Thursday, June 29, 2006

Football season starts

Last weekend not very happening, except for the inter-IT tournaments' first match! Due to lack of players, Nevis and Ensim colloborated so as to form one team. This was with express permission from the organizers, Maharashtra Krida Mandal. It sounds only fair for otherwise it becomes difficult to form a good team from an employee pool of about 150 or so to compete with teams from companies employing well over thousands!

To start with, only 3 of us: myself, Balya and Amit S turned up upto 1115 hrs. With match scheduled at 1131 hrs, i.e. just 15 minutes to go, we all grew nervous! But, almost miraclously, lot of people turned up, 4 from Ensim, and a lot of Nevis' own players. We had to push a spectator and a ill guy (which is under a little debate now, for he has a wonderful photo in action with the ball in India Express' Pune News Line supplement) to ground to play, though! Wanting to try some different stragtery, we played with only 3 defenders. Fight was pretty tough, but KPIT Cummins managed to score a goal in the first half itself. It was a little sad, because our defender cried for an off side and left the player, who went and... BANG, GOAL! As you can guess, no off side was given by referee. With tough fight continuing, we making amazing moves which only fell short of golden touches, KPIT getting 2-3 yellow cards for screaming at referee and bad fouls, they were still leading well upto 2 minutes left for the game. It was then when we got our much earned chance. A free kick! Balya asked AmitS to take it. Much under pressure, he came crashing on the ball, now resting before a 7-8 people long wall! Seemd impossible, at least from my end of the ground, last defender. BANG, the ball hits the bar! !@#$! But Garry (aka Girish) comes and give the ball a gentle push in the right direction at the right time, with right force! And YO! GOAL! It was a wonderful draw! Now, we all are eager to play the upcoming match this Sunday against IBM! And BTW, AmitS now walks with an air, that he earned for that amazing kick! Though not like Roberto Carlos' banana kick, it really was a beautiful kick.

Here's SagarB's photo scanned from India Express.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Book Review: Matter of Honor and My visit Home

As usual, hectic, but I could steal enough time off last 2 weeks to get over with Matter of Honour and enjoy weekend at my current Head Quarters, Satara. Thanks to leave I managed to get on Monday. My Godfather, the driving force behind the whole of Hem Group Satara, aka my Uncle, aka Mr. Bipin, held a BIG function on account of opening new Tata Motors showrooms in Satara & Karad, Automart certified second hand car sales office, Share Broking agency in Satara and Piaggio ape dealership in Karad. Phew! That's a lot!!! I should point out that all these people giving out dealerships are tooo cunning, shrewd and too particular about the quality of showrooms you build. You should be very tactful while dealing with them. And my uncle almost single handedly managed to acquire all these dealerships! Hats off to him!

The fun doesn't stop here, a lot of well known personalities from Satara: 2 Maharajas (who are believed to be direct decendants of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, link2), Collector (forgot his name) & Senior officials from Tata and Piaggio graced the occasions. I had a chance to meet a lot of my family friends, rather most of them. And it was fun making new friends too. If these were not enough, driving back to Pune late night at 0001 hrs was fun, esp. when you are driving on Pune-Satara highway! I reached Pune (Katraj Ghat) in just 1 hrs 31 mins. It was !@#$ed up roads at Katraj Ghat which leeched another half an hour of mine, which is no even 10kms long. It is such an important part of NH4, and still MSRTC is so reluctant to fix it. Anyway, I reached home safe and sound at 0201 hrs. And had nice time reflecting on fun I had during last 2 days.

Jeffrey Archer's Matter of Honor, kept me pretty much entertained throughout last 2 weeks. Wonderful book, a sure-shot page-turner. It is so fast paced that it could peel the paints off a jet plane! You have to read it to believe me. The fiction revolves around a misplaced/stolen Tsar's Icon, a famous painting. When his father passed away, Scott inherits a single sealed letter, one which has never been opened. As you can guess, the letter will take him to this famous painting, only to discover that the most cunning and ruthless of agents from across the world are after that painting, and he haven't a clue as to why is it so important. Neither do those agents! He is petrified to learn that these agents can murder anyone standing in their way. The story is then about Scott eloping all over Europe using all his wits just to stay alive. Soon he learns that the painting not only holds something of supreme importance to those chasing him, but also ability to exculpate his family from a scar, it, he understands, is Matter of Honour, for him to safeguard this painting!

Currently I'm devouring Bill Bryson's A Short History of Nearly Everything. An excellently succinct (though it is close to 700 pages thick) summary of how earth was born, how old it is, how planets are made, what is black hole, what's a universe, what's the Big Bang, a dying star, a nebulae, an atom, and lot more. And also how scientists went about reaching conclusions for all of them! Off 150 pages I read, geology section bored me to death, but my patience paid off when I hit a section on Einstein, where for the first time I was able to grasp the essence of his GTR, General Theory of Relativity. And the profound effects it had on the scientific world. Though it took me 3+ readings through those pages, it was worth the effort, only so much for beloved Einstein's GTR the century’s most celebrated thinker. For anyone seeking answers to intriguing and intractable questions, it is very likely that Bill might have already answered them here! And you don't have to be too technically oriented to go through it. Though, I whould warn you that not everyone of you will appreciate the quality of this book. This is one book, I'll definitely make a second pass through.

OOps! Am noting that my posts are increasingly lengthier! But I can't help it, there's so much to talk/write/share about. Am I getting too busy to post often, or too lazy.... it's for you to figure out!

Monday, June 12, 2006

Weekend: Mission Impossible 3 and Abdul Kalam's Ignited Minds

While watching MI-3, playing football twice a week and getting over with Ignited Minds, last week was a little satisfying, I'm feeling increasingly occupied these days, for, I have barely been able to catch up with all my emails. Keeping track of latest news, blogs, and /. is turning simply out of question.

Little reluctant but since I was hard pressed for time, I agreed to watch the last show, which is screened at 11.30 in the night. To ensure that we get the tickets, we reached theatre 2 hrs before screening and spent all my free time at CrossWords. Lo and behold! There lay a feast for me!!! In college days I was hunting for Arthur Hailey's books, but only managed to find it now! The next day I went back and bought 2 of them: Hotel & Overload. Yet to start them. The movie is JUST mind boggling! Action scenes, direction, special effects, everything. It's not yet another boisterously noisy movie! All the action scenes are really directed to perfection. If I were to compare, I would say this one is at least 15 times better than it's predecessor, MI-2. The opening scene, helicopter chase, itself will convince you of what I'm saying. I would strongly recommend to ALL the action freaks out there. Of course, you have to over look the fact that all these movies are based on the theme where Americans create something hellishly disastrous only find its way to enemies. And there a hero steps in, leaving behind his family and love only to save the nation. What you should concentrate on is the quality of action scenes!

For most of the weekend, I was stuck with Jeffery Archer's Matter of Honour. And to the frustration of my mom and bro, I refused to let it down throughout Sat & Sun. It took great pestering and constant nagging from them for me to let it down for a few hours and go out with them, only to finish off my own chore!!! How MEAN!

Let the above review not overshadow the joy I had getting through with Kalamji's Ignited Minds: Unleasing the Power Within India. Book's central theme revolves around the fact that India is indeed greatest of the nations, the way we think US or Japan or UK is. He elaborates on why despite this fact we settle for mediocre quality of life. In very simple words, he puts forth what are India's strengths and how can we build on them: The Youth! India by far has the highest ratio of people in working to non-working class!!! Unlike most veterans, he doesn't go to IIT's and IIM's and encourage them to do better, only to see them run away to US. He focuses on school going kids, even in the remotest of villages, because that is the age where he believes you can create an impression and beliefs that are had to change for the rest of your lives!!! It is so surprising to note that he NO WHERE does he mention the need for reservations, a bill that has thrown a stone in hornet's nest.

Kalamji, one man behind developing Indis'a nuclear prowess, making rest of the world know that we exist on the face of this planet, by any standards is THE ONLY Indian president who is really capable of envisioning the change and knowing how to go about it. It's not a surprise that he lead India Vision 2020, a project that will make India find its place in the list of developed nation. And his BEST part is the fact that he believes in himself, believes in his team, believes in you and believes in me! He believes that we all can make a difference, and tells us how!!! A Must Must Must Must Must x 100000.... read for every damn Indian on the face of this planet, this book should finds it way to your bookshelf. So should be his Wings of Fire.

BTW, as a side note, couldn't resist adding this...
Have you ever imagined a non-Muslim being president of a Muslim country! LMAO! Can't even imagine a non-Muslim raising his voice for equality, forget about leading one!!! Never! But you will find a Muslim leading a country whose majority of population is non-Muslim!!! And that country is India, the only example that you can quote for the real meaning of democracy. Then why the hell all Muslims here create a fuss about their minority? Why the !@#$ do they get carried by the words of those SOB politicians how ignite the rage in them only to ensure they remain in power? They should learn to live harmoniously in India, and not get carried away by anti-nationalist bullshit. Kalamji is once again a very great example demonstrating his utter dislike to racism.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Too much to deal with

With deadlines zeroing point-blank on me, last week was very hectic, but weekend getaway to my colleague, Sonia's wedding reception was GREAT! Well, I would say it was rather adventurous, money-wise! In all 9 people were planning to go to Mumbai for this function. All jovial, we went ahead and booked a full BIG private vehicle to commute to and fro Mumbai. What came next was too disappointing, people backed off. Due to some personal reasons, they had to cancel their trips, and guess what, only three of us (myself, Sagar, and Arun) end up going together! The car rental guy refused to cancel MUV and give us a smaller car. What this means is that we it won't be as much fun as we anticipated. The whole idea of booking a private vehicle was to have privacy and make as much noise and fun as we want without disturbing others. Anyway, with wonderful weather, and the idea of getting away from work for some time was good enough a reason to maintain our gaiety. Finally at 1601 hrs (an hour past planned time), we embarked on a wonderful journey towards Mumbai. On the way, we hogged on to snacks at Datta Snacks Center.

Above: Me (R: white shirt+cream trousers) and Sagar (L: black trousers)

Below: Arun (R: in T-shirt)

Reaching the reception hall myself and Sagar spent some time going around and checking the hotel, because I found it extremely unnatural and difficult to keep mouth shut and behave like a good boy in the reception hall with people around. I was gasping in awe, when Sonia and Sameer, the Bride and the Groom stepped into the room. Man, they were looking amazing:

L-R: Boney, Sagar, Me, Sameer, Sonia, Madhura & Arun.

Though I was very hungry and intended to jump off my seat as soon the time dinner was laid down, I ended up eating only piece of the mouth-watering chocolate cake and kulfi. wish I had more if cake for even after a week I can't forget the taste! We came back the same night. Reached Pune on Sunday morning at 0301 hrs. Exhausted I slept and DAMN IT... couldn't get up for the football game. I still feel so guilty for letting that happen.

But, fun ends here. This doesn't go well with the above post, but thought of sharing, nonetheless...
What came next, on Monday evening, was shattering.... I got a call that my maternal Grandmom has passed away. All the wonderful memories I had with her came flooding to my mind. She was keeping terribly ill since a couple of weeks and had just returned from ICU a week back. Whenever I felt feverish, or had a fever, I would go to her, and she would make me a steaming hot cup of magical tea. A cup of it inside my body, and the next day there would be no trace of illness! Such was the power of her love. But, everything that takes birth has to die, every beginning has an end. I wish her Soul Rests in Peace. With this bereavement, this week too has turned out to be pretty taxing.