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The Curse of Sourav Ganguly November 29, 2006

Posted by planetsk in Blogroll, Cricket, cricket - क्रिकेट, National, Sports.

Curse?? I did not know what title should I put for blogging about the recent performances of Indian Cricket Team. There are too many holes to be filled in the team before Indians gear up for the world cup. In the first place, batting order is screwed up, except Dravid and Dhoni no one can bat, why the heck do we have Agarkar in the team, bowling was never good. If I go back 3 years when Sourav’s team drew the test series against Aus in Australia and won (tests and ODI’s) against Pak in Pakistan, team then was much better. I haven’t seen good wins since then. Yeah, with Dravid-Chappell combo, there are a few good victories but most of them were in India and against weaker teams. Indians did have a great chance playing in West Indies in conditions similar to the upcoming world cup but it was a nightmare series.

Before WI, there was Pak’s series. I remember in that series Ganguly was made a fool by selectors. The way Ganguly was treated by the board was senseless. He was in and out for no reason. India kept on losing starting from Pak’s series. I agree that he wasnt a good test player. IMO, he’s  a better one-dayer than Dinesh Mongia ( for some reason I hate this guy). There weren’t great wins since Ganguly was ousted from the team both as a captain and player. I am not here to support Ganguly, damage was already made to his career both by himself and selectors.

If one looks at the recent games India played, it’s hard to believe that is this the same team that had a winning streak last year. Hmm…after losing One-Day series in SA..now Ganguly is in contention for the test matches in South Africa. I don’t know on what basis he will be selected. And with a few months to go for world cup and Australia and SA going stronger, chances for India to make it to playoffs ( or Super Six or Eight) are very bleak. I guess things went from bad to worse since 2003 world cup (except Aus and Pak series in 2003-04). If I compare the teams now and then we got a good captain and a keeper and lost Ganguly. So, is this really a curse of Ganguly?? I don’t know..again..I want our team to win matches with our without Ganguly but I dont see it happening..

Would the United States be better off with only one time zone? November 1, 2006

Posted by sk in Blogroll, Just Posts, Love Them, National, Time Zones: Know Them.

The clocks went back on Sunday, which meant an extra, delicious, guiltless hour in bed. Every year I dream of a world where the clocks go back every day. Of course, that would create trouble, notably that in two weeks’ time I’d be waking up after sunset. So, I toe the line and put the clocks back only once a year, and—sigh—put them forward again in the spring.

My annual inner monologue suggests two reasons to get up in the morning and go to bed at night: first, to enjoy the sunshine, and second, because that is what everybody else does. But what if the two imperatives collide? What matters more, waking up at the same time as everyone else or waking up with the sun? It might sound like a daft question, but not if you’re a Hong Kong-based journalist filing for a London-based newspaper or a financial analyst in Silicon Valley who needs to be awake when the market opens on Wall Street at 6.30 a.m. Pacific Time.


Interesting article!! What do you guys think? I’ve never had to wake up an hour earlier one summer day (to be at work at the same time as the previous day) yet, but I’m sure I will have to, in the future. Of course, this article looks at Daylight Savings from a  more global perspective, but what do you personally think? 

Indian Idol September 13, 2006

Posted by sk in Blogroll, Bollywood, Humor, Music, National.

Posting blogs on this site has been a very humbling experience for me during the last few days. I blogged about computers and software and no one cared a bit (pun intended). I tried my hand at humor and no one laughed. I tried to write a post about tennis and it turned out to be a double bagel (“Aargh!!! stop it already, it’s not even funny! Idiot!”). I even threatened to stop blogging but no one took note. So, I’ve decided to change tactics. Today’s blog is a my first attempt at a serious post (inspired by my cousin, Sriram :-)). It’s a pretty short post, because I have no idea what to write, but this is something I’ve been wanting to do for a long long time now. If this doesn’t work, I may have to take some tips from our MVP, Mr. Tismarkhan. So here goes:

This post is about two musical geniuses, Anu Malik and Himesh Reshammiya. Both of them are undoubtedly world class music composers, but I’m not going to get into that. In fact, this post is about their singing talents.

Anu Malik has been singing in Bollywood movies for over a decade now. Very few singers have the range that Anu Malik has in his voice. He has a brilliant command over the seven notes. When he sings “Dekho baarish ho rahi hai… it’s raining, it’s raining, it’s raining” or “tan tana tan tan tan tara. chalti hai kya nau se baara”, it’s very hard (in fact, impossible) not to stop everything that you’re doing and take notice. As lyricist Javed Akhtar once righly said, “There’s one earth, one sun, and one Anu.” His voice makes you feel alive.

Himesh Reshammiya has just started to establish himself in Bollywood. This multi-faceted personality not only sings and composes music, he also does perhaps the best Tarzan impersonation. His “Oh-ooooh-oh-oh” puts even Tarzan to shame. Emraan Hashmi should consider himself honored that such a great personality has done playback for him. Jagjit Singh once commented, “There are only three things in the 20th Century that would be remembered: Himesh’s birth,man’s conquest of the moon, and the breaking of the Berlin Wall.” He is unparalleled in the film industry.

In my opinion, Anu Malik is the greatest singer in the world (which explains why I have a bigger image of his). What do you think? Which one of these two deserves to be called the best singer in India (the world?). Or is it Bappi Lahari? Incidentally, he’s going to sing for A.R.Rahman in Guru. I wonder how Rahman manages to spot all this talent.

By the way, if you’re wondering, the mantle view of the images was done in Microsoft Max. Of course, why would you care?

Disclaimer: Most quotes etc. were about Lata and I borrowed them from here.

Yet another post on Vande Mataram September 7, 2006

Posted by sk in Blogroll, Miscellaneous, Music, National, Political.

Oh God, not another one! Fear not, this time, it’s only a link to the song on YouTube. Or at least, it was supposed to be only that. Obviously I’m not yet tired of this topic and am prepared to milk it dry. Anyway, here’s the song at the center of the controversy:

All right, I lied (does it matter?). This is actually A.R.Rahman‘s version of the song and it’s definitely not as controversial as the original one, so what better way to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the song? It’s a pity that I couldn’t find my favorite patriotic song – Anu Malik’s “I love India” or something of that sort.  

Update (9/8/06): Here’s an interesting view on the topic:

“Making it mandatory to sing “Vande Mataram” is a gross infringement on individual freedom. No government has the authority to force a word out of my larynx. Or block me from reading a blog. Or prevent me from reading a book (like say for instance ‘Satanic Verses’) . End of story.”

“… symbol of patriotic pride has been misappropriated for sectarian gains. For the BJP/Hindu revivalists, “Vande Mataram”’s Durga-imagery is a vindication of its identification of nationalism with “Hindutva”. For the proponents of a pan-Islamic identity (like the Imam Bukhari) who are dead set on showing to the world that Islam is under attack in India (despite the fact that Muslims enjoy rights and privileges in India they would struggle to have in other non-Muslim countries—paradoxically rights which Muslim countries deny to their own minorities), “Vande Mataram”’s allusion to a non-Allah superior being is proof positive of a sinister Hindu conspiracy to humiliate and oppress their community.”

Which, in general, reflects Mr.tismarkhan’s (yeah, I know, “Mr. tismarkhan”. It sounds cool!!! :p) views on the topic. Incidentally, Mr. Tismarkhan is also the MVP of this blog site (whatever that means). But what about disrespecting the flag? Should the country not force you NOT to do that either? Or disrespecting the national anthem (or even the national song)? Also, what about the Christian prayers we were forced to recite each morning in school? How come no one has protested against that practice yet (or maybe someone has and I am not aware of it)? I agree with Mr.greatbong, though, that the BJP tried to exploit the situation and equate hindutva with nationalism, which pissed off Muslims. Fair enough. As I said earlier, good idea to get school kids to sing the song, if only it had not been guided by their ulterior motives. The whole issue will soon be forgotten (like Sania Mirza???), only to be rekindled 10, 25, or 50 years from now. Until then, we can rest assured in the knowledge that two simple words like “Vande Mataram” will not divide the country.

Update (9/10/06): Another blogger, Balajiworld has this to say about the whole situation:

“… so called ‘leaders’ chose to represent a fringe minority of bigots by not singing the national song instead of the millions of largely tolerant and easy going muslims/christians who happily paid tributes to the song on its 100th anniversary. Manmohan Singh has fallen one more step in my eyes.”

FWIW, he’s a known BJP sympathizer. This is apparent from some of his other articles. However, this does raise an interesting question: Should the PM have sung the song?


Sania overhyped? September 6, 2006

Posted by sk in Blogroll, Miscellaneous, National, Sports, Tennis.

Sachin claims that Sania has been getting too much attention from the media and has done little during the last few months to justify it. He links to an article on Rediff that discusses her shopping in NYC after she crashed out of the US Open to validate his claim. Not validate, actually, but you get the point, right? This person is of the same opinion. Here’s Sania’s profile on Yahoo! Sports. It’s pretty obvious that she hasn’t accomplished much this year. In fact, I’m pretty sure if she continues playing this way, she’s soon going to be out of the top 100s. Sachin (I really don’t know this guy, although I refer to him as if he were my childhood friend) further goes on to say that Sania should spend more time  on training and less on her PR activities. Further, she should build some muscle mass if she wants to stay competetive at the highest level. It’s not the end of the road for her. She’s still in her teens (I think) and has a long way to go. And of course, nothing can change the fact that she has already achieved more during her short career than any Indian female tennis player ever has. That in itself is a huge achievement. I haven’t seen her in action yet, but my friends who have say she’s extremely slow on court and doesn’t posess what it takes to win major championships. What do you think? By the way, I still need a good pic for this blog. Can someone help me out with this? Anything related to Sania is fine. Even a pic from Maria Sharapova’s Sports Illustrated photoshoot. On second thoughts, I’d prefer a pic of Maria’s. [Update (9/7/06 – Found an image on the web]

UPDATE (9/9/2006): By the way, the more I think about it, the more I feel Sania is turning into India’s very own Anna Kournikova (though not as hot as the latter). Maria Sharapova just won her first US Open and second Grand Slam title today by beating Justine Henin in straight sets. She’s been to the semi-finals of Grand Slam events 7 times and the two times that she managed to reach the finals, she’s won. She’s one player who’s managed to perfectly balance her social life with her professional life. Why can’t Sania take a few lessons from her? Actually, Anna should probably be the one taking lessons from her. She was pretty talented and if she had concentrated on her game, I’m sure she’d have won a WTA tournament (maybe not a Grand Slam tournament, but something).

Related reading: Oops! She does it again.

To ‘Vande Mataram’ or Not…. August 31, 2006

Posted by PagMax in National, Political.

Some politicians have tough time separating religion from state.  Be it American Republican candidate for U.S. Senate who thinks appointing non-Christians is equivalent to ‘sin’ or be it Indian BJP leaders who wants to make singing Vandemataram mandatory in schools and parliament on the songs 100th anniversary on Sept 7th.

On the face of it, one might not find anything religious about Vande Mataram. So just to remind you, the only reason, in spite of being a revolutionary slogan during independence, Vande Mataram did not qualify as  national anthem, was because it literally translates as ‘I bow head in front of you, Mother’.  ‘Mother’ could be thought as Mother-India (not the movie!) but some believe it was actually meant to be Hindu Goddess. Indeed, she looks like one in this image which was posted on net as ‘Bharat Ma’. ! In any case, Islam allows that kind of respect only to Allah (May peace be upon Him) and secular India had to respect that choice. (Note that definition of secularism is quite different in India than what it is in America and LOT different than what it is in European countries like France).

Well surely every Muslim does not take Quran so seriously. I would not if I were a Muslim. Neither did A R Rahman, and surely not Mukhtar Abbas Nakvi, BJP Spokesperson, who is very vocal in supporting his Party’s stand.

But that’s not the point. Point is for good or bad, whether you agree or not, Vande Mataram is not our National Anthem and we have to live with it! Its really ironical that both National song and National Anthem of India have always been in controversy and more ironical is that most (or all) the reasons fueling the controversy were just dumb. Reason Vande Mataram is in controversy now is exactly the same it was 60 years back.Nothing has changed now. So why you just do not accept it and move on?  Singing a song is not going to solve our problems, would it? Unless, your problem was there has been no political-religious controversy  stalling the government for a while. Don’t we have a Nation to run? Oh right, I forget, these politicians don’t.

Yes, Vande Mataram is our ‘ National Song’ but still that does not warrant the idea of forcing everyone to sing it.   What’s next? Making it compulsory for everyone to play India’s national Game’ hockey on Dhyan Chands 103rd Birthday.

UPDATE (-sk-, 9/7/06): Check out: Vande Mataram contd.

Upcoming Posts, BlogDesk and Fidel Castro August 20, 2006

Posted by PagMax in Blogroll, Miscellaneous, National, Political.

This post is to serve two purposes. First to give a preview of two of my upcoming posts which I have been working on for a while but could not complete because of my other commitments. (If I still do not sound like a smug bollywood movie-maker with no intellectual capacity beyond such publicity stunts for upcoming piece of junk, I promise I will eventually) Other purpose is to test this BlogDesk blog editor which I just downloaded and configured (And it failed, so this is from WL!).

Upcoming Blogs

Introduction of SPARKS team: Since we launched this team blog called sparksengr on wordpress, I thought it would be a good idea to speak about who’s who in the team. May be some day there would be a bug in the wordpress system and our blog might appear in ‘Blog of Note’  or just might attract lot of search engine traffic and if that ever happens, may be some random Joe, Kate, Raj, Nita on the net, stranger to us and tossed on our blog, could use this introduction.

If you have not guessed so far, I am a very pessimist writer and just enjoy criticizing with passion everyone and everything I write about. (Yes, I know I will make a good politician and do not count me out yet). So without any surprises, even this blog would not flatter anyone on the team and that’s just an understatement. In fact, I am expecting few defamation law suits against me and I am working for back-up even on that.

Highlights of Indian Space Program:  I am not sure if I would title it that but this one would be one of serious blogs. Purpose of this will not be to criticize anyone but just to provide Information. Nothing from top-secret files but just compiling from the net. Unfortunately, Indian Space and Research Organization’s website (www.isro.org) do not provide important details about the past and present missions and has not organized the information it has in a very readable way. (Yes I remember what I said about not criticizing). As a matter of fact, one might get more information about India’s past mission from NASA’s universal catalog and few articles on Wiki. So just out of my own interest, I have been compiling stuff and now I might just convert in a blog. I cannot claim it would be any better but I would give it a shot. Since its a big project, I cannot give an expected launch date (Did I say something about lousy bollywood movie-maker?)  but I promise it would be before China sends a man to moon,i.e. 2017.

That’s about it. Please do not copy my ideas and wait anxiously for these posts. Stay alive until then.

As for blog pic, a completely unrelated image of Fidel Castro in Adidas jersey flaunting an evil smile in hospital on those disappointed Americans who celebrated his ‘imminent’ death. I cropped, paper-tore, flipped freely and turned off colors on this image all in BlogDesk editor itself. So it works but the configuration does not! (not for me!)


fidel adidas

In conclusion, I  will stick to windows live-editor and no more testing of other editors.