Monday, July 25, 2005

Lance says goodbye

Lance Armstrong bid goodbye to his cycling career yesterday. This amazing performer won his 7th straight Tour De France easily to claim the yellow jersey. I started following the race since 2 years. Thanks to Ten Sports in India and every other channel in Germany. For people who dont know about Tour De France, here is a quick view.
It is a cycling race held in France every year. The race is divided into stages (this year there were 21 stages) which happen on everyday. Each stage could be around 150-200 kms of rough terrain. The winner gets the yellow gersey and is the one who finishes all the stages in the least aggregate time. This would mean that the yellow gersey need not be the fastest guy in in every stage. What this boils down to is that - the final winner need not win any of the individual stage! The average speed of the winner is about 45km/hr !

The story of Armstrong is like a fable. Lance was diagnoised of Testicular cancer. That was the end of his sporting career if not of him. He kept his semen in a bank and underwent an operation. For 8 months or so he was expected to die. But miraculously he survived. Then he won 7 straight times. He now has 3 children from his girlfriend, singer Sheryl Crowe. People initially accused him of getting extra energy because of the medicines he was taking. But all the tests suggested otherwise.

The unique thing about this Texan is that he only participated in this race. He practised hard for this race, going through the circuit multiple times, so that he knows each and every turn. Many say that because he does not participate in other events, he cannot be termed as an all time cycling great. But they also accept that 7 yellow jerseys is not a child's play aswell.

What is he going to do next? He hasn't disclosed much about this. He can dedicate time for his cancer institute, become a great dad, can coach young cyclists, can be a secretory to his singer wife...Too many options.
Lance is a legend and an inspiration to everybody.

Friday, July 22, 2005

Spoonerism day

Today is Spoonerism day. I wanted to know what is this day and found this bit of information. I think this is pretty stupid. Anyway for me it is just another day in office.

Spoonerism Day:
Spoonerisms are named after the Reverend W. A. Spooner (1844-1930) who was Dean and Warden of New College in Oxford, England. While speaking, he exchanged the first sounds of two words with each other to produce a not-intended and usually amusing meaning. The Reverend produced spoonerisms such as 'a scoop of boy trouts', instead of 'a troop of boy scouts'. His verbal slips have turned "a well-oiled bicycle" into "a well-boiled icicle." Spooner was no featherbrain. In fact his mind was so nimble his tongue couldn't keep up. Two years before his death at age 86, Spooner said he could recall only one of his trademark fluffs. It was one he made announcing the hymn "Kinkering Congs Their Titles Take," meaning to say "Conquering Kings."

Thursday, July 21, 2005


A close friend of mine is getting married. After some searching, he found that a cousin of his was loving him and now they plan to settle down. Wishes to them.
We had a discussion about this sometime back. I would like to recollect it today.

Time - 4-5 weeks ago on a Sunday evening...
Location - jayanagar coffeeday
Participants - M(Me) and F(Friend)

F - Maga, I want a love marraige..
M - Your age to fall in love is over, make up mind for arranged marriage.
F - Why are we like this?
M - What's wrong? Not falling in love is not crime...It is perfectly OK.
F - (Pointing to a couple\lovers...guy not smart, girl babe)....If he can fall in love why can't I?
M - Check his hair first and then hair style...Compare with u'rs if u have any...
F - Ok...You have hair and hair style...Why can't you fall in love?
M - Silent...

Both laugh....laugh...laugh...

Today - friend...You were loved by someone...
Congrats...Have a nice life.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Hard day

Today was one of the hardest days at work. There was lot of pressure on completeing lot of tasks! I hope the fixes I made today will work properly tomorrow.
Just want to go to the hotel and crash on the bed flat. But I am hungry and need to cook dinner. Huh!!

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Let freedom and peace prevail

Yesterday we had a coffee corner discussion about terrorism. One question which we could not get an answer was "What do these terrorists want ultimately?". Is it an Islamic world? Is it money? Is it oil? Not clear.
The same question was asked by a BBC correspondent to an Arab world journalist. His answer was "Terrorists want Saudi to be solely Islamic, without any intervention from the US or any other European nations". I do not know if this is a valid enough reason to kill people in different parts of the world. I am also not sure if any terrorist has stated it clearly.

Then our conversation to a logical turn to Iraq. The insurgents and the suicide bombers there are terrorists. They are blowing themselves and killing others along with them. When we Indians fought for our independence, there was a group of people who practiced violence. Bhagat Singh threw bombs at the Britishers and tried to kill them. The trend was not to be a suicide bombers then. If the word terrorist was so rampant in those days then Bhagat Singh would have been a terrorist. General Dyer shot many peacefully protesting, unarmed Indians in Jalianwallah Bagh in 1919. That could also be termed as an act of terrorism. When South Africa's ANC fought against apartheid under the leadership of Nelson Mandela, many of their leaders were termed as terrorists and were not allowed to enter some nations like USA. One such person is the supreme judge in South Africa today. People like Bhagat Singh are martyrs today. There could come a day when these suicide bombers and terrorists are also treated as martyrs. The world is changing so fast, a friend today can be a foe tomorrow and viceversa. Saddam is the live example. Having said this I still say that Bhagat Singh is a martyr. He bombed and expressed freely why he bombed the places. He was daring enough to face a trial and tell what he wanted and why. He did not play games like suicide bombings and he did not kill commin people\children on the street. But these dirty games seem to be neo-terrorism. The concept of 'Terrorism' has changed over a period of time and will continue to change.

I got a mail today regarding the Ayodhya attack, which could explain what today's terrorists want. They want UNREST.

The chief of the terrorist militant outfit that had tried to storm the temple laughed mirthlessly as he switched on the TV and watched the bodies of his comrades being dragged by CRPF jawans into a waiting police jeep.
"You are laughing sir? Those are our men!" said his puzzled assistant as he watched his dead colleagues being thrown like cattle into the jeep.

"Mission successful!" laughed the chief.
"Sir the mission was a failure," said his still puzzled assistant. "Our men are dead and they did not manage to bomb the temple!"

"Mission successful!" grinned the bearded terrorist chief.
The assistant ran out into the corridor and whispered what his leader had said to the men outside. They were hardened terrorists, who brooked no nonsense, whether it was their leader or not. They all entered the room and watched the coverage on TV. There was an air of despondency. They could not understand their chief's joy.

"Sir," said a subordinate.
"Yes?" smiled the chief.
"You seem to be happy our men are dead?"
"They have accomplished what they went for," said the chief, "I am happy their mission was successful!"
"Sir their mission was a failure."
"My dear men," said their leader as he looked at each one of them, "What do you think was our aim?"
"To destroy the temple," said one of the militants.
"No," said their leader.
"No?" asked all the militants together.
"Our aim," said the chief is to sow anger and hatred in the country with our action. By blowing up the temple we hoped there would be spontaneous riots and bloodshed and anarchy."

"Which there isn't," said a militant.
"Not spontaneous!" said the chief, "but organised. See what the papers are already saying."
"Bandh!" said one of the terrorists."
"Bandh!" shouted the others.
"When the politicians call a bandh they have reacted to us," said the chief. "When a country doesn't react to us, then our mission is a failure. Now our mission is successful. The whole of the country will shut down because of what six men did. Billions of rupees will be lost because of what our brave brothers did. Can you imagine we have such power. Just six men to shut a country down!"

"Ha, ha, ha," laughed the terrorists, "Ha, ha, ha!"
"If India had gone about her business behaving as if nothing had happened, then our mission would have been a failure, but they have an opposition who are waiting to create trouble. We don't have to do much really; we just have to ignite a spark; those fellows will do the rest!"

The militants and their leaders watched the TV channels as politician after politician talked about the bandh they were going to carry out.

"Mission successful..!" shouted the terrorists as they raised their guns in salute.
"Ha, ha, ha, ha..!" laughed their chief with glee.

Monday, July 18, 2005

So near, yet so far

The formula 1 races comes to Hockenheim this weekend. It is very close (40 mins by train) to the place I stay. One of my friends here says that when the cars move on the track, we can hear the wroooooom sounds from here!

I wanted to goto the race. But the tickets are very expensive. The good stands are sold out. The seats on the stands next to the straight roads are avaiable. It costs 8000 Rs. You can just watch the car moving at 300kmph from these stands. Before I can recognise the car, it is gone. The best seats are the ones near the turnings. These are the overtaking spots and the cars are relatively slow. The tickets for such seats cost 20000 to 30000Rs. As already said, they are sold out.

Schumi will be driving in his home circuit, but Mercedes are running on their home turf. It will be interesting to watch Kimi, Alonso and Schumi race...but it will be on TV again for me.

Friday, July 15, 2005


On the Emirates flight from Dubai to Frankfurt, there were only 2 English newspapers. I took Khaleej Times because I had heard about this paper (and also I was reading it during the peak of Iraq war). The newspaper was very bulky and had lots of stuff to read in it. As I tried to figure out some articles to read, I found 2 very interesting ones.

In one of them, some person from the royal family had urged the tourists of Dubai to respect the local culture and behave 'appropriately' in public. I am not sure what made him give this statement. But I would blindly agree with him. Dubai airport is a very busy one. I could see a lot of westerns and behaving in their culture. Nothing wrong with their culture when in their nations. Every country (region sometimes) has it's own behavioural patterns and the visitors should follow that to a great extent. Saudi being a Muslim nation would have some restrictions on things done in public. Could be kissing! If the local culture doesn’t support this, better not do it. People need to read about cultures before touring nations. Just not read, follow it as well.

The second article was about some restrictions in a specific area within Dubai or AbuDabi. The restrictions were on drying of clothes on rooftops or in the balconies of flats. This was prohibited an area. Any person violating it would face a fine of 1000 Dinars (which seems to be huge considering that a laptop would cost 700-900 dinars). Being the heart of tourist destination inside the city, the government wanted this locality to be neat and picturesque. I don't agree with this rule. We should not change for the sake of changing and impressing the tourists. If I am a tourist, I would really like to see how people behave naturally not forcibly. May be this law could make it look good, but the localities would have an impression that they were forced to do it because of tourists and may start hating them. The reason should have been different.

By the way, one of the main headlines today in Khaleej times is BJP protesting against Salman Khan, which Indian channels like NDTV have'nt covered on their sites. Looks like Salman has a big fan following in Saudi.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Meeting a Kannadiga

I was on my way back to the hotel using the regular tram. With me were 2 other collegues of mine. We were talking in Kannada and had just finished commenting on a girl. One guy mentioned that the one of the advantages of being in a foreign land is the usage of language. We can comment, scold, appreciate on anything or anybody in our mother tongue. The exact wordings were "Yarna bai kondru gothagolla". Just then a guy (did look like an Arab) came towards us. Stoped in fron of our seats and said "Yella Kannadadavra, baikolalla thane". For a moment there was silence, then we all laughed and chatted for till our time to get off the tram came.

He is in Germany from 4 months and has'nt spoken in Kannada in Germany. He would stay in Germany for another 8 months as part of some project. He spoke at length without caring if we were interested or listening to what he was talking. Just the feeling of meeting Kannadigas and talking in Kannada seemed to have lifted his spirits.

I could feel his feelings.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Forget it!

We have proved again that our memory is short. This is the nth time that this has happened. I am referring to the Ayodhya attack. There is no talk about who the attackers were or any progress in the investigation in that regard. I am checking for updates in news sites as I have no access to any Indian news channel here. Even newspapers like Hindu do not have an article on that. Why are we like this?

I am sure that it is in a way good that we forget things quickly. We have lots of other things to worry upon. But what we also forget is the reason for whatever happened. This allows the thing to happen again. Flood scams – Even today there is no correct mechanism to distribute the relief. They continue to happen and we continue to forget it. Share scams – First, Harsh Mehta showed the world how to make money by cheating. In a span of 10 years, Ketan Parekh shows us how better we could do it (just in case we forget!). I am sure there is another one in the waiting. Rules and tricks to break them go hand in hand. Attack on religious places – Babri masjid, Akshardham, Ayodhya and may be Baba Budangiri is next. It really hurts to see the breakers of law going scot free. The attackers on Ayodhya are termed as Pakistanis, and that’s it we forget. No proof, no enquiry – Nothing.

Europe and America are the other extremes. September 11th, Madrid bomb blast and now London bomb blast are etched in their memory forever. CNN does not spend a month without atleast 2 capsules on these topics. BBC will join the bandwagon soon I think.

Let us choose the correct path - forget the incident and but not the causes and consequences.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Mental clock, Bio clock and the clock

The Sun does not seem to set in Germany during the summer days. In winter it is dark by 4pm and sort of bright by 9am in the morning. In sharp contrast to this, in summer it is dark at 'I dont know what time' and it is bright by 5:30am.
At 10:30pm it is still bright. Some Indians like me sleep only when it is dark. This is what my 'mental clock' says. My 'bio clock' is dragging my eye lids down to a close because it's time to sleep. It is really a bit difficult to adjust as I am not a sleeper during day - Day is when the sun shines.
One cannot roam about because the shops close at 8pm irrespective what Sun does. They stick by 'the clock'. Trains and buses stop plying because it is late night. What is night? Time when Sun does'nt shine and it is dark and time to sleep. Here it is night by 'the clock' but our mental clock says (because of the definition of night) it is not night yet.
Oops!! When shall i sleep?

Monday, July 11, 2005

Pleasant weather

My journey was good and I landed safely. Dubai airport is fantastic. I was trying to compare it with our Mumbai International airport. It scores in all aspects - cleanliness, chairs, service, looks etc. The expansion work of teh airport is going on. Emirates is the official partner of the World Cup soccer 2006. It's a bit of surprise that the German airline, 'Lufthansa' is not the official partner. Food on the Emirates was bad. No vegetarian dish except for the bread. The personalized TV feature is good. I watched 'Sahara'. It's a junk movie.
Weather in Germany is very pleasant. The temperature is around 22 deg Cel and it rains occasionally. I can see flowers and greenery all around. This is in sharp contrast to my last visit, when I could see only white snow around.

Friday, July 08, 2005

Confusion trip

My travel this time has been a total confusion experience so far. And not to mention, I don’t want this trend to continue.
First I did not want to go. But I was convinced to go. Then the visa was a problem as I could not apply for a new visa until the old one expired. On 5th it expired and then I applied for visa. This caused a couple of changes in my travel itinerary. The visa office has recently introduced a new rule. They accept only passport size photos on Kodak or Konica papers. My previous visa was done with photos on Fuji paper. No small studio was ready to give me on Kodak paper. So one fine hot afternoon I drove to MGRoad to get Kodak photos.

Because my trip is short, I did not want to take the big suitcase which I had carried last time. I assumed that a smaller suitcase was available. Only yesterday night at 8:30 I realized that we did not have such a suitcase. At 9pm, yesterday I went to BigBazaar and bought a 'safari' suitcase home. When I began packing, my mom saw that there was a rivet missing. It was a damaged piece. I drove back to the bazaar and had to fight and argue to get a replacement. So my packing started only at 10:30pm. This was the time when my dad told me that my shirts and trousers are with the dhobi for ironing. It would reach home only today. I hope it has reached.
Now the explosion. There is a great increase in the security levels in all the airports of Europe. Hope this does not affect me.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Clean your shit

Some days ago, a senior executive had come down to India. He decided to talk to all the employees of my company. It was evening when the meeting ended. The company had given packed snacks to the attendees. Some people took the packed snacks to their shuttles and had it on their way home. Among those some were 2 girls (smartly dressed) who sat next to me in the cab. They had their snacks and got down before me. Only then I realized that they had left their empty crumpled packed of food in the cab. One girl had managed to push the packet to the edge of the seat and the other dropped the packet under the seat. What an attitude!! They cannot carry the empty packet till the nearest dustbin on their way home, but they don’t mind throwing it under the seat.
Another such incident happened yesterday. A girl had gone abroad and so had got some chocolates. She distributed it in the cab. A couple of guys ate the chocolate and threw the wrapper through the window on to the road. Some others just threw it under the seat (as they were in the aisle seats). Can't they carry the wrappers in the pockets or bags to the office and empty it into the bins there? These are school manners.
These are the people who also complain about the dirtiness in India. Why should the cab driver or the cleaner be responsible for the filth created by these stupidest people?
Tidiness does not mean that an individual is dirt free. He\She should keep the surroundings clean. Educated fools like these people don’t have the smallest bit of common sense.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Ayodhya attacked

Yesterday's attack on Ayodhya came as a shock\scare to everybody in India. Some reasons for this are -
1. India Pak peace talks had gained momentum recently.
2. Ayodhya is arguably the most controversial religious site of India. Ayodya is a matter of pride for many people.
3. This is a heavily protected site...there is a huge reserve police camp inside the temple campus.
4. Ayodhya is not in the Indo Pak border, it is almost in the center of India. If terrorists can reach this place, then every major temple is accessible for them.

What could be the implications?
This could in someway derail the talk process between India and Pakistan. Though I feel that the impact would be less as the attack failed. Had the terrorists were successful in blasting the temple, India would have said enough of Pakistan terrorists and broke off all the relations with them.
In the internal political circles, this attack has lot of significance. After the Jinnah comment, the rift between the RSS, VHP and BJP had widened. I feel that this incident will unite them so that some of their differences could get buried. BJP has got Ram given chance to get back to their hardcore Hindutva policy. We could also expect a yatra by the yatra loving BJP guys. Mulayam's govt has lot of opposition from their supporters, Congress. Yesterday the union home secretary already pushed the buck on the state government, stating that state govts were warned of some possible terrorist attacks. If Mulayam's govt falls (I hope it doesn't force another election), then BJP and Mayawati could join forces. This could somehow boost BJP's agenda as currently they have very less states under their control. This could also prove crucial during the Bihar elections.

What I don’t understand is the demand of some parties asking for the resignation of the governments are the center and state. When the Akshardham incident happened, BJP's governments existed both in Gujarat and in the center. Then there was no action by both these governments. But now BJP and other friend parties of BJP have to show that they are still on the Hindutva path and hence without any sense, they have asked the governments to resign.
But the government intelligent agencies have a lot of questions to answer. Why couldn’t they predict such an attack? How could the terrorists get so many ammunitions in Ayodya? If center had given a warning, why dint the state govt take any action?

What saved the temple? It was the bravery and the number of police who immediately came into action. A jeep loaded with explosives rams into the compound wall of the temple and within 2 hrs of gun battle all the terrorists are killed. None of them could enter the shrine. They were shot 70 mtrs away from the shrine. This is really good on part of the security personnel. Hats off to them!! Narendra Modi, Gujarat CM has declared a reward of Rs 10 lakhs for the people who fought the terrorists. Hope it is not just a publicity stunt.
The other great achievement is the reaction of the Indian public. We are peacefully protesting the attack. So communal harmony is maintained. This has completely defeated the motives of creating unrest in the country.

It's high time India takes action on the terrorist activities in the country.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

"Sarkar" rules

Rating 3.5/5
Sarkar is a Good movie...
Make no comparisons to Godfather...this is not a remake or movie version of the book...just inspired by the book "The Godfather"...Ram Gopal Verma states in the first slide of the movie that there can be only one Godfather....make no comparisons.
The story is indianised and that is done well...

Watch Amitabh closeups....his acting in the movie is via the wrinkled skin, nerves & veins popping out, sweat, uncombed hair and ofcourse the deadly eyes....super duper looks...Jr AB and the other dons just perfectly fit in...

Govinda trance is superb....listen to this...background music is amazing...

Camera work very the scene when sarkar gets out of his car after getting bail...his hand is shown waving towards the people standing there...

Of course there are some scenes which are un-understandable...Why is sarkar attacked inside the prison? Is Katrina needed? May be such small things make a movie "GREAT" instead of "GOOD"...

Want to watch how to make a don movie without cigarettes? Watch a couple of scenes cigarettes is used...but cud have done without it...

Friday, July 01, 2005

Leela experience

Yesterday's visit to the leela was my first visit to the place. I am overwhelmed by the lavishness inside the palace. I and my team had initially planned to go bowling but the bowling ring was booked there. So we sat in the Barista to have some coffee. It was then I decided to go around the place.

Garden - The grass is really lush green! They have cropped it and maintained it well. The path to walk in the lawn is also well laid out. The lawn is laid out it such a place that the windows or the corridors of the rooms open to the lawn. There are small plants that have grown in a beautiful way in-between. Coconut trees had some disease free looking coconuts (what else could be there?). The flowers were unique. There was water-fall and we took sometime to really have a look at it just to identity if the rocks were artificially placed or natural ones.

Shopping - Most (almost all) shops inside the Leela are really expensive. But the range of shops is really good. From books to diamonds, everything is available. One of my friends had been to a shop to buy ladies top. A simple looking cotton top costed him a Rs 2800/-. There was a pianoist performing in the center of the shopping complex. The acouistics was perfect in the hall.

People - There were lot of Indian couples in the shopping mall. The crowd was mostly young and hep. The dressing was western and could be a culture shock for people new to hep society. Me and my friend walked towards the lounge and sat there for a moment. People used to get down from their cars and move towards the reception and then to their rooms. Here there were lots of foreigners who seemed to be on business trips. I the suite in which ShahRukh stayed here for a couple of nights during his dance show costed a lakh per day.

Architecture - Leela as it is rightly called - does look like a palace. The pillars are huge and wide. There are arches and some sculptures made of cement. The arches give a majestic look. The wavy light coming from the pillars reminds me of the mirrored master bedroom in the Amer fort, Jaipur. The flower vases have the Mughal symbols in them. The most glaring thing missing is the majestic carpets which is very common in Indian palaces. Instead the floors are covered by marbles. This could have been better.

Definitely worth a visit if not a stay!