Jan 29, 2007

Sporty Posty

It's been a while since i wrote about sports. This HAD to happen after watching Fed's demolition of A-Rod.

I'd bet money on Roddick beating Federer on current form. WTF was i thinking? This is Roger Federer we are talking about. A-Rod would be introspecting now. "Mommy, why, WHY did u tell me to take up tennis for a living? Someone shoulda warned me I'd run into Him!"

I used to wonder - what is the big deal about this guy? He seems to play fairly normal stuff, the opponents just give up and the commentators seem to make a big deal out of it. It was only when Fed had an off-day, and both he and his opponent made mistakes, did i realize tennis is difficult. And it's his greatness - that he makes it look so elegantly simple.

This year has been sad. Lotsa legends i've been admiring since time immemorial faded into sunset this year. Schumi, Zidane, Agassi, Warne... all my favorites from every sport i watch

However, I'm sure the new order beckons. Kimi, Federer... the fan within me shall be re-born soon

Jan 24, 2007

Some things never change - contd

Earlier post here.

Was goin thru my old blog last night. And it struck me:
- I still haven't written about some of the things I'd resolved to!
- I still write pretty much the same way. I thought of myself as a grey-haired-blogger, and assumed my style, subjects of interest etc would have evolved over the two years I've been bloggin. But no sir, I dont think they have!

Wonder if that is a good thing!?!

Jan 17, 2007

Spirit of the Man! - Review of Guru

First up, I loved this movie. The first time I've actually liked a Mani Ratnam movie. Had completely missed the 'message' in Yuva etc. But in this one - the story, the screenplay and the acting is superb! the only downer is the music - the songs are like speed-breakers on an expresway - totally unnecessary and annoying in the middle of an otherwise tight narrative!

Guru, to me, is all about the man. He may not be the most ethical, and his naked ambition may not be appreciated by the socialists in the country - who still believe self-denial is virtuous. But to the generation of free-thinkers and dreamers who will lead this country's march into double-digit GDP growth, he is an unquestionable role model. His clarity of thought, his humongous dreams, and his drive to realize them, all with a smile and simplistic demeanor, are endearing to say the least. Even the other characters - the failure father who's always discouraging, the rustic mother, the egoistic partner who forsakes wealth for pride, the socialist media moghul who must oppose, the self-destrutive incompetent bourgeoisie - are so real. And to see our man conquer them all - pleases just like Howard Roark does in the Fountainhead. And of course, all the actors are GOOD!

Another interesting charater is Guru's wife - the independent woman, who is willing to elope with a man who has less balls than she. Who throws a few tantrums when she finds out he married her for the dowry, but still comes back and supports him like a rock. The proverbial woman behind the successful man. Inspirational!

If you've not seen this movie yet, watch it. And thats a life worth living

Jan 14, 2007

Defending the Media

Roomie and I were discussing the attitude of the media while reporting the Nithari serial killings case. His contention was - the media has already made up it's mind and convicted the suspect. He felt they should've been unbiased and stuck to reporting the facts, and leave people to form their own opinions.

I have a different viewpoint. I feel the media should be offering an opinion - creating and leading the public opinion if you will. I know the 'freedom brigade' will disagree with me on this, but I feel the media is required to take up this responsibility here. Because people on their own simply dont care enough to form an opinion. They are busy dealing with the tangles in their own little cocoons, and unsure if they need to take any stands at all. If the media passivly reports 'such and such shit happened', people will passively forget it and move on. However, if the media says 'This is WRONG!', they might sit up, take notice and maybe even try doing something to adress the issue. Even if they don't, they might at least support the cause of someone who IS doing the right thing.

An exmaple of this in the US was the 'War on freedom'. The Govt has an agenda, it needs public opinion in its favor. The media does the job by harping on the threat posed to US security by Saddam and Al-Qaeda. The man on the street does not know who was responsible for 9/11 and how. Most Americans dont even know what or where Iraq is, and what Saddam really did. Yet US troops have to go and fight there, and they need the country behind them. I'm not saying the opinion formed was correct, but it is certain that the public opinion has been created consciously by the media. The point is - to draw attention and support for a cause, the media has to go beyond a black-and-white, dry reporting of facts.

Of course, the other question is raised about the credibility of the media. Given the power to lead public opinion, where is the certainty that they will not misuse it? I admit there is no answer to that, but power and responsibility always go hand-in-hand. And so do responsibility and trust. There are laws to prevent and punish deliberately dishonest reporting. But more than that, we'll have to trust them to get it right more often than not. I know they often seem to create too much of a fuss over trivial issues and create some unnecessary controversies in the war for TRPs. I will not defend that - it is wrong. But that's a fair price.

I'm very happy when things like these happen:
- A team of IAS officer is embarassed into canceling their plans, when the media tells everyone they were going for a govt-sponsored holiday on the pretext of 'studying monorail technology in other countries where it's successful', 10 days before they retire! The media ensured people form and voice an opinion against such blatant misuse of the taxes they pay.
- A couple elopes. The girl's politican-cum-industrialist father uses his contacts, and the boy is thrown into jail without justification. The media reports it, and questions are asked of the policemen misusing their authority and being influenced by outsiders.

The good work done by the media in exposing abuse of power by the authorities alone outweighs all the cons of creating some unnecessary controversies. It keeps the balance of power from tilting too far from the common man. You and I should be thankful for that.

Jan 12, 2007

New Blog

I've also joined Hypermetropia. Less 'inspired' posts will go there now. Doesn't offer great stuff to read, but the idea is cool (read the stuff on the right-side panel there).
If you like Hypermetropia and wanna join, lemme know!

Jan 7, 2007

Nice post on Stupidity

One of the best I've come across in a WHILE. Read this

Jan 6, 2007

Arranged Marriage

" One should marry
Not someone you can live with
But someone you cant live without"
(Ok maybe not, but i dont know who said it)

I am vehemantly opposed to the concept of arranged marriages. I know these are very popular and well-accepted in Indian society, and I'm not going to try to change that, nor advise anyone for or against these. But here's what I feel about the practice, and the ideas are applicable to myself, if no one else.

First, lets look at the importance of the decision 'who one marries'. Till we turn 20-something, we are kids being guided in life. Targets are set by others (90% in class 10, ability to play piano etc), and do-and-donts are also dictated largely by family and peers. One really doesnt have to think, just follow instructions.

Then you reach a point where you finish your education and are on your own. Most guys take up jobs. Now you have to set your own targets (retire a millionaire at 40, become the most respected in your field, or simply make sure your kid grows up well and does well in life). You have to decide how you want to live your life. You have a lot of freedom, as well as a lot of responsibility, because now you are in charge of your life - for the first time, and for the rest of your life.

Whatever route you choose, it is a tough journey with lots of ups and downs. You need emotional support through your lows, and someone to share your joys with. To build a happy family, well, you need to start with a spouse. You need a partner for this journey. Thats why you get married.

Now, what if you dont choose the right partner? Your priority is family, theirs is career. You like spending and living for the moment, you partner likes to live quietly and save for a secure future. Anything can go wrong. And if it does, you are so screwed. For your whole life. And your life is really just beginning. Thats why this is the most important decision of your life.

My opposition to the concept of arranged marriage stems from a belief that the process doesn't allow you to make a well-informed decision. And what i consider worse - its NOT an independent decision. It should be - coz its ur whole life at stake - and you are the person who bears the main consequences of this decision.

In this process,the choice is made largely by parents/relatives, who tend to prioritize attributes they want in a family member. And they surely have an incomplete, perhaps somewhat distorted view of you as a person. Do they know about all your crushes? Do they know how many cigarettes you smoke? Do they know if you aren't a virgin? Do they fully agree with your value system? The specifics could vary, but the point is - they dont know exactly who you are and what you want in life. So the match is made between an image of a boy and an image of a girl, and neither is entirely accurate.

Yes, you could argue that you get some time to interact with the prospect, and have a say in the decision. But really how meaningful is that? For one, there isn't enough time to know a person inside out, all their plans/desires from life, and their qualms. Plus there is so much pressure. You know you have to decide fast, you know your families are 'watching' in a way, there is fear of rejection and you know everyone really wants to hear a 'yes'. This is not a suitable setting for good decision-making.

I've been in a deep relationship, and it took me 3 years to realize it wasn't going to work. People who 'fall in love' and are able to spend honest time together, do not decide quickly. And the decision isnt always 'yes'. So how can people who've just met twice, decide? This is one decision you have a whole lifetime to regret, if it goes wrong.

Anyway, thats all i had to say. A few pinches of salt
- there hasnt been a single arranged marriage in my clan for more than two decades. So there is an inevitable bias in my views.
- these are my opinions and my doubts. they may not be relevant to anyone else.
- there really is no evidence to suggest arranged marriages work better or worse than love marriages

If one cant find that elusive gem called 'true love', this is a good practical solution. And for all i know, i might end up in an arranged marriage myself. Tho it seems no more likely than an Iraqi victory over the Allied forces.

Lotsa my pals are prospecting right now. Lemme clarify that this isn't personally directed at ANY of you in any way. Jus food for thought, i dont wanna poison any minds.

Arguments/opinions are welcome