Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Weekend of Audacity

Last week, there was that Day of Outrageousness.
This week, there will be that Weekend of Audacity. Six hours from now, i hope to be driving into that audaciously planned trip that has got me excited more than atomic activity (yes, i have misplaced my humour somewhere in all that excitement, but care i shall not).
Off i go.
P.S. with nothing else to post, this post serves the purpose of avoiding 2008 from being the year of fewest posts on this blog. Cheap thrills! Woohoo!!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Change is Here!

Unless you've been stranded in a desert with your head up a camel's ... er, mouth, you would have known by now that Barack Obama is now officially president-elect of the US of A. Which means the evergreen McCain can now go back to telling his grandkids (or anybody else's for that matter) stories of how he survived the Vietcong after being taken prisoner.. oh wait, he's done that a million times already! And he's told (and retold) this story to anyone who'll listen... and to those who didn't really care too much either. Anyway, the young, fit Obama has ended up defeating the not-as-young, don't-know-how-fit McCain and will be going to the White House... um, he went ahead and did that already. Just to rub it in, he got Bush to give him the tour too. The conversations could have gone on the following lines:

George W: To the left is the master bedroom.
Barack O: (runs gleefully and pounces on the bed) Left side's mine.
Michelle O: (dismayed but holds her composure in an attempt to get into first-lady mode) OK. But only if we get an all-male intern team.
Barack O: Georgie boy, where's my welcome drink? But first, how dare you step into my bedroom without my permission! And are these undies with the Flintstones print yours?
Onlooking prissy British butler: (to himself) Egad! As if it wasn't bad enough that I had to serve these fools who were our slaves 330 years ago, now I have to wait on a black guy??!! Lord, how the tables have turned. Egad!!

Meanwhile, back home, our beloved Sardar, the Singh who was made King, had been sitting by the telephone with the eagerness of a pimply teenager, plucking petals off a rose, going "He'll call me, he'll call me not". Finally, the dark knight (politically incorrect yet mirthful euphemism, no?) puts in that call and this is how it probably goes:

The Man, The Mohan: (twirling telephone wire while blushing) Hi, Barack.
Barack O: (in deep baritone) Hey there. How you doin’?
The Man, The Mohan: (more blushing) I’m over the moon now that you’ve called. Much like Chandrayaan.
Barack O: You know we are natural partners, right?
The Man, The Mohan: (slightly irked) You know, that teenager comment a few lines ago might have given you the wrong impression. I might appear to be calm and unassuming, but you seem to be calmly assuming a little too much here.
Barack O: No, no, my friend, you are mistaken. I was referring to a partnership of the strategic kind. See, I know the streets of your country are rife with beggars. And all I have been shouting about for the last year or so is Change. Beggars and change. Yin and yang. You see?
The Man, The Mohan: Sigh. Not only is that offensive to my country, but it is also a testament to your poor sense of humour. That is why I had told George Bush that the people of India love him. He is so much more funnier than you are, he has entertained people so well over the last eight years with his antics.

All said and done, the one person I feel sorry for at the end of the election campaign is Sarah Palin. But Sarah need not worry. Here’s three pieces of information that may (or may not, i never know) help keep herself focused for 2012:

That’s it. That’s about as political as i can get.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Hell-o, I'm Home Again

Being back in the homeland has its perks. What's more fun is getting a chance to say all those things that you hated other phoren-returns saying before: "It's really hot here in India!" or "tsk tsk, all these potholes!" or "Wow, is that Himesh Reshamiya in that movie?". But i'm not that pretentious, really - i haven't found India too hot, the roads in Pune are actually better than they were a year ago and the lesser i (or anyone else, for that matter) speak about Himesh, the better. So, all-in-all, coming back home has been rosy and charming that way. Of course, the odd incident must occur to remind one that life, like everything else, is not perfect. Said incident is one involving TJ, me, a phone and a call-centre.
Objective: To obtain incoming calls on a cellphone with a connection from Coimbatore, which is on roaming in Pune and is able to make only outgoing calls for some reason.
Location: Mumbai-Pune expressway
Resources: A cell-phone, toll-free(?) number for Chennai call-centre
The Protagonists: TJ and i (the Allied forces) and a lot (a LOT) of hope.
The Antagonists: Call-centre operatives for the telecom operator in question - henceforth known as the Phone Nazis or Phonazi for short.
The Story -
TJ: Let us call the helpdesk to get this issue (ref. Objective) resolved.
(Number is dialed. Hope brims, unaware of what is to follow)
Helpdesk IVRS: (Endless introduction on facilities like "automatic activation of roaming" and "wonderful nationwide coverage". The irony of it all!)
TJ: Damn, let me call from another phone.
The helpdesk is slightly merciful this time and we manage to bypass the IVRS intro this time
Phonazi 1: (Welcome message in Tamil)
TJ: Sorry, I do not understand your language. Can you speak in English please?
Phonazi 1: (In chaste English, albeit with strong Tam accent) Hello, how may I help you?
TJ: (explains Objective)
Phonazi 1: (Attempts to understand. Fails. Offers own explanation which turns out to be in no relation to the actual problem)
TJ: (Patiently explains Objective)
(10 minutes later...)
TJ: (Still explaining Objective. Patience strained)
Phonazi 1: (appearing to have suddenly cracked the code) Sir, we will have this resolved in an hour. You will be able to receive incoming calls then.

(An hour later, of course, the Objective remains unfulfilled. We call again.. and again... and again...)
(This time, i, the US-return out to set the world right, dare to venture)
Helpdesk IVRS: (Same long introduction)
me: (Unparliamentary language with unpleasant references to the telecom operator's near and dear ones)
(Disconnect. Redial. It's ringing... Bheja already fried)
Phonazi 2: Hello! (Puts the 'Hell' in Hello to good effect)
me: Hi! This is about a problem we had an hour ago and ... (explains Objective)
Phonazi 2: (Long monologue in Tamil)
me: Sorry, i don't understand Tamil. Can we converse in English please?
Phonazi 2: How can I help you?
me: (explains Objective... AGAIN... for the next ten minutes!)
Phonazi 2: (suddenly, after showing no comprehension for ten minutes) OK, this will be resolved in two hours.
me: Can i call you up and check with you two hours later?
Phonazi 2: No. This will be resolved in two hours.
me: Just in case it doesn't, can you give me a tracking number of some sort to refer to this issue when i call you back?
Phonazi 2: (like a stuck LP record) No. This will be resolved in two hours.
me: But just in case, something goes wrong, how do i refer to the same issue when i call you folks back? Surely you have some tracking number or a ticket reference number of some sort which you can give me.
Phonazi 2: No. This will be resolved in two hours.
me: (exasperation nearing peak) But WHAT IF ...?
Phonazi 2: No. Two hours.
me: (white flag, white flag) OK. I shall wait two hours then (aka "You win. i fall to my knees, i grovel, but YOU.. you win")

(Two hours later, of course, the problem was as fresh as ever. In a fit of bravery, we put one more call through)
me: Hi, i'm calling for ... (what else? Objective follows)
(Phonazi 3 insists on speaking Tamil, i almost plead with her to choose English instead)
Phonazi 3: How may i help you today?
(i have my left hand on my hair, ready to yank at it out of frustration)
me: (Objective again. Sigh!)
Phonazi 3: OK
me: I called two hours ago and .. (sad story from previous call is told)
Phonazi 3: OK
me: But the incoming call service has not started yet, although two hours have long passed.
Phonazi 3: OK
me: (puzzled with the 'OK' bombardment) So can you please help put this incoming call service right?
Phonazi 3: OK
(Left fist grips bunch of hair)
me: (after short silence wherein each waited for other to speak) Umm.. so can you please do something to resolve this?
Phonazi 3: (FINALLY departing from the OKs) I will (mumble mumble) and then I will do a (more mumbling) so that (more mumbling) to you
me: (at the end of my tether) You'll do WHAT to me now??
(TJ breaks into laughter that does not end for remainder of the journey)
Phonazi 3: (after short silence) Sir, this will be resolved in two hours.
(A yank on the left hand renders a slight bald patch on my head as the phone call is disconnected. I am left too stunned to even cry out of helplessness)

Needless to say, incoming calls never got through to said cellphone all through its Pune sojourn. Now, all those people who spoke of rapid progress and development, please stand up and verify your health insurance policies - i am coming after y'all.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The Last Hours

- It just took me nine minutes to go thru each voicemail, saved over the course of these almost-eleven months, before deleting. I had saved the good ones.
- Am i ready to go home? Ready for yet another change in course?

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Tragedy strikes!

Let me get to the point and break this news (i will not hold myself responsible if Aaj Tak beams it all day tomorrow). The sad piece of news goes thus: This blog will not shut down after all - at least, not in the present or near future.

There, i've said it. Hopefully, you've taken this news well and the melodrama has now subsided. I shall now needlessly burden you with proceed to provide a detailed explanation on the hows and whys of the blog-shutdown fiasco that has ensued in the past few months.

All was well on this page when the realization of lack of lingual skills to write writer's block hit. Need for abandoning this space was identified. Then came a brainwave of starting afresh. This ruse involved leaving the nice folks at Blogger in the lurch and defecting to the seemingly-greener pastures of Wordpress. Thus arose the clandestine Operation Defection (please attribute poor unimaginative nomenclature to crippling writer's-block-itis) and with it what i thought was my next haven - a new blog. Eventually, laziness reigned supreme and i only got this far with the new project. After some considerable thought, favouring laziness over tedious blog-decorating activity, i decided to sit back at Blogger and come up with a new makeover for the old blog instead. After some more thought (because thinking is easier than performing blog-decorating activity), laziness won another battle and this idea was abandoned as easily as babies are abandoned at the beginning of Manmohan Desai movies.

So hear i am. Still on Blogger. Still not blogging. Still eyeing that page-hit counter regularly (The only other counter that ticks slower than the page-hit counter on this blog is the one that counts Rahul Dravid's runs these days). I do plan to blog though (note emphasis on 'plan'). Just that it's been a weird year - so much to do, nothing to do.

Bleh! Excuses!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Run

When the world around begins to crumble
A soft whisper: Run
But where to and to who?

Monday, September 15, 2008

News piece of the Day

Alternate headline: Pot calls kettle black
Article (Rediff): here

Friday, August 01, 2008

Fighting the Evil

This is a first. It's Friday afternoon and i'm in the office... blogging. Knowing my luck, the next visitor to this blog, which boasts of as many daily visitors as the number of honest politicians in India, will be my manager. Anyway, i will still thrill myself with the fact that this is a first.
However, this is also one of the last. Posts on this blog, that is. I can officially confirm that this blog is soon to reach the annals of extinction. I know this must come as some level of deep emotional discomfort to ALL my readers - yes, all three of you (or perhaps, it's two - maybe i'm the third - d'oh!).

I shall take the liberty of assuming that you care a damn and want to know why i am shutting the blog down. I shall also take the liberty of sidestepping that question since i do not have the right answer for you now. It is difficult for me to explain. It's not like i haven't tried to. Many a time have i logged on to Blogger in the hope to write down a goodbye post with the right answer to why i am leaving. But it is always circumstances that keep me from successfully doing so. First, the internet beckons and tempts me into straying away into that glorious world that contains among other things, online stick cricket and database upon database of Jessica Alba pictures (i prefer the ones pre-pregnancy). If i somehow survive the temptations, i am left to battle with the shrewd, sadistic laptop of mine. It co-conspires with the www to keep me away from posting. It waits to check if i have reached the New Posts page on Blogger. If i haven't strayed to a gripping Bhojpuri music video on youtube or turned my attention to a friend on gtalk already, it's time for the vile www to prove itself worthy.

First it springs on me a bunch of popups (three, minimum) of which at least one will involve enlargement of a random part of the human anatomy. Since I cannot get any larger than what I am without resembling a zorb and since the other popups mock my financial status by offering me loans and mortgages, i manage to reach the X on the right-top of the popup windows with some deft maneouvering of the mouse. Then comes the Brahmastra, the popup with a Jessica Alba pic with thumbnails of assorted pretty faces thrown in for good measure. Sheesh!

It's not like i have never survived the popup attack. The worst is what follows this little victory. That's when the laptop deduces that its colleague, the internet, has failed and it (the laptop) is now the last line of defence standing between me and that brand new blogpost. To emphasize its sadism, the laptop waits till i am about to save a draft of the post and with a battlecry of the Windows error-alert sound, suddenly reboots itself. And as i fume and curse it with references to some family members, it smirks silently, all the while rebooting diligently.

And thus, the battle ensues everyday. Endlessly. So if you are reading this post, turns out i just won a battle.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

A Break is taken

Not the best day in sport for me. India lost in the Asia Cup finals, Ferrari sucked at Silverstone and then Federer lost (gasp!) the Wimbledon championship (gasp! gasp!) to Nadal in the greatest epic since the Mahabharata.

I realize i haven't blogged in close to a month and a half and yet i'm feeling quite indifferent about it. So i hereby officially move the status of this blog to 'Suspended until further notice'. I think i'll limit my tryst with text to the Twitter.

Don't miss me while i'm gone. Eh, who am i kidding...

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Holy Offspring

First, there was God. Then He decided to go the family way, so in came the Son of God. They could have named him Jesus. But why Jesus? Why not Jimmy? Eventually, a spiritual and sophisticated 'Mahakshay' was decided upon. But when the apparently low name-retention capability of the masses and ubiquitousness of the Akshays in Bollywood was put into persepective, this was further reduced to a bisyllabic suave 'Mimoh'. Result? A star was born.

So, with much pomp and celebration arrives... <insert applause here> Mimoh Chakraborty - Son of God, riding Daddy's launch vehicle aptly named Jimmy in loyal reverence. And when the faithful subjects demand entertainment, Mimoh, fortunately, does not disappoint. Much like the original Son of God, Mimoh as Jimmy wears long tresses (and carries a mean stubble too at oddly intermittent intervals in the movie), heals (parches the dry throats of loyal movie-goers deprived of Mithun classics for a few years now), performs miracles (flies over parked cars in fight sequences) and strives for social welfare (works as car mechanic - or automobile engineer as is referred to in the movie - by day and serves the nocturnal common man as DJ by night). Mimoh, in fact, goes a step or two ahead. He pumps himself up on a two-steroid-servings-a-day diet and break-dances away to glory with inspiring music by Bappa Lahiri (son of a bejewelled almost-God himself) playing in the background - two feats that were almost surely not performed in the era of transition from BC to AD.

Another point of note about Jimmy is that it tries hard to be a good movie at times. Rather than letting Mimoh's strong-as-stonewall (where 'strong-as' is silent) acting capabilities carry the movie on its shoulders, the makers try to make it classier than it seems by incorporating random usage of the English vocabulary in the dialogues. So, the effective Hindi lines are liberally interspersed with profound angrezi words like 'bloody', 'shit' and one reference to the 'human body' and its 'limit' of bardasht. Of course, it does elevate the movie from a bourgeious status, but my grouse is that it allows Mimoh to be overshadowed in a scene or two - and that is simply not acceptable. So, even as Mimoh delivers a fine performance scene after scene, he does so in the wake of fine attempts of thunder-stealing by two members of a supremely talented support cast - Srivallabh Vyas (Major Baig from Sarfarosh and Ishwar, the wise old villager in Lagaan, if you must recall) and Zulfi Syed (whose only claim to fame yet is that he worked out in Khar Gymkhana when I was a member there). Mr.Vyas comes into his own in a fine display of anguish and when he screams into Mr.Syed's face "You are a Rejected Person!" (followed by an echoed rendition of the same line for emphasis). A minute or two later, Mr.Syed grabs the spotlight with both hands as he bellows into Petite Heroine's face, "Do you think I'm a Rejected Man?" He follows that up with four repetitions of the same line in the exact same tone to ensure that Petite Heroine hears his question correctly. When that too does not elicit a suitable reply from the lady, he goes to the extent of modifying the sentence construction one last time for her convenience. "Do you think I'm a Rejected Person?", he roars, this time in clear reference to Mr. Vyas' aforementioned line. My personal grouse aside, I must admit, it is magical screenplay like this that couples with Mimoh's presence to elevate the movie-watching experience that is Jimmy.

Final verdict: Jimmy is a must-watch for all God-bhakts. Especially on a weekend with friends and ample alcohol to go around. Mimoh may not win National Awards like his father if he continues to act like he has in Jimmy, but he does show glimpses of what-could-follow with lines like "sir... baap kabhi marta nahi. vo hamesha apne bete mein zinda rehta hai". In the name of the Father, the Son and the Holi Spirits. Amen.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

To Tee or Not to Tee

In an interview on Tuesday, US President George Bush claimed that he quit playing golf in 2003 out of respect for the soldiers (the ones he has sent across) who died in the Iraq conflict. For some reason, this piece of information was found to be newsworthy. I would agree to an extent - information of this quality would most certainly befit the comics section. Picture this somewhere between the Peanuts and Mandrake the Magician strips:
Tony Blair: George, why have you placed your golf ball on that cup of capuccino?
George Bush: You Britishermen might like to tee, but we Americans prefer coffee
Tony Blair: (slaps head and topples backwards)

Coming back to the news item, I suspect there's more to Bush's quitting golf than meets the eye. Something dark and clandestine - some truth as enigmatic as the one that he has managed to survive two Presidential terms. My suspicions arise from two statements in the article:

"The US president traced his decision to the August 19, 2003 bombing of UN headquarters in Baghdad..."
and
"Bush's last round of golf as president dates back to October 13, 2003, according to meticulous records kept by CBS news. "

What I perceive as the actual turn of events:
Aug 19, 2003: Bush golfs. Sucks at it. UN headquarters in Iraq is bombed.
Oct 13, 2003: Bush finally finishes the 18th hole after playing the same game for 56 days straight. Bush's scorecard reads 13,084,839,204 over par. His caddy collapses. Torn scorecard is found that evening in the garbage dump by local sweeper.
Oct 14, 2003: Caddy is laid to rest in solemn funeral. Cause of death: Severe exhaustion and over-exertion. Local sweeper is laid to rest in solemn funeral. Cause of death: Asphyxiation due to excessive laughing.
Apr 09, 2006: This blog is created. (Unrelated, but what you care?)
May 14, 2008: Interviewer asks Bush if he thinks the 'war on terror' is being fought the fair way. Bush replies intelligently that he is no longer familiar with the fairway since he quit playing golf in 2003 out of respect for dead soldiers in Iraq. I find reason to blog.

What? That could have happened.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

cranial chaos

what do i want?
what do YOU want?
who knows the answers?

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Eh...

I'm suffering from acute blogger's block. I really am. Million and one thoughts in the head - none that i'm able to transfer here. So it's either blogger's block or dyslexia. Former makes me feel like i can actually write - so blogger's block it is.

Work's caught up with me so that keeps the weekdays rolling by. Weekends have been decent although a tad too fast for me. A couple weekends ago was that wonderous road trip to Atlanta followed by an even-better trip to NY/NJ on the next especially since that meant catching up with Jojo after ages ('core junta' is after all, 'core junta'). This weekend was comparably relaxed. Saw "U Me aur Hum" this Sat. Must admit actors taking to direction have produced decent Bolly flicks. In fact, in parts U Me aur Hum impressed me more than the popular Taare Zameen Par. Unfortunately what could have been an entirely intense, mature take on Alzheimer's was offset by some mind-numbing attempt at humour and some supporting actors with acting capabilities comparable to those of a wet napkin.

While on Bollywood, must comment on Tashan which seems to be hotter than a tropical summer right now. From the few trailers that i've seen, it appears Yash Raj has been stung by the recession bug. They definitely seem to have spent all their available finances on recruiting the big starcast. That seems to have resulted in severe cost-cuttings on Kareena's attire (i've seen more clothes on the impoverished and homeless on Mumbai streets) and major savings on getting a strictly ordinary lyricist (if you've heard 'Dil Dance Maare' you'll know what i'm talking about).

I've been hooked on to the tv show 'Dexter' (NOT that cartoon) the last couple of weeks. Wiped off both seasons of the show; eagerly waiting for the next season to kick off. Cannot recall the last time i was addicted to a tv show.

Got a haircut today. *observes moment of silence for the dearly departed*. Before the haircut, I was an ugly fat guy with shabby long hair. Now, I'm just an ugly fat guy with ugly short hair. D-oh!! Anyhow, i'm still obsessed and vain about my hair... my precious...

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Two years to the Day

TheNeverknown: Two years. Can you believe it?
Alter-ego aka me: You sound shocked.
TheNeverknown: I've had my doubts but you've stood by me through these two years.
Alter-ego aka me: As have you. Happy Birthday.
<handshake. firm grip.>

Friday, March 28, 2008

Right ahead

Some of them sped out of sight
Someone else took a sharp turn
Someone decided to fall out of line
But somehow i got left behind

Time appeared to stand deceptively still
All i saw blissfully passed me by
Eyes wide open yet miserably blind
Somehow i got left behind

Thursday, March 20, 2008

i'm smiling

In the dead of the night as the clock strikes a half hour past one, my little music player decides to humor me. In shuffle mode, it decides to belt out five consecutive songs just right for the moment. I am thinking of the few times this has happened to me before. I am reminded of the time Mairaj had a similar experience. Also that evening when TJ and I sat in Kiwa while the dj telepathically played the very tracks we predicted.

Even as I write this, my music player has rolled on to a sixth consecutive comforting track. Cheap thrill. Smile changes to grin now.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

On top Down Under

Victory. At long last. A team reeking of youth, confidence and weedy obnoxiousness (apparently) came of age on Tuesday, March 4. A team of Davids (in the absence of Dravid or Noel David, it's ok if you can't recall the latter) convincingly trounced the Goliaths on the actual battlefield after all those little offline skirmishes that involved name-calling, abuse-hurling and character-smearing. Like all war sagas, this one too had its quota of swashbuckling heroes, wide-eyed-evil-laugh-bearing villains and a few non-entities whose only role is to feature for a second wherein they clutch the arrow that enters their bodies as they fall with weird contorted facial expressions.

Ishant Sharma: The 'find' of the season, apparently. Though how, despite being taller than the trees in his neighbour's orchard, he wasn't found earlier is still a mystery to me. Constantly irritated Ricky Ponting through the latter half of the tour by flaunting his long mane in front of the balding Aussie captain.

Matthew Hayden: Tall, broad-shouldered and with a warrior-like demeanor on the field, it came to everyone as a surprise when it was revealed that Hayden dabbled in other off-field activities like cooking gardening. Hayden's vast knowledge in the gardening domain was out for all to see when he claimed to have discovered a rare weed of the obnoxious kind. Hushed mentions of the term "poetic justice" were heard when the weed flicked the bails off leaving the lawn mower stranded out of his crease in the final match.

Pravin Kumar: Picked up an offline fight with Ishant Sharma after he hunted on Sharma's bunny in the last two outings. After his newfound popularity, Kumar plans to enhance his nouveau-superstar status by having his own entry music * play every time he is brought into the attack in matches henceforth.

Brad Hogg: A typical specimen of aforementioned non-entities, Hogg played a pivotal role in the last match of the tour by fetching his teammates much-needed bottles of water. He plans to spend the next few weeks chasing down his nation's cricket board asking for more clarity on the details of his PPF and pension accounts.

Sachin Tendulkar: Provided the correct answer to the age-old question of "God who?" with the aid of a cricket bat and an injured groin. Also made news temporarily when he bagged an IPL contract that launched cash registers into overdrive. There are rumours abound that he may attempt to change his name to "Cha-ching!" Tendulkar.

Not to be continued...

* (Author: If you've ever lived in Mumbai and subscribed to 7star cable, you will find this link as hilarious as I have)

Monday, February 25, 2008

From "Catcher in the Rye"

I read this classic a few weeks ago and by the time I got to the last page, what had dawned on me was the regret that I hadn't got around to reading this book earlier. Quite a few incidents and characterizations gave me those eerie goosebumps that I get whenever I am able to relate to the contents of a book. But JD Salinger had saved the knockout punch for the very end. The very last line of the novel (if you haven't read and got this by-heart already) goes - "Don't ever tell anybody anything. If you do, you start missing everybody".
And then I set the book down in a daze.

Friday, February 01, 2008

This is UNFAIR!!!

First this and now THIS????
I bit the bullet and absorbed the pain of missing the former but the latter better not be true... grrr
And if this happens, I'm going to contemplate quitting my job and flying back.
I.Am.Angry.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

The Last Battle

About an hour to go for the Adelaide test to kick off and as ever, I'm the eternal optimist regarding India's chances going into the match. The Indians have the momentum from the stunning victory at Perth and they will, no doubt, be looking to capitalise on that to avoid losing this series which has been as wild as any of the preceding editions of the Border-Gavaskar series. That said, the Aussies are as clinical as any of those ruthless assassins we come across in spy-thriller novels and in all probability, the shock of losing in Perth will have them all the more motivated to show the Indians why they are the champs.

Both captains are holding their cards as close to their chests as they possibly can. Neither team has declared their playing eleven yet and that is a clear indication of the sky-high levels of pressure on both teams. India have dropped Jaffer from their twelve to accomodate Harbhajan and Karthik and whether the final Indian eleven will comprise five bowlers or a standard batting lineup is what remains to be seen. Either move will be a bold one, open to praise in case of a win and to criticism in case of a loss. Brett Lee will want to maintain his electric form from the season and will want to be at his fiery best to burn the opposition down. The Indian batting quartet of Tendulkar, Ganguly, Dravid and Laxman will be cognizant of the fact that this may be the last time they will be batting in a test match in Australia and they will want to make this a memorable affair.

All said and done, this should be one hellofamatch. Enough said. I shall allow cricket to do the rest of the talking for itself now

Monday, January 21, 2008

The how-to of Efficient Demonstrations/Protests

So, now that Ganguly's been dropped from the one-day team for the triseries, you know what follows. Yeah, the same old protests and effigy-burning and slogan-chanting. Been there, done that. More like seen there, burned that. But, what strikes me the most is how efficient these demonstrators/protesters are! We saw similar reports in the news right after the Harbhajan-Symonds incident too and i chanced upon the following pic depicting these active demonstrators/protesters folk going about their news-making job.

Now, this pic is from the protests which happened somewhere in India (i wasn't geographically motivated to find exactly where) the day after the Sydney test. All we see here is just an Australian flag bearing the heat (quite literally). There were other pics of Bucknor and Ponting effigies (which were basically cloth and paper mannequins with headshots of said accused pasted on them so as to ensure that the "Hai hai" slogans shouted out during the burning are dedicated to the appropriate target) and just plain posters with the usual slogans having been printed without running a spell-check - e.g. "Bucknor, yuo rachist" and "Pointing has bad manners" (the latter could have been from a kindergarten book which originally read "pointing is bad manners" but let's not take anything away from the effort these demonstrators/protesters put in).
What really amazes me is how on earth do these guys manage to get together all this paraphernalia so quickly??!! OK, so the posters are somewhat understandable. Some guys with a creative streak write down their slogans on chart paper, save time by skipping the spell-check part, and go ahead with hoisting the posters onto pieces of wood or even a simple rod that the maid or kaamwali bai uses to hoist the damp clothes on to the clothesline. But, what takes the cake is the Australian flag in the pic here. Where did some guy in India get hold of an Aussie flag? Off the top of my mind, I can probably think it could have been flicked from an Aussie cricket fan who is an Indian only in non-cricketing affairs. Another theory, which i think is slightly more feasible is that the outsourcing bug has caught on to various facets of life and there's some third party out there that's sourcing these demonstrations/protests. Complete with logistics!
My theory goes thus. Company X specialises in sourcing demonstrations/protests for concerned parties that feel the need to rebel. The rebellious party reads the disturbing news in some newspaper or watches it on tv or hears of it from the neighbourhood paanwala. Decision-making authority from Rebellious Party decides that enough is enough, puts aside his tea and cigarette, cancels his commitments for the next two hours by asking his secretary to shift the meeting with local female models to the slot reserved for the hearing with local farmers, and goes straight to the headquarters of Company X (tagline: We have no branches). Now the visit does not take long since the hq is right next to that neighbourhood paanwala who provided the disturbing news in the first place. Decision-making Authority approaches Company X with statement of objective, requirements of demonstrations/protest, budget allocated for protest and random rules and regulations (e.g. no violence, limited violence or full-on blood and gore). Company X immediately goes into full throttle right from the word Go and two team leaders who were in the requirements-gathering meeting split into two - one goes to the logistics dept. while the other gathers the human resources. Both team leaders gather teams based on project fundings and rates offered per hour. The logistics team goes in first and comes up with the generic paraphernalia - effigies are brought over from the warehouse, chart paper is bought from the neighbourhood stationery store (run by the same aforementioned paanwala; some thriving businessman that dude), posters and headshots are printed out on the in-house printer and one guy uses the brand new plotter to print that huge Aussie flag (A-ha!! So that's how they got that flag!). Meanwhile the in-house motivational expert drives the resources bringing them up to pace with the issue at hand, simultaneously charging them up with descriptions of "those vile racist foreigners". Both teams ready themselves in quick time. And before you can say "Riot Act" they are out in the streets demonstrating/protesting away to glory.
The wonder is in the turnaround time, the efficiency. Mewonders if this business model can be applied to the software outsourcing business too. I need to don that rarely-used thinking cap on now. But before i leave, did i mention that Company X has a 81% stakeholder? It's that paanwala, of course.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Friday night

It's been one wild week with the measure of instability in my life almost comparable to that of the Pakistani political scene in the last few years. Started off on a note so off-key i thought the fat lady had started singing and it would soon be all over for me. It's taken me some days to get back on the road and i'm not too sure if i'm still going the right way, but hey, what the heck. So here i roll away like a loose stone again (fat old rock would be more like it). I wonder if i'll be gathering any moss this time around though.
I've been reading blogs through the week (mostly humor to raise my spirits) and for some reason, most of the best humor bloggers are funky-bschool alumni or academic virtuosos in other disciplines. Sigh! I guess this page is never going to turn out to be an interesting read. Anyways, this blog needs a refined makeover (something like what Amrita Rao seems to have got...yowza!!) and it needs one fast. Whether or not i'm going to do something about it.... well, i'm going to let that be a suspense. (suspense music starts... shadow streaks by... door creaks... and even the last reader creeps out of here. d-oh!!)
Anyway, for a change, Friday was a busy day at the office. It's owlishly late now and i'm watching DDLJ for the (n^n)th time. About DDLJ... the last few times i've seen it, i've come to realize accept that there are so many things about the movie which would have made me despise it had been out now instead of 12 yrs ago. The story's corny, SRK is at his hammiest, Mandira Bedi appears fully-clothed minus the noodle-strap wardrobe and the story's corny (so damn corny i had to mention that again for emphasis). But it has some odd charm about it that still keeps me awake through it even at the ungodly hour of 2am.
Need to wake up early to report at the DMV for the driving test. Need to pass. Badly. Can't afford to do badly on any more tests this week.
On an absurd note, i've been thinking a lot about these select few people recently. On an even more absurd note, i feel the urge to divulge the unimportant information that only one of those select few people has called me this week.
I need to sleep. I'd buy some if i'd some money and if someone sold it. Maybe not. Maybe i'd just rent it.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Calls that i missed

On a day that i missed out on all those calls, one particular call of the telephonic kind made a difference. For that single call, for those few precious minutes, i am deeply grateful.
Thank you.

Un-bright

When i let myself down, a shame overcomes me - arising from self-betrayal and/or the guilt of having crashed the hopes my own had had on me. What is shame? Is it an emotion? Or a phenomenon, perhaps? Whatever it is, it's a sapping experience to be shamed after letting oneself down. Suddenly, the world seems too large for me to be of any significance or consequence. I need to look upwards even at those things that i once towered upon. Erstwhile equals seem to soar as high as untouchable stars. Crowds disappear. Solitude reigns. Introspection deepens. Shame blurs into regret. Silence is sought as badly as an addictive drug. Silence assumes control. The ubiquitous noise no longer exists.
Silence - the vanquisher, the king.
Solitude - the kingdom, the reign.
Shame - it's a humbling experience.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Many-a-Blunder Down Under

It's chaos in Australia at the moment. Last heard, novelists were running towards the Aussie cricket board (Cric Aus) officials to gain some inspiration for their next racy, page-turners. Cric Aus officials, meanwhile, are trying to run away from anyoone who has any questions regarding the Sydney test match - inquisitive journos, irate Indian fans and even a few flared up monkeys who are objecting to the rampant abuse of their species under the pretext of racist remarks.

Two other people who are trying their best to go underground at the moment are the umpires who stood (and allegedly did nothing else right except standing) in the game - Mark Benson and Steve Bucknor. An angry Indian mob almost got their hands on Benson who was chatting away with former Aussie batsman (and namesake) - Mark Waugh. Benson slyly averted personal injury by marking an 'X' on his cheek and stating in chaste Hindi, "Mai Teja hoon, Mark idhar hai (pointing to Waugh)". The rage of the mob was evident from the treatment they meted out to poor Waugh, on whom the experience will have left an indelible mark (pun unintended). The other umpire, Steve Bucknor, was unavailable for comment as it turned out he was busy drafting a letter of retirement which he wanted to draft out before a pink slip reached him. Our sources say the only meeting Bucknor had yesterday was with his financial consultant to discuss various pension schemes. Mark Proctor, the match referee, was also questioned as to how Ponting was let off for appealing for a grassed catch, when he (Proctor) had penalised former Pakistani cricketer Rashid Latif in 2003 for a similar offence. Proctor obliged with a wonderfully compiled reply that seemed to contain only the monosyllables "umm..", "aah..", "er.." aside from a puzzling gurgling sound that seemed to have emerged from the lump in his throat. On the other hand, Ponting, when confronted with the same query in a press conference, felt affronted . He demanded that the journalist questioning his (Ponting's) integrity leave the the conference since his integrity and principles did not allow him to tarnish his reputation by answering such questions with the absolute truth. He insisted that he had not grassed the catch even as our special reporter saw him crossing his fingers behind his back as he made this statement.

Meanwhile, back in India, irate mobs expressed their rage in ways they know best. A spokesperson for the mob emphasised the efficiency of such methods of protest saying that while the subjects of their rage relaxed blissfully in the land Down Under, this was the best way to make them feel the heat. In his blind fervor, he then proceeded to burn down our reporter's notebook for no apparent reason.

In other related news, a Hollywood studio agreed to convert this story into a big-budget movie. However, the movie will receive an R rating in the light of its objectionable content - nudity (the famous Aussie cricket spirit was stripped bare), graphic violence (this writer ripped off his hair in frustration during the telecast of the match), drugs (Ponting "grass"ed a catch) and explicit sex scenes (well, Indian cricketers got screwed, didn't they?). In response, Bollywood replied that they will not plan a similar movie just yet and will instead wait till the Hollywood one releases and 'inspires' them.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Rewind Revive

Feels at times like i'm back in the past. Wide awake in the dead of the night. Indifferent about what tomorrow will bring. Wary when not indifferent.
Next week ain't going to be a pleasant one from the looks of it.
Feels like i'm back in the past.
Await the resurrection

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Hello 2008

2008 is here. And so am i. Let me hit the year off with weird talk like the last time.
I hadn't always been a planner. Plans started materializing only during the college years as part of recovery and rediscovery of the self. Got myself into the habit of devising two plans for every major course of action.
Plan A was always the ideal. Plan B was always the fallback. (d-uh! no innovative nomenclature there). But i tried to make Plan B as less a compromise as i could make it seem to myself. Plan B had to be such that the pain of losing out on Plan A would be alleviated to some extent. Plan B had to be such that its benefits had to be comparable if not as good as those of Plan A.
In these last 3 years or so, i managed to get a few Plan As right. But i think Plan B plays too far an important role in my life. Maybe it's time to lose the safety net of Plan B and take a plunge with just the wings of Plan A to help me fly.
Maybe that could be my New Year resolution.
Happy New Year
 

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