Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Nice Comedy about Recession and IT Jobs

Here is a nice satire about recession and IT jobs. This was supposed to have been presented in a show titled “Wing Dings 09” in Los Angeles, California by UST Global Associates as part of their New Year Celebration. This satire tells the story of how Jabbar became software engineer in Technopark Trivandrum, his onsite experiences, how recession affected him and how he tries to survive recession after coming back to India. The creators of this satire have used “Ottam Thullal”, an art form in Kerala to bring out the plight of the IT professionals during the time of recession. Even though this doesn’t really represent the real “Ottam Thullal” as created by Kunjan Nambiar you will really enjoy this one.

(This video is in Malayalam)

I think the creators of this video got inspiration from another similar video from the famous mimicry troupe Cochin Guinness. I saw this one by Cochin Guinness in 2004. This tells the story of Kunji Kadar who goes to Middle East, does lot of hard work, becomes rich, comes back to Kerala, gets trapped into producing a movie, how various political parties intervene during the shooting of the movie and finally how he loses all his earnings and goes back to Middle East (very similar to movie Varavelppu). It is an awesome video. If you can understand Malayalam and lived a day in Kerala you will love this one.

ENJOY!

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Thursday, January 22, 2009

A Three Year Old Singing “Chora Veena Mannil Ninnu…” from Movie Arabikatha – Too Good

Am I seeing a future “comrade” (see how he has sang the “Lalsalam” part of the song) or a future reality show artist or a future singer in this kid? Time will answer these questions but this kid has sung this song very beautifully. 

Great Performance. I just loved it. 

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Monday, January 19, 2009

YES I CAN!!!

Today I ran and finished the PF Chang’s Rock ‘N’ Roll Arizona ½ marathon. I ran the 13.3 miles in 3 hours 15 minutes and 56 seconds. I was so happy when I crossed the finish line that my eyes almost filled with tears of joy. Eighteen months of hard work and dedication paid off today. I was so overweight eighteen months back that anyone would have laughed at me if I told them that I could finish a half marathon eighteen months later. Here is the photo me after the race and medal I got.


Excessive eating combined with no exercise has taken a toll on my body. My weight was increasing every other week and at one point of time I was over 35 pounds overweight. I was in such a bad shape that it became so tough for me to even take a single while playing cricket matches. After every single I was not able to breath. 
I decided soon after my PhD that it is time for me to take care of my health. My immediate goal after my PhD as I wrote in this post was to make my body in shape for running/completing a half marathon in 2009 and I am very happy that I could do that by the early part of 2009 itself. This is also a perfect example of “Where there is a will there is a way”.
Looking back at what I did for bringing my body back to shape – the most important thing I did was to understand for myself why I was putting on weight. I came to two simple conclusions. 
First one – I was all these years, right from my childhood always “living to eat”. I used to eat what ever I get and in huge quantities. 
Second one – I realized one thing – As a general rule more the taste of the food the unhealthier the food is. Majority of the foods I used to eat were tasty and I realized it was all unhealthy. 
So here is what I did to correct the mistakes I made:
First – I started “eating to live”. I just started eating to quench my hunger. I just stop eating when my hunger is over and won’t eat any more under any provocation/temptation. I developed that will power that made things very easy.
Second – I took the word “taste” out from my vocabulary. If eating a particular tasty food is bad I just won’t eat it. I just stopped eating sweets especially Indian sweets like Mysore Pak or Jelebi. I could bake and eat a chicken than frying it and eating even though frying it is hundred times tastier than baking.
Adopting these two principles I could get back to shape. It is just a start and I know I have a long way to go. Getting back to shape was a long journey and I could not have been here without the support of my wife who always encouraged every thing I used to do. That also helped me to make the changes in the food habits. Also I should mention my mother here. She was the one who always kept telling me the need for good health and sounding alarm bells when I was putting on those extra pounds. 
Today US President elect Barack Obama stated that “Anything is possible” and it is just coincidence that I completed the half marathon on the same day and Arizona’s own Cardinals won NFC Championship game and are on their way to Superbowl, apparently the biggest show on earth.
Anything is Possible – If One has a Will for it

GO CARDINALS!

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Friday, January 16, 2009

Lay Offs – Take Advice from Astrologers!

I was browsing through news and in Times of India I came across this advertisement. It says “Layoffs! Take advice from Astrologers”. There is a button which says “Buy Now”.


If you click on the above icon on that particular page it takes you to another page where you can buy different packages. The price varies anywhere from Rs 600 to Rs 3000. See the various packages. The most expensive one - "Fate, Destiny and Professional Prospects by Pt S Ganesh"!

There are people ready to make money during any kind of distress. Distress is the time when one person can be exploited to the maximum. In this period of economic recession, lot of people will be in fear of their job and some cunning business minds are out there to exploit them. The worst thing is there are fools around to fall into this trap. Let God save them from these people and their jobs.

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Sunday, January 11, 2009

Interview with Dr Shashi Tharoor on "Straight Talk"

Here is a interview of Dr Shashi Tharoor in the program "Straight Talk" that was aired in NewsX on January 10th, 2010.

Enjoy!!!

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Wednesday, January 07, 2009

"For a Cricketer to be Successful, It is all blood, sweat and tears" – Vinan G Nair

Here is an interview I did with Kerala State Team wicket keeper Vinan G Nair. He has played 13 matches so far for Kerala and has over 30 victims behind the stumps and scored half century 4 times. His highest score is 70 against Railways scored last season in the Plate group semifinals. Here he is talking about himself, about Kerala cricket, Indian cricket, Sreesanth, Tinu Yohannan, future prospects from Kerala and his future. 

Even though you are playing for Kerala for the last few years not many Keralites know about you. If I am correct you represented Kerala in Under-22, Under-25 and for the last few years have been the part and parcel of the Kerala Ranji Team. Can you summarize your journey so far? 

I started playing from age of sixteen got into the under-19 side next year played all my junior categories unchallenged. Joined State Bank of Travancore (SBT) in 1998 as a batsman keeper, SBT had Kamaruddin who was in the Ranji Team, I played my first 5 years as a Batsman for SBT, so was never considered for the Ranji as a Keeper, Kamaruddin after being dropped from Ranji suffered an eye injury as a result I got to do the Wicket keeping duties in SBT and my good show for the team earned me a place  in the Ranji Team. 

In football, Kerala is a major force in India. But when it comes to cricket it is no where near the scene. It took more than 50 years after independence for a Kerala player to break into Indian team (Tinu Yohannan) while a lot of Kerala players play for India. Why is it that not so many players make it to the national scene from Kerala even though cricket is as popular as football in our state? 

We lack in infrastructure still we don’t have a cricket ground, our cricketers do not have any exposure to good cricket, our league system is not keenly contested, tournaments are played in small grounds with a max of 50 yard boundaries, we do not have turf wickets these are some of the drawbacks we have. 

If my memory is correct, Kerala got qualified for the knock out stage of Ranji Trophy (before the present system of two tiers came into existence) only twice. In the present system only once did we qualify for the Super league? Why do you think Kerala cannot make it big in domestic competition? 

We lack self belief, preparation and the above said lack of facilities. 

Sreesanth has done some great cameos in his short international scene. Whom do you think in the present team has the talent to get a national nod? 

Rohan Prem and Raiphy Vincent have the talent but we have to be in the elite and they have to really perform consistently 

In Ranji Trophy and other state competitions, each state can have two out of state players. In the previous years Kerala had players like S Suresh, S Ramesh, Sujith Somasundar and Hemanth Kumar. Last two years Kerala played without any out of state players. What is your take on it? Should Kerala fish for more out of state players or stick to only Kerala players? Or are there any reasons why Kerala Cricket Association or players don’t want out of state players? 

It is good that we do not have any professionals, our boys will get a chance to play good cricket, but we should not be hesitant to think of that if our guys is not up to the job or else we should be content playing in the plate division. 

I remember former Kerala Captain Ananthapadmanabhan in an interview saying that in the early nineties they had to travel in unreserved compartments of the train to play Ranji Trophy matches and the pay was also less. We keep on hearing from Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) that a big portion of the profit they make goes in improving the pay and other facilities for the first class cricketers. Is this true? Has the facilities/pay increased considerably in the last decade? How did you travel from Kerala to Dharmasala to play Himachal Pradesh this year? 

Facilities are good compared to old days, we regularly fly to all places and stay at 3 star facilities. 

If we look into the good state teams in India (like Mumbai, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka) they have a strong first class system. In Kerala there is one Jacobs trophy just before the Kerala state team is selected. How good is the first class cricket system in Kerala compared to other successful states?

Poor 

You have seen the growth of Sreesanth as a cricketer. You have played with him long before he got selected to play for India. You played with him few days back in your match against Jammu Kashmir. Can you share your experiences playing with Sreesanth? Do the younger players in Kerala team get motivated seeing Sreesanth? 

He is a Very Confident young kid, with lots of Energy and self belief, at the Under 19 level itself he would say that he is going to play for the country, he obviously brings a lot of energy in into the ground and his aggressiveness won us the last match against Jharkhand and he bowled quick. 

Obviously the youngsters now believe that if they do well they can also play for India and Sreesanth also keep telling to every one that a good season will get you to reckoning. 

Once Tinu Yohanan was dropped from the Indian cricket team his form slumped so much that he was even dropped from Kerala cricket team. He has fought back to the team. Can you tell me what exactly happened? Did dropping from Indian team demoralize him? 

Might have, not sure what went through him but he is the most hard working cricketer I have seen. 

Last season in Ranji Trophy, Sreekumar Nair was in top form with the bat. He became the first Kerala player to score a triple hundred. Still when the South Zone team was announced his name was not there but there were a few players who have performed less than him getting the nod. What else does he have to prove to at least get into the South Zone team? 

I am not sure, but he did get 600+ runs last year. 

Major strength of the Kerala team now is their fast bowling. Kerala has good fast bowlers like their captain Sony Cheruvathoor, Tinu Yohannan, Prashanth Chandran, and Sreesanth. But if we look at the home ground of Kerala in Palakkad it is almost a dead batting track. Why doesn’t KCA make lively pitches that aid seamers? 

I am not sure, may be the soil is not suitable for preparing such tracks. 

If you have to start your career all over again what would you have done differently? 

Of course, Now I know what a cricketer should do to be successful, its all blood sweat and tears, the more effort put in more successful you will be. 

Any advice to young cricketers/wicket keepers who aspire to play for their state/country? 

To be honest keeping is a bloody job, always under the scanner, You have to really work twice as harder than any other bowler or batsman as u have to be a good keeper as well as a good batsman, its really tough to do that and the level of fitness has to be top class failing which u wont survive. 

Who is your favorite cricketer or who is your role model? 

Sachin, Gilchrist, Sewagh, Waqar Younis 

What is the most memorable moment (cherishing moment) in your career? 

Last years semifinals against Railways, I got 70 against a champion side with three test bowlers (Murali Karthik, Sanjay Bangar and Harvinder Singh), I was able to dominate them. 

What was your saddest day in cricket? 

When ever SBT looses……… 

Age wise you are in the mid-thirties. Any thoughts of retirement

I want to play as long as possible, I think I can play Ranji for 2 more years with the kind of fitness and form I am in, can be self reviewed every year. 

Ananthapadmanabhan after retiring from first class cricket has become an umpire. Do you plan anything like that or do you plan to give something back to cricket once you hang up the boots? 

I would like to take up coaching. 

I know for any cricketer playing for the country is the greatest thing. You are a wicket keeper and with Dhoni going great guns and younger players like Karthik and Parthiv Patel, do you believe you can come anywhere close to being called for national duty? 

Not a chance. 

One last question - Do you think that Kerala will ever win Ranji trophy? 

Yes we can if we set lots of things right. 

Let us hope lot of "those things" set right soon!

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Sunday, January 04, 2009

Welcome to India – “Porn Free” Land by Law

Beware (at least in paper) if you want to watch any kind of pornography in India. Indian Parliament has amended the existing Information Technology (Amendment) Bill 2006 to include some stringent laws. Such an important bill was passed during the last day of the Lok Sabha without any kind of discussion. The main pointers of the new bill – 

  • Whoever publishes and transmits porography will be punished upto 7 years and a fine of Rs. 10 lakhs. You forward an email with pornographic content and you can be arrested under this law.
  • The internet café owner will be held responsible if any of his client watches pornography in his shop.
  • A police, ranked inspector or above can arrest anyone whom thinks have published and transmited pornography over internet.
  • The police have the freedom to get into any house without permission to check ones computer.
  • The bill calls for more stringent law if the pornography involves a minor. 

This law was passed on December 22nd. Did this law make any changes in the internet browsing patterns of the Indians? Did internet users really care about such a law? To answer these questions I went to internet traffic website Alexa, and compared the traffic websites from India

I searched Alexa for the top 100 sites receiving maximum traffic from India. Google India, leads the list followed by Yahoo, Google, Orkut.co.in in second, third and fourth. In the top 100 there are 4 adult sites and in none of them traffic from India has decreased. Here are the statistics for these sites and you can decide for yourself.

Website – debonairblog.com 

Debonairblog.com has a world traffic rank of:  367

India Rank:  23

Debonairblog.com users come from these countries:

India - 68.8%

Pakistan - 13.6%

Bangladesh  -6.3%

United States - 3.3%

United Kingdom -1.0%

Debonairblog.com traffic rank in other countries:

Bangladesh -17

Pakistan - 18

India - 23

United Kingdom - 1,357

Based on these statistics yesterday (2nd of January) about 0.2% of the global internet users browsed through this site. Of this, 68.8% of the traffic came from India. If we assume 100 million internet users a day (very conservative number) then about 200,000 pages of that website was viewed yesterday globally and in that 140,000 page visit came from India alone. As per Alexa statistics average page view per user was 5. This translates into 28,000 unique people from India visiting this site. Did government arrest even a single person? Another thing to notice in this statistics – this site is very popular Muslim countries like Pakistan and Bangladesh where it is ranked 18th and 17th respectively in the traffic generated from those countries. Isn’t watching pornography against Islam?

Second in the list is savithababhi.com and here is the statistics for that 

Savitabhabhi.com has a global traffic rank of: 921

India: 49

Savitabhabhi.com users come from these countries:

India -82.0%

Pakistan - 5.5%

Bangladesh - 5.4%

United States -2.1%

United Kingdom -0.7%

 Savitabhabhi.com traffic rank in other countries:

India -49

Bangladesh - 49

Pakistan -141

United Kingdom -5,487

 If we go through the same math for this website based on the numbers in Alexa, about 5000 unique visitors have come to his website yesterday. The rank of this website increased about 300 globally compared to the previous day – another example of no effect of the law in restricting pornography. There are other websites like pornhub.com, adultfriendfinder.com in the top hundred lists from India and one can find the same trend. 

So what does this tell you? We make lot of laws but don’t implement them strictly. For us citizens, the laws are there to be broken if it is not convenient for us. We have strong laws against all public menaces – dowry, child labor, prostitution etc. but are any of them implemented strictly? I believe this law will also be one like that- Good law on paper but never implemented in reality.

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