level team would have it's own minor league affiliations, which would also follow a similar schedule. Might even be a good idea to break countries into 4 zones, and each zone would have a minor league team from the premier league. The Minor leagues would be a great way of supplying good talent and also allow players returning from injury practice.

2. Announce that the 2011 World cup final would be the last one-dayer ever to be played. With 20-20 being such a success, 50-50 is not going to be such fun. India beat Pakistan recently by 140 runs, and a guy named Simao was on the Times Sports page above Dhoni. Nuff Said. There's too much cricket with ODI's in the picture. Remove those, and you get 30 days a year to actually rest.

3. Announce that Countries will only play Test Cricket. No point in having Australia play India for a 20-20 if we can have the real cricket being played. Thus, tours can be spaced a bit better. Each test series would be 4 tests played over 5-6 weeks. Tests would always start on the Thursday, ending on the Monday. Much as I would like to see the Boxing Day test at the MCG, it's not really practical any more. Each country would play 4 series a year. 2 Home/2 Away. That's roughly 22 weeks of the year if you count that every visiting team would also require a week to settle in. If the free market in #1 is followed, you won't need much settling in any way. When India tours NZ, it could have some players who play day-in day out in NZ. Needless to say, the rule that you have to play in your domestic circuit to play for the country, would have to be tossed as well. If you were to break the teams into two divisions, you can also end up with each team playing every other team in it's division in a year. So we can also have a yearly championship at the end. The bottom team from the top division gets relegated, and the top team from the second division gets promoted.

4. Have a World 20-20 cup once every year in September in South Africa. This could be either club based or country based, doesn't really matter.

5. BAN ZIMBABWE. I really don't understand why they are still a test nation. Enough of politics, they're quite bad.


There.. It's been on my mind for a long time. Spewed it all out.. Would love to hear from anyone who bothers to read this what they think about it all.

B for Mumbai??

श्री राज ठाकरे साहेब,

वि वि

आपणास सांगण्यास अत्यंत दःख होत आहे पण तुमचा मराठी बाणा काही मला पटत नाही। जग आज लोकांचा राष्ट्र विचारत नाहित आणि तुम्ही मात्र महाराष्ट्र घेउन बसला आहात। तुमचा नेमका मुद्दा काय आहे, हेच मला कळत नाही

महाराष्ट्र महान आहे म्हणून बाहेरून लोक इथे येतात, असं जर तुम्हाला वाटत असेल, तर ह्या हून मोठी चूक तुम्ही करुच शकत नाही

बाहेरून
लोकं इथे येतात म्हणून महाराष्ट्र महान आहे

आपला विनम्र,
चिराग पंजीकार

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Do your bit for a world record

Download Firefox (version 3) today. And do your bit to be part of a world record.


DOWN WITH MICROSOFT!!!
DOWN WITH MICROSOFT!!!

Monday, June 09, 2008

Revenge of the Eye

Serves me right to ridicule the eye of evil.. He has struck big time.. Hit me on
the eye (how ironic!!) with conjuctivitis..



Sunday, June 08, 2008

Yello Card

MS Word provides the capability to check your spellings. A very nice tool indeed, to make sure that you don't make silly spelling errors..

Here's why newspapers copy writers should never use it..

Added points for getting all the misspelled names right.. Have tried to bold those that I could catch

The tournament every football fan has been waiting for is about to start. Euro 2008 kicks off in Basel with Switzerland playing the Czech Republic and Portugal taking on Turkey in Geneva. It’s a Championship that features World Cup champions Italy, finalists France, and semifinalists Portugal and Germany, along with Spain, Holland, Croatia, and Euro title holders Greece.

Two teams advance from each group. In group A, I favour Portugal and Czech Republic to advance. A team such as Portugal, finalists at the last European championship brings an incredible array of talent to this tournament.

Christiano Ronaldo, the best player in the world, fresh from his champions league victory, is hungry to bring Portugal its first major title in years. He is joined by experienced players such as Deco, Ricardo Caravels, and young superstar Quirking.

Coached by Big Phil Scowler, I see them as one of the favourite to bring the cup home.

Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cache leads the Czech Republic with stars such as Jingliest, Rescues of Arsenal, Usefully of Frontiers, and Regional of Newcastle United and strikers Boars and Jan Keillor of Nuremberg.

Switzerland brings the crowd and striker Alexander Fire of Brouhahas Dortmund. Turkey had an up and down qualifier, beating Greece in Greece and tying little Malta. Look out for Tunics Snail, popular fan favourite with Middleweights, and veteran Hagan Sucre up front.

In group B, Germany emerges as the clear favourite along with Croatia. Germany features its Chelsea captain, Michael Blacks, recovered from his long injury, and in splendid form.

Strikers Poodles and Kelci are from the same team that did so well at the world cup. Germany are the bookmaker’s favourite to win the Euro 2008 and are coached by unknown Joachim Low, assistant to Klansman.

Poodles scored 8 goals in the qualifiers and could be the top goal scorer of this tournament.

Croatia brings 23 year old Superstar Liuka Metric, recently sold to Arsenal, a genius with great vision of the game. Niko Kirinyaga leads the midfield at Portsmouth and they have experienced strikers in Blabbing and Pietrek of Brouhahas Dortmund. Any team that can defeat England 3-2 at Wombles can go through to the quarters.

Co-host team Austria features Andreas Iffinesses, midfielder for Pontianak, and Roland Linzy, centre forward at Sporting Bragg, but they are weak in experience and substance. Poland features Massage Zeroes (I GIVE UP!!!) as striker and Artur Bloc as goalkeeper, both who play for Celtic. Darius Dudes is also a talented player to watch.

However neither Austria nor Poland has the firepower to match Germany and Croatia.

Group C is known as the Group of Death. It features world cup champions Italy, finalists France, superpower Holland and Romaine. This is the hardest group to call but I must go with Italy and France.

Italy has suffered a huge loss in the injury to captain Conniver.

However experienced World cup champions such as goalie Buffoon, Andrea Peril, and Barney striker Luca Toni should insure their safe passage to the second round. France offers arguably the best young talent in the tournament with Karim Benzene of Lyon and Nasser of Marseilles, alongside stars such as Franck Ribber, Their Henry, Lillian Thorium and Nicolas Analog, and will go far.

Holland has phenomenal players such as Van der Saar, Shiniest, Starves, Van Newsdealer, Van Praise, and Arjuna Ribbon. However their defence is suspect and will be open to the Italian and French counter attacks. Romaine has Frontiers striker Adrian Mute and Inter Defender Christian Chive, but it fell into an unfortunate group.

The final Group D features Euro champions Greece, perennial underachievers Spain, Russia and Sweden. Spain is the clear favourite in this group with El Ninon, Fernando Torres’ scourge of the English premiership at Liverpool, Case Fabergé, Carlos Payola, Xiv and Xciv Alonso. One can only hope that Spain will choose this tournament to reveal its full potential at last. Greece is a solid, well-coached team, and I think will show that its win in 2004 was not a fluke.

Angelou Basins leads the midfield, and Chariest is a talented striker. The defences is big and solid with Dallies, Kerbside and Strides. Coach Otto Regalia made a miracle at Euro 2004 but I fear lightening only strikes once for Greece.

Sweden features a world talent in Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Captain Fredrik Ljungberg. I saw them train in Lugano and they looked ready. Russia sneaked into this Euro over England, and presents a competent if not exciting team with Aleksandr Kerzhakov, striker at Seville and Igor Akinfeev, one of the best goalies in the world, but its hard to imagine them advancing.

So lets get ready for a super Euro 2008.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Eye Eye Yo

Researchers have found a major cause of infant restlessness. After major studies lasting over 4 years and across 18 countries, the team of 50 pediatric researchers has come up with some startling results. The main cause of why infants tend to be restless has nothing to do with their inability to speak about their irritation and illnesses. Turns out, this restlessness is caused by a condition known as the “Evil Eye Syndrome”.

While there is no known source of the said evil eye, it is found that it can happen any time and anywhere. It is suspected that the prime cause of the evil eye is unwanted visitors, but there have also been cases of an evil eye “casting” by viewing pictures of the infant, whether online, or in hard copy photographs. When left untreated, the evil eye syndrome can cause major health problems in the infant, even leading to hospitalization. While there is no certified treatment as yet, the most effective medication for the EES, is the simple warding off of the evil eye, by making two clockwise rounds and two counter-clockwise rounds of a blob of pure iodized salt around the infant’s face.

There is however good news on this front. The researchers have also developed a vaccine for the EES, which can be found at your local beauty store. The vaccine involves applying any black colored mark anywhere on the infant’s body in clear sight of any possible evil eye. The effect of the color black on the evil eye is considered comparable to that of Kryptonite on Superman. The fact that sub-Saharan Africa has the most number of infants with health problems, in spite of being demographically completely black and potentially having no effect of the evil eye was however considered a minor outlier in the said study, considering that success rate in India and China, was huge.

So there we have it. Evil, like beauty, lies in the eyes of the beholder

Sunday, May 25, 2008

How Annika came to be Annika..

Honestly, I don't think we can confidently say we came up a brainwave.. I always knew about Annika Sorenstam, the golfer, and not once did I say that "That is the name of my daughter.. " or something like that.. There were a couple of other names which we had in mind way before we got pregnant, - D wanted Khyati, while I always thought Sabah was a good name.. But there never was anything fixed.. For some reason we always thought that we would have a boy, primarily because we (or rather, I) wanted a girl so bad that I didn't want to get disappointed at it being a boy...
 
Anyway, I digress..
 
Like most prospective parents these days, we started our search with the internet.. To cut a long story short, we found a whole bunch of names on some sites, the best of which this one - http://www.all-babynames.com/.. We found Annika there, and liked it.. but it said that was " a pet form for Anna".. That's where Annika Sorenstam came in.. We googled it for a swedish connection, and found that it meant Grace in the Nordic names.. So that was it.. What remained was finding an Indian meaning.. That's where the magic of Google came in again, and told us that it was also a variant of Goddess Durga, who mythologically, is anything but graceful, when angry, so it fit in, since my late grandma was born with the name Durga, (and since both us parents have a temper matching Durga).. So if it was a girl, it HAD to be Annika.. We had finalised 3 names for boys, which we said we would choose from, but the name had to go with the face, so we were waiting.. However that never came about, so I am not telling you what names those were...
 
That was it.. Simple..
 
--- Papa

What're the odds???

Some events are worth cherishing. Clicking photographs and cutting
newspaper clippings really don't do justice to the essence of the
event. Events which remain etched in your memory, because you are
going through an experience which you have always thought was
impossible. All your life you go about your business not even
considering that something like this could happen to you, because such
things happen only to rich and powerful and very very lucky people.

Some of the events in my life have been
• Attending a U2 concert
• Watching a live US Open tennis match on Arthur Ashe Court
• Autograph of Barry Richards
• Seeing Hugh Hefner in person (but that was a late realization!!)
• Sitting through a class conducted by a US Defense Secretary. –
William Perry, (Clinton's defense secretary)

Now there's one more on that list.

Most people do not read novels loudly. Neither do I. But I do read
novels, and when I read them in my mind, a voice reads them out to me.
I'd like to say it's all my voice, but a better way to put it would be
to say that my voice reads to me using different voice tones and
moods. Something like what my grandma and mother used to when they
would read stories to me as a kid. The main reason it was my own voice
was that I have always had to make do with imagining what the author's
voice would be. Not any more.

At least not with Lord Jeffrey Archer's books!!!

Presenting............

Raising Annika

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

NYTimes.com: Freakonomics: Human Organs for Sale, Legally, in ... Which Country?

A very interesting article on something which would be a crime in most places in the world, but there is demand, and there is supply so why not?

Here it is in it's full

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Thoughts from the pot

What's the difference between the 8th century janampatrika and the 21st century genome map? Are we spending billions on something that our friendly neighborhood astrologer would have told us for Rs. 450/- plus free lifetime muhurat support?

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Could this be the reason for India's (potential) boom?

Steven Landsburg, one of my favorite economists, has an old an interesting article out on the web. Over 10 years old, this article has been floating around with a different context. But overall, it does make some sense.

Here it is in its full

I haven't read it yet, but Landsburg is the author of a book "More Sex is Safer Sex". My guess is the book is also on the same lines as this article.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Aamchya kade asach asta…

 

A colleague of mine had a baby girl in October 2007. Naturally, as is customary in our office, he went on a 5 day paternity leave. Folks in our office distribute sweets for siblings passing their SSC, so I assumed that we should be having a box of sweets when he returned from his leave. So, when he returned, I promptly asked him about the sweets. I got a stunning reply.

 

"Soyar.. tula maahit naahi?"(don't you know) he said with a surprised look. Took me a couple of moments to figure out what he meant. Traditionally, there used to be a 10-day "sink-in" period for births and deaths. So, when a newborn is born, one wouldn't celebrate for 10 days, else something bad would happen. However, the fact that this belief existed even today in a person who has a Masters in Engineering, surprised and somewhat disappointed me.

 

Cut to April 2008.

 

We had our baby girl last week. As soon as Devika returned from the hospital, on Sunday, I distributed sweets among our friends and acquaintances in our building. These folks have known both of us for all our lives, and were probably as thrilled on hearing the news as some of our closest friends.

 

On Tuesday night, my grandma was rushed to the emergency room. She spent 2 days in the ICU, and is still in the hospital as I write this. I'd be lying if I said that the "soyar" concept didn't at all come into my thoughts.

 

**************

There are two ways to look at the case above.

 

-         My grandma went to the hospital as a direct consequence of my distributing sweets early. It was God's way of punishing me for my haste.

 

OR

 

-         My grandma would probably have been in hospital this week, irrespective of my wife delivering last week. She (my grandma) is 83 years old, can't walk and cannot always control her calls of nature. Despite our best efforts, my guess is her room probably carries a lot of unwanted germs and other organisms, which have led to an infection.

 

All my scientific background tells me that it's the second scenario which is more probable. However, the possibility of the first scenario did cross my mind. Faith (which is mostly blind) can make us do so many weird things. Emotions are never rational, and so when it comes to an emotional attachment, our actions and reactions are probably never based on logic and reason.