Random Thoughts, Cricket, Movies, Music ...

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Housewarming snaps

We had our Housewarming last weekend - it was a lot of fun. In fact, I felt that there wasn't enough space for all to sit :) - but I hope no one minded it. Anyway, the snaps for the Hoursewarming party have been uploaded - take a look.

Cheers !

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

28th June, 2005 - Audiocast

this is an audio post - click to play

Rawalpindi Express in a different mood ...

I had got this link around a week ago - thought that I might as well Blog it. This is an interesting video of the Rawalpindi Express, Shoaib Akhtar singing and believe me, he does sound good :).

Enjoy !

Monday, June 27, 2005

Sarat Chandra Chatterjee's genius

Over the past few years, Bengal has suddenly become the darling of Bollywood. Film directors are more open to shoot in Kolkata than they were ever before - also many Bengali heroines (Rima/Riya/Raima/Nandana Sen, Konkona Sen etc) and many directors (Aparna Sen, Rituparna Chatterjee etc) are making their marks in Bollywood. Another trend that is going by unnoticed is that many Bengali novels are getting a new makeover by Bollywood directors and being given a modern look - the most striking of them are Devdas and the recently released Parineeta.

Believe it or not, both of these Blockbuster movies are based on novels written by the same author - Sarat Chandra Chatterjee. Of course, he is considered a genius in Bengal - that goes without saying - but the recent fame that his novels have got - both in domestic and international markets, would have made him feel proud too. Indeed, if he was alive today and if was even close to being a decent marketeer, then he would have been one of the most sought after writers in India today and probably one of the richest too.

-- Thyaga

Hollywood vs P2P

Peer-to-peer (P2P) technology developers are legally responsible for the illegal acts of their users, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled today. The unanimous landmark ruling is a major victory for movie studios and music publishers seeking to curb the widespread theft of copyrighted material on the file-swapping networks. This is quite a significant ruling because it now means that the P2P companies now have to be legally responsible for any sort of illegal file sharing that happens when users use their technology - this is obviously going to increase their costs and my gut feeling is that many of the technology companies are going to go down the drain. For more info on this news, go here

Interesting developmets are ahead for the P2P companies - keep a watch on them.

Farewell "Ekki"

One of India's legendary cricketers Eknath Solkar passed away over the weekend. If you look into his cricketing record, you will find it to be quite average (Ave = 25.42) - however, his real contribution was actually ON the field. He was one of the best close in fielders ever produced in cricket and as Bedi said "made us (the spin quartet) look more dangerous than what we actually were". Anyway, take a look at this now famous picture -

- a catch which really turned the match on its heels, a catch which put India firmly on the cricketing map. No wonder, he was one of my Dad's favourite cricketers.

Farewell "Ekki" - May his soul rest in peace.

Friday, June 24, 2005

Friday Night Wrap up !

this is an audio post - click to play

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Hazaaron Khwaishein Aisi - a very different film

Sudhir Mishra's Hazaaron Khwaishein Aisi (HKA) must surely rank as one of the better Hindi movies that I have seen. It deals with the political struggles of youth during the pre and post Emergency days in India and in between these struggles is weaved a wonderful love story of 1 woman (Geeta) and 2 men with totally different idealogies. If 1 (Vikram) represents the capitalist face of society, the other (Siddhartha) represents the socialist (or Naxalite). Kay Kay Menon plays Siddharth, Shiney Ahuja plays Vikram and Chitrangada Singh plays Geeta. I don't want to go into the details of the movie because that is not my intention. If you really want to read a good review of it, here is a good place.

I personally believe that this could have been made into an even better movie - at least this had the potential. It starts off really well - for the first 45 minutes or so, you are so focused on the movie that it is difficult to get up from the sofa. But after that the pace slackens and that is where I feel that director could have held the script together better. As one of my friends pointed out, it seems to be a problem with most of Sudhir Mishra's movies such as "Is Raat Ki Subah Nahin" and "Calcutta Mail". Having said that, I would still highly recommend you to watch HKA primarily because it is a movie which has a very different story line and also because we don't have many films which are based on stories written about one of the darkest periods of Indian political history.

Monday, June 20, 2005

Summer Quarter classes have begun

The Summer Quarter classes have started from today and from the looks of it, things are not going to be easy for the next 1 and half months. This Quarter is actually a short one, but the bad part of it is that the classes are each 2 hours long. Since we take 2 classes a quarter and each class meets twice every week, that means we have to end up spending 8 hours per week on classes alone. Add to that is the pressure of assignments and problems to be solved. Oh boy! - I am just praying that we manage to get this Quarter without much of a problem. Hopefully, we will - the courses that we have taken are quite varied - Legal, Social and Political influences on Business and Macro Economics.

Beginning of the end for Australia ?

Oh boy ! - what a weekend this has been for Australia. On Saturday, they lost their match against Bangladesh and on Sunday, they lost a match which they should have won against England. Ever since they landed in England, they have been struggling to find the form that has made them such a formidable side. Losing to Bangladesh must be something that the Aussies might have never dreamt - in fact, it has been labelled as the greatest cricket upset ever.

Does this mean that we are entering a new era in World Cricket ? - an era, which is marking the beginning the end of the Australian domination. Much as I would like that to happen (so that other teams have a chance to compete), I don't think that that would be the case.
  • Firstly, the Australians have been out of cricket for more than 2 months. Both Bangladesh and England have been cricket in the meantime. It doesn't matter how good and professional you are, it does take a while to get warmed up. But yes, the Australians being the most professional of all teams, normally do not take such a long time to get charged up.

  • Secondly, there were some key players missing - Andrew Symonds on disciplinary grounds and Bret Lee on fitness grounds. Both these players have contributed to the success of this Australian side immenself in recent years and so, Australia must desperately be wanting their stars to be back.

  • In the last match against England, I thought that they played well enough. Though it was not a great performance, but nevertheless, it was a vastly improved performance. The only reason that they lost was that they were hit by 1 man - Keven Peterson. It was an absolutely stunning innings. No matter how good you are, you have to salute such an innings.
So, my point here is that it is too early to say that Australia's stranglehold will decline. It remains to be seen how well they fare in the rest of their matches. It is going to be an interesting series indeed.

-- Thyaga

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Audio Blogs - a pretty neat concept

As you might have noticed, there have been quite a few Audio Blogs that have been posted here. Yes, I am trying it out and needless to say, I am just enamoured by the technology. I can think of so many different applications for this:
  1. Personal Radio Station - you can record your messages, songs, music up on the Blog and have other people listen to them. The fact that they get converted into pretty high quality mp3 files just helps :). Listen to my Audio Blog and you will know what I mean.

  2. Group Blog for Families and Friends - you can set up a Blog only for your family and friends and then Audio Blog to send messages. This is especially useful if you are sending messages to your loved ones across the Globe. The only requirement of this is that you need to have Internet access.

  3. Sometimes it is easier to talk about something than write about it - for example, if you feel passionate about something, then it is easily reflected in your voice than in your writing - at least, that is what happens with me.

I am sure there are more advantages to Audio Blogging than what I have mentioned. This technology is still nascent. I already see so many areas where there can be improvment:

  • No easy way to suggest the title of the Blog while recording the Audio Blog - you have to login into your Blogger account and then edit the blank title of your Audio Blog.

  • Since your Blog is now in mp3 format, you lose the ability of being able to search through your Blogs. I don't think there is yet any good search engine present that can search through Audio mp3 files. Google, are you listening ?

  • Currently, I can Audio Blog for a maximum of 5 minutes, after which I need to hang up and then post another Blog - with disk space becoming cheaper with each passing day, I am sure this problem will also go away.

I am sure this technology is here to stay - if you haven't tried it out, then try it out for FREE.

Happy Audio Blogging !


Friday, June 17, 2005

Susmita's Audio Blog

this is an audio post - click to play

Audio Blogging while driving back home

this is an audio post - click to play

Signed up for the Jungle Half Marathon

With a bit of encouragement and inspiration and tons of COURAGE, I have signed up for the Jungle Half Marathon on the 10th of July. It has been a while since I ran a long run and so, it should be a good challenge for me. It will also help me to get into some sort of physical fitness. Nowadays, I don't get too much of time to run - though, that is not a very good excuse but that is the only one I have ;-).

I have started to practise my long runs on Fridays - today I did a 11 miler and my legs ache ! :(. So, getting into good shape and then running the Half Marathon in decent time on the 10th of July is indeed a challenge. Hopefully, I shall be upto it.

Keep running !

My First Audio Blog

this is an audio post - click to play

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Is Kashmir Safe ?

I was chatting with a school friend of mine today and I got to know of something quite interesting. His parents had gone on a 2-week holiday to Kashmir - for a while, I couldn't believe my ears. For as long as I can think of, I always knew that Kashmir is a place that everyone would love to visit but never dare to visit, because of the tremendous amount of terrorist fightings that keep going on there. This was further highlighted in a 1990 classic movie Roja, where they show an abduction of a software engineer by a Kashmiri rebel outfit and the aftermath of that.

According to my friend, Srinagar (the capital) is actually as safe as any other city. The neighbouring areas are probably the ones of concern, but right now, the situation is really calm. So, that should give us enough confidence to go there. In fact, what he told me sounded really romantic - his parents were staying in a house boat on Dal Lake - BOY ! - I have heard about all this from my Dad (who was lucky enough to visit Srinagar) and today, someone is actually doing it !

So, if any of you out there ever wanted to visit Kashmir, then this is the time - pack your bags and go !

Airlines industry booming in India

The airlines industry in India is taking off - big time ! Today, the Indian skies are filled with lots of private carriers, thanks to the Govt's decision of opening up the skies and also to the boom in Indian economy in the last couple of years that has resulted in more domestic travel (business and leisure). Some of the airlines that operate in India today are Indian Airlines (Govt), Jet Airways, Sahara, Kingfisher (owned by Vijay Mallaya), Spice, Deccan Airways and Indigo. The last mentioned airline is backed by a company founded by Rakesh Gangwal, who was the CEO of US Airways. The competition has become so hot that Airbus has received more than 6 billion $ worth of orders from Indian airlines company. It remains to be seen how much this will benefit the customer - my take on this is that the prices will drop further and many more people will start to travel by air - a kind of mini revolution, you could say.

Of course, India still has a long way to get more professional in their business approach. I read a recent report in which they mentioned how Spice Airlines had intentionally damged an aeroplane owned by Kingfisher airlines. I don't know how much truth is there to that statement - but it definitely leaves a bitter taste in the mouth. Competition is good as long as it is healthy !

Keep flying !

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Couple of weekend trips

We did a bit of travel over the last couple of weekends. Firstly, during the Memorial Day weekend, we did a small backpacking trip to Santa Barbara and the adjoining town of Solvang. The weather was lovely and so were the beaches. The trip was just wonderful. Check out the snaps and relive the experience.

Over the past few days, my Brother-in-law is visiting us. So, we had taken him along to another nearby beach called Stenson Beach - boy! - I couldn't believe the weather on that day - it was fascinating. It was nice and hot and with a cool breeze blowing - perfect day to head to a California beach. We then went to San Fransisco, ate at Shalimar in Fremont and then returned home. It had been a long time since we also had been to SFO and so, the trip was really enjoyable. There were some great moments along the way that we captured.

-- Thyaga

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Spring Quarter Exams

Whoa ! - the Spring Quarter end-term exams are over and boy! - we do feel quite relieved. This quarter has been extremely hectic - along with our studies, there were other important things to think about too - the closing of the house, the house setup, increasing work pressure etc. Somehow we have managed to pull through this Quarter and so, it feels good. Add to that my brother-in-law is arriving this weekend and so, that should be really relaxing and enjoyable. The weather promises to be a treat - it is sunny and warm with glorious blue skies - time to just CHILL !!!

More later
-- Thyaga

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Blockbuster's catchup game

Having lost the DVD rentals market to Netflix, Blockbuster had no other choice than to start their DVD rentals online, similar to what Netflix has. So, here it is - the same stuff (probably, a little cheaper to start with). If you go with what they teach in B-schools, then competition is good because prices will invariably go down. Guess, who will be the winner - we, who else ? ;-)

Let us just wait and watch.

-- Thyaga

Monday, June 06, 2005

Prem Panicker's new Cricket Blog

Prem Panicker, the cricket journalist for Rediff, has started a Blog, called Fourth Umpire. Something to look forward to ? - well, let us see ...

Apple - Intel Tie Up

Finally, the news has been confirmed. For months now, there has been talk that Apple was planning to swtich to Intel chips from IBM chips for its Mac PCs and laptops. Today, it was made official by Steve Jobs at the Apple Developer Conference in SFO.

This move is quite interesting for a variety of reasons:
  1. Currently, Intel is struggling to keep up with the growth of its main rival AMD - so, this deal will really propel Intel higher up in the market share.

  2. This signifies Apple's relentless move to make desktops affordable for the common man - it is a long shot but you have to start somewhere. The first set of MACs that are supposed to be switching over to the Intel chips are the MAC Minis.

  3. This is actually bad news for the hardware division of IBM - Apple was one of the largest customers for the IBM power-pc chips. It could mean that this division might be sold off - just like the PC division was sold off to Lenovo.

Interesting times ahead ...

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Deep Throat - there you are !

Yesterday, America discovered its long kept secret - the identity of "Deep Throat", the person who secret leaked President Nixon's coverup of the Watergate scandal to the Washington Post - it was W. Mark Felt who was the second in command at the FBI at that time. I wonder why he had kept quiet for all these years and now, at such an old age, is coming out with it. Anyway, as a result of this identity, the interest in the Watergate scandal has suddenly surged up.

If there was a good time to go and watch an old classic, it is now and the movie is "All the President's Men" which is based on the book of Bob Woodward and Carl Bernsteinm the 2 Washington Post reporters who were at the received all the information leaked out by "Deep Throat".