Monday, July 31, 2006

Keep in touch!

Last couple of months saw many of my friends leaving Mumbai, either for their jobs or for further education. Training for most TCS and Infosys people started in June and I was really sad that I couldn't make for their farewells, as I was in Chennai then. Those pursuing MS have already left or will be leaving soon. I am not sure when we will meet again. So I want to say all those leaving, especially those for MS, bhool mat jaana!

Remembering someone is another thing, but with all the technology, Orkut, messangers and all people are no longer out of touch. When Bhagyesh n other Cornell and GaTech guys left on Saturday night, I was wondering when I'll be able to contact them again. But he came online just next day, on his new lappy ( gifted by one of his umpteen mavashi's). So I never felt that he is on the other side of the world. Technology is really great, helping people to stay connected. I know, I won't be able to meet physically, but will not have the feeling of losing contact with anyone. In fact, with Orkut I could revive friendship with all my old school friends.

This world has really become small place. Gone are the days when people had to wait for trunk calls and letters to meet their near and dear ones. The world has become smaller place over the years and so I urge everyone to keep in touch!

Sunday, July 23, 2006

India should't follow Israeli way

After the Mumbai blasts there has been a lot of talk about India following the Israel way. The comparison between responses of India and Israel to the terrorist attacks have been circulated to emphasise this fact. Hindu extremists have raised the ante to take advantage of the paranoia among people. But should India follow Israel's path and attack Islamic militant targets in Pakistan and PoK?

The conflict between Israel and Arab countries has been going on since the formation of Israel in the Promised Land. Both sides have been involved in many wars and there have been many casualties over the years. But the situation hasn't changed much. When two Israeli soldiers were captured by Hijbullah, Israel retorted with militaray attack on Lebenon, killing many civilians and forcing many people out of Lebenon. And this attack hasn't provided the solution, instead has worsened the situation.

Attacking the militant targets does serve a purpose to an extent. But does it make any further possibility of militant attacks void? No. In fact, such military response germinates the vengeance in the youth. Whenever you kill or arrest a top-rank leader, there is always somebody to replace him and it goes on. Yesterday, I saw 'Munich', a beautiful movie by Steven Spielberg. Avner, Israeli agent, is on the mission of assassinating Palestinians responsible for Munich massacre. His source Louis, asks him if his mission will really be over after killing these 11 men, because when each one of them is killed the successor will prop up and Avner will have to kill him as well. And that's the reality. No resistance can be opressed by use of force. And the same applies to India as well. Militant attacks can't be stopped by using force alone.

So what is the solution for this? I think, Government should target on the base of the terrorism, which lies in the poverty and illiteracy. Poor unemployed and uneducated Muslim youth is the breeding ground for the terrorist organisation. There isn't much communal divide in the upper strata of society. At the same time the confidence building measures should go on. The trade between India and Pakistan. China and Japan are biggest foes, but at the same time China is biggest trading partner of Japan. Business activities should't be mixed with politics becauses it will help economies to grow.

With globalisation, economies have become intermingled and they dictate the politics at times. No country can afford war, in fear of losing economically. Thus, strengthning of all strata of society will ultimately result in curbing of terrorism in future.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Thanks DoT for blocking blogspot ;)

So finally Indian government has lifted the ban on Let's hope that Government will not use any such measures in future, where people are stripped from their basic right,i.e., Freedom of Speech. I also hope that Government will also lift ban on other blogs and websites. Authorities often lament that anti-social elements use technology to their benefit, which is true. But at the same time Authorities ca also use this technology to curb terrorism.

गरज ही शोधाची जननी असते. I don't know if there is similar proverb in English, but whenever there is need, people look for alternatives. When blogspot was not available, I was looking for other options. I had heard about bloglines.And I really got hooked to it.

Yes, I know that feeds is an age-old (at least in computing terms ;)) technology. Kaushal had told me about it a year back. I had read about it on net. But somehow I never tried feeds. But when blogspot was blocked and it was absolutely necessary to use feed I had to resort to feeds. So I tried both online feed sites( and desktop software ( Both are good, but I prefer bloglines.

After suscribing to feeds, I no longer have to check blogs to check if they are updated. News from various sources (BBC, Reuters, NDTV,...) arrive at my bloglines page, as they are updated. I am informed about latest tranfer rumours ( which is very important news for any football fan) as they unfold. And of course, you can also suscribe to podcasts. There are many many feeds available on the net. Feeds are really amazing thing, which I am sad that I didn't explore previously.

I know, many people must be already using feeds. But I urge all those who are not using it, to try it. You will definitely get hooked to it!

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Champion's League on Ten Sports

It's really sad to see Ten Sports getting TV rights for Champion's League. I have been critical of ESPN in one of my previous posts (link thanks to, but I still maintain that ESPN is the best sport broadcaster in India and it's really sad to see them losing rights of so many sporting events. It started with Cricket, then it was Tennis and now Football!

ESPN have lost rights of Cricket in almost all cricket-playing nation, except for England and Australia and with no live Indian cricket on offer, they have resorted to showing some of the most boring programmes like, Hitz, India Classics n so on. ESPN have even lost rights of US Open Tennis and Tour de France. Football has been forte of ESPN with broadcasting rights of EPL and Champion's League. Ten Sports and Zee Sports had already started infilterating in the ESPN's domain, by bagging rights of other big leagues in Europe, like Serie A and Bundesliga. And with Champion's League going to Ten Sports , it's really a bad news for football fanatics.

The reason for this may be the financial, with Ten Sports and Zee Sports bidding for larger amount. I wonder why ESPN , with Rupert Murdoch, a media barron, being it's head, can't match that. But even then other issues must be given preferrence, as was the case in 1999 World Cup (IIRC), when Zee bid was rejected citing the lack of infrastructure.

Ten Sports haven't given a good sporting experience, with an antiquated look and listless commentators (how can Srinath, Arun Lal and Laxman Sivaramkrishnan be commentators?). The post and pre match shows are pathetic. The highlights package is also bad. I fear that same will happen for Champion's League as well. I remember, when Ten Sports used to telecast FA Cup, there used to be no analysis programmes and same was the case for Serie A matches last season. Sports is not just about watching matches. It's a complete experience, which, I am sad to say, is completely absent on Ten Sports Broadcasting.

I hope that Ten Sports will improve it's broadcasting standards for both Cricket and football, to match those of ESPN, because people don't care about the channel, they just want to see good action and that's what ESPN has delivered so far!

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

The post that most wont be able to read

It's really strange to start writing a post which most wont be able to read. This is because Indian authorities have blocked all the blogspot blogs, in their so-called effort to curb some of the malicious blogs. They were supposed to block only some domains, but blocked entire How can they do that. It's really ridiculous. The guys sitting in DoT should give an explanation.

But the Government people don't understand the gravity of situation. Many people in India still don't consider Internet as necessity. They just perceive it as a mean for sending Email and doing chatting. I remember one Reliance ad, which emphasised that net means only email. The person in the ad, when asked about Internet, replies- "I access my mails from office", as if to say that email is net. Sadly, that's the case with many, except for younger generation. Many people don't consider it as necessity and that it can be used for many purposes, like blogging. This results in apathy in the authority, who don't consider blocking of blogs a serious thing. Otherwise they wouldn't have blocked blogspot for so many days.

It must be the first instance when Indian authorities have censorship in their own hands, unlike China and many other countries, where Government controls Internet activities. Blocking of Internet sites is almost impossible thing to do. Even when is blocked people can still access blogs through news feeds. So blocking is not proving efficient. So no point in doing such maneuvers. India is a democratic country, with freedom of speech. Activities like this would contribute to tarnishing the image of the country in free world.

As I had quoted in one of my previous posts, Thomas Friedman, in his famous book 'The World is flat' says - In the flat world, one cannot prevent anyone from seeing anything, as there are no valleys or mountains left to hide. So I urge DoT to restore the blogspot. India is a democratic country and let it be!

Monday, July 17, 2006


I like to watch Spelling Bee. It's really amazing competition, both in terms of its content and action. For the uninformed Spelling Bee is the spelling competition held in US, for students. Participants are supposed to spell words by listening to their pronunciation. And the words are really difficult. They may be originated from different languages, be it German, Hawaiian, Persian or even Hindi. That's what makes it tough.

Most of the time the clue is in the pronunciation and the language of origin. For example, the winning word this year was ursprache, which whose once origin is known to be German, is easy to spell (the sentence looks bit odd, but I think it's correct. Suggestions are welcome!). The pronunciation expert pronounces words exactly, which is very important in this competition.

Pronunciation reminds me of another incident. I am a Harsha Bhogle fan, but his pronunciation of Ribery( French midfielder) was odd. He used to prolong 'be' and 'r' was normal and the commentators used a short 'be' and glottal (?) 'r'. Something like 'ribrry'. But Harsha's pronunciation of 'v' in 'van Persie' was really good, lingering somewhere between 'v' and 'f' as it should be.

It's worth listening to football commentary for authentic pronunciation. Gerry Armstrong, having played in Spain for years, pronounces Valencia, with typical Spanish lisp and is really beautiful to listen to. Even the pronunciation of Joaquim. It's really pleasure to listen to the pronunciation of 'z' in 'zaragoza' from the mouth of Jason Dasey or Collette Wong.

Pronunciation is really an art and it's hard to master!

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Ten reasons why the English Premiership is BETTER than the FIFA World Cup

This one I found in one of the Orkut communities. I liked it very much, being an EPL fan myself. Especially 8th point, which is commonly seen in India during World Cup (I remember, at IIT common room people wanted to see Brazil-Japan rather than Australia-Croatia, though latter was more interesting and action-packed).

Ten reasons why the English Premiership is BETTER than the FIFA World Cup:

10. No WAGs (Wives and girlfriends of footballers) in the Premiership (at least they are not featured and glorified in every newspaper in the country).
9. Managerial catfights and mind games (Alex Ferguson v Kevin Keegan '96, Jose Mourinho v Arsene Wenger '05, Alex Ferguson v Arsene Wenger all the time)
8. No hype, excessive marketing, and arbit ignorant people pretending to be Brazil fans, loving their "unique brand of Samba football".
7. No opening ceremonies, national anthems, declarations against racism and other pseudisms.
6. No relegation six-pointers.
5. No stupid chants of You-Es-Aye!, You-Es-Aye!. Stupid Americans, nobody needs them.
4. Fewer red cards, more violence.
3. Martin Tyler and Andy Gray!
2. No penalty shootouts.
1. No David Beckham!

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Bomb Blasts in Mumbai

Today, Mumbai is back on track. Just 2 days after it was rocked by Bomb Blasts! It's really amazing how Mumbai comes back on track just days after any disaster. It was seen during last years floods as well. It's unlike the mass hysteria which is often created in such events in Western metros, like New York. It may be because Mumbaikars are hardened to face adversities in life. But reality is that Mumbaikar show great resilience.

We here about bomb blasts in other cities. For example, just before Mumbai blasts there were blasts in Srinagar as well. But we really do not heed to such news. Maybe, unknowingly we get the feeling that they are regular in Kashmir and won't be affecting us. But Mumbai blasts occurred right in our backyard. Some of my friends, acquaintances were in the same train in which blasts took place. The intent of such blasts is to create panic. But they rarely succeed in that. Instead they bring people together, across cities, across national boundaries.

This sense of togetherness can be seen from the reactions coming from all over the world. People from cities as distant as London and Madrid, share the same feelings with Mumbaikar, having suffered similar blasts in the past. Americans, who are often considered insular, also shared the same compassion ( University of Colorado also sent a condolence letter to all its Indian students, including me) . This compassion is uniting people all over the world. And that's the warning for the people, who perpetrate these horrendous acts. They will never succeed.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

World Cup telecast on ESPN

The World Cup 06 is almost over, with just the final to go. Two unfancied teams France and Italy have reached the final (though Bhagyesh had told me about France being the strong contenders for the final from "one of his high profile contacts"). But the World Cup has produced some beautiful footaball and some excellent matches. But I want to talk about the World Cup telecast on ESPN.

ESPN has vast experience in telecasting football matches throughout the year. So one expected the telecast to be of highest production values. There were some good things like, match analysis by Gerry Armstrong and Steve Mc Mahon. But it's sad to say that overall I was not particularly impressed with ESPN telecast.

The first thing I missed was John Dykes. He is superb for football presentations. Harsha Bhogle, I m sad to say, is no match for him. He has made many goofs during the telecast. he may be very good at Cricket, but not competant enough in Football, which was clearly visible ( I remember, during ESPN School Quiz, he once couldn't pronunce Hyypia. Any football fan must know this Liverpool star's name, though it's difficult spelling). So John Dykes was obvious choice, but ESPN tried to give so-called 'Indian flavour' to its broadcast, targetting the millions of Indian football supporters who crop up in each World Cup.

This effort was also evidenced by its new 'expert' Noel De....( I don't even remember the name of that fellow). He was hoorrible. He had no credentials to seat with experts like Steve and Gerry. He often contradicted with other experts. He couldn't remember the names of players. Yesterday, Steve even said, maybe sarcastically, that 'Portugal's striking power is as empty as Noel's trophy cabinet'. This summed up Noel's performance in WC for me.

Apart from these, even technical aspects were way below standard. The match staistics sometimes showed wrong stats, wrong names ( It even once showed Beckham scoring goal for Netherlands!). The highlights package (?) during half time was never complete. It showed very few chances. Didn't show good tackles. Maybe it was compiled for audiance, who think that shot on goal is the only piece of action in a football match.

The telecast consisted of only football matches with no follow-ups analysis during the day, something like Football Focus, Here We Go for EPL. The commentary was also substandard, with just one person commentating and best names like Andy Grey and Martin Taylor were missing. Apart from these shortcomings there were few good things about coverage as well.

The best part of the coverage was match analysis by Steve McMahon and Gerry Armstrong. Their gameplay at the start of the game was fantastic. It really gave insight about what goes behind the scenes. The one to note particular was during the match between Spain and France. Steve showed how France deliberately played Henry into inactive off-side position and used their mid-field to great effect. Another was semi-final between Germany and Italy. During Grosso goal Gerry pointed out that Odonkor came out too early off the far post, because of his lack of experience, which resulted in Grosso's goal. Steve should stay for EPL as well, though Gerry will leave for his Spanish duties.

The World Cup will be over today, but within a month there will be a new feast of football with start of new European season starting next month. I am really looking forward to that!

Saturday, July 08, 2006


this blog has been inactive for last 2 months. it has suffered from severe negligence. many of its well-wishers have inquired about its well-being in these difficult days and i am happy to inform all that every effort has been done to bring life to this moribund blog. these efforts have been successful and it will be coming out of its hibernation in next couple of days. it will again be full of activity with newer and better posts. so the wait is over, long live aavaj.