Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Family tradition

Somehow my family has never believed in the power of the written word over the spoken word. I would be quite surprised if I learnt that my father had a letter writing phase in his life. He would much rather use the phone. Fair enough in the good old days it was a heck of a lot faster to call than to write now with the advent of email ,that excuse no longer exists. So we have conveniently evolved a new family tradition. My dad tells my mom to send me an email, and then calls me to make sure I got it. Who said that email wasn't guaranteed. Now this wouldn't be quite as fun, if I didn't do the same. So as per family tradition , when I write an email , I wait for 3 days and then call.

Oh! Adidas

Its amazing how many things you learn about ourselves day to day. My sister had sent over shorts for me form India. This was nearly a year back. It was left by the person who brought it over at a relatives place in NJ. Now I never got myself to make the trip to collect my prize. On Christmas day however I was invited to the same house by my friend who was staying there. She had mentioned earlier that she had seen the shorts and put it
away. So before I was to leave , she took me over to the shelf where it was placed at the very top. I reached to get it. My initial reaction was , "How ugly" . It was shiny dark blue with a bright yellow trim. However as soon as the whole thing came into view my feelings were assuaged somewhat and a I said "Oh! Adidas" . The implication being that I don't mind the ugly shorts as long as they were adidas.
I never realised that I was as much a devotee to brand image as the next guy. Oh Well.

Friday, December 23, 2005

Man of the year? Amitabh Bachan

For anyone who visits India , the one name and face that's inescable is that of Amitabh Bachan, Arguably the biggest super star to ever grace the silver screen. He is in the twilight of his life and his career is at a fresh pinnacle. Loved and admired by both young and old, he is an advertisers dream in terms of face and brand recall. He has been raking in the moolah through endorsements the way no other celebrity has. He is considered wise humble and grounded by most. So am I making a case for him to be Man of the year?
Far from it. I am drawing a parallel between him and Bono the lead singer of my favorite band U2. Bono was named as the Times Man of the Year along with Bill and Melinda Gates, all of whom in my opinion richly deserve the award. Few amongst us can match the Gates wealth or Bono's celebrity status. What's impressive to me is the unflinching manner that Bono has pursued his objective of obtaining debt relief for poorer nations. Most celebs including Bachan have leant their names to good causes, few have run with a cause the way Bono has.
Mr. Bachan your various movie roles have left an impact on a number of generation of Indians. Isn't it time that you impact their lives in more real ways?
More people as a whole can say they are your fans than ca say they are Bono's.
Is it not time to use that to generate a lasting impact that lasts beyond the fleeting moments of a movie?
You have what you could have asked for. Time to answer a hire calling.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Harrowing Commute

The MTA that runs the subways in New York, struck work yesterday over a pay dispute.
I had seen water taxi's at a spot not far from the Brooklyn Bridge and about 20 mins walk from my place. I was quite excited to have an alternative means to get to Manhattan, and everybody I made the suggestion to seemed to like the idea. So I left my house at 7:40 to trudge all the way to the water taxi. When I got there I was met by a group of women who told me that the water taxi's were'nt running today. So I decided to follow them across the Brooklyn Bridge. As cold and windy as it was , the sight of so many more people enduring the same conditions as me made the walk more bearable. I finally got across the bridge and walked a few blocks. The destination was 560 Washington st where I hoped to find a company shuttle. There were cops virtually at every intersection. But no one seemed to be able to definitely tell me where my destination was. The result I circled around for close to an hour before I could find the shuttle. By the time I found it I was frozen to the bone.
The ride back home was much better. I was able to take a company bus preety much 20-20 mins walk from my place. A distance of maybe 4-6 miles took approximately 2 hrs.
I was lucky however to make friends with a colleage whose husband would be driving in the next day. That besides meeting an entirely delightful person. So today I and another colleague (Again a bus acquaintance) landed up at her place for the lift. There we met the most adorablke 7-8 year olds you can find. Overall a good end to a horrendous beginning.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Whew dodged a bullet there

A couple of days back when I tried to turn on my laptop, it just refused to start.
I began fearing the worst when I connected it to the power adapter and there was no blinking, indicating that the laptop was charging. I checked for lose connections. Everything else connected to the extension board that the adapter was connected to seemed to work fine. This could mean only that my laptop or adapter had gone kaput. I was hoping it was the adapter for obvious reasons. I had a to test the laptop with another adapter, which i did yesterday. Running out of options I plugged the adapter directly to a wall outlet and voila it started working. A colleague had suggested the same but I brushed it off thinking that no way was the solution going to be that simple. So my $800 stays in my pocket.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Celebrity spotting

This weekend on saturday, I had gone to the Time Square AMC to watch the new George clooney starrer Syriana. While waiting for my friend to turn up, I saw a bunch of Indians walk in. Amongst them I could recognise from the screen, Karan Johar (hindi movie director) and Rani Mukherjee(actress). I should have asked for an autgraph to prove that I saw them, but then I thought that It would be better to let them enjoy their anonymity. This would in no way have been possible in India. I found it amazing how ordinary these celebs looked. I guess we expect them to dazzle us the way they do on screen, but when that does'nt quite happen it tends to surprise.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Hilarious website

If you thought u can dance , visit this site. Only 2 things are possible, you abandon all pretensions to being a dancer, or you realise you are actually good. A good yardstick would be if there are any moves u recognise as those belonging to your repetoire.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

How safe is a monopoly

I am going to spin an argument about something most would agree on, using a bad sports analogy and a Pulitzer prize winning book.
The book I am talking about is Gun, Germs and Steel. One of the very interesting insights is as follows. At the beginning of the evolutionary process, the ancestors of modern man were very inefficient hunters with niether superior intelligence nor the tools to threaten the survival of most animal life they co-habitted with. Without getting too technical, early man started out in Africa moving over a period of hundreds of thousands of years into first Eurasia then Australia and finally onto North and South America. Coinciding with the arrival of modern man in Australia and North America , was the near extinction of large mammals very similar to the kind now found in Africa. A very convincing case can be made for the hunting down of these large mammals by early man. So how did large mammals in Africa and to some extent Eurasia survive, while those in Australia/North America did'nt make it?
Animals in Africa had a chance to evolve alongside clumsy, lacking in hunting skills early man. whereas the animals in Australia had to deal with a shrewd adversery they had never encounterd before. The monoploy they held on those continents(Aus, NA) actually meant that they were ill euipped to deal with a superior and smarter adversary when they emerged thousands of centuries into their evolution.
How does this apply to the monopolies we see in businesses today? Most monopolies are a result of prevailing market conditions, and when you do have a monopoly, its often hard to see anothe ralternative for all stakeolders, but when an alternative does emerge it takes everyone by surprise most of all the monopoly holder itself.
Now for the bad sports analogy. The blitz that the quater back does'nt see hurts the most and does most damage. So monopoly holders breathe easy at your own risk.

What I am reading

A colleague of mine forwarded this reading list from the site Joel on Software. Its for an MBA program they have in mind. Its not as if these books are unknown gems, but its nice to have them all in one place.
The books I am reading currently are Direct from Dell
and Guns, Germs and Steel.
Both books are quite fascinating in different ways. Interesting titbit, in High school Michael Dell filed an income tax return of $18,000 more money at that time than his teacher. Where did the money come from? Selling magazine subscriptions.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Its all politics says Bush

You can credit President Bush with one specific quality. When he picks up a theme he rides it into the ground. Well his latest theme is that he will not yield to political pressure to withdraw from Iraq. Not yielding to political pressure in support of your beliefs is not necessarily a bad thing. But when u put things in perspective it does strike you. Was is not politics that led Bush into Iraq in the first place? So why is not a good enough reason to withdraw from there. President Bush has put the United States in the posiition of heads I win tails you lose.
Yes the people of this country were by and large behind him when he entered Iraq , but that support was mostly secured on the back of the tragic events of 911 and Bush and co drawing tenous links between Iraq and Al Qeuada. False eveidence was placed in front of the UN no less. This administration used every means fair and foul to influence public opinion in its favor.
So now when public opinion has turned against them they take a moral high ground. We wont leave a job unfinished. A withdrawl will be disrespecting those lives already lost. So whats the solution, more bullets and more bodies. A mess has been created and someone's got to take the rap for it. But it sure ain't gonna be Bush, he does'nt have a 3rd term anyway.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Fixing Bihar

This was an article that I had submitted to Indian Express in response to an invitation to its readers. For the unintiated Bihar is one of the most backward states in India.
Here is my contribution, I am not sure wether it was ever looked at but by posting it here hopefully it gets noticd.
By and large most in the media have hailed the end of
Laloo’s 15 year reign. Now Bihar’s problems hasn’t
been blessed with good governance prior to Laloo
either. However Laloo took over just as the rest of
India was entering a high growth phase.
Even a 15 year old will be able to list out Nitish
Kumar’s priorities. Law and Order,
Infrastructure and related development. None of which
will be easy since each is linked. You can’t have
development when businessmen don’t feel safe. Crime
follows from poverty. A very simplistic analysis no
doubt but it does contain a grain of truth.
The Bahubali’s have been used by either side in equal
measure so one cannot expect them to disappear. But
Nitish will have to prevail on those on his side while
cracking down on the ones on Laloo’s. A demoralized
police force has to be re-equipped and retrained. Once
the police realize that they will be allowed to
function without political interference , they can
actually serve as a deterrent to crime instead of
being mere bystanders. Nitish will have to go the
whole hog in attracting investments from high profile
industrialists since this is what will draw others. To
do this there has to be an increase in the
availability of water, power and roads. None of which
will happen overnight. Bihar with sufficient natural
resources(coal can be sourced from Jharkhand) should
encourage captive power plants and also be willing to
buy excess power from the same. Rural infrastructure
should be given priority so that agricultural products
can reach the market and with some value addition.
Education and health care must receive their due as
well. Whereas the bihari urban middle class have
proved that they can stick it out with the best in
their respective fields , the rural masses have gotten
left behind in the education stakes.
Now Bihar will also be imporant for one other reason.
For the last decade and a half the BJP has been the
only principal opponent to the Congress. BJP itself is
however racked by an ideological struggle , will
hindutva + socialism(read populism) + caste equations
fetch votes or is it devlopment and good governance.
They fought an election on the governance plank in
MP but since then they have lost the plot. A bihar
that makes vast strides in the coming years will serve
as a big plus for the rationalists in the BJP. And if
things go to script the BJP becomes a much milder
version of itself and actually builds bonds with the
muslims and becomes a genuine representative of the
people of India.

Friday, November 25, 2005

'B' as in ball

At lunch time I decided to order food over the phone. The lady at the other end quite presumably asian asked for my name and thats when the fun started.
For some strange when I say 'Pradyot' some people hear 'Bra..whatever I lost u'.
So I started to spell out my name the usual P as in Paul R as in razor etc.
Now this has never happened to me. The lady at the other end repeats 'B' as in Ball . After screamin 'P' enuf times to attract attention at work, I quitely handed over the phone to my chinese co-worked who procceded to tell the lady my name. And this time she did'nt have to spell it out.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Victims of B61 unite.

Consider this as an option walk in the cold for a little over 20mins or wait for the bus in the cold for 10mins. There is no winning here. Should you choose to walk after exactly 10 mins when u are half way home , the bus whizzes past you. Should you choose to wait the bus will unfailingly show up after half an hour, which means that you have not only frozen ur b*#$s off but you are also kicking yourself for not having walked.
You have to salute the B61 the bus route in question that never follows any other pattern.
The tardiness of MTA finally pissed me off enough to ask the bus driver how come the bus was half an hour late. Instead of a half decent reponse he retorts how do u know i am not on my schedule. As would be expected from any arrogant and uncaring government employee. We got into a shouting match which ended in the only way possible, with him asking me to get off the bus if I did'nt stop talking. I did get off after getting close enough. Hey I did'nt want him driving past my bus stop when i rang the bell now did I?

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

White Water rafting in Ocee River


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I took my time posting this one considering that it was taken during the Labor day weekend. But can u really blame me? You can't even see my face. I have the black shirt on with the face turned away.

New Jersey: It's cheaper than New York ....

When I first started working in NYC, my residence was over in New Jersey. The commute to work was 45 mins and it seemed to make a lot of sense since you did'nt have to pay City tax unlike NYC. But I always noted the kind of caste system that existed. Manhattanite's looked down upon everyone else and city dweller's in general frowned upon New Jersey. Quite likely the reputation was undeserved. In order to promote New Jersey, Gov. Cody decided to have a slogan contest. Here were some of the pearls that emerged.
"New Jersey: Got a problem With that?"
"Come to New Jersey -- Its not as bad as it smells"
"New Jersey we tax the $#!@ out of you"
"New Jersey and you going broke Together"
"You're from New Jersey What exit"
When I forwarded this story to friends another gem emerged. A collaborative effort between my friends Parth vasa and Deepak Rao.
"New Jersey , Its Cheaper than New York, But it still ain't worth it."
Lets see you come up with a better one.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Rage against the ipod

As technology makes it easier for us to connect to others, are we ending up isolating ourselves even further?
This thought crossed my mind recently. Anywhere you go in New York u see people with an ipod, the two most common places would be the gym and the subway. I imagine most new yorkers spend a large part of their non-working/non-sleeping hours at either of these two places. One would imagine that any place where many individuals congregate would be a place where individuals communicate. But the ipod ensures that most people come to the gym , leave the gym without having uttered a single world to anyone(yeah I know that's what gym buddies are for).
Throw isn't the personal TV's attatched to every cardio machine, and there is absolutely no reason to glance at someone else.
The subway is no better. I have found myself in the subway, listening to music and reading a magazine simultaneously as do so many others. Shutting out the rest of the world.
What about the days when I don't carry a magazine or a cd player? I look around and then immediately look away when met with a blank stare.
I feel almost scared of looking at someone lest they take offense. I wonder why its so hard to even smile at someone.
There was an interesting take on technology I read sometime back. Referring to the internet mostly, I am paraphrasing,:"technology has made it easier to connect and also easier to isolate oneself. Ultimately it just accentuates our basic tendencies.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Cindrella Man Premiere

This was taken at the prmiere of Cindrella Man starring Russel Crowe. I am posing next to a mock newspaper stand with newspapers extolling the virtues of the protagonist Jim Braddock. I can't believe I screwed this photo up. But ah well, u have to work with what you have.
 
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Friday, November 11, 2005

Hilarious poem

This is what I consider a hilarious poem by my good friend Anoop Kulkarni. See if you agree. I feel compelled to add that, as I performed a spell check, the spell checker in all its wisdom suggested that I replace 'Anoop' with 'amoeba' , I decided to resist that temptation however strong.
How about cake: I wanna play tag tag

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

A public service announcement

For all those many legions who read my blog(1 or 2 if u insist on the numbers), I would like to make a humble suggestion. Try to avoid the use of plastic when and where possible. Try taking along a cloth bag to shop, lunch in a brown bag, refill water bottles from the water fountain etc. No amount of reading urging etc will change people's behavior. It hits you when it hits you. Isn't it time to do our bit for the planet?

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Quite right Vijay

This is response to my friend Vijay leaving a comment on my last post. Vijay's point is that I am being harsh when it comes to saying let the Pakistani's look after their own after their earthquake, while India sits on the sidelines. Yes it is harsh but it has a basis. The Pakistani Leaderships mindset can be ascertained from one famous statement that Zulfikar Bhutto made when he was PM. "We will eat grass, but we will make the bomb."
Rather than looking after the well being of their people they want to buy bigger and better guns to beat India with. I know this is a great diplomatic opportunity.(not to speak of the humanitarian or moral aspect)
But do we really want the money we give them to end up as bullets in Indian bodies? or rdx in delhi's bazaar's? In an ideal world India would help Pakistan and we'd become friends. Do u really see that happening?

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Don't repeat past wrongs

The recent earthequake that hit Kashmir(both Indian and Pakistani parts) has caused enought devastation on the Pakistani side to make the Pakistani President complain about the rate at which international monies are pouring for rebuilding and reconstruction. His estimates of $5 billion will not draw any challenge from me. What I'd like to say however , is that India must avoid the temptation of rushing in with any commitment for the reconstruction effort. I'd take an educated guess that any money we give Pakistan will be used to buy weapons to be used against us and to fund their unholy war(How any war can be holy escapes me). Humanitarian supplies is one thing , money is a whole different thing. A nuclear power state should have the wherewital to generate resources for its own reconstruction. One thing is for sure, that money is'nt coming frm the US, already stretched by Iraq,Afganistan and Katrina. Lets see wether they can maintain their aggresive postures while their countrymen live out in the open this bitter winter.

Monday, October 17, 2005

A typical Indian Riot

I was reading reports about rioting in the North Indian town of Mau. One thing that struck me , was the description. "Violence erupted between two communities". talk about stating the obvious. In their effort to be politically correct the reports end up looking ridiculous. When there is a riot in India, everybody with half a brain knows its between hindus and muslims. What we don't know is who started it. I concede such information can be deemed inflammatory, and can be suppressed . But for heaven's sake don't insult our intelligence by giving us the "two communities" spiel. My solution, look up the same report in a foreign paper, they are not burdened by any such considerations and usually call a spade a spade.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Katrina and the Quake

A friend pointed out lately, a large number of natural disasters have hit various parts of the world. From the Tsunami to hurricane Katrina and now the Earthquake in South Asia, it would seem that nature has unleashed its full fury on us. How do we deal with the level of destruction and loss ? We try and rationalise in our own inane ways.
If there is one thing that stands out, nature's fury spares none. Niether religion nor color niether caste nor creed assuress any protecton from the elements at their worst. If anything we must realise the larger challenges we face as mankind do not leave us the luxury of our "civilisational struggles".
Unfortunately common sense is not as common. When i first heard about the devastation casued by the earthquake mostly in Pakistan occupied Kashmir(or as the pakistani's call it Azad Kashmir) my first reaction(I am not proud of it) was hmm how come I don't hear any Al Quaeda spokespersons attributing the earthquake to divine retribution as they had Hurricane Katrina?
How wrong was I. Ofcourse the Jihadi's are saying that the Earthquake is punishment for pulling back from the brink in confronting India. Such justifcations however twisted will find supporters in a populace that has been radicalised for years. The Jihadi organizations have been at the forefront of providing relief to the victims of the earthquake. If they have such regard for human life , why do they then show such ruthlessness and singlemindedness in erasing it when they cross the border into India? Sadly it because they view non-muslims as unworthy of considerations they would extend to fellow muslims. I know moderate and forward looking muslims will condemn such radicals. But thats not enough. You don't treat cancer by condemning it.
Its time for all of us to stop pussyfooting about a problem we all know exists.

I find that odd..

Most would have read about the earthquake measuring 7.6 on the Richter scale that struck the northern reaches of the Indian state of Jammu and Kasmir and The Pakistani portion of Kashmir. The quake had its epicenter at Muzaffarabadd the capital of the Pakistani part. But considering the proximity of the area to the India part I find it rather odd , that the toll reported from the Pakistanis side is rising on a daily basis now said to be 30,000+ dead, whereas the Indian side has kept the figure under a 1,000. Surely one of the sides is being economical with the truth. So who is it? The Indians? But then what to they have to gain? The pakistani's ? More relief materials maybe? Something does'nt add up.
POK (Pak occupied kashmir known to Pakistani's as Azad Kashmir(a misnormer if there waws any, since Azad means free. Kinda reminds u of Operation Iraqi freedom don't it)) is known to house a lot of the terrorist training camps. Wonder what impact that fact has on the way things pan out in the next few weeks or months.

Monday, October 03, 2005

This happens only in India

Most people are hypocrites, its only natural. Howvever its certainly a question of degrees. There is nothing that gets my goat worse then hypocrisy. Just as the Government of Maharashtra was busy shutting down dance bars when they should have been unclogging the gutters in Bombay, now we have the TN government clamping down on a Hotel where some idiot journalist snapped a couple kissing. For a second consider the newsworthiness of a lip lock between 2 random people. Now ask yourself wether there are'nt other important matters that the government has to attend to. Whatever your opinion on diplays of affection in public, surely you see the futility of such reprehensible moral policing. What kind of society do we want to live in. One where the police determines what show of affection is appropriate? One where girls are made to feel sinful just to be seen with a guy. If the moralists have a way to live let them preach it, let them convince people. But let them not coerce. Coercion should have no place in a democracy. And oh yeah we know what sex is how do u think we got to a billion, singing songs , or letting the birds and bees do the job for us?

Thursday, September 29, 2005

That's Funny ..

I had a ACL reconstruction surgery Sept 7th. I'll write in detail about the recovery later. I have been on crutches and a brace(that is locked when I walk) for the last couple of weeks. In that period people have mostly asked questions like what happened and the like. Most have made sympateitc sounds as you might expect. But the funniest thing that anyone has said to me was "Run Forrest Run".

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Who should be captain?

Indian cricket is going through a rather rough patch right now. Part of it has to do with the captain coach controversy ongoing between Saurav Ganguly and Greg Chappel.
A lot of this has to do with the unique position a captain enjoys in cricket. In most other sports major decisions are left to the coach on the sidelines. These range from strategic decisions to team composition. Cricket up until now has been different since the captain has such an on field role in terms of bowling changes , field placements etc. However players with on field ear pieces being given instructions by the coach can remedy that. The arguments in favor of this are many. Why burden a singlre individual with so much responsibility when he is also responsible for his own play. Not every captain suffers a slump in personal form on taking over the captaincy mantel. But there are enough who do , to warrant this change. Maybe Hansie had it right along. This will allow each team to always present thier most balanced side rahter than worry about wether they were making a long term change each time they felt tempted to leave out the captain for a lack of form.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Damn it when did u get so slow

For those struggling with an ever slower computer, my suggestion is fork out the dough and buy a new one. But till that glorious day arrives u can get by on these tips.

Speed Up your Comp

Thursday, September 15, 2005

The Trump solution

I am sure The Apprentice is an extremely popular program. I could never actually bring myself about to watch however. donald Trump whatever his many successes never struck me as a truly visionary, business leader of any kind. And finally my gut instinct was proven by the Don homself. His take on the high gas prices after Hurricane Katrina. The Saudi's are pushing up the gas prices on us. They are laughing at us. We are'nt sending the right people to negotiate with them. Since they depend on us we must be able to determine oil prices. This line will get u a few claps on a talk shows but Donald economics 101 if u had taken it would have told u price is a consequence of demand and supply. The Saudi's owe America enough to be pumping away the best they can. So will anyone else who has the capacity to exploit the prevailing high oil prices. Unlike in the 80's no organization has stepped in to curtail world oil supplies. Its just that we are getting whats available and it isn't enough. But Don the world is laughing at the US. Its laughing at its SUV's.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Do not call us we'll call u

Starting Sept 1st telemarketing companies can call on ur cellphone.To prevent this from happening u can call up the do not call list and register ur number. I just did it today after a colleague of mine recieved a call from some company
the number is 1-888-382-1222.

So that where the quota went

I got this of the INS website FAQ page.
What is an H-1B?
The H-1B is a nonimmigrant classification used by an alien who will be employed temporarily in a specialty occupation or as a fashion model of distinguished merit and ability.

Friday, September 02, 2005

Off to Atlanta

I am off to Atlanta this long weekend to have the pleasure of paying $5 for a gallon of gas. I am going to attend a friends reception. And hopefully have a ball the other 3 days as well. I get all worked up about such holidays and want to take so much stuff with me , making so many plans not nearly half of which materialize. Well this time I am targeting the Health club,swimming pool and tennis(in addition to whatever sight seeing/night life/outdoors we can do as a group. Hope Airtran is spending enuf on the upkeep of their planes since this is the first time I fly airtran.
I'll be going in for my ACL surgery the very next day after I am back. So no sports for a long time after that.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

The NFL can only spare a lousy 1 million

The NFL no doubt one of the richest sporting bodies in america has announced a lousy 1million $ in aid for the victims of the Hurricane Katrina. I am not privy to the numbers, but surely thats even close to 1/2 % of what they make a year. Surely for their sheer visibility they should be seen to be making more of a contribution. Their small mindedness has been exposed by the Yankees announcing a similar contribution. Hopefully the rest of the sporting community i this country wakes up and realises the social burden they should be bearing , a small price to pay for all the money, love, motion and attention the people lavish on them.

Hurricanes and Gas prices rising ... Its Bush's fault

This might sound very leftist, but its probably true. Bush when he came into power, and as a consequence of 9-11 had an opportunity very few have had before him. A country that was united behind him and an international community that would fall in line.
Bush chose to use this consensus by setting aflame the mideast by invading Iraq. Not only is the United States paying a price for his decision in terms of men and material , but the whole world pays a price. The uncertainty of world oil supply and terrorist violence means that speculators are having a field day in imposing a "Uncertainty premium" on the gas we buy.
throughout the Bush administration has taken decisions that seem to defy common sense. Rejecting the Kyoto protocol being one such thing. Greenhouse gases are everyone's problem with the US having to take a major portion of the blame.
Does anyone remember the tax rebates on Hummers?
There has been absolutely no movement (At least in his first 4 years) on moving towards reducing the US domestic consupmtion on fossil fuels. An as if the oil companies are not doing well enuf now they have been given a package to subsidise additional refining capacity. So Mr Bush
if $4 gas becomes a reality( http://money.cnn.com/2005/08/31/news/gas_prices/index.htm), its ur fault.
And oh yeah Mr Bush , There is such a thing as global warming, and it is supposed to accompanied by dramitic climatic changes. So wake up and do something before we run out of sexy names to give these hurricanes.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Planning for the future.

I have always wanted to do an MBA and from a top univ. I always belived that any job I got would fund that. Now the thing is once u have a little money u get used to certain crature comforts that are not available to a poor student. As a student u don't have the security that u will have a decent pay cheque in the bank at the end of the month. Almost as if to confirm my own doubts, A recent article in Forbes (magazine), highlights how more and more working professionals preffer a part time MBA to a full time one. It then goes on to make a compelling argument about the cost + lost earnings of a full time being way more than a partime(factoring in salary increases).
To that end I realised , maybe its time to start saving rite now for education but under a different head. After one google search I stumbled upon the 529 plans(vary from state to state) . generally benefits include tax deductions to tax credits. U get levied a 10% penalty if ur withdrawal is for non-educational purposes. But its definetly worth a dekko.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Inspiration?

One of the aspects of living in America is a lesson on how hard people can work. I know that Indians/Chinese asians in general have reputations of working extremely hard. What we tend to overlook is how far the average american would be willing to work. So what allows one to be a success?(I know its a very realtive term, but bear with me while I build my argument ) I bet, hard work mixed with a dose of dreaming .
There are two most interesting individuals who brought this across to me, in vastly different ways.
One is an Indian immigrant who spent his adolecent days in the US. He works as an engineer and yet drives his family taxi on saturdays. I know no one else doing that. The very least I can take from this is work hard and play hard because he does both.
The second was a podiatrist I was visiting. When he heard that I was a s/w programmer , he told me that he himself was a computer buff and he was working on some hardware product with a company in China. Doctors in US are the closet u have to sahibs, yet the man has the time and will to work on something that is quite likely a dream. Again a lesson learnt. U should never be too busy to pursue ur dreams.
Hats off to both guys. I am not sure how long it will last, but I am inspired rite now.

Monday, March 28, 2005

Why Ganguly Why

My very first blog posting has been brougth about in a fit of ire at the performance of the Indian cricket team in the third and final test in Bangalore. I wanted to see some admission of guilt or accountability from the players. There was none. No serious reprimands from the administrators or harsh critiques from the 'pundits' either. They are all scared of losing their access to the all powerful 'greats' in the Indian team.
But then when you think about it why should cricket be any different from the way the rest of our country is? Lalu ruled Bihar for 15 years and looks good for another 5 despite runnning the state into the ground. Kargil we are told was not an intelligence failure. Or at least no heads rolled. Whoever concieved Op Parakram is not suffering any serious after affects . How many of our politicians are in jail for corruption that we know exists. This is our interpretation and rendition of democracy. We are all equal. So equal that no one can be pulled up for anything.
So coming back to Ganguly. I feel sorry for him. That he is out of touch is as clear as day. In any other sport he could have taken a break. Recharged his batteries. Not in cricket . He knows that selectors are notorious in forgetting about dropped players. He knows that Kaif and Yuvraj and whole host of others are sniping at his heels. So all he can do is suck it up. Try to present a modicum of a respectability(and confidence) to the media, and hope that his place saving century is a single knock away.
The selectors wont drop him cos you would have a situation where ganguly would be in the one day XI playing along side Dravid who would presumably become test captain.
Lets look at remedy no 1 . Get Rid of Ganguly. Will we become world beaters? I wish. The malaise lies deeper still. After Sehwag lost his wicket. In came Rahul Dravid . India's hero and collosus. The man who had set up so many Famous test victories. How he played would set the tone for the Indian response. He did not become the force he is today by defending for his life. He got here by adding another dimension to his batting ie attacking the bowling.
What followed from over no 23 to lunch ie 33 or 34 was totally inexplicable. India pottered on at close to 1 rpo. This set the stage for the mayhem later in the second session. No one can escape the blame. Thats whats the most troubling aspect. Kaif and Yuvraj might not have half the talent of Tendulkar or Ganguy(take this with a pinch of salt) but they have loads of heart. Heart that was sorely missed in India's second innings performance. I know just as surgeons get used to losing the occasional patient so do players get used to losing, since losing is a part of playing. But surely there must be some shred of decency in our stars thats gnawing them and asking uncomfortable questions. My heros stand in front of me disgraced. Dismiss my criticism if u may. But what is pertinent is something more than a mere game has been lost today. Donno wether I should call it honor. I don't much care that we lost to Pakistan. We really lost to ourselves.