December 23, 2011

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Age Against the Machine



One year ago, when I turned 24, I wrote this.

A year later, and I find myself ageing rapidly. Symptoms include a nascent beer belly, a passionate loathing of SUVs, Twitter, and Shah Rukh Kaun movies, general sluggishness and high levels of irritability. The fact that kids these days have smartphones is irritating; stupidly laid road humps are pissing off; watching people use an SLR camera inside a mall curdles the blood; seeing a techie ride solo in his Tata-Aria(-out-of-your-fuckin'-mind?) during peak hour is pissing off; listening to people discuss whats trending on Twitter is not particularly useful, and blowing cash on some 3D movie with no story does not seem as enjoyable as it once was.

So you try to take your mind off your age. But this isn't very easy, when everyone your age is expecting their second child. Or when your Facebook friends seem to be able to update every phase of their relationship status from just met her --> pheromones released --> Kundali matching --> parents permission pending --> consummated in front of approving in-laws. Or when people you work with start sending you soft-copies of their wedding invitations by e-mail. Or when strangers from church politely remind you that your biological clock is ticking. Or when some bugger you barely know invites you to view details of his wedding ceremony(including route to the choultry on Googlemaps) on some makeshift website called myextravagantwedding.com/Shatrughan+Shilpashree or hollowweddingconcepts.com/TwinklewedsBobby that has been set up for this purpose. Also available on this website are insanely high-resolution pics of Shilpashree's Mehendi ceremony, candid shots of Shatrughan, pictures of the (highly educated)couple doing random things with coconuts, bananas and ghee, and sentimental pics of Twinkle being given away. Pictures courtesy SLR-Cameras-Were-Made-For-This Photography.

To take your mind off said social contract, you turn to music to make you feel young again. But music is unlikely to ease your pain since every talentless jebroni seems to be making music these days. And really, how hard can it be? What you will need is the tune from a VSNL dial-up connection, a throbbing techno beat, a DJ who knows all the keyboard shortcuts in Winamp, a voice that belongs in an Indian Railways platform announcement, the lyrical depth of Baa,Baa,Black Sheep and some mixing software to cleverly loop all of this shit, while the music video features hot girls wearing sunglasses at night, driving fast cars and making obscure references to parties, weekends and murderous rage. 

Whats worse, everyone your age has suddenly taken a shine to this sort of software-generated, auto-tuned, electronic garbage and seem to be ready to blow money at any place that has a like-minded DJ. Which reminds me--- if you are more than 14 years old, and still think that DJ-ing is cool, you can now demand a full refund on your primary education. Because adjusting the speed of a song, adding a couple of beats every so often, and then increasing the volume till your target audience is foaming at the mouth, does not require oodles of talent. Which is why, I do not understand why anybody on God's green earth should have to pay a cover charge to listen to you live out your adolescent fantasy at some yuppie bar where ladies meet to compare purses and sip on overpriced local beer. My personal suggestion: update your profile on Naukri.com, since you are dangerously close to being replaced by a Winamp playlist in shuffle mode, with repeat enabled.

DJ bashing done, you realise that modern mainstream music makes you feel old. You look to television for consolation, but the actresses on TV tell you that age spots and fine lines will ruin your marriage, and so they suggest some miracle cream that can hide the signs of ageing. You slowly begin to realise that you are becoming part of an older generation that has no clue what =)) or B-) or X-( means, and who have no practical use for the terms XOXO, ROLFAMO and other senseless internet acronyms. And since your cellphone has a real keypad, children laugh at you and call you uncle.  

Fuckers---Uncle, it seems!

So, to avoid feeling like and being called an uncle from now on, this is what I'm gonna do. I will start growing a goatee tomorrow and wear sandals and socks to office once a week. SuMtymS, i LL tyP lyK dis 4 nO apParnT rEasOn. I will watch Mr. Bean cartoons and Takeshi's castle on POGO. I will make my peace with all DJs. I will sit through atleast one Shah Rukh Kaun movie this year. I will eat Masala Puri when I have viral fever and drink cold beer when I have a throat infection. I will visit hollowweddingconcepts.com and "Like" all the photos of Shatrughan. I will get my Hero Ranger restored to its former glory and I will stop thinking about how cheap petrol used to be.

And if none of that works, screw it, I'm gonna need some of that Garnier Age-lift Triactive.

August 27, 2011

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Rotten Tomatoes



A small but heartfelt tribute to the organisers, probable attendees and self-proclaimed intellectuals in favour of the La Tomatina festival in Bangalore.

     

August 7, 2011

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Y.M.B.A.?



Over the past few years, I have come to realise that India is a wonderful country. Incredible natural beauty, an incredible range of weather and climate, complex eco-systems, varied topography, cultural and linguistic diversity, along with abounding religious and social practices, together ensure that India is a very complex country--a country where generalizations simply do not work. And then, there are the people. Intelligent, yet insecure, constantly seeking validation, constantly looking for something to do, looking to make a quick buck, looking for loopholes in any system, looking at horoscopes, looking at BharatMatrimony.com, looking for that fancy management degree, looking hurriedly at our watches, constantly looking over our shoulders, and, if time permits, looking at Facebook profiles of complete strangers.

And in that great Indian tradition of constantly looking for something to do, formal education has become our national pastime.

Too young to figure out what you want to do? 12 years of schooling ought to fix you.
Good at Maths and Science? Do your Engineering.
Unhappy with your job? Pursue a Masters degree.
Does having a fancy certificate comfort you? Do you like to delegate work? Why not an M.B.A.?

I'll tell you why not.

All of us Indians have, at some point, learnt to manage. We call ourselves software giants, but we manage with pirated Windows XP and AVG anti-virus trial edition. We manage with 2G when the rest of the world is getting ready for 4G. We manage with pirated DVDs from National Market and sub-standard Coca-Cola from the supermarket. On race days we go gaga over Formula1; on other days we manage with 125cc bikes with alloy wheels and three-digit fuel economy. Every so often, we even manage to host second-rung sporting events. Our Chemical Engineers have managed to get software jobs, our Electrical Engineers manage to find employment in the IT industry and our Telecommunication engineers manage with China mobiles.

Another element of management that Indians seem to have mastered is the practice of people with money delegating work to people with expertise. Our households are testament to this fact. If a household fuse is blown, I will get an electrician to fix it. The bathroom is dirty, so I will pay the maid to clean it. If the cabinets are falling apart, a carpenter is just a phone call away. If my computer restarts repeatedly for no obvious reason, the guy from Computer Warehouse will fix it for a nominal fee. If my bike hasn't been washed since last year's monsoons, the guy at the service station will do it for a few bucks. If I cannot handle the rush hour traffic, I will find someone to drive me to my office, where, a similar but more straightforward hierarchy awaits.

A hierarchy that demands that you do as you are told until you are in a position to tell someone else what to do. A thorough knowledge of this hierarchy is the essence of being a manager in India, and it is fairly obvious that such a concept, though beyond the scope of any management degree, is deeply embedded in our education system and our society. And it is this constant and widespread exposure to hierarchy, in India, that ensures we produce managers as effortlessly as the Russians produce vodka, the Germans manufacture fast cars, South Americans play football, the French make wine and the Chinese win Olympic gold.

What good, then, is an M.B.A. degree to an Indian? Maybe as much as a lifejacket to Michael Phelps, jewelry to the Queen, the Guitar Hero series to Mark Knopfler, an IQ test to Stephen Hawking, a copy of FIFA '98 to Pele or perhaps as much as a poster of the Sistine Chapel to Michelangelo.

April 22, 2011

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Three weeks late



This post is three weeks late. Three weeks late because, until now, I honestly did not know what to say. Three weeks too late, I had thought to myself, until just some time ago--since so much had happened since that day. An old gentleman had decided to stop eating until a country's demands had been met. His demands were then tentatively appeased. IPL4 had started off, with most of the teams in shuffle mode. As a result, most of the events of that day had perhaps been forgotten. Public memory is short, they told me. Therefore, I had my reservations about writing this post, and its relevance, if any, at this point of time. Anyway, here goes nothing.

I have, as stated before on this blog, the short-term memory of a 2-year-old. To compensate for that, I have been blessed with the long-term memory of a herd of elephants. Therefore, I may not be in a position to tell you whether I had coffee or tea with breakfast this morning, but I can describe to you, in unnecessary and extraordinary detail, what the beer tasted like when we beat Australia. I may not remember what I had for breakfast today, but I can tell you what I had for dinner when India beat Pakistan. I cannot remember what day of the week today is, but I can tell you what happened on April 2nd, 2011. The description, I admit, would be a bit hazy on account of our diluted beer, concentrated adrenaline and the general commotion around us, but I am sure you will forgive me for that.

Because on that day, a bunch of determined guys, whose average age is probably less than mine and whose average educational record is, uhm, pretty average, showed a nation of armchair intellectuals, scholars, cricket historians, diplomats, bureaucrats, students and ministers how it was meant to be done. These guys had managed to bring normally-sparring-politicians and other heads of state together. Not that that was their primary intention, but still. And its especially sweet  because it has given us a moment(or in my case, 3 weeks) to look away from our collective problems and focus on our collective successes. We may have scoundrels in power and power-cuts in summer, our best musicians may not be able to come up with a half-decent, five line theme song for the World Cup, the ministers we appoint eventually disappoint us, but, by God, if there is something we Indians are good at, its playing cricket and exporting Miss Universe winners to Bollywood.

Sweet also because, as I have been saying for quite a while on this blog, we are desperately in need of something that can bring us together. Language can't. Religion won't. And therefore, what those two failed to achieve collectively, fell at the feet of 15 men from 8 different states--from dopey-looking lethargic Delhi cricketers to uncontrollable specimens from the South, led ably by an unassuming man from Jharkhand. And if you don't believe that this victory brought people together, you clearly were not on M.G. Road that night. You did not hug strangers and hand out high fives to passers-by. You did not burst crackers after India beat Pakistan. You did not break into bouts of spontaneous but awkward dance. You did not sing We are the Champions at the top of your voice but slightly off-pitch.

Flashback to 1996---the first World Cup I was old enough to remember. Around the time when everyone's favourite band was the Backstreet Boys and before Football had made its foray into our living rooms. I remember the highs of the quarter-final against Pakistan and the unbelievable low of the semi-final against Sri Lanka. I also remember crying(inexplicably) when India had lost to Sri Lanka in a league match earlier in the tournament. Fast forward to 1999. India vs. Zimbabwe. Venkatesh Prasad lbw b Henry Olonga. Tears again. Fortunately for me, thereafter, I was able to take Indian losses in my stride and refused to shed tears for dismal Indian performances. For many years after that, we continued to watch--with disbelief at what Laxman and Dravid did in Kolkata, what Kumble did in Delhi and what Tendulkar did in Sharjah, not to mention the Natwest Series final and the T20 championship; occasionally furniture around the house would receive irreparable damage after frustrating losses--most notably after one Douglas Marillier decided to screw us with the Marillier Shot. Sometimes, we would watch in amusement, as Monkeygate unfolded, as Venkatesh Prasad batted and as Ganguly let fly from the Lord's balcony.

Talk about a roller-coaster.

Which is what makes this victory most special. Because when Dhoni hit that winning six, he didn't win the World Cup for Team India alone. It was won also for those that had tried previously and failed(sometimes miserably). For Vinod Kambli's tears. For Srinath's rotator cuff. For Dravid's persistence and Ganguly's groundwork. For Nayan Mongia's incessant appealing. For Kumble's broken jaw. But most importantly, for a few billion Indians and for a few techies who were looking for an excuse to drink.

March 25, 2011

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When in Rome



Just another day at the office. Had a short discussion with a superior during which I was asked to take up a new task. Some information was given and some assurances exchanged. I was then asked to promptly prepare myself for the task at hand. So I spent the better half of the day trying to gather information about a topic that was so far quite alien to me. At some point during this massive exercise, it became imperative that I found out the full-form of an abbreviation that I had come across--GPTA. Nothing new or sensational here, since it is quite common for an engineer these days to come across something totally new, look it up in Google and spend the better part of the decade pretending like he already knew.

For the reader: the full-form of the GPTA that I was looking for is purely incidental. What amused me, however, were the results Google had to offer.

1. Georgia Professional Tennis Association
2. Greater Portland Telugu Association

Greater Portland Telugu Association. Their website, here.  And that, I felt, was worth a post.

Now, I'm fully aware that we, in India have our fair share of uniquely Indian terms. NRI, foreign-return, fast bowler, export quality, games village and others that I cannot currently recall. But the Greater Portland Telugu Association, somehow, sticks out like a Munaf Patel fielding display. Perhaps its because I am constantly in a work-environment where it is the dying wish of everyone I know to either settle abroad or to be sent onsite for just as long as it takes to be able to make enough money to pay off one's dues, pay off an uncle's gambling losses, buy a sauna-belt for all immediate family, buy enough Hershey's to appease the neighbours, gather sufficient interest from the girls in one's community(by way of the foreign-currency-salary-slip), print expensive wedding invitations, book a reasonably-priced choultry that is within walking distance from your childhood home, buy kanjeevaram sarees for all the women in your family-tree, pay a middle-aged topless man to conduct a wedding ceremony that, while in keeping with the highest of family traditions, also guarantees your spouse a ticket to foreign, before finally heading back with her to the Promised Land, in the hope of raising little angels that would continue this wonderful tradition, all of this, while trying to save enough for a honeymoon that your parents couldn't afford. Oh, and on Independence Day, uploading videos that evoke national sentiment on networking sites, with the comment Mera Bhaarat Mahaan

Nothing wrong with that. Because we, as a country are multiplying at a rate that would put Shakuntala Devi to shame. And since we do not know what to do with our population, we offload some of them to other, unsuspecting countries at the speed of light. That's still alright, but why this inexplicable urge to feel at home while abroad? Do the Norwegians form associations in Nellamangala? Do the Vietnamese form associations in Vijaywada?  

I do understand that it is only natural to miss the food, the language, the negotiable vegetable prices, the inconsistent traffic rules and the flexible bus timings, but surely, chitranna, basundi, mother tongues, native places and random festivals can take a backseat every so often? There are certainly things worth knowing and appreciating about other places and people, and surely, that should be the reason we travel? As opposed to the "give-me-your-dollars-but-keep-your-ungodly-lifestyle-the-fuck-away-from-me" or the "try-our-lassi-but-keep-your-Heineken-to-yourself" approach--the proponents of which, are known to prepare for foreign assignments by packing their suitcases with Priya Pickles and MTR Sambhar powder, home-made chutnies and alu bhujia from Haldiram's. The kind that would also not shy away from asking whether foreign Snickers is 100% vegetarian, whether a Black Forest pastry contains egg, or whether there is alcohol in the Rum 'n' Raisin ice-cream. However, ironically enough, members of this group would also have no hesitation in eating a plate of idly-vada with a fork and knife, since they were told during an intercultural training, that that was the most professional, corporate-y and aesthetically pleasing way to do so and that it might, some day lead to an unmerited promotion or an unwarranted salary hike.        


No doubt then, that the members of the Greater Portland Telugu Association are keen on spreading aforesaid traditions, culture and stereotypes. I wish them all the best. I also wish that they would eat a Whopper or two at Burger King, down a couple of Budweisers, smoke a couple of Marlboros and watch The Simpsons every so often. And maybe the entire Greater Portland area would be the better for it. So long as the Greater Portland Telugu Association do not someday fight for a 51st state, that is.



March 15, 2011

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Times like these



I do not generally write off-hand posts. It normally takes me a few days, sometimes a few weeks to figure out what exactly I am trying to say. I also try and stay away from current affairs. I try my best to also refrain from commenting on natural disasters and other calamities--a technique that is politely referred to as "milking a post". But, after watching what happened in Japan last Friday, and the ensuing tsunami and predicted nuclear crisis, intertwined with the clutter on social networking sites, e-mails requesting a donation and hoaxes about nuclear rain, among others, I felt that something had to be said.

First of all, my condolences to everyone who has been affected by this series of tragedies. I have no personal experience of any calamity, so I will not attempt to offer any advice to you.

However, it has come to my attention that you are not the only victims. Clearly, a massive bunch of well-meaning souls with a lot of free time, who happened to watch Youtube footage of the natural disaster and promptly upload it to Facebook have been affected as badly, if not worse. Yes, the same ones that have "Pray for the people of Japan" as their status message. "Light a candle for Japan's tsunami victims". The same group have taken it upon themselves to raise awareness, panic and money, aided admirably by Messrs. Twitter and Outlook, in spreading unverified information. More despicable however, is news that a few invertebrates are trying to make a quick buck or add to the chaos by contaminating search results with malicious links and setting up fraudulent websites that seek donations. It is a damned pity that millions of years of evolution have produced such specimens.

In times like these, however, where information can be spread as easily as butter on warm toast, where technology has made it all too easy to pass on information without feeling the need to verify it first, I think that people--especially office folk and others with easy access to a PC, need to read the following 5-point strategy if they really want to help:

1. Take a deep breath.
2. Remember that you are not the only one who is feeling bad about the events in Japan
3. We know that the work you do in office may not actually change the world and therefore, you have an earnest desire to change the world with your mail forwards. However, it would be great if you could verify them every so often.
4. Point number 3 holds good for your status updates and tweets as well.
5. Stay calm. If you must watch or share a Youtube video, let it be this.




March 1, 2011

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Integrated Circuits and Internal Combustion



1996 was a great year. Summer holidays lasted from March till June. The Cricket World Cup was happening, and it was the first World Cup that I was old enough to remember. I remember sneaking off to a neighbour's house to watch an India v Sri Lanka league match, and crying after India lost miserably. I also remember hearing about Jadeja's cameo in the India-Pakistan quarterfinal and the ensuing "Have a nice day" between Aamir Sohail and Venkatesh Prasad. Great memories. It was also the year that we bought our first car. A trusty Maruti Omni that, while being the definition of versatility was also, (luckily for us) extremely low maintenance. Rumour had it that Omnis could and were actually used to provide PG accommodation, as moving restaurants that specialized in 20-rupees-biriyani, as school vans, to transport old aunties home after church, to transport drinks on to the field during cricket matches, to swallow large suitcases that came along with well-meaning relatives from the US and sometimes, very rarely, for driving pleasure.

It was also the first car I learnt to drive, and let me tell you, the Omni was a learner's dream. With no bonnet and with the turning radius of a collapsed compass, it could be driven into gaps meant for household plumbing. Sometimes, I would get carried away with this logic and two massive dents on the left side of the vehicle, one courtesy a stationary auto-rickshaw and the second, the handiwork of a speeding lorry are testament to my occasional complacence. The Omni initially came in 2 variants: 5-seater and 8-seater, although the manufacturers probably overlooked the fact that Malayalis can work wonders with confined spaces; 2 bean bags and a rug at the back could instantly equip the Omni with the seating capacity of a medium-sized multiplex.

So, a couple of months ago, when my parents decided it was time to buy a new car, I took it upon myself to identify a worthy successor, what with all the free time I had at office. What followed was a couple of months of extensive research, market analysis, test drives and brochures. We concluded pretty early on that we were looking for a petrol hatch, since our estimated usage did not warrant a diesel car, and since owning any vehicle larger than a hatch, in Bangalore, would require us to pay property tax and get a Khata Certificate from the BBMP.

The first priceless moment of this exercise was watching the sales guy squirm in his seat as I proclaimed that it would take me some time to get used to the bonnet and power steering on the Chevy Beat, as I took it for a test drive. Not too impressive, it was. Next up, it was time to test-drive the Swift; no need for showrooms, brochures and sales reps here---every middle-class family I know has one. So, the Swift was taken out rather tentatively for a test-drive, since it belonged to my <insert near/distant relative> and suffice it to say that graduating from the Omni to the Swift is sort of like graduating from Russell Peters to George Carlin. The most powerful petrol in this class will have you pinned to your seat in second gear, provides a smooth gearshift, is quite spacious and for the कितना-देती-है? types, offers excellent fuel economy. Trouble is, I was told, that the Swift VXi with ABS comes with a waiting period of about 3 months, within which time a new Swift was to be expected on the market. That, plus Maruti produces more Swifts than Don Bosco Institute of Technology does incompetent engineers. Next came the Fiat Punto. This was really the looker of the group, and although the white Punto bears an eerie resemblance to a ZooZoo, the Punto wins hands down when it comes to the styling and exteriors. The interiors aren't too bad either and you immediately realise that the Punto, like most Fiat cars, is built like a tank. In fact, it wouldn't be a total loss to buy the Punto just for its looks; on the flipside that could sometimes feel like you had married Kareena Kapoor just because she was wearing make-up. Also, since the 1.2 Petrol has the power to weight ratio of a tranquilized Sumo Wrestler and the 1.4 Petrol was out of our budget, we decided against it.

Since Ranbir Kapoor and the button-start together gay-ed up the Nissan Micra, and since the design was not very appealing, we decided against the Micra without bothering to take a test drive. This in keeping with my policy of not buying any product that an incompetent Bollywood actor endorses. Therefore, it will also come as no surprise to you that Hyundai was not too high on our list either, since history has repeatedly shown that Shahrukh Khan will endorse anything from sanitary napkins to lead-based paints, just so long as the price is right. Pretty ironic how Hyundai has to pay a professional actor to tell us that their car is worth buying. Anyway, no i10 or i20 for me; iWOULDRATHERBUYADECENTCAR. With Hyundai and Nissan out of the way, it was time to think local once again.

I soon realized that the Indica Vista is in fact the most powerful hatchback in this segment, with 90 horses on the appropriately named Vista90. Not quite sure how this was overlooked; perhaps because owning a Tata hatch is about as noteworthy as working for TCS. Also, an Indica would probably not guarantee bragging rights among the neighbours. Which brings us next to that rare breed of vehicle manufacturer--Tata's autistic cousin--Mahindra. In an era where every other vehicle manufacturer is trying to shift their focus to the hatchback/sedan segment that caters to a massive middle-class, Mahindra has(with the exception of the Logan) repeatedly tried to shoot itself in the foot, first by acquiring Satyam and then, by managing to keep 3 SUVs in the market, almost simultaneously--the Bolero, Scorpio and most recently, the Xylo. And for those of you that are even remotely considering buying one, please note: SUV stands for Sports Utility Vehicle. Commuting to work is not a sports utility. Also, if you live in Bangalore, and are planning to buy an SUV, I'm guessing you have a lot of evolving to do. For starters, did your mother not tell you that the SUV is not meant for the city? Or are you just hoping that the space it occupies on the road will atone for the space in your pants? Seriously though, if you must drive an SUV, please do not take Hosur Road; make your own road.

Next, it was time for some German engineering. And although the VW Polo impressed in terms of ride and build quality, contemporary styling and interiors, the slightly underpowered 1.2-litre 3-cylinder engine, lack of features such as ABS, airbags, music system on the Comfortline(mid-segment), along with the alarming cost of the Highline, had us convinced that value-for-money on the Polo was pretty low and that a large chunk of the cost could be attributed solely to the legendary brand that is VW. However, the Polo does come with an adjustable tilt-steering that no driver could argue against and a brilliantly smooth gearshift that is way ahead of the competition, as is evident from a very unique mechanism to engage the reverse gear. For a brief while this swayed our opinions in favour of the Polo, but eventually, common sense prevailed.

Italian, German, Korean, Japanese and American cars had been tested by now and somewhere, in the middle of the lot, I had managed to get my hands on the Figo. The Figo Petrol is underpowered, and this is evident immediately. But it is a neat package that screams value-for-money. The Titanium(high-end) comes loaded with every imaginable feature--ABS, airbags, music system, rear defogger, rear wipers and so on. It is probably the most spacious car of the lot, with an incredible boot-space that would continue to "swallow large suitcases that came along with well-meaning relatives from the US." Also, the horsepower of an engine isn't really an overriding factor when you are coasting to Church on a Sunday morning. So, without complicating things any further, we booked the Figo. However, that's not what got me writing this post. The fact that we got 70,000 bucks for a 15-year-old battered Omni was the real shocker. Let me try and put that in perspective.

The Omni was bought for roughly 2.5 lakhs. 15 years on, we still managed to get roughly a quarter of the price we originally paid. Co-incidentally, I also happened to dispose of the Amco battery on my Pulsar a few weeks ago. It had gone dead after about 3 years. 2500 bucks it cost for a new one; I got 300 bucks in exchange for the old. Contrast this to a Pentium4 PC that we bought sometime around '96, for close to 25,000. The P4 is now badly battered, and crashes more often than a low cost carrier in near-zero visibility on a short, wet runway. I recently put up an ad, offering to sell it for 4000 bucks. No takers. Why? Because you can wash your car when its dirty, change the engine oil every 5000 kilometres, replace the clutch plates when they start to slip, replace your tyres when they go bald, top-up your battery when its dead, but what do you do when your remote control/cellphone/electronic gadget is not working as expected?

Take out the batteries. Blow the dust out. Hit it a couple of times. Try again. If all else fails, call customer care and ask for a replacement.

So, in a world where ICs are constantly growing smaller and embedded systems are becoming the norm, it isn't altogether unfortunate that the IC engine and the automobile remain just as reliable, but perhaps more relevant than ever.

February 14, 2011

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Sporting a Moustache: A definitive analysis of facial hair and cricket in the '90s



Five days to go before the ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 begins--live on ESPN and Star Sports, best viewed on an LG television, while drinking Pepsi and wearing a Reebok chastity belt or, on a Reliance 3G connection in your Hyundai i20 or on your Hero Honda Splendor that runs exclusively on Castrol Power1. In stark contrast to a rather more straightforward ♪Wills World Cup '96. Share the magic(x2)♫ campaign, the last time the World Cup came to the subcontinent. And since I find that almost every blogger worth his salt has already done a detailed analysis of this year's World Cup, I will refrain from doing one myself. However, during the past few weeks, I have been fed an endless amount of highlights, replays, analysis, observations and insight into every World Cup so far, by every Sports Cricket channel offered by my cable operator, that I now have the optimum combination of information and creative license, to make the following observations.

A few days back, in a desperate attempt to refresh my knowledge of past World Cups, I began scanning the pages of cricinfo.com, and soon came to the realisation that just like mainstream religion, there are many questions about World Cup history that are left unasked or unanswered. For instance, which genius administrator is responsible for the mathematical aberration in the frequency of past World Cups (or) Why, pray tell, did they play a World Cup in '92 and '99, defying the tenets of arithmetic progression? Why has the trophy itself changed so many times since its inception? Why did they suddenly stop playing with a red ball? Why did they suddenly start playing in coloured clothes? I guess there are no easy answers.

What I was more interested in, though, was this strange pattern.

Year              Winning Captain              Moustache
1975                Clive Lloyd                             Checked box symbol 
1979                Clive Lloyd                             Checked box symbol
1983                Kapil Dev                                Checked box symbol
1987                Allan Border                           Checked box symbol
1992                Imran Khan                           X in box symbol
1996                Arjuna Ranatunga                 X in box symbol
1999                Steve Waugh                          X in box symbol
2003                Ricky Ponting                        X in box symbol
2007                Ricky Ponting                        X in box symbol

Sort of blows your mind, doesn't it? Since Allan Border in 1987, no captain with any signs of facial hair has gone anywhere near the trophy. That got me thinking. Did the moustache go out of style during and after the '90s, are fewer cricketers capable of growing one these days, or does the moustache in some way hamper their cricketing prowess? Who was the most successful Indian cricketer of the '90s? Did he have a moustache? To analyse these and other questions, I have done an unnecessarily complex graphical analysis of Indian cricketers and their success relative to their facial hair.  


So, if 10th standard Mathematics serves me right, there is an undeniable correlation between a cricketer's moustache and how far he goes in life. Personally, I'm a bit surprised that it took so long for someone to figure this out. Therefore, I pause here briefly for rapturous applause, even as Ranji cricketers scramble for razors. Speaking of razors, a few members of the current Indian squad seem to have received enough money to take a razor to their chest; some were cut in the process, and needless to say, they bled blue. Not quite sure how grown men and Sreesanth were convinced to pose topless for an aerated drink, but let's just say that this presents a disturbing mental image on my way to work every day.   

And so, as the World Cup gets under way--razors, facial hair and ad campaigns aside, I suppose India has a great chance, so long as Dhoni and his boys are equipped at all times with endless reserves of determination, confidence, self-belief and Youngistaan ka Wow. For my part, I promise to occasionally feign sickness to watch a few of the matches live from Madan Pub the sanctity of my home, since buying a ticket for a Bangalore match is slowly becoming more difficult than turning water into wine. 


February 5, 2011

10
comments
The Office



For a change, I'm going to try and get straight to the point this time. Of late, I seem to be having quite a bit of spare time at the office, and this has given me an opportunity to make a few observations and notice a few things that I normally wouldn't have. Again, for the sake of convenience and out of lunch-induced laziness, I will resort to fictional conversations.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Conversation with the Logistics department at office
Me: I need to ship some equipment to Germany.
Male Voice on the Phone: Submit a letter in the attached format and then, raise a Shipment Request.
Me: No problem. I will send you the letter immediately. 
MVP: Your manager will have to approve of this request first, Sir. After that, the request will be directed automatically to me.
Me: That's great. So I can expect the shipment to be initiated today?
MVP: Haha. Sorry, I meant Yes.

Elephant's gestation period later
MVP: Good news Sir. Your manager just approved the request. The bad news is that your request was not in the approved format. I knew this all along, but I could inform you only once your manager had approved.
Me: That's very kind of you Sir. Can you please tell me what has to be changed?
MVP: The letter has to be on the company letterhead Sir. It also has to be drafted by the receiver of the equipment, not the sender. The letter has to be signed, scanned and sent to me.
Me: Won't a digital signature be sufficient?
MVP: No Sir, we like to do things the way our ancestors did.
Me: Would you like a sample of the receiver's cheek cells or his thumb impression, then?
MVP: Until a few years back, we did require a valid thumb impression, but the process has been suitably modified since then.
Me: Lucky me. Out of curiosity, does the letter have to be notarized by a government officer?
MVP: Don't be silly, Sir. We wouldn't want to burden you engineers with that sort of paperwork.
Me: Alright then, I will arrange for said letter

A few days later
MVP: Hello Sir.
Me: What's up hombre?
MVP: We need some more documents, Sir.
Me: Really? What documents?
MVP: Generally Sir, Process dictates that the documents you don't have are of the utmost importance to us.
Me: What Process?
MVP: Process, Sir. A sequence of redundancies designed to ensure that chimpanzee foetuses couldn't make a mistake.
Me: I understand. After all, where would we all be without process?
MVP: Yes Sir, our profits would be marginal, our wallets would be empty, our tables without food, our fields barren, our women infertile, and our beer flat without Process.
Me(phone muted): Were your parents cousins?
Me(phone unmuted): MVP, this is taking up a lot of my time. I don't have any more documents. Please initiate the shipment immediately.
MVP: I will try my best, Sir. But I just hope my manager doesn't come across this gross violation of the Process.
Me: I hope so too. When can I hand over the equipment to the logistics guys?
MVP: Don't worry Sir, we will send them to your cubicle; you must be very busy.
Me: Really, it's no problem. I can get back to blogging later. Where can I meet these logistics guys?
MVP: Upper basement, Logistics room. Bring a hard copy of the approved Shipment Request.
Me: But, don't you have a copy in your database?
MVP: We do, Sir, but studies have shown that soft-copies are usually not very reliable. What if the hard disk gets corrupt or all the servers crash simultaneously because of an unexpected flash-flood or the file itself is modified by someone who wants to destroy my reputation? What if I run out of space on my system, and I'm forced to delete it to clear some memory? And then if, God forbid, my department was to be audited, what would I tell them? What would I show them? What is the proof that I'm not just another sex offender with an office fetish?
Me: I get it. You need a hard copy. I will be at your desk in a minute.
MVP: Ok.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

So, armed with the necessary "hard copies" I head out to meet MVP. On the way to the lift, I notice a group of people, in a room that has obviously exceeded its capacity. Language trainings are on in full swing; the teacher is Indian, the language is German but the students would probably be better served by a crash course in spoken English. Ironically though, this room is probably the only place on campus where everybody tries to speak the same language. However, this overwhelming desire to study "foreign" languages still baffles scientists all over the world, who have tentatively attributed it to the 1EUR>=60INR phenomenon. Confused enough already, I stagger into the 4th floor lift and press "Basement" and, since expecting the lift to go directly to the Basement without stopping at every floor would be like expecting to find chicken momos in an Iyengar Bakery, it comes as no surprise to me when the lift opens on the third floor. What I did not expect, however, was the binary IQ of the gentleman who got in, and promptly got out on the second floor. Resisting the urge to peel his skin and feed it to imaginary vultures, I continue down to the basement. Once there, I search feverishly for the Logistics Room and, as I look around, I see several small groups of people, all in uniform, gathered for a headcount, and reporting to a supervisor. The cleaning staff are asked to explain why the building is not clean enough, the security guys are asked to explain why the premises are not secure enough and the coffee-machine maintenance guys are asked to explain why the milk has become curd. As I look closer, I come to the surprisingly profound conclusion that all of us in The Office have been in uniform for roughly the same fraction of our lives. The maintenance staff will probably spend a majority of their adult life in uniform, having spent their childhood in "coloured clothes"; most of us spent our childhood in uniform, and as our reward, we now wear "coloured clothes" to work. The only difference being that their uniforms are generally coupled with an awful looking cap/headgear of some sort. Looks like our education system does provide equal opportunity, after all.

Eventually, I manage to locate the Logistics room, and as I prepare to hand over the equipment to the guys there, they laugh and bring me a register that reads "Shipment Records". By now, I'm losing my patience quicker than Suresh Kalmadi is losing his credibility, but I restrain myself and fill in the register. However, this is no simple task, as my Name, Department, Employee ID, star sign, birthstone, choice of toothpaste and Skype ID all constitute "mandatory" information, apparently. With the register filled and my patience exhausted, I hand over the items for shipment and heave a sigh of relief. Satisfied with a good day's work, I head back to my cubicle.

Back at my desk, Ctrl+Alt+Del. A message pops up: "Your password will expire today. Do you want to change your password?" I look around desperately for the "No, moth******er" option and since no such thing is available, the next best option is a simple "No". My PC, however is in no mood to relent and prompts me again: "It is recommended that you change your password as frequently as a baby's diaper". "What's the harm?", I think to myself and agree to change the password. I enter my old password and I'm then prompted to enter a new one. mathewsajiv is my first choice, but it is rejected immediately, since I have not paid attention to the following guidelines: 

  • Password must be alphanumeric
  • Password must not contain your name, in part, or the whole
  • Password should contain at least three special characters, upto four lowercase letters, exactly four numeric and upto two uppercase letters 
  • Password must be at least thirteen characters long(and fifteen characters, at most)
  • New password cannot be the same as any other password you have used since World War II 
  • Statutory Warning: After three unsuccessful attempts, your computer will be locked. If you have forgotten the password, please enter an alternate email ID and guess Shahid Afridi's age correctly. The password will then be sent to your alternate email ID.

Against all odds, I am able to change my password, in a procedure that has become slightly more complex than a coronary bypass. My PC is now unlocked and the Inbox is flooded with mails. I will read them all, in no particular order or hurry. It has been another fulfilling day at the office. Tomorrow, I will be back for more.

[Update]: When I said that my "Inbox is flooded with mails", this is what I meant. 

indian comics, webcomic, free comics, online indian comics, jokes
Scathing anger and biting sarcasm courtesy Fly you fools

January 23, 2011

8
comments
Ignorance is this



As you may have guessed, I am still in Coimbatore(most of this post was written about 2 months ago), stuck in my room since morning, as a quick glance out the window tells me that the heat outside could possibly modify my cell structure, and, as a direct consequence, I find myself writing one more post that is of little consequence.

Before I get down to business, I would like to clarify that for some reason, my parents thought it best that my brother and I not be exposed to TV at a young age(read: until the age of 12). Looking back, I think that worked out pretty well, as we often spent our summer holidays playing cricket all day, occasionally taking the time to beat our grandma at trump cards, playing brick game till we managed to set a high score, reading Hardy Boys and Secret Seven books--with Nancy Drew thrown in occasionally for variety, painting(with a Paintbrush, heavens be praised, not on Paintbrush), and playing Monopoly so often that we even knew all the Chance cards by heart. Hindsight, unlike my vision at age 13, is 20/20 they say.

Against this background, it is also not hard to understand why we would wait eagerly for Sportstar to arrive every Thursday, and then fight over who should read it first and/or keep the poster. Then, we would get down to the serious business of scavenging each page and extracting every little bit of useless information, like the lap records of Damon Hill, the ingredients of Vicco turmeric, David Coulthard's qualifying times, Venkatesh Prasad's batting average, Ronaldo's transfer fees(the original Ronaldo, not Cristiano, you idiots), Kasparov's opening move against Deep Blue and Thiru Kumaran's IQ. Every passing minute of every passing day was also spent perfecting the lost art of cheating at chess. As I write this, my cousin sister, all of five years old, has an LED TV mounted on the wall across her bed, watches Youtube videos, uses Google Instant to help her with  her homework and dammit, keeps asking me why I don't have an iPhone. Now unlike her, since I did not have Google at my disposal while growing up, it was easy to be misinformed/completely oblivious of certain things while growing up without a TV in the '90s. Here are some of the embarrassing ones.
  • How to pronounce Grand Prix. Ever since my brother and I started reading about Formula1 and MotoGP in aforementioned Sportstar, we got so carried away with glossy pictures of the F1 circuits and MotoGP bikes, that diction took a backseat. We spent the better part of our childhood asking neighbours if they had watched the French Grand Pricks. Sometimes, they would just collapse in a confused heap. Other times, they would complain to our parents about our excessive use of racist expletives.
  • Harry Potter is an author. To the best of my knowledge, Harry Potter mania struck shortly after I had enjoyed my childhood, and since calling myself an avid reader would amount to perjury, I was not really equipped to differentiate between authors and characters. A thousand apologies, Ms. Rowling.
  • Israel and Egypt must be on the same continent since almost one half of a famous book is dedicated to their incessant quarreling. Maybe it was the fact that we had Scripture as a subject till 12th Standard, but Kannada only upto the 7th, but suffice it to say that everyone in School took Israel vs. Egypt more seriously than Allied vs. Axis forces. In this context, it came as a big shock to me to find out that these two countries hated each other so much that they fought across continents. 
  • The Undertaker actually has 7 lives. Most of our early childhood was spent buying one rupee posters of WWF superstars, and trump cards for special occasions. We knew useless "facts" about most of the wrestlers, some of them legitimate--Fights fought, Height, Weight, Fights won and Waist, but some, dubious, like how many lives The Undertaker had left.  
  • In keeping with the WWF theme, I also thought the owner of the WWF was called This Big Man. Needless to say, a few years later, when I figured his name was actually Vince McMahon, my whole world collapsed around me, as I came to the realisation that I had been living a lie.
  • Michael Jackson was a woman who had a sex change. She pioneered breakdancing, wore stylish cooling glasses and inspired Prabhu Deva.
  • Wimbledon is tennis. It takes a very secure human being to admit to this, since it is extremely embarrassing. However, till about the 5th standard, I was sure that Wimbledon meant tennis and vice-versa. Not sure how I came to that conclusion, but luckily for me, I was not in a position to bet large sums of money on this assumption.
  • Steven Tyler is Aerosmith
    So there, for your kind approval and judgement, is my list of popular myths during the '90s. Whoever said "Ignorance is bliss", certainly wasn't referring to this, I presume. Luckily for me though, back in the day, small mistakes like these didn't really matter so long as you knew how to balance chemical equations and the formula for volume of a cone.

    For the reader: This is just a preliminary list, prepared out of boredom, more than anything else, which I'm sure will be frequently updated, as and when I remember or am reminded of other notorious errors that didn't really seem to matter when we were kids. At the risk of never getting another visitor on this blog and also against every blogging instinct in my  body, I have decided to publish this post. If you can think of other myths that you subscribed to in the 90s, let me know, and for a small fee, I can publish it on this blog. If you can't think of any misconceptions that you had while growing up during the 90s, you and that high horse you rode in on can go straight to hell.


      January 17, 2011

      6
      comments
      Learn to be Still



      Between posts, I generally like to take some time to aggressively publicize my blog, add widgets that can do the same job in my absence, closely monitor my blog's stats, wait for the occasional comment and sometimes(depending on the amount of free time I have), play around with the themes. Sometimes, it so happens that in the middle of all of this, I come up with an idea for a new post. This is one of those times.

      The seeds of this new post were actually sown sometime when I started this blog. Well the original was actually more of a tirade than a post, but quite a lot has changed since then. The weather in Bangalore, for starters, has been strange for this time of year, with blistering day temperatures and a very short winter. By the time this post is published, we could well be into summer and as my sweaters lie neatly folded in the cupboard, I am determined to find out what's been causing this change.

      Over the past few months or so, it has repeatedly been brought to my notice that nothing in 21st Century India is quite as popular as a good Rajnikanth joke or a noble Cause. Save our Tigers. Greenathons. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. So much so, that, of late, we have gotten used to the sight of Prannoy Roy and his buddies going live from deep within a wildlife sanctuary, to bring us a 12-hour telethon to raise awareness on how human interference in ecosystems affects them adversely(?) More on that, here. We have also become accustomed to the sight of Bollywood actresses dressed up in their best green sarees telling us about austerity, churning out sizzling performances at lavish ceremonies, being driven around in eco-friendly cars, wearing eco-friendly watches, swearing by organic vegetables and 100% natural baby-wipes, trying to raise money for "the environment". We have become used to people posing nude to raise money for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, but fail to realise that no similar group exists for the ethical treatment of humans. However, regardless of all these observations, the above initiatives have, in some way or another generated money that will hopefully be used wisely. So what is the problem, you might be tempted to ask. Here is my humble reply.

      I remember reading an article recently on the United Nations Climate Change Conference that was held in Cancun in December, that was laced with common sense. A small snippet is included below. 
      "The problem of climate change cannot be solved only by investing funds from the developed countries and implementing bureaucracies or diplomacies. What about the change of our inner climate? What about the mess in our individual life? Climate change is an issue of human values which is directly related with the green values of the planet earth”  
      Some of you may still not have got the point, so let me try and paint you a little stereotype.

      You are a manager at some obscure company, the unnecessary details of which you proudly furnish on your LinkedIn profile. You don't go anywhere without your bluetooth headset. You probably already own a Hybrid SUV and in your efforts to make the world a better place you are planning to buy a Prius sometime soon. You don't mind paying an undisclosed amount for a good buffet, where, depending on your diet, you either eat like you're auditioning for America's Next Top Model or like a competitive eater who's just had a swim. But since you "Like" the "Help the Hungry" app on Facebook, I suppose that's ok. You definitely own a handycam, which is used rather liberally, to capture life's precious moments, such as your child's first steps, the first time he soiled his pants, his first swimming lesson and so on. Speaking about children, you probably already have three, but the target lies somewhere in the middle of the Fibonacci series. Whatever the number, their education has been planned meticulously, in advance. A few moments after childbirth, the first one was asked to write an entrance exam for a highly sought after crèche. The second one got a Britannica for his first birthday. The third one, after kindergarten, pursued vocational training from NIIT. Currently, all of them study at Random International School, where the teachers make more money than you ever will. However, since money is no object for you, the cost of a movie ticket is considered reasonable so long as it doesn't exceed the cost of a healthy pancreas, and therefore, the multiplex is your sanctuary. Family outings imply trips to the mall and team outings mean bowling at Amoeba. Coming back to you, you almost certainly have a smart phone. Your work generally involves coding of some sort or preparation of PowerPoint presentations that can almost certainly be done from the confines of your LED lit bathroom. Lets face it, the work you do is probably just as important as Sharad Pawar's views on corruption or Laloo Prasad Yadav's views on family planning. But you love the daily commute and since your corner office won't occupy itself, you make it a point to set out during peak hours in aforementioned hybrid SUV, roll up your windows to keep the dust out, turn on the A/C and sing along to devotional music. Your idea of contributing to society entails taking out coins from the glovebox and handing it out to deserving beggars at signals. To accommodate yours and other similar vehicles, the government decided to build flyovers, underpasses and what not. They also, rather short-sightedly, decided to cut down trees in order to widen the roads. Needless to say, birds slowly started to disappear. You and your kind thereby managed to do away with Bangalore's sparrows and since the guilt was too much to handle, you started Twitter, hoping that no one would notice.

      Now that we're done with the stereotype, let me try and paint a solution for you. In a word, I'd call it restraint. It could mean leaving the SUV at home and taking out the bike. Leaving the bike at home and taking the company bus. Shortly, in Bangalore atleast, it could mean leaving all of the above and taking the Metro. In its final stage it could also mean convincing your managers that working from home would be more productive and efficient. From a family welfare point of view, it could mean exercising a little more restraint than a stray dog in heat. If you are incapable of such high levels of restraint, I could even summon the BBMP to neuter you for free. The highest form of family welfare could even be the realisation that bringing up a child is more important than the content of his DNA, and adoption could follow. Now that you are working from home, assuming that your education was not an utter waste, you could easily teach your own children, atleast upto the point where they could prove that what you studied was wrong. Extra-curricular activities such as sports, music and dance could be taught and encouraged within the residential community itself. Once we have spared ourselves the rigours of the daily commute, traffic congestion would start to ease. We would have more time for ourselves. Travel could actually mean seeing new places or meeting new people. Trees would remain and we could slowly have our weather back.

      So then, why, sweet Moses, are we trying to raise money for issues that never needed money to be resolved, investing that money in technology that has always been a substitute for common sense and a remedy for thoughtlessness? Maybe we have done enough already and we just need to Learn to be Still for a while, because trying too hard is probably the cause of and the solution to all of these problems.

      January 7, 2011

      5
      comments
      Help!



      Since this is my first post for 2011, to freshen things up a bit, and in keeping with my resolution to try something new with every post, I have given myself sufficient creative license to attach a disturbing piece of footage below.


      I stumbled across this video shortly after reading that India would be hosting a Formula1 Grand Prix in 2011. It took me some time to digest that, and the obvious question that followed, was Why India? Does India really need Formula1 or does Formula1 really need India?

      Before I comment on that, let me honestly say that what follows is bound to be a biased viewpoint, since I have recently discovered that live golf is more interesting than Formula1 highlights. For starters, I would like it very much if some of these drivers grew gonads and overtook each other on track as opposed to gaining track position from the relative comfort of a pit-lane. I would also like it if the people who made these rules could make up their minds about refuelling, tyre changes and KERS, since I'm not really inclined to watch any sport in which the rules change as often as the costumes in Endhiran. Also, on behalf of tree-hugging, vegetable-eating, eco-friendly Prius-owning types, I would say that Formula1 is a criminal waste of fuel and rubber, not to mention time. Lastly and quite importantly, ever since the 2002 Austrian GP, where team orders undermined driver talent and arrested common sense, I have found myself repulsed by the "sport". However, a couple of years back, I decided to put all of this aside and support the Force India team, because my heart swells with pride every time I see the Indian flag on anything and also because the team is supported by several major alcohol labels. Well that, plus Shahrukh Khan got all choked up and asked all of us to support them.  However, when I realised that neither of the drivers were Indian, that the car did not run on Tata engines, and that the team did not do it's testing on the Outer Ring Road, needless to say, my sense of pride and patriotism took a beating.

      If I haven't already been a bit of a buzzkill, here's the clincher--the deal to bring Formula1 to India was finalized by the Indian Olympic Association. Really? Why, pray tell, are we giving the CWG boys more money? Didn't Suresh Kalmadi sodomize us hard enough the last time? While we're at it, why don't we ask Chetan Sharma to bowl the last ball of a match against Pakistan or put A. Raja in charge of 3G spectrum allocation?

      Let me try and put all of this in perspective. We are still fighting over religious and historical issues that have been left unresolved for so long that it takes carbon dating to figure out when it happened. The victims of industrial catastrophes that happened before I was born, still haven't found justice. As if these weren't bad enough, the people we empowered to resolve these issues somehow found enough time to convince dictionary publishers the world over that the word "scam" was actually more of a suffix and less of a verb. Click here if you don't believe me. Jesus Christ, they've even managed to scam urea. So the moral, if you haven't already guessed, is that in India, wherever there is money, there is some to be made.

      But who really cares, so long as Formula1 helps generate revenue and employment in India? Liquor sales will undoubtedly go up. Formula1 merchandise will be in huge demand. Sports bars would be back in business. Money will be made from the sale of tickets to people who actually care enough to go to Noida. Obviously, a lot more would be made from the sale of broadcast rights and advertising. A few thousand people will be employed in the construction and maintenance of the circuit. Obviously then, an estimated Rs.15 billion is a reasonable price to pay to put India on the Formula1 map. Also, it would be nice to be famous for something other than Slumdog Millionaire. 

      Unfortunately, the truth of the matter is that for quite a while now, India has overestimated its place in the world. We love to think of ourselves as one of the fastest growing economies in the world, not realising that our population is growing at a faster rate. We love to think that we are among the most powerful nations in the world, in spite of being politely kicked in the nuts every time we seek membership to the UN Security Council, but, like a stubborn child who wants a lollipop, we continue to ask. Historically, we don't have much to brag about when it comes to sport either. For a country that multiplies at a rate that can be matched only by anopheles mosquitoes in stagnant water, we still cannot find eleven people who can take us to the football World Cup. Hockey, for a while, got a boost in the form of the now defunct Premier Hockey League, but still lacks proper infrastructure and funding from the government. Forget about investing in the development of sports in rural India, schools and colleges making sport an integral part of education, providing funding for football and hockey academies, for 15 billion bucks, hell, we could have even bought the entire Spanish football team or the Australian hockey team.  

      Allow me also to say, for the record, that I'm not against India hosting Formula1 races, but maybe, just maybe it can wait until after we have shed the tag of a third-world country where corruption is a cottage industry and spelling-bees are the national sport. I suppose the silver lining in all of this is that the Noida circuit will supposedly also be hosting MotoGP races in the near future. For the time being though, I will let you decide whether India needs Formula1 right now. But I guess what we can all agree upon is that India needs F1. India needs a lot of F1.

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