Tuesday, December 30, 2008


Interesting piece of news. The new Nepal government has decreed that the diety in the Pashupatinath temple would be worshipped by Nepali priests thus ending an era of Indian priests officiating.

One of my Sanskrit teachers in school, Mr. Rama Kantha Prakash (called RKP) used to be a priest there. Wonder if hes part of the evicted regime!!! Hope he's doing well

Friday, December 26, 2008

The worst energy drink ever

This company called Goldwin Healthcare Pvt Ltd manufactures this energy drink called Cloud 9 whose attributes are described in this landing page

If this is an energy drink, I only have to say as Eric Cartman says, "Piss in my arse"

And Cloud 9, no way you can be a competitor to dear old Red Bull. You taste YUCKKKKKKK!!!!!!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Dravid and Dhoni in the same spot

Read this article in the Times of India, when Dravid went for safety first against England at the Oval and hence secured the series 1-0. Newspapers like ToI and vulgar, crap channels like India TV, Aaj Tak went overboard denouncing him as a coward/gutless chap who was an old timer etc. 

I am eagerly awaiting Times of India's edition tomorrow to see whether they castigate their darling Dhoni after today's safety-first approach against England.

My take on the incidents is this - winning the series in terms of cold hard statistics is much more valued than having adrenalin rushes and trying to impress "Gen Next" reporters who have a fetish for 20-20 and can't appreciate nuanced, strategic games. Of course, everyone would welcome a result, but if your gut does not give you the good vibes you better not take the risk.

Proud to be an "old-timer"!!! :D

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Historical Arguments

I found this article dripping with sarcasm. Courtesy for the article goes to Churumuri.

I see it as a classic historian vs economist battle. One that should be part of studies such as religion vs science; atheist vs believer; rationalism vs superstition etc.

Ashok Desai relies on facts penned down in historical classics such as Ab'ul Fazl's Ain-I-Akbari to make some sort of comparison between the wages of Mughal times versus the wages of the 1960s. (Turns out the Mughal wages were higher)

In response, Irfan Habib and his research scholar Shireen Moosvi provide a historical rebuttal to Mr. Desai's analysis with a Marxist backdrop that exploitation was the tendency of the rulers and hence wages had to be lower in the Mughal times. Now, that the Marxist revolution has come and gone, people are being paid better.

Its a fascinating argument - the manner in which metals are compared to modern day currency; how interpretations are made about the manner of life in the past etc

More of these please!!!

Monday, December 01, 2008

Comments on candle light vigils/government bashing/sloganeering

The past week has gone by in a haze. Mumbai was brutally attacked by armed terrorists and it took the combined might of the Mumbai police, the Navy commandos called 'Marcos' and the NSG more than 48 hours to quell the troublemakers and sanitize the occupied areas. 

The incident has claimed the posts of the Union and the Maharashtra home ministers with the Maharashtra CM too expected to be shown the door in a few days time at the most. Civil society has been outraged and important people have spoken out in anger.

If one were to make a few observations about the incident they would be as follows:

1. This should have been a problem handled by the Mumbai police themselves. This is a recurring problem - that of depending on central forces to bail out the situation everytime. Even the Konanakunte incident (that of the Sivarasan vs Karnataka police) fame needed the arrival of an STF team from Nagpur.

2. OK, the central forces were called in, but the time that the NSG took to step in was inordinately long. 

3. The media clearly went overboard in reporting even details which should have been kept confidential. The media should be cordoned off in a separate enclosure to prevent sensationalism.

4. The citizens voiced their anger, held candle light protests, wrote blogs etc. All fine, but practically speaking, what can we do?

  1. Can we ask for information about security apparatus through RTI? It is most certainly going to be turned down with security concerns being voiced... and rightly so.. if we can glean info, so can the sensational media and terrorists
  2. Can we get trained for dealing with such scenarios? Thats a possibility... We should look at establishing some sort of training to be given to citizens to deal with emergencies.. not to panic/ try to take out the offender if the chance arises etc. Some sort of a semi-defense training which is compulsory for all.
  3. To do (2) we would need a national database complete with social security numbers. How about preparing one?
  4. Please equip our forces, right from the beat cop. Else we would be running around in circles!!!
  5. Vote in elections and make sure you vote based on rational and logical thought process.

Small steps, but need to be taken :-)

Monday, November 24, 2008

The Power of the Family

A couple of days back, I had been to Dadar station to pick up relatives. It was around 5:45 in the morning when the train chugged into the station. Having picked up my relatives and their luggage, I was making my way out when I was accosted by a policeman who asked me to open the suitcase that I was carrying.
I immediately complied and put the suitcase on his desk and was about to open it, when the policeman saw my relatives waiting for me. He immediately asked me whether I was with them, and on receiving an affirmative response, he let me go.
Questions that came to my mind:
1. Is a mere response that one is with family sufficient to make one a non-suspect?
2. If the answer to the above is yes, then one should seriously consider dating someone/getting married, considering how in-considerate the world is towards singles in general and single guys in particular!!! ;)

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

The Way People Address....

... The new President of the USA

CNN-IBN: Obama or Barack Obama

BBC: Mr. Barack Obama

and what are the issues discussed?

CNN-IBN: Comparison of Barack Obama and Mayawathi

BBC: Priorities for Mr. Obama

Nothing more need be said.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Dire Straits Editorial

Whoever wrote this is one hell of a Dire Straits fan who also knows his economics/finance/English language superbly!!!

Small exercise for the brain: Identify all the Dire Strait songs (including Mark Knopfler singles) in the article ;-)

One person who can solve this definitely comes to my mind - Shreya!!!

Day Trading Commies!!!

See this, hear this, feel this!!! You need to:

CPI-M takes mutual fund route for better returns

What hypocrites!!!

I have nothing more to say.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Where have all the secularists gone?

The search process is on!!! For whom, you say? The so called "secularists" who had decried Godhra as a staged show meant to create an excuse for the riots that followed.

As you might all be aware, the Nanavati Commission setup to probe the Godhra incident has come out with its report identifying the culprits. Read about it here.

Extracts from the report in The Hindu say,

The commission, in its 168-page report, said the “conspiracy” was hatched by some local Muslims at the Aman guest house in Godhra the previous night. The conspirators immediately made arrangements for collecting about 140 litres of petrol from a nearby pump on the night of February 26, 2002, the next day when the train arrived in Godhra, Hasan Lala, after forcibly opening the vestibule between coaches S-6 and S-7, entered S-6 and threw burning rags setting it on fire.

Now, as expected, the "secular" junta are nowhere to be seen. Or, it maybe that it still is early days for "politically correct" statements to be framed and released to whet everyone's appetites? One never knows, does one? And if one doesn't know, do many know?

Friday, September 19, 2008

I Will Be Called a "Reviewer"

"For the sake of a delightful and convincing story, there isn't a lie Orhan wouldn't deign to tell"

Thus ends Orhan Pamuk's roller coaster philosophical and historical thriller, "My Name is Red". If there is any book which transforms words into pictures, this is it. Pamuk's knowledge and narration style are well known, but this book takes out a chapter from the time of the rule of the Ottoman Turks and weaves such an intricate web around the characters, the concept of illustration, art in general, Turkey and Islam that it is impossible not to lose yourself.

The story covers murder, love, lust, art, drama and effortlessly weaves a thrilling plot around these themes. It is amazing to see the way Pamuk traces inherent contradictions in political formations, art and religion. This, he accomplishes by framing long, winding dialogues.

The narrative style is also different as compared to other books. Sample? Check out the title of this blog-post. While reading the book you kind of feel that you are privy to the scenes that are being enacted and the characters know that they are being watched; they know that it is you, who is unabashedly watching, and they don't hold back the accussatory tone "You are watching all this aren't you? So, you must be knowing everything?"

The high-points of this book are the philosophical conversations that the characters have. The description of erotica is also of the highest class, that one yearns for such lovemaking sessions. The way the story of Husrev stealthily watching Shirin bathing in the lake under the moonlight is described, will send every man's blood racing to the intended spot!!

Of course, behind all this is the historical background of the Ottoman empire which is slowly losing the dizzying heights that it had reached. Though militarily they are yet to be conquered (that would have to wait until World War I), their art forms are under the stress of the perceived better saleability of the Frankish/Venetian style of portraiture. The Ottoman art masters do sneer at that since portraiture/idolatory is forbidden in Islam, but inside everyone of them, there is the melancholy sinking feeling that the Frankish style is the future. It is against such a background that religious fanatics, melancholy lovers, a principled and talented murderer and masters of art weave their stories.

Do read the book, its worth your time. I would also recommend you to a much better review by Chandrahas Choudhury.

As for my personal picks, these are the dialogues I liked in the book:

1. Through our colors, paints, art and love, we remember that Allah has commanded us to "See"! To know is to remember that you've seen. To see is to know without remembering. Thus, painting is remembering the blackness.

2. When I draw a magnificent horse, I become that magnificent horse.

3. When I draw a magnificent horse, I become a great master of old drawing that horse.

4. When I draw a magnificent horse, I am who I am, nothing more.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

A multi-talented man

For those who have studied between the years 1992/3-1995 at VVSGCS Bangalore, the best times would have been when that cool, awesome teacher U Sriharsha taught Sanskrit the way youngsters need to be taught - in their own "kewl" manner.

Sriharsha sir was a judoka. This aura around him itself made people listen at the least to what he used to say. Not to mention the tight slaps which would reduce the cheeks of the victim to beetroot red.

In addition, he was a PFA (People for Animals) activist. I still fondly keep the postcards of the tiger cub he had given to me when in school.

Last but not the least, how can I ever forget those early morning hours of learning Sanskrit? The cycle ride to Bashyam circle in the chilly Bangalore mornings, followed by steaming tea at his place and some of the best Sanskrit lessons ever taught.

Heres requesting any reader of this blog entry - "If you, by the slightest chance, are acquainted with U Sriharsha please do help me get in touch".


Sunday, August 03, 2008

Ticket Combinations

How are tickets issued on buses? Suppose that I have to purchase tickets worth Rs. 20/-. Why is it that I am given a combo of Rs. 19/- + Rs.1/- ticket. Why not 15+5 or 10+10?

The other tickets are also there in the box. So, why the preference for this 19+1 combo?

Any answers?

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Long Needed Inspiration

This is a superb inspirational article for consultants especially. The situation that the protagonist finds herself in is kind of similar to my own world!! Whats the phrase that is used to describe the problem? Ah, yes; "And then, as summer turned to autumn in 2004, she realized she was weary of having to think about batteries in the ways her clients wanted her to."

The beauty of what Christina Lampe-Onnerud has done is that she has used relatively incremental steps as opposed to giant totally-innovative strides to achieve something revolutionary.

This paragraph summarizes her achievement perfectly:

Michael Feinstein, who led Venrock Associates’ investment in the company (the size of the first round of investment is not ­public), said that none of the design changes Lampe-Onnerud made were individually revolutionary. But sometimes a group of evolutionary changes are better than one dramatic innovation.

Exactly the sort of direction that I feel I require in my life.

I guess I am beginning to understand why I didn't enjoy my M.Tech to the fullest. I was looking for that revolutionary "something" which never came and in the process missed out on incremental "many-things" which might have brought me joy!!!

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Reservation for faculty in IITs

Mr. Arjun Singh feels that he has catered to only 50% of the Guru-Sishya tag-team in terms of doling out reservations and hence has gone ahead and introduced reservations for faculty in IITs.

One can understand the concept of reservations for studying - since many people do not get a chance to develop their skills with which they can take on the world.

I personally believe that reservations should be a definite no-no when it comes to employment. I will not use arguments such as 'diluting quality' etc because unknown to many of us discrimination might exist in the employment sphere also.

So, let me put my argument this way:

1) If, in-spite of all the help that any candidate obtains in the educational process- studying in the best institutes, coached by the best teachers, having the best lab facilities; if he/she is unable to attain the requisite excellence level to join the faculty of IIT, is it fair to provide such a student a backdoor entry considering that the faculty also play a crucial role in moulding the future talent of this country? IMHO, "No, sir!!!". So, replace "any" with reserved/general/special/favoured, and you will get your answer.

2) If Arjun Singh does believe that deserving candidates who hail from the "reserved" category of the 'great' Indian caste system do not get a fair evaluation due to discrimination, shouldn't he not be looking for means to introduce fairness in the process rather than arbitrarily lowering the bar?

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Maharashtrian Food, why hasn't it spread?

This article in the Economic Times, highlights a few probable reasons as to why Maharashtrian cuisine has not spread far and wide as compared to other cuisines like Gujarati, South Indian, Punjabi etc.

Please do not violently jump in support of or against the article. It is indeed sad that such a tasty and healthy cuisine is not getting the popularity that it should.

An instance comes to my mind in connection with the article-

The Maharashtra bhavan in Delhi- This place is supposed to be the symbol of Maharashtra in Delhi with the cuisine and the decor being the representative of Maharashtrian flavour. The decor hardly looked Maharashtrian and the food - there was more Chinese available than Marathi cuisine. Contrast with Andhra Bhavan who serves only authentic Andhra cuisine,

My recollection will only reinforce what the author has said in his article. But its the truth isn't it? If you try to be good at something else which someone else is an expert at, forgetting your own strengths, do you think you will get anywhere?

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Nazi Hunting

It's a pretty famous legend - how some notorious Nazi criminals escaped persecution albeit for some time, but were tracked down eventually and were executed by the newly formed state of Israel.
Here is a story of The Angel of Death who made Paraguay his home and just escaped capture by a whisker. He died eventually but has left behind a legend that just refuses to die.
Apart from this article, this website, The Drexel Smart Set loks neat. It has given me sufficient motivation to start writing again. Someday I should publish something there.

Links courtesy: Sharath Rao, who though miles apart, remembers my interests and never fails to send me relevant links. May his tribe increase and may he start blogging again.

Sunday, January 13, 2008


The Andhra Pradesh CM has laid the foundation for an Indian Institute of Information Technology (IIIT) at Basar in Adilabad district.

The IIIT is a supposedly compensation for shifting the proposed Indian Institute of technology (IIT) to Medak.

Now, to the interesting part of this article -

Addressing a public meeting, he said the IIIT would be more useful than the
IIT, as many students from backward Adilabad district would benefit. If the IIT
had been established here, only a couple of students would have got seats.

Now, I have been to Basar as recently as November 2007. Its a peaceful place with the Godavari flowing nearby and the life of the people is linked with the Sharada temple. The people are nice and simple who would have every reason to believe the CM. And the opportunity to unleash some unrelated bull-shit has not been foregone by the CM.

But dear sir, there are a few doubting thomases in this world. Hence I checked the website of the IIIT at Allahabad, because that is the model I presume will be followed here. What does it say?

Entrance to these courses is through the All-India Entrance Examination
conducted by CBSE.

OK? Now, what is the means of admission to IITs? The JEE right?


1. Can this be a valid appeasement? - take an IIIT for an IIT. Why not an NIT? The purpose of asking this is - how does an Information technology institute replace an engineering institute? Even if it does, was this "replacement" IIIT shifted from somewhere else? And if so, what will that place get?

2. How can the CM guarantee in the scenario of competitive exams the proportion of students who will clear the entrance exams (JEE/AIEEE whatever)? What if more students from Adilabad clear JEE in comparison to their counterparts from Medak and show the proverbial middle finger to the CM? Will he revert the proposed IIT back to Basar?

3. Most importantly, since when has clearing competitive exams become an inter-district competition? I thought it was mostly about the achievement of the self.

Shame on you.....

... Mrs. Pratibha Patil. Why? For this.

What a steep spiralling descent it has been from the days of the ethical APJ Abdul Kalam.

The office of the President can deny until eternity about the events that took place, but, we all know that our president is yet to get over thinking like a politico.

Right now I feel the same way I felt when Ricky Ponting and Michael Clark appealed for the catches of Dhoni and Ganguly - i.e punched in the solar plexus!!

Saturday, January 12, 2008

A Girl Called Shazia

Memories come at very unexpected times. Like for instance, this very entry that I am penning
down. Why of all people should a Kashmiri woman with whom I had journeyed from Hazrat
Nizamuddin to Yeshwantpur Junction in 2005/2006 come to my mind; and why now?

Maybe it's because she played an unwitting role in reviving the joker in me who had died
sometime during the course of my masters. Just to add on, the joker is alive and kicking!!!
Maybe it's because I was seeing a die hard public Pakistan supporter for the first time in
my life. Maybe it was because she, her classmate and an elderly Sikh couple made the journey
"the el classico" - one where you get to know everything about everyone, tell everything
about yourself and have loads of fun.

Wherever you are girl, continue spreading the cheer!!!

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Opinion on Sports

India's Tour of Australia

The Indian cricket team is on a long tour of Australia and as expected, is losing matches; and that too in the sickening manner reminiscent of Karachi, Bangalore and Mumbai against Pakistan and England. These are matches which just require some grit to stay in the middle.

Melbourne was definitely in such a category, but one needs to be careful while doing the same to Sydney. The umpiring was patheric and the Aussies showed the depths they can plummet character-wise just to win. Ponting, Clarke, Symonds and Hussey showed what scoundrels they are; people who just want to win at any cost. Having said that, the best response by the Indian team would have been to somehow draw the game and show the middle-finger to the Aussies.

As far as Mark Benson and Steve Bucknor go, "The exponential rapid decay of your respect levels have begun buddies!!!!"

Ranji Trophy

This edition of the ranji has brought Saurashtra into the semis. They seem a good team specially the lads Pujara and Jobanputra. Delhi too has looked good this season and UP has been superbly consistent throughout. Baroda is the 4th semi-finalist. Its good to see variety in the Ranji. Hope Tamil Nadu get to win the trophy next year. They are a supremely talented team who just need to get their act together consistently.

Sunil Mittal's Football academy

Read this first. It certainly is a good step forward, but if we do need to encourage football culture should we not look at the disasters called our cities and ensure more open spaces so that there is a sports culture inculcated? Life has become too much of Baristas, multiplexes, bars and restaurants.

Indian Tennis

The Ladies' section looks bright with the mercurial Sania Mirza promising to look good. But what I am worried about is the lack of good single's players in the Men's section. Bopanna needs to rachet up his game; else the dependance on Leander is going to destroy our chances in the Davis Cup.