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Friday, May 27, 2005

Clinton again ? ...

Looks like America cannot get enough of the Clintons. If it is not husband Bill, who is fighting for humanitarian causes for Aids / Tsunami victims, then it is his Senator wife Hillary. From the reports, it is quite clear that she is one of the favorite Democrat candidates for the White House in 2008. Take a look at the USA poll results.

Although Hillary has not said anything one way or the other, but if her current popularity is anything to go by, then it could very well lead to 4 more years in the White House for her !.

Keep a close watch on what she does (and what she not does) in the coming months - that will be interesting indeed.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Globalization and Outsourcing ....

One of the things that I like about my MBA course is that things that are taught there do not belong to a pre-historic age (many of the courses in IIT were about stuff that had become obsolete ! ) - at Santa Clara, they teach and discuss issues that are very much prevalent in today's market place. In the Micro Econ class yesterday, we had a good discussion on Globalization and Outsourcing and how it brought the prices down. The professor believed that as long as 'productivity' (which is average output per person hour) is high in the United States, the US need not have to worry. High productivity is a sure sign of a good economy.

I was a little confused with this theory - you can still improve productivity by outsourcing jobs. Thus, you are improving produtivity but increasing unemployment. Apparently, the jobs that are getting lost are getting recirculated again - the net result is that it does not matter too much. Interesting indeed ... need to get into the depth of this.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Making it "Memorable" at Santa Barbara

Summer is here and so is Memorial Day. So, Susmita and I are just backpacking and driving off to the warm beaches of Santa Barbara. We plan to just go to the beach and lie down and relax. Although the MBA exams are just around the corner, I am sure we won't have that on our minds when we reach there :). Although it is a long weekend, we won't be able to leave untill Sunday afternoon - we will have to attend an Econ tutorial, where our final exam will be discussed. (what a bad day to do it !).

Santa Barbara as a place seems to be very pricey, if you go by the cost of the hotel rooms. We reserved a decent hotel Quality Inn for $160 for 1 night's stay. We also hope to stop by at the nearby Danish town of Solvang, which is very famous for its cookies. Let us see how it goes.

Ciao !

Thursday, May 19, 2005

The Indian Coach Selection saga !

After all the drama, saga and hype that the Indian Coach Selection process generated, the decision as to who would replace John Wright, has been made. Greg Chappel, the Aussie Cricket great and considered to have a great cricket mind, is now officially the new Indian coach till the end of the 2007 World Cup.

Among the 4 in the fray, Desmond Haynes was definitely the dark horse. He claimed that he had the advantage of the West Indian pitches more than any one else and since the next World Cup was going to be held in West Indies, there was no one better than him for the job.

Mohinder Amarnath, the only Indian in the fray, was always going to have a tough time convincing selectors that Indians are actually good in coaching too. In retrospect, it is good that he was not selected because an Indian coach would no doubt get entangled in the beauracracy of the system and might not have the guts to change it.

Tom Moody, the youngest and the tallest of the lot, has been impressing everyone in his latest stint in the county circuits with his coaching. So, he was definitely a hot prospect - in fact, he is in running for Sri Lanka coach's position too (if I am not wrong, he will surely get it). I personally was in favor of him, because he is young, low profile (similar to Wright), hard working and probably would lead by example.

Greg Chappel, of course, was a great cricket player and pundits rank him very high on his cricketing brains. He has developed a new and unique way of coaching called the 'Chappel Way', which is gaining in popularity by the day. I guess, that must have clinched the deal for him.

Hopefully, the new coach will bring in fresh ideas and good results. We need to build the nucleus of the team that will be part of the next World Cup, which is just 2 years ahead. We need to start working on our areas of weaknesses - no end-overs slogger, no all-rounder, frequent injuries to bowlers etc and we must get started on this ASAP.

Greg Chappel - lead us your way !

Get Ripped !

There is an interesting and booming business coming up now-a-days. With the advent of IPOD and the numerous MP3 players, consumers are now willing to keep all their songs in MP3 formats. In fact, even music stores in India sell MP3 CDs. If you think about the mathematics, it makes better economic sense. A MP3 CD purchased in India costs about Rs 400 whereas a normal CD costs around Rs 100. So, at 4 times the cost, one can get as much 10 times the number of songs. Of course, this assumes that one has a good MP3 player at home. Given this information, it is imperative that people like me will start thinking about what to do with the countless CDs that we have bought over the years. In fact, I really pride myself on my CD collection. So, if I need to make a big leap into the world of MP3s, I need to spend enough time and effort to convert the CDs into MP3s.

Of course, there are countless software which can do the job for you - however, they are time consuming and will indeed require a learning curve. So, to make life easier, there are these bunch of companies that do the job for you. The basic idea is that you ship out your CDs and they will be RIPPED into MP3s of the highest quality - of course, you will have to pay a fee for that - but, given the time that one can save with that, it is well worth it. Businessweek actually carried a write-up on these companies - read it if you can.

So, if you have tons of CDs but want to make the switchover to MP3s, you know what to do - "Get Ripped" !

Monday, May 16, 2005

Cannes 2005 - the Indian "Wardrobe Malfunction"

I still haven't figured out why we are so fascinated by what our film stars wear. This feverish obsession reached a crescendo the last week because of the ongoing Cannes Film Festival, where a lot of Indian film stars were walking the ramp. Ashwariya Rai (who is nowadays present in all big events in Hollywood) marked the festival open, Nandita Das was part of the jury and Mallika Sherawat was there for her upcoming movie with Jackie Chan, The Myth.

If you considered all the hype surrounding what they were going to wear was generating, then I must say that the reality was actually quite different. Ashwariya Rai, after the bashing that she received last year for her dress, probably looked the best of the lot. Nandita Das looked totally out of depth in her Red Sari (why was she so badly dressed ?) and as far as Mallika Sherawat is concerned, the first reaction that I had was - "ugh?" - i thought that it was a "Wardrobe Malfunction".

Anyway, the good part of all this is that Indian film stars are getting to be well known outside the world of Bollywood, which is good for India of course.

Ciao.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

DDLJ - 10 years and still going strong

The other day, I came across a very interesting piece of news. Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge or simply DDLJ for most of the Indians, was completing 10 years of running in a single theatre in Mumbai. At first, I thought that I had misread the news - on further reading, I confirmed that it was indeed true.

If I am not mistaken, this movie was released during 2nd/3rd years of my stay at IIT, KGP and it was a rage, to say the least. Every friend I knew wanted to be like Raj (Shah Rukh Khan) and every one wanted to have a girl friend like Simran (Kajol) ! - perhaps, the greatness of the director was that he mixed western values so well with the Indian societal values and conveyed the feeling that no matter what we do or where we go, Indians will always be Indians following traditional values. As Anupam Kher says, "Bhai Saab, Hum to Hindustan Seene Mein Lekar Chaltey Hain" - so, it had the perfect concoction to attract not only the Indian crowd but also the NRI community.

All said and done, there have been many movies that I have personally liked more than DDLJ but that doesn't matter I guess. DDLJ has proved that it still draws a full house even after 10 years of its release.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

2 Movies

Recently, we saw 2 movies each belonging to a totally different genre. The first one was a movie called Page 3, directed by Madhur Bhandarkar, which takes a satirical look at Mumbai's high-class society. Movie is good, though I thought that it was quite dark and made me wonder whether all that was being shown was indeed a reflection of what happens in our society. If it does, then it is something to think about. The best thing about the movie is indeed the acting of Konkona Sen Sharma, who is just a natural. I am sure she has a great future ahead of her and she will do some wonderful movies in the future. She definitely has inherited the right genes from her mother !

Another movie that we watched was a totally mushy movie - Wimbledon. I thought that the movies had the right elements of everything - romance, love, fights and to add it all, the lush green Center Courts of Wimbledon. Of course, there are some wonderful tennis moments too and that kind of keeps your heart racing. It is a definitely 1-time see. It had been a while since I have seen such mushy movies - but it is a good change from the usual crappy stuff of Bollywood that I see.

Go and watch them !

Monday, May 02, 2005

School Friends Get-together

Last Saturday, we had a very interesting get-together of our school friends, some of whom I haven't met since passing out of high school. It would be fun to meet them, get to know what each one of them has been upto and of course, catch up on old times. So, here is a summary of what each one is upto, just in case you wanted to know:

(1) .Ayan Sarkar - Currently working at Siebel and just waiting for the Fall of this year - he is joining MIT Sloan this Fall and he does look excited !

(2). Prabuddha - Has painted his hair white (don't know why), looks very much the "professor-type", is currently doing his Post-Doc in Quantum Mechanics (that is as far as I could understand). Riturparna and Brishti have obviously kept him happy and contented.

(3). Rituparna - Her voice is still inaudible, yet she still is taking a class of around 300 students. I couldn't resist asking whether she uses the mike. But nevertheless, she is doing just great, has become an assistant professor in UC Davis and as mentioned in (2), is happily married to Prabuddha.

(4). Kohinoor - Hale and hearty and quiet as always, Kohinoor is working at Intel and coincidentally in the same building as Susmita. At least now, Susmita knows someone outside her group members in the big big world of Intel :).

(5). Jayabrata - Working currently at Altera, he is the one person whom I thought has not had any physical change in his appearance. He is a father now and oh yes, he is married to Sudeshna.

(6). Sudheshna - I think, she seems to have lost weight and the explanation was that she has to run around her baby (now, we know Jayabrata's secret :)). She is currently pursuing a Masters in Computer Engineering from SJSU.

(7). Chetan - One of the most eligibile bachelors in our group now, Chetan is working his ass off for Deloitte on a "Kulifornia" project. He seems to have become the "Bada Saab" of the group because he kept getting calls on his cell phone asking for help on the Project !!! He does seem to be going great guns.

Cheers,
Thyaga