Archive > April 2007

Why are we different? (Short Story - 001)

Ashwin » 12 April 2007 » In Uncategorized » Comments

Ramu was about to enter his friend Mani’s home. He saw Mani sitting on the dining table waiting for his mother to serve food. He glanced at Ramu and said, “Hey Ramu come here. My mom had cooked delicious food today. We have Sambar, Rasam and sweets also. Come let us eat together”. Ramu was very reluctant. He was just standing there, not knowing what to do.

Suddenly he started running back. Mani was surprised but then he started eating. Ramu went straight back to home. His father was sitting there idle on the chair. He stood silent in front of his father.

His father asked, “Kanna, what happened to you? Why did you come home running?”.

Ramu replied, “Appa. Tell me one thing. During Diwali, my friend Bhaskar was wearing new clothes. When I asked you for new clothes, what did you say?”.

His father answered, “Hmmm… Hah Bhaskar!! He is the tailor’s son right. His father is a tailor and that is why he was wearing new clothes. No wonder at that. But we are not in a position to by new clothes da Kanna. I will definitely get it for Pongal”.

Ramu continued, “Ok Appa. That is ok. Last week my friend Karthik was riding a brand new bicycle. When I asked you for one, what did you say?”.

His father answered, little frustrated, “His father owns a bicycle shop. So he managed to get a new one. Where will I go and get a new bicycle for you? We are struggling even to eat and live”.

Ramu said, “That is all OK Appa. I can understand. But one thing I cannot understand. Tailor gives new clothes to his son. Bicycle shop owner gives new bicycle to his son. But my doubt is, yesterday when I asked for rice and sambar you said that we cannot afford it. “.

He continued, “Appa you are a farmer and you produce the rice. Others eat the rice we produce. Then how is that we do not have rice to eat?? I cannot understand Appa”.

His father could not reply.

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Tags: Story

Where did Windies went wrong?

Ashwin » 12 April 2007 » In Uncategorized » Comments

Windies have maintained the tradition - home teams faring poorly in world cups.  But the way that they have gone down in the Super 8’s has a lot to discuss.  They showed no real commitment in bowling and their batting was way below average.  Chris Gayle and Brian Lara failed to rise when the team required them the most.

Their Super 8 match against South Africa was more pathetic.  I would definitely say that they gave away nearly 75 more runs which could very well have been saved.   AB Devilliers, Gibbs and Mark Boucher were hitting the ball like a baseball match.  I was wondering about the tactic behind Lara using the 3rd power play from 45-49.   About 75 runs were scored in these 5 overs and these were just take away runs for the Proteas.  Proteas played well but Windies bowled very poorly to grant them some extra runs.  Many run out chances were missed and overall it was a poor show by Lara’s men.

So where did they go wrong? To be frank, in all departments.  They have some good fielders like Bravo and Chanderpaul.  But the overall level of fielding is still naive and has a lot to improve.  Their bowling clearly lacks a wicket taker.  Collymore, Bravo and the team bowls reasonably well - but they are unable to contribute when the batsmen are at the top.   Someone like Murali is required to break crucial partnerships.  But Windies clearly lack a match winning bowler.  Gayle’s under performance with the bat seems to have hit the team strongly.  Powell and Sarwan are playing well - but a team needs atleast 4-5 batsmen who are among the runs to compete with world class teams like Australia and South Africa.

I am not very much aware about the internals of West Indies cricket - though I have some ideas about the politics in their cricket world.  It is very disheartening to see the world champions for nearly a decade from 1975-83 are reeling in such bad times.  With Lara deciding to quit from the one dayers, they are one more top order batsman less.  It is hightime that Windies work a lot on their fielding and bowling.  Otherwise, we might very well see an even bad show 4 years down the lane (in the next World Cup).

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Tags: Cricket

Vista and MacOS

Ashwin » 09 April 2007 » In Uncategorized » Comments


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CD se CBI tak

Ashwin » 09 April 2007 » In Uncategorized » Comments

CD se CBI tak

(Nice amusing cartoonscape by Surendra in ‘The Hindu’ dated 9 April 2007 )

Time for yet another controversy - this time involving the saffron party. Problems cropped from a CD that contains inflammatory materials and supposed to have been circulated by BJP as part of its electoral campaign in UP.

In The Hindu Newspaper dated 8 April 2007, the text version of the controversial CD was on print. Contents of the CD, if it had indeed been circulated by the saffron party members, were really shocking. Derogatory remarks were made against the Muslims. Some remarks like the Muslim women were machines to produce children and the killing of cows by the Muslims, seriously questions the basis of democracy in India. Everyone here, irrespective of their caste and creed, must be assured a quality living. This quality living not just includes the amenities but also the status in the society. But the contents were projecting the Muslims as the enemies of the Hindus and their presence in India as a curse.

If the accusation on the BJP is indeed proved, then the Election Commission must definitely put curbs on BJP contesting the elections. An ideal ruling party should be indifferent to caste and creed, weighing everyone on the same scale. But the attitude of the saffron party, if proved, is a threat to the democratic India. Election Commission has done just the right thing by issuing a show cause notice to BJP. Also the FIR issued against the party president is justified, as he is responsible for all the party’s activities. He cannot shy away trying to put the blame on the party members. Only in difficult times like this, the character of the party president is put to test. If the accusation is proved, he must take the responsibility and cleanse the party image. As of this writing, the court has stayed the case for a couple of days. I am just wondering what would be fate of BJP in the UP elections. With opposition demanding a CBI inquiry into the case, we might have to keep our fingers crossed for the next few days!!

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Tags: Politics

Ravi Bopara + Paul Nixon vs Sri Lanka

Ashwin » 05 April 2007 » In Uncategorized » Comments


Wednesday’s contest between Sri Lanka and England turned out to be a nail-biter, with the former winning by a very narrow margin.  Sri Lanka’s start cannot be termed steady after being put in to bat by Andrew Flintoff.  Jayasuriya was back in the pavilion earlier than he would have expected and Kumar Sangakkara followed soon.  Upul Tharanga and the captain, Jayawardhane steadied the ship and saw their team past 150.  I felt that Thanranga was a little slower in pacing his innings.  Had he acccelerated a bit earlier, Sri Lanka could have easily cross the 250 run mark.  The lower half of the Sri Lankans did their best to post a modest score of 235 on the board.  Earlier acceleration should have taken them past 250, but 235 was still competitive.

England had a shaky start losing 2 very quick wickets.  Then Pieterson and Bell played sensibly.  They were stroking the ball freely and England were looking comfortable and determined to reach the target.  It all started with the change of bowling.  Jayawardene brought in part time bowlers, Dilshan and Jayasuriya.  Both of them bowled a steady line and giving away nothing to the batsmen.  Runs were hard to come by.  Also a plumb run out chance was missed by Jayawardene.  With runs hard to come by, pressure was mounting on Pieterson and Bell.  Finally Bell had to go back to the pavilion, due to an unfortunate run-out dismissal.  Jayasuriya had a slightest of touch on the ball which was struck hard by Pieterson straight down the ground.  Stumps were shattered and television replays showed that Bell’s bat was marginally on the air.  This was a big blow to England.  Soon Pieterson followed Bell, to a magnificent caught and bowled dismissal by the craftsman, Muralitharan.  Fernando joined the party with a couple of quick wickets - Flintoff and Collingwood.  With more than a 100 runs to get and only 4 wickets in hand, England was sensing a defeat.  This is when Paul Nixon and Ravi Bopara joined hands.  Both of them played very sensibly and responsibly.  Composure exhibited by Ravi Bopara in his early days in ODI Cricket, promises a very good future for the young all-rounder.  Though the difference between the runs required and balls available kept on climbing, both of these batsmen kept their heads cool and slowly moved towards the target score.  I think the mistake which Jayawardene did at this stage was to ask Dilshan to bowl the 45th over of the match.  Instead Muralitharan should have bowled this over and completed his spell.  But he was asked to bowl the 48th over when England needed 32 runs to win the match.  Nixon had a unique reverse sweep and he used it effectively to dislodge Murali for a magnificent six.  This was followed by a boundary and the equation at the end of Murali’s over stood at 19 from 12 balls.  Malinga bowled a fantastic 49th over.  He gave away just 6 runs and also picket up the prize wicket of Nixon.  With Ravi Bopara at the crease and 13 runs required from the last over, England still had their chance.  Fernando was given the onus of winning the match by Jayawardene.  He bowled the first 5 deliveries reasonably well, but could not help stop the 10 runs that came.  He had the heart at his mouth as he readied himself to bowl the last delivery.  With 1 ball remaining, England needed 3 runs for victory and Sri Lanka needed a dot ball or a single run.  I seriously believed that England would score 2 runs to make it a tie and that would have been the appropriate result.  But Fernando did not fancy anything with the last ball.  He just bowled dead straight, Ravi missed it and he hit!!!  Wicket of the last ball and victory for Sri Lanka.

It was a well deserved victory for Sri Lanka, but I really felt sorry for Ravi Bopara.  He had put in a valiant effort and just missed the target.  Kudos to himself and Nixon for making this match a wonderful entertainer.  It is not the margin of 2 runs that was important for Sri Lanka; it is the 2 points they took from there was all that mattered.

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Tags: Cricket

Backward caste in India

Ashwin » 02 April 2007 » In Social » Comments

Bandh in Tamil Nadu over the last weekend incited a few thoughts in me. It was an impromptu bandh and the announcement came late on Thursday evening, after Supreme Court’s stay order over the OBC reservation quota of 27% in educational institutions.

I began thinking about the Backward castes that we are talking about. Especially in Tamil Nadu we have a very steep caste system. This system ages to several hundred years. A lot has changed during these years - education levels went high, economy grew, life style improved; but the criteria for identifying the caste never undergone a change. Still a person falls into the forward caste or backward case merely by the virtue of his birth; this distinction is made irrespective of the social and economic conditions of his family. I strongly feel that determining caste based on birth is an absolute mistake.

Today we see a number of people belong to the forward caste. But the economic levels of these people are very low when compared to some backward caste folks. I do not want to say that all backward caste folks are above the poverty line and economically stable. But this fact does not hold good all the time. When this is the case, the rationale behind the determination of caste based on birth is completely flawed.

There must be a complete revamp of the caste system in our country. Economic condition of the families must be determined, irrespective of the caste or creed they belong to, and categories of people must be identified. Suitable reservations and other emoluments must be provided based on the category, which in turn depends on the economic conditions of the people. I faintly remember that there was a news regarding a Social Security like scheme in India. This is a welcome step. Each person (or at least a family) must be assigned a unique number which would help to group families into categories. Reservations must be provided to those who cannot join educational institutions just because of lack of money. In such cases, reservations must be given to merit-cum-ambitious students from these families.

Thus reservations based on the existing caste system would do no good to people who are really at the bottom of the society. With rich becoming richer and poor getting poorer, reservations and subsidies for economically backward people are the only relief from this malady. The current approach of the Governments to use the illiterate and socially unaware backward people for their vote banks must stop; rather they should look how the reservations can help these people to come up in their life. Otherwise, we might one day see a hartal demanding reservation of 99% seats for the backward castes in colleges, to fight the impending elections. So how do the forward caste students study in those cases? Go abroad?

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Tags: Politics

Mozhi (Tamil)

Ashwin » 02 April 2007 » In Uncategorized » Comments


A pleasant movie in tamil after a long time!! Thanks to Prakash Raj and his entire team.

The whole movie is pictured like a poem.  Prithviraj’s casual acting, Jyothika’s charm-cum-enthusiasm and Prakashraj’s timely humor makes watching the movie, a treat.  Glamorous dances, double-meaning songs and unnecessary fights that are the order of tamil films in the recent times, are conspicuous by their absence.  Locations chosen for the songs are pleasing to the eye and overall cinematography is wonderful.

Jyothika alias Archana is deaf and mute by birth.  Prithviraj alias Karthik gets attracted by Archana’s boldness and courage.  He falls in love with her at first sight (this is synchronous with the other tamil films :) ).  But later he comes to know about her disability.  After this, his love for her grows even more.  Also, they both happen to live in the same apartment.  Archana’s friend Swarnamalya alias Shiela helps Karthik to get acquainted to Archana.  Prakashraj alias Viji helps Karthik in all his efforts.  Later, all these 4 become friends and life goes on this way, without Karthik revealing his love for Archana.  Finally when Karthik proposes to her, Archana feels that she is not fit to get married and rejects his proposal.  And the childhood experience with her parents creates a distaste for marriage.  What happens to Karthik and Archana takes us to the close of the story.

Story line seems to be simple, but the way the film is directed and shot, makes the entire difference.  Vidyasagar has done a decent job with the music.  Humor blends well with the story and I feel this is the direction which the comedians must take.  Overall, this movie is worth your money.  Watch the movie in a nice theater over the weekend and I am sure you would not be disappointed.

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Tags: Movies