Monday, March 29, 2004

Badri Dei.. Do you create wealth or you chase it?

I am not an wannabe MBA! At the same time, I am also not an outsider, because for a period of almost a year, I wanted to be part of what Srihari D claims is an 'exclusive club of engineers who have jumped ship and hitched themselves to the MBA bandwagon'. Yes, I wrote the CAT in 2001, just months after I wrote my GRE too.

So, for starters you could say that I am or wanted to be one of them stereotyped individuals that Srihari claims are the sole beneficiaries of the subsidies that the government currently bestows on the IIMs. That I am not, is another issue that mushrooms out of my ineptitude. But as the ego-centric guy that I am, I wish to focus this tirade on Srihari himself.

Srihari seems to be a non-engineer. Or mebbe he is a engineer who is an MBA himself, but has been suffering lately from pangs of guilt. Whatever it is, he raises some questions that borders on an all out attack on engineers who want to be up there - as part of the upper management.

1. Does an MBA measure his professional success by how much he earns?
The author says that too much hype is created over IIM's yearly placement weeks and the salaries that companies off. Well, I can say that though most of these 'hype raising pieces of literature' have headlines carping about the salaries, most of these articles generally seem to place more emphasis on giving us a feel-good mood by linking these salaries and offers to the upward swing in the economy. And if I have to be more brutal, one of the more prominent sources of the noise that the author refers to, is the same website that has featured this very article. Prime example - IIM graduates' salaries go through the roof. But even this is just only in 2000. For most of the other years the main object of interest is the link between the state of the economy and the number of placement offers. For more clarification, just do a google search for 'IIMs, placement' and key in 'Rediff' to see what the same site has carried in the past years.

2. Can only engineers manage?
No one says so. I am not gloating, but go to any business leader and ask him about 10 skill sets that any person would require to be a manager and I am sure engineers would have more of these than someone from another stream. The reason - the syllabi taught in any engineering college/university, be it the IITs or the humongous number of self-financing institutions all over the country. Well, having said that, I have to clarify something too. This status quo that I am talking about exists only in India. In most other countries, for eg. the US, where I am presently living, any college graduate has to take courses in science and math, regardless of his or her major and so it's mostly in the last two years of the 4 year college degree do people do things different from one another and the grind is the same, regardless of major.
In that sense, people from non-engineering streams are losing out in India, where someone with a BA would not know the basics of calculus, while elsewhere any college grad could vouch for the fact that the differential of Sin(x) is Cos(x). But there are most certainly exceptions. Hence, a lawyer or a journo can easily manage a firm, provided he/she possess key qualities i.e. the aptitude that can easily be found in an excellent engineer ? the ones who get into the IIMs in droves. I have recently heard about a person who was asked to sing a classical song during an IIM personal interview and that person made it after successfully doing what he was asked. The point I am trying to make is that if someone says he/she is good and can substantiate it, I don't think the IIMs discriminate- be it a biochemist or a journo. So quit whining about engineers having it easy. Just work harder!

3. Why do you need engineers to sell shampoo or manage mutual funds?
I was asked on my MDI (Gurgaon) personal interview to draw up a probable initial entry campaign strategy for a deodorant/talcum powder. And toward the end of my pitch, I was asked whether the fact that I was an engineer added value to the campaign. I of course said yes, but the interviewer did convince me that it was otherwise. Ya, ok. Maybe you don't need engineers to sell shampoo or manage mutual funds, but why can?t engineers do that?
And as for the author's grouse that people get into engineering as a shortcut to the IIMs. Whoa, when did a average 17 year old get such wisdom. Most of the kids I know are confused about what they want. And it is their parents who drive them into the engineering or the Medical pasture to graze. Not to mention the fact that 10 years ago, when these same kids wanted to go abroad and get their Masters, you shouted 'brain drain' and now when they wanna stay back and contribute you start complaining that these kids are in it for the money. Hell, they are in it for the money. But how can you demean their motives? Does the author have any shred of scientific evidence to prove his rant? I don?t think so. Only number quoted is 'only 10 % join engineering firms'. So? What is the percentage of engineering firms that want to recruit from the IIMs? Was this decisive number factored in?

4. If the army promotes a raw NDA graduate as a general will you have any faith in it?
Well, again same reasoning. If age or experience alone makes you give someone your vote of confidence, then why don't you let the oldest man in the country lead the army. So does that mean that unless someone is old enough in your eyes, you don?t expect the person to succeed?

5. Does the IIM turn out hares rather than tortoises?
Refer to my retort for the next question.

6. Is an MBA the proverbial rat which deserts the sinking ship?
Is Srihari really my mom?s pseudonym? Well, he seems to certainly have the same half baked ideas that my mom had when I was apping for B-school. In fact, I swear she used more or less the same words to justify her side of the argument when I was trying to convince her that B-school was equally good to a Masters here in the US. But I sort of sympathize with her because, my father has lot of stories to say and also my grand-dad apparently jumped companies like Edwin Moses in the 400m hurdles.
I think that company boardrooms are like Indian political parties. The more the brains in the board room, the more the chance of conflict. As a lower level employee, people don?t get to press their ideas regardless of the quality, but when you are in a position to be heard, people tend to push their ideas through and if they are repeatedly ignored they tend to try and move to a different place where they are more likely to be heard. The obvious fall out of this is that any project that was in the hands of the individual suffers because of the individual?s exit, which is more or less my father?s grouse. But I did manage to shut him up with this argument when he tried to side with my mom. But my father?s wounds are deep and hence I think I never did convince him completely. But these are sweeping generalizations again, that any outsider can make without going into the true story.

7. Why should the government subsidize engineers who sell toothpaste?
First question is that, whether the subsidy you (and me) are talking about really exists. But then, even if it did, why not, if these engineers are doing their job well? Do you have any alternative to these engineers or are you going to exclude engineers who are in the IIMs from these subsidies?
If you wanna take these subsidies off, feel free to take away the subsidized (sometimes free) electricity from the farmers who use their supply of free electricity to pump water round the clock to sell to contractors for cash. Also feel free to remove all the subsidies that you can easily qualify for if you bribe your local government official for a community certificate. As Velu Naicker famously exclaimed 'Ask them to stop before ask me to stop!'.

8. Why don't MBAs join manufacturing companies?
So, if a manufacturing company says that I am good for the job and is willing to offer a good salary commensurate with my skill-sets I am sure no MBA would flinch away from that opportunity. So it is what I am offered, that I or any average person would go for.
I am sure he has no numbers to prove hypothesis. Everything in this universe works on the law of supply and demand. Wherever demand is huge, prices (in this case, salaries) are better. But that does not mean that demand or supply is concentrated in one area alone. So if someone says I am good enough for a particular job and if that person happens to be the one I am going to work for, why should I not go for it, even is it does not exactly seem to be my cup of tea. After all, haven?t there been professional cricketers with engineering degrees?
And as for harping about how wrong the IIM's motto is - well, it could be wrong, cos for development in all these areas, the Indian government has its own civil service. Unless these areas are privatized, MBAs are redundant here in these fields.

9. Are IIMs turning out wealth creators or wealth chasers?
10. Are IIMs creating managers or leaders?
11. So what are the IIMs all about?

I choose not to think even about answers for these questions. Mainly because the author does not seem to give us answers worthy of argument. Only sweeping opinionated comments like 'An IIM graduate is unlikely to ever be an Ambani, a Tata or a Birla' and cliches like 'A leader sets the direction, a manager follows' that make him sound like the people behind the Miriam-Webster dictionary. As for perhaps the one remotely interesting statement about how only 4 of this years IIM-B graduates want to be entrepreneurs, I would have been impressed if he mentioned statistics about entrepreneurs who have graduated out of IIMs in the last 10 years because we know that one piece of statistic is just conjecture and not a trend.

So to sum it up, the whole article talks about a lot of relevant things, but by not propping up his hypotheses with numbers and facts, Srihari's rants seem like pure conjecture. But mebbe people like Gaurav, Vijay and Sabarish (incidentally all studying/just graduated from IIML) can elaborate and tell us where Srihari is going wrong. Or are they telling us to ignore him?

Wednesday, March 24, 2004

Is life all about being unemployed? - Part Duex Deux

While typing up my thesis and putting the finishing touches to the code, I have been listening to Yakkai Thiri and Janagana Mana and Dol Dol. And that with full volume on my computer speakers with a goood headphone. I have also been catching the AE promos on the "Puthum Puthusu" program on Sun TV (O.C gaachi when you buy Dish Network's coverage of the India Pakistan series) that comes during the lunch breaks of the day night games.

Of the three characters - Michael, Inban and Arjun, the first mentioned really caught my eye. Surya with the nicely trimmed sideburn, a full hand neatly inserted shirt folded to the elbow and trousers pulled up over his waist, somehow seems to fit the character, his soft voice adding luster to what promises to be a watershed his movie career. Of late, he has been one actor who's chosen his roles sensibly. For me, Surya and Vikram are the shaping up to be the Kamal and Rajini (or the Sivaji and MGR) of the 21st century - one relying on histrionics while the other relying on both his histrionics and carefully chosen body language (or body "loanguage" as Thalaivar says) to carve their niche. It remains to be seen, however, whether they can capitalize on the initial good work of the last couple of years!

ve-kku pizhai;
blogging thirutham;

(P.S Regardless of the Pithamagan tinge in the second one, both the pics of Vikram in the collage are from Anniyan, his under-production movie helmed by Shankar. Other pics that I have seen, have him dressed up as the Grim Reaper, another Pithamagan flavor, a trendy yuppie wearing a flashy plasticky shirt. If you observe the first pic carefully, you can see the traditional Iyenger namam. Actually he sports a kudimi too . However, I don't know how this costume relates to the movie though, cos a lot of times I have seen that images from the early stages of the movies are no way similar to those from the final product. But what's significant is that this role was initially written for Kamal as soon as Indian came out in 1996, but Kamal got busy with his And while we are talking about Surya watch out for Perazhagan which is a remake of that Mallu tearjerker, Kunhikoonan, where Surya stars as a hunch-back. Boy, these guys are confident!)

Is life all about being unemployed?

I don't think so, well, at least until I am alone with no one around me. There are people around me and so I am really upbeat. Let's see how long this lasts.

Going on to better business than the obvious lack of manufacturing jobs around Ohio, India won the last ODI by 40 runs and hence the series by a margin of 3 to 2. India rode piggy back on a superbly paced innings from Laxman and some awesome catching by Sachin, Kaif etc., not to mention 10 overs of tight bowling by young Pathan. Initially India seemed to have lost their way between the 20th and the 40th overs when the ever hinted acceleration in scoring rates never came. But some inspired cameos from Pathan and Balaji (who hit one of his now seemingly staple six over long on) who added 30 runs between them took India's score that was threatening to sputter to a stop somewhere around 270 to a respectable and yet easily gettable 293.

Sehwag threatened to get out every ball, but what did him in was a horrific cross-batted dab at a ball that was probably closer to his body than the edge of his helmet visor. Tendulkar decided that he was too bored to continue and edged a nothing ball from Shabbir. Ditto with Ganguly who was set up by Akthar to glide a outswinger straight to Moin. Laxman, at the other end was in Australia mode throughout this phase, but could only watch as Dravid and then Yuvraj fell. Laxman finally went in the 46th over trying to give some much needed impetus. But his abject inability to loft the ball over the infield, a handicap that actually serves him so well in the Tests, caused his downfall here. Pathan joined Kaif who, like Laxman, seemed to be better suited for ground strokes and started middling the ball hard from the word go. Later when Kaif fell, in walked Balaji and smote the fast bowlers around, with the usual six over long on, ending with 10 runs off 6 balls with Pathan scoring double those runs at exactly the same rate as Balaji with three boundaries. Quite a find these two are, and quite a anti-thesis to the bunny in Nehra.

When Pakistan batted, Balaji removed Yasir Hameed but his over proved kinda costly, with three boundaries being plundered by returning opener Taufiq Umar (who incidentally dropped two catches in the outfield, one proving costly with Laxman getting to his century). But Pathan showed how easy it is to bowl in these pitches if one stuck to the basics. He used the benefit of a dodgy decision to get rid of Youhana, but the next wicket - Younis Khan, was a classic. His full length ball pitched halfway between the edge of the pitch and the off stump and straightened just a bit and the resulting edge looped at knee height to Yuvraj at point who hung on to it as it died down on him. Inzy however was batting like god, calmly driving the bowlers mad with his drives (one of which temporarily got rid of perhaps India's worst fielder in the absence of Nehra, Ganguly). But the introduction of Kartik bottled Inzy's strokes up, just like the other day. He had to hit out and hit out he did, but there was God patrolling the long on boundary by then.

Last week, when Gilchrist was plummeling the Sri Lankan bowlers into submission at Kandy, ESPN Sportscenter (here in the US) had featured one of his towering sixes over deep midwicket (off Jayasuriya) on its "Top Ten Plays of the Day" section at number 4 (or was it No. 5). The feilder attempted to catch the hit, but failed to hold on to the ball which went over the line. But today, it was Sachin and he made no mistake. Inzy stepped out and hit Kartik from middle and leg towards long on. Tendulkar ran to his left and timed his jump to perfection. But what was significant (and he was completely aware too) was that he was just about one half a shoe length from the boundary and once he caught the ball, he balanced himself just right and continued running left, a couple of yards. One of the best ever catches I have seen. Well, according to me, this one ranks right there with Azhar's caught and bowled chance in front of his face (don't remember which match it was), Jadeja's tumbling catch in the 92 world cup, David Boon's catch at forward short leg off Azhar during the 1991-92 tour down under and Kaif's catch last week. Will be watching Sportscenter carefully tonight to see if this one is featured.

At that point, Pakistan was in dire straits at 87-5 and when Razaaq was pouched by Sehwag, a couple of balls into Balaji's second spell, it was almost over. But Moin Khan, in the company of Shoiab Malik and then Mohammed Sami threatened to turn the tables with some lusty hits and good running, a scenario compounded by the dew factor that left the fielders clutching at wet balls. But then Kaif took another good catch at midwicket to get rid of Shoiab Malik and then Sami's unguarded furniture was disturbed by a well directed yorker from Zaheer. Finally Balaji cleaned up Moin Khan and the match was over, leaving India victors by 40 runs.

For me, the turning points of the match, aside the good catches would be the 30 crucial runs from Balaji and Pathan. Let me tell you why. When the match ended in the 48th over, Balaji was bowling his last over and Zaheer had one over left. But the other regular bowlers, Pathan and Kartik had none left. So if the tailenders had not contributed, all Moin and Sami (who batted as well as Balaji and Pathan did) would have had to do was to rotate the strike and wait till Zaheer and Balaji had got done. So with a handful of runs required, Dravid (captaining in place of Ganguly) would have had to go to Sachin to help finish the quota of overs and that would have been potentially dangerous. Sachin has proved to be successful bowling the death a couple of times, but it might not last!

Sunday, March 21, 2004

India's first match in Pakistani soil in 14 years.. ? A flash back (Part 2 of 3)

I can't help but think that I am popular. Hell! I AM POPULAR. I do re-caps of two matches from the previous ODI series between India and Pakistan and before I can proceed with the third and final match, Rediff jumps the gun and comes in today with a re-cap of not the whole series, but just the third match. Do I have any readers from Rediff ;) ? Who's lurking?

You, the one hiding behind that small Microsoft key board, keep both your hands where I can see them and let me see some identification! ROTFLMAO.

Jokes apart, the third and the final ODI in the Wills Challenge 1997 was played at Karachi and perhaps will forever be known as Ijaz's match. Read Rediff's re-cap of this match.

Hoping to see a India victory in the fifth match. But I do HATE IT when people talk like THIS!

Thursday, March 18, 2004

India's first match in Pakistani soil in 14 years.. ? A flash back (Part 2 of 3)

As I read an account of the second match of the Wills Challenge in 1997, I could finally appreciate why the Indians and a lot other teams in recent years have been reluctant to play in Karachi. Read on....

Pakistan fielded an unchanged team for the second ODI at Karachi on the 30th of September, 1997. India's faced a set-back the day before the game when Rahul Dravid's inflamed wisdom tooth worsened bringing with it a fever. The Indian team was further hampered by an injury to former captain Mohammad Azharuddin, who had a hamstring problem while Sachin Tendulkar was hampered by a stomach bug. Sachin and Azhar were found fit enough to play while Vinod Kambli was drafted into the playing XI in the place of Dravid.

Pakistan called right and elected to bat and where immediately on track for a good score when Anwar and Afridi posted 55 runs on the board in just under 8 overs. Then Rajesh Chauhan, who was introduced into the attack after Mohanty had gone for 25 runs in his three overs got into his act immediately deceiving Anwar into a false stroke and hung to a good diving catch off his own bowling. But Afridi and he went about playing his carefree and sometimes careless game till he dropped one down the throat of Kuruvilla off Nilesh Kulkarni. Kulkarni got his second scalp of the match when Ijaz, who had been the subdued partner in the 71 run second wicket partnership with Afridi, fell soon after to a wonderful catch by Azhar in the 25th over, with Pakistan being 148-3 at that stage.

Inzamam and Salim Elahi set about consolidating the innings, when, at 178-3, someone threw a stone into the ground from the stands causing a 7 minute stoppage. At 197, Salim Elahi was caught by Kulkarni to give Chauhan his second scalp. Inzy however stayed strong and found an ideal partner in Moin Khan.

The two of them carried on through two more incidents of crowd disturbance, both stone throwing incidents, with the score being 210 and 238 respectively. And then with the Pakistan score at 265-4 (in 47.2 overs), match referee Ranjan Madugalle stopped play after the fourth disturbance of the match occurred (Sachin had lead the team off the field when the three previous incidents had occurred and had to be persuaded by the match referee to return) and set India a target of 266. However, since 19 minutes of play had been lost in the Pakistan innings, the match was reduced to 47 overs each. Other than the disturbances, Pakistan had only themselves to blame because they had been at 132-2 at the end of 20 overs. Tight bowling by Kulkarni, Robin Singh and Ganguly kept the score bottled up.

When the Indians came back after lunch, they immediately went to the overdrive, with Sachin and Saurav smashing Waqar and Aaqib with Aaqib going for 27 from his first two overs. Ganguly, the aggressive of the two openers, got to his 50 off just 41 balls. But with the score on 71, Sachin fell to a catch by Moin off Azhar Mahmood. Kambli walked in and soon was dropped twice by Moin off Saqlain. Kambli settled in and gave Ganguly ample support in a partnership of 98. However Ganguly's dismissal for 89 (out of the score of 169) brought about a collapse and India lost 4 wickets in the space of 26 runs. Kambli and Azhar were run out and when Pakistan's sometime nemesis, Jadeja was out cheaply for just 8 runs, Pakistan was back on track.

However India was rescued by Robin Singh and Saba Karim who played sensibly and brought India to the threshold of a fine win. Both Karim and Singh were trouble initially against Waqar who was introduced into the attack ostensibly to polish of the lower order, but managed to survive. The pair added 63 invaluable runs before Waqar got one through Karim's defense in the 46th over and set the crowd alight. Waqar managed to restrict the Indians to just two runs off his 6 balls. India was in deep trouble, with Rajesh Chauhan on strike, requiring 8 runs off the 47th and last over of the innings.

But what had happened 6 overs earlier had its effect now and India had a small glimmer of hope. At the end of the 42nd over, the ball had been changed, at the request of the batsman who had difficulties seeing it, the ball having become a dull shade of brown from the dust. Saqlain had all kinds of difficulties gripping the newer ball. Rajesh Chauhan watched the first ball from Saqlain and danced down the tracked and hoicked it cleanly over midwicket for a six. The pressure was defused immediately and sharp singles off the next two balls brought the match to a close with three balls to spare. Ganguly was declared the man of the match for his beliggerrent 89 and his tight bowling (10 overs for 39 runs).

The next day, the Pakistani media sought to lay the blame for the loss on the stoppages while Saeed Anwar blamed the changed ball. To be very frank, with Moin and Inzy motoring along, I guess the Pakistanis had good reason to complain that they lost a chance to post a close to 300. But to deem Sachin's actions un-sporting is just too much. The same article goes on to claim that "alcoholic bottle" was thrown in Chennai during the Independence Cup match and stones were thrown during the World Cup quarter-final at Bangalore. I have to admit that I haven't heard accounts of these incidents anywhere else. Anybody confirm? However, while going on and on about the stoppage and the ball change, no mention is made about the glaring umpiring inconsistencies in the match (this time from the third umpire!).

Sunday, March 14, 2004

India's first match in Pakistani soil in 14 years.. ? A flash back (Part 1 of 3)

Whoa... Everyone forget 1997? That Rajesh Chauhan six? Ijaz Ahmed's murderous assault? Apparently everybody except Pradeep Magazine!

That is the first impression I got when I watched yesterday's first ODI of the Samsung Series between India and Pakistan at Karachi. Almost zero mention of that particular series when India, after winning the 1997 edition of the Friendship series for the Sahara Cup comprehensively by a 4-1 margin, with the newly discovered all-rounder in the India ranks, Saurav Ganguly (previously better known a batsman) taking the first of his two five wicket hauls in ODIs and ending with a total of 15 wickets and 222 runs @ 55.5 for the series, landed on Pakistan's soil almost 8 years after Waqar Younis, then a debutant had drawn blood from the nose of perhaps the most celebrated Indian player ever, Sachin Tendulkar, who was yet to show us what he could do.

India landed at Karachi on 27th September 1997, after changing their original schedule which had them flying into Karachi straight from Toronto. The Indians chose, instead to fly to Mumbai and then fly to Karachi after almost a day's stop-over. The team landed at Karachi's Quaid-i-Azam International Airport to a "effusive welcome". Tendulkar, the then Indian captain refused to attach any significance to the absence of strike bowlers in the Karnataka trio of Srinath and Kumble and Prasad and also deflected all questions about his unhappiness over the dropping of his chum Vinod Kambli and his wicket keeping choice, Nayan Mongia (interesting when we realize that the same Tendulkar (with Kapil Dev and the rest of the team) reportedly ignored Mongia when Messers. Lele and Co. packed him off with the team to Australia just about six months later). Tendulkar just appealed to the spectators to treat the games as every other ODI (well, that is inviting trouble too right?) and hoped that the Inzamam incident (an incident that Prem Panicker likened to Kurosawa's Rashomon) at Toronto would not cast its shadow over the series.

The first match was played at the Sindhi city of Hyderabad. Pakistan, led by Saeed Anwar for the first time, after Rameez Raja (yeah, he does need a haircut now, but who is Robin?) was ousted as captain, a scapegoat of the 1-4 defeat at Toronto, started in a way quite opposite to the showing from Shoaib and co. yesterday. However, it was Sachin who won the toss and with his opening partner in heavenly form, decided to bat himself out of his horrendous form (yes he was in "bad form" then too, with returns of just 99 runs @ 24.75 in 6 matches at Toronto) and elected to bat. But both him and his partner were seen in the vicinity of the pavilion with just around three overs bowled, both victims of perhaps the first express to play for Pakistan, this one from Burewala - the man Waqar himself! Waqar first had Saurav playing the ball awkwardly to Hazan Raza (one of those hundreds of pre-pubescent savants to play for Pakistan) to end of the first over itself and then had Sachin searching for the arc of the banana in-swinger as it rattled timber behind him. First blood for Pakistan and India in trouble at two down for a quarter of a dozen runs on the board.

When Saurav was walking halfway back to the pavilion, in strode Robin Singh, a man no one probably expected then. But the loss of Sachin perhaps rattled him too as he pushed and prodded to 20 runs out of a partnership of 58 with Azhar who himself made 31. When both fell at 61 and 77 respectively, Jadeja and Dravid then set about continuing the repair work with almost 90 runs till Aaqib Javed (the man with the hat trick in fading light at the pseudo Paki city of Sharjah) decided to get into action and cleaned up any semblance of a fight back by crashing through the defenses of first Jadeja and later Dravid, Kuruvilla and Nilesh Kulkarni. Saqi (a.k.a The Fcuki) contributed with two wickets of his own as India collapsed (now where have we seen that word describing that Indian inning before) to 170 all out, losing 6 wickets for 5 runs in just 14 balls of carefully orchestrated mayhem. Incidentally both Saqlain and Aaqib had wickets in successive balls till the third ball was resolutely blocked by the next Indian batsman!

Pakistan, contrary to the expectation of the millions of eager fans, had to first get past Nilesh Kulkarni (whoa, where is he now?) before they could win. Win, they did, but they huffed and puffed their way to it. Shahid Afridi (by the way, how old is he now? Could any family member or close friend of his please email me? All information would be suitably rewarded with a share of the money that supermarket tabloids in Pakistan, the ones with all the babes in swimsuits and matching burqas in the third page, would pay for this awesome expose!) and Saeed Anwar played belligerent knocks before being caught in front of their wickets by Kulkarni who seemed to spin his web of deceit around the Pakistanis on a wicket of hitherto unknown qualities (this being the first match on the fresh wicket). Then Salim Elahi lost his way across the pitch and found himself caught short by a sharp Tendulkar throw, most people holding Ijaz Ahmed at the other end equally responsible. Soon Ijaz decided his time was up too and edged a Robin Singh dibbly-dobbly to Tendulkar at first (and surely the only one) slip. Tendulkar added another to his booty by superbly pouching Hasan Raza, again at slip to give Kulkarni his third wicket before Inzamam played one of his intelligent knocks to take Pakistan to victory with 5 overs and a few balls to spare in the company of that street fighter in Moin Khan who finished with 12 runs to his credit.

Well, thus ended this first match. Pakistan drew first blood in this series as Aaqib Javed ended up being man of the match for the destruction that started perhaps with Sachin's shattered stumps or even Saurav's fending against Waqar's pace and bounce.

Will be back in a couple of days for a recap of the next two matches in this series. Stay tuned till then....

Tuesday, March 09, 2004

New ARR masterpieces and rumors!

Last two days, have been listening to bootlegged versions of a up-coming ARR masterpiece, albeit in Telugu. Waiting to hear the original versions when they come out in a couple of weeks. BTW, all you ARR fans, a veritable feast awaits in the coming months. First SJ Surya's bilingual take on the Tom Hanks starrer Big and then the next MR flick, again a bilingual (multistarrer this time). The soundtracks should be as usual gold mines for the respective producers, (the three tracks I heard are simply mind-blowing, with one particular soft lullaby like track featuring Sadhana Sargam and Unni Krishnan making me listen to it atleast 10 times in the last three hours) but about the movies, all comments reserved - at least for SJ Surya's effort. First thing, it stars himself and I dunno how good he is as a actor. As a director he seems quite ok, as Vaali demonstrated.

And then about Yuva / Ayutha Ezhuthu, I have no doubts about the movie - its MR, for heaven's sake. He might be off the audience's preferences sometimes, but for the connoisseur, his movies are pure nirvana. The initial buzz from the promos seems to be quite encouraging - though this yet to be corroborated rumor that it's MR's take on the Oscar nominated Cicade de deus (City of God). Read Roger Ebert's review of the City of God here.

I read this UN-CORROBORATED RUMOR first on Lazy Geek's where one of his "admirers" had commented about it. It found its way here and when I left a comment on there. BSubra (this is his Tamil blog BTW) was kind to email me and he says that he had caught it too from Lazy Geek's where KG had left a comment. Someone ask KG where he read this piece of info. It's spreading like wildfire and all fingers point to him or at least the trail goes cold at his fingers.. LOL... And after all this someone posted on the ARR fans group that he had read this piece of info on Junior Vikatan. Now it figures.

Now, when I look at it, seems that there is actually a resemblance between the City of God's story and what has been paraded everywhere as the storyline for Ayutha Ezhuthu/Yuva. But it is best that we stay restrained about this issue till the movie releases. As this commentor on TFMpage says - "But we are all working on assumption here. Let's wait and see what 12B is all about. When news of the mouse sequence in Tenali was leaked to the press, everyone jumped to the conclusion that it was a remake of Mousehunt. The film turned to be a remake of some other English movie." The case about Tenali was carried by everyone incl. Rediff and The Music Magazine. So let's wait! Till we can actually hear the songs, satisfy yourselves with the track listing from which again is quite different from what was posted on TFMpage (and on the ARR fans group)sometime in December. However this time, a lot of people associated with the movie have been talking about this songs and so I guess this IS the listing. So much for my waiting to hear Harish Raghavendar's first song with ARR. That might have to wait yet.

Update: The Yuva trailers (on Bollyvista) rock and I happened to catch 20 second previews elsewhere of all the AE songs! If only those 20 seconds did not have the name of the website's name as a watermark!. Its not the whole song and why the watermark ?:p. And my friend who caught the City of God over the Univ's cable system says from the trailers, the only similarity apparent between COG and Yuva/AE is the fact that the movie seems to be set in an slum :p

Test Cricket Losing Crowds in the Sub-Continent?

The first and last test match that I actually watched in a cricket stadium was the famous 3rd Test between India and Steve Waugh's Aussies in 2001 at Chepauk. On the third and the fifth days, the atmosphere was electric and there were crowds even to watch the teams have a light practice session about an hour and a half before the start of play.

Well, the boos that Ganguly received on dropping two (or was it three) consecutive skiers that left the bat of John Wright should be heard to believed. There was that much of a crowd at about 8:00 in the morning. J and another P too can vouch for that, for we were together for those two days of play at Chepauk. The point is, there was a sell-out crowd ready to lap up any action that was dealt out by the Indians and the Aussies and I had, till today, thought that this was the norm. Propping up that opinion was the images and sounds that I remember from the India-Pakistan Tests of 1999 in Calcutta and Chennai (the latter I followed via radio coverage)

But Cricinfo has this Roving Reporter peice from Galle where Murali spun his web around the Aussies on the first day of the first test and Tilakaratne Dilshan had the Aussie bowlers hunting for leather almost all day in the next. But apparently only 1500 people watched the first day's play and the peice makes it sound that test matches in the sub-continent are losing their spectators.

I haven't had the chance to watch that many test matches in India on TV after I came here to the US, but all you guys back home should know. Is that true? Is this the case in India too? I have been wondering why the Indian Board looked at just 3 tests and 7 ODIs (is it 5 now) for the Pakistan tour. I commented to some friends that an addition of an extra test while cutting the ODIs to 5 would probably make the tour much more interesting for the spectators and fill the PCB's coffers. Was I wrong?

Sunday, March 07, 2004

YSR loses credibility?

I went on the I2FS site after a long time (following George's posting about the Karz soundtrack) and found that three of the songs that I have been listening repeatedly over the last few months are all lifts. That raises credibility questions about YSR and to think I was slowly starting to place YSR in a pedestal that was almost equal to IR in terms of listening preferences. And these were just the three songs from Kadhal Konden that I raved about in this post. Needless to say, I am embarrassed.

Karthik, who maintains the i2fs page says (it) turns out that the film's theme in itself is lifted from a German movie called 'Klassenfahrt' (English title, 'School Trip')...not only the theme but also the mannerisms of the original's lead guy, whom the Tamil hero Dhanush apes unabashedly. I remember Dhanush getting loads of praise from the Tamil press for his 'acting' in the film.... Hmmm...

Wednesday, March 03, 2004

Blogroll updates!

Recently, I have been on a number of blogs that escaped my radar earlier. I decided to finally add them to my blogroll. And I have been lazy too. I added some to my blogroll and did not exactly tell you guys about them. So today, ore kallula rendu maanga.. (singing a Kamal-ish tone). Here goes...

Jayendran is my neighbor. He has been my neighbor for quite sometime. We used to play cricket together and then he moved to the same apartment block as mine. He seems to have big plans that he tells us about in a rather poetic manner. He's an ardent Kamal fan, a up and coming CA and a fellow quizzer. Welcome da....

The Nattu formerly known as "Inter-nettu" is now in Oz where he scribbles quite frequently. By the looks of it, he's still the net-junkie as he was in the early days of Internet at Tirumalaisamudram. Do not miss any post of his, particularly this one.

Dev is a RSK-ite who was once a fused tubelight (Dev, see I still remember your team name from 1996-97). These days he is a dyslexic atheist, who also seems to be an insomniac. Dev, I think you can be cured. Just read my posts regularly and REM will beckon you immediately.

Hemanth is really a nice guy whose blog actually takes its name from the character played by Chris Penn in Reservoir Dogs. And to think that I thought he was so taken up with himself. He writes about his angst at Madras being renamed Chennai and thinks that its a shame to rename a place after the person who sold it to the Brits at the first place. He's a movie freak and maintains another blog exclusively for everything to do with Chennai, its movies, the politics and its news at a place quite reminiscent of that standard Chennai fixture where everyone exchanges information with everybody else - the teakada (for the non-tamil speaking population in cyberspace, teakada refers to the local "Tea shop". Do visit him and his teakada.

I dunno who Ripples is. Ok, I know that Ripples is a she and might also respond to the name Priya. Ok, not so sure about the second part. But all I know is that Ripples seems to be a very private individual and yet she is diverse with her interests. Lives in Chicago and creates ripples in everybody's thoughts through her words here.

Dubukku is a think tank. Recently he shed his anonymity and had a SunTV-esque Photooo vaaaaram. He claims that he is Rengaraman Sankaranarayanan aka renga and that he has absolutely no claim to fame. However others claim that the image conveyed by one of the pictures that he recently posted might just become his claim to fame if he ever moves to the Bay area. Look out for him if you live in the immediate environs of the Old Blighty where he roams. Welcome to you too Dubukku thalaiva..

Last but not the least, the Mastermind and some of his friends (can I be included in that list too, sir ;) ) put together a blog exclusively for issues pertaining to the finer points of that game favored by the nerds, dorks and the RCs - quizzing. Among the recent topics of discussion was the debate about the pros and cons of the Direct and Passing system and the Infinite bounds system. You can trust us trivia junkies to discuss trivial details like these, but if you know what I mean, you'd appreciate this as a issue of great importance to the quizzing community ;). So if you are a quizzer, do not miss the notes (and the stones) that accompany Interrobang (particular the post that explains the idea behind the name of this quiz blog) that boasts of, among other features - a question of the week.

Welcome to you all. I have been on your blogs often and I guess it was high time I added you all to my blogroll....
I am still speechless (and hence this post is title-less), an hour after I chanced on this site while searching on Google on 2005 Corvette, wallpaper. For someone who holds his breath everytime he sees a automobile screaming down on the road, this must be pure nirvana! Check out the wallpapers of the Mini Cooper Convertible launched at the Genva Motor show recently. One word... WOW!!!!!

Vallam from the air?

This reminds me of Vallam, the blind turns, the red earth and the thatch roofs on the houses by the side of the road! That picture (caution: Takes long time to load if you are on a dial up) is essentially a aerial shot of one of the numerous desert villages along the route of the Paris Dakar rally, the car section of which was won this year by Stephane Peterhansel followed by Hiroshi Matsuoka both driving Mitsubishi Pajeros. One of the red and white Pajeros can actually be seen in the picture. See the Mitsubishi team picture here.

For those of you who aren't familiar with the geography of the Thanjavur district of Tamilnadu or are not alumni of Shanmugha College of Engineering (aka SASTRA) or Periyar Maniyammai College, Vallam is a small village around 12 kms from Thanjavur (toward Trichy) on the small dirt path that passes for the National Highway between Nagapattinam and Banglore(?). For all the hostelers from Shanmugha (ok.. SASTRA) Vallam was/is like the closest source of really goood food. Sathya's was a favorite hangout for me on Thursdays usually and on some other days of the week too when the description of hostel food veered towards the unpalatable.

From the minute we sat down at the table, it was as if Kumar was reading our minds as dish after dish made its way to the table. Kumar, who seemed to be the man in charge at Sathya's seemed to know what each and everybody wanted to eat even before we could order and a steady stream of food (accompanied by genorus amounts of "getti" chutney used to land at our table by the roadside the moment the food in the plate disappeared. My routine used to be four parottas, one omellete, one onion uthappam with (no crushed tomato on top) a generous helping of chilli powder to top it and lastly, one veechu parotta. This would be washed down rarely with streaming coffee. The meal would end with a packet of ARR Fruit Masala (I hate the traditional ARR sugandha paaku that the other guys used to have), from the potti kadai. The whole bill used to be exactly Rs. 17.

Its almost four years since I sat down at Sathya's. When I was in India in December 2002, I thought I eat there when I went to Thanjavur, but the preceding week was spent in a slew of feasts at three different wedding that by the time I left Coimbatore to Thanjavur, I was sick as soon as I smelt any hint of food. I miss college life and Sathya's is fondly remembered even now. Hmmmmmmmmm.................