Wednesday, November 29, 2006

License to talk

India is 82/5, on the way to another expected loss! I am not going to talk about India's dismal performance for enough has been said in the media, in the parliament, in my office etc etc.

For once lets talk of the Proteas shall we.... They have a pitch that suits them, they are playing a team that fears them and they have a team that is very good not to mention a very lucky toss coin. This being said, is there really a need for all the tongue swagging?? I know cricket is no longer a gentleman's game, but it ain't an indisciplined one either.

Ntini - The decent one in the lot. You will never see him swear at the batsman.
Pollock - Has a reputation for being a joker. Well, his guy should be a mime joker!
Kallis - For all his talent in batting, he does need his tongue to complete his bowling!
Nel - Less said about this clown the better. He comes in every match and is running up to the batsman and opening his mouth from the very first ball!

Completing this trio is the dodo who can let a ship through his teeth, Mark Boucher. This guy can't keep his mouth shut for all the money in the world, doesn't matter if he is batting or keeping. If this guy is the vice-captain, guess how the captain must be? Well, he is the leader of the pack in every way! angry

This display is being seen on TV by so many people and I can't guess the match referee being blind! If so, why don't these guys get fined for misconduct or at least warned? This kind of partial behavior has been pointed out many a time by the Pakistanis, the Lankans and Indians, but nothing is being done about it!

Question of the night:
What do I hate more, seeing the miserable performance by the Indians or the shameless verbose performance by the South Africans or the continuously inconsistent administration by the high powers?? angryangryangry

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I don't need to tell regular users of the net that the world wide web is not a nice place especially if you don't know its ways. Imagine you doing as innocuous a thing as checking your yahoo mail. You get a message that your need to enter some credentials other than your password to prove your identity. You think... wait a sec, this is not new to me, I am asked this question at almost every place. I either show some ID proof when in person or give some credit card information when I am trying to buy something on the net, so lemme just go ahead and give it!

Hacked Yahoo Site:

The real Yahoo Site:

All this happened on my cousins laptop. The same thing happened with the ebay site too. Now, there is most probably some sort of virus or trojan or something doing tricks. But the fact that this happens so convincingly makes one wonder!! I tried the normal track URL and stuff, but couldn't find out the source or the destination. I didnt try harder and had him do his mailing and buying from my lappy. nose smile

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Saturday, November 25, 2006

Movie Review: Casino Royale

His name is Bond... James Bond and for a change we meet the MAN James Bond and not the gadget assisted tight upper lipped womanizer!

I am not much of a reader and have not read any Bond novel, but people who have read them tell me that this is more closer to the Bond Ian Fleming had in mind that the gadgety ones we are used to seeing in all the movies. I have always (thought) loved the Bond movies, especially the Sean Connery and Roger Moore ones. Star Movies has been running a Bond special, sorta like a prequel to the release of Casino Royale, they have been playing all the Bond movies ever made for the last 3-4 weeks. I must say that seeing some these flicks again was downright boring. But then, if you give them the benefit because of the time when they were made, maybe they are still enjoyable. Comparatively the Pierce Brosnan ones have been more entertaining. Better plots and better screenplay than the usual bad men being present at some place before Bond reaches and waiting to kill him and Bond escaping unscathed every time. Though Star Movies must have planned this to be a great way to boost Casino Royale, I kinda lost appetite for Bond movies, so to speak.

Now this is my mood going into the theater and the first 10-15 minutes is moooore than enough to blow me away and give me my(company) moneys worth. Here is a Bond acting like no other, actually doing some physical hard work to catch the bad guy. This sets up the rest of the movie and Craig David Daniel Craig does his job fantastically. You gotta give it to the guy, he is not your typical Bond lady killer, but damn he can kick some butt! No wonder the producers of Bond movies decided to force Pierce into early retirement. He could never ever have pulled this one off! To be frank, the plot is quite straightforward and no real surprises till the very end, well... even the end is kinda guessable. So, story wise, not very strong. The second half drags a bit after the big poker match and you get a feel of "If the action is over, get it over with already!". Then the final surprise unveils itself and the movie then ends. Except for this last 20-30 something minutes of drag, the movie is quite nicely paced. I love card games and I understand poker, hence I enjoyed the action-less but tension-filled poker game too. The lady love of Bond is also not your typical bombshell though there is a distinct effort to "uplift" certain parts of the female anatomy. In fact, Bond is mostly monogamous in this flick and that completes the characterization of the new Bond. The new Bond has a heart, has a temper, has no gadgets and packs quite a punch. The only commonality to the other Bond movies is that this one is also a probable hit at the box-office. I would give it a 8.3/10 and the extra .3 is because it rekindled my Bond liking. wink big nose

Now.. whatz next?? Probably Dhoom-2, TOI just gave it a 4 star rating.
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Thursday, November 23, 2006

Unsung Hero(ine)

How many of you have heard of Marykom? Asking for a last name? Asking for nationality? This is why she is probably one of the most unsung sports heroines of India in an unsung sport, boxing.

2 time world champion
4 time national champion
2 time asian title winner
commonwealth winner
Padmashri and Arjuna Award Winner
...and is now in the finals of the World Boxing championship, 2006.

The strong medal prospect for the coming Doha games and Beijing Games, Marykom has done India proud many a time. But in the land where people would rather watch a 91 all out performance or or a bombshell tennis babe rather than a lady pugilist fight her way to victory, its no wonder that this champion has no public life. She not so long ago was hunting for sponsors till she finally landed one and is still on the hunt for a good job. Her job with the Manipur police doesn't really pay well.

We have Sania Mirza, who slid from World No:32 to World No:63 and still getting a Deutsche Bank deal worth crores, and this world champion many times over is working for a few thousands a month?? Even the lack of private sector sponsors is a shame, what is even more alarming to know is the apathy by the Sports ministry and Sports Authority of India.

Well, all we can do is wish Marykom the very best in her career and hope that the ever desperate Indian Media will pick her travails and maybe help make them count financially. straight face

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Monday, November 20, 2006

Travel Tip

During air travel the next biggest problem to food is getting good sleep. I usually stay awake the whole time watching something on the TV, but when I am not watching I have a tough time trying to sleep.

Just realized I had clicked these snaps but hadn't posted them. Of all the travel in Cathay Pacific, I had never noticed this very useful feature and in fact didn't see many people use it, which makes me believe this is not a well known fact. Also, Cathay doesn't tell this or mention it in their catalogs.

Normal Seat - No Sleep:

Modified Seat - ZZZZZZ:

Try this the next time any of you are on a Cathay Pacific flight or maybe on any other airlines, without damaging the seat if it doesn't budge. wink big nose
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Many Thanks :-)

Today has been a good day for me as a blogger. I had some 100+ unique visitors today and almost all of them came because of this. Thanks a lot Gopal. wink nose It was fun having so many comments and replying to all the brickbats. I have to thank A R Rahman too for getting me the few seconds of fame.

The two most viewed entries at my blog:
1. Guru vs Kabul Express
2. Smile Specialist

I guess celebrities do matter. wink big nose
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Saturday, November 18, 2006

Music Review: Guru vs Kabul Express

This weekend saw two high profile music releases, Guru and Kabul Express. Guru is the much awaited Mani Rathnam directed, music by A R Rahman and starring Abhishek Bachchan, Aishwarya Rai and more. Kabul Express has a good star cast and is directed by Kabir Khan, recently associated as the cinematographer of The Journalist and the Jihadi: The Murder of Daniel Pearl. The music for Kabul Express is by Raghav Sachar, the very talented Indipop entrant.

Spent the better part of Saturday listening to these two soundtracks and the decision on which is a better one became clear towards the end of the day. The music of the Guru, in Rahmans own words, "a Gujarati sound, goes on to Turkish, then very north Indian friendly kind of music and also some opera stuff". One of my cousins is a big fan of A R Rahman and Mani Rathnam and Guru symbolises the highpoint of his movie experience for the year. He has been having me hear promos and small bits of music from Guru for the last few months and I too was pulled into this inevitable hype that seems to be passe for every Mani Rathnam movie! With A R Rahman, you always have to listen to his songs a few times before they hit you, but I must say that Guru doesn't seem to have the songs to do that. "Tere Bina" by Rahman and Chinmayee is the most captivating in terms of music and Rahman continues his recent trend of keeping the best song to himself. "Barso Re" has Shreya Ghosal doing a great job and "Ay Hairathe" is the most soulful song of the lot and sounding a comeback of sorts for Hariharan. The rest seem more like musical fillers, but movie relevance will be known in a couple of weeks.

Kabul Express promised a lot less because of the music being from a newcomer. True to his indipop experiences earlier, Raghav has given a definite pop touch to the songs in the movie. There are 2 songs to contend with, one is "Kabul Fiza" sung by Raghav himself and 3 versions of "Banjar" sung by Shubha Mudgal, Sunidhi Chauhan and K K respectively. Both these songs in all its forms are very foot-tapping. The tunes have a definite newness about them and the peppy music adds to the energy of the songs.

Maybe its to do with all the hype surrounding Guru, but the music has definitely not lived up to the hoopla. On the other hand, Kabul Express is surprisingly pleasing. Though this is no comparison between A R Rahman and Raghav Sachar, it does go to show that all the time spent outside by the ever busy Rahman may be helping him in many ways, but doesn't seem to inspire his music enough! All in all a disappointing release from the maestro while another young gun is in the reckoning for stardom.

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Thursday, November 16, 2006

Movie Review: Departed

Profound profanity, sharp acting, decent suspense, mediocre story, punchline direction. These adjectives more or less summarize the latest from Martin Scorsese. The man is 60+ but still has not lost his touch, much like our very own Yash Chopra. wink nose {sarcasm}

The movie is a Boston police life "Kane and Abel" kinda story, hmm.... maybe not. We have both the protagonists, Matt Damon and Leonardo Di Caprio, trying to getting into the police force. Both are coming from not so well to do families. One (Leonardo) has family members who are into mafia, extortion etc while the other(Damon) is picked up at a young age by the top honcho of the town, Jack Nicholson. Leonardo has to prove his mettle and sincerity to his boss and ends up as an undercover agent in Jack Nicholsons gang of goons. Damon, wanting the quick way to power, uses his links to Jack Nicholson to move up and move up fast. The story unfolds into this inevitable showdown between the two guys. As usual, I don't want to kill the suspense, but all I can say is that there were two possible endings to the movie that I could think of which would have done justice to the story and the director incidentally chose one of them. And the ending was very much in keeping with the way he had taken the rest of the movie.

Fantastic performance by Matt Damon, an OK one by Leonardo and a casually powerful one from Jack Nicholson. Mark Wahlberg, Martin Sheen and Alec Baldwin are wasted in their roles, but I guess you can have only so many good roles in a 2 something hour movie. Though I walked out of the movie with a sense that I got value for my money, I think the movie could have been a lot more if they have deepened the protagonists getting entwined in each others lives. Nonetheless, a decent offering from a master director. I would give it a 8/10, rounding off to stay away from having to explain my patented formula. wink big nose

Now for Casino Royale.....

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Tuesday, November 14, 2006

India *causing* brain drain?

I was party to an incident yesterday. This is around 7:30PM and I am just stepping out of the office. As I was walking out, I see that right in front of our office two foreigners and a lady are haggling with an auto rickshaw driver. The reason I spent more time than I usually do is because the lady arguing with the driver looked a lot like a colleague of mine. The lady then throws her hand in the air and walks away. At this time, I felt I just had to see if the driver was haggling for more money and give a piece of my mind to him. And as I guessed it was our auto driver trying to fleece some extra bucks from the tourists. I asked them where they had to go and it was a place close to the Bangalore domestic airport. My office is about 15 minutes drive from the airport, this means their place is some 5 kms from where we were. I was surprised that the tourists actually knew that they have to pay 1.5 times the meter charge. First thing is that this 1.5 times comes into effect only after 9PM. So, they were already being fleeced. The auto driver was asking for Rs.200 which is just ridiculous. I felt I just had to help them and I volunteered to drop them to their place. They were initially very hesitant and then later agreed.

On the way to their place, I got talking with them and realized that they were not tourists. They were french and were working in India. What surprised me was that they are going to be in India for 1 year!shocked They worked for this company called idiom, whose website apparently needs authorization! They are into some kind of designing, publication etc. Anywayz, they are french and idiom does not have any office in France. In fact, google around and idiom is actively hiring people from outside India. This is classic outsourcing but this time around India is NOT the source of the out! They in fact said "We have good salary by India standards, but we have to pay french taxes which means we don't save much money. We therefore can't pay Rs.200 to get to our house". When I asked why are they working out of India, the answer came "Work is good". Here are people from developed nations coming in and working in India for Indian salaries because work is good. I am sure this is an aberration, but nonetheless, I sincerely hope this is a trend in the making!

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Thursday, November 09, 2006

Replacement Warranty

Bengalooru is back to using helmets as a must. The government listens to the Helmet lobby for another year or so before they squash it again. Anywayz, junta always finds humour in everything. :-)


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Monday, November 06, 2006

Feel good... Feel bad

This is a rip-off from today TOI, but made a not so startling revelation about me(which I knew ofcourse wink nose)

To know if you are a workaholic or not:

1. Do you get more excited about your work than about family or anything else?
2. Are there times when you can charge through your work and other times when you can't?
3. Do you work more than 40 hours per week?
4. Do you turn your hobbies into money-making ventures?
5. Have your family or friends given up expecting you on time?
6. Do you believe that it is okay to work long hours if you love what you are doing?
7. Do you get impatient with people who have other priorities besides work?
8. Are you afraid that if you don't work hard you will lose your job or be a failure?
9. Do you work or read during meals?

If you answer 'yes' to three or more of these questions you may be a workaholic.

I passed the above test in flying colours as a workaholic. While I don't see being one as a negative, I also don't see not being one as a positive. Also, this is TOI and only deserves the mental retention value of a chewing gum. cool
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Thursday, November 02, 2006

Changing times

Back to India and the vibrancy of businesses here is so obvious. Things are constantly looking up here. Sometimes it looks like a bubble, too good to be true. But then, for e.g. I have been spelling doomsday in my limited knowlegde of the real estate boom in Bangalore since 2003 but nothing really seems to slow down. The congested Bangalore domestic airport is now congested so much more. Emirates is flying out of Bangalore now and we don't have an international airport even. We have SMS services revenue being figured in the pie chart from Zee and Sony. I can go on and on, in short the economic vibrance in relatively affluent India is just amazing!

So, in India we have basic services coming into play and resulting in revenue while in the US the saturated market is being squeezed to shell out for non-sensical products! :-)

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