Friday, December 30, 2005

Under the california sun

Well this winter I got an opportunity to visit San Fransisco, california; very gratefull to my friend Amit who more than welcomed me there. This is not a personal type of blog, but i can't resisit from sharing my experiences there.

I was more than happy to get away from the winter in dakota. I was delighted I didn't have to be armed with any coats, jackets and mittens while going out, was a funny kind of freedom. The weather in california is perpetually sunny.

Well I traveled to Disneyland, I could have gone completely crazy if I had gone there as a kid. It is a complete paradise for kids, and given the fact that I would die to sit in the tora-toras in Pune, I would have had more than a blast. In infact I enjoyed the 3-D shows of 'Shrek', and 'A bugs life', and the musical show 'Alaadin' more; they are a must go in Disneyland. Along with disneyland in LA, I also got to visit Universal Studios or Hollywood, and Laguna beach there. I was wishing to see Courtney Cox in Hollywood, but instead had to be content with watching the shooting of the soap opera Desperate Houswives.

You can't go to california and not visit Vegas, the city of brightness. I had to be content with just seeing the lightings and 'more', as I was no good with poker. I just played the slot machines, and made five dollars in it. Things I saw in SF include the golden gate bridge, fisherman's warf, pier's 39.

Best part of the trip was that I got to have a lot of desi food, dosas punjabi and more punjabi food. Also managed to sneak in a hindi movie in the desi theater at SF; 'Bluffmaster' which believe me is damn good.

The return journey was typical of Dakota, flight delayed due to snow! Although I might say a lot of things about Dakota, but it did feel like coming home afterall!

PS: You might want to drop in at my other blog THE MIRAGE to get a glimpse of California and Vegas.

Friday, December 16, 2005


Every morning when you open your newspaper and dig deep inside it, I am sure you will find atleast one article on the economies of India and/or China, their comparision, GDP growth rate figures, etc in there. One may wonder what is all this fuss about.

India and China are firstly big countries geographically; India is the worlds seventh largest country and China slightly bigger than it. Secondly India and China together have about three billion (3000 million) people in it. Then consider that the US has just a population around 300 million.

The standard of living in the US has reached a saturation point. People get payed well enough for working in McDonalds and other innumerable fast food chains found in abundance here, or working on other odd jobs. Hence people are satisfied with their lifestyle here and in general, people are not intresting in studying. (It is so ironical, that if you are lucky enough, in some Universities for studying for your masters you get payed for your research work, which is more than what a friend of yours must be making back home, toiling in some software firm.)

The existing population here has all the basic amenities in terms of consumer goods. Also the growth rate of the population here is very less. So in turn, there is very less demand for new goods here and hence small growth rates for companies here.

Now consider that, the people in developing countries have lower standard of living, so a person in India will be willing to do a job at half the amount of his counterpart in US or Europe. Also in this process when people get richer, new demand is created constantly, due to the vast population, mentioned earlier. This is thus a unique chicken and egg phenomenon.

Companies will hence logically shift their manufacturing to developing countries since, due to lower wages their manufacturing costs will be less, and also due to constantly increasing demand for goods and services here. Thus Chindia is the driver of growth for companies worldwide. The growing optimism is not a chimerical thing, when you consider the recent CIA report which says that, by 2030 Chinese economy will be comparable to the present US economy, and by 2050 the world will be tri-polar with China and US as the world leaders with India behind them.

Ratan Tata, recently said that doing business in India has never been so exciting and he wished that he was younger. But all this mushy talk does come with a rider. He in the recent India Empowered series in the India Express said that, the greatest mistake that could be made would be for us to become complacent and to allow our economic momentum to slow down. Our infrastructure is pathetic and something needs to be done about it very soon. The outgoing chief of Daimler Chrisler in India said very recently that, ‘‘India is struggling and it becomes obvious in Pune. If the government and the civic bodies don’t do anything, then India shining and optimism will come to a close" , while refering to the literally crushing infrastructure, in Pune. The story is same in Bangalore, Mumbai, Chennai, aint it?

I shall end this essay by quoting Thomas Friedman, who said that China is doing really well in the present but they see a bump in the road in the future, where as India is stuggling a bit presently but see a smooth road in the future. Only time will tell if what they see in the future is a mirage or real.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Vivid Images of India

(click on image to see video)
Truly Nostalgic, vivid images of india, flavour of the REAL INDIA.
Played at the India night Function at UND. Originally created by University of Kansas- Cultural club of India.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Plastics of the Future !

Year 2005: You go to your neighbourhood grocery store, ask for bread you get it in a polethelene bag. Source of polyethlene: Petroleum. Price: $60/barrel.
You throw the bag away, it stays there in the soil for the next thousand years.

Year 2015: You go to your neighbourhood Wal-Mart in Pune( most likely to happen!!!), buy some bread. You get it wrapped in Bio-polymer!!! Source of polymer: could be anything from corn waste or sugarcane waste to waste water from ag-processing industries!!! Price of crude oil: Considering that it was abt $40 till a few years back you can take a guess.
You throw the bag away in the soil, it decomposes!

My research at UND, is in modifying properties of poly lactic acid so that it can be used for food contacting operations, or soda pop bottles. So what is poly lactic acid? Poly lactic acid is a polymer obtained by polymerization of lactc acid. Lactic acid can be obtained from any bio mass, like corn.

The prospects of polylacticacid have got a lot of people excited throughout the world.
Over the last few decades, the interest in biodegradable and bioresorbable polymers has increased tremendously. According to the US Environmental Protection Agency 11.3 % of nearly 4.5 pounds/person/day of solid waste produced in the US is plastic waste. This translates in to a half pound of plastic waste generated per American per day.

Disposing of petroleum based polymers poses major environmental hazards due to formation of variety of hydrocarbons, and green house gases like CO2. As a result, most non-biodegradable plastics, like polyethylene, polypropylene and polystyrene end up in landfills and not much is recycled. Alsothese chemicals can slowly leach out, polluting the ground water and causing many health concerns.

Biodegradable polymers, however, can be decomposed in compost heaps, instead of being dumped in landfills. Not only that it is made from 100% renewable resources (made by photosynthesis in plants using sunlight). Also due to increasing costs of crude oil and decresing costs of manufacturing these polymers, they are likely to be much cheaper.

Cargill Dow has already set up a plant manufacturing 1400 tons/year PLA polymer at Blair Nebraska, made from corn growing in adjacent fields. This PLA is used to make food and non food packaging material, disposable cold drink cups, casing for laptops, walkmans, batteries, and also fibres for pillows, mattresses, casual and sports apparel, furnishings and much more.
The National Chemical Laboratories(NCL) in Pune has also developed the technology indigineously, and will be shortly applying for a US Patent.

Hence this is one material truly for the future.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

New Theory On Gravity

Well, I thought for a change I should post something lighthearted on the blog.

I came across a fake news web site called 'The Onion' , which had a article titled "Evangelical Scientists Refute Gravity With New 'Intelligent Falling' Theory " , which reminded me of Pheobe in Friends, when she tells Ross, that of late she feels that she is being pushed downwards rather than being pulled downwards due to garvity!!!! It is hilarious.

Here is the Link check it out!

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Finding you'r passion.

This is the text of the Commencement address by Steve Jobs, CEO of Apple Computer and of Pixar Animation Studios, delivered on June 12, 2005 at Stanford's graduation. I read it on a blog, and found it simply great.
It is very important that you follow your passion in life, to be successfull.

I am honored to be with you today at your commencement from one of the finest universities in the world. I never graduated from college. Truth be told, this is the closest I've ever gotten to a college graduation. Today I want to tell you three stories from my life. That's it. No big deal. Just three stories.

The first story is about connecting the dots.
I dropped out of Reed College after the first 6 months, but then stayed around as a drop-in for another 18 months or so before I really quit. So why did I drop out?
It started before I was born. My biological mother was a young, unwed college graduate student, and she decided to put me up for adoption. She felt very strongly that I should be adopted by college graduates, so everything was all set for me to be adopted at birth by a lawyer and his wife. Except that when I popped out they decided at the last minute that they really wanted a girl. So my parents, who were on a waiting list, got a call in the middle of the night asking: "We have an unexpected baby boy; do you want him?" They said: "Of course." My biological mother later found out that my mother had never graduated from college and that my father had never graduated from high school. She refused to sign the final adoption papers. She only relented a few months later when my parents promised that I would someday go to college.
And 17 years later I did go to college. But I naively chose a college that was almost as expensive as Stanford, and all of my working-class parents' savings were being spent on my college tuition. After six months, I couldn't see the value in it. I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life and no idea how college was going to help me figure it out. And here I was spending all of the money my parents had saved their entire life. So I decided to drop out and trust that it would all work out OK. It was pretty scary at the time, but looking back it was one of the best decisions I ever made. The minute I dropped out I could stop taking the required classes that didn't interest me, and begin dropping in on the ones that looked interesting.
It wasn't all romantic. I didn't have a dorm room, so I slept on the floor in friends' rooms, I returned coke bottles for the 5¢ deposits to buy food with, and I would walk the 7 miles across town every Sunday night to get one good meal a week at the Hare Krishna temple. I loved it. And much of what I stumbled into by following my curiosity and intuition turned out to be priceless later on. Let me give you one example:
Reed College at that time offered perhaps the best calligraphy instruction in the country. Throughout the campus every poster, every label on every drawer, was beautifully hand calligraphed. Because I had dropped out and didn't have to take the normal classes, I decided to take a calligraphy class to learn how to do this. I learned about serif and san serif typefaces, about varying the amount of space between different letter combinations, about what makes great typography great. It was beautiful, historical, artistically subtle in a way that science can't capture, and I found it fascinating.

None of this had even a hope of any practical application in my life. But ten years later, when we were designing the first Macintosh computer, it all came back to me. And we designed it all into the Mac. It was the first computer with beautiful typography. If I had never dropped in on that single course in college, the Mac would have never had multiple typefaces or proportionally spaced fonts. And since Windows just copied the Mac, its likely that no personal computer would have them. If I had never dropped out, I would have never dropped in on this calligraphy class, and personal computers might not have the wonderful typography that they do. Of course it was impossible to connect the dots looking forward when I was in college. But it was very, very clear looking backwards ten years later.
Again, you can't connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.
My second story is about love and loss.

I was lucky — I found what I loved to do early in life. Woz and I started Apple in my parents garage when I was 20. We worked hard, and in 10 years Apple had grown from just the two of us in a garage into a $2 billion company with over 4000 employees. We had just released our finest creation — the Macintosh — a year earlier, and I had just turned 30. And then I got fired. How can you get fired from a company you started? Well, as Apple grew we hired someone who I thought was very talented to run the company with me, and for the first year or so things went well. But then our visions of the future began to diverge and eventually we had a falling out. When we did, our Board of Directors sided with him. So at 30 I was out. And very publicly out. What had been the focus of my entire adult life was gone, and it was devastating.
I really didn't know what to do for a few months. I felt that I had let the previous generation of entrepreneurs down - that I had dropped the baton as it was being passed to me. I met with David Packard and Bob Noyce and tried to apologize for screwing up so badly. I was a very public failure, and I even thought about running away from the valley. But something slowly began to dawn on me — I still loved what I did. The turn of events at Apple had not changed that one bit. I had been rejected, but I was still in love. And so I decided to start over.
I didn't see it then, but it turned out that getting fired from Apple was the best thing that could have ever happened to me. The heaviness of being successful was replaced by the lightness of being a beginner again, less sure about everything. It freed me to enter one of the most creative periods of my life.

During the next five years, I started a company named NeXT, another company named Pixar, and fell in love with an amazing woman who would become my wife. Pixar went on to create the worlds first computer animated feature film, Toy Story, and is now the most successful animation studio in the world. In a remarkable turn of events, Apple bought NeXT, I retuned to Apple, and the technology we developed at NeXT is at the heart of Apple's current renaissance. And Laurene and I have a wonderful family together.
I'm pretty sure none of this would have happened if I hadn't been fired from Apple. It was awful tasting medicine, but I guess the patient needed it. Sometimes life hits you in the head with a brick. Don't lose faith. I'm convinced that the only thing that kept me going was that I loved what I did. You've got to find what you love. And that is as true for your work as it is for your lovers. Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven't found it yet, keep looking. Don't settle. As with all matters of the heart, you'll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Don't settle.
My third story is about death.

When I was 17, I read a quote that went something like: "If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you'll most certainly be right." It made an impression on me, and since then, for the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: "If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?" And whenever the answer has been "No" for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.
Remembering that I'll be dead soon is the most important tool I've ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure - these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.

About a year ago I was diagnosed with cancer. I had a scan at 7:30 in the morning, and it clearly showed a tumor on my pancreas. I didn't even know what a pancreas was. The doctors told me this was almost certainly a type of cancer that is incurable, and that I should expect to live no longer than three to six months. My doctor advised me to go home and get my affairs in order, which is doctor's code for prepare to die. It means to try to tell your kids everything you thought you'd have the next 10 years to tell them in just a few months. It means to make sure everything is buttoned up so that it will be as easy as possible for your family. It means to say your goodbyes.

I lived with that diagnosis all day. Later that evening I had a biopsy, where they stuck an endoscope down my throat, through my stomach and into my intestines, put a needle into my pancreas and got a few cells from the tumor. I was sedated, but my wife, who was there, told me that when they viewed the cells under a microscope the doctors started crying because it turned out to be a very rare form of pancreatic cancer that is curable with surgery. I had the surgery and I'm fine now.

This was the closest I've been to facing death, and I hope its the closest I get for a few more decades. Having lived through it, I can now say this to you with a bit more certainty than when death was a useful but purely intellectual concept:
No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don't want to die to get there. And yet death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it. And that is as it should be, because Death is very likely the single best invention of Life. It is Life's change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new. Right now the new is you, but someday not too long from now, you will gradually become the old and be cleared away. Sorry to be so dramatic, but it is quite true.

Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of others' opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.

When I was young, there was an amazing publication called The Whole Earth Catalog, which was one of the bibles of my generation. It was created by a fellow named Stewart Brand not far from here in Menlo Park, and he brought it to life with his poetic touch. This was in the late 1960's, before personal computers and desktop publishing, so it was all made with typewriters, scissors, and polaroid cameras. It was sort of like Google in paperback form, 35 years before Google came along: it was idealistic, and overflowing with neat tools and great notions.
Stewart and his team put out several issues of The Whole Earth Catalog, and then when it had run its course, they put out a final issue. It was the mid-1970s, and I was your age. On the back cover of their final issue was a photograph of an early morning country road, the kind you might find yourself hitchhiking on if you were so adventurous. Beneath it were the words: "Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish." It was their farewell message as they signed off. Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish. And I have always wished that for myself. And now, as you graduate to begin anew, I wish that for you.

Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.
Thank you all very much.

Here is the link, if you wanna hear the actual speech.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Amazing Parsees

I have always been fascinated by Parsi people, their loving demeanor, their lore, of how their ancestors landed on the coast of Gujrat and eventually got asylum here. This was when the arabs invaded Persia. Today people in Iran are considered 'arab' because of their religeon, but actually people of India and Iran, both are of the aryan race, which originated in southwestern steppes of present-day Russia, what was formerly a part of Persia (Iran). Infact people of Iran and northen India are the closest aryan decendants anywhere in the world. Also the pharsi language and other Indian languages are interrealted, as they come from the same family of languages. So when the irani people came to India, it was a sort of a homecoming for them.

Come to think of it Parsee people represent less than 1 % of India's population, yet their acheivments have been phenomenal. The leading corporates in India the Tata's are Parsee, their philantropic history is inspiring. Also Godrej the FMCG company, and Bombay Deing of the Wadias are Parsee owned company. Post Independence most of the cricketers in the 50s and 60s were parsees like Nari Contractor, Poli Umrigar, Farookh Engineer. The Parsis were infact the first Indians to play cricket, and to play it well. They promoted the first cricket clubs in India, and in 1886 and 1888 organised the first-ever cricket tours by Indians overseas. In the next decade, they comprehensively defeated several teams of visiting English cricketers!

Also leading Indian constitution expert Palkiwala and former attorney general of India Soli Sorabjee are parsees. Dadabhai Nawrojee known as the grand old man of India, Madam Cama, Phirojshah Mehta were prominent during the freedom strugle. Rajiv Gandhi, India's youngest prime minister,was half Parsi, also India's first and only field marshall Sam Manekshaw is a Parsi, and so is Zubin Mehta.

Zoroastrians call their God Ahura Mazda. Ahura means "Lord" and Mazda means "Wisdom". Zoroastrians believe that Ahura Mazda is their Friend. And their purpose in this world is to help God make the world a better place to live. Zoroastrianism is based on Good Thoughts, Good Deeds, and Good Words. However today their numbers are dwindling since offsprings of intercaste marraiges are not accepted as parsees, since orthodox priest want to preserve their race.

One Intresting fact about them, Fire temples where they pray, has a flame which consists of fire from 18 different sourse, one of them is a fire started on the earth due a lightning that has been witnessed by at least two parsees!!!

I would end the blog by quoting the bava from the movie munnabhai MBBS, ' carrom ramvanu, mango juice pivanu, majja ni life !!!'.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

US Demography

Well, I always thought that more than 90% of the population in the US was of British origin, since the British themselves had migrated to the 'new world' for a variety of reasons, and then they themselves had a civil war to create an independent country. But it's not quite right. It's much less than that. Well, recently I came to know that in North Dakota, where I am doing my masters, only about 8% people are of British origin, and about 30% are of Norwegian, abt 15% are German, and lots of Irish and other Scandinavian origin.

One more intresting fact I heard, of which I was an ABSOLUTE skeptic when I heard it for the first time, but later got it confirmed, is that when the United States constitution was being framed, while voting for the national language, German was the favourate, but due to some reasons, english was voted to be the national language and german lost by just two votes! Such is the wide demographic distribution of the US. Well can you imagine if that had happened, beacause of the economic domination of the US in todays world, we could have probably been taught german in our schools and not english, and this blog also perhaps would have been written in german!

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Spirituality: Sri Sri Ravi Shankar

Recently, while surfing the net, I came across an article on Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, which was simply amazing.
In his words I quote,

"Thank those who do not respect you. They have given you freedom. When people respect you, they often take away your freedom. They expect you to smile at them, recognize them and behave in certain way with them. If they do not respect you, you are not obliged to answer their questions and you can drop all formalities. You will be naturally smiling or frowning. Either way you will be complete."When people love and respect you, you are obliged to return their courtesies because you do not want to hurt them. But when they do not respect or love you, they will not be hurt by your actions and words, so they set you free. "When you gain respect, you often do it at the cost of your freedom. Wisdom is to put freedom first and not bother with respect. "True freedom is not an "I don't care" attitude. It is lightness from within, a genuine smile and lack of stiffness. Such freedom will not bring arrogance. True love blossoms only in such freedom. And when there is genuine love, respect simply follows you."
European Ashram, Bad Antogast, GermanyJuly 30, 1997

Saturday, October 15, 2005

The World Is Flat

If you have heard of a person called Thomas Friedman, columist in the , 'The New York Times' , you must be knowing about what i am talking about. Thomas Friendman, is of the most famous columist, dealing with current world affairs. Recently 'The Indian Express' have been printing some of his articles. He also has won two Pultizer Prizes for his coverage of the middle east.
Recently he was also on Shekhar Gupta's show 'Walk The Talk' , for NDTV. He has a theory on globalisation, which is that, no two countries having McDonalds outlets have ever fought war, when he was pointed out about the India Pakistan showdown in kargil , he said that he had upgraded this theory to, no two countries a part of the supply chain will ever fight a war. This is because of globalisation of economies in almost every nation.
His latest book is called 'The World Is Flat', in which he has credited none other than Nandan Nilekani, of Infosys, for the basic idea which the book deals with. What he basically says is, that in the 1980's perhaps if you had a choice of being born in America, China or India, you would have been more than happy with America. But no more. This is because people in India, because of the culture of emphasis on good education, and people in china due to other reasons can now compete with people in America, and perhaps feel confident of beating them. Also companies from developing countries now can compete with thoes in the western countries, implies that the world is becoming a level playing field.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

ASHES: The Complete History

Well, the recently concluded, fiercly competed Ashes Tournament prompted me to write on it's history popularity and charm. Move over thoes guys who say India Pakistan cricket is the most fiercly competed cricket in the world. In the recently concluded Pakistan's tour of India, you could see that the indians were exhausted even before the one dayers started.

Well, England the underdogs before the ashes begun eventually went on to win the fabled urn. Each match was nail bitting and literally went to the last ball. How often do u see such a close test cricket tournament. It was a historic tournament in the fact that England won it after 16 years and also that it was Shane Warne, and Glen McGrath's last ashes.

Ashes: The History:- In October 1861, an English representative cricket team captained by Heathfield Stephenson, set sail from Liverpool in England with the purpose of visiting Australia and engaging the "local" colonial population in a number of cricket matches. On arrival in Australia in March 1862, the English team was amazed by the greeting they received from thousands of people present when the ship berthed in Melbourne. More to their amazement was the fact, the streets of Melbourne were lined by many thousands more people who had come out to greet the visiting team.
Although cricket had already been well established in Australia for many years, the Englishmen could not believe the level of support for the game in Australia. Rather than treated as simple sportsmen, they were accorded a level of status usually reserved for the most important VIP's and royalty. It appeared to the Englishmen, the sport was as popular in Australia as it was in the mother country.
During their tour of Australia, the English team played a total of 14 matches against a variety of teams representing the colonies of Victoria and New South Wales. Australia at this time, was made up of a number of separate colonies and as such, did not have a National team for cricket, therefore at no stage did the Englishmen have the opportunity to take on the best the Aussies could muster. What is very notable about the tour however, is the fact the Englishmen competed against a team in Melbourne, representing The World. From the 14 matches played, it became very evident to the touring team, Australia was not to be taken lightly when it came to the sport of cricket. A total of 5 draws and 3 losses were inflicted upon the tourists, who had at no stage conceived any idea the Australians may be capable of offering any decent competition.
The annual competition between England and Australia continued for several years to come. On 5th March 1877, a touring English team met the Australian team in the very first Test match in Melbourne. This match was a ferociously competitive game with the Australians coming out on top and winning by the margin of 45 runs. The English were not happy with this situation as they had put together the finest team of professional cricketers money could buy at the time. They found it difficult to accept they had been beaten in the very first test match, by a team from the colonies that consisted mainly of part-time cricketers.

The Birth
Great rivalry began to develop between the Australian and English teams, setting the scene for future battles between the two, and attempts by the English to dominate the sport they had developed. They were seriously concerned the sport of gentlemen was being dominated by the convicts from the Antipodes and the thinking of the day became, England must win at all costs.
The greatest cricket competition in history was about to begin. The Ashes were close to being born!

England's Revenge
There was nothing unusual about the Australian tour to England in the summer of 1882, other than the fact, only one Test match was scheduled to be played at The Oval on 28 August. In the lead up to the Test match at The Oval, Australia had won 4 out of the seven matches they had already played, needless to say, the English were looking to atone for these losses and embarrass the Australians by giving them a lesson in cricket they would never forget. England carefully chose the best possible team in order to inflict the "demanded" defeat on the Australians.
At the beginning of the match on the 28th August, Australian captain W Murdoch, having won the toss, decided the Aussies would bat first. The English bowlers decimated the batting line-up and Australia returned the paltry figures of all out for 63 runs. The Englishmen were quite amused by this small first innings total and believed they would more than eclipse such a minor score. The amusement was promptly wiped from their faces by the Australians and even though the English team managed a first innings lead of 38 runs, the total for the innings was only 101 runs.
The Aussies although feeling confident, believed the Englishmen would bounce back in their second innings and as a result, Australia would need to post a very healthy second innings lead to have any real hope of an outright win. Unfortunately luck was not on the side of the Australians, they returned another small score at the end of their second innings when they were all out for 122 runs. This left England needing only 85 runs to take victory in the match, it appeared a foregone conclusion and the Aussies were somewhat dejected with the situation.
By the time England had reached the score of 4 for 65, it appeared there was no hope of an Australian victory, how wrong the thinking was!. At one stage with 5 wickets remaining, England required only 19 runs to take the match. Events were about to overcome everyone who was at The Oval on this day. Fred Spofforth an Australian bowler who had already taken several wickets for the innings was brought back into the bowling attack and subsequently tore the English batsmen to pieces with the assistance of Henry Boyle. The English team collapsed to be all out for 77 runs leaving them short of victory by just 8 runs. The unthinkable had happened, the English had been beaten from an unassailable position, the Australians had triumphed even though the odds were against them.
Everyone at The Oval for the match could not believe what had happened, not only were the crowds in shock at the defeat, many of the players could not believe what had just transpired and were left stunned and speechless. The following day, the British press ferociously savaged the performance of the England team, they called the performance of the team "the worst in living memory". The most notable of the English press at the time, a newspaper called the Sporting Times printed an obituary to cricket which read.
" In Affectionate Remembrance of English Cricket Which Died At The Oval on29th August 1882. Deeply lamented by a large circle of sorrowing friends and acquaintancesR.I.P NB: The body will be cremated, and the ashes taken to Australia."
Needless to say, after the debacle that became known as The Ashes test in 1882, the English cricket authorities were adamant that never again would the English team suffer such a humiliating defeat. A tour of Australia was promptly planned for the latter part of 1882, early 1883 and to ensure England had a more than even chance of making amends for their embarrassing defeat at the hands of the Aussies, three tests were scheduled to be played. The English cricket authorities figured they would indeed be able to defeat the opposition in a best of three series.
After a meeting at Lord's of the English cricket authorities, it was decided to appoint the Honorable Francis Bligh as captain for the forthcoming tour. Bligh was ordered by the Lord's members to make sure the Ashes of cricket were returned to their rightful home in England. A team of English cricketers were put together with the aim of regaining the glory of English cricket. They promptly departed England arriving in Australia in November 1882. After many preliminary games against various teams from the colonies, the first test in December 1882 turned out to be a nightmare for the visiting English team. Beaten comprehensively by the Aussies by the winning margin of 9 wickets, it appeared any hope of regaining The Ashes might be an up-hill battle.
Instructions were issued to the English players, they must win at all costs in the second test at Melbourne. With the reputation of English cricket on the line and faced with the embarrassment of having to return home a defeated team, the Englishman rose to the occasion in the second test. Not only did they defeat the Aussies, they won by the huge winning margin of an innings and 27 runs. It appeared after all, the reputation of English cricket could and would be salvaged. With the series now tied, huge crowds were expected for the third and deciding test scheduled for February 1883 in Sydney.

The third test was a ferocious affair, the Aussies threw everything they had at the England team, however they could not manage to win the match, England were victorious by the margin of 69 runs. The Englishmen had won the series 2-1, and in the process re-instated the pride and reputation they had lost at The Oval in 1882, they could now return home the heroes.
The Ashes were to be returned to their "rightful" domain!

Velvet and Ash
The English captain during his stay in Sydney for the third test was billeted at the home of the Fletcher family in the suburb of Woollahra. On his return to the Fletcher home from the after match celebrations, it was suggested by Annie Fletcher she should make a velvet bag in which Bligh could store the "imaginary" Ashes of English cricket, Bligh agreed with Annie's suggestion. Annie promptly made a beautiful brown velvet bag with the year 1883 embroidered on the front in gold thread, she presented this bag to Bligh, who accepted it with great thanks and appreciation of her efforts.
After his departure from Sydney, Bligh traveled to Melbourne where he met a lady named Florence Morphy, and after showing her the bag which he had been presented with in Sydney, Ms Morphy and several friends decided it was not a grand enough trophy for such a celebrated occasion. After purchasing a silver urn, the ladies then burnt a stump or a bail and deposited the ashes into the urn. No-one is quite sure whether it is the ashes of a stump or bail contained in the urn, the actual secret died with Ms Morphy and Bligh, who were later married on one of Bligh's further trips to Australia.
After adding a further test to the Australian tour in 1883, the triumphant English team returned home to a heroes welcome. The Ashes were presented to the English cricket authorities and then promptly presented to the members at Lord's, who later returned them to the possession of Bligh. Bligh took the Ashes with him when he traveled back to Australia and married Florence Morphy. No more was heard of the Ashes until the death of Bligh in 1927, when they were presented to the Marylebone Cricket Club, who put them on permanent display together with a pottery duplicate in a cabinet at Lord's.
Rumour has it, that at some stage during the time the Ashes were in the possession of Bligh in Australia, a servant spilt the contents of the Ashes urn onto the carpet in the home of Bligh and was unable to re-gather them. It is said the servant replaced these Ashes with those of burnt sticks, however this rumour has never been verified and remains just that, a rumour!
The only time the Ashes have left their display cabinet at Lord's was in 1988, when they were flown to Australia as part of the bicentennial celebrations. So treasured are the Ashes, they were flown by RAAF VIP aircraft and escorted to and from Lord's by a police escort.

Bodyline Series
From the original match at The Oval in 1882 that gave birth to the Ashes, the competition and its players has continued to develop over the years and has stood the test of time. Many notable periods, victories and losses could be mentioned regarding the Ashes series, however the most notable moment in Ashes history came with the series known as Bodyline. No single moment or incident in cricket history has been written or talked about as much as this single cricket series. Bodyline to this day, comes into conversation amongst cricket fans, it is argued, debated, and often the cause of spilt blood. It was the single most defining moment in cricket relations with rivalry between England and Australia that went on to further strengthen the determination of an Australian team in winning an Ashes series against England.
Another notable moment in Australia v England cricket history was in 1977, when Australia and England met in the Centenary Test at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. This match was played to celebrate one hundred years of test cricket between the two opponents and just like the very first test match played in 1877, Australia was once again triumphant by the winning margin of 45 runs.
The arrival of the English touring side in Australia for the Ashes series during the summer of 1932-3 was much anticipated by all Australian cricket fans. Unknown to the Australians at the time was the fact, English captain Douglas Jardine was about to write his team into the record and history books for all the wrong reasons. To counter the skill of the great Australian player Donald Bradman, who had devastated the English bowling attack during the 1930 series, Jardine adopted a tactic later to become known as Bodyline.
Bodyline involved the placing of a least five players close in to the batsman and the bowler continually bowling a barrage of short pitched balls aimed on leg stump, these balls would quickly rare up from the pitch placing the batsman in danger of serious injury. To counter these rising deliveries, the batsman would be forced to adopt defensive batting strokes, which would regularly result in catches to the close in fieldsmen.
Donald Bradman, being an exceptionally gifted and attacking batsman was affected by these close in fielders who interfered with his concentration. In the second test held in Melbourne, Bradman was dismissed by English bowler Bill Bowes without scoring. Many Australian players were subsequently injured as a result of the tactic of Bodyline. It was not only the Australian players who were aghast at the despicable tactics of the English, but also the Australian cricket authorities.
The Australian Cricket Board sent an urgent telegram to its counterpart in England demanding they instruct Jardine to discontinue his methods. For the sake of cricket and sportsmanship the Australians pleaded with the English to refrain. Discussions were even held in the Australian Parliament to find a way to stop the Englishmen from devastating and tarnishing the game of cricket.
High-level diplomatic meetings were held between the English and the Australians, eventually Jardine was ordered to refrain from his dangerous tactics. The Englishmen eventually went on to win back the Ashes from Australia, however the tactics of Bodyline had served their purpose. They had contained and restrained the great Donald Bradman.
The Laws of Cricket were eventually changed to ensure the debacle, which was the Bodyline series was never repeated. The spirit of the game had to be protected at all costs.
The tactic of Bodyline bowling, a name coined by the Australian press was referred to as Leg Theory by the English.

Ball of the century: The Ball of the Century, also known as the Gatting Ball or simply That Ball, was a bowled by Shane Warne to Mike Gatting on 4 June 1993, during the first Test match of the 1993 Ashes cricket series, at Old Trafford in Manchester. The leg spin Warne imparted to the ball caused it to swerve in towards Gatting in its flight through the air, and then to deviate sharply away from him on bouncing. This caught Gatting by surprise; the ball hit his wicket and thus got him out bowled, turning the balance of the match in Australia's favour. It was Warne's first ball against England in what would turn into a long and record-breaking career, and was of vast significance in the context of the match and the series.

Ashes Statistics

Saturday, September 03, 2005


Few days back I came across a blog on rediff, with this really amazing post; so i quote from it,
" Spring, is when it rains where I live. Not the downpour that one is used to in India. Here it is a disappointing trickle that is over even before it began and yesterday while watching ‘Rain Coat’ I couldn't help but ache to get drenched in such a downpour again. Warm rain pelting down on me furiously. While the roads flood and people hitch their clothes up to wade across the slushy streets. While bicyclists lift their legs in the air as they maneuver a puddle. While autorickaws with flapping plastic sheets pinned across the openings oblige to take you home for nothing less than twice the usual fare. But would I fling the door open and keep the windows shut the whole time someone from my past arrives unannounced. I am afraid this time I will stand behind the shut door and wait for the seasons to change."

Bryan Adams

Bryan Adams: One of my fav singers Posted by Picasa

From the mid-'80s to the mid-'90s, Canadian singer/songwriter and guitarist Bryan Adams was one of the most successful recording artists in popular music worldwide. Usually dressed in blue jeans, sneakers, and white T-shirts, the energetic performer stalked stages around the globe, electric guitar in hand, singing his own up-tempo pop/rock songs and ballads before audiences numbering in the tens of thousands. He released a series of multi-platinum albums containing chart-topping singles featured in popular motion pictures. His raspy voice, simple compositions, and straightforward musical approach earned him early critical approbation as a likable if unoriginal rock & roll journeyman, but as he began to become massively popular, reviewers increasingly pointed out the clichés in his lyrics and the derivative nature of his music, especially as he softened his style in the early '90s for his hit movie theme songs.

Adams was born Bryan Guy Adams on November 5, 1959, in Kingston, Ontario. (His middle name referred to Guy Fawkes, the British conspirator executed for an attempt to blow up Parliament in 1605, resulting in the observation of Guy Fawkes Day in England each November 5.) Adams' parents were British émigrés; his father, Conrad J. Adams, was a military diplomat, his mother, Elizabeth Jane Adams, had been a schoolteacher and librarian. His father's occupation caused the family to move extensively during Adams' childhood. They relocated to Ottawa when he was six, then his father began to get overseas postings, first in Vienna and next Portugal, where the family lived from 1967 to 1971. By his early adolescence, Adams had begun to show an interest in music, playing drums before taking up the guitar. From Portugal, the family briefly moved back to Ottawa, and then went to Tel Aviv. Adams had been expected to enroll at Sandhurst, a military academy in England both his father and grandfather had attended, but he refused. In the mid-'70s, his parents separated, and he returned to Ottawa with his mother and younger brother before settling permanently in Vancouver. While attending high school, he increasingly spent his time auditioning for rock bands, gaining greater success when he tried out as a singer rather than as a guitarist. By the age of 16, he was fronting a local band called Shock.

His Hits include summer of 69, 18 till I die, everything I do, Heaven, Here I am, and the latest open road.

The official Bryan Adams site

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Technology: India a developed nation.

I think to become a developed nation, we should develop new technology ourselves. What I mean by technology is not just high tech, sophisticated, expensive gadgets, but simple concepts which can make one a capable entrepreneur, i.e it will help the individual as well the nation as a whole (no matter in how small a way). Our engineering colleges churn out several thousands(optimistic figure) of engineers every year. But engineers who have become engineers buy writing excellent papers, getting good marks, and mugging text books. There is little or no practical application of this knowledge. I think we should include research in our gradute programs also.
In his book vision 2020 APJ Abdul kalam has noted that in India the golden triangle between academics, industry and R&d has not emerged. If this emerges then with funds from industry using facilities of the R&D labs and student labor, we can develop new technologies ourselves.
Also yet another facet of this is that the technology existing in our defence and aerospace labs can be used for commercial and social purposes. An excellent example of this is that, in one aerospace lab in hyderabad superlight but tough titanium alloy used in satellites was used to make crippers for the handicapped.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Lance Armstrong- Seven times Tour-De-France winner. Posted by Picasa


The Da Vinci Code

If u have read this new Dan Brown novel, you know what Im saying.Move over Rowling, we have I winner here. First of all I think the facts about PHI ie the number 1.618 mentioned in this book is simply mindblowing.leonardo Da Vinci explained this with his painting The Vitruvian Man.The ratio of lengths of so many parts of our arms and legs is PHI.To show this Leonardo da Vinci actually exhumed dead bodies.Also if you draw a pentacle or a pentagram the lines devide themselves into segments having the ratio PHI other examples of PHI are the quotients of the successive numbers in the fibonacci sequence this number is present everywhere in nature. Also Da Vinci was a maverik , anti church person member of the secret organisation 'The Priory of Sion' comes as a shocker.(all these are actual facts )

If you read on you will be baffled by the part on The Last Supper, in which Jesus Christ's supposed girl friend is shown,and peter(saint Peter for us) is gesturing to kill here.Then is the part on how the holy grail is not the cup in which Jesus drank at his last supper but the facts about his girl friend and mother of his son.(this part is fiction) The facts mentioned in the book are actually more entertaining than the fiction.

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Think Big

27th MARCH: Yesterday I saw Vivek Paul's interview on walk the talk hosted by Shekhar Gupta on NDTV 24/7(which by the way i think is a gr8 channel). One point he made about India was that Indian's are content with small things.
Like Indians are satisfied with a7-8 % growth, but the point shekhar gupta made was that who has put a limit on this why just 7-8 % why not more.We just don't dream big enough. Like once upon the time when the silk route trade was flourishing India and china contributed to 25 and 33 % of world trade respectively while today china is confident that one day it will achieve that sattus again where as India will be happy to contribute upto 0.5% of world trade in the next few years.
Geo politic strength in today's world is achieved by economic might. To get our economy going zipping the government has to improve the pathetic infastructure present today manifold. Compare India's economic capital Mumbai with Shangai and you know what I am talking about. Mumbai is the most crowded place in the world, I think. Whenever I visit the city I wonder why does anyone bother to live in such a city.