Wednesday, April 25, 2007


I have always believed that Mysore is more than a place - it is a state of mind, a way of life. If I were to describe Mysore in one word, it is moderation. In Mysore, like its weather, everything is moderated. Pace of life, desire, ambition, wealth, effort, ostentation - Mysoreans love everything in moderation. You are not supposed to be either too rich or too poor. If you are over ambitious, you are ridiculed. But if you live like a sanyasi, you are ridiculed too. You study or work too hard - you are called a kudumi. You don't study at all - you are classified lazy or useless. You spend a lot on your daughter's wedding - you are called a show-off. Cut corners and you are called stingy. Whatever we did, we were always encouraged to go for that golden mean. Neither too much, nor too less.

In sharp contrast is the metro philosophy - more the merrier.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Virginia campus shooting coverage

Indian-origin prof killed in Virginia campus shooting shouts the headline on CNN-IBN website. Even their TV coverage in the morning was focussed on the Indian victims - a professor dead, a missing student etc. I don't understand this. If this was some hate killing and the victims were mostly Indians, then yes, it makes sense to emphasise the nationality of victims. But from what I gather, there have only been a couple of Indians at most out of the 30+ victims. It seems more like indiscriminate killing than targeting persons of any nationality. Then how does the Indianness of the victims matter? Is it some kind of pride: "We Indians are not behind others in any field - not even in getting killed on US campuses"? I just don't get this. If you want to cover it, cover it for the human tragedy it is. Cover it for the growing trend of violence in US schools and colleges. Or if you think such coverage won't be of much interest to Indian audience, then leave the topic. Go on to something else. Even Richard Gere kissing Shilpa Shetty. But why focus solely on the couple of Indian victims?

I really want to see how the thought process of those who decide such things goes. Do they get excited when they hear that there were a couple of Indian victims. "Whoopee, surely they must have some relatives over here. Can we get their sound bytes?".

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Thursday, April 12, 2007

If Sri Lanka can produce a top class cricket team, why can't Karnataka...

If Sri Lanka with a population of 20 million can produce a quality cricket team, there is no reason why every state of India cannot do the same. Yes, I am not talking about single Indian team, but every state - Karnataka, TN, Maharashtra etc with populations 2-4 times that of SL should be producing such teams. After all, these states are no worse than SL in economic parameters or in level of interest in cricket and we are no different genetically/racially either.

So why doesn't it happen? Simply because of this stupid nationality based format which allows a Test team for a tiny country like SL but also limits a huge nation like India to one team. So since the requirement is to produce just one team out of a billion population the system has geared itself to produce just one team out of this huge amount of raw material we have. Change the requirement to produce twenty teams instead of one and each state will be churning out a team like that of SL or the current Indian team.

Just goes to show ICC's stupidity - they constrain a huge cricket crazy nation of one billion into producing just one team and then go around desperately trying to create teams in places like Netherlands, Canada, what have you.

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Secession of the successful

Is Narayana Murthy's comment about singing of national anthem embarassing the foriegners another evidence for this phenomenon mooted by late economist JK Galbraith? Where the successful just retreat into their own world and tend to be disconnected from rest of their countrymen? And to think such a man was being considered as a candidate for President of India!

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BCCI's restriction on endorsements

Couple of points:

1. BCCI is well within its rights to impose these conditions on players who wish to play for them. I have seen people (including some business leaders) question bcci's right to do so, have called it violation of players' rights etc. which is utter nonsense. Playing for bcci is not a right guaranteed by constitution. If you want to play for them, you abide by their conditions, as simple as that.

2. As for whether it makes sense - I don't agree with the stated reason (spending too much time on shooting ads etc) but there are other grounds for justifying the decision. There is no doubt that endorsements do not reward all performances equally. Batsmen who do well in one-dayers end up with bulk of endorsement deals whereas bowlers and Test batsmen (Laxman vs Yuvraj/Dhoni for example) don't get as much. This can lead to and has in the past led to frictions within the team. If bcci doesn't want to create such differential rewards, if for them harmony within the team is important, then it makes sense for them to impose restrictions on endorsements. There was a similar case in my previous company when a customer wanted to reward some of the team members, but the company didn't allow it - they said we have our own performance management and incentive schemes, we don't want you to meddle around with it.

3. In any case, I have always argued that boards are more powerful than players in the current system and I am just happy to see the players get screwed :-) If this leads the players to go play for a parallel league, as a consumer, it will be better for me.

How cricket continues to delude itself...

I hadn't seen this earlier. A world map showing flags of all teams participating in the world cup. You look at it and you will think, "How evenly the game of cricket is distributed across the world. 4 in Asia, 4 in Europe, 3 in Africa, 3 in Americas and 2 in Australasia". Never mind that 80% of the market is represented by just that one tri-colour there!

Monday, April 09, 2007

Nenapaadalu Shakuntale

Watched a play by that name at Rangashankara last evening performed by Aneka group. The play followed Kalidasa's masterpiece pretty much to the letter, but the notable feature was music and songs in kannada. Probably the songs occupied more time than the dialogues and they were sung very well by the group led by a youngster called Venugopal.

Highlight of the play - Shakuntala's friends Anusuya and Priyamvada run off to the ashram leaving their friend alone with king Dushyanta. Shakuntala, while happy to be alone with her lover, pretends to be scared and tries to follow her friends. Dushyanta holds her hand and she keeps saying, "leave me, leave me". Dushyanta says "yes, I will". She turns to him and with a smile and feigned impatience asks, "yavaga?" (when?). Beautiful.

However, more than the performance, while watching the play I couldn't help but admire Kalidasa for creating a masterpiece like this nearly 2000 years ago. The description of serene atmosphere of the ashram, Shakuntala's love for nature, blossoming of love in those pristine surroundings, friendly banter between Shakuntala and her friends, everything in this play reflects the sheer genius of its author. Thanks to Rangashankara and Aneka for staging this and keeping the great poet's works alive.

Another organization that is doing its bit to keep alive our tradition and culture is Sri Rama Seva Mandali of Chamarajpet. Like every year, this year too they have organized music concerts to celebrate Ramanavami. Had been to couple of concerts (Kadri Gopalnath saxophone and vocal recital by a youngster called Madurai TN Krishnan) - both were excellent.

Speaking of music, got Worldspace satellite radio installed at home. It rocks!

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Timmajjiya Myaglundi

Here's an attempt to write in kannada - a review of a book I read recently. Click on the images to get enlarged versions.