Friday, April 10, 2009

Friday, September 19, 2008

Olympics, Washington DC - Baltimore trip, Beverly Hills, Movies and more

Time to say Hi! Those who are visiting this space, and still don't find anything new, Thanks, and do hop in at least once in a month. You might find something new in store! With that said, I am making a conscious effort to keep the blog space going, at least with these one or two posts a month.

Its been a totally totally amazing time and lots of events since my last post. True to its spirit, the 2008 Olympics in China kept the promise of being the greatest show in the planet and no doubt, astounding and outstanding with its scale of magnificence, glamor, participation, logistics. It kept me 'wowed' for a long time. There are two important people, Michael Phelps and Usain Bolt. Phelps, made records of all sorts by winning a cool 8 gold medals, the most by anyone in a single Olympics, and totalling his career gold medals to 14, the most by any participant so far. Bolt, landed up becoming the faster runner in the earth, by breaking the 100m, 200m and 4x100 m relay records. On an improvement note, India ended with 3 medals in the Olympics.Credits to Susheel and Vijendar after Abhinav's gold.

And my long weekend was really cool and went really long - began on Aug 28 and ended on Sept 2, took an extra 2 days off from work. I made my first trip to the east coast of the US. It took a 6 hour flight journey to get over there.I visited my sister's family Baltimore, and visited Washington DC and Virginia. Most important attractions I visited include:
Washington DC - Capitol Building, White House, Eternal flame of Kennedy in Arlington National Cementary, Lincoln Memorial, Jefferson Memorial, Washington Memorial and its reflecting pool that is close by. Also various other buildings and Smithsonian museums, from the top of our hop on- hop off bus, if seeing them from outside, is counted in. Most importantly, the best part was the Spy Museum is Washington. Its one of its kind, with a really unique experience that a conventional museum wouldn't offer you. If you visit DC, I'd say, don' t miss it, and don't forget to thank me, once you did :-) Also we just took a drive in and around Baltimore and inner harbor area.

Following the long weekend, on the next Saturday, one of my friends had come down to LA from Orange county, a close by (=30 miles) area. We took a crazy drive all around and finally we decided to roam around Beverly Hills. It was a great place, with awesome houses and roads. We then came to Rodeo Drive, the shopping hub of Beverly Hills. This was a revelation to me, I never visited this area in the last 3 months and the designer shops, the crowd and the wow factor just captivated me. Porsche, Ferrari, Benteley, and whatever brands you name it, chances are that you find in and around the streets of Rodeo drive.

On the Movies front, I watched some really cool movies, My Cousin Winnie, being one of them. Its an early 90s comedy movie. If you haven't, I recommend you watch it. On a family/ drama genre, there's another movie August Rush, which you may not want to miss. It's a 2006 release, did fairly well at the Box Office, nevertheless, a movie that will put you in tears towards the end. Its about a 12 year old boy on his quest to find his parents through music - the story is fairy tale ish, but trust me, once you are into, it captivates you till the end.

Coming to Bollywood, I saw these: Singh is Kingg (My Rating: Okay), Rock on (My Rating:Good), A Wednesday (My Rating:Excellent), Aamir (My Rating:Very Good) and in Tamil, these: Jeyamkondan (My Rating:Very Good), Dhaam Dhoom (My Rating:Okay). Out of all these, I'd say don't miss watching "A Wednesday", its simply brilliant. Outstanding. One of the finest ones I've seen in recent days, with its screen pace, razor sharp play and the best of all - A Wednesday has two of the finest theatre actors in India, Naseeruddin Shah and Anupam Kher, as its protagonists.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Where are our other Abhinavs?

There is an interesting up, close and personal article about Abhinav Bindra in rediff; check that out! Okay, by now, you would have read the numerous articles about Abhinav, his parents, his accolades, his back problem and commando training, his commitment, 0.5 mm 10 m range rifle sport, rewards etc.

My mood turned to a real contemplative mode when I read in his blog a really mature and humble post, titled The day after!!!!!!!!!!! Boy, what a simplicity! His way of looking things at a broader perspective, at this euphoric moment when people stopped worrying about other sports and events in olympics,,Just am excerpt from that below:

I would like to reiterate that everyone who represents India at the Olympic
Games has put in years of toil and sweat. I ask the Indian people to support our
athletes more. It is fine to celebrate our achievements but it is just as
important to keep up the backing when we are not on top of our game.It is
important for India to do better at Olympic sport as these are the true measure
of a nation's sporting depth. I wish more private initiatives come up with
corporate support apart from the backing of the government. The joy that the
nation feels at my win is humbling. I just wish that this is repeated more and
more often.With our depth of talent and expanse of people I firmly believe India
can be a world-class sporting power. What we need are precise systems. I will
try to do my bit at grooming the next generation. I would like to appeal to each
Indian to also do their bit in prodding us out of sporting complacency.

On a separate note, read this. This is an old article by Rohit Brijnath, or rather I would say, an appeal for a coach, after assessing his potential to make big in his chosen field at a nascent stage. And in response, an article hosted by a Singapore Indian, to meet the hefty sum of coaching, and infrastructure. Just few months back, in this article

Still, till a couple of months back Bindra Sr would crib about the lukewarm
response from the government agencies for his son. The family organised on its
own the funds required for his training, in addition to support from the LN
Mittal Champion Trust.

And now, see what. . Scores of CMs have annouced rewards, summing to 17 million plus Indian rupees, BCCI rewarding 25 Lakhs, a lifetime free rail pass in AC First class by apna Lalu jee, life time free air travel by a domestic airliner in India - the doling out of huge incentives, all this at a time when he really, doesn't need them the most...This can be best said, in one single word in English language - irony - that precisely and aptly brings the essence of the moment...

But lo behold, its the time to publicity - individuals and corporates alike are 'capitalizing' the opportunity - sharing one is associated how, some with nostalgic accounts, in a bid to tantrum oneselves. Indian Inc., but you didn't have resources to spare a mere $500 for a coach for the same person few years back.

The team's Hungarian coach Laszlo Szucsak, it is said, has gone to coach Japan
because India couldn't afford to pay him US$500 or whatever more a month. But
they can spend Rs 50 crore on hospitality for foreign athletes at the Afro-Asian

And also read this. Okay, Abhinav hails from an affluent family, and his family has invested in him and nurtured his never say die spirit. Thats good, not all rich families do that, in the sense, investing crores in an outcome that one never knows. Hadn't there been any support at all, many others would rather shattered their determined kids to bring them into their family businesses. .And think about those other Abhinavs who are just unnoticed and left as stones unturned...In Abhinav's own words, a billion people deserve not one but 40 gold medals. India Inc. , are you listening?

Monday, August 11, 2008

India's first ever Olympic Gold Medal by an individual

Olympics has started!!! I missed watching the inaugural ceremony on August 8 as I went on a weekend outing to Orange County, and the weekend went awesome. More on that later to give priority to what you are going to read next.
The day this day - August 10, 2008, is a golden day, bringing a golden news for India - a Gold medal by Abhinav Bindra in the 10 m Air Rifle shooting.

This is a historic moment for us, Indians, for winning the first ever ever individual Gold medal in Olympics. (The last time India won a gold medal was at the Moscow Olympics in 1980 in men's field hockey) I am happy today, more happy than I would have been during India's victory of 1983 cricket World cup, a time when I wasn't born. For a country with the population of a billion, winning a first ever gold medal calls for a billion celebration. If you are kind who asks whats the big deal, see coutries like USA, Russia, and China; or isn't it embarrasing to call (y)our first ever gold medal, sorry I am in no position to agree or argue and reason out our factilities, infrastructure, coaching, how we should improve etc. I am in khushi mode now, so lets/ let me celebrate :-)

And don't forget to watch the video in youtube or in any one of the scores of news videos.

Aamir Khan's blog

Celebrities' blogs are catching up in the blogosphere. And so are Indian celebrities too.
Certainly Aamir Khan raises your eyesbrows with his regular footprints in the blogosphere. He actually claims to write all the post himself, and yes, they do appear from his own. Also he reads his comments and replies them (some, of course!). Want to see his blog? His writing is nice, fresh and lively. You get to see other facets of Aamir. Do visit once, if you get a chance.
BTW I read most of his posts, and believe me, they kept giving me a Wah wah experience. He expresses his frank opinion in his writing, in posts like "Olympic Torch Relay" (dated 01-april-08), where he supports the spirit of sportsmanship that is beyond the realms of borders and conflicts. I truly appreciate his style of writing and the reasoning that showcases his innate streaks of intellectuality.
Way to go, Aamir. But do act in more and more movies. We want to see you more!
PS: BTW I watched Jaane Tu..Ya Jaane Na..; it was one helluva nice movie. I totally totally loved the lead characters - Imran Khan (Rats) and Genelia (Meow).. Both of them did a fantastic job!

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Naga Naresh Karuturi

Inspiring, I must say..Naga Naresh Karuturi is a star in my eyes - Hats off to you!
Want to know More? Read this and this.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

In Los Angeles now!

Yes, the blog is alive, or I hope so. Or take this as my feeble attempt to revive with this post. There are too too many things from the past 4 months to update on the blog:

Work wise, I am on a relocation spree. I am now here in Los Angeles in the US of A! Came here a month and a half back. My UK deputation is over - so no more it is London or Oxford. After a year long stay in London, I went to Oxford on work. My Oxford deputation was quick, for 2 months and after a very memorable stay, I returned to India during April looking work deliverables from my Chennai office. Offy gave me a comfy accomodation in one of their guest houses in the Besant Nagar area of Chennai; a furnished air conditoned room with Tata Sky TV, in the hot summer of Chennai - I couldn't have asked for more.! It was fun to meet friends after a long time and spent almost every other weekend hanging out with them. And then there was this Besant Nagar beach that used to be my regular night walk post the Kulfi sessions at a beachside shop near there. To add more spice, there was a project outing to Kodaikanal with 25 people! That was a real blast with some awesome pictures for a memorable album. After about a month's stay in Chennai I went to my hometown in Karaikudi for a quick 3 weeks vacation. And then after a client call and a quickie interview, I was chosen to be a Business Analyst with a media research client of TCS, based out of Hollywood. I had to pack my bags (& suitcases) - which have been my constant travel companions since my London days.. I started in the 3rd week of June to Los Angeles via Singapore and Tokyo. [Singapore's Changi airport is amazing, totally picturesque and really admirable.] Finally I arrived LAX (LA's international airport) after a long and tiresome journey.

Got into one of my colleagues house. Its an apartment in a nice housing community. Has got what all one [I] would need - 3 swimming pools, spa, sauna, gym, community room! Looks like outside the house, I am into a holiday resort (at least by desi standards).

On the leisure part during weekends, it's been really cool all these days. First weekend flied away with my jet lag blues and the following weekend (the Independence day long wknd), I went with my cousin, who is in LA, to a camping site near SFO. It was a 8 hour drive and in the camp, it was all fun with around 35 odd adults and kids (most of them my relatives) and with no electicity and amenities. The third weekend, I visited the Universal studios and Santa Monica beach. Universal city and the studios were a revealation - you must really visit it once to truly appreciate its one of its kind Unversal Tour in their signature tram. The weekend next went on a sight-seeing tour in and around LA - downtown, Hollywood, Sunset etc. Only the last weekend I was totally free - sitting in home and watching movies - absolute bliss!

Sunday, March 02, 2008


Sujatha (pen name of S. Rangarajan), one of the icons of contemporary Tamil Literature, has passed away. He was 72, and is survived by his wife and two sons. A Multifaceted personality, with engagements to name a few: Scientist, Engineer, Science Fiction Writer, Novelist, Columnist in weekly and daily publications and movie script writer, all in diverse fields. He is most popularly accredited as the man behind the Electronic Voting machines (EVMs) during his tenure with BEL (Bharat Electronics Ltd) when he headed the team that designed it. Sujatha is a rare gem from the science fraternity who is known for communicating complex and hard to understand science behind things through simple and lucid writing to the audience. Also he has penned about 100 novels and hundreds of short stories. Personally I liked his book, an Ananda Vikatan publication, 'yaen ? yedarkku? yeppidi?' (translates to what? why? how?). Interestingly, he is equally an authority in the kollywood (Tamil movie Industry) too with a number of projects. As far as I remember he wrote scripts from Indian (one of Kamalhassan's biggest hits) to Mudhalvan and Sivaji, to name the latest. His last creative venture was with Shankar's mega project, Robo. Sadly, he passed away before its completion.

Sujatha shall stay alive in the minds of readers with his writing and works. May his soul rest in peace.