Tuesday, March 30, 2010


Seriously why cant I just post on my blog without adding a title? You want a title? Okay here a crappy one - "Travel".

I have been bitten by the travel bug! (Dont ask me where) I have somehow developed an acute sense of liking (WTF! 'acute sense of liking'? Medicine does destroy your vocabulary) for travel shows. Be it those Discovery channel-esque ones or the classier BBC ones. The best part of these travel shows is that you get to 'see' and 'experience' various cultures of the world without having to leave your favourite couch. And of course without spending a penny as well (if you dont consider the money you pay your 'cable-wallah', sorry there's no word in the English dictionary to describe a cable-wallah in eloquent terms).

Globe Trekker is one show I like. Back when I was a kid (as if I am all grown up now :P), this programme (yeah, 'programme' and not 'program', I love Queen's English, albeit I hate the Queen) was called 'Lonely Planet'. Why? Hell, it was named after its parent publishing company. Why was the company called Lonely Planet? I dont know, maybe the one who was given the responsibility of 'coining' the name was another med student. Globe Trekker shows are shown in Discovery Travel and Living (a channel which dedicates itself to showing you all the pleasures of life you cannot experience or lets say cannot 'afford' to experience. How else would you describe shows like 'Europe Richest...", etc. etc. unless of course you happen to be Vijay Mallya or his son, in which case you would watch NDTV Good Times rather than this).

You still reading this?

Even Harsha Bhogle has been trying his hand at hosting travel shows. Lets face it, after the downfall of ESPN-Star Sports (in terms of Indian cricket coverage) he really didnt have a job! Oh well, he did actually. Picking cricketers for Mumbai Indians or something aka serving as Tina Ambani's PA. (If you're from the UK, you might not understand what I'm talking about but you will understand what I wrote, but if you're from the US, you wont even understand what I wrote coz its Queen's English! :P Sorry, bad joke)

There a really cool programme on NDTV Good Times, "Highway on my Plate". Hosted by two funny and charismatic anchors Rocky and Mayur, its a real treat.

Now magazines. I heard the other day that Conde Nast Traveller magazine (the Indian edition) is now available in india. And expectedly it costs a bomb! But fortunately there is a cheaper alternative, Outlook Traveller, the annual subscription cost in India of that is around 600 bucks, which is kinda okay. Their website has loads of articles as well, so even if you dont subscribe to their magazine, you can actually read most of their articles online (for free of course).

All good things come to an end, but all bad things must come to an end. Same goes for this terrible post. If you have read this till the very last line, I owe you a treat.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

A naughty little Twitter trick

In the absence of anything sane going on in my head, I've been doing some insane stuff. Result? I've discovered quite a few naughty things! *evil laugh*

How many times have you found that the person you followed back on Twitter suddenly decided to unfollow you. (Yeah, thats what causes the drop in the followers count) Well, fear no more. www.friendorfollow.com is here. Enter your username (no password required, I hope that will appease those privacy freaks, err that includes me as well I guess) and they tell you who are the naughty people who have decided to unfollow you. Trust me, even if you think this is useless stuff, in time you will find this an indispensable tool!

Let me know who those naughty folks are, if I'm following any one of them, I'd be more than happy to do the honours.

Monday, March 15, 2010

IPL - Indian Paisa League

That the Indian Premier League (IPL) was all about money and money and more money was never a secret. But that it put money above anything, absolutely anything, was quite a shock.

I'm a Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) supporter, and the events which have unfolded in the past few days, on this third season of the IPL, does make me a sad panda. As you might know, the Kolkata Knight Riders is 'owned' by Shah Rukh Khan and Juhi Chawla's Red Chillies Entertainment. And trust me, these people do their bit to add that spice to the game. But of late, this tournament has taken a weird turn, at least I can say so when it comes to the Kolkata Knight Riders.

There's now, to my utter astonishment, an official fan club for the KKR. And for around 500 bucks, you can 'buy' the KKR the much needed fan following. Its almost as if the people who refuse to spend their hard earned money to get a silly hamper (with 'goodies' I might add), which includes a T-Shirt (which will be rendered redundant and useless once KKR decide to change their jersey design, again), membership card, 'exclusive' access to....well, thats not exactly specified, and oh yeah here's the interesting bit, ticket discounts! (Erm, maybe they'll give you a hundred bucks off on their 32 grand ticket)

Wait! I aint done yet.
Although the first two seasons of the IPL had official sponsors and advertisers and stuff, cricket was always the main draw. Now it looks like I'll have to get accustomed to the new lingo, for a 'DLF Maximum' is the new term for a six. And each good bit of play gets tagged as the 'Citi moment of success'. And of course the entire tournament is called the DLF IPL.

Nowadays people, mostly women throng to the stadiums not to watch cricket (honestly, since when did women have a passion for the game? Of course with a few exceptions), but to catch a glimpse of Shah Rukh Khan, Juhi Chawla, Katrina Kaif, Priety Zinta, etc etc. Never mind if the home team is losing, never mind if the game is boring, never mind if the team management is doing an absolutely nonsensical job, never mind if the integrity of the team isnt in shape, you still get to catch a glimpse of the Bollywood celebs, right? Well, when people start paying 32,000 rupees to sit next to Shah Rukh Khan and Katrina Kaif, you do start questioning if cricket is still the main draw.

And yesterday was the worst day in the history of the IPL. Shah Rukh Khan had apparently refused to 'attend' the IPL match at the Eden Gardens, unless his guests were allowed to sit in a temporary structure suited for 'best viewing'. Never mind if the state government departments havent given the organisers the permission to build the structure in the first place, after all its all about appeasing the celeb crush/fever of some freaks who happen to shell out nothing less than (okay its getting repetitive) 32 freaking thousand rupees! But honestly, if someone is paying that amount of money, the structure built for them, should be all the more well built. So, Shah Rukh Khan refuses to watch a match because, hold your breath, he is not being allowed to sit on his illegal structure at the stadium! Hence, the conclusion. KKR management (who decide the price of the tickets et al) has absolutely nothing in mind but money, money and more money! And the KKR is making an issue out of it, by (almost) making it a 'look its Kolkata's image which is getting damaged' kind of a thing. And yesterday Juhi Chawla gave the killer punch (at least she tried to). She decided to meet Mamata Bannerjee and supposedly offered her tickets to the match to be held today (you guess the price of the tickets which were on offer!). Fortunately, she refused. Or else she would have generated yet another controversy by sitting in the 'illegal' block of the stadium. And of course, that would be perfect for KKR, they could then have Mamata on their side and the Mamata vs State government agenda would take centre stage and people would forget about the 'illegal' construction. Smart move, SRK camp. But not smart enough.

For heaven's sake, these people, SRK, Juhi, and everyone else related to the IPL are only hell-bent on making money and nothing else. They want the team to win because that would earn them more moolah from the advertisers. Not becasue they want to help the youngsters or anything! I never was an ardent fan of SRK (although I do like some movies of his), I always thought of him as one lucky fellow, with mediocre acting talent, hogging all the attention only because he happens to do 'formula movies', song and dance, dancing around the trees, and other stereotyped films, (now) mostly for the NRI audiences. And guess what, I dont think this naked display of 'I-want-money-and-money-only' attitude from him has made him a greater/better (or put anything you want here) human being at least in my eyes.

Oh well, gone are the days when cricket used to be a game of gentlemen. It looks like, cricket now is a game 'for' gentlemen.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Where is that charm of cricket commentary?

A Test match between South Africa and England ...
Image via Wikipedia
Its cricket season again. This time its the Indian Premier League (IPL). But why am I not excited anymore? Why is cricket, to me at least, just another game these days?

Part of the blame goes to the herculean schedule of cricket. Every year we have more than a hundred one day matches, and even more T20 ones. Even test cricket, which is supposedly dying, isnt really that scarce in a calendar year. Overexposure of the game such as these, has always been blamed for the drop in popularity of the game.

However I think there's something else which is responsible for, what I'd call, loss of the charm of the gentleman's game. Its commentary.

Commentary is an integral part of the viewing experience. A good commentator can make a perfectly boring match tolerable. (Although the reverse is necessarily not true, as you now have the power to simply press the mute button on the remote.) Remember those days when people switched on their tele sets in the middle of the night to catch India's West Indies or Australian or South African tours? I distinctly remember those nights. I used to set my alarm at 4-4:30 in the morning to the extreme agony of mum and dad. The moment the alarm clock (yea, back in those days I didnt have a mobile phone of my own) sounded the arrival of the hour, I was awake, and with a steaming hot cup of coffee in my hand I used to tune in to ESPN/Star Sports. The oh so awesome voices of Harsha Bhogle, Sunny Gavaskar, Richie Benaud, Ian Bishop, Michael Holding and last but not the least Geoffrey Boycott boomed from the television set. It didnt matter which team was batting or fielding, it didnt matter what ground it was, hell it didnt even matter what form of the game it was! Those voices made cricket seem well and truly the gentleman's game.

Sigh! Gone are those days. I saw Harsha Bhogle on a programme on CNN IBN today, and frankly, when I heard him speak, all these memories started pouring in. I never realised how much I had missed that voice until I heard him speak.

I wish I could go back in time to that wonderful era. But again, maybe thats why memory is such a sweet thing.

Monday, March 8, 2010

India promoting piracy

*WARNING! I am in a foul mood. Dont read this post if you are looking for elegant words to add to your vocabulary. You might end up adding the wrong sort.*

Yeah, you didnt misread the title. An influential moronic imbecile organisation which calls itself "International Intellectual Property Alliance" aka "We are the biggest morons on the planet" which is an umbrella group of RIAA and MPAA has requested with the US Trade Representative to consider countries like Indonesia, Brazil and India for its "Special 301 watchlist" because they use open source software.

And what exactly is the "Special 301 watchlist"? It's a report that examines the "adequacy and effectiveness of intellectual property rights" around the planet - effectively the list of countries that the US government considers enemies of capitalism. It often gets wheeled out as a form of trading pressure - often around pharmaceuticals and counterfeited goods - to try and force governments to change their behaviours. In other words, this International Intellectual Property Alliance wants to force users in India, Brazil and Indonesia to shell out thousands of rupees (dollars etc.) to buy the insanely priced OSes. In other words, this organisation wants computer users in these countries to stay ignorant of anything 'computer' if they cannot afford to shell out loads of money to get a paid OS, when you can get perfectly awesome legally free OSes like Ubuntu. And gimme a break "enemies of capitalism"? WTF! I honestly didnt know educated people in the 21st century were this stupid.

Now if you arent familiar with open source OSes, let me give you an intro. Open source OSes are mostly free OSes which allow you to access to the source codes of programs which allows you to change its settings/features without having to ask for permission. Most probably you are already using open source softwares like Firefox, Thunderbird, VLC Media Player. Ubuntu is the most popular and most user friendly free open source OS. And most importantly you can use these OSes legally for free. Tagging open source users as pirates is the most outrageous statement of the century, as open source softwares and OSes comply with every regulation and patent laws that have been put in place.

Anyway, I think the Indian government should come out more openly and strongly in support of open source OSes and encourage its use. Open source OSes give users the right to access a computer and the internet even if they dont have the capability or more importantly the want to purchase a paid OS like Microsoft Windows and Mac OSX. In countries like Brazil, Indonesia and India where there's a large number of people living in poverty stricken conditions, open source OSes are the only way to make people familiar with computers. And some people with their vile motives like this organisation, see this as a threat to the business of their home grown OS giants like Windows.

I have no words to describe this shocking development. I hope better sense prevails.

(If you arent using an open source OS, I strongly suggest you do so now, as a protest against these stupid organisations. The best open source OS in my opinion is Ubuntu. You can download it (for free, legally of course) from here)

The italicised portions have been quoted from the Guardian UK Technology Blog

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Dumb Luck

The Indian Hockey team at the 1936 Berlin Olympics
Image via Wikipedia
In case you were wondering, I'm talking about the Indian hockey team, which has virtually crashed out of the Hockey World Cup 2010.

Remember all those stupid ads? Watch the hockey world cup or get shot, said Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore. Cheer with me, said Sehwag. And guess what that blackmailing had actually worked! At least when it came to pulling the crowds to the stadium, it did work. I was quite frankly, a bit surprised to see such huge crowds in the stadiums.

I personally never really enjoyed hockey. Men playing with their sticks never sounded encouraging to me. Sorry, bad joke. Anyway, inspite of this strong dislike for hockey I still mustered enough patience to switch on the tele and tune in to Doordarshan. The only other time I would watch that channel would be during the Republic Day Parade.

But after all the moolah had been earned from advertising and ticket sales, the onus was on the Indian hockey team to perform. And thats where the problem lied. No one gave a damn about making sure the Indian team was well prepared for the world cup. At least not the team management clearly. Its a real pity that when the Indian hockey team got all the attention it was shouting for, for so many years, the team decided to put in a lacklustre performance. I havent seen many hockey world cups but I'm sure instances of the home team crashing out even before reaching the semis is rare. I dont think the Indian hockey management or whatever crap they call themselves should ever shout about cricket hogging all the attention undeservedly. Because frankly from now on that allegation will be an imbecile and idiotic one. Indian cricket team gets all the attention coz they are f*ckin brilliant! Period.

Will I ever give hockey another chance? I dont know, maybe if these guys pull up their socks and decide to do some 'real' hard work and perform, I might. Or else, to me, the glory of our national game is a thing of the past.

Thursday, March 4, 2010


I admit, I couldnt find a better title.

The newspapers here have turned into comic magazines. Literally. There's something in the Telegraph today about two boys being taken to their dad's workplace. Which is fine, only until you know that the hallowed workplace happened to be an ATC office at JFK. The kids were being directed by their dad to read out messages and stuff, some of which turned out to be really hilarious. For one, the boys bade 'adios amigo' to a Mexican flight, and was involved in a friendly chit chat with other pilots. "Awesome job" was once such remark. Sounds cool? Well apparently not. The concerned department in the US isnt amused. The employee has been suspended and further action is likely to be taken soon. Yeah yeah, a rather boring climax. But then again, they couldnt have given the kid a promotion, right?

Then comes our very own sex-guru (aka spiritual leader), Swami Nithyananda. Caught red handed in 'the act' involving a B-grade actress of the 90s, the guru is now untraceable. Some people including famous ones like Shekhar Kapur whose blog I follow argue that its because of our perception of the concept of sex, that we are finding it difficult to digest this sort of a thing. "So a Guru has had sex. Who decided that he/she must not ? The Guru or you ?" Kapur says. (His blog post can be found here)
I couldnt agree with you more Mr. Kapur. It high time that we had some sex gurus who would give us a pictorial (in this case videographic) guide to good sex, that too with an actress.
Yes, he has betrayed the trust of his followers (many of whom I hear happen to be celebs and whos who in various fields), but hey, he did do something. Guys, we now have a guru who is man enough to give us sex lessons! Pity there'll be only one episode of his tutorial class. The Telegraph reported that CDs of Nithyananda's sexcapade is now selling for 80-100 bucks. Dude! Gimme a break okay. A Swami having sex, for 80 bucks? There's far better stuff on the internet for free! In this age of recession, learn to save the moolah folks.