Saturday, April 26, 2008

Of Letters and Games...

Have you ever gone back and re-read your emails?

This morning I was checking emails on a yahoo account that I've had since 2004 and started going through the initial emails on an impulse. It was quite an interesting experience as you can relive important occasions in your life with a detached outlook.

So I re-read emails related to my summer internship at KSA Technopak, the squabbles that used to happen in IIFT, test announcements and the collective groans of the batch in response, emails from people who were important to you at that time but have no bearing at all on your current life, silly jokes that you laughed over,the brandwagon emails, vacations and trips we went on, the parting emails when the batch was dispersing to go home once before embarking on work short a lot of stuff that I'd completely forgotten.

Reading these emails have made me slightly wistful. So I will drop this topic. Just one last thing - try it. Reading ancient emails is interesting sometimes.

On a totally unrelated note I suddenly rememebered that I've been unfair to the legions of my blog's fans. I haven't told you about last weekend. I know, I know, all of you just hang on to every word I write about my weekends to somehow bring some colour to your dreary existence. And I have failed you by not providing the update consistently. Woe betides me...

But I shall compensate for this oversight on my part. You can look forward to a complete, no holds barred account of last weekend. Including the opening ceremony and match of the Indian Premier League that I went and saw last Friday, the awesomely exhilerating doubles tennis match on Sunday evening, and myriad awe-inspiring things I did on Saturday and have forgotten already.

So starting with the Indian Premier League.

I hadn't ever seen a cricket match in a stadium ever before in my life. The first reaction to seeing the ground was "Poof, thats it? Is THAT the whole field? seriously? Hell, i've played on larger grounds and cleared the boundary." But after that it was an awesome experience.

The extravaganza before the match, the opening ceremony that is,was brilliant with performers in colourful attire prancing around on stilts. Of course it probably would've been better if we hadn't taken the cheapest seats in the stadium (Well, it did say "best view seats" on the tickets. And we believed them)and were actually in the stand before which they were doing the prancing. The redskin cheerleaders were another added attraction and they played to the crowd, even the cheap ticket part, by performing all around the ground. The best part for me were the people sliding down wires from the top of the stadium to the middle of the field. In the night they literally looked like four people flying into the stadium unaided by any human contraption. Really cool.

The match sadly was rather one sided. Also we weren't able to see the screen from where we were sitting so we had no idea about the score or who was batting or fielding (most bowlers you can make out by their bowling action). Thus is so happened that Brendan McCullum made a fiery 160 right before our eyes but we had no clue that only one batsman had been hitting. We saw players raising their bats thrice and assumed that three separate individuals had scored 50s. (Quick tip to the organisers : ANNOUNCE the score and the batsmen for heavens sake! ANNOUNCE!)

All in all, and inspite of my cribbing it was a really good experience that i'd recommend to anyone. These matches are of the perfect duration, three hours you can easily stay in a stadium and enjoy the match but not beyond that. The next stage matches should be even tighter and maybe i'll go to see them whenever they happen in Bangalore.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Where's my phone?...

Yesterday I forgot my cell phone at home when I went to work. It was quite an interesting experience to not have constant rings and messages all through the day. In fact I quite liked not having a phone around. I was able to focus on my work and did not feel the constant urge to sms or generally talk to people.

It also reminded me of the time when cell phones were not present, but the concept of a cell phone was known. (Yes, I’m ancient. I’ve actually seen days when you had to go all the way to a phone booth [shudder] when you had to call someone.) When they first came in, cell phones were exorbitantly priced, talktime was way WAY expensive. And you had to pay for incoming calls.

I got my first cell phone in…hmm…I don’t really remember but I think it was towards the end of second year when we were organizing Technodrome in DCE. That puts it at 2000. But it wasn’t my cellphone. It was my sister’s and she lent it to me for the duration of the event when we really needed a tool for prompt communications (“Speaker has cancelled at the last minute!”, “Princi refused money for the event!”, “Bhookh lag rahi hai (I’m hungry :))”). (Also, those were the days when you could lend your phone to your kid brother for a few days without feeling lost or suffering from withdrawal symptoms - According to ABC News, "A recent study showed that 40 percent of people surveyed can't cope without a cell phone, 35 percent of people used cell phones to escape their problems and 7 percent blamed the cell phone for a lost relationship or job. ( ))

I finally got my own cell phone after an year or so. I’d got this pretty cool GD 40 Panasonic cellphone. It had a joystick. It was the absolute epitomy of cool at that point in time. Touch screens? Stylus? I-think-about-it-and-it-dials? Bah, nothing in comparison to a joystick feature. A speck really, really!

Anyway, after that cellphones became quite natural and lost their exclusivity. My Panasonic phone stayed with me for nearly 4 years. I got an O2 when I started earning but it never gave me the kick that my GD 40 gave me. And after a couple of unfortunate incidents which led to the said O2 disappearing from my hands ( ) I bought a safe and sleek Motorola L6i. Cheap, easy to manage, all features but not interesting enough to want to use them, most importantly slim enough to slide in your pocket (yes, try carrying a bricklike O2 in your pocket for a few months before raising a finger against me!)

And now I saw the iphone. Sigh its just so sexy.

But no, I do not want to buy another expensive phone again. Especially not a chunky one.

So there!

But I wouldn’t mind being gifted one (looking around with an expectant twinkle in my eyes.)

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

The Shaurya Conundrum...

I want to write about two things today. So I’ll take up the shorter one first.

Why is that most of the blogs I read are stuck on the same post whenever I go there? I’m not talking about blogs that are linked through my blog but also a number of other blogs I read. And I cannot imagine that there is a Writer’s Block epidemic sweeping across the earth. So come on people, get your act together. When we click on your link we expect, nay demand, fresh content. (Yes, mine hasn’t been updated for a long time because I’ve been a bit busy. Ok fine, the writer’s block disease hit me too)

Right, so with that out of the way we can get on to the meat of the post.

RB and I had gone to see Shaurya ( ) this Sunday.

[About the movie – Pretty good. Excellent work by Kay kay Menon. Worth a watch but the warning is that its heavily inspired by ‘A Few Good Men’ ( ) (remember “I WANT THE TRUTH!!” – “YOU CAN’T HANDLE THE TRUTH” exchange between Tom Cruise and Jack Nicholson?). Still it is a very good movie and though the premise may be the same I think it is way more relevant here]

Anyway, RB was of the opinion that such movies should not be shown to the public because it takes potshots at the only bastion that people respect, the army.

Now I have two arguments against this, one is generic and one more specific.

Any censorship, whatever may be the supposed reason, is wrong. It pre-supposes that the ‘authority’ is in any way smarter and wiser than the people. And that is against the basic tenets of democracy. Democratic charter is based on the fact that all people are equal and have a role to play and a stake in how they are governed. Any authority that goes against this premise is exposing itself to a grey area which can eventually lead to confused thinking which gives a foot in the door to dictatorship and autocracy. I know that this may sound a bit extreme but an avalanche has to start somewhere.
The trend of protesting against movies, books, plays for obscure reasons is very disquieting and may well be the harbinger of worse things to come. If this continues, who knows one day all dissenting and original thinking voices shall be smothered in the path of everyone being coerced into one way of thinking that the people in power feel is right (for them?).

Specific: I agree totally that the army is the last bastion of reverence and respect for the people of this country, especially with the way the politicians behave (Yes, all those who are absolutely apalled and disgusted by the current ridiculous linen washing going on in Uttar Pradesh raise your hands!) . Kids, who have not yet grown up to cynicism, still feel their hearts aflutter when the Republic Day parade goes by with battalions marching and majestic weapons of defence on display.

But is that a good enough reason to hide sordid and grisly aspects of it? Any position that gives power over others and a gun in your hand would automatically tend to bring out the worst in some weak people. Bullies are not just restricted to the school playground – some of them may also become sadists who enjoy giving pain. And with a gun, infront of people with non-existant legal recourse, with the backing of their seniors and prejudice in their heads, who knows what ghastly crimes they can do. (Have you read “Lord of the Flies” ( )? That’s a book that I still don’t understand whether I like or not. The premise of the author is that intrinsically all people are bad and it is only the veneer of civilization that prevents savagery from emerging. In the book a group of boys land up in a situation where man-made civilization doesn’t exist and the group starts spiraling down towards their so called base behavior.)

Anyway, I feel that banning a medium of expression is not correct even if its against a pillar of society. All pillars get termites with time and we can either ignore them and wait for the pillar to hollow out and collapse or accept the problem and try to solve it. Respect and faith are very important but it is essential to ensure that the basis of both is strong.

And now to counter balance the rather serious nature of this post:

Why did Ravan faint when he went to a pub?
‘coz it said Rs. 1500 per head