Saturday, December 20, 2008

Audacious Antulay !

I seriously don't have any other adjective for this man. This was an act of such audacity! Whether it was a political suicide or a political re-incarnation of himself that we shall see in the coming days but he has gone down to the level in politics where no other politician has dared to go.

Every Indian (or at least every patriotic Indian) is aghast, enraged and numb towards his statement about Hemant Karkare's death. How could he even think about speaking such thing when the whole nation is united, Hindus and Muslims alike, against terror. He literally exonerated Pakistan from this whole episode in his opinion. I am glad that people like Javed Akhtar have come forward to express the liberal muslim opinion on this and bashed Antulay for his act. And still there are people like Digvijay Singh who join the bandwagon and support Antulay's remarks. I don't know what to say to such people. But I can say to the common man that please next time when you go to vote, keep this episode, Antulay, his advocates and his party in mind and then decide on your vote.

In this interview, he tries to dodge the salvo from Sardesai and gives some implausible and senseless arguments in his defence.

Watch this videos as Rajdeep Sardesai, visibly agitated and emotional, grills Antulay and gives him every opportunity to apologize in front of the nation. Alas, if he had any consciences....

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Size #10

Quote of the day
"All I can report is it is a size 10." - President Bush, after an Iraqi reporter hurled shoes towards Bush in a press conference today.

Sehwag frustrates the opponents once again

English Captain Andrew Strauss on Sehwag
"He plays a game most people are unfamiliar with, He almost manipulates the field. You change it, and it's like he says: 'Right, I'm going to hit it somewhere else now'."

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Shashi Tharoor on Terror Attacks

A very interesting interview I grabbed from


Former Undersecretary General of the United Nations Shashi Tharoor says the Mumbai attacks have united the world in India’s support. Discussing India’s options, Tharoor said a military option against India would be an utter folly.

CNN-IBN: The international community has come out in a support of India. You said last night the Jehadis have made powerful enemies in the Mumbai attacks. What did you mean?

Tharoor: The fact is that most of the tragedies that have affected us from terror in the recent years had only killed Indians and therefore for the rest of the world was seen as an Indian problem. What happened in Mumbai in addition – to the terrible toll that it has taken in our country and our people – is that it also killed over 20 foreigners and the governments of those countries to which the victims belong are not prepared to take this lightly. Certainly it was the clearest indication to America, Britain, France and Israel that India has now become the theatre for the enactment of a global drama that this is now the same enemy here; that they had there and in all parts of the world became manifestly clear. And for the first time in a real concrete life and death manner these countries became our direct allies.

CNN-IBN: India was able to get UNSC sanctions against the jamaat ud dawa and top terror leaders- you are a un veteran- in real terms what does that mean? can the list be enforced?

Tharoor: We want more than house arrest. We want genuine prosecution. We want them to be brought to account for their triumphs with whatever appropriate court jurisdiction that Pakistan can muster. Pak is also saying to us at a certain level that this is also their problem, they are also victims. And it is true. The Marriot Hotel bombing took Pakistani lives, (so did) Benazir Bhutto’s assassination, so their are people in Pakistan, particularly in the present civilian government who feel that the people who have done this to us could also do it to them and to that degree there is a common enemy. What they are afraid of is that in acting against those forces, they would come up against extreme opposition within their own military ranks. We don’t know how high that goes - is it being orchestrated at the very top of the Pakistani military and the ISI? Or is it merely being condoned? Is it taking place at the middle and senior levels but not at the very top? We don’t know and we don’t even know if Pak’s government knows. But we know that they are being careful not to cross certain red lines of the military so that they don’t end up being overthrown as every single civilian government in Pakistan has been before completing its term in office.

CNN-IBN: Does India still have a military option left? Hot pursuit, surgical strikes?

Tharoor: The military option would be utter folly. It's exactly what the terrorists want us to do. And there is no such thing as a limited or surgical military option. If you conduct an attack and bomb a few sites, you'd achieve very little because these sites can easily be reconstructed. These training camps involve a few barracks, a few ropes for them to climb, a few hurdles for them to jump and a target and rifle range practice. This is not something that takes effort to reconstruct in any open space in Pakistan. Bombing 2-3 of these is not going to solve anything for us. By doing that we will unite both those who are relatively sympathetic to us and those who are hostile to us under the common banner of Pakistani nationalism. Whatever your differences with the military or ISI if India is attacking your country you are going to rally behind the flag, and that’s what the terrorists want.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Bharat Ratna Pt Bhimsen Joshi

There could not be a happier moment for a classical music lover. Pt Bhimsen Joshi - the maestro of Hindustani Vocal classical music has been selected for Bharat Ratna - India's highest civilian award this year. Even though unfortunately I have never had a chance to listen to his divine vocal performance live, I am extremely proud today to see him honored by the government with this award.

Long live Panditjee. We are proud of you!

Image Source:

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Circular Reasoning

We sacrifice our present happy times to run after money so that we can be happy in future.
We buckle down under stress and hyper tension and lose healthy living while working hard so that we can earn enough money to be able to afford the cost of our good health in future.
The race is never ending. Like a mad dog trying to grab its own tail, running around in circles.
The chase never ends because there is not static destination. The target keeps moving. And in this process, the ultimate goal of achieving happiness is lost. The motivation behind doing all this is to achieve happiness. And knowingly or unknowingly we give up on that. For a better future. And it always remains 'For the future'. The future never becomes Present. What a bargain that is to make! The target is moving. You are always shooting without precision. Or even worse. You are shooting the wrong target.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

What Dhoni needs to look at

It's too easy to criticize the seniors. They don't play well in one match and the sword is again hanging over their heads. Ganguly got tired of it and decided to retire. Dravid, Laxman and Tendulkar are still hanging in there. Nobody knows till what time. Dhoni has always been critical of senior players. Mindless criticism and comments have spewed out of him a lot of times. What he needs to look at is the following record of senior players in last one year.

Test match figures....

Matches Runs Highest Avg 100s
Tendulkar 13 955 154* 47.75 2
Ganguly 16 1283 239 45.82 3
Laxman 16 1171 200* 58.55 3

Dhoni 12 595 92 35 0

Somebody needs to take a look at some numbers to understand what is going on !

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Quantom of Solace

I am so very looking forward to it!

Sunday, October 19, 2008


The Difference


Saturday, October 18, 2008

Say 'Nuclear'

Those of you who have heard Palin say this word will get the joke.

Obama Pictures and McCain Pictures
see Sarah Palin pictures

Friday, October 17, 2008

Cricket on Digg!

Cricket appeared on digg for the first time since I have started following it. Here's the pic. Sachin fans must be happy!

McCain's stand up comedy !

McCain is hilarious in this speech. At least there is one thing that I can appreciate in McCain. His talent for stand-up comedy!

And here comes Obama - the stand-up comedian !!

Socialism at its best

Jet reinstates all the employees that it laid off. This move has not come out of philanthropic nature of Naresh Goyal. Neither has it dawned upon him by some divination to take these employees back. He was threatened by Praful Patel as shown here in this article (

I have nothing against the employees who were fired and I sympathize with them. But think of this. Such a step is definitely a step backwards. This clearly shows how Indian government is still regulating the economy with a clenched fist. Otherwise how can a government official order a private company to reverse its decision which was purely a HR issue. If the company is not doing well in such tough times, it will lay people off. That is how private sector is supposed to work. How can government interfere in HR policies of a private company is something I am not able to digest. Whatever happened to the free economy! Capitalism? Not for us Indians....

Spammed ... This time it's my blog ...

Yesterday my blog page was attacked by a spam-bot. See below the spike of 126 hits! My blog can not become so famous overnight :P (Unless I decide to make it a porn-blog which I am not going to!) I also received about 6-7 bot generated comments, interestingly with not-so-random words. I had to turn on anti-bot mechanisms for comments posting.

Date Page Views
Fri, October 17, 2008 5
Thu, October 16, 2008 126
Wed, October 15, 2008 22
Tue, October 14, 2008 10
Mon, October 13, 2008 29
Sun, October 12, 2008 21
Sat, October 11, 2008 13
Average: 32 Total: 226

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Conversation with a cabbie

"Did you watch last night's debate?" Thus started my conversation with a cabbie who was referring to the VP debate that took place a couple of weeks ago. It was a very interesting conversation as the cabbie was a white male in his 50s who was very passionate about American politics and a life long Democrat supporter. We talked for almost 45 minutes while driving to La Guardia Airport from my place. This conversation brought about quite a few notable points which make a lot of sense in the context of current political scenario in US.

He began by ridiculing Palin and calling her the most foolish politician he had come across in his entire life. "If a person can not name the newspapers she reads, how can she become the VP of United States?" He said McCain was even a bigger fool to select this lady as his VP pick.

And he confessed, as an American, that America is still largely, though not openly, racist. He said what else could explain a very narrow lead of Obama over McCain? If Obama had been white, he would be leading McCain by a huge margin. He said Americans are still racists and that's why the Republican party can get away with such weak candidates as McCain and Palin. He said Republicans are largely the party of folks who are stinking rich with tie-ups with huge corporations and influential churches.

He also said American people will vote for whoever looks smart on TV. I said then what went wrong last two times with John Kerry and Al Gore? He said both of them were horribly unfriendly on TV and they could never appeal the American public. And that is also one of the reasons that Obama has managed to stay ahead in the polls as he is very presentable on camera.

And the conversation went on. The most important point I could take from this was his confession as an American about prevailing racism in the country. The post is in response to Soham's comment on my previous post here.

P.S. The conversation happened for real and the views expressed here are the cabbie's own.

Painted by the greatest artist of the universe - Mother Nature

I visited Franconia and North Conway in New Hampshire with my parents. Here are a few pictures I took.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Travelling Salesman Problem


Sunday, October 12, 2008

Can virtue be taught?

Menon asks Socrates, "Can virtue be taught?" in one of the famous dialogues presented by Plato about Socrates. Socrates and Menon proceed to first define what a virtue is and then they investigate if it can be taught.

Here is a very good summary of the dialogue. The complete text can be found in the book 'Great dialogues of Plato'.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Orkut says ....

Today my orkut says
Today's fortune: You will make a profitable investment

Sure! I just bought a new mattress and I am going to stuff my money under that. It sure is going to be more profitable than investing anywhere else these days. The profit will be, not losing money!

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Once more !

I can't help put these videos of Palin here! She has no idea in the world what she is talking about! Putin raising his head and entering America's air space through Alaska! Wow ... Putin knows better than that for sure

"I have some news for you, John McCain" - Obama

And it's McCain's turn now

So I figured, it's not only Indian politicians who are masters of flip-flops!

Sarah Palin at one of her best !

This is freakin' hilarious!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Some of my favorite XKCDs


Friday, September 19, 2008

A shining star departs. R.I.P. Rick Wright

September 15, '08. It was one of the saddest days in the history of Rock music. The legendary keyboardist and vocalist Rick Wright of the Pink Floyd left this world and drifted to the other divine world to enlighten the gods with his music.

Founding member of Pink Floyd, Wright was known for his humility and genius keyboard playing skills. In one of his interviews, he explains how he shaped the music of the song 'Us and Them' in the album 'Dark side of the moon', taking it away from a conventional soothing music to a bold and creative master piece.

Here is the video.

In the show-down of who is bigger, Waters or Gilmour, Wright was put in the background. His contribution to Pink Floyd, though as great as Waters or Gilmour, has always been undermined.

It's amazing how music and a musician touch one's life. I will never be able to hear him again. I had always dreamed of watching Pink Floyd play live in concert someday. I guess my dream will never come true. I will have to seek solace in watching the legendary band perform only in videos.

Rest In Peace, Rick. You will be remembered. Till the time people have a sense of appreciation for the best of music. And respect for the best of musicians like you.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

I wish I could

I've been away from my blog for far too long to even remember. Every once in a while I visit my blog with a half-hearted intention to write something and I fail. Things have changed so much. I have so much to tell and yet nothing. Ideas about writing something form in my mind like water bubbles and then burst immediately in absence of treatment. Sad but true.

If I could, what I would have written in all this time?

- My rage on Ahmedabad blasts a while ago and now Delhi
- My motley experiences during training here in Bloomberg
- My reaction to Indo-US nuclear deal
- Leander Paes' achievement at US Open
- Barack Obama's speech at National Demorcatic Convention
- Movie reviews of 'The Dark Knight (Duhh !!), A Beautiful Mind (Thumbs Up), A Time To Kill (5 stars), Rock On (Can I give it 6 stars?)
- Book review of The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins (Book that has made me think the most in all this time and threatened my faith quite formidably), The Fifth Vial by Michael Palmer (Interesting!), The Law of Second Chances by James Sheehan (Typical Courtroom drama) and so on
- Music review of Rock On (Creative, Peppy and Rocking !!)
- Comment on others' blogs on my blog-roll, especially Soham's.

The list keeps growing ...

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Movie Review: X-Files: I Want To Believe

So do I. I want to believe that Chris Carter could actually make an inane movie like this and spoil the reputation of a series as brilliant as X Files. I want to believe that David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson agreed to play the roles of Mulder and Scully again for this movie. I want to believe that a sequel can be as bad as this. But I find all this quite unbelievable. Though unfortunately everything is true.

At the risk of sounding overly critical, I must say that the movie is extremely banal, predictable and lacking what makes a movie successful - substance. For those who are fans of the series X-files, including me, know that it is about supernatural and paranormal activities. The two FBI agents Fox Mulder and Dana Scully unravel the mysteries of the inexplicable phenomena including UFOs etc. This movie is nowhere near the original theme. It goes down the path of a psycho thriller movie which is as lowly and teen-like as 'I know what you did last summer' and others in the same category.

** Potential spoiler warning **

Several people end up missing and a priest who is a convicted pedophile, has divine visions about these missing people. This is the only so called paranormal phenomenon involved in the movie. And the whole issue is treated with so much banality that it remains neither a Christian-movie (like Christian rock music) nor does it become a supernatural thriller. The dialogues are some of the worst I have ever heard in a Hollywood or a Bollywood movie. Some of the scenes are so annoying that you feel like leaving your seat and going back to office on a Saturday evening.

Some of the infantile scenes include,

1. Agent Scully is now a doctor and is treating a boy who is terminally ill. All of a sudden, one fine morning she comes up with an idea of applying Stem Cell therapy on that kid. And guess what she does! She opens her internet browser and opens our good old google and literally types 'Stem Cell Research'. Then she randomly clicks on some of the links and she prints out a report out of it in a few minutes with title 'Stem Cell Research' and the next day she goes into the hospital, prepares the operation theater for the surgery and operates upon that boy!

Way to go, Google !!!!

2. Scully and Mulder are standing outside the FBI office (For no apparent reason) and they look at the portraits of G.W. Bush and Edgar Hoover besides the entrance and without any relevance, the X-Files theme music starts playing (For those who are not aware of that, X-Files theme music is a pretty spooky one). If the attempt was made to make us laugh with a completely childish Bush-joke, it failed miserably.

3. Mulder's car (The director is apparently a huge fan of Ford cars as they are all over in the movie) is pushed off a hill by the bad guy and falls several feet in a trench. And yet, like a superhero, Mulder emerges after a few hours from the car and goes on to finish the villains in their own home ground.

4. Mulder's jokes and particularly one dialogue - a degenerated, crude and offensive joke are annoying. I wish the script writer did not attempt to show off his own humor. Or the lack of it.

5. What is with this pretending to solve moral issues pleaguing Christianity? Is the director trying to convince Christian community that Stem cell research is good after all? Is he trying to showcase the divine God-granted powers of priests who have visions and hear voices of God? Even those priets who are convicted pedophiles? I don't understand. What has it got to do with X-Files for God's sake? Why? Why?

And the list goes on and on. The movie was so bad that I would write this director off my movie watch-list for years to come. I beg anyone who has any plans to watch this movie not to do so. Do yourselves a favor. Stay home. Go out for a walk. Read Washington Post or NY Times but do not watch this movie.

Monday, July 14, 2008

"Driving is driving me crazy" - New Jersey and a driver's woes

Blaring sounds of horns is not something you experience on US roads. But hey, we live in New York-New Jersey. Everything is fair in love and war and driving here. According to a recent survey, New Jersey drivers have been crowned the most rude drivers in US. I wonder if this is bad habit inherent in New Jersey people or they have been infected by the neighboring menaces - the evil influence of New York city drivers on the other side of the river! I don't know who is worse. But I have seen and experienced both the kinds. The ever-so-rushing New York city drivers and ever-so-rude and impatient New Jersey drivers. They give each other tough competition to prove who is worse.

The drivers here are unforgiving. It is assumed that even though there is no fault of yours, you will be honked at from behind when red signal turns green and your car is the first at the crossroads. You will be honked at, no matter what. Though your only fault is that you don't own a Ferrari and so you can not accelerate to 125mph in under 4 seconds and therefore they had to wait for that fraction of a second behind you. Yes, there are some real busy people around here. And there are some implicit rules of driving around here too.

My first experience of driving in New Jersey has been the most horrific of driving experiences I have ever had in my life. I was a newbie in driving here in US when I came to NJ for the first time and rented a car. It had been only a few days I had got my Arizona driving license and started driving here. Though people say that if you have driven in a place like Ahmedabad (Ahmedabad traffic is notorious and I have heard non-Ahmedabadis complain about it all the time) you are safe anywhere in the world, that is not true here! I remember renting a car from Newark airport, a fine Pontiac Grand Prix, and driving it down to NJ Turnpike. I had never driven on a freeway before and to be honest, I was initially dumbstruck and then totally panicked by the monstrosity of the traffic on NJ turnpike. And that was the first time I was using a GPS. Despite having GPS with me, I missed an exit three times consecutively. And I lost my way and got onto a road which was leading to the Newark port and the entire road was only flooded with heavy duty trucks. Mine was the only car on that road! As my favorite expression goes, "I was as scared as a wet kitten on a rainy night in a dark forest full of wolves" It can be called a result of my incompetence in driving or just the heinous NJ traffic, but I will never forget that experience!

As if the torture of driving amidst such drivers is not enough, another plaguing problem is parking in NJ. Even if you own a BMW worth 50 grand, you might have to park your car on the street near your home. Most of the apartment complexes in North Jersey area (once again, the pay off of being close to NY city) do not have alloted parking garages. So you have to find a place on a near by street. And for parking on a street, you have to get a parking permit from the authorities (Plead with them, show them a gazillions of proof documents and so on). And that too does not guarantee a place for you. If someone grabs your parking spot while you are happily watching a movie in a theater on a Saturday night, you might have to scuttle around the neighborhood to find a parking space for your car at midnight.

My bad experiences did not stop at me getting bitter towards all the NJ drivers. I had to suffer in the hands of authority as well. Like I always do. Or at least most of the times (I have heard complains about being so grumpy all the time in my blogs that I choose my words carefully now)
So this time the encounter was with the DMV in New Jersey. I had to transfer my license from Arizona state to NJ state and even though supposedly it was just a matter of a couple of hours on a Saturday, I chose a day long before my office was to start. I was very hopeful and almost certain that it will be a piece of cake as it is just a formality. Sometimes I feel like laughing on myself as to how naive I can become! It was indeed an absolutely wrong assumption.

The story goes like this. I went to the nearby DMV and stood in their one of queues which are chronically long in nature but were a lot shorter that day. Glad that after all it might turn out to be a good day, I went to one of the counters and confidently showed them all the proof documents necessary for transfer. A lady pretending to be very particular (and actually trying to avoid giving anyone a driving license in NJ) scrutinized my documents. And somehow she became convinced that I was a clear and present danger and a grave threat to the pedestrians and fellow drivers alike. Thus she decided to thwart my attempts of transferring my license to NJ state. The reason was given to me - bizarre, something I don't want to discuss here. They sent me to another office to amend some other documents and there I stood for 4 hours in queue. And the most ironical part is that these documents had hardly anything to do with my driving license. As if not giving me a license was going to cause a slide in NJ's top ranking of rude drivers. Ultimately that day, I could not get anything done. Neither the driving license, nor the other document.

Undeterred by the hindrances, I decided to try again at the same place, with the same document but with the hope of encountering a different person at the counter. But as goes with my luck, I got stuck with the same lady and was told to go back and correct the documents. Only difference was that this time she was referring to some other documents. So I understood clearly that she just wants to stop me from moving forward in the procedure. So this time I remained there, unyielding, fighting her with my own arguments mixed with pleading. Finally she got tired of listening to me and asked me to meet her supervisor. The supervisor was no different. She was also bent on not letting me walk out of the building with NJ license. She asked me several questions about my studies, University of Arizona, why I came here in New Jersey and so on. She just wanted to make one thing clear, 'Try as hard as you can, it is entirely up to me whether I will permit you or not!'. Some of her demands were, 'Get me a letter from the registrar of University of Arizona saying I am working here in New York city as part of my OPT' - as if UofA registrar was absolutely jobless and had nothing better to do than writing recommendation letters to people all around the world who wanted to obtain their driving licenses. Another suggestion came, 'Then why don't you go to New York and get a driving license from there instead of coming here?'. ( I wanted to slap her face and tell her 'Because I do not live in my office building. I live here in New Jersey. But looking at the delicacy of situation, I did not indulge in any such tempting activities.) To cut a long story short, after countless arguments, she finally took pity on me and allowed me the transfer of the license.

I restrict myself and remain short in my narration. Otherwise they will quickly turn from boring to unbearable and that will turn away my readers who are already few in numbers and certainly not increasing!

I will end the post by paraphrasing my friend Karthik's one of the quotes.

Referring to Banglore traffic, he once said to me, "I tried to survive them initially, but eventually I had to become one of them". I think I will also have to become 'one of them' !

[Image Source:]

Friday, June 27, 2008


New York City. A city of many dreams. Some blooming, some shattered. A city loved by rich and poor alike. A city where life is in the fast lane. A city full of contradictions.

I am back in the city. With mixed feelings once again. Just like last year. Initially brimming with enthusiasm and then gradually disillusioned and then emotionless about it. Indifferent as if the people on the subway train or NJ Transit bus or on the crosswalks don't even exist. I guess this is what makes the city different from any other 'American' experience. Good or bad. Does it even matter?

Contradictions. Talk about them in New York City! A hawker selling $5 purse just outside the Macy's that sells the 'more reputable' and perhaps more reliable version of it in $50. A homeless man and an Investment Banker sitting next to each other in a Subway train. Tourists who have nothing else to do but kill time and executives for whom every lost second means lost deals and eventually lost money, walking the streets side by side. And the best of all. Saint Peter's Cathedral hiding under the massive and monstrous 'temple of capitalism and materialism' - The Citigroup building on Lexington Ave and 53rd street. People worship wealth. The mammoth structure of Citigroup building trying to prove its superiority.

For a second, I want to contradict what I implied about selfishness of people. One evening, I was showing my parents around in NY city and we decided to hop onto a bus instead of walking. I was unaware of the fact that you can't pay the driver for the ticket on MTA buses with cash and you need to have a metro card. The driver allowed us in but asked me to give him change worth $6 (3 tickets). $6 means 24 quarter coins. How am I supposed to carry 24 coins in my wallet? But that was the only way. 'You can ask the other passengers, if anybody is willing to help you', says the driver. And I felt like I was one of those people who are looking to get some pity money from passengers showing some fake reasons of lost wallets! But I didn't have to embarrass myself doing that. An african-american lady with a rough accent gave her Metrocard to the driver and said 'Swipe this for him'. I was a little taken aback by this generosity. The driver swiped and the card had exactly $6! I fumbled to give her $6 cash from my wallet. She said 'No' sharply and I still insisted. She shot back, 'Just say thanks and keep it as a gift'. The humanity is not dead yet in this city.

Contradiction. Not only is the city full of it but so are my emotions towards the city. I love it sometimes. I hate it at others. And yet some other times, I am indifferent. I love the feeling of being in the heart of world's financial activities. I love to stand on the terrace of the Bloomberg building and look around and see the towering buildings. It gives me satisfaction. A sense of achieving something. I love to work for the company that is owned by the New York City's most important man - the mayor Michael Bloomberg. And knowing that the work we do, and the products we make move millions of dollars in the market everyday (though individually, I form a very tiny part of that!) makes me feel good about my job. At other times, standing in a Subway train amid magnitudes of human bodies, or standing on the platform, wrapped in humid and polluted air of the stations, commuting for a couple of hours in a day makes me wonder if it is really worth it. There are times when I am surrounded by such feelings of doubt and frustration. But I think, with time, these feelings will be hardened into those of indifference. After all the routine soothes pain over time. Though only sometimes.

I have many stories to tell. But time is not my friend these days. I will come back to normalcy hopefully in near future. Hopefully foreseeable one.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Music Review: Viva La Vida / Death And All His Friends - Coldplay

Coldplay is back. After three years of gap, they are back with their new album Viva La Vida or Death and all his friends. And I am back too. After a gap of almost one month, I am limping back to Blogosphere. I moved out of Arizona and settled in New Jersey and the entire process drained me out completely and took a toll on my blogging. But nevertheless, I am back to writing.

The album was released in USA on 17th June and though as an ardent Coldplay fan, I should have pre-ordered it, I have it within the first week of release now. Now coming to the main point of review of the album. The album is a classic experimental piece. It is a typical Coldplay work. Unusual and different from anything else you have heard. It is undoubtedly more experimental and exotic than their previous albums.

The first song "Life in Technicolor" is exactly what it says. It's an instrumental piece which invokes colorful and upbeat feelings. Beginning slowly, soon the music erupts in euphoric sounds of piano and guitar, familiar to Coldplay fans.

"Cemeteries of London" invokes mixed feelings dominated by sadness. 'Lost!' and the bonus track 'Lost?' both are pretty good. The 'Lost!' is better in my opinion as the other one lacks beats and the second half flaunts some real good guitar sounds. '42' and 'Lovers in Japan' both are typical Alternative Rock songs.

'Yes' is a brilliant experiment. It features some classic Violin tunes. 'Viva La Vida' features some pretty enigmatic lyrical genius and the lines are wide open to your own interpretation. The song is one of the more accessible ones in this album.

'Violet Hill' is one of my most favorite ones from the album. The vocals are the main highlight of the song along with guitar in the latter half of the song. 'Strawberry swing' is not very attractive but a good piece to listen to in idle time and it is catchy too for humming the tune. 'Death and all his friends' is a mixture of lot of different sounds, tunes and beats. It feels as if they have composed 3-4 songs in one and still made it sound beautiful.

So all-in-all, the album is worth the wait of 3 years and the price I paid for it. In fact more than that. A zillion thanks to Coldplay for maintaining their standards and even improving every time. Thumbs up to Viva La Vida!

The wait begins for the next Coldplay release!

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Book Review: Such a Long Journey, Rohinton Mistry

It always amazes me how despite my dislike for tragic novels, I end up reading Rohinton Mistry's works again and again. Thus you can imagine how interesting his work must be. This time I came across the book called 'Such a Long Journey' when I was browsing the books at Crossword, Ahmedabad. I would describe the book as slow but fluid, sad but with traces of happiness round the corner and above all, displaying Mistry's typical style of weaving a story with historical background.

Like 'Fine Balance', this book is also set in the backdrop of early 1970s when India was gripped in the war with Pakistan and the emergency times. The story revolves around a family, their friends, and neighbors living in a Parsi colony in Mumbai. As always, Mistry gives us glimpses of Parsi family customs, their language, their interactions with each other and their place in the Indian history.

I call this novel 'A collection of mini-biographies of various characters'. He depicts individuals in such color and variety! He never fails to draw a picture of a personality with the most complete details. And therefore, parts of the book concerning individual characters look like their own biographies. The characters in this book are by far the most interesting of his novels. A middle class Parsi family fighting various household problems surrounding their children, A retired major working for RAW (Intelligence wing of Indian Armed Forces) and tangled in a national level conspiracy, a superstitious woman who performs black magic, a mentally challenged begger, a street worker who earns his bread by drawing all deities on footpath and wall and so on.

Like his other novels, this novel also has a steady background which plays historical events, dimly interacting with the characters in the frames. In Fine Balance, the background was the Emergency time in India under Indira Gandhi's rule. In this book, the background is the war years with Pakistan and creation of Bangladesh. Through indirect references, Mistry conveys a lot about powerful and shrewd personality of Ms. Gandhi. And such historical references make this book very interesting to read.

If you can't tolerate tragedy, don't read this book. If you want a novel which ties all the loose ends at the end and finishes with a climax, look somewhere else. This book is for those who enjoy immersing into the characters' lives. It is for those who live the lives of characters while reading. If you are such a reader, don't miss this book.

[Image Source:

Thursday, May 22, 2008

8 Types Of Annoying People You’ll Find Inside Starbucks

Hilarious. Check it out... You will surely remember encountering at least one of them while your visit to Starbucks!

read more | digg story

Saturday, May 17, 2008

A new beginning

Today was the 138th Commencement Ceremony of University of Arizona, class of 2008. The ceremony started at around 8:30 today morning with a walk from Main Library building to the McKale center.

The entry into the stadium was magnificent. I felt like I was in a state of trance. The whole crowd was cheering us - the graduates, from the stadium and as we entered, we could hear the loud roaring sound from all around. That sound of applause will surely remain etched into my memories for a long time. We felt like celebrities! Or even better, like soldiers coming home, victorious.

And above all, I felt even more proud as I knew that among thousands of spectators were my parents. Cheering for me. With a smile of satisfaction and pride.
All the caffeine stimulated nights, hours of study, anxiety over grades, daily walks under bright hot sun to the department, effort put into reading unintelligible hand-writings of undergraduate students while grading as TA, sleeping hungry due to lack of energy to cook, disappointments over low grades and all difficult times seemed like a dull memory of past, faded in the glory of the moment at present. It was the climactic culmination of all this. A composition ending on a high note. Like a sunset that is optimistic with the coming day's new hopes.

[Image source:]

Computer Science: Class of 2008, University of Arizona

Parag, Me and Karthik
(From Left) Me, Karthik, Parag, Poorna, Sheshu, Manish

(From Left) Rachita, Pallavi, Lopa, Natasha, Me, Parag, Sheshu, Karthik

I am somewhere in the crowd. Don't bother to spot me. Even I am not able to locate myself

Friday, May 16, 2008

A Proud Moment

Time to say goodbye

Goodbye red brick buildings,
I will hold you in my memories.
Goodbye green yellow cactus,
I will miss you on my way.

My time has come and I must go,
With a heavy heart I will depart.
A tear rolls down my eye,
Questioning me, 'Should I?'

The new horizon calls on me,
Enticing me with new promises.
I am happy but I am sad,
Is there a way I can stay?

Fruits of hard work

I achieved a clean 4.0 in second consecutive semester! But alas, I ended up with a not so clean CGPA of 3.8 in my MS degree. But I am happy I am done with this finally! Err... well, not so happy maybe. I am going to miss this place, people and this routine.

Monday, May 05, 2008

A shining star departs

Today is a terribly sad day for Hindustani Classical Music community. The legend, venerable Pt. Kishan Maharaj passed away after a paralytic attack from which he could not recover. He was 84.

Padma Vibhushan, the maestro from Banaras Gharana was country's finest Tabla player. I have been extremely lucky to have heard him live on quite a few occasions. Many considerd him a far better Tabla player than even some one as famous as Zakeer Hussain. Always dedicated to his art, he considered Hindustani Classical music as his religion and his Tabla, a prayer.

Panditjee, you will be awfully missed. But your fame will live forever. May God bless your soul. Rest In Peace.

[Image Source:]

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Starbucks profits down

Starbucks reported that their profits sank by 28% for the last quarter.

Starbucks, you discontinued my favorite drink 'Orange Mocha' and now you suffer. *evil grin*

Pigs on the wing. Literally!

For those of you who care, Pink Floyd's giant two storey tall Piggie has returned home, though not safe and sound.

Roger Waters of Pink Floyd has been using this giant inflatable pig in his concerts as a prop since their success of the album Animals in 1977. Last Sunday in a concert in southern California, the pig broke free from the tethers. Organizers had announced a reward of $10,000 to anyone who brings the pig back. And today the news is out that a couple from a desert town in California has found the pig and returned. Though it is in tatters, finally it is home!

This Pig really had wings it seems :D

[P.S. - Pigs on the wing is a song from the album Animals.]

Michael Bloomberg on The Time 100

And here is another personality I admire, Michael Bloomberg featuring on Time 100 most influential personalities list under the category 'Scientists and Thinkers'. And apparently he fits into both of these categories! Many of you might know he founded the firm Bloomberg LLP by creating the revolutionary software for financial analysis which reveals his Scientist side. He has been widely applauded as one of the most effective Mayors of New York who puts constant efforts for improving the city of NY.

Link to Michael Bloomberg on Time 100 here

As a future employee of Bloomberg LLP, it feels great to see him here !

Ratan Tata on The Time 100

Time magazine released their list of 100 most influential personalities of last year (2007). And as I was expecting, Ratan Tata is featuring under the category 'Builders and Titans'. This category features 22 people from all over the world and includes the likes of Steve Jobs, Steve Ballmer, Jeff Bezos and so on. And I felt extremely proud to see the 'Ever so smiling' face of our own good old Ratan Tata.

Tetley, Daewoo, Corus, Jaguar and Land Rover....... He is the victorious emperor on a mission!

Link to Time's Link featuring Ratan Tata here

As an ex-Tata employee, it feels great to see him here!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008


1. Last movie you saw in a theater?
'The Race' starring Saif, Akshay Khanna, Bipasha and Katerina. Hot cars, babes and action. Style mixed with somewhat complex plot. Good watch

2. What book are you reading
'Peanuts' comics if that counts as a book! Last one I finished was 'The Street Lawyer' - A classic by John Grisham.

3. Favorite board game?

No Games. Only Sports ;)

4. Favorite magazine?

5. Favorite smells?

The smell of wet earth after rain

6. Favorite sounds?
David Gilmour's Guitar and Ustad Sultan Khan's Sarangi

7. Worst feeling in the world?

Betrayed by someone I trust

8. What is the first thing you think of when you wake up?

Darn, the day begins. Where's my coffee!

9. Favorite fast food place?

Honest Pau-Bhaji center in Ahmedabad. Any fast food you name and they have it. My favorite there, of course 'Pau-Bhaji' and also 'Chhole Bhature'.

10. Future child’s name?
Boy : Bhavin Mankad Jr ;)

Girl : '........' Jr (Blank to be filled in later :D)

11. Finish this statement. “If I had lot of money I’d….?”

Not have time to do such blogging ... alas :(

12. Do you sleep with a stuffed animal?

13. Storms - cool or scary?
Absolutely cool !

14. Favorite drink?
Coffee and Buttermilk

15. Finish this statement, “If I had the time I would….”?
Read all the books in my 'To read' list.

16. Do you eat the stems on broccoli?
Broccoli !! Yikes ... Hate it.

17. If you could dye your hair any color, what would be your choice?

18. Name all the different cities/towns you’ve lived in?
Ahmedabad, Tucson, New Jersey, Sacramento, Chennai

19. Favorite sports to watch?
Cricket, Boxing, Soccer, Tennis

20. One nice thing about the person who sent this to you?
Natasha - A sweet friend, interesting personality, South Park fan and Garfield admirer just like me!

21. What’s under your bed?

My iPhone

22. Would you like to be born as yourself again?

I would like to be born as my parents' son again. Couldn't thank God more for that.

23. Morning person, or night owl?
Well, it keeps changing. One semester I am a night owl, the other I am an energetic Morning person!

24. Over easy, or sunny side up?
No Idea what this means :P Can I say 'Pass' ?

25. Favorite place to relax?
My Sofa

26. Favorite pie?

27. Favorite ice cream flavor?
Chocolate, Butter-scotch and almost anything that has dry fruits or choco-chips in it.

28. Of all the people you tagged this to, who’s most likely to respond first?
Tapasya or Soham

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Why doesn't Bangladesh Cricket Team call it quits?

"Try and try, one day you will succeed" Unfortunately, the saying doesn't seem to apply to Bangladesh Cricket Team. After recent white wash by Pakistan (5-0) in One Day series, I seriously wonder how long it will go on! Bangladesh has been playing International cricket since 2000. In seven years, they have consistently lost again and again. The test record is pathetic.

In seven years, Bangladesh has played 53 tests. They have lost 47, won 1 and drawn 5. That is about 2% success rate.

The one day record is slightly better though. They have played 177 matches, won 39 and lost 136. Success rate of about 22%. But looking closer, out of these victories, 15 have come against Zimbabwe, 8 against Kenya, 4 against Ireland, 3 against Scotland and 2 against Bermuda (I had almost forgotten Bermuda played Cricket!)

With all respect to Bangladesh Cricket, I would suggest they should make a call to give it up. 7 years of efforts have led them nowhere. Chances are, they won't lead them anywhere in future either.

[Image Source:]

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Movie Review: Pulp Fiction (1994)

Style, style and more style. John Travolta, Bruce Willis, Samuel Jackson, Uma Thurman and above all, direction of Quaintain Tarantino. Can you expect anything less than 100% stylish and entertaining movie?

Starting with a pulse racing title music, the entire movie puts an iron grip around you for two and half hours time. I had watched this movie when I was a kid, some time during my school years. And I was totally clueless about why this movie was so famous. I had hardly understood some of the dialogues and those that i understood didn't make sense at that time. After talking to Priyanka a couple of days ago, I decided to give it another try, after all I am a huge fan of John Travolta! And I am glad I watched it again!

The movie is full of 'four letter words', crude humor, intermittent action scenes, closely knit storyline and a display of class acting. The underlying plot is about three men's lives (Travolta, Willis and Jackson) who work for a gangster (Rhames). The characters of these men are portrayed in a wonderful fashion and detail. They act differently in different situations and yet they have a common belief of loyalty and conviction.

[Spoiler Warning: Following contains details about suspense. So if you plan to watch the movie (which you should if you are a movie buff), don't read it till you watch the movie.]

Things I loved about the movie

-The scene in which Bruce Willis bursts into outrage over his lost watch which was a gift from his father.

- Bruce Willis going back to the cellar where Wallace was being tortured. Even though he himself wanted to kill Wallace, his conscience forced him to go back and save Wallace.

- Samuel Jackson reciting a verse from Bible every time before he was going to kill someone.

- Travolta and Thurman's dance on their date.

- Travolta's hair style and his on screen persona

- Samuel Jackson handling the robbery situation in the restaurant.

Things I hated about the movie

- Why on earth Travolta had to die?
Except for that one scene in which Bruce Willis kills Travolta, I enjoyed every moment of the movie!

Some of the memorable dialogues

Vincent (Travolta): Jules, did you ever hear the philosophy that once a man admits that he's wrong that he is immediately forgiven for all wrongdoings? Have you ever heard that?

Butch(Willis): [beating up Wallace (Rhames)] You feel that sting, big boy, huh? That's pride F***' with you! You gotta fight through that s***!

Wallace (Rhames): Yeah, we cool. Two things. Don't tell nobody about this. This s*** is between me, you, and Mr. Soon-To-Be-Living-The-Rest-of-His-Short-***-Life-In-Agonizing-Pain Rapist here. It ain't nobody else's business.

Wallace (Rhames): You leave town tonight, right now. And when you're gone, you stay gone, or you be gone. You lost all your L.A. privileges. Deal? [This one is a classic :D]

The Wolf(Keitel): Jimmie, lead the way. Boys, get to work.
Vincent(Travolta): A please would be nice.
The Wolf(Keitel): Come again?
Vincent(Travolta): I said a please would be nice.
The Wolf(Keitel): Get it straight buster - I'm not here to say please, I'm here to tell you what to do and if self-preservation is an instinct you possess you'd better f***ing do it and do it quick! I'm here to help - if my help's not appreciated then lotsa luck, gentlemen.

[Image Sources:]

Saturday, April 12, 2008

The Magic of Quota - Part II

While the advocates of equality, fairness and justice were recovering from the blow delivered by Supreme Court, jubilant 'venerable' Mr. Arjun Singh could not suppress his happiness.

Excerpts taken from his interview with IBNLive.

"As far as creamy layer is concerned, we will discuss the matter at the apt forum and try and find a way out. We are not going to shove it under the carpet. We are going to do whatever we can"

Increasing the slab of Rs 2.5 lakh per annum is one way out. The concerns of the allies will be taken into account—we will try to have a consensus on how to sort this out,”

Sure Mr. Singh, (more people = more vote). It's very simple. We understand that. You are a generous man and you are worried about the concerns of the allies. But what about the concerns of the general public?

"I have been wanting this ever since I was the Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh. We won 40 seats then".

Yes dear Mr. Singh. We are aware of your desires to become Prime Minister of this country since ages. And you have been playing one political card after another ever since then. And this one was an ingenious trick indeed.

And here is the statement that says it all. Coming straight from his own mouth, in his own words.

"this reservation should benefit us politically"

Aah! Glad you told us Mr. Singh. We thought you were doing all this out of a sense of sheer philanthropy and general public good. How humble of you to confess it.

[News Source: IBN Live

Thursday, April 10, 2008

The magic of Quota!

The Supreme Court upheld the OBC quota in educational institutes supported by the Government. Only consolation for the supporters of Merit over Caste was that the 'Creamy layer' was kept out of the quota system.

Congratulations Mr. Arjun Singh. You successfully carried out your agenda. In the world that is moving at lightening pace and values nothing but intellect and hard work, the quota system in my opinion is a step backward. But for UPA government, the corroboration from SC could not have come at a better time. With 6 states going to polls in coming months, UPA government will be hailed by the people who will reap the quota benefits as 'The saviors'. Well, not exactly saviors. More like deal makers for them. After all, the government has cut a good deal. 'We will give you quota in jobs and education, you give us vote and bring us to power.'

As someone with a keen interest in Political scenario in India, I must confess that UPA has some of the most cunning and crafty political brains. Starting from Sonia's so called sacrifice of the Prime Minister's post, Chidambaram's thousands of crores of loan waivers to farmers, 'venerable' Mr. Arjun Singh's recent attempts in quota system; all these events are cold bloodedly calculated to pull votes. And my hunch is that they will succeed in their attempts to get back in power. In the general assembly elections to come, I can see UPA reaping the sweet fruits of their labor and winning the elections once again.

As if the division of people based on the religion was not enough, now the UPA is bent on creating a rift between people based on their castes. I wonder why other countries which are economically more successful than India never had the necessity to impose such affirmative actions. Why in US we see no discrimination based on race?

-Is merit really secondary to your caste?
-If an economically middle class or lower class bright young student who can't afford to pay for the NRI or payment seats is deprived of higher education and at the same time if someone from quota system is allowed, is this fair?
- If you can waive farmers' loans, why can't you give economic incentives to the OBC or other castes if you feel they have been wronged in the past.

These questions are age old and many anti-quota activists, a lot more vocal than me, have tried their best to avert this rule. But I felt it a moral responsibility to give this issue a space on my blog.

Thanks UPA for leading us back to the past. Your definitions of progress are indeed unique.

P.S. No hard feelings for any one based on any caste. I DO NOT believe in caste system and that is why I feel there should not be a divide based on it.

A millionair orphan wants me to be his guardian. Thanks Yahoo Mail !

Another interesting story on my Yahoo Mail. Now Abrahim Musa (Reference: Previous Post) has adopted the guise of an orphan and wants me to be his guardian.

Hello ,

I will like to make myself brief.I am Bile Vesta, the son to
late Mr.Vesta Gilbert who was a wealthy farmer here in Ivory Coast and i
am 15 years old. My mother passed on two years after my father's death
from a protracted illness thereby making me an orphan.
I have been under the care of my uncles ever since these sad events but
things began to be ugly as my uncles are now diverting money meant for
my upkeep and studies to their own personal and selfish desires.

When my father was alive he secured $9.5 Million (nine million five hundred
U.S.Dollars) with a bank.Presently, this
money is still with the bank.

The fear i have now is that my studies are being threatened and my uncles
are after my father's
property.They have seized most of his estates and business empire.I am
also being threatened of being thrown out because they believe there is
nothing to gain from me.That will mean no roof over me and becoming a
street urchin.

All i want from you is for you to help me receive this fund and
become my guardian,who will in turn help me to invest the fund and also
take care of me.

I await your prompt mail and response.

Bile Vesta

Monday, April 07, 2008

Locked up for smacking son

How a slap brought police and social services in to tear a family apart...

read more

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Five things I would love to own

Mercedes Benz C Class Sports Sadan

Omega 300M Chronometer

MacBook Air

Kindle : Amazon's e-Book reader

'Oh By The Way' : A complete collection of Pink Floyd studio albums