Vantage point

Sunday, March 30, 2003

Saw the most remarkable news item on BBC tonight (obviously CNN types wouldn't show it). It showed Iraqis who work in Jordan crowding bus stations to go back to their country! Normally during a war you would expect traffic in the opposite direction. But these people are heading back home with a smile on their face. A woman at the bus stop satrted crying seeing how happily these people were heading back into a country suffering from an unjust aggression.

In other news, I saw Saddam on TV exhorting people to cut off the heads of Amru and Brit GI's etc etc etc. That doth not interest me. What was of interest was that the Saddam delivering the speech looked soooooo different from the Saddam who came on TV the day the war started. I wodner which one of them was a dummy and which one was original....or if both were dummies.

Speaking of dummies, Blair and Bush were addressing a conference together. So easy to get duplicates for em. Just round up the primates at the San Diego zoo.

Oh by the way, I am back home in Pune. =-)

Friday, March 28, 2003


Before I quite realised it, the first year of the Post Graduate Program in Management at IIML is over! From here it all downhill till Feb-end next year.

Nine months have rushed by. Have I changed? I definitely have. But how have I changed? And in what measure?

Only people who know me will be able to tell me that. However I do know one thing. If a lazy guy like me can survive the IIML routine, supposedly toughest among all IIMs, without a single attendance penalty, non-submission of an assignment, and without any D's and F's,........I assure you, anyone can. ;-)


Relevance - Constructs that need to be measured and the terms descriptive of them should be identically defined in the sense of the decision that is to be made.

Nope, this is not something George Bush said in one of his malapropositions. This is something from our "Research Methodology" course material. It took me and a friend about 15 minutes to make lucid sense out of this statement. You can try too. It basically tries to define "relevance" for a questionnaire pertaining to a research design.

If you can make head/tail out of it within 5 minutes, you are a born MBA.

Wednesday, March 26, 2003

I first read this report on rediff - Al-Jazeera English Web site goes live.

Buit when I tried to access the Al-Jazeera site I saw that it can't be accessed. It is probably jammed. I smell an American rat here. So apparently war reporting is also a monopoly? So much for "freedom of press". I guess the First Amendment does not apply outside American borders does it, not even in spirit?

Vietnam War was lost not in the jungles of Saigon, but the streets of America. This war....or rather aggression, will meet a similar end. I hope!


Remember how Australia and West Indies refused to travel to Sri Lanka during the 1996 World Cup citing safety concerns?

Read this.

Tuesday, March 25, 2003


I have waxed eloquent about my new room, and specifically about the opening in the corridor in front which allows a beautiful view of the sunset in the North Indian Plains every evening. Now there was an extra bed on our floor, so it was kept next to this opening. Our intention was to sit there on leigurely evenings (Hahhh!!) chatting about stuff, looking at the sunset. Abuse profs, talk about movies, make weird plans....the works.

Now like any dutiful bed, this bed too is accompanied by an ever faithfull pillow. This bed is placed just opposite my room. Last night, after having pored over how to procure material for business, I stepped out of my room and was met by a most queer sight. There is this dog we call the Nawabi Cur. He was sleeping on the bed. Now the reason we call it the Nawabi Cur is that it acts like one. It was definitely one of Lucknow's famous bulky Nawabs (Wajid Ali Shah types) in its last birth. It loves sleeping on beds. Ever since the seniors left, half the rooms in our hostel have been empty. This dog always sleeps in one of the rooms. It will jump on the bed and refuse to budge unless George Bush is willing to send in a Daisycutter. Other dogs will scoot if we stamp on the ground hard and make some hollow threatening noises like "Hudddtttt". Now the Nawab of Dogs. He gives you a very irritated look as if saying "Ama miya, kyun pareshan kartey ho? Soney do yaar." Then you have to threaten it with bodily harm by bringing a leg or something close to it. Now it looks offended as if saying "Humein maarogey? Gustaakh aur Namakoool kahin key!! Lahaul Bilakuwat!!". You have to display a willingness to inflict heavy violence on the dog to get it to budge.

Not many go through with this routine. So almost all the beds in the empty rooms have been used by the Nawabi Cur so far. This corridor one was the only bed left, and now it had religiously taken to it, like an aging Steve Waugh heading for an Indian tour. What pissed me off even more was that it had very conveniently put its head on the pillow!!!!!! That is the height of insolence. If the cur wants to indulge in such Nawabi "thaats", it would have to find itself a new kingdom. I picked up a chair. My reputation among dogs here is similar to what Sherlock Holmes' was in the shadier parts of London. They do not like to take me on. I think this is because they know that my eventual weapon will be my vocal chords. Yep, I can sing a dog(for that matter a human too!!) to its death within 5 minutes.

So the dog ran away and I returned to my room. In the morning, Sunil told me that he too spotted the dog sleeping on the bed later on, again, USING THE PILLOW!!! Some curs never learn from any curse. Now Sunil, whose reputation is like that of Hercule Poirot in the London underworld, threatened the dog and de-curred the premisis.

The tragedy is that the bed which we had thought would make a great "baithak" for us all, has been dirtied by this mangy, dirty, unwashed, coat-shedding dog with aristocratic tendencies.


We all have someone we idolise, try to emulate and draw inspiration from. Some have historic figures as their idols, some have celebrities.

While I admire big names a lot, somehow I have always found an aura of fiction surrounding them. I mean I just know one aspect of can I think them to be ideal? Call it a big ego or cynicism, but I can't take one person's portrayal in the media or history books and call it an "ideal personality". For me a person has to be convincing to invoke that kind of respect. I have always looked at my parents as a source of inspiration. Remember the story of Lord Ganesha? However other than my parents, there are a few others I idolise.

My idols have been from real life (i.e mine). People whom I know very well, whom I have seen grow, evolve, change and yet...not change!

All three are good friends of mine. Just looking at their lives, their behaviour, their attitude, their decisions, their way of thinking... I feel inspired.

Till last year, I used to meet them very regularly, but since I have moved here, that does not happen much. I realise how much I miss their inspiring presence. I will not write about why these are my idols. Two of them read my blog, and I get a feeling they would feel bashful about it.

Thank you for enriching my life and teaching me a lot, Satyen Kale, Shantanu Joshi and Kaustubh Apte.

You all must have read about the massacre of Pandits in Kashmir

Be they Muslims in Gujarat, or the Pandits in Kashmir, I can not, can not, can not imagine anything more tragic and gut wrenching than becoming refugees in your own land. I tend to put myself in their positions, and I feel really sad.

Meanwhile parliament and assembly wells are stormed and speeches are made. The secularists will take this opportunity and lambast the VHP and the BJP......which really has nothing to do with the whole massacre at all. The rightists, neo-nationalists, them what you may, will take this opportunity to bash the Left and the Congress...though these two parties didn't have anything to do with it either.

Meanwhile whoever perpetrated Godhra, the subsequent riots and now this massacre (am not saying they are the same people), sit contented that they are doing their work well. Two days later, we go back to our work, our studies, our TV, our friends, and the politicians go back to their wells ( You can say this about Indian democracy - Khoda pahaaD, nikla kua). The people who are refugess in their own land will keep living in distress, fear and misery.

And what good am I doing either? I will go back to my life. Just thanking my luck that I am not a Gujarati Muslim or a Kashmiri Hindu.


Sunday, March 23, 2003

The Charge has Ended

People here are absolutely devastated that we lost the finals. Nobody had even considered the possibility of an Australian win...I wonder why. I guess when our players play well, we support them a tad too much and when they lose we bash them a tad too hard.

In general, I have realised how emotionally demanding a World Cup can be just on us imagine what the Indian team must be going through at the moment. They came back from a hopeless position, they beat good teams comprehensively, and they played quality entertaining cricket, discovering themselves in the process. Yes, we were found wanting on the day that counts the most. In the eyes of those cricket "fans" who go only by World Cup results, we are losers. But one should realise that this World Cup has helped our team grow a lot. After all the earlier World Cups, except for 1983, the Indian team always came back having lost just more than the cup. They would be devastated, battered, bruised, humiliated....and often jeered. This time though, I dare say the team can come back with its head held high. They gave it their best and were beaten by a better team....twice, in case anyone forgets.

The gains have been handsome. The Indian pacemen have a new found confidence and attitude that will not (hopefully) wither away after just one thrashing. While they are no Aussies yet in that department, they are key players now, with Srinath, Zaheer and Nehra all having one Man of the Match each. The Indian batting has shown that it can do its job even when Tendulkar departs. Hopefully we won't have any more "Chennai 99"s happening. The middle and lower order helped win the matches against Pakistan, Kenya (Super Six) and New Zealand even after Sachin was dismissed with the opponents having a good chance to claw back. In fact today as well, though the margin of 125 runs does not indicate so, we chased pretty decently. It was not like Sachin fought alone, and when he fell, everyone withered away. Everyone tried their hardest. What is heartening for me is, until the 7th wicket fell, the Indian team seemed to genuinely believe that they could still win. They were not just going through the motions as if they had resigned themselves to defeat. They were fighting hard.

After all, next to victory, that is what we want from our team, right? And on that front, there can be no complaints. Ganguly hit McGrath for a six over point and even pulled him for a four, something you would have dismissed as science fiction 2 years ago. Sehwag played a gem of an inning in the final match, and until he was run out, looked very capable of pulling it off against the Aussies. Dravid was scoring briskly, and even Yuvraj and Mongia were quite OK.

India has always been a good batting unit. We have chased 300 plus scores 4 (or is it 5) times after all, which is more than any other team. What made our team reach this far was the bowling. Unfortunately it fell apart in the final. Once that happened, winning it was always going to be an uphill task. But still, the effort we made was fantastic.

So while the fair-weather fans of Indian cricket, who look at it as some sort of an outlet for their arm chair patriotism will be furious and curse Ganguly for electing to field, or Zaheer and Srinath for bowling so atrociously, or Tendulkar for falling cheaply in another final, I choose to not react so stupidly. I am happy with the postives that World Cup 2003 has given the team. I am proud of them for making a fight out of it, and being in the hunt till the last match of the tournament. And inspired by my friend Pushkar's MSN display name, I will end my post with this famous poem -

The Charge of the Light Brigade
Alfred, Lord Tennyson

Half a league, half a league,
Half a league onward,
All in the valley of Death
Rode the six hundred.
"Forward, the Light Brigade!
"Charge for the guns!" he said:
Into the valley of Death
Rode the six hundred.

"Forward, the Light Brigade!"
Was there a man dismay'd?
Not tho' the soldier knew
Someone had blunder'd:
Their's not to make reply,
Their's not to reason why,
Their's but to do and die:
Into the valley of Death
Rode the six hundred.

Cannon to right of them,
Cannon to left of them,
Cannon in front of them
Volley'd and thunder'd;
Storm'd at with shot and shell,
Boldly they rode and well,
Into the jaws of Death,
Into the mouth of Hell
Rode the six hundred.

Flash'd all their sabres bare,
Flash'd as they turn'd in air,
Sabring the gunners there,
Charging an army, while
All the world wonder'd:
Plunged in the battery-smoke
Right thro' the line they broke;
Cossack and Russian
Reel'd from the sabre stroke
Shatter'd and sunder'd.
Then they rode back, but not
Not the six hundred.

Cannon to right of them,
Cannon to left of them,
Cannon behind them
Volley'd and thunder'd;
Storm'd at with shot and shell,
While horse and hero fell,
They that had fought so well
Came thro' the jaws of Death
Back from the mouth of Hell,
All that was left of them,
Left of six hundred.

When can their glory fade?
O the wild charge they made!
All the world wondered.
Honor the charge they made,
Honor the Light Brigade,
Noble six hundred.

By the way, just realised something. Australia's opponents in the previous three World Cups have been Sri Lanka, Pakistan and India. Clear indicator of the fact that the game's future lies in Subcontinent+Australia. It has been quite a while since the Australasia Cup was played, hasn't it? Maybe they should have it again, and call that the Mini World Cup. =-)

Turns out I was wrong. :-(

Well played, India.

Anyway, my endterms start from tomorrow, so my blogging probably will not be as regular as usual. After that, I have a one week break when I head home (ahhh home!!!) to Pune to unwind. After that, I will be starting my summer internship (with Larsen & Toubro in Mumbai). I have never really worked before, so am looking forward to it.

Saturday, March 22, 2003


Today is the day we all have been waiting for. India meet Australia for cricket's biggest prize, the World Cup.

Maybe I am majorly putting my foot in my mouth here and my optimism is taking control of my obkectivity, but I think it will be a one-sided win for India. The victory margin will be either 6 wickets or 75 runs, depending on when we bat.

The key players for India are Virendra Sehwag, Tendulkar (duhhh!!), Mohammad Kaif, Ashish Nehra and Zaheer Khan. For Aussies, it will be Hayden, Ponting, Symonds, Lee and Bichel.

David Sheperd stands in his 3rd World Cup final. Now he has been giving some pretty bad decisions throughout the World Cup, and I think it is time for him to retire. Hope that the dice of his bad decisions, if it rolls, does so in India's favour. We also have the bankable Steve "Why don't you take a nap while I make up my mind about this appeal?" Bucknor standing in his 4th successive World Cup final (really shows you how much West Indian cricket has deteriorated from its heady heights). He is a guy who hardly ever makes a mistake.

Will the Indian cricketers show enough guts, grit and glitter to win this match? We will find out in 10 hours.

And look at this surprising news! Guess the support for our team is crossing traditional animosities. =-)

Friday, March 21, 2003


I don't know what exactly made me post this today, but it is something that has always bugged me and sooner or later it was gonna make its way on my blog.

I hate it when some radio jockeys, VJs or trashy pseudo journalists like those working for 'Pune Times' try to go all ethno-linguistic in a bid to sound "one of us" and say "Aamchi Pune". It stems from the overuse of the "Aamchi Mumbai" term. What people don't realise is that in Marathi, even cities are alloted genders. And that pronouns in marathi are altered according to the gender they are referring to. Mumbai has generally been referred to in a feminine sense and so "Aamchi Mumbai" is spot on. No complaints there. But Pune is not explicitly female unless you append it with a 'nagari'...which no real Punekar will do. Pune is always referred to as "Hey Pune ase aahe..." i.e in the respectful sense, the way "Woh" is used to refer to a single person in Hindi.

Thus the appropriate way to act all "one of you" would be to call it "Aamche Pune", notice, the "e" at the end instead of the "i".

I wish some of those Pune Times himbos and bimbos would read this and alter their pronouns accordingly.

Just a general peeve though, nothing as obsessively compulsive as to make the state government decree that it should be Aamche and not aamchi. ;-)

India beat Kenya, and entered the finals.

Sorry Sat, the match does not even deserve a more detailed analysis. =-)

Has it happened to you? I mean you can wait a long time for something but in the last few moments of the wait you start getting very uneasy. For instance if you really have to go to the bathroom, but are travelling back home. It will all be OK when you are in the car, but the time from the garage to the bathroom will be the hardest to survive. Similarly, if you are jogging, and have set yourself a certain time target. The last 10 seconds will be the toughest.

I am facing that kinda situation about going home. I have been waiting so many days to go home, but now that it is just one week away, I am getting pangs of major homesickness.

I miss my couch at home. The days at IIML are couch-less days. I miss ribbing my mom about her favourite Hindi soaps. I miss my bike, the ole faithful Hero Honda Splendor which would transport me places. I miss all my friends whom i could call at any time of the day and talk with for hours. I miss the Law College tekdi...what a of my favourite places in the world. I miss Sinhagad. I miss the COEP Boat Club, the quiz club and the weird food we got there. Speaking of food.

I miss Mom's food, and Pune's food. I have been fantasising about eating saadha-varan-bhaat-ani-tyawar-toop-ani-pilalele-limbu for the past couple of days. At home, I never eat this by choice. My mom would make me eat it for the sake of a balanced diet, but I never imagined I would yearn it. Besides the usual chicken, daal baati, surmai that my Mom whips up, I also miss her kanda-pohey, upma, wangyachi bhaaji, shilya ghadichya polya, ..... and everything she can make. Then there is that wadapav from near Vanaz. Simple things like pav bhaji, masala dosa, dabeli, khekda bhaji. Most of all I miss bhel!!! The typical Puneri bhel (much much different from the significantly inferior Mumbai bhel) is a work of art. I miss the beef rolls and tawa gosht in Shivaji Market, the burjee at Durga, the coffee at Cafe Coffee Day.........and yes, for all those Vaishali lovers, I admit. Me, a staunch Vaishali baiter admits to missing that damn place and its SPDP.

I miss driving in a traffic which has a very large number of girls and women. I miss roaming around at night without feeling too worried about safety. I miss those damn rickshaw-wallahs too.

And it bears repetition, I miss my family and my friends.

29th March, you better get here on the double.

Wednesday, March 19, 2003

Damn the administrator's settings of our institute network. I can not access any site with an underscore in the URL.

Due to it, I can't access this blog I learnt about today. It is a blog written from Baghdad. A friend of mine was kind enough to copy-paste the last few posts over MSN messenger.
You people read it and tell me about it.

Anyone know how I can bypass this underscore thing of our network, other than mailing admin?

Warning - Gaurav has been up all night working on a term paper, and is writing this before he will go to sleep at noon. He may be in a very cynical mood, so judge this post accordingly.

Question to myself...and to all of you reading this.

Do we really care? Do I really care? I mean seriously, all these "concerns" that we express about Iraqis dying in thousands because of sanctions and now this war, what use are all these if it is just lip service? Do we have the conviction to do something about it other than just take to the streets and dance with a few banners? Do we give a damn about what happens to Iraqis? I have never met an Iraqi in my life and I probably never will. My country or I have no influence over the way Saddam rules or the decision that Bush takes. Why should the Gulf War concern me more than...say a coup in some South Pacific island, or a massacre in know what I mean? We don't live in a fairy tale world. People are dying all around us. Indians are dying, be it from hunger, or murder, or disease, or even terrorism. Wherever you live, I am sure people are dying suffering too. Why am I showing this sudden concern for Iraqis? I should show a perpetual concern for the Kashmiris, the Gujaratis, the North East people, the slum dwellers, the millions in my country whose life is under a shadow of death all the time. I remember the pangs of sorrow I felt during the Kargil war, or during the Gujarat riots. That was when I was genuinely moved and really cared. Maybe because it was my countrymen who were involved. But right now the casualties, the losses, everything in Iraq touch me as much as deaths in a movie like "Saving Private Ryan" would.

I wonder if I am expressing properly what I want to say. Do you get me? I mean feeling bad for people dying in Iraq is OK and all up to a limit. But do I really care, deep down inside? And do you all really care? Or is this just one of those instincts where we feel bad for the underdog? After all these same Iraqis were dying in 1991 too. But then, Kuwait was the underdog.

Maybe I am too sleep deprived to be coherent. I should sleep now and wake up in six hours. Six hours hence India will play Kenya in the World Cup semifinal, and I will be brutally frank, I am worried more about the outcome of the match than about how many die in Baghdad on the first day of bombing.

Am I shallow? Am I callous? Am I selfish? Maybe!

So the war has started. And with every war, comes a new stream of jargon. These are some of the new "globe"(IIML slang for 'high on verbosity low on content') terms I have read on CNN in the past 30 minutes that I was watching.

"Target of Opportunity" (ehhh?)
"A-Hour" (is it 3 hours before D-day, as Sunil asked?)
"Sustained Commitment" (Only an American and a politician would have to add 'sustained' before 'commitment'. Everywhere else, it is a given that commitment will be sustained....or else it isn't commitment at all)

Tuesday, March 18, 2003

A movie I absolutely adore is Mel Brooks' "To be or not to be". It is a comedy set in Poland in September 1939, just as the Nazis attack. It is about a theatre troupe which performs a popular act on stage everyday, and how they manage to get some vital secrets out of Poland and into England.

Why is this relevant today, you ask? Well, because as I hear Bush toss about words like "freedom" and "democracy", even as he plans to ruthlessly occupy a sovereign nation like Iraq, I am reminded of Adolf Hitler, who started the Second World War, all the while shouting "Peace for our times..peace, peace, peace."

There was a song in the movie I mentioned earlier, where Brooks is dressed as Hitler and he is upset that the press is calling him a madman, a barbarian, a warmonger, whereas all he wants is peace. Then he breaks into a song which goes something like -

All I want is peace, peace
A piece of Russia, a piece of Belgium
A piece of England, a piece of France
A piece of India, and Pakistan perchance

These may not be the exact lyrics, but the meaning is largely this.

Similarly, George Bush does not want the people of Iraq to be free. As everyone knows, he wants the oil to be free. ;-)

I hope that casualties in the forthcoming war will be minimum and Iraqis will have the strength to endure this freedom.


March 18 New Delhi (Gaurav News Service) - The Indian Parliament has just passed a resolution renaming American Chopsuey as No-War Chopsuey. All restaurants, hotels, and Chinese food shacks have been ordered to make the necessary changes in their menucard, or face the consequences.

Next time you go out for some cheap Chinese food in India, be sure to order No-War chopsuey instead of American Chopsuey.

Gilly gone, Ponting gone, Hayden gone......and Martyn injured!!!!

Wow, this is gonna be some semi final. Unfortunately I have a 10% weightage quiz right now.


As someone who keeps criticising the Australian cricketers for stretching the rules to the maximum for their own benefits, I must post this -

Gilchrist walks against Sri Lanka

and applaud Gilchrist. This is a World Cup semi-final after all.

Monday, March 17, 2003


Today during class, I noticed that the hair of the guy sitting in front of me looked very oily.

"Hey, have you oiled you hair today?" - Moi

"No, no, not oil, I just had a bath before coming and didn't have time to towel dry my hair, that's why it looks like that" - Him

"Oh, you better be careful to make sure it doesn't look like oil" - Moi

"Why?" - Him

"Well, if George Bush thinks your hair has so much oil, he may accuse your hair of having links with the Al Qaeda, producing weapons of mass destruction, then send in partisan weapons inspectors, and finally launch a full fledged attack on your head, promising to establish democracy there." - Moi

Him, trying his hardest not to burst out laughing while the Prof was teaching.


Look at this.

I propose the following solution -

Sealed claims on the tiny piece of land in Ayodhya invited from the following communities -

Jehovah's Witnesses
Christian Scientists

and if we have left anyone out, please send a claim on their behalf. Decision will be made by draw of lots.

A few days ago I saw 2 people debating on a discussion board on the net. Nothing wrong with that really, except that they were arguing about whether Christianity better or Islam. On the same board I had once seen a Christianity vs Hinduism debate. I wonder why people view it as a contest or a zero sum game. Can't all religions be right, in their own way? Or even, better, can't all religions be wrong too? I mean, what makes anyone say that "a" religion is THE one, and all others are faulty stuff? To each his own, right? After all, assuming the validity of an afterlife, when we meet Chitragupta, St. Peter, or Allah (depending on our affiliations) on our judgement day, we are going to be accountable for ourselves right? Why this zeal to prove the other wrong, or to show his path as faulty?

Two people arguing about whose religion is better, sounds very much like two people arguing whose appendix is better.

Me? I performed an appendicitis operation on myself many years back. To be precise, this was sometime around 1993. The whole RJB-BM issue, followed by those riots......made me reach for the scalpel.

I would rather debate about brain, muscle, or even heart, than about the appendix.

Keep him in there please....though I know the legal system does not provide for it.

Saturday, March 15, 2003

By the way, how can one person generate so much junk in just 9 months? Yesterday while moving, I had to throw so much stuff away. It also made me realise that I keep utterly useless stuff in my room all the time. After throwing it all away, my room looks so neat and orderly. There is actually space for a couch in case anyone wants to donate me one.

There are a few more advantages of the room 1151. It is equidistant from the water cooler, the washing machine and the TV room. Looks like all the time and motion study lectures during OpsMan have made a deep impact on my psyche. I have taken the best room regards saving time without even consciously planning for it.

Hmm...maybe I should take more Ops electvies.


I moved yesterday. Yep, I shifted. No no, I didn't quite the PGP course at IIML. I just moved to another room in the same hostel. My earlier room, 1184 had just been "assigned" to me. This time though, I could pick and choose. So I have moved a floor below, to room 1151. This is, according to me, the best room in the hostel.

Our hostel shaped like a square with a tiny portion cut off, for the entrance. The balcony of this room faces the square, which is the hub of all H11 activity, be it one-tip-one-hand cricket or birthday bumps, or hostel parties. In room 84, the balcony faced the open countryside, and was the Khyber Pass for all sorts of insects to come in. The insect problem will be a lot lesser here. However one plus of the earlier balcony was it faced the west, and so offered an amazing view of the sunset. Well, o problems on that front. Because 1151 is such that it does not have a another room across the corridor like others do. There is an opening in the corridor wall, and so it is like a balcony ofsorts. So I still have an amazing view of the sunset, and the vividly amber twillight sky, when I open my door.

One thing I liked about 84 was that it is the double of 42. I know it sounds silly but ever since I read Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, the number 42 has been appearing in my life in some form or the other all the time. My roll number was 42 in three years out of four during engineering. I got seats numbered either 21 or 42 about 3 times when I travelled by train during the last year or so. There have been other occasions too when either 42 or its multiples have made an entry in my life when least expected.

When i was assigned 84, I was happy cos it was a multiple of 42. So the first thing I did was consider moving to 42. But it was not really a great room.

So 51 it is. Sorry Douglas Adams. ;-)

Whenever a term has 7 exams, the insti tries to fit them inside 6 days, and have 2 exams on the first day. That is what is gonna happen this time. We will get done with the PMIR and the MIS exams on the first day. Great?

Not so great!

What is worth noting here is that the exam kicks off with these 2 exams on the 24th of March. yep, that is right, 24th. And as you all know, 23 + 1 = 24.

Which means that the day I am supposed to study for the exams is also the day the World Cup final will be played in Johannesburg. Who can study for 2 exams the next day when your country is going to be making a bid for the big one?

The good news is that the two subjects are quite easy, and more than cramming, what you need is understanding. So I have decided that I will study for the 2 exams a day in advance, i.e on 22nd and then peacefully watch the match.

But whenever I say "I will study a day in advance", a little voice inside me says "YEAH RIGHT!!!"

Friday, March 14, 2003

They are like an honest demolition squad of the Pune Municipal Corporation at work on JM Road. Just razing everything in sight, regardless of history or reputation. I am talking about the Indian pace trio - Javagal Srinath, Ashish Nehra and Zaheer Khan.

Today they knocked over New Zealand with what can now be called consummate ease. Until now, it was Nehra or Srinath who had taken a bunch of wickets, with Zaheer providing tight support, taking 1 or 2 every match. Today he came to the party as well, amassing 4 wickets for 42 in his 8 overs spell. Highlights of his spell were the dismissals of Astle and Harris, both LBW, and both reminiscent of the way a certain Wasim Akram knocked people over. The ball pitching and straightening...ahh, vintage Wasim.....and now we can also call it vintage Zahir. There was also the McCullum wicket, when he was bowled through the gate, again, the ball pitching and straightening.

The match started with India winning the toss, and electing to field, a decision that surprised many on that sunny morning at Supersport Park, Centurion. I really doubt however if Ganguly expected more from this decision than a practice chase, since India has won most of its matches in this World Cup batting first and he would have liked to go into the final having experienced and weathered all possible predicaments. But just 3 balls after the match started, the Kiwi scorecard read 2 wickets for no runs, and the tone was set. There was really no resistance from the Kiwis, who according to some commentators are "best with their backs against the walls". With a scenario in which a defeat would lead to an almost certain exit from the tournament, their backs couldn't be any more walled. However what they showed today was no "dour determination". Flaming Fleming fretted, fumed, fumbled and fiddled to thirty before throwing his wicket away. Crafty Cairns cringed and cowed clumsily before he cut himself out of the tournament in a way that would make a Kamikaze pilot nod with approval. The rest weren't even expected to be half as good as these two, but ended up being twice as bad.

New Zealand were all out for 146, with Zaheer taking career best figures of 4/42 for the third time in his life.

India's reply started without the typical flourish. Sehwag went cheaply and Ganguly was bowled by a beautiful Shane Bond yorker. Tendulkar hit Tuffey for 3 successive poetic boundaries before he was unable to keep down what would have been the fourth and was caught at point. But those were all the wickets that fell. It seemed as if the pressure of the situation was felt only by the couch potatoes and armchair experts all over India. Dravid and Kaif, benefitting from a dropped catch each (so much for the spry Kiwi fielding), guided India to a comfortable victory.

The so called "brilliant" captaincy of Fleming was very evident by its absence. Inspite of defending such a paltry total, he sent the 2nd slip out even before India reached 50. The field settings were all wrong and it was obvious they had not cared to study Kaif's game at all. Just because the guy got out on a single digit score in every match in New Zealand does not mean he can not bat. The only unorthodox yet insipid move Fleming made was giving the ball to Craig "Look Mom I can bowl a bouncer" McMillan. I have no idea what that guy thinks he is but in his first over he bowled a pretty pathetic bouncer and then started sledging Kaif. Now Kaif is not your 20th century Indian cricketer who thinks the ideal way to respond to some lip from the bowler is to look away and pretend you didn't hear anything. He shot back some profanities of his own and gestured where he was about to dispatch Macca. This verbal duel continued for a few minutes and deliveries until the umpire decided he had had enough and warned both the players.

This cheap and futile trick of upsetting the Indian batsmen showed how clueless Fleming was feeling. This cluelessness persisted as Shane Bond came back for a fruitless second spell.

At 100/3 India needed 47 to win with more than 20 overs to spare and I left with my friends to have dinner at a restaurant. I came back and saw that we had won easily without losing another wicket.

Fleming and Bond notwithstanding, India shook and stirred the Kiwis out of the World Cup.

Thursday, March 13, 2003

*shaking head in anticipatory pity* Chris, Chris, Chris!!

You haven't bowled even 10 overs this World Cup. Now why did you have to go and say all this?

Koi usko Caddick aur Shoaib ka number do rey.

I have had many favourite TV series over the years. But one that will always have a special place in my heart is "The Wonder Years". It was one of the best written, scripted, directed and enacted series ever.

I felt as if Kevin, Winnie, Becky and Paul were characters from my own life, since most of the storylines would be remarkably similar to either something that had happened to me, or to one of my friends. It was not this large than life fantasy series, and I guess that is what makes it so special. Along with the excellent narration by Daniel Stern(more famous as the taller thief in Home Alone) in the background, what made it special was the way Fred Savage could convey so much by just his facial expressions.

There were liberal doses of realism, not just in the romantic angle of the story, but also in the relationships he has with his parents, his siblings, his teachers, and his friends. In fact I often suspected that every episode was in fact a true story from someone's life. It was too good to be fiction. The way every episode ended was also very unique. They wouldn't end on this high "and all's well that..." note. A Wonder Years episode ended just the way mini-episodes in our teen life end. Sometimes bitter, and just once in a while sweet. In fact the way Becky's and Kevin's love story ended!! I still remember the last few dialogues of the final episode when Stern narrates what happened to every character in the series later on. Especially when he describes what happened with Becky (don't worry, nothing tragic). Those were memorable lines.

Wonder Years would be telecast every Wednesday night on Star Plus (ahh, the good ole days when Star Plus had not been taken over by the Bahu Brigade) and me and my friends would literally be counting the hours before Joe Crocker's voice would go "Whaaaaaaaaaaat would you dooooooooooooo..." and another great episode would start. We would immerse ourselves in Kevin's world, try to find parallels between the characters on screen and the people in our life. And we didn't have to try to hard.

I had read somewhere that India in the 90s was just like USA in the 60s and early 70s. That explains why Wonder Years felt so real, while almost all other American TV series feel distinctly "foreign", even if they are enjoyable.

Anyway, this blast from the past was brought to you courtesy a friend in IIML who downloaded 7 episodes of The Wonder Years yesterday. I just copied them from him, and am now going to watch them.

As Harrison wrote and Crocker sang, "I get by with a little help from my friends".


Read the last para of this post I wrote last month.

Then read this news article from the Times of India.

I sincerely hope the campaign works.

Wednesday, March 12, 2003

In non-cricket related news, I started jogging today. For the uninitiated, I had stopped jogging for over 2 months, because first I had viral fever, which left me very very weak, and later I had a sprain in my leg and the Doc said I better take it easy for 4 weeks. The abandoned attempts to go jogging once in a while always ended with a sore right leg (just above the ankle, in case you are one of those readers who are hungry for details).

Now before I stopped two months ago, I was able to jog for 16 minutes non-stop covering about 3 KM. This was after 3 months of almost daily jogging, because in August or so, my stamina was equal to just about 6 minutes or so.

Now after this 2 month sabbatical, during which I suspect I may have gained a kilo or two, I was sure my stamina had hit rock bottom. So I started jogging cautiously, with my "in-in-out-out" breathing routine. Sunil was with me. As we crossed the Med Centre, Manthan - MDP Centre, and approached the Director's residence, I noticed that I was not feeling short of breath. After we turned left, Sunil stopped, saying he was going back to the Hostel. I looked at my watch, it had been 4 minutes since I had started running. I thought I would probably run longer than the 6 minute stretch, and felt quite pleased.

I jogged on, and passed the Faculty Block - Chintan, then the Library - Gyanoday. I was on what is perhaps the longest straight stretch on tar road in our insti. At the end, I turned left and ran straight, passing the back end of the resthouse - Patanjali. At this point of time, I suddenly started thinking about soemthing. I don't remember what it was, but as I kept jogging, I was deeply engrossed in my thoughts. The chain of thoughts was broken when I noticed the lights of the fountain next to me. Arjun was standing on his chariot with a bow in his hand, and Krishna controlling the steeds. As I passed this stone sculpture at the entrance of our insti's campus, and ran on, glancing at another sculpture, the depiction of the Dandi March led by Gandhiji, I was suddenly struck by the import of my location. This was the standard "10 minute" spot. This is where I used to end my jog in the days when I could run only for 10 minutes.

I glanced at my watch, it showed "10:37". Great, I was still not at the end of my stamina, and I had already passed the 10 minute spot. I wondered if I could go the distance. By the time I was wondering about this, I had reached the front side of Patanjali, and passed Chanakya - The Executive Enclave. Great, I thought, just don't think about this, keep running until you feel you are trying too hard. I passed Hostel five where I encountered Manish, my first Ohhhho-er of the day. An Ohhhhoer is one who says "Ohhhho" if he sees you exercise/studying/working......i.e indulging in any productive activity. I am not sure whether this is an "Ohhhho" of genuine admiration and encouragement or a euphemysm for "Hahh, let's see how long this lasts!!".

As I was finalising the definition of an "Ohhhhoer" in my mind, I had already passed Hostels 1-8 and was near the Mess. What followed was the final 100 metres or so. I was feeling a bit out of brath, but not excessively. There was no pain in my side, as is the case when I am pushing myself beyond limits. I passed the Security Barracks, then smiled at the empty "Multi Utility Centre", waved at the watchman who guards the back entrance of the institute, and before I knew it I was back where I had started, right in front of my own Hostel 11. I slowed down and started breathing consciously slower.

Then I stopped and looked at the stop watch. It said "15:44".


And just in case Australia does reach the finals, it will do so after completing its 16th successive One Day International victory (their win against NZ yesterday was their 14th).

They hold the record for 16 test wins too. Actually they looked all set to make that 17 test wins, but a team stopped them in their tracks and beat them in a thrilling match.

Now what team was that................can you remember..........? ;-)

Lemme give you a hint. Its name starts with an "I", end with an "A" and it and "NDI" in between.

Well, it has happened. Kenya has just completed a convincing win over Zimbabwe to book a place in the semi finals. This leaves Sri Lanka and New Zealand in one hell of a situation. If New Zealand win against India, then they go through even if SL beats Zimbabwe. If they lose however, then Sri lanka will go through if they beat the Zimbies.

If anyone is gonna crib again saying that the faulty rules have enabled an undeserving team reaching the semis, let us take stock of the situation. One would have expected NZ and SL to both make it to the semis. But Kenya played out of their skins today. It was a marvelous performance as they trounced the Zimbabweans. So it is Kenya that is going through at the expense of one of those teams. Now correct me if I am wrong but Sri Lanka has lost to Kenya convincingly, and New Zealand chickened out of going to Nairobi. So I don't think either team can complain.

Who would have thought that the match New Zealand conceded to Kenya would have such major ramifications? The Kiwis who have already witnessed two suicide attacks in Colombo and Karachi, were loath to play in terrorism's newest venue, Nairobi. Actually, Nairobi is not that dangerous, but the attack Al Qaeda carried out some months back, targeting an Israeli airliner put the fear of the bomb in the Kiwis' heart.

So I guess, the Al Qaeda can add one more item to its list of "achievements" - Getting Kenya into the World Cup semis, albeit unwittingly.

Indians should take care not to celebrate right now though. Though we meet the Kenyans in the semis, we can not count our chickens before they are hatched. Actually it turns out that the scare we got at Capetown, almost losing to Kenya before Yuvraj took matters into his own hands, was a blessing in disguise. We have lost to Kenya under lights twice, once at Gwalior and once at Port Elizabeth. At Capetown under lights, they gave us a major hard time. Now the semis are at Durban, again under lights. I guess complacency is a word that will be missing from the Indian team's dictionary, come the semis.

Waiting for the India-NZ match now. I get a gut feel it is gonna be the dress rehearsel for the final. If that turns out to be true, you people can safely proclaim me Nostradamus the second. Check out the post I made in January, where I wrote either India or New Zealand will win the World Cup. =-)

Tuesday, March 11, 2003

This happened when I was eight years old. We had just moved to Pune and it was the first time that I was living in a house with a nice balcony. Add to the fact that we lived on the ground floor, so I could take all sort of liberties, like jumping out of it, play cricket in it, etc etc.

When I was a kid, the strangest things fascinated me. At eight, the list was topped by the act of lighting a match. I was obviously not allowed to do it. But whenever I saw anyone hold the matchbox in one hand, grasp the little matchstick in another, and create fire with one swift stroke, I thought it was nothing short of a miracle. The unique "khrrrrrrshhhhhh" sound it made sounded like music to my ears. I pleaded with my parents and my grandparents to teach me how to do it, but they refused saying I was too young.

One day, my mom and younger sister were out visiting our neighbours, and my dad was sleeping. I was watching TV, (I remember clearly - I was watching Superman) when there was a power cut. As I sat there twiddling my thumbs, my eyes fell on my dad's matchbox on the TV. I picked it up, and looked at it with awe. Suddenly I decided I wanted to make fire too. Everyone does it, how hard could it be? I am not too young, I thought. I am eight after all. In a decade or so they'll let me vote. And you mean to say I can't light a matchstick. Pooh pooh, I said.

So I picked up the matchbox, went to my favourite balcony (we had two), and slid the matchbox open. I took a stick out, and rubbed it along the side with the black dots. Nothing. I did it again. Nothing. What was wrong, I wondered, there is no sound, neither is there any fire. Then I remembered how everyone did it with a jerk of the hand. I held the matchstick between my eight years old thumb and index finger and with a sudden jerk struck it on the side of the matchbox. Voila, I had created fire. I was so happy as I held the burning match in my hand. Hahh, here I was, probably the youngest kid in the world to make fire (I wondered if I could feature in the Guinness book, since they used to screen the TV show those days). As the fire got closer to my fingers, I threw the matchstick out of the window, and it landed harmlessly on the rough ground. I took out another matchstick, and repeated the procedure. Yup, it wasn't a fluke. I was now a Certified Fire Creater, on my way to manhood. After about 10 matches or so, I got bored, and thought of pushing the bar up a bit. How about seeing how long I can hold the match, I thought.

So I lit a match, and held it close to me, peering at it, and making sure it wasn't touching my finger. As the match started burning, the flame got closer to my finger. I resolved to hold it as long as I could. But at the first touch of fire, I yelped "Ouch" and just threw the match away. Now since I had not been careful about where I threw, it did not leave the balciny, but flew towards the right side. here there were some wooden crates, which we had used to transport our stuff when we moved to Pune. Over these crates, were stacks of old newspapers (what we call raddi in India).

Yep, you guessed it right. The newspapers caught fire at once and within seconds, the conflagaration had grown to a menacing level. I panicked. An eight year old fears his father's "WHY DID YOU DO IT WHEN I TOLD YOU NOT TO??" wrath more than a big fire. Anyway, I thought I could bring the fire under control, get rid of the burnt newspapers, and no one would know about it. I ran to the sink, filled a mug with water, ran out and threw it over the burning papers. They just disdainfully hissed at me, and continuing curling up in the fire. It was getting positively dangerous now. Should I wake my father up? What should I do? I was in a fix.

"What is the smoke" I heard a voice. It was Raghav, a young man who lived above our house standing in his balcony.

"I accidentally set fire to some papers here," I answered in a panicky voice. He swiftly ran down the stairs, ran to our bathroom, filled up a bucket with water and doused the fire. Thankfully the crates hadn't caught fire yet, and the fire was extinguished at once. As the intense panic within me was subsiding, I saw the bedroom door opening. My father stepped out, not looking very happy. He smelt the smoke and asked me what was on fire.

Raghav explained to him that he was putting out a small fire, and nothing major had happened. I was grateful to Raghav for rushing to my help, but I was also petrified thinking about how angry my father would be.

This is how my first encounter with fire ended. I don't quite remember if my Dad spanked me or beat me up that day. But the whole incident is very clear in my mind. To this day whenever I light a match, it comes back to me. And I wonder at what a stupid 8 years old kid I was.

I could light a matchstick, but I didn't have enough brains to blow it out before I threw it.

I was saved from entering the Guinness Book as the world's youngest arsonist!

As I told you, our seniors left last week. However, I ended up gaining quite a lot from their exit. Not only will I get to move into Room 1151 next year (great cross-ventilation, so good during summer, and exposed to sunlight throughout the year, so good during winter...also located such that very few insects come buzzing), but I also got a lot of stuff that some seniors generously ( and conveniently) handed over to me.

These are all the things I have gained -

Four pencils
3 dozen A4 printout sheets
1 packet agarbatti (something I surely won't use, gotta gift 'em to someone more religious)
1 jar Chyawanprash (always hated it, but blame/credit the mess food for the change in my palate, I kinda like licking on spoonfulls of it while I sit in front of the comp)
1 wad of post-it (useful stuff!)
1 packet garlic chutney (may help spice up lunch a bit)
1 spoon
1 steel glass

Not bad, eh?

Monday, March 10, 2003


Having just watched India absolutely thrash Sri Lanka, clearing up the unfinished business of the two ICC Trophy finals where rain let them off, I am in a very jolly mood.

This is so funny - The World Cup of the morons

People who blame the rain for South Africa and West indies exiting, should read it even more carefully.

Saturday, March 08, 2003

Max Mosley got it right, I guess. Today's Australian GP, the first F1 race this season, was one of the most exciting races in the past couple of years. The race lead kept changing hands, and finally David Coulthard (hmpf!) took the chequered flag, with Montoya 2nd and Raikkonen third.

I will have to check up the history on some F1 site to see if this is right, but I think that this is the first time in 54 races that there wasn't a Ferrari driver on podium. Yup, 54 races, ain't that something, if it is correct? Shows how much Ferrari has dominated the sport in the recent past.

Today inspite of starting from 1-2, Ferrari came out third best, in terms of team performance.

At a stage, Trulli was leading the race.Then it looked like Schumi would sail through until stuff started coming apart from his car. Then I thought, OK,so Montoya will probably manage not to pull a "South Africa" this time, like he did so many times last year. But pull an SA, he did, spinning and letting DC take the lead.

Great race. Though I am a Ferrari and Schumi fan, it will be nice to see a closely contested F1 season. It looks set to be a three-way battle between Ferrari, Williams and McLaren.

And across the border too, regressive orthodoxy and stupidity seems to ruling the roost.

The Friday Times informs me that Qazi Hussain Ahmed of the MMA, a party ruling 2 out of 4 provinces in Pakistan, plans to ban the thousands of years old festival called "Basant" from being celebrated in Pakistan because it is "Unislamic." They are also planning to ban the annual festival of Bulle Shah, one of the most famous Punjabi poets to have ever lived.

The rate at which all governments in South Asia are keen on banning something or the other all the time, instead of doing anything constructive to improve the miserable lives of our people, we will soon be back in the 14th century.

Ban this, ban that. And everyone seems very glad that these bans are proposed.

Maybe both India and Pakistan should be named BAN-GLAD-desh. Ok , ok, that was really corny. ;-)


All those who thought that a temple or a mosque in some remote corner of the country being made a political issue is immature need to sit down and prepare themselves for a shock. Now elections are going to be fought on the issue of "cow slaughter"!!!!!!

How ironic that while the BJP fights nail and tooth to have Savarkar's portrait displayed in the Parliament hall, they should choose to ignore his teachings. It is not his thoughts they care about, it is just his symbolic value, because of his opposition to Gandhi and Nehru. Savarkar had clearly stated that a cow is an animal. Elevating a quadruped to some divine status out of blind belief is not the sign of a thinking people. Hinduism, unlike some other religions, has thankfully been an evolving faith. Newer ideas have been incorporated into it and old ideas have been discarded. We do not live by one book or some fixed ideas like the Abrahamic faiths, and there is always room for logical arguments and well reasoned changes. Sati is extinct, as are all the restrictions on eating. Untouchability survives only in the most backward areas of the country, and though the caste problem is far from over, it is significantly down as compared to even fifty years ago.

In all this evolution, I wonder why the "Holy Cow" issue was left behind. And now instead of adopting Savarkar's pragmatic attitude on it, the BJP and the VHP (Virulent Hatred Propagation????) want to reach new depths of regressive thought. This unnecessary glorification of an animal causes deplorable incidents like the Jhajjar lynching.

I am sure none of the Hindus think that such non-issues are more important than what really matters. The economy, corruption, governance, simple things like water and electricity....... are all left aside. Elections are fought for 0.4 acres of land in Ayodhya, and now will be fought on cow slaughter.

And we are to blame. Our people are ready to react to the slightest of provocation.

This is what the politician's handbook must read like -

Chapter 4. How to incite communal violence

The people of India are very gullible in these regards and getting them to riot amongst each other is very easy.
It is all about market segmentation. Decide your target segment and then take appropriate action.

First you need to decide which community you want to go on a rampage. If you want a Muslim mohalla to go crazy, kill a pig and throw it near a mosque. The bayonets will come out at once. If it is a Hindu dominated area you want to unsheath their arms, cut a cow/bull and throw it near a temple. If you are interested in some caste violence, you can always get a makeshift garland of shoes made and put it around the neck of an Ambedkar statue.

Of course, all these steps would require some investments. It is easier to just spread rumours about those things happening, and you will see bloodbaths happening in your target segment.

Where do I stand on cow slaughter? I am neither for aggressively implementing it, nor am I for vehemently opposing it.

However I must say one thing. In a country where there are separate civil codes according to your religion, opposing just a ban on cow slaughter smacks of what is called pseudo-secularism. If one were to say, implement the Uniform Civil Code and do not ban cow slaughter, then it seems like that person is truly a secular one. But the same people who ridicule cow slaughter ban are silent on the issue of the Shabano judgement. That seems like an appeasement tactic to me.

It is interesting to note how the political parties stand on the issue.

The BJP, obviously is for it, so is the BSP. The Congress, as usual, muddled about what stand to take, has not committed itself, but by and large, Congressmen are for it. The party which is considered the champion of the Muslims in India - Mulayam Singh's Samajwadi Party is also in support of a ban on cow slaughter, a fact which might not be known to many.

The only opposition comes from the stupid Communists whose job is to oppose everything blindly. Why am I not surprised?

For me, the issue is not whether cows should be banned or not, but whether so much importance should be given to this issue. Firstly, there is already a ban of sorts in almost all states. Maharashtra, the state where I come from, does not allow cow slaughter. So the beef that I eat occasionally, comes from either bulls or buffaloes. I don't think anyone would be stupid enough to kill a milch cow anyway. Older cows are slaughtered for meat in Kerala, Bengal and the North Eastern states.

This system is the best, where you leave the decision to the states. We are a vastly diverse country and beliefs vary from place to place. In some N-E states for example, there are not many Hindus and even if there are, they don't mind eating beef. So why impose our belief on their dietary habits? Anyway, one of the things that irk me about our system is that the Centre holds too much power. So leave this decision to individual states.

In conclusion to all those who will say "The Cow is our Mother" in response to what I have written, I say "Speak for yourself. My mother is a thinking woman who walks to two feet and has never caused traffic jams."

I sooooo think the Hindu Mahasabha should have survived instead of the RSS, to serve as the so called "voice" of Hindus.

Meanwhile the RSS has announced its intention to actively re-enter the "Temple Movement".

With a bunch of states going to polls this year, and the Parliamentary elections just a year away, the Parivar is pulling out all stops to ensure a return to power. The defeat in HP notwitthstanding, they seem intent on a Hindutva line. The masks come off, and the trishuls come out.

Did I hear a collective groan emanate from the Faizabad district administration?

Now while Bhisham Sahni's Tamas is a good story, and makes for an interesting afternoon's reading, it does try to portray the Communists in India in a too-glorious-to-be-even-remotely-believable light.

It seems as if at that time, the Congress was evil, the League was evil, the Mahasabha was evil, the Brits were evil....but the Commies were the best thing since sliced bread.

Propaganda through fiction......could work, but hasn't.

Friday, March 07, 2003

Read this long 'whin'ding crib by Barry Richards,

A faulty system

Old whine in new bottle if you ask me.

Simple fact -

South Africa played BAD cricket, and lost to NZ and WI, and were let off by rain against Sri Lanka ( yeah let off, cos in my opinion, they couldn't have managed 40 off 30). I don't see why the system is to blame for Kenya going through and SA not going through. SA beat only the minnows. At least Kenya could beat the Lankans comprehensively.

Any system where the pompous, boring and overrated Proteas don't go through will be termed unfair. Well dudes, this time you were the hosts, and it was in your hands to do what you want with the rules. England had a reserve day for all games in 99, so why didn't you?

Cribbing about the DL sheets having tie scores instead of victory targets is stupid. The DL system has always said it will give "equivalent score of the opposite team". Only the South African team is to blame for this elementary mistake.

The 8 teams that didn't make it, are out because they DID NOT deserve to be there. Stress on this more than whether the 6 who made it deserved to be there or not. After all Zimbabwe are in at the expense of England, so the system punished one team that forfeited the match. New Zealand got away because of lack of provision for an extra day. Guess who is to blame for that?

Barry Richards, get over it. South Africa, get over it.

Thursday, March 06, 2003

Faisal Shariff writes wayyyyyyy better than the more fancied Prem Panicker.

Read 'Two weeks notice' for Wright

A very cute excerpt from the article -

In the team room, Ganguly challenges Sehwag to a game of table-tennis even as Yuvraj warns Ganguly that he will lose.

"Bahut khush hota hai dada ko harane mein?" Ganguly says.

"You play TT just the way you bat," he jokes, when Sehwag smashes the ball past his racquet.

After beating Sehwag, Ganguly challenges Yuvraj and duly loses the game.

Oh, by the way, Sunil Joshi my friend and floormate here at IIML, has started a blog too. Link on the left bar, as well as in the earlier post.


Pushkar, Sunil and I had decided to go watch "Mr and Mrs Iyer" today. But for some weird reason the cinema hall changed movies on a thursday instead of the customary friday, and we saw the faces of sons of ex-Chief Ministers of our home state staring at us. We looked around a bit, and finally decided to watch the Tusshar Kapoor starrer "Kuch To Hein", today being its last day.

Now now, disarch...or unarch that eyebrow. I am no fan of the dude, but since we had come to Hazratganj anyway, we decided not to go back without watching a movie. To misquote Crimemaster Gogo, "Khandani movie fan hoon, aaya hoon, kuch to dekh kar jaoonga!". What were the options? There was "Khushi" which I have already seen on VCD and been replused by, and there was this Deshmukh starrer. The reason we chose "Kuch To Hein"(KTH) was that it is apparently one of those wannabe "suspense" movies. I have never, that's right NEVER seen a Hindi "suspense" movie in my life without knowing who the killer/culprit is. So this would be a minor first for me. Sunil also said that the actress in the movies was quite hot, and unless she is killed off at the beginning, our eyes would not complain much.

Unarch those eyebrows again. I am NOT talking of the offspring that came about when Dharmendra and Hema Malini conceived in the vicinity of a nuclear reactor. There must have been some source of mutation closeby, otherwise how can you explain the child of two extremely good looking people turning out so ugly? So Esha Deol is not whom we were looking forward to.

The hot actress was someone named Natasha, who is usually on display in one of Ekta Kapoor's K-marts. I must say she did live up to the expectations. She has a cute-yet-sensuous thing going on, which makes Esha Deol look like a plain jane in if you need comparisons for that.

About the movie, well, we went in expecting a crappy movie, and had decided to enjoy ourselves to the fullest by being as corny as we could. So it was good fun. Tusshar Kapoor was expectedly ugly and he has tremendous screen absence. For some reason, European locales and a Mumbai college (J for Xaviers, apni Suku ka alma mater) have been passed of as Simla.

I can't make out if Ekta Kapoor loves her brother or not. On one hand, she has made this movie for him, putting in a lot of money. On the other hand, they have him baring his chest, and wearing a vest in a song. Now Tusshar ain't Hrithik or Vivek. He should not be baring his torso in a movie song. In an ad campaign for the fund raiser of the "Feed the Starving of India" Society.....maybe. Or in one of those Dominic Lapiere movies that tend to concentrate heavily on the destitutes of our country. But not in a movie. Can make one lose his/her appetite.

However, what made this experience even more hilarious were the two trailers shown in the interval - "Indian babu" and "OM - The Ultimate Power". Both seemed to be movies on which a lot of money was spent, what with foreign locales, and even foreign extras dancing in wedding songs. "OM - The Ultimate Power" had the cheesiest dialogue of them all.

Sidey gunda: Abey tu hai kaun?
Sidey dude playing the lead: Teri nafrat se bhara hai mera rom rom...Mera naam hai...OM

The effect these trailers had on the three of us was to convince us that if these blokes can make movies, so can we. We immediately started working on the screenplay of our movie, which will be a spoof on Hindi films of the 90's. The movie will be titled -


* to be pronounced in Bambaiyya accent.

Pushkar, Sunil and I hold the copyrights of this screenplay, so anyone foolish enough to actually want to plagiarise this should prepare themselves for a long drawn court case. ;-)

Here is the first scene of "Picchur - The Philim" -

Scene 1

The camera pans across a huge hara bhara khet in apna Punjab. Some typical Punju-pop music is playing in the background, maybe Jassi, Bhupi or some such bi-syllabic creature. There are no birds over the field at all. The total absence of bird is very important for the scene.
Cut to a house near the field, where a moustachioed dude is standing, wearing a white kurta-pajama. This is Bhagoda Singh, a guy who is pretending to be on vacation in Punjab, because his grocery shop in an inconsequential Canadian town is in the red.

He announces to a lado/rajjo/billo (name has to end with an 'o') - "Oye, main khet mein kabootaron ko daana daalney jaa raha hoon."

Having said this, he picks up a huge sack, and trudges to the field. He reaches a clearing, where one sees a lot of grain spilled all over the ground. Bhagoda beams at the grain, for some reason, then puts the sack down. he opens the sack, puts a hand in an takes out a white pigeon!! He flings this ill-looking pigeon at the grain, saying "Jaao". The pigeon hits the ground with a thud, and moodily pecks at the grain.

Bhagoda keeps taking pigeons out of his sack, flinging them at the grain, and enthusiastically saying, "Jaao, jaao, jaao".

Bhagoda looks very happy. The pigeons do not share his rosy outlook towards the situation.

End of scene 1.

Wednesday, March 05, 2003


There are many ideas/people/concepts that I dislike. Yet, surprisingly, I find some of them absolutely fascinating. My interest or rather my curiosity is always heightened whenever I come across anything about them. In fact often, I go out of my way to read about these entities I dislike.

Here are a few of them -

RELIGION - I don't have the conscious memory of ever praying sincerely, or believing that there is some supreme being called God. I find religion to be the cause of most of the ills plaguing humanity today, and in this, I am critical of all religions. But I don't want to talk about the reasons for my lack of faith. What is interesting is that inspite of that, I am fascinated by books about religion. I have not read as many as I like, but as of now, I have read books on Hinduism (obviously), the Koran, Buddhism, Old testament, New testament, and a commentary on Judaism. I would like to read more about Advaita philosophy, since it somehow seems the most refined of all the religious things that I have read.
Despite all this interest, I believe that religion is something that the human race will finally leave behind on the path of evolution.

COMMUNISM/SOCIALISM - Having lived in India, I find leftist or Socialist thought a totally failed ideology. The state in my eyes, should play a minimal role in people's lives, and especially in business. Yet whenever I see an article, essay or a book about communist philosophy or leftist thought, I can't help but read it or at least browse through it.

PAKISTAN - No Indian can seriously claim to like Pakistan. I am no different. And yet, I am extremely curious about that country. I read about 2 or 3 of their newspaper websites very regularly, am part of a forum that serves as a place for debate between Indians and Pakistanis, and I was happy when I stumbled across some Pakistani blogs recently.

HITLER - I find all that he did absolutely reprehensible. And even if your removed the holocaust from his resume, I would still rank him as one of the top 3 villains in history. I find his philosophy flawed and vastly illogical. And yet this is the reason he fascinated me. Germany is not exactly a nation of dumbos is it? In fact most of the scientists in our textbooks are German. And yet, Hitler managed to sell his ideas to that country. In a short period of time, he could get a vast army of men to be fiercely loyal to him. I just love reading about him. Of course, the discussions about Barbarossa and Sea Lion are fun too, though I find the "ifs" and "buts" exercise a bit childish.

INDIAN POLITICS - Yeah it is a dirty dirty place, full of crooks and two timers. But which country's politics isn't? I really wonder how people can not be fascinated by their country's politics? I mean of all the things in a newspaper, politics is what affects our lives the most. Yet, many people dismiss it as "boring " and move on to something as predictably mundane as "lifestyle" or "entertainment". I for one, inspite of my intense dislike for the common Indian politician, am totally hooked on to news and essays about them.

These are a few of my disliked things......but fascinating! =-)


If a Punjabi girl became the C-in-C of the army, would she be called Kaur Commander?

If a computer killed someone, would it be hanged?

Do they call it "hard" disk, because it is so damn hard to take it out of that cavity it rests in and put it back again?

How did people living in the B.C. era exactly measure their years? What sort of a calendar was used then? What was the starting year?

Can I kill all the dogs in IIML?

Can someone kill Maneka Gandhi first?

Are there are Somalian or Afghanistani blogs?

Tomorrow if Saddam and every member of the Ba'ath Party dies of natural causes, would USA still attack Iraq?

How much would it cost to have my arm operated on, and have the bones artificially deformed so that I can use it like Murali?

Wearing dark glasses at a it vain...or am I being too judgemental?

Where does the Amar-Nitya story go now...?

Hey Winter, who the hell told you to come back? Go back to Princeton, Ohio, London, Colorado, Ireland and all the other non-desi places inhabited by bloggers.

Mujhe garmiyon mein Prakash ki kulfi khani hai.

Monday, March 03, 2003


In 1992, they cribbed because the rain caused their exit from the World Cup.
In 1996, they cribbed because a brilliant century by Lara caused their exit from the World Cup.
In 1999, they cribbed because a tie kept them out of the World Cup.

What about 2003?

Rain, Lara and a tie, all combined to keep them out of the World Cup!!!!!!!

Farewell, South Africa. Can't really bring myself to feel sorry for them, because they have brought it upon themselves. Firstly, they are not as good a side, but are vastly overrated. Their bowling is barely passable, and their batting crumbles under pressure (remember how they caved in to India during the ICC Trophy last year?). They have lost to New Zealand by a thumping margin anyway, and since their exit means an entry for New Zealand, it does not seem too unfair. They had already lost to West Indies in the Cup's opening game because of a blitzing century by Brian Lara.

In fact those who cry for South Africa now will do so under the assumption that they could have got 40 off 30 balls. Boucher is at fault because he took that silly run and run Pollock out. Had there been 5 wickets down instead of six, the Duckworth-Lewis calculations would have worked out in South Africa's favour. Had Klusener, who came in with the asking rate already about 7 an over, not taken 8 balls for his solitary run, they would have been through. But for 7 balls, he gave tutorials on how to just stop the ball.

So much for South Africa being the 2nd favourites.

Can you grasp the irony of the situation? The World Cup, co-hosted by South Africa, Zimbabwe and Kenya had been generally talked of as the World Cup in South Africa, rather than Africa. Now of the three African hosts, it is Kenya who are through to the Super Six and the Proteas are out. If Zimbabwe beats Pakistan tomorrow (very likely, since the Pakistanis have been squabbling amongst themselves), they will make it too. So we might have a situation where all the hosts, but the one which hogged all the media limelight, end up in the Super Six.

While all that South Africans will do, besides extending their hospitality to the Super Six, is follow the same old routine of "What if"s "Only if"s and "Had he"s.



According to me, the most fascinating character from mythology is Karna. Coincidentally, like another fascinating person from myth, Moses, he too was found by his parents in a basket floating in a river.

Karna, for me represents someone who never quite got his due. Someone who was as talented as anyone around him, but was held back by the cruel hands of fate. Though he was born a Kshatriya (the warrior caste), his mother abandoned him in the river, and he was brought up by a low caste familr of Sarathis (charioteers). Dronacharya did not deem him capable of being taught personally, but still Karna was as good an archer as Arjun, if not better. When he finally had a chance to prove himself in a duel with Arjun, the chance was denied to him because he was from a low caste.

But for me, Karna's life is also one we can take lessons from. Yes, he was dealt a hard hand by fate, but should he have gone the way he did? His actions can be justified, as have been in the bestseller "Mrityunjay", but still, I think that Karna's character shows a chink in the conscience department. Maybe this was because of the way he was brought up, but I think Karna always carried an inferiority complex within him. He had a servile streak in him, because he was the son of the charioteer of the Kaurava king.

What this means is that if someone was very good to him and did him some favours, he would be indebted to them for life. And this debt would be so heavy that even a shove from the conscience could not push it away. So after Duryodhana made him King of a small barren state, he was so indebted to Duryodhana, that he stood by him even when he was wrong. The way, I see it, Karna, inspite of this complex, knew that he was the best archer/warrior around. If not handicapped by his low caste background, he could have been a great King. He was not too ambitious though, and all he wanted was the life of a Kshatriya. He must have genuinely believed that because of his abilities, he deserved a better life than that of a charioteer. How better, I don't think he had any clue about.

So whenever his efforts at getting a small piece of the cake were thwarted by others like Dronacharya, Bhim, Draupadi, etc, he became more and more loyal to the one person who was willing to give him his due, Duryodhana. As the cliche goes, he was the right guy in the wrong team.

A really fascinating character indeed.

Something very scary has happened. I mean it is not very scary, but for some reason I am scared. The 17th convocation of IIM Lucknow was held yesterday. Our seniors completed their MBA and passed out. Not 'passed out' like "they were so shocked about completing their MBA that they passed out'", but more like "since their education is done, they have passed out of this institute".

What scares me is that without doing anything substantial, we are now the "seniors in IIML", as my friend Pushkar mentioned. This means that we will be giving advice to the 19th batch, we will have to set examples, and in general teach them the ropes about how to survive here.

It feels so weird. I mean most of the times, we ourselves aren't sure what we are doing the right thing or wrong. And very soon, 240 enthu students will be looking up to us for guidance?


Saturday, March 01, 2003

This is amazing - When Sachin played for Pakistan.

If I were given the permission to kill one cricket commentator, it would be that loudmouthed, arrogant, ignorant, condescending, clueless, puerile, and boooooringly predictable lug who goes by the name Tony Greig.

You know the word he uses the most while on air? "Correction!!!", because he keeps making some faux-paus every few deliveries and then making corrections. All he can do is raise his voice, say "IN COMES THE THROW!" a few times, and take below the belt digs at fellow commentators.

At times I used to think Bill Lawry was the one I hated the most, but no, Bill Lawry is at least a little knowledgable about the game. This Packer Yes-man is not even worth the cost of that stupid hat he wears everywhere.

The match was amazing entertainment while it lasted, but I had fun watching TV even after the match got over.


I was watching PTV World after the Man of the Match ceremony got over, and man, were the experts there livid!! It was hilarious the way they were criticising literally everything the Pakistani team did. Sarfaraz Nawaz was the stupidest of the lot saying things like -

"Pakistan should have scored at least 350 against this Indian bowling attack on this pitch."

"Picking Afridi was a blunder that Waqar committed, because Indians are such great players of spin bowling, that they were able to take runs off him easily. They should have picked Saqlain instead(!!!!!)."

"Saeed Anwar's century was so slow, that it would have been better if he had scored faster or gotten out earlier, and given others a chance to accelerate."

"Shoaib should not have been taken off the attack after his first over went for 18 runs."

"Mohammad Sami should have been in the team."

Suddenly all those things that Imran Khan says about Sarfaraz came screaming back.

Intikhab Alam seemed livid as well. He lambasted everything from the selection to the batting to the bowling, and even the fielding. The mood in Pakistan does not seem to be pretty right now. When they lost to us in 1992, they ended up winning the Cup, and when they lost in 1999, they did reach the finals. This time though, their continued insipid showing has been capped off with a massacre at the hands of India. They have hit rock bottom.

Watching the smouldering experts on PTV was sooooo much fun. Never thought PTV would be the source of this much entertainment. Our common room was filled with laughter as if some sitcom was going on.

Currently experiencing a mixture of exhilaration and disappointment. Exhilarated because India beat Pakistan so convincingly and now we go into the Super Six with a comfortable number of points. Disappointed because I did not expect such a tame surrender from the Pakistan team. Was expecting a humdinger, but like the last 3 World Cups, this time too it was a one sided win.

Everyone in the media was going gaga talking about how Shoaib Akhtar said he would target Sachin Tendulkar. Everyone, not just in the media, but all around me as well, was talking about Shoaib targetting Sachin. Turned out no one had thought about Sachin targetting Shoaib.

Remember in the movie "Jerry Maguire", when Dorothy listens to Jerry give a whole speech about how he loves her and in the end says "You had me at 'hello'"?

Right now, the Pakistan team must be saying to India, "You had us at 27/0".

The world's second most overrated bowler (most overrated - Brett Lee) was bludgeoned in his first over, going for 18, including a huge six that landed in the stands. The score read 27/0.

The match was over! Pakistan's chances were dead!

Then a few nails were hammered into the coffin.

Nail 1- Waqar brought himself on in the 4th over and was cut for a six (LOL, 2 of the 3 bowlers of the 'world's most fearsome attack' were cut for sixes) by Sehwag.

Nail 2 - Shoaib's ball, came firing at 153 kmph, was dispatched for a straight drive by Kaif, for what was, according to me, the four of the match.

Nail 3 - After Sachin was dismissed, Yuvraj came to the centre to face Shoaib, whose "tail was up", according to Rameez Raja. He comes charging in, and bowls a yorker at 159 kmph (99.4 mph), which Yuvraj nonchalantly flicks to the midwicket boundary. Yuvraj starts at 4 off 1 ball.

Now that this pesudo-war is behind us, let us concentrate on more important matters, like winning the World Cup.