Vantage point

Friday, February 28, 2003


Tomorrow India plays Pakistan in a do-or-die encounter at Supersport Park, Centurion. It is actually just a do-or-die encounter for Pakistan, with India almost sure of a Super Six berth. But an India-Pakistan match, the stakes be big or small is a do-or-die encounter.

What is it with us? Almost 90% of the cricket fans I know are of the opinion - "Does not matter if we reach the semis or win the cup, what matters is that we beat Pakistan." Replace Pakistan with India in this statement and you get what 90% of the fans in pakistan feel.

Today I read a news release by AFP which talked about the sentiment in Pakistan. The fans there, already frustrated with the team's continuous bad performance are in a state of frenzy. The team must win or be prepared for the worst, some fans say. A man, surprisingly, said that it is the duty of the Pakistan team, as true Muslims, to beat the "infidels". I blame Imran Khan for this excessive linkage between cricket and religion. He is the one who had said, "We think of every match against India as jihad, and that is why we believe Allah gives us extra willpower when we play them." I do hope for the sake of both countries that such ultra-spiteful views are held only by a minority in Pakistan.

Then there are those who have been gobbling up propaganda and believing it. A man in Islamabad said,

"I am sure Pakistan will beat India. But I am worried about the Muslims in India, because when that happens, Hindus will kill them in large number in fury."

I don't know whether to laugh at the ludicrousness of this staement, or feel offended. This statement is a sad commentary about how much both countries mistrust and misjudge each other. We have grown up believing that the other country is full of devil incarnates, a 'hell on earth' if you will. Sadly, most of us will not be shaken out of this rabid stupour. We will take these prejudices to the grave.

Each year it gets worse, with both countries blaming each other. Even the "talks" that are held once every few years are of a very narrow scope. The major issue is Kashmir, and then something related to defence or trade. But the talks never figure the more important issues, of how to heal the five decade old scars on both sides. How to start on a grassroot level in both countries to uproot this hatred for each other.

Until that happens, no talks will be useful. Even if the Kashmir issue is miraculously solved, the hatred will linger.

Are we condemned to live next to each other locked in a constant contest of "Who hates more?" until the day when Jesus and Kalki come (probably sharing a white horse) to put us out of our misery, and to tell us that each and every one of us 1.2 billion is unworthy of being called a good human being?

Felt like writing about something that happened in class today.

The 'Personnel Management and Industrial Relations' lecture was going on. The Professor was talking about legal aspects of the topic, like labour laws etc. On one slide, it said

"Companies can be closed down only on these three grounds - act of god, enemy action or state decision"

The Prof said, explaining this, that a company can not just be closed down unilaterally on the grounds of a huge loss. Government approval is needed even for closure. Only in the event of an act of god, like a flood or earthquake, or in the event of enemy action, like a wartime bombing, can the company be closed down unilaterally.

Now I thought of all the shops, restaurants and factories destroyed last year in Gujarat during the Hindu-Muslim riots. So I asked,

"Ma'am, If a factory is destroyed during riots, what would the closure come under?"

"It would be considered as an act of god," she said. "At least in the insurance sector, destruction caused by riots is counted as an act of god."

The humour in this irony struck me and I smiled. I could see that almost half the class shared my amusement and there was a bit of commotion as some of them started laughing. The Prof too smiled and started teaching the next part.

Very sad irony this, but to a great extent true. Is this a reflection on the lack of ability of human beings to follow the right teachings of religion? Or is it a reflection on the god-religion based belief system? Exactly what is responsible for the continuous self generated strife that mankind faces? The system itself or components of the system?

I don't know, but I do know one thing.

In the eyes of the law, a communal riot is an "Act of God". Mull over that.

Thursday, February 27, 2003


That is a play on words which basically means "Nehra sank England". If you remember my blogpost after the win against Zimbabwe, I had raved about what a different bowler he is looking. Yesterday, when he came on first change after Zaheer and Srinath had tied the Englishmen up in knots, I said to a friend "If Nehra bowls even half as well here, as he did against Zimbabwe, we will win". He did not bowl half as well, but in fact thrice as well. The pace, though about 4 kmph slower than that day, was still enough to rattle the batsmen. The line and length was absolutely deadly, and his performance yesterday was reminiscent of Ashish nehra's idol, Wasim Akram.

Imagine that he was almost certain not to play after the ankle injury he sustained against Namibia. His ankle was swollen till the morning of the match, and it was only after a lot of hard work by Andrew Leipus, the physiotherapist, that Nehra could scrape through the fitness test that morning. Apparently, he was absolutely desperate to play because this was such a big match (and maybe there was a fear that Agarkar, who would be picked in his place would do well and Nehra would be benched subsequently??). Whatever the reason, he came out with an absolutely brilliant spell of bowling, one which I have no hesitation in declaring as the best ever ODI spell by any Indian bowler that I have seen in my life. He kept hitting the right length and landing it on the seam. Though there was very little swing, he just bowled a very penetrative line and earned all his wickets.

However in all this praise for Nehra, we are forgetting one of the most brilliant run outs ever. If you have seen the 1992 Inzamam dismissal by Jonty Rhodes, you can understand what I am talking about. Now replace Inzy with Nick Knight and Jonty with Kaif. Knight just pushed the ball gently and called for a cheeky single. As the ball rolled towards short cover, and Knight sprinted to the non-striker's end, Kaif pounced on the ball like a tiger puncing on its prey, took a dive towards the stump, and let the ball go while he was in mid air, aiming at the stumps. From where he threw, he had just one stump to aim at, but he struck wood nonetheless and effected what was definitely the best runout by an Indian in a long time.

India came out like angry tigers and their commitment was displayed in their fielding. they dove and stopped almost anything in their vicinity and looked as good as any fielding side. In fact the whole attitude is typified by an incident which everyone must have forgotten by now. When England were eight down, and the match was definitely in India's bag, one of the batsmen (I think it was Flintoff) hit an amazing shot which was racing towards the boundary. Kaif chased the ball till the last moment, dived straight ahead, and stopped the ball from going to the boundary. This aggression even at an easy stage is very much in contrast to the usual Indian tendency to relax when things are going their way.

The bowling won this match for India, just like against Zimbabwe.

The batting still is in relative disarray, though not as fragile as two weeks ago. Tendulkar and Sehwag came out blazing all guns. Caddick said in an interview 2 days back, "I am ready for Tendulkar!". Turns out he meant "ready", in the same way that my mom says "Dinner is ready for you". Whenever a bowler shoots his mouth off in the press about him, Tendulkar singles him out for special treatment. He took about 30 runs off Caddick's two overs, including a disdainfully pulled six which was sailing towards the South Africa-Zimbabwe border, but because of the wind, dropped some metres outside the stadium. Sachin looked it great form and looked set for another 150, but made an error of judgement and was caught at point, reminiscent of the way he used to be regularly dismissed half a decade ago.

After that the Indian batting floundered bigtime. Dinesh Mongia!!! What on earth is he doing in the team? And that too at 2 down!! His true place in the batting order is at 10 down. This is the third successive match now that he has come, played like a slowpoke and ruined India's runrate. The man lacks the will to take singles or the skill to hit boundaries against even half-good teams. He should be dropped and replaced by either Sanjay Bangar or the specialist wicketkeeper, Parthiv Patel. Because if the Indian seamers keep bowling as brilliantly as they have in the past two matches, a specialist keeper is a more sensible option.

Yuvraj and Dravid stepped up the rate (Dravid hitting his first six after god knows how many years!) towards the end and took the total to 250 odd. Kaif's form is a reason for worry and I hope he is "back" soon. Ganguly was playing reasonably well until a bloodrush made him throw it away.

All in all, the batting is just about 65% of its true potential right now, but since the bowling has been 110%, we are winning.

Next target, Pakistan. Going by current form, they should be just pushovers. But when it is India they are playing against, that too in a "do or die" situation, those guys can come up with some brilliant cricket. It will be a great match to watch. Shoaib does not worry me, it is Akram whom the Indians need to play cautiously. Sehwag has a tendency to play across the line to the kind of line and length that Akram bowls, and that will be an exciting contest to watch. In general McGrath and Akram have demostrated over the past few years that even if the Brett Lees and the Shoaib Akhtars are superfast, it is accuracy, variety and intelligence that makes you great bowlers.

This is certainly a fascinating World Cup. The attention now shifts to Pool B, where no single team can yet be sure of a place in the Super Six.

Man, what a time to be alive!!!

Wednesday, February 26, 2003


The next day, Amar rushed home from college after the first lecture. It was half past eleven when he reached home.

"Is it two yet, Mom?" he asked as he threw his bag on the couch and picked up the phone.

"No, it is not even noon yet. Is your watch broken or something?" she said, surprised.

"OK, just a couple of hours to go before it is two" he said with a big smile on his face.

"Why? What is there at two?" his mother asked.

"Oh nothing. Never mind" he rushed to his room.

He decided he would study till two o clock. His GRE was just 3 months away and he had not even touched his books yet. He opened the Barron's guide and started doing the N word list. He kept reading until he felt it was too much and now it must surely be the time to call Nitya up. He put the book down and picked up the phone. As he was dialing her number, he glanced at his watch.

"Five minutes past noon!!!! That is impossible!" he shouted to himself. "My watch is broken, or too slow".

he went to the next room, and the clock there corroborated what his watch had told him. Making room for the possibility that wo watched might slow down at the same time, he dialed 174, the time facility.

"The time at the next beep is 12 hours 6 minutes and 30 seconds..."

Amar wondered what the matter with time was. He studied for some more time, and glanced at the watch, but it was not even 1. He finally started grasping what he had read about Einstein's relativity theory. Time is relative, he told himself, even if our velocity is not too much.

After about an hour full of restless moments and inane thoughts, finally it was 2 p.m. Amar rushed to the phone and dialled the number which was by now etched on his brain.

"Hello" he heard Nitya's voice say in a lilting tone.

"Hi Nitya, this is Amar..." he stopped talking as Nitya's voice went on

"...we can not take your call right now. Please leave your message after a beep."

Amar slammed the phone down with exasperation. She was not yet home. How could she do this to him? She had said she would be home after 2. As he was thinking about this, he suddenly stopped. A voice inside his head said,

"Look at yourself. You have become completely desparate for that girl's attention.Be a little reasonable. She hasn't done anything yet and you are already irritated to the core. If you are so restive, will you ever be able to have a happy relationship with any girl? Think about your studies too. Don't treat those wordlists like some dog eared magazine you read in the waiting room before the Doctor is ready to meet you. Concentrate on them, and call her later."

Amar listened to this voice of reason, and picked up the wordlists with a renewed determination to finish at least 4 before making the call. By the time he had finished with them, it was 6 in the evening. He dialled Nitya's number,

"Hello" a man's voice answered.

"Hello, may I speak to Nitya?"

"Nitya just left. May I know who's calling?"

"This is her friend, Amar."

"Amar, she has gone to Kamla Nehru Park with Sandeep. You can go there and talk to her if you want." said the man who Amar assumed was her father. "I suppose you know Sandeep."

"Yes yes" Amar lied "Thank you."

Now Amar was in a fix. What should he do? He did not know Sandeep. It could be anyone. It could be her younger brother whom she had taken to the park. It could be her boyfriend. He had no idea what to do now. He felt jealous at the possibility that Sandeep might be her boyfriend.

"Should I go the the park? What if she gets angry? What if she thinks I am being too intrusive? But then she told her father where she was going with him, so I guess it would be OK to go there. But then again, I hardly know her and......"

The Amar vs Amar dbeate went on for about five more minutes and finally a compromise was reached. He would go to the park, but wait in a shop near it. He would see if this Sandeep was indeed a boyfriend. If not, he would go talk to her. If it was some tall strapping guy who seemed to be her boyfriend, he would just leave and never call her again.

Amar had never driven his motorcycle as fast as he did that evening. He screeched to a halt near the park and entered a restaurant closeby. He ordered a coffee and sat at a table near the door which gave a clear view of the park entrance.

He drank 3 cups of coffee, and was about to order his fourth when he saw Nitya come out. Her arm was locked in a guy's arm and they were both smiling. Sandeep was certainly tall and strapping, but still Amar was happy on seeing him. He did not feel proud for being happy, but he was.

He paid for the coffee and ran out to meet Nitya and Sandeep.
to be continued....

Monday, February 24, 2003

Why is it that whichever way I think, the story either ends sadly or ends up seeming too unrealistic?
All the different directions I plotted in my mind for the next part are hackneyed. Need more time!

p.s- If you feel like cribbing about this delay, kindly read what Calvin is saying at the top left corner of my blog. ;-)

Saturday, February 22, 2003

A friend of mine yesterday asked me to post a love story on my blog. So this morning I got up and wrote this. It is just the first part, and if it does not seem too puerile, maybe I will write 2 or 3 parts more.


It all started at the Karve Road traffic signal one morning. He had gone cycling in the university campus in the morning and was returning home. It was around 8 in the morning and the winter sun was sending its tender rays in every direction. As Amar sped down the Law College Road towards Karve Road, he could see that the traffic light was red. But since it was early morning, traffic was sparse and no one was really obeying the signals. Amar too would usually ignore the red light in the morning and take a right turn up the slope. However, today he saw a sight that intrigued him. Even as the few vehicles that morning were zooming away, regardless of the traffic light, one person was obediently waiting for it to turn green. It was a girl on her Kinetic Honda, her head wrapped in a scarf. Amar still isn't sure exactly what made him stop right next to her that morning. At times he thinks it was out of the desire to emulate the law-abiding act of the girl and respect traffic rules. At other times, he thinks it was because he found her body stunning. Whatever the reason was, he braked and stopped right next to her. Now this habit of wrapping a scarf around your head while driving in a way that only your eyes are seen, is peculiar to Pune girls. So all that Amar could see of her face was her big black eyes. She was a bit surprised to see someone else also obeying the law, and looked at Amar. He kept staring at the traffic signal, aware of the fact that she was studying his face. As they were caught in this strange moment, the signal turned green. Amar saw that, turned towards the girl, smiled and indicated with a shake of his head that the signal was go. Tiny wrinkles formed at the edge of her eyes, indicating that she was smiling, and she sped off to the left, as Amar turned to the right.

Amar did not attach much importance to this incident. After all, Pune was full of both girls with great bodies, as well as people who obeyed the law scrupulously. But about 4 days later, he again saw her waiting at the signal. He repeated the routine, stopping next to her. He ignored her this time, hoping that maybe she would look at him again. Lofty hopes, for he was no Brad Pitt (or whoever girls find attractive these days), and if her eyes and body were anything to go by, she was good looking. She had looked at him once, and she had intention of giving him any wrong ideas by doing it again this time. She stood there ignoring his presence. The signal turned green, she turned left, and he turned right.

This scene repeated itself twice more over the next fortnight, with both Amar and the girl ignoring each other. But one thing that changed was that now Amar started obeying the signal everyday, regardless of whether the girl was there or not. A fortnight later, Amar's engineering exams started and he stopped cycling every morning. The exams went well, and Amar started cycling again. However a month went by without any sight of the girl.

"Amar, today is our college fund raiser and you have to come" Amit said over the phone. Amit studied in an management college and the student body held a fete of sorts every year to raise funds for the community service they indulged in. The event was two fold, since besides raising funds, it also gave the students a practical experience of managing an event, as well as selling, since there would be a lot of stalls handled by students.

Amar went to the college that evening with his friend Suraj. They both strolled around, spent some money at the games stalls, ate some junk food, and were about to leave when Suraj said

"Hey we haven't been to that part of the ground. I think they have merchandise stalls there."

"Oh come on, Suraj" Amar said "We are not going to buy anything from here that is of long term use. What are regular shops for? We have already spent about 100 bucks each on silly games and bad food. Considering that we don't earn, that is a pretty lavish donation, don't you think?"

"Who says we have to buy anything, ass?" Suraj replied "But managing the stalls will be girls from this college, and you know how hot they are. We can just go and schlooze around."

"Schlooze? With your GRE just a month away, I get worried when you use such non-words" Amar laughed "But I see your point. Let us go and check the merchandise out."

"Pun very much intended?" Suraj winked and got punched on his arm.

All the girls working at the stalls were wearing black saris, and almost each one of them was looking wonderful. Suraj and Amar 'schloozed' around for about half an hour, just asking questions, and tactfully ogling at girls, but not buying anything. Finally they reached the last stall which was selling calculators and digital diaries. Three girls welcomed them. One of them was Nitya. Nitya saw Amar and recognised him at once as the traffic signal guy. She also remembered the words of her marketing professor,

"To sell unsolicited products, you need a hook. Try to appeal to something in the customer. If you think he is of the same ethnic origin as you, talk to him in your native tongue. If he shows interest in sports, use some sports imagery. A good salesperson is one who makes the customer perceive him as a friend, someone you can trust, because you have something in common."

Now Nitya had only 15 minutes of her shift left and she had sold 9 items by then. On completing the number of 10, the company had promised to gift an mp3 player to the salesperson. She had to make one sale in the next 15 minutes to win the mp3 player.

"Hey, don't you recognise me?" Nitya said as she walked up to Amar. He was pretending to take interest in some digital diary another girl was showing him. Hearing Nitya's voice he looked at her, trying to wonder if he had seen her before. Her eyes! Yes, it was the girl from the traffic signal. He beamed and said

"Hey, you are the traffic signal girl!"

"Yes, and you are the traffic signal guy. It's ok, Preeti, I know him, you can attend to other customers" she said to the girl at the counter who reluctantly left. Then she turned to Amar and said, "I am Nitya."

"I am Amar. Haven't seen you at the traffic signal. You stopped obeying the rules?"

"No, no, We had the first lecture off for a month so I went to college an hour later, but it will start again tomorrow. You still go cycling?" she said as she grabbed the digital diary and before Amar could reply said "By the way, you must buy this digital diary. It costs just 700 rupees, subsidised for students, and it comes with a 2 year guarantee. And if you are not satisfied with it, you can return it to us within a week."

"Oh, no thanks, I really don't know what I would do with a digital diary" Amar said, thinking of what a big hole 700 rupees would make in his pocket.

"Are you kidding? It is a must for students and professionals nowadays. Everyone in our college has one. You can use it to remember what all you have to do everyday, plan study schedules, you can use it as a calculator, and it is the biggest pocket address book you can have."

"Address book?" Amar showed interest "How does that work?"

"See, you press this button, and enter someone's name, then hit return and enter their phone number and address, and then you store it using this button." Nitya explained.

"Okay, I think I will buy it." Amar said

"WHAT???" yelled Suraj who had till then been stealing glances at the other girls in the stall.

"Yes, Suraj, I am convinced it is very useful" Amar said "For instance if I meet someone and want to take down their phone number, I usually do it on my hand, and then forget about it. This IS useful."

"I am glad you think so." Nitya said "Here, I will put it in its box and give it to you so that you can make the payment and take it home."

"Not so fast" he said "First I want to test this address feature."

"OK, go ahead"

"OK, Name - Nitya. Phone number?" Amar raised his eyebrows and looked at her.

"My phone number? Why do you want my phone number?" she said taken aback.

"To call you if I ever feel like meeting you at places other than the traffic signal" he smiled. "And remember, if the phone number is not correct, I will just return this diary back."

"So you are buying this only to put my phone number in it?" she said in an irritated voice. "Go to hell. I am not giving you my number, I don't even know you. If you don't want to buy it, I am fine with it. What kind of a cheap trick is this?"

That was when Preeti approached them and said "Nitya, your shift is almost over and the next batch is here. Did you get the tenth sale you needed for an mp3 player? You will be the first one to do that since no one has managed to sell more than 7 so far."

"No, I did not." Nitya said as she walked off towards the cash counter to sign off her shift

Amar picked up the digital diary, put it in the cardboard box nearby and took it to the cash counter. Nitya was still there signing some stuff. He said to the woman at the cash counter,

"This girl here just sold me this digital diary. 700 rupees right?"

"Yes, 700 rupees. Thank you" the woman said taking the money from Amar's hand. Then she mumbled, "Sale made by Nitya. Hey Nitya, you got ten sales, congrats! here is your receipt, Sir."

Nitya looked at Amar silently, as he took the recepit and the digital diary, smiled at her, and left the stall.

"You are stupid, Amar. You paid 700 rupees for something you probably won't use and did not even get that girl's phone number. You are stupid. When will you ever learn?" Suraj chided him.


The next morning as Amar came to the end of Law College Road, he saw Nitya wating at the signal which was red. He stopped his bicycle right next to her. Before he could decide whether to smile at her or ignore her, she looked at him and said,


"What?" Amar asked in a startled voice.

"3-6-3-2-4-5-3, that is my phone number. You can enter that in your digital diary." she said as she removed the part of the scarf covering her face and smiled.

"Nah, I don't need a digital diary to remember you phone number. I have it memorised already. 3632453, right?"

"Yes" she said, still smiling.

"And is this phone number only for entering in the diary, or can I make other novel used of it as well, like, you know, dialing it?"

"Sure. I am generally home in the afternoon after 2." she said as the signal turned green. "Bye, Amar"

"Bye Nitya" he said, as she turned left and he turned right.

Friday, February 21, 2003

Tony has come up with more hilarious relationship stuff. Go read it here.


Don't groan, this is not another cricket related post. It's about the placement of our senior batch at IIML. Everyone, except for 2 guys got placed in 2 days, and many companies could not come because there was no one left to take. Not only does this mean a great sense of triumph and relief for the entire institute, but also a holiday for us today, which was originally scheduled to be a placement day too.

This batch was the first one with a strength of 240 (the last one being 170), which had reduced to 230 after failures and dropouts. There was some anxiety about whether we would be able to place this huge number at a time when the economy is in a perpetual state of recession. But we managed it. =-)

The IT companies are back on a hiring spree, with Infosys taking 30 , HCLtech taking 20, Wipro taking 6 and TCS taking 6, among the big companies. That itself means 25% of the batch. The consultants did not come this year, and the number of finance jobs was very less. The evergreen field of marketing was the mainstay of placements though, and people got great jobs in it.

A lot of oil companies, like BPCL, IOC and HPCL came with the intention of making at least 10 offers or so, with a very hefty pay package, but no one was left. IOC took 5 guys, but apparently wanted 20 or so.

I do feel very bad for the two guys who did not get placed though. I may not give much indication of it in my blog, but IIML is a very demanding place, both in terms of the effort you have to put in, as well as the emotional resilience you have to possess. There have been 1 or 2 nervous breakdowns every year. All this on top of the one year of intense preparation for the entrance exam, CAT. Just to give you an idea of how hard it is to get in, this year 107,000 undergraduates and graduates took the MBA entrance exam, of which only 900 will eventually make it to the top 4 IIM's (Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Calcutta and Lucknow). Figure out the odds. After conquering such daunting odds, those two guys must have got in, survived the excruciating 20 month course, and hoped to start their careers.

But instead they were rejected by many companies. Even the companies which came towards the end, left without taking anyone rather than taking them.

I can't even begin imagining how they must be feeling right now. Prof Ravisundar, the Placement Incharge, has assured them that he will get them jobs within a day or two which will be of a comparable pay and position, so they need not fear unemployment. But can you imagine how taxing this must be on their self esteems? Business schools can be cruel, and only those who can stand immense stress and still come out with their self respect and confidence intact should try for it. Especially top B-schools where your classmates are so talented, motivated and focussed that they keep pushing the bar up. No wonder some people expand IIM as "Institute of Infinite Misery".

The following numbers indicate the speed measurements (in miles per hour) of the six balls of an over by a particular bowler -

90.8, 91.6, 93.8, 93.2, 92.6, 91.0

Yes, that is right, miles per hour.

And you know who the bowler was? Ashish Nehra against Zimbabwe!!!!

He bowled an excellent spell and beat the bat a dezon times without luck. He has done that before. But when and how did he cross the 90 mph barrier? As I jog my memory, I recall that the only Indian bowler to be in this range was Ajit Agarkar. If Nehra has made some changes to his runup, after advice from Wasim, it explains this sudden pace.

By the way, about the Zimbabwe win, I won't even talk about how people are being a tad too euphoric about it. However I present another point. I am not of the opinion that changing the batting order had any great effect on the eventual score we got. If it had been 300 odd, OK, but I am sure we would have got 250 odd even if Ganguly had opened. In fact, looking at the way the opening bowlers bowled, maybe Ganguly would have cracked back to form.

I think the reason for our victory is the replacement of Kumble by Nehra. Taking two spinners was the stupidest things possible, especially when even the two combined are not as potent as Murali. Seamers are taking the wickets in this World Cup, and picking Kumble, who in my opinion has been sorted out by almost every team at least 4 years back, was stupid. If it had been Kumble who had come on first change instead of Nehra, the Flowers would have been able to consolidate easily and eventually even got 256. But Nehra kept such a tight line that the required run rate climbed and they had to take risks against Ganguly, before the Delhi left armer came back for another penetrative spell.

Harbhajan's dismissal of Andy Flower and Ganguly's dismissal of Grant Flower were exhilarating to watch, because both were plotted and successfully executed by the Indian team. Harbhajan kept bowling a leg stump line from his over, and even bowled a couple of wides. His line was such that it was difficult for Andy to hit a reverse sweep, his favourite shot against spinners. He tried it once, one handedly, like a table tennis swat, and looked very uncomfortable. In general, Flower was uncomfortable with the leg stump line and after a few attempts, and a few wides by Bhajji down the legside, decided to not fiddle with anything pitched there.

And then the beauty came, the ball pitched outside leg, Flower did not play at it, it spun and clipped the leg stump. The spin was so late that Andy Flower actually took off for a run, as he was not aware he was bowled.

The second well plotted dismissal was off Ganguly's bowling. The run rate had dropped a great deal, and Grant Flower, an aggressive player by nature, had been kept on a leash by Nehra and Harbhajan. So Ganguly brought himself on. Now people in my hostel started cursing him saying "Why the *beep* is he bowling? He is stupid!". I made a bet that ganguly would get a chance, if not a wicket in his very first over. Flower looked at ganguly as a relief, someone whom he could get a few quick boudnaries off. Ganguly bowled the first three balls very well, not giving Flower any room to play his shots. The first three balls of the "relief bowler"'s over were dot balls. At this point, I said to Pranav, "Grant Flower is too aggressive to take 3 dot balls lying down. Ganguly should bowl one short of length instead of pitching it up, since he will go for a hit anyway." The Indian captain did exactly that, he pitched it quite short on the offside, Flower went for a big hit, and holed out to long on.

This is what is more heartening to me than the so called "clicking" of the batting order. The great job Nehra did, and how the two best batsmen of the opposition were "plotted" out.

If we beat England on 26th, and assuming that the Namibia tie is not washed out, we should be in the Super Six with what our Quant Prof would call, a 99% significance level.

Thursday, February 20, 2003

Inspired after reading "Snapshots from Hell", a book about how the author survived first year at a business school, I am trying my hand at writing about one episode from my own second term (For the uninitiated, at IIML, there are 3 terms of three months each in a year). If it is appreciated, who knows, maybe I could work on a book of my own, because "Snapshots from Hell" indicates to me that compared to IIML, Stanford was a reasonably easier ride, and did not show the author, Peter Robinson, all the aspects of B-school life that we see here.


I am an engineer. By virtue of being an engineer, I was spared from attending the "Remedial Course" which the institute had made compulsory for all arts, commerce and other students who had not dealt with mathematics or computers exhaustively in their life. With the other engineers, who made up 75% of the batch, I was smug in the knowledge that I could directly start b-school education without taking 2 week long courses on maths and computers.

This smug belief was punctured during the first lecture itself, when Ms. Goel walked in to take the first ever class in her life. She was to teach us MANAC1 (Financial Accounting) till the midterms, and saying that we were in trouble would be understating the risk. Ms. Goel is so obviously not cut out for teaching. Her concepts may be good, since she was ranked 4th in the all-India Chartered Accountants exam, but her communication skills sucked. Finac is already a difficult topic when you are new to it. Adding Ms. Goel to it was like telling a guy who walks across the bed of hot coals to wait for a minute between each step.

Now during these lectures, the commerce students and the CA's enjoyed themselves. A friend of mine told me that what they had learnt over almost two years, we were being taught in 3 months. So everyone was going to have to work extra hard. Now I did try to understand the material and teaching but it was just too abstruse. She gave a tough midterm exam as well, and I like most of the class, did horribly.

After the midterms we had Prof AB. Now AB is considered one of the best profs on campus, and with good reason. However he went very fast and though it did not seem all greek like when Goel taught, it was no cakewalk either. Some people managed to do well in his endterms, but I did not. My grade was C, which when translated to grade points means 3 out of 10.

Now this is the background on which we started MANAC2 (Cost Accounting) in the next term. We had a real character teaching us in the pre-midterm phase. His name was AM and he was one of the weirdest people I have seen in my life. He said "Among my course objectives, one is to become unpopular, because I have realised that if you want to teach well, you have to be unpopular". He kept on saying "Cost accounting is very very tough" and then proceeded to make it tougher than it seemed in the material. The powerpoint slides he used during the lectures were hilarious. They were cluttered with text, which would take you two minutes to read. And for some reason his slides had cartoons on them. They featured guavas, policemen, tap dancers, rumpelstiltskins, coconut trees, and what have you. It was indicative of what a cartoon he was, I suppose. His ego was the size of Uttar Pradesh (after Uttaranchal was separated), and on the advice of seniors we fed it generously by thumping our desks for applause when he made any grandiose statement. Once Kashyap raised a point of dissent, and argued with him for 10 minutes. So AM said some things with great emphasis and then said "If you want to prove me wrong, take this list of books" and proceeded to name 10 books "read them and tell me where you found material verifying your claim." Then resembling the cheshire cat in one of its better moods, he said "If you will waste my time, it will cost you your time too". And everyone started thumping their desks. The next day he asked Kashyap, "Haan bhai, have you read those books?", and Kashyap using a tone that would make a diplomat nod with approval, said, "Yes sir, I read the books and found out you were absolutely right, I never should have doubted you." More bench thumping and beaming. Generally a guy called Martand would start thumping the desk and everyone would follow suit. Later on it took on maniacal proportions. In one lecture of one hour, we thumped the desk thirteen times, including once in response to when he said "Today I am taking a quiz". He was flummoxed at such a response to the announcement of a quiz, so he repeated, "Today I am taking a quiz". More bench thumping. These desk-thumping bouts fed his ego so much that it bloated to the size of Uttar Pradesh (before Uttaranchal was separated). His lectures never made much sense. As I learnt later, he just took some easy concepts and convolved them many times over. The 5% weightage quizzes he took were bad for me as well, because such quizzes depend mainly on how much you understand in class. And two things prevented us from asking him our doubts - one was his pugnacious attitude like the incident with Kashyap showed. The other was the fear that he would muddle up whatever little we had understood as well, instead of clarifying anything.

During his last lecture, Vikash pulled the greatest joke ever. At the end of the class, he said "Are there any questions or comments?". Vikash said in his typically melodramatic and over-respectful style "Yes sir, I think you have fulfilled all course objectives, but one. You had said you want to be unpopular, but now you have become the most popular teacher in our class." His eyes actually seemed to well up as the loud deskthumping drowned out our laughter. His voice quavered when he took attendance. He had bought it! Boy, if he bought it, is he in for a surprise next year when he floats an elective with a hope that students will fall over each other to sign up for it.

Anyway, Vikash's ulterior objective was to make the milk of kindness flow in AM's stomach, and thereby ensure an easy midterm paper. No such luck. It screwed us totally, and I started looking at another C, as I had scored 1.5 out of 5 in his quiz, and 12 out of 35 in the midterm.

But that was when Vipul came in. Prof Vipul took the post-midterm classes. He looked like an efficient dictator. Each hair perfectly in place, and a scowl on his moustached lips, it was clear this guy was no cartoon. He meant business. He had a sharp tone, and a clear way of teaching. he was very strict, and would pick on anyone to talk about the case being discussed. However what helped was his attitude to doubts was very open and responsive. If you did not understand, he wanted you to ask him, so he would explain.

Vipul was so much better compared to the three previous teachers who taught us accounting. He knew exactly how to make students work, and how to make a subject clear. For me, the big confidence shift happened during a lecture on "Application of activity based costing", when I was among the only 3 people in the class interacting with him, and everyone else was having a tough time following. I thought, "Hey, I am among the only 3 people in the class who has understood this case very well! I must be good at this"

The way he taught variance analysis was especially amazing. He had written a separate text for it, and made it very easy. There was something different about Vipul. All the other professors used to ask students at random to discuss the case too, and would harshly rebuke anyone who hadn't read the case like Vipul. But in their classes, what they taught was never enough to make you understand the material. You had to go back, mull over notes, decode them and then solve the case. Vipul's teaching was so lucid that you only had to solve the case before class, and not spend time clearing your concepts from the text.

By the time the endterms came, I was much more confident about doing well. I thought that if I could get at least 25 or 30 out of 45, I would be safe with a B- and out of the C zone. The exam started. The first question, we had to find out some stuff that needed us to use a formula he had taught. But I had forgotten the formula. However the way he had taught it, I could derive the formula there in 5 minutes, and use it. The second, third and fourth questions were very reasonable questions and I was sure everyone would do them well. The fifth question was a case. I read it twice and spotted a catch or two in it. I was exhilarated because I had never been able to spot these hidden tricks in the previous accounting exams. Generally only a few students can spot these, and it makes the difference between who tops and who is average.

I finished the exam with 10 minutes to go and came out feeling supremely confident. A friend asked me how was it, and before I could realise what I was saying, the answer came out "I am getting 45 out of 45 because I have written a faultless paper". This was an ambitious statement to make, with my track record in accounting, so my friend looked at me with amusement. I too wondered why I said what I said. It was like someone else had spoken through my mouth.

Well, as it turned out two weeks later, whoever had spoken through my mouth was dead right! I was one of the 3 people who got 45/45 in the end term. I had got 13/15 in his quizzes, and so I ended up with a grade of B+, which means 7 out of 10 when translated to grade points. I was in the top 10% of the whole batch in the course, and I felt great.

By my own accounting standards, I had done well.

Tuesday, February 18, 2003


As someone who had worked in the Polio immunisation drive for the last 4 years, this article came as a shocker. We were so happy in 2001 when the numbers were reducing and all but 4 states of India were polio free. However a rise is a worrying sign. Will we ever be able to reach a stage where our children will look at polio as something out of history books, the way we look at smallpox?

So many NGO's are involved in this now. All that people have to do is take their babies there on those Sundays and get those drops in their mouth. No injections, no payments, nothing.

90% of the cases are in Uttar Pradesh, and most of them in the poor Muslim families. This is mainly due to some "misconception" (pun unintended) that polio doses somehow are meant for birth control, which is considered unislamic. Now I have worked in the slums of Pune, and have written down names of hundreds of Muslim children after we administered the doses, and their parents have not had a problem. In fact pulse polio drives are held in Pakistan and Afghanistan on a large scale and they would not have been allowed if they were unislamic. So it seems as if this galatfehmi is limited only to a few muslims of Uttar Pradesh.

An information campaign needs to be launched in this state featuring respected leaders and celebrities of the community, you know, the Shahnawaz Hussains and the Mohammad Kaifs of U.P., who will convince these people to not abstain from the drive and not paralyse their children's futures.

Polio hatao!

The most important time for a B-school, according to some, is here for IIM Lucknow. Today, our seniors' placements start in full flow. 72 companies in 3 days is a big ask, not just logistically, but for the participants as well. The placements are handled entirely by us First Year students.

There is a lot of work involved, right from getting the companies down at the right time, to arranging schedules and batches for GD's and interviews, to managing the situation if a guy gets offers from 2 companies at the same time, because an offer made and rejected is a job lost. Managing the whole thing has been an enriching experience for us, and the next 3 days will be the crescendo of all the efforts that have been put in thus far.

Already, some companies have started making job offers and judging by the loud cheering I heard on my floor, guys are getting jobs they wanted.

Today is an ultra busy day for everyone involved with the companies. I am a liaison for 3 companies, but have an off day today since the company scheduled for me today, ITC, is coming tomorrow. They will just be making offers since they have already conducted their process before (the period before day one is called day zero). I have to work with L&T and ONGC over the next 2 days.

But today, I effectively have a holiday, since no classes are held during placement time.

I have been utilising this time very conbstructively. I listened to O Humdum from Saathiya 3 times. It has been sung by 4 guys - Kaykay, Shaan, Kunal and Pravin Mani, and I spent a lot of time figuring out who has sung which part. :-P

Other things on my agenda today are reading "Snapshots from hell", a hilarious book about first year MBA at Stanford, and then watching India take on Zimbabwe in a do or die match.

South Africa is almost out of it. Assuming there are no "minnows beat biggies" upsets in Group B, South Africa can not make it to the Super Six stage unless Sri Lanka lose both their matches. Like England last time, the host nation may not reach the Super Six stage. How big a blow is that?

Been meaning to update my "favourite blogs" list for a while now. Finally remembered it and am doing it right now. There are 5 new entries. Some are not new, since I have been reading them for a while now, but been too absentminded to link them.

Teshu - For some reason his blog used to take ages to load, so with the slow connection that we often have here, his was not among the limited blogs I read daily. Now it loads quick, so yay! Lives in London and is passionately opposed to the war on Iraq.

Sameer - Another phamous blogger like Teshu. Lives in Mumbai, works in software, keeps hajaar blogs. I am linking the one that loads fastest. Unfortunately his lj blog refuses to load, so I read it rarely.

Ferzana - Another Londoner, calls bloggers up in Australia to chat with them. Is gifted air tickets to India.

Sara - She lives in Lahore, and is the first Pakistani on the blogroll. She has a real flair for writing. Do read her archives, especially the hilarious posts about her dad and her PC as well as her moving posts about her visits to the lesser known parts of Lahore.

Chavez - Real name Parvez, fellow Puneite, MBA, quizzer (have shared the stage with him on a couple of occasions, both as competitor and quizmaster), writes with a great deal of angst and also comes up with the funniest comments and posts.

Tony - Claim to fame - he was the guy who wrote that "teddy Bear" theory I had posted on my blogs some days ago. He has finally given in to the clamouring masses and decided to start a blog of his own. Not much there right now, but he will be in full flow in a week or so.

Monday, February 17, 2003

A wise man once said,

"The past is in the past, and the future is yet to come, so worry only about the present."

This dude knew what he was talking about. I am not a person who worries a lot, and I generally live life as it comes. But the one thing I worry about is "present". Nope, not the times that we live in, but actually the present that you buy for a girl.

It is probably one of the most repeated lines in history, but it bears repetition - Girls are hard to shop for.

There are two sides to it. One is that girls are soooooo unpredictable when it comes to their choosiness. What is a good present today might be something very passe a month later. Girls change their tastes faster than Nepal changes its Prime Ministers. So if a guy has to be sure of his present being a "great" one, he needs to keep abreast of the latest developments in women's fashion, or trends or whatever.

I still remember the first time I bought a gift for a girl on my own. I had just finished high school, and there was this girl I sort of liked. It was her birthday, and I was wondering what to buy her. I spent a lot of time with my friend Aniruddha ( who despite what he might say, is as clueless about this matter as I am) in one of the gift shops at Deccan Gymkhana in Pune and finally chose a perfume bottle. I know, I know. Even at the age of 80, guys have no idea which perfume would be liked by women, and here I was, all of 16, buying a perfume for a girl. I gave it to her very nervously. Now it was not like one of those exquisite little glass bottles with a cute suction arrangement that you pull with a silk thread. She opened it, and I must say that if I expected her face to light up with joy and gratitude, I was disappointed. She gave me a polite smile and said "Thank you!". Later a mutual friend of mine told me that she was very amused that I had given her a big bottle of "hanky perfume" as a birthday gift and that maybe it was my way of making fun of the fact that she always had cold. Now I had never noticed the fact that it was a "hanky perfume", but then oh well..... No wonder I could not even get to the ballpark, forget the first base, with that girl. =-)

Some say that it is very difficult shopping for a girlfriend or a wife. Maybe, it is. But it is a lot harder shopping for a girl who is not your girlfriend or wife, or anyone else you might be romantically involved with. Because there you have the additional factor of "What if she construes this as a romantic overture??". So you have to be careful. Unless it is some female friend whom you are really very chummy and close to and who can not misconstrue your actions (like Walls, Mitu and Gauri are for me), red roses are NOT a good idea for a gift. Go for other flowers, and preferably other colours too. Chocolates are considered a safe bet, but there is always one friend you have who will twist her nose and say "I don't like chocolates!!".

If flowers and chocolates are out of the picture, a guy is pretty much stumped about what to buy. If the girl likes to read, a good book is something that makes a great gift, and I must say, I have a neat choice in books to give as presents. But books are the last straw you can clutch at.

If a girl does not like books, god help the guy in question. To use a term made popular by Navjyot Sidhu, the guy will be as confused as a baby in a topless bar.

Buying presents for girls is a very difficult proposition indeed. Thank goodness not all girls are the Queen of Hearts from Alice in Wonderland.

Sunday, February 16, 2003

THE LUCKNOW BLOGGERS MEET.....or What a great time I had this evening when I met Sarika
I was standing at Parivartan Chowk at 5:30 p.m. with a yellow flower in my hand (I don't know what that flower is called). I had no idea what she looked like, but she said she would be on a black Honda Activa. I saw one girl whiz past me, but she seemed in her late 20s. I stared at her for a moment, hoping for a response, but she gave me a very rude look. This can't be Sarika, I thought. A few seconds later, a girl wearing a helmet and clad in pink on a Honda Activa smiled at me and stopped near me and said "Hi!".

Her dress however was not half as pink as her cheeks. She was blushing with nervousness, she said to me. This blush was causing her already rosy complexion to take on a darker hue. I sat behind her and we went to Aryans, near Hazratganj.

In the restaurant, she had a vanilla ice cream and I had chocolate. We had already realised that we shared a lot of dislikes. Now we discovered that we shared a bad habbit too. Anyway, we basically kept talking of this and that, and furthermore of this and a bit more of that. It was a great conversation, because like I said some days ago, best conversations are those whose topics you can't really remember hours after you've had them. So though we spoke non-stop for two and a half hours, I'll be darned if I can list down what all we talked about.

For someone who has such a great personality, and is such a great conversationalist, Sarika sure does ask "Am I boring you?" a lot! The reality is far from it. She is very cute, perky and great company to have and it would take a really shallow or a lifeless person to call her boring.

At 8 p.m., we left because I had a bus to catch and she had to get home before it was too late. And so drew to a close what was definitely the best evening I have had in Lucknow.

Looking forward to meeting you again, Sarika.

Saturday, February 15, 2003

No Big Deal

A pall of gloom has descended over IIM Lucknow, as I am sure it has over most of the country. People are crestfallen by the way India abjectly surrendered to Australia in today's World Cup match.

Which is why I feel as if I am some kind of a lighthouse tower standing in the middle of the sea on a new moon night. I seem to be the only one who still thinks India can win the World Cup. It is not just patriotic optimism that makes me say this. I mean seriously, consider this. It is a match we were not really expected to win anyway. We lost is what matters, and not the way in which we lost. There is still an almost sureshot chance of us reaching the super six stage. After that, who knows?

What keeps me away from gloom is the fact that today's defeat was more of the mind than the technique. Look at the way Ganguly, Sehwag, Dravid....the whole lot got out. The Australians did not get them out, but they threw their wickets away. In fact most of the beautiful and perfect deliveries of McGrath, Lee and Gillespie whizzed past the batsman into the keeper's hands. Today's collapse was the same old dominoes mentality story.

What keeps me from gloom is the fact that over the past couple of years, india has shown that resilience and that spark to bounce back from adversities. So nothing is lost yet. Remember the 1992 World Cup? Pakistan were bundled out for 61 or so against England in the preliminary round, and lost badly to India. But they made a late comeback, won some matches on a trot and lifted the cup. Remember the 1999 World Cup? Australia started off with a disastrous defeat against New Zealand in their second match, similar to India right now. They also lost to Pakistan, and went to the Super Six round with zero points. Imran's prediction at that time proved right and Australia won the big one.

A team which has the mental ability will have the last laugh. As of now, I think India has the mental ability as well as the talent to reach the knock out stage and maybe even win the finals.

Touring New Zealand has thrown our team into a losing rut. They better get their act together on the 19th against Zimbabwe and come up with an emphatic win, because the ICC gave Zimbabwe the full points for the match against England that never took place. If we somehow manage to pull a defeat out of the hat once again, we will confirm Zimbabwe's spot in the Super Six, and then we will find ourselves in a "win all the remaining matches" kinda situation.

So until the end of the India-Zimbabwe encounter....... no one can write us off.....actually we are in the Cup even if we lose to Zimb. Call me the eternal optimist. :-)

Friday, February 14, 2003


After my earlier post that dealt with Warne and the Aussies, now I want to talk about the weird behaviour of the England and Wales Cricket Board. Two days ago, England were supposed to play their first match against Zimbabwe in Harare, but they did not go there, citing "security reasons". For months now, the British government has been pushing ICC to relocate the matches from Zimbabwe, because "President Mugabe rigged elections and is not the rightful ruler of the country". I don't get it. Have I been reading the wrong history textbooks? I was under the impression that the British empire came to an end decades ago and all these countries are free. What business is it of Tony Blair's what is happening in Zimbabwe? I am not saying Mugabe is a mighty nice chap, but is Zimbabwe the only country in the world which is ruled by someone not chosen by its people? What about Saudi Arabia? Why don't the Brits break off relations with them?

Anyway, if the Brits have a problem with Zimbabwe and their policy, it is their prerogative. I am no one to sit here and dictate British foreign policy. But if they believe in something, they should be willing to make sacrifices for it. For years India opposed the Apartheid administration in South Africa and pledged not to have any diplomatic or sporting ties with them. India took this so seriously that in 1975 (or was it 74?) when we reached the Davis Cup finals, we forfeited just because the opponents were South Africa. We never went whining to the organisers saying that the Davis Cup be split equally or something like that. If the Englishmen want to make a statement about opposing Mugabe, then rather than not shaking hands with him or something, they should abstain from playing and forfeit the 4 points. Like the New Zealand team, which was scared of playing in Kenya, conceded the 4 points from that match (there is an outside chance of Kenya making it to Super Six, way way outside chance, but it is there). But England are too greedy for that. They know that the chances of their beating India are pretty slim. Pakistan and Australia are beyond their scope. So if they concede the match to Zimbabwe, they are out of the World Cup. And they don't care that much about Mugabe's legitimacy.

So now they have come up with this bogey of "security issues" which is ridculous to say the least. As long as the ICC says the venue is safe, the ECB has no say on the matter. Following the precedent set in 1996, when WI and Australia forfeited their points from their matches in strife-torn Sri Lanka, the full points should be awarded to Zimbabwe. But the ICC is displaying signs of partisan behaviour already. The match was supposed to be 2 days ago, but the ICC allowed the English Cricket Board extra time to file a new appeal or something.

Now Zimbabwe says that they will not play the match outside their country and maybe even boycott their scheduled tour to England next year. South Africa may also refuse to tour England to show solidarity for the African cause.

I see no major problems with using sports as a means of politics because it is a reality of the world we live in. USA has done it, Russia has done it, Pakistan has done it and even India is doing it. But you certainly can't have your cake and eat it too, England.

Thursday, February 13, 2003

Sorry for that image botch up yesterday. I wanted to test and see if the image link I had pasted, worked, but it did not, and I forgot to delete that post. Anyway, here is the actual image.

Now this image was sent to me by my friend Saket, a classmate and fellow quizzer from COEP. It is one of those photos that you look back at with a totally different perspective because due to events that have happened later, it holds so much significance.

This is the picture taken at our college Boat Club where we held our Quiz Club sessions every Saturday afternoon. This was one of the lean days with a sparse crowd (by our standards those days), where no one must have gotten any original questions to ask. So we see Ramanand asking us questions out of the book which had questions from the previous editions of Mastermind India. This picture seems so special now, almost a year hence, now that Ramanand has been crowned Mastermind India 2002.

Other bloggers in the image are Harish in the greenish grey shirt, and moi on Harish's left in the light grey(or white?) pullover.

BCQC was truly the best place on earth for us. And though I am no geriatric yet, I can confidently croon a la Bryan Adams, 'Those were the best days of my life!'

Wednesday, February 12, 2003


PROLOGUE: This story is based on an incident in the 8th century A.D. that I read about on a site some weeks back. I have read up other sources too and have tried to be as historically accurate as possible. However, I wish to make it clear that this is basically a short story meant to be read for entertainment and I have taken some creative liberties.

Princess Suryadevi stood near the window, twirling the golden bracelet in her right hand with her left. She stood gazing into nothingness, thinking about the events of the recent past, something she did all day and all night. Then she shifted her gaze towards the ground. The view from her window was not all that great. There were more palaces standing in their splendour, and soldiers moving around in earnestness. In this crowd of soldiers, she noticed a young boy who sat peering at something on a windowsill near him. She looked more closely and realised that it was a sparrow that held the little boy�s fascination. He took light steps and tried to catch the sparrow, but just managed to touch it before it flew away. She was immediately reminded of her childhood in Brahmanabad, where she played in the royal gardens with her little sister, Parimal. Once while playing, she and Parimal had decided to catch a sparrow and tame it. They stalked one for hours, without telling their mother about their plans. They did manage to catch one, but their jubilation was short-lived when it slipped out of Surya�s hand deftly and flew away with a shrill cacophony of cheeping. What made an impact on their mind forever though was what happened next day.

Parimal came running in to her room, crying uncontrollably. She dragged Surya out to the garden where she saw the sparrow they had caught lying dead. It had been pecked violently to death by other birds. The two little princesses sat near their dearest pet and wept in sorrow for its tragic death. That is when the Maharani, their mother came to the garden. Seeing her daughters crying, she ran and took them in her arms.

�What happened, my precious princesses?� she asked.

�Mother, we had caught this sparrow yesterday, to play with it, but it ran away. Now see what has happened to it. Why did our friend die, mother?� Surya wailed. The Maharani thought whether she should tell the princesses the truth. They would learn the lesson in time anyway. But then they must realise that they have made a mistake and caused a life to end.

�Surya, Parimal, I know you just wanted to pet the sparrow and play with it, but when a human being touches a sparrow, the other sparrows kill it. So by touching it, you two have caused its death. I know you didn�t mean it, but I hope you will not repeat such a thing in the future.�

The two princesses were devastated and did not eat anything that day out of remorse. Something troubled Surya all night. The next day she asked her mother,

�Mother, I was the one who touched the sparrow, so I should have been the one punished. The sparrows should have come and pecked me. Why did they punish the innocent little sparrow?�

�My child, we live in a world where it is the innocent who often get punished. Unless the innocents are willing to retaliate in equal measure, they will keep getting trampled. I know you are sad at the sparrow�s death, but let this be a lesson to you for the future.�
Suryadevi was reminded of this piece of advice her mother gave, �The innocent must retaliate in equal measure�. She did not want to be like that sparrow, persecuted by others for no fault of hers. She looked at the golden bracelet.

�Is this bracelet not a metaphor for my captivity? Once the princesses of a vast kingdom, we are now just slaves of Walid, even if they have given us the fancy title of �Royal guest�. I am destined to be just another item in the Caliph�s harem. I could see the lust in his eyes when he came to �welcome� us at the palace.�

She felt a hand wrap around her shoulder. But she did not recoil in revulsion, because she knew the touch all too well.

�Hello Parimal, how was the afternoon siesta?� Suryadevi asked her sister.

�I had a dream about our palace in Brahmanabad. I miss Brahmanabad, Surya, I really do. And I hate this wretched city called Baghdad. Why have we been brought here?� Parimal lisped.

Surya said nothing and changed the topic. She felt angry enough at Qasim for putting her through this, but why did he have to include Parimal in this ordeal? Her little sister was just 15 years old, and still a child at heart. Surya herself was 20 and could understand the ways of the world, but why Parimal? She had begged Qasim to leave Parimal alone.

�Qasim, what will your Caliph get out of a tiny 15 year old girl? She is so thin, she looks like a ten year old anyway. Take me if you want, but let her stay.� She had pleaded.

�I am very sorry, Princess, I would not have liked to take anyone of you, if things were left to me. But these are orders from the Caliph in Baghdad. I am powerless. It is not my fault�, he said.

But it was his fault. She remembered the war, which was thrust upon her father, King Dahir, just because some pirates had hijacked a ship belonging to the Caliph. Fifteen times, the Arabs had attacked Sindh and had been repealed each time, many times by her brother Jaisiah. But Mohammad Bin Qasim had taken help of traitors, and taken help of enough lies to finally defeat Dahir and brutally kill him. Qasim was not powerless, neither was he without blame. He had destroyed her family, killed her father, made her brother Jaisiah convert to Islam and now this.

Suryadevi was snapped back to the present by the sound of two maids entering. They told her that the Caliph had come to pay her a visit. Surya immediately told Parimal to go in the next room.

The Caliph of Baghdad, Walid was pleased as punch with himself. He had done what many respected Caliphs before him had failed to do. Umar, Usman, Ali, Muwaiyah, all had sent armies to capture Sindh, but had come back vanquished everytime. In fact even this time, his orders to Qasim had been to not attack Sindh. Walid was upset that Qasim had defied him, but with victory, all was forgotten.

Walid entered the room and laid his eyes on Suryadevi. What an exquisite beauty she was. He had always heard that Brahmin women were good looking, but this princess literally took his breath away. He was not very impressed when Qasim had sent word that he was sending �two Brahmin virgin princesses as a gift for the Caliph�. Every general of his sent two bit princesses for his harem, and he was now bored of the practice. But one look at Surya and he was besotted. The younger one was still reed thin, but Surya, in the prime of her youth, was irresistible. Today he would have her. He smiled at her and called out to her in Arabic.

�Come, my beautiful princess, come in my arms� he said as he took rapid steps towards her. Suryadevi, who did not know Arabic, kept her eyes lowered and her arms folded. Walid took her in his arms and hugged her tightly.

�Oh princess, your divine beauty�.� He started to say, but was surprised at what the Princess did. She started talking animatedly in her language and tried to wrest free of his grip. The Caliph dismissed her rambling in a language he did not understand, as signs of nervousness of a virgin. But he froze when she kept saying �Qasim� a number of times.

�What are you saying, Princess?� he asked in Arabic. The princess dropped to her knees and made gestures with her hand indicating that she was mud. The Caliph was perplexed. He called for the translator.

�Tell me what the Princess is saying. Translate word by word.� he ordered.

�Yes Hujoor. I will ask her.� he said. Then he asked Surya in her language what she was saying and translated it for the Caliph.

�Hujoor, I do not know much about your religion or your kingdom, but I do know that you are the biggest King here, the most important of all men and very honoured.� Walid smiled conceitedly.

�I would be honoured to offer myself to you, hujoor, but unfortunately I am not worthy of you. I am not a virgin, and neither is my sister Parimal. Hujoor, your General Mohammad Bin Qasim forced himself upon us one night in our hometown of Brahmanabad and deflowered us both. We are not virgins, Hujoor, Qasim took our virginity. Qasim said he would marry us both but then surprisingly sent us here. We consider Qasim as our husband, hujoor, do not dishonour us like this.�

By the time the translator finished saying this, Walid was red with rage.

�That ingrate Qasim, that lousy rat, how dare he do this? He has always been disobeying me and insulting me in his own way and now he does this? He send me two women with whom he himself has already slept? He calls them virgin? How dare he? How dare he?�

The Caliph kept shouting as he left the room. He went straight to his palace, and called a minister of his.

�I want you to send 20 of our crack troops to Sindh with an order from me. Qasim has dared to insult me in this obscene way. I shall punish him in an obscene way. I order that Qasim be sewn up alive inside a big bag made of buffalo hide and brought to Baghdad on a camel. Send some other general to take command there.� He barked. The minister had never seen the Caliph this angry and he attended to his orders immediately.

The next day Suryadevi stood in the window, looking out again. She saw the boy whom she had seen trying to catch the sparrow the day before. He was crying, and carrying the dead sparrow in his hands. Suddenly, a woman came running towards the boy. She seemed to be his mother and asked him what was happening. Surya could make out that the boy gave his mother an explanation similar to what she had given to her mother years ago. However what happened next surprised Surya. The woman slapped her son hard about four times, and the dead sparrow fell out of his hand. She was yelling at him and pointing at the sparrow. She then pulled his ears and slapped him some more times, dragging him near the dead sparrow�s body. The boy, now crying uncontrollably, kneeled down and said a prayer over the sparrow�s body. His mother then made him dig a hole in the ground and bury the sparrow.

�Hmm, it is not just the innocent who was punished today�, she thought.

A week later, she and Parimal were summoned to the main square. One of her maids told her that Qasim had been brought back to the city and the Caliph wanted them to be present. The two princesses were taken to the main square on camel back. There the Caliph welcomed them. He looked wistfully at Suryadevi�s beautiful face and perfect body and cursed Qasim in his mind some more. He then said to her,

�The man who wronged you will be punished today. Then we will send you back to Sindh, if you want, with full honour. Your brother has embraced Islam and I am sure you will too. But anyway, here comes the culprit.�

A camel was led into the square by some men. On his back was a large buffalo skin bag, which the men carefully took down.

�Open it� the Caliph ordered and two men with daggers slit the bag open.
Qasim rolled out of the bag, with his eyes glassily still and his tongue hanging out. He had not survived the arduous journey and had either suffocated to death or died of thirst. A collective sigh went up among the people at the square. The hero of Islam who had captured Sindh, had met such an undignified death.
�There, Princess, justice is done.� Walid said, satisfied that Qasim had died on his own and he would not have to spill any blood today. He expected the demure princesses to be a bit sad at first, since she had said they regarded him as their husband, but Suryadevi�s reaction shocked him.

The princess was laughing, and laughing hard. She ran to Qasim�s body and spat on it and kept laughing. Then she came near the Caliph and said to his translator,

�Tell your ugly Caliph what I am telling you�, she said � Your people have made fifteen attempts to capture my people, but we always bravely fought back. Then you sent this man who used lies, deceit and treachery to conquer us. He sent me and my sister here to be your concubines and forced my brother to give up his �dharma�. But there was one quality he had, Caliph, and that is he was loyal to you. He never touched us, and we are still virgins. The only reason I told you those lies were to avenge my father�s death, and what better way to do it than with lies, deceit and treachery. You sent a large army to kill my father, Caliph. Here I have killed your ablest general without as much as lifting a finger.�

Walid was devastated. He had just ordered the killing of a brave man, who expanded the frontiers of Allah�s kingdom. Allah would never forgive him. As Suryadevi and Parimal Devi left the town square smiling, the Caliph sat with his head buried in his hands saying �What have I done? Allah, please forgive me�, while the people gathered in the square stood in silence, staring at the Qasim�s dead body.

EPILOGUE: There are conflicting reports about what happened next. Some say the two princesses committed suicide by stabbing themselves, so protect their honour. Some say the Caliph had them brutally tortured and then killed. Some say that the Caliph just threw them in prison for the rest of their lives.

Tuesday, February 11, 2003


This is a proverb in hindi which means "Your blood is precious, but our blood is worth water?", which basically means "Why this partisan behaviour?".

I am talking about something that happens in the cricketing world all the time. And what has prompted me to comment is this news. It is early days yet for this news, but mark my words, there will be a clamour all over the world to let Shane Warne play anyway, using the "medicine" argument. Everyone will cluck their tongues and say "what a great guy he is", and how he got stuck in it unintentionally. The only reason he will not be castigated is that he is an Australian. I love the Aussie team, they play great cricket and are truly the best right now, but I am very pissed off with this special treatment they get, not only from the cricket authorities, but the media as well.

Whenever any Australian misbehaves on field, he is given the lightest punishment possible, or often let off with just a warning. If anyone else misbehaves, BAM, 3 match suspension. Who can forget the way Slater yelled at Dravid, then yelled in the umpire's face, arguing that he had taken the catch even though the TV umpire decided it was not out, as was clearly evident in the TV replays. What did he get? A cut of his match fees, that is all. And if an Indian or Pakistani appeals too long, then it is called "pressurising the umpire", and on the bench he goes for 2 matches. Maybe we should just start yelling in their faces.

Then there was the Darren Lehmann incident last month. During a match, he made a racist comment to a Sri Lankan, calling him a "black b******", among other things. He was docked only 5 matches, whereas the maximum punishment that can be given is 8 matches. Not only that, everyone was sympathising with him, saying "Oh he is such a nice guy. Why did this happen to him?". I mean "happen" to him? Hullo? Did he not bring it upon himself? Spare a thought for the Lankan who faced this ignominy. He should have socked him in the face. Imagine if someone had called an Australian "you son of a convict", what would the reaction have been? It is clear double standards. If the Aussies can't control their tongues while sledging, they better stop doing it.

What I hate is these double standards. When Ganguly and the Indians fought fire to fire, be it sledging or "psychological disintegration" in the media, the Aussies cried foul, complaining this is not done. When New Zealand took advantage of the rules to keep the Aussies out of the Carlton Series finals last year, Waugh again whined saying "rules must be changed", conveniently forgetting that he had done the same thing to New Zealand in the 99 World Cup, albeit unsuccessfully. They can dish it out, but sure as hell can't take it.

Now you have this Warne incident. Already he has been let off once by the ACB when according to them, he and Mark Waugh took money from a bookie to "provide weather information". Yeah right! Like they are the only source of information about weather. There was definitely something more to it than meets the eye. Otherwise why would the ACB keep it under wraps for 5 years? Now he says he is "devastated" that he has been caught in a drug test. First of all, it was because of a medicine that led to an unnaturally speedy recovery from an injury. So it is unfair anyway. Secondly, the Aussies are supposed to be the most advanced team when it comes to physical fitness and sports medicine. The ICC had announced long back that it would conduct random tests during this World Cup, with the list of the banned substances. This list is largely taken from what is banned in the Olympics, in which Australia has always done well. So do not give me this bullshit "We didn't know it was illegal" argument. Aparna Popat lost months because there was something forbidden in her cold medicine. If he has taken drugs which helped him in some way, he should be kept out of the World Cup. Otherwise the ICC will be setting a very bad precedent.

So be prepared for all the whiney goody goody comments from all the senior Aussie cricketers, saying "Oh poor Warnie, he had no idea how he recovered so fast from that injury. Bummer, life is so unfair". He will be heaped with good wishes and probably play later on. Actually the next stage of the results are yet to come. So who knows? Warne might be innocent after all. But that is not the point here. I don't mind Warne playing. In fact his exit makes it harder for India to win against Australia on the 15th ;-). But what sickens me is this attitude of "It's OK to do wrong, because you are the best in the world."

But again, think. If it had been an Indian or a Pakistani who had tested positive, wouldn't the media and everyone have torn them apart? Remember Sunita Rani before she was proved to be innocent.

This time's World Cup is being broadcast on SETMAX, a wannabe channel, if there ever was one. Their catchline is -

"MAX - Deewana Bana de", which translates to "MAX - Will make you go mad".

It is succeeding in my case. I am going mad with anger at how badly they are covering this world cup. It has to be the most pathetic attempt at sports broadcasting in history. Coming in second would be the time when SETMAX had telecast rights for the ICC Mini World Cup.

You have bimbettes commentating, hardly any stats being shown, thee don't even display the number of overs bowled all the time. All in all a very irritating way to watch the World Cup.

Sunday, February 09, 2003

Thanks a lot, Sarika for this great site. Shall go through it in more detail once my midterms are over.

Hey Casey, Where are you?
(Casey is short(!!) for Casio, my calculator).

All is forgiven, honey, come back. Don't disappear like this, that too right in the middle of my midterm exams. When I could not find you anywhere this afternoon, half an hour before the exam, I was crestfallen, devastated, and have realised how much you mean to me. Come back, tell me what I did wrong, and maybe we can work things out between us.


On a more serious note - Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaah, I lost my calcy. Hope I can find it in the PGP office when it opens tomorrow.

Saturday, February 08, 2003

And in case you are wondering, I have been singing it alone in my room, not in front of people.

That is because I love my life very much and am a pretty safety oriented individual. I never do anything too risky and foolhardy, like bungee jumping without a rope, swimming in a sea of sharks, tickling a lion, or singing in public.

Listening to Marathi natya sangeet(theatre music) at 4 in the morning can be dangerous. Now I have entered a loop, where everytime I open my mouth, I keep singing -

...............ramya hi swargahun lanka, ramya hi swargahun lanka,ramya hi swargahun lanka,ramya hi swargahun lanka,ramya hi swargahun lanka,ramya hi swargahun lanka,ramya hi swargahun lanka,ramya hi swargahun lanka,ramya hi swargahun lanka,ramya hi swargahun lanka,ramya hi swargahun lanka,ramya hi swargahun lanka,ramya hi swargahun lanka,ramya hi swargahun lanka,ramya hi swargahun lanka,ramya hi swargahun lanka...........................

Of course once every hour or so, I take pity on the surroundings and say hichya keerticha sagara lahari, hichya keerticha sagara lahari, nadaviti dankaaa aaaa aaa aaaaa

And the back to

...............ramya hi swargahun lanka, ramya hi swargahun lanka,ramya hi swargahun lanka,ramya hi swargahun lanka,ramya hi swargahun lanka,ramya hi swargahun lanka,ramya hi swargahun lanka,ramya hi swargahun lanka,ramya hi swargahun lanka,ramya hi swargahun lanka,ramya hi swargahun lanka,ramya hi swargahun lanka,ramya hi swargahun lanka,ramya hi swargahun lanka,ramya hi swargahun lanka,ramya hi swargahun lanka...........................


p.s- "ramya hi swargahun lanka" means "Lanka (i.e Sri Lanka) is more picturesque than heaven".

Something else I found while spring-cleaning my inbox.

On my way to scale unknown heights
On to my journey of countless miles
On to my plunge into oceans of uncertainty
Armed with the memory of your smiles

I wonder if the person it was written for even remembers it!

A friend of mine, Sharwari did not have an email address two years ago. So I sent this mail to her (to her friend's email address i.e) to convince her to create one. Stumbled on it as I was cleaning up the old mails in my hotmail inbox today. It was obviously written in the pre-spam-awareness days. =-)

Hi Madhura
Just pass this message on to Sharwari if you could.

Hi Sharwari,
While going through the proofs for the bigger roster, I realised that you are the only one who doesn't have an email address. I was shocked and surprised when I learnt of this fact. Considering that you are an aspiring Elex engineer like myself(only with a 2 year
phase lag), here are some virtues of an email address which might convince you to go for one.

First the smaller and trifler reasons-
a) It can help you get in touch with anyone anywhere in the world
b) It is the fastest and cheapest mode of communication
c) In today's jet-set world, an email ID is a must and so on,,,reasons which you will find in any manual which is there to educate adults about the advantages of the internet.

But let me give you an insight into the real plusses
of an email address.
1. Since you have this uncanny habit of packing your bags and leaving the country without really a word to your friends, the next time if you are going to Burundi, Malwai or Peru, you could always email people from there and describe your visit.
2. An email address doesn't bark, and you dont have to potty train it or take it out for a walk.
3. An email address doesnt have to be watered, weeded, seeded and fed with fertilisers.
4. An email address will not get jealous if you talk to other boys, nor will it start fuming when you take more than an hour to get ready for a dinner party.
5. An email ID doesn't sweat, keep talking about cricket or ogle at other females.
6. An email address is very environment-friendly and fits in all definitions of 'green'
7. If you ever get an urge to make 'prank calls' to anyone, 'prank emails' is a much more slick and sophisticated method for it and offers much more latitude in terms of mischief.
8. An email address does not tell you to clean up your room, pray to god, or drive your vehicle slowly.
9. An email address does not keep on teaching you Quantum Mechanics and Schroedinger's equations.
10. It doesn't take attendance and does not send letters to your parents.
11. An email address is much easier to remember than, say the method of preparation of nylon.
12. An email address doesnt ring your doorbell at 2:30 in the afternoon and ask you if you are interested in looking at the revolutionary earth shattering technique of cleaning kitchen sinks.
13. It does not beep in a movie hall and does not develop fungus.
14. You dont have to apply oil to it and braid it every morning.
15. Everytime you send anyone an email, your name Shar'w'ari will be prominently displayed and people will stop spelling it Sharvari or Sharworry or something like that.
16. An email address is a good listener and you can tell it all about your woes in life.
17. An email address does not get punctured, need not be serviced and doesnt stop working when it rains.
18. An email address will not kidnap your favourite Kannada actor and ask for ransom.
19. An email address does not sing Punjabi Bhangra songs (and this is a BIG virtue).
20. An email address does not fix cricket matches.
21. An email address doesn't cause the Prime Minister's office to be shifted to Bombay since it never requires a knee operation.
22. You dont have to bribe an email address.
23. You dont have to talk sweetly or flirt with an email address to get your job done.
24. An email ID is secular, democratic, progressive, feminist, sensitive, caring, non-interfering, and has many other qualities which you can discover only when you get one.
25. You can tell a friend Sardarji jokes using an email ID without fearing being bashed up by a Sikh who happened to overhear.
26. An email address doesn't want to be cuddled or petted.
27. It doesnt want its ears, nose or navel pierced and you dont have to buy it jewellery.

There are various other virtues which i can elaborate if you are not convinced about the utility, or rather the greatness of an email address. Hope you give it a thought,


p.s- I now realise that most of these things are applicable to a blog too.

A restaurant review of mine that appeared in JAM two years ago.


This restaurant(!!) is a strictly 'rat ko bara baje din nikalta hai' types, a type which may be abundant in Mumbai but is quite
scarce in Pune. Located on Paud Road, it is open well into the wee hours, something taken full advantage of by the Kothrud
crowd and the MIT Engg College students, especially during the PL's.

The menu isnt very lavish. 11 bucks for an anda-burjee, 13 for a misal-pav etc etc. Pav Bhaji and Pulav also available at
similar rates. Wash it off with a 6-rupee coffee (certified by many as the best in the peninsula) or a 10 rupee cold coffee.

Stroll in at about 1 a.m. and you might find yourself sharing a table with the local 'havaldar' whose job is to make sure the
joint closes by 11. You might also bump into the people who have been mugging up on their SOM-TOM-fluid mechanics etc and are
there for a nice fag-on-the-rocks. Not a bad place to visit in the presence of Sol either, but the crowd shall be sparse. Entirely Paisa vasool.

Friday, February 07, 2003

Statuatory Warning - This post may not make much sense to people with a non-Electronics background. It is however, a valuable lesson on how to shoot yourself in the foot, should such a need ever arise.

Today we had an exam on MIS (that's Management Information Systens, for the uninitiated). The paper went very well, or so I thought. I could answer all the theory questions perfectly, and by the time I got to the last question, which was a small caselet with a news article, I was feeling pretty upbeat about getting a good grade in this topic ( at least an A). The article was 2 years old and talked about how Microsoft had come up with a new format for audio called Windows Media 8. Compared to MP3, which is encoded at 128 Kbps and Realplayer audio, encoded at 64 Kbps, this format boasts of a frugal 48 Kbps encoding. It is also supposed to be of the same clarity and fidelity as an MP3. So the question was, is this the death of MP3 and will Microsoft monopolise the digital audio market?

Considering that the article was 2 years old, MP3 is obviously live and kickin'. So based on this I started thinking about why Microsoft which has monopolised the internet browser scene very successfully can not monopolise digital audio. I wrote that it takes a lot of people and resources to write a browser and with Microsoft's resources it is easy to push competitors out of the market, like they did with Netscape Navigator. But it is not so with audio file formats. All you need is an efficient compression algorithm which requires a few smart guys and not as much manpower as you need for a browser. The MP3 format was developed by just one guy for his PhD thesis, with 2 fellows helping him. Hence, I wrote that, so what if Microsoft has a 48 Kbps format? Tomorrow someone will come up with an algorithm for a 32 Kbps or a 16 Kbps format and make the Media 8 obsolete. That is why it can not monopolise.

I wrote a lot of other stuff too, but felt bucked about using a bit of my Engineering knowledge in a "globe" management paper. After I came out of the exam hall, I was discussing this with someone, and I told him about how I used my E&TC gyaan to give additional fundas. He was impressed. Later as I was gloating over it some more, the realisation hit me right in the solar plexus!


A voice inside me yelled.

"How the hell are you going to "faithfully" reproduce sound signals, which have a bandwidth of 20 KHz, using 32 Kbps or 16 Kbps encoding? Nyquist would rise from his grave to express dissent. He would remind you of the Sampling Theorem that says that for faithful reproduction of an analog signal, the sampling frequency should be at least twice of the bandwidth ( s.f(min) = 2B, called the Nyquist Rate). So 40 Kbps is theoretically the least sampling rate, and since it has to be binary, 48 Kbps is the minimum that can be achieved."


See how I shot myself in the foot, ignoring one of the ABC's of digital electronics in a moment of euphoria? I did not really have to write anything technical. I just had to apply the "globe" management fundas. Now if I were a professor who saw a student trying to show off his Digital electronics knowledge where it is not required and make such an elementary mistake, I would give him a zero. I hope that our Prof does not catch the error, and if he does, does not penalise me too heavily for it. I really want an A in this course.

Anyway, Financial Management-2 tomorrow. World Cup tomorrow. Will there be a dramatic turn of events and West Indies beat South Africa in the inaugural game? And will there be a dramatic turn of events and I crack the FinMan2 paper tomorrow?

We shall see. Supporters of Carl Hopper and Gaurav Sabnis, cross your fingers.

Thursday, February 06, 2003

Yesterday, my friend Tony told me a very interesting theory of his.

He said that if men were toys that women like, they can be divided into two broad types.

The first type is the "Teddy Bear" meaning these are the guys whom a woman feels very comfortable with, like with a teddy bear. They can further be divided into two more types.

The first type of the "Teddy Bear" (I forget the name he gave to this type) is one which a woman likes to keep around for convenience. These are the guys who have generally not been in female company since childhood, and when they finally experience it, they become quasi-servants. A woman knows that she can tell this Teddy Bear, "Please get me a cold drink from that shop two miles away on the beach" and he will do it. She will say "I have a headache today, can you do this assignment for me?" and this Teddy will do it. He is sweet, nice and good to have around you, but has no brains of his own. A woman can bend this teddy bear the way she likes.e.g - Subodh from Dil Chahta Hai or Maqsood and Ghanshyam from Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikander.

The second type of the "Teddy Bear" is the "A.I Teddy Bear". This is the teddy bear with intelligence. He does not get tongue tied while speaking to women, and can break the ice easily, but is not the suave, debonair flirt either. He has a good sense of humour and is generally aware of what is happening in the world and can understand a girl pretty well. She knows that she can't take him for granted. He will show chivalry, but upto a limit. He will open doors for her in a restaurant, but if she asks him to do her assignment, he will reply with a loud derisive laughter. He likes helping, but does not like being used. This is the A.I teddy bear, which talks and acts and is good company, but can not be bent according to a woman's will because of his intelligence. In real life, this teddy bear is always the "great friend" with whom the woman loves to talk to on a phone about any topic, without thinking much, because he generally "gets it". However she will cuddle this teddy in a completely asexual way, and at times complain to him about the final type of toy. e.g - Seinfeld from Seinfeld, Chandler from FRIENDS, Pete from "Two guys and a girl", Kamal Hasan in Saagar.

The final type of toy is the ***** (CENSORED). This toy is not worried much about the cuddle value nor about the intelligence. His usage of intelligence is limited to the opening line. He spends more time thinking about his appearance than about his career and spends more time debating which after-shave brand is better than debating on any political or economic issues. If this toy ever says to a woman, "You are looking gorgeous tonite", she will blush beetroot and mutter a barely audible thanks and talk about it later with her friends, maybe even the A.I Teddy Bear (if the AI Teddy Bear ever pays her the same compliment with even more earnestness, she will either punch him playfully and say an inert "thanks" as if he told her that there was a twig stuck in her hair which she had to brush off, or she will just ignore it as if he said it to some apparition behind it). e.g - Sameer in Dil Chahta Hai, Pavlov in FRIENDS, Kelso in That 70's Show.

Studies have shown that upto a certain age (about 28-30) women prefer the two types of teddy bears as friends and good/best friends respectively and the ***** types as boyfriends.

This theory is meeting with wholehearted approval from anyone Tony tells it to. =-)
So which toy are you?

Two papers tomorrow. Took a break from studying, went for dinner had a long conversation witrh Tony. We were talking for about 2 hours, non stop. It was a great conversation. You know how you define a great conversation? One in which you talk and talk and talk, but 10 minutes after you talk, you can't remember what you talked about, because the whole conversation was so natural.

Came back to the room, studied a bit more, took another break and saw 3 trailers from the insti network. Comments about them -

MATRIX RELOADED - It looks exactly like the first movie, as the trailer opens with Morpheus' sermonising as usual. Truth be told, I did not like the way "The Matrix" was made. I have never been very impressed by computerised special effects. They make everything look so easy and phony. There are just no limits left and so there is no novelty left either. What impressed me about The Matrix was the story idea. The concept was just so mindblowing that it carried the movie on its shoulders. The director must have grown up watching Hindi movies. The last half an hour is sooooooo contrived. Anyway, getting back to the trailer, it is full of scenes where Keanu Reeves and Carrie Ann Moss take enough liberties to make Newton spin in his grave (or plasma filled vat, in case he's in the matrix too). There is talk of a "war" and "destiny" and all that usual stuff. I don't see how the concept can be stretched any further. This will be just a good guys vs evil robots movie. The trailer is a triumph for the special effects guys.

TERMINATOR 3 RISE OF THE MACHINES - Doesn't seem very different from T2, except that this time Arnie, the good android is fighting a bad android who is a hot babe, instead of a dude like in T2. However there is one interesting trivia bit which can perhaps be attributed to the Casting Director's desire to take a stab at irony. The hot babe android is played by none other than Alyssa Milano, who, before she started shedding her clothes left right and center in movies like "Poison Ivy", played the role of Arnie's daughter in "Commando". So the glossies will have a great time thinking up headlines like "Daughter turns against Father" etc.

8 MILE - I repented watching even the trailer. Fat chance I am watching the movie!