Monday, July 30, 2007

Last Week.....

1. I missed 2 days of lab...(back to my usual self!!)

2. Sushanth, KLN and I went to KC to pick up new dudes and dudess'. There were 11(??) of them altogether.

I had fun. I was driving a truck after a very long time. It's always fun to drive a truck.

Sushanth ditched us (KLN and I) finally....people who know him well will figure what I mean :)

3. Read Harry Potter- 8th part. (Oh!!! I just read the last 20 pages. I just wanted to know if Harry dies...and he did not. Sorry dudes. I revealed "THE secret".

4. Prasanna graced us with his presence last weekend. He was visiting Manhattan after more than a month's stay at Colby. (We came to know that he is the most educated guy in Colby!!! True??)

5. Ganesh, Harshit and Radhika defended their Master's Thesis successfully.

6. Saturday morning, it was Ganesh's Photo session. I was happy with the end product. More importantly, the customer was happy.

6. We went to an Indian Restaurant for Dinner on Saturday. It was awesome (I didn't it tasted much better..hi hi!!!).

7. Saturday night, we were (Label)led. Some of us were (Label)led Gold and Red whereas some were (Label)led only Gold.

On a whole, It was a great week.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Sushanth's prophetic comments!!!

"I have always maintained that the first n foremost thing the present ISA committee has/had to do was create a platform where the 2 C's (Community and Committee) can interact directly. A platform, which could be a forum or a blog, through which any comments/criticism/opinions/suggestions can be exchanged transparently (the censors and brokers could be excused here). I wonder how the present ISA committee members get feedback from the community regarding the various events the ISA plans? It would be interesting to hear the answer from the horse's mouth.

All said and done i understand that each of us can come up with different ideas and opinions about how the ISA could be run better but its not possible to incorporate all those ideas and suggestions and more importantly i don't think anyone here in manhattan has the time to sit through all those ideas (unless he's a varun or a sushanth.....or a satya, who have nothing better to do than browse the internet ALL THE TIME!!!)

PS: Looks like these days EVERYONE is picking on the ISA for its faults (its becoming a hobby, i guess). Its so much easier to find faults than to try and do a job properly. Why don't we give those poor chaps a little break and let them do what they think is right."

This comment was made by Sushanth last November in response to an article I wrote in this blog. At that time when he made the above comment, he was neither planning to contest in the ISA elections nor he was too enthusiastic about working for ISA. Things took a different direction and Sushanth found himself being ISA prez.

"..When I believe I can, then I acquire the ability to do it even if I didn't have it in the beginning."-- M.K. Gandhi

The first thing that Sushanth commented was that the Indian Community does not have a platform where they can share their ideas. ISA has started creating separate webpages for every event that they organize, created a new forum where people can post their views and started (will expand this idea) involving more people for organizing events.

I believe his 2 C's (Committee and Community) idea will succeed eventually. (By the way, why can't the ISA make "2 C- Committee and Community" as their new motto!!!).

He also made a comment about people not having time to go through all the comments and feedbacks from the community. From what I have seen and have heard, the new ISA committee spends almost all their time going through the comments and feedbacks...(Most of the viewer hits in the forum is because of ISA committee's frequent checking of posts :))

The last thing he said was to support ISA, which we will...

"We will support ISA...but we will also criticize!!!"

Enjoy your tenure!!!

Good Luck!!!

Best of Luck!!!!

Ganesh, Harshit, Radhika and to all the guys who are defending their thesis this week..... Best of Luck!!!!

Defend well!!!...and hold your fort!!!

And meanwhile, don't get hurt while defending....some post- defense work needs to be done....

Monday, July 23, 2007

Rain Saves India!!!

It's been exactly 9 hours since I had written my previous blog....And it is in fact rain (and with a little help from Dhoni) that has saved India at Lords . Amen!!!

Last Week......

It was a great last week. Had loads of fun overall.. top 5 moments I had last week....

5. Reading "The Third Reich in Power" by Richard J. Evans.... I bought this book a long time ago but was too occupied to go through it. Finally, I was able to browse through its pages. I Just read the first few chapters and my early impression is that "the book has got it all".

4. Going to Lab on all five days. It's been a pretty long time since I had done that!!!!

3. Eating in Panda Express after almost a month.

2. Attending dinner parties hosted by Ganesh (who happens to be my roommate!!!). Since I had not helped him in cooking, theoritically, it was infact hosted by Ganesh.

1. Super Sunday. Watching Alonso win European GP and Padraig Harrington winning the British Open. It was one of the best final rounds of Golf I had seen in a very long time. I felt very sorry for Sergio. It was not exactly a "Van de Velde" type crash of 1999, but it was infact a dissapointing finish for Garcia.

***** Last Week's Best Interview:

R&A press: "There's no easy way to say this, But I know you're bitterly disappointed."

Garcia: "No, I'm thrilled. Happiest man alive."

***** Good Bye, Dr. Kalam. It was great to have you back at Anna University, my alma mater.

***** India did pretty good in the first test against England. They had infact pushed England into the fifth day at Lord's. May rain save India!!!!

***** One of my friends went to the mall this weekend. He asked for a polo t-shirt (with collars) which was neither plain nor striped. It was pretty much the last time he was given a welcome at Dillards.

***** Sania Mirza won the doubles title at Cincinnati. Heard 10000 more bottles of Sprite had been sold!!!!

***** Heard Sachin is planning to tour England again the next time around (after 3 years) and is planning to score a hundred at lords. He really wants his name engraved up on the honors board.

***** David Beckham was on the field for 12 minutes against chelsea. He was present at Tom Cruise- Will Smith Party the next day for a lot more time. MLS' future is very bright indeed!!!!

***** Hoping to see A- Rod hit his 500th Homer this week against KC Royals. All he needed was one season to change from K- Rod to H- Rod.

Finally, Its green everywhere!!!!! Congrats Padraig!!!!

Thursday, July 19, 2007

"7 Wonders"!!! Are you Kiddin me?

The whole idea of people voting for the selection of the 7 wonders is a farce!!!

We have so many man- made wonders in this world and each one is unique in its own way. What one thinks as special may not be special to the other. But I agree with the idea of ranking the monuments (It's the same as the critics rating movies every week. We accept the reviews more often than we actually think we do). So a typical person will want to know which is the best, so he can plan to visit the same.

In this case, "7 wonders" are the "best" of all the "better" monuments. (I think it would be more appropriate if I said: "7 wonders" are the "very best" of all the "best" monuments).

What I don’t agree with is the way the wonders were selected. Now lets see how the seven wonders were selected.

1) Mr. Bernard Weber comes up with a novel idea about selection of 7 wonders of this world. (He gives some reasons why he always wanted to do this!!!!). He starts an organization, (and as anyone who wants to get recognized) starts a website and finally promotes it (with the spectacular landing of his amphibian aircraft in Sydney Harbor on 15th September 2000, a week prior to the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games. And television stations all over the world aired this event).

2) His organization designs a set of eligibility criteria. With the help of some well-known architects, they come up with 77 candidates. Whether the expert panel visited all the sites is only a God- Known fact. (Query 1: How can anyone come up with precisely 77 amazing monuments? Why not more? Why not less? There are more than 200 countries in this world. Are there more than 100 countries with nothing expertly man- made? and finally Who are they to judge which is a wonder and which is not?)

3) The architect panel selects the 21 finalists from the pool of 77. I am very sure that the panel knows what they are doing. The panel has UNESCO's Ex-director general, Head of MIT architecture department among others. So I am sure they would have selected the best 21.

4) Now comes the best part (for the founder can make some money!!!). The people were left to select the final seven. A person is allowed to vote only once and then if he wants to vote again, he has to pay. It starts off slowly. But once you throw in some patriotism, it starts catching fire.

5) The votes were counted and the final "7 wonders" were announced at a grand function at Lisbon, Portugal.

Query 2: Did the people who participated visit all the 21 places before they judged which is better?

Query 3: If a guy is crazy enough to pay some money and vote more times, does that means it is really liked by more people? (It is in fact liked by that one particular guy who voted many times giving us a wrong conclusion that it is liked by as many people as the number of votes he had casted).

Query 4: Are people with Internet access only are the best judges of the world wonders? (My grandma thinks Tanjore temple is way too better than the Taj, but unfortunately she couldn't convey her view because of her not having Internet access!!!).

My view is very similar to that of the UNESCO's:

"The list of the 7 New Wonders of the World will be the result of a private undertaking, reflecting only the opinions of those with access to the Internet and not the entire world. This initiative cannot, in any significant and sustainable manner, contribute to the preservation of sites elected by this public"

Query 5: Why was Egypt's Great Pyramid removed from the list and inducted as an honorary member. a) Did the organization fear what would happen if people did choose their countries' monuments and left Pyramid out of their selection. b) And what if the Egyptian people don't have many Internet -accessing people and at the end c) What if the Great Pyramid is left out of the list?

Query 6: What if the private organizations in Brazil had not sponsored the campaign "Vote no Cristo"? Would the people still have voted if they hadn’t received a message from the telecom companies advertising that voting by messaging (SMS) is free?

Query 7: What if the seven million Jordanians had voted only once? Will the Petra be still among the top 7. (By the way, the 7 million people had cast 14 million votes)

So, Please don't come and tell me today "These are the Seven Wonders of the World and it was selected by the common people".

I will say: “I know what the wonders are. So F*** off!!”

P.S: By the way, I still consider Tanjore and Madurai Temples to be way too better than The Taj. No offence to the Taj, but it is anything but a simple Indo- Persian architectural building. The only way it can be in any list is if someone comes up with “7 great one-of-a kind buildings”. Not always one-of- a kind buildings are wonders and neither is the other way around. Any building that makes you say, “wow” is a wonder. For me, building a temple in tanjore where there are no mountains around or building a temple as beautiful as in madurai are always wonders. But I do agree that the Taj is on par with these two but not more. I may be wrong. I may be biased. But this is my opinion and I am sticking to it.

This makes me ponder: What if Shah Jahan had built an another building similar to the Taj Mahal on the opposite bank of the Jamuna as he had initially planned? Will the Taj be still considered a Wonder?

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Drink Scotch Neat!!!

"The water was not fit to drink. To make it palatable, we had to add whisky. By diligent effort, I learnt to like it."
- Sir Winston Churchill

"Too much of anything is bad, but too much of good whiskey is barely enough."
- Mark Twain

"If you don’t drink scotch, you are missing out something great in your life"
- Varun

I have seen some of my friends mix Scotch Whisky with pepsi or sprite. I think its a shame to drink scotch like this(If Mr. Johnnie Walker is around and if he happens to see this, he will definitely commit suicide!!!) . There are only three ways one "should" taste scotch: 1) Neat (I prefer it this way). 2) On the rocks ( For those who like to drink their scotch cold rather than warm) and 3) Mixed with water (To dilute the strong taste). Please don't mix any other carbonated drink with scotch. It will totally negate the taste of the drink.

Always start with blended scotch before venturing into single- malt whisky. The first time around, grab a small glass with a couple of ice cubes in it and fill about a thumbs worth of scotch in the glass, then fill the rest of the glass with water.Drink up. The next time, add a bit more scotch and a bit less water. Continue this process by adding a bit more scotch everytime. You should be able to drink Scotch "Neat" by the end of one month.

Once you have mastered this, it is time for trying out single- malt whisky. The important thing here is it should be always had "Neat".

Congratulations. Now, you are a scotch drinker.

You are now a member of the drinking elite, a person of refined tastes. You’ll never want to drink anything else again.

Friday, July 13, 2007

David Beckham in US

So, finally after so much drama, David Beckham arrives in US!!!!

Hopefully his arrival will spark some interest towards MLS. Neither Pele's stay with Cosmos nor the staging of a World cup changed people's attitude towards soccer. It's going to be a big task(it is infact a big "ask" from MLS!!!)for Mr. Beckham.

It is indeed a "David Vs Goliath" battle...

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

10 Sporting events I want to see!!!(I will, definitely!!)

10. India V England Test, Lords, London
9. India V Australia ODI, Eden Gardens, Kolkota
8. World Swimming Championships, Anywhere
7. LA Lakers V Dallas Mavericks, Staples Center, LA
6. New England Patriots V Any Team, Gillette Stadium, Foxborough, MA
5. Formula One, Nurburgring, Germany
4. Manchester United V Any Team, Old Trafford, London
3. Real Madrid V Any Team, Santiago Bernabéu, Madrid
2. Australia V England Boxing Day Test, MCG, Melbourne, Australia
1. NY Yankees V Boston Red Sox, Yankee Stadium, Bronx, NY

10 Places I want to visit!!!

10. California- Wanna visit SFO, LA and Yosemite National Park.
9. Melbourne- "Boxing Day Test"
8. Peru- Machu Picchu
7. Galapagos- Just want to see what Darwin saw.
6. Paris- "City of Lights", want to visit with my girlfriend(s).
5. Rome- Culture capital of the world, Home of The Pope.
4. London- Business center of Europe, Just wanna say Hi to the people who had ruled us for more than 200 years.
3. Kenya and Tanzania- Serengeti
2. Nepal- Just to see Mt. Everest
1. Berlin- Wanna visit for a lot of reasons.

Hope I can visit atleast 5 of the above ten!!!!

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Tiger Woods- Roger Federer Nike Ad!!!

Wow, it's awsome!!!!

Roger Federer wins record fifth wimbledon title

Ah...what a spectacle it was!!! Roger Federer playing against Rafeal Nadal on the center court at the All England Lawn Tennis Club on a very beautiful English Summer is always a mouth watering contest. Rewind one year, Roger Federer, even though had lost French open to Nadal before coming to wimbledon , captured his fourth Wimbledon title pretty comfortably. But this year, two things happened in addition to Roger Federer losing French Open again to Rafeal Nadal. One, Federer was not only beaten but infact slaughtered by Nadal in the French Open final and for the first time making Federer doubt his own abilty to win against Nadal on grass. Two, Roger Federer missed his pre- Wimbledon warm up tournament unlike other years. In addition to these two factors, Nadal's growing confidence is an another thing that Federer had to fight against.

Today's game started as usual, with both the players trading shots. Federer as he does always in Wimbledon, captured the first set. From then on, Nadal shifted to a higher gear and Federer tried pretty hard to catch up. The second set was taken by Nadal pretty comfortably. The third went to a tie- breaker. Roger, as good as he is always in the clutch, took the tie- breaker without any problem. The fourth set is a surprise not only for the spectators who were watching, but also for Federer himself. Nadal, now in his highest gear took the fourth set making the game more interesting. So, for the first time in his five wimbledon tournaments, Federer had been pushed to a fifth set.

This is when we saw the real Federer emerge from the shackles he was bound till now. Though Nadal gave a tough fight, Federer showed the world why he is the best tennis player and why Wimbledon is his home court. And it took just one break of Nadal's serve for Federer to wrap up things on the center court.

"Fifth set at any Grandslam final is not about tennis, it is about heart and courage". At the end, Roger showed he had got more heart and courage, and finally he was the one who emerged successful. On the way, he equalled Bjorn Borg's record of five wimbledon titles. Ironically, Borg was there among the crowd who had witnessed this classic.

It was one of the best tennis matches I have ever seen. It was a match between two great tennis players who gave everything they had got.

And for the people who didn't happen to catch up the game, "you have missed something truly spectacular"

Congrats, Roger!!!

Looking forward for your visit to the Flushing Meadows. Welcome.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Why are we not acknowledged if we sacrifice something??

People always say something good (in fact, great!!!) about someone who denounces his property, sacrifices something big for the benefit of others (May include his Brother, Friend or anyone for that matter). I am very careful in not writing "society" or "earth" instead of "others". When Siddhartha gave up his whole kingdom, or when Elango sacrificed everything for his brother, it was a made a very big deal by the people. People do talk about these issues for a very long time.

But if Ganesh did the same for his brother, he was not even remembered by his own neighbors for the sacrifice he did. Ganesh sacrificed everything he had gotten for his brother and in return Ganesh had got nothing. Why is Siddhartha and Elango remembered but not Ganesh? Is it just because they sacrificed something big, in terms of monetary value? Or is it because they both are in such big positions that anything they do will be closely monitored and if good, is praised.

If I donate 10 dollars from my pocket today (out of 1200 dollars that I earn every month) for ‘planet earth’ organization, I should be doing it just for my satisfaction. No one is going to acknowledge me for the money that I donated. It is in fact a big amount for me. But when Bill Gates donates some millions of dollars for the same, he will be interviewed, acknowledged and sometimes he will be chosen “Time’s person of the year”. He is able to give a million dollars because he has got more than a billion of it.

So in the end, if a person donates something/ sacrifices something, he should be popular for him to get acknowledged. So if you want to do something for others, always remember you are doing it for your own satisfaction and not to get acknowledged. Don’t do just because you want to get acknowledged/ famous.

So when people come to you and say, "Dude, you are earning so much, why can’t you do something for others”, tell then to f*** off. Do a sacrifice/ donation only when you are willing to do it. Don’t let anyone influence you. Till then just enjoy your life.

P.S: Ganesh is actually fictitious. It’s not someone I know…..

Monday, July 02, 2007

Ratatouille : Rat-a-too-ee

I happened to taste "Ratatouille" yesterday and am more than satisfied with the dish they had served. The movie may not be as great as "Incredibles", but it does leave us amazed. The animation is just mind- boggling. And it does have a grown- up storyline, which will make it interesting for even the adults who accompany the kids.

Watch the movie just for the way they had everything look so alive.


I happened to watch "Sivaji" the first week it got released.(me watching it again last weekend is an another issue!!!).

The atmosphere in the theater was exactly what I had imagined it would be. Lots and lots of people shrieking, shouting and hooting made me feel nostalgic. (I don't think it would have made big a difference if I had watched the movie back home!!!). Lots of thanks for the people and fans who had assembled there and made the movie a wonderful, fun- filled experience for me.

The three hours that I was in the theater was easily one of the best times I had in a very long time. For me, Sivaji was a fully- packaged rajni movie. It was worth much more than the $20 that I paid to see it.

This movie differs from a typical Rajni movie (or any recent tamil movie for that matter) in a lot of ways. First and foremost, Rajni is not seen with a cigar in his mouth. So his typical cigarette styles that we see in all of his movies are missing. But in this movie, he instead uses bubble-gum as a substitute for cigarette for his stylish antics. Secondly, Rajni never utters any punch dialogue in this movie. The filmmakers have instead used vivek to deliver the punches. As dialogue writer Sujatha said in an interview, the filmmakers have maintained the dignity of Rajni by not making him say any punch dialogues, but at the same time they conveyed the message through vivek. Third, the songs in this movie are very different from the usual ones we see in any Rajni movie. They are stylishly shot and CGI has been used very extensively. Rajni had tried his best to look comfortable in song situations. I say, it definitely pays off. The songs look great and both Rajni and Shriya look awesome on screen.

Rajni never looked so good before. We are infact reminded of Rajni of “Billa”, “Polladhavan” times. Whenever he says “pera kettavudene chumma adirudhu illa”, whether or not villan gets shaken, we did. The way he flips the coin, the way he talks to Aadi, and the way he says “Ennaga Aadi ippadi pannitaanga” were all done in typical Rajni style (infact better than before!!). The “Mottai Rajni” was the real surprise element in the movie.

Shriya had done here part perfectly. She is an orthodox tamil girl whom Rajni likes and in this movie, it is Rajni who tries to woo her and not the other way around. In the song sequence, the filmmakers made her lose most of her wardrobe- she is more than happy to do it and we are more than happy to look at her in this way!!!

Vivek has been given a much bigger role than any other comedian would have got in any Rajni movie. His one- liners are witty. He is much more than a typical side- kick to a hero. He sure does make us laugh hard in the first half. There are times during the movie when we will wonder whether Rajni or Vivek is the hero in this movie.

I had waited for almost 2 years for the movie and it didn't disappoint me in any department. The songs were picturized so beautifully. It would definitely make ARR happy. Now we know why ARR delivers his best in Shankar's movies. The stunts were amazing, especially the climax fight was mind- boggling.

Shankar and ARR had taken lot of time and people criticized them for postponing the release date for a long time. But now we know why. Though the story reminds us of previous Shankar’s movies, it wont get any bigger or better than this. Shankar had tried to change every typical thing that we usually see in a Rajni movie and I think he succeeds in most.

Watch the movie just for Rajni and no one else!!!!