Astrologers, Anyone?

Disclaimer: I have most eminent respect for any thing (or any subject) that can be classified as science, great admiration for any thing that can be classified (by me) as creative and utter disregard for anything that gets forcibly believed as political.

Astrologers, numerologists, palmists, tarot readers…… and so on normally have had profound effects on lives, homes, names of people and whatever you can imagine in a split second. So long we have seen people changing spelling of their names (or the names itself), changing the direction of their homes, changing colors to be worn, changing boy/girl friends(?) 🙂

Its a real pity. I have complete respect for the subject and its study. But I always fear the outcome when the study is put to use. It is as good as experimenting with making a bomb and ending up blowing the house. I have paid visits to quite a few of the experimenters (courtesy my parents and now my wife). Every time I came back with a different ‘me’ in me. They suggested me various ‘Doshas’ like they do it to every one else. Surprisingly all these ‘doshas’ were always curable by a pooja or a yagna. Anyway, for the records, I’m going to live for either 50, 67 or 72 years (I was at the prognosticators behest.) One of them says I will have a massive heart attack when I’d be 39. One said my best period would start at 21, the other said it would start at 23. I’m 27 now and still waiting. Now the predictors have gone ahead and glued my success with birth of a daughter. I couldn’t help but laugh. When the astrologer told that to me, I asked him to look at my wife’s birth chart (without telling him who she was) and tell me if she would have a daughter too. Thankfully the answer was yes. 😀

May be I should believe my mother and start thinking that I’m not lucky enough. As she says, I usually have to struggle a lot before I get some thing. May be I should rue my luck every time I lose a table tennis match, which is often by the way! astrologyHmmm… believing in luck eh? So should that mean whatever I (rather we all) have achieved till date is due to favorable luck? Or due to favorable stars? The lines on our hand? Forehead? Here is a naughty thought. In my teens, we boys used to talk about how is going to be our first sexual experience. And how long we would take before we actually have one. The ‘how long’ was long enough, as long as it is for most of the Indian males.  May be I should believe in luck… may be.

So what next? Stones? Rings? The science says there are vibrations out of the stones we were which affect us. Obviously the positive ones do a lot good. Amitabh Bachhan wears quite a few stones. Ekta Kapoor wears twice as much. Look at where they are. We should wear it too. Very right, look at how many Amitabhs and Ekta Kapoors we have. Wow! Stones do help. Ha!

Guys! Take my word. Nothing but you, your intelligence and perseverance helps. Get that right and no star in this universe can do any bad to you.

PS: I’d have had sex even at 10 if I could. Par chance nahi mila na… wahi to!

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From ‘Can Do’ to ‘Will Do’

Going down the memory lane, I remember how I was during my teens and early twenties. I had a lots of ‘can do’ thoughts that never materialized. For instance I never wanted to be an Engineer. I wanted to be an architect. I used to think I can get into the ‘big’ schools easily. But I didn’t and ended up being a civil engineer. I thought I could be an actor, because people appreciated my comic acts. But I couldn’t. Then I thought I could get into a ‘big’ MBA institute, pass out with flying colors and work for a ‘big’ MNC, or could have been a business man. Today I’m a sales manager in a small company. There are probably 1000 other instances where I thought I ‘can’ but I couldn’t.

I’m not regretting though. I don’t rue my chances or the lack of it. Just that I never had the ‘will’ in me. I always thought I can do things but never ever fully committed myself. I lacked determination.

Better late than never. I have now started speaking the ‘will’ language. As a starter, it pumps my confidence. Well begun is half done. Let there be action and let the actions speak now… “i will… I will… I will…”

Mee Migrant-kar

I met a guy named Bilal couple of days ago. I had hired him as a carpenter for fixing up some stuff while shifting to my new apartment. Here is his story. Have a good read.

Bilal hails from a small village on the outskirts of Giridih district, now a part of Jharkhand. He is a carpenter, a profession and skills he inherited from his maternal grandfather. All of 22 years, Bilal too is a migrant in Mumbai.

Little over 3 and half years ago, Bilal came to Pune, Maharashtra for the first time. In his small town , he had heard about the IT boom in the city. He dreamt of capitalizing on the opportunities he thought existed and set a foot here. However, struggling to cope up with the local language, bad work and home sickness meant he was back to Giridih within 6 months. But as they say, dreams never die. An opportunity and luck brought Bilal back to Mumbai, the land of dreams. Its been 3 years since he came here and has never looked back.

Bilal used to work with a furniture shop in Goregaon earlier. But for 1 year, he has developed enough contacts to start working on his own. He went back to his town only twice. Once for his first Diwali and then last year when his mother died of recurring sickness. His face sulked when he shared this to me. He believed if he had enough money, he could have taken his mother to a big hospital in Patna or Lucknow and saved her. So he decided to quit his job and start on his own after coming back.

BIlal’s father workes in a school as a chaprasi (house keeper). He was studying in the same shcool but had to leave after VIII as his father needed economical support. He has a younger sister who too left studies after HSC (XII) and a younger brother, who now is in his VIII. His mother wanted all three to be educated and become white collar employees. He, however, has sacrificed that dream.

Bilal knows nothing about the communal hatred, and he doesn’t care to know either. He has seen enough of it in adjoining villages of Bihar. However he was warned against getting into dodgy situations with locals and policemen as soon as he came to Mumbai. He is a Muslim, a Bihari and a migrant. The combination couldn’t have been worse for him. It also made him change his name from Bilal to Babloo for the professional purpose. He stays in a Muslim dominated locality in Jogeshwari (E) where he shares a room with two others, also from Bihar. One is a taxi driver and other works with him.

Bilal didn’t know much about Raj Thackeray till february this year. He was working for a lady in Matunga, carving a sofa set. But the lady’s husband was connected to politics and feared Bilal’s presence would hamper him. He was paid little amount and asked to leave. He feels he was lucky not to get beaten up, unlike some others he knows. He has made attempts at learning marathi and speaks some broken sentences too. He is obviously upset at the shody treatment given to people from his state. But he is helpless. He retorts at the government saying they just want to squeeze people so that they can be rich. His exact words words were, “Mazhab ke naam pe maa C**** hai saale. Sab ke sab harami hai.”

Bilal wants to marry his sister in a wealthy family in Lucknow and fund his brother’s education. He wants his brother to study engineering. He wants to buy a house in Giridih, put an easy chair in the porch and let his father sit and read early morning news paper. I asked him what he wanted to do for himself. He kept mum. He still mourns the death of his mother and said there were more important things to do in life today. Whatever they may be, he has got dreams and he has the will to fulfil it… like most of us sitting in the offices or homes, reading this and calling each others ‘a bihari’ or ‘a marathi’ or ‘a gujrathi’.

61 years after India became independent, it is really sad that we still have regional boundaries as a cause of hatred amongst us. Its time we become ‘we’ in true sense.

Aussie ki Taisi

Here is an update on recent India Australia cricketing rivalry. Let me start from where I remember.

sachin-caught-by-kasprowiczSeason 1997-98 (home); we won the Border Gavaskar trophy at home for the first time, defeating Australians 2-1. We won the first two tests (The second one at Kolkata by an innings and 99 runs) but lost the third at Bangalore thanks to an inspirational bowling spell by Michael Kasprowicz.

Season 1999-2000(away); we lost miserably, 3-0 to be specific. The only highlight of the series was VVS’s maiden century (167, his first) at Sydney where he batted as a make shift opener. The trophy was lost again.

vvs-and-rahulSeason 2001(home); We lost the first test and almost lost the second when Australia scored 445 and dismissed us for 171. A follow on was imposed and we were reduced to 115 for 3 when Sachin Tendulkar departed. But some minor regrouping from Ganguly took us beyond 200, still in deficit when Ganguly departed. It took the monumental efforst from the stalwarts of Indian cricket, VVS Laxman (281) and Rahul Dravid (180) and a hat trick by Harbhajan to win the test despite following on. Indian won the third test at Chennai to claim the trophy back.

Season 2003-2004(away); A century from Ganguly at Brisbane, a double from Rahul Dravid at Adelaide, A 193 from Sehwag at Melborne and a double again from Sachin at Sydney ensured we tied the series 1-1 and retained the trophy. It marked the end of Steve Waugh’s playing career, who left with an unfulfilled dream of capturing a series victory in India.

Season 2004-2005(home); Aussies arrived without Waugh and Without Ponting (the captain who took over the reigns from Steve). The surprisingly enterprising make shift captain Adam Gilchrist lead them to victories at Bangalore and Nagpur. Ganguly received lot of flak for chickening out of the Nagpur test and eventually we lost the series 2-1, also the trophy at an unlikely captain in Adam.

Season 2007(away); India had a new captain in Anil Kumble. We lost the series but amidst huge contraversies surrounding the Sydney test for poor umpiring by Steve Bucknor. It was by far one of the toughest fought test match series on Australian Soil. For the first time ever some one had challenged the Australian domination in world cricket.

Season 2008(home); Indians were fresh from memories of the Australian Tour. We had one the one day series under Mahendra Singh Dhoni. It all started out evenly at Bangalore with centuries from Hussey and Ponting and a fifer from Zaheer. The match ended up as a draw. In mohali, Anil Kumble sat out thanks to an injury and the reigns of the captaincy fell of MSD’s shoulders. And boy, what a performance he delivered. A century from Ganguly, an 88 from Sachin and a 92 from Dhoni meant we posted a decent score on a good wicket. Then came Amit Mishra, the lucky leggie from Delhi who spun the air out of the Australians. A century by Gambhir in second innings and a lethal combination of pace and spin meant we comfortably won the test by 320 runs (Biggest defeat for Australia in many years). Anil Kumble was back for the third test in Kotla, only to announce his retirement on the fourth day. Gambhir and VVS amassed double hundreds. Australian batsmen too improved their batting records. It was a placid wicket on which, forcing a result wasn’t worthwhile. The stage was now set for Dhoni to deliver the killing blow in the fourth and final test in Nagpur. It was a wicket that had some thing for every one. Sachin scored a century, so did Katich. The test was evenly poised until the last day. FInally with some luck and perseverance from spinners, India posted a 172 runs victory, handing the australians their worst series loss in last 20 years. Indians were jubilant.india_wins_against_australia1

The series was historic in many ways. Sachin overtook Brian Lara to become the leading run scorer in test cricket. Anil Kumble retired in the middle of the test at Kotla, a ground that has scripted his name in the history books for claiming all 10 wickets against Pakistan. And Sourav Ganguly, the prince of Kolkata, the most elegant southpaw, the most successful captain for India retired too. With Dada and Anil gone, the pressure on other seniors (VVS, Rahul and Sachin) is mounting too. May be it is time we welcome the new generation of cricketers. A Rohit Sharma, an Ishant, a Robin, a Mishra and their leader the invincible MSD.

Frankly speaking, I’m not too ecstatic thinking about the retirements of these guys. I grew up looking at Sachin making a debut at 16. I was 8 than and dreamt even I will be famous cricketer at 16. Sadly I was busy sweating it out for board exams at 16. I remember I had a paper cutting of Dada reading ‘CEO no. 1’ feature in a supplement of Economic times adoring my wall. They were my demi gods. With Sourav gone and Rahul already on decline, I think I will stop watching cricket matches when they drop Sachin from the squad. After so many long years, suddenly a sinking feeling is coming to my mind. Suddenly my childhood has ended.

Holy SAP

Sant Shri Gajanan Maharaj Sansthan in Shegaon is known to be one of the holy places in Vidarbha sub-state. I was reading through a magazine today and an interesting article caught my eye concerning the same regional institution. Sant Shri Gajanan Maharaj Sansthan has deployed SAP ERP solution to manage their day to day operations.

Holy SAP! I was indeed amused, though not surprised. With over 5000 donations and 2000 vendors to manage on a daily basis, the institution is arguably one of the busiest in state. Few years back, the entire process was managed manually. Keeping track of numerous transactions was obviously very painful. Students from adjoining engineering college, also a part of the same sansthan (institution) helped the temple develop a legacy software to partially keep track of the transactions. However as the number kept increasing, the need of an ERP surfaced. What started as an engineering project turned out to be one of the most comprehensive SAP ERP deployments at a non-profit organization in the country. The students were helped by Indian IT majors Patni Computer Systems, L& T Infotech and Tech Mahindra.

Even god has now become tech savvy. Bravo! Gajanan Maharaj ki Jay!

(Source: Networking Magazine)

Quantum of Solace

From The Sun

EIGHT months after the name of the 22nd James Bond film was announced, The Sneak was still struggling to remember it.

The limp Quantum Of Solace just wouldn’t stick. Daniel Craig’s second outing as the world’s most famous secret agent is something you won’t forget in a hurry. The actor transformed suave Bond into a gritty killing machine in 2006 hit Casino Royale and here the violence is ramped up to Rambo proportions. More appropriate titles might have been A View To A Killing Spree or Triggerfinger. 🙂

From Buzz18

What Quantum of Solace brings to the big screen is nothing more than a rather generic action-packed spy sequel with some snappy dialogues and pretty good acting. Watch it for the hard hitting action sequences but as a Bond fan I’m sorry, I think traditional would have been the way to go. Don’t try to fix that which ain’t broke.

From Telegraph

Quantum of Solace, the follow-up to 2006’s all-conquering Casino Royale, begins with a bang. Lots of them, in fact, says Mark Monahan.

In this much darker film, picking up from where Casino Royale left off, 007 finds himself after two people: the man who fatally betrayed Vesper Lynd, the woman he loved; and Dominic Greene (bullfrog-eyed Mathieu Amalric), a big player in the sinister organisation that blackmailed her, now striking a shady deal in some Bolivian desert.

So, if Quantum of Solace lacks Casino Royale’s narrative drive, and is less than the sum of its parts, those parts are often terrific. See it for them, and see it for Craig’s fully-formed Bond: angry, icily unsentimental, and fleetingly borderline psychotic at the close. Rest is your choice.

From TIME

Critics aren’t expected to review Bond films so much as test-drive them. In that spirit, here’s a quick rundown, on a scale of 0 to 10. Opening credit sequence: 5 — the usual semi-abstract woman’s form, liquid and monumental. The song: 4 — Jack White and Alicia Keys duet on a power-pop number that’s tenacious but not delightful. Chief villain: 6 — Amalric, who normally plays underdogs, hasn’t the stature of a Dr. No or a Salamanca, but he’s got the evil sneer down pat. Bond girl: 9 — Olga Kurylenko is more than OK. Fight scenes: 9 — frenetic, if familiar. And Bond — 7: Craig certainly fills the frame of a modern, wounded action hero; but, just once or twice, could he, and this mostly knuckle-cracking, often crackerjack film, crack a smile?

quantum_of_solace

This movie was actually the most awaited for me. I liked Daniel in Casino Royale. In fact I have seen that movie twice in theaters. It was time we had a muscular bond and Daniel fitted the bill perfectly.

I’m not saying any thing. I have merely compiled the reviews for you. It may not be promising though. But I’m a big fan of action flicks and particularly James Bond. If this movie resembles closely with Bourne Ultimatum, so be it. I like Jason Bourne and I will surely watch the movie, whatever the reviews may be.

When creativity goes crab hunting

Disclaimer: Alright this is going to be a crap post.

While passing by the cafeteria, I over heard the “Jiska number Mumbaika…” advertisement. I have been stopping myself from commenting on it. But couldn’t stop myself from remembering such really pathetic yet popular punch lines delivered probably by the who’s who of the Indian Ad industry. Here are they-

  • “Palmolive ka jawab nahi” The eternally pitiable jingle.
  • Reynolds “Likhte Likhte Love ho jaye” (Was it Raveena Tandon? Grrr!)
  • Eat cricket sleep cricket drink only Coca Cola (Sorry boss…)
  • Mind and body, heart and soul… Gosh, not only the jingle, the entire ad was pathetic. Since when Shankar, Ehsaan and Loy started modeling?
  • Hero Honda – Dhak Dhak go! (Yes… go get lost)
  • PSPO- Good ad but bad message (Now people know PSPO but not the company Orient)
  • Yeh hai youngistaan meri jaan! (Bruwahahahaha!)

Alright I lost patience. Please feel free to add any such crap jingles or the ads to this list.