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Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs – Twitter Edition.

April 21, 2011

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The Afridi Volte Face.

April 4, 2011

Everybody was all praise for Afridi after the India v Pakistan match. He handled the press conference very well, gave straightforward answers, and even questioned the need to hate India, when India and Pakistan have so much in common. I, for one, was particularly impressed with his maturity and level headedness.

In a way, his job was the most difficult job during the World Cup. His team had to face allegations of matchfixing, when it was actually the fault of 3 individuals, and not the entire team. Every loss was analysed mercilessly, and every dropped catch (Kamran Akmal, I am looking at you. WTF?) was viewed under the microscope. I honestly don’t think the Pakistani team should be subjected to this scrutiny. They don’t deserve it. Sadly, everything Pakistani is being intertwined with politics (and religion to a large extent).

When Afridi had some good things to say about India, it didn’t really take long before girls started declaring their love for him, and guys started proclaiming his brilliance. Mind you, these were the very same people who swore at Afridi for making that comment against Sachin (God). Including myself. But as I said, his initial interviews seemed honest and forthright, and guess what? Made sense.

When the recent interview of Afridi to a Pakistani channel where he said ‘Jo Musalmaano ka dil hain/Jo Pakistani ka dil hain, woh unka ho nahi sakta’ was making the rounds, it took no time before people started abusing him. Including myself. He also (very rightly) mentions that Indian media goes overboard, and loses objectivity. Most people are outraging over the fact that he said Indians dont have large hearts. Incidentally, these are the same people who leave no stone unturned to say all things Indian are awesome, and nobody/country can match India’s greatness.

Hence, those offended by the ‘Pakistani…..’ statement by Afridi are just among those zillion jingoist lynch mob. What really is worth outraging is that Afridi referring to Pakistanis as Muslims and (inherently) Indians as Hindus. This is an outright insult to the millions of Muslims living in India (who at last count, are more than the population of Pakistan). This has not happened for the first time, by the way. During the IPL fiasco last year, there was a similar comment made by Sohail Tanvir (watch from 4:10) where he talks about all of Indians as Hindus. Another notable incident would be Shoaib Malik apologising to ‘the Muslims around the World’ for the loss against India in the 2007 T20 WC. Seriously now?

Some people suggest that Afridi’s comment is in retaliation to Gambhir dedicating the Indian victory over Pakistan and the World Cup to 26/11 victims. Now two things about this,

1. Afridi’s first interview to Dawn News came a day before Gambhir gave that interview to Hindustan Times. And it is now acknowledged that Afridi’s statement had nothing to do with Gambhir’s statement.

2. Gambhir’s remark about dedicating the Indian win over Pakistan and the World Cup win to 26/11 can be interpreted in both ways. Yesterday, at a reception at the Taj in Mumbai, where the Indian team was staying, Harbhajan Singh told the hotel staff that ‘We have not forgotten the 26/11dedicated the World Cup win to the victims. Sachin Tendulkar dedicated the test series victory over England to 26/11 victims. 26/11 is deep ingrained in our memories, and nothing can make us forget it. So don’t read too much into it when we dedicate a win over Zimbabwe to the 26/11 victims as well.

Just the day before he was advocating peace and harmony, and the very next day he says India and Pakistan’s relations cannot be bettered. It takes memory of a goldfish to forget what one said and come up with a contrasting statement the very next day. But, I don’t think Afridi meant what he said in the latest interview. I am completely willing to believe that there could be some pressure on him to retract his earlier comment made in a good manner. But one thing I honestly wish for, is the Pakistanis who think Pakistan represents the Muslims of the world and India represents the Hindus to stop doing it. Nothing can be more foolish than that. I don’t know what gives them that impression.

Also, the usual stupidity of exchanging words has begun. Why don’t people understand that one person’s views are his own, and not the entire nation’s? Too much to ask for some rationality? Hope better sense prevails on both sides (specially the Indian media who are sensationalising this issue again).

You Know What Just Happened?

April 3, 2011

Did it sink in yet? Can you believe it? Did you pinch yourself? We, India, are the World Champions.

We were billed the pre-tournament favourites. There was talk about the team wanting to win the World Cup for Sachin (God). It was a steady and impressive campaign. A few collapses happened in between. A billion cricket experts suddenly started panning the team. A few players were abused. Their mothers and sisters were also abused. But, the cricketers did what they did best. Play the game.

And boy, how did they play? Sehwag started the World Cup campaign with a boundary and Dhoni finished it emphatically with a six. India went into a frenzy after the win. People were crying (including yours truly) and grinning at the same time. For a country which considers cricket as it’s religion, winning the World Cup is like giving its followers a one-way first class ticket to Paradise.

Here are some of the takeaways from this amazing achievement.

(God)

> Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar. Dude, Sachin. Seriously. How? Your 6th World Cup, and you are still among the top 3 run getters of the tournament? Surely Boost is not the only secret of your energy? Oh wait, I forget that you are God. My bad.

> All the predictions and analysis by the cricket experts were proved wrong. Everybody. Literally everybody has an opinion about what is to be done. I read all sorts of posts and articles by people preparing a guidebook for India against teams. There were posts/articles which had tips on how to spin a coin at the toss, advising what to do (if and) when we win the toss, correcting the technique of our batsmen, explaining what is the correct seam position to our bowlers. And I am glad that more often than not, they have all been proven wrong by the Team India.

Just a gentle reminder. Nobody knows what is best for the cricketers than the cricketers themselves.

And to those who are still doubting India’s supremacy, India beat Australia, Pakistan and Sri Lanka – 3 of the most dangerous ODI units, on its way to World Supremacy.

> A game of Cricket, as far as I know, usually takes two innings to decide a winner. But surprisingly, some people have the special ability to foresee a result either before the match, or after the first innings. People predicted that Holland would win against England after the first innings, that Canada would upset Pakistan after the first innings and incessant tweeting and cussing about having lost the WC after Sri Lanka’s first innings happened.  Moral of the story: Nobody can predict the outcome of a game. Unless you are a bookie/matchfixer, but more on that later.

(Dhoni saying ‘Thank you very much’. Also, WATCH THIS -> The Dhoni Twirl)

> Dhoni is not lucky. No. He is not lucky. You are a douche to repeat that each time India pulls of a stunner. He is the best thing to have happened to Indian Cricket in a long time. Some of his creative decisions have reaped rich dividends, and he has an assured explanation to every decision of his. Which clearly means, he is a thinking captain. But the poor chap is being overburdened with a lot of pressure of leading the World’s No.1 Test team, World’s No.1 ODI team. And not to forget the World Cup winning T20 team, World No.1  IPL team (Heh), and World No.1 T20 Champions team. And who can forget *THAT* six? Generations will talk about that. The Zen like concentration, the monk like calm while hitting the shot. Man. The guy is not lucky. He is a legend. Save him, and use him preciously, I say.

> Statistics suck. No Cricket statistic is worth giving any importance to. Except Sachin’s. He is God. Ok?  They said Pakistan beat India at all their encounters in Mohali so far. They said no century in a World Final went in vain. They said no team won a World Cup on home turf. I am Batman.

> Matchfixers exist. But only in your head(?). No. I am not being naive or gullible. I know Cricket is going through it’s darkest phases what with all the matchfixing and spotfixing allegations. But, seriously? You think a few hundred crores is all is needed for a player to deny himself and his country the ultimate glory? Heck, by winning the World Cup, he will appear on countless TV shows and pop-up during every World Cup hereafter talking about ‘India’s 2011 WC Quest’. He’ll make a lot more moolah through commercials and TV deals. There is even a chance of him getting a National Award (I don’t know if cricketers are eligible, but if Arjun Rampal, Saif Ali Khan and Roadside Romeo can get it, anybody can). Maybe he’ll get a Padma award of his choice. By claiming that the match is fixed, you are not only insulting the very cricketers whom you consider your God, but also yourself, by questioning your faith.

> Other sports in India. Tough chance for them. Though I don’t know how cricket’s popularity can increase even more than today, but by this win, we have guaranteed that at least for the next 28 years, Cricket will be the main faith of India. Maybe a new hot tennis player reaching the 4th round of a Grand Slam will balance things out. Also, Saina Nehwal, you rock. Ashwini Ponnappa, I heart you.

> Rajnikanth. “Anhoni ko honi karde, honi ko anhoni,ek jagah jab jama ho teeno…RAJNI,GAJNI AUR DHONI” read a tweet. Honestly, Rajnikanth is doing no good to stop the incessant barrage of stupid Rajni jokes by helping India win like this. He should do it nondescriptly, like he has always been doing.

> AR Rahman. Yes, I am a fanboy, and I will judge you if you are not. Sachin lifting the World Cup, and Rahman’s Vande Mataram playing in the background was sheer poetry.

> Commentary. While this is arguably among the best World Cup’s ever, the commentary was lame. Also, what is it with Ravi Shastri being there whenever India does well? He went into an ultrasonic pitch when Yuvraj hit those six 6’s in WC T20 2007. Almost killed many people by bellowing around like a madcap when India won the T20 WC. And, ‘Dhoooniiiiiii, finishes of in style’. Seriously? It just struck me, his commentary can be used for EVERY sport which is played with a ball(s). Make no mistake about it. Heh.

> Superstitions. I am sure most of us have developed new superstitions by now. Some of us wore the same clothes we wore on the days India was playing. Some people had the misfortune of being asked to sleep during the match so as to assure India’s victory. I was standing all along the Indian innings yesterday. So, yeah.

Needless to say, if there is one place I’d give an arm to be right now, it would be anywhere in India. Anywhere. I don’t mind whichever place. Just the feeling of soaking in the glory and pride of the nation along with my countrymen in my country is something to die for. A few generations later, I can silently reminisce with pride and nostalgia that I was there, with my team, while they made me and my country proud.

Jai Hind.

India v Pakistan and Cricket in General.

March 30, 2011

A short and a quick post about today’s match

India v Pakistan. This the reason why cricket was invented. No other sporting rivalry can match the hype and pressure an India v Pakistan gets. People stop working, and the nation’s productivity dips. Literally. And today, what was billed as ‘The Greatest Match Ever’ was played. India and Pakistan face each other in a Semi Final of the World Cup. The only thing bigger than this would be India and Pakistan playing in the Final of a  World Cup. The stakes were high, and useless statistics were flying all around. India beat Pakistan in all the matches they played in a World Cup they say, to which some said, Pakistan always won at Mohali against India. As Zaltzman rightly said, ‘for every stat, there is a counterstat’.

  • I saw the match with about 250-300 people (Indians + Pakistanis) in my University. Honestly, I never thought I’d have such a good time watching the match as I had today. Every single taken by the Indians was cheered by us Indians at the venue, and every dot ball was cheered by the Pakistanis present. The slogan chanting and the name calling was insanely fun, and it lasted for every single minute of the match. Right from Sehwag (he who can play on water and call it a good pitch to bat on), Sachin (God), Raina and all our bowlers, everybody put forward their A-game today. I wont be all politically correct and courteous about this, but India totally outplayed Pakistan today. Barring Wahab ‘Whadaplaya’ Riaz, Pakistan sucked and did not deserve to win the match today. So, it was fun booing and jeering at the Pakistani fans today, though it was all done with no swear words and all in good humour. And, Afridi’s postmatch talk is a true example of sportsmanship and grace. So, well played in the World Cup, Pakistan, and good luck.

  • Why Sachin is God you ask? Simple. God is defined as ‘A man of such superior qualities that he seems like a deity to other people’, and Sachin is that deity for me (and a few millions). I respect your religion and choice of worship, so I expect you to do the same. Respect my choice of God. You remember that sequence today at the stadium? Someone in the crowd was holding a poster which read ‘We want 1983 to repeat’ or some such, and right then Sachin walked in to the frame. That gave me goosebumps, and I bet to a billion others.
  • People who think Cricket is a waste of time. Why fret over it? Let other people follow their interests no? Why should you have a problem with somebody’s interests? Half the fun of watching cricket is watching it with like-minded people. So, when we obsess over cricket on Twitter/Facebook, just let us be. If possible, join the madness, else ignore us. But you can by no means bigot against Cricket crazy fans. If you do, this smacks of hypocrisy.
  • To people who say ‘Why does your patriotism come to the fore during a India v Pakistan match’. Jump and die.
  • To people who said today’s match was fixed. Allow me to sponsor the treatment to fix your brain.

P.S: India won against Pakistan in all their WC encounters. :p

Apple for Dummies.

March 4, 2011

Techknowledgey.

February 26, 2011

Too much happening in the technology world these days. While I am drooling over the Android powered Notion Ink Adam tablet, Motorola is launching it’s Xoom tablet in a couple of days with a steep price tag. Wonder how they plan to beat iPad at that price point. Being a Management student I should be able to dish out a few complicated sounding marketing jargon about the Xoom’s segmentation, position etc by now. Midway through my Management course, and I cannot have a half decent conversation in the famed ‘Management jargon’. Time to panic.

The last few days there was a lot of outrage about Nokia ditching Symbian for Windows 7. Stephen Elop, CEO of Nokia, said it is now a war of the ecosystems. Totally agree with him. I do not understand what the outrage is all about. I think it is a very good move, both for Microsoft and Nokia. And I am super thrilled at the prospect of having the ‘Blue Screen Of Death’ (BSOD) on my mobile phone. Wow, a BSOD screensaver would be super, no?

Now this is what I predict will happen soon.

  • There will be a convergence of ecosystems. Android apps will soon be available on Windows7/WebOS/BlackberryOS and vice-versa. I am discounting iOS from this because Apple is unpredictable. Now there is already some talk about the Blackberry Playbook being able to run Android apps on it.
  • RIM/Blackberry will soon start licensing the popular Blackberry Messaging (BBM) to other platforms. That is one way RIM can stay afloat and still remain relevant in the mobile industry, what with their horrendous hardware and ridiculous software.
  • iOS will be the new Symbian. Apple imposing restrictions on developers, and now demanding 30% of the sales made through purchases made within iOS apps is stretching it a bit too far. Apple must remember that iPhone is what it is today only because of the apps which the developers make. Android will be the OS of choice in the not so far future for the developer community.

I could be totally wrong with all these points, but with the way companies are now thinking beyond the obvious, I don’t think this is not possible. And if this does happen, I know I’ll have a future as a tech-pundit.

The Computer and Me.

February 22, 2011

Back in 1995, when I was in the third standard, I was a bright prospect for the Indian cricket team. My friends used to fear my bowling, and comparisons with Wasim Akram and Allan Donald were made. Everybody knew that it was just a matter of time before I broke into the international scene and start bowling over maidens (Heh. see what I did there?).  Summer vacations were devoted to cricket. One summer evening, my Dad comes home with a few boxes. I ask him ‘What is this?’, to which he replies ‘It’s a Computer’.

Now, I was a total ace at computers at school. I used to rock at LOGO, and loved making squares and rectangles by writing ‘code’. And this arrival of a computer at home got me excited. I was looking forward to writing complex algorithms and code on LOGO and impress the dudes back in my class. To say that I was crestfallen when I did not find LOGO installed on that computer would be an understatement. I refused to eat Pizza or drink Coke till I get LOGO on ‘My Computer’. So the next day, I was handed over a couple of  floppies and asked to copy LOGO from my school. I knew jack shit about copying files and all that jazz and all that mattered to me at that point was creating squares and rectangles on LOGO.

So, I show off the two floppies to my friends in the bus and must have said something to the effect of ‘you suck, I rock’, after which I was suddenly left with only one floppy. I was doomed. How will I carry home LOGO? How will I write code? How will I change the world? I don’t know why, but a senior from Class V said ‘Don’t cry, I’ll give you some games on this floppy’. Now, first thing. I wasn’t crying. Second, What the heck are games? My curiosity got the better of me, and I gave him the floppy and making him ‘god promise’ that he’ll return the floppy the next day.  I returned home that day and told my parents that there was a ‘current off’ at school. The next day I hop on to the bus with maximum excitement, and run up to the senior and ask him for the floppy. The ‘god promise’ worked, and he brought the floppy. He also gave me a paper with some instructions written on it and asked me to follow the same. I wait for the classes to end patiently and looked forward to reach home and do some computer wizardry. Classes end. I zoom home. Was stuffed with food. Ate through it while watching Swat Kats. Told my mom teacher doesn’t know how to give LOGO.

And then, I take the red pill.

Jazz Jackrabbit, ladies and gentlemen, is the most awesome game ever made (and fittingly, developed by a company called ‘Epic Mega Games’). You must play it if you haven’t. And thus began my tryst with computers. It slowly graduated to Dave, Mario, Pinball, Wolf, etc. I was particularly glued to a particular game called ‘Tycoon’. It was about building railroads, airports and developing a city. A lot like Sim City, but lot more fun. I translated all my ambitions of making squares and rectangles on LOGO to building perfectly planned square and rectangular residential areas in the game. It would be fair to credit me with some self-restraint. While my cricket playing time did not really suffer much, my TV watching time definitely did. I slowly started fiddling with the other features of the computer like Paint, Powerpoint, etc. I still remember the pride and joy on my mother’s face when I called her out, and wrote her name on MS Paint. It must be experienced, I tell you. It took me ages to figure out Minesweeper, though. I thought I was supposed to find the Mine in the shortest possible clicks, and to my credit, I did win a few games by finding the Mine on the very first click. It was much later that I was told that I was doing it wrong. My heart broke, and I stopped playing Minesweeper. By now, I acquired the must-have Cricket and Prince of Persia games and my awesomeness reached a whole new level.

Years passed, we shifted cities, but my interest in computers only increased. During one of my escapades, I open the CPU and use a vacuum cleaner to clean the internals. I might have used a high suction power, and the RAM could have been disturbed. This results in the computer not working. My Dad used to live in Indonesia at that time, and the only source of everyday communication with him was through email, as ISD calls at that time were as expensive as onions are today. And now the darned computer refuses to work. I contemplated running away from home for a while, but decided against it, as it was raining, and Delhi’s winter could be really unforgiving. So I lock myself in the room, and start tampering with the CPU. What happened next was sheer genius. I did some wizardry, and a few adjustments and tightening later, the computer worked! I marvel at my brilliance in silence, as I dare not tell my mom what just happened. Feeling smug about self, I go out with my friends and tell them how lucky they are to be in my company.

Many such experiments, some minor failures, and some path-breaking innovations happened. All this while, I knew what I wanted to become when I grow up. A Computer Science Engineer. Now, it might be a gult thing, or whatever, I just wanted to become one of them cool people who write those brilliant programs. I try installing Linux onto my computer with various degrees of failures. I learn HTML, C, C++  (My first ever ‘serious’ program was FLAMES. Heh). I finally get an admit in a college of my choice and in the subject of my choice. And 4 eventful years later, I graduated to become a Computer Science Engineer.

Now here is a tip to all wannabe Computer Science grads : Do not bother to develop your own logic. You will be ‘taught’ some 20 programs (all lame, btw), and will tested on the same at the end of the semester. Only a dudhead would find it difficult to pass through such an exam. Slowly, you’ll get used to the ways and methods of the teaching process of an engineering college. You’ll soon realise that a good teacher is one who tells you what is important for the exams, but not one who will bore you by trying to explain the finer concepts of the subject and eat into your lunch breaks. Your aim at the end of the practical session is simply to get the output by hook or crook, but not to understand the logic of the code. It is all too simple. Whoever said that becoming a good engineer was tough, is wrong. It is wrong to answer questions which are ‘out of syllabus and not covered in class’. You don’t need to sweat it out, but just by-heart those programs which you were ‘taught’ in class. Who knows, you might even top the class if you follow the same technique in all the subjects.

What? That’s it. End of story.

All is well. All is swell.

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