Friday, December 18, 2009

A very happy new year 2010...

2009 is ending and now is the time,
When you should expect one more rhyme!
As the clock ends the year with a chime,
Here's to you a poem sublime :)

Manmohan showed BJP the dustbin,
Rahul's austerity from max to min...
Tharoor's cattle class raised a din,
Obama win but a Nobel was sin.

Floods and storms killed a lot...
Climate change rules no one bought.
Whether they know how or not,
A standing farewell Jackson got.

Oscars reached the Slumdog band.
Katrina acquired Ranbir land.
Poor Elesh got Rakhi Sawant's hand.
Twenty Twelve and Avatar were grand.

Modi proved he is no ordinary bloke.
More records Sachin and Team India broke.
Federer in France for once didn’t choke.
Tiger Woods was the butt of many a joke.

Forgive and forget as is due...
Rejoice the best whether many or few.
A Happy Holiday and a fantastic year to all of you,
Hope a splendid 2010 starts anew...

P.S: I shall be away from the internet world for a good 2 week period! That's the reason for the advance wishes...

Avatar 3D - The Review

Here is a very short review of the movie Avatar, based on a 3d experience at fame cinemas in bangalore. In short, I had to say it was a bit of an underwhelming experience but the imagery and the experience was grand. The sound effects might not have been great due to theatre quality. Personal tip - ensure you sit in the first few rows of the movie hall and bang in the center of the row. The view should ideally not be obstructed by the other movie goers! To make it short and sweet, the review is in the form of a tag cloud...

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The top 10 characteristic cricket shots – and how the balls feel!

Whenever our favorite cricketer hits his characteristic shot, we are all elated. But have we for once thought about the cricket ball. And what the cricket ball feels about the whole episode? The ball has its purpose in life – to go hit the stumps of the batsman. When it is not able to do that, it feels best if it is well left and goes inside the cozy comforts of the wicketkeeper’s gloves. Instead, when it gets a pounding as it does from some of the world-class batsman, it feels like being kicked out or hit hard.

With this in perspective, let us analyze some of the most characteristic shots in modern day cricket, and how this equates to anywhere from a polite send-off to a rude dumping for the cricket ball.

  • Cricketer: Thilakaratne Dilshan
    Shot: Bend and send the ball back over the head of the wicketkeeper for four and completely change the trajectory of the ball
    Feeling: You are dressed handsomely. You have a fine accent. You know you can talk you way to the American visa for which you have come all the way from Bangalore to Chennai. And you believe you have all the documents that are required. The visa officer talks very nicely to you. Except that he feels that your personality might pose a bigger threat to the USA than 10 Osamas put together. And to put you off in a completely different direction, he asks you for a document that he knows you would have probably used as a tissue paper substitute some time in your life. You are sent back to Bangalore with the next appointment a month away.
  • Cricketer: Chris Gayle
    Shot: Spread out legs (pun intended) and dispatch out of the stadium over long on or mid-wicket with a big heave of the bat
    Feeling: You hit upon a girl in a pub. She was speaking nicely to you. You thought this was your chance. You decided to go in for the kill and ask her out on a date. ‘Pat’ comes the reply in the form of a tight slap. The last you remembered before you awoke at the hospital - some big fat guys were lifting you up.
  • Cricketer: Gautam Gambhir
    Shot: A constipated bend and nudge towards third man presumably for a clever four but ends up usually in a dumb single
    Feeling: You have decided to land up on Saravana Stores to buy a shirt. All you know is that you entered the shop sometime back. The crowd pushed and shoved you towards some person who was showing shirts. Without any signaling or pointing, a cloth piece was packed. Again as you stood wondering what just happened, you are pushed towards the billing counter. When you took the kerchief out to swipe off your sweat, the purse came along with it. With the bill and the apparel in hand, you are now standing outside the shop still wondering what just happened. When you open the box, you realize you have a saree instead of a shirt.
  • Cricketer: Ross Taylor
    Shot: Moving across the stumps to offer an LBW chance but heaving the bat quickly to send the ball from outside the off-stump to out of the stadium on the leg side
    Feeling: You had the right focus. You had prepared well. You had beaten the others to it. You got your dream Day 0 job. Until the week after when the global stock markets crash. And the company plunges into recession. And they say that your appointment is deferred by 6 months. And of course, you have the choice of finding a job elsewhere since 6 could extend to 12 as well.
  • Cricketer: Yuvraj Singh
    Shot: The complete kneel down on one foot as if to show respect and then launch a massive six over mid-wicket
    Feeling: – You go into the marriage reception to greet a couple you hardly know. You are there because it is a ritual and someone asked you to come along. The couple is already tired of smiling for the last couple of hours. But however, you know you are in the public eye. The couple greets you with all the respect that you can ever get from unknown persons. And asks you to go and eat your food. At the back of their mind, they would be happy with one more good riddance. At the back of your mind, you know you are happy to get into the food hall. But unfortunately for you, there is such a long waiting line and at the end of the waiting, the food was so bad that it has started making sounds in your tummy. You now want to exit the place and attend nature’s dual call. But there is a long queue there as well…
The other top 10 characteristic shorts – you can contribute how the balls feel during these...
  • Mahendra Singh Dhoni – The small spread of the legs to hit a straight drive that sizzles past the bowler
  • Virender Sehwag - Extremely powerful cover drive on the off-side where point and cover are still looking at the batsman while the ball has sailed past the cover boundary for a six
  • Sachin Tendulkar – The paddle sweep invented to counter Shane Warne’s spin during the test series in India
  • Ricky Ponting - The front-foot movement, short bend and majestic pull over square leg with super-fast hand-eye coordination
  • Kevin Pieterson: The elaborate movement across the stumps and a glance to send the ball from outside off to across the leg side mid-wicket region for a boundary

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Happy 60th Birthday Rajinikanth

Rajini the Thalaiver,
Stylish and clever,
At any age, you tire never,
Happy birthday, forever...

In honor of a special 60th birthday, here are the Top 5 lists of various types of movies of Thalaiver. The same is available here on Twitter.

  • Top 5 Rajini Style / All-time Best Movies - (1) Baasha (2) Padayappa (3) Shivaji (4) Muthu + Moondru Mugam (5) Thalapathi (#) Other Mentions - Annamalai, Mannan

  • Top 5 Rajini Acting Movies - (1) Thalapathi (2) Netri Kann (3) Engeyo Ketta Kural (4) Gayathri (5) Raghavendra (#) Other Mentions - Bhairavi, Peddarayudu (Telugu), Bhuvana Oru Kelvikuri, Thappu Thalangal

  • Top 5 Rajini Comedy Movies - (1) Thillu Mullu (2) Guru Sishyan (3) Mannan (4) Velaikkaaran (5) Arunachalam (#) Other Mentions - Maappillai

  • Top 5 Rajini Senti Roles - (1) Engeyo Ketta Kural (2) Naan Adimai Illai (3) Yejaman (4) Dharmadurai (5) Anbullah Rajinikanth (#) Other Mentions - Gaayathri

  • Top 5 Rajini Action Movies (1) Thalapathi (2) Naan Sigappu Manithan (3) Murattukalai (4) Siva (5) Kodi Parakkudhu (#) Other Mentions - Pokkiri Raja

  • Top 5 Rajini Music Movies - (1) Johny (2) Ninaithaale Inikkum (3) Baasha (4) Muthu (5) Thalapathi (#) Other Mentions - Rajathi Raja, Uzhaippali

  • Top 5 Rajini Thinking Movies (1) Chandramukhi (2) Netrikann (3) Priya (4) Naan Sigappu Manithan (5) Annamalai (#) Other Mentions - Mr. Bharath

  • Top 5 Rajini Romance Movies (1) Pudukavidhai (2) Veera (3) Thambikku Endha Ooru (4) Yejaman (5) Velaikkaran (#) Other Mentions - Gayathri

  • Top 5 Rajini Negative Roles - (1) 16 Vayathinile (2) Moondru Mudichu (3) Thappu Thalangal (4) Apoorva Ragangal (5) Polladhavan

  • Top 5 Rajini Duds :( (1) Baba (2) Bloodstone (3) Valli (4) Kuselan + Pandiyan (5) ALL HINDI (#) Other Mentions - Adhisaya Piravi, Kodi Parakkudhu, Maaveeran
Any more list ideas or any more additions to existing lists, please do add...

Thursday, December 10, 2009

The typical lifecycle of a Twitter user

The following diagram depicts the typical lifecycle of users on Twitter... (Click on the image to enlarge flowchart)

Thursday, December 03, 2009

The REAL top 10 search trends...

Over the last week, there have been various top search engines that have been publishing the list of top 10 search queries for 2009. One could go a step further and assume that the following would be the trends for celebrities and common people alike across various fields such as sports, entertainment, media etc.
  • User-base: Government Officials (Category: Politics)
    Popular Queries

    i) How should I live in austerity
    ii) How to evade questions on peace with Pakistan
  • User-base: American policy-makers/ Peace-makers (Category: World)
    Popular Queries
    i) What strategies to follow to continue attacking Afghanistan, Iraq
    ii) What reasons to provide for giving Obama the Nobel prize
  • User-base: Top movie producers / TV serial-makers (Category: Entertainment)
    Popular Queries

    i) How to deliver a hit in Bollywood
    ii) How to convert Rakhi Sawant to marriage material
  • User-base: Indian Cricket Team / Golfers (Category: Sports)
    Popular Queries
    i) Which companies are available for selling myself to
    ii) What not to do with a golf club
  • User-base: Tech-savvy consumers (Category: Technology)
    Popular Queries
    i) What to do with Google Wave
    ii) How not to tweet like Sashi Tharoor
  • User-base: Writers / Musicians (Category: Literary / Arts)
    Popular Queries
    i) How to write books for Rs.95 and still make millions like Chetan Bhagat
    ii) How to pass an opinion on everything like Arundathi Roy
  • User-base: Journalists / TV Reporters (Category: Media / Journalism)
    Popular Queries
    i) How to pick a story to sensationalize
    ii) How to shout like Rajdeep Sardesai
  • User-base: Working professionals (Category: Corporate India)
    Popular Queries
    i) How to act busy at work so that I don’t get fired during recession
    ii) How to steal free food at office to increase savings
  • User-base: Young Indians (Category: Lifestyle)
    Popular Queries
    i) How to earn and eat, and spend the same on gyms before marriage
    ii) How to put on weight after marriage
  • User-base: The Common Man (Category: General)
    Popular Queries
    i) How to ignore everything around just enough for living my own life
    ii) How to vote without any choice
P.S: Last heard, none of the search engines could give a valid answer for most of the questions across the spectrum. The said parties were interested in any answers humans might have…

P.S 2: This post links to a lot of older posts. Foresight maybe... :)

Any more for any of the above categories or any other category of users, please add on in the comments section…

Thursday, November 26, 2009

The online biggies in the Roman empire

In ancient Rome, Caesar once saw Cleopatra passing by and immediately alerted Brutus.

Csr: I just love her face, book her for me please, will you?
Bru: Oh that should be easy. I shall b(r)ing her for you. In the meantime, go ogle at her from far.
Csr: Yeah, who would miss that chance!
Bru: (mumbles to himself)....

Brutus lands up the same evening with Cleopatra inside his arms...
Csr: (shouting) You cheated me? She was the apple of my i. Why did you flick her from me?
Bru: She had sense Caesar. So she decided to pick me over you.
Csr: She was mine. You intruded into my space.
Cleo: (barging in) I didnt want an old (a)owl like you.
Bru: (looking at Cleopatra) This week I paid ya. You better come with me.
Csr: Nooooo... Stop. Take money. Take land. Take ranches. Take everything. Give her to me.
Bru: Chill Caesar. I m dabbling only for this week. I am going out wit her now. Tata bye pi Caesar.
Csr: (falling down from his throne) You tu(be) Brutus?...

(P.S 1: Refer here for a similar conversation on 'The first nIghT' though that was predominantly w.r.t. IT Services companies)

(P.S 2: Needless to say, this is completely for fun. No offense please!)

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Top 10 Doordarshan TV moments from back then...

In honor of the twitter trend #youremember here is a list of the top 10 Videos (thanks to Youtube) of the yesteryears. Each of these videos signifies something special... Something that a lot of Indians of that generation could relate to... Something that a lot of us could enjoy, whenever we saw them since there was not much choice of channel or content. Here's to reliving those days...

  1. Mile Sur Mera Tumhara - This one needs no introduction. When the torch gets passed from cricket player to cinema star to everyone else across the spectrum, and finally when the tricolor comes on screen with the fantastic musical score in the background, there are certain goosebumps any living Indian would get. (And here is a post on what if Mile Sur Mera Tumhara was redone today)
  2. Jungle Book Title Song - The jungle boy jumping around with his animals with a nice kid singing in the background was one of the earliest cartoons that came on our TV screens.
  3. Ek Chidiya - A simple concept of unity in diversity, explained by a brother sister animated combo with a fantastic tune.
  4. Hamara Bajaj - This was just an ad. But it was for the Bajaj scooter, which was part and parcel of Indians' live. The 'Hamara Bajaj' background score indicated something more, something special that gave the feeling of national pride.
  5. Doordarshan Montage - The first sign of the day's TV starting, and a sign of it ending. The iconic music is etched in our memories, thanks to the many movies that symbolically indicate the day's start using this one tune.
  6. Heman / Spiderman - TV was our biggest friend, far ahead of books. And Heman raising his sword to the sky and the 'friendly neighbourhood Spiderman' going across from building to building to the two distinctive background scores were guys' favorite shows at that time. In the era of cable TV, WWF wrestling came to serve guys' needs better!
  7. Didi's Comedy Show - Nonstop nonsense was what the title said. And it was true to that. And it made you laugh like hell. If there was one guy, who could make you laugh without any words said, it was this German guy. He never spoke. And his actions were terribly funny. The ending bit of the show where there is a phase-lagged 4 screens on your screen at the same time are just about awesome!
  8. Superhit Muqabla (could not find a video) - Though Oliyum Oliyum in its Tamil avatar and Chitrahaar in its Hindi avatar served us for many years, Superhit Muqabla was something special. There was the twist of a countdown, a model for a veejay and the latest songs from the latest films. And of course, it was on the special channel - DD2!
  9. Mahabhaarat - Everyone knew the story, but one set of arrows fighting another formed spectacular graphics at that stage, enough to make everyone glued to their TV screens. And the start of the epic show was the title track which got translated into multiple languages as well along with the show itself.
  10. The World this Week (jump to after the first minute in video) - When a young half-bald Prannoy Roy came on the screen and showed us bits and pieces of bombings across the world or Australian cricket with stump cameras and floodlights and colored clothing, people were amazed and wanted to watch the half hour show though it was only once a week and at a really late hour.
If you know of any other videos, please do include those in the comments section.

P.S: I have not directly embedded the videos since that would have made the page terribly long...

Friday, November 20, 2009

Why Indians get into IT...

A childhood dream of being a pilot,
Never at home and fly a lot they bet.
Wear white and white and be trim and super-fit,
And sit and shit forever in the cockpit...

I then thought of being a doctor,
They wanted something big in barter.
We were poor folks living on rental,
With all the hassles my family would have become mental.

The next thing that amazed me was cricket,
But I was always on a sticky wicket.
I needed to pose for infinite lux ads,
And have affairs with the gals of the other lads.

Glitz and glam made be a wannabe actor,
I was blown away by the deciding factor.
The northies said i needed to be very fair,
While the southies wanted lots of facial hair..

I thought of becoming a government servant,
But being a politician was akin to being a serpent.
Talk a ton of crap and take a lot of money,
Sugarcoat all the junk to the public as honey.

Marketing, finance and HR i gave the pass -
Good looks, cooking your books and acting like crooks were all bakwaas.
So i landed up in IT to sit in the AC and browse and blog,
I proudly proclaim myself part of the industry that India's educated folks hog...

An IT soul...

Friday, November 06, 2009

A poetic letter to Sachin Tendulkar

Oh Little Master Blaster whose effort yesterday went in vain...
I write this poem requesting you to wipe out a small stain.
As I am debating here between ecstasy and pain...
Your inning was the main, but eventually the match gave us no gain.

From the day you hit those sixes off Abdul Khadir,
We knew you would be Indian cricket's modern day father.
And in New Zealand when you went behind the leather,
We knew any storm you could help us weather...

Against Warne the famous paddle sweep,
In Chennai and Sharjah when the targets where steep.
Against Akhtar and Murali you had us leap...
And made the opponent bowlers and the captains weep!

I have defended you with gusto many a time,
Even when there was no reason or rhyme...
Fighting tooth and nail, I did not give a dime...
Until it seemed as though you were going past your prime.

Over the years when you neared your hundred,
Amidst the shouting as the whole stadium thundered!
You used to take your own sweet time lest you blundered,
As everyone sitting around grudgingly wondered...

Even when Dravid won more matches than you,
The blind joy and faith waited for something to chew.
One big 4th inning overseas win from you was due,
But it never came as happy moments outside were far and few.

Last year, when people asked you to retire...
You came back with more fire.
Australia and England were objects of your ire,
Winning matches showed us you never tire!

Despite all your records and holding the nation together for 20 years...
When you getting out, more than death, is what every grandmom fears.
Your every shot or wicket the entire nation hears...
Defeat when we could have won because of you plunges us into tears.

So Sachin, please take us to victory every time even though our wish might be flawed,
Despite all these trivialities we continue to be awed.
Cause we know you are specially created by the Lord...
You will always be India's universally worshipped cricket God...

From a Fan...

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Remembering the Diwali, of a long time ago...

“Tring Tring”. Rang the phone bell.

I woke up startled from my sleep cursing the phone. My mom came into the room and handed me the device. It was my paati* on the phone. I got up, still in a trance. And glanced around to get a glimpse of the time. It was 10:30 am. And there was just a feeble sound of firecrackers in the distance.

It was Diwali day, I realized. I wished my paati & thaatha ‘Happy Diwali’ and tried to get back to my sleep. But I could not. Lying down on my bed, I started wondering… Wondering about those Diwalis many years ago

I was probably in my 3rd standard, when the earliest memories of Diwali strike me. It was my paati who would light the first pattasu* in the house. 3:00 am was always the time. It was a custom followed for many years. We would all wait eagerly for the sound of that first one. It was our cue to wake up. And pronounce to the whole world that we were the first in the locality to wake up. There was a big competition in the neighborhood for being the early bird. The earlier the time you could state, the more your social standing was for the day.

In the next room, I could hear my mom shouting out to me to wake up. This was probably her 20th call out to me. I had obviously not paid heed to any of it earlier and was blissfully sleeping on my bed. My father was banging on my bedroom door to force me out of bed as well.

In those days, we had to run around the house and create a racket to wake up everyone. We would shout out to our parents to wake up. We would always wonder how they did not share the same enthusiasm to wake up and burst crackers. My dad would be the problem child. He just did not feel the importance to wake up early. I would do my level best to wake him up to make him ready along with us by around 4 am at the least. But the earliest he would have probably seen was 7 am.

As I woke up and brushed my teeth, I called out to my mom to put my dress in the bedroom so I that I could use it. I was just about to pick up the soap and shampoo for taking bath when my mom called out to come to the puja room to get the dress. I was too lazy to walk out and refused to oblige.

If there was one part about Diwali that I hated then, it was the oil on the head bit, and something worse – the black colored Diwali medicine called the ’legiyam’*. A drop of oil is all that I would get on my head. And there was absolutely no way that the black colored semi-solid legiyam was getting into my mouth. A sound of irritation, turning the face the other side, running around so that no one could catch me, holding my breath so that I could keep the thing in my mouth and spit it out later – all these were the tried, tested but unsuccessful methods of not having the dark concoction. On the other side, the new dress was our pride for the day. The same dress would also be used the next day in school for showing around on the one occasion when students were not required to come in white and blue.

After taking bath, I dressed up and came outside. My eyes immediately went towards the boxes of sweets that were lying around. The variety was pronounced. Laddoos, mysore pak, badhushah, mixture, thattai* and more assorted sweets. ‘Grand Sweets’, ‘Surya Sweets’, and ‘Krishna Sweets’ read out the sweet boxes. A solitary bowl of home-made semiya payasam* was lying next to these boxes.

The sweet / savories making process in those days started more than a week ahead of the actual festival date. Elaborate arrangements were made to source the various types of dough to make the home-made delicacies. My grandma’s mysore-pak was a super specialty. So also her thengozhal*. My mom and aunts would help her make all the items for all the households. Just watching them gave the feeling of the approaching festivities. And the sampling of the items was a fantastic opportunity to get your mouth full of lip-smacking sweet dishes. All the items had to be home-made.

As I walked around the house, I could hear the sound of the pattimandram* on Sun TV in the background. My dad was laughing out at how Solomon Pappaiya* was summarizing the discussion. I picked up the paper to see what new movies were getting released – only one Surya movie called ‘Aadhavan’. Rest all, absolutely junk.

I remember one of those last few exciting Diwalis when Manirathnam’s Roja was released. Along with Kamalhassan’s Devar Magan. I think I was in the 9th standard then. We were all taking the customary break from firecrackers for the special screening of ‘Oliyum Oliyum’ on Doordarshan. This was the programme where they were going to play the latest movie songs from the flicks that were getting released that day. We were looking out for the name of Ilayaraja on the movie banner that they displayed for the movie ‘Roja’. Some ‘new actor and actress’, someone claimed. ‘A.R. Rehman’ displayed the banner. ‘Who was this new music guy’, someone remarked… And then started ‘Chinna Chinna Aasai’ and all of us were glued to the TV, mesmerized…

I then took the one single 56 wallah Red Fort and the box of matches lying next to it. I went outside and the street was more or less calm. There was still that firecracker noise from the distance, not so far away as was the case when I was in bed, but still some distance away. I kept the cracker on the ground, lighted the match-stick first, then used that to light one of the multiple threads that was sprouting out from the red-colored pieces of gun-powder that were just about to blow up. I could hear the sound, this time much closer, as I turned my back and started walking back home.

The ordering process for the firecrackers was a mammoth exercise. We were given a budget to work towards. This hovered from around Rs. 150 upwards of Rs. 400 sometimes. Finalizing on the combination was an exercise in optimization. Finalizing on the supplier was an exercise in keeping your ears and eyes wide open for the cheapest deals. The Rs. 10 packets of loose bijilis and the roll cap along with the toy pistol formed the starters for the 7-course sumptuous fire-cracker spread. Other parts of this included the flower-pots very early in the morning when it was still dark, the Lakshmi / Sparrow single bursts around dawn, the atom / hydrogen bombs around early morning, the red-forts later in the morning, the innovatively used coconut shells around various types of firecrackers in the afternoon and the flower-pots and the rockets reappearing in the night to close out the bursting sessions. We also stored a few items for the upcoming Karthikai Deepam*. Out of the 24 hours in a day, a good part of 15 hours would be spent amidst the bang-bang sounds.

I then went up and took out my laptop from my bag. As I logged on to the internet, I could see a whole lot of status messages on Diwali wishes. This was from my world wide web of friends and relatives. I could also see a lot of SMS wishes on my phone that was sitting on the side. I started typing out my own Diwali poem for me to send out to the hundreds of my contacts across Facebook, Twitter, and my mobile.

The one break we took in the afternoon from bursting was to go meet all the relatives around. This started with my uncles / aunts and culminated in my other grandma / grandpa’s house. Across all of these houses, we were fed more sweets and other delicacies. We were also given the remaining firecrackers that were not utilized, especially in the homes of the elderly. We were also supposed to burst a couple of crackers in those houses where there was no young one. Diwali was an occasion to go meet all these folks. And to exchange pleasantries… The contacts-circle was typically limited to people staying within 1 km of you…

As I finished typing out my messages across these various sites, I started wondering what was it that had changed in my celebrating this wonderful festival across all these years... I guess it was around the 11th standard when I suddenly lost my excitement for bursting crackers. And now, it was another holiday off from work, to take rest at home. I realized that most of us have grown up. And priorities have changed. This is probably true of our fathers when we were kids. And it is probably true of our kids when we grow up too.

But remembering those moments always brings out that smile in me. After all, this is what nostalgia is about. And that is what gives you ultimate fun when you think of those years gone by… Those years, when no one was too old, to wake up early and start bursting firecrackers at 3 a.m. in the morning…

*Key (Tamil Words)
  • Paati = Grandma
  • Thaatha = Grandpa
  • Pattasu = Firecracker
  • Legiyam = Semi-solid concoction of medicinal herbs
  • Badhushah & Semiya payasam, Thengozhal & Thattai = South Indian Sweets, Savories respectively
  • Pattimandram = Debate; Solomon Pappaiya = Moderator of the debate
  • Karthikai Deepam = Festival in November / December where houses are completely lit in the night

Friday, October 16, 2009

A typical day in the life of a Twitter follower

There was once a novelty factor to Twitter. As time goes by, this novelty factor morphs into well, no T factor. Following is a depiction of 80% of all of our Twitter pages...

Just click to expand the photo and read through...

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Arbit Thoughts - What advertisement is it?

Seeing an ad on TV, and understanding what product it is trying to highlight, has become a humongous task. Leave alone the brand recognition, i am talking about the product recognition itself.

It is super hard to distinguish an ad for a soap from that of a shampoo. Invariably, the model has great hair to go with shiny skin.

And to distinguish an ad for a shampoo from a skin cream or moisturizer that can leave you with a bright smiling face. Bright faces apparently need to have shiny hair. And when faces and hair are shining so well, can sparkling teeth be far behind?

The whole face package is inevitably splendidly lustrous for all of the above ads.

One product though that is very easy to guess is the fairness cream. In all cases, the model has deliberately applied charcoal on their face. And over a two-week period, they rub the coal off their face. It is so evident as that is the only way someone could transform their skin color so dramatically within a two-week period.

FMCG companies have a reasonable task to make the consumer understand a value proposition within a 20 second ad. If they can supercharge their head and stop the in-the-face advertising (pun intended), that sure helps a lot of viewers to understand ads better!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

The Srilankan Cricket team inside a Tamil love story...

Overheard, a proposition, from Sekar (our hero), a pakka namma Chennai youth, trying to seduce Jaya (our heroine), a Madras baashai KD girl from Gummidipoondi...

S: Hi sexy girl, naan thaan sekar... Autokaara Sekar..
J: Vanakkam Ba. Naan thaan jaya, thotti jaya... Matter sollu...
S: Vandhu, ... Adhu Vandhu....
J: Ada, chattu puttu nu sollu da badhil shani yane...
S: Mudhalla... indhaanga poo, mothama arali tharen ungalukku... evalvu poo paarunga...
J: Cha nalla set malliga poo thara maata...
S: Adutha dhaba tharen... Naan vandhu ungala loves pannrenga...
J: Adada, enna loves pannrathukkellam oru thagudhi venum pa... Inna vandi otra nee?
S: Auto... Share auto...
J: Thoo share auto va...
S: Appadi korachu eda podadheenga. Unga mela total feelings nga, neruppu mela sathiyama...
J: Neruppu nu sonna thaan nyabagam vardhu, Kannu dham beedi etha pudippiya...
S: Cha cha, andha bad habits laan kadayaadhu...
J: Cha waste ba nee...
S: Naan waste a irukkalam, aana haste a decision edukkaadheenga...
J: Indha maari dialogue vittu nenjaya soriyariyepa...
S: Karpu god ram oda wife sita mela promise, en love no galeej and tremendous...
J: Cha, indha kosu tholla thaanga mudiyala pa...
S: Aan chellam mat use pannriya...
J: Dei unna thaan da sonnen...
S: Last and final time, kenji ketkaren... Emma, Ela, Jaya, Vardhaane ennoda...
J: Dei kulla sekara, ingendhu joot vidu, illa unna naalu kummu arai En sanga kaarana kudukka solluven...
S: OK saari. Next meet pannren... Vartaa....

And that is how the short love story between Jaya and Sekar ended...

Supporting Cast
dhil shan = Tilakaratne Dilshan
mothama arali tharen = Muthiah Muralitharan
la set malliga = Lasith Malinga
Thoo share = Thilan Thushara
Kannu dham bee = Thillina Kandamby
jaya soriya = Sanath Jayasuriya
Karpu god ra = Chamara Kappugedera
ej and tremendous = Ajantha Mendis
Aan chellam mat use = Angelo Mathews
ma, Ela, Jaya, Vardhaane = Mahela Jayawardane
kulla sekara = Nuwan Kulashekara
kummu arai En sanga kaarana = Kumara Sangakkara, the captain

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Arbit thoughts - The earphones / cell charger problem

How many times has this happened to you - you are in the middle of a fantastic song on your earphones and for some reason your one ear has turned deaf.

Of course, it is not your ear but your earphones that are creating the effect of the temporary muteness.

Your analytical mind gets into action to find the specific cause of the earphones not working. It is like being in a dream all gone wrong - instead of pinching yourself to check if you are awake, you start pinching the earphones at various places to check what the cause of the problem is. Is it the point where it connects to the device, or the place where it branches off into two wires or right at the end where the confluence of the earphones with your ears happens.

Immediately after identifying the cause, you try your skills at geo-positioning that part of the phones. Various angles and positions are tried until that one in a million position is conquered.

And you emerge with a sense of great achievement. And a notion of happiness that you don't need to send it for repair...

Only till the person sitting next to you knocks you on your shoulder to check on what song you are listening to. And then the whole process starts again...

The problem also manifests itself when you connect your phone charger to your phone. Similar techniques are followed there as well.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Arbit thoughts - Kids and trains

What is it about kids and trains that defeats all laws of probability - the chance of finding a crying kid in the same train as oneself is always 100 percent!

Crying kids have a knack of shouting at the highest possible pitch, for the longest possible duration and still maintain their sweet innocence. This is certainly not advised for adults though.

A kid's crying has a great social networking effect as well - there is always some other kid that takes its cue from the crying kid and starts off on another track. When they criss-cross each other's path during their crying, various ragas and alapanas can be deciphered.

There is also kumbakarna's third law of sleep intervention that applies here - a crying child will momentarily stop crying to give you a slight belief that you can finally sleep. But right after you do start your nap, the crying is louder than ever before.

Parents of course try their best but they typically add to the kid's reasons for crying! So next time, you should never try to frighten a kid to stop it from crying. Remember the sight of a crying child can frighten a sleepy you much more!

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Arbit thoughts - The inseparable mobile phone

What is it with mobile phones that make us always look at them? While talking. While walking. While driving.

It is as though the entire world is calling out to you with the most important of messages. Specially so when you are on the back of a scooter, or talking to a friend at home, or sitting and eating at restaurant.

Why is it that in the middle of any such activity, there seems to be an extra sense of urgency to look longingly at the phone? Maybe people actually have their talking script typed out as a message on it...

Or is it that touching the phone gives people the satisfaction of ensuring that the phone's karma for the next half hour is taken care of? The fast moving hand trying to unlock the phone. Followed by a mildly dejected look at the absence of a message. And the same fast moving hand locking the phone to put it gently back to sleep.

A friend told me the other day that his spouse has started responding to the phone more than him! So if he has to call out to her in the next room, a phone call has a better chance of getting through than his voice!

Mobile payments have replaced the wallet. Wonder when mobile lipstick and mobile combs are going to replace the other accessories that unnecessarily take up pocket and handbag space...

That time is not too long away - when you are mobile, the mobile might be the only thing on you!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

If 'Mile Sur Mera Tumhara' were remade today...

Mile Sur Mera Tumhara - This is a song from the 80s Doordarshan that no one from our generation would forget. But to make it relevant to the current school-going generation, there may have to be some changes done to the song. And some things, that just should not change even today. And certainly, there might be some surprise elements too…

5 things that would change
  • The song would start with a white and white clad A R Rahman with long tresses and waving hands
  • Instead of people ploughing their land or going in tractors, people coding in software companies and watching a rocket take off from Sriharikota would be highlighted
  • The Delhi Metro, Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir would replace the Calcutta underground and its host of personalities
  • The next generation of Hindi cinema would take over from their parents or predecessors – the 3 Khans instead of the Amitabh / Mithun / Jeetendra trio, Deepika instead of Prakash Padukone, Kajol instead of Tanuja, and so on.
  • The waving well-lit cell-phone with different color displays would replace the people running in at the end of the song to form our flag

5 things that would NOT change

  • Bollywood and cricket would forever be the passions of our country and act as the anchors for the song
  • The Taj Mahal, Goa beach, Dal Lake, Punjab greens, Thar Desert, The Indian Railways, Elephants in Kerala etc. would continue as the icons of India
  • The traditional serene village lands and people of the North east have hardly changed
  • Kamalhassan, Amitabh Bhachan, etc. may be old but are still gold and would appear in the song even today
  • Lata Mangeshkar would still sing the song

5 things that one would NOT be surprised if were introduced

  • One representative from every political party would find a place in the song, with a specially constructed statue of Mayawati at the start of the song
  • Microsoft & Google chiefs and Barack Obama would do a round of thanks to India for offering to be the source of their company’s and country’s brains
  • A rich suit-clad man and a beggar look at the Bombay Stock Exchange longingly
  • The attire of the stars in the song would use lesser cloth and more skin show than the traditional saree of yesteryears
  • Raakhi Sawant and to-be-husband from the reality show as well as a host of dancing, singing, and doing-anything for fame folks from all the junk reality shows make an appearance in the song
And before signing off, the original song itself...

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Tam Brahms: We are like this wonly - Mind It!

Times are changing. And so is the Tam Brahm race. As the world graduates to Facebook and online dating, Obama and soccer, we are also changing.

At least on the face of it!

Inherently, we won’t! And we can’t… The top 5 indications for this follow…

  1. Façade: We have started naming our kids Amit / Abhishek trying to make their names look more cosmopolitan.
    Fact: For every 1 Amit, there are still 99 names with a Balaji or a Sriram or a Subramaniam (with variations of n or m to end the word!) or Vidya or Ramya…

  2. Façade: We love eating pizzas and butter naans, albeit in Saravana Bhavan!
    Fact: That, and we also still love our puliyodharai from Parthasarathy Swamy Temple, specially standing twice in the queue with a changed outfit to fool the distribution point of contact, or the curd rice from Anjaneya temple (we can bring the aavakkai pickle in our pocket)

  3. Façade: We always seem to determine the raga behind any song, including a Led Zeppelin hard rock number.
    Fact: We feign knowledge of Carnatic music while all we have ever learnt is Violin or Mrudangam during a compulsory 40 minutes-per-week art education class till the 7th Std. in school!

  4. Façade: We have our representations in varied industries including cinema, music, literature, sport etc.
    Fact: We still swear and die by an IIT or BITS engineering degree and an MS from the US! It is another thing that we drop all of it to get into some software job or an MBA!

  5. Façade: We network actively through Orkut and Facebook and find matches through online dating.
    Fact: A lot of the match making happens courtesy our friendly neighbourhood mama and mami in house functions and temple visits! And the groom typically works in the US or has some connection with IT!
Any more, feel free to add to the comments...

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Top 10 new advertising slots in IPL

DLF Maximum. Citi Moment of Success. Etc. Etc. The IPL organizers are getting queries from new advertisers increasingly for more ad slots. So they have decided to take every inch of space available on the ground, on the players' bodies and in the spectator area to create the following 10 new brand associations -

  • Colgate smile - Players who have hit a 4 or a 6 or a 50, or bowlers who have taken a wicket need to smile with all their teeth; Such a moment is called a Colgate smileeeeeeeee; If a player does not smile or he does not brush his teeth before the match, he is fined 20% of his match fee.
  • VIP underwear knockout - Since every other part of the player's attire is taken, all teams will introduce a Superman-type dress code where the underwear would be worn over the trousers; Bowlers get bonus points for hitting that area, and such a delivery is called a VIP knockout ball.
  • New York Mutual Life Insurance - Whenever the balls goes to the cover region, the commentator claims that it was 'absorbed' by the NYML cover. Future regions on the ground include Veet fine leg etc.
  • Jet Frequent Flier - The bowler who gives the maximum number of DLF maximums is called the Jet Frequent Flier...
  • Kellogs Breakfast - Every time a break ends before the 1st ball of the next over starts, such sympathetic breaks are brought to you by Kellogs Break'fast'
  • Kiwi polish ball - The shiny new white ball will be branded as "brought to you by Kiwi polish" with the black bird image; if the Newzealanders take offence, they will be asked to shine all balls using natural means.
  • Sony Music Bhangra Special appeal - Bowlers and fielders who raise an appeal for a dismissal have to instantly break into a Bhangra number (both hands pointing towards the sky) with constant shouting and dancing; umpire would be giving out only if he is impressed with the dance.
  • Tata Steel helmet - A "T" symbol painted on the batsman's helmet grill, if he does not wear a helmet, the symbol will be painted on his nose; If the ball passes through the grill and breaks the player's nose, player says Tata / Bye Bye to his IPL.
  • Five Star Fruit & Nut - Bollywood stars who are being shown on TV whenever their team is playing - The players of the star's team are total fruits while the star is a complete nut.
  • Dev D Extra Inning - For the 'Emotional Atyachaar' song...In honor of what Mr. Samir Kochar and Arun Lal commit every day.
Any more such innovative brand associations, please use the comments section...

Friday, March 13, 2009

The Indian Revolution - Part 1

“I shall hold my country in the highest esteem. I shall never take a single paisa more than what I earn as my salary. I shall make it the best place on this earth to live in, for all on this earth. Women, children and men of all caste, creed, sect, language, race, religion will have equality in every single aspect of their life in our country. If ever me or any of our party members fail to uphold any of the above, that person will bow down in front of the Indian democracy and forfeit their position immediately. In the next five years, we shall make India the best country in the world where poverty, illiteracy, disease, pollution, discrimination and corruption are only found in the dictionary.”

One could hear huge cheers from across the country. The speech had been delivered by the 32 year-old prime minister of India. Translators were busy on their job converting the speech to the various languages for the millions of people who had tuned into the speech to listen. Every medium in the country - from radio to TV to cinema halls to the modern man's internet was beaming the live speech.

32-year old PM! The youngest ever in the country… Just two days back, the revolution was complete. The “Youth of Utopia” (YOU) with the guidance of the “Wise Elderly” (WE) had come to power.

Yes – YOU were in power. And that was a cause for major celebration for the people. The people, who had for so long demanded a clean and young government that could realize the true potential of the great country of India. One that could get India get out of its bottom 150+ position in the “place to live in” index and would catapult it to the top 5.

It had not been an easy path for them. They had slogged it out for the last 5 years against the might of the established parties and their goondas, against the money of the corrupt, against the mindsets of people from the deepest of village and against their own self-apprehensions. But the group of 545 people with the support of over 50000 educated youngsters and 5000 generous elders accomplished what none had even dreamed of before.

And to think it all started with a message some had put on one of those many social networks...

To Continue…

15 / 08 / 2???

Disclaimer: Whether the above is fictional or not is for the public to decide…

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Those top 10 nostalgic moments

In this fast-paced world, I am sure every one of us, at various instances in our lives, would want to go back to our good old days, to relive those great moments of a care-free life! Though studying in a CBSE school meant you had to be on top of your books, there still was a lot of time for the joys of TV in the form of DD1 and DD2, the various comic books, special once-in-a-blue-moon restaurant visits, and the two and half months of summer vacation for planning out immense amount of activities and games! The following ten items stand out for me in terms of their experience...
  1. DD1 & DD2 along with Mile Sur Mera, Ek Chidiya, 'Sorry for the interruption' and 'Over to Delhi' - The World this week by Prannoy Roy and SportsMag by Harsha Bhogle were much sought after on DD1: the former captured everyone's hearts in his calm and crystal-clear way of giving a snapshot of the world events for the past week while the latter had a superfast way of speaking English which made everyone sit up and get puzzled on who this newbie was! On DD2, Superhit Muqabla was fun to watch even if the top 10 song list never changed week after week. Of course, Mile Sur Mera starting with Bhimsen Joshi and the animated Ek Chidiya were ever popular. On the other extreme were the painful view of "Sorry for the interruption" or "Over to Delhi" just when you didn't want them!
  2. 5 digit telephone numbers - 77438 was our house phone number. And I still remember all of my friends' numbers - since it was so easy remembering a 5 digit number! Nowadays, with the 10 digit cell phone numbers, I don't even remember my own number from a couple of years back! Even though those telephone instruments used to hurt the finger, specially if most of the numbers required a 270 degree motion of the dial, it gave you the satisfaction of talking to people instead of sending them SMS and scraps!
  3. Home-made 'bakshanam' (sweets / savories) - That basically stands for uppu / vella seedai, murukku, thengozhal, ribbon, pakoda, thattai which were regularly done for many of the special occasions by my grandmas. No Grand Sweets, no Surya sweets then, to get packaged items. They were all done at home and could be consumed hot off the stove! Just the process of seeing them make it told us that there was a big occasion at home. And the festive spirit was invoked and enjoyed.
  4. 'Big Fun' Bubblegum - This was a very guy thingie but collection of runs and wickets that came along with the bubblegum was such a big activity then. Exchange of those player profiles and getting those rare ones from the older guys was worth more than anything else in life! The more soiled the chits were, the greater their value! This was over and above the competition on the size of the bubble that one could blow using the bubblegum.
  5. Hiring a cycle - At Re.1 per hour, it was a big deal then. Still, the joyous feeling going through the same roads over and over again along with friends despite the hot burning sun was sublime! Sometimes races turned ugly when one of the lot would fall down and hurt themselves. That would never deter us though from regrouping and utilizing the full value of the Re.1 spent!
  6. Heman toys / Trade Games / Crazy Ball / Glow worm - Collection of Heman toys and stickers was a much sought after activity. G I Joe was another character that was popular! Long-winding trade games that went on for hours during summer holidays were widely anticipated events. To ensure we continued over multiple days, we even wrote down the exact status in our notebooks! The crazy ball that bounces in various angles and a glow worm that used to shine in the night were popular too, the latter specially amongst girls. Last but not the least, 3 - 5 hours of cricket (underarm / overarm / bowling etc.) were a standard feature every day, be it holidays or otherwise!
  7. Tinkle / Tintin Comics - Those were the days of no internet and no Cartoon Network. So, Tinkle comics and Amar Chitra Katha ruled the roost. Phantom and Mandrake were also extremely popular amongst the boys. The good / bad ring and the charm of Xanadu are still not lost on me! Tintin and Asterix, borrowed for Rs. 2 from the lending library were even greater fun on account of their highly engaging stories. To this date, it is pretty expensive to own a Tintin or an Asterix comic book! The "Famous Five" and "Secret 7" were reserved for the only-English speaking dudes!
  8. Writing with an 'ink' pen - Class 5 exposed us to an ink pen. Initially, stained fingers and shirts were painful to look at. But these signified the coming of age of us as students. We would look down on Class 4 students as if they were very junior compared to us. Ball-point pens were typically frowned upon by teachers. In this current computer age, it is sad that even writing with anything has become a such a rarity!
  9. Camlin or Natraj Geometry box - Owning a Camlin or a Natraj geometry box, that too a fully-loaded one with Steadler pencils, a white eraser, a sharpener and all the geometry instruments shining without any rust, was a moment of pride. No one ever knew when a divider would ever be used but the compass and protracter were absolute necessities. It is another thing that Camlin was Aishwarya Rai's first ad shoot when she was in school!
  10. Distributing chocolates on birthdays - This is probably an activity that continues to this day in schools, but dressing up in something outside of uniforms and distributing chocolates was a much anticipated activity, not just for the one whose birthday it was, but for the other children in school as well. The type of chocolate - whether it was an Eclairs, or a 'Try Me', or a 'Melody' typically signified social standing and willingness to incur expenditure on birthdays. Cadbury's 5 Rs. 'Dairy Milk' chocolates were reserved for the rich kids.
Well, writing about these does make me feel a lot younger when I visualize m. But it also makes me think I have grown so much older now since it looks like ages back when I was in school! It still is any day worth it just to think of these! We, or even our next generation, may never get to experience the same, but if only we could have a way to revisit the past, it would be fun!

Any more such moments, do add them in the comments...

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Top 10 indications of the recession in your office

  1. Your office toilet has extremely thin or hardly any tissue paper.
  2. On your salary slip, the denomination is in “Paise”. And just to keep you in check now and then, the salary slip is pink in color.
  3. People start disappearing from your office and you are told that they have taken a long sabbatical for various reasons.
  4. Those remaining are asked to share seating space and computers to improve teamwork and bonding.
  5. When their seating time is over, they double up as office boys and security.
  6. Conference rooms are let out on rent
  7. The smell in your office is different. It is the effect of a combo of no air-conditioning, absence of air-spray in the office and absence of deo sprays at your colleagues’ homes.
  8. Food items in the canteen are served in ice-cream bowls, coffee is limited to 1 per person and resembles a tequila shot in size.
  9. Office cabs look similar to those stunt vehicles where 20 are packed inside one Maruti car.
  10. To escape the rot, you log into the top job sites and you are greeted with a perennial message “Site under maintenance”, while the business newspapers start carrying obituary and crossword puzzles instead of the jobs supplement.
Any more such signs, please feel free to add in the comments section!

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Long live paunches!

It is that time of the year when everyone makes resolutions. I did too. And one of my new-year resolutions was to do away with my paunch. But coming to think of it, I am seriously reconsidering this resolution. Paunches are so in! They are a sign of prosperity, of holistic and well-rounded development in all spheres of life.

Here are 10 reasons why I think they are a man’s best friend…
  1. My paunch is the first thing that I see on waking up, without having to move a muscle. Lying down, you open your eyes and there it is - like a mountain behind which the sun rises. The last thing you probably see before you sleep is also the same paunch.
  2. It makes traveling in crowded buses much easier. Standing on your two feet, you can do a circular movement like that of a pencil on a drawing compass. You clear away all the people who are cramming you for space. And thus, have all the place to yourself…
  3. The paunch acts as a good sensing device since it goes to all places well before you yourself do. With time, you can understand its sensing power and evade those people that you may not want to meet.
  4. Big paunches are generally accompanied by reasonably big rear sides as well. However, since the paunch greets people first, it takes away their focus completely. Jokes on your front are typically more appreciated than those behind your back! (pun intended)
  5. You can stuff a lot of items into your paunch for meetings without people doubting that you have done so. That chips packet, that gaming device, the music player, the small chess-board etc. that you always wanted to carry into the meeting room to keep you occupied are well within your grasp. People cannot notice a 2” difference in a 48” waist. They can, on a 32” one.
  6. It acts as an adjustable pillow for your wife. Olden-days romance involved the spouse lying down on the husband’s thigh and singing a song. New-age romance calls for the husband’s paunch to be the adjustable pillow for the wife to have a comforting nap.
  7. When it gets too boring, the paunch acts as your complete gaming device. You can place small objects from spinning tops to marbles and coins and watch their Brownian motion by altering the contours of your paunch. If not guided well, some may come and hit you on your face. Others may go hit you on other parts below…
  8. The paunch is a great percussion instrument for an orchestra. The bigger it is, the better the sounds that it emanates on tapping it at its various locations. There are some paunches that can generate even more variations than a ghatam or a tabla!
  9. Mosquitoes get completely fooled. They think that they can attack you but the multiple layers of padding make it far tougher for them to penetrate through. In desperation, they typically fly away for leaner and greener pastures!
  10. Last but not the least, if you are ever in a soup with the traffic police or the police, you can escape scot-free. They would consider you one of their kind. The paunch is the great unifying factor. So you can rest easy in life.
More instances where the paunch acts as a great friend for mankind are appreciated in the comments section of this post!

(Disclaimer: It may not be in the best interests of your health unfortunately :( )

Thursday, January 01, 2009

a very happy 2009

another year went past really fast,
some events aghast while some do well to last.
mumbai attack pix terror and daily life mix.
lehman goes for a six congress left in a fix.
kumble and ganguly down dhoni got the crown,
obama made america his own india got the ifone.
lets forget the old wine, let the new year shine
to you and your family all things fine, a very happy 2009!
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