Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Libya

This week’s news cycle has been dominated by the tragic events in
Libya, which resulted in deaths of Ambassador Steven and 3 of his
colleagues. We will have to wait to find out whether this was a
pre-meditated attack by Al-Qaeda, or a violent turn of the protest.
And even then, it is not likely to matter to the loved one of 4
Americans who died in Libya. That the defenders of these protests take
umbrage in the fact that their religion was offended is irrelevant,
the fact remains is, there is no excuse for the violence that
surfaced, the 4 Americans who were murdered, and the people who were
responsible, directly or indirectly, are murderers.

Yet, there was something that was bothering me, I couldn’t rationalize
the situation as there was only one side to blame, and now after
thinking it through, I don’t believe the situation is as black and
white. If one were to try and sympathize with either of the two
parties – and it is not clear to me who the two parties are to begin
with – one’s choices are between bigotry and murder. If you think
bigotry is lesser of the two evils, Wisconsin shooting, deaths of
Sikhs post 9/11, assorted other Hindu-Muslim riots, genocides in
Rwanda, Sudan –  I really could go on – all have roots in bigotry, so
it’s really not a lesser of the two evils.

And for a change, I don’t believe religion, rather differences in
religion, or culture has anything to do with how the events unfolded.
I don’t believe it is the differences in culture, simply because the
vast majority of our understanding of different cultures is based on
what we see on TV, so it is not accurate to say that an average person
understands the different cultures, let alone articulate the
differences. And I don’t believe it is religion, because if we didn’t
fight over whose religion is superior, then it would be over something
else – I’m convinced of this.

We have as a race and a civilization, abdicated our rationality,
intelligence, and our humanity, to a thought process of: XYZ did this
to our faith, let us kill some of their innocent people and teach them
a lesson. To demonstrate superiority over another group of people has
been in our DNA for eons and that way of life will probably continue
until we burn ourselves down and end the human race as we know it.

Semifinal, Ind vs. Pak

The 2nd semifinal prompted me to use my blogspace, precisely 9 months after my last post. What prompted what this little piece of nugget by Wright Thomson on ESPN [link]. The thing that struck me the most was this bit-

Sachin Tendulkar says goodbye and closes his door, while, in every direction, a vast nation sees its hopes and dreams in him, for at least a little while longer. I step into the elevator, then a car, then three flights, then my car, then my house. I return from blind alleys and brightly lit fields, having found my moment of rapture and, at the end, the man who created it. I’ve found both the riddle and the answer, and I wonder what it must cost someone to be both of those things. One part of my conversation with Tendulkar will return to me every time India plays in this World Cup.

His agent told me he’s aware of what he means to people, of the symbolic importance of being both the beginning and end of something. He is a bridge, and it is vital to the psyche of a nation that he remains intact. He gets it. That’s why he never loses focus. Nothing, it turns out, is effortless. In his room, he seems tired, worn out mentally and physically. He needs a break. I ask when was the last time he had 20 days off in a row with nothing to do. No balls to hit or billions to represent.

“I’m waiting for that time to come,” he says.

That Sachin is a batsman par excellence, is beyond doubt. That he’s a great human being, is also beyond a doubt -I don’t know him personally, but nothing that I have read or heard makes me think otherwise. But for him to be aware of the hopes the 1+ billion people of India place on him, add to that his own expectations of himself, the adoration, the adulation, the celebrity status etc, are the reasons he should fail, to be more specific underachieve. That everybody expects him to score 100 international centuries, and for him to bat impervious to that those kinds of pressure-RESPECT.What’s interesting about the ESPN piece is for the first time ever, ESPN has carried cricket as a headline story. Sure, there have been a few sporadic stories about cricket, but never as a headline piece.

Anyways, I didn’t mean to make this post about Sachin. There are much better writers out there, who’ll capture my thoughts about Sachin better than perhaps even I can. I wanted to talk about where we, Indian cricket team goes from here; speculation is abound in Indian media that Sachin will play his last ODI innings in Bombay on Saturday. Looking at the current squad, this means that Gambhir, Sehwag and Kohli form the top order. Yusuf Pathan slots in to the team, also because of lack of options. Yuvraj and Raina are perfect at 5 and 6 positions. This leaves the crucial #4 position, and one candidate for it – MS Dhoni.

Dhoni is perhaps the best captain after Ganguly, I would even stretch to say that tactically he’s by far the best captain India has ever had. His unflappable nature adds to that skill. He does make some odd decisions now and then, but they get papered over whenever Dhoni decides to attack in the field. In this world cup, India’s best bowling performance has come when Dhoni has decided to take the proverbial bull by the horns. He’s been constantly attacking, forcing the batsman to do something different, taking wickets and not allowing easy singles. He’s style permeates through the team as well- sample our fielding performance in the last 2 games. India went from a bad fielding team to a pretty decent one. Since the personnel didn’t change, only attitudes did.

Problem is his batting. What’s difference between Dhoni of 2007 to 2009 and current Dhoni. Heck even compare the Dhoni of 2006. It’s the defensive nature of batting. Clearly Dhoni is at his best, when he attacks. By that I don’t mean that belting every ball out of the ground, but more the mindset. The in form and attacking Dhoni knew which balls he could hit, and which ones he couldn’t. The balls he couldn’t hit, Dhoni would look to take a single or double, and put real pressure on the fielders. Today’s Dhoni pokes, prods and defends, even when he’s not technically capable of it. He’s lost the art of looking for singles. Dhoni poking and prodding against Ajmal, Hafeez and Afridi was an eyesore.

To succeed and return to his old form, Dhoni needs to think about how he wants to play. More so after Sachin retires, his will be the position that batting order will revolve around. Another thing that would help is not selecting team on reputation, just on form. For all of Bhajji’s reputation, Ashwin has outplayed him every single time he’s given a chance. Heck Yuvraj has out bowled Bhajji.

Dhoni ball is in your court, starting Saturday in Wankhede!

China

I haven’t been on my blog for a week now. I don’t post as frequently as I used to. And its not because I’m a bit disappointed with the lack of traffic on my blog. Mostly, it has been very hard trying to find time between classes and corresponding work, to think about something to write and put words around it. I did want to write about my trip to World Expo, but I’ll wait till I finish the journal for International Management class, before I copy it over to the blog :-).

I could have written about China. However, there’s a saying in China, “If you spend a week in China, you write a book about China. If you spend a month, you write a book. And if you spend a year in China, you say nothing.” So apt to my situation. In many ways similar to the country of my birth: India. There’s so much to write and say about China that I don’t even know where to begin. I spent 4 weeks in Beijing and have been in Shanghai for about 2 weeks, and the contrast is start. Heck, the contrast in Beijing was stark. Below are a couple of pictures taken by a colleague of mine from his hotel room in Beijing.

On a smoggy day-

On a clear day

Yeah, I was flabbergasted too. Latter picture was a rare sight during my time in Beijing. Not only that, the number of English speaking people was a low number. Even at the hotel I was staying, which by the way was built for foreign tourists during the Beijing Olympics. Understandly, the city is more politically inclined with it being the cultural and the political center. I did have a hard time with language, but I got around with the help of a few Mandarin translations from the hotel. The people were generally polite, talkative, even though I had no clue what was being spoken. I suppose animative is better description. I rarely had any taxi drivers say no to my fare.

Shanghai, figuratively, is a world apart. While flying into La Guardia, I’ve flown over Manhattan, and the skyline is pretty impressive. Shanghai skyline was even better. Not for the sheer size, but the incredible architecture. The “bottle-opener” building or Shanghai World Financial center is awesome, when looking over the top of it. Language in Shanghai, I hear, is quite different too. Since, I don’t speak Mandarin, I have no reason to doubt the assertion. The people, however, are less friendly than Beijing. Try standing in the middle of Hongqiao airport, or even in the middle of a sidewalk. People won’t walk by you. They’ll walk through you. I swear, I’ve never been pushed aside so often, and so unapologetically. Its a culture thing. No, Shanghai residents aren’t rude. They are just used to not having people in their way. Walk fast, live fast and play fast. As a tourist, who’s spent most of his life living in urban setting, and living the fast-paced life, I’m slow by Shanghai standards. Oh, and those taxis. Never have I seen so many taxis refuse fares in a popular district like “the bund”.

I didn’t get a culture shock in Beijing; in Shanghai, I’m yet to get used to the culture. Hopefully, by the end of this term, I’ll understand Shanghai better

IPL Round up -Part 1

Amidst all the vodafone wtf moments that happened in IPL, the league phase is over. If you think that this was a loonnnng winding league phase, well watch out next year for Havells IPL round robin phase, consisting of 94 matches. 4 teams have made it to Semi-Finals, so lets focus on the almost Cindrellas, the teams who didn’t make it to the DLF knockout phase.

Delhi Daredevils – Led by their star commentator, Danny “Double Ds” Morrison, Delhi flattered to deceive. I was able to get hold of a transcript of a phone conversation between Danny and Mrs. Morrision-

Danny – Hi Honey, hope you and the DDs, er… I mean kids are doing well

Mrs. Morrison – What DDs and where are you at the moment?

Danny – Oh nothing, just been following Delhi Daredevils

Mrs. Morrison (screaming) – don’t you lie…I’ve seen you on TV, next to those cheerleaders

What, you’re not interested in Danny’s tale. Fine. Lets focus back on the cricket. Delhi would have probably made it to the Semi-Finals, if Viru or Gambhir had actually picked up the coach’s call.

Kings XI Punjab – If the competition was only limited to IPL nights party, Yuvraj would have the been the best batsman. Unfortunately, like anything sponsored throughout the competition, MRF Yuvraj’s Paunch was a disaster, to a point that his batting was a bright spot. Karbonn Kamaal dropped catches, Appam C. and Piyush “Aur Mere Liye” Chawla (courtesy – GreatBong) Punjab topped the league in Citi moments of failure.

MRF Balloon – Oh sorry…it’s a blimp, at the forefront of the technology, which doesn’t show one freaking over head shot of the stadium. Two important points here and here.

Rajasthan Royals – Naam hai Hollywood…Shane Hollywood, a bowler par expellence on and off the field. Preity Zinta may have more commercially successful and critically acclaimed films (okay fine, the score is 1-0 in Zinta’s favor), but a better playing team she has not. Shilpa’s team in their owners style, talent-less and no meat on their bones, overachieved. Quite frankly, I found this video more interesting than their matches

Kolkotta Knight Riders – Despite a  potent combination of this and this, KKR surprisingly didn’t implode like last year. Much more fun review here.

Part 2 of my review will follow after the Finals and the awesome closing ceremony and the even more awesome IPL awards.

[Disclaimer – I was not coerced, bribed or intimidated into using any of the sponsors name. I did solely because I thought I could win an award, or two, in the IPL Awards night on Friday. ]

April 16th

This post is not about recapping events from that day. For anyone who went to Virginia Tech, he or she understands the significance of this day. It has been 3 years and I still haven’t been able to deal with it. I still have a vivid image of blood spattered across the pavement in front of Burruss Hall. The sole bright spot about the blood stain, it belonged to someone who survived. The events of 3 years ago has bought us “Hokies”, as a community, even more closer; any Hokie will understand this.

To the families and friends of the 32 students and faculty, who lost their lives 3 years ago. My thoughts are always with you. And you loved ones may be out of sight, but never will they be out of mind.

WE ARE VIRGINIA TECH

My first post

Here it goes – my first blog post. I’m new to blogging world, never thought I would be a part of it- here I am blogging away. I’m not sure how much I’ll blog, or what I’ll even blog about. I hope to write about my views: things I see and the way I see them. I am sure some or everybody will disagree, but hey that’s why the freedom of speech. Now, before I get to the first topic a little bit about myself – I’m an engineering graduate, working with an IT consulting company, about to leave my job to start my MBA. I spent the first 17 years of my live in India, moving about all over the country (courtesy an Army dad). I’ve lived in Delhi, Jammu, Pune, Ahmedabad and Wellington. Currently, I reside with my wife in Washington D.C.

So, while reading up some Indian news I came across this link. Now, whether Sania marries Shoaib “the great sulker” Mirza or some other tom, dick, or harry is least of my concerns. What I find interesting is the comment section. Apparently, this outrage wasn’t present Muralitharan married an Indian Tamil. I don’t consider Pakistan as the angel in fight against terrorism, but really we need to calm the traitor rhetoric being spewed against Sania. Choosing to marry someone of different nationality is the freedom that constitution of India affords its citizens. We should celebrate the fact that freedom is considered a right here (Emergency in 70s withstanding), not a privilege that is/can be taken  away at some politicians whim.

For what’s it worth, I think Sania is an over-hyped tennis player, who bought into her own hype and tennis consequently deteriorated and her marriage with Shoaib is one of convenience. So let her be in peace, settle down in Karachi or Dubai, or where ever the hell she wants to be.

Finally, if anyone has any ideas on how to improve my blog, I’m not very tech savvy even though I work in IT.