Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Is the fire still raging…..?

It has been one year to that fateful day for our Mumbai the Beloved,
When demons from afar rained death, destruction and pain.

Many promises have since been made so easily trampled,
When fresh blood of sacrifice still ebbed and solemnly rumbled.

Have we let the fire of anger subside and die down?
Have we let the memories of martyrdom wither and drown?

Will we let the guilty hide behind our excuses of politics and religion?
Will we put our egos and pride before our country awaiting her redemption?

Has our tolerance being taken for weakness and ignorance?
Are we going to sit and allow time to provide unholy deliverance?

Is our patience a symbol of our inability to act?
Or has suffering manifested to become a parasitic part?

Let us reignite the passion that could conquer all,
And jolt ourselves into action, both body and soul.

Let the skeptics be reminded we aren’t lying dormant,
Let the believers know that judgment takes all but a moment.

It’s time to renew the pledge to action and our commitment to results,
No matter what, justice is destined and assured without pretense.

Let us be the bricks and mortar on which our nation will be fortified,
To fight of all challenges from evil, let all measures will be justified.

Jai Hind!!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Raj, you let us down!!!!

The dramatic episode which transpired on the 9th of November, 2009 in the temple of Maharashtrian politics, which can only be mildly put as “utterly shameful” was unfortunately scripted the one who was heralded as a man that bought with him a new hope and vision of a reinvigorated and thriving Maharashtra.

We, the silent majority feel let down by the man who not so long ago promised us to bring a new approach to politics devoid of petty gimmicks and bereft of all the populist yet crippling measures that were playing havoc with the growth and development of our beloved state and had brought the social and financial development of the state to its knees.

Many like me who anxiously waited outside his Shivaji Park residence holding on for dear life on the unsteady foothold on the wall had hoped for so much more and instead were delivered so little.

We could see the same fire burning in him that we could feel in many others like me, who wanted to part of a real change that he had assured of delivering. We were ready to back him to the hilt and more to take Mumbai and Maharashtra to its rightful place in India and the world,

He talked of development and progress of the state yet shunned all measures that could cause any animosity between fellow Indians, no matter where they were from. He was aggressive and impatient, but only to get Maharshtra to the top and cast-aside all the elements and instruments that had been an impediment towards this common dream.

When he launched his party Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) on the hallowed ground of Shivaji Park, where we, his staunchest supporters stood shoulder to shoulder was greeted by a man who instilled in us a sense of pride of something that we, presumably believed, were on the threshold of embarking upon.

His words called out for uniting against a common enemy, misgovernance, corruption, unfounded hatred and misdirected aggression. He gave the analogy of Irfan Khan, the new Indian hero, and enquired to his gripped audience as to whether we could ever hate him for being a non-Maharashtrian or should we hail him as the hero he was for bringing glory to the nation and demolishing the enemies of the field.

The crowd went ecstatic every time he spoke and the at times the atmosphere reached a fever pitch. Like me, many could see in Raj, the true ‘deliverer of good’ that we had prayed for so long.

However, little had we realize that this mirage of hope mirroring heavenly grandeur was to come down like a pack of cards during a raging tsunami. (Pardon the hyperbole, it’s always seems unrealistic when you try to pen down what you feel inside)

Then came around the first test for the MNS by way of the BMC election. Although the party didn’t do well, no one amongst us lost hope. We all knew that great transformation and achievements have even greater gestation periods, and it is only after many stops and starts that true results become apparent and head towards ultimate realization.

But, Raj seemed to think otherwise. He quickly seemed to run out of patience. The recent election results seemed to have hit him hard. Maybe he wasn’t able to deliver on his own expectations, although we were far from losing hope.

Soon, things turned for the worst. Maharashtra Navnirman Sena, which loosely resembled the Congress party at the time of the Freedom Struggle and Independence, who were hell-bent on delivering results through constructive activism and concerted proactiveness was taking up the role of a militia, whose only means of achieving results was brute force, intimidation and potent coercion.

By now many like me started to feel disillusioned by his new approach and started questioning ourselves as to whether this was the new Maharashtra that we had hoped for and whether this was even worth fighting for.

This unexpected and sensational volte-face by Raj had left me bewildered and dumbfounded. Everyday, there was news of MNS workers stirring up trouble, only the issue and excuses change. However, the most important issue of them all seemed to have been sidelined that of Maharshtra and the development of its people, and taking it to the zenith of its glory and wonder.

All the unruly scenes of ransacking and physical attacks culminated in the event that transpired on Monday. How things change I ask myself, as if in an instant. The hope that he brought has been replaced by fear.

He used to reign over our hearts, now he is reigns over our fear. I’m sure, that’s not the Raj he had in mind. How unfortunate!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Attitude and Success

Having the right attitude has a profound influence on how successful one’s professional and personal life turns out to be. It is the attitude with which you look at life, and the way you face and overcome the many challenges that life throws at you that shapes your graph of success and growth.

For example, if you set out towards a particular long-term goal or begin a short-term task like a college or office assignment, and are immediately bowed down by the enormity or the sheer weight of the work and expectation associated with it, you will realize that the task doesn’t get any easier from where you started out. In fact, you’ll soon realize that it only gets worse. That’s a position you don’t want to put yourself in. Trust me! I have lived through it.

Having the right attitude could mean the difference between coming trumps, and losing out by a whisker. With the competitive world that we live in today, even an iota of extra edge could either make or break your career or put a dampener on your ambitions. Consider it like a 100 meter sprint; even a split second gained or lost means a difference between greatness and the also ran.

So, next time, when you are in doubt about the power of positive thinking, just think of the times you narrowly missed out on something that you wanted badly. Ever imagined, if only you had been more positive and had put in a bit extra, perhaps the result could have been so different.

Positive attitude is not something that you flick on or off like a switch suiting your whims and fancies. It is a state of mind that you get into after proper conditioning, whereby you focus your thought process and channel your positive thinking in the right direction to make the maximum use of one's will power to attain and even surpass your immediate or longer term goals. Just like anything else, it can only be achieved through practice. As Aristotle has famously said, "We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore, is not an act, but a habit."

Also, it is important to remember that attitude is infectious, be it positive or negative. So, make sure you are not negatively impacted by surrounding yourself with negativity and apathy. Having the right attitude can turn challenges into opportunities, obstacles into achievements, liability into assets, and modesty into greatness. If life is a vessel, and success your destiny, then having the right attitude will act as the rudder that steers your course towards success.

Henceforth, whenever you are faced with any responsibility or ambition that seem daunting and insurmountable, make sure to remove all the negativity and pessimism and face up to the task at hand with the right fervor, passion and more importantly, the right attitude. Soon, what seemed as daunting or overwhelming will soon resembles a stroll, and what seemed insurmountable slowly but surely seem clear-cut and even pleasurable.

Positive thinking makes you emotionally strong enough to effectively tackle the dizzying heights of success and withstand the excruciating pinch of failures. It allows you to appreciate the importance of learning from your mistakes and truly comprehend the adage that, as long as something doesn’t kill you, it only makes you stronger. Success is not an everyday affair, so chances are that you encounter days where nothing much happens, and days when the situation seems hopeless.

It is these days that you learn the most as against days of success which are spent more on savoring the joy of attaining a rare feat rather than consolidating and building upon it. Positive thinking allows you this opportunity to progress and improve, while negative thinking pulls you further back in the doldrums from where you began. It gets increasingly harder to emerge from them. So, master your attitude and command success!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Illusion of "China's Attack on India Before 2012" - A View from Inside China on India's Foreign Strategy Assumptions

Illusion of "China's Attack on India Before 2012"

---By Chen Xiaochen, Beijing,Published:July 17,2009

The 2000 km border between China and India has been a notable absence from press headlines in the years since then-Indian PM Vajpayee’s 2003 visit to Beijing. Tensions, however, have risen again as India announced last month a plan to deploy two additional army divisions and two air force squadrons of Su-30 Fighter Unit, some 60,000 soldiers in total, in a disputed border area in the southern part of Tibet, which India claims as its state of Arunachal Pradesh.

Adding fuel to the flames is an article by Bharat Verma, editor of Indian Defense Review, predicting that China will attack India before 2012, leaving only three years to Indian government for preparation.

According to Mr. Verma, “growing unrest in China” due in part to economic downturn will leave the Chinese government looking for something to “divert the attention of its own people from ‘unprecedented’ internal dissent, growing unemployment and financial problems.” China will also want to strike India before the latter becomes powerful, which is the reason for the 2012 “deadline.” India, with its growing affiliation with the West, is yet weak under China’s fire.

But a “China’s attack” is not going to happen, and one wonders at the basis for Mr. Verma’s thinking. First, although it is true that China’s macro-economy has taken a hit from the global financial crisis, the extent of the damage is under control. Recent statistics shows China’s economy grew 7.1% in the first half of 2009, while its foreign exchange reserve has exceeded $2 trillion. China’s stimulus plan has been effective and given people confidence. China will survive the global downturn as well or better than the rest of the world’s economies.

And even if China’s economy was really all that bad, would the government try to distract “unrest” by taking military actions against India? Mr Verma’s reasoning rests on a lack of documentation. Looking into the past 60 years, China has no record of launching a war to divert public attention from anything. Moreover, while Mr. Verma supposes the Chinese Communist Party has no cards to play other than “invading India,” the Party, widely experienced in dealing with domestic disputes, will hardly in only three years have run out of all options facing potential social instability. Moreover, even if Chinese leaders considered such an option, they would certainly be aware that an external war would severely jeopardize domestic affairs.

Other reasons the author mentions in the article are also vague. The Western powers would not take kindly to a Chinese conflict with India, leaving China rightfully reluctant to use force in any case other than extreme provocation. US forces well deployed in Afghanistan and Pakistan could check any China’s military action in South Asia. And then there is also the nuclear problem: there has never been a war between two nuclear equipped nations, and both sides would have to be extremely cautious in decision-making, giving more room for less violent solutions.

Further, it is important to realize there is no reason for China to launch a war, against India in particular. Economic development, rather than military achievement, has long been the consensus of value among China’s core leaders and citizens. Despite occasional calls to “Reoccupy South Tibet (occupied Chinese territory),” China’s decision-making is always cautious. It is not possible to see a Chinese “incursion” into India, even into Tawang, an Indian-occupied Buddhist holy land over which China argues a resolute sovereignty.

Last but not least, China’s strategy, even during the 1962 border war with India, has been mainly oriented towards the east, where Taiwan is its core interest, while the recent Xinjiang unrest highlights China’s growing anti-terrorist tasks in the northwest – both issues are more important than the southwest border. If China were to be involved in a war within the next three years, as unlikely as that seems, the adversary would hardly be India. The best option, the sole option, open for the Chinese government is to negotiate around the disputed territory.

However, there is one scenario where there is possibility for war: an aggressive Indian policy toward China, a “New Forward Policy,” may aggravate border disputes and push China to use force – despite China’s appeal, as far as possible, for peaceful solutions.
Consider the 1959-1962 conflict, the only recorded war between China and India in the long history of their civilizations. After some slight friction with China in 1959, the Indian army implemented aggressive action known as its Forward Policy. The Chinese Army made a limited but successful counterattack in 1962.

Now, it seems “back to the future”. Mr. Verma asserts another war will happen before 2012, a half century after the last, regrettable one. India has started to deploy more troops in the border area, similar to its Forward Policy 50 years ago. Is Mr. Verma’s China-bashing merely a justification for more troops deployed along the border? Will India’s “New Forward Policy”, as the old one did 50 years ago, trigger a “2012 war?”

The answers lie mainly on the Indian side. Given China’s relatively small military garrison in Tibet, Indian’s 60,000 additional soldiers may largely break the balance. If India is as “pacific” as Mr. Verma says, and is sincere in its border negotiation, China-India friendship will remain. After all, China shares a long and mostly friendly cultural exchange with India as well as other neighbors. Now China is seeking deeper cooperation, wider coordination, and better consensus with India, especially in the global recession, and peace is a precondition for doing so. China wants to say, “We are on the same side,” as the Indian Ambassador did in a recent interview in China.

Thus, “China will attack India before 2012” is a provocative and inflammatory illusion.

(Chen Xiaochen serves as a journalist of editorial and comments in China Business News.)

Source: ChinaStakes

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Ethnic Strife Comes to Haunt China

URUMQI, China – Sobbing Muslim women scuffled with riot police, and Chinese men wielding steel pipes, meat cleavers and sticks rampaged through the streets Tuesday as ethnic tensions worsened in China's oil-rich Xinjiang territory, forcing officials to declare a curfew.

The new violence in Xinjiang's capital erupted only a few hours after the city's top officials told reporters the streets in Urumqi were returning to normal following a riot that killed 156 people Sunday. The officials also said more than 1,000 suspects had been rounded up since the spasm of attacks by Muslim Uighurs against Han Chinese, the ethnic majority.

The chaos returned when hundreds of young Han men seeking revenge began gathering on sidewalks with kitchen knives, clubs, shovels and wooden poles. They spent most of the afternoon marching through the streets, smashing windows of Muslim restaurants and trying to push past police cordons protecting minority neighborhoods. Riot police successfully fought them back with volleys of tear gas and a massive show of force.

At one point, the mob chased a boy who looked like he was a Uighur. The youth, who appeared to be about 12, climbed a tree, and the crowd tried to whack his legs with their sticks as the terrified boy cried. He was eventually allowed to leave unharmed as the rioters ran off to focus on another target.

After the crowds thinned out, a curfew was announced from 9 p.m. to 8 a.m. Police cars cruised the streets in the evening, telling people to go home, and they complied.

The ugly scenes earlier in the day highlighted how far away the Communist Party was from one of its top goals: creating a "harmonious society." The unrest was also an embarrassment for the Chinese leadership, which is getting ready to celebrate the 60th anniversary of Communist rule and wants to show it has created a stable country.

Harmony has been hard to achieve in Xinjiang, a rugged region three times the size of Texas with deserts, mountains and the promise of huge oil and natural gas reserves. Xinjiang is also the homeland for 9 million Uighurs (pronounced WEE-gers), a Turkic-speaking group.

Many Uighurs believe the Han Chinese, who have been flooding into the region in recent years, are trying to crowd them out. They often accuse the Han of prejudice and waging campaigns to restrict their religion and culture.

The Han Chinese allege the Uighurs are backward and ungrateful for all the economic development and modernization the Han have brought to Xinjiang. They also complain that the Uighurs' religion — a moderate form of Sunni Islam — keeps them from blending into Chinese society, which is officially communist and largely secular.

"We have been good to them. We take good care of them," said Liu Qiang, a middle-aged Han Chinese businessman who joined the marchers. "But the Uighurs are stupid. They think we have more money than they do because we're unfair to them."

U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay called the violence a "major tragedy."

"I urge Uighur and Han civic leaders, and the Chinese authorities at all levels, to exercise great restraint so as not to spark further violence and loss of life," she said.

In other violence Tuesday, witnesses said groups of about 10 Uighur men with bricks and knives attacked Han Chinese passers-by and shop-owners outside the city's southern railway station, until police ran them off, witnesses said.

"Whenever the rioters saw someone on the street, they would ask 'Are you a Uighur?' If they kept silent or couldn't answer in the Uighur language, they would get beaten or killed," said a restaurant worker near the station, who only gave his surname, Ma.

It was not immediately clear if anyone was killed in those reported attacks.

The authorities have been trying to control the unrest by blocking the Internet and limiting access to texting services on cell phones. At the same time, police have generally been allowing foreign media to cover the tensions.

On Tuesday, officials arranged a tour for journalists of sites that were attacked by Uighur rioters on Sunday. But the public relations event backfired spectacularly during the tour's first stop — a car dealership in southern Urumqi where several autos were burned by rioters.

After interviewing people at the business, the journalists crossed the road to a Uighur market, where angry women in traditional, brightly colored headscarves began to gather.

One woman who gave her name as Aynir said police arrived Monday evening and arrested about 300 men. The authorities were looking for men with fresh wounds or other signs they joined the rioting.

"My husband was detained at gunpoint. They were hitting people. They were stripping people naked. My husband was scared so he locked the door, but the police broke down the door and took him away," Aynir said. "He had nothing to do with the riots."

The crowd of women swelled to about 200 and they began marching in the street, chanting, "Freedom!" and "Release our children!" They were quickly sandwiched by hundreds of police on both ends of the road, along with trucks with water cannons. Some women screamed at the security forces and jostled the men, who were armed with assault rifles, tear gas guns, shields and sticks. The crowd dispersed after a standoff that lasted 90 minutes.

Uighurs have said this week's rioting was triggered by the June 25 deaths of Uighur factory workers killed in a brawl in the southern Chinese city of Shaoguan. State-run media have said two workers died, but many Uighurs believe more were killed and said the incident was an example of how little the government cared about them.

In the days that followed, graphic photos spread on the Internet purportedly showing at least a half-dozen bodies of Uighurs, with Han Chinese standing over them, arms raised in victory. Expunged from some sites, the photos were posted and reposted, some on overseas servers beyond the reach of censors.

In a sign the government was trying to address communal grievances, the official Xinhua News Agency said Tuesday that 13 people had been arrested in the factory fight, including three from Xinjiang. Two others were arrested for spreading rumors on the Internet that Xinjiang employees had raped two female workers, the report said, citing a local police official.

Chinese officials have largely dismissed claims that the Urumqi rioting was caused by long-simmering resentments among the Uighurs. They said the crowds were stirred up by U.S.-exiled Uighur activist Rebiya Kadeer and her overseas followers, who used the Internet to spread rumors.

"Using violence, making rumors, and distorting facts are what cowards do because they are afraid to see social stability and ethnic solidarity in Xinjiang," Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang said in Beijing during a blistering verbal attack on Kadeer, who has denied the allegations.

Li Zhi, Urumqi's highest-ranking Communist Party official, also railed against Kadeer as he addressed the angry Han mobs. Standing on an armored police vehicle, Li pumped his fist as he shouted through a megaphone, "Strike down Rebiya!"

Source: Yahoo News

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Adios Michael Jackson

As the world says their final goodbyes to MJ, I would like to reminiscent on some of the things that I remember MJ by, and recall some of facets about the man and the 'Icon' that have left an indomitable impact on not only me but also on million others who have grown to like, adore and even idolize the true 'Superstar' of the modern age, Michael Jackson.

One of the first things that comes to mind is that he made the proverb "Black is Beautiful", more pertinent and relevant in a world where there was still discrimination and segregation on the color of the ones skin. I would like to highlight one point here; I'm not just talking about the discrimination in America and Europe alone, but also much closer home in India, where the color of ones skin is often associated with their status in society.He inspired millions of disadvantaged, deprived and even disenchanted youth to create a niche for themselves through the talent that they posses within, be it in music, athletics, sports and academics. He inspired one and all by instilling the confidence that art and talent is above all man made differentiations and demarcations.He turned the much cumbersome and often neglected part of making videos and choreography an art form. He opened a whole new genre of live performance and revealed to the world the true revenue generating and marketing potential that extravagant and lavish live performance and brilliantly choreographed and meticulously planned videos had in them that had up until MJ had been left untapped to its full potential. He showed the world how art and charity can bring happiness to million who are less fortunate. Through his performance and music he reached out to millions, both in person and also emotionally and in spirit, along with some of the 35 charities that he supported. His songs were full of social messages and often tackled difficult topics and issues that the mainstream media stayed away from.

He brought these issues into public consciousness by using his mass appeal. He always was steadfast on the belief, which is still clich├ęd but often ignored to a great extend that, "With great power, comes great responsibility". And the single biggest tribute that I can pay him in this regard is; MJ did his part well. I hope we all could say that someday.

Although there are many detractors that would say otherwise from what I've said here, all I can say in conclusion is; the world could never have too many Michael Jacksons. But unfortunately, there was only one, and chances are there will never be anyone like him in a very long time.

We'll Miss You MJ. You'll continue to live on in our hearts. Rest In Peace Wherever You Are!!!!!

Roger Federer's Ascent to the Top of the Tennis World

----By Agence France-Presse, Updated: Sunday, July 05, 2009 6:27 PM

Roger Federer
won a record 15th Grand Slam title on Sunday when he defeated Andy Roddick to win a sixth Wimbledon crown. The Swiss star has now passed Pete Sampras's mark of 14 Grand Slam victories which he equalled when he won the French Open last month:

Roger Federer won a record 15th Grand Slam title on Sunday when he defeated Andy Roddick to win a sixth Wimbledon crown. The Swiss star has now passed Pete Sampras's mark of 14 Grand Slam victories which he equalled when he won the French Open last month:

2003 Wimbledon

bt Mark Philippoussis (AUS) 7-6 (7/5), 6-2, 7-6 (7/3)

- Federer, 21, wins first Grand Slam title to turn potential into silverware. His victory, five years after winning the junior title, also ended all doubts about his nerve on the big stage.

2004 Australian Open

bt Marat Safin (RUS) 7-6 (7/3), 6-4, 6-2

- Federer, who had replaced Juan Carlos Ferrero as the new world number one by reaching the final, celebrated in style by beating Safin, who had been in fine form in Melbourne seeing off Andre Agassi and Andy Roddick.

2004 Wimbledon

bt Andy Roddick (USA) 4-6, 7-5, 7-6 (7/3), 6-4

- Less than a month after a disappointing third round exit at the French Open, Federer bounces back. Roddick had been a set and a break ahead, but a rain delay helps the Swiss recover his composure.

2004 US Open

bt Lleyton Hewitt (AUS) 6-0, 7-6 (7/3), 6-0

- Hewitt, the 2001 champion, came into the final on a 16-match winning streak but Federer was unstoppable, becoming the first man in history to win his first four Grand Slam finals, and the first since Mats Wilander in 1988 to win three majors in a year.

2005 Wimbledon

bt Andy Roddick (USA) 6-2, 7-6 (7/2), 6-4

- Federer joins Pete Sampras and Bjorn Borg as the only players to win three Wimbledon titles in a row in the Open era. Roddick joked: "Maybe next time I'll just punch him or something."

2005 US Open

bt Andre Agassi (USA) 6-3, 2-6, 7-6 (7/1), 6-1

- Federer wins sixth Grand Slam title and shatters 35-year-old Agassi's dreams of becoming the oldest winner of the title. Ken Rosewall, at 39, had been the previous oldest finalist against Jimmy Connors in 1974.

2006 Australian Open

bt Marcos Baghdatis (CYP) 5-7, 7-5, 6-0, 6-2

- Unseeded Baghdatis, 20, the world number 54 gives Federer a scare when he wins first set and goes a break up in the second. But Federer imposes his authority as a tiring Baghdatis needs treatment on his calf.

2006 Wimbledon

bt Rafael Nadal (ESP) 6-0, 7-6 (7/5), 6-7 (2/7), 6-3

- Just a month after losing to his new rival at the French Open, Federer puts an end to a five-match losing streak against the Spaniard. He also becomes only the third man in the Open era after Bjorn Borg and Sampras to win four Wimbledons in a row.

2006 US Open

bt Andy Roddick (USA) 6-2, 4-6, 7-5, 6-1

- Federer wins third successive title in New York and becomes first man in the Open era to win three successive Wimbledon and US Open titles in the same years.

2007 Australian Open

bt Fernando Gonzalez (CHI) 7-6 (7/2), 6-4, 6-4

- Federer wins 10th Grand Slam title and extends his winning run to 36 matches. Also first man to win a Grand Slam title without dropping a set since Borg at the 1980 French Open.

2007 Wimbledon

bt Rafael Nadal (ESP) 7-6 (9/7), 4-6, 7-6 (7/3), 2-6, 6-2

- Federer emulates Borg by winning five straight Wimbledon titles but he was given a huge scare by Nadal in a classic final and a taste of what was to come 12 months later when the Spaniard takes his crown.

2007 US Open

bt Novak Djokovic (SRB) 7-6 (7/4), 7-6 (7/2), 6-4

- Federer wins fourth consecutive US Open despite trailing by a break in each. He becomes the first man to win Wimbledon and the US Open for four years in a row, and the first to win four straight US titles since Bill Tilden in 1923.

2008 US Open

bt Andy Murray (GBR) 6-2, 7-5, 6-2

- The Swiss wins 13th Grand Slam crown and fifth consecutive US Open title. He moves one Grand Slam title ahead of Roy Emerson and one behind the record 14 won by Pete Sampras. "I'm not going to stop at 13," says Federer.

2009 French Open

bt Robin Soderling (SWE) 6-1, 7-6 (7/1), 6-4

- Federer finally wins the French Open after losing the previous three finals and equals the record 14 Grand Slam wins of Sampras. Not even an intruder who confronted him in the second set and steady rain could derail his charge past Soderling into the history books.

2009 Wimbledon

bt Andy Roddick (USA x6) 5-7, 7-6 (8/6), 7-6 (7/5), 3-6, 16-14

- Another Wimbledon epic which featured the longest final set in the history of men's Wimbledon finals. Roddick, whose only loss of serve came in the last game of the decider, was reduced to tears. Sampras hails Federer as the greatest player of all time.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Martyr of Iran's Struggle for Democatic Justice

---Michael Weissenstein and Anna Johnson.

CAIRO (AP) — She lies in the Tehran street with her headscarf half-off, blood pooling around her jeans and white sneakers.

"Don't be afraid, Neda dear, don't be afraid," a white-haired man says desperately in Persian. Another man presses on her chest, trying to keep her alive.

Scarlet blood gushes from her nose and mouth and courses across her pale face. Men and women scream in horror as they realize she is dead or dying.

The death of the woman identified as Neda Agha Soltan was captured on amateur videos and spread around the world in less than 48 hours on YouTube, Facebook, blogs and Twitter. It turned the woman described as a 27-year-old music student into an instant icon of the clash between Iran's cleric-led government and the self-described "green wave" movement that claims hardline President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad stole his June 12 re-election through fraud.

The seconds-long videos also thwarted government attempts to suppress details surrounding election protests. Rules imposed last week barred independent media from street reporting and turned the people of Iran into an essential source of information on the unrest, documenting it with camera phones and e-mailing the images out to the world.

Caspian Makan, who identified himself as Soltan's boyfriend, told The Associated Press in a telephone interview Monday that she was not a part of any of the groups vying for power.

"She only ever said that she wanted one thing, she wanted democracy and freedom for the people of Iran," Makan told a reporter in the Los Angeles bureau of the AP.

Makan, a 37-year-old photojournalist in Tehran, said he met Soltan several months ago on a trip outside the country, and provided photographs of himself with a woman he identified as Soltan. It was impossible to verify his statements independently because of reporting strictures.

He said he had asked her not to go out for fear she would be arrested or shot.

"But she said that our attendance would be worthwhile even if a bullet hits my heart," he said. "Unfortunately, that is how she died, a bullet hit her heart and her lung, and maybe 5 or 6 minutes later, she died."

At least two recordings of Soltan's death, shot from different angles by what appear to camera phones, began appearing widely online Saturday, the day thousands of protesters defied an order from Iran's supreme leader and marched to demand a new election. Waiting police and pro-government militia launched baton charges, tear gas and water cannons.

One of the amateur videos of Soltan is 40 seconds long, the other only 14. The person who posted the longer one says it was taken on Workers' Avenue in central Tehran.

Protesters outside Iran have made posters of Soltan's bloodied face. Poems, tributes and angry denunciations of Iran's government have multiplied online. In some, she is compared to the lone man standing with shopping bags in his hands in front of a column of tanks in Tiananmen Square.

Videos of Soltan's death have been circulating inside Iran despite official blocking of Web sites including Facebook and jamming of satellite television signals. People have used anti-filtering software to circumvent the controls. Some Iranians have uploaded the footage to their cell phones and used Bluetooth technology to share it.

The bloody imagery could have an important impact on public opinion inside Iran, where the idea of martyrdom resonates deeply among a populace steeped in the stories and imagery of Shiite Islam, a faith founded on the idea of self-sacrifice in the cause of justice.

"She was a real Iranian because she didn't believe that we always have to fight and quarrel and be violent and have death," Makan said. "Iranians, in the past and today, believe that there's only one thing they must fight and that's ignorance."

The deaths of protesters during the 1979 Islamic Revolution fueled a 40-day cycle of mourning marches, and shootings of mourners, that contributed to the overthrow of the U.S.-backed dictator, Shah Reza Pahlavi.

Police officials said Saturday that they had ordered officers to restrain their use of force, promising deadlier measures only if protesters returned to the streets. The government media still reported seven deaths of protesters they accused of instigating violence and rioting. It was not clear if Soltan was counted among them.

Acquaintances said she had been shot by a plainclothes member of the pro-government Basij militia, a fiercely loyal cadre that answers to the elite Revolutionary Guard and ultimately to the supreme leader. The Basij have been heavily deployed against supporters of opposition presidential candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi and blamed by protesters for much of the worst violence against them.

Persian-language postings on blogs and Twitter feeds used by supporters of the opposition called for a rally Monday at Haft-e-tir Square Tehran in memory of Neda and other "martyrs." About 200 gathered there and were quickly dispersed by riot police firing tear gas and live ammunition, quashing the demonstration and barring any further gathering of people, even in pairs, at the normally busy intersection.

Makan said the Basij denied Soltan a formal funeral and she was hastily buried.

Still, Makan said, "I think the same way that she said each individual can make an impact ... it looks like she had a magical effect on many people in Iran and in other countries."

Associated Press writer Shaya Tayefe Mohajer contributed to this report from Los Angeles. Johnson reported from Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

Source: The Associated Press

Monday, June 22, 2009

Jo Jeeta Wahin Sikander - Pakistan, the World T20 Champions

Pakistan have finally done what they have been promising to do for a very long time. Anyone who have followed the Pakistan cricket for any length of time knows them to be a very talented side with great chances of doing really well in major competitions, but who have been continuously letting their fans and admirers down with their unpredictable and erratic performance.

This is very much like career graph of their Knight in Shining Armor for the tournament, Shahid Afridi, whose form and performance has often mirrored that the team.

Some of the reasons that I think why Pakistan won the Cup are as follows:

1) First and the most obvious reason is Shahid Afridi's form and the spectacular return of Abdul Razzak.

2) The inspiring performance of their ballers', especially, Umar Gul, Shahid Afridi, Saeed Ajmal and the fast balling find of the tournament, Mohammad Aamer. In all fairness, it was the ballers' who won them the tournament.

3) The captaincy of Younus Khan and the often overlooked batting and wicketkeeping of Kamran Akmal.

4) Some untimely errors from the more fancied opponents.

5) No weather interruptions which kept Duckworth-Lewis method from impacting the result of the game like it did for England.

6) The early departure of India from the Tournament. After all, it was India who had defeated Pakistan last time, and Pakistan has never beaten India in any world cup fixtures before.

7) The much improved fielding performance from Pakistan, and the visible unity, passion and the enthusiasm to win shown by the Pakistan team, which was not visible for some years. The infighting in the team was nowhere to be seen, maybe brought on by the sense of bonding that was enthused by the trying circumstances in which they entered the tournament.

8) One of the biggest reasons was the massive support that the Pakistan team enjoyed. The supporters acted as a 12th Man on the filed.

To be honest, as far as i am concerned, Pakistan winning the World Cup didn't come as much of a surprise. They were one of the outside favorites from the very beginning after, India, South Africa and Australia.

And Yes! I still consider India to be the best T20 side in the world, and a better all round better Cricket team than Pakistan, but I have to say, Jo Jeeta Wahin Sikander. Well done Pakistan!!!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Water Wastage in Mumbai

One of my learned friend had recently commented that it is quite possible that the next World War may not be fought be over land or religion, it may well me fought over water.

With the alarming decrease in the availability of healthy consumable water and the burgeoning population, which is practically exploding at the seams, the threat of a growing rift between the have-nots and the have-nots will widen, and the possibility of a conformation between them increases everyday.

This situation is even grimmer in India, still predominantly a Third World country where the struggle to survive and eek out a living revolves around the sustenance of water resources, and in this regard, the scenario certainly looks bleak.

In India, the issue of water resources and the importance of its conservation and protection are highlighted aptly by the gross ineptitude of the officials and the disinterest of the officials who are put in charge of water supply and conservation, because of whom, thousands upon thousand of liters of drinking water is just going down the drains.

Even a couple of days back, there was talk of scarcity of water in the small society that in reside in Airoli, Navi Mumbai, which made my whole world go topsy-turvy, after having been promised 24-hour water supply. If this is the case in Mumbai which is comparatively better-off when it comes to sources of drinking water, we could only imagine what the situation would be in the other monsoon and water deprived parts of the nation would be like.

Water Sources of Mumbai:

Mumbai has an abundance of lakes in its vicinity. The Western Ghats trap most of the moisture laden monsoon clouds which feed these lakes. However with the growing population, the current supply levels are still inadequate. Here are the lakes supplying the city its precious liquid.

Lakes near Mumbai

Lake Overflow level in meters

Modak Sagar 163.15
Tansa Lake 128.63
Vihar Lake 80.42
Tulsi Lake 139.17
Upper Vaitarana 603.51
Bhatsa 133.00

But this relative prosperity which is still a long way off from serving the needs of the people and short of what they deserve, has made its so called guardian and custodians its worst enemy by taking it this valuable resource for granted. These officials, and in some extend, the citizens who are apathetic towards this issue, seem to be hell-bent on exploiting this resource to our doom.

Thousand of gallons of water is been wasted in Mumbai and its satellite city of Navi Mumbai everyday. The transportation infrastructure which ferry the water from the lakes to homes are so unscrupulously planned and maintained that they burst and crack at regular intervals.

If the pipes carrying water somehow withstand the gush of water, then some anti-socials elements break open the pipes to exploit the water without much effort due to the lack of regulation and the absence of any penalty for their actions. That is the sad part about all this. When people are dying for the lack of water one part of the city, here we are wasting one of the most precious elements that we have. This disparity between these regions could eventually force many to come to the streets and go violent.

Apart the loss of water, the threat of diseases that could grow to a pandemics arising through the contamination of water caused by the shoddy transport facilities and unguarded water supply routes is also rising. Many cases of ailments due to the consumption of contaminated water have been reported in the city recently.

There are still areas in Mumbai where water availability is still a severe problem, and those who have been living on water transported on tankers through rackets run by various mafia dons who have been extorting money from the unfortunate citizens for the past 15 to 20 years only highlights how privileged and ungrateful we might have become.

We still have time, and all is not lost yet. It is about time that we pull up our socks and decide to take a stand today to secure a better tomorrow. Let's hope, there are enough of us out there who can see what is happening and decide to do something to remedy this minor ailment which could ultimately, if not handled with the requisite prudence, prove lethal.

Give me your views on this!!!!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

A Baneful Responsibility

Responsibility is a bane or a blessing in disguise?
Is it a harbinger of salvation or life hardly sufficed?

Does responsibility allow men to show their best?
Or does it prove to their undoing driven by a futile test?

Why responsibility comes easy to some,
While for some it's unnaturally gruesome.

Is it selfish to run away from what you are expected to embrace?
If responsibility doesn’t come naturally, why is it a disgrace?

Why do you feel hollow after an act of absolution?
Why feel bereaved and resemble a mirage of desolation?

Why the paraphernalia of life unwelcoming and bear a deserted look,
Why are the chapters of life meaningless like a discarded book?

Why you wish to unravel the monotonous tempo of disillusioned existence,
Why the achievements and accolades nothing but aids in an unwilling pretense.

Why the threat of obsolescence supersedes that of gratification,
Why everyday you feel closer to resembling an inhumane personification.

Monday, April 6, 2009

The Effects of Night Shift on the Human Body

Working night shifts for a prolonged duration of time can result in various medical conditions which aren’t apparent at the onset. Here's what the Medical experts say.

When you pick up a newspaper or any employment related classified, chances are that most of the jobs in the classified offer either permanent night shifts or rotational shifts. Although these jobs pay well and are an instant draw, youngsters looking to start early and feel the rush of financial independence often neglect the big question. Is their work taking a toll on the most important asset they'll ever own, the body?

The lifestyle dictated by night shift centric job results in many health related ailments. Let's hear from doctors what the causes and effects of these ailments are:-

Dr. Dilipkumar Chandravat, a respected psychiatrist noted that Irregular and unbalanced lifestyle causes multiple psychological problems, including:

• Depression
• Anxiety
• Hyperirritability and Anger
• Mania and Hypomania

“Irregular and unbalance lifestyle can cause or exaggerate multiple psychological problems. Once you disturb your sleep it can disturb your social, professional and personal life, and impedes your thinking process," expressed Dr. Chandravat.

Our eyes have also been a victim of the haphazard and long hours at work. Dr. K S Gupta, an
Eye Specialist stated that, "Youngsters face a number of issues arising out of irregular and unbalance lifestyle. Some of the common complaints are:

• Computer Vision Syndrome

Computer Vision Syndrome is caused by long hours of working in front of the computers, and symptoms include, tiredness, watering, redness, aching in eyes.

• Dry Eye Syndrome

Dry Eye Syndrome is caused by long hours of staring at the PC and forgetting to blink for long durations. So, it is very important to make a habit of looking away from the PC at regular intervals and relaxing your eyes.”

"Apart from impacting you from within, this irregular lifestyles brought on by night shifts can also impact your overall personality and appearance," said Dr. Zamurrud, a Consulting Dietitian. Some of the side effects of a haphazard eating routine include:

• Sudden Rise or Fall in Weight
• Constipation
• Ulcers
• Acidity and Heartburn
• Headaches

"No exercise and unhealthy food may also lead to side effects like hernia as well,” she added.

Dr. Nimish Mehta, a Skin Specialist expressed, ''The current generation is ignorant about their health. They indulge in improper diet, don’t get proper sleep and ignore the importance of water intake and exercise which causes various skin abnormalities."

Some of the effects arising from the undisciplined lifestyle of night shifts are:

• Acne
• Hair fall
• Pimples

"It could even cause skin disorders like Eczema and Psoriasis which is aggregated by improper lifestyle,” added Dr. Mehta.

The affect on teeth is often overlooked when talking about nightshifts and irregular lifestyle.

Dr. Geeta Naik, an expert in dental care highlighted, “Owing to their current lifestyle, today's youngsters indulge in soft drink, eat junk food, and smoke unchecked, which takes a toll on their teeth. Due to which they suffer from gum disorders. Late night sleep or lack of sleep can increase cavity as many don’t brush before bed.”

Some common conditions seen with night shift workers are:

• Tooth Fall and Gingivitis
• Tooth decay, Plaque and Cavities
• Discoloration
• Bad Breath

Although men and women face the same problems, there are some effects which women specific conditions that we see, especially relating to pregnancy.

"Lack of proper sleep, work load and job related pressures can result in complication in conceiving a baby. They could even have a premature baby or a child may be weak boned. They could also face bleeding, fluctuation in blood pressure, backaches and leg pain. Pregnant woman needs at least eight hours sleep which they don’t, which increases the chances of abortion,” highlighted Dr. Sunita Prasad, a Gynecologist.

Dr. Agrawal, an ENT Specialist of Pikale hospital in Mahim put forth some lesser known ailments effecting night shift employees, including:

• Sleep disturbance
• Vocal Fatigue/Hoarseness
• Soreness and Tenderness of Pinna (Over use of headphone)
• Ear Infections

Some quick fixes to these ailments include:

• Drinking plenty of water
• Taking periodic rest
• Avoiding Tobacco and Caffeine
• Using separate set of headphones

Additional References: The Economic Time


Friday, April 3, 2009

The Fame and Shame of English Cricket

Over the years, I have found myself supporting the England Cricket team more often that not. (When not playing India of course). But, they have always seemed to under perform and astonishingly disappointing when you suspect it the least. Just like the English summer I guess, which always flatters to deceive.

Couldn't put my finger on what is wrong with English cricket. They aren’t strapped for money. They have a descent domestic setup. Have enough good players, at least from what I have seen. Have one of the best supporters in the world, easily better than Australia. Why not, they have the 'Barmy Army'.

Best all rounder in the world, arguably the most easily recognizable grounds in the world, not to mention KP, (Kevin Pietersen). Best umpires in the world, until recently. They gave us the 20/20, which could ultimately save cricket in many counties and could turnout to be the linchpin around which cricket will thrive in many more.

Is it the lack of motivation, stupendous rise in the popularity of football and rugby, or could it be, dare I say it, their preoccupation with the Ashes. There, I said it.

Have they been so preoccupied with winning the Ashes and beating the Aussies that they don't care of World Cups and other test campaigns and tournaments?

Are they so financially secure domestically that they don't push themselves hard enough to be the best that they can be, and beat the best, consistently, so they can get into the national team like the players have to in the subcontinent to be financially secure.

Or, is there just too much pressure on the players to perform and deliver over and over again in International cricket that they just crumble under the huge pressure and chose to be content with playing domestic cricket?

If someone has any answer to this, please be kind enough to lift the Enigma that is the England Cricket team.

Although I want the English team to trounce the Aussies, looking at the recent performance of the team, my mind says otherwise. But you can be rest assured, I'll be watching, as always.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Players and Teams Waiting to be Discovered

For those of you who likes to keep a tab on the best teams and players outside the test and ODI arena, this is worth a read.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Blasphemous Worship

Let's ask ourselves the reasons we work,
The reason why life seems nullified and stuck.

Why everything is secondary while it commands parity,
Why life seems less important and seemingly belies sanity.

Why do we work ourselves to oblivion of nothingness?
While life flashes by and resembles discontented trivialness.

Why you force yourself into a routine of pain,
And this pain slowly becomes a part naturally engrained.

Why you can't appreciate the beauty and pleasure life has to offer,
And confine yourself to the realm of a self-deprecating coffer.

Why can't you escape it clutches of relentless pursuit,
And why follow a string that tugs and pulls you on cue.

Why follow a master who plagiarizes your triumph,
Why chase the vagaries of a perjuring truth.

Why the means of life is cascading towards your road to doom,
Why doom, when it comes, resembles as if heaven loom.

I don’t know the answer maybe your are the unforeseen herald,
And bring in the news that allows us to finally celebrate and revel!!!!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Life or Treason

Life does seem to be in vain when:---------------------------------

Festivities brings despair and grief,
Companionship brings only temporary relief.

When love seems a chore in pain,
Every reason seems an exercise in vain.

When every laugh resembles a luxury,
And joy becomes a reason for perjury.

When motivation is a distant realm,
And frustration hovers at the helm.

When office is more cherishing than god's name,
And loneliness is more rewarding than any price or fame.

When you seem older everyday and couldn’t care less,
And every healing touch and concern seems worthless.

When every act of compassion resembles pitiful charity,
And your daily archaic lifestyle only brings anger and anxiety.

When your daily ambition is aimed at achieving sobriety,
And the moment you emerge seems reality too feisty.

When a dream seems so real you want nothing else,
And when death promises more and life emancipates hell.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Knowing Achyut Palav

Internationally acclaimed Calligrapher Achyut Palav speaks on how different life can be through Calligraphy.

Achyut Palav is among the greatest exponent of the art of calligraphy. He completed his education in Graphic Design from Sir J.J Institute of Applied Arts, Mumbai. He was also the ex-faculty member of the same college. He finished a research scholarship program from Ulka Advertising for a thesis on the Modi Script of the 15th to 17th century, in 1994.

Palav didn’t have much support from his family as they were skeptical about him making a career in Calligraphy. But he followed his heart and started focusing on calligraphy. Professor R K Joshi who is a designer, an artist, a teacher, a talented Calligrapher apart from a distinguished Poet who passionately contributed a lifetime of work towards Indian typography and type design inspired him to choose Calligraphy as a profession.

Achyut Palav started his career in Calligraphy in 1963. “When I was a child, I was not good in studies. Then one day my professor asked me to write on the backboard. Soon, I started to love writing. I kept telling myself that these thoughts in my mind were not just for me, but for others,” reveals Palav.

He started his career by making wedding cards and name plates. And after 25 years of his journey, he has now grown to become one of the finest calligraphers in the world.

Achyut Palav feels that letters are a symbol which turns matter into spirit, and that’s what Calligraphy does. It uses the energy within a person and manifesting it into text and script. “When a person takes a pen in his/her hand, he/she becomes a calligrapher. There are no age criteria or qualifications for Calligraphy. There is no hard and fast rule for calligraphy. Spontaneity is the soul of any work. It can depict everything that catches our mind. One must enjoy the beauty of letters and lines. When artist's creativity and vision go hand-in-hand, it can create wonders," asserts Palav.He believes two different arts can come together and create a wonderful fusion of art which is new yet encapsulates the good within both these art forms. “Music & other such performing arts have inspired me to be innovative by way of the bold and unique demonstrations that I have with other artistes like musicians, dancers, singers and the like. And I want to pass on the same enthusiasm to budding artists through my highly interactive and experimental demonstrations,” he adds.

Palav has expressively used the Devnagri & English scripts in his work over the years. But his true love has been delving and exploring the vast possibilities and depths of the Devnagri scripts, which he has taken all over India and around the world to spread awareness about this traditional and rich script.

He has held various workshops in India as well as in the World and has given demonstrations about the use of calligraphy in greeting cards and other gift items.

"Recently, I toured the country to promulgate calligraphy all over India. Since there is abundance of languages and fonts in India, I believe that the potential for calligraphy in our country I truly endless," explains Palav.
Apart from winning a National Award and many other awards and honours for his work, a gift by the German student which included a bunch of letters written in the Devnagari script remains the most memorable. Even in Russia, he has received a lot of appreciation for his artwork.

When asked about the peculiarity of Indian Calligraphy from those around the world, he said, “Indians are not even aware that Indian scripts can be used so artistically. They are resistant towards accepting a new form of art. In contrast, internationally, people are aware about calligraphy and especially about importance and uniqueness of their text. They are more thorough and detailed in their work and are receptive to the emerging art of Calligraphy. But one thing is for sure, Indian calligraphers are spontaneous and more creative. There is versatility in our work.”

The tools Palav uses for his work are unusual and ingenious. Along with brush rollers and pipe, he also makes use of toothbrushes, injection syringes, wooden flat spoons and kitchen platform cleaners to create his creations. He adds, "In the calligraphic work, the force, energy, pressure and the tool come together. The artist has to visualise the design and use imagination in selecting the correct tool.”

Palav also gives live demonstration of umbrella and body painting which is eye catching and has turned out to be a real hit. In minutes he can create painted designs on a model's body.

Recently Palav worked on a series of Titan watch promotional campaign which is soon be released in the market. He has also started a Calligraphic Movement Called ‘Urja’, the first movement of its kind in India for spreading awareness of Indian Calligraphy in India and the entire world.

He appeals to youngsters and everyone who is pessimistic and lack confidence about this art that the prospects and opportunities of Calligraphy are growing everyday. He wishes for the youths of today to put in some extra effort to master this art, which could ultimately prove to be a life changing experience.

25 Years in the world of Calligraphy

Though Palav has faced quite a number of challenges in his 25 year old career, he has enjoyed every moment of his calligraphic profession. Recently, he organised Callifest2008, a festival of calligraphy to celebrate his fascinating & successful years as a Calligrapher. The event which was held in JJ School of Arts (Mumbai) had many different activities, including workshops, Callishops and exhibitions. He also launched a book on calligraphy; ‘Calligraphy Roadways’ a program for taking calligraphy to students across India.“I wish to take my knowledge & experiences gathered in my quest for excellence in calligraphy to the youth of India & overseas. The lack of awareness about the art of calligraphy is the only thing which saddens me these days. And so I thought¸ the aesthetic and commercial value of calligraphy in Indian languages among the people who have great potential of becoming the next-gen artists of the modern world, and I am happy that I got started it,” expresses Achut Palav.


Product Calligraphy
Post Cards, Greeting Cards
Body Painting
Fashion Accessories
Book Jackets

Some well-known Calligrapher in India:
Achyut Palav, Mumbai
Ram Kasturi, Dombivali
Manohar Desai and Ghyanshyam Erande, Pune
Anand Shende & Jalandar Palbinder, Chandigadh

Some Issues faced By Achyut Palav:
Lack of awareness about the Indian Calligraphy
The negative approach towards this art
Lack of visionary people
No school or organsiation which offers advanced courses in Calligraphy
Calligraphy has remained a subject in art institutions

His Vision/Challenge:
“Calligraphy is an art, which can also be used in commercial applications effectively. People says you are making calligraphy a lot more commercial, but I believe, if you make it commercial, it is then that you attain popularity.

Currently, it has been my wish to promote my art in all these areas. All the efforts are aimed at popularizing the use of Indian scripts. This art of calligraphy has tremendous potential & there are very few people involved in this field. I want to create and prepare new artists in the world of Calligraphy and towards this aim I want to establish a School of Calligraphy in Mumbai. And to make this possible, I need the support from the students and sponsors alike,” he expresses.

Source: Mumbai Mirror Online

Monday, February 16, 2009

Last Day of Kala Ghoda 2009 -- A Glimpse

Hey Guys. I attended the last day of the legendary Kala Ghoda festival, and I wanted to share with you some of the moments of that day. At the end there was still the regret of missing much of this great festival. But next year will be different. CIAO

P.S.: Please pardon the bad photography. It's an art that I am not naturally endowed with.