Thursday, June 29, 2006

ThankYou and GoodBye

Today is the last day in office of the person who has been the lone crusader against corruption in Bangalore. LokAyukta Justice Venkatachalam is retiring. TOI reports that the corrupt babus are cowering in hotels or fleeing out of station fearing last minute action from the uncompromising hero.

The political apathy of course continues. In spite of the very hard work put in by LokAyukta, the babus caught in the act are still very much at large as the justice system/government in not acting fast enough. To add to this, there apparently are some legal hiccups that prevent the Upa LokAyukta from taking over office of the LokAyukta. The same 'dont care a damn' attitude resulted in BATF, though resurrected, no longer being what it was. I hope LokAyukta doesnt go this path....

From the heart of a true blood Bangalorean, I salute the work that Justice Venkatachalam has put in over the last 2-3 years! worthyThank You Sir!
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Wednesday, June 28, 2006


Every ex-footballer of the current crop can think of one other profession other than coaching the game which could give him the same kind of success that he has seen during his playing days... and the profession is ACTING!

No matter how much FIFA tries, with just one ref running from one corner to other and a zillion cameras capturing every slip, every dive, every fake, the game of football will forever be riddled with controversies. Ofcourse, all this adds to the charm of the game till a team loses out because of a wrong decision 5 seconds from end of play!


Tuesday, June 27, 2006

India Inc. goes International

Nobody could have missed the Mittal-Arcelor deal making headlines, all of 33B$!! Now, we can hear all kinda kudos and India goes global etc etc coming out. But the fact is, two huge european firms merged to form a mammoth one, thats it!

This does not mean that India Inc is not going places.
1. Wipro acquires mPower (28M$)
2. Wipro acquires NewLogic (56M$)
3. Wipro acquires NerveWire (19M$)
4. Wipro acquires Enabler (53M$)
5. Wipro acquiers Saraware (32M$)
6. Tata Tea acquires Tetly (271M$)
7. Tata Coffee acquires Eight O' Clock Coffee (220M$)
8. SBI acquires Jakarta Bank(76% stake)
9. SBI acquires Indian Ocean International Bank in Mauritius (8M$)
10. SBI acquires Giro Commercial Bank(7M$)
11. Subex acquires Azure(140M$)

Now... there are many more that I haven't listed and can't remember. Some of the above are single digit million dollars and some are in the hundreds of millions of dollars. But what is important is...WE are acquiring these firms. From a country that didnt have anything but self reliance in food to this is quite an achievement. A comparative study with other economies may make this statistic look a little pale, but the fact that we are a democracy counts for a lot more! worthy

What made me specially proud are the Tata acquisitions, more specifically the Tetley Tea acquisition. Say what you want about one world, but what the English did to us cannot be forgotten in 10-15 something years of invite into one world!!

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Sunday, June 25, 2006

Teamgeist - Whatever!

The official name of the football used this world cup is teamgeist which means team spirit. But the match that I am watching as I write this is one that puts the well intentioned organizers who named the football to shame. It was as if the teams were under the influence of spirit!

Two of my favourite teams in this world cup, Portugal and Netherlands are playing one of the most gripping and volatile matches of the world cup. Its knockout stage and there is no love lost between them. To the minute there are 4 redcards and more than half a dozen yellow cards. It all started by the silliest of challenges on the wonder kid, Christiano Ronaldo (whose world cup may be over) and it just went downhill from then. The referee lost it big time and had his hand stuck to his pocket to keep removing the yellow cards.

I think Portugal will win this match, but they are bound to feel the pinch of red carded Deco and Costinha and a host of yellow carded players(including Figo, Maniche, Valente and more) who will be on the verge of suspension next match.

Crazy match, great attacks, short tempers....Disappointment!

It was not football, it was a battle at Nuremberg! tongue
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Saturday, June 24, 2006


Loyalty in sports seems to be a bastion that only players hold. This could have something to do with the passion with which you have played the game, e.g. Kumble playing the windies all bandaged, Maradona playing Italy with a sore ankle etc etc. Once a player retires, he tries his hand at other professions, businesses and interests. More often than not, he ends up being a coach. Possibly coz 95% of the people are very good at only one thing in their lives and for a player its gotta be the sport he played. In simple words, he is good at nothing else... nasty

But nonetheless, if you are from a country which is very good at the sport you played (for e.g. brazil in football), then you are in good demand. The choice to make now is to choose whether you want to be a coach for your country or for some other country. More often than not, the choice would be the foreign country. There can be a few reasons for this:
1. There is too much pressure trying to coach your own country, expectations are too high.
2. The "other" country is more desperate to get you and hence you get paid better.
3. On success, the "other" country is more likely to potray you as the reason and not the players.
4. Once you have chose the "other" country, your market has just widened. There are many many "others" out there. wink

England vs Sweden - Sven Goran Ericksson is coaching Sweden England
Japan vs Brazil - Zico is coaching Japan
Mexico vs Argentina - Argentinian coach(dont know his name) is coaching Mexico

There are also the Guus Hiddinks of the world you bring a different underdog team to the world cup every time!

Now to the main question, where will your loyalties lie when the team you coach is playing the team you once played for?? Remember, this is loyalty towards your country that I am talking about and that is special. Can money buy this loyalty? suspicious

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Its "Lets Please India" Season

Shashi Tharoor is making news... and why not! Afterall, he is a very strong contender for the UN Secretary General post. The guy is a mallu, but not really, coz he has stayed, worked and lived all over India. So, he is an indian, but not really, coz technically, he was not an indian citizen, as he was born England. The guy comes through as a mixed bag. For e.g. he says:
"Saibaba and Infosys are, in fact, emblematic of an India that somehow manages to live in several centuries at once."
Here is a guy who understands the conundrum that is "India" and then he says:
"India is not, as people keep calling it, an underdeveloped country, but rather, in the context of its history and cultural heritage, a highly developed one in an advanced state of decay."
Not much of a optimistic person now, is he??

I am a very strong believer than we should not pride over achievements of Indians who have not spent their lifetime(or most of it) in the mainland of India. Now, Tharoor doesn't fall squarely in this category. But, none the less, I don't like the idea of being pushed into believing that I should feel pride over people who have never cared much for India. Ok, now comes the real attack, who is to tell that the people who "live" in India have more love for the country than the ones who don't? The answer should be made simple, else it is not convincing. The people who end up in US or UK or wherever doing what they do to become famous, have not achieved it under the pressure, pain or helplessness that one feels in India. They were lucky(rich) to explore their skills in lands which splurge more opportunities. So, they cannot be on par with people who achieve the same or maybe even less in India, coz the achievements now need to be weighed by "conditions" under which whatever was achieved.

Back to Tharoor... not taking anything away from him(and I know very little about him), is his candidature just another move in the whole game to please the next asian giant? Multinationals are pouring into India like never before. This is enough reason for capitalist "developed" nations to focus on keeping India happy. But at the same time, by dancing samba with these powers, we lose our powers! Why do I say this? Here is the reason, not so long ago ISRO was banned by NASA for trying to:
1. Get technological help on cryogenic engines from Russia
2. For trying to build one!

Now, the same dying economies come to please us! They support our space and nuclear programme. They are too proud to admit that they have a problem that only our buying power can solve and we are too nice to make them realize this. They make the sensex go to 12000, they make it go to 9000 and what are we becoming... just puppets? At some stage we need to strike a balance, right now its a landslide. "Dont patronize India!" This is what I feel like telling when I see the two-timing world leaders at our doorsteps today.

Disclaimer: I like my MNC job and the money it pays :-). But my thoughts are not loyal to any MNC!
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Monday, June 19, 2006

Quotes Of The Day

... or should I call it the jokes of the day? :-))

Quotes By Jay Leno:

An Israeli man's life was saved when he was given a Palestinian man's heart in a heart transplant operation. The guy is doing fine, but the bad news is, he can't stop throwing rocks at himself.

According to New York publishers, Bill Clinton will get more money for his book than Hillary Clinton got for hers. Well, duh. At least his book has some sex in it.

In California, 50 women protested the continuing war with Iraq by lying on the ground naked and spelling out the word peace. Right idea, wrong president.


Howz this for a joke of a website?? These guys are for real and actually have ample funding!!
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Sunday, June 18, 2006

Mixed Bag

Just finished watching the brazil - australia match and am not quite sure what to make of the match. Ok, brazil did win, but it was not a very convincing one. I think Ronaldo will not make it to the max number of goals in world cup. He was, as my friend put it, a "lumbering sloth", for the second match in a row! The minute robinho came in, the brazilian forward line seemed to have a purpose. Adriano, the heavyweight, did score, but then, he didnt actually show brazilian skill during the rest of the match. Ronaldinho is being wasted in midfield, he gets the ball many times, but all he can do from that position is to pass the ball or make a magnificent run. Even ronaldinho can't make a magnificent run everytime, and more often than not, he chooses to pass! If this is the best brazil has got, a team like argentina, with a strong defence and an equally stinging attack will take them to the cleaners!

On the other hand, I saw the other fancied player who failed to perform in the 1st match, Thiery Henry, score the first goal for france. Zidane looked tired and they need to absolutely play Trezeguet along with Henry up front.

Watch out for the big matches on the 20th(Sweden vs England) and 21st(Netherlands vs Argentina). Loving this world cup!

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We need more world cups

Today I went all the way from Marathahalli(Outer Ring Road) to Hotel Capitol(Raj Bhavan Road), i.e. 16 kms in little less than 35 mins. Now, this is very good by Bangalore standards. We hardly had traffic throughout the distance which helped a great deal. Though there was a slight drizzle and heavy rain later, I believe the main reason was the world cup. Thanks to the attention craving media channels, which seem to suddenly love football and all the companies that have come up with umpteen contests promising tickets to the world cup, have resulted in this world cup being much much bigger in India than before. Everything that is promoted these days has an unrealistic sense to it, sort of like everything is being told like a fairytale. And in todays India, anything sells! All this is part of the race to get into the list of developed countries and I hope we dont do the same mistakes that the "other" asian giant has done.

Back to the infra scene in Bangalore, to be frank, it is getting better with lots of underpasses, road asphalting and widening happening all over the place. I hope its not too little too late.
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Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Lara.. Kya Mara

Dravid must consider talking to Sunita Menon to change the luck of the indian team, i.e. if dravid were to believe that a ex gulf-air air hostess could predict anything more than the well proven fact "A sucker is born every minute". Let me not lose focus... this is a cricket post...

Lara just played a masterful but quite uncharacteristic knock for the windies. There are 18 more overs left in the day, and I think he has averted a certain defeat, ofcourse with the rain gods playing the abettors.

Anybody watch the Brazil match? It was one of the most disappointing matches I have seen. We hear so much about the brazilian team, but I felt that they have some heavyweights(ronaldinho, kaka) and some "heavy"weights(ronaldo, adriano). I am going to make this bold prediction after having seen the first match brazil has played... Brazil is NOT gonna win this world cup. :-))

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Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Success - What does it take?

Ever wondered what it takes to make a successful company? Its difficult to join a cisco or for that matter an infosys now and try figuring that out. The reason is that the paradigm for being successful day in and day out changes ever so often and what helps cisco succeed today is not what enabled them to be "cisco" to start with.

Take for e.g. myspace. There were many services which did similar stuff, but not quite what myspace does. The giants, yahoo, amazon and google were around and none figured that there was a market in socializing. How did a .com company make it big in a such a way even after the .com burst??

Just take a look at the above stats, amazing!! Also, the number of hits and page views is second only to yahoo. They are the sixth largest search engine and they don't even concentrate on search as an area of business!

Embrace web2.0, its here to change YOUR world!
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Monday, June 12, 2006

The story till now...

The Soccer World Cup is on full swing and the most impressive show has come from the African continent. We have had Cameron and Nigeria show their magic in the past and now its the chance for Ivory Coast, Angola, Ghana, Togo and Tunisia to represent Africa. We are yet to see the last two show their wares, but from what we have seen the politically beleaguered African continent has taken to this sport in a big way.

Ivory Coast played some fantastic football against the Argentinians. Drogba true to his reputation lead the team fantastically essaying the role of a play maker to the "T". A little more luck(they missed some easy ones), we would have had our first upset victory of the world cup. Portugal(my favorite) played ok, but the Angolans played some very heartening football and deserved to get a draw. As I write this, I am seeing the Italy vs Ghana match and the Ghanaians are playing some superb football. They have created chance after chance, but have not got the experience to finish it! Italy just scored a goal now, but the half belonged more to Ghana. Here are three world cup newbies giving three of the most experienced world cup sides more than a run for their victories! As Nadal would say, Vamos Africa.... Bravo!

My opinion:
1. Most entertaining match - Argentina vs Ivory Coast
2. Most unlucky team - Sweden ..... most gutsy team - Trinidad and Tobago
3. Most boring team - England
4. Most true to form team - Argentina
5. Most consistent team(s) - Italy and Germany
6. Most missed team - Nigeria

We are yet to see the Brazilians and French and a lot more matches to go. But, what will not change is the lion hearted performances from these african young guns!

p.s: To clarify, Brazil is everyones obvious favorite, hence the challenge is to pick your second best team and thatz were Portugal comes. :-)
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Some prof thinks this is the funniest joke ever!

A couple of New Jersey hunters are out in the woods when one of them falls to the ground. He doesn't seem to be breathing, his eyes are rolled back in his head. The other guy whips out his cell phone and calls the emergency services. He gasps to the operator: "My friend is dead! What can I do?" The operator, in a calm soothing voice says: "Just take it easy. I can help. First, let's make sure he's dead." There is a silence, then a shot is heard. The guy's voice comes back on the line. He says: "OK, now what?"

Now, the guy is a prof. Without being prejudiced, what are the chances he would know how to laugh?

Ouch!! :-))
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Sunday, June 11, 2006

Sporty Sunday

It was deemed super sunday by the media and it has been one in terms of the broadcasting fight for sure. But for sheer sports quality, there have been better days.

1. Schumachers claims go down the drain as Alonso wins again
2. Dutch were not good as such, but Serbia&Montenegro didnt count for much.
3. Indians cut loose, but the windies never had any juice.
4. Federer played out of his skin, but nadal makes the clay look like water and that he had fins!

Lets wait for the Mexican run against Iran and hope for Portugal to not be goal frugal.

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Friday, June 09, 2006

Our Fearless Leader...

Dr. Abdul Kalam, all of 74 years old, has taken it upon himself to teach the politicians a thing or two about it means to represent the people, to be role models, to be inspirational and to lead from the front!

He conquered the cold.
He conquered the seas.
And now, he conquers the sky.

What next Mr.President?
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TOI - Exaggeration as usual

I am not sure how many have noticed this, but Times Of India, known for the usual exaggerated views on almost everything(including their readership) has decided that the world population is 30 Billion!

Now, I know China and India are working hard at it, but c'mon TOI, give us some time to get there! :-))
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Thursday, June 08, 2006

Blogging Eye Candy

For a while I have been feeling the need to be able to group the blog entries. For e.g. what have been my thoughts on dravids captaincy during his tenure. If I were to trust bloggers archiving and search abilities, it would take me a long time to get this collated, not to mention it being cumbersome. Ideally there should have been a way to categorize the blog entries. Unfortunately this feature is not present in blogspot. Hence with some help I have managed to integrate social bookmarking site with my blog to mimic categorizing. They should come up at the bottom of each post with a small icon. Check it out! :-)

Come to think of it, there are many features lacking in blogger, though I didn't know better when I started blogging. The interest to blog was such a sudden one that I didn't do due research to choose the right one. I am disappointed more so because blogger is a google company! In fact blogger was one of the earliest at this game and after having taken over by google, they should have gone strength to strength! The other boys out there are pretty good for e.g. wordpress, typepad, livejournal etc. Some have paid services too, but I think free stuff is more than enough for most people.

Since I am anyway at it, why not do some google bashing for a change? What is google really good at? When you think of it, they have got:
1. Mail - But with yahoos new interface, GMail has a tough fight to the top.
2. Video sharing - Google video is decent, but definitely YouTube is the preferred service here.
3. Blogging - As written, Blogger is not as feature rich as the other guys around.
4. Chat - GTalk definitely has not been adopted to any kind of popularity, Yahoo still rocks for chat while Skype suits voice the most.
5. Calendar - Google calendar is decent, but looks like Yahoo has a more seasoned(pun?) solution.
6. Feed Reader - Google reader is simple to use but lacks the features of others.
7. Social Networking - Orkut is very yuppy, but social space is ruled by MySpace, while professional networking continues to be LinkedIn's speciality.
8. Google Finance, Google Spreadsheet - Lets wait and watch.....

So, what is google really good at? Yup, the old bastion, search. They continue to be the best at it and will remain the best. It almost seems that the others have given up on their fight with google for the search leadership. Yahoo is omnipresent, but that does not prove its search effectiveness in any way. What is more surprising is that there a slew of web 2.0 apps coming up for almost everything except search!

Though I personally use many of google products, I feel that they are diluting their claim to fame by venturing too fast into too many areas while not going too deep in any.

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Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Movie Review: X-Men 3

The effect of Davinci code the week before had to be cleansed and done so in a hurry, hence we decided to have a looksie at X-Men 3. Though the movie by itself was ok, it was not good enough to make any sort of impact beyond the 2+ hours at the movies.

X-Men 3 revolves around the same tried, tested and tired characters of the previous episodes. There is the odd new mutant who generates the usual "I wish I had that power" feeling. There is this guy called juggernaut, who once gains momentum cannot be stopped. There is also this lady who is very very quick and can move many feet at the blink of an eye. Also, the main hero (or is it villain?) of the story is this kid who is a mutant whose power is that he can neutralize the mutant nature of any mutant, Duh! Some "homo sapiens" decide to use this kid to create an injection which can de-mutanize mutants. This threat to the mutant community has to be stopped and that forms the crux of the whole story. Looks like the kid also had an effect on the story writer of this episode, he sure got de-storyfied as he tried to weave us one!

The story is so lacking in character that they decide to bring back Class 5 mutant Jane from the dead(remember the dam that burst and killed her in Part 2?). Ok, she is back to life, and guess what is her first act on re-birth?? Kill her boyfriend! She then goes on to kick Wolverives ass and furthur kill Dr.Charles himself(Capt. Jean Luc Picard of Starship enterprise). Along the way the sexy Rebecca Romijn who acts as Mystique is also de-mutanized and so is Magneto towards the very end. Now, Jane who has lost all control of her powers has to be stopped and Wolverive does his hero thingy and kills her in the end, so there goes Jane too. So, as you can see, anybody worth their salt has been killed already and fox wants more?

Overall, I feel the movie was not boring though it had some glaring holes. I would give it 62% and I think I am being benevolent here. :-)

Till the next interesting movie, so long.... hey wait a sec, isnt MI-3 round the corner?? ;-)
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Sri Sri Lara Maharaj

Cricket is a funny game and if you watch as much cricket as I do, you end up seeing some really hilarious incidents happening on the ground.

Not so long ago, during the Ind vs WI ODI Series, a ball was bowled which resulted in a possible runout scenario and when the players turned towards the square leg umpire to appeal, they didn't find one! Umpire Doctrove in between the overs decided to take a stroll to take care of some obstruction behind the sightscreen. Nobody noticed this and luckily we had TV replays to guide us! You should have seen the face of Sehwag and Raina when they didn't see the umpire at square leg. :-))

Yesterday, 4th day of the 1st test match between Ind vs WI, another very funny thing happened. Actually I am yet to decide between two extreme emotions that came up in my mind when I saw what was happening, that of extreme anger and hysterical laughter. Who the hell is Lara to tell Dhoni "I think you should walk" ??? If Dravid calls him back, he can and is within his right. But the captain to gain out of the situation has absolutely no right to open his mouth, let alone patronise Dhoni and literally ridicule the umpires. Dhoni just respected Lara and walked away, also, India was in a very strong position by then and on the verge of declaring. Imagine Lara walking up to every other batsman and telling this "I think you should walk off. What they [my players] say is going to be the truth". Sheer crazy!!

Also, the 3rd umpire who was to decide was again Mr.Doctrove... is this chap on a mission to feature prominently in "crickets most hilarious ever" list ?? Cricket... always a conundrum of events.

I am watching the live telecast of Day 5 and we had Chris Gayle you had Kumbles ball hit his bat and then his glove and go to Dhoni. Indians appealed and it was turned down. Gayle stood his ground and didn't volunteer to walk off. Now, this by itself is ok, after all Gayle is no Lara. But then, Lara was the non striker. How could he let Gayle continue?? Lara Lara Lara ... how sentimentally stupid art thou!
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Saturday, June 03, 2006

Weekend Vacation

Last weekend we (family) had been to Mysore. Since my wife works in Infosys, we got acco at Infosys, Mysore. We intended the trip to be a leisure weekend getaway rather than a sightseeing one. And what we got was exactly that!

Infy Mysore is just one amazing place and for many reasons.
1. It has a beautiful and serene campus
2. The facilities are better than the best health or sports clubs
3. The rooms are 3 or 4 star quality and so is the room service
4. Its a self contained facility and you get 'anything' required for daily use right there.
5. Though not the very best food, there sure is variety.
6. I dont think they get much work done out there. :-)

We were there for little over a day and here are some sights.

The Entrance:

The Main Lane:

Where we stayed:

Clients Guest House:

Multiplex inside the campus:

Amazing Swimming Pool:

Spot Me: :-))

The Cricket Ground:

Bowling Alley Too!

Kamath Upchaar on the way back, so very cultural!

One thing that I have to point out after the whole experience is that, Infy is doing something that is very dicey here. On one hand, they are giving the "very best" facilities for freshers, something that no other company in India will come even close to! On the other hand, they are introducing a very one sided look of the whole dog-eat-dog software world. Imagine having their stipend in pocket and all these facilities absolutely free for 3 months and then coming and staying in a single BHK in Bangalore with 2 other friends in crowded BTM layout and further getting stuck in the infy bus during peak hour traffic! Not to mention that infy does not challenge most when it comes to work or money. This place is what dreams are made of and the harsh reality will dawn on these kids faster and harsher than they would have liked or otherwise expected.
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Thursday, June 01, 2006

Gadget Harvesting

The last few months have been very good for me in terms of gadgets. There are the stuff I have added to my collection. :-)

My Iriver T10 MP3 Player:

My Shure E2c In-Ear phones:

My Plantronics 640 bluetooth headset:

The last two were gifts from my wife to me and the first one, the MP3 player, is 'literally' my gift to her. :-)

Gadgets... a very very strong motivator to keep on earning money!
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