Vantage point

Monday, October 31, 2005

Best ODI Knock Ever!

There is something very brutal yet artistic about Mahendra Singh Dhoni's batting. His batting suggests that he would make a very good boxer. Firstly, he has the formidable built required. He has the brute strength, and the rare ability to direct the strength in the direction he wants, demonstrating Newton's Second Law of Motion with remarkable fidelity. Crucially, he also has the boxer's instinct to fend and defend when the situation demands. It is no coincidence then that the two occasions on which he has got a lot of overs to bat, he has turned in two very big hundreds.

Dhoni vs Sri Lanka today was like a 12-round boxing match. Dhoni kept landing crucial blows, yet respected the ability of the Lankans, and held up his guard when necessary. At the end of the long battle, Dhoni won with a 12th round KO.

Greg Chappel has been rumoured to have compared Dhoni to Gilchrist in terms of ability. Dhoni provided his coach with a stat to use in this argument, as he overhauled Gilchrist's highest ODI score of 172 by 12 runs to post the highest ever score by a wicket-keeper. He nonchalantly obliterated another record along the way, improving the "Most Sixes in an innings by and Indian", jointly held by Tendulkar(once) and Ganguly(twice) at 7 sixes, to ten hits. He also crept up noticed to join Ganguly on the second rung of the "Highest ODI score by an Indian" ladder.

The most remarkable thing about his innings today was the fact that in his 183-run-145-ball essay, he did not give the Lankans even half a chance to dismiss him. Usually innings of this tenor and length, coming even from masters like Tendulkar or Jaysuriya, are punctuated with at least one or two dropped catches or a missed stumping or run out. But the most that Dhoni was willing to offer the Lankans were a couple of miscues, which fell miles away from fielders. Those apart, he played a knock which, just like his previous century against Pakistan, was played respecting the situation the game was in. He stole one's and two's when required, and responded admirably to his partners' calls. He read the bowling very well, and even when he advanced down the track, did so with enough caution to change his shot at the last moment if he had misjudged the length. He studied the bowlers' hand well enough to spot Murali's doosras and Fernando's well-disguised slower ones. And then, when he decided to take to the air, he did so in full measure, backing his natural ability, and clearing the ropes with ease.

This was not just a blistering entertaining knock. It was ODI batting at its best. I will go so far as to say that this was the best one-day knock I have ever seen, easily surpassing the 180-plus scores by Ganguly, Tendulkar, Jaysuriya, Richards and Anwar that I have seen. Before you accuse me of getting carried away, let me remind you, all those were made batting first. All those guys had no specific target to chase, and there was no pressure on them once they crossed hundred. They could just go on a complete rampage.

I am pretty sure (readers are welcome to correct me if I am wrong) that this was the highest individual score made batting second, by a huge margin. Dhoni came in to bat, staring a target of almost 300, after Tendulkar had been dismissed in the very first over. The Lankans had their tails up. But with a crisp six over cover off Vaas, Dhoni launched a counter-attack. It was other senior partners who kept getting out. Sehwag's and Dravid's dismissals, both falling to the doosra, would no-doubt have put pressure on Dhoni to stay there as the "set batsman". In the past few months, India has messed up many seemingly easy chases. He recognised the fact, soaked up the pressure, and batted with maturity, nay mastery. After those wickets, he did not attempt sixes off Murali or Vaas, though he did milk their bowling too. All his sixes came off the lesser bowlers, ample proof of attacking selectively and intelligently.

We should not make the mistake of thinking that this was merely Dhoni's day, when everything he did worked. It was his day no doubt, but a lot of intelligent batting was on display. In domestic LOI cricket too, Dhoni has shepherded many such chases. Those who followed last year's Challenger Trophy will understand what I am saying. I think there may be a case for Dhoni batting up the order regularly. He is a great exponent of the art of ODI batting, and should be given as many overs as possible to display his art. A promotion to one-down whenever India is chasing a 225-plus total can be the start. He should also be groomed to eventually open the innings once Tendulkar retires.

In light of the improvements in his keeping, and the fact that Dinesh Karthick isn't exactly Alan-Knott-reborn, an opportunity in the test side is also possible.

Go Delhi!

This blog, has in the past, indulged in a great deal of Delhi-baiting. But this is one moment when this blog commends the Delhiite for showing remarkable courage and restraint in the face of cruelly-timed provocation. Just today, some terrorists who attacked the historic red fort have been given harsh sentences, one of them even a death sentence. Here's hoping that the perpetrators of Saturday's heartless attacks also meet a similar fate soon.

Friday, October 28, 2005

The Best Article About the Whole IIPM Saga

The best article about the whole IIPM saga in any form of media -

Mark Glaser at Online Journalism Review

The First Few Moments of Bemusement

It happens every year. You hear the sound, and you are confused. What is this? Why? To what occasion to I owe this disturbance? Is someone getting married? Did India win a match? Or did a tyre burst? Surely there has to be a rational explanation.

Then, in a few more seconds, realisation dawns upon you. It's that time of the year again. That's why people are bursting crackers. :)

Happy Diwali Everyone!

Chhain Ki Neend Sona Hai Toh Ab...JAAG JAO!!

Loosely translated, it means "If you want to sleep peacefully, then....WAKE UP!!!"

If any of you folks have got the context, then you will realise why I am relishing making this post. If you folks haven't got the context, then it means you are living in an ignorant world, unaware of the foremost entertainer on Indian television.

This remarkable man would make Rajnikant, Mithunda and Suhaib Ilyasi throw in a collective towel. What makes him even more remarkable is the fact that he is not acting, or playing a part. He is just being himself!

Sadly, I am not sure what his name is. All I remember is that it starts with an "R". He hosts the show 'Crime Reporter' on Zee News every night. The show itself is more about sensationalism than vigilantism. It usually features one crime related to sex, either a "high-society-call-girl-racket" or an MMS scandal, one crime about fraud, one about a gruesome murder, and a few more crimes, according to that week's flavour. With such content, you would scarcely expect the most shocking and sensational feature of the show to be its host.

But this man defies explanation, challenges imagination, and boggles the mind. His looks, his mannerisms, his gestures, his voice, everything is hilarious.

This blog, where I can only write, is not a medium sufficiently equipped to explain the hilarity that the man inspires. To use an oft-quoted cliche, he is like the Matrix. No one can be told what he is. You have to watch him yourself.

So watch the 'Crime Reporter' on Zee News whenever you can. And after you have spent the better part of an hour rolling on the floor laughing, drop me a mail to thank me for uncovering this gem.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Globalisation vs Goebbelisation

That's what the debate has turned into. The opponents of Globalisation love to fight it, not with logic and facts, but with what I call Goebbelisation. Lies, half-truths, repeated ad-nauseum. Noam Chomsky, Arundhati Roy, Praful Bidwai(where the hell is he these days?) or a certain teacher called Matthew, as described in Kunal's post here.

P.S - For those who don't know what I mean by Goebbelisation, read about Joseph Goebbels, the Propaganda Minister of the Nazis.

"I'm The Milk"

Here's another anecdote that just came back to me in a flash of recollection. It happened earlier this year at the San Diego airport. I had taken the boarding pass for my flight to Minneapolis, and was waiting for security check in a queue.

There were four security check counters. Three were identical, and one was slightly different. It was apparently for "thorough" security check, for which certain passengers were chosen by the security personnel. I was obviously one of them, on account of my brown skin. Now I have no problems with that. America suffered a massive terrorist attack at the hands of 19 air-travellers, with skin similar to mine. I can understand if they feel a bit worried about letting me get on a plane without a thorough security check. And hey, it's their country, so I'll play by their rules. After all, don't the tourists pay the "white-skin-tax" at every stage in India?

I stood in the "thorough" queue, and looked at others standing in the queue. Most of the folks were either black or brown, but there were one or two white men as well. One such white man was standing behind me. He probably noticed me observing the composition fo the queue and said to me,

"I'm the milk."

"Beg your pardon?", I said, not sure if I heard him right. Did he just say he was the milk?

"I'm the milk" he said and seeing the puzzled expression on my face, went on "The milk added to make sure this coffee doesn't seem too dark."

The "thorough" checking, by the way, was not as thorough as I feared. Clearly I look less terrorist-like than George Fernandes. I was not strip-searched or anything. My hand-luggage and laptop were carefully examined, and I was made to walk through an arch where half a dozen tiny tubes pumped air at me(!!). Besides that it was no different from a normal security check.

Chomsky the Capitalist Pig

Noam Chomsky, a capitalist pig?

No way, you say!

Yes way, Yazad says!

Return of the King

Sachin Tendulkar is back. Did I say he is back? I meant he is BACK! The difference is a lot more than the one between uppercase and lowercase. When I say "back", I mean that he has recovered from the tennis elbow injury which kept him out of the game for months. When I say "BACK", I mean that he has recovered from the weird injury to his confidence/self-esteem/self-assessment which had made him a shadow of his self over the last two seasons.

When Tendulkar got out on 93 today, like his numerous fans, I too was disappointed that he missed out on a well-deserved century. But the disappointment paled in comparison to the elation I felt at the manner of his dismissal. It was great to see Tendulkar, in the nineties, going for a cover drive off the front-foot, and getting caught behind the wicket. That's the way a King should fall in battle. A King should not fall in the battle while he is retreating, or defending. What separates a King from the soldiers is his staunch belief that he is divine and infallible. Many Kings are considered Gods by their subjects. But for that, first the Kings must consider themselves Gods. Tendulkar, an undisputed King of cricket, had off late started thinking he was not King, but some democratically elected office-bearer. The King who would once charge at rival Kings with just a sword in his hand, now started doing cautious battle with rival foot-soldiers, one hand firmly gripping the shield.

Today the King showed up without the shield. He wielded his trusted sword, and he stepped on the battlefield. He swept aside foot-soldiers like Maharoof, Fernando, etc. He went after the enemy Kings - Vaas and Muralidharan. And though he did not really smite them, it was pleasure watch him duel on an equal footing, like a King, without his shield. He eventually fell to a foot-soldier, but by then the enemy was in retreat.

All hail the return of the King

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Story of a Honhaar Naujavaan

I get a deja vu writing this post, so maybe I have expounded on this topic earlier, but it is so rich that I can keep going. The topic of course is, Hindi films during the 1980s.

In my opinion, Hindi films touched their nadir in the 1980s. It was hands down the worst decade in the history of Bollywood. Storylines, performances, clothes, and other associated sins like dances, fights etc, all plunged to unimaginable depths in the 1980s.

To get an idea of how bad things were, remember, 1980s was the decade that Mithunda was considered a part of mainstream!

This is how your average 1980s movie would go. Less than 1% would deviate from whatever is described below.

The male lead (henceforth to be referred to as 'Hero') would invariably be a "gareeb honhaar naujavaan", i.e poor earnest youngster. He would live in a basti. What was shown as basti was actually a Mumbai chawl, but the directors probably thought chawl was too Bambaiyya a word. So our Hero would be looking for a "naukri", i.e job. He would go for a lot of interviews after having a nice warm chat with his Mom. The Hero would always be wearing the sort of clothes than you now get outside railways stations on Mumbai's Central Line....that too on the east side. The colours brown, green, purple, grey would abound.

The interview would be great and it will always seem as if the dude is getting the job, but will not get it at the last monment. Why? Because our Hero does not have a "sifaarish", i.e he lost the job to nepotism. He would dream a bit about getting the job, buying a hideous sari for his mom, a weird frock for his sister, and also getting the sister married soon.

So far so good. Then the heroine would enter the picture. She would always be from a rich family, and live either at Juhu or Pali Hill. The clothes actresses wore in the eighties were always so frilly. Frills here, frills there, frill everywhere. No wonder the term "No Frills Airline" originated in the eighties. Only in eighties would the concept of doing away with frill have the maximum impact.

So this frilly filly and our hero would have an altercation. During the altercation, the heroine needs to say "Ay Mister" and the hero must say "Dekhiye Memsaahab" at least once. It would always show the heroine in a "magroor" (arrogant) light. She will have guroor (arrogance) either of daulat (wealth) or husn (beauty).

At the end of the altercation, the hero always wins. If the actress is accomodating enough, then the Director will also engineer a kiss-in-which-only-backs-of-their-heads-show. One song later, they will be in love.

Now this song has to be in a municipal park. One of the cardinal rules of the eighties was to shoot songs in municipal parks so that the municipality can earn some revenue. The same plants, the same shrubs, the same flowers, would appear in all the movies.

The preference for municipal parks is not the only indication that film-makers of the eighties were not without a sense of social responsibility. This decade also saw the establishment of the 'Saroj Khan Employment Guarantee Scheme'. Under this scheme, one person from every household in Mumbai was assured of at least 100 days of work every year, dancing as an extra behind the hero and heroine in every song. The sole criterion for qualification for this scheme was ugliness.

By this time, the villain would be introduced. Now in terms of the villain's trade, the film word reflected the confusion of the reality.

You see, in the 70s, led by the great Indira Gandhi, believed profit was evil. Most trade was banned. In the 70s, importing stuff like watches, tape recorders, and of course, gold, was considered evil. So any film villain worth his salt, had to deal in smuggled gold.

In the 1980s, we were confused. These weren't the 70s, when trading, business, indeed anything productive, was termed evil. These weren't the nineties either, when possessing money stopped being a sin, and heroes started gargling with cola drinks. These were the eighties. Confused, stuck in between. Eighties were also the period when terrorism as a concept was introduced to the world. So the villains also occupied a wide spectrum of professions.

A villain, who at least half the time, used to be the heroine's father, would either smuggle drugs, or be a terrorist. He could also be a corrupt cop, or Minister, but very rarely. The age of the Minister-villain was ushered in by Mehul Kumar much later in the 90ss

The heroine's father, wearing what he wanted us to believe were Armani suits, would come to know of his daughter being in love with a "do takey ka aadmi" (a man worth two units of the currency of Bangaldesh). He would either lock his daughter in a room, or pretend to be cool with it. Then came the scene without which the censor board wouldn't clear movies in the 1980s.

The father would offer the hero money to leave his daughter alone. The hero would then say "Hum gareeb zaroor hain, lekin humaarey bhi usool hai" or something like that. The father, having failed to use "daam", would then use dand and bhed. Some charge of thievery would be pinned on the hero, to which he would respond "Hum gareeb zaroor hain, lekin chor nahin".

There would be a few more songs thrown in between. One would be a dream sequence with a lot of weird lights. Another would be a community song in the basti.

The story would ramble for a while. Then it would plod along to the climax The climax usually had a fight sequence, which would always take place in a godown with a lot of cardboard boxes. There would be a lot of dhishum-ing around. At the end of it, the hero would emerge vistorious, then the police would make a late entry.

The heroine's father would either be escorted away by the police, or have a genuine change of heart and give his "aashirwaad". And the movie would end....or would it? Because the graphic would say 'The Beginning'.

The Best Colour

The best colour of them all is black.

Disclaimer: The above opinion is mine and mine alone. It is not necessarily shared by my past, present(at the time that a reader reads this blog) or future employer(s). It is not shared by my past, present(at the time that a reader reads this blog) or future girlfriend(s). The opinion is not necessarily shared by the Secretary of the Tenants Association of my building, the local corporator of my ward, the MLA of my Vidhan Sabha constituency, the MP of my Lok Sabha constituency, the Bhai of my 'ilaaka', Vilasrao Deshmukh - The Chief Minister of my state, Manmohan Singh, the Prime Minister of my country....... or Congress President Sonia Gandhi.


Connect Kevin Bacon to Madhubala

The answer?

Kevin Bacon was in JFK (1991) with Martin Sheen
Martin Sheen was in Gandhi (1982) with Jalal Agha
Jalal Agha was in Mughal-E-Azam (1960) with Madhubala

People who have been avid watchers of the sitcom Mad About You, would be familiar with the Kevin Bacon game. Here's how it works. In an episode, Paul and Jamie play a game in which they try to link any actor in the word to Kevin Bacon in less than six steps. The episode is a funny one (like all Mad About You episodes), and actually ends with a cameo by Kevin Bacon.

Some folks at the University of Virginia Computer Science department took this game very seriously. They have written a program which links anyone in the IMDB database to Kevin Bacon in less than 6 steps. Even Madhubala!! Try it yourself -

The Oracle of Bacon

Now you may ask me. If someone writes a program to link anyone with Kevin Bacon, why not write a program to link anyone with anyone? Surely it can't be much extra work. Well, you are right. It isn't too much extra work.

Star Links

Go ahead, knock yourself crazy pitting the most unrelated actors against each other. You'll still find a link.

Here are a few improbable ones I tried -

Mallika Sherawat and James Dean

Mallika Sherawat was in Shen hua (2005) with Jackie (I) Chan
Jackie (I) Chan was in Cannonball Run II (1984) with Dean (I) Martin
Dean (I) Martin was in Sailor Beware (1952) with James (I) Dean

Rita Hayworth and Tusshar Kapoor

Rita Hayworth was in Salome (1953) with Sujata (I)
Sujata (I) was in Hamari Yaad Aayegi (1961) with Tanuja
Tanuja was in Khakee (2004) with Tusshar Kapoor

Lindsay Lohan and Bhagyashree

Lindsay Lohan was in Mean Girls (2004) with Jack (II) Newman
Jack (II) Newman was in Sam & Me (1991) with Kulbhushan Kharbanda
Kulbhushan Kharbanda was in Pinjar (2003) with Alok Nath
Alok Nath was in Maa Santoshi Maa (2003) with Bhagyashree

Cute, eh?

(Link Courtesy: George Thomas and his post wishing IMDB a Happy 15th Birthday)

Monday, October 17, 2005

Pinnacle of Innovation

A couple of months back in Germany, I saw something which cemented my opinion that the greatest competitive advantage humankind has over other species is not the opposable thumb, but innovation. What I saw was one of the most innovative ideas I have ever come across. And guess where I saw it?

In a urinal!

Yes, "in" a urinal. That is not me making the mistake of saying "in the urinal" when I mean "in the bathroom". This pinnacle of human innovation was actually located inside the urinal. You know how the base of the urinal, on which your pee lands, there will usually be a few holes that will drain the liquid and take it on its journey to the netherworld (No, I do NOT mean that sewage from germany goes to Holland!!).

In this particular urinal in this particular bathroom in this particular restaurant in Munich, placed on top of the holes, was green gauze. On top of the green gauze, was a small plastic goal. And in front of it, was a tiny naphthalene ball which looked like a football. The whole purpose of this contraption was to let you have some fun while peeing. You could aim at the ball and direct it into the goal.

I googled around a bit and even managed to locate a picture over here.

I was amazed at the sheer ingenuity of this product. I was later told that these urinal-football-kits are very popular in football-crazy Europe. Spare a thought for the guy who "invented" them. Can you honestly deny him a place alongside Edison, Da Vinci and ben Franklin, as one of the greatest minds to grace this planet?

Oh by the way, I scored 4 goals!

Cricket Crazy

Today while flipping TV channels, I froze on Ten Sports. Some blokes were playing cricket. A few minutes later I realised that it was a limited overs game from the West Indian domestic league.

Is this a sign that we really should be worried about our obsession with cricket? I mean come on, if domestic cricket from another country, especially one which is not playing great cricket at the moment, can find media buyers on cable TV, then maybe we really are hopelessly addicted to the game. No wonder politicians of all shapes, sizes and colours are fighting to get into the business of running Indian cricket.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Now We're Talking!!!

Australia - 194/8 in the second innings, lead by 349 runs with 2 wickets remaining.
Flintoff and Murali trigger collapse.

Now we're talking. At the moment, bad light has stopped play. But with 3 days remaining, and a very gettable target presented to what is the pick of the best batsmen in the world, this test is sure to come alive tomorrow.

Iftaar Musings

Mohammad Ali Road in Mumbai during the nights in the month of Ramzan.
Very familiar to the 'Peth's of Pune during the nights at Ganeshotsav time.
Thousands josting for space, temporary eateries doing great business, hundreds of street salespersons peddling their wares.
Traffic jams, crowds, an abundance of fluorescent tubelights.
Well-dressed girls out on the streets having a great time way past the normal "safe" hours.
A buoyant spirit of festivity in the air.
Yes, a lot like the 'Peth's of Pune during Ganeshotsav.
But with a LOT more meat.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Beggars and Billboards

If one observes the distribution of beggars at the traffic signals in any city, and the placing of advertising billboards, there is bound to be some correlation. After all, both have the same target segment. Both are focussing on the upper middle class travelling in cars, rickshaws or taxis. Both are gunning for the extra income that this target segment has.

Regular Broadcasting Resumes Today

Regular programming on this blog was interrupted by a series of events which we all know about. Things came to a head, and have now even appeared in mainstream media. As of now there are a two things I will be doing -

+ Shore up resources, legal and otherwise, for the lawsuit.
+ Take precautions about my physical well-being...preferably not end up in hospital... or worse.

The blog obviously is not actively required fo either of these things. So regular broadcasting on Vantage Point resumes today.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

The Silence...

... on this blog has been because of a paucity of time. Never knew quitting one's job could make one so busy. ;)

On a serious note though, a few developments that I would like to mention and talk about -

Firstly, Varna also being sent what proclaims to be a "judicially notarized" email. This matter is bizarre for several reasons. One being that she has been threatened with a 175 crore lawsuit. How the number has been arrived at is not made clear. Secondly, A Sandeep, in today's Indian Express, denies knowledge of any such notice. So where did it come from? And out of the hundreds of bloggers who came out supporting me, why has Varna been singled out for a lawsuit? Is it because a 21-year old girl from their own city, Delhi, seems like an easy target? Varna however shows stomach for a fight. I applaud her.

Secondly, of significant importance is the blog of Dr. Amit Kapoor. He is the teacher I have mentioned in my first post, who told us about AC's dubious academic credentials. In the mail sent to me by IIPM, along with a 17 page document, there is still no clarification given about this matter. Dr. Kapoor writes about the issue with a great deal of passion here and here.

There have been a lot of people offering me job interviews and even actual jobs over the last few days. I can only say that I am touched and overwhelmed by this support I have received. The past couple of days have been hectic and the next few days will be as well. I will think about my next job after a few days, when the dust settles a bit. This is for two reasons. One is that things are very hectic right now with stories coming out in the mainstream media, and I would not be able to focus on the job immediately. Secondly, I would like my employers to judge and hire me on the basis of an objective evaluation of my abilities, and not the halo effect of my decision to quit. The evaluation will be much more objective a few days down the line, and I will alo be sure that I got my next job due to my professional abilities rather than a decision taken on the personal front. I quit my job because I did not want my company to be affected by my personal convictions, and in the same line of thought, I would not like to cash in on a wave of appreciation arising out of my personal convictions to get a job.

So yes, I will be sending out my resume. A guy's gotta eat, after all. But it will be after a week or so.

By the way, this entire issue is being covered excellently on Desipundit, so keep visiting it for updates.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005


Emails of support have been pouring in by the hundreds ever since I made my last post. I am touched beyond words. Thanks for all the support. I obviously can't reply immediately, but I assure everyone, each email will be responded to over the next few days.

Monday, October 10, 2005

An Update

Some developments have taken place recently which, if relayed in a chinese-whispers-ish manner, can lead to a lot of unnecessary misunderstanding. Therefore, this post is an endeavour to clear the air and put some important things on record.

I have resigned from IBM. The decision is entirely my own and I was not asked by IBM to resign, nor was I pressured in any manner by any executive from IBM. I took the decision in view of some really bizarre threats that were apparently made by IIPM to IBM.

On Saturday I got a call from a Senior Executive of Lenovo(formerly IBM PC Division). Apparently, IIPM called him up, complaining about my posts. He asked me what the matter was. I explained to him that the posts were made on my personal blog. They had nothing to do with IBM. It was strictly my personal opinion and if he wanted I could put up disclaimers on my posts saying that IBM does not necessarily share my opinions. He was satisfied and the conversation ended there.

The next day, i.e Sunday morning, I got a call from him again. He said that he had communicated to IIPM that I had made a personal post and IBM could not be held responsible for it. But apparently, the Dean of IIPM wrote him a mail saying that the IIPM Students Union had decided that if my blog posts were not deleted, then they would gather all the Thinkpads they had been given by the institute, and burn them in front of the IBM office in Delhi. Yes, that's right. Burn laptops!

Needless to say I was aghast. The Senior Executive from Lenovo, I must stress here, did not ask me to remove my posts. He asked me whether my decision remained the same in light of this communication from IIPM. I said I would get back to him after talking over the matter with several people, including my Manager in IBM. I spoke to my Manager who also confirmed that IIPM had given IBM a deadline of Monday morning, i.e morning of today, 10th October, to ensure I deleted my posts. Failing which, they would burn the laptops.

At this point, after thinking things over carefully, and consulting some people close to me, I reached a conclusion. As of that moment, two things were very vital to me, neither of which I wanted to compromise -

Firstly, my intention to stand by my posts, since I believe in freedom of speech. I have written nothing that can be thought of as libel. IIPM is an organiation in free India which makes some claims in its advertisements. What I did was exercise my right as a citizen, by responding to the information contained in the ad. I stand by it. The language used may be a bit harsh, with words like "screw around" and "crap" which may hurt some people's sensibilities, but I think they were appropriate in the context. IIPM never communicated with me civilly saying that I was wrong. Nor did they provide any evidence to show that they were wrong. For instance, if they had sent the complete details of Arindam Chaudhuri's educational qualifications, including the years of passing out, universities, and even grades, I would have gladly eaten my words, and posted an apology.

But they did not do that. They threatened me with a ridiculous "notarized" mail which is there for all to see. I even replied to that mail, to which I am yet to get a reply.

So as I said, the first thing that is dear to me, is my freedom of speech.

The second thing dear to me is IBM's well-being. IBM has been a good employer to me. I have no complaints about them. Even in light of these events, they did not pressurise me to go against my principles and hush the matter up. Yet, IBM was being dragged into this unnecessarily. It was being made a target of bizarre pressure tactics. If even one Thinkpad laptop was actually burnt, it would cause a lot of bad press and nuisance for IBM. So I did not want IBM's well-being to be compromised in any way.

So I had to find a path which could help me accomplish both things. The only option was to resign from IBM voluntarily. It would absolve IBM from being targeted by IIPM by virtue of the fact that I don't work for them any more. I could look for employment elsewhere, in an organisation which can not be targeted by such nuisance. I have tremendous faith in my own abilities as well as the IIM Alumni who, aware of my case, would surely help me get a job.

I told my Manager about my decision to resign. He asked me to reconsider it, and even sleep over it. I did so, and realised that the decision was correct. In the morning I spoke to him again and confirmed my decision, resigning from IBM, and wishing him and the entire team the best of luck. My request to be relieved with immediate effect was acceded to, making today my last official day in IBM.

I realise that this has been a very major decision. It can be interpreted in different ways if taken out of context. Which is why I have written this elaborate mail to clear things up.

I wish IBM and my former team-mates all the very best, and am sure the company will continue its victorious strides.

I would also like to thank the numerous bloggers and blog-readers who mailed me in support. Several have also made blog posts in support, ensuring that if IIPM decides to sue bloggers who don't praise it, then they will have tens, even hundreds of lawsuits to file.

And finally, a personal communication to each and every IIPM student out there - I did not start this thing. It is not my intention to damage your careers or reduce your worth. All I did was link to an article which examined the veracity of IIPM's ads, and seek some more info. I did so hoping that those evaluating IIPM as a place to study in would have all the information at their disposal, something which the ads clearly were not in favour of. The several changes made in IIPM ads over the months are a tacit admission of guilt. I believe that if IIPM reacts to the JAM article and several blog posts in the right way, i.e. actually living up to the promises and claims made in the advertisements, then in the end it is the IIPM student who will benefit.

Remember, truth never hurts those who are right.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Lack of Teamwork or Faulty Selection?

The one day part of the Super Series has been somewhat of an anti-climax. Australia thumped the ROW side with ridiculous ease. The pundits will now talk about the importance of teamwork and how it is not just the brilliance of individuals that can suffice...etc etc.

I agree that teamwork is important, and twelve players thrown together can't be expected to gel as a team overnight. But I still think the bigger culprit behind these defeats has been faulty selection. How on earth can Inzimam and Vaas be left out of the one day sides? The teams were picked more on the basis of star potential than cricketing wisdom. What else could explain the selection of Kevin Pietersen, barely a season old? I am a Sehwag fan as everyone knows, but even I oppose his presence in the one day side. Tests, yes, but one days? No!

I could go on and on...but the bottomline is that a well picked team would have played a lot better. They might not have beaten Australia for sure, but would have put up a better fight than this lot.

Do Lakh!!!

Yesterday this blog crossed the mark of 200,000 hits since May 2002. Thank you everybody. Hoping for more such milestones to rush by even faster.

Little Pieces of Heaven

Good Day Choconut Biscuits!!!

Little pieces of heaven!!!!!!

I discovered this fine biscuit yesterday as I was feeling a rare itch in my sweet tooth. Folks who know me will vouch that I usually hate anything sweet. Less than a handful of sweets are the exception. Which is why the Good Day choconuts really boggled my mind, my palate, my taste buds, indeed anything and everything that came in contact with them.

Until now the only biscuit I touched was Parle Hide and Seek, the chocolate chip biscuit. But now the Britannia people have converted me to their fold. Only something so sinful could have lured me over.

So if you haven't tasted those biscuits yet, do so at once.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

This Clinches It!

Call it jaajjwalya abhimaan or call it the plain truth -

Pune is home to happiest Indians in the world

I'm disconnecting my cable connection

Yes, I am disconnecting my cable connection.


To borrow the logic used by the Devgan family for Tata Indicom, insaan cable leta hai entertainment ke liye and since I am already getting loads of entertainment from one particular source, the cable has become redundant.

A few weeks back, I linked to a story carried by JAM magazine which examined the tall claims made by IIPM in its newspaper ads. Some days later I linked to the blog of someone claiming to be an ex-IIPM-ite. The main purpose behind these posts on my blog was to make a few people aware of how these massively embellished ads may be painting an exaggerated picture of their institute's worth.

JAM had done a great job of detailing these embellishments in their article, so I linked to it and asked a few more questions, mainly, what exactly are the educational qualifications of Arindam Chaudhuri? He is touted as a "management guru" and a great thinker. I would like to know his educational qualifications. A faculty member at IIM Lucknow had informed us that Chaudhuri had not managed to clear graduation exams at first attempt. So I naturally wanted to know more about Chaudhuri's resume.

His own website mentions just a few degrees. His own website does not tell us which universities or institutes he got his BA, MA, and Diploma in I.E. from. The only insti mentioned is.... surprise suprise.... IIPM itself which awarded him with an MBA(!), and also awarded him with.... bigger surprise surprise... an 'Academic Gold Medal'.

Now very frankly, I forgot about this issue after the posts, moved on with my life, watched more cable TV for entertainment. Until 4th October when this mail landed in my inbox, making cable TV redundant. I almost fell off my chair laughing!

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Legal Cell, IIPM
Date: Oct 4, 2005 4:03 PM
Subject: Notarized first notice of legal summons

First Notice of legal summons to you
Warning: This email has been judicially notarized and has been tagged to validate receipt and response

Notice: IIPM/DZI1/2005/44

Date: 4th October 2005

Subject: False articles released by you on IIPM on (reference

I am the head of the legal and compliance counsel at The Indian Institute of Planning & Management (IIPM) New Delhi, India.

This notice is with respect to your releasing totally false articles about IIPM on the website (reference that has your clear reference and that has been released by you with proven deliberate and fraudulent intentions to harm the image of IIPM and related businesses. The articles have caused unfathomable damage to the reputation of IIPM and to its various operational areas. The articles further have affected innumerable future operations of IIPM. We have legally notarized and logged all the releases and are sending you this email to you as the first notice of proposed legal, judicial and criminal action against you that has already been approved & cleared by the Post Graduate Fellow Programme committee at IIPM. Even though the damage caused by your deliberate and fraudulent intentions cannot be calculated, the proposed filing would involve an immediate damage claim from you of Rs.125 Crores; apart from other various losses (including, but not restricted to opportunity losses, sales losses, legal costs and associated expenses). Corollary claims and subsequent parallel criminal and civil actions are being notified further on.

We are also providing your details to respective national and regional police authorities for undertaking and implementing immediate arrest warrants against you. We are also providing your details to various corporations within India and abroad to inform them about the judicial, legal and police action against you; thus ensuring that your details are well documented.

However, in case you undertake the following actions immediately, and provide evidence of such actions being completed by October 8th 2005, we shall formally withhold the abovementioned proceedings against you:

1. Immediately remove all articles related to IIPM from all domains under your purview, including but not restricted to the domains and

2. Immediately notify all your affiliate partners and other relevant websites to remove any links to any news of IIPM that they have received from you. You have to also ensure that these websites follow instructions as you would be held responsible for any continued display of the abovementioned item in question and future unapproved references to IIPM of any kind in any type of a media vehicle.

3. Immediately release an apology notice (after getting the text approved from our offices) on all domains under your authority that clearly mentions that you had mistakenly released the article and are withdrawing the same unconditionally. The same should also be sent to us.

4. Refrain in the future from releasing any news item containing IIPM's reference without the prior explicit written approval of IIPM.

Be warned, your telephone numbers, physical addresses thereon, login details, network access mechanisms have all been documented, notarized and legally ratified through google and, thus ensuring that any arrest warrants can be served and implemented on you within one day.

Your formal response shall be expected by the 12 noon (Indian Standard Time) of 6th October 2005 ; failing which, we shall proceed with the parallel arrest proceedings against you.


President, Legal and Compliance Cell
The Indian Institute of Planning & Management
Level 0, IIPM Tower 1
B-27, Qutab Institutional Area
New Delhi - 110016, India
Phone: +91-11-51799900; Fax: +91-11-51799911


Wow, my own first ever lawsuit!!

The action is not limited only to the "legal" front. A lot of action has apparently been happening online too.

Sinfully Pinstripe had written a post on his blog, linking to the JAM article, and a few other blogs. Somebody named arun r left a comment on this post saying -

IIPM Rankings - An article by a dubious small-time publication called JAMMAG on IIPM was sponsored by Amity, it turns out. Aaj tak ran a sting operation where it was revealed on camera that JAMMAG, accepted money in cash from Amity group of educational institutions to write a negative story on IIPM, Amity's cmopetitor for business education programs at the post graudate and undergradute level.

JAMMAG's article never had much credibility, since the accusation were blatant and false, supported by nothing more than unreealed 'sources' and press clippings of IIPM's own promotional material... But JAMMAG had also undertaken to prmote this article among other media outlets - when no mainstream publication picked up the story, they finally used internet blogs to try to popularise the story...

The Aaj tak story has JAMMAG employees on camera talking of the deal... and referring to another such deal for a engineering college which wanted to smear the respected IIT Mumbai .

What utter load of crap. Aajtak has carried no such expose. Amity itself has been criticised in JAM in previous issues. But this comment is very Goebbelsian. repeat the lie a number of times and with conviction, and it may just pass off as truth. If somebody from Aajtak or the India Today group is reading this, please note that your name is being falsely used.

Other than these, a number of blogs have been started in support of IIPM on the same day. I am not linking to any of them and giving them undeserved hits and pageranks.

But the most hilarious one, by far, is a blog with has been started using my name! yes, my name!! I too have my own pretend-stalker. The blog claims that the real Gaurav Sabnis is actually an IIPM passout working in Deloitte, and is attending talks being hosted by IIPM in Delhi.

I will end this post here because I need to take a long laugh-break. Controlling my laughter has been the biggest challenge I have faced in recent days.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Good One, Jug

Every week, one glances over Jug Suraiya's attempts to dish out articles soaked in wit and sarcasm. Most of the times, the result is a damp squib. But there are these rare flashes of brilliance when he outdoes himself.

This Sunday's Times of India carried one such gem of an article by Jug Suraiya. It talks about the Employment Guarantee Scheme that the UPA government is gung-ho about pushing through.

He starts off

The government’s National Employment Guarantee Scheme has caused much comment. But in fact the sarkar has for many years — indeed almost since its inception — operated a hugely successful national employment scheme, except that it has modestly hidden its light under a bushel.

That's right. The government, by converting several industries into unnatural monopolies run by its own grubby inefficient arms, has in effect created twice the number of jobs.

Naresh is the most recent in a long line of mechanics who have found gainful employment servicing and repairing the generator I use at home when the power goes on the blink. Isn’t it a waste of money considering we’ve been promised that Haryana will be a power cut-free zone by the end of this year? asked Bunny when I bought the genset. I don’t think so, I assured her. That was eight years ago. And since then, the generator has more than earned its keep. For of course Haryana did not become a power cut-free zone by the end of that year. Nor will it become so at the end of the next eight years, or 20, or ever. For if it ever did become a power cut-free zone, my generator would become redundant. And so would Naresh. And all those hundreds or thousands of Nareshs in Haryana and elsewhere who keep in working order the millions of private gensets in use all over the country.

So you see, there are two, maybe even three or four or more jobs, created in place of one. The first, that of a State Electricity Board employee, who pretends to supply you all the power you need. And the genset salesman, genset mechanic, the workers in the genset factory...etc etc.

By the simple expedient of ensuring that the supply of power falls far short of the demand, the sarkar has guaranteed employment for Naresh and his co-workers. Thriftily, the sarkar has created all this guaranteed employment at not just minimal but negative cost to itself. By not installing sufficient power capacity, the sarkar has actually saved much-needed public funds for essentials like paying itself its own salary. While getting genset owners like me — and, for all I know, you — to pay not just the self-employed mechanics who keep all these devices operational but also keep in business the entrepreneurs who make these things in the first place. Why doesn’t the sarkar allow private parties to set up power plants so that there won’t be power shortages? What a dumb question. If there were enough power for everyone, who’d employ Naresh? The sarkar? No bloody fear. It’s got its hands full employing itself. What it can do is facilitate you — and me — to employ Naresh and others like him by thinking up various wheezes which guarantee employment.

Good stuff. Hitting the nail right on the head. It is stuff like this which keeps me loyal to the Times of India, despite a drop in their standards. Editorially, their hearts are in the right place, i.e, in favour of the market. The Hindu is downright leftist. HT is bang in the centre, swinging both ways. DNA is confused and trying to ascertain its identity.

Indian Express is free market, and at least its metro editions maintain a higher standard of reporting and journalism. So if you are a marketwallah, stick to TOI and IE, unless you want to puke all over your newspaper's editorial page.