Saturday, December 26, 2009

Goodbye 2009

It’s the time of the year, as the Earth completes another journey around the Sun, when the annual reviews are done. So getting into the spirit of things I decided to pause and think about the year that went by from my eyes. I know I am a bit early but I don’t expect anything earth-shattering/life-changing to happen in the next five days. So here is what 2009 was for me.
For me the year began in the most pathetic fashion. No running water at the flat. Had to carry buckets full of water to my 14th floor flat for the first few days of the year. And it ends with me flying off to be home (the real one). [All is well that ends well :)]
The Lousiest Birthday Ever - Worked in office till 11 in the night. Then missed my own officially organised birthday party (memorable for all the wrong reasons).
Now for a confession. I did not make any train journey the entire year. I know it sounds a bit weird for someone who has stayed throughout the year in Mumbai but that is the truth. Flights for going outside Mumbai and bus/taxi for traveling within. The Thane Creek has become a sort of marker which I crossed very rarely.
Destination added to my travel map – Rajahmundry, Andhra Pradesh. My first trip south and it was an official trip with the entire stay lasting seven hours. The first impression was of the lush green paddy fields everywhere. It was also the day I saw both Arabian Sea & Bay of Bengal, a so called trans-sub-continental journey and back as I call it.
New things in life – Online gaming (Mafia Wars, Famville). The online gaming was there earlier but not to such an extent as now. I am also officially addicted to Twitter. Orkut has taken a back seat. This blog completed a century of posts. There are more and more means of staying in touch but the effort seems to be decreasing. Existence seems to be becoming more virtual and less real. I have a classmate from school whom I haven’t seen in nearly 10 years now. We are friends on Facebook and are both hooked onto Farmville. We send each other presents; help out in each others’ virtual farms but apart from this don’t have any other interactions.
Most Poignant Comment – “How did people pass time in office when they did not have internet connected PCs at their desk?” – “They talked”.
Looking back at 2009, I can’t really find any positive to take from it. My bank balance grew a bit but the place became lonelier. More people seem to be disappearing from the life then getting in. Close friends are drifting away. And the worst feeling of all is I am unable to visualize any targets for myself. It’s the empty horizon syndrome, as I call it. Too many existential questions keep coming up (“Main Kya Hoon”; the song from Love Aaj Kal is the one which sums up the situation best)
So with this I bid farewell to 2009, (a year hardly worth remembering; a total waste in my opinion).
Things to be done in 2010
  • Watch an IPL match
  • Try the random bus travel on a 20 rupees holiday ticket (Thought about doing it but never got around to doing it)
  • Travel in a train
  • Visit at least one new place (and not for an official trip)
  • Read more (This year was limited to Shantaram, 2 States, The Lost Symbol)

And finally wishing everyone a Happy 2010

Monday, December 21, 2009

Avatar - The Experience

Finally we have a movie which is able to surpass the pre-release hype that it has created. The pre-release hype was expected. This was the first James Cameron directed film in 12 years. And with his last one being Titanic the expectations were bound to be high. Once the movie opened the reviews were uniformly fabulous. Haven’t actually read a bad review or met anyone who hasn’t been impressed by the film.
I saw it in 3D (my first such experience) and have to say, the reviews were not wrong. They said that you don’t watch Avatar but actually experience it. And the experience was simply mind blowing. You have to see to believe the world that James Cameron has created in Avatar. The film is a sort of mix of “Matrix” with “Lord of the Rings” and then something more.
The story at its heart is simple. Humans have found that a planet called “Pandora” has an energy giving mineral “unobtanium”. To be able to mine it they go ahead and destroy the planet’s residents the Na’vi, a peace loving community who believe that the entire planet with all its life forms is interconnected in a network they call Ey’wa (sounds similar to the Gaia concept of Earth). Humans being humans try to forcefully grab the mineral destroying the homes of Na’vi who then fight back aided in their fight by some humans.
Overall the story is basic and quite predictable but it’s the presentation and the packaging which is awesome. The seemingly magical world of Pandora comes alive from the director’s imagination. And that’s the highlight of the film. However the story also touches just the right emotions.
The humans’ assault on Pandora has a real parallel with the US invasion of Iraq & Afghanistan. One of the characters actually uses the term “Shock and Awe”. Also shows that human greed is the biggest threat to any eco-system (parallel with the Copenhagen Climate Summit).
The aliens are shown to be different from humans but in a beautiful way unlike most film depictions which are disgusting (e.g. District 9). And for a change the audience actually has its sympathies for the aliens rather than humans in this war. Actually in Avatar it’s the humans who are the aliens to Pandora.
And finally for the film’s presentation which is the real highlight. The world of Pandora comes alive with its people, plants & animals. Avatar uses technology unlike any seen before. The use of CGI & live action gets so merged that after some time you forget which one you have watched. And backing up all this wizardry is a simple emotional story.
Overall, I’ll say it again. Avatar is not meant to be watched, it’s meant to be experienced.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Mandatory Voting?

Gujarat Assembly has passed a bill to make voting mandatory in the local polls. (TOI Link). Some of the excerpts are as follows.
The Gujarat Local Authorities Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2009 was passed by voice vote. Under the bill, if a voter fails to vote for the reasons other than prescribed in the rules, he may be declared a "defaulter voter" and would face consequences for which rules will be framed and placed before the assembly for its approval later. "It is observed that due to low turnout of voters to discharge their duty by exercising their right to vote, the true spirit of the will of the people is not reflected in the electoral mandate," said the statement of objects and reasons of the bill.
Now this has been welcomed by some that this will counter the recent trends of lower voter turnouts. Personally I feel that this is wrong. Democracy is about freedom of choosing for one self. And not voting is also a choice for some for whatever the reason they may have. According to me forced voting very much defeats the idea of democracy. And I still don't get how making everyone vote will improve the governance. This bill seems more draconian than democratic. I am not a legal person but I am sure mandatory voting would go against the basic Fundamental right of Freedom of Expression.

Opinions may differ on this issue.

Update - 20.12.2009
P.S. Apparently 40% of the legislators, including the CM & some other ministers, were absent when the bill was passed. Talk about hypocrisy.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Where Has My Life Gone?

How Do I Get My Life Back? This was the question I had raised a couple of posts ago. Well still waiting to receive an answer to that. In the interim got an e-mail with this poem. Thought it captured my life pretty well. So sharing it here. I have no idea of who the original writer is but that person has summarised it beautifully.

Here i am sitting in my office @ night…
Thinking hard about life
How it changed from a maverick college life to strict professional life…...

How tiny pocket money changed to huge monthly paychecks
but then why it gives lesss happiness….

How a few local denim jeans changed to new branded wardrobe
but then why there are less people to use them

How a single plate of samosa changed to a full Pizza or burger
But then why there is less hunger…..

Here i am sitting in my office @ night…
Thinking hard about life
How it changed…..

How a bike always in reserve changed to bike always on
but then why there are less places to go on……

How a small coffee shop changed to cafe coffee day
but then why its feels like shop is far away…..

How a limited prepaid card changed to postpaid package
but then why there are less calls & more messages……

Here i am sitting in my office @ night…
Thinking hard about life
How it changed…...

How a general class journey changed to Flight journey
But then why there are less vacations for enjoyment….

How a old assembled desktop changed to new branded laptop
but then why there is less time to put it on……….

How a small bunch of friends changed to office mate
But then why we always feel lonely n miss those college frnz.….

Here i am sitting in my office @ night…
Thinking hard about life
How it changed….. How it changed……..

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

"Road Kya Tere Baap Ki Hai"

Nice anecdote... would like to believe that it is true.

It is said that once Russi Mody was on an official trip to (the then) Bombay. Even though it was a Sunday morning, Russi had to visit Bombay House, the Corporate Head Quarters of the Tata Group. Russi was driving a Mercedes himself as it was a Sunday and there was very little traffic and also it was the chauffeur's day off. Russi was wearing simple shorts and a T shirt.

Knowing that he would take just a few minutes to finish his work in Bombay House and that it was a non-working day in the business district with very low traffic, he decided to take liberties to park his Merc in an other-wise no parking zone. A conscientious
traffic cop noticed all this and he immediately rushed to Russi who had started sauntering towards the Bombay House entrance.

In a gruff voice the Pandu Havaldar asked Russi. "Kyun bhidu, baap kaa sadak samajh kay rakha hai kya?"

Russi very non-chalantly replied: "Haan kuchh aisa hi hai. Aapko English padhna aata hai kya?"

Then he gently held the Pandu's arm and walked him to the kerbside and pointed to the metal signage of the road. He asked the cop "Kya Likha Hai?"

The cop said "Sir Homi Mody Street". A mischievously smiling Russi discloses"Woh Mera Baap Tha".

Russi was allowed to leave his car parked in the "No Parking" Zone that Sunday morning.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Ramblings of a Bored Mind

How do I get my life back?
Sunday Afternoon... was trying to take a nice nap and this question pops up in my head. God only knows from where but it did come up. And the nice nap went for a toss. So got out of attempting to sleep mode. Switched on the laptop. Tried to distract myself. But fertilizing other people's crops on Farmville or doing a few jobs can only take up a tiny amount of time. Nothing on Orkut or Mails. So back to the question. Opened Twitter, decided against putting it there. So turned to the slightly older fashioned blogger. Felt like writing (or rather rambling) it out. After all I am not even sure if any one would read this. But if anyone does your helpful comments would be highly appreciated.
Till then I list out my options
  • Watch Big Bang Theory
  • Go Out & watch Kurbaan, but friends's reviews are bad, so not too sure about that
  • Watch England-South Africa ODI
  • Random TV
  • Random Movie
Not too many options here :(

Sunday, November 15, 2009

20 years of a Legend

The whole of India seems to be rejoicing over the fact that Sachin Tendulkar has completed 20 years in international cricket. Television, Newspapers, Internet, he is here, there & everywhere. And well, to be honest, he definitely deserves all the adulation being showered on him. Twenty years is a pretty long time. An article began with the question "What were you doing on 15th Novemebr, 1989?" The answer - I was in junior school (Std. 2 to be precise) at the grand old age of six and a half years and I have no idea what I did that day. Twenty years down the line here I am doing background analysis for billion dollar decisions now (:P). So life has changed quite a bit. I guess the only constant has been the love for the game of cricket and Sachin is the only Indian player from that era who is still active.
I have already written about the legend of Sachin Tendulkar in this blog, so dont need to recount his achievements again. However one more memory can be added here, the 175 vs Australia in Hyderabad in another losing cause. It was heartbreaking.
Hoping he continues on till the 2011 World Cup. With the World Cup held aloft in his home turf at Wankhede, that would be the perfect way to retire.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

The Hundredth One

This post signifies a personal milestone in my blogging career. This is the 100th post in Nishantzworld. It has taken nearly three and a half years in coming but I have finally reached the century mark in terms of blog posts.

The blog came into existence on an August Saturday night during the early part of my stay in the IIM Indore campus. The “z” in the name came because someone else had already taken the name “Nishantsworld” that I had initially christened the blog. I did not have any clear idea as to what I really wanted to with the blog. Should it be personal or general in nature or should it be on a specific theme? Finally after not much thought just took the plunge. The posts started appearing as and when I felt like on any topic I felt the desire to write about. I guess this is the best part of blogging. The blog description was shortened to “Random Thoughts & Expression” which I feel is the most appropriate one for a blog of this nature.

Initially the posts were more campus focused mostly covering events & happening within the campus. Occasionally it would stray into the general posts territory. There were posts on movie reviews (a few), cricket (lots) and some arbit things (e.g. my analysis of status messages etc). I did think of closing down this blog once college got over (The Last One) but a couple of friends were successful in dissuading me in this regard. Once I joined my post-campus job I took up blogging again. The nature of posts changed. Now they were more oriented towards happenings in the world than any personal ones (Conclusion – Post campus life is pretty boring). In between though there were some posts about my life in general, a fictionalized account of three awesomely pathetic lives. I have to admit though that the frequency of posts has gone down quite a bit. In fact I have observed that I am not the only culprit in this regard. Most of my fellow bloggers from campus are in the same boat. With newer distractions like Facebook & Twitter available, I’ll just see how long I can continue this blog.

But that’s for the future. In the meantime I went back in the past. Here is a list of my favorite 5 posts from my own blog. (Lets call them the Fab 5; this is in chronological order)

  1. The confused beginning. The one which started it all.
  2. The World of Status Messages. My attempt to collate the GTalk status message of people on friend list. Now I guess Twitter does this job even more efficiently.
  3. The Last One. A small summary of my IIM stay.
  4. The Legend called Sachin Tendulkar. The high point of my blogging career. For a couple of days it was the first blog entry on google when searching for Sachin Tendulkar.
  5. The Three Awesomely Pathetic Lives. A fictionalized account of post-campus life. Due to the good reader response there were a few sequels also (but like most sequels they couldn’t manage the same response as the original)

So these were my favorite 5 posts out of the previous 99. Now hoping to continue onwards to the double century mark.

Friday, October 09, 2009

Obama & Nobel

Sometime during the afternoon today got the news that Mr. Barack Obama, President of the Untied States has been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. My first reaction was that this must be some kind of hoax or prank. The news had come on the igoogle news feed. Immediately checked up various news sites ibnlive, timesofindia, bbc etc. Everywhere on the top with the breaking news ticker on was the same headline, Obama gets Nobel Peace Prize. Soon disbelief changed to amazement. I mean for all his qualifications and achievements till date what exactly has Mr. Obama done to deserve the Nobel Peace prize?
By becoming the first non-white President of the United States he has achieved something really big. He is a pretty educated and qualified man, no doubts about that. And an extremely good orator. His administration has provided the stimulus package to boost the recession affected economy, a national health bill which met quite some resistance, a policy for disarmament (with an Iran-Israel conflict likely, am not too sure if that is working), policy on climate change. All of these things have one common recurring theme. They are still policies. The world has not been disarmed of the nuclear weapons, there is no agreement on climate, economy is still down though showing signs of coming up. So giving a Nobel peace prize at the current juncture seems to me like an award in advance. Nothing concrete has happened as yet for this award to mean anything. I agree with most commentators that this is an award too soon.

P.S. The cut-off date for the nominations was February 1st. Mr. Obama was sworn in January last week. So Mr. Obama must be a superhuman to have done all these within 10 days of coming to office.

P.P.S. A nice comment - Obama gets Nobel Peace Prize three hours after he bombs the moon

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Indian Television: 50 Golden Years

Date: 15th September, 1959
Event: Launch of Television transmission in India.
Doordarshan is born.
Saw a nice documentary showing the 50 year journey made by television in India. As the timeline progressed it brought back lots of memories of the shows which I used to watch as a kid. Here is a list of those TV memories.
Ramayan (Ravan's laughter actually scared me in those days :P); Mahabharat; Surabhi (my all time favorite); Byomkesh Bakshi; Circus (dont remember much of Fauji); Discovery of India; Mulla Naseeruddin; malgudi Days; Mungerilal, Mr.Yogi, Karamchand; Turning Point; India Quiz; World of Sports; the still running Chitrahaar & Rangoli; the daily afternoon soaps (Shanti, Swabhimaan, Junoon), Dekh Bhai Dekh; the English serials (Yes Minister, Bodyline), Oshin (Japanese serial in English), Space City Sigma (a sci-fi program); No Kidding, Chhutti Chhutti (during summer holidays), the cartoons - Mickey Mouse & Donald Duck, Tom & Jerry; Pingu; Jungle Book (with its famous song - chaddi pahan ke phool khila hai); Vikram Betaal, Meri Aawaaz Suno (the singing contest); Current Affairs programs - The World This Week & Parakh & many many more.
Those were pprobably the golden days of Indian television. Very few but very good shows which are still memorable unlike today when TV watching has become more channel surfing than any viewing particular program. Would be nice to go back to that era.

Friday, August 28, 2009

150 years of oil industry

Pic: Drake's Well & Edwin Drake

The Date: 27th August, 1859
The Place: Titusville, Pennysylvania, USA
The Man: Edwin Drake
The Event: Oil struck at a depth of 69 feet. The first ever producing oil well is drilled leading to the birth of the oil industry.
This has to be one on the most impotant discoveries in the history of mankind. Without this natural energy resource, the entire industrial revolution and the technological advancement of the past one and a half centuries would not have taken place. Just imagine a world without oil. We would probably still have been living in the middle ages. The discovery of underground crude oil reserves would surely rank alongside mankind's greatest discoveries, like fire, agriculture, the wheel, written language etc. And over the last 150 years it has been the one industry with the maximum impact on the geopolitics and the global economy.
As the indutry celebrates 150 years of its existence, I salute the man who made it all possible. Col. Edwin Drake, hats off to you sir. After all that single discovery of you has had a very powerful impact on what I am today.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The Ashes

The most important cricketing contest of 2009 is over. We had the T20 World Cup & Champions Trophy will be underway soon. But the Ashes was the most eagerly awaited contest of them all. The end result: England beat Australia 2-1 to retain the Ashes (somehow I tend to forget the 5-0 thrashing given by Australia in 2006-07).
"When we were bad we were awful, but when we were good we managed to be just good enough" These words by English captain Andrew Strauss gave the best possible description of the series. Unlike the 2005 series which was faught between two great teams full of great players this time it was played between two average teams. Players like Trescothick, Vaughan, Simon Jones, Hayden, Langer, Martyn, McGrath, Gilchrist & Warne were really missed this time around. Even Pietersen, Harmison & Flintoff were not as good as they were in 2005. But still this was a great series to watch for the neutral viewers like me (though with an English bias).
This series was full of some great moments. The Jimmy-Monty last wicket stand to save the Cardiff Test (which proved the most decisive in the end), Flintoff's destructive spell at Lords, Broad's spell in the first innings at Oval, the batting of Clarke, North & Strauss throughout the series, Phil Hughes announcing on Twitter that he had been dropped before the team was officially announced, the dramas of the keepers' injuries, Haddin getting replaced by Manou after the toss at Edgbaston (this after I had named him as my trump player in the Cricinfo fantasy league), Prior's injury delaying the toss at Leeds, calls to get Ramprakash/Trescothick to shore up the faltering England batting for the final test, end of Anderson's awesome non-duck record, Trott's century on debut, and the biggest of them all, Freddie's retirement. If there was a player whose sheer presence could lift up his team, it was Andrew Flintoff. Statistically he wouldnt qualify as amongst the all time greats but his impact was always huge. He was the only one to come close to being Botham's replacement. Now people are already asking if Broad is the next Freddie (no one is looking for the next Botham anymore), such has been Flintoff's impact.
And lastly, whether one likes him or not but one does feel a bit sad for Ricky Ponting. After all he is the first Australian captain in over 100 years to have lost two Ashes series in England. And he has had to carry physical scars of both defeats. A scar on the cheek causd by Harmison's bouncer on Day 1 at Lords in 2005 and the getting hit on the mouth by a Prior shot at the Oval in 2009.
And the English papers are celebrating in the manner in which only they can. (Check the pic below)

Saturday, August 15, 2009

India @ 62

Its Independence Day again. A well deserved holiday specially for poor souls like me who are in the six days a week grind. Its also the time for my annual review for all things Indian (My way to mark the occasion).
The last year had more than its fair share of tragedies. The Bihar floods, the 26/11 attacks in Mumbai, the global economic recession, the attacks on Indians in Australia, worse Indians being attacked in India on the basis of region, IPL being staged outside the country for security reasons and now the swine flu. It was also the time for elections and the year of Slumdog Millionaire.
The biggest event was of course the general elections held in April & May. The UPA came back to power with a much stronger mandate with the Congress itself crossing the 200 mark. Lets hope that free of the crutches of whimsical allies the governmant would take some stronger decisions. The elections were completed fairly smoothly though now some people are raising questions regarding the reliability of the voting machines (a case of sour grapes because its mainly the people who lost this time). The elections caused IPL to be shifted to South Africa which reaffirmed the clout of BCCI in the cricketing world.
The 26/11 attacks on Mumbai have been well documented. It has caused increased security and safety concerns. India as a global destination has come under question. Sports teams have now started withdrawing from events in India. (Australian Davis Cup Squad & British Badminton contingent). The 26/11 attacks showed that nothing is really secure. The biggest poblem is can these attacks be prevented at all? Post 26/11 there were a few citzen rallies and that was it, now all those concerns and issues seem to have been put on the back burner.
Another regular news item was Indians getting beaten up in Australia. Media, politicians etc raised a big hue and cry over this. Australians were accused of being racist. But my question here is, dont we do the same? Indians are getting beaten up in parts of India on the basis of region. Caste related killings still take place. So why should be expect anything better from outsiders?
The global economic recession has had its impact everywhere. People are losing jobs, salaries are getting lower. For the Indian economy the bigger impact could be the possible failure of mosoons this year.
The hysteria caused by swine flu has already cost quite a bit. A big weekend has been spoiled because of extra safety precautions being taken. Many more people have died because of malaria and dengue n the same time period than swine flu but nothing much is being said about these.
In the sports world, its still cricket which rules. BCCI now gives grant to the football federation. Hockey world cup dates are changed to avoid clashing with IPL3. They also refuse to sign WADA clauses which other sportsersons have signed inspite of having some reservations. However some individual sportspersons are still around giving hope. Saina Nehwal's achievements have led to full page coverage of the World Badminton Championships. The big tennis stars (Paes, Bhupathi & Sania) are still here, with Somdev DevBurman & Yuki Bhambri also coming into the news. After a good performance in the Olympics our boxers are still making news with their peformances in the various events.
And lastly the entertainment world. We have some more Indian Academy Award Winners. Rehman is now a global icon. Nothing much to write about in the Indian movies front though. Television is getting weirder day by day. News channels have become mass hysteria generators and nothing else. And the rest of the prograaming has been taken over by reality shows which are getting more and more unreal day by day.
So this is how I have seen India turn 62. More negative than positives came out. But its human nature to always hope for better. Hopefully I will have better things to write when India turns 63.

P.S. My views on 2007 & 2008

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

The ISM-IIT Debate

This post is for those related to Indian School of Mines only.
I have heard the issue of conversion of ISM to IIT since the day I joined ISM as a first year petroleum engineering student in 2001. Hardly a month passes before this issue gets raised in the online ISM comunities. And the issue gets discussed and debated, though nothing constructive has happened so far. Personally I am in favor of the conversion. For those who believe the same can sign an online petition.

I am not sure how this would work out, but at least its worth trying out

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Love Aaj Kal

Watched the latest flick "Love Aaj Kal" over the weekend. It was interesting, didnt get bored during the movie. But I liked it enough to blog about it. Here are some takeaways from the film (dont mind the MBA jargon :P)

1. The global economic recession is still very much there. Everyone's in on cost-cutting. How else do you explain the producer (Saif Ali Khan) playing two unrelated characters (Jai & the younger Veer)?
2. Jai gets his dream job. He goes to office daily, eats a burger, parties with friends, comes home and plays video games. Slowly he gets bored with this routine and becomes more and more depressed with his own lonely existence. He seems to be sick of his own life which everybody around him considers to be awesome. The character and the scene seemed to be an almost perfect image of my own current life. I go to office, do some work, come back home and play mafia wars on facebook, and lead a perfectly single and loner life.
3. I dont think I have ever waited for a character to just appear on-screen and wished she had more screen time. Harleen Kaur doesnt say much during the film but her very appearance simply lights up the screen like nothing else could have. No wonder it brought about such a change in Veer. And who cares if its a Brazilian (Giselle Monteiro) playing a Punjabi girl. I think I have fallen in love here :)

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Friendship Day

Its been a growing trend every year to have days commemorating your relationships. Friendship Day is just another instance. The first Sunday of August is supposed to be the worldwide "friendship day". Now the question is do we really need a day specially earmarked for friends. Aren't they supposed to be the ones in your thoughts all the time.
A friend in need is a friend indeed. This has been an oft repeated quote. But yes it is true. You realise the true value of your friends when you are all alone and the world seems to have become a total disaster. So this friendship day I decided to write about such an instance in my life.
The year was 2002. The month of November. The 3rd semester engineering results were just out and well my name was missing from the list along with a couple of others. The reason was not too hard to fathom. I had got a supplementary in one of the papers. Well, these are times when you wish the earth to open up and swallow you or that the time just moved forward or backward so you could avoid this situation. That evening I simply walked back to my hostel room all alone, though there were words of sympathy from the rest of the people but I barely heard any of them. To be honest that was the most depressed I had ever felt in my four years of stay at ISM. The night passed somehow. The next day it did seem that some people were avoiding me. I realised later that I might have done the same, it was because nobody knew what exactly to say. As the day progressed a couple of seniors came to my room and asked me about participating in a quiz at the techfest in a neighbouring college. I wasn't really keen on going anywhere but that precise time another person came to me and almost literally forced me to go along. The teammates were also found and a couple of others also accompanied us to Sindri for the quiz. The result a second place in the science quiz. And when we went back to hostel late that night many of the batchmates came over to congratulate us. I dont think there could have been any better mood-lifter than this. And a more memorable day than this.
And all this could happen because of the friends who were there for me when I needed someone around me the most. I am not sure if I have ever thanked you guys for this. Ajit (Pahar), Gaurav (Dharmaa) & Salesh (Commander)... Thanks a lot for that day.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Some Random Words

Words are meant to communicate... but some words stay with you for long. Its been now more than a year since I started my new life. Here is a random collection of quotes and conversations which took place over the last year or so.

Note: The identity of the people has been kept secret for obvious reasons :P

  • Jab Saboon laga liya hai to nahana to parega hi. (The reason for having to make more expenditure)
  • Doosron Ki Shaadi me hum kyun shehnai bajaye?
  • The Impairment of the Invisble by the Uncontrollable resulting in a Reduction of the Unquantifiable !!! (Someone trying to explain formation damage)
  • I came over and saluted your seat and paid my respects to it.
  • A - "We had a nice feast in the Jamnagar mango garden" ; Reply - "I Hate You"
  • Girl With Big Dog, trying to enter the lift,"Aapko Isse Darr lagta hai?" - We, inside the lift, "Haan" - Girl & Big Dog, entering the lift, "Koi baat nahi, nahi kaatega"
  • Q - "Can we meet?"- A - "Ask my boss"
  • "God came to India" - "Kaun Pele?" (On being shown Maradona's pic)
  • Yuvi ne dhuandhar batting ki (Translation - Yuvi was batting smoking smoking)
  • "Do you smoke?" - "No" - "Then your existence is useless"
  • If you do not do this, you will not make any progress and you will grow a tail and die like a monkey
  • "Sir, we met you last week" - "Yes, I remember" - "Sir we sent you a mail" - "I saw that" - "Sir, it had a file attached" - "I did not fill it" :)
  • Forget the frame and get some work done (after an hour hour long discussion on frameworks went nowhere)

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

The Name

"Whats in a name? A rose by any other name would still smell as sweet."
- William Shakespeare
These oft quoted lines suddenly came to mind as I was sitting in the office trying to figure out how best to kill the time before it killed me. The train of thoughts started and I spent the next few minutes trying to figure out the various aspects of my own name .Nishant – That’s what my parents named me (although I later on came to know it hadn’t been there first choice).
I knew that it literally meant “End of Night”. But beyond that knowledge about my own name was zero. Not that I had ever given much thought on this topic. So I did some research on the subject. Google and other sources came up with this info.
Nishant is a male given name.
The name Nishant is derived from the Sanskrit name for dawn or the end of night. In Sanskrit Nisha means 'Night' and Ant means 'End', Hence Nishant means the end of night or the first ray of the morning sun. Alternatively, Nishant also means the end of darkness of knowledge or a new beginning. This name is mainly used only in India and is fairly uncommon there too.
Nishant is a word in the Hindi dictionary. In some variants of Hindi language, it is also pronounced as Nishanth, though the same is not supported in any dictionary.”

There was a further alternative explanation given there
Nishant also means a person who never keeps quite himself makes other disturb
I liked the second one :P
Anyways, would be quite glad if someone throws some more light on this topic specifically the first appearance of this name. And if a picture could represent the name.

Monday, June 08, 2009

The One Year

Today marked the completion of one year since I arrived in Mumbai to join my first post MBA job at Reliance. Well, this also happens to be my longest stay in any single company (Ok, I only have 2 to choose from). So thought this is a good time for a nice little blog post (been a while since I last posted anything on this blog). So here goes, some glimpses of what the past year has been.
I received a wet welcome to Mumbai. The afternoon I arrived from Patna monsoon struck Mumbai. Reached the guest house to find that I was the very first amongst the 50 joinees to have arrived. Slowly other people also reached there. Caught up with my I-batchmates, made new acquaintances with would be colleagues and renewed one with a fellow summer intern. The first week passed with what seemed to be a lecture series on the various group companies. Followed by a trip to Jamnagar and Hazira plants. The best part of the trip - the Jamnagar mango garden.
In the interim also went house-hunting. This proved to be a lot tougher than initially thought. But finally managed to find a nice penthouse with a view of the Thane creek on one side and the Western Ghats on the other. And I have a pair of roommates to share my first rented flat with me.
Returning to my old industry meant that I regained contact with quite a few of ISM friends. Though over the last year the numbers have dwindled with a series of farewells taking place.
Work life wasnt as hectic as had been imagined. In fact as compared to others it was quite laid back. Though life seems to be getting a busier day by day. The work dynamics also changed quite a bit through the year. The 6 day week is the worst part.
Life outside work. Well nothing much to write about. Malls, Movies, Internet & TV, that is basically it. The last mentioned being the one getting more importance now.
The world wide recession had its effect. Though I wasnt directly affected by it but the impact was visble all around.
So in short thats it. Second job, first apartment, friendships renewed, new colleagues, old friends drifting away (I guess the principle "Out of Sight Out of Mind" applies very much here).
So that was the first year. And now as I enter the second year, life is still uncertain. I dont know where I am headed on this journey called life. But hopefully it will be an interesting journey.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

The Zoozoos are Here

The Zoozoos are here, there and everywhere. The white creepy and cute figures with egg shaped heads, huge tummy and ultra-thin arms and legs are everywhere. They are on television and the internet. They are promoting Vodafone products during the ad breaks in IPL and now they have started giving interviews in innings breaks as well. Today, they arrived on the office computer screen. Apart from the ads themselves, I have seen them as facebook application, zoozoo smileys, zoozoo quizzes and what not. (By the Way, I am a cool Zoozoo, as are apparently all my friends). They can be downloaded as wallpapers, ads and even the making of ads themselves are available everywhere on the net, they can also be used as emoticons. And it seems there is no stopping them as Vodafone are planning to release 30 such ads. I guess, soon they will start appearing in dreams also jumping around and talking gibberish in their funny tones. Maybe by this time they will have a team of their own in all the major sporting leagues. Just imagine a team of zoozoos playing cricket or football :P.

But it has to be said it has been a brilliant and highly successful ad campaign.

Friday, April 24, 2009

The Curious Case of IPL2

Its been a week since the second edition of the Indian Premier League began across the Indian Ocean in South Africa. The first edition was a thriller. And there were doubts whether the second edition would retain the same attention. So far, this edition has proven to be a curious case to say the least.

The tournament was moved to South Africa because of general elections taking place in India. But South Africa also had its elections. And more interestingly there were two games held on election day (both proved to be thrillers).
T20 was supposedly a young man's game. But going by this year's results so far, it seems to be a battle of supremacy amongst the golden oldies. Matthew Hayden and Rahul Dravid are leading the race for the orange cap while Anil Kumble is the joint highest wicket taker so far. And there have been good performances from most of the other senior players too. Seems that the South African conditions are truly separating the men from the boys.
Unlike last year there has been hardly any memorable performances from the younger lot. Of couse with the honorable exception of Kamran Khan.
Strategic Breaks: Disrupt the momentum of the game. But are raking in the money for the broadcasters while I utilise it to surf random channels :)

Apart from the games themselves there is a lot happening on and off the field also.
The Cheerleaders: They are back and entertaining the public. After the hue and cry raised against them last year, there have been no comments this time around. So watching them on TV seems to be OK with our moral police.
The Dog: Bruno halted play for 10 minutes in the opening match while nobody knew how to shoo it off the pitch.
The Blog: The Fake IPL Player. Whoever you are Sir, you rock. If what you write is true, then well no comments :P. Anyway the frequency of posts has reduced. But the content is intersting to say the least. Rumours have been floating around the identity of the blogger. There have been reports of him having been caught but the posts still continue to roll in. (And he has developed a huge fan following with over 2200 followers and thousands of comments in his week old blog)
The Hovering Camera: Is causing more trouble than its worth. Provides a top view of the pitch which is useless. All you get to see is the batsman's helmet. And its causing as much trouble as the sight screen for the batsmen as it zooms in.
The Commentory: Well am sick of this DLF maximum and Citi - Moment of Success business. But the roaming commentators are a good idea. Although Mandira Bedi should be thrown out.
And for my view of things
The Hello Tune: On the opening day the entire office had its hello tune changed to the Mumbai Indians theme song. Call anyone up and you get AALA RE blasting from the other side.
The Ad: I like the Vodafone ads witht the cute little cartoon figures. Hate the one with the Hello Hellos shouting on and on.
The Fantasy League: Rain abandoned the one game in which 5 of my fantasy XI were playing :(. Jesse Ryder scored runs after I dropped him from my team while Dravid went the other way :(. Of course I did make a brilliant decision to bring on AB de Villiers. Current rank is in 13000s. Hoping to improve as the tournament progresses.
So this is as far as the first week of the tournament was concerned. Hoping the case gets more curiouser as the IPL progresses.
P.S. Happy 36th birthday to the LEGEND

Friday, April 17, 2009

Fairytales do still take place

The times are bad. Switch on the television to any news channel or just pick up a newspaper. All one can find is bad news coming from everywhere, whether its the global economic crisis or the terrorist strikes happening across the world. The atmosphere is filled with gloom. And it is at times like these that the sports world can provide events which lift up the spirits. The sports arena supplies stories like no other. Stories that touch the heart. Case in point: Afghanistan achieving ODI status in cricket.
Not long ago, the country was ruled by Taliban and had been for all practical purposes cut off from the rest of the world. Then 9/11 happened. And Afghanistan came back into global conciousness after the Taliban was overthrown. Sports play a major role in this (Just look at post-apartheid South Africa after years of international isolation).
About a year and half back a ragtag bunch of Afghans started playing in the World Cricket Leagues. The team slowly worked its way to the World Cup Qualifiers going from Division 5 to Division 2 after winning every single stage. At stake in the tournament was a place in the 2011 cricket world cup and ODI status for the next 4 years. Though they failed to qualify for the World Cup, they did get ODI status. On the way they beat the powerful Associate teams like Ireland, Scotland & Bermuda. The story of Hamid Hassan and his team from the war-torn country provided the romance of the cup. In fact they were the main attraction of the tournament. The whole world loves the underdog and the underdog who performs is even more loved than anything else.
The journey of the Afghanistan team over the last 15 months does prove one thing:
Fairytales do come true

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Awesomely Pathetic Lives: PHEW

And after a slightly serious post, I am back with another episode of the Awesomely Pathetic Post. So here goes another footnote in the pathetic lives of our awesome trio i.e. Niku, Deyus & Funkaz.
The Company-which-must-not-be-named decided to move along with the times. Funkaz who has the force with him provided the spark to Niku & Deyus. So now for their regular communication, besides the text messaging they now had Instant messaging option also. The Instant Messaging became a popular tool to carry on their conversations while working. Here they called up each other for lunch meetings, to quickly convey the latest happenings around their awesomely pathetic world or even make an attempt to conduct a survey. The other two were so impressed with the tool that they wanted to spread the spark like a wildfire across the Company-which-must-not-be-named. But Niku's pathetic attemepts at this led Funkaz to add the first acronym in their awesomely pathetic lives
PHEW - "Pathetic Hain Every Where"

Thursday, April 02, 2009


Its only words....
and so goes the lyrics of one of the most beautiful songs.
But words are not just words. Words convey thoughts, feelings, emotions. Words also provide finality to any feeling. They are like the proverbial last nail to the coffins of those feelings. Words sting more than a slap on the face.
And Words HURT... like nothing else can.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Awesomely Pathetic Lives: The Texting

Some readers have been wondering whatever happened to our awesomely pathetic trio of heroes. Well, they (i.e. Niku, Funkaz & Deyus) are still carrying on with their pathetic lives in their respective awesome ways (or as it can also be said carrying out their awesome lives in their respective pathetic ways). But lack of time and laziness had prevented their awesome adventures from being told to the world.
Over the last few months they discovered the world of text messaging. Their work life was getting busier and busier. So the daily communication was established through the official phone connection (bills paid by the-company-which-must-not-be-named). It all started when Niku was dragged deep inside the earth's crust. During his entrapment, he underwent some severe EA (emotional attyachar, for the uninitiated). It was then that he discovered the power of the SMS. His flatmates Funkaz and Deyus responded in the times of trouble and the EA was made more bearable with the constant exchange of messages. However, after a while, the period of EA got over, but the texts went back and forth. It covered a whole gamut of topics, from their own awesomely pathetic lives to affairs of the world and the people around them. Going into the entire list would be pretty long (and it would go on and on) but here is a little sample of the awesomely pathetic SMSs which they exchanged.
  • Badhai Ho... Salary aa gayi :) {a regular month end feature}
  • Coming for dinner? {regular one}
  • You guys go ahead... situation same as yesterday {another regular one}
  • Lunch? {another regular one}
  • Bangladesh are fighting
  • Mosquito went to gym
  • I broke the six digit barrier
  • Tried and failed again {and another regular one}
  • The airhostess is looking like Natalie Portman {Reply: Ask her out for dinner}
And so on and so forth. Now its better for everybody's sake that I do not reveal which message was sent by whom to whom :P
Till next time for more awesomely pathetic adventures

Thursday, March 26, 2009

The Elections are Here

Its that time again. Time for the biggest festival in India. The General elections. We might have the Olympics and the World Cups in different sports but nothing, absolutely nothing gets bigger or better than this. This time we will be having a 5 phase voting spread over a month. The official notification has been released and the fun has begun. But the political games had started long time time back. The big 2, Congress and BJP are in deep negotiations with the allies. Both camps making new alliances and losing out on old ones (Losing mostly). And we have the bunch of power hungry opportunists who call themselves the Third Front (Left parties, BSP, Telugu Desam etc), who have no common ideology except a shared hunger for power. And this is just the beginning. Post results (with a hung Parliament, the most likely result) will be the time when the power brokers come into action. New back room king makers will emerge. Lets just wait and watch and enjoy the political power games.
Some snippets of the games going on
  • Advani calls Manmohan Singh a puppet and has his track record as home minister laid out in open by the PM (which was a bit surprising)
  • BJP bombards the internet with links to Advani's blog (Sorry, but no links here)
  • Varun Gandhi gets into trouble from EC
  • Congress & BJP are ditched by their allies
  • Third front starts dreaming again (Personal opinion - Dont care if its UPA or NDA in power, but Congress/BJP should be the one forming the government, not this bunch of oppotunistic jokers)
  • IPL becomes non-resident (South Africa is the confirmed venue) and political mudslinging starts on that too (hardly surprising, given that most BCCI units are headed by politicians)

So the fun has begun (though the nation's future is at stake). Lets just sit back and enjoy while it lasts. But more importantly go out and vote on the electon day. (I can't because I will not be in my home constituency at the time of voting)

Monday, March 23, 2009

The Non Resident Indian Premier League

Been a while since my last post here. Well work life has become a bit more busy. Although if I really wanted to I could have still written down a few posts in the interim. And its been a longer time since I wrote about my favourite topic, Cricket. So here goes.
Our biggest festival, the General elections are here. Now, unlike other parts of the world where national elections take place on one day with the results available by the next day, ours is a spread out process. this time the elections are in 5 phases spread over a period of over a month. Nothing wrong with that, specially with the security issues and the logistics involved in conducting this mammoth exercise. But unfortunately for cricket buffs like me, the general elections coincided pretty much with the second season of the IPL. This is how the drama unfolded.
  • IPL announces the fixtures for the second season.
  • The Election Commission announce the dates for the general elections.
  • Sri Lankan team bus is attacked in Pakistan by terrorists injuring many players (which is one of the most disgusting things to have happened).
  • The Home minister P.Chidamabaram says providing security to IPL would be difficult during the elections.
  • Many of the state governments state thier inability to provide security.
  • IPL modifies schedule which is again rejected by some states
  • The schedule is modified again and again but always met with unwillingness from some state governments (Seemed like becoming a OR problem with each state providing their time constraints)
  • End result. BCCI announces that the IPL will be held outside India.

So the Indian Premier League becomes the Non Resident Indian Premeir League with South Africa & England becoming the front runners to host it. But it does seem ironical that our dometic tournament is being hosted outside India. With the current security situation following the Mumbai attacks on 26/11 and Lahore attacks on the Sri lankan team, there can be no guarantees for anybody's safety. And with the elections going on (which is much more imprtant than cricket) providing extra security would not have been possible.

But as usual we have the political gamesmanship on. Some allege that the Congress governments were the ones refusing to procide security. Others allege that Congress was trying to arm twist NCP's Sharad Pawar (who happens to be ex-BCCI president) for a better alliance deal. Then the political mud slinging has also begun. But it all has become a farce.

Now if the touranment is held in South Africa, who would the people in the stadium (assuming some go to watch) support. TV viewership in India would likely remain same. But will the matches have the seem feel as last year. After all how many people would come to pay and watch the Non Resident Indian Premier League.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Main Aur Meri Tanhai

Since I joined my new job, quite a few times I have been asked this question about what I do with my free time. Now during the MBA life it as assumed that post-MBA life would only get worse. The work life would be pretty hectic and finding time for myself would be a rarity. But then they said the same about IIM life too. Its been more than eight months in the job and yes, I do get a lot of free time for myself post office hours, in spite of a six day week. So now comes the question of what I do with "my time".
Well, here is a random list of activities that I came up with
  • Surfing the net, chatting, social networking (orkutting, dont know the corresponding term for facebook), news, etc
  • Cricinfo for following all sorts of cricket (Tests, ODIs, T20s, Indian domestic). Also has great anlayses and columns. Personal favorite - Andy Zaltzman' s Confectionary Stall
  • Watch foreign TV series, some ongoing some old episodes
  • Watch movies
  • Blog, when I am getting really bored, like now. Also like reading the blogs
  • Youtube videos
  • And lots of downloads, movies, music , e-books

All the above activities involve the laptop. Now for the other activities

  • Cleaning up the room, (occasionally)
  • Washing & ironing (hate doing the second part)
  • Reading Books
  • Occasional cooking (limited resources hamper this)
  • Malling (a term coined for roaming about aimlessly in the mall of Navi Mumbai)
  • Thinking (now this covers a whole range of issues, the big ones (where to go for dinner, how to reduce the tummy etc) and the small ones (Indo-Pak relations, IPL team configurations etc))
  • And, of course, wasting time in sheer laziness

And for social life

  • Flatmates
  • Some old college friends

So basically this is what I am upto during my own time.

Or else there is always this immortal line for the loners

मैं और मेरी तन्हाई, अक्सर ये बातें करते हें....

Friday, January 16, 2009

We Indians...

Exhibit 1
Slumdog Millionaire wins a few Golden Globe awards. This includes A.R.Rehman for the soundtrack of the film (which is great, no doubt about it). Slumdog Millionaire is a film made by a British director although it is based in India. A good story and a well-made film. But it still is essentially is a British film. But just look at the speed at which it has been adopted by us Indians, as if this was our own film. Some people have gone overboard in praising it while there are others who have been outraged by the depiction of India as country of slums and poverty (well, thats not entirely untrue). But both sides do have one thing in common. They are taking pride in India. The first set of people are proud that India has been noticed on the world stage. Indian actors and music is being appreciated by the world. While the other set is outraged that only negatives are being depicted.

Exhibit 2
Matthew Hayden announces retirement. ICC ratings show that he is amongst the ten greatest batsmen of all time. But Indians are outraged. Our legend (sorry, GOD) Sachin is not even in the Top-25. Media starts carpet-bombing (cant think of any other word to describe how our media "breaks" news) the news. Renowned experts come in and start barking for all their worth that this is a travesty of the mightiest proportions. A rating system without Sachin as the top batsmen is not worth even looking at. But then media does tend to misguide. Firstly the current ratings system has been in place for quite some time now. And the ratings depicted are the peak that any player might have achieved at any point in his career. The peak can be simply due to an outstanding run over a small period of time but not necessarily over the entire career. But nobody bothered going into such detail. Only one point was clear. Our GOD has been insulted. And our collective pride had been deeply hurt.

The above examples may seem unconnected. But they have a lot in common. Both show the sense of pride that is embedded in our collective conscience with regards to our country. The collective pride we take in even trivial achievements (e.g. Somdev Devvarman's reaching Chennai Open finals) shows that whatever our faults we still feel Indian. And any slight to our heroes is like a personal insult to us. Whatever our other faults (and there are many), WE INDIANS do have a sense of collective pride.

P.S. After reading Robin's comment to this post, got down to some thinking. Well, I am not too sure about the common people but our media (specially the news channels) does suffer from collective hysteria and sensationalization.

Friday, January 09, 2009

Emotional Attyachaar

Came across this song from the forthcoming film Dev D. Whatever others may have to say about it but I absolutely love this song. The "Patna Ke Presleys" are outstanding (maybe I connect to Patna). And unlike the song title (lyrics by Amitabh Bhattacharya) the song is definetely not an "emotional attyachaar". Both the versions (Brass Band & Rock) are quite cool (there is no other word for it). Some of the sample lines

Ek.. Do... Teen... Char.......Chheh .........(the opening of the song)
Smoking Smoking nikle re dhuan .......(wow)

and in the midst of all this
bol-bol why did you ditch me,
zindagi bhi lele yaar kill me

With such lyrics has to be the first hit song of the year

The promo video is here.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

The Little Things

We always aspire for the biggest things in life. Generally the aspirations (for a guy anyways) can be stated simply as wanting the 3 B's in life; namely
  • Bikes (or a Big Car as you please)
  • Babes (Blonde/Brunette... take your pick)
  • Billions (no doubts in this regard)
But in these aspirations/dreams we sometimes forget about the little things. By the little things I refer to the things which we have taken more or less as granted in our lives. However when they are missing our whole schedule goes haywire.
As an example running water in our homes. This is something that we have more or less taken for granted. However for four consecutive days there was no running water at my apartment. For the daily basic needs, I had to go down to the water tank and carry the buckets full of water to my 14th floor flat, a not particularly enjoyable task. Saturday evening, on my way back from office, I got a text message from my flatmate "Paani Aaa Gaya :)". Instant reaction was one of relief. Reaching home the first thing I did was to open the tap. The sight of running water brought with it a really wonderful feeling. (Maybe the same feeling as the ones the villagers in "Swades" got on seeing the electri bulb lit up).
Learning through the whole experience. Its not the big things but the little things in life which matter.

Friday, January 02, 2009

Awesomely Pathetic Lives: The New Year Water Crisis

First of all a very Happy 2009 to everyone who is reading this post.

After the reader response that I got (1 comment :)), decided to write more about the adventures of our awesomely pathetic trio of heroes i.e. Niku, Funkaz & Deyus.

What follows has been exaggerated to make it more realistic. Otherwise readers might think that this account is a figment of my imagination :P

Now it was New year's Eve. Normally people go out, party, hang out with friends and do other exciting things at this point of time. But then our heroes are not exactly like any normal people. They have to do things differently. They did go out. But as the stroke of midnight approached they went back to their high abode. They were facing a crisis. Shortage of water, the most important need for mankind. So with their empty buckets they went down and brought up some water for extreme emergencies. New year was ushered in during this exercise. The customary new year wishes exchanged but carrying heavy buckets wasn't exactly the proper way to do it. Worse was to follow on new year's day. The first thing our heroes did on new year was to run off to a friend's place in Purani Dumbai area to take a bath (Deyus was to be credited for making this arrangement).

P.S. Interesting old story
Once Niku & Funkaz were coming up to their flat. They were once again terrorized by the girl with the big dog. However once out of earshot and inside the safe confines of their high abode, Niku came up with this gem, (referring to the four legged creature terrorizing them) "Is that a b***h or a son-of-a-b***h?"