Wednesday, October 28, 2009

R.I.P, Mr. Shepard

The new generation of cricket lovers may not identify David Shepard easily, but for people of my generation who started watching cricket on black and white television sets, he was clearly one of the most recognizable faces and umpires of 80s and 90s.

He along with Dicky Bird were the mainstay of cricket umpiring. Between the two of them Shepard was my favorite though..(even when it was fashionable to call Bird as best umpire ever)

I particularly remember an Indo-Pak world cup encounter where Javed Miandad was doing a monkey jump to poke Indians and Kiran More and how Shepard handled that situation really well. He was aware of Indo-Pak matches tensions and would sooth the nerves time and again making sure situations won't go out of hand. An apt Gentleman for a Gentleman's game.

He was also the umpire when Amir Sohail and Venky Prasad had a something going on on the pitch during the famous Banglore encounter of 1996 WC.

He was a thorough professional and good Englishman. And he probably would be most remembered for his 'Nelson' idiosyncrasy. As they say...'Go well Sir'

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

No Television

I know I have been talking about my relocation a lot lately.. and I promise this would be the last time I mention it. I am gona zip it after this.

Last weekend we moved our stuff (well, most of it) to our new home. This included my favorite stuff - the T.V ; and no, I don't call it Stevie, the TV. It's fair to say though that I am hooked to Television in general. I may be borderline couch potato.

And TV has always been a hot button issue between me and my better half. (While on that term, why is the spouse called the 'better' half? Why not just other half? Beats me..)

So anywhoo.. TV is one of the explosive issues we have. The last major fight we had was when I was so engrossed watching NFL that I completely blanked while she was discussing something terribly important (or as she claims it was). And she flipped big time. In my defence, the Steelers were in dumps that day.

Me and my wife haven't budged from our respective positions. I maintain, I don't watch as much TV and she insists I am all about TV. Suffice to say we have an uneasy calm on that front; more like India-Pak on the Wagah border. Both parties have taken a position and no one's willing to back down.

I am without TV for this whole week. And this Internet connection is all that I got. You would think this would make my wife happy. But only yesterday she said.."Damn we don't have TV. It's going to make us go under each other's skin". So as you can tell, this is going well...

Sunday, October 25, 2009


Weekend Levity

I am usually not into 'forwarded emails' or 'forwarding emails'.. but this one I liked. T'waz sent by my Dad.. It says..

Some Laws that Newton forgot.

Law of Queue: If you change queues, the one you have left will start to move faster than the one you are in now.

Law of Telephone: When you dial a wrong number, you never get an engaged tone.

Law of Mechanical Repair: After your hands become coated with grease, your nose will begin to itch.

Law of the Workshop: Any tool, when dropped, will roll to the least accessible corner.

Law of the Alibi: If you tell the boss you were late for work because you had a flat tire, the next morning you will have a flat tire.

Bath Theorem: When the body is immersed in water, the telephone rings.

Law of Encounters: The probability of meeting someone you know increases when you are with someone you don't want to be seen with.

Law of the Result: When you try to prove to someone that a machine won't work, it will.

Law of Biomechanics: The severity of the itch is inversely proportional to the reach.

Theatre Rule: People with the seats at the furthest from the aisle arrive last.

Law of Coffee: As soon as you sit down for a cup of hot coffee, your boss will ask you to do something which will last until the coffee is cold.


I can vouch for atleast half of these based on my personal experience.

Friday, October 23, 2009


It's friday again. And TGIF..

Holiday Season : Feels like the Holiday Season is right around. There's already talk of Halloween costumes. Last year some babe in our office paraded as Sarah Palin for our annual Costume party. Boy! a year has already passed since we had Tina Fey making mess of Ms. Palin...

And I am back : Brees and Co did some real good to me in fantasy league last week. I am now 3-3-0. Not bad for a first timer. Go Saints!!

Average Joe : I usually mess around with names and piss my wife big time. So there's this guy called Jose (pronounced Hozey, as you can tell) and I keep calling him Joe. He's our mover for this weekend. I even have him listed as Joe in my phone. One of these days he's gona yell!... Moi is Hozey... J,O,S,E...

Mad Men : So I think Mad Men is good and all. Well made. But I guess the writers are too caught in the 60s mode. In 2009, instant gratification is the name of the game. You got to keep your viewers attention all the time, baby. If I have to reach for my laptop while watching the show, it ain't working. With Sopranos I was always hooked.

Metra Rides : My suburban rides to work and back on the Metra will be longer and more taxing from next month after the move. Not to mention the long walk from the new station. (The current one was so convenient and easy). Wonder why am I moving at all!! Some one called it the 'Home buyers remorse'. Here's my question, how do these term strike people?

Formality ?? : One of my old friend, CK, from the gone by era, send a friend request on Orkut. (Yeah, I still have an account somewhere in there). And on asking him - "How are you man?", His reply was - "Why the formal message? Is someone behind you?" ... I was like wtf!!! So what was I suppose to write after all these years.. "Saale.. Ga%$& LKB.. L@#%&du.." and make it informal? I tell you boss! decency has no place in this world...

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Kaudu Wins

Mardi, a small rural village in Maharashtra is where my paternal ancestry has it's roots. My Grandfather owned enough area of land and farms to require a decent labor force to manage all that.

One care-taker of the farms even after my Grandfather passed away was a guy named Kaudu. Kaudu and his family stayed right near our ancestral home. And over the years when we visited sometimes, he would be the only person to take care of our brief visit.

I remember him narrating something, that stayed with me. He said, every few years when there are elections in Yeotmal, the people over there feel it's a ritual to stand in line at election booth, and put a stamp on Panja (Congress(I) symbol). The idea he said was to go, put a stamp and collect your money from one mai-baap leader.

In other words, Elections = Stamping on Panja symbol. Most of them were unaware they had to 'elect' an option.

Turns out not much has changed in Maharashtra since 80s. People still stand in line and vote for Panja even when Maharashtra had the highest farmer suicide rate in the country, even when metros and semi-metros are reeling under power shortage, not to mention one of most glaring display of incompetency by state government in handling Terrorism during Mumbai carnage.

If people of the state are ready to accept such morons to rule over them, giving lazy excuse of TINA (There is no alternative) good luck Maharashtra.

Update : Analysis by Rediff's Bhatt
In last five years, officially each Maharahstra MLA has got richer by Rs 4 lakh. Once again, as it happened in the last ten years, Sonia Gandhi will forget that mini-India named Mumbai needs mega vision, mega planning and great leadership. Till, the next election Raj will be cuddled covertly by the Congress to keep him alive for future use. Floor Space Index is the only thing that would attract her party's leaders. Marathas will not allow OBC to get stronger in state politics and once again the new government will give us a bogus dream of making Mumbai into Shanghai.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Durun Dongar Sazre

There's a saying in Marathi - "Durun Dongar Sazre"... Which means, a mountain seems green and beautiful from afar, but it's something else when you are near it.

The equivalent English saying is - "The grass is always green on the other side".

Why am I on such an idiom ride? That is because this particular news item caught my attention recently when I was searching for something else. (Actually this one too)

There are some damning statistics in there. It says last few years, UK has seen massive exodus of it's own people. Britons, that is. In this great revolving door called UK, immigrants (specially from India,Pak, B'desh, Sri Lanka..the usual suspects) outnumber the natives by a ratio of 2:1.
Surveys recently have uncovered huge numbers of Britons who, given a free choice, would get out of the country. Separate polls by ICM and YouGov found that more than half would like to leave - the YouGov poll found that 55 per cent had "seriously considered settling in another country".
Makes me wonder why the Brits are in such a hurry to leave that nation? Free health care, Free education... Free lunches..!! Shouldn't it be the other way round? The Australians and Americans (where most Brits are running towards) be running to Queen's great nation?

There may be multiple factors to this, and I am no socio-scientist to figure that out, but there's something that we all know. The UK has been ruled by the Labor party for almost two decades now. To be fair, they have been very popular, and continue to be re-elected every 5 years, keeping the conservatives (Tories as they are called there) off the aisles of power corridor for a very long time.

The last famous Tory was a 'someone' called Margarette Thatcher.. (yeh her). A towering political figure of UK, who ruled with an iron hand, but was also responsible for an economic turn around like never before. Thatcher and Reagan probably worked around the same time frame on either side of Atlantic. Both shrewd conservatives who became universally famous for different reasons, but their popularity at home was never in doubt. (Even the opponents conceded that)

But after that point (meaning, after end of Reagan ism and Thatcher ism) both countries took different paths. USA continued to follow loyally, the most common pattern of Democracy - swinging the power of pendulum between the Left and the Right. But UK din't. It continued bringing back Left, again and again completely demonizing and sidelining the Tories with a powerful pop culture ambush.

As an obnoxious centrist (and proud of it) I have my curious case of two countries right where I want. I see a country ruled for 20 years by the same party, with all it's 'easy' labor laws and free lunches (no wonder it returns to power again and again) now looking at the flip side of one party rule staring right at it's face.

If a nation looses it's banks, it's manufacturing industry, it's housing market etc, it can still hope to recover. There's a possibility of comeback. But once it starts loosing it's Middle Class, that's it.

And UK is currently being hit by the great flight of the Middle Class. Because for all practical purposes, it's the Middle class that drives the real economy. And once you start loosing that resourceful talent, you got trouble baby.

They say, for a child to develop a well rounded personality, it needs the nurturing of a loving mother and a toughness of a disciplined father. Both are essential for all round growth.

A nation too needs both forms of reinforcements. A fair social order and helpful hand of government for the weak, but also a tough fiscal discipline with incentive and merit based labour force to drive it.

French guyz realized it last year. The poster child of liberal Europe brought in a conservative Sarkozy to power. There's a good chance England will follow suit in next elections. Else, the emigration would continue at a scale, that won't help it sustain it's economy.

I am of an opinion that for a good health of a nation, the door of power should be revolving between two principle poles. If the door gets stuck with one pole, it's usually a sign of sickness. And that kinda sickness is usually diagnosed when it's too late to recover.


Post Script : A few years back, one of my college friends who had just returned from UK after a long stint there, told me something that struck me.. "Baring London, the rest of the UK is poorer than Maharashtra. You go 100 kms in any direction from London, and you'll see the real England".

Wednesday, October 14, 2009


Wiki link below

In Maharashtra, Diwali starts from Vasubaras which is the 12th day of the 2nd half of the month of Ashwin. This day is celebrated by performing an Aarti of the cow and its calf- which is a symbol of love between mother and her baby.

The next day is Dhanatrayodashi (dhana=wealth, tra=3 dashi=10th i.e. 10+3=13th day) or Dhanteras. This day is of special importance for traders and business people.

The 14th day of Ashwin is Narakchaturdashi. On this day, people wake up before sunrise and bathe after rubbing scented oil on their body (they also bathe using Utna). After this the entire family visits a temple and offers prayers to their God. After this visit, everyone feasts on Faral which is a special Diwali preparation consisting of delectable sweets such as "karanji", "ladoo", "shankarpale" and "mithai" as well as some spicy eatables like "chakli", "shev" and "chivda".

Then comes Laxmi- poojan. It occurs on Amavasya i.e. no moon day. The dark night is illuminated by lamps and at dusk crackers are burst. New account books are opened after a pooja. The stock exchange performs a token bidding called Muhurta bidding. Generally the traders do not make any payments on that day (according to their belief Laxmi should not be given away but must come home). In every household, cash, jewellery and an idol of the goddess Laxmi is worshipped. Friends, neighbours and relatives are invited over and celebrations are in full swing. The broom used to clean one's house is also worshipped as a symbol of laxmi in some places .

Padwa' is the 1st day of the new month - Kartik in the Hindu calendar.

Bhaubeej - it is the time where in the bond of love between a brother and sister is further strengthened as the sister asks God for her brother/s long and successful life while she receives presents from her beloved brother/s.

Homes are cleaned and decorated before Diwali. Offices perform puja. Bonuses and holidays are granted to employees on these auspicious days. People buy property and gold on these days too. Children build replica forts in memory of the founder of Maratha empire, Shivaji Maharaj. For children, Fire works, new clothes and sweets make Dipavali the most eagerly awaited festival of the year.
Happy Diwali folks! Special wishes to Kaka. You are my hero!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

'Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish'

Stumbled upon this awe inspiring Commencement address by Steve Jobs..

Truly one of the Great Minds of our generation.. Check some real priceless nuggets from this speech.
It wasn't all romantic. I didn't have a dorm room, so I slept on the floor in friends' rooms, I returned coke bottles for the 5¢ deposits to buy food with, and I would walk the 7 miles across town every Sunday night to get one good meal a week at the Hare Krishna temple. I loved it.
Again, you can't connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.
When I was 17, I read a quote that went something like: "If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you'll most certainly be right."
On the back cover of their final issue was a photograph of an early morning country road, the kind you might find yourself hitchhiking on if you were so adventurous. Beneath it were the words: "Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish." It was their farewell message as they signed off. Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish. And I have always wished that for myself. And now, as you graduate to begin anew, I wish that for you.

Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Weekend Tweets : Late Edition

Marathon : My friend AK was here in Chicago for the Marathon. He knocked it off in awesome time (with a minor toe injury and some cold, that was a super effort). Kudos and more strength to him. Figured, it's more emotional than physical; the strength that is needed to accomplish this, I mean.
Overall was fun to be with the Ks over the weekend.

Fantasy : My limited knowledge of NFL players is now biting me in my ass. Lost two games back to back and with real bad scores. None of my dudes are firing :/

Cold Conditions: Chicago is racing towards winter. The temperature drop is as low as it ever gets in October. But rumor has it, it's not as bad as Denver.

The Move : Will be officially closing this week. Seems like I have been too involved in it for a while. Need a break when this is all over. Phew!

The resignation : V offered to resign from her current place as the move is going to make it hard to travel. Luckily, the people over their won't take any. They are offering her work from home. This should be cool.

Gadgets : My co-worker C, was explaining some 'cool' features of his new phone. I was trying hard to "fake interest" in it and it was probably showing. eh! it's monday morning.. so it doesn't count.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Annoying words

Hmmm...let's see. I think "good for you" is bad when said in a sarcastic tone (and it's usually used in sarcasm). It's piercing.

I also don't like "whatever". But the worst is "like". As in, people using "like" after every one word.
"Nearly half of Americans surveyed said they find "whatever" to be the most annoying word or phrase, according to a poll by the Marist Institute for Public Opinion.[..]"You know" was the second most annoying phrase.

Telling Tale

Maharashtra will go for polls soon and it's a sad fact that my home state is in such a bad shape.

The current government (Congress-NCP) has squeezed out every drop of juice from State treasury, and has nothing to show for development in last eight years of its epic misrule.

But the alternative formation doesn't look appealing either. The BJP-Sena government which some would say gave a credible government for most part (It's contribution to infrastructure building( Gadkari..) and handling price rise was much better than the current rulers) in it's only rule, has nothing to offer now. It looks a pale shadow of it self. No leadership and no vision.

And worst part is people like Raj Thackray are only making it insane, spending all energies in silly things that have nothing to do with state's real issues. (It has to be noted, he is not with Sena anymore. And is only helping Congress-NCP with his stunts and vote splitting. There's rumor in some circles that he may have a tacit support of Congress/Pawar. One can easily add 2 and 2 and see that)

Sudheendra Kulkarni has a telling tale on Maharashtra
There was a time in the 1960s, 70s and the 80s, when Maharashtra was indeed recognised for many attributes of greatness ― as a leader in industrialization, as a pioneer in the cooperative movement, as a high-performer in the quality of administration, etc
Yes it surely *was* a pioneer in lot many things.

Not anymore. Maharashtra has declined in many parameters vis-à-vis other states and it's fortunes continue to go south at a humongous pace. According to National surveys conducted by it's own party at center, Maharashtra is one of the worst governed states today.

If there ever was a need for a Nitin Gadkari and a Pramod Mahajan, it was now. But alas, we are stuck with bunch of morons on both sides. Maharashtra looks doomed for now unless we can discover our own Modi,Dixit,Patnaik or a Nitish Kumar.


Post Script : During it's hey days Congress Party produced some real good leaders in Maharashtra who did great job specially for Mumbai-Pune belt and South-Western Maharashtra, in late 70s and early 80s. The current bunch of crooks leaders should look at some of their achievements if they have a modicum of dignity at their disposal.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Wake up Sid : Review

Watch it because...

... it will make you fall in love with Mumbai Bombay all over again..(Yeh, screw Raj T..)

.. Ranbir Kapoor is a revelation and has picked right genes it seems

.. for once, I was happy to see, regular Joes and plane Janes as college students.

.. his parents have an understated performance and relation with their son and that breaks the Bombay movie stereotype.

.. feels like an extension of Dil Chahata Hai and Luck By Chance..(and in good way)

.. finally Karan Johar's production house, has woken to the fact, that Non-NRI is equally cool and hip (if not more actually)

Don't watch it because..

.. Shankar Ehsaan Roy and Akhtar combination need new creative juices.(Feels like DCH ghost is still lingering around). We don't need overkill of it.

.. Konkana Sen Sharma is awesome as she is, but she's one movie short of becoming another Tabu. I can only say "Wake up Ko"

.. to show South Bombay crowd, always in discotheque and surrounded all the time by American brands is so not cool

Monday, October 5, 2009

Some flags

I am usually not senti about stuff, but I have to confess, at times when I see the 'Tiranga' flutter, I get a lump in my throat. The last one I got was when Abhinav Bindra was on the podium and the Indian flag was being raised slowly, ahead of other flags in 2008 Olympics.

There's something about the Flag isn't it? It's a piece of cloth, but it symbolizes something much bigger and greater than it's self.

Amongst the flags I like, Canada's would take the cake. This is purely from color combination, design and look and feel of it. (I don't have a particular affinity for Canada, or for that matter any other nation baring India)

My least favorite would be Bangladesh. Just coz of the color combination. Green with a Red circle in the center. I am not so much into drawing/art etc, but even I can tell, that combination is Lame. It's bad.

Another flag I dislike is Sri Lanka's. It's too damn complex. I mean imagine the school kids there making flag drawings in their classrooms. I would sweat if I had to make one.

I like Brazil's flag too. The dominance of yellow over Green is cool. Of the Scandinavians I like Swede's. Not so much Norway's although they are similar.

UK, I feel, has a Royal flag. Although that may be because, I still have an imperialist notion of it in my mind..and align it with power sub-consciously somehow, even today.

Quite a random post eh!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Chicago Looses bid

I was rooting for Chicago to win, although I had predicted it won't. I also predicted that Rio would win the 2016 bid for holding Olympics. (I am not being smarty pants here, but I had predicted it nevertheless..)

My rationale being, in the new Globalized environment, Americans don't hold the lead torch anymore. World is a different place and even if it would have been assumed that Chicago would grease the palms of IOC members to ram through and win, it could not be assumed that Madrid,Rio and Tokyo won't.

They are no paupers. They got some real money muscle too. In fact, lot would say, the opposite is true now. For what we know, Chicago could be the real pauper amongst these cities.

Anyhow the real reason Chicago did not win and had little chance is Numbers. Look at it this way. It was competing against Rio, who it can be safely assumed had all of South America voting for it (except may be Argentina). Now most of South America would generally go with the US, if Rio wasn't a part of the deal. But this was their best chance. Most flights going to Brazil, will have stops in one of those countries.(Just a simple example)

So they probably voted en bloc to Rio. Then comes Europeans. They would again have voted en bloc for Spain, barring a few nations. That leaves Asians and Africans. It became clear from question from Paki IOC dude, that the middle east and large part of Asia was not voting for Chicago. That leaves the continent of Africa. Well, assuming that Obama-Oprah duo may have influenced a bunch of African votes, that wasn't good enough.

Hence I am not wee bit surprised by the outcome. What surprised me though, is how many people actually liked the fact that Chicago din't win. Specially in my office. There were people actually rooting for Chicago not to win. And they may have a point.

Check this Link

Anyhoo... as my friend suggested, who the F knows, where we will be in 2016. Quite true. Who the f really knows.. We may be in Rio for all we know. And honestly, I would love to be there. If you have seen some pictures from Rio, you should no why.. ;)...(My wife calls me pervy pervertson for good reasons )

Bill Maher, though, put it best.."When it came to decide, the Olympic Committee thought- where would you like to spend summer vacation? A land where models invented bikini wax or the land where fat guyz invented deep dish pizza"...

Haha.. Couldn't agree more!

Friday, October 2, 2009

Google Gandhi

Even today, he's India's best known brand