Thursday, October 28, 2004

Google for President !

By Amit Patel

I want to take a break for a moment from all the high-intensity headlines, campaign rhetoric, poll data and - ah yes - talking-head election analysis to look at something slightly different.

Last Monday, when I opened up The Daily , a pamphlet insert fell out with the letters "GLAT" prominently emblazoned across its center. GLAT? Google Labs Aptitude Test, it said underneath. I laughed like a giggling freshman throwing paper at Flicks.

The GLAT was composed of witty questions like "write a haiku describing possible methods for predicting search-traffic seasonality." The whole thing looked like a joke. Except, it came from Google, where everything - from banner animations to press releases - exudes a sense of humor unparalleled in the corporate world.

In the midst of so much political drama and international turmoil, I can't recall the last time I picked up a newspaper and laughed. Then I got to thinking...What if we elected Google to run this country? A refreshing departure, perhaps. Here's what we could expect. If Google was made US Prez ...

1) A Google presidency - like the homepage - would be modest in appearance but very powerful in capability. We wouldn't have to worry about it making boisterous claims about its performance or exaggerating intelligence about weapons of mass destruction.

2) Desktop search would be used to track down terrorists. Sifting through millions of pages of intelligence would be much easier as a result.
And Cat Stevens wouldn't get arrested again.

3) Before "going public" with a decision, the Google administration would conduct an interview with Playboy first. That'd be more interesting than President George W. Bush's recent interview with Bill O'Reilly, who apparently likes the same things as Playboy.

4) Google has already won the hearts and minds of people all over the world. It's available in 35 languages, and its search engine even sits on Al-Jazeera's homepage. It also has a type-and-translate application. That means it can pronounce "Abu Ghraib."

5) The "Google Local" program would also promote the growth of small businesses. Over 150,000 companies advertise with Google. Thankfully, Enron and Halliburton are not two of them.

6) Citizens would quit raising a fuss about the Patriot Act, because they would graciously cede their privacy rights to Google without thinking twice about its invasive methods, so long as they're in preliminary beta format.

7) Google's "Don't be evil" motto is a more pleasant and wittier alternative to the trite "axis of evil" and "evildoer" rhetoric that convinces us we're all about to die.

8) There would be no spin or slowness when responding to questions. Google would offer quick answers to any journalistic query in about .29 seconds.

9) Because it lets its engineers take time to develop their own projects, Google would devise creative and innovative solutions to many of our nation's problems. Digging for oil in Alaska probably wouldn't be one of them.

10) Finally, Google is run by techies. As a fuzzy, I'll admit that our record of presidents - former lawyers, actors, peanut farmers and failed businessman - is partially responsible for much of what Henry Kissinger describes as a 100 years of failed foreign policy.

Geeks, nerds and a White House that runs like the Googleplex will prove better scenery than Rove-ian receding hairlines and soapboxes used by preachy social conservatives.

Google may not be perfect, but its actions are transparent, and it doesn't take itself too seriously. Its company attitude and ethics would serve as a refreshing contrast to the culture of corporate malfeasance and profit-maximizing bottom lines that has seeped into political decision-making.Most of all, a Google presidency would do what our government badly needs to do: restore the public's trust.

Amit Patel is a student at Stanford, CA
I was just browsing around and found this link:
The different spellings used by people when searching for Britney Spears on Google (Google corrected these spellings have on each occasion).

Doesn't Last

This one is for my dear friend who personifies this quote for me:
People often say that motivation doesn't last.

Well, neither does bathing,

that's why we recommend it daily.
~Zig Ziglar~

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

You're Fired!

- Adapted from an piece by Laura Morsch,

"You're fired." Some people let the phrase get to them. Others use it as a launching pad to superstardom*. In his book, "We're Fired... and It's the Best Thing That Ever Happened to Us," Harvey Mackay brings us some inspirational stories of rejects turned-celebrities. Turns out the road to fame isn't so smooth.

Elvis Presley
The King got fired from a music studio in 1954. He was told, "You ain't goin' nowhere, son. Go back and drive a truck." Tell that to the thousands of Elvis impersonators who sing his tunes decades after his death.

Walt Disney
Walt Disney was fired from a newspaper for lack of ideas. The Walt Disney Company, with its animated movies, theme parks, television stations and more, is now a multibillion-dollar empire.

Joanne Kathleen (a.k.a. J.K.) Rowling
The author of the mega-popular Harry Potter books was canned from a secretarial job after she got caught using the company computer to write creative stories. She used her severance pay to write Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, using grant money to finish it after she ran out of cash. The Harry Potter series became a global craze and Rowling became a billionaire.

Lance Armstrong
The French cycling team Cofidis dropped Lance Armstrong after he began treatment for testicular cancer in 1997 (with just a 50 percent chance of survival). They even refused to pay his remaining salary or his medical bills. Big mistake. Armstrong not only beat the cancer, but he also won a record sixth consecutive Tour de France in 2004.

Larry King
Before he ruled CNN, Larry King wrote a column for the Miami Herald. The Herald's editor fired him for being too chummy with his subjects. His way with people paid off, though; few politicians or celebrities ever bypass "Larry King Live."

Burt Reynolds
"You can't act," Burt Reynolds was told when he was fired from one of his acting jobs. He later became the No. 1 box office draw for five consecutive years.

Steve Jobs
He co-founded Apple Computer in his garage, and then got fired from his own company. Jobs picked up the pieces and bought a majority share in Pixar in 1986. Nine years later, he won an Oscar for Toy Story. In 1996, he was back at Apple.

Abraham Lincoln
Abe Lincoln failed in business 1831 and again in 1833. In the meantime, he ran for state legislator and lost. His sweetheart died in 1835, and he had a nervous breakdown the next year. He lost the nomination to Congress in 1843, was defeated again for Congress in 1848 and 1855 and lost the vice presidency of the United States in 1856. Then he ran for Senator in 1858 and lost. In 1860 Abe Lincoln was elected president of the United States. The rest is history.
* If you are a Apprentice affinicado like me, you would be expecting something relatd to that looking at the title. Donald Trump & The Apprentice are excellent topics for another page in this eJournal.

Monday, October 25, 2004

The Art of Storytelling

Today I saw the movie which I would call the best movie I have ever seen atleast for now. A review of the film can be read here - The Shawshank Redemption (1994).

Brilliant acting by Tim Robbins (this is the second time in 2 movies that I have loved his performance - the other one was in Mystic River) and Morgan Freeman. Director/screenwriter Frank Darabont adapted Stephen King's novels, Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption, for his first feature film - an inspirational, life-affirming and uplifting, old-fashioned style Hollywood product, a combination prison/dramatic film and character study.

Its a pity that despite 7 nominations, the movie did not win a single Academy award. Tom Hanks pipped Morgan freeman for best actor and so did the director Robert Zemeckis - both for Forrest Gump. The nominations for the year 1994 inlcuded other great movies - Forrest Gump, Pulp Fiction, Four Weddings and a Funeral, Girl Interrupted & Speed.

It was only fit that I saw the movie with my current roommate and best buddy, Vikas Deshpande. Well, we are both waiting for the day we can lay our hands on another Stephen King adaptation by Frank Darabont that has our favorite actor Tom Hanks - The Green Mile.
Tagline: Fear can hold you prisoner. Hope can set you free

Friday, October 22, 2004

How To Ask Questions The Smart Way

Today, the use of forums is almost inevitable, especially for people in the filed of technology, in order to get answers. And in today's world of hackers, the kind of answers you get to your technical questions depends as much on the way you ask the questions as on the difficulty of developing the answer. This link gives us a guide on how to ask questions in a way that is likely to get you a satisfactory answer.

Western Values And Eastern Challenges

Needed: A value system where people accept modest sacrifices for common good

Western Values And Eastern Challenges by NARAYANA MURTHY
[from a Financial Times Guest Column: Fri, Oct 04, 2002]

As it is said in the Vedas: Man can live individually, but can survive only collectively. Hence, our challenge is to form a progressive community by balancing the interests of the individual and that of the society. To meet this we need to develop a value system where people accept modest sacrifices for the common good.

A value system is the protocol for behaviour that enhances the trust, confidence and commitment of members of the community. It goes beyond the domain of legality - It is about decent and desirable behaviour. Further, it includes putting the community interests ahead of your own. Thus, our collective survival and progress is predicated on sound values.

There are two pillars of the cultural value system — loyalty to family and loyalty to community. One should not be in isolation to the other, because, successful societies are those which combine both harmoniously. It is in this context that I will discuss the role of Western values in contemporary Indian society.

As an Indian, I am proud to be part of a culture, which has deep-rooted family values. We have tremendous loyalty to the family. For instance, parents make enormous sacrifices for their children. They support them until they can stand on their own feet. On the other side, children consider it their duty to take care of aged parents. We believe: "Mathru devo bhava, pithru devo bhava" (Mother is God and Father is God). Further, brothers and sisters sacrifice for each other. In fact, the eldest brother or sister is respected by all the other siblings.

As for marriage, it is held to be a sacred union — husband and wife are bonded, most often, for life. In joint families, the entire family works towards the welfare of the family. There is so much love and affection in our family life. This is the essence of Indian values and one of our key strengths.

Our families act as a critical support mechanism for us. In fact, the credit to the success of Infosys goes, as much to the founders as to their families, for supporting them through the tough times. Unfortunately, our attitude towards family life is not reflected in our attitude towards community behaviour. From littering the streets to corruption to breaking of contractual obligations, we are apathetic towards the common good.

The primary difference between the West and us is that, there, people have a much better societal orientation. In the West — the US, Canada, Europe, Australia, New Zealand — individuals understand that they have to be responsible towards their community.

They care more for the society than we do. Further, they generally sacrifice more for the society than us. Quality of life is enhanced because of this. This is where we need to learn form the West.

Consider some of the lessons that we Indians can learn from the West:

* Respect for the public good — In the West, there is respect for the public good. For instance, parks free of litter, clean streets, public toilets free of graffiti — all these are instances of care for the public good.

On the contrary, in India, we keep our houses clean and water our gardens everyday but, when we go to a park, we do not think twice before littering the place.

* Attitude to corruption — This is because of the individual’s responsible behaviour towards the community as a whole. On the contrary, in India, corruption, tax evasion, cheating and bribery have eaten into our vitals. For instance, contractors bribe officials, and construct low-quality roads and bridges.

Corruption, as we see in India, is another example of putting the interest of oneself, and at best that of one’s family, above that of the society.

Society is relatively corruption free in the West. It is very difficult to bribe a police officer into avoiding a speeding ticket. The result is that society loses in the form of substandard defence equipment and infrastructure, and low-quality recruitment, just to name a few impediments. Unfortunately, this behaviour is condoned by almost everyone.

* Public apathy — Apathy in solving community matters has held us back from making progress, which is otherwise within our reach. We see serious problems around us but do not try to solve them. We behave as if the problems do not exist or are somebody else’s. On the other hand, in the West, people solve societal problems proactively.

There are several examples of our apathetic attitude. (i) For instance, all of us are aware of the problem of drought in India. More than 40 years ago, Dr KL Rao - an irrigation expert, suggested creation of a water grid connecting all the rivers in North and South India, to solve this problem. Unfortunately, nothing has been done about this.

(ii) The story of power shortage in Bangalore is another instance. In 1983, it was decided to build a thermal power plant to meet Bangalore’s power requirements. Unfortunately, we have still not started it.

(iii) The Milan subway in Bombay is in a deplorable state for the past 40 years, and no action has been taken.

To quote another example, considering the constant travel required in the software industry; five years ago, I had suggested a 240-page passport. This would eliminate frequent visits to the passport office. In fact, we are ready to pay for it. However, I am yet to hear from the ministry of external affairs on this. We, Indians, would do well to remember Thomas Hunter’s words: Idleness travels very slowly, and poverty soon overtakes it.

What could be the reason for this? We were ruled by foreigners for over thousand years. Thus, we have always believed that public issues belonged to some foreign ruler and that we have no role in solving them. Moreover, we have lost the will to proactively solve our own problems and have got used to just executing someone else’s orders.

Borrowing Aristotle’s words: "We are what we repeatedly do." Thus, having done this over the years, the decision-makers in our society are not trained for solving problems. Our decision-makers look to somebody else to take decisions. Unfortunately, there is nobody to look up to, and this is the tragedy.

Our intellectual arrogance has also not helped our society. I have travelled extensively, and in my experience, have not come across another society where people are as contemptuous of better societies as we are, with as little progress as we have achieved. Remember that arrogance breeds hypocrisy.

No other society gloats so much about the past as we do, with as little current accomplishment. Friends, this is not a new phenomenon, but at least a thousand years old. For instance, Al Barouni, the famous Arabic logician and traveller of the 10th century, who spent about 30 years in India from 997 AD to around 1027 AD, referred to this trait of Indians.

According to him, during his visit, most Indian pundits considered it below their dignity even to hold arguments with him. In fact, on a few occasions when a pundit was willing to listen to him, and found his arguments to be very sound, he invariably asked Barouni: which Indian pundit taught these smart things!

The most important attribute of a progressive society is respect for others who have accomplished more than they themselves have, and learn from them. Contrary to this, our leaders make us believe that other societies do not know anything!

At the same time, everyday, in the newspapers, you will find numerous claims from our leaders that ours is the greatest nation. This has to stop. These people would do well to remember Thomas Carlyle’s words: "The greatest of faults is to be conscious of none."

If we have to progress, we have to change this attitude, listen to people who have performed better than us, learn from them and perform better than them. Infosys is a good example of such an attitude.

We continue to rationalise our failures. No other society has mastered this art as well as we have. Obviously, this is an excuse to justify our incompetence, corruption, and apathy. This attitude has to change. As Sir Josiah Stamp has said: "It is easy to dodge our responsibilities, but we cannot dodge the consequences of dodging our responsibilities."

Another interesting attribute, which we Indians can learn from the West, is their accountability. Irrespective of your position, in the West, you are held accountable for what you do. However, in India, the more important you are, the less answerable you are.

For instance, a senior politician once declared that he forgot to file his tax returns for 10 consecutive years — and he got away with it. To quote another instance, there are over 100 loss-making public sector units in India. Nevertheless, I have not seen action taken for bad performance against top managers in these organisations.

In the West, each person is proud about his or her labour that raises honest sweat. On the other hand, in India, we tend to overlook the significance of those who are not in professional jobs. We have a mindset that reveres only supposedly intellectual work. For instance, I have seen many engineers, fresh from college, who only want to do cutting-edge work and not work that is of relevance to business and the country.

However, be it an organisation or society, there are different people performing different roles. For success, all these people are required to discharge their duties. This includes everyone from the CEO to the person who serves tea — every role is important. Hence, we need a mindset that reveres everyone who puts in honest work.

Indians become intimate even without being friendly. They ask favors of strangers without any hesitation. For instance, the other day, while I was travelling from Bangalore to Mantralayam, I met a fellow traveller on the train. Hardly five minutes into the conversation, he requested me to speak to his MD about removing him from the bottom 10 per cent list in his company, earmarked for disciplinary action.

I was reminded of what Rudyard Kipling once said: A westerner can be friendly without being intimate while an easterner tends to be intimate without being friendly.

Yet another lesson to be learnt from the West, is about their professionalism in dealings. The common good being more important than personal equations, people do not let personal relations interfere with their professional dealings. For instance, they don’t hesitate to chastise a colleague, even if he is a personal friend, for incompetent work.

In India, I have seen that we tend to view even work interactions from a personal perspective. Further, we are the most 'thin-skinned' society in the world — we see insults where none is meant. This may be because we were not free for most of the last thousand years.

Further, we seem to extend this lack of professionalism to our sense of punctuality. We do not seem to respect the other person’s time. The Indian Standard Time somehow seems to be always running late. Moreover, deadlines are typically not met. How many public projects are completed on time?

The disheartening aspect is that we have accepted this as the norm rather than an exception. Meritocracy by definition means that we cannot let personal prejudices affect our evaluation of an individual’s performance. As we increasingly start to benchmark ourselves with global standards, we have to embrace meritocracy.

In the West, right from a very young age, parents teach their children to be independent in thinking. Thus, they grow up to be strong, confident individuals. In India, we still suffer from feudal thinking. I have seen people, who are otherwise bright, refusing to show independence and preferring to be told what to do by their boss. We need to overcome this attitude if we have to succeed globally.

The Western value system teaches respect to contractual obligation. In the West, contractual obligations are seldom dishonoured. This is important — enforceablity of legal rights and contracts is the most important factor in the enhancement of credibility of our people and nation.

In India, we consider our marriage vows as sacred. We are willing to sacrifice in order to respect our marriage vows. However, we do not extend this to the public domain. For instance, India had an unfavourable contract with Enron. Instead of punishing the people responsible for negotiating this, we reneged on the contract — this was much before we came to know about the illegal activities at Enron.

To quote another instance, I had given recommendations to several students for the national scholarship for higher studies in US universities. Most of them did not return to India even though contractually they were obliged to spend five years after their degree in India.

In fact, according to a professor at a reputed US university, the maximum default rate for student loans is among Indians — all of these students pass out in flying colours and land lucrative jobs, yet they refuse to pay back their loans. Thus, their action has made it difficult for the students after them, from India, to obtain loans.

Further, we Indians do not display intellectual honesty. For example, our political leaders use mobile phones to tell journalists on the other side that they do not believe in technology! If we want our youngsters to progress, such hypocrisy must be stopped.

We are all aware of our rights as citizens. Nevertheless, we often fail to acknowledge the duty that accompanies every right. To borrow Dwight Eisenhower’s words: "People that values its privileges above its principles soon loses both."

Our duty is towards the community as a whole, as much as it is towards our families. We have to remember that fundamental social problems grow out of a lack of commitment to the common good. To quote Henry Beecher: Culture is that which helps us to work for the betterment of all.

Hence, friends, I do believe that we can make our society even better by assimilating these Western values into our own culture — we will be stronger for it. Most of our behaviour comes from greed, lack of self-confidence, lack of confidence in the nation, and lack of respect for the society.

To borrow Gandhi’s words: There is enough in this world for everyone’s need, but not enough for everyone’s greed. Let us work towards a society where we would do unto others what we would have others do unto us. Let us all be responsible citizens who make our country a great place to live.

In the words of Winston Churchill, "Responsibility is the price of greatness." We have to extend our family values beyond the boundaries of our home. Let us work towards maximum welfare of the maximum people — "Samasta janaanaam sukhino bhavantu."

Finally, let us of this generation, conduct ourselves as great citizens rather than just good people so that we can serve as good examples for our younger generation.
(Excerpts from a lecture delivered at the Lal Bahadur Shastri Institute of Management, New Delhi, Oct 1st, 2002).

Thursday, October 21, 2004

Geek Jokes

- "Have you heard about the object-oriented way to become wealthy?"
- "No..."
- "Inheritance."

The boy is smoking and leaving smoke rings into the air.
The girl gets irritated with the smoke and says to her lover: "Can't you see the warning written on the cigarettes packet, smoking is injurious to health!"

The boy replies back: "Darling, I am a programmer. We don't worry about warnings, we only worry about errors."

Daddy's Day ...

This could be seen as a chain letter but it was very nice and touched me !! I received it from my friends, Bhumit & Bijal Shah, from Ghatkopar, Mumbai.

Her hair was up in a pony tail,
her favorite dress tied with a bow.
Today was Daddy's Day at school,
and she couldn't wait to go.
But her mommy tried to tell her,
that she probably should stay home.
Why the kids might not understand,
if she went to school alone.

But she was not afraid;
she knew just what to say.
What to tell her classmates
of why he wasn't there today.

But still her mother worried,
for her to face this day alone.
And that was why once again,
she tried to keep her daughter home.

But the little girl went to school
eager to tell them all
About a dad she never sees
a dad who never calls.

There were daddies along the wall in back,
for everyone to meet.
Children squirming impatiently,
anxious in their seats

One by one the teacher called
a student from the class
To introduce their daddy,
as seconds slowly passed.

At last the teacher called her name.
Every child turned to stare,
each of them was searching
for a man who wasn't there.

"Where's her daddy at?"
she heard a boy call out.
"She probably doesn't have one,"
another student dared to shout.

And from somewhere near the back,
she heard a daddy say,
"Looks like another deadbeat dad,
too busy to waste his day."

The words did not offend her,
as she smiled up at her Mom
and looked back at her teacher,
who told her to go on.

And with hands behind her back,
slowly she began to speak.
And out from the mouth of a child,
came words incredibly unique.

"My Daddy couldn't be here,
because he lives so far away.
But I know he wishes he could be,
since this is such a special day.

And though you cannot meet him,
I wanted you to know
All about my daddy
and how much he loves me so.

He loved to tell me stories;
he taught me to ride my bike.
He surprised me with pink roses,
and taught me to fly a kite.

We used to share fudge sundaes,
and ice cream in a cone.
And though you cannot see him,
I'm not standing here alone.

'Cause my daddy's always with me,
even though we are apart.
I know because he told me,
he'll forever be in my heart"

With that, her little hand reached up,
and lay across her chest,
Feeling her own heartbeat
beneath her favorite dress.

And from somewhere in the crowd of dads
her mother stood in tears,
Proudly watching her daughter
who was wise beyond her years.

For she stood up for the love
of a man not in her life,
Doing what was best for her,
doing what was right.

And when she dropped her hand back down,
staring straight into the crowd,
She finished with a voice so soft,
but its message clear and loud.

"I love my daddy very much;
he's my shining star.
And if he could, he'd be here,
but heaven's just too far.

You see he was a fireman,
and died just this past year
When airplanes hit the towers,
and taught Americans to fear.

But sometimes when I close my eyes,
it's like he never went away."
And then she closed her eyes,
and saw him there that day.

And to her mother's amazement,
she witnessed with surprise
A room full of daddies and children,
all starting to close their eyes.

Who knows what they saw before them;
who knows what they felt inside
Perhaps for merely a second,
they saw him at her side.

"I know you're with me Daddy,"
to the silence she called out.
And what happened next made believers
of those once filled with doubt.

Not one in that room could explain it,
for each of their eyes had been closed,
But there on the desk beside her,
was a fragrant long-stemmed pink rose..

And a child was blessed, if only for a moment,
by the love of her shining star,
And given the gift of believing
that heaven is never too far.

They say it takes a minute to find a special person,
an hour to appreciate them,
a day to love them,
but then an entire life to forget them.

It's a short message to all people whom you want to be known that you'll never forget them. Take the live and love.

In the End, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.

Saturday, October 16, 2004

To Walk or Not to Walk !

I love Stephen Waugh and I love Adam Gilchrist but the following article puts things into perpective as far as the way they play their Cricket goes.

Batsmen consider striding into a bold new era
By Greg Baum (in The Age)
October 16, 2004

A whirl of arms, a hollow thud as the ball hits the pitch, a scuffing of feet at one end and a shuffling at the other, a prod with the bat, a snick, a catch. The bowler raises an exultant arm, the fieldsmen appeal excitedly and the crowd goes up, too. The umpire peers down the pitch towards the batsman, an inquiring look on his face.

What to do now? Two voices - let's call them Gilchrist and Waugh - argue inside the batsman's head. Gilchrist says: "You're out." Waugh says: "But that's for the umpire to decide. You have to accept the umpire's decision."

Gilchrist says: "You're still out. We're not talking leg before wicket here, we're talking caught." Waugh says: "I wasn't out last week, but was given out anyway." Gilchrist says: "Did you accept the umpire's decision then?" Waugh says: "Well, no, actually, I stacked on a bit of a turn, and was fined for dissent."

A second's silence ensues. The umpire hesitates, finger half up, half down.

Gilchrist says: "Well?" Waugh says: "It's the Australian way not to walk." Gilchrist says: "It used to be the Australian way to sledge, hurl bats, pass racist remarks, drink all night and vote Labor. Things changed. Australia has its own code of conduct now."

Waugh says: "This is different." Gilchrist says: "Is it? It's all about the image of the game, isn't it? You have to move with the times."

There is another pause. The umpire's finger is cocked. Gilchrist says: "It's bloody noisy out here. He wouldn't have heard the snick. The onus is on you." Waugh says: "It's his job."

Gilchrist says: "Didn't your captain say last week that it was easy for umpires to make mistakes in these circumstances and that it was up to the players to do the right thing? Didn't he say that he hoped his teammates would live up to this ideal even in a sticky moment? Well, here it is."

Waugh says: "It doesn't look as if he's going to give me out. I'd be embarrassing him if I walked now." Gilchrist says: "Very touching, your concern. Where did this compassion for umpires come from all of a sudden? I didn't see it last week. Besides, wouldn't you embarrass him even more if you stay and the replays show that you were out?" Waugh says: "That's his problem."

The crowd begins to stamp its feet. The umpire looks to his colleague at square leg. The fieldsmen cluster.

Gilchrist says, again: "Well?" Waugh says: "But no one else walks. The Poms say they do, but only when it is really obviously out, so that they get a reputation for integrity, and when they stand their ground for a really important decision, everyone believes them." Gilchrist says: "So the Poms are our standard now, are they?"

Waugh says: "Look, it's part of the game, like staging for a free kick in football, or saying nothing about a bad line call in your favour in tennis. Besides, look at bowlers and wicketkeepers, appealing all the time when they know it is not out. What about the pressure they put on umpires?" Gilchrist says: "Sounds like a whole lot of wrongs not adding up to a right to me."

The din is deafening now. Gilchrist clucks his tongue. Waugh says: "C'mon. Look at the dustbowl of a pitch they've served up here. That's cheating, if ever I saw it. This is only evening things up a bit." Gilchrist says: "Now you sound like one of those feeble-minded talkback radio callers. You're a Test cricketer, a professional. You're better than that."

Waugh says: "But I've only made four. I might lose my place in the team." Gilchrist says: "Darren Lehmann didn't worry too much about his place in the team the other day when he said Michael Clarke should play every Test for the next 10 years." Waugh says (beneath his breath): "They don't call him Boof for nothing!" Gilchrist says: "Pardon?" Waugh says: "Nothing, nothing."

The crowd's noise has become a howling. The umpire looks rattled, the fieldsmen furious. The two voices are struggling to hear each other. Waugh says: "You know, I'm not even sure if the fieldsman caught the ball cleanly." Gilchrist says: "You're supposed to take the word of the fieldsman now. Your captain said it's team policy." Waugh says: "(indistinct) Meddler!"

Gilchrist says: "Look, it's one innings, in one match. It feels like life and death to you now, but there's a bigger picture here. I'm not going to give you the usual nonsense about cricket being a gentleman's game because it's always been played by rogues, too.

"I'm just saying that plenty of good things have happened in cricket in the last few years, and this is a chance for another. We've always said we have a good enough team to get out of any corner. Well, let's see."

Suddenly, our batsman turned and trundled off. The crowd's howling stopped, to be replaced by applause. The fielders joined in. The umpire's smile was sheepish, but relieved. Later that night, the batsman and his two voices shared a beer.

And here's another article on Gilchrist ...

Captain Courageous
Peter English (Wisden Cricinfo)
October 16, 2004

In his fifth Test as captain, Adam Gilchrist has taken responsibility to a new level. By batting at No.3 in Australia's second innings, he gave his side their only chance of saving the match. After three days behind the stumps in the sort of heat that saps energy even out of the locals, Gilchrist could have cooled off in the air-conditioning and waited his turn. Instead he stepped back into the furnace with his team facing a deficit of 88 runs.

A promotion always brings extra spring to one's step, and Gilchrist somehow found the strength to bounce out. His normal position might have offered a night's respite, but it also carried the danger of being stranded – as Simon Katich was in the first innings – in another lower-order implosion. Australia's bowlers, no matter how hard they try, will be lucky to hang around as long as the drinks breaks that look like desert caravans with their chairs, umbrellas and towels. Going in early became Gilchrist's only option.

When Ricky Ponting was ruled out with a broken thumb, Gilchrist considered becoming his short-term replacement at No. 3. As Ponting's recovery slowed, the move was aborted because it was too difficult. Now everybody saw why. He had already crouched through 134 overs, rotating the bowlers and generally ignoring the part-timers, and tried to stay cool in a situation that worsened with dropped catches and stubborn resistance. An ice scarf offered little relief.

Having re-considered the decision at a crucial stage of the match and series, Gilchrist's early play was indecisive. Both spinners were on, catchers hovered. He wasn't sure whether to use bat or pad, and almost played on to Anil Kumble. Sometimes he jumped down the wicket and scooted back, reading the ball more from the pitch than the hand. He wanted to play shots, but wasn't sure which ones.

There were further miscues, a top-edge to safety and then on 31 he connected with a sweep and it raced to the boundary. Another went the same way to take him to 40. His confidence was growing before he lost the calming influence of Katich. Damien Martyn walked out and thoughts returned to Kandy in March, when they shared a 200-run stand in similar circumstances. The promotion ploy had worked then, when Australia had trailed by 91 and Gilchrist stepped in for Ponting, blasting 144 to set up a narrow win.

This time the brief was too difficult and the series should be squared tomorrow. The pair moved Australia into credit, but with two overs until stumps, Gilchrist was bowled around his legs trying to sweep a Kumble wrong'un. After dripping for 81 balls he could no longer ward off the risks of spin or fatigue. It was a courageous effort. He has given a new definition to multi-tasking.

Finally, apna Sehwag !! Congratulations on a Great return to form! The Indian middle order has more often than not underperformed whenever Sehwag and his opening partner have not given them a good start. Here's a quote about the only Test Triple Centurion from India.

He is an explosive but tantalising opponent, producing fours and chances almost in equal measure. If Rahul Dravid is known as The Wall, for usually being so impenetrable, Sehwag is the The Fence, a significant obstacle, but with a few more holes

Sunday, October 10, 2004

Cricket: Aus in Ind 2004 - Day One

Today was Day One of the much hyped Test Series, dubbed as the Clash of the Top Two teams in the world and the Final Frontier for the all-conquering Australian cricket team (almost literally true after the SriLankans were banked 3-0 earlier this year).

Day One provided the opportunity for 2 cricketers at the opposite ends of their career to face the media. They were at the opposite ends of their tether as well, to judge by the outward appearances of Anil Kumble and Michael Clarke.

Kumble, who had been laid low by a flu virus and managed just six hours' sleep on the eve of the match, was tired but contented after becoming the ninth man in Test history to reach 400 wickets. Australia's boy wonder, Clarke, on the other hand, was utterly unfazed by his achievement in batting for more than four hours on debut to reach an unbeaten 76 (later completed his century on debut).

For Kumble, it was the third occasion he had brought up a landmark on home turf, after taking his 100th and 300th wickets here at Bangalore too. "It's just a coincidence," he shrugged. "Somehow it often seems to work out like that. I did start thinking about it as I got closer, but really we just had to get on with the game, and break that partnership [between Simon Katich and Clarke]."

Clarke, for his part, also admitted to nerves, although they were scarcely on show in the course of his innings. "It was great to get off the mark," he admitted, "but obviously the longer I spent out there, the more comfortable I became. Batting with Simon really helped as well – he's at New South Wales now, so it was great to spend time with him. He played really well, and deserved a hundred, but unfortunately he missed out today."

Katich, in the end, became Kumble's landmark victim, as he was bowled off an inside edge for 81. "It's a great honour to have 400 wickets," said Kumble afterwards, before setting his sights even higher than that. "Obviously the next target for me is another 35 wickets, to go past Paaji bhai [Kapil Dev], but it's more important to win this Test, and if I contribute to that then records will take care of themselves. I just want to keep taking wickets, and I feel good at the moment."

Tomorrow it will be Clarke's own milestone that takes centre stage, and if anyone has the self-confidence to get to a hundred on debut, it is he. "Yeah, I hope I can get there," he enthused. "I'll come back tomorrow, aim to put on a good partnership with Adam [Gilchrist], and hopefully get to a hundred."

Besides this article from, adapted from CricInfo, there were a few nice ones on why Anil Kumble is the greatest bowler for India.

Michael Clarke's was one of the most anticipated and delayed debuts.. He certainly is here to stay.

And, amongst modern day spinners, Kumble's stats against Australia (certainly the best players in the last decade) are better than Muralitharan and Shane Warne never has to bowl against the Aussies... but Kumble has reached 400 wkts faster than Warne (and McGrath too) !!

Late Addendum:

What a great job by Harbhajan Singh in his comeback match !! In his first match since December 2003 (where he played with an injured finger) he took 11, expensive nevertheless invaluable, wickets. Boy, does Anil Kumble have competition !?!

Looking at the spirited performance of the Indian tailenders, we hope that the others will wake up and with a few changes to the playing Indian XI we will be able to achieve that all Indians want.. Go India !!

Where God wants you to be

Next time your morning seems to be going wrong and the children are slow getting dressed and you can't seem to find the car keys and you hit every traffic light, don't get mad or frustrated; praise God instead because God is at work watching over you.


After Sept. 11th, I happened to call a man on business whom I didn't know and haven't nor will probably ever talk to again. But on this particular day, he felt like talking. He was the head of security for a company that had invited the remaining members of another company who had been decimated by the attack on the Twin
Towers to share their office space.

With his voice full of awe he told me stories of why these people were alive and their counterparts were dead. In the end, all the stories were just about the little things that happen to us.

The head of the company got in late that day because his son started kindergarten. Another fellow was alive because it was his turn to bring donuts. There were other stories that I hope and pray will someday be gathered and put in a book.

The one that struck me was the man who put on a new pair of shoes that morning, took the various means to get to work, but before he got there, he developed a blister on his foot. He stopped at a drugstore to buy a Band-Aid. That is why he is alive.

Now when I am stuck in traffic, miss an elevator, turn back to answer a ringing telephone...all the little things that annoy me...I think to myself, this is exactly where God wants me to be at this very moment.

Monday, October 04, 2004

What Freedom Means to Me?

Freedom has more than one part to it, but the most important part is the basis. The basis of freedom is freedom within you, to be in control of yourself. Freedom is being able to control what you do, say, and think. The usual path is that you think something, then you say it, and then you do it. Freedom is taking responsibility for everything you do, everything you think, and everything you say. In life, there are always consequences. Freedom is being able to look ahead and choose what you want to do, do it and then accept the consequences. How can we expect others to take responsibility for their actions if we don’t take responsibility for our own actions? Freedom is being able to say "I’m in charge of my own life and I can choose where I am going."

Many people have the misconception that freedom is being able to do anything they want to and that they are not free unless they can do whatever they want. To a certain extent this is true, but what some people do not realize is that making a decision to drink or take drugs or indulge in terrorist acts restricts their freedom. Such activities lead to addiction. The addictions distort the ability to make a judgement. And being addicted takes away your freedom because then the drug or the alcohol or the terrorizing becomes your life.

Freedom is very important. Freedom is what most wars have been fought for. Freedom has been given to my generation, we haven’t had to fight or lose friends and family to gain it. It is a gift that can’t be held in the hand, but is evident all around us. We can choose our occupation; we can choose how we act. Our world is not without its flaws, but we still have our freedom. Peace, particularly, World Peace, is an important issue these days. Coming to think of it (and using a quote made by a fire-fighter working at Ground Zero), Freedom and Peace go hand in hand, one cannot exist without the other !

OT: Visit American casualties in IRAQ.

There have been many stories written about someone not recognizing the value of something until they lose it. Freedom, too, is special and sometimes we don’t realize this until we lose it. Freedom is so precious that fathers have died so that their children can be free. Many mothers have sacrificed for it. I just hope we can see how important it is to treasure it because we do not want to realize its value after we lose it. I firmly believe that good can be done if we choose to make good the "fruits of our labors". I can be in control and make a difference if I just put my mind to it.


I made a conscious decision to use a "free" (or open source) software – OpenOffice – while writing this piece instead of the Microsoft Office suite which I generally use for creating documents. "Free software" is a matter of liberty, not price. To understand the concept, you should think of "free" as in "free speech", not as in "free beer."

This piece was originally authored by someone else and was adapted to include my views.

50 Interview Questions ...

I found this eBook - "50 Interview Questions with Answers".

Some typical interview questions and some answer suggestions with it.

Download URL :
Username : interview
Password : vyom

Sunday, October 03, 2004

Why to go Blogging ?

I started this blog primarily as an online Diary. Here's an interesting news article on how blogging has found another use these days.