Wednesday, February 18, 2009

......... (Well, I am speechless)

I just had to post this video, for those who have not seen the catch. It is by far the most intelligent catch I have ever seen.

The catch is by Adam Voges from the T20 match between Australia and New Zealand.

Please note that this video is courtesy Ballhype.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Mollify them to 'Poll'ify them

History teaches us that we never learn from History. I read somewhere that the Mumbai Carnage was like a 'Black Swan'

A Black swan (according to the article) is an event that has low probability and a high impact and is characterized by retrospective predictability.

Today, 2 months after the attack, many heads have rolled and many more are on the verge of being guillotined. From a broad security perspective, nothing must have changed, but at the ground level, the Mumbai-ites are seeing a sea of change in the way the political parties are trying to mollify the vote-base.

Mollification formulae have changed. India Shining and Bharat Nirman face way too much flak even from regular voters these days. The pro Marathi campaigns initiated by Shiv Sena and MNS have also been put on the backburner.

Barring a few shameless exceptions, no political party within Maharashtra has the gumption to come out and claim that it will tackle terrorism. Left with no option, the entire spineless community has now reverted to the tried and tested methods. Bijli, Sadak and Paani have resurfaced as the strongest poll plank supports.

I hail from a suburb in Mumbai that used to face regular 3-4 hour power cuts. Over the past few months, the power cuts have ceased to a nought even though I still hear validated reports of Maharashtra facing an acute power deficit. I work in a company located in a god-forsaken area to the south of Powai. Anyone who has been using the approach roads passing via IIT would agree with me that those roads have been in an appalling condition for decades now. For the past two years in my experience now, the flyover from powai to eastern express highway has been regularly ostentated by chains of cars stuck in traffic snarls. Over the past few weeks, however, the road widening project, an initiative towards easening out the traffic, has been super efficient. Tasks that would ideally take weeks/months just to get approvals from concerned authorities are being actually implemented on ground in a couple of days. What has changed? The ruling government has remained the same for the past 5 years. Only the CM and HM were changed a month ago. I doubt whether that made any difference because most of Mr Chavan's salad days at office were consumed in issuing clarifications for his incompetent predecessors' insipid comments and actions.

Then what has changed? Well, nothing. It just happens to be a favorable time; A time that comes once in 5 years in this country.

This is a forced realization that has come in Maharashtra. Sadly, it is missing elsewhere and inconsequential initiatives and issues still continue to be poll planks. The building of the Ayodhya temple or the hanging of Afzal Guru is not going to make females feel safe while travelling in Delhi and Gurgaon at night. Fiery speeches politicizing terror attacks are not going to create the infrastructure to house the 26 million births that take place in India every year. Money used for poll/publicity campaigns shall rather be used in people centric programs. OLPC, NREGS, CAP have all remained at raw pilot stages. Amar Singh would be better placed if he donated money to NGOs in UP rather than the Bill-Hillary foundation for AIDS. We may yap about India's growth story in times of recession, but the ground reality is that growth in agriculture has fallen from 4.9 pc last year to 2.3 pc this year. With 65% of the agro-based population in distress, it is time for less yapping and more zapping while creating election manifestos and later implementing the mentioned activities.

Mollificatiion cannot be on hollow terms and inconsequential planks. It is 'Jaago re' time, not just in terms of casting your vote but also casting it to the least useless neta among the rest in our political landscape.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Article : Politically Incorrect - Shobhaa De

Below is an excellent article by Shobhaa De on the recent diplomatic tensions between India and Pakistan. Pay special attention to the last line of this article.

I am not pasting the link since it behaves anomalously sometimes.
'Show me the real evidence'
8 Feb 2009, 0112 hrs IST, Shobhaa De

My neighbour is a really difficult chap. There are no major problems as such. I am ok. He's ok. Same soil ke phool etc. But it's his dogs that
drive me crazy. I have nothing against kuttas - provided they are well-trained, well-behaved and don't crap on my doorstep. Even I have kuttas. But they aren't anything like my neighbour's. I have control over mine, and if they ever mess up my neighbour's space, I take full responsibility... and clean up after them. It's the right neighbourly thing to do... right?

We have had touch-and-go incidents in the past, and exchanged angry words over this issue. But this time my neighbour's kuttas have gone a bit too far. They tore into my home and destroyed everything in sight. Worse, they caught my own dogs (and me!) napping. Taking full and total advantage of the situation, they created havoc in our lives and left crucial evidence behind - a huge mass of dog poop. This was just too much. I called up my neighbour to protest, but he hung up on me, the bloody so-and-so! I called again... and again. But he refused to answer.

Finally, in sheer frustration, I called a common friend to complain about the outrage. He was good enough to offer immediate intervention. But that's because he is a Gora and often borrows my neighbour's car when his own conks out. Still, i thought it was pretty sweet of him to take up this ugly matter with that crazy man.

Two hours later, the Gora called to say he'd had a word with the kuttawallah, who told him it was not his kuttas that had entered my home in the first place! I was stunned, shocked and enraged. "What the hell does he mean?" i demanded angrily. "Of course, those were his dogs... i know their paw prints... why, even their poop is pretty distinct given the strange diet they're on." The Gora promised to get back. I waited... and waited. Finally, he called to say, "Proof. He wants evidence. Can you prove the damage was done by his dogs and not your own?" I nearly fainted. "Are you nuts? Why would my dogs do this to me in my own home?" The Gora remained impassive. And the neighbour refused to open the door when i knocked.

We were clearly getting nowhere. So, i rang yet another neighbour. This one had also been attacked in the elevator by those kuttas. "Why don't we join forces?" i suggested. And that's exactly what we did. Being civil with that guy was getting us nowhere. "Shall we just break down his door and barge into his house to confront the liar?" my co-sufferer asked.

"Forget it... we don't want this to escalate and involve the entire building," i said resignedly. Then i got a brain wave - if it's hard evidence he wants, it's hard evidence he'll get. I got down on all fours to collect samples of poop, tufts of doggy hairs... even a broken tooth that had fallen off during the attack.

I made three or four neat packets and sent them off to the secretary of the building society. One lot, I handed over to the scoundrel next door via his driver. "This poop does not belong to my dogs," he thundered from the window across my room.... "and the hair do not match my pets' either. As for the tooth... it is clearly a plant to compromise me and my dogs. It is clearly non-state dogs you should be tracking. In fact, this whole thing is a conspiracy because actually you want to grab my flat, my dogs would never do such a thing. Never. I do not accept your evidence because i know it is concocted. My dogs did not leave my home that night... and i can prove it."

I was speechless. I certainly didn't expect this from a man who always had a smile plastered on his face whenever we met to discuss matters of mutual interest. "Come and see the damage for yourself... get any neutral person of your choice to assess it. It is your dogs and your dogs alone that are responsible and unless you admit it, i am going to unleash mine on your home just to teach you a lesson." My neighbour laughed. His kuttas were about to crap again. And mine were still sleeping.
Sourced from The Times of India (link)

Its about time.

They say, "Be it an apple or be it fame, whatever goes up has to come down". Newton proved the adage for an apple. A number of celebrities/sports stars have proved the same for fame/success.

Michael Phelps is the latest to join the bandwagon.

Two awe-inspiring pictures that remained etched in my memory after the last olympics :

Usain Bolt thumping his chest before making it to the finish line:

Bolt's confidence was extremely inspiring. Whenever I used to see the footage of him in that 100m sprint I used to think, "What if he had lost th
at race due to his antics?" Well thats confidence for you. He was confident he wouldn't lose. As a very dear friend of mine would say, "You can't buy confidence from the market. Its inside you. You have got to light that fire within."

Michael Phelps after his 8th Gold:

Phelps on the other hand, filled my mind with wonderment. I am running on 23 and I am ashamed to say that I have achieved nothing that may be even remotely comparable to what he has achieved.

Michael Phelps : Inhaling through a glass pipe

However, his latest actions have let me down. Phelps was photographed smoking/pretending to smoke cannabis
through a glass pipe.

It has reinforced my belief in the fact that humans are prone to mistakes. Phelps was touted as God then. Well he turned out to be human after all. Contrary to readers' perceptions, I am not taking pleasure in penning this article. It pains me to see a blooming career wither so. It bothers me to see a 'barely-23' year old young turk having to answer and justify his actions to the entire world; actions, which are practised possibly by majority of his countrymen at a lower age. Phelps has been suspended for a couple of years. Kellog and Co has tried to protect its brand image by booting Phelps from its contracted rolls. Speedo and Omega are still persisting with Phelps as their brand ambassador but one cannot say for how long they shall continue to do so. In times of recession, reduction in consumption plainly due to a spoilt brand image is the last thing any firm would desire.

An analogy that strikes me here
Gravity : Apple
World's prying eyes : Celebrities

The apple just had weight; It did not have wings. So it had to come down when acted upon by gravity. Phelps had the success and the ensuing popularity. As evident, he did not have the sensibilties to shoulder the responsibilities entrusted upon him. The microscopic eyes of the media highlighted his condemnable actions and brought him down in no time. Even a privately committed mistake, as in case of Phelps made front page news in very quick time.

A major issue with Phelps more than any other errant celebrity is that he is a role model for kids.; the primary reason being that swimming lessons are started from the salad days in a person's life. Phelps should have realized this and checked his actions.

The milk has been spilt and there is no use crying over it now. The incident might raise questions on Phelps' maturity but it surely cant make people point fingers at his achievements.

It is surely a very hard lesson for the swimmer. My full sympathies with him. Hope this enables him to come out stronger.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Valentine's Day Special

Sriram Sena. Rings a bell?

Well, it should ; considering the fact that the name is more in the news than those of the doctors who repaired our PM's cardiovascular region.

I am yet to figure out what the political ambitions of Mr. Muthalik are. After leading a marauding campaign against western influences on our culture,one thing that he may have ensured is isolation in the political landscape. Every party, belonging to Karnataka or elsewhere is thinking twice even before issuing statements in favor of the hooligans.With the general elections being just around the corner, parties would rather use tried and tested formulae rather than champion for newly generated causes. Take the spineless Kalyan Singh for instance who has apologized for the Babri Masjid demolition. Well why would'nt he? He isn't a member of the BJP anymore. He has joined the SP (read: a party having more such spineless workers and a majority Muslim votebank to cater to).

Renuka Chowdhary has shot off a statement against the Sriram Sena citing the prime perpetrator's(read: Muthalik) bachelorhood as the reason for his condemnable actions against women at the pub. Pray tell me what has marriage got to do with it? I do not believe marriage teaches you to respect a woman.Going by the same logic, As a bachelor, is it justified if i don't respect women? For once, I would like to laud Renuka for chasing this issue but would like to remind her to stick to the issue and not digress from it by initiating an inconsequential personal slander. It is the lack of sensibilities, a quest for power and a lopsided view of culture, values and traditions that is driving the blasphemous actions of the hooligan-army led by Muthalik.

I was amused by this new dictat by the Muthalik army threatening that they would forcefully marry off couples frolicking and celebrating Valentine's day. Now, there is an interesting angle to this. If I as a participant in a relationship, am not being accepted by my partner's parents, all I have to do now is roam around with my partner on the 14th of Feb around the Sriram-sena 'adda' (Goons don't have HQs, they have addas). I don't even have to worry about breaking the news to my partner's parents. The local camera stations employed by the Sene would do the needful in my assistance. If not them, I can always bank on Aaj-Tak, StarNews, India TV to take the byte to the rest of the world and my partner's parents with the desired special effects and background scores.

I have been ranting in all my previous posts that the moderates in this country need to toughen up. Sensible, moderate parents in Karnataka, now have to decide whether they would wish to lock their offspring at home on Feb 14th or start off atleast a wave of thought against such extremism and force the impotent Yediurappa government to take action against the Sene.

This line does not mark the end of this article. It marks the start of a discussion that we need to engage in. This morality protection contract taken up by a handful of saffron brigadeers does not seem like it would die down soon.