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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