Tuesday, August 31, 2004

From The Panorama

From Parikrama, I have momentarily switch to Panorama - a collection of English poems, again in our curriculum. Poems in that book are very popular and can be found at number of place on the net. Still, it's no harm refurbishing our memories.

This one from Walt Whitman is special. Most of you will agree.

O Captain! My Captain!

O Captain! My Captain! our fearful trip is done;
The ship has weather'd every rack,
the prize we sought is won;
The port is near, the bells I hear, the people all exulting,
While follow eyes the steady keel, the vessel grim and daring:

But O heart! heart! heart!
O the bleeding drops of red,
Where on the deck my Captain lies,
Fallen cold and dead.

O Captain! My Captain! rise up and hear the bells;
Rise up-for you the flag is flung-for you the bugle trills;
For you bouquets and ribbon'd wreaths-for you the shores
For you they call, the swaying mass, their eager faces

Here Captain! dear father!
This arm beneath your head;
It is some dream that on the deck,
You've fallen cold and dead.

My Captain does not answer, his lips are pale and still;
My father does not feel my arm, he has no pulse or will;
The ship is anchor'd safe and sound, its voyage closed and

From fearful trip the victor ship comes in with object

Exult, O shores, and ring, O bells!
But I with mournful tread,
Walk the deck my Captain lies,
Fallen cold and dead.

And this one by William Wordsworth.

The Solitary Reaper

Behold her, single in the field,
Yon solitary Highland Lass!
Reaping and singing by herself;
Stop here, or gently pass!
Alone she cuts and binds the grain,
And sings a melancholy strain;
O listen! for the Vale profound
Is overflowing with the sound.

No Nightingale did ever chaunt
More welcome notes to weary bands
Of travellers in some shady haunt,
Among Arabian sands:
A voice so thrilling ne'er was heard
In spring-time from the Cuckoo-bird,
Breaking the silence of the seas
Among the farthest Hebrides.

Will no one tell me what she sings?--
Perhaps the plaintive numbers flow
For old, unhappy, far-off things,
And battles long ago:
Or is it some more humble lay,
Familiar matter of to-day?
Some natural sorrow, loss, or pain,
That has been, and may be again?

Whate'er the theme, the Maiden sang
As if her song could have no ending;
I saw her singing at her work,
And o'er the sickle bending;--
I listened, motionless and still;
And, as I mounted up the hill
The music in my heart I bore,
Long after it was heard no more.

My Previous Post On Poems - Poetic Jewels Contd.

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Yeh Dosti Hum Nahin Chhodengey

This used to be a rare photograph, until now. Thought, I should share with those of you who haven't seen it yet.



Sleeping Beauty

Here is a classic pose by Harsh. Caught napping, literally!



Monday, August 30, 2004

Biryani At The Roof Top

It's been long since I have been in Pune and I can assure you that this place is a gourmet's delight, for the sheer fact that there are more eateries (and banks ) per square km over here, than any other part of the country. Much as Lucknow has more ex-chief ministers per square km than any other part in country.

But as often happens, quality suffer due to quantity. This is more true in case of Muglai(known as Punjabi) and South Indian dishes. The biggest culprits are the cluster of restraunts present at picturesque Chandini Chowk(Yes Delhites, amchi Pune also has one) . Then there is farcical Manmeet on Ferguesson College Road. On the name of Lucknow, it mostly serves rubbish.

Since it's has been a long time out of Lucknow, it's also a long time I have tasted that delicious Biryani outside King George Medical College gate, or Tunde's Lucknawi and Kakori Kebab. Of course, my gastro-intestinal condition has also played a big role in denying me this pleasure .

But last Friday, I had a pleasant surprise. We (especially Ashish ) coaxed benevolent Saurabh for a treat at Le Meridian. Everyone knows these 5 stars are notorious for bad food. I have had mixed experience - good food at Sun-N-Sand, Pune and bad at Taj Blue Diamond, Pune and Landmark, Kanpur.

I had ordered( I find this word very derogatory in this context) for myself Sabz-Ki-Tehri along with Daal Chingari and others had requested for Chicken Biryani along with other dishes. It was really really yummy experience and it reminded us of those old delicious days. We over ate ourselves, and still Dil longed for more. Everything seemed to just melt in our mouths. We still feel the hang over of the rice varieties we tasted there.

So those fellas, who happen to be in Pune must check out the roof top restraunt at Le Meridian for these delicacies. Others should wait for their turn. Either they should arrange for a visit to Lucknow or to Pune. But one thing is sure, this whole experience is ten times more costlier in Pune than in City of Nawabs.



Poetic Jewels : Continued

Others from Parikrama and my favourite.

Jaag Ri

Beeti Vibhavari Jaag Ri

Ambar Panghat Mein Bhigo Rahi Hai --
Taraghat Usha Nagri

Khag Kul Kul-kul Sa Bol Raha,
Kislaya Ka Anchal Dol Raha Hai,
Lo Yeh Latika Bhi Bhar Layi --
Madhu Mukul Naval Ras Gagri

Adharon Mein Rag Amand Piye,
Alkon Mein Malyaj Band Kiye,
Too Abtak Soyi Hai Aali --
Ankhon Mein Bhare Vihag Ri

-Jai Shankar Prasad

Pushp Ki Abhilasha

Chah Nahin Mai SurBala Ke
Gehnon Mein Guntha Jaaon
Chah Nahin Premi Mala Mein
Bindh, Pyari Ko Lalchaon

Chah Nahin Samraton Ke
Shav Par, He Hari Dala Jaaon
Chah Nahin Devon Ke Sar Par
Chadhon, Bhagya Par Itraoon

Mujhey Tod Lena Banmali,
Us Path Par Tum Dena Phaink
Matra Bhoomi Per Sheesh Chadhaney,
Jis Path Jaayen Veer Anek

Added later
Now, in his own handwriting

-Makhan Lal Chaturvedi

My Previous Post On Poems - Poetic Jewels

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After mind numbing, exceedingly irritating Sidhuism from we-know-whom, it's time for some refreshing Rathorism. Major Rajyawardhan Singh Rathore not only has the eye of an eagle, he has also been blessed with the gift of the gab. Please appreciate.

"I want to this medal to be sent to each and every school in India, with the message: This is the Silver, now you get the Gold."

"The training and effort put for achievement any goal (like an Olympic medal) is like pregnancy. It's difficult for the lady, but she likes it because of the outcome."


Friday, August 27, 2004

Random Thoughts

One year seems to be a long time in sporting world. Recent comments by South African ex-cricketer Barry Richards clearly suggest that.

Barry Richard now believes that Sachin Tendulkar is 'still possibly' the best batsman in the world. Just last year, during the World Cup in South Africa, when Sachin was going hammer and tongs against all teams, and was adjudged the Man of The Tournament, Barry had other thoughts.

He, then believed that Brett Lee was the better choice. Around the same time, he had pointed out that it's Adam Gilchrist, not Sachin who is the best batsman in the world. 'Statistics are often misleading' is his favourite bedroom line.

Now that Sachin is much subdued and is not performing up to his potential, Barry has the change of heart. Reason, of course will always remain a mystery, though I am pleasantly surprised at that. He rarely has warm words for Indian team, especially Tendulkar.


Surprise Surprise !! In Hockey, India has beaten last Olympics silver medallist, South Korea 5-2. They had taken 4-0 lead in first half. South Korea must have been trifle disappointed because India did not concede single goal in dying moments which they have been patently doing . Now, that is some thing which had not happened since a long long time.


Anju George looks for the impossible today. Loaded with too much expectations, plus tremendous media glare - the job becomes doubly difficult. Eight jumpers out of eleven are ahead of her in the qualifiers. True, that hardly indicates anything, but the past 13 days' experience forces me to be realistic, rather than fantastic. My only hope is that she gives her best shot and passes the dope test.

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Thursday, August 26, 2004

Poetic Jewels

These are a few poetic excerpts. I remember them from a lovely book called Parikrima. It was a collection of poems and was the part of our curriculum in school.

Dono Ore Prem Palta Hai,
Priye, Patang to Jalta Hi Hai
Dipak Bhi Jalta Hai.

-Maithli Sharan Gupt

Viyogi Hoga Pehla Kavi,
Aah Se Upja Hoga Gaan,
Nikal Ker Nayanon Se ChupChap,
Bahi Hogi Kavita Anjaan.

- Sumitra Nandan Pant

Saanp !
Tum Sabhya Hue To Nahin,
Nagar Mein Basna,
Bhi Tumhey Na Aaya!
Ek Baat Poonchhoon -
Uttar Dogay?
Tab Kaise Seekha Dasna,
Vish Kahan Paya?


These ones are not from Parikrama.

Chashm-e- Purnam, Bahi, Bahi, Na Bahi
Zindagi Hai, Rahi Rahi, Na Rahi,
Tumto Keh Do Jo Tumko Kehna Tha,
Mera Kya Hai, Kahi, Kahi, Na Kahi !

-Vinod Tiwari

Kewal Badal Nahin Aankh Ko,
Thodi si Dopahar Bhi Lena
Jeetey Jeete Marte Hain Sab,
Tum Marte Marte Jee Lena

Jab Thakan Sindhu Ho Jai,
Aur Chetna Lagey Doobne
Baith Hridaya Ke Madiralai Mein,
Tab -Tab Dard Sura Pee Lena.

-RamSanehi Lal Sharma 'Yayawar'

And the last one.

Ishq Ne Tere Pyar Mein,
Nikkamma Bana Diya
Mujhko Daddy,
Aur Tumko, Amma Bana Diya ;-)

-Pradeep Chaubey

Hope you enjoyed the stuff.

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Blog Roll Update

I have updated my blog roll list. These are the pages I have been frequenting for long. So welcome to Abhaya, Alka, Arunima, Ramanand and Vandy on the board. Verma, Abinav, Handa, Gaurav and Sarika were already there before.

Neither this is any favour, nor any return favour is expected. I have done this purely for my convinience and for readers who want to explore further. You can check out on these whenever time permits.

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

Thoroughly Bash-ed

Friday we had our company's annual Bash. Each year, company organizes a picnic-cum-gettogether at some venue in or near the city. In last five years I have seen in the quality of celebration is getting worse year by year.

In year 1999 and 2000, we (with our families) were taken to Lonawala, where we stayed in a 5 Star hotel (Fariya's) over night. We use to party, dance, enjoys whole night. It used to be a royal experience. Then company started growing rapidly, resulting in scaling down of Bash celebration. Next Bash was still in a 5 star hotel( Le Meridian) but in Pune itself and it was not overnight but most of us enjoyed.

As if this was not enough, the annual day celebration was cancelled for one year. The reason could not have been more bizarre. Our MD informed us that the events are cancelled to express our solidarity with people who lost there life on September 11, in US. There could not have been a lamer excuse. Quality took further hit for the next year, as we further moved down from a 5 star to a muddy resort(Corunthian) in the city.

This year it was special because Geometric has completed 10 years. We did not have much expectation because the venue was the same muddy resort. It turned out, we had underestimated the whole situation. First, it was scheduled to happen on 23 rd July. But since our MD had some 'official' engagement it was shifted to 20th August, just 3 days before the scheduled date.

We could see the flies on every utensil or food item. The function itself started 2 hours late. When people started having snacks during a break, they were meted with the rudest of the behaviour. There was some child NGO which was running a play. People were forced to leave their snacks to attend the play. Snacks counters were abruptly closed . Sentries at the gates wouldn't allow anyone to move any other part of the campus.

We are were only the employees, but most us were with our families. Everyone was appalled. No one expected such a behaviour. It seemed we were some prison inmates. I wouldn't have cared about the food as it was so filthy, but most of them did. There were many kids who were left crying, wives sulking as a result, whole family's ire was vented on poor hubbies.

What pissed me off was the curfew on movement. Having had enough, I said good bye to my colleagues and left the scene. I could only feel for the poor souls who had relied on company transportation. They were stuck for the evening.

Monday, August 23, 2004

Double Standards

This is related to a gossip news item - Storm in another biz family cup? published in TOI and ET, recently . It talks about the family feud in another high profile business company, without naming it. So the reader has been the left with the job of guessing it. However a few hints have also been dropped.


- There are two brothers in the family.
- Their wives don't get along well.
- There business are some what different.
- About a couple of months ago, one of the brothers took a decision that had deeply upset the other .

To cut the long story short, the brothers are Mukesh and Anil Ambani. The 'decision' is the announcement by Anil Ambani of setting a world's largest gas based power plant in Uttar Pradesh with the capacity of generating 3500 mega watts of power. The investment involves about 11000 crores in Rupees or or $2.4 billion.

Now comes the more intriguing part. Mukesh Ambani was so deeply upset "that he virtually skipped his meals the day it was announced." To further quote the article "there was widespread speculation among top businessmen and politicians as to the reasons behind the decision which, strictly speaking, had nothing to do with business."

If all this crap is true, Mukesh Ambani should give up the chairmanship of the Reliance Industries, and TOI should seriously reconsider the brand of journalism it's practicing these days, because both of them stink of stereotype which is very openly flaunted in the country these days.

Double standards was also very eminent on the part Mukesh Ambani. Two days back he was seen singing Hosannas in favour of West Bengal's industrial situation. He was talking about how the times have changed in WB now, and Reliance is planning to invest over there.

Holy shit! I guess, it's time for Ambani junior to choke on the meal. A state with a thoroughly crippled industry, an all powerful, state back labour unions is attractive for investment, while a consistently reforming state, with second largest GDP and biggest consumer market in the country made him skip meals. A Mulayam or a Budhadev alone won't convert Uttar Pradesh or WB to a Maharashtra or Gujarat, but atleast give the equal footing and appreciate the efforts.

Here is the reason why setting up of the plant is nothing but business instead of "nothing to do with business". Uttar Pradesh is short of 1500 mw of power. Reliance will sell 40% of the power generated to the state and rest will go to Delhi, MP, Haryana and Punjab. The first phase will get complete within 2 years and it will start supplying power.

For those doubting Thomases, who are worried about the completion of the project, I would like to inform that not only the venue has already been decided but the land has also been provided to the company . The RBI has cleared the country’s largest-ever external commercial borrowings (ECB). The state support pact has bee signed, as well.

Not only that, now Tata Powers also want to set 1000 mw plant in the state. Are they fools or blind? No sir, they are smart. Make no mistake, businessmen are not here for charities. They put their money where their mouth is. This FE editorial and this Anil Ambani interview clearly points out the fact.

We should do away with those stereotypes and let the country prosper. Media has a constructive role to perform for achieving that. It took a long time for world to realize that India has more than snake charmers and sadhus. Similarly, Uttar Pradesh has also more to offer than just dhoodhwallas, cow belt and Taj Mahal.

Fida - Kyun Banai?

What did audience say to Ken Ghosh, the director of the movie, after watching the show. Hum teri Fida dekh kay, mar gaye ro ro kay ! If only he could listen.

For those who already didn't know the plot, there was the twist in the tail at the stroke of half time. Those who had thought about leaving after watching insipid first half, might have changed their mind, only to watch the equally insipid second half. I think TOI with ***1/2 rating made April Fool of the readers in the month August. Not that I am influenced by these reviews, but a good rating always makes you optimistic. Probably, Nikhat Kazmi is some long standing pal of Ghosh.

There is nothing much to write about the movie. Trying to make a thriller, the plot itself is horribly loose. At points, there are some hints about Abbas Mastan's Ajnabi in the movie. It surges people's expectation but the utterly tame climax turns out to be a damp squib.

Male Leads have done so-so job(looked handsome, acted terribly), though at times Kareina looks spooky and tries to be a bit too mean. The villain-cum-comedian, Akhilesh Mishra fails on both the counts. Neither he invokes any terror nor any laughter. Fardeen keeps hitting Shahid, who keeps landing in hospital. Kareina does a fair job not hanging herself. There is no chemistry between any of them.

As is the trend these days, director has included all the glossy stuff in the movie. Manicured muscles, designer clothes, tastefully done flats, bungalows, mansions, Swiss banks, swanky cars, casinos, discos, latest cellphones, hackers - everything is there. People move from Hirnandani to UK to South Africa. There is Kim Sharma so there is ample skin show. A song keeps popping up from everywhere. But nothing catches interest or helps movie.

Thankfully, movie is just a shade above two hours. Those could be invested on a much better prospect.

The Olympic Spirit

Though, it was not a run for 41 km Marathon, but for this effort even Pheidippides would have been proud of. For the grit which was shown by J J Shobha during the heptathlon event is the true essence of the Olympics i.e. the victory of human spirit of over everything else, against all odds.

Despite of the injury during javelin throw event and being taken away on a stretcher, to the astonishment of everyone else on the ground, she turned up for the 800 m distance race. With the strapped left knee, she moved from the last ( 8th) to the 3rd position in the race, only to collapse again. She was helped to stretcher again by her fellow, shell-shocked athletes. The 75000 strong crowd cheered her on through out the race, and her competitors had only words of praise for her courage and grit.

All those cheaters and dopers, who have brought the shame and insult to their respective countries, must be forced to watch the video of this event for a whole day. Not only them, this Herculean effort can inspire any one. Our Cricketers can learn a lesson or two on how to run. Those Hockey guys may realize that you don't just wait for the ball to come. One has to fetch it.

And yes, Malleshwari might contemplate of passing Bronze medal to her. She no longer deserves it.

Friday, August 20, 2004

Sab Baba Ji Ki Maya Hai

Come next election, there is a mayawi bonanza in stored for Maharashtra. Not that they have not been already promised many, but this one is special because it comes straight from one and only Mayawati.

Mayawati has announced that, if she gains power in Maharashtra, the first thing she will do is create a separate Vidharbha state. Nothing new in that, but the real news is that she has already decided upon the name of the new state . She was all smiles, ear to ear, when she announced the name, as if the new state was her own child. The name of the new state will be Dr. Ambedkar Vidharbha !

Finally, Baba Saheb returns to his native state. His soul must have been feeling very home sick for quite a long now. He, like Chhatrapati Shahu Ji Maharaj, have been forced upon every city and village in Uttar Pradesh, for ten years now. Their soul must rest in peace now. King George Medical College, Lucknow was changed Dr Bhim Rao Ambedkar Medical University. Ex and current Georgians cried murder but nothing doing. Finally Mulayam came to their rescue and reverted to old name.

Kanpur University was named after Shahu Ji Maharaj. Till then, I hadn't heard his name. Later I came to know he was a king of Solapur. CM Shinde faced a lot embarrassment for doing nothing of that sort for his constituency, when Behen ji was felicitated in this town. There is a district called Ambedkar Nagar in Uttar Pradesh now. 75 % of villages are called Ambedkar village, with Baba saheb's statues adorned. Like Maharashtra, almost every busy square in every city has some Ambdekar, Shahuji Maharaj or some one else's statue. Lucknow has a Ambedkar University, notorious Ambedkar Park. Mayawati even carved out a district Mahamaya Nagar out of Aligarh.

I hope people in Maharashtra are intelligent enough not to fall into her trap. People here are much educated and despite with their misadventures with Shiv Sena, they know better than my folks in Uttar Pradesh. Mayawati is a disease for which, prevention is better than cure. Just don't let her in.

Thursday, August 19, 2004

Major Saab!

So the Major from 9 Grenadier battalion has done it for India, after all. And the whole nation gave a collective sigh of relief. Relief because while other shooters and wrestlers have miserably failed, apart from Tennis a medal from any other sport looks well neigh impossible. Now some may say that one medal out of some 1000 medals at stake is pathetic. I will look at the glass as half full. As they say in Hindi - Bhagtey Bhoot ki Langoti Bhali!

But first thing first. Heartiest congratulations and thanks to Rajywardhan 'Chilly' Rathore. Though many were tipped capable enough to bring the medal home but only one had the grit and determination to pull that off(till now). And of course the calm and firm head. Everyone else either panicked or weren't up to it, but this man was neither. He looked at the score only once and remained focused, despite a bad round. He always looked confident of his abilities. That's what army does to you. Finds capable ones among the lakhs, and moulds them into heroes. For them, no situation is too overwhelming.

Even a victory didn't sweep the Major of his feet. When asked if he has some message for the people of his country, he said he is not great enough give a message as he was still learning. When he will have something to share, he would do that gleefully. No wonder he has his head and feet firmly on shoulders and ground respectively. And of course the medal.

I think government should dismantle Indian Olypmpic Association and give Army the charge. Within eigth years, we will be regularly amongst the medals .

For once the Tricolour fluttered at Athens, if not the national anthem tuned. Perhaps destiny is waiting for Leander to be on central podium. There can be no more worthy player. On one side, we have a player who plays despite of a bleeding nose, while on other side we have a Malleshwari jisney nak hi katwadi !



Badey Harsh ki Baat Hai

Yes my friends, just before when India managed a Silver feat at the Olympics, my dear friends Abhishek and Loveena managed a Gold, in the form of a baby boy! As decided by the proud parents, all of us chachas - chachis and every one else, will call him Harsh. But hey niggu, there should be one more name like pinku, rinku etc. It will add to the fun :-)

One look at Harsh and you love him. He can be seen at leisure under Nigams in the photograph section at extreme right of this page. Here is a quick view.


Isn't he gorgeous! Congratulations to both the parents and love to Harsh.

But before I forget, don't miss Muskan, another cutie, who has beaten Harsh by four and half months in to this world. I hadn't started this blog then, but the Photograph section has been abound with her lovely snaps. Watch out for Toshniwals. Here is a peep at her.


True to her name, she brings a real grin on our faces. Good work both Nigams and Toshniwals.

The Gen -Y of our group has arrived.

Monday, August 16, 2004

As Silly As It Can Get

This was about the time when I bought my first and only camera. A digital one was way beyond my budget so I finally settled for the non digital Olympus Super Zoom. Still it had cost me bucks, but I was pretty excited. I was concerned that after college I had not been in the frame that often. The golden period of my life was going without many captures and I was worried that even I wouldn't remember how I looked during this period.

So gathering courage and money, I brought the piece home. Getting the instructions was easy, but still I wanted take utmost care for the first album. Actually, first album is as dear as the first crush/love, or the first semester/year at the college. The other concern aroused from the fact that I didn't buy the camera from any authorized dealer. If it turned out to be a faulty specimen, more than the money, I will lose the cherished first album.

Then began the process of photo shooting. We took them at virtually every possible place, for every possible situation. By the side of the window, on the sofa, at the roof and hill top, inside the car - everywhere. It was really silly when I come to think of it now, but then, so is the first crush.

After the roll was complete, our next destination was the nearest Foto-Fast shop. The pretty lady over there handled the situation. When I confirmed whether she took the roll out, she got a bit miffed showed me the roll. I got another roll inserted in my camera and left. Now the excitement doubled but so was the anxiety. Whether the camera settings were Ok while taking snaps or did we jerk while pressing the buttons .

But as they say - Think of the devil and here comes the devil. When we went for taking the developed snaps, we were told that not a single snap could be developed. The whole roll was a blank. At first, I thought it was a joke. But then she showed me the roll. The lady didn't seem pretty any more. So the camera indeed was faulty. My worst fear came to be true.

I went to the camera shop explained him the situation. He was not ready for the replacement but agreed to check it . I promised to return after the second roll would finish. Again the same procedure of photo shooting followed, albeit with less excitement. We hoped that we had done something horrible first time. When the role was processed, it was found that almost 70 percent photographs had been washed out this time. Only 3-4 of them could be developed.

I was ready vent my ire on the shop owner, when I looked the developed roll a bit closely. This time it was not a blank, rather it was overlapping. To my shock , there were some snaps which we had taken for the first roll. Then the whole picture became clear to me. The pretty lady at Foto-Fast, first took out the roll from the camera. Then she took a new roll, which she should have put inside the camera. Instead she again put the old exposed roll inside the camera and sent the new roll for the development.

This way, not only I lost my first album, but my second album also got ruined. This is as silly as it can get.

Two Bad Days in the Office, More to Follow

So the same old story unfolds at the Olympics for India. A bad first day, even worse second day - the independence day not withstanding, and we can expect the worst on the third.

From shooting team, we hear the stories which we have heard before. Anjali Bhagwat talks of not checking the setting of the Air Rifle which cost her the crucial points in the beginning. We heard the similar crib by Jaspal Rana, 4 years ago. According to him his pistol for Center Fire event was faulty and got stuck. We don't know any better so have to give them benefit of doubt. World record holder Suma Shirur finished 8th and came no where near the record.

At least Kunjurani Devi, to be fair to her, tried her best . Her best total was 190kg and she reached that. This was good effort considering that in recent past she was only managing 180 kg. Looking at the competition, it was clear the 36 years old policewoman lifted her game and fought till the end. If only could she lifted her both last attempts in Snatch(85 kg) and Clean and Jerk(112.5 kg), the Bronze was her. Same story was with Chanu. She was inches close to Bronze but she had performed miserably in Snatch event, which eventually cost her the medal.

Had it not been for Duleep Turkey, India would have lost the 5 or 6 goals margin, and had it not been for Sandeep Singh, India might well have drawn the game. The idiotic dribbling by him resulted in the first minute goal against India. Since then, India was down, trying to level. In second half, while trying to score, opened up and conceded two more goals. Sandeep Singh's over all ball control is pathetic, and it's big trade off India makes for his drag flicking abilities. Forwards where as listless as ever, though Turkey was playing the match of his life and defended beautifully. The two goal deficit is going to cost India dear later in the tournament. The forward line up is needed to be rapped in the knuckles for this.

Other losses were expected, though Archers have kept the Tricolour high. But how long? Over to you Le-Hesh.

Friday, August 13, 2004

The Gold Hunt - Shooting

Ok, so officially the event starts today. Some say that Anjali Vedpathak Bhagwat is a better prospect of medal than even Anju Bobby George.

Reason is simple. Although like Anju, she is 5th rank holder (in 10 mt Air Rifle Event), but unlike the long jumper she has beaten every one above her rank one time or the other. Her performance in Commonwealth and World Championship presents a lot of hope. Last year in Milan, she is achieved first spot by hitting bull's eye 49 out of 50 times beating world no. 1 Lioubav Galkina of Russia.

She was also the Champion of Champions in a combined competition for men and women in the World Cup Finals in Munich in 2002. She beat 10 of the best men and women rifle shooters to be crowned the best rifle shooter. She also achieved 8th spot during Sydney Olympics for which she had got only 15 days to prepare.

But it's not a smooth run. She will have to fend off world no 1 Lioubav Galkina of Russia, double world record holder Li Du of China, world champion Katerina Kurkova of the Czech Republic, Sydney Olympic silver medallist Cho Hyun Kang of South Korea and World Cup Finals champion Sonja Pfeilschifter of Germany.

Also in her other event, 50 meter Rifle Three-position is an outdoor event, and Athens is quite windy. Her accuracy as well as rank ( no. 11) is not very convincing. Let's hope she keeps her cool and shoot to fame.

The other strong for a medal would be in men's doubletrap through World No. 3 Major Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore, who has grown in stature by leaps and bounds in the world arena. The 34-year-old from Jaipur won the gold in the Sydney World Cup earlier this year that saw him gaining in confidence. Recently he won another gold in the Czech Masters. He also won the bronze in the World Shooting Championship in Nicosia, Cyprus last year .

14th August is the D-day. There can't be more fitting Independence Day gift than an Olympic medal in these circumstances.

Thursday, August 12, 2004

The Gold Hunt - Track and Field

Anju George, that's it. Rest of them, if did extremely well, can come 6th or 7th. The long jumper, till date remains our biggest hope for a medal in Athens. She will be the flag bearer as well.

With out any doubt she is a rarety beacause Track and Field has never been India's forte but a Bronze in the Manchester Commonwealth Games, a Gold at the Busan Asiad and most importantly a Bronze in the World Championship in Paris has changed the history. All these can be put together to equal fifteen Sachin Tendulkar centuries. One medal at Athens will make it equal to thirty of them and a grand slam of atheletics will be complete.

But there are some problems. Although she has been hovering betwenn 4th and 5th rank this year, she has not been able to cross the 7 meters barrier till now. Her rivals have been doing that regularly, especially Tatyana Lebedeva. As of now, Gold seems to be out of reach as her personal best is only 6.74, though she also had a wind assisted jump of 6.82 at Doha classic. But Bronze is very much within her reach.

Only time will tell whether she jumps herself and India to glory or not.



Kick Me, Suck Me - I am an IT Professional

There is a saying in Hindi - Dian Bhi Do Ghar Chhod Ker Shikar Kerti Hai( Even a witch, when she goes fetching for her prey, she skips her neighbourhood and acquaintances).

Azim Premji, the whole and soul Wipro empire, is even worse than a witch. Why? This is why . Two days back Mr Premji have requested Karnataka Government to roll back the tax increase on IT products, instead double the Professional tax on IT employees because they already have high earning. Great going sir ! Keep sucking our blood like leeches because we are up for grabs. But hello? What about your own earnings and 75 % stake in the company business.

All these years he had been respected as a great entrepreneur and a down to earth person. For a short period of time, he was the richest person after Bill Gates, on paper. Great entrepreneur he is but down to earth my foot! I always had my doubts whether he deserves the respect he gets. Slowly and Surely, he is exposed.

The little known fact is that Wipro is among the worst payers in the industry. The employees satisfaction is abysmally low and attrition is very high. When company reached billion dollar mark, they didn't have a penny for their employees. He is enjoying the unlimited benefit of tax holiday on the exports. Now the company is billion dollar and he is not willing to pay more tax and now he his eyeing the pocket of those people who have helped him to build his empire. Capitalist bigot!

We have to pay more because we can and there are millions who don't pay at all. He didn't have any suggestions to increase the tax net. And what about the other professionals who or not in IT field. What about the his majesties like Premji who have billion dollar incomes? He doesn't want tax on the dividends either. So in short, he wants everything which may help in swelling his wealth and every one else may go for fishing.

Selfishness is not living as one wishes to live, it is asking others to live as one wishes to live. One such selfish guy he is.

Wednesday, August 11, 2004

The Gold Hunt - Weight Lifting

If you are banking on it, then you can't be blamed. But apart number one ranked Malleshwari, forget about others. Here is the reason behind it.

That day they were showing an interview of Kunjurani Devi on some news channel . She was asked about her preparation. Her reply gave me a thorough jolt. According to her, representing her country in the Olympics itself is a big honour, however she will try for the medal as well !

This has been the attitude of most of the players till now because I have heard many a fathers beaming with pride for having their sons as Olympians. No wonder we have drawn almost a blank till now. Content with participation and a job in Railways, Tisco, ONGC whatever.

Malleshwari also have had a fair share of the problems. Motherhood and other family problems have kept her out of training for almost a year. She had won a Bronze in Sydney 69 Kg, by lifting 240 kg. But this category is out of bounds for her because Asian record itself is 270 kg now. But there is a grit on her face. She looks confident. She has now reduced her weight to 63 kg to compete in this category. She is expected to lift 250 kg, which gives her an outside chance of a medal.

Not many are aware that for Sydney Olympics, Malleshwari had been advised to move up from the 63 kg class to the 69 kg class mainly because of a possible chance of a medal in this weight category. This time she has been advised to move down to 63 kg. Let's hope it works for her this time as well.

The Prank Which Went Too Far

Yesterday I was watching MTV Bakra, which reminded me of a funny incident which happened a long time ago. There are some pranks which are unusual and some pranksters who are even more unusual. This post is about one such prank and prankster.

I was in X standard, so it was time for our first board examination. Ours was the ICSE board, which along with my school is very particular about English Language paper. Already, at that time the passing percentage in any subject at my school was 60, and when it was Eng. Lang., teachers were very strict in marking. And when it was Comparatives, the situation was much more tougher.

Comparatives were our pre-board exams. One was six months before the boards, the other was three months before. Every thing from paper setting, examination process, to marking was akin to boards. We had to go to a different center to take exams, the invigilators use to from outside, the paper checking was be done by the teachers from other branches(our school has 20 branches in Lucknow at the last count) and the result was announced as a combined for all the branches. Some reckoned, it was tougher than even boards. A good performance here was a perfect morale booster. The major hurdle was English language paper, the Mt Everest.

We were a group of four( Hemant, Amit, Abhinandan and myself) who used to sit together. Our first Comparative was about to begin and we all were nervous. Just a day before the first paper, English Language, Amit announced that he had come to know about the topic of Composition(similar to essay) for the paper . Composition was the key in this paper. It used to be about 40 marks. A score above 20 was princely while most used to get below 15. If the Composition went good, chances of securing 60 over all were bright.

But there was a catch. Hemu and Abhi were delighted but I wasn't because Amit was a big prankster. He had played many a prank on us and we had felled for them. I was sure that this was his one of those pranks, but the other two guys could not see it. Once again, he looked so believable. The topic he told was - " As I was walking down the road...." . We had to write a story after that.

Both of them swung into action. They wasted 3 hours writing a story each , went to our English Language teacher for getting it checked. They didn't tell about the paper-out stuff but got the essay checked for corrections and mistakes. When they were sure that the essay is as close to perfect, they returned home and mugged it. I knew this was the prank which had gone too far. I was pretty sure that the day after was not going to be good for Amit as Hemu and Abhi will be up his throat . It didn't went good for Amit but for different reason.

When the paper was presented to me next day, to my utter shock, one of the topics of the Composition was to write a story after " As I was walking down the road...." . I couldn't believe it. This time it was for the real ! I cursed myself for not believing Amit . I could see the happy faces of Hemant and Abhinandan while writing the paper. I expected the same countenance on Amit's face but he looked very strange. Neither smiley, nor weepy. The real story unfolded two hours late.

That was a prank no doubt. But the amazing part was that it turned out to be true. Amit, himself had done no preparation for the essay as he had lied and that explained his sheepish expression during the paper. Needless to say, the only two persons who passed in English Language were Hemant Kumar Upadhyay and Abhinandan Jain. This is nothing to take away from both of them because they were brilliant students even otherwise .Later that year both were the toppers from our school in ICSE.

Amit, the prankster and myself, the skeptic had failed in the paper of Eng. Lang. in the Comparatives. Captain Amit Kumar Srivastava is still the same old pranksar. I pity his Indian Army colleagues.

Tuesday, August 10, 2004

The Gold Hunt - Tennis

Ask me one player whom I could bet my life on and my answer would be Leander Paes. He does not give his 100 % percent when playing for the country, rather he gives 300%. What else one could explain the reason behind his phenomenal success in Davis Cups? He plays the game with passion and when plays for the country, this passion manifolds. ATP rankings don't daunt him as he has felled many an aces in his career. The kind of respect he generates in the circuit is awesome, ask Martina Navratilova for the confirmation.

Paes is the sheer reason why I would hope a medal in Tennis and to add to that, we have Bhupathi back. The former world champions, nicknamed the Indian Express, showed they meant business by winning the Toronto Masters title on August 1 in their first tournament appearance together in more than a year. It was a dream comeback for the three Grand Slam winners who split in 1999. These are the good signs for the Athens. Hope their form continues. It would have been much better, had they practiced for some tournaments more.

Between 2002 and Toronto event this month , the duo have played together in 17 matches and won all, including the Asian Games final in Busan and five Davis Cup rubbers.

This is Leander's 4th and probably the last Olympics. Though he has already won a Bronze in Atlanta in 1996, defeating Fernando Meligeni of Brazil, I think he is capable of Gold together with Mahesh. The Olympics are quite literally in Paes' genes. He was conceived during the 1972 Munich Games which his parents attended: father Vece representing India in field hockey and mother Jennifer in basketball.

Destiny's child, both my money and hopes are on him.

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Kaisa Mahsoos Ker Rahe Hain ?

The more I watch these news channels (especially the vernacular ones) , the more I get irritated. The above mentioned heading is their favourite punch line these days. They seem to have nothing else to ask or do. Not that they care about what poor victims of their attraction really mahsoos about the whole situation. It's just that they want to make news.

They will pop this question on every possible situation. That day when they jumped the gun and wrongly informed the hapless family members of the truck drivers about their release. They asked the same question. Later when reality dawned upon them that there is no release, they again asked the same question. This was repeated day before yesterday as well. It will be kept on repeating well after the hostage drama ends.

In Cricket when India wins or looses, the captain and Man of the match are asked the same query. The query is repeated for the film stars, before and after release of any film or after winning an award. The common man and not so common man, the Page 3s - who ever they catch hold of is besieged with this idiotic query.

Don't they know the answer? Or are they are finding it difficult to fill 24 hours ? This is the crass journalism which is being dumped on us today. These channels thinks that the audience is fool. For them, this is the concept of 'Breaking News ' which can be fed to the news hungry audience, at the expense of the interviewee. In turn, harassing both the party. They won't even themselves know the depth to which they have fallen for the ugly rat race of this sensationalism.

Sometimes I wonder, our good old Doordarshan was much better version as it merely stated facts. I am seriously planning to unsubscribe the channels like Aaj Tak, Zee news, Star News . I can do with less information but not with miss-information.



Monday, August 09, 2004

The Gold Hunt - Hockey

For quiet a few, the heading it self may seem far fetched, me included. I want to assess the realistic chances of India attaining any medal at Athens. I begin with Hockey not because India has the maximum chance in it but simply for the historical reasons.

We are the country whose national sport is Hockey(the only Gold fetching event so far) and who have won the gold most number of times, albeit the last on was 24 years back in Moscow Olympics. We must also note that due to cold war, many (9 to be precise) prominent team did not compete in this US-led boycott of the 1980 Olympic Games. The boycotting teams included the top 3 teams at Montreal, 1976 - New Zealand (gold), Australia (silver) and Pakistan (bronze). Germany, Holland and Great Britain opted out as well. So no big deal at all.

What are the current chances? We are in Group B with Holland, Australia, Argentina, South Africa and New Zealand. A tough group but not as much as the Group A - the group of the death this time. It has Pakistan, Germany, Spain, South Korea, Egypt and Great Britain. For India, there two key games. The first one against Holland especially, and the one against Aussies. That's because these two are the major contenders for the semifinal spot. Rest of them are as good or bad as India. If India is doesn't lose(wins or draws) both of these matches and wins rest of it's matches, the chance of semi-final berth are bright.

One year back, I would have put it not beyond India. They had drawn and defeated Australia in their country. They had defeated Pakistan everywhere. But more recently i.e. 2 months back, they were in shambles. Infighting, bad planning had thrown them into a incoherent unit. After that, the have regrouped a bit. They have given good performances in Europe, especially against Germany, a freak loss to Ireland notwithstanding.

Penlaty Corner
Playing eleven does not look formidable enough, but with some planning, they might click. They have surprised every one in past. Loss of Jugraj Singh is a big blow but India has to get over that. He could have proved very valuable with his drag flicks and penalty corner saves. He is live wire in the field. Unfortunately, we don't have his replacement. The problem of a missing drag flicker in Indian Hockey team is as compelling as that of a missing wicket keeper in Indian Cricket team. Sandeep Mishra from under 19 will be the drag flicker for us.

India is terrible in earning penalty corners. And even of they earn, the hardly convert. Mishra and Dileep Turkey would be the key.

Goal Keeper
Goalkeeper Devesh Chauhan, who was one man army at defense till six months back is out of sorts. He and Jugraj were the reason behind India's recent success. He needs to get his confidence and movements back. His form will largely decide India's reach.

As far as forwards are concerned, Dhanraj is our main hope. Although, he is past his prime and has lost much of his speed, he still makes good moves. His and Sachin's careers have tread similar path but like Sachin, he still instills tremendous respect and fear amongst the opponents. They waste at least two defenders marking him. If he can release ball a little bit earlier, it will be good for the team.

Gagan Ajit Singh has to move on from his reverse hits. After those two breathtaking reverse flicked goals last year against Pakistan, he tries to take most of his hits on the reverse, only. Need to get out of that fast. We don't need these self plays. Deepak Thakur is Ok, though his finishing leaves a lot to be desired. Same is the case with Dhillon. The least I say about Prabhjot Singh is the better. A good for nothing player. Hardly maneuvers any move and can't hit even in a empty post. He should have been dispensed with a long time back.

Defense is solely in hand of Dileep Turkey because rest of them slept through out the champions trophy and Olympic qualifiers. Neither, can they take their foot out of the way, nor can they tackle the ball away. Captain has to take the reins and marshal the rest of the sweeper backs. Last six months, India have been conceding too many goals and penalty corners- and major culprit is the shoddy defending. They cover the ball instead of opposition forwards, in the process, giving them free hits.

This doesn't give a rosy picture, but as I said earlier - the team has the surprise element and let's hope the team surprises us big time, this time. A lot of that depends upon the strategy and the start. I think Jagbir Singh and the little known German coach Gerhard Rach, are equal to the task. Go India go!

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August Kranti

Today, Mahatma Gandhi started famous Bharat Chhodo Andolan, in 1942 prompting Britishers to leave 5 years later, eventually. We all remember this from our favourite text books. However, there was another dare-devil act, which took place on same day, 17 years earlier and shook the mighty pride of the British - The Kakori Rail Dacoity, but failed to find many text books. These two incidents are no coincidence. Infact, Bharat Chhodo Andolan itself was launched in memory of Kakori Rail Dacoity.

Kakori, near Lucknow is now famous for it's Kebabs and Mangos. But for the locals and a few interested ones, it's much more than mere that . The brilliant planning and execution of the plot by a handful, patriotic, amateur revolutionaries can be adjudged by the fact that only one life was lost, that too by a stray bullet. Mind you, the act was not done for the loot. It was done mainly as an act of rebellion.

Crestfallen by the calling off of non-cooperation movement, some youths formed Hindustan Republican Association( HRA) in October 1924. A selected group of ten from HRA carried out the robbery on 8 Down train on August 9, 1925. The magnificent ten included the planner - Ram Prasad 'Bismil', Chandra Shekhar 'Azad', Ashfaq Ulla Khan, Rajendra Nath Lahiri, Roshan Singh among others.

The British government was completely taken aback by this audacious robbery and dubbed the event as the Kakori train dacoity. The repercussions of this courageous incident were swift action and relentless persecution of all the leaders of HRA. Within a month detailed investigations were carried out and slowly but surely the government netted each revolutionary associated with the Kakori Kaand.

Except Chandra Shekhar Azad, every one else was caught. He never surrendered and chose to end his life in Alfred National Park, Allahabad, when surrounded by the Police after being betrayed. Ram Prasad Bismil, Ashfaq Ulla Khan, Rajendra Nath Lahiri, Roshan Singh were sentenced to death. All died smiling.

Ram Prasad Bismil's famous words still echo today -
Sarforishi Ki Tamanna Ab Humarey Dil mein Hai, Dekhna hai Zor kitna Baju-e-Qatil mein Hai.

True sons of soil, these. Brought a different August Kranti.

Tuesday, August 03, 2004

Kettle Calling Pot Black

This is a piece of conversation which took place between me and my landlord, a few months back . I had gone to his place to discuss the terms and conditions on which I could rent his apartment.

Landlord : "So you are from UP ?"
Myself : I thought he might get frightened and shoo me off, therefore I decided to be more specific to sound less frightening. "I am from Lucknow, uncle."

Landlord: "It's one and the same thing."
No it's not, I wanted to stay, but smiled instead.

Landlord : "What to you do, my son?"
Myself : "Sir, I am working as Group Leader in a CAD/CAM related Software Company."

Landlord : "How long have you been working ?"
Myself : "It's almost 5 years now."

Landlord : "I am seeing Poona's culture changing. Young boys and girls do not get a job. That's because people from other parts of the country are migrating and taking job over here. It has become tough for our kids now."
Myself : He was blunt , though I also felt pity on him. I thought, probably his son was jobless or something. I ventured "What does your son do ?"

Landlord: He beamed "Oh, he is working in Singapore. He is working as senior manager in a software firm."

It was my turn to frown. That was very convenient. If I come to another part my country for work , I am an outsider, while at the same time if one may go to some other country to earn big bucks, it's perfectly Ok.

These guys don't realize that Govn. of India didn't create IIT - Kanpur only for Kanpurites or IIT- Mumbai only for Mumbites. These places are there to attract best of the talents, which ever part of the country one hails from.

Similarly, companies want best talent to work for them, which may not necessarily be local. It is they who go to the best of the college campuses fetching for talent and this is in their interest. It adds to the prosperity of not only the individual but to the company's and that region's prosperity as well.

I was pretty keen on getting his house on rent so I changed the topic and concentrated on terms and condition. So much so for the stereotype. They won't get away in a day anyway, I thought.

Monday, August 02, 2004

31st July - Not Another Day

July the Thirty First has come and gone, but not many are aware that two Greats are associated with this day. Legendry poet, novelist and writer of short stories - Munshi Premchand was born on this day 125 years ago, while it's also marks the death anniversary of legendry playback singer Mohammad Rafi.

In the times, when writers used to pen the stories around fantasies, kings, royals - Premchand's hero would invariably be a common, downtrodden man especially, a villager. He gave literature a new hero, who fight the system for his survival (Godan). Perhaps the hardships and struggle which he himself suffered throughout his life, found vent in his pen. Nobody else have conserved the more truer picture of an Indian village at that time. Like most of the other writers he was also a true patriot and that could be seen in his writings (Karma Bhumi). He even gave up his job at Mahatma Gandhi's call . Courtesy my mother, I have had a brief introduction to his wroks at a very early age. I have read his Godan, Gaban, Karm Bhumi, Rang Bhumi and Nirmala. I have also enjoyed short stories like Pariksha, Namak Ka Daroga and Kafan. Sadly, not many remember him these days.

Premchand's ignorance is understandable, but Mohd. Rafi's is bewildering. On every Radio, TV channel one can listen countless, timeless Rafi songs aired daily, but hardly any one cares to show a remembrance. He was a complete singer with no formal training. He could sing a romantic, sad, patriotic, bhajan, classical with equal élan. No could touch his level of popularity and success for two decades. Not even Kishore. That is of course, before Aradhna happened. They said Kishore didn't sing from mouth but from the heart. But Rafi seemed to sing from even more deeper down - the gut. He was most breathtaking when music was minimal. He let his voice carry the whole sung. Kishore was never able to achieve this and always admired Rafi for this. Rafi even sang for Kishore in a few films.

My top 3 favourite Rafi songs are
- Mai Zindagi Ka Saath Nibhata Chala Gaya ( Hum Dono)
- Yeh Dunia Usi ki Zamana Usi Ka, Mohbbat Mein Jo Hogaya Ho Kisi Ka ( Kashmir Ki Kali )
- Kahin Koi Ek Nazuk Si Ladki, Bahut Khoob Surat Mangar Sanwali Si( Shankar Hussain)

Let's spare a thought or two for them.