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Friday, October 28, 2005

Who is this person ?

Identify the person in the portrait !

If you guessed what I guessed, then guess what :) - you are in for a surprise. Read on ...


A perfect performance

It was probably a near perfect performance by India in the 2nd ODI at Mohali. They bowled out the Lankans for 122, thanks to a fantastic performance by the bowlers, especially Irfan Pathan, who claimed 4 wickets. The Indian reply started off in style and Sachin Tendulkar, once again, played the lead. Boy! - his innings today was a notch better than his 1st 1-dayer innings. The way he treated Vaas and Murali clearly showed who was the Boss of the proceedings. By negating the 2 main forces of the Sri Lankan bowling attack, he made things a lot easy for India. In the end, he was not out for 70. I just hope he continues in the same vien of form - that will not only please me, but also the millions and millions of fans all over the world, who had been wanting to see him action for so long. Long live the KING ! ;-)

Murali is brought into the attack and BANG ! - the ball is sent over the ropes !


Tuesday, October 25, 2005

What a return it was !

Sachin Tendulkar returned to the Indian team after a 6-month hiatus in the 1st one-day international between India and Sri Lanka and boy! - what a return it was. It never looked like he was out of action for more than 6 months. For those of you who have still not heard then news, India scored 350 in their allotted 50 overs with Sachin scoring 93, Pathan (he was promoted in the batting order) scoring 83 and Dravid scoring a wonderful 85. In reply, Sri Lanka were bowled out for 198 with Bajji and Murali Karthik picking up 3 wickets each.

The talking point of the match was however Sachin's return to international cricket and the innings that followed. My boss sent me some links for some of the shots that were played. Here they are:

Tendulker's Innings


Pahtan's Innings


Indian Wkts




Enjoy !
-- Thyaga

Monday, October 24, 2005

The God returneth today !

In India, cricket is a religion and for millions and millions of Indian cricket fans, Sachin Tendulkar is its undisputed GOD! After being out of the game for more than 6 months, he returns today in the 1st one-day international against Sri-Lanka. The pressure of the whole nation will be on him added to the pressure of coming back to International cricket and facing the likes of Chaminda Vaas and Murali. But then, he is Tendlia and he is sure to come back to his best SOON!.

Good luck Sachin ! - "GO, GET IT !" ;-)

-- Thyaga

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Celebrating Durga Puja in the Bay Area

For a person hailing from Kolkata, the biggest disappointment of being far away from the homeland is to miss Durga Puja, the biggest festival for the people of Bengal. The pandals, the lights, the people, the festivities, the junk food etc all make this just a great time to be in Kolkata. Yes, the place will be crowded, the place will be polluted and yes, it will hot and sweaty too, especially if you wear heavy duty new clothing and jewellery. But that is what makes this time of the year so special - a festival which bonds all the people together, a festival where all of them get-together and celebrate life in a way.

However, for the millions staying in the Bay Area, we have to contend ourselves with the handful of Durga Pujas that happen here. The number of Pujas have risen steadily over the past few years. Previously, we used to have Pujas over the weekends but now, there are a couple of them that take place in synch with that in Kolkata - so, you have 4 days of complete festivity. We managed to visit a couple of them out here and yes, it was great fun. Of course, one cannot compare this with what happens in Kolkata but hey, beggars cannot be chosers ;-). This was as good as it got. Here are some snaps from Durga Puja celebrations in the Bay Area - relive our Pujas :).

-- Thyaga

Friday, October 14, 2005

Internet Connectivity through Electrical Wiring

A few days ago, I read an article in the newspaper about a new technology that would allow users to surf the net using the home electrical wiring. I had heard about this technology before but didn't pay too much attention to it. But now, it looks like it is gathering steam thanks to Intel's recent endorsment of the technology and the leadership role that it has taken in HomePlug, the body that sets standards for the technology.

So next time you come across a computer where you can surf the web but you don't see any Internet wires, don't be surprised ! - it probably would be using the plain old electrical connection of the house. You might wonder whether we are going in circles -> Wires -> Wireless -> Wires ! ;-). Something to think about, eh ?


Wednesday, October 12, 2005

1 + 1 > 1

You might think that the title of this Blog is not only queer, it is obvious. I accept both the points and I wish to add one more thing to that - this is what is happening in Business circles these days. If you are not sure what I mean, then please read on.

Yesterday, Microsoft and Real Networks, arch-rivals for ages, joined hands when Microsoft paid Real Networks $716 million and settle the last of its anti-trust law-suit issues. This collaboration now brings together the 2 old foes in the booming digital music market, something where Apple is miles ahead of the competition. This definitely is a boost for both the companies especially since both are ambitious to enter into the digital music space and challenge the might of Apple.

Today, Yahoo and Microsoft have come together to provide inter-operability within their IMs. Currently, the AOL IM has a large market share and Google is also entering into this space with the launch of its Google Talk. So, once again a ploy to come together to crush the competition.

One thing that is common in both the news is Microsoft - a giant that used to crush competition alone is now collaborating with other players to crush other competiton. Probably, it doesn't want to feel the wrath of the Justice Department again for monopolistic practices :). Whether this proves successful or not will only be known in the future. For now, the fun has begun and as I always say - the customers are the ones who are going to be benefit most out of this :).

Now, it should be clearer what I meant by 1 + 1 > 1 !

Cheers !


Tuesday, October 11, 2005

"Cross-roads" Series - Anand Surelia

The "Cross-roads" Series is a guest "blog" series. This will feature some of my friends talking about their various career decisions and why they took it.

Today, the guest "blogger" is Anand Surelia. Anand studied with me at IIT, KGP from 1993-1997. After that, he was my room-mate at Bangalore, where he worked at Tata-IBM and then for 3 years in the Bay Area, CA, where we both worked together at Vitalect. He then left to do his MBA from the University of Chicago. Presently, he is working at a mutual funds company and is busy crunching numbers! On the personal front, he finally got married recently (Congrats Anand - that was probably the biggest decision u took) . He is an avid soccer fan, very well-read and an extremely good "bathroom singer" :).

Career Decision 1 - Not doing a MS right after IIT

I never thought I was doing anything different from my
peers when I didn't go the school-MS-work routine. Not
that I didn't see many people in engineering undergrad
working towards that. But then one has to realize that
a graduating class in a large school can only have so
many of academically minded students who would really
want to go on to do an MS. Most especially our class,
which the professors never stopped berating about how
stupid we were compared to the other batches of
geniuses that had passed before us. And if one had the
fortune of having an ecelectic band of friends around,
one would never realize they are missing something by
not going on to do an MS straightaway.

Moreover I always felt lost at the engineering
school,always wondering if I made the right choice by
being there. I came from a family of small time
business people who appreciated but never quite fully
understood excatly what I was being taught and what I
would do with it to earn a living later. I was already
feeling out-of-depths with an engineering undergrad,
an MS right after school would have only taken me
further along an unsure path. Also, a bad score in
GRE, probably because I was just imitating others
instead of really wanting it, also took out from my
mind any remaining thoughts I was entertaining about
an MS.

So I chose the practical road of getting a job, partly
by default, partly by not knowing or caring enough
about an MS, and partly out of sheer confusion with
what I should do with my life.

Career Decision 2 - Doing a MBA after 4 years of work experience

Why I did an MBA after four years of work is actually
an easier question to answer. To beef up my resume so
that I'd have a shot at a wider role. Not necessarily
more money, or greater career leverage, or train as a
businessman, but to gain a different vantage point in
life. One way I looked at it was that Comp Sci taught
me how to solve problems and the MBA would expose me
to problems I might like to solve.

It was definitely all that and more, exposing me to
stuff that would have otherwise taken years to come by
me. However, it wasn't an easy ride. It was made
especially worse because my two years were right in
the middle of the tech recession and the 9/11
aftermath. There were no jobs, there were mounting
debts, and there was a sense of having been cheated
felt by many in our chohorts who felt entitled to a
six-figure job after graduating from a top B-school.
Wasn't that the deal the articles in Business Week
were selling?

But it was good in a learning sense - one got to
experience the effects of the globalized macro economy
in a very palpable way.


Monday, October 10, 2005

"Cross-roads" Series

Everyone has faced important career decisions during his/her life - whether it is at school or at college or at work, one has to keep on taking decisions. Some of these decisions are made out of instinct, some are based on rule of thumb and some are taken by just learning from and watching others. While we have no way to influence one's instinct and a rule of thumb is well, a rule a thumb, what we can definitely do is to look at how our friends and peers have handled different career situations and then learn from their success and mistakes and try to apply some of those decisions to our lifes in some way. It is not necessary that what they have done in the past is a sure indicator of our future success. It is also not necessary that what applied to them will also apply to us. But what is indeed true is that it does give you a broad idea of why they chose a particular career path - it gives us a glimpse into intelligent and rationale thinking in the mind of those individuals.

Since my time at IIT-Kharagpur, I have had the wonderful privilege of interacting with some of the best brains in the world - people whose intelligence was definitely above average. I definitely felt privileged to be in the company of such people, some of whom are my closest friends. Many of these friends have taken their career decisions - some surprising and some not so surprising, some controversial and some not so controversial. When I thought about all this, I couldn't but feel that these stories need to be told and should be told in their own words.

Hence, I present "Cross-roads" - a guest column series where some of my very good friends will write about the career cross-roads that they faced and what decisions they took and why they took it. I hope you will find this as interesting and exciting as I have found it in presenting it.

All the best for all your decisions when you come forth different career "Cross-roads".

-- Thyaga

Happy Durga Puja


Durga Puja at Livermore Temple, Livermore, CA

-- Thyaga

Sunday, October 09, 2005

ICC Super Series - 3rd ODI


Austraila white-washed the World XI squad by comprehensively winning the 3rd ODI, thereby establishing that they are still the best side in this world and that the Ashes loss might have just been an aberration. It is not the fact that they won that surprises me - it is the completely dominating manner in which they won that surprised me. The World XI comprised of some of the best match-winners that you can think of - Lara, Flintoff, Kallis, Sehwag, Flintoff, Sangakara, Murali - but still, a team of 11 talented cricketers could not defeat the might of Australia. That clearly proves that Australia is leagues ahead of the other teams.

The day started quite well for the World XI - they managed to grab some early and quick wickets and at one point, the Aussies were in a spot of bother at 140 odd with 5 wickets down. But what I saw after that must be one of the best exhibitions of 1-day batting. Hussey and Watson, both relative new-comers to the 1-day arena showed great composure in batting out the dangerous Murali and Vettori by not taking any risks. Once they had them out of their way, they slowly started to up the momentum - running hard between the wickets, hitting the odd boundaries and once they knew that the bowlers were losing heart, they slowly unleashed the big strokes. It was real exhilirating stuff from these 2 youngsters and thanks to their performance, the Aussies put a very respectable score of 293.

The World XI's start got off in the worst possible manner - Chris Gayle was bowled off the 2nd ball of Brett Lee - a rocket sent at around 150 km/hr. After that, it was total mayhem - as wickets just kept tumbling. In no time, the World XI was reduced to 27 / 4 and it was then left to Flintoff and Sehwag to put some respectability to the score. Just when we thought that probably there was going to be a fight by the World XI, Flintoff lost his wicket going for the big hoike and Sehwag was brilliantly run out by Watson. After that, the World XI folded up for 137 giving the Aussies a massive win.

Australia must feel pretty good after these wins - especially coming at a time when a lot of the Aussie cricketers must have felt the pressure at home after losing the Ashes. I think, they also have unearthed 2 special talents who are going to serve them for a long time - Mike Hussey, a perfect replacement for Michael Bevan and Shane Watson, a Flintoff in the making. The focus now shifts to the 6-day test match starting in Sydney from Friday. I am sure the Aussies must be waiting to get back to their winning ways in tests and the World XI must be itching to salvage some pride and to avoid any more embarrasments ! - I sure hope that they put up a fight and show what they are capable of.

-- Thyaga

Friday, October 07, 2005

ICC Super Series - 2nd ODI

After the 1st match of the Super Series, I thought that the second match was going to be more closely fought. I wasn't totally wrong but still Australia came out on top proving yet again what a strong team they are. Even without McGrath, Hayden, Gillespie and Kasporowich, they have proved how good their bench strength indeed is.

Australia won the toss for the second time in this series and straight away adopted to bat. Gilchrist and Katich came out determined to set up a big score. What an innings it was from Gilly - he treated all the bowlers with disdain and reserved special treatment for Freddie Flintoff, his nemesis in Ashes tour. He raced to the fastest hundred by an Australian in Australia. Eventually Australia made 329 in their allotted overs with useful contributions from all of their top-order batsmen.

To win against Australia chasing 329, the World XI had to fire and fire real well. Viru and Chris Gayle game them a wonderful start. But Viru fell to a snorter from Lee. After that Chris Gayle and Sangakara carried on the destruction work - at one point of time, it looked as if the World XI might indeed pull it off. But then Australia thrive in such circumstances - they slowly clawed their way back into the game by taking crucial wickets at crucial junctures. Eventually, the World XI folded up at 275.

So, the last match becomes a dead rubber - but I am sure the World XI will play out of their skins to salvage some pride - after all, the players in their team are all champions in their own right. They have to gel well as a team and that is what should be the focus for the next match - no one obviously doubts the obvious talent of the World XI team.

So, till then - Adios and have a good weekend.

-- Thyaga

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Seher - a well-made movie

Yesterday, we finished seeing Seher, Arshad Warsi's latest movie. Boy! - the movie surprised us all and it turned out to be really good. It is well-made, has a good narrative style, well edited and above all, there are very good performances by all members of the cast. I don't want to go through the review of the movie - you can catch it anywhere - but I do want to acknoledge the fact the actors such as Arshad Warsi are giving the role of a Hindi film hero a new dimension. Ever since his role of Munnabai's sidekick Circuit, his talent has been recognized and he has been getting good roles. I hope he gets such good roles and he does justice to those roles too.

Oh yes, it is definitely a 2 thumbs-up - go check out Seher, if you haven't do so yet !

-- Thyaga

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

ICC Super Series - 1st ODI

It has been a while since I have taken any live coverage of cricket matches and it seems a life time since I have seen any cricket match on TV !!! - so, what better occasion than the ICC Super Series where all the biggest cricketing stars of the world would take on the might of the Aussies. Although Australia lost the Ashes recently, I don't think there is too much of a doubt that they are indeed the world's best side currently. So, armed with that enthusiasm, we bought the live coverage package for the Super Series for $70.

The 1st ODI actually did not live up to its expectation. Australia had to fight hard to score 256 with Murali and Vettori the pick of the World XI bowlers. In reply, the World XI was bowled out for a paltry 160 odd runs with Shane Watson, the emerging all-rounder from Australia grabbing 3 crucial wickets and also running out the dangerous Pollock. The margin of defeat was huge and I am sure this must have shaken up the World XI team. It is one thing to have XI individual match-winners in your team - it is another to be a match-winning team. In short, Shaun Pollock has the not_so_envious job of regrouping the World's best talents and make them perform as a team. Australia meanwhile need to win like this to prove that the England series was just an aberration.
Shaun Pollock seems to be comforting Freddie Flintoff after the 1st ODI - Freddie was taken apart from the Aussies who brought him back to earth by relentlessly going after him.

The second match will hopefully be a thriller - watch out for my report.

Till then,

Monday, October 03, 2005

UNO Saturday !

Last weekend was not typical of how the previous weekends were spent. The pressure of the MBA homework and work was showing its true colors and so, we had to contend ourselves being indoors. However, one good thing that happened was that we had some friends over for dinner and as usual, a lavish dinner was cooked, thanks to my mother and my wife. Aptly enough, I named the dinner cuisine "North meets South". With the menu comprising of Masala Dosa, Vada, Chilli Paneer, Lemon rice etc- it was indeed a worthy name, eh ?

I introduced most of the people to the concept of Uno - the very famous card game. You can spend hours and you would not get bored at all. This is a very simple game and although it took a while for everyone to get heated up to the game, i think it finally caught on. We called it a night around mid-night. It was a wonderful evening indeed - though we didn't venture out of our homes, we nevertheless had a good time. Here are some snaps from that evening - enjoy them !