Archive for February, 2006

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Remember, he died for us. [Direct Link]

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Welcome, Poms!

 

Down and Out?

Down and out?

Yes, I am a touch late in welcoming the Poms to India but that’s because I was busy saying goodbye to the Pakistan team (lot of consoling that took after the ODIs!). Moreover, the Poms were busy enjoying the hospitality of India on and off the field.

On the field, they succeeded in winning their first 3-day match on the last day and to be honest, most of them sounded rather surprised that they won. Coach Duncan Fletcher, in fact, went to the extent of saying “We did not plan to win”. Now that’s a first.

Off the field, four of five of the visiting party decided to indulge themselves in some of the local cuisine. Not very advisable, let me add what with the bird flu and all around. But no… some of them decided to live dangerously. There are currently four English players on the bench with a case of “Delhi Belly”! (In addition, there are already a couple injured!).

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Chocolate Ka Karkhana

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory starring the otherwise splendid (you’ll know why) Johnny Depp is made out to be a children’s film. It is anything but that.

For starters, Willy Wonka’s Wonka chocolates are fabulous. I’m not sure why. The world is in awe of them. For decades, the factory has been shut and now a contest has been announced that would let 5 kids enter the factory for a tour. You know the story… if you don’t… seriously, don’t bother.

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India Can Rise To #2

India’s latest series win over Pakistan has left many-a-disullisioned fans with a rather fuzzy feeling. A feeling that seemed distant only a while ago. When India went to Pakistan, there was a quiet confidence about the teams fortunes among fans, but the first two Tests did leave most fans confused about what to expect. Add to that that the Indian bowlers were getting flayed all over and that familiar feeling of disillusionment returned. And then the third Test happened.

And soon after, the first ODI also happened. India lost what should have been an easy win. But then came the second ODI where India chased successfully. The third and fourth ODIs were no different and in the course of these, India also sealed the series. A good achievement considering all the flak the captain and management were drawing for the preceeding performances.

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3-D Painting

3D Room

This is simply marvellous. Take a look at the photos and you will see that ordinary painting on the walls appears 3-D. Truly remarkable.

[Via CNet]

China is censoring everything in sight. Pretty soon, your thoughts could also be censored if you are in China! But the recent ban of certain sites and types of sites by Google (at the behest of the Govt) is a serious attack on the right to freedom. But then, that’s the fabric of the country.

To be fair, even in India, where is the total freedom? Something as trivial as Valentine’s Day is (has been since 2003) under the scanner by local organistions of national stature (yes, I mean that) to “protect” the cultural ethos of the country. What about when these very people are found drinking in the night and creating violence? Isn’t non-violence the call from India? Isn’t what they are doing against democracy? Ironically, democracy is the tool they use when they want to disallow anything democratic. Belive me, it is as cryptic as it sounds. Can’t these groups do anything constructive?

From what I cannot see on TV to what I cannot handle in books and magazines… everything is spellt out for me. Am I really that stupid? And these (or their ilk) are the ones who go about bashing educational institutions like the Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute because someone called James Laine wrote something about Shivaji. Would it not be better to prove it wrong than to demolish a heritage building? What did that prove? That we are still a bunch of babboons? No. because, as Manu Bhagavan says, most of the people who have acted against this have not read the book. Maybe because they cannot? Perhaps. In fact, this has gone to the extent that an arrest warrant has been issued against him.

While these incidents may be dismissed as stray and the best way to deal with them would perhaps be said to be ignoring them, it hardly serves as a solution. Do I have to think everytime I want to say or do something? And now that the last standing bastion of total freedom – the Internet – is also being attacked, where does one go?

In many ways, India and China are more alike than apart. Unfortunately, these are not the good ways.

Can I write this openly any more? Can I criticise anyone or anything? Will I suffer for voicing my opinions?

Hope not.

Proving all critics and naysayers wrong, Team India totally annihilated Pakistan in the third ODI quite the way Australia demolished Sri Lanka in the third final at Brisbane.

What takes the cake, though, is Dhoni’s mind-blowing 72* and the accolades (and advise) President General Pervez Musharraf gave him: Don’t cut your hair.

Imran Khan also had to add something to that, “It’s good the President didn’t advise him on cricket!” A touch of politics being played here?

Also during the match, post his brilliant 95, Sachin decided not to get out of the bath tub till victory was ensured… has anyone heard of pneumonia?

And The Logic Being…

I am questioning India’s tactics in the 3rd ODI against Pakistan at Lahore. Ajit Agarkar was substituted by Zaheer Khan in the 28th over of the Pakistan innings. A couple of questions related to this:

  1. If Agarkar had bowled only 6 of his quota of 10 overs, why substitute him? He is also a frontline bowler.
  2. It is understandable if he had gone for some 50-odd in his 6 overs, but he was doing fine with figures of 6-0-21-0. That’s great in an ODI
  3. Zaheer was ‘mauled’ for 36 in his 4 overs, and also succeeded in giving back the momentum to the Pak team.
  4. Was giving away the momentum or initiative the whole idea, anyway?
  5. Was Agarkar injured? I haven’t seen/heard of anything to substantiate this.

In any case, as a result of this sub, Pakistan ended up at a very healthy 288-8 when at one stage, even 250 looked a distant dream.

Has India lost the match because of this mistake?

Simi Aunty Is Back

 Simi aunty!

The queen of white is back. And she is as mushy, irritating and outdated as ever. In the presentation of her show anyways!

Last night (Feb 12), the wife and I decided to check out Simi aunty in the latest season of ‘Rendezvous’ and it was about 40 minutes wasted. I do like humor but only when it is intentional. Considering this was the start of a new season (that is another question: when do TV seasons in India start and end?), it was natural to give us a run-through of the last four seasons (and eight years; so she said; go figure).

But more than revisiting the past of the show, it was a journey back in time to production values of pre-1995 India. Shoddy wipes and outrageous background graphics and text… at one point, when showing the types of personalities that have been on her show (politicians, actors, industrialists etc), the sync of the visual and the graphic was totally lost. What was even more amusing was the fact that this could have been rectified in about 3 mins… if someone had noted it, that is.

Anyways… there were testimonials as well going on in the background from people who were as believeable as those who sell the TVC products. Pooja: Model, Jyoti: Fashion Consultant, Some guy: MD and chairman (of what?)… and so on.

Considering the number of people that have been on the show, why not get their testimonials? Or was it “Junta ki awaaz”? Pathetic.

Finally, about 15 mins later, cut to the show. “… and tonight, we have with us, John Abraham”. Picture this: Simi aunty in white. Her set in snow white. John Abraham also in white. Is this a talk show or a funeral?

I will give the lady one thing, though… she asks incisive questions. But the ‘mutual admiration society’ that seems to form on every show with the guest(s) is diabetic. A sincere request: get some colour. Please.

Pune In A ‘Top 10’

 

Bring out the champagne, for Pune has featured in a Top 10 after a long time. This, of course, not counting the top 10 cities or whatever surveys within India.

The reason to celebrate is Pune featuring in the top 10 (at 3) of the “World’s Top Emerging Cities for Business”. The survey by Forbes, no less, pits it just above Abu Dhabi and Warsaw, but below Tolouse at No. 2. But guess who’s at No. 1? Chengdu, China.

Even in the ’emerging’ lists, there’s no respite. Perhaps this is a clear sign that anything Indian would perhaps remain #2 to China for a long, long, long time to come.

The way I know this city, there has always been potential, but the attitudes of the people, local government and “leaders” has been worse than apathetic. I love Pune, lived there for the best 22 years of my life and would give anything to see it do better. In all aspects. This is a promising start and I can only imagine how many people/agencies/associations would clamour for the credit. End of it all, those who have actually made the difference would be forgotten and the issue would be politicised.

Pune would lose again. I am not normally a nay-sayer, but I have seen this before. And I have the feeling that this would happen again. Check tomorrow’s papers and it would be made out to be much bigger than it is.

Inzi To Go On Diet?

Complains of “… bad taste in mouth“.

Inzamam  

Somewhere between Peshawar & Rawalpindi: I may have interpreted this wrong, and perhaps he was referring to the way he was given out against India in the first ODI at Peshawar. But I think he is referring more to the food available at Peshawar… notably the Namak Mandi and the Charsi Tikka (that does not have any charas in it, thank you!). For these are merely references to markets of yore that no longer deal in the abovementioned items are just named so… so you can quite imagine Inzi’s plight when he discovered neither existed! Blasphemy.

Furthermore, given the fragile condition of his back, there may already be some restrictions on his diet, not to mention that he got a raw (sic) deal from the Indian fielders when they appealed successfully to have him out ‘obstructing the field’. Poor fella.

More seriously, before he goes about beating his chest of the injustice done unto him, it would be worthwhile thinking about the behaviour of his own team mates. Let’s look at them one at a time, shall we:

Shahid Afridi- scuffed up the pitch against England and also accepted to doing so.
Shaoib Akhtar- formerly Rawalpindi Express, now known as ‘motormouth’.
Mohd Sami- More bark than bite! (He did get a bit back from Mr Sehwag, though!).

The list goes on for a bit and there are more instances than one of ‘unsporting’ behaviour by the Pak players than one would care to remember. It is after all the “friendship between the two teams that is at stake”. Never mind the fact that young Dhoni and Pathan were subjected to beamers, foul language and obscenities for performing well. Or am I mistaking this for sledging that has been made part of the ‘acceptable sporting’ behaviour by the Aussies? Perhaps. My understanding, you see, is limited. In which case, stringent action needs to be taken against the appealing, nay, all 15 Indian representatives on tour.

So when the Pak team indulges in some mind games, it is ok. Personal remarks or remarks on issues of no concerns to them are ok. But if Greg Chappell says Shoaib Akhtar has a suspect action, it’s “breaching the code of conduct”. Kind of reminds me of a small kid who wants to dish it out, but anytime someone says something back, it goes running back screaming “Mummy… see what he said (or did; whichever is applicable)”. 

The only diet Inzi or his team mates (and coach) for that matter need to go on, is of self-righteousness. Too much of it. And now they are getting full of it!

Perhaps this is what home advantage is all about. Or did I get that wrong as well?

Predicamenting!

For over six months now, I have been lusting after cell phones. Many models (phone) have since come and gone and more are on their way. But I have staunchly stood by my trusty Nokia 6600. And why not? But for a few minor issues, this is as robust a phone as any you could ever hope for. Plus, it’s a Nokia! But here are some I really want:

1. Nokia N80: What design! Looks awesome and powerful. Plus, it has all the features you could want and then some more. The main drawback for me, though, is that it is still using Symbian OS. Wonder if I will ever see a Windows OS on a Nokia mobile…

Nokia N80

2. Speaking of Windows Mobile Phones, there is none better than the O2 Atom. What a phone! Windows Mobile 5.0 and the works. Plus, it is a good looker.

Prices for neither is low in India, though… the Atom retails for about Rs 38,000 (roughly $850) while the N80 is available (and I’m guessing here) for about Rs 33,000 (roughly $750).

OoooooH! What a predicament!

Mobile Cooking

This could be termed a little extreme, but if ‘convenience’ is what you yearn, you could do this. Your ‘call’!

Instructions for cooking an egg with your mobile phones!

341

That’s how many runs Pakistan beat India by. Plenty of heads are going to roll now… and for one, Sourav Ganguly won’t be in the middle of this. Messrs Chappell, Dravid and Co have a lot of answering to do.

No point going into the details of this shameful display. It would be stating the obvious. Suffice to say that this team has grossly underperformed, is grossly overpaid, overhyped and not at all focussed.

Yuvraj played well, though. And please, hold the post-mortems.