Sunday, 28 December, 2008

Hi!


Well, honestly I can't figure out what to write about. So I thought let's just start as we do with a Hi! and go where the course takes us...

Right now, I'm pretty busy, the main reason being that I have busied myself...

As a second year engg. student in a pretty non-descriptive college, I don't know where I'm going and why I am going. I've been lapping up every opportunity I can to gain whatever skills I can and not knowing why. As diverse fields as Advanced programming and management at the same time!!! With my hard work, I know I'll excell at everything but the 'why' still remains unanswered.

Where am I going and what am I doing??? My head feels like it's soon going to burst trying to remind me of all the things that I gotta do or should be doing in the next hour, day, week, month, year... 

With an ultimate aim to be an entrepreneur, I'm still looking for the right set of people who would help me see the way. I mean, I don't want anybody illuminating the path with lights (as it is, it may turn out to be just about as reliable as the Indian electricity boards!) but can't someone just point me in the "right" direction??? And hey, don't preach! I'm too stubborn to accept something if it's not backed up with justifications. Just advise, all the more better if it's a set of people who are journeying with me. Destinations may be different but ships can be the same...

Why do I have to be so damn unlucky when it comes to having a peer group??? Am I the one who doesn't think straight, or is it them? No, I haven't had a fight with anybody, I just haven't met people with whom I can have brainstorming sessions about things I am interested in.

Hoping to meet them soon... coz I need to!

The journey is long, and I can't do it alone...

P.S. This is I think 'one of its kind' post coz it's very rare that I'm this brutally honest with myself about 'me'.



Sunday, 14 December, 2008

When I look at the rain...


This is not so much of a story, but anyway, whatever it is, it is all here...

When I look at the rain out of my bedroom window on a day filled with leisure, a day when I let my deepest desires roam free... the first thing I think about is the lush green Swiss mountains, nurtured by nature, and the romantic breeze so soft and alluring...

When I take a second glance, I see a young couple dancing in the rain, on empty roads, carefree... 
and then I see myself, with him... the faceless one, the one with whom I know I'd wanna be with...

Maybe somewhere deep within, I know the face that I want to see, but I am afraid to take his name, lest the winds carry it to him... The face at which I could stare for long hours, (without getting caught), the face that belonged to a person I admired...., the face that I searched for in a group of twenty and a crowd of twenty hundred...., the way my heart suddenly started overworking on its own when I finally did spot him..., the way I always shrouded my admiration under a false garb..., the times when I silently cheered for him......, the way I wanted to be happy because I knew he was, the times when I found myself smiling because I knew he was... the times when I wanted to say something to him and never found my nerves at the right places to do so... the times when I waited for him to come and talk to me... and when he did, the way my spirits stayed high and I had music in my ears and a spring in my step for an entire day and another night...

And then our ways parted, to two ends of the world... 

But I know they will cross again, sometime in the future...

Will I be able to tell him all I feel when I see him again....???? 



Saturday, 13 December, 2008

Just like the rain...


'Aaaah', she woke up with a start... Where was she? And what had woken her up? Was it the pitter patter of the rain falling on the roof, making music; or was it the pain she felt? But just then a sharp jab was followed by an involuntary shriek which got the nurses rushing in into her room... and seemed to take away all her senses from her...


She was rushed into the labour room and her last thought was for the unborn baby... her baby, Steve's baby... hers and Steve's...


She woke up in the morning and the first thing her eyes rested upon was what was the most beautiful face on the earth. Her new-born daughter, looking angelic even as she slept... she looked just like him.


The second thing she noticed was dark clouds thorugh the open window, right at the onset of winter!!! A smile spread across her face as she thought of the rainy dayz...


But then it brought back other memories, painful ones this time.... Moments she'd once cherished and which now filled her eyes with tears. Times when she waited to be with Steve, waited for the long rides with him on his flying motorbike, the hot coffee that Steve made for her every morning to wake her up, the hot pakoras he brought back for her...


The looks that had been passed, the meetings that had been planned...

The kisses they'd shared, the promises they'd made...

The blessings that were showered upon them, the love that was there...


'Oh Steve', she thought for the thousandth time. He loved the rain, he loved the weather, he would drag her into the rain and dance with her. 'Shower-dance, he called it', she told herself with a smile...


But it was all over now... just like the rain that just pours and goes...


But then her daughter woke up and started wailing. The dark clouds in the sky parted...... and it was bright, sunny once again...




Wednesday, 10 December, 2008

An essay...

This is an essay I wrote for a competition held by the Ayn Rand Institute based on Atlas Shrugged. Well, I didn't win any prizes but if there's anybody who's read the book and can give suggestions on how I can improve my writing skills, please do so...

Explain Ragnar Danneskjold’s statement that Robin Hood is the one man he is out to destroy. What is the deeper moral meaning of his claim?

Ragnar Danneskjold is one man who believes in complete justice. A philosopher turned pirate in the eyes of the world; he makes this statement while trying to convince Hank Rearden that the course of action adopted by him of seeking revenge against the looters is appropriate. He feels that the distorted version of the Robin Hood legend that has served as the hiding ground for the looters needs to be pulled from underneath them. The man with the purest gold hair, Ragnar Danneskjold, is perceived as a pirate by the people living in the outer world. The states of Norway, Portugal and Turkey had announced a huge price on his head; but Ragnar only took away what he felt had been unjustly taken away from those who righteously deserved it by virtue of their hard work and dedication. He took away all the iron, copper, coal and other items meant for Global relief; which had been looted by the looters for serving those who preferred not to work by hiding under a self-made garb of poverty and under-trodden life. This made the common man believe him to be a man with no heart and no feelings, but with a ship better than even the navy.


 Ragnar, who had a bishop for a father, believed in but one teaching of his father, 'All they that take the sword shall perish with the sword.' Ragnar wants to prove this true, as it is the prime movers who are the victims of numerous atrocities, and not the other way round. Where Robin Hood was a man who took away from the rich and gave to the poor, Ragnar wanted to take from the thieving poor and give it back to the productive rich. Robin Hood was actually a man who took wealth away from those who had stolen it from the poor and gave it back to them, but the legend had been so misrepresented that it served as an excuse for the ignorant and inactive nature of the people who felt that it was right to demand what was in excess with the others, without making an effort to achieve it themselves. Ragnar seeks to destroy not what Robin Hood stood for, but what he is believed and perceived to have stood for.


 He believes that there are only two types of people left in the world-‘the looters who rob disarmed victims, and the victims who work for the benefit of their own despoilers’. He chose to be neither. He believes in an eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth. He says that the productive have fallen at the mercy of the looters, that their productiveness has led them to a stage where they have no claim to anything left in the world. The legend of Robin Hood has led to the notion that need, not hard work, is the sole bread winner.


Ragnar opposes the world where nepotism is being practiced, where fecklessness is immanent and where the undeserving grab what rightfully belongs to the hard workers at the expense of these toilers. Ragnar wishes to avenge the Dagny Taggarts and the Hank Reardens who have fallen prey to the looters. Although he is aware of the disapproval of other people like John Galt and Dr.Akston, who don’t support his way of working because they feel that his is not a mind to be wasted; Ragnar knows that the doomsday for the world devoid of all its producers was near; and hence feels that ready capital would be required for rebuilding the nation. He believes in repaying every penny that has been taken away from the deserving through endless ‘hidden taxes, in regulations, in wasted time, in lost effort, in energy spent to overcome artificial obstacles.’ While John was draining the world of its intellectual powers, Ragnar wishes to assist the process by depleting it of its resources and capital.


He seeks to destroy the mindset that it is the duty of the rich to serve poor, even when they don’t qualify for it, a mindset that got etched with the legend of Robin Hood, and led him to be recognized as a hero. The world by and large does not agree with Ragnar and labels him a bandit. Ragnar justifies his stance by saying that he was merely complying with the standards set by his opposers. ‘I am merely complying with the system which my fellow men have established. If they believe that force is the proper means to deal with one another, I am giving them what they ask for’. He says that just as the producers are being forced to forego the fruits of their abilities, he was doing the same to them by wrenching away the fruits of what they’d looted in the name of public service. But unlike them, he does not do it hidden beneath any kind of garb; he does not do it shrewdly, but openly.


The legend of Robin Hood makes the privileged feel burdened and guilty for the suffering of the others, even when they are entitled to what they possess on account of their proficiency and skill, and their potential to achieve it. Robin Hood has become an inspiration for the mediocre class which wants to have everything but does not wish to work for its achievement, and this mediocre class has leeched the rich and sucked the poor and has come to be known about as moralistic ideals. This class resents the prime movers for their talent and competence. These kind of people do not want money for themselves. They simply want to take it away from those who have it in excess. The high ability of a person actually leads him to be a victim. They simply seem to want ‘help’ the underprivileged by denying them their  rightful gains. These people fear competition and competitors because they believe that their lack of talent would not let them succeed. This is evident by the Anti-Dog-Eat rule that they got passed. It is this mediocrity that Ragnar wishes to eradicate from the world.


Ragnar equates himself to a policeman who protects the pilfering of the victims i.e. the productive by the pilferers i.e. the unproductive lot. He believes in returning every hard earned penny that has been forcefully taken away from them. He wishes to serve human ability and not human need. Ragnar appears in front of Hank when Hank is blackmailed into signing the directive ordering him to let the others have the right to produce the metal developed by him. He wants to offer Hank a portion of Hank’s own hard earned money in the form of gold, which was looted from him. Ragnar feels agitated by the actions of looters which have left Hank dejected. His intentions are evident by his actions, when he destroys the factory built by Orren Boyle for the production of Rearden Metal. Ragnar tells Hank that all his activities lead to the day when Hank and everybody like him would be at a liberty to command a profit on their own products. Hank expresses his scepticism over the possibility, in the face of people like Orren Boyle, Weasley Mouch and James Taggart holding the reigning upper hand. That is when Ragnar explains his compelling to be a bandit, even though he could have just disappeared from the face of the earth just as Ellis Wyat and Hugh Akston seem to have chosen to; so that people like Hank could comprehend that justice for them lies somewhere. Ragnar wishes to trounce the belief that people are entitled to whatever they want simply because they need it.


Thus, when Ragnar Danneskjold says that Robin Hood is one man he is out to destroy, what he is referring to is the trait of the humans to claim the right to every single thing that they don’t possess, but want to possess, simply by the virtue of their wanting, because they believe that equality is a privilege provided by the society to all. Ragnar wants to crush the notion that it is the job of the humans to remove all disparity that nature created, simply because it was created. He seeks to trounce the creed that promotes the ideology that all humans are created equal and hence all humans must have everything in equal quantities, that nobody is entitled to have anything extra because it would be a breech of the concept of equality. They feel that it is suffering and not success that is natural, that success and wealth are a delusion and the ultimate truth is simply death. And therefore, nobody is compelled to work hard or achieve anything ‘materialistic’. That attitude is what Ragnar seeks to destroy and he seeks to do it his own way.




Tuesday, 2 December, 2008

You've got a mail/male...

This was the topic given to us for on-the-spot creative writing work in WAD(Workshop on Aptitude Development [read previous post]) and it could be interpreted as 'mail' or 'male' and I spun out a nice fictional story out of it which is what you are going to be treated to. (You can quit now if you want to skip the mindless stuff...)

Priyanka was angry and left alone yet again after her plans were foiled once again. All her friends were busy with their 'boyfriends' and had no time for her. Priyanka was left frustrated coz relationships confused her. She was a more tomboyish kind of a girl. There her friends were: Preeti with Amir, Teena with Tony and Deepa with Jeet, no wait, it was Preeti with Tony and Amir with Teena but hey! hadn't she seen Preeti snuggling with Jeet just last week in Cinemax on the last row? She could understand the boredom during the course of the movie, but she could not understand how the whole 'girlfriend-boyfriend' thing worked...

So there she was, all alone after her plans for a picnic got cancelled for the third time in a row. She sat there all alone in her room with her only faithful companion, her laptop with its internet connectivity. She logged in and started checking her email id for new mails, and even as she opened it, she thought to herself that it was useless checking coz there wasn't exactly anybody who would be sending her mails. She wasn't wrong... but as she was about to close it, she saw there were two new mails in the spam box. She clicked on it to check it out.

The first one was from a Mrs. Nancy who wanted to give her a large amount of property and money which had been left by her husband, and who had expressed a desire that these be given to somebody in dire need of them.

"Wow!", she said to herself. Finally God had listened to her prayers and had sent her some relief. It would change her entire life. Born and brought up in an orpahanage, and now living in a hostel, she had absolutely nobody in the world to call her own and was elated to think that it could happen to her. All her worries would vanish now!

This was her first reaction...She took a print-out and showed it to her friend's father, who was a lawyer. He went through it and informed her that she should be careful and not fall into these pits, because it was actually a fraud.

So today, she just made a face and clicked on the delete button without even bothering to go through the contents.

The second mail that she got was from the Jain community that wanted her to join their community, which was dedicated to forming matrimonial relations. "Marriage???", she made wry face and was about to hit the delete button when she noticed an advertisement on the right hand side of the page for SpeedDate. "Hmm...", she told herself, "lets have some fun". She clicked on it and reached the home page of the site for SpeedDate. There she came across a number of profiles from people who wanted to find dating partners. She noticed profiles of even Shahrukh Khan and Aamir Khan. And as if that wasn't enough, she got to see profiles of many 'Hollywood' actors as well. "Yeah right!", she told herself and went ahead with her search.

Then she noticed a profile which said '26, Single, owns a farm, loves adventure' with a nice photo attached to it. She clicked on it and found herself liking his profile. She registered herself on the website and fixed a date with him on an adventure camp (his choice of dating place), due in two days. She felt pretty excited about it and started packing for it.

She did not bother with the details about the camp, because after all, it was his responsibility to look after all the arrangements.

After two days, she reached the indicated camp spot, which was not very far off from the town, by a rickety bus and went into the office to ask for directions to the camp. But the man-in-charge told her that there wasn't any camp scheduled to be held there for the next three months!!!

Feeling dejected, angry and idiotic after she'd told all her friends that she might be having a boyfriend soon herself, she travelled back the entire way to her hostel and told herself, "Never again would I tell myself You've got a male through a mail!!!"




Away too long...

OK guys, I know I've been away for too long a time, with no Entrecard drops either, but believe me, I had NO time. We had a workshop going on in the college for seven days and it was absolutely heavenly! Busy schedule, but really good.

So to catch up with all that has been going on, well, the Mumbai incident angered me more than anything else. I'm sure each one of us is quite aware of what's been happening so all I'll say is, if our country cannot act now, be prepared to see it in a state where it will NEVER be able to act! Hope the message is clear enough...

Sigh! I wish our politicians weren't so stupid, whatever little respect I might have had for them has completely vanished now. Maharashtra is left in a lurch with the next candidates looking like useless showpieces too. Where is the world going????





Sunday, 23 November, 2008

Could Use some help...

Hey guys, can you suggest some whacky, humorous way of advertising a helmet?? C'mon, put on your thinking caps and look for some out of the box ideas.... Thanks in advance!



Saturday, 22 November, 2008

The World is Flat?

No, this is not the same post as one of my previous ones (Note the '?')

I had posted a kind of a review of the book The World is Flat. I call it kind of a review because I had invited everybody to also discuss what it meant on the face of the current financial crisis. I had posted the same on The Reader's Paradise, one of the other blogs I contribute to. Now, I received a comment on it, take a look here. For those too lazy, the comment runs thus:

I wouldnt presume to be an expert, but this is what Joseph Stiglitz (Nobel winner for economics and was Chief Economist at World Bank) said while on a trip to India - 600 million people from India (out of the one billion!) have been left out of the “development” fold of globalization.
Then there is a small, but interesting book I would recommend reading, by Aronica and Ramdoo, "The World is Flat? A Critical Analysis of Thomas Friedman's New York Times Bestseller," which offers a counterperspective to Friedman's theory on globalization.
Interestingly enough, the book written about two years back, discusses in the following chapters,
"Debt and Financialization of America"
"America"s Former Middle Class"
"A Paradigm Shift for America" with prescriptions for the future
the debt ridden American society, deregulated financial institutions, mortgage crisis and other related issues, with clear pointers to the economic crisis gripping US today. For more information regarding the same, check this out: http://mkpress.com/FlatExcerpts.pdf
This is a small book compared to the 600 page tome by Friedman, and aimed at the common man and students alike. As popular as the book may be, some reviewers assert that by what it leaves out, Friedman's book is dangerous. The authors point to the fact that there isn't a single table or data footnote in Friedman's entire book.
"Globalization is the greatest reorganization of the world since the Industrial Revolution," says Aronica.
You may want to see
and watch www.mkpress.com/flatoverview.html for an interesting counterperspective on Friedman's"The World is Flat".Also a really interesting 6 min wake-up call: Shift Happens! www.mkpress.com/ShiftExtreme.html
There is also a companion book listed: Extreme Competition: Innovation and the Great 21st Century Business Reformation www.mkpress.com/extreme http://www.mkpress.com/Extreme11minWMV.html
I did check out each one of them, and before I give my word on it, I would like to have yours, but there is one thing I want to add. Just as a matter of curiosity, I googled the entire name of the book in double quotes and I found that this particular comment exists on a lot of blogs which had mentioned the original book by Thomas Friedman, mostly by an anonymous person, but the fact that there's always a personal note involved (the first line, in this case) clearly indicates that this is not spam. In this case, name of a person does exist but his/her blogger profile is not up for public viewing. So I don't know what to make of it, because this book does exist and the links seem authentic too. Is it just publicity? However, that issue notwithstanding, I would be interested in knowing what you guys think about the entire present situation.

Wednesday, 19 November, 2008

Down the Drain

I'm feeling extremely irked right now, very frustrated, very angry and very very disgusted... I'm going to divulge all the details coz I'm going to ask for help at the end. So be prepared.

I'm an Electronics student pursuing my B.E. from SRKNEC affiliated to Nagpur University, about to start with my fourth sem. We've been looking for a good company which will permit us (actually they'll have to literally invite us, read further for reason) to visit their manufacturing unit, like a tour or something so that we'll be able to gain some practical knowledge, because Nagpur University course sucks, provides no experience, lectures suck and the laboratories and the horribly inaccurate equipment can make anybody go crazy. On top of it, our HOD has refused to permit us to go for a tour arranged by the department, even when we're ready to do all the work and let them enjoy the name. And again, there are very few people genuinely interested in going, and even fewer agreed to meet the HOD and finally only 2 turned up at the right time. On calling up the others, we found that they were planning to come after one or two hours (boys, as usual). I've just returned from the college covering 24 kms. in all, for NOTHING....
ZILCH...
ZERO...

This is where you guys step in. If you know any company which would permit us (read invite us) to visit and gain first hand experience, please please let me know. I seriously need help right now, coz I'm feeling like I don't know the ABCD of Electronics and I'm finding it very difficult to grasp the practical usage of the shit stuff being taught to us. The onus would be on a company situated in a city like Bangalore or Hyderabad or others that fall into this category, but I'm open to all suggestions. Please HELP!

Saturday, 15 November, 2008

A feat achieved...

I don't know how many people noticed, but this is the 100th post of my blog. Yes, you read it right the first time, the 100th.The journey has been long, almost a year-and-a-half, with long periods in between when I just couldn't find any time for blogging, but that was before I got properly addicted. Now, I hope I am going to churn out things with speed matching that of the stock tumble-down. Actually, I would prefer it to be speed matching the stock rise, but that seems to be too distinct a possibilty right now!!!

P.S. Looks like I am stock-smitten, eh?

Thursday, 13 November, 2008

Bridge to Terabithia

I'm sure most of you around here must've never heard about Bridge to Terabithia. Well, neither did I, not until this afternoon atleast. Bridge to Terabithia is a well known novel (so it seems, even though very honestly I'd never heard about it) by Katherine Paterson. It was converted into a movie (twice, actually) in 2007 and this movie was what I happened to catch this afternoon, unintentionally.

Bridge to Terabithia is mostly about two kids Jess Aaron and Leslie Burke, both of whom are fifth graders at the same school. Jess is a poor country boy while Leslie is a new city kid who's just moved into Jess' neighbourhood. Jess and Leslie share the love for adventure. Leslie, particularly has an extremely creative mind, while Jess is a talented artist. Jess is bullied by kids at school and is very lonely even at home in the midst of five children, four of whom are girls, until Leslie comes along and befriends him. Together they escape the world to form a completely new world, away from the older people which they name Terabithia. They swing across a rope hanging above a creek and enter into an old, long-forgotten forest, where they use the power of their imagination to create Terabithia all for themselves. Jess has a crush on his music teacher, Miss Edmunds, who on learning about his art interests, invites him to accompany her to an art museum. Jess doesn't want to share the trip with Leslie and so Leslie tries to swing across the rope on her own, but due to the continuous rains, the water level of the creek increases and the rope breaks and strong currents push Leslie and she's drowned. Jess is quite devastated and blames himself for the loss. His family supports him and his father tries to explain to him that he should honour her friendship. Jess then builds a bridge across the creek and asks his younger sister May Belle, who quite admires him, to share his world with him.

The movie is very well made, though as Wiki points out, there are notable differences between the book and its adaptation. But since, I've only seen the movie, I have nothing but praise for it. The frienship has been brought out in the movie so well that you laugh when they do, and you feel like sharing their world with them. Although it's a movie primarily for kids, I don't know how you'll like it, but I enjoyed it! And when grief befalls, as Leslie's death is announced out of the blue to Jess, your heart goes out to him. I think it's s great movie with a great story. I don't know if you people want to see it, but if the review sounds appealing to you, why not give it a try???

Wednesday, 12 November, 2008

Quantum of Solace


I saw this movie yesterday. (I remember this part of my 8-pointer What Should I do With My Life the best; grinning) Anyway, I was talking about the movie.

Quantum of Solace is the latest 007 movie belted out less than a week ago. The movie picks up right from where Casino Royale left off with James Bond in a revengeful mood to avenge the death of Vesper, as he goes about killing leads, left,right and centre, angering his boss M yet again. As always, Bond moves around from one country to another, trying to trace members of the organisation called Quantum which has never been discovered before this. He comes across Dominic Greene who is planning to take over a large part of the world's water supplies. And then follows a showdown where Bond leaves him in the desert lands with a can of oil. That's the movie in a nutshell.

The movie is very fast, too fast, if you ask me. The pace could have been slowed down coz as it is, it's not all that lengthy. But all action sequences are fabulous and I am going to recommend watching this movie for them. The movie is a little different from all others because it shows Bond as an emotional person as opposed to an emotionally detached charachter in the other movies. Daniel Craig as Bond sizzles and Olga Kurylenko as Camille, who assists Bond and wants to take a personal revenge, has done a wonderful job. So guys, go watch.

Thumbs Up!

This is the first...

I've been awarded this award by Infinity authored by Aseem. And this is a first...

I'm giving away this award to ten more blogs.

Random Thoughts of a Chronic Thinker

SOAK YOUR HEAD or DROP DEAD

Varun's Vagaries

Original Reflections Of Mind

There goes a thought...!

Literary Musings....

Sauron's Eye on Internet

About Offshoring

Voyaging through the blogosphere

Ask Ms Recipe

Congratulations to all winners. Guys, do drop me a line so I know you've accepted it. Thanks again to Aseem. Now the rules for passing on this award are:

1.Put the logo on your blog.
2.Add a link to the person who awarded it to you.
3.Link 10 other bloggers whom you wanted to share this award to.

Thursday, 6 November, 2008

It was a Wednesday...

I saw Wednesday yesterday, something that was pending. The vacations and then Fashion postponed my date with the movie.

The story is that of a common nameless man (Naseeruddin Shah) who plants bombs at five different places and demands release of four terrorists involved in various terrorist activities that took place in '92, '93 and '06. To prove his point, he even places one in the police station. The police find themselves helpless because they have absolutely no information on this man, and have to act as demanded. The four terrorists are taken to the Aviation base as commanded. To watch what happens further ahead, watch the movie.

N.B. Spoilers ahead.

You've been warned.

Wednesday is a gripping, yet an unrealistic movie I think. A let out for all the pent-up frustration that lies within every common man due to the existing terror which increases with every new incident, be it a bomb blast in Mumbai or in Delhi or in Malegaon or in Jaipur. The movie is short, not even one-and-a-half hours long, but it's moving. It reflects what every common man feels. A common man who wants to show how frustrated he is by the plight of several more like him, people who are forced to endure, people who find themselves helpless against it. The dialogues delivered by Naseeruddin Shah are forceful and his speech is I think the highlight of the movie. All in all, I'd say, watch it once.

The World is Flat

The World is Flat by Thomas Friedman is one of the books that are intended to describe exactly how deeply globalisation runs. I finished this book a few weeks back but before shooting off a review, I wanted to wait and watch the latest impact, namely the financial crisis that is trickling down from the US to India and will soon assume the form of a gushing stream before the holes can be checked. Confused? Well, read on.

The author has done extensive research and has based the book on the situation around 2004-05(of course, that was the present then) when the Indian IT sector was going boom boom and the Indian markets were singing Kadam Kadam Badaye jaa and even people who had never invested in stocks all their life were religiously following CNBC and Zee Business and Stock Today and so on and so forth…

The book has been divided into three sections, first where Thomas explains how the world got flat, second where he talks about US and the flat world and third where he talks about the developing countries and the flat world. The author quotes Nilekan, CEO, Infosys as saying ‘The playing field is being levelled’, meaning the world is a completely flat place, thanks to the internet and the connectivity it has provided India with. Thomas talks about all the outsourcing of jobs that have been given to the Indians, primarily IT jobs and mostly for the computer engineers, working at salaries that can be called meagre compared to what the US engineers demand. It initially started with the Y2K movement when all computers had to be reset to accept dates from the twenty first century because they were not originally built to accept those. India with its sheer ready work force at low costs and high connectivity bagged the opportunity. The offshoring movement led to a similar prosperity in China when big US companies looking to cut costs shifted factories, workhouses and manufacturing units to China.

Thomas talks about the success achieved by some of the companies like Wal-Mart, FedEx UPS, Google and TiVo and the role played by the flat world behind their achievements. The way Wal Mart succeeds in providing low cost, high quality products would’ve been absolutely impossible in a world not so flat.

Thomas says In the flat world, one person's economic liberation could be another's unemployment. What has been beneficial for the Indians has been harmful for Americans as they claim their rights to these jobs. I highlight it here because it has been an important issue in the just concluded US elections where Obama has expressed a clear desire to curb outsourcing at the cost of Americans, which is I think bad news for us at present but might actually be able to pave a new path of progress for us after the current financial crisis has been dealt with. Your views on the issue are more than just welcome.

Thomas further provides what he believes are rules for survival and growth in a flat world. He also touches upon the issue of terrorism and its impact on a flat world, how it could prove to be a lot more harmful. He concludes by calling upon the Americans to dream because America has always been a land where dreams come true.

Overall, the book makes a very good read for someone aiming to understand the global position, the global economy and a global coexistence. But the recent happenings may make some of the issues irrelevant for the present world because I think; the world is seeing a totally different side to globalisation today. Where I may not be an expert in economics, I do realise that I don’t need rocket science to recognise the fact that the global crisis does not carry a tag of Made in India, and yet the profound effect that we’ve seen could be just the beginning of the darker side to a flatter world. Thomas stated that people thought the slow down in the late 90s when the IT bubble bust was the end of globalisation whereas it proved to be just the beginning, what remains to be seen is whether this is the end or just another obstacle.

I would appreciate it very very much if somebody who’s more of an expert than I am (actually, I am a newbie) could comment on what they think the present situation holds in store for the future of what seems to be a little disturbed flat world.

Wednesday, 5 November, 2008

Movie Watch?

Fashion
I saw Fashion yesterday. Yes THE Fashion by Madhur Bhandarkar. Since I don’t know how stars are given to movies, I’ll stick to the plain and simple review of how I liked it. As usual, Madhur gives an inside view of the big bad world of Fashion and the baggage that follows. Based on the true stories from the Fashion world of the ill- famed wardrobe malfunction and the model who was found on the streets of Delhi some time back, Fashion gives you a view of the world of alcoholism, drugs, sex and abuse, instant success, instant fame, instant rise and a steep steep fall.

As a movie, Fashion is great. A wonderful star cast that does full justice to the roles played. The story revolves mostly around Meghna Mathur (Priyanka Chopra) who against her father’s wishes comes to Mumbai to become not a model, but a supermodel. It’s a story of her rise and fall and rise. Besides we have Shonali Gujral (Kangana) whom she replaces as the fashion diva on her rise. It’s a world where you easily find relations and break ‘em with equal ease. On whether the movie is an eye-opener, well I can’t really say that coz I think a lot of people jump into the world, knowing fully well what the repercussions can be. It may be a shortcut to name, fame and money, but well, even famous models accept that Behind the Scenes is totally different. It’s like a Cine Town. All front and no back. Like some movie set. Looks great on-screen but is actually hollow from within.

Fashion is watchable, not a family movie. No, it doesn’t contain any inappropriate scenes (the Censor Board ensured that) But I think so, I mean most people would be uncomfortable watching it with your family around you. I’d say watch it when you’re free, when maybe you’re in a mood to watch something serious, coz baby, it’s not fun, this world of Fashion.


Golmaal Returns
I saw this movie with my entire family in Indore, ok not entire, there were last moment cancellations so 21 out of predicted 30 turned up.

Golmaal Returns is a brainless movie devoid of any kind of a storyline. Is it comedy? Well, yes, it is. The comic timing of the actors is pretty good. Female actors are wasted since they have almost nothing to do during the entire length of the movie. Shreyas Talpade has excellently replaced Sharmant Joshi as the fourth actor from the prequel. The story(if I can call it one) is about a man working in Golden Fisheries(Ajay Devgan), his couch-potato shakki wife (Kareena), his brother-in-law who runs his own saloon (Tushhar), sister (Amrita Arora) and her boyfriend police inspector (Arshad Warsi). Shreyas enters as an employee of the company.

Ajay returns home late one day after saving a girl from some goons and then spending the night with her in a yard to escape the stormy night. To escape his wife’s wrath, he lies to her and rattles of a story about being with a childhood friend. The same night, an employee of his company gets murdered and he is blamed for it, and the story goes on about all the Golmaal that ensues.

The movie is again watchable, more so for a younger generation. It is, as I said brainless so it’s better if one leaves resoning aside for some time…








Monday, 3 November, 2008

Back...

Hey guys, I'm back, though not with the usual bang coz I'm not in the best of health(festive seaaon catching up,eh?). But hey, don't worry since it doesn't stop me from being online or posting new stuff on the blog, so you can definitely look forward to new posts...


Monday, 27 October, 2008

Hi All!

Hiya everybody!
I'm off for a small vacation so don't wonder where I've disappeared to, if you don't find me online. I'm going to Indore to be with my family on the occasion of Diwali and may not be able to come online, not that I won't have access but I may not have enough time with all cousins and relatives around.

Wishing everybody a very very Happy Diwali, this is me, signing off! Tada...




Saturday, 25 October, 2008

The Only Alien on the Planet


True to my word, here comes a book review.
The Only Alien On The Planet authored by Kristen Randle is my favourite book. Period.

This is one book that I totally connect with. It's such a beautiful story that seems to go right to your heart. It's woven around a 16 year-old girl Ginny Christianson whose family decides to move to a new place all of a sudden. She loves her family comprising of three brothers and her parents but Ginny feels totally alienated in the new environment, the new place, new school and new house. She misses her brother Paul who's left for college, she misses being with her parents when they're busy setting up their new office, she misses her old life. But then she's soon friends with her schoolmate Hally and her neighbour Caulder Pretiger. And she also meets someone who seems even more of an alien, Smitty Tibbs, the guy who's got the best brains, and is really charming, but the guy who doesn't talk, who doesn't react, who doesn't interact, who is bullied by other students until Caulder stops them, and who just seems like he's in an altogether different world.
The story goes on about how Caulder and Ginny befriend Smitty, the truth about what lies behind Smitty's indifference and strange behaviour, how it is unraveled and how they all end up as a big happy family together.

This book had lied with me for about 4 years before I read it. My brother had brought it for me when I was in 5th standard(around 10 years old), but at that time I had been completely into Enid Blyton and Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys and I didn't really like the starting and I had just left it! I picked it up once again when I was in 9th and after I read it, I just fell in love with it. Every time I read it, I like it even more. I would strongly recommend everybody to read it atleast once in their lifetime.

Friday, 24 October, 2008

What Should I do with my life?

No I'm not referring to What Should I do With My Life by Po Bronson. (Though if that is what you do want to read about, you can always check it out here)

But right now, I am referring to my very own life. I've finally got rid of my exams (Don't ask me how they were) and can now spend some time on myself (if I can get away from my mom wanting me to do all house work coz it's holiday time). So I've prepared a kind of a task diary for myself, about what I'm gonna do the next complete month.

1. Learn HTML/XML : This will have to be done using all online resources and all help I can get will go a long way.


2. Read atleast one book a day(though some of the books are too heavy a dose to be completed in one day)
3. Watch loads of movies, though this one is going to be pretty slow going coz I'm planning to download most of them and you know how long that takes.

4. Blog regularly and more devotedly. I realise I've been writing mostly polity and politics for quite some time, so now I plan to diversify a bit more. Sorry I don't agree with people who advise me to converge on just one particular topic instead of letting it be a mixed bag, because I don't want multiple blogs for one, for two I'd rather have all my thoughts at one single place, and for three, this is a blog where I'm letting out all my thoughts. I don't have any friends(I mean, like college friends) who are interested in most of the stuff I write about or would like to write about, so sorry, but I'm letting of all steam right here!

5. Do more to further improve my English skills. I am pretty good with it, I think, but hey, improvement never hurt anyone!


6. Be up to date with all the happenings around the world. Not that I'm cut off right now, but the way time flies, I can't get to the bottom of so many of them! Like I haven't really been following US elections as closely as I'd like to. And it's not going to return for the next four years.

7. Learn all about economics and markets. And this is where I need a LOT of help coz I think the recent turmoil in the world economy is an excellent opportunity for me to learn all about it. But I need someone to downscale things down to my level, say a level of a person with immense interest and readiness to learn, but not always from books, coz books generally don't contain opinions. I really need help for this, so if you can help in any manner, please do.

8. And finally, catch up with friends and buddies and cousins, whom I haven't met for some time. I think my hols. are gonna be over by then...

So these are a few things I think I'd like to do, let's see how many I can actually get down to!
P.S. I've just discovered how big a pain in the neck it is to upload images on the blog...

Tuesday, 21 October, 2008

Update:Why Don't we give him a separate earth?

Update:
People in Kanpur have attacked a Marathi school.
Comment:
Well, MNS should've known they're going to get tit for tat, a dose of their own medicine is good for their health. But the trouble is, the people who deserve this thrashing won't get it, innocent people will. This guy's ideology is flawed, it is not 'concern for our people', as they quote, it is divisive in nature, and is hence harmful for the entire country.

If people holding highly respected posts of the nation brawl in the Parliament and behave worse than kids, then we can't expect anything better from their men.

Update:
Raj Thackrey arrested in Mumbai.
Comment:
Well, I personally think this guy was just waiting for it, like we wait for festive Pakwaans. MNS is going to quote 'Raj Thackrey was arrested because he raised his voice for rights of Marathis, he's your true benefactor. So please vote for him in the general elections.'

Overall Verdict:
Politicians are fake. Raj Thackrey has been trying his level best to gain all the attention he can by all the wrong means, and his using all the violent methods of protests proves that all he's interested in is winning votes.



Sunday, 19 October, 2008

Why don't we give him a separate earth?

The TOI reports:
Activists of Raj Thackeray-led Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) on Sunday attacked centres conducting railway recruitment examination in suburban Mumbai to protest against the "inadequate representation" to locals and chased away candidates from north India.

More than 30 MNS activists have been arrested from Dombivali, Thane, Andheri and Nala Sopara for disrupting the exam, tearing test papers and pelting stones on candidates, police said.

"What is wrong if they are protesting against the "inadequate representation" to locals in the exam," MNS leader Shishir Shinde said.

"Railway officer should understand the meaning of our protest and allow more Marathi candidates for the examination," he said. "MNS activists would meet railway officials soon," he added.

In November 2003, supporters of Raj Thackeray, who was then with the Shiv Sena, disrupted a Railway Board exam in Kalyan by preventing candidates from other states, mainly north Indians, from appearing the exam.

Yeah, Mr.Shinde, we should recruit more Marathi people and hey, while we're at it, why not just declare Marathis as the rulers of the world! Why, we should be asking the US to lick our feet, because we are sooo great to be living in a state of this kind where we have dung-brains like you. Next you would probably be stepping into the universities abroad like Harvard, Stanford to inform them that GOD(Read from right to left please) has informed them that they're doing a gross injustice by not letting Marathis get into their institutes!!!

Can't somebody please knock(take that literally please) some sense into this guy???

To go through my earlier take on the idiosynchronies of his party, please click here.
On my general view on politicians, which is a follow-up post to the article above, take a look here.



Wednesday, 15 October, 2008

A Special Provision

The following is specially to inform everybody about a law that entitles you to declare your unwillingness to support any candidate during the polls, if according to you there's no candidate who deserves to represent your constituency.

Did you know that there is a system in our constitution, as per the 1969 act, in section "49-O" that a person can go to the polling booth, confirm his identity, get his finger marked and convey the presiding election officer that he doesn't want to vote for anyone!

Yes such a feature is available, but obviously these seemingly notorious leaders have never disclosed it.

This is called "49-O". Why should you go and say "I VOTE NOBODY"... because, in a ward, if a candidate wins, say by 123 votes, and that particular ward has received "49-O" votes more than 123, then that polling will be cancelled and will have to be re-polled. Not only that, but the candidature of the contestants will be removed and they cannot contest the re-polling, since people had already expressed their decision on them.

This would bring fear into parties and hence look for genuine candidates for their parties for election. This would change the way,of our whole political system... it is seemingly surprising why the election commission has not revealed such a feature to the public....Please spread this news to as many as you know... Seems to be a wonderful weapon against corrupt parties in India... show your power,expressing your desire not to vote for anybody, is even more powerful than voting... so don't miss your chance.

So either vote, or vote not to vote (vote 49-O) and pass this info on...

"Please forward this "LAW" to as many as possible, so that we, the people of India, can really use this power to elect the right representatives.


Friday, 10 October, 2008

One for the bookworms

I've taken this meme from the blog of another bookworm which can be reached at
http://ourlifesabeach.blogspot.com/ . I have to write six book related things about myself. So here goes my list:

1. I was not a bookworm upto second standard. I did read, but not voraciously,and it was simply lack of friends near my house to play with, and having a bookworm brother that pushed me into starting to read.

2.I've spent all my lunch recesses in school in the school library. I ate my complete tiffin in the short recess and then spent the lunch recess reading in the library. Even today, it is the school library that I miss the most from school.

3.I hate giving my books to anybody, even for a few days because one can never be sure if they're going to be returned! (I've had some bad experiences with this, where after a few days people don't even remember they'd borrowed the book, and the irony is that they didn't read it!)

4.I still prefer hard copies to soft copies. Holding a book in your hands is an entirely different pleasure.

5.Give me a stack of books, and I need nothing else. I've read, read and reread my entire collection numerous times. All cousins visiting our house are well aware that they may not find toys here, but there will be no dearth of books to read.

6.I like all genre of books, there hasn't really been a book that I've picked up and not completed, except The World is Flat and Worshipping False Gods, both of which I'm still reading. But I'd rather stay away from heavy classic stuff, like Puck of Pook's Hill, or something similar.

So I think that's it!Me, the bookworm, in a nutshell.

And if anybody wants to get tagged, don't wait for me, just do it! But don't forget to mention where you took it from...And oh, do drop me a line as well!

Wednesday, 8 October, 2008

Blogging,Another one

Hey guys,I've joined yet another blog!

You must be wondering why I am on a blog joining spree right now, even though there tends to be such a huge gap between two consecutive posts on my own blog!!!

But the reality is, I couldn't resist joining these two because while one is about books(I can spend an entire lifetime just reading), the other is about social issues that affect the society(which I do write about). It has been aptly named Jagruti and can be reached at http://missionjagruti.blogspot.com, and as in the previous case, more contributors are welcome.

And about my own blog, well I'm banging my head against a wall(in short preparing for seemingly never ending exams) so to my disgrace, new posts are going to have to wait. . . .




Tuesday, 30 September, 2008

Make a Difference

Finally, some good seems to have come out of my interest in watching newer ads and posting reviews about them. The following comes from the new Tata Tea ad that aptly says Election ke din agar aap vote nahi kar rahe ho, toh aap so rahe ho, i.e. 'If on the election day, you are not voting then you are as good as asleep!'

Since I have written so much about bidding good-byes to politicians, let me now tell you how you can make a difference as well.

Hey,I've been awakened and I want you to be awake too. I realized how important it is to stop complaining but start voting to make a difference. And now, it's simpler than ever before!

Jaago re! One Billion Votes - a nationwide movement on voter registration - has made it possible to fill a voter registration form online and that too in just 5 minutes!

Go to www.jaagore.com to learn more and register to vote right now.

If you have already registered to vote, you can still register with Jaago re! One Billion Votes movement and get periodic confirmation of your voter status, and election related news and reminders. Believe it or not, even registered voters sometimes do not figure in voter lists!

Go to www.jaagore.com for more information, and to learn about voting related rules and procedures.

Do it, man, do it! At 18, I am doing it too. Make a difference!

All Limits Crossed

With more blasts reported from Malegaon, a sensitive area in Maharashtra and Gujarat which has been gearing for Navratri, and a stampede in a temple near Jodhpur resulting from a bomb scare, I think we'll have to stall all celebrations during the festive season till we can rest assured about our safety. Inspite of all those arrests that have been made, I think it has been made amply clear that there are too many of them for us to celebrate any kind of victory at this stage.

And nowhere does it suggest that simply because the blasts are still going on, the arrested are not the accused, as Jamia, the college to which these terrorists belong, have to report. And how farcical was the backing of Arjun Singh and Paswan to it!How tragic an irony is it that Jamia, which is a government aided institution, will provide these terrorists with funds to fight their cases with. So in the case of the Govt. vs. the terrorists, both sides are going to be spending the funds provided by us, the tax-payers, which means that we would indirectly be spending money on saving those same terrorists who are hell-bent on destroying our very own country! I won't blame the Australians if they want to go back home after this.

I think it's time for us to bid good-bye to politicians like Arjun Singh(for ever if I have my way) who know nothing about education, and absolutely nothing about something that's called common-sense. In The World is Flat, Thomas Friedman rues the fact that American politicians know simply politics, whereas the Japanese are Chinese are qualified enough to be actual engineers. Indian politicians are not even Indians, leave alone being qualified for anything! The one man who sits on the chair of the PM of this country is applauded for bringing about the economic reforms in this country during his post as the Finance Minister, and in his presence, the country has stepped into a kind of crisis, coming out of which is going to take years and years, if we ever do.

To think that these people are holding on to Gandhivaad and Gandhigiri and Gandhian philosophy and everything Gandhi when it's pretty clear that all Gandhi did was to give the British a few sleepless nights, because they were only afraid of hurting public sentiments. (Anyonw who doesn't agree with me, please read Worshipping False Gods by Arun Shourie.) But there are no emotions that these terrorists are going to care for. They are just live bombs by themselves! The answer does not lie in non-violence right now. Removal of POTA was the first mistake that this govt. made, the repurcussions of which are being faced by the entire country right now. And the govt. would lose all face if it brings it back now, so instead of just accepting it as a mistake to avoid all that flack, they'll just sit there and keep defending their moves till the doomsday descends!


Monday, 29 September, 2008

A Prisoner of Birth


A Prisoner of Birth is the latest belted out by Jeffrey Archer. After reading books like Not a penny more Not a penny less and Kane and Abel,(Actually I've read all his books) this book disappointed me a little because it looked like it was the modern Count of Monte Cristo(Alexandre Dumas). Archer has himself stated that A Prisoner of Birth has been inspired from The Count of Monte Cristo, but since I had enjoyed the latter, I also liked the former, albeit in a somewhat different manner.

The story starts with that of a happy young man Danny Cartwright,who is getting engaged to his long-time lover Beth and also becomes the head of the garage in which he works, and which is owned by his betrothed's father. To celebrate the occasion, the trio comprising of the young couple and Beth's brother Bernie, also Danny's best friend go to a pub. But things go awry and they get engaged in a brawl with four other men in the same bar, who call themselves The Musketeers. In the process, one of the Musketeers kills Bernie and in an attempt to save him, Danny gets injured and covered in blood. The only witness to what truly happened is only Beth, whose alimony doesn't count in the court and the barman, who is paid to keep his mouth shut. As a result, Danny is sent to prison for 22 yrs.

His cellmates are Nicholas Morceiff and Big Al, and the story goes on about how he spends his time in jail, Beth's visits, a failed reappeal, his growing friendship with Nick and how he learns all that Nick has to teach him, for instance to read and write and how to conduct himself. Just a few days before Nick's release, he gets killed by another prisonmate, who kills him mistakenly as Danny Cartwright due to their close resemblance. So Danny replaces Nick and gets out of prison, and first sorts out Nick's family problems as his uncle tries to take over the property and estate left to him by his grandfather. Also the way he avenges the injustice rendered to him by the Musketeers with the help of his lawyer Alex forms the further narration of the book.

The book is definitely well written and if this is the modern Count of Monte Cristo, I'm certain there can't have been a better one. So I'd recommend reading it atleast once, on a free evening with a cuppa tea/coffee in one hand and the book in other, not that I read it that way :-)