Thursday, February 27, 2003

High Noon on the cricket fields of southern Africa

India beat England yesterday and is now second in the group A standings. England play Australia on March 2nd in a match that might prove to be crucial to their chances of making the Super Six at the expense of Pakistan who play India next a day earlier. At this point of time, Australia expects to go into the Super Six stage with 17 points in their pockets. India would take 7 points through to the next stage if England makes it too.
But imagine this scenario. What if England beat Australia and India beat Pakistan. Then we get the Super Six equivalent of the Mexican Standoff made so famous by Gary Cooper et al. and more recently by Amitabh and Co. in “Kaante”. Australia beat India who have beaten England who beat Australia. So all three teams go into the Super Six on equal points. Another scenario that I am looking at in glee is the chance of Kenya going through to the Super Six from group B. Then there are fine prospects of all three teams from Group A making the semi finals.
All this means that what was termed to be the dullest of World Cups (by me of course) has turned out to be a potboiler of epic proportions. Let hope everything lives up to the promises…

Quote of the Day: "Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards." (Soren Kierkegaard)

Tuesday, February 25, 2003

God helps those who help themselves

I got into some problems trying to edit my blog template. On top of it my last post screwed up the blog. An inordinate number of those little "asterix" separators that I used, kinda stretched my page and actually compressed some of the stuff on the left side to fit them in. A kindly guy from from the blogger support yahoo group, helped me out and pointed out the solution.
Thanx buddy.

Sunday, February 23, 2003

The Idle Mind and the Devil

One of my friends sent me a link, a couple of weeks ago. I finally got around to seeing it. The link graphically describes some kind of modern adaptation of the ancient Egyptian methods of what has been termed as mummification.
Only that the subjects are ancient Egypt?s most sacred beasts ? beasts that caused Anck-su-Namun?s suitor Imhotep recoil in fear (i.e. cats, if you have missed that Bollywoodesque Egyptian saga ? The Mummy and its sequel). This site is so awful that I dashed off a mail to PETA. And I got this automated reply from them.
(Note: This following reply from PETA has not been edited in any manner whatsoever. The only changes have been for making sure that the links are clickable. The original mail from PETA contained the actual web addresses which wouldn't be highlighted on this Blog.)


Subject: Bonsai website information
Date: Sun, 23 Feb 2003 18:52:34 -0500
From: "info" | This is Spam | Add to Address Book
To: "Ananthanarayanan Subramanian"
Dear Friend,
Thank you for contacting us about We share your disgust with this disturbing Web site and are extremely concerned about its influence. We have received word that the FBI has decided to investigate this web site. This has come as a direct result of calls and emails that have been flooding their offices. Please let them know that you are concerned as well. You can file a complaint at the following Web site:
This is a reporting center Web site set up by the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) for Internet fraud and other forms of Internet crime. Although we have found this site to be a "joke," we still feel it is inappropriate and certainly not funny. The Humane Society
of the United States (HSUS) investigated the origin of the site and found that the name and address under which the site is registered, a "Dr. Michael Wong in New York," is false information. The site was reportedly created by a student at M.I.T, as a joke among friends. When this site initially appeared in December, a local humane organization did get involved on a local level in checking out this person but discovered no evidence of actual animal abuse having occurred. We believe that the Web site's creator was simply trying to generate attention by upsetting people who care about animals.
So far, it has been an uphill battle, as the only law that even remotely covers issues like this is a law that covers e-mailed obscenities; therefore, if the site is not in violation of the host's user agreement, no law is being violated, and the site can remain up. As you may know, this site has been closed down several times before but continues to reappear with different Web addresses. We are hopeful that with enough complaints filed with the FBI, stressing the influence it may have on cases of actual cruelty, it will be removed permanently.
While the cruelty depicted on this Web site is a sick joke, the reality is that billions of animals suffer horrendously cramped conditions in factory farms. Chickens, calves, and pigs are crammed into cages so small they cannot turn or stretch. Veal calves ("byproducts" of the milk industry) are chained in small crates for the duration of their short lives, chickens are squeezed into cages with no more space than a folded newspaper, and pregnant and nursing pigs are caged so they can barely move. For more information about how animals suffer on factory farms, go to this link and this one. Thank you again for taking the time to contact us about this issue and for all you do to help animals.
PETA Staff


The Net has perhaps become a melting point for information from various genres. It is perhaps imperative that we behave responsibly before posting information. That way, we do not need virtual policing. But that is just what is needed for the real world too. And when this does not really happen in the real world, it is not really reasonable to expect this to happen on the Net in a jiffy. However this can at least start by each of us trying to keep our contributions to the virtual world clean in every sense of the world.

Quote of the Day: "Employ thy time well, if thou meanest to get leisure." (Benjamin Franklin)

Saturday, February 22, 2003

Quo Vadis India !

Yesterday night I realized that India is on the way towards losing its “Third World country” tag after all. The per capita income share contributed by software exports out of India can be one major reason, but my conclusion is not based on this known fact. It is the recent spate of marriages in my circle of friends that, has led me to this conclusion.
I have a very large group of friends. That is one of the perks of being popular. Some of my friends that I am in touch currently date back to my middle school. Though N does not go that far (she joined my high school when we were in the 11th Std), she has been one of my closest friends in the last couple of years. And she got married the day yesterday. Or was it the day before. This difference in times between different parts of the world has confused me so much that I have actually stopped remembering dates. It’s all the days of the week for me now.
Anyways coming back to my original subject. In the last couple of months, a lot of my friends have gotten married. These people were either with me in school or at my undergraduate college. First one to get hitched up was V. She was not too happy about it at first. But then a combination of events made her change her mind about it. Now she regularly goes on skiing trips with HD (as she calls that troubled human being who fell for her). The next was H, who was ecstatic about it. He was talking about it since last February, when his sister got married. Now the latest is N. She’s coming down to San Jose and possibly would be visiting Cleveland for the Thyagaraja Aradhana in April. I would be probably meeting her then. The next marriage will take place in the next couple of months when M (another of my SCE friends) gets married.
Of these four people, 2 are part of the fairer sex. And they form a part of the same age group. Hence a 50% rate only serves to reinforce my belief that more and more guys are getting married in the same age as girls. The uninformed would immediately seek to throw water over my claims, but it can easily be proved that since the 1970’s, the average age at which a girl gets married has considerably increased. Viva India.
However whatever reassurance I gained by this realization, is negated by the thought that Indians are the perfect examples for the connection between idleness and the devil. Unemployed individuals have found no better jobs than to build temples for matronly actresses, burn effigies of sportsmen and to celebrate the birthdays of wannabe politicians.
God save my motherland !!

Quote of the Day: "Circumstances rule men and not men rule circumstances" (Euripides)

Friday, February 21, 2003

Wisecracking Smartasses

After a long week, I am back at my blog. A combination of a weekend trip, bad weather and tough schedules kept me away for the most part of this week.
I went on a trip to Purdue last weekend. Though the photographs show something else, by Toutatis (as Obelix would exclaim), it was arguably the worst weekend of my life, worst because, all my expectations of a good time were thrown out through the back door. We were stranded (albeit at the Holiday Inn) in the midst of the worst weather that southeastern Ohio has seen in decades. And then I got stuck with a ringing (blaring would be a better term to use, in this case) cell phone during a formal dinner and that too when the after-dinner speaker was holding forth on the ideal virtues of an IE professional. But those were the least of my travails.
There are various descriptions of the phrases “smart-ass”. Though all of them point in the same direction, two of the closest descriptions that I have found are these. The Australian – American slang dictionary describes a smart ass as “Something pedantic or unfunny” and also as “an objectionable person who points out other people’s errors.” Though both descriptions are opinionated, most people can easily identify the later, since the first description varies from one person to another based on their cultural subscription. But the whole issue is that a smart-ass made my trip sour. So much that I am still in the blues.
On my return, more bad news awaited, courtesy the Indian Cricket team. But now things have improved. Even the fickle weather changed to sunny yesterday. Hope this weekend turns out better.

Quote of the Day: "He that falls in love with himself will have no rivals." (Benjamin Franklin)

Thursday, February 13, 2003

Local Sixers and Dropping Standards

I read a fellow blogger’s posting today. He had posted a picture taken of him and a group of students in a quizzing session. Both of us are part of a mailing list for trivia quizzers. Though the list is for quizzers from Pune, I am also a member of this list. I was searching through the Yahoo Groups site when I came across this list. These quizzers meet at the Boat Club lawns in Pune. I don’t know for sure, but it is my understanding that they are/were from different colleges in Pune. Somehow, reading about their travails in popularizing quizzing in Pune and their bemoaning of the drop in Pune quizzing standards (in the recent group mails) somehow makes me feel nostalgic. We had a quiz club at College too. And we were not just good, but the best around Trichy. And the last two years of our college life, we also went through the same cycle of complaining of the lack of standards in the juniors who had recently started coming to the quiz clubs. But these same low-level mortals took our gauntlet and added three more Festember Overall trophies to the three that we won when I was at college.
(For all of you less informed mortals, Festember is the cul-fest hosted every year at the Regional Engineering College, Tiruchirapalli.)
But what I then thought was a local sixer is in fact a beauty that has perhaps cleared the top of the commentary box. COEPians, your first job now would be to get in more school crowds into the Boat Club scene (I mean, if there aren’t any now). That’s perhaps the only way to improve your standards. Quizzers are not born; they are made. Your only action now would be building your quizzing standards from scratch.
I actually fell quite good about Chennai and the QFI-C (Quiz Foundation of India, Chennai chapter) whose members have been the pillars of Chennai quizzing, whether it is in participating or in hosting them. The QFI meets at the Staff Training College of United India Insurance (off Nungambakkam High Road, adjacent to the MOP Vaishnav College for Women) in Chennai. The very existence of a meeting spot where all the basic facilities for a good quiz are available readily is perhaps one good reason why Chennai quizzing standards have risen along with the QFI. And not to mention the enthu put in by the grand old men of Chennai quizzing (I don’t want to mention names, solely because there are so many and I don’t want to miss any of them) and the support from the management at the United India Insurance staff college.
So what you guys need to do is to catch them young. Host a couple of school quizzes and announce the existence of a quiz club ( I mean if its not known yet). Watch the crowd grow. Now you might probably see an initial drop in standards and a drop in attendance after the first quiz posted by a regular quizzer, but that happens at the QFI too and this is a recognized way of weeding out the “bored” from the interested ones.
Viva Shan Quiz Club, Viva QFI, Viva quizzing…..

And now for the Quote of the Day....
"Only when you are challenged, unsafe, out of your zone, can you find self-knowledge !" (C.K. Prahalad)

Wednesday, February 12, 2003

The Day of the Dog !
Another day ends and lots of questions arise....
Did I waste close to (the equivalent) of Rs.700 yesterday night at Walmart ? Do Saurav and Co. still remonstrate that my fears are unfounded ? Anyways Saturday shall provide all answers to my questions.
Sad, I will not be able to watch the match that day. But whenever (over the last few days when my plans have become clearer) I think about this, I have comforted myself with the thought that, in the last two years India have played badly whenever I sat down to watch a match. So much that I have started paying money just to make sure that I can borrow the recorded matches whenever I want. This time too, I think thats about the same thing thats going to happen. Even if India reaches the final and needs 1 wicket with twenty overs left to bowl and a 100 run deficit to bowl at. This time I have paid for the cassettes and asked G to record all the matches. And with today's performance, my confidence has slightly ebbed.
But as always, hope is the best weapon for the desperate warrior and I buy that reasoning.
Come on India.. Dhika Dho....
Chaos theory and the Hindu marriage

This morning, I was watching Al Roker talk to this guy on NBC’s Today show. He was apparently 43 and was still single. He was ranting about how bad it is to be single at this advanced age and how difficult it is to get dates in New York when you are over 40. He has put up a huge hoarding up in front of Rockefeller Center (where the Today show is taped/telecasted from), which says something to the effect that he has a free sports car for any girl willing to marry him. His email id is printed in huge lettering on this hoarding and he is hoping that someone would contact him. I didn’t quite catch his name though. So if any of u guys reading this, have seen the video and have a URL for it, do mail it to me. He was not exactly bad looking (I am not…ahem.. what you think here…) so I am sure he would be successful, but I do have a faster way of solving his problems.
You see.. I am from Chennai, a part of India where it is believed that matches are made in heaven as opposed to the "Bars of New York" (yeah.. its a spoof on "Gangs of New York") fundae. Yeah right… if Indra was a marriage broker living in one of the myriad locales of Triplicane / Mylapore / Beasant Nagar. But anyways, all he (lets call him X) needs to do is to talk to Katie or Matt or Al to introduce him to one of the interns at NBC’s Today Show. Now I don’t want to divulge this intern’s name, but her boyfriend happens be a graduate student studying with me. Now she takes his card and passes it on to her boyfriend who passes it on to me. What I do is, just pass on the card to my mom who works in Chennai. No.. my mom is not a marriage broker. But her workplace apparently abounds in this type, because according to her, scores of marriages get finalized due to people from her workplace. Apparently she just needs to make about 10 copies of his card and circulate them among her colleagues and bingo… guy’s is married. Sometimes I wonder where India would be if such industriousness could be translated to performance in governance.
In case you are wondering how passing along cards in Chennai makes things happen in New York, you just have to take cognizance of the fact that you are now living in a age where the flapping of a butterfly’s wings in the Amazon rain forest causes a Tsunami in suburban Honshu. Well, thats Chaos Theory in a nutshell for you..I am digressing here. But the fact is the cards would in all probability reach someone whose close relative (may be a son or a daughter or even a first cousin) works somewhere in Boulder, Colorado or Nashville, Tennessee. The card now changes hands again and reaches the shores of USA back again where more copies will circulate than ever. And bingo…. The guy’s married.
Even if you cannot appreciate this argument, you will definitely agree to the fact that the chances that the guy would get married increases exponentially with the number of people that his card reaches. What I am suggesting above is something that makes ingenous use of the august conglomerate that is responsible for the Hindu marriage to increase the number of people with access to this guy’s card and hence his chances of getting married in this lifetime.
(P.S. So your question is.. why am I doing this? There is this old Tamil saying that if you help out in getting people married, then your marriage plans come out smoother. I am not ready to be married now, but then I don’t want to be stuck here ogling at the latest cover of FHM all my life either. )

And now for the Quote of the Day....
"Do thou restrain the haughty spirit in thy breast, for better far is gentle courtesy." (Homer)

Tuesday, February 11, 2003

Life’s Unfulfilled Desires

I have a number of unfulfilled desires. However two of them are close to being fulfilled.

1. Learn to swim, so that I can haunt the aquatics center here to ogle at all the nice (ahem.. female) lifeguards.
2. Learn to fly, not the airplane kind, but the old fashioned Icarus-esque flapping of the arms kind.

I have no doubts about which of these two desires are going to be fulfilled first. Mr.Iyer has volunteered to teach me to swim in the coming spring quarter. Here I see a chance to kill two birds in one stone. Like someone sang “Ore kallula rendu maanga” ! If I learn to swim, I learn to fly too. Individuals who are not scientifically inclined might not appreciate the true significance of this statement and this is where there ignorance comes to the limelight.
Water is a fluid. And so is air. Learning to move through water (i.e. swim), enables you to move through any fluid. So technically I learn to fly. But we don’t really have a high mountain here in Athens. Hence I have to put off all plans of testing. Another spot of bother is that I do not possess a parachute. And it is a truth universally (it's a rather small universe) acknowledged that I do not try anything unless safety features are integrated into the system. Even my swimming lessons will not be taken unless I have rubber tubing around my waist.
After all life is precious and as i mentioned earlier, I am no Superman....
But.... I believe I CAN FLY !!!!

And now for the Quote of the Day....
"As long as you derive inner help and comfort from anything, keep it." (Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi)

Monday, February 10, 2003

The Naming Game

There is no greater pain than that which results from your name being mispronounced. All through the 24 years that I have spent on this planet, I have come across so many people pronouncing my name in so many different ways. So many, that a list of such names could fill 2 or 3 sheets of paper. Ok, I am not specifying any paper size, but as the writer, I have liberty in exaggerating the importance of my statements!

Usually it is only my first name that gets bastardized. As a result, I just ask people to call me Anti. But of late my second name has received its share of bastardizations. The latest in this list is "Superman". Though the alternate pronunciation feeds my ego, I still cannot understand how a simple name like "Subramanian" can be mispronounced. Hence I proclaim to one and all - I AM NO SUPERMAN!!

(P.S. But I could be "Supermanian" if you wish?)

Finally a quote to end the day !

"One must be a wise reader to quote wisely and well", Amos Bronson Alcott
Hey guys...
Welcome to Anti's world.. where he's the King. That, however does not mean that he rules everything around him. No.. he's still not that big. But he is on this way to becoming the best in everything he does. Watch this space for more of his adventures while he exists on the 3rd rock from the sun !