Tuesday, July 29, 2008


As we waited in McDonald's Lake View lobby to get our dinner reservation, we started talking to a chirpy little young college student who was working there for her summer job. This was on July 4th and we were on our Montana vacation. Her name was Suzie.
She seemed happy and full of energy and gave us a lot of information loaded with the Maps and alternative roads to go to the Many Glaciers park; that we were planning next day. She surprisingly knew a lot about Hindi movies as apparently one of her close college friend's was an Indian. And she did bring up that topic volunteerily even as she chatted with us.

After a while we settled around our restaurant table and were waiting patiently to be serviced. I started observing things around myself. The setting was perfect. It was about an hour before dusk. The sun was steadily settling down. The lake across the tables was serene and silent. The Mountains overlooking the lake were creating just the right kind of cinematic effect with shadow and stuff.

And then there were different folks of different ages wine-ing and eating. Some of them were retired couples, and were enjoying wine overlooking the lake view, talking softly to one another. Some of them were big family groups and were noisy with jokes and laughters all around. Some tables had young couples trying to manage their cranky babies. It was a lively evening.

And just when we were about to start, the same chirpy girl, Suzie, came in the restaurant and made an announcement. She was again full of energy and she was like - "Folks, Everyone... today is July 4th and I think we should sing our national anthem. Can you please all join us? "

And she continued .. "So who's going to take the lead...?" And she was laughing and giggling...
And all of us in the restaurant just got caught in the moment. We stood up and before we knew, she had taken the lead. She did not have a good voice for a singer. But her sheer enthusiasm took care of that part. The whole dinner place came alive. Everyone joined and every one sang. Old, young every one. I noticed even the baby at our next table who was all cranky, shut up for that moment. May be she too got surprised by the sudden change in the environment around her.

Me and my wife stood up. We do not know the words of Americas national song. So we just put our hands on our hearts and stood silently.
I realized how powerful a song can be. I am not a citizen of this nation. But I would stand up for any national anthem. Not only America.

That day, the little girl showed how simple deeds can show patriotism. Patriotism is not a monopoly of the select few. She may have a lot of complains from this nation. She may have her whiny days. But on the 4th of July, she made us all look smaller than her. She became a hero for those 2 mins.

After the song everyone cheered her lustily. For those few minutes, she had made us all - ONE. For me the moment signified, how patriotism is not a bad word. As long as there are Suzies in this nation, no 9/11 can shake it's spirit. It was an inspired and spontaneous moment as far as I can tell.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

'Time to Question'

Indian Express Editorial on UPA's ineptness at handling Terror.

"The convenient political assumption in India is that voters don’t punish governments who appear to be ineffective against terror. This government really has pushed that assumption to its limit."

Disgusting is the word.

'Excuse Makers"

In what happened in India last couple of days, I am posting a link to an old but very relevant article by Thomas Friedman (Who else?)

In this article that appeared in NYTimes.com few years back, Friedman in his typical style touches upon one aspect of Terrorism that we never talk of.

He calls them "excuse makers". These are the people who are ready to justify the act of terrorism by giving examples of what's happening somewhere else. Middle-East is their favorite excuse spot. So any attack anywhere on innocents can easily be justified by any of these - Middle East, Kashmir, Iraq and what have you.

"After every major terrorist incident, the excuse makers come out to tell us why imperialism, Zionism, colonialism or Iraq explains why the terrorists acted. These excuse makers are just one notch less despicable than the terrorists and also deserve to be exposed"

Yes sir, we need to do this. Speaking from India;s point of view, we need to put these spotlights over our own Arundati Roys and Vindo Mehtas and Ram Punyanis and Kuldip Nayars and Praful Bidwais. They never tire justifying these acts of killing innocent people on something that happened in 1992 or even 1952.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Take your pick

Today it was Ahmadabad.

Yesterday it was Banglore and some months back it was Jaipur

OK so we just live with this..,like forever, no?

This is what a top ranking police officer had to say - "Why do you ask us to comment whenever blasts occur? We, the policemen of India, are not at all getting any support from the system nor do we get support from the Indian media. People forget that terrorism is a battle that can be fought only with the help of the police. In the last five years the Indian police is fighting a lonely battle."

Well said Sir. We make heroes out of terrorists. Afzhal Guru for example. These cowards are becoming heroes thanks to people like Mahesh Bhatt, who make movies depicting an imaginative "victimization" of a particular community and then glorifying there so called rebellion against the system So appealing isn't it?.

We have tied the hands of the police force; because well, Police Force is all bad. Villains, right? Their only job is to harass oh-so-innocent guys of a particular community, right?

Tough situations require tough response from the system. We have not scaled our system well over the years. We copy pasted and created Laws that were a legacy of the British. And over last 60 years we have not really bothered to upgrade those laws to handle new kinds of lawlessness.

The current government under whose 4 years (mis)rule we have seen the most number of attacks has been singularly lackluster and has made no efforts to take up this issue head on. They have even clipped Modi's hands by not allowing Gujarat governments tough laws to come into force by refusing to sign it. Patil tai is sitting on those papers for like ever.

Israel is a democracy like ours. They have liberals and conservatives. They have very strong religious groups operating withing the country. They have the most acrimonious debates and very huge differences amongst themselves. But when it comes to national security, they don't take chances. They are surrounded from all sides by hostile nations. Their west bank is every volatile. But they have now figured out a way to deal with this deadly and daily menace. They have by no stretch of imagination perfected the system. Yet they are effectively dealing with it.

We need to learn from Israel. It's important that India deal with this problem head on, instead of giving lofty lectures of peace to the world and sweeping it under the carpet, thinking it will take care of itself one day.

These cowards are already planning their next attack. What city,street or Mohalla, no one knows.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Wonder how this all works?

So Bush called Manmohan Singh on the phone and spoke about the N-deal.

Got me thinking, how does this all work? Is Bush calling from his cell? Obviously not. I can't think of Bush having Manmohan in his favorites list on Iphone; assuming Bush knows how to use the Favorite List feature in the first place.

Anyways, so here's how I think it all works. A fictional demented account..

Bush's White House foreign affairs secretary (I am just making this up, so please bear for sometime) gets a call from US Ambassador in India. He tells the White House guy - "OK, dude, M Singh got through. Now we are good. Give him a call, will ya? "

The Secretary in White House is like totally zapped- "Mmm... what GOT THRU? What the..f.. r u talking about? And who is M Singh"

Ambassador - "The Nuclear Deal, you MORON. The N-deal got thru. And M Singh is Men-Mohen. MenMohen Singh .. but spelt M-A-N-M-O-H-A-N, .. in India, remember?"

Secretary - "Easy tiger. I got it now. What time is it there?"

Ambassador - "What kinda question is that? Anyway it's like 1:00 am here. Yeah - they were fighting over that issue for the whole fking day in Parliament. Finally some suitcases made good and they got few buggers to jump the fence"

Secretary - "Suitecases?"

Ambassador- "Look I can't explain. Just ask Bush to call that Singh guy tomorrow, will ya?"

Secretary - "Ya ok ok. I will see what I can do"

Ambassador - "And remember. It's Manmohan Singh. M-A-N-M-O-H-A-N Singh. India. I repeat India."

Secretary - "Ya got it, you Deutschbag. Don't rub it in."

And he hangs.

Bush comes out in his jamies after a nice little brunch. Ham and Cheese and all. Half sleepy rubbing his eyes asks this secretary - 'So whats the deal for today?".

Secretary - "It's the N-deal Sir. N-Deal"

Bush -"Wot the f.. r u talking of? N-Deal? I don't use no 'N' word here!"

Secretary - "Sir, Nuclear. Nuclear deal with India. That next to Pakistan"

Bush - "Oh. Noocealear. yeah yeah. That one. Wot about that?"

Secretary - "There was a call from Ambassador in India. He says the PM of India won the majority vote for it to pass through parliament. And now you can call him"

Bush - " Oh crap. Not more paper work !!!! Condi, is it necessary? Can't we just forget this deal, wotever the f..it is, already?"

Condi Rice - "George, looks like that Singh dude has put his neck on the line for this one. We need to back him up."

Bush - " OK OK. But, can't I speak to that babe instead? What's her name, the one from Italy. She is pretty neat... (Wink Wink).. This guy... I don't know. I can't figure wot comes out of his mouth"

Condi - "George, just deal with it, will ya? India can be a good counter to our new competitor. You know what I mean?" And now Condi winks at him.

Condi continues - "Just call him and congratulate him.. and thats it. We'll take care of the rest on administrative level"

Bush - "Gotcha Gotcha!!!... Guys... Can't I have a break from all this? OK, anyways I am starting my vacation next week over my ranch. I don't care... hahahaha."

Military style cricket

Whoa! Now this is new?

Pakistan cricket board has put it's players on a regimented schedule as reported by TOI.

"Cricketers are generally used to five-star hotel facilities even during training sessions, but Kakul offers no such luxury, not even room service."

Wonder how our Dada of Kolkatta would have reacted, if BCCI would have done this? ;-)

But I think it's a great idea. One, it toughens you mentally and physically, and two it usually comes with a bonus of increased camaraderie. That can't be bad.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Radovan Karadzic

Then and Now

"The former Bosnian Serb leader lived under an assumed name for years and worked as a doctor of alternative medicine. He wore thick glasses and grew a bushy beard and long hair, which he wore in a plaited topknot, to hide a well-known face."

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Victory at what cost?

UPA survived the no-confidence motion today in the Indian Parliament. It won the number of votes required quite comfortably in the end. Considering that BJP, Left and Mayawati were opposing, it took quite a lot of "backroom" maneuvering to get a handful of MPs to back Manmohan Singh.

Anywhere from 5 crore to 25 crore changed hands. Amar Singh of SJP was reportedly caught on tape bribing MPs in a sting operation carried out. These allegations are yet to be proved. And given past history, it is unlikely anything would come out of the CD given to the speaker as a proof.

While the win was expected, the low level of debate was not. Singh's final text speech reveals how sad the situation is. I thought it was a new low in debate speeches. Singh made highly objectionable personal attacks on Advani throughout his speech and the text seemed by and large immature. The economist PM should change his speech writer. That would be a good start.

Although the government survived, it would still remain lame duck for the rest of the remaining term. It does not have backing of the Left and depends largely on sundry MPs from here and there for it's survival. These MPs are going to milk their crucial vote in coming weeks; taking heavy toll on India in general. But this is not new and has happened in the past with minority governments.

Congress and Gandhi family will probably use this bonus period of six months to re-brand their image. I anticipate a full blown media blitz in coming months. (Watch out for NDTV. It is going to go berserk promoting them)
Whether it sticks with Indian public, which is reeling under steep price rise, bad monsoon and constant threat of terrorism, is to be seen.

Victory did come to the UPA in general and Manmohan in particular. Although I have a feeling, India has paid a heavy price for that victory.

Friday, July 18, 2008


OK, so I decide I don't want to have all those junk posts stuffed in my mail box everyday. (As PuLa would have said - "kay shinchi katkat aahey").

So I go to this website https://www.dmachoice.org/MPS/proto1.php to de-register myself from unsolicited junks. And just when I am about to submit, i get this...


Are you sure you want to proceed?

The average household can save $1422 dollars per year from marketing offers. By eliminating all mail offers not only will you miss out on these savings, but you’ll miss out on at least 80% of all commercial offers and discounts!

And you will miss the environmental benefits of shopping at home rather than driving to the mall!

By replacing just two shopping trips to the mall each year with shopping by catalogs or direct mail, DMA estimates that Americans could:
  • Reduce the amount we drive by 3.3 billion miles.
  • Reduce carbon dioxide emissions by more than 3 billion pounds.
  • Save more than $490 million on gas costs.
When you click here, your name will be removed from future consumer prospect lists and you will see a significant reduction in all catalog and other commercial offers. If you wish to reconsider, click here.


I am like what the.... ? Why am I being lectured on saving mileage? I don't make mall trips based on those junks? And I have never saved a penny in my life using those so called coupons and deals? I never get deals, even I want to. And what about tons of papers I save? I might save atleast 5 trees worth of paper every year if I do not get these junk mails every day, no?

Thursday, July 17, 2008


Friedman makes a very appropriate point in his last column.

Quite frankly I am a little tired of America bashing now. The world at large, I feel, needs to look at itself and in the mirror before conveniently blaming everything on the "evil big brother". Apparently most of these 'hate america' folks go to sleep every night thinking they have done with their quota of America bashing for the day; and now angels will come and rule the world. And they are all around the world. I specifically remember a group of young,cool, hip French dudes at a cafe in Paris who were interviewed by Friedman for his "Flat World" documentary on Discovery Channel. Those guys were spewing venom on USA as Friedman did not even bother to reason with them.

I am in the midst of writing a post about my views about America. But for now, it is my considered opinion that USA is not all about oil, bombing, invading etc. There's another side which is never passionately discussed as much as the so called "evil" side.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Life.. or something like that

I have been keeping busy last few days and have not been able to keep up with all thats happening around. Even with emails. But one such email came to me yesterday and sort of shook me. It was from my office colleague who just a few days back we all had congratulated for becoming a proud father of a beautiful girl.

I will explain the reason why I chose to post this email (without disclosing the names) on a public blog just in a moment. But check this. This is the most poignant email I have ever got.


Thank you all for the congratulations! The arrival of my daughter continues to be a truly joyous, fascinating, and magical experience.

As I return to the office and likely receive the usual baby questions, I want to express some painful news once rather than many times. I want to share my shock, sadness, disappointment, malaise, and grief.

Eva[name changed] is a healthy baby and does the normal baby things, outside of the fact that she was born without eyes. Her particular case is extremely rare and we many never know why it happened.

Outside of the ongoing grieving process, I choose (as best as I can) to focus on the opportunities. Dwelling on obstacles has never gotten me anywhere in life so I see no point in dwelling on what Eva may not be able to do.

I see raising Eva as a spiritual journey. If she remains blind, she will not know what she's missing and I don't want to treat her as incomplete. I have never known a blind person before and this is a great opportunity to befriend such a person. I wonder how I will explain the color green to her. I look forward to learning from her extraordinary awareness of the other senses. When I close my eyes I am aware of so much more of the symphony of sounds around me, the feel of my heart beating, the sweet and sour and spicy tastes in my mouth, and the fragrances wafting in the air. Just as the sighted may gaze longingly at the horizon where earth meets sky, Eva may teach me the listening experience of ears soaring out to the edge of audibility, of listening to what's far off in the distance, perhaps when she and I stand at the top of a mountain on our skis.

I feel fortunate that I have health insurance and that I have access to medicine. My children are not starving to death and they are not being brutally murdered. Other parents are not as fortunate.

Clearly there are new things for my wife and me to learn to parent Eva, though I suspect that's true to some extent for any new child. My wife and I will be looking into those special skills in the coming months. While we have already located a great resource in [edited], we are open to any recommendations and advice you may have.

Maybe I'll finally persuade my wife to get a dog. :)


XYZ [changed]


I chose to post this email text for a couple of reasons. For me this blog is as much about my rants and opinion as about my experiences. I know hardly anyone reads my blogs, and all those few and far who do, thanks for that; it keeps me going.

But I want to continue writing for one simple reason. I want to revisit all my posts one by one, some years down the line. And try to make sense of them. I am hoping that it would be fulfilling in some sense after all those years. This blog is a recording devise for my journey.
And this email would remind me of a time when I stopped for a while and pondered. This may not be an earth shattering email, but will remind me of how close humans can be from 'real' tragedy. This is 'real' stuff unlike most of us including myself consider tragic.

Life can have a sobering effect at times.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Quotable Quote

Who says I suffer from insanity. It's actually something I enjoy.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Of Stolen Elections and Unpopular War

What person comes to your mind instantly when i say these things - Stolen Election, Unpopular War, Failed Invasion and super duper rich family background?
George W Bush, right?

And now a follow up question. Which loosing Presidential candidate of an allegedly 'stolen election' said this - "I would have challenged it. But it would cause a constitutional crisis, hurt America in the eyes of the world, and tear the country apart." That would be Al Gore, right?

Hold on to your thoughts while we dig in a little.I bring this up because I am currently reading an interesting biography of Mayor Daley's and to me it is quite revealing.

Anyways, lets go back 50 years in 1960. An election year. JFK was the presidential candidate and was loosing in all opinion polls that November. But one guy on his side had some different plans. His name was Mayor Daley of Chicago, IL. Daley had all the right connections in IL, including, and "allegedly" I may add, the dreaded Chicago mafia of 60s. Guess how he used it? Take a look here

JFK won the election by the thinnest margin in history ever. This margin was a record that has not been broken even today. Take a guess what side Illinois went in 1960?
The loosing candidate who I quoted above was Nixon, by the way.

Now about unpopular war. But before that here are some heart wrenching statistics - 3,50,000 casualties and 55,000 deaths in 10 long years of a single war. Thats what Vietnam war did to America. Not to mention two million Vietnamese lives lost. Guess who began the exercise for going to the war?

Now coming to third point. Failed invasion.

Before the Cuban Missile crisis, there was a plan to invade Cuba and blow up it's leadership. The planned invasion failed. Guess who took the responsibility?

And last but not the least. A powerful family with connections to the rich and famous. This added to the murder, oops sorry, the suicide of Monroe ..ahem.. tells quite a story isn't it?

I guess all the four things I started with can be attributed to JFK. No?

But for all the above, I must add this. That he was a popular guy and if I was there in 1960s America I would have certainly been impressed. If by nothing else, the power of the Kennedys. This dude JFK was the blue eyed boy of the entire media. Not to mention his strong stance on Civil Rights movement which made him popular throughout the world. And deservedly so.

In the end he was bumped off. He made enemies with quite a few, you'd think? Cuba, Russia, Hollywood, Mafia, CIA....

P.S : My earlier post on JFK - the movie

Saturday, July 12, 2008

The Sopranos

I have started using the F word frequently after watching this series. It came easily. (I know I know. I am working on it). It can be that contagious.

I am not sure what's so appealing about Mafia dramas. But there is something there. The glamor,violence,language, the entire package. In some way this all draws a crowd. It shouldn't be a surprise that 'The Godfather' I and II are amongst my all time favorites movies and I am sure it would be on most people's list.

The HBO series "The Sopranos" I think is "The Godfather' of Television series. The series lasted for 6 seasons and almost 9 years. For it's entire length it kept it's audiences mesmerized to a "certain" Italian sub-culture. The food, the family get-togethers, the language, the tone, the accent, the humor, the trigger-happy gangmen, the emotional family *show offs*, deceit, conspiracy and sometimes intense conversations; all become addictive at a certain point.

The series is about Tony Soprano (James Gandolfini) and his Italian family from New Jersey. As you get involved in Tony's life, you identify with his complex life and how he deals with it at every step. His blow-hot-blow-cold relationship with his wife, with his son and daughter, his decisive and often ruthless actions while managing his Mafia rule, his friends, his enemies and his extended family members all slowly unravel before you.

An interesting sub plot in the series is Tony's regular visit to his shrink, played brilliantly by Lorraine Bracco. I thought it was David Chase's master stroke. By adding such a conversation between patient Tony and doctor Melfi in the story, he was able to relay lot of sub stories in a compact and crisp manner. Without having to add scenes.

There was no need for a background commentary or voice over for letting viewers know Tony's emotional upheavals. Because Tony would convey it to shrink and more importantly via her to us, the viewers. Chase would introduce these psychiatric conversations and easily camouflage it in the script itself. These psychiatric visits of Tony also gave us glimpse of Tony's past as much as they gave us a handle to his current state. Sometimes even to his future plans.

Apart from Tony Sopranos' role which I thought was played very well by James Gandolfini, Carmila Soprano, played by the super brilliant Eddie Falco deserves a mention.She was most impressive in her role as Tony's hapless wife. She brought a lot of method to her acting and yet came out natural in the end. I think she deserved all those Emmys for sure.

I watched the last episode of Sopranos yesterday. Now my Netflix queue is devoid of Sopranos and I feel bad. Talking of last episode, it did create quite a stir if not controversy. Check the intensity of debate here and here.
When you have like 200 odd comments on the site, you know this HBO series hit a sweet spot somewhere. And in some demography.

For me the best part of the series was its pace. It did not try too hard on any front. It let it slip in. Of course with the right mix of shocks and surprises, drama and comic relief. It created an illusion of 'taking it as it comes' without trying 'over the top' stunts to engage viewership. There was no false pretense in most things. Every controversial topic of contemporary America - political, social, economical - were deftly handled by David Chases' talented team of writers.

Tony Soprano of course has an imposing and dominating presence over the entire series. But all other characters are not mere sidekicks. They have extremely significant role to play. And they fill in the canvas with their own shades very impressively.

There is no effort to provide justification to the crime. The circle of life comes back to bite most of these gangsters. Thats how it is shown, albeit subtly. If they are not bumped off by a rival gang then they are by their own men. In the world where no one can ever be trusted, it is ironical, that Tony in the end gets a life saving tip from the FBI. Thats how Tony's world is shown.

One of my favorite scenes is one where Tony has a conversation with Carmila after his near death experience. She is freaking over her future in case "something happens to Tony" and Tony just says "I am right up there!!! Don't you see?". There's intensity in Tony's eyes at that moment. But also overwhelming faith in something above. He is unable to express completely. Yet those five words convey many things. It was Tony's way of saying, 'I have been attacked so many times and seen death from such near quarters, yet I keep surviving every time. There must be some force that does not need me out. It keeps bringing me back. Don't you see it?"

That conversation was particularly striking, in that, it told how even the most powerful of mobsters have a "faith" based sensibilities. They have faith in "something up there" and live by that trust all the time. They explain away things via simple Godly and supernatural based arguments. There is a method to their madness. In almost everything.

Even regular conversations.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Carmina Burana

The most used (and often abused) musical composition of all time. Listen till end. It's Nirvana.

[Always reminds me of the Old Spice commercial though]

Dabbewale of Bombay

Only in this awesome city could have this system been such a huge success

"Harvard Business School has produced a case study of the dabbawalas, urging its students to learn from the organisation, which relies entirely on human endeavour and employs no technology." says this article in Economist. And why not? All great management trends are not necessarily to be found in costly books.

On a side note - it kills me to see Bombay's current state. It used to be my favorite city growing up. Santacruz, Versova, Ville Parle, Chembur.. I miss those awesome suburbs.
Hope to write a post soon on the decline of Bombay.

Awesome post by Greatbong

This is one of his best posts by Greatbong and taking liberty to link here.

Kashmir ki boli

This is vintage Greatbong here... "the sense of religious entitlement is immense, justification for violence immediately available, Hindus and Indians universally hated and one community’s perceived economic misery immediately becomes the “people”’s Jihad."

Simply awesome and true.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Back in Business

Mr. Amar Singh of Samajwadi Janata Party is back in business. BTW, doesn't he so resemble the lech,fatso,khadi wearing politician depicted in all those 80s bollywood movies.

Here's his latest salvo

"Justifying his party's decision to join hands with the Congress after years-long bitter rivalry, Amar Singh said in the interview: "When Prakash Karat goes to meet Sonia Gandhi, it’s called ’suhaag raat’, but when we go to meet Sonia Gandhi, it’s called ‘balaatkaar’."

What language?

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Pickens picks the right one

They say, necessity is the mother of all inventions. Today, the world more than at any time needs new ideas to get going on alternative and if possible renewable sources of energy.

I hope billionaire Pickens has made his best investment till date. It should be noted that Business and money is the driving force behind Picken's adventure more than the notion of 'Larger good of society'. But who know's that can be the side effect.

There are few things going for Wind Energy and as always as is case with most things in life, there are few things against it. As far as the pros are concerned - Wind Energy is renewable, clean, can be widely distributed and is plentiful. On the down side of course is the problem of inconistency (as they say "weak" winds) and very large initial investment. For most business men, the second of the cons is the demotivating factor. They fear of diminishing returns for huge investments.

Thankfully Pickens (I never heard of him before) has taken a positive lead. And I hope it clicks for him. Because if it clicks for him it will encourage more billionaires like him to take the plunge.

While reading through one of the issues of TIME, something struck me. One of the problems that got mentioned in a few articles was that Wind Engergy is produced in short bursts. As in, there is a sudden generation of power and then there is a lull period. Which means there is a need to store energy during those inconsistent phases. And that is a challenge for technologists. Some engineers have suggested the use of Wind Energy in tandem with fossil-fuel energy. Meaning, the regular "gas" Energy be kept in ready to use state as soon as Wind power dwindles.

I drive a Toyota Prius. I find it's technology fascinating. Whenever I stop at a light, the display shows a green bar come up, showing that the energy is being conserved. On shorter distances Prius uses Electric energy and uses the residual energy for as far as possible. This mix (or Hybird) is in my opinion a simple but awesome technology. What struck me about the issue in TIME magazine was that there can be a parallel drawn with this and the Wind Power plants. If wind power is being produced in bouts, the intermittent period can be used by the regular energy source. In simple terms, I am thinking Hybrid Wind power plants.

Who knows, it may be possible (or it already is)?

Bottom line is the world needs to get rid of its oil addiction. For one, this will render the powerful Sheikdom in middle east and their partners in Houston, impotent. As long as they have the reigns of Oil, world will have to act on their whims and fancies. It's also reported in some quarters that some of the Oil money goes into "wrong" hands; and that can't be good, no?

Great inventions and discoveries have been made my man, out of few things like curiousity, adventurism and most of all Necessity. Man is enterprising by nature and I am sure, he will stand up to this challenge. Hope we have more Pickens picking up the baton.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Federer is Human

I took a somewhat different view of him couple of years back.

And I surely missed this epic last Sunday as I was not in town. I would have been glued to the television for all of 5 hours for sure.

But this classic battle only proves that Federer is human after all. This also reinforces the fact that the other greats before him, Bjorg,McEnroe, Sampras all had their peaks and troughs. In case of Federer that peak lasted 5 years at Wimbledon. And that would be a tough ask to top for anyone in future.

I am sure a sense of deja vu would have prevailed over those commentators watching this game. Because 28 years back, two giants clashed in a similar fashion. Only thing, that time, the defender prevailed.

Nature Blesseth...

One of my friend from Pune said this about Niagara falls when we first went there few years back -"Ya deshala nisargachi punyayi laabhli ahey ", (Mother nature has blessed this nation); I wouldn't blame him for exaggerating. For first time visitors, Niagara can have that kinda effect.Niagara of course happens to be a Desi Pilgrimage. And I am not sure if it is worth the hype. But anyways.

As we drove through Montana last weekend and tried to sink in those scenic views, my friend's statement kept haunting me. I kept wondering how can you even frame this place's beauty in words? Would you call "Mona Lisa" a painting?
It would be cheapening it's worth, isn't it? You would call it a masterpiece. Painting would be technically right term, but calling it a masterpiece would do some justice to that classic piece of work. The Glacier Forests, are a nature's masterpiece, IMHO. And if you have to see "nisargachi punyayi", this place would be a good start.

As you go past Apgar Village due east from the West Glacier entrance you go to the "Going to the Sun" road. There's this legend among native Indians from Montana, about a Guru who came to rescue the tribes living there. The Guru it seems came from the mountains, stayed with them, taught them how to deal with extreme weather conditions, taught them skills and how to deal with wildlife and once he was satisfied, disappeared into the Sun via those mountains. And that's how they say, the road got it's name.

The natives still have a substantial presence in those mountains and have mixed with the non-natives to a large extent. There are several interesting anecdotes that Matt told us while we were on our excursion.

As we started getting a feel of Montana we figured it had more to it than snow peaked mountains and wild life. It had a culture. A Cowboy culture if you will. As you drive through those rustic towns and villages to go to the West Glacier entrance, you can't help but feel being part of the Cohen brother movies. The old worn-ed out automobiles, the wide roads with a small "kaam chalau" deli somewhere in between with one man manning it and then of course the huge massive ranches with white picket fences around them for the richer and heavier folks of the state. Those ranches with horses grazing in wide open front yard are to me, signature snapshots of Montana. This state is in some sense a representative of the WILD WILD WEST. Only, it's greener,cooler and much more mountainous than it's southern cousins.

But all said and done, the Glacier Forests are the real deal. This is the tourism basket of the state. It's where most people collect every summers. The park remains open only 5 months a year andthat's when most pictures are clicked . I hate myself for not having a powerful Nikon. My amateurish photographic skill would have got a fillip. I could have done some justice to this place's awesome beauty if I had one of those black monsters.

It's almost like humans wait for seven months, while nature's movie is under production which would be premiered in summers. And then man opens the lock to the Glacier Park gates. Mother nature unfolds a cinematic magic. A blockbuster that lasts for next five months attracting thousands to it's magnum opus.

They come from all over the country. In different shapes and sizes. Via different routes. Some go for trail and hiking , some take the bus tours, while still some others just camp in there with their RVs/Tents around the grand lakes. One couple we met had come from Ohio on their motorbike. They had driven around 2000 miles to reach there. And the dude just could not stop clicking his Nikon. It was mesmerizing to say the least.

I think the word Picturesque gets a new meaning near the "Many Glaciers Park" on the east end. I wish we could have another day to take the trail toSwift current lake. But then as a rule, number of days are always less. We made do with taking a shorter trail on the Logan pass itself.

I would let the remaining talking on the post be done by the pictures we took. It would make more sense than my nonsensical blabber anyways....

Ladies and Gentleman, presenting, The Glacier National Park.... 08

Photo comments :
1. 'Going to the Sun' Road
2. The serene Lake McDonald's snap taken from Apgar Village
3. Two wild goats near Logan Pass. Snap taken from the car.
4. Jackson Glacier
5. "Many Glaciers" Hotel in 'Many Glaciers Park' on the East.
6. US 2 Highway
7. Chance encounter with Mama Grisly on the way to Polesbridge
8. Near Logan Pass
9. The St.Mary Lake with a small little island tree in the middle
10. Lake McDonald's lodge lobby

Dos and Donts:
# Plan a one day hike on any of the trails on 'Going to the Sun'.
# Sunscreen and Jacket are both necessary as you move higher.
# Take a guided tour on one of the Red Buses.
# For Camping, the West Side of glacier is better.
# Rafting is recommended, although we did not go for it.
# Logan Pass is touristy. I won't spend too much time there.
# Book a motel within the Park. McDonald's Lodge recommended.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008


Off to the the Glaciers for the weekend.


Tuesday, July 1, 2008


So it finally came down to Spain vs Germany. Two of footballs power houses. Spain being the chronic underachievers and Germans , some may say, over achievers. I would usually take "over achievement" as a positive; because that suggests that Germans usually played beyond their potential and raised the bar of the game each time to achieve what they did in all these years.

Normally I would have supported Germany, but last Sunday I was for Spain. For one I wanted them to release their "chokers" tag. It's like I would usually support Yankees but if Red Sox has not won for 88 years and meet Yankees in finals, I would root for them. (Remember 2005? or was it 04. Anyways)

I have sympathy (which I know I shouldn't) for chokers. Like South Africa in cricket. How such a talented lot end up screwing everytime, is still a mystery for me?

Coming back to the finals, I would have preferred a higher score than 1-0. Nevertheless Torres's superb flick of his toes more than made up. Although the score of 1-0 did not really do justice to the dominance of Spain in the game, it also did show some German resilience.

Finally more than anything else Soccer won. Euro showed us that Soccer is alive and "kicking". The Europeans are shedding off that extra cautious 'defensive' approach they acquired in last few decades. The high scoring games, barring the finals, showed that. Also Turkey was the story of the tournament as far as I am concerned. And the way they made mockery of so called top teams, goes to show soccer wouldn't be a monopoly of Latinos and Euros for too long, hopefully.

It was fun 21 days. Can't wait for 2010 WC. Nothing gets bigger than that.