Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Jeepers Creepers! Lord save us!

Hell Hath No Fury Like a Himesh Reshammiya Song! :P
"India's First & Only Rockstar" - Truth is stranger than fiction! :P

At the time of writing this post, my hands are shaking, my legs are tapping the floor with such enthusiasm & frequency so as to match the fundamental frequency of vibration of my building, hence bringing about resonance ..... my mind is numbed in awe & my heart fluttering with eagerness .... all this in nervous anticipation of the 'bonanza' that is going to take place on 31st December, 2006 .... my informant - an ad in the movies section of Bombay Times

Yes ladies & gentlemen .... Himeshji will be lending his soulful voice & sing his melodious tunes to usher in the new year and he has invited all of us to join him in his nasal renditions of his most melodious tunes :P

And what better venue than a 5-star premium hotel like Renaissance, Powai? Really, I admire Himeshji's tastes! Its another thing, that I disapprove of Renaissance's taste! :P

To remind us of his apparent (yet thoroughly undeserved) greatness, the ad stresses on the fact that Himeshji is afterall India's first & only true rockstar .... such is his apparent greatness that the ad proclaims this as "THE MOST PHENOMENAL NEW YEAR'S EVE" ..... And like the central-attraction in a circus, Himeshji is being touted as "SPECIAL ATTRACTION" .... Ofcourse with his unshaven, unkempt appearance coupled with a wardrobe that consists of all things animalistic - Himeshji could well perform in a circus as well :P

I am not at all surprised that brands such as Provogue are sponsoring such an event .... after all Himeshji is the GREATEST singer/composer to have graced the earth :P .... Mozart pales in comparision & Beethoven is like a piss-in-a-bucket when compared to our Himeshji :P .... and ofcourse, Provogue seems to have found a great ambassador in Himeshji to sell their products - most of which will now come equipped with those great caps Himeshji keeps sporting. See, Himeshji is now India's first & only fashion icon!! :P

Now I am one among the Anti-Himesh brigade - one among those who give hope to the rest of the tormented mankind .... why would I be waiting in anticipation for this event u ask? well simple - I forgot to mention that I plan to place a whole-sale order for 200kg of tomatoes which I plan use as projectiles against Himeshji & co .... Now, THAT surely would be "THE MOST PHENOMENAL NEW YEAR'S EVE"! Don't u agree? :P

Somebody please hack this site!!
Himeshji_performing_in_Mumbai - From THE Himeshji's very own nasal Blog

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

The Psychedelic rears its ugly head again! :P

Well people,
after a long hiatus , we meet again .... after more than 2 months away from active blogging, I have decided to subject the keyboard to the vigorous thrashing it deserved & was spared for so long :P

But unfortunately, the mind has trouble forming words suitable for public consumption - the vocabulary in common use today & with which the mind has made such an unbreakable connection, is unfortunately of a very virile quality & not something that one can use to pen down a blog as precious as this one :P

If you however somehow get past that obstacle, you have innumerable others to deter you - you decide to put on the computer, log on to the internet ....

and when you do, the better part of the day goes in performing important activities such as checking your mail, forwarding forwards, deleting junk mails that solicit to enhance either your finances or your body parts both of which we know are less than modest :P ....

and ofcourse, the other half of the day goes in chatting up with friends through an online portal called Orkut - we discuss and thrash out issues of local, national & political interest :P .... and so on those rare ocassions when you receive no new mails or no new 'scraps', you tend to be in a state of profound sadness - wailing at the thought of online isolation & networking loneliness :P

If however, after great persuasion, the mind achieves clarity of thought & you begin to synthesize that all elusive blog-post .... you are furiously hitting the keyboard, not looking on the screen - not daring to look, as you try to keep pace with the scorching speed of your brain .... and then after about half an hour of rigorous typing you look at the screen only to realize that its blank - blanked by the daily event that has come to characterize a 21st century nuclear India - the absence of potential difference for a supposedly scheduled period of time(for those of you, who are missing the hidden reference - I am talking about load-shedding) .... and this ironically makes all the potential difference between sweet success & bitter failure :P

Every writer/blogger goes through a phase of such agony and persecution .... from this pain & anguish is born many a essays, poems & ballads .... culminating in the addition of a new post as this one .... one in an ocean of the infinitesimally meaningful & the infinitely absurd.

And now that this restless mind has been subdued by the barbiturates of penning down a blog-post, notwithstanding its pointlessness, its time to give the poor keyboard a little rest .... and perhaps give the poor soul(s) who is reading this some time to recover .... not to mention that Orkut beckons :P

Until next time fate deems fit, sayonaara.

Monday, October 09, 2006

North Korea tests the Nuke! .... And boy, does it shake the world!

2006 North Korean nuclear test
The field of scientific research in the DPRK successfully conducted an underground nuclear test under secure conditions on October 9, 2006, at a stirring time when all the people of the country are making a great leap forward in the building of a great, prosperous, powerful socialist nation. It has been confirmed that there was no such danger as radioactive emission in the course of the nuclear test as it was carried out under scientific consideration and careful calculation.
The nuclear test was conducted with indigenous wisdom and technology 100 percent. It marks a historic event as it greatly encouraged and pleased the KPA and people that have wished to have powerful self-reliant defense capability. It will contribute to defending the peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula and in the area around it.
2006 North Korean nuclear test
- Statement issued by the Korean Central News Agency on October 9th, 2006, as North Korea conducted its 1st ever nuclear tests - an event which has shaken the world to its core and is giving sleepless nights to the champions of Nuclear non-proliferation.

Wasnt this imminent?? Absolutely - with the United States involved in clearing the mess in Iraq and so much focus on the Israel-Palestine issue and the alleged Irani involvment in the Lebanon crisis - North Korea had a free-run to taste the forbidden Apple of the 21st century - the Nuclear Weapon.

Now with Kim Il Jong armed with an arsenal of nukes that is not just on paper for propaganda, but very much there for potential use - the entire scenario has become a nightmare. Mess in Iraq & Middle-East, increasing Anti-Americanism, the rise of Fundamentalism within mainstream Islam, the Islam-West divide, the mess in Afghanistan, the fall-out with Iran & Iran's veiled threats to go nuclear and now .... to add to this pile of existence-threatening time-bombs, is an added threat of an arsenal of potent nukes in the hands of a pyschological wreck, a mad-man and a Schrezopheniac (namely Kim Jong Il)

Now what? Till now the mention of North Korea elicited cautious & weary responses - that was when the North threatened to test missile delivery systems & some threats of testing nukes. The West never took the threat to test nukes seriously and paid the price. Now, mention North Korea's name and u will get responses varying from anger to desparation to panic. The North will use this as a levaraging factor during its negotiations with the West. Already, South Korean mkts fell more than 3% as a knee-jerk reaction to the tests, to recover slightly - they were still down by 2.5%. Clearly, this aint good for business, politics and society.

And then ofcourse, the North may use arm-twisting tactics such as threats to make its technology available on the international illicit nuke-trade, which would be a great place for Osama and co to go shopping.

So, there we are. President Bush claimed a few months ago that the world is a SAFER place to live in. Thank you Mr. Bush for the most flimsy piece of propaganda that your Govt has dished out so far. In the light of the above enumerated problems and the absolute mismanagement of all concerned situations by your inept administration, only a moron like you cant see through such horse-shit. The world aint safer - its become a lot more dangerous. All on October 9th, 2006 .....

Some Links/References for More info on the Nuke-test:
Wiki's Page on North Korea's Oct 9th 2006 Test
Full Text of North Korean Announcement

Friday, September 29, 2006

J&K Flip-Flop

At the time of writing this post, Mr. Pervez Musharraf may have yet again flipped on his own statements and issued vehement denials of his own claims. This flip-flopping is characteristic of the General. So it comes as no surprise that the General wrote down one set of claims and ideas in his 'memoirs' and then refuted his own written claims, even going to the extent of feigning ignorance of what was written in his own book!!

The story thus far is that Musharraf has claimed in his 'memoirs' that the C.I.A. paid the Pakistani Govt millions of dollars in return for the 600 or so suspected 'terrorists' that are now spending their time in the confines of detention centres around the planet (not to speak the *care* with which they are handled). Such a monetary renumeration by any agency of the United States Govt is not permissible as per U.S. law. Not that the current U.S. administration isnt capable of flagrantly violating its own laws! :P .... Anyways, Musharraf then went on to refute his own claims during an appearance on Wolf Blitzer's show on CNN, by saying that such a remark was never made in the book and that he may have to review some changes in the book. He implicitly said that the Pakistan Govt was not a recepient of any monetary rewards given by the C.I.A.

One can see the same pattern of flip-flopping in the J&K issue as well. Musharraf has on several ocassions offered conflicting views on Kashmir and its role vis-a-vis Indo-Pak relations. Today he says, "Pakistan is willing to sit at the table and discuss all possible alternatives for seeking a solution to the J&K and other problems". The next day, he does a flip-around and says, "Pakistan cannot ignore the aspirations of Kashmiris to be independant and hence cannot stop our support to our brothers fighting for that freedom. Kashmir MUST be an independant state" or something to that effect. Its this constant flip-flopping, which by the way is also the Indian Govt's story, that is so frustrating - given that both countries have many other issues such as poverty and globalization to deal with.

In the light of all this, the many other claims and so-called 'facts', which have been 'revealed' in his 'memoirs' have also fallen to suspicion. He has made some very disturbing and rather controversial remarks about the Kargil conflict, its premise, its conduct and its outcome. Some of the claims Mushy has made are:
1. Pakistani Intelligence suggested that India was planning an incursion along the L.O.C., to capture key Pakistani posts - it fails to mention the magnitude of this alleged Indian 'plan'
2. In light of these Intelligence reports, Pakistan had no choice but to pre-empt India, by launching its own incursion along the L.O.C. and this is what happened
3. Pakistan with remarkably less manpower was able to stage a war for such a long duration
4. Pakistan with the help of strategic planning compelled the Indians to deploy a maximum strength force, which included many columns of the Army and Air Force and yet 'persist' for such a long time
5. Official figures regarding Indian casualty of about 600dead is undersated. Musharraf says it is actually double of that. Pakistan, on its part, suffered remarkably less casualties in a war of such duration. Thus, he implicitly indicates that Kargil was a failure for India and success for Pakistan.
6. Much of the progress made on the Kashmir issue (btw, I dont see any) can be attributed to the operation of Kargil

These facts obviously dont seem to have gone well with the Indian polity - the corridors of power in New Delhi have chosen to either vehemently deny or ignore altogether the General's sensational claims. How much of it is truth and how much fiction can perhaps only be revealed by Mushy himself, as he flip-flops his way to hell! :P

On the Flypside, the General does seem to have a good sense of humour and is definitely 'kool' by the standards of a military dictator! Uploaded here is a video of Musharraf appearing on the Daily Show with Jon Stewart(which is a very popular Fake News Show hosted by Jon Stewart, that is an excellent satire on American & International politics):

If the video is anything to go by, Musharraf just got a huge P.R. boost in the U.S. of A. Ofcourse, where he really needs such a positive P.R. is in his own homeland, where by the day, he seems to be making more foes than allies.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Pop Vs Rock vs Other Musical Genres and other Nonsensical Stuff

NOTE: Commenting For this post has BEEN CLOSED! .... As the principal characters involved have already commented.

The following post is meant only for my college buddies and may not be understood by my other readers! This is the 1st time I am departing from the tradition to blog about General National and International issues and write something regarding college life and its controversies!

A burning debate seems to have engulfed the entire country, which threatens to divide the people into two groups bitterly opposed to each other, resulting in Political and Musical strife. It may also spill out as a Musical civil war, which could leave thousands of innocent MP3's and 3GP's (read women and children) dead and deleted .... well, ahem, not quite .... mebbe not the nation - to be more precise the entire city of Mumbai .... well, ahem, another over-statement .... Forget a nation of 1 bn people or a city of 10 mn people - It certainly has managed to get a small group of nobodies n wannabes (which includes me:P) within our class all worked up! :P

At the core of the debate lies the important issue of the dominance and superiority of one musical genre over another. Music-Lovers (and those non-living entities who dont listen to any music) are divided broadly into two categories -
1. Those with a agile and nimble neck (for the purpose of the rather energetic and rythmic oscillations of the neck, that could very well give Giraffes a neck-sprain :P) and high on profundity and psychobabble prefer Rock!
2. Those low in the aformentioned criteria prefer listening to 'Pop' :P

So the question is - Is Rock better than Pop? Or is it the other way around? Consequently, the Corollary: Are Rock-Lovers superior to those who prefer their music without all the agression (not to mention the philosophy as well)? This is a question that is so important (or atleast, seems so important to us anyways!:P), that it could well eclipse other existential problems that mankind today faces! :P .... btw here,
'mankind' = a small group of eccentric and insane people in TE Comps :P

Look at the way 'mankind' is divided - the Pop-Lovers (which consisted of a solitary individual, whom I shall now refer to as BoyZone :P) screaming hoarse on the pitfalls of Rock music and its 'superficiality'. And then we had the virulent and often vitriolic catcalls of the Rock-fans, who defended their genre with such fervour and passion as begets a man from the lairs of Osama's jihad factory! :P .... From the Rock-fans, there was one particularly agitated fan(whom I shall now refer to as Manson :P), who took very strong objections to what he claimed were the jaundiced views of an ignorant and imature(in his words 'sissy') followers of a bygone genre.

Boyzone kicked off, what at the time seemed to be a small conflict, which has now turned into full-blown war - which could have both profound and drastic (and disastrous) influences on the way music evolves in the new millenia. :P .... (alrite alrite, I shouldnt be overdoing the hyperbole :P)

Boyzone's objections were that Rock-fans were mainly "wannabes trying to get a blonde's attention" and that Rock-fans must not rubbish other musical genres. He further went on to say that "this is blatantly against those die hard rock fans[u better die :p],who consider any music other than rock as shit." He continues with the diatribe, which it seems is peppered with more such philosophical gems :P .... Manson countered with some arguments of his own, which while holding merit, also didnt fail to deliver sucker-punches to our Pop-Lover, reliving memories rather forgotten. And as it happened, both Boyzone and Manson didnt leave the opportunity to score brownie points and browbeat each other on issues totally personal and which couldnt be farthest from the focal point of the debate!! Human-nature at its best or worst - whichever way u look at it! :P

Now, just picture Boyzone as the sole Musical dictator of the planet! He gets to call the shots on the music being made! Guitar music will be dead, Britney Spears will be shown in "Headbanger's ball", Himeshji's wonderful nasal masterpieces will be played here, there and everywhere(I know thats already happening :P)!! .... If Mr. Boyzone has his way then every Rock mp3 will be deleted from the face of this planet!! No Dance of Death or Fear of the Dark or For Whom the Bell Tolls or Losing My Religion, etc!! :( .... Musical 'compositions' will be churned out by the dozen by the nasal factories of Himesh, Britney & co .... Music will be lame, loud and banal! The sounds of the heavings and farts on Mumbai's locals would seem a much better option to drown the sorrow and misery of thousands of dishevelled Rock-Lovers! :P

Now, contradictorily, picture Mr. Manson having his way! He gets to censor/approve the Music of the planet! What would then happen?? With the zeal of a man possessed by the sensibilities of his genre and quite taken away by it, he will bind the same passion on others! So, gudbye Miss Spears and Mr. Nasal Chammiya!! Hell! This doesnt seem to be a bad proposition after all! :P .... No but seriously, the melodies of ABBA - to whose tunes an entire generation danced and who viewed them with such reverance and many other melodies will be incinerated by this rock-madman in his over-zealous efforts to ensure a totalitarian world of Rock, Rock and ONLY Rock!! Hell! If he has his way, newborns will be listening to Cannibal Corpse! :P

So there u are - my take on it - back of guys, both of u! Mr. Boyzone and Mr. Manson - both ur genres are required and I say 'required' with gr8 reluctance - coz pop sucks 4 me :P .... however grudgingly I may admit, I concede that in the interests of music full of versatility and variance, its important for both genres to exist and evolve - although, I dont think they will ever learn to 'co-exist' peacefully! :P

And as far as which Genre is better! ROCK certainly is! Hands down, Legs up and Heads Banging! :P .... So, corollary : ROCK fans are certainly superior to Pop fans!! :P .... no offense to all the pop-listeners, just one suggestion - grow up! :P

PS: Both 'Boyzone' and 'Manson' happen to be close buddies - I didnt intend to hurt them - merely to laugh at the things people pick and fight on and present it in a humourous and sarcastic way.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Schumi's Race-ituary!

There isnt much that I can say, that can fully capture this man, his persona and his accomplishments. So when he announces his retirement from active Formula 1, there isnt much I can say except offer a small tribute to him by writing a Race-ituary for him!


Michael Schumacher

Beloved son of Rolf and Elisabeth Schumacher
Loving husband of Karina Schumacher
Doting father of Gina-Maria and Mick Schumacher

A 7-time Formula 1 Champion (can he make it 8? looks very much like it) with:
5 consecutive Championship titles,
90 GP victories out of which 71 were with Ferrari (Is that surprising? :P),
7 consecutive GP victories in the 2004-05 season,
8 victories on the same circuit - at France's Magny Cours track,
68 Pole Positions,
75 Fastest Laps,
148 points in a single season in the 2002-03 season,
43 Second places and a total of 153 podium finishes,
19 consecutive podium finishes in the 2001-02 and 2002-03 seasons,
4726 laps as the leading car on track,
And a Grand Total of 1354 Championship points.
(Please remember, knowing him,
these statistics may very well change! :P)

A two-time Laureus Sporstman of the Year (He got nominated thrice),
A leading Spokesperson for the Road Safety Awareness Campaign,
A Special Ambassador to UNESCO,
And The only sportsman to have donated 10million $ to the victims of the
2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami.

A Demi-God for millions of Ferrari/Formula 1 fans and till recently for me.
A Pain in the Arse for: Flavio Braitore, Fernando Alonso and the rest of the F1 circus and since recently for me :P

has left the Formula 1 track for a homely abode on the 10th September, 2006. His departure was peaceful, but has left a void in all of our lives.
We all deeply mourn his absence on the track and we pray and wish him peace and success in what he does!

May the Lord be with him! And may he be with Renault! :P


NOTE: All statistics and associated information has been taken from Wikipedia's page on Schumacher and a couple of other webpages, which are listed here:
Wiki's Schumi Page
Schumi in the GP Hall of Fame
Schumi's Profile on Yahoo/Reuters

Monday, September 11, 2006

9/11 - 5 years on - A Reflection

NOTE: I strongly recommend reading Wiki's pages (or any other informative site's pages) on:
1. 9/11
2. Iraq war
3. 2001 Afghanistan war
4. The U.S. role during the Afghan war of 80's
5. "September Dossier" issued on 24th Sept, 2002 by the British Govt
6. "Dodgy Dossier" issued on 3rd Feb, 2003 by Alaistair Campbell
7. General Criticism of Tony Blair
8. the so-called "War on Terror"

and associated pages. I know its a lot to ask, but there is a veil of ignorance on the entire issue. It is, however, in no way a pre-requisite for understanding the below article.

That horrific sight, which beamed across T.V. screens around the world exactly 5 years ago on this date and which has since transformed the world politically.

Five years ago, on this date, 20 normal looking, well-educated and apparently "sophisticated" men used some average-sized knives to hijack 4 U.S. domestic airliners and unfolded the most spectacular and wide-scaled terrorist strike of all times, in the heart of Manhattan - the epicentre of American capitalism, killing more than 3000 people and causing an estimated loss running into billions of dollars. By doing this, they managed to circumvent the "impenetratable" defenses of the world's sole super-power. All of a sudden, America's super-hi-tech nukes and anti-missile defenses looked feeble as compared to the lunatic determination of Islamic extremists who seem to be experts at modern-age guerilla warfare.

So, in the past 5 years, what has happened? Has anything changed? Are we closer to defeating terrorism? Has Osama Bin Laden been brought to book? Are we living in a safer world? - We all know the answers, all of which are in the negative. Not only has nothing changed, things have infact gotten a whole lot worse. The 'War on Terror' was launched a month after 9/11 and began with the justified invasion of Afghanistan. However, as we now know, it degenerated into a cover (a rather flimsy one at that, but somehow, Americans dont seem to be able to look through it) for the Bush Administration's own imperial agenda.

The Afghanistan invasion was completely botched up. The U.S. Govt. went in with very little troops and equipment, with the result that Osama had a head-start of over 2 months, before American troops finally reached Tora Bora. Hell! As per Fahrenheit 9/11, there are more policemen in Manhattan than U.S. troops in Afghanistan! The Taliban was allowed to get away to greener pastures (Pakistan and Southern Afghanistan). A pseudo-democracy, whose strings were controlled by the folks at the White House was put in place. An absolute lack of planning and some very personal agendas has resulted in an Afghanistan that is fractured and unstable. Under the Taliban, Afghanistan's contibution to poppy was actually LESS than what it currently is! Afghanistan accounts for almost 66-75% of Cocaine production in the world - Hell! A major chunk of the economy runs on it! Warlords rule most of the territories and factionism is rampant. A resurgent Taliban is kicking arse in eastern & southern Afghanistan. Afghanistan is pretty much the farthest corner of hell! As we now know, the American Govt never intended the Afghanistan war - it was just a namesake war, a formality which had to be fulfilled. They had much bigger and (h)OILier intentions.

And then Iraq happened. And the rest we know is history. I still remember watching Messrs Tony Blair and GWB articulate the 'serious and grave' threat posed by this 'murderous and tyrannous' dictator. Look who's talking about tyranny and murder and dictatorship! And Mr. Blair, what about the WMD's that could be launched at the push of a button within 45mins?! And what about the chemical and biological mobile labs that Saddam would not hesitate to use against the "Free World"? (which by the way, consists of the United States and the United Kingdom)

Iraq has turned into a nightmare, a 2nd Vietnam for the United States. Again without any post-war planning and with just the outline of a 'war', the U.S. launced its "shock and awe" campaign into Iraq. The results are disastrous - the country has become a safe haven for all kinds of shady operators - drug-dealers, arms-smugglers, insurgents and 'terrorists'. If that wasnt enough, the Shites and the Sunnis are slugging it out in a body-count contest. Iraq is just short of having a civil war - its hanging pretty much by a thread. All this ofcourse, after spending 350 billion $ and losing more than 1500 American soldiers and thousands of innocent Iraqis. And Sample this: Joseph Stiglitz, former chief economist of the World Bank has suggested the total costs of the Iraq War on the US economy will be $1 trillion in a conservative scenario and could top $2 trillion in a moderate one.

We know all this. But, what really is the most important aspect of the story is that the events on Sept 11th, 2001 set in motion events and politics, whose ramifications we are still feeling (and to also add, reeling from). The events of that day has made an entire nation (the one nation that matters) even more sceptical and unresponsive to the frustrations of the rest of the world. Whatever little concern and/or sympathy Americans had for the rest of the world evaporated the instant those towers collapsed to their doom. Till Sept 11th, 2001, it was the United States Govt which played politics and the CIA which did the Govt's dirty work (and still does). Post-9/11, it seems to be normal Americans who have chosen to be deeply mistrustful and sceptical of the R.O.W. and have supported the misguided (and imperial) policies of their Govt.

This is evident on the choice made by Americans on another historic day - Nov 4th, 2004, when Geroge W Bush was re-elected as the 43rd President of the United States. On that 2nd historic day, Americans chose a political ideology that sought to reciprocate/counter Osama's extremist ideology, when it comes to matters like wars and/or intelorance. In their anger and spite and an exaggerated paranoia of the world, they chose an ideology which to the rest of us seems equally irrational and criminal as Osama's loony-bin thinking. Isn't it then ironic then, that Osama perhaps achieved much more than what he really aimed at? America has become a lot more aggressive and paranoid - in many ways, its managed to lose all credibility and managed to become synonymous with 'tyranny' and 'unilateralism'. Hell! Osama has managed to make out America as the 'demon' or 'dajjal', atleast in the Muslim world. With each war, America grows in unpopularity and Osama grows in his cult-figure stature.

Where are we headed to? Some Christian and Muslim fundamentalists would like us to believe, we are headed for Armageddon/Qiyamah. Five years ago, I wouldnt have bought that religious shit, today I think its pretty much happening. The so-called "War on Terror" has taken a distinctly religious tone - its now more of a Christianity/Judaism Vs Islam crusade. And the focal point of this issue is the "Holy Land" or what we now call Israel/Palestine. Thats where both sides lead us to believe is the crux of the issue.

Some reports indicate that the Christian lobby in America is so powerful that it influences American policies vis-a-vis Israel-Palestine. This inturn infuriates the Muslim world, which then rides on the false promises and personal agendas of Osama and his cronies and seeks revenge in the form of 'Jihad' - little do they know that Mr. Osama is a crooked psychopath advocating a recipe for disaster. Here we are - in the 21st century and we are fighting a global war on the basis of stuff that was written/happened two millenia ago! Can't we just let it go? Perhaps its time to screw all the Religions and Religious texts, the accusations and counter-accusations - just wipe the damn slate clean and have a fresh start!

Whatever all this is leading to and however "justified" this religious and political crusade seems to either side, one thing is certain, all this doesnt matter to the people who lost their loved ones on that fateful day 5 years ago - neither to those who have since lost their lives to American paranoia and thousands who will continue to lose their lives to this madness.

In the memorial service, as the names were being read out and memories rekindled, one woman recounted her husband's life (He was a NYFD firefighter who died with 6 other colleagues while evacuating the towers) - she recounted her love for him and how the children and other family members missed him in an emotional speech. She then barely whispered of how the family had given the 7 of them a nickname - "We call you the seven in heaven!", she said.

I guess, there isnt much left to say. Lets end this madness and arrive at a compromise through a middle-path! Lets accept wrong-doings, gulp down our egos and stop trying to prove "My religion is greater than yours" - Lets just be plain human beings and think rationally for once!

Friday, September 08, 2006

So much furore over a song!

This past week was rather unusually eventful - with once again murder, corruption, sleaze and vote-bank politics dominating headlines. Ho hum, NEWS has become so damn boring, with the exception of Avantika Singh ofcourse! :P .... But as I said, never before have I seen so much of votebank politics (Vande Mataram controversy), murder-cases(Jessica Lal, Priyadarshini Matoo, Prof Sabharwaal), etc within the span of a week.

Anyways, coming to the point, the one issue which really did bother me was the Vande Mataram controversy. Read these artciles from Mumbai Mirror - Report1 and Report2. Also read Times of India's Page on the controversy - its a great read.

Now, there seems to be a furore over this song, that to the average man seems completely unjustified. I mean, what is going on people?! Here we are - a supposedly independant and democratic country, a supposedly future "super-power" - and we are fighting on whether Savarkar's portrait must be given place in Govt buildings and on whether we make recitatioon of Vande Mataram compulsory for all citizens!!

I mean, to the politicians, a couple of points -
1. We are short of more than 1,00,000MW of power
2. We are rated 127th in the 2005 U.N. Human Development Index (below Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan, etc - but thankfully for our politicians above Pakistan - thats the only thing that seems to matter to our netas)
So you see, dearest Netas, we have some REAL issues on which to discuss and debate!!

The BJP, however, seems to have found an amazing consensus over the song, so much so that the song could prove to be the saving grace for a party that has become the laughing stock of the country - they call it the 'baniyan' party. Obviously, it wants to milch the cow when its giving all the milk. But just imagine when more than one BJP MP was asked by CNN IBN and TimesNOW and NDTV to recite the song and they floundered! They couldnt even get past the 1st line! Ditto with the Congress ke netas! :D

But what really was the nail in the coffin was when BJP MP and former I&B minister Ravi Shankar Prasad was asked to recite the song, his response was so evasive that it transgressed the limits of hypocrisy. Another "sample" among our politicians is the Muslim BJP MP Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, who conjured up a word or two of his own while reciting the 1st stanza of the song, all this with lots of prodding by the journo - what was absolutely hilarious was the journo prompting Naqvi to recite words/phrases which were manufactured and totally out of context. What a great nation we live in! Our netas make mountains out of molehills - thats tolerable - but when they dont know a f**k about what they are making an issue of! Then well, what can I say!

Then there are the Mullahs from the Darool Uloom of Deoband and many other associated Madrassas - they object to recitation of the song because it "goes against Islam". They say that Muslims are allowed to consider only Allah as worth worshipping, that they can only sing praises for Allah - I mean no offense to anyone, but how in God's name (or Allah's name) is the recitation of a beautiful song that praises the motherland be in violation of Islam?! But I am not singing BJP's tune of enforcing it upon anyone (coz they dont know the damn song in the 1st place!), but to offer an excuse by saying "it violates Islam" is not something I can fathom.

But I am indulging in meaningless ranting .... See, I should be coming up with concrete solutions - Infact I have. You know what - Chuck Vande Mataram! Thats right - chuck it - throw Bankim Chandra Chatterjee's beautiful creation out of the window!

Instead of Chatterjee, you know what - we must pick a song from our own Himesh bhai! His songs have an uncanny and hidden reference to our motherland. And besides, Bankim Chatterjee with a beard and a baseball cap can pass of as the great Himeshji! :P

So, here are some suggestions for prospective Himesh tunes that could be adopted as an anthem:
1. Aashiq Banaya Aapne - Himesh
bhai is praising the motherland for arousing the Romeo within him! :P

2. All day All Night, Teri Yaad Sataye - Himesh
bhai recites his 24/7 brand of Patriotism! :P

3. Zara Jhoom Jhoom - Himesh bhai is calling upon all Indians (be it BJP/Arjun Singh or Congress/YFE :P) to unite and 'Jhoom' in the glory of India

4. Yeh Meri Meri Zohrajhabi - Himesh
bhai refers to India as "Zohrajhabi" and then uses words like 'furkat' with his melodious (nasal) voice to confess his love for his motherland :P

5. Naam hai Tera Tera - Himesh
bhai confesses that 'India' resides in his heart and sole :P

Just imagine these songs being sung by 10year old school-children in schools across the country, as they recount their love for their motherland! Just imagine these songs being played in Theatres accompanying a fluttering tricolour on the screen! Just imagine Kajol's son singing these songs Phirangi style in K3G!! :P .... I sure have made the national song either a lot 'kooler' or very corny! :P

I am sure that passions and tempers will once again rise in the country. And the BJP and Congress will make Himesh the ringside joker, who gets all the bouquets and brickbats, as they indulge in a political slug-fest that aims at achieving nothing in particular. And the Mullahs will be quite happy to sing along Himeshji's wonderful tunes. Ofcourse, there will be an open war between Himeshji's loyal fans and the Anti-Himesh brigade, which will threaten peace and stability within the country (quite literally by the playing of his songs). But atleast that way, we dont make a mockery out of a beautiful song called "Vande Mataram".

See, now thats a solution!! Here's looking forward to Himeshji's wonderful compositions as our nation's anthems!! :P

PS: I am not a Himesh fan. Infact quite the opposite - I belong to the "Anti-Himesh Brigade". I chose to satirize Himesh(ji) by offering him my"respects".

PS2: I have provided Himesh fan link so that we (the United Alliance of Anti-Himesh Associatons) can bring it down :P

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Truly, Lage Raho Munnabhai!

The below is a personal account of the events that unfolded on the 5th of September, 2006, which includes the Prelude, the Movie and its Review and an Epilogue.
Any resemblance to the living/dead is strictly NON-Coincidental. To my buddies, who have been parodied in the below post without their permissions, I have only my hypocritic apologies to offer. :P

Main Characters (Strictly in order of importance :P):
Sarvesh Kalkar
Srikant "Chindi" Raghavan
Dhanesh Gandhi
Vishal Prasad
Hariprasad Kumar
Ashwath Rajan

Setting the Stage:
With great difficulty and reluctance, I opened my eyes at 7.30am IST, with the help of the hysterical scoldings of an irate mother and the weary rantings of a disillusioned father. :P .... With greater reluctance I dragged myself to college. And when Ashwath mentioned the idea of watching the 1.00pm show of "Lage Raho Munnabhai" at CinePlanet, Sion, at the cost of bunking classes, I showed such enthusiasm that it belied any reluctance previously exhibited. The problem was that unlike myself and Ashwath, others in the group did not exhibit the same non-chalant and "dont give a damn" attitude towards such trivial issues like attendance (sigh!). Finally, after much dilly-dallying and pooh-poohing, the other characters were convinced that the mission was indeed worth the risk. :P

The Prelude:
So off we set to Sion, the melting-pot of central Mumbai, in an S.T. bus which ironically seemed to be the smelling pot of Navi Mumbai. :P .... We reached Cine Planet at 12.35pm IST, well before the show began and bought the tickets. Having got some time on hand and lots of tiffins and even more hungry gluttons around, we proceeded to decimate each other's tiffin boxes - all this within the external premises of the Multiplex, while in front of the good, the bad and the super-gud-items! :P .... We then went inside the premises where, after a quick visit to the loo (which happens to be a gr8 place for soul-searching :P), we - you guessed it right - proceeded to gorge on more delectables :P
Finally, we were seated in our seats, only to see ads of Gangar Opticians flash repeatedly as we heard in the background, the repeated playing of the (irritating) title song of a soon-to-be launched K-serial! Oh no! Not another one! If the title-song was anything to go by, this will be a new low set by Ekta Kapoor and her demented set of "writers" :P
Finally, after what seemed like an eternity (within which I exhausted my Cup-Corn and my Coke was ravaged by all but me), the Censor Board certificate flashed and the SHOW finally BEGAN!!

In between the show, however, it was brought to our notice by the usherer that one of us must be seated in the row behind (immediately behind my seat). Obviously, each person was reluctant to depart such esteemed company! :P .... However, we noticed immediately the presence of a rather attractive bird, which certainly seemed more desirable than the prospect of Masculine company! :P .... Seeing this, Mahesh was courageous enough to offer to take the seat behind. Hardly a few seconds had passed, when the usherer profusely apologized and notified Shri Mahesh to leave the bride-groom's throne and return to his previous seat! :P .... Mahesh, ofcourse was very bitter and disappointed, so much so that, in a style typical to his, he chose to express his anger in a rather profound string of never-before-heard expletives! :P .... That he would continue this practice throughout the day (and perhaps for the rest of his life :P) is no secret.

The Movie and The Review:

Show-Stopper! He's THE Man!

I will keep this one short, coz I am sure that each one of you must either have watched it or must be in the process of concretizing the plans. Such is the power and pull of this franchise and deservingly so.

The Movie starts off with that (in)famous song - "Subah ho gayi Mamu!" and a gag that will leave you laughing your arses off. As usual, Arshad Warsi as Circuit steals the show with his wisecracks that range from the silly to the absurd, but never fails to tickle the funny bone. It then proceeds to slowly unravel both the characters and the plot and switches from one gag to another, from one subplot to another with great ease.

The casting is just spot-on.:P .... Boman Irani as the evil-Builder/doting father delivers another great performance. Dia Mirza and Jimmy Shergill have their bits and essay it with conviction. The oldies group also does its bit with some fine ensemble acting. Sanjay Dutt as Munnabhai is just sublime - his interactions with "Gandhi" are very nicely done. The actor who essays the role of "Gandhi" has delivered a rock-solid performance. But, the one man who steals the show completely is Warsi as Circuit. I hope Mr. Hirani writes many more scripts centering around this great caricature of a gangster's goofy chamcha!

Vidya Balan is ofcourse just a whiff of fresh air, amidst the tanned/exposed and hyped up set of actresses - she blends perfectly into the role and besides, its a great visual treat to see her on screen. However, the one thing that she does wrong is the "Good Mooooorrrrrning Mumbai!" - The phrase is repeated so often and with such an annoying intonation, that you wish to personally throttle Miss Balan (although thats a vey bad idea :P)!

While the 1st half delivers most of the rib-ticklers, the 2nd half has its share of funny moments, although they are far and few. There are many high-points in the movie, so many so that its difficult to pin-point any one. The 2nd half of the movie admittedly becomes too saccharine and sentimental - at times, the situation is dramatized to such an extent, that it becomes a superficial and forced attempt to elicit teary responses from the audience. In that sense, the movie could have done away with less melodrama and a more mature view of the situation.

Another small point that must be made with regards to the melodrama is the annoying practice of showing flashes of either smiling/weeping faces, which accompanies each of Munna's accomplishments. In the 1st movie, they had wide-eyed, smiling nurses and weeping sweepers/ward-boys in the background - thats okay (by okay I mean tolerable). But here, Mr. Hirani employs the services of Barbers and customers at the Barber's, Police Inspectors and regular people - and strangely all the faces were masculine. Mr. Hirani, a feminine face is far more astute at portraying emotions - its not Rocket Science to get that. Atleast the nurses were decent and visually pleasing. Whats with the Masculine attraction, Mr. Hirani?

Where the movie delivers, however, is the perfect blend of Gandhian values, Patriotism and a modern-day India which thrives on individualism. It doesnt overload viewers with a barrage of statistical information or documentary style detached narration or "preachy" dialogues. What it uses is :
kick-ass street-smartness + wisecracks by Circuit and Munna + Gandhi's Teachings + Patriotism
And this results in both 'paisa-vasool' entertainment and also ensures that you leave the theatre with a renewed sense of hope and vigour to your bit for your country. True, that this brand of pop-partiotism and wisecracking-Gandhism is hardly a concrete solution to India's problems, but what the heck! You certainly wanna believe badly that the solution could be a gun-toting Munnabhai and his knife-toting sidekick Circuit.

Bottom-Line: This is NOT as humourous as the 1st movie - it doesnt pretend to be either. What it is though is pure family entertainment at its best. After a long long long time, Bollywood has produced a movie without Raakhi Saawant and item numbers, without crunching explosions and 3rd rate special effects, without borrowed Hollywood/Japanese/Korean scripts. This movie is sweet, innocent and pure, yet street-smart and total dhamaal. Go and watch it with your friends and/or family - this is one movie that everyone can enjoy! Kudos to Mr. Hirani and his team! They have stopped making movies like these!
(Yea, I know, I promised to make it short :P)

After the credits started rolling, we all made our way rather silently out of the Multiplex, each perhaps thinking about Gandhi-Giri :P
Then, Shrikant suddenly purported to see Mahatma Gandhi - he then revealed that it was Dhanesh Gandhi whom he was seeing! :P .... After many more such witless wisecracking, we made our way to Gurukripa, where the paapi pet was fed some more.
Finally, we sauntered our way home, each choosing his own mode of transportation, each knowing that any "Gandhi-Giri" on Mumbai's buses/locals will result in instantaneous death. :P
And so, I conclude an epic event that unfolded on this day, which left us all heavier in the abdomen, lighter in the wallet and thoughtful in our minds. :P

Until some more nonsensical string of words can be formed by this Turing Machine, bbye! :P

Some Links:
LRM Priemere Pictures

Sunday, September 03, 2006

The Paradox of Techological "Progress" - Chapter I

This is my first on a series of posts on present day Life/Technological "Progress" and my take on it

A quick glance through the history of Human Evolution reveals that the authors seem to have neglected the most important development in recent times - The practice of distancing oneself from other human beings (and hell! Other living things as well :P) and adopting a third-party, non-living and virtual channel of communication.

Human beings have come a long way - beginning with the Stone ages which saw humans employing some of the most primitive methods for survival, onto the Copper/Iron ages, where life wasnt only about survival, and now finally to the Industrial era, where life has assumed a high degree of sophistication but also a pace that is both blistering and unbelievably restricted.

And now, in the early days of this new millenia, human beings have made a transition into the "Information" era, where all communication happens through the medium of the electronic media.

A new phenomenon, ofcourse are social-networking sites like Orkut, which have experienced tremendous volumes of registrations in the past couple of years. Now, it seems, there isnt a single soul on this planet, who doesnt have his/her own space in the annals of cyber-space (either through Orkut, MySpace, Blogspot or other such services)

Orkut seems to be the rage, with the entire of our college being "connected". I must admit that Orkut is a great place to "connect" with others, to meet new people of similar thought-processes(In this regard, I hav not had much success in locating an equally eccentric and delusional procrastinator :P).

Besides, its a great platform which enables a very conducive environment for Bird-watching, of the non-avian variety ofcourse! :P .... Birds of rather rich varieties visit the place, making it one of the biggest open-air sanctuaries in the world! :P .... And we sure aint complaining!

But, on a serious note, beneath all this hi-tech networking and the blistering "progress" we claim to have made, isnt it an irony, that we started with very little than "Survival" in our minds and here we are, with the same thought of "Survival" and little else. I mean, sure we can "connect", but that connection refers to the superficial bond between two machines linked to a massive and emotionally detached network that we call the Internet.

The Stone Age was all about surviving and in many ways, the "modern information age" is all about survival. Our educational institutes produce an astronomical number of Engineers/Doctors etc, who are all brainwashed into taking up these courses/jobs by a society which has tasted the fruits of economic liberalization too soon, too fast and which now pursues money as a major objective of life. We live in a world, that seems to have lost its value systems and exists more on political spin and marketing than on concrete evidence and/or content. Human life has become a kind of a packaging, where presentation assumes greater importance than the content within. We choose to hide the naked truth under cloaks of sophisticated lies about how technology has helped us to evolve and connect.

Amid all the technological sophistication, isnt it ironical, that more and more people are taking on suicidal tendencies. A recent U.N. report indicates that more people die of suicides than of muders! Now thats a statistic which shocks! In the process of making life "simpler" and the world "smaller", we seem to have forgotten that life is after all a pursuit of one's principles and ideals and that its all about seeking happiness. How can you explain the increasing number of people taking recourse to modern-day 'spiritual gurus/babas', in an effort to seek the "meaning" of life in a terribly fast-paced and at the same time, a seemingly absurd world.

In more ways than one, the pre-modern era had a much more enriching and wholesome view of life than today's computerized and impassionate world. Yes, one might say that those were the days of violent rituals and absurd beliefs, but they were also the days of simple but profound living.

In many ways, there is a need to revive old value systems - lets do away with the superstitions, but adopt the wholesome and simple ideologies that make life a whole lot simpler than current technology would ever be able to achieve.

Some notable quotes that parody technology:
"The drive toward complex technical achievement offers a clue to why the U.S. is good at space gadgetry and bad at slum problems." - John Kenneth Galbraith

"Humanity is acquiring all the right technology for all the wrong reasons." - R. Buckminster Fuller

"I like my new telephone, my computer works just fine, my calculator is perfect, but Lord, I miss my mind!" - Author Unknown

"I think I should not go far wrong if I asserted that the amount of genuine leisure available in a society is generally in inverse proportion to the amount of labor-saving machinery it employs."
- E.F. Schumacher

"If it keeps up, man will atrophy all his limbs but the push-button finger." - Frank Lloyd Wright

"The real danger is not that computers will begin to think like men, but that men will begin to think like computers." - Sydney J. Harris

And My favourite - the Best of 'em all:
"Technology... the knack of so arranging the world that we don't have to experience it."
- Max Frisch

Name Change Notification

Hi everyone,
This is to announce the re-christening of this Blog's name from the rather cliched and boring "Total Mind-Chow" to the more unusual "Psychedelic's Paradise". The official baptism was carried out at the time of writing this post, i.e. 16.35 IST on Sunday, 3rd Sept, 2006. :P

Hopefully, this christening brings more readers! :P

Also, there will be some new sections in the blog. These include :
1) Quote(s) of the week
2) Sore losers of the week
3) Captions and/or Dialogue posts
4) Random Thoughts - A section inspired from a great blog I read regularly
etc etc

So, continue visiting!


Tuesday, August 29, 2006

English is a phunny and a LONG language!

I was surfing through some blogs the other day, when I found a cool blog, whose name claimed to be the Longest word in the English langauge.

That got me interested and after some research in Wikipedia - that great ocean of information for info geeks like me - I found that there are many long words in English, that are each individual claimants to the post/honour of being the longest words. Its funny and interesting to see how people manage to come up with words which no-one is likely to use in their entire life. Most of us struggle with "amalgamation", and here we are creating words that are about a mile long!

Anyways, these are some of the links from Wiki pertaining to the topic -

And the best one! This one is just plain hilarious! -

In 1975, the 71-letter Twoallbeefpattiesspecialsaucelettucecheesepicklesonionsonasesameseedbun was used in a McDonald's Restaurant advertisement to describe the Big Mac.

Hippopotomonstrosesquipedaliophobia is a jocular term for phobia, indicating fear of long words

Till some more such interesting nonsense is brought to my notice by accidentally stumbling across as I crawl across the internet, bbye!

PS: The factual accuracy of the above links cannot be verified, as Wikipedia is an open-source, open-edit Encyclopedia, so all 'facts' must be taken with a grain of salt.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

The Best Race we had this season!

"Mera Number 1!" - Felipe Massa - The Man of the Moment!

Whow! What a race! Its been a while since we had such an exciting, eventful and power-packed race. The Hungarian GP was small fries as compared to what unfolded in the Turkish GP. It started spectacularly and ended with a bang. Cars getting banged from front, rear and the side. Collisions and failures and overtaking opportunities gone terribly wrong! This race had it all. Alonso and Schumi were spearated by just 0.1 second on the clock! What a race!

It was a bitter-sweet race for a Renault fan like me. On one hand, Renault's lead over Ferrari in the Constructors championship was reduced to just 2 points, while on the other, Alonso managed to stay ahead of Schumi, gaining a 2 point advantage in the process.

It was also good to see Massa win the race. I am not as much Anti-Ferrari as much I am Anti-Schumi. No offense to the 7-time Champ, but he should be retiring and paving the way for fresh blood in F1. I still respect Schumi as a driver - let there be no doubt - he's the best F1 driver in the history of the sport - but its time to call it quits and let the sport be more dynamic and young.

So, in that sense, it was good to see neither Alonso nor Schumi on the top pedestal of the podium. Just like last time, in the Alonso-Schumi rivalry, we forget that there are fine drivers like Massa and Button who have the mettle and the skill to be race winners.

What was even more endearing was to watch an emotional Massa, battling his tears while the Brazilian national anthem played in the background. Here is a young guy who has just won a tough race - the toughness within him however melts away to reveal his human side. Remember his days at Sauber anyone? Kudos to him.

What was the turning point in the Alonso-Schumi battle I think was the safety car time pitstop that Ferrari made, where Schumi lost valuable seconds, enabling Alonso to get ahead. I found that move hilarious and stupid. They should have allowed him to stay ahead. I am certain Schumi would have had a much better chance of finishing ahead of Alonso and mebbe even win the race. What were the Ferrari guys thinking? I am not complaining at the suicidal pitstop though. Here's wishing more such screwed up pitstops to Ferrari. :P

With 4 races to go, I believe the Constructors race has been settled - it was settled long ago, when Fisichella just coudn find the form. But the Driver's race is still very much open. All it would take is one screw-up and either Schumi or Alonso would kiss their ass goodbye. This has been a gr8 season to watch! No one driver/team dominating - under such circumstances, its okay to see a couple of Ferrari/Schumi wins. F1 should be open, dynamic and unpredictable. Finally we had a season which has been all that and much more.

Here's looking forward to a fine 4 races more to go!

Some Links :

Guns without Bullets

"Damn! I should have stayed at home
and made love to my wife instead!"
- Jens Lehmann in a moment of despair as Arsenal continued their poor (or should I say pathetic) form in the EPL.

There seems to be plenty of Guns in the Arsenal, but unfortunately no ammunition. Arsenal misfired a week back with Aston and they repeated their uninspired and lacklustre performance yesterday against Man City. Pundits and fans alike were predicting a comfortable victory for the North London Club, but Arsenal with amazing consistency disappointed yet again. The performance left many Arsenal fans (including me) disillusioned. Wenger himself admitted that "we are not ready".

Nothing seemed to be in order. We kept most of the possession, but mainly in the midfield. We managed to get some good balls near the Man City box, only to find that fellow Gunners were coming in the way. Rosicky was a let-down. He was all over the place yet going in no particular direction. Skipper Thierry Henry looked tired and unsettled. Perhaps its an indication of the fatigue from the World Cup. The Arsenal forwards were all in the box at once, with no-one indulging in wing-play. There was mayhem and chaos as the players bumped into each other and proved themselves worthy defenders for the other side.

All in all, it was a night to forget. Hopefully, Wenger picks up the threads and builds up a more inspired and intelligent team. The area we need to be strengthened the most immediately is defense and wing-play. That is where a lot of work needs to be done. All of a sudden, Arsenal's chances in the premiership this season is looking bleak. We need to seriously pick up our game and show more teeth, width and innovation in our attack.

In the meanwhile, a Brazil Vs Argentina friendly will be played at the Emirates Stadium. This is certainly heartening, but it would have been so much better had the Gunners been on winning form. No matter, there's always a next time.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Headlines Today's Rocks! For a different reason though! :P

A few posts ago, I mentioned my shift away from NDTV, of how NDTV seems to have lost it in the New-Age journalism where Style and chutzpah are the winning mantras. Well, it helps if you have red-hot Newsreaders, doesnt it?

I also mentioned I had shifted to other NEWS channels, most notably to CNN IBN and Headlines Today. "Headlines Today? That a NEWS channel eh?" - one might exclaim. Except they have the one USP no one can ignore. Atleast not the hairier sex. The USP is Avantika Singh, a kool looking chick who serves NEWS with a smile that could heal Israel and Lebanon! :P

Here is a link to some of Miss Avantika's pics while Newsreading and you can clearly see how much she (and us) enjoys her job! :-)

Keep reading NEWS Ma'm - you are a refreshing break (pun intended) to the monotonous reality of corruption, slease and grime that NEWS is comprised of these days. As they say, a babe in the woods - here, a babe in the NEWS studios! :P

Hair-Raising Issue : Balls to it!

"Oh My God! This is hard-work! I cant seem to bend without getting my trousers torn! Here they go - I have managed to SCREW the Pakis! Hell! They are clickin photos! Lemme pose for the cameras! I am gonna be FAMOUS!" - Darrell Hair

Darrell Hair seems to be in the midst of a raging controversy. Some have christened it as the "saddest and most serious" stand-off in Test cricket (Seriously? Oh No! I am gonna start crying!). Some have questioned Hair's hair-raising antics and have questioned the impartiality of his judgement. Others have laid the blame on Inzy's boyz. Things have gotten to a stage where the issue at hand seems to be completely lost amid layers of mud-slinging, accusations and counter-accusations. Its rightly said that when SHIT hits the fan, it rains more shit.

I, for once, question the sanity of all this mud-slinging. Who's to blame? Till yesterday, it was thought that Inzy and his boyz were right in taking offense of the 5-run penalty decision. They seemed well within their rights to protest by coming out a few minutes late. So, it seemed Mr. Hair was losing the argument, atleast in media columns.

However, in true Ekta Kapoor Isshtyle, Shahid Afridi played Komolika and added a sinister twist to the whole proceedings. He said to an interview to Times Now (that channel which survives solely because it lives off the TOI) that ball tampering should be permitted. He claimed that any and all Reverse Swing can ONLY be brought if ball tampering is permitted. He went onto say that it was a norm to keep players in the infield with long finger-nails for this very same purpose. He maintains that Pakistan wasnt the only team and accuses England of also indulging freely in this practice.

Now, who's to blame? The Umpire, who has got a dubious record of being a Anti-Asian racist? The Pakis whom, as far as we know, have never played fair (be it Cricket or Terrorism)? The ICC - because it chooses to blindly support the Umpires without having an open mind to Umpire criticisms? Or the Media - who as usual bloats up issues and makes it far more important than it actually is. I can already visualize Mr. Siddhu with his scathing criticisms and witless wisecracks on Darrell Hair, the ICC and the PCB on NDTV's cricket controversy. Mr. Sidhu, somehow feels that his wit is unmatched and his humour is unparalled. However, as we all will agree, those who agree with Mr. Siddhu are far and few. Namely, Mr. Siddhu himself! By the way, the program is another indicator of how bad NDTV has actually become!

But, coming back to the issue, I feel the blame is with the game itself. Somehow, I believe Afridi. I mean, if the guy is candid enough to admit to Ball Tampering, then surely he is speaking the Truth when he says that Reverse Swing just aint possible without some manipulation to Ball Dynamics. Mebbe, the ICC has to start revising archaic rules and make the game more flexible. I am not saying allow Ball tampering - You see I am not as naive and as tactless as Afridi to think that the world will allow cheating because it favours Pakistan. What I am suggesting is let us have a ball that ALLOWS Reverse Swing. Get the folks at Adidas to make us a heck of a ball. They did it for Futball with Microchip-embedded balls and hi-tech stuff. Now, mebbe its time Cricket should have a futuristic ball for its own.

In the end, you kind of understand why the Pakis are so sore over the entire thing. Its a case of Damned if you do and damned if you dont.

The ICC must wake up from its slumber and rise over petty politics (In times like this, one is reminded of that Stalwart called Jagmohan Dalmiya. hehe.) and make the necessary changes that lift the game from obscurity to popular appeal. Not that I care one bit - Cricket is a 19th Century sport for me and I cant figure how it manages to get 1Billion people all worked up. Right now, I am just soaking up all the drama thats happening. Its one great Opera to watch! At the cost of an archaic, silly game ofcourse! :-)

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Log onto!

A bit of an Odd Match, dont you think? But then, I guess, Opposites Attract! We can christen this as the Match made in a Sudanese cave!

New York: Al-Qaeda chief and the world’s most dreaded terrorist, Osama bin Laden had a crush on singer-cum-actress Whitney Houston and wanted to make her his wife after killing her husband Bobby Brown.

Sudanese poet and novelist Kola Boof (37), who claims to have once been Osama's sex slave, writes this in her autobiography - Diary of a Lost Girl.

“He told me Whitney Houston was the most beautiful woman he'd ever seen. He would say how beautiful she is, what a nice smile she has, how truly Islamic she is but is just brainwashed by American culture and by her husband - Bobby Brown,” Page Six quoted her as saying.

According to her, Osama often talked about killing Brown, and couldn't stop talking about his favorite singer for whom her had “lofty plans”.

But, she adds, the 9/11 terror mastermind hated Whitney’s hairstyle, saying. "Why do you wear your hair braided? Only monkeys did that.”

As he had a liking for the white skin, Osama was also dismissive of black women.

According to her, he used to say to her: "African women are only good for a man's lower pleasures. What need do you have for a womb?"

Here's the SOURCE of the above article.

What can one say? The world is truly a crazy place to be at the moment. On one hand, you have the descendant of an ape being incharge of the World's greatest super-power, on the other, you have a pseudo-religious madman who talks about makin love to Whitney Houston, when he's not inciting yougsters to bomb themselves in a bid to attain salvation! What a world we live in!

Monday, August 21, 2006

Death of NDTV?

Trouble seems to be looming at NDTV, as the company deals with both low profit-margins, increasing operating costs and a diminishing viewership. Could this mean the end of the road for Prannay Roy and his channel? I mean, the company reported a net loss for the last fiscal and doesnt seem to be doing all that well. I mean, is it only me or is it the entire country that has stopped tuning to NDTV for the staple English NEWS on TV? If TRP ratings are anything to go by, then CNN IBN seems to be holding the English NEWS media by an iron hand.

The NDTV that I knew atleast, died long ago, when Rajdeep called it quits. That day, I knew that the company had lost a very valuable asset. Rajdeep has done just that. Somehow, the myth of the One-Man TV Empire isnt a myth anymore. His departure has proved to be the nail in the coffin for NDTV's downward spiral into oblivion.

The sort of NEWS that they seem to be delivering now make AajTak seem tolerable! Its a sad testament to the level of incompetence and/or lethargy shown by NDTV's creative NEWS team, if ever it exists. I once used to like this channel. It used to be an unbiased, issue-driven channel - it still is in many ways. However, where NDTV has lost it is in NEWS packaging.

NEWS and TV Media have become so much more about packaging these days. Its kind of sad - this stress towards stylization. But in a way its good to see Indian channels matching Western standards for NEWS etiquette. The downside to all this, however, is that channels must not only cover NEWS, but do so in a stylized manner. This is where NDTV seems to have lost it completely.

It is sad to see a NEWS channel that prides itself as having "experience", showing such a complete lack of understanding to today's changing NEWS market. NDTV must change or it must perish. I am betting on it perishing. Though, for once, I am praying I lose the bet.

Caption Post 1 - Inzy's day out

My caption :
Darryl Hair : "Mr. Inzamam, you seem to have rubbed the balls too much - all three of 'em. This one needs to be replaced. The other two need inspection."

Suggest some more captions/possible dialogues!

Gunners deliver a whimp as EPL kicks off


Arsenal Manager Wenger seems to be upset with the slow start that his team managed against Aston Villa, here at the Emirates Stadium. The Gunners fought the fixture in a newly-constructed Emirates stadium and that must have been all the more encouraging. However, in what was a dull, lacklustre performance, they almost conceded the game to Aston. It was some brilliant play from Theo Walcott, with a superb finish by Gilberto Silva, who saved the Gunners the blushes. Theo was the only redeeming factor along with the stadium itself. But a few more such performances and people wont be queueing up outside the Emirates Stadium.

As a Gunner, I found it a little difficult to "celebrate" EPL's return with a forgetful result like that. The Wenger Boyz have to lift their game and start showing some more teeth and width in their attack. And Lehmann must learn to stand his line and not go for the ball at the drop of the hat. Till next week and another round of Gunning, bbye ....

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Feverish Thoughts

Its funny what 103 degree Fahrenheit does to your brain! It forces your brain to hallucinate - right from the senseless to the fascinating, from mundane to the horrifying. I remember I had a myriad of dreams (and nightmares) during one such feverish onslaught.

One of them I remember distinctly - because this is the one dream (actually a nightmare) that has a very real chance of becoming real!

As with any dream, this one started as a continuation to a sequence of nonsensical, unconnected visions, the details of which have since been obliterated from the depths of my memory. Alright, I will cut through the swathes of bullshit I have dished out thus far and finally come to the topic the title refers to.

The dream in question began roughly with me sitting in a classroom (even in a dream I sit in a classroom! sigh!) and actually its the Semester V exams. Guess which paper it is? No prizes for guessing - Mathematics V!

As dreams are, this one was operating in hyper-accelerated time-frames! Damn! Einstein's Relativity is so irrefutably true! What was 2mins in real time (eyes-open), was 2hrs in super-accelerated REM time!

The upshot of all this was that I had consumed two hours of time, (with one to go - for those who suck at Maths more than I do), and I was still 10 marks short of the magical 40! By "short of 40", I mean "questions attempted".

So there I was, at the end of two hours of normal time, perhaps at the end of extra time as well. Now, it was time for that game of Russian Roulette which has put many a footballing side to misery - penalty kicks. I had to now decide the Spot-Kick taking order. It seemed I had my job cut-out completely.

Yet, the task did not deter me. I forged ahead, assuring myself that nothing was lost. I formed equations in my mind. I put to use the many theories and formulae I had learnt by rote over the years. Simultaneous Equations, Calculus, etc started doing the rounds, as I tried to solve the vexing problem in question. Suddenly it struck me as a lightening bolt.

The problem of completing the remainder of my Maths paper within 1 hour was now a LPP and a problem of Optimization. That I would pass was a problem of Probability. In this LPP, the solution also enabled me to use every technique at my disposal to maximize my marks. As it was, the short and docile "Ma'm" doing the rounds as 'Supervisor' was incentive enough to even the most lousy copy-cats.

And surreal as dreams are, this one proved to be no exception. Just when I had regained the hope of solving my Maths paper by using Mathematical Analysis and unscrupolous implementations, my laborious plans were crushed by a cruel twist of fate.

Damn! Chaos Theory! I realised that I should hav taken into consideration the cruelty of Life's uncertainites and its Chaos, while I formed the equations. Because, there, in front of my eyes, was a Supervisory change. The docile Ma'm had been replaced by the ugly dickhead whom we call the Maths "teacher".

I banished all hope and resigned myself to the first K.T. of my illustrious (yea, call me pompous) career! 1 hour later, which in super-accelerated REM timeframe was half a minute, the bell rang and my pen was not any more drier than it was an hour ago.

It was at that point that I awoke with a start. I found that I was feeling lousier and weaker than ever. And the thermometer was proof that Maths is injurious to health! My fever had spiked because of this nightmare! I was feeling pretty much in the farthest corner of hell.

But if this nightmare spiked my fever, then it should come down with the realization and relief that it was just a dream, right? Wrong - I realized with chagrin! See, that wasnt a nightmare. Atleast, my brain didnt perceive it as one. It was more of a warning that the sincere side of my brain (or whatever is left of it) invoked and thats why it was so damn worrying.

I vowed to take the subject more seriously, but my enthusiasm didnt last very long. Faster that it takes to solve a lousy linear equation in one unknown, I was back to my old meandering self. I guess, the way I am, it takes more than one nightmare to awaken me (pun intended) :-)

PS : The dream was real. Some part of it has been invented and/or modified for creative purposes. And seriously, lets take Maths V seriously! Till the next time my brain conjures up such meaningless shit, which some of you undoubtedly are forced to read courtesy of your remote acquaintance with me, bbye! :-)

Fahrenheit 103!

No its not a new documentary from Michael Moore, neither is it the boiling point of some volatile chemical. It is infact the temperature I had over the course of the past couple of days of high fever. While it is not sufficient to sublimate stuff, it certainly is sufficient to give the human body one hell of a time.

But now, I am on my way to recovery, albeit a slow one. Hopefully, I shall be in the pink of the health by another couple of days.

Monday, July 17, 2006

The height of Madness! - Car Futball involving 22 Cars & 1 big sized Ball

Dont believe me?! I dont blame you, yet thats exactly what was telecasted on this week's Top Gear. Top Gear's a crazy show with lots of crazy, silly things and pointless challenges that the cars under test must meet in order to satisfy the jury. But, I have never seen something more crazy, hilarious and childishly silly than the Car Soccer that was played. The set of 22 cars were organized into 2 sets of 11 - one painted in the colours of Argentina and the other 11 painted in the colours of Brazil. The Brazilians won 4-3 in a match that can only be described as hilarious. I was in splits by the end of it! U can catch the video of that episode here CAR_SOCCER_LINK - Just goto "Episode 5" and click on either the "Full Episode" or the "Car Futball" clip ......... Njoy!

Top Gear sure is the BEST goddamned show on this planet!! Long live Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond, James May and last but not the least, the test-driver "The Stig"!!

These guys can find faults even in a Rs. 5 crore Maybach! The ease with which these guys make mince meat of the best cars in the world always makes me cringe!

Sunday, July 16, 2006

The "Mumbai Spirit" - A genuine emotion or a facade for covering apathy and ignorance?

The "indomitable Spirit of Mumbai" - an expression that is bandied about in the wake of every natural calamity (manmade or otherwise) that hits this city. To say that the expression is cliched would be an under-statement. To say that it truly represents what we feel, I think, would be an over-statement.

Why is it that one never gets to hear bout this "Spirit" of Mumbai in the course of an average day? Why doesnt it occur to the folks who push and shove and swear to get into a Train compartment to respect other people and show this "Spirit" that we keep talking about. Why do road accident victims who call out for help are conveniently ignored by the tens of motorists going by because it involves some hassles? What happened to the "Spirit" then? Yes, you may call me a cynicist, a pessimist, but the truth is that in the course of a normal day, we are too busy fighting for that seat in the BEST bus or struggling to get a hold onto a running train that we have become completely insensitive to the city and each other.

So, is this talk about "Spirit" complete hogwash? No, I do agree that there are some very good samaritans in the city and a general sense of sympathy to victims of tragedies - be it manmade or natural. The recent rush of blood donors to hospitals around the city in the immediate aftermath of 7/11 bombings are indicative of that. The hospitals had to send back scores of people because they was surplus blood! However, five days later we are back to normal and we claim this is possible because of the "Spirit" of Mumbai.

By "back to normal", I mean once again swearing, pushing, punching in order to make it into the train, once again littering around always expecting the omnipresence of authorities to clean up the mess. The truth is the "Spirit" that we keep bandying about holds true in the immediate aftermath of the incident and then is quickly lost and forgotten in the madness called Mumbai.

I feel that "The Spirit" and "Resilience" are euphemisms for our return to absolute apathy and ignorance. I think its time to perhaps stop being "Resilient" once in a while and shake up the authorities concerned. I am not in anyway supporting bandh calls, but we must not be returning to complete non-chalancy and normalcy either. We must definitely protest the absolute lack of intelligence gathering, surveilance and security checks in our public transportation systems.

We use these improvised euphemisms to justify our return to a gleefully oblivious and ignorant existence. Perhaps its time that we stop putting facades and start to be a little more responsible and vigilant ourselves.

The Headbutt of all Jokes

Who would have thought that in the electrifying atmosphere at Berlin's magnificient party-venue Olympiastadioum, the 9th of July, apart from settling the World Cup battle will also forever change the meaning and usage of a colloquial expression forever!

Yet thats exactly what happened! At the 110th minute, with 10 minutes to go to a Penalty Kick Shoot-out (what I refer to as the Mother of All Russian Roulettes) and the rest is history! Tons and tons of stuff has been written and shown on the incident, yet what continues to bug me is why did Zidane lose his calm? Knowing that he's more than a little hot-headed, one would certainly expect what happened, yet knowing that its the WC Final with 10 minutes to go and it is his last appearance ever, couldnt he have chosen to downplay his ego and feelings for once?! I am more than a little miffed with him, but I think whats important is to let it go.

FIFA set up a disciplinary hearing against Materazzi, which I believe is only a just move. Throughout the tournament, captains of different teams including Cannavaro of Italy read Anti-Racism messages. If FIFA is so keen on using futball as a means of promoting Equality and end of Racism, then how ironic it is that we often get to see incidents of insuts/abuses/humiliation that players hurl at each other, some of them no doubt with racist undercurrents. And sadly, a lot of this is done as part of a totally unethical team-strategy and not on the basis of personal disputes. Obviously, FIFA must act on those who indulge in acts of provocation physical or verbal.

True, Zidane could have chosen to remain calm and he chose the opposite. But it cannot be denied that if what Materazzi said was indeed insulting to Zidane's close family, then knowing Zidane and his pride, one thing can clearly be concluded - Zidane may have been the bullet, but in more ways than one Materazzi was the weapon which fired that bullet. I feel that FIFA must punish those who provoke with the intent of confrontation as much as the people who actually do the bashing-up.

Zidane, in the meanwhile has gotten so much flak over all of it, that you cannot but help being sympathetic to him. Among the thousands of Zidane Headbutting Postcards, Zidane Headbutting Videos, Zidane Headbutting Video-games, etc ............ Here's a video that atleast captures the sadness/poignance of the moment when Zidane walks past the Jules Rimet Trophy, without as much as giving it a second glance.

Zizou u shall live on forever!! If at all people will mention your name, it will inevitably and deservingly linked with the likes of Pele and Maradona!

One Crazy Referee!

Take a look at this Referee and his antics!! Talk bout FIFA getting geared up for possible changes in Referee conduct and policy!! What was this guy thinking?!

Must say " " is a great site for funny videos, especially tonnes of stuff on Zidane's Headbutting incident.


PS : The Videos will work nicely with Broadband and Dial-Up connections may be frustratingly slow. However, once loaded completely, it will then play uninterrupted.

Indian Media - An Analysis

I have been a keen observer of the Indian Media - right from its nascent stages to its maturity and now to its cut-throatedness. In this fast growing landscape of modern India, the media, it emerges, no longer remains an archaic battery of reporters who "worked for the truth" on shoestring budgets and measly salaries. Today, the Indian Media is a global force to reckon with, with celebrities for anchors (Abhishek and Rani had done a cameo NEWS Reading on NDTV India as part of a Bunty Aur Babli promotion) and anchors for celebrities (Rajdeep Sardesai, Barkha Dutt) and a motto that says "seek the truth that gets us attention". Gone are the days when an entry into the journalistic profession was viewed by such disdain by parents as might be reserved for the jobless. Now are the days of self-styled and self-employed Entrepreneurs who take pleasure in what they do. This unapologetically proud and self-confident batch now represents the face of the Indian Media, completely replacing the bygones of Doordarshan (well, these bygones still hang around on DD, where nothing has ever changed and nothing perhaps will) and has finally made NEWS so much more about the NEWS Reader! The Indian Media now uses the latest technology be it using the latest Video-linkup technologies or having the most feature-oriented web technologies. The Indian Media has truly come to age, with media pundits around the world proclaiming : "India seems to have a voracious apetite for NEWS! Look at how many NEWS Channels they have! And Look at how many are still being set up!". Whats more, in a review of Press-Freedom and Freedom-of-Expression, India was ranked higher than the United States for having a greater degree of Freedom of the Press!!

Yet, am I all that enthused by all of this? No. Why? Because, while the Indian Media has risen phenomenally from a job on the sidelines to a job in the headlines(pun intended), it has murdered some of the golden ethics of journalism that were being followed by the same "archaic" media we criticized so much. Is this maddeningly competitive world and an increasingly saturated Media, the various channels/papers have taken to unconventional, often unscrupulous means to get themselves heard most. The result is a whole lot of psycho/political/economical/sport babble, but no real analysis. The intense competition has lead to an atmosphere where channels often go out of their way in one-upmanship. The consequence is that the story that is being covered gets completely lost in a barrage of self-congralatory messages, "BREAKING NEWS" and "EXCLUSIVE" and "ONLY ON AAJ TAK/NDTV/CNN IBN" tags.

The Indian experience of using in-the-face and not-so-subtle ways of capturing the public's attention is quite radically different to the Western Media's method of taking up more conventional methods of revealing the truth (or very often hiding it). So, what is more effective and more ethical?

Drawing the line is very important in journalism, more so when it concerns a potential clash of interests - On one hand the issue of individual privacy while on the other the issue of revealing information that may be of public/national interest. So, where should one draw the line and does Indian media even considers these ethical paradoxes let alone obey them?

The answer to the above question is in the negative - Sting journalism in itself is a great concept. However its been given a bad name by the people in the circus called the Indian Media, which has often used it for purposes which violate both the ethical considerations of investigative journalism. By now, entire books have been written on the Shakti Kapoor incident and I am sure that there will be consensus when I say that it was a distasteful choice made by the owners of IndiaTV to telecast such a "sting op" as a matter of National Importance.

All this doesnt take away from Sting journalism as a valid and justified method of revealing corruption in public domain. Sting operations are controversial, in the sense, that a sting of any kind invariably involves an invasion of privacy of some kind. In the United States, Sting operations conducted by Private entities have no admissibility in a court of law. Infact, a sting operation conducted by other than a competent Public Authority is punishable by law. However, the point is that America is a country whose Judiciay and L&O system is undisputedy the best in the world. It ensures a speedy trial and swift justice. Moreover, America has transparency and the infrastructure and Human manpower to check corruption. But in the case of India, its a completely different story. In India's case, where an honest Govt official is a rarity and if he exists, he will be invariably occupying the lower niches of the Red-Tape machinery. In such an opaque system, Sting operation is crucially important to ensure that public officials do not labour under a cloak of invincibility and immunity. However the manner in which Stings have been conducted by the Indian Media has undermined the credibility of Stings as a tool for journalism.

Another grouse I have with the Indian Media is the self-congralatory messages and the urge and the glee with which the anchors read out "Exclusives" or narrate them, even if the incidents concerned happen to be as serious and as sober as a Bomb Blast. An incident in this regard is the Kumbakonam School Tragedy on July 16th,2004 when 92 school children were burnt to death in a grisly incident in Tamil Nadu. The tragedy left nothing but a smouldering ruin of exposed bones, ash and severly charred bodies - a gruesome image to watch. Yet, SUN TV went ON AIR with the pictures and was soon pursued by NDTV. I was in my living room watching TV along with my Mom and sister, when the images were flashed on screen. I will never forget those images, perhaps not even after dying.

The point I am trying to make here is that the Indian Media has a long way to go. Its reaching there in gasps and fits. It seems stylish, sleek and ready to take on the world, yet it must get its priorities right, it must learn to resolve its internal and external competition within the boundaries of taste and ethics, it must report NEWS fearlessly and in an impartial fashion. So far a majority of these objectives/plans have not been achieved in concrete. I think that the Indian Media has got it right in terms of Style and Ambition. Perhaps, for a change, it has to do some soul-searching for grass-roots driven hardcore journalism. Only then, can it represent this fast emerging superpower-to-be of the 21st century called India.


PS : Expect more on the Indian Media in the days to come.

Also, please forgive me if for any formatting/typing errors, etc as I have just made a start

Note :
Some background about the Kumbakonam Tragedy :