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Monday, February 28, 2005

Move to the New Home

Last weekend, we moved to our new home and the move process itself was quite an experience. I thought that the last people who would be punctual would be the movers, but I was absolutely wrong. They came at 9:00 am sharp and within an hour and a half, 90% of our house was empty. What remained were small items which we carried in our own car. Here I must say that we were helped to a great extent by the presence of Pramod Mausa's Toyoto Sienna van - that van seemed to have an infinite capacity - we just keep shoving stuff inside the van.

If the loading of stuff took around a couple of hours, then the unloading was even faster. We just stood by the door and instructed the movers to place the items in their respective rooms. They were done within an hour and a half and so, we had moved into our new home in 4 hours. On top of that, we had not lifted a single furniture (that really was a blessing for my suspect back) and all the furniture arrived at our new home in perfect condition. I was really impressed by the whole process.

The remaining of the weekend was spent in unpacking the boxes and arranging the stuff in our new home. Even today, i.e. 4 days after we have moved in, the house has boxes all over the place and there still remain some more boxes to open and some more treasures to reveal ;-). I guess, the whole process will take us some time to complete.

In the evening after the move, we just lay in the couch, staring at the house - I was sipping champagne, looking at Susmita, looking at the house, looking outside of the window at the gorgeous view of the lush green mountains - it was just heady feeling. The feeling of owning a home is yet to sink in into us - I guess that is going to take its time.

Till then - Bye !

Monday, February 21, 2005

Anniversary celebration in our New Home

On the 20th of February, we celebrated our 2nd marriage anniversary. Sometimes, it is really tough to believe that Susmita and I are married for 2 years now - it is even difficult to think that Susmita has withstood me for so long :) - she has been just wonderful and I am lucky to have her as my wife. Without making this too very mushy (the occasion warrants it, doesn't it ?), I shall jump right into what we did on our anniversary.

We had planned to do a simple Puja for our new house - our parents had told us that 20th was a good/auspicious/perfect day for us to do the Puja. So, we went early to our new house and did what was required. We boiled milk, did a simple Puja, had tea and biscuit and that was it. Of course, we did make use of our time to take down the final measurements of the house for our new/old furniture and also to decide where to place them - this is important because we need to inform the movers next weekend. Here are some snaps - relive the moments.

Cheers !

Saturday, February 19, 2005

Recent Mergers and Acquisitions

Have you noticed lately that there have been quite a few mergers and acquisitions across various industries. It looks like the Big Brothers do not want any more competition and so are ending up merging with their counterparts to create a "Bigger Brother" to gain more market share. I do not know whether this policy will be successfuly - the big mergers of the past such as AOL-Time Warner or the more recent HP-Compaq have not really yielded any solid results. Anyway, it is still an interesting phenonmenon espcially since Wall Street is closely monitoring them. Here are a few that come to my mind instantly (in no specific order):

  1. Symantec and Veritas - this happened a couple of months ago. Read on ...

  2. Oracle buys over Peoplesoft - of course, everyone has heard about it. Oracle kept on increasing its bid and finally nailed the offer. This happened sometime towards the end of last year.

  3. Wirless companies Sprint and Nextel - they ended up creating a bigger company capable of taking on the Big Guys - Verizon and SBC (Cingular).

  4. SBC and AT&T - this is probably the biggest of them all. SBC, a relatively unknown company to the rest of USA but a giant in California, will be acquiring one the hottest blue-chip companies AT&T.
  5. Verizon and MCI - not to be left behind, Verizon ended up acquiring another communication giant MCI.

  6. P&G and Gillette - if you thought that mergers and acquisitions were only happening in the IT and Communications industry, then you are wrong. P&G is going to acquire Gillette - what this means is that you might now get deals like this : "Buy a Dove soap, get a men's razor FREE" !

So, you see these are interesting times for Wall Street. Keep a watch and probably you might make some money out of it ! As for me, I just keep watching and watching ...

Ciao !

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Innovative Marketing & Selling Ideas

People always look at innovative and creative ideas to market, sell and make money. But a recent fad has taken this to an entirely new limit - people now are "selling their body areas" as ad-spaces. I first heard about this during the beginning of the year when a man from Nebraska auctioned his forehead for ad-space. Looks like that fad has caught on right now with the people.

In the past few days, I have heard of quite a few of them:

  1. A New Zealand mother is now selling her 'pregnant tummy' for ad-space - read on ....
  2. A Floridan woman has started selling her body for ad-space - read-on ...
  3. Not to be outdone, our own Desi Gujju bhai, Prateek Patel has decided to jump on the bandwagon. He has started to auction of his forehead - any takers ? :)
I don't know how long this fad is going to last - or whether this fad will convert to a trend ! But it sure is quite innovative marketing and causing a ripple in the marketing world.

So, keep watching - next time you see a person with logos all over his/her body, don't laugh at him/her. The person might just be the millionare next door :).

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Aishwariya Rai on David Letterman

In one of my previous posts, I mentioned that Aishwariya Rai was scheduled to appear in the David Letterman show. We saw the show - though not live. The show starts at 11:30 pm and at that hour, I am half-asleep ;-). Anyway, we recorded the show and saw it the next day.

Coming to the actual interview, I thought that she did quite well in the show. I hadn't seen her CBS interview but I had heard that she was all giggly and smiling in that. I didn't want to see a repeat of that performance, for sure. Here, she answered the questions quite well and at times, even caught Letterman off guard. To be fair, Letterman was asking her extremely simple questions such as "Tell me about yourself, "Tell me about your family", "What is Bollywood" etc. You can read about the interview details on the Web - the interview was quite short (around 10 minutes) and I think, it went off better than what I had expected.

Cheers !

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Recent success in cooking :)

The past week has proved to be quite lucky for me. I tried out 2 new recipes and both came out quite tasty! One of them was Palak Paneer and the recipe was the one that was available at Bawarchi

The other major success was "Rice Payasam" or simply "Rice Kheer" - I got this recipe from my Boss, who had got this from my mom. Here is a brief description of the recipe (bear with me if I sound stupid describing the recipe :))

  1. Take a handful of rice into a pressure cooker
  2. Add 4 cups of milk to 1 cup of sugar
  3. Put a little bit of Ghee and Raisins into it.
  4. Boil the milk - once the milk starts coming up, start stirring. Do this for 5 minutes.
  5. Close the pressure cooker and reduce the temperature of the stove to extreme low - bare minimum. Keep it in this state for 25-30 minutes.
  6. This should do it ! - now, open the pressure cooker and pour your "Rice Payasam" into a bowl. If it has got some brownish tinge to it, then it has been a huge success.
  7. To spruce it up further, fry a little bit of Cashews in Ghee in a separate Kadhai and pour into the Payasam and mix well.
  8. If you realize (after Step 6) that the Payasam is quite thick, then boil a bit of milk and pour it inside and mix well.

Try it - it really tastes good. More importantly, it is simple to make :).

Bon Apetit !

Friday, February 04, 2005

Aishwariya Rai coming on David Letterman show

When I first heard about this, I was really surprised. David Letterman's show is one of the most famous late night shows of America. It does feel good, no doubt about that - but the unfortunate part of this is that all this is being done to promote Bride and Prejudice, a desi version of the original novel Pride and Prejudice. From what I have heard, this movie is rank bad - it is too loud, jokes fall flat and all-in-all, it is not a good film. So, I just hope people do not generalize about Indian movies after seeing this.

On the plus side, I must say that Aishwariya Rai's PR agency is fantastic. They make sure that she is at the right place at the right time - Cannes, Bond movies, Oscars etc. It is true that she herself is also a very good speaker - yesterday, I was seeing a clip of the Aishwariya Rai interview on CBS 60 minutes. I thought she answered some of the questions really well - especially, when asked about her boyfriend, she said that it was better off in her autobiography and then burst into a giggle.

Of course, it does feel good that Indian movie/actors/actresses are getting recognized in mainstream Hollywood. This should mean more opportunities and should open up more doors for the West to look at our "Hut-Key" movies.

Till then !

Thursday, February 03, 2005

1-day Cricket - The Road Ahead for India

The Indian cricketers are taking a much wanted break and the Pakistan tour of Indian is just around the corner. In the past few series, we have seen the performance of India go from good to bad and from bad to worse. They are slowly losing the form of the World Cup of 2003 and are increasingly becoming inconsistent in both forms of the game. I take this opportunity to talk about the changes needed or options available for some of the positions in the Indian team. In this Blog, I shall concentrate solely on 1-day cricket.

Batting

Opening Slots (1, 2)
===============
Pool - Virendra Sehwag, Sachin Tendulkar, Shikar Dhawan, Robin Uthappa, Gautam Gambhir

The openers in 1-day cricket need to take advantage of the 15 overs restriction. Needless to say, the first choice should be Veeru and Sachin - however, if it is an inconsequential game, it is good to rest Sachin (with his elbow injury hampering him more and more, he should be handled with care) and try out the other guys.

Top-order Batsmen (3,4)
===================
Pool - Rahul Dravid, Md. Kaif, S. Sriram, Y.Venugopal Rao, VVS Laxman


The 1-down and 2-down positions require batsmen who can stick around for a long time and anchor the innings. Md. Kaif as the 7th batsmen currently is a waste - he is better off at the top order, steadying the innings with his running between the wickets. Rahul Dravid should not be made to keep wickets anymore - he suffers and so does India. Once again, if it is an inconsequential match, then Dravid should be made to rest and others given a chance. Sorry, VVS does not get a natural entry into my team !

Middle-order Batsmen (5,6,7)
========================
Pool - Saurav Ganguly, Yuvraj Singh, Dhoni, Joginder Sharma, Romesh Pawar

These positions are essentially those who can give the final momentum to the innings. Ganguly is an excellent player of spin and old ball should not give him any botherations. Yuvi is a suspect against spin but can hit out. Dhoni should be made as a specialist wicket keeper in 1-dayers - his keeping is good and hopefully, his batting will also prove to be good. If it is an inconsequential match, India should think about resting Ganguly and giving others a chance.

Lower-order Batsmen (who are actually bowlers - 8,9)
========================================

Pool - Irfan Pathan, Zaheer Khan, Yusuf Pathan,Agarkar, Murali Karthik

Both Pathan and Zaheer Khan have the ability to hit the ball hard - also, they have shown the ability to bowl the balls at the right areas. Although they are the first choice bowlers, India should chose from the pool more readily than they do for batsmen - bowlers break down faster and so it is important that they are nurtured.

Tailenders (who cannot be trusted too much - 10,11)
======================================

Pool - Anil Kumble, Harbajan Singh, Balaji, Ashish Nehra
If these batsmen are out there in the middle, then you don't have much hopes anyway.


Bowling

My first choice of the bowlers would be Pathan, Zaheer, Kumble and Bajji. Again, this is subject to fitness issues and the state of the pitch. If the pitch is full of grass, then obviously it is useless to go with 2 spinners - then Balaji would be my first choice. It is surprising why Agarkar always gets a look in ahead of the others - at least, he doesn't in my team !

In summary, here are my changes from what is there today:

  1. Stop Dravid from keeping - have a specialist keeper in Dhoni
  2. Bring Ganguly and Yuvraj 1 slot down the order, so that they can take advantage of the end overs - Kaif is no good at that.
  3. Develop a hard hitting alrounder - it could be Irfan Pathan or Zaheer Khan or Yusuf Pathan or Joginder Sharma or Romesh Powar - but this person must be able to hit a quick fire 20-30 runs whenever needed.
  4. The lower order batsmen must contribute with the bat too - most of the good International sides bat real deep today. Gillespie and Mcgrath score half centuries nowadays.
  5. The bowlers must be kept injury free - for that, it is good to create a pool of bowlers, from whom India can chose. Most of the times, the Indian bowlers are injured - that should not happen.
  6. Sachin and Veeru should always be the first choice to fill in the 5th bowler's slot. The second choice should be Ganguly and after that it should be Yuvraj.