Tuesday, February 28, 2006

XLRI interview

I had XLRI interview today. Well, I can't say that interview was good. But neither can I say that it was bad. So I'll have to wait till the results are out. CET results will also be coming out next month. So till then , it is 'wait and watch'.

'Preparation' for any interview involves finding formal clothes including tie( which I rarely have) and ironing them (which would ultimately be useless because of rush in the local trains). But there was surprise on offer today. I GOT a seat in the second class compartment at 10'o clock at Borivali. I was hoping this good luck to continue till interview.

XLRI interviews were 20 minutes in duration and they had called students accordingly. My call was at 12 noon. Next fellow had his call at 12.20 and so on. I think our university should take leaf out of their book. Otherwise those whose numbers are at the end have to wait whole day just for 15 minute viva (I was one of those unfortunate fellows till last sem).

The interview was OK. The panel consisted three people. Many people had told me before the interview that XLRI interview is very stressed. But I didn't find it that way. At the begining they asked me to introduce myself, a typical for any interview. Then they asked me meaning of my name. I don't know why, but I had this question in every interview I've given, right from the BTS days. Maybe, the name is uncommon. There were a lot of questions about Indian economy and budget, which was expected. They asked things like, which are the largest exports from India, what would you say about the infrastructure in India and how to improve it, what are your views on the upcoming budget and similar ones. The third guy was asked me to speak about dance bar ban, moral policing, both view and counterviews ( perhaps they asked me this as I had mentioned in introduction that I look at things from different perspectives). So no tough questions. And not at all stressed.

The stress may come at the time of result. But that's manths ahead. Till then it's time to enjoy or perhaps time to wait for admits. (I just heard there are spates of admits from USC, but unfortunately I am not one of them! So I have to wait a bit longer!)

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Two sides of our Judicial System

Two important verdicts were out from the High Courts in the last couple of days. And both were stark contrast. One verdict enfeebles our belief in our judicial system, while other restores it. Yes, I am talking about the Jessica Lal case and Best Bakery case. The cases which show the good and bad sides of our Courts.

On Wednessday, Manu Sharma was acquitted from the Jessica Lal murder case. Every Indian was shocked, but not surprised. Indians have seen many politicians and rich people twisting the laws and getting verdicts in their favour. But this case "had" stronger evidence. There were many witnesses. The murder was carried out in front of packed crowd of 400 in a pub. Still the witnesses turned "hostile", including many high profile ones like Shayan Munshi. This just shows that what money and political power can do in India. Hundreds of witnesses were "persuaded". Court had no option but to give verdict in the Manu Sharma's favour. What Court could have done in this matter, is the question some might ask. Can't we change our laws so that witnesses cannot retract their sentances? Or can we provide protection for witnesses so that nobody tries to woo them? And first of all can we quicken the judicial process in order that the accused like Manu Sharma do not get time to twist the cases? The answers to most of these questions can be found in the Best Bakery case.

Yesterday, Court convicted 9 of the 22 accused in the Best Bakery case. This was a triumphant judgement for Court, whose image was sullied just a couple of days back , because of Jessica Lal case. This case also had a precedent like Jessica Lal case, where murderers were acquited by Gujarat High Court. But Supreme Court ordered to try the case in Mumbai High Court, first judgement of this kind. Well, it had all the drama in the Mumbai High Court as well. Zahira turning hostile and blaming Tista Setalwad. But verdict is finally out and it helps to restore faith in Indian democracy and judicial system. This case is also lesson for politicians who are in delusion that they can get away from the atrocities they have perpetrated.

With such positive verdict, we also have hope that justice will be delivered in Jessica Lal case as well. The positive steps are already being taken with Delhi High Court approaching Delhi police suo moto to provide more concrete evidence in this case. We have to believe that "Justice delayed is not justice denied".

Thursday, February 23, 2006

igniting minds

There were college days days in the last week and I really enjoyed them, especially since I wasn't able to attend because of GRE. Going to mocha for hukka was a memorable experienced. Then there was movie Fun with Dick an...... Yes, and there was result, with which I am very much satisfied. An eventful week!

But there always arises something which keeps on nagging me. This time the point was raised by Pratim, when we went to Bandra Joggers Park. We were just discussing some mundane issues, when someone started it, Kedar or Pratim I don't remember. But we all agreed upon the fact that we have become a bit(?) lethargic and self satisfied. We the hunger for knoledge has decresed over the years. During school days, we were very much craving to learn about the wonders of the world, black holes, history and what not. But after coming to engineering, that thirst has gone down. We rarely think about it. And thats what Kedar, Pratim, Atul thaught as well.

Maybe, the inquisitive nature in childhood has subsided. Or perhaps, the engineering lifestyle has given satisfaction, which precludes from venturing further. I think, it's time to 'Ignite Minds', as our President calls it.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Too many questions!

US refuses visa to ex-IISc chief, member of PM panel
This was the first news I read today morning. It was very disturbing considering the fact that the scientist concerned is at very high position in Indian government and thus, the refusal can be seen as an insult to India. And this is not an exception. In fact such cases have increased exponentially since 9/11.

We had our Defence minister stripped at US airport in the name of security check. Many Indians, including celebrities, politicians and scientists are treated unfaily by US authorities especially during visa application. Government protested. But that's all. No further change in the US attitude or policies.

Do we Indians tend to take things lightly? Has years of British rule ingrained a kind of inferiority complex in Indian psyche, that we tend to think it is justified? Or is it the coveted US life, which precedes dignity? Even after these insulting incidents why does one see flocks outside US consultes?

Well these are the questions which occur to my scrupulous mind, whenever I think about going to US for MS. Will I be one of that herd lingering in front of the US Embassy? Don't Indians have respect, even after the progress it has made ( One can relate this to the recent rejection to takeover bid from Arcelor to Mittal Steels). Are the Westeners trying to undermine Asians? And we Indian are doing are just accepting it?

Too many questions, but no answers!

Thursday, February 16, 2006


One interesting question was posed in today's Football Focus. It was related to the inclusion of Bixente Lizarazu in Athletico Bilbao. For those who haven't heard of either, Athletico Bilbao is a football club in Spain and Lizarazu is French footballer.

This shouldn't have raised much interest, considering the fact that in today's professional era where players change their clubs frequently. But the club in question here is Bilbao. Athletico Bilbao is club in the basque region of Spain and has a policy of fielding only Basque players in their squad, since 1912. Lizarazu is a Frenchman, but he is basque. So he could be included in the team.

Basque region consists of region of southern France and nothern Spain ( many have also migrated to Idaho,USA and Argentina). They have their own language which is not related to any other European language. It is considered as language isolate. The origin of basque people and languages are much debated. The theories suggest that they may be the first people to arrive and settle in Europe. Throughout the history basques have tried to remain independent, which is the reason behind the special status given to basque country by Spain. The basque extremists group Euskadi Ta Askatasuna(ETA), meaning "Basque land and Liberty" was responsible for Madrid bombing couple of years back.

Basques people have very close attachment with their homes and they have very strong family ties. The current well-known players of basque origin are Xabi Alonso and Asier del Horno. In the 50's Basque region also played as an independent country and they have their own flag as well.

In fact, this practice of fielding regional teams as countries is prevelent even today in Spain. Even today Catalonia ( region in Spain, whose capital is Barcelona) plays as a national team, though it is not recognised by FIFA. Regional sentiments run high in Spain. They are proud to be, say, catalans than Spaniards. That might be the reason behind Spain's failure in big International competitions!

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

few international news

In the last couple of years a lot of news channels are (should I use is ;-)) propping up. I counted number of news channels on TV and I found more than 20 news channels ( If you don't believe go and count them!). But still I prefer to watch BBC. I like BBC for it has good formal presentation style and excellent documentaries. But that's the subject of other blog. Here are some news, which I thought you would like to know, in case you haven't heard of them.

First, news about right hand of Dubya, Mr. Dick Cheney. As everybody knows, that this bunch of Republicans are from cowboy region and often do things like them. So when Cheney went for a vacation, he went for quail hunting trip ( can you imagine this in India? ). Then on top of that he 'accidently' shot one person. Check out the news with video. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/4707354.stm Today that poor fellow (of course, the victim) has had suffered from heart condition. Cheney is being ridiculed all over the US media. He has finally found 'Weapon of Mass Destruction'.

Moving to Europe from US, Germany has confirmed that two swans found dead in the north of the country had the deadly H5N1 bird flu virus. Hey come on, in India thousands of people and perhaps many more birds ( do we care for them?). This bird flu stuff has been going on in theWestern media for months now. Five birds killed in Turkey and ten birds killed in Taiwan. European Union has held conferences to discuss the issue. Are they getting paranoid? Or just taking precausions. I don't know. We had the same situatiom couple of years back, when many birds were killed in China. But then all of a sudden it calmed down. Was it overhyped by paranoia-frenzy media? I checked the scintific information about this disease ( on wiki and bbc). all about bird flu It says, is the virus mutates to some human transmittable form it can cause havoc ( for those who know Bhupendra, am I sounding Bhupi-ish). The same happened in 1918 killing 40 million around the world. So perhaps the precausion is justified. But here in India, number of people must be dying because of other diseases. So from an Indian perspective, flu does not sound that much menacing.

Indian media rarely shows international events and news. I think with the world coming closer there is need to give Indian perspective to all international news. Our media better realise that.

Monday, February 13, 2006

'was' or 'were'?

I've put this question on google groups ( these are all usenet groups. the best groups on the net, in my opinion). The replys will be coming soon. Until that, I am posing the same question to you people.

I stumbled upon this sentence in an article on bbc sport. The sentence is

.........There was a lot of people who acted on anger...

When I first read it, my immediate reaction was that there should've been 'were' instead of 'was'. But, I think 'was' is correct because of the subsquent 'a'. But in this case what is the exact meaning of 'lot'. What does one mean when he or she says--'I've lots of book'? In the previous para is it correct to say-- lot of my friends, ie, can we use 'a lot' instead of 'many'?

I asked this to some from my class and everyone said that the sentence is wrong. 'was' should be replaced by 'were'. Your opinions are welcome. I'll be giving the usenet responses tomorrow.

Sunday, February 12, 2006


I had started writing my blog last week. But unfortunately the computer had some problem. So I 'd to spend 4 days without computer. And, belive me they were horrible. Now-a-days, our lives are so much attached to the computer, that we can't think without it. And its the same with any technology.

Take an example of mobile. We take it for granted, especially the younger generation. I was not carrying cellphone while going for picnic. Then my younger sister asked - how are you going to meet on station if none of you are carrying cells. We can't imagine how people used to live, when there were no cellphones, no telephones.

Well, this reminds me of the basics of economics, which I have read in IEM ( subject was interesting, though many prefered not to delve ). It said human needs are infinite and economist has to cater to these needs by alloting limited resources. So all hi-fi gadgets has become need in the modern era, along with the three basic needs. Needs? Is it the correct word to use?

"The problem India is facing is that, with IT we are providing the needs of the higher tier, forgetting that the lower tier is incomplete. "That's what Rahul Bajaj commented in one of his speeches. I think it is partly true. Computers in villages won't be able to provide food or shelter, but it can help in distribution of food, organisation,etc; thereby strengthning lower tiers. But we have to work fast. Bacause needs are going to increase exponentially.

By the way, was there any need to start a blog? Or it has been included in the ever growing list of human needs ;-)

Saturday, February 04, 2006

festivals, festivals and festivals

New week, new festival! Well that has been the case in the last month or so. The so-called Mumbai Festivals are taking place everywhere on town-side, organised by the elitists in Mumbai's high class society. I was just wondering if they consider suburbs to be part of Mumbai or not.

Today Kala Ghoda festival sponsored by Times Group started. How many from suburbs would know it and how many of them will go and attend the festival? All the events of festivals take place at Churchgate and surrounding area. It takes a lot of pain for a common middle-class suburban to travel to churchgate. Especially it is difficult to find commuting vehicles at night after the main events are over. In the recently concluded Mumbai festival, the float travelled only upto Bandra. Aren't the areas beyond Bandra included in Mumbai? All the media and other elites portray Bandra and Andheri- Juhu as only suburbs of Mumbai.

Apart from the geographical bias, the other point of concern is the nature of events. The events are designed to serve the high-class society and a common-man is not inluded at all. In fact, these festivals give the page3 class just another reason to party and "to show" how much they care about Mumbai. Just a platform to show their sham love (I know, this may sound too harsh) for Mumbai. The middle-class is totally forgotten in these 'festivals'.

I am not against any of these festivals. People are free to celebrate the festivals in the manner they like. But what annoys me is the way these festivals are presented in the media. Media portrays the events, as if they mirror the complete picture of Mumbai. They are depicted as a sort of identity of Mumbai, which is exactly not the case. I won't mind, if such festivals are considered as any other page3 event. But calling them Mumbai festivals is profane.

Here, this blog draws parallel with one of my previous blogs. http://aavaj.blogspot.com/2006/01/life-in-big-cities.html, which my friend Bhagyesh vehemently disagreed. Mumbai being a big city, it very difficult to encapsulate it in a single festival. So we need differnt festivals for various suburbs, keeping the current ones intact. Mumbai needs festivals, which include all and not the just chosen few.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

India v/s Pakistan

India lost to Pakistan yesterday. No big deal. Pakistan played really well. Especially their youngsters, Kamran Akmal, Mohd. Asif,... India had good chance of winning the match and the series after Pakistan lost six wickets in the first innings. But couple of LBW decisions not given in favour of India, prevented India from getting upper hand in the first innings. Chalega. Abhi odo's baki hai!

The level of enthusiasm about the India-Pakistan series was very low this time. Everybody was dissappointed that India lost but not to the extent, when we lost in last season. Imagine what would've been the reaction, if India had lost two years back. Something like, when we lost to Kangaroos in World Cup. One request to BCCI and PCB. Please don't keep India-Pakistan each year. Otherwise nobody would be interested in the series.

Well on one of the Usenet groups, a discussion was going about which is the better series- India-Pakistan or Ashes? I think, any rivalry is based on the history and regional pride. Both the series have plenty of that. But, because of the political situation in subcontinent, there haven't been regular matches beween India and Pakistan. This has done much harm to India-Pakistan series. Ashes has longer history and better presented. So there is greater interest generated among public. Also watching matches in Australia or England is visual treat in many ways. India- Pakistan series is always rife with team politics, selections,etc. Too much divergence from cricket. So I think, Ashes just edges out India-Pakistan. I know, many would disagree.

But anyways, passion generated by cricket is nothing compared to football. Just saw it yesterday, when Fowler returned to Anfield. Football rules!