Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Sreesanth has Big Role to Play in Kerala IPL Team – Sreekumar Nair


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Kerala has a new IPL team. The new IPL team is expected to change the face of cricket in Kerala. I am starting a new series in my blog – interviewing various players in Kerala cricket team to know their reaction to the IPL team and prospects of the team.
In the first part of the interview, I interviewed the senior most player of Kerala cricket team, Sreekumar Nair. Sreekumar Nair has played for Under 19 Indian world cup team and was selected to the India A team to play against England in 2003 Sreekumar also played for the India Green in the Challenger Trophy in 2005. He holds the record as the first and only Kerala player to score a triple century in first class cricket. Here is the interview with Sreekumar Nair (SN).
Kerala is getting a new IPL team. Dr Shashi Tharoor, the brain behind bringing IPL to Kerala was quoted as saying that lot of Kerala players will be given chance to play in Kerala IPL team. Are you looking forward to playing IPL-4?
SN - Its really great to have an IPL team from Kerala. Definitely I am looking forward to this opportunity when provided.
You have been playing for Kerala for a few years now. What positive changes will happen to Kerala Cricket with the introduction of Kerala IPL team?
SN - I think this is the best thing that has happened to Kerala cricket in the last couple of years. Hopefully Kerala will be able to produce a couple of good allrounders and batsmen as well to Indian cricket.
Performance of Kerala team was really bad last season in Ranji Trophy. What went wrong?
SN - Yes unfortunately it was the worst cricketing season I have experienced in my career till date. I think it was a combination of elements that contributed to the debacle. I cannot pinpoint on someone individual or the management, but yes I think as a whole we have learnt quite a few lessons and hopefully this would not be repeated again.
Lot of youngsters like Manish Pandey, M Gony to name a few, came to national reckoning after performing well in IPL. Do you think that some players from Kerala also will get into the national reckoning by performing well for Kerala IPL team? 
SN - There is definitely a great chance of some players to come into national reckoning with their stint in IPL-4 onwards.
When IPL first season started did you ever thought that Kerala will get a IPL team and Kerala players can play along with greatest names of world cricket watched by millions of people across the world?
SN - To be frank no, I only knew that there was an outside chance, but yes I am really excited to see that at last we have a team from Kerala. I and other Kerala players are looking forward to play with the likes of Sachin Tendulkar, Hayden, Muralitharan, Warne, Gilchrist, Dhoni and others. If given a chance I could love to be a part of this and show the world what we are made of....
Correct me if I am wrong. Except Sreesanth no Kerala player is playing in any of the IPL team. We have lot of talented players but why is no one in any of the IPL team?
SN - I think it is the team owners and their selectors whom you should ask this question. Definitely we have quite a few talents out here.
Do you think we will see more Kerala Players representing India because of IPL team from Kerala?
SN - Yes. There is a very good chance.
Auction of teams will take place in few months. Do you dream of playing alongside any particular player/s?
SN – Yes, the very god of contemporary cricket....Sir Sachin Tendulkar and also my close pals, our own Tinu Yohannan and Sreesanth. I just wish that Steve Waugh still played cricket – I am a very big fan of him....but can’t help it. He has already left cricket.
Tinu Yohannan, Sreesanth - two Kerala players to play for India. Who from the present lot of players do you think will make it to Indian team after Sreesanth?
SN - I don’t want to name anyone and put pressure on them. But certainly there are a few who can make a mark for themselves in international cricket. Hope I am proved right. That is it.
What role do you see for Sreesanth in Kerala IPL team?
SN - He has a very big role to play. See he is the only guy from Kerala who knows what it takes to be successful at international cricket. He will have to be the guiding force and mentor of the players who will ultimately get a chance to play IPL4.
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Sunday, March 28, 2010

Twelve Must Watch Movies of Mammotty

“Megastar” of Malluwood, Mammotty is an actor par excellence. Mammotty has done some memorable performance that every movie loving people across the world will cherish. It is tough to compile a list of twelve of Mammoty’s best but here is an earnest attempt to compile 12 of his must watch movies.

1 - Oru Vadakkan Veeragatha
One of the best movies to be made in Malayalam, for which, Mammotty got national award for the best actor. The movie tells the tales of warriors of ancient Kerala and Mammotty has enacted the role of Chandu to perfection. Here is one of the best scene from the movie.


2 –Thaniyavarthanam
Movie directed by Sibi Malayil and written by late Lohithadas is one of the master pieces of Mammotty. The story revolves around a family whose male members have a history of lunacy. Every one in his family and society considers Balan, a middle class school teacher enacted by Mammoty, as mad since one member from that family typically goes mad in each generation. There is so much life in this movie that you will cry watching this movie. Mammotty has not acted in this movie but lived the role of Balan.


3 – Yatra
When legends Balu Mahendra, Illayaraja and Mammotty join hands, the result will be an epic movie. That is movie Yatra for you that show the class of trio of Illayaraja, Balu Mahendra and Mammotty.


4 - Amaram
Mammotty as a fisherman, who live to see his daughter becoming a doctor. This movie made by great Bharatan brings out the best in Mammotty as an actor.


5 – Vidheyan
The film explores the master-slave dialectic in a South Karnataka setting. Mammotty won the National Award for best actor for enacting tyrannical landlord Bhaskara Pattelar.


6 - Sooryamanasam
In this film Mammotty acts as a mentally retarded - Putturumeese. Here is couple of nice scenes from this movie.


7 - Ponthenmada
Another movie that got Mammotty National Award for best actor. This movie directed by TV Chandran narrates the irrational bonding of the low-caste Ponthan Mada with his colonial landlord Sheema Thampuran.


8 - Mrigaya
Mammotty enacts the role of a hunter who comes to the village to end the tiger menace. The acting in this movie got Mammotty the state award for the best actor in 1989.


9 - Kazcha
Kazcha directed by Blessy narrates the story of Madhavan (Mammotty) and the bond of affection that develop with a boy who lost his parents in Gujarat earth quake. Mammotty was awarded the best actor award by the Kerala government.


10 - New Delhi
The movie that made Mammotty the superstar of Malayalam movie. In this movie, directed by Joshi Mammoty plays the role of a newspaper editor who exposes the various corruption happening in the society.


Not only Mammotty can act in such great movies, he can act in mass movies also.That is why he reigns as the megastar of Malayalam movies. Here is a couple of his super hit movie as a superstar.

1 - The King
One of the best action movies of Mammotty. Mammotty acts as an IAS officer fighting against the ills of the society. Directed by Shaji Kailas and written by Ranji Paniker, this movie is known for this electrifying dialogues like this one.


2 – Rajamanikam
Another superhit - the movie where he uses the dialect of Trivandrum. One of the very few comedy movies Mammotty has acted.


Do you guys want to add to this list of movies of Mammotty? 

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Saturday, March 20, 2010

Enjoy The Serene Beauty of God’s Own Country Kerala - II

This blog post is for my friends/readers who never had a chance to visit my home state in India – God’s Own Country Kerala (For Part 1 click here). Here is a video titled "Rhapsody in Tropics" that captures the beauty of Kerala produced by Invis Multimedia in association with Kerala Tourism. These videos throws light into the rich cultural, social and religious life of the people of Kerala. A great effort and kudos to the entire team behind this video.


Next time you plan a vacation why can’t that be to Kerala to enjoy the tranquil beauty of this God’s Own Country. To know the latest news about Kerala Tourism start following Kerala Tourism in Twitter or visit Kerala Tourism website.

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Friday, March 19, 2010

Understanding India Better - Through Well Made Documentaries

I am starting a new series in my blog - trying to understand our motherland India and various events in her history through some really well made documentaries. I will be trying to update this page at least every fortnight if not more frequently.Last Updated March 31st, 2010.

1000 Places to See Before You Die - India


Secrets of the Taj Mahal
A Documentary that came in National Geographic Channel that explains the history of one the seven  wonders of the world.



India's North East - Paradise Unexplored
A documentary that explores the beauty of North East India
Seismic Seconds - Bhopal Gas Disaster

This documentary aired in Nation Geographic Channel recount the mistakes that occurred in Union Carbide factory that resulted in one of the worst industrial disasters world has ever seen.


Part 2 Part 3

Will be back soon with another documentary. Do you have any documentary in mind that adds more light about India or the various events that happened in India? Please let me know and will post it here.

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Tuesday, March 16, 2010

My Experiment with GM Diet


I was playing cricket the other day when one of my team mates told me about the GM Diet he took a couple of weeks back. I came back home and did a little research on GM Diet. With my wife and kid away in India, I thought it is the right time to do experiment with GM Diet as I have put on some weight in the last few months. Here is my experience following GM Diet for a week.
Day 1 – Fruits
I weighed 197 lb (89.5 kg) on the morning I started the GM Diet. On day one of the GM Diet, I am supposed to eat unlimited amount of fruits from the melon family. I survived the day eating one watermelon and cantaloupe each. By evening I started feeling slightly weak with a slight headache. Other than that the first day went very well.
Day 2 – Vegetables
I got up the next day morning and checked my weight. It was 195.5 lb. The very thought that I lost 1.5 lb in a day was an encouraging news to start eating just raw and baked vegetables with the hope of losing more. In the morning I ate a baked potato and after that I had uncooked cauliflower, spinach, cut beans and carrot as food on the second day. Of all the seven days this was the most difficult day to survive. I felt really tired and I thought I may not make it to day seven. But somehow I managed to hold on till the next day.
Day 3 – A mixture of fruits and vegetables
Lost another 1.5 lb on 3rd morning and I was weighing 194 lbs. I realized that the GM Diet plan was really working and that was enough to get me going. I had cauliflower, carrots, grapes, apple, water melon and cantaloupe on that day where I can have any vegetables and any fruits (except bananas) in unlimited quantity. This day was not as tough as day 2 but still have cravings for other food.
Day 4 – Banana and Milk
On 4th day morning I have already lost 5 pounds from where I started (192 lbs). From 4th day it was a smooth ride. Craving for food was gone totally and I never felt tired after day three. I was supposed to eat up to 8 bananas, must drink 3 cups of milk and eat “GM Wonder Soup”. I could manage to eat only 6 bananas and drank 3 cups of milk and ate "GM Wonder Soup". I was surprised how easy this day went by.
Day 5 – Beef and Tomatoes
On 5th day morning for my shock I realized that I gained two pounds. Later I realized talking to people who did GM Diet earlier that I should have been drinking the reduced fat milk instead of the whole milk on day four. Anyways I continued with the diet. It was a challenging day as I had a 20 over a side cricket match to play. I was allowed to eat up to two 10 oz of beef and must eat six tomatoes on that day. I took one 10 oz of beef and six tomatoes. Even though I played cricket and was running around the whole of morning I never felt tired the entire day. I think I was well into the GM Diet Plan. Till end of day four, I drank around 4 liters of water but from day five I increased it to around 6 to 7 liters of water.
Day 6 – Beef and Vegetables
On the morning of 6th day, I weighed 189.5 lbs – a reduction of 7.5 lbs (3.5 kgs) in 5 days! I had two 10 oz of beef and lots and lots of vegetable on this day apart from drinking plenty of water. I could see a noticeable difference in the way I look and overall I was feeling great that day. I was feeling happy that I did this GM Diet.
Day 7 – Brown Rice, Fruit Juice and Unlimited Vegetables
My weight remained the same on the morning of day seven i.e 189.5 lbs. On day 7 I had a cup of cooked brown rice, lots of pure fruit juice that does not contain added sugar and vegetables in the form of cauliflower, broccoli and carrot. Seventh day I even did not even feel that I am on a diet plan as it went like a normal day.
Day 8 - I got up in the morning and went directly to check my weight. I weighed 187 lbs or I lost exactly 10 pounds (4.5 kgs) in 7 days! Here is a graph of my weight loss over seven days.
To wind-up – if you are really serious about losing weight GM Diet is a “good start”. It helps you to clean your system by removing a part of the unwanted substances from your body. Talking to the people who have done GM diet earlier everyone was telling me that if you go back to the old eating habits after the GM diet, in no time you will gain back the weight. So key here is, once successfully done with GM diet, don’t sit back and relax but start doing exercise so that your body does not accumulate more unwanted stuff again. No Pain, No Gain, right?

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Monday, March 15, 2010

Concept of Credit in US: Good or Bad?

(This blog post is written by my friend Miles Costanza. Miles writes about the whole concept of credit and credit score in US and how it can potentially land you in trouble.)

Is credit in America really adding value to our society or is it really only a tool for banks, and though media brainwashing, we have adopted it as something as personal as our family name?

Here’s a short fictional tale of two individuals who want to buy a car. Let us assume V has excellent credit, and B has bad one. Both have the same amount of income and a small cash reserve of a thousand dollars to put towards the car. They also have the same earnings and expenses.

V goes to the car dealer, and easily is approved for a loan with his credit score. The banker looks at his income and expenses and determines the amount of extra cash he has to spend each month on a car payment. It’s a close estimate – only a couple hundred dollars above of what he can actually afford. After all, the banker knows nothing of his lifestyle; that is not in the equation. The dealer shows him all of the polished, impressive, girl-attracting cars strategically placed on the lot. Knowing that he has good credit and extra income, he wants to show off, as society encourages, so he drives home feeling good in a new bright red BMW. He knows it will impress.

The next day B goes to the dealer (thank goodness they have another identical red BMW to attract him). But poor B has bad credit. His little down payment won’t help. He has to face his worst fear – riding the bus and saving money. For the next year he rides the bus and saves his extra income. Finally he has enough money to buy a used car outright. Though not as impressive, he buys what he needs to get the job done. No extras for B. He drives home also feeling good. Not because it will impress, but because he has worked hard and earned it. He now knows the value of money. He is actually glad he didn’t buy a new BMW, and would never do so, now that he understands how much effort went into saving for the used car.

In the mean time, V’s employer has gone under. He was laid off one day without warning. Despite his hard work, he is left without any income except for the $240 weekly unemployment check. Just enough to almost pay 2/3 of his mortgage. He is skilled and qualified, but despite this unable to find a job in an unstable economy. He draws out of his 401k under “emergency” pretences, an investment that has lost much of its value. Despite the guaranteed loss in value and the penalties for the withdrawal, he takes his saving for pennies on the dollar to keep himself above water for a few more months. Finally its exhausted and his temporary job at Circle K doesn’t pay enough. Even with the extra hours. He has to sell the house and car. Sadly, both have lost so much value, he owes more than they are worth. He can’t pay, he can’t sell. The bank takes them away. In return he gets what they promised: bad credit. They brand him with this bad credit to remind them never to loan money to such an irresponsible person again.

B also lost his job. But only because he has no car payment, he is able to use his car working for a courier and make ends meet (they pay more than Circle K). The bank rewards B with good credit. This is the kind of guy that should be buying a new bright red BMW. Make you own conclusions. Post it as a reply.

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Saturday, March 13, 2010

A Tale of Four Children in Mumbai Slum - Heartbreaking Documentary

Here is a touching documentary about the kids in the slums of Mumbai. Through the four children, who lives in the slums of Mumbai this documentary narrates the awful conditions of the slums. By the time you finish watching this documentary I am sure your eyes will be filled with tears.

Kudos to the makers of this documentary for bringing a serious issue that needs attention to limelight.

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OFFICIAL STATEMENT ON THE IPL ALLEGATION

OFFICIAL STATEMENT ON THE IPL ALLEGATION

This is the official statement released by Dr Tharoor in his website regarding the allegations by Lalit Modi

1. A consortium led by Rendezvous was set up to bid for an IPL team. They approached me for help and guidance. I steered them towards Kerala. Rendezvous includes a number of people, including many I have never met, and Sunanda Pushkar, whom I know well.
2. My role in mentoring the consortium included several conversations with Mr Lalit Modi, who guided us through the process and presented himself as a trusted friend.
3. The consortium bid successfully in an open and transparent process. Their unexpected success upset the plans of a lot of powerful people, who had wanted the franchise to go elsewhere.
4. Various attempts were made by Mr Modi and others to pressure the consortium members to abandon their bid in favour of another city in a different state. Mr Modi raised assorted objections to the bid documents but finally had no choice but to approve them.
5. His extraordinary breach of all propriety in publicly raising issues relating to the composition of the consortium and myself personally is clearly an attempt to discredit the team and create reasons to disqualify it so that the franchise can be awarded elsewhere.
6. Contemptible efforts have been made to drag in matters of my personal life which I do not intend to dignify by commenting on them.
7. However, I deny Mr Lalit Modi’s allegation that I called him during his meeting with investors in the Kochi consortium in Bangalore on Saturday night in order to press him not to question the composition of the consortium.
I called Mr Modi to ask why he was further delaying the approval of the franchise when all the legal requirements had been fulfilled.. Mr Modi had held up approval by the IPL of the franchisee agreement earlier in the day, by insisting on the reversal of a change in the document that he himself had earlier suggested. This change was made, the consortium members flew to Bangalore and met with Mr Modi after that night’s IPL game for what they had been told would be a routine exercise. Instead they were submitted to a barrage of questions which led some to suspect that Mr Modi was seeking a further excuse to delay approval. This was the reason for my intervention with Mr Modi. Had he conducted himself in good faith throughout, no call would have been necessary.
8. On the question of my interests in the franchise, I repeat that I am proud to have helped the consortium come to Kerala. I have neither invested nor received a rupee for my mentorship of the team. Whatever my personal relationships with any of the consortium members, I do not intend to benefit in any way financially from my association with the team now or at a later stage.
9. A Kerala IPL team is a dream of many young people in and from the state. It has the potential to bring great material and psychological benefits to Kerala’s economy and society. The unethical efforts that have been made by Mr Modi and others to thwart the Kerala franchise which had been won fair and square in a transparent bidding process are disgraceful. It has been clear for some time that the real motive is to assign this IPL team elsewhere than Kerala. All of us in Kerala hope that the BCCI will not permit statements and activities which seek to discredit the Kerala team before it has even had a chance to prove its worth. The public attempts by Mr Modi to besmirch the consortium in fact bring the IPL itself into disrepute.
This statement is issued by me in a personal capacity to respond to the allegations made against me personally.
Dr Shashi Tharoor

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Friday, March 12, 2010

Four Tips for a Fresh Graduate to Find a Job

These days whenever I go to my alma mater Arizona State University (ASU) and talk to the students a sense of gloominess prevail over there. Reason – the graduate students are not able to find a job and those who are about to graduate or those who already graduated are not even getting any interview calls. Things are tough out there but when the things get tough, with proper planning and hard work you can overcome the difficulties. Here are the minimum four tips every one should follow if one has to get a job during this harsh job market.

Networking – Whatever be the market this is the best possible way you can get a job. Looking back, over 80% of my friends got their first job as a result of networking. It doesn’t matter if the economy is in recession or not, this has always been true. Try connecting with your friends and colleagues in your field of expertise and remind them often that you are in the job market. Now you can even use the social media channels like LinkedIn, Twitter etc for networking. Find and follow people in Twitter whom you know are working in your field and start a healthy conversation with them. Who knows they may have an opening in their company.

Attend All Job Fairs Seriously – I was talking to a graduate student in ASU who recently graduated and looking for a job. There was a job fair the previous day and he did not attend that. The reason he told was that only few companies were there and majority of those companies won’t be hiring international students. I will tell that the student was wrong in not attending the job fair. You must attend each and every job fair and if possible visit booth of each company. Get business cards from each and every person whom you are talking to. The very next day call and/or forward your resume to them. Some of them may say an outright “No” but there is a good chance that few of them may ask you to call them back few weeks later. Keep a note of that and call them on the day they told you to call them. By that you are reminding the person how serious you are regarding job search and can leave a lasting impression with a prospective employer.

Make Job Search Your Full Time Job – another very important thing you need to do if you need to find a job now. I have seen lot of graduate students looking desperately for jobs but if you ask them this question “How many hours a day are you spending on job search?” the answer to that could be “a couple of hours”. If you are spending just two to three hours a day for job search in this market, you have to be extremely lucky to find a job. If you are serious about getting a job, my advice is to make job search your full time job.

I have a friend who got a job during the peak of 2003 recession. He used to spend over 10 hours daily for job search. He was so organized that he documented each and every phone call he made, resumes sent and even wrote down the conversation he had with each person over phone. Within 45 days he got an interview call and in another 15 days he had a job in hand. He might have easily sent his resume and talked to over 500 companies. Bottom-line – you must spare at least six hours a day for job search and if you are not doing that don’t complain that you are not getting a job.

Never Lose Hope – Very important. Yes it is true that there is recession and economy is losing hundred of jobs. But at the same time some companies may be hiring also. Always remember this – You need only one job and if you happened to be at the right place at the right time for the job that is being advertised you are hired. Networking, attending job fairs and making job search a full time job will better prepare you to be at the right place at the right time. Do you part and never lose hope. The “ONE” job you are looking for will soon come if you have done your homework correctly and keep your hopes high.

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Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Karna Motcham – A Must Watch Short Film

"Karna Motcham" a short film in Tamil with English subtitles directed by S Murali Manohar depicts the life of a Koothu artist and his one day stay in Chennai. Karna Motcham has won several awards including National Award for the best short film, best short film award and best director award from Tamil Nadu government. Written by S Ramakrishnan and produced by Tamil Nadu Film Institute, this short film illustrates the difficulties experienced by artists who perform the various traditional art forms in India.

Fantastic work, isn’t?

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Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Four Reasons Not to Pass the Women Reservation Bill

Congress led UPA government is trying to amend the Indian Constitution for reserving one third of the seats in Parliament and Assembly to women. This is done with the intention of empowering the women but will this bill serve its purpose? I don’t think so and for these reasons.

1.Women empowerment should start from the bottom and not from top

India now has a woman President, the president of the ruling party is a woman, the chief minister of the largest state in India is a woman. India had a very powerful woman Prime Minister in Indira Gandhi. Did any of these empower the women who are struggling hard to make both ends meet in the field or a factory? Giving one third reservation to women will be a cosmetic change that tries to fix the problem of women empowerment without understanding the real reason for the lack of empowerment of women in India.

2. Women with grass root support may still never reach the top

Assume that the Women’s Reservation Bill is passed and Baramati that elects the Sharad Pawar for ever is made a reserved constituency for women. Who will contest from there? Most probably his wife or daughter or daughter in law or one of his close relatives – something similar to what Laloo Yadav did when he was forced to resign as Chief Minister of Bihar. Does such a scenario help women empowerment?

3. Possibility of Women winning from Reserved Constituency being labeled as second class MPs/MLAs or weak leaders

There is a good possibility that women getting elected to Parliament/Assembly being seen as being weak and reaching there just because of reservation. They may be portrayed as leaders who are inefficient and could never had won the election if not for the reservation. This may hamper their competent functioning as an elected representative.

4. Nursing a Constituency will be a thing of the past

I believe this is the most damaging thing if this bill gets passed in the parliament. Even though majority of politicians openly deny this the fact is that almost all politicians are after power. Politics as social service is a thing of the past. One way to attain power for a politician is winning the elections to the parliament and assembly. Most of the elected representatives do good things to the constituency not for the love to the people of that constituency but to get themselves reelected in the next election. If the elected representative knows that he/she cannot context election next time from this constituency there is a very good chance that he/she stops nursing the constituency. If that happens who is the loser? The common man that include the women the bill is trying to empower.

Don’t mistake me – I am not against more women coming to politics. All I am against is reservation of constituencies for women. Why can’t UPA government bring a bill that mandates all national and state parties to set aside one third of their nominations to women? Won’t that enable able and deserving women to climb the ladder of political power without the help of reservations?

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