July 14, 2010


I have shared some of my favourite columnists, who write well, on my blog before. I have to say that I find Santosh Desai's column, City City Bang Bang in the Times of India, really good. Apart from agreeing with his views on most topics, I really enjoy his writing style. Its ages since I came across such good journalism, people who write on serious stuff and, with flair. His latest article on the Bandh that the opposition called for, is simply brilliant!

I am really envious of people who have great command over language, be it as an orator or a writer. I aspire to reach decent levels by posting regularly on this blog and improve my writing skills. Do keep encouraging me by leaving your comments:-)

July 13, 2010

And the Grand Finale!

To complete the story, the finals was anything to write home... both teams were quite listless in the first half and the Spanish team particularly only had possession of the ball. There was no beauty in their game. The only saving grace for the Spanish was their captain - goalkeper who simply excelled in his game. He undoubtedly deserves to be called one of the best keepers of the game, today. He was a delight to watch.

I maybe be biased in my comments but I liked the Dutch play the game, particularly Arjen Robben. He moved with the ball at lightening pace and it was a treat to watch him. While the Dutch had less possession of the ball, they did more than possess and pass the ball to their mates... I do think Robben had some amazing shots at the goal, however, they were off the post by few inches. Had the Dutch won, it would have been a fitting and perfect tribute to the Dutch stalwarts who shaped the game for their country these past 30 years. There were moments in the game when I thought the Dutch played the game so well, almost as if telling Spain, "Tirupathikke laddu va?" For those who didn't follow, it means that just as the laddu is so closely associated with the temple at Thirupathi, so is the beautiful, "total football (totaalvoetbal)", closely associated with the Dutch.

I happenned to watch the game with a group of diehard Dutch friends as part of the Netherlands Council group. It was a perfect ambience in farout Chennai, all of us dressed in their national colour, Orange, with the country flag painted on us and a few Vuvuzela horns thrown in, not to mention a lavish buffet spread with plenty of spirited options for the fans too!

We were all resigned to the fate of the game getting into penalty shootouts when Spain managed a goal in the final moments of the extra time. I couldn't believe it!

So, Spain won the Cup with ample help from the English referee and we all trooped out, mighty disappointed:-)

July 7, 2010

Happiness anyone??

There is an article in the Times of India edit by Sanjiv Kaura today, that has set off this post. While I agree partly with his viewpoints, I differ from him on who needs to pursue 'happiness'? Yes, I agree that having post graduate courses on Happiness does border on being weird; at the same time, I earnestly also think that youth today need to be guided with values and taught the importance of adopting a fine balance between 'being prosperous' and 'happy'.

'Happiness' and 'Prosperity' need not be looked at antagonistically and they actually need to complement each other, and its completely pointless having only one of them in our lives!! So, if my ten year old picks up the Bhagvad Gita, I wouldn't stop him/her. On the contrary, I would encourage them to read the Gita. As far as my understanding goes, the Gita is a simply brilliant treatise and it actually talks of the fine balance that each of us need to imbibe in our lives.

But I do understand Mr. Sanjiv Kaura's concern about children getting misled and confused with questions on happiness and end up like zombies and misfits in society. They also end up causing immense heartburn or headache to their parents, so much so that parents get put off by spirituality and happiness!!

But, if we were to actually read the Gita and understand it right, we wouldn't need to attend a Masters Course in Happiness:-). We would be leading very prosperous lives and enjoying every moment of it too!!

July 5, 2010

Perfect Indian

I chanced upon reading a humorous post on genetically modified humans by Anand Ramachandran. Its hilarious and written in good style. Ofcourse its sci-fi but our own apna stuff, not borrowed from West. I just realised that we have a dearth of sci fiction writers and if you notice, all good fiction that we read or watch as movies are from the West. Wonder why a Mani Ratnam or Karan Johar can't make a good science fiction movie? Surely, audiences will love them. If people can go and watch a theme that's as beaten and boring as Raavan, any averagely made science fiction will be a hit.

I loved "Lord of the Rings", "Star Wars" series, and stand alone flicks like "The Time Machine", "2001, a Space Odyssey", "Extra Terrestrial", "The Fly", "Contact", "Men in Black", "The Matrix" etc. This is not an exhaustive list, just a few that I remember. 

Here's to many more Anand Ramachandrans in India, maybe, we need to clone a humour /sci fi gene into Indians:-)

July 3, 2010

The Chevrolet Beat Review

Its now five months since driving the Beat and I am now ready to give a full fledged review. For any standard, professional auto review, check out sites like zigwheels, carwale, bsmotoring, gaadi.com etc. Here, I am going to share my experience of driving the car, as a layman. I've done ~3700 kms now and am fairly conversant with the car.

What I love about the Beat:
I own a cocktail green LS version. Initially, I had booked a LT version but didn't get the colour and settled for the LS version. Believe me, I am glad I did that, on hindsight! The VFM is in this model. I get to fit the jazziest music system I like and not settle for a factory fitted version which I believe is pits. Secondly, I was enamoured by the roof rails and rear spoiler and was disappointed to not have it. I am quite happy without these frills, although I may still go for the spoiler soon. The best part of the car are the door handles for the rear seats. They are very stylish and masked which gives the car a two door sporty look. And lastly, the LS version looks better with a black contrast in side view mirrors rather than a full body colour outfit that LT has.

The interiors are much nicer than any Maruti and Tata car we are are exposed to at this price. They have a rich feel as compared to the Marutis of the world. Also, the spaces for water, mobiles, perfume, shades, etc are all quite thoughtful and tastefully done. The seat upholstery is also a welcome change after driving the Zen for ten plus years. The boot is pretty decent, enough for a small family to make overnight trips. The fuel efficiency on expressways is a pleasant 19 km/l whilst its 13 km/l within the city. So, its moreorless what the company claims, so that's a first too, most car companies make tall claims that users find hard to emulate:-) The Beat scores on height as well, over the Zen, almost all cars today have this advantage.

What I don't like about the Beat:
I like its rear side but the frontal view borders on 'ugly'. I wonder why they have gone for such a rounded buxom look. Could have looked leaner. Also, there are some blind spots in the car and the driver is caught unawares, probably due to the closed, side view on the rear window. I guess, one gets used to using the side rear view mirrors more often, to overcome these blind spots.

I did like my Zen but the Beat is definitely very sporty and a tad more powerful.

July 2, 2010

Sidelights of World Cup

One of the upsides of having the World Cup is that there is never a dull moment on TV. Every channel has got into the act and has some interesting shows. For two days we didn't have any match but the TV channels have realised that Soccer fever can be capitalised. 'Happened to watch some bits of the show with people from different cities in India share their thoughts on how Soccer is a Religion - some diehard fans alright

Somebody very nicely quipped, and I quote, "Everybody is watching the game closely, people from every strata... I got into the car today and the driver tells me that Brazil is having some problem with midfielders". He went to his office and the office colleague said "Germany has an edge over Argentina". The joke doing the rounds is, children when asked, who won World War II are saying, "Germany 4 - 1":-). Right or wrong, these people will put any expert to shame in terms of the conviction with which they spoke.

There was another chap who brought the point of how Wimbledon is currently on and India won the Asia Cup a week ago but all these have been buried in the din of Vuvuzelas and Samba dance. Earlier, it was only Kerala and West Bengal that went crazy over the sport but clearly the times have changed and people from many more states are hooked to the game now. This is very good for India as we are broadening our interests and looking beyond cricket! Wonder if BCCI will ban the telecast, for survival!!

We also had a spot on how citizens of Ghana are resorting to some voodoo to get their team to the semifinals. And a very interesting story on an octopus that's playing oracle for Germany. Apparently, its picking out the winners accurately thus far... but what's hilarious is that the story goes on to add that Germany will prevail over Argentina on Saturday but it will be a close match that may well go to penalties as the octopus took more than 45 minutes to pick the winner!!! Meanwhile, North Korea has sent their national team to some farout mine and has asked them to start digging!! Wonder what punishment they give prsoners for rigorous imprisonment, in North Korea:-).

The last word was one chap clarifying that "The match between Germany and Argentina is not just a matter of Life & Death. Its more than that" :-)