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Archive for March, 2007

It’s that time of the year again – Summer.

Some years ago, while back in school, summers would bring with them unlimited joy and would be regarded as “My favourite season” in the so many essays we’ve had to write on the topic back then.
More than bringing with them longer days (the sun sets at around 7 p.m) – which meant more time to squeeze in another game of galli (road-side) cricket, summers would be so much fun because of the 2 month, blissfully long summer vacations which would stretch from April to the first week of June.

Back then, the temperatures would be moderate and going out to play even in the then hot sun at 4:00 pm would be a possibility.

Not any more though …
For all those debating on whether global warming is for real, I have experienced first hand, temperatures of Pune rising steadily over the years to unbearable levels now.

Back then, winters would mean cuddling with a book under a warm blanket.
Winters nowadays can be easily seen through without the use of a single blanket.

The temperature right now in Pune is touching 42 degrees Celsius – something at which I remember, people died of heat stroke in Ahemdabad some years ago (Ahemdabad is one of the hotter Indian cities)

This is what my weather bar displays so frequently nowadays …

I would blissfully sit in the comfort of my house the entire day, but I have to go to work.
We have completely flexible timings at my new company and we basically get to decide what time we should come and leave …

We get to work between 9:30 and 10:00, then leave for lunch for an hour or so at around 2:00.
The company being close to home, I come home for lunch and then leave in 40 minutes.

The really sucky part is that once you are all well fed and stuff, going back to work in the extremely hot and dusty conditions on your two wheeler is extremely painful at 3:00 p.m.

We then supposedly work till 7:30 – 8:00 and head back home for a total of 8 to 9 (apparently) productive hours.

This schedule is turning out to be sort of difficult due to the excessive heat we have to face on two trips back and forth.
Any suggestions?

Summer basically ain’t so great anymore …
Can’t wait for the first showers to hit …

Yeah, and also – please stop polluting the earth!!!
And please go watch “An Inconvenient Truth

It is one of the most hard hitting documentaries I have seen off late and is extremely well made.
Definitely deserved its Oscars I think …

[ Min number of posts to go till Mar 17, 2008 : 87. ]

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I have always realised, that we in India – don’t give a damn about quality.
I don’t exactly know why, but I am guessing it has something to do with the demand always exceeding the supply – considering, we’re bursting at our seams with the large population.
So, as long as the goods keep coming, the manufacturer (and not the customer) is king – and they can keep dishing out crap – because there will always be someone to buy it.

I have a complete live example to give – hence this post.
This is about the Pune International Film Festival (PIFF website).

Last year, we guys from college had gone for the 4th Pune International Film Festival and it was tonnes of fun (even though the organisation had a lot to be desired).
So, when it came around this year – we went for it again (It is still going on – at the time of writing this).

This time around, the movies are pretty good and we’re having lots of fun again – but nothing has changed organization side.
And considering it is an “International” film festival, the standards are far from it.

The schedule of movies was available extremely late – just a day before the festival and the catalogue (which has the synopsis of all the movies) – only a couple of days after the festival started.
The schedule is given only for the next 3 days (out of the total 7 days of the festival).
So, if I am working and need to really catch a movie and need to inform my boss about it, there are chances that I would be doing it only hours in advance

Quite a few movies had their running times mis-reported in the schedule – which caused a mix up of our plans.
Then, the schedule (or the catalogue) ends up having movies in the wrong category – so you never find the movie you’re looking for (there is no index or a table of content).

In 3 days the festival has been running, the schedule has on been changed on 2 occasions , on the fly. They exchanged the timing of a couple of movies minutes before they started – which again threw all our plans out of the window.

Their website (which I think is one of the most important things) is totally un-updated and you have news from PIFF 2006 lying around.
It also has a schedule section – which lists movies which have already finished showing and a catalogue section which contains information on only 1/10th of the movies running.

But, the icing on the cake is this – which actually prompted me to write this blog.
I wrote the organizers, the following email:

Dear Sir / Madam,

This is a very humble request to the organising committee to please put up the complete schedule of films on the website (preferably in the document / excel / pdf format) which is also up to date.

Today (18th), the schedule for the remaining days became available at the venues (19th onwards), but the website still shows the schedule only till the 18th.

I request you to please update this – so that we can better plan which movies to go for.

Thank you and regards,

– Saurabh Jain

To this, I got the following reply from a Moti Irani:

Please stop visiting our website we are all far too busy collect the schedule from INOX or Esquare

Hah!
Hows that for providing shoddy service and having the audacity to tell your customers to F*** Off? A perfect case of demand more than supply.
I don’t know, but if something is worth doing, its worth doing well.

In my opinion, if they have a website running, it should be updated – otherwise there is absolutely no point in having it in the first place.

[ Min number of posts to go till Mar 17, 2008 : 88. ]

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I woke up today, to the news that India lost to Bangladesh in their Cricket World Cup opening match by 5 wickets.
For those who do not follow cricket very much, or don’t see the magnitude of the situation, here is a brief comparison.

Bangladesh is a small country to the north east of India with an area of 144,000 sq. kms and a population of 147,365,352 compared to India which has an area of 3,287,590 sq. kms and a population of 1.027 billion.
Bangladesh was given the status of a test playing nation only in 2000 as compared to India who is playing tests from 1932.
And out of the previous 14 encounters, Bangladesh has managed to beat India only once.
[ stats courtesy – Wikipedia.org ]

In all fairness, Bangladesh deserved to win the match yesterday.
They played an awesome game – did everything perfectly and I am really happy for them.

The other major, major upset was Ireland beating Pakistan which was such a shocker that the Indian upset match looks pale in comparison.

But this is not what the post is about.

This entire upset situation got me thinking about the difference in professionalism exhibited by professional cricket players playing in the Indian Cricket team and working professionals in other professions (software, automobiles, etc – you get the picture).

I did some research and found out that the Indian team is the highest paid sports team in the world in terms of sponsorships.
Moreover, even if you leave out the sponsorships and other things which contribute to the income of players, the top Indian players get a salary of about Rs. 5,000,000 (USD 113,324) which makes it a professional sport.
By professional sport, I mean – Indian players now, do not need to get other day jobs (like players from other countries like Scotland, UAE have to do) – they can make do by just playing the sport.

So the thought that comes to my mind is – shouldn’t the players be made accountable if they lose a particular game – especially very pathetically?

I mean, how difficult is it to play cricket?
Every kid in the country can play cricket – so there is no extreme skill involved per se.
And when you’re a professional player, all you are supposed to do is just practice, play and be good at what you do.
At the time of writing this, the Indian team ranks 6th out of the 11 test playing teams – not a very good stat considering the amounts they make and they come from a country of a billion people compared to higher ranked, much smaller countries like New Zealand (3rd), Pakistan (4th) and Sri Lanka (5th).

If cricket is like any other profession, why shouldn’t you be penalized for screwing up?
If you’re working in say, an automobile company, and make a major mistake – you’ll not only get your salary docked, but may also lose your job.
So, why can’t this be done to our cricketers?
If its a profession, why should there be different rules and points of views of judging performances?

Maybe losing marginally to a much stronger team very closely could be forgiven – after all its a sport, but then any major loss should be properly penalized and salaries should be docked.
I might be prejudiced and harsh and just talking through my head, but don’t most of the people think that nowadays, its the “money” which is the biggest incentive for the men in blue?
So be it …

What say?

[ Min number of posts to go till Mar 17, 2008 : 89.]

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Coming soon …

I always tend to do this …
Take long blogging breaks – I dunno why – but it just stops all of a sudden, and I don’t feel like writing, or just get too lazy to actually sit and type out a blog even if I do feel like …

Writing makes you think, and helps you maintain your control over the language – so, I have decided to actually force myself to write once in every 4 days at least.

So, I should clock at least 90 good posts a year.
Now, that I have put this into writing, I will try to keep this up.

So starting from today, (this post is of course not counted), I plan to take my post count to a minimum of 240 posts by the 16th of Mar, 2008

Watch this space for more :)

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