Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Of 20K and Stinky Toilets

On the same day that the Sensex crossed 20000 points, the news comes of stinky toilets and dog feaces at the Commonwealth Games preparation in Delhi. Apparently the facilities are "unlivable", which is in complete contrast to the "world class" standards that we were made to believe.

On one hand we see a bright and proud shining India where foreign money is pouring in, and on the other we have a case of us failing miserably to organize a decent world class event. Are we so incompetent to be incapable of handling something like this? Are Indians, who are at the top of the game all around the world, not worthy enough to build decent facilities for the Games, let alone win some of them.

I can understand up to a certain degree the need for politicians, bureaucrats and contractors to pocket a few crores (conservative estimate) for their personal expenses, but is it fair to put the nation's prestige at stake? Is it really worth it? It might as well have been better off without hosting this event itself. Find other ways to pocket the taxpayers money. Why embarrass the country in front of the whole world...???

The entire nation is certainly disappointed, but then again who is to be blamed? Is it just the bureaucrats, politicians or businessmen? Is it not the people of the country who put up with this kind of disregard to national pride? Is it not us who spit on walls, dump garbage on roads, vandalize public property, allow public money to be wasted on indefinite projects? The CWG preparations is nothing but an exponent of all of this, and it appears to hurt now because someone is holding up a mirror to see our sorry selves.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

And that's the way Shera roars

Its probably not often that India gets to host large international sporting events of this magnitude. And it does not even involve cricket. So I guess the Commonwealth games is a huge occasion for India. Probably a great opportunity to announce its arrival on to the major sporting stage. To show the world that we are more than a nation of businessmen and IT geeks.Ah well... at least that was the dream. I bet the Chinese are just waiting for us to fail and embarrass ourselves here, and they didn't even have to move a finger.

We got this great opportunity to show that we can do it "bigger" and "better", and we are very close to flushing it straight down the toilet. To begin with the screw-ups, I don't really know if all the facilities would be ready on time. That given a time of nearly 7 years to prepare, is a rather pitiful accomplishment. Of course at every stage, regular assurances were given that things were right on track. I guess the officials took it to be a bridge or road construction contract, which complete at their usual snail's pace. But then again, no one would really cares if a bridge or a road takes for ever to complete, but this situation is different. All the world's eyes are on us right now.

Second of all, wherever there is a lot of money involved, could a shady money scam be any far? Absurd contracts with riduculously huge sums of money. Although the scam did not come as a surprise to most Indians, I assume that it did tarnish the country's image.I personally don't care how much money the politicians, bureaucrats or the businessmen made. But what I care about is that the image of the country has certainly taken quite a beating. Maybe if it was China, they would have been taken out and shot,but being a liberal democracy that is most unlikely. Most probably enquiry commisions will be steup and justice will hopefully be delivered within a highly optimistic time frame of 10 - 15 years.

In all of this pandemonium, the real stars of the event - our sportsmen and sportswomen - have been forgotten. I hope that they too get the lime light... for the right reasons of course, and certainly not for the wrong ones. I wish we can regain some glory by winning a few events and stay clear of doping scandals. That is one more time bomb that could blow up any time.I do wish our under-trained and under-paid sportsperson all the very best, given the overwhelming odds against them.

With a few more weeks to go, I do hope all the tall claims that this is going to be bigger and better than the Beijing olympics,remains to be seen. If not bigger and better, at least it should go through without any hitches. One thing is for sure that the dream of hosting the Olympics, does seem to have been pushed at least a several decades away. And thats the way Shera roars...! Unfortunately it's more of a meeoow right now.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

We the Indians....

My team and I, recently had the opportunity to interact with clients who happen to be French. It was to be an informal (with stress on informal)  meeting, over teleconference. The objective of the meeting was to "get to know each other". So people, both on-site and offshore, were supposed to talk about themselves, their hobbies, talents etc etc. 

Powerpoint slides were prepared by the offhsore team, amidst the tight schedule of work and stuff. Anyway, no one here cared to even write anything beyond 4-5 lines. If at all anyone wrote a lot, it was just about their academic excellence and the amount of work experience that person had - studied here, studied there, worked 5 years here, 4 years there and so on. I thought this presentation was supposed to be this way, and filled in two lines about what I studied and how much(or little) my work experience was. Ahh well... there were other more interesting thing on my mind than this stupid video conference.

When the meeting started, the french guys started with their interests. And tell you what, it was very little what they spoke of their work. After all it was supposed to be an informal meeting. So they spoke of beer, wine, football, rock climbing, PlayStation, tennis, cycling and all the other really exciting think that they do. Their presentations were colorful and filled up with pictures - theirs, or taken by them. When our on-site guys (henceforth tagged under the category of BORING) started speaking, it was all about their studies and work. And if at all they mentioned any hobbies, it was just cricket ( mostly watching it and IPL was often mentioned ) , movies, Television and driving ( in Bangalore...?? Its a chore and not a hobby). And of the 10-15 people over here, almost all had these on their list (Except probably the ladies, who didn't include cricket). How lame are we?? . 

I think our French clients must have gotten a very good idea about us. They probably think - "These guys don't have fun at all. They keep working. So it makes business perfect sense to outsource all the work to them so that we can have all the fun." Well... that is why this whole outsourcing concept works out so well.

Monday, March 22, 2010

IPL Vs Gladiators...

So is there anyone untouched by the Indian Premier League. Well I suppose it would touch most Indians, even if they don't like cricket, or to say the least,, hate it. One cant really get a day away without hearing a word about it - either on the news, or listening to the colleagues opinions on how last night's match could  have been won, or a discussion on a public forum, or your friend's status message on facebook. There is just no escaping it.

With the advent of T20 format, and the popularity of IPL, its certainly a money tree. A radical fast paced adaptation of a game, that normally used to last for days. A game that used to involve artistically guiding the ball along the ground, with the flick of a wrist, instead of making it fly to the farthest corners of the park. A game which used to be about facing a 100 balls to score 2 runs, has changed to scoring 100 runs of 37 balls. To add to this,  bringing in players who used to swear to be mortal enemies, into the same team and watch them pat each other like good ol' buddies. I think this appreciation of talent, beyond any national identity, enjoyable in convenient way, is what gives IPL its increasing popularity.

And with great popularity, comes great profit. Every space on the clothing, slapped on with a brand logo. Every possible action-less second stuffed with an advertisement. Screens and score boards filled with advertisement, with the real action sometimes pushed to a comfortable corner of the screen. Well, that is what this is all about. Pay people to do stuff, that other people like to watch, and in that process make a good profit. 

To put it metaphorically, its quite similar to the gladiator matches of Ancient Rome. Hired, enslaved, brutal men, fighting to the death, surrounded by the cheers of a frenzied mob. In the modern scene, though a lot less bloodier, the theme appears to be the same. Good fights (matches) entertain...!!

Here are a few comparisons between the Gladiators of Ancient Rome and the IPL.

I think its a natural high for us humans, to watch men combat. Thankfully, far more humane compared to bouts of ancient times. A huge six now, could be comparable to a Gladiator's chopping off an opponent's head. One thing for is for sure that, Roman emperors and modern business men, sure know a lot about exploiting these human tendencies to get their due rewards.

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Where Have I Been...??

My last post was in May 11,2009. That makes it exactly 272 days, or which is exactly
38 weeks and 6 days. Oh and just FYI ( for all those not into corporate acronym, FYI = For Your Information ) I didn't calculate the difference, instead found a site that has a script that does that for you.

Anyway that is sure a long a time, which flew past without me even knowing it. And where was I all this time? Away from home most certainly, working, but not away from technology or the internet. Was I having far too much fun to have completely detached myself from cyberspace? Not really. Did I forget my Google password, and could not remember the answer to the secret question? Not that either. The answer lies somewhere else.

I could have blogged, photoshop-ed, made flash movies, web pages, PHP, AJAX etc all of this time, but somehow the intent to do something new, original or creative had most certainly dried up. Maybe because of my work, which for most of the time ( nearly 98%) involves doing mundane routine work, or cleaning up someone Else's mess, or giving reasons ( actually excuses ) for what went wrong for absolutely no fault of mine ( which is a perfectly valid excuse. So is "It was already broken when I got here". More on this soon.... stay tuned).

However that is no excuse for not doing what i used to like ( even though I might not be so good at it). Its just that not doing anything at the end of the day seems like a good enough finish to an otherwise event less day.

Getting back to the old ways was important, for getting in touch with people, and to do stuff and learn, as well as Blogging. And thus my new resolution to get back into cyberspace, by applying for Internet connection at home. Although its hard to revive the old brain cells, most of which I have managed to kill by now. Lets see how it goes... but for now clearing my Gmail inbox of the 2956 unread emails, has become a "favorite" pass time.

P.S. Curious to know where exactly have I got a farm as mentioned by emails from Facebook....