Sunday, April 30, 2006

simhavalokan... ( looking back)

Actually, simhavalokan is not the proper word to use for looking back at the span of just 4 years. It is generally used for larger periods. But, nonetheless, I liked the word and thaught these 4 years were important to be termed as 'simhavalokan'.

Project vivas were over yesterday. So, now just four papers are remaining. Then, four years of engineering will be over. Little I learned over these years in terms of knowlegde, but learnt a lot of other things, being in DJ. Perhaps, they will prove important in future life. I wonder, what I would think of these years in future.

Being in DJ meant intermingling with many kind of people, from different sections of society, with whom I have never met in my life. So many experiences. Experiences which I could not have got at SP or VJTI. Experiences, mistakes which have taught me a lot. And which will continue to remind me in future. But now it's time to look ahead and not harp on the past. Important years to come.

PS: Actually I had planned to write on the issue of reservation, but then... it turned into another personal blog...something to think about...

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

back...after a long break

My last post was on 6th April. So I am writing this post after almost 3 weeks. Usual sem-end rituals.... submissions, viva and this sem, project as well. All vivas, except project viva, are over. So bit of break for relaxing (though i have to study for project viva on Saturday). And even Atul was asking, why I have not written blog recently. So it was a high time to start blogging again. It was a long break, but I am hoping to continue writing posts.

It was a tough period, considering the fact that I was least prepared for the viva this semester , having enjoyed entire sem as it was last one. But nothing disastrous happened and everything went on smoothly ( I am hoping for good project viva as well). There is ample time ( as one always thinks) before the written exam to prepare well.

It was also time to make few decisions....some important ones. It is an important decision, as it will decide the course of my future career (about which I really don't know). In India, I think that's the case with many people. People choose their careers not because of their interest, but because of the opportunities available. But this scenario is changing as I have mentioned in one of my
previous post. I am diverging (as usual) returning to the point. Making decision is difficult, because I really don't know what happens in industry. Engineering knowledge has taught only the theoretical apects and not the practical ones. So the most popular option is to follow others, which to me sounds odd. But nonetheless, everybody has to make decision and i ,too, have to make one.

This can be considered my first 'personal' blog, as it should be. That's what Atul and Bhagyesh had asked for on Orkut( one of my future blogscan be on this topic, as I am fida over Orkut). But I will be returning to my 'normal' blogging from the next post.

Thursday, April 06, 2006


India has wrapped up the series against England. Indian team is performing very well in OSIs. Currently they are on 10 or 12 match winning streak and will be hoping to improve on it in current and future WI series.

ICC tried two new rules for ODIs in 2005, Powerplays and Substitute. The latter failed and ICC had to scrap it. The other rule, powerplays, is still in the development stages. Usually teams tend to use powerplays continuously as a span of first 20 overs. So the rule has effectively changed the number of overs under fielding restriction from 15 to 20, thereby resulting in higher scores.

But today, Dravid used powerplays intelligently. He did not use powerplays 2 and 3 between 11 tp 20 overs. Instead he used them separately. And he was successful in that. India got crucial wickets of Pieterson and Flintoff, both got out trying to hit spinners out of the ground. That was the turning point of the match.

Teams are trying to use powerplays more efficienly. It can become a part in the overall strategy of the game.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Immigration and Integration: Side-effects of Globalisation?

Look at these few incidents realted to Europe:

1. Netherlands:

Dutch government has proposed a 'Culture Test' for every aspiring immigrant to Europe. It makes mandetory for them to learn basic Dutch language and culture. One can teach language. But how to teach culture? For that Dutch Government has provided official CD for Test preparation, which contain things like nude beaches and gays kissing in the middle of the street. The Test will be based on such material. Government claims that such things are part of Dutch culture and immigrants should 'accept' it to integrate in Dutch society. But actually this test is clearly to prevent immigrants from Muslim countries like Turkey, Morocco from immigrating to Netherland, by offending them. On the top of that the test is really expensive, thousands of Euros. One more way to cut down immigration.

2. France:

This story was told to me by Amey Kelkar and I reverified it on BBC.
There are many places in France where food is served free of cost for the needy, unemployed and poor, as is done in most of the countries. However, a prominent right-wing party in France has changed the menu of these charity meals. Now they serve pork soup. Why? Clearly to prevent Muslims from coming to such places. The message is clear. We don't want any poor immigrants in the country.

Such stories have become common in Europe or for that matter even in US. Be it Belgium, or Germany or even England. The problem of immigration and more than that , integration is faced by most of the countries in the world over the years. But it is only in the last few years there has been overt opposition to it with many Government taking strict stance. The number of riots have increased over the issue. Possibly they are side-effects of globalisation.

Throughout the history there have been many instances of mass immigration. Many communities like Parsees in India, Jews in Europe were easily integrated in their respective countries. So why is it creating such a fuss over the last few years? The main reason is the rate of immigration and the widening gap between the economies.

With the advancements in communication and transportation, there is greater movement of people across the borders. This is further facilitated by the easing of international boundaries in certain areas like European Union. In fact, some of the developed countries encouraged immigrants to strengthen their economy. It worked well, when the economy was prospering, thereby creating more job, and the rate of immigration was low. But with European economy almost stagnant, growing by hardly 1 or 2 percent, the unemployed 'natives' are turning there wrath towards these people, who helped them to build their countries. Mexican immigrants in USA and North African immigrants in France are prime example of this. Even a tinge of superiority complex associated with the Western can be associated to this issue. The Europe is not completely ready to accept the fact that the centre of world economy is shifting towards East.

And the problem is not restricted to prosperous countries. Even India worries about the spates of immigrants immigrating from Bangladesh. In fact, the problem is faced even within the countries. This clearly shows that the problem is associated mainly with the economic disparities. There are many instances of Mexicans entering illegally in US, but no instances of Canadians entering US. There is lot of people from Nothern India coming to Mumbai, but not from Southern India. So economic development may be cited as a possible remedy.

But the problem is not limited to that. What would you do to all those who have already immigrated? And the movement of people may increase with the globalisation. So the only possible solution to this problem is to try to integrate communities, by proper education, by removing biases. This may be hard with the pace at which the World is moving. But if the entire World is to reap the benefits of globalisation, there is no other alternative.

There is an article in Newsweek, over the same issue, by Farid Zakaria. Worth reading!

Saturday, April 01, 2006

pronunciation, etc.

In one of my earlier posts I had written about identifying the country of origin from the surname. Another thing that interests me is their pronunciation, especially because of the foreign authors of our reference books.So here's a quick guide for pronunciation of these surnames, based on what I have learnt over the years from football commentary, some very informative friends (ya, of course Amey and Ameya Kelkar). There may be errrors, 'cos I have not formally learnt this. So I welcome any suggestions. The corresponding pronunciations in English or Hindi are given in bracket.

  1. German:This I learnt from my sister and Omkar. In German, pronunciations remain fixed for letters or group of letters, unlike English. Here is some list. a :a in 'yaar'
    i: 'i' in 'sit'
    au: ou in house
    ei: 'ai' in fire. That's why its 'kaiser' and not 'kiser' (our OFC book) v: 'f' in fan. (even in Dutch) so It should be pronounced 'folkswagen' not 'volkswagen'
    eu: 'oy' in 'boy'. So it's 'Oyler's thm' not 'Uler's thm'
    j: 'y' in year
    z: 'ts'
    s: z in zebra
    sch: 'sh' in 'shoe'
    ch: kh in 'kho-kno'(this sound is not present in English) or sh if followed by 'i' or 'e'
    tsch: ch in chair
    umlaut(two dots on vowels, like ë, ä ) is many times represented in English texts by 'e' following the corresponding vowels (e.g. Roentgen). Put bit of 'y' in pronuncing these vowels.
    If there is 'e' at the end make complete pronunciation like sanskrit.
  2. French: Thanks Shreyasee for this information. French pronunciations are completely different from what is written. And many of the pronunciations are nasal and silent.

    ais, ait, aint,è : all are pronounced 'a' in 'cat'
    in: nasal 'a' in cat
    é: e in met
    on/en: nasal 'o'. 'On' in English without 'n'
    ss: s in see
    s: soft j
    ll: 'y' in year. So Verseilles is pronunced 'Versay' and not 'Verselis'
  3. Spanish:

    Spanish football has helped me a lot, with some inputs from my Spanish penpal.

    j: 'h' in 'house. Hence 'jose' is pronunced 'hosei' ( but portugese Jose is pronounced as Jose)
    v: b in bat. e.g.Xavi Alonso ll: 'y' c: This is very interesting. Because of lisp, people in Nothern Spain pronounce 'c' as 'th'.
    Hence, they call 'garthia' instead of 'garcia'. So be specific when pronouncing the cities in
    nothern Spain like 'Valenthia'( Valencia)

If there is 'ˇ' on top of any character then it is Czech name and symbol represents 'h'. If you look carefully you will find it on 's' on 'skoda'. So 'Škoda' should be pronounced as 'shkoda' and not 'skoda'.

These are few(?) points which I could remember. I would try to add few things in future. Or even any of the readers are welcome. And there is always Wiki to help us. Aren't there are so many interesting things in the way we pronounce? I really find it fascinating.

parallels between football and cricket stadiums

I found this article in Indian Express very interesting.

There is always a talk about the fact that the cricket stadiums in India are not upto the mark. Even in big cities like Mumbai and Delhi the stadiums do not satisfy international safety norms. On the top of that there is a problem of crowd behaviour, with Mumbai crowd abusing English cricketers.

This article compares it with situation of English football stadiums in 80's. In that decade, hooliganism was rampant during football matches. Stadiums were in miserable conditions and there was no proper sitting arrangement. Then the Hillsborough-Liverpool disaster struck. This served as the waking alarm for the authorities and during 90's all the football stadiums were revamped, with proper sitting arrangements and safety measures. So stadiums have become more a family place, which has resulted in decrease in hooliganism.

The author concludes that the profits earned by the board should translate into increasing the conditions of stadiums in India, else a tragedy is inevitable.

Nice parallel. Something our board should look out for!

PS. For all EPL fans check out this site. It gives England's footballing map. Worth watching!