Thursday, April 28, 2005

The Chappell Way

One of the reasons that I declined the West Indies offer to coach them recently was because of their short-term approach to what is a long-term problem. They didn't fully understand the philosophy that I espouse and that is behind the concept of how best to develop future champions. The West Indies Cricket Board wanted a quick-fix solution. What I wanted to bring was a system that was involved with the whole development process from Under-17, Under-19, first-class cricket and the 'A' team through to the Test team.
says Greg Chappell in this article titled Change Cricket's Coaching Model. Sounds exactly what the Indian team needs, especially after the biggies call it a day after the 2007 World Cup. Let's wait and watch hoping that BCCI take the big step.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Yeh Mumbai Meri Jaan ...

Mumbai is a deeply misunderstood city said Shobha De in her POLITICALLY INCORRECT column for Times of India on SEPTEMBER 14, 2003.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Rocky Balboa

Rocky Balboa made sure Sylvester Stallone's life would never be the same again.

Rocky had it all -- action, realistic boxing, emotion, romance and sharp writing.

A quote from the movie:
Rocky (in response to his girlfriend asking him why he wants to fight): 'Because I can't sing or dance.'

Monday, April 25, 2005

Me = Supreme Nerd

I just took the "Nerd Test", and I 'scored' 90%. Dunno if that is an achievement or a dishonor.

I am nerdier than 90% of all people. Are you nerdier? Click here to find out!

Sunday, April 17, 2005

Hare & Tortoise - More lessons to be learnt ...

Once upon a time a tortoise and a hare had an argument about who was faster. They decided to settle the argument with a race. They agreed on a route and started off the race. The hare shot ahead and ran briskly for some time. Then seeing that he was far ahead of the tortoise, he thought he'd sit under a tree for some time and relax before continuing the race. He sat under the tree and soon fell asleep. The tortoise plodding on overtook him and soon finished the race, emerging as the undisputed champ. The hare woke up and realized that he'd lost the race.
The moral- "Slow and steady wins the race."
This is the version of the story that we've all grown up with. However, the story doesn't end here. There are few more interesting things... it continues as follows...

The hare was disappointed at losing the race and he did some soul-searching. He realized that he'd lost the race only because he had been overconfident, careless and lax. If he had not taken things for granted, there's no way the tortoise could have beaten him. So he challenged the tortoise to another race. The tortoise agreed. This time, the hare went all out and ran without stopping from start to finish. He won by several miles.
The moral - "Fast and consistent will always beat the slow and steady. It's good to be slow and steady; but it's better to be fast and reliable."
The story still doesn't end here...

The tortoise did some thinking this time, and realized that there's no way it can beat the hare in a race the way it was currently formatted. It thought for a while, and then challenged the hare to another race, but on a slightly different route. The hare agreed. They started off. In keeping with his self-made commitment to be consistently fast, the hare took off and ran at top speed until he came to a broad river. The finishing line was a couple of kilometres on the other side of the river. The hare sat there wondering what to do. In the meantime the tortoise trundled along, got into the river, swam to the opposite bank, continued walking and finished the race.
The moral - "First identify your core competency and then change the playing field to suit your core competency."
As you might imagine, the storystill hasn't ended ...

The hare and the tortoise, by this time, had become pretty good friends and they did some thinking together. Both realized that the last race could have been run much better. So they decided to do the last race again, but to run as a team this time. They started off, and this time the hare carried the tortoise till the riverbank. There, the tortoise took over and swam across with the hare on his back. On the opposite bank, the hare again carried the tortoise and they reached the finishing line together. They both felt a greater sense of satisfaction than they'd felt earlier.
The moral - "It's good to be individually brilliant and to have strong core competencies; but unless you're able to work in a team and harness each other's core competencies, you'll always perform below par because there will always be situations at which you'll do poorly and someone else does well"

End of an era ?

Saurav Ganguly has been suspended for six matches by ICC and the media and public have welcomed the decision. Could match referee, Chris Broad, in fact have ended Saurav Ganguly's international career?

But, Gaurav Sabnis asks, Do we have a batsman who can walk into his slot easily?

Also, today India played for the last time under coach John Wright, who strated his career with Ganguly's captaincy. According to this interview with the Telegraph, he must be feeling very empty, angry and frustrated.

Excerpts from the interview -

On working with Sachin Tendulkar:
I’ve been privileged. His humility, Strength of character, Class as a cricketer ...a wonderful experience.

If I had the job all over again:
I would ask for a vote at selection meetings...Performance is most important, but the attitude factor is there as well.
The zone-wise representation of selectors should be stopped. Only the best team must be picked...It may have been useful, but isn’t so now.

Challenges facing Team India:
No. 7 slot in ODIs (all-rounder), Fielding, Genuine Quick.

Biggest change:
Belief that wins can be recorded overseas...

No. 1 disappointment:
Losing the 2003 World Cup final, Not being able to win the Sydney Test 2004,...

No. 1 achievement:
Beating Australia in 2001, Defeating Pakistan in Pakistan 2004, Chasing 326 in the 2002 NatWest final.

Truly, the end of an era !!

Update: Also read John Wright's final press conference and Amit Varma's reaction to it.

Monday, April 11, 2005

Laws ...

Most of us who are students of some form of science have come across Laws. Here are a few not so scientific laws.

1. Lorenz's Law of Mechanical Repair: - After your hands become coated with grease, your nose will begin to itch.

2. Anthony's Law of the Workshop: -Any tool, when dropped, will roll to the least accessible corner.

3. Kovac's Conundrum: -When you dial a wrong number, you never get an engaged one.

4. Cannon's Karmic Law: - If you tell the boss you were late for work because you had a flat tyre/bus missed,the next morning you will have a flat tyre / bus missing.

5. O'brien's Variation Law: - If you change queues, the one you have left will start to move faster than the one you are in now.

6. Bell's Theorem: - When the body is immersed in water, the telephone rings.

7. Ruby's Principle of Close Encounters: - The probability of meeting someone you know increases when you are with someone you don't want to be seen with.

8. Willoughby's Law: -When you try to prove to someone that a machine won't work, it will.

9. Zadra's Law of Biomechanics: - The severity of the itch is inversely proportional to the reach.

10. Breda's Rule: - At any event, the people whose seats are furthest from the aisle arrive last.

11. Owen's Law: - As soon as you sit down to a cup of hot coffee, your boss will ask you to do something which will last until the coffee is cold.

12. Howden's Law: - You remember you have to mail a letter only when you're near the mailbox.

13. Murphy's Law ( The original law does work but so does this one) - What has to go wrong will go wrong.

Sunday, April 10, 2005

A real life Matrix !!

Entertainment Giant Sony has patented a device that fires pulses of ultrasound at the head to modify firing patterns in targeted parts of the brain, creating "sensory experiences" ranging from moving images to tastes and sounds.

It could allow for movies and computer games in which you get to smell, taste and perhaps even feel things. And, the patent claims, it could give blind or deaf people the chance to see or hear.

Entire article at NewScientist

The Hours (2002)

The 2002 Oscar nominated film, The Hours, based on Michael Cunningham's Pulitzer Prize winning novel, is about how one novel affects three separate women during three separate time periods, all of whom, in one way or another, have had to deal with suicide in their lives.

In 1951, Laura Brown (Julianne Moore), a pregnant housewife, is planning a party for her husband, but she can't stop reading the depression-themed novel 'Mrs. Dalloway'. In 2001, Clarissa Vaughn (Meryl Streep), a modern woman is throwing a party for her friend Richard, a famous author dying of AIDS. In 1923, Virginia Woolf (Nicole Kidman), is writing that novel.

Taking place over one day, these three stories are interconnected as one is writing it, one is reading it, and one is living it, but it also goes beyond that because their hardships are so similar. The whole plot twists and comes together at the end. The basic theme of the film is wondering if it is better to live your life for your own happiness or others'. All three women feel that the life that they are living, isn't the life that they wanted for themselves. We all live our own lives, but sometimes our final hours don't mean as much to us as they do to other people.

The acting is simply amazing. Nicole Kidman's Academy Award winning perfomance is arguably the best as you don't recognize her at all, neither in appearance, nor in voice. Julianne Moore, nominated for supporting actress, and the perennially-nominated Meryl Streep give terrific performances. Ed Harris as the author suffering from AIDS was also nominated for an Academy Award. The other supportiing cast, including the kids, is excellent.

The brilliant acting, great perfectly edited story, fantastic direction by Stephen Daldry, excellent make-up and beautiful music composed by Philip Glass makes this one of those movies that stays with you forever.

Memorable Quotes:

Virginia Woolf : It's the end of civilization. People who are invited at 4 and arrive at 2:30.

Richard Brown: Who is this party for?
Clarissa Vaughan: What are you asking, what are you trying to say?
Richard Brown: I'm not trying to say anything. I think I'm staying alive just to satisfy you.
Clarissa Vaughn: That is what we do. That is what people do. They stay alive for each other.
Richard Brown: What about your own life? Just wait until I die, then you will have to think of yourself.
[next scene]
Clarissa Vaughn: He gives me that look, as if to say your life is so trivial.
Julia Vaughn: Mom, it only matters if you think it’s true.

Virginia Woolf: I'm dying in this town.
Leonard Woolf: If you were thinking clearly, Virginia, you would recall it was London that brought you low. We brought you to Richmond to give you peace.
Virginia Woolf: If I were thinking clearly, Leonard, I would tell you that I wrestle alone in the dark, in the deep dark, and that only I can know. Only I can understand my condition. You live with the threat, you tell me you live with the threat of my extinction. Leonard, I live with it too.
I wish, for your sake, Leonard, I could be happy in this quietness.
But if it is a choice between Richmond and death, I choose death.
You cannot find peace by avoiding life, Leonard.

Virginia Woolf: Someone has to die in order that the rest of us should value life more.

Clarissa Vaughn: You don't have to go to the party, you don't have to do anything you don't want to do. You can do as you like.
Richard Brown: But I still have to face the hours, don't I? I mean, the hours after the party, and the hours after that...
Clarissa Vaughn: You do have good days still... You know you do.
Richard Brown: Not really... I mean, it's kind of you to say so, but it's not really true.
I don't think two people could have been happier than we've been.

Laura Brown: It's a terrible thing, to outlive your entire family.
What does it mean to regret when you have no choice? It's what you can bear. And there it is... It was death. I chose life.

Virginia: To look life in the face, always, and to know it for what it is. At last to know it, to love it, for what it is, and then, to put it away. Leonard, always the years between us, always the years, always the love, always... the hours...

Sunday, April 03, 2005

Cricket's MVP

Ambidexterity, daredevil grip, no pressure, athletic body, early development - just some of the skills that have made him the Most Valuable Player in World Cricket.

Opponents have sensed it, Legends have claimed it, Statistics have proven it and now 70 per cent of the 30,000-plus responses on a Cricinfo survey have voted... Adam Gilchrist is the most explosive batsman in cricket history.

Read the entire article by Robert Craddock of The Daily telegraph here.

Need a break? Try this ...

Smart Programmers - an email from Hetal Kamdar

Two bone weary programmers were working their hearts and souls out. Their department was just too busy for staff to be able take a break. But there had to be a way...

One of the two programmers suddenly lifted his head. "I know how to get some time off work" the man whispered.

"How?" asked the second worker.

Instead of answering, the man quickly looked around. No sign of the Project Manager. He jumped up on his desk, kicked out a couple of ceiling tiles and hoisted himself up. "Look!" he hissed, then swinging his legs over a metal pipe, hung upside down.

Within seconds, the
Project Manager emerged from the Branch Head's office at the far end of the floor. He saw the programmer hanging from the ceiling, and asked him what on earth he thought he was doing.

"I'm a light bulb" answered the programmer

"I think you need some time off," barked the PL. "Get out of here - that's an order - and I don't want to see you back here for at least another two days! You understand me?"

"Yes sir", the programmer answered meekly, then jumped down, logged off his computer and left.

The second programmer was hot on his heels.

"Where do you think you're going?" the boss asked.

"Home," he said lightly. "I can't work in the dark."

Most Fascinating Entrepreneurs

Inc. magazine goes behind the scenes with 26 entrepreneurs - one for each year of Inc. - who best exemplify the extraordinary drive, creativity, and passion of American business.

The list spans the gamut of the entrepreneurial world, from well-known names like Richard Branson - because he is game for anything, Michael Dell - for being brilliantly straightforward, to Tony Lee, a former janitor who bought out his steel manufacturing employer - for saving 16 jobs, including his own; to Craig Newmark, who has been almost the antithesis of a dot-commer with his no-frills Craigslist site - for putting the free in free markets.

No matter what the accomplishment, each entrepreneur profiled here offers a fascinating case study in what it takes to thrive in today's economy. What amazed me most was that the list was headed by Martha Stewart - because she took one for the team.