Sunday, June 29, 2008

Excess of reviews.... The unresolved delimna

Well, I am going to watch the movie "Thoda Pyaar Thoda Magic" today with family. Well, I have already purchased the tickets and planned my day, so really, I don't have much of a choice but to enjoy the movie. However, in spite of having no choice, I still wanted to check out the reviews for the movie, just to set my expectation right. If the movie is reviewed bad, then I could put on my commentary hat and start making mischievous comments making it still an enjoyable experience. I have done that in the past and it works out ok.

However, I went through a bunch of reviews on this movie and I can't make out whether the movie is really good or bad. Take a look at this:

  1. Vinita Bharadwaj says its good, (lets quantify it as 4/5)
  2. Raja Sen at Rediff rates it 2/5
  3. Joxily John thinks its 3.5/5
  4. Atta Khan thinks its 2.75/5
Thats a wide range - 2.75-4 governing from not bad to good (with average and above average in between). But I have to admit that its far better than having the range from 1.5 to 4.5 which pretty much would have left me confused as to whether all of those reviewers watched the same movie or not.

Anyhow, as the purist would suggest, reviews are highly subjective and one has to compare each reviewers previous reviews to your review of the movie to assign weight to the reviewers and finally come up with a final review to take a call. Instead of doing all this, me would prefer watching the movie and review it myself.... (I am not sure it would be worth writing a blog though..)

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Power games

Well, the title is completely misleading. Its not about the games people play with power, but the games power plays on people. Power, is a highly elusive commodity in India. And sometime back, it used to be far more elusive in places like Delhi, though things seem better. Anyhow, this story goes back to 1995. Power cuts of a few hours each day was very common in Delhi those days and as school guys, we used to get pretty pissed off but we had no option but to stay put.

Anyhow, this was about a pleasant Friday evening. Me and friends were watching Wimbledon Men's SF and Pete Sampras had coasted through Goran Ivanisevic. Now, Becker was playing Agassi, who hadn't been broken, hadn't lost a set in his way to Semi Finals and hadn't been defated by Becker in 8 outings before this match. He was also World #1 and also top seed, though Sampras, winner of two previous editions was a strong favorite.

Agassi coasted through first round and was finishing Becker off in the second set with two breaks and was 4-1 up in the second set. At that point, Becker decided to up his game and notch and with Agassi having couple of unforced erros, he was having 2 break points and the Power decided to play it's game and it went off. Kaboom!! Blackout!!

So, here were me and Amit Ahuja, meeting in the lawn of our apartments in the dark and hoping that something exciting would happen in that match and somebody would challenge Agassi. But we had nothing to do except waiting and praying for the blackout to end. As we spent the next 20 minutes nervously walking around the neighborhood park, I can recall clearly the hot discussions on what Becker should do to pull things back.

When power was restored, Agassi had been broken back twice and the set finally went to Tie Break where Becker overpowered Agassi completely. Becker had finished a bunch of games at love, finding his great serve and almost completely throttling Agassi.

The rest of match went Becker's way and he finished Agassi off in 4 sets to set up a final against Pete Sampras. History was witness to a great match that night and as Power played its game with us, game played out at the Center Court was a classic piece in Tennis.

For those, who missed out the match: here are the Youtube links to that match, N'joy:

  1. Agassi vs Becker, Wimbledon SF'95 Part 1
  2. Agassi vs Becker, Wimbledon SF'95 Part 2
  3. Agassi vs Becker, Wimbledon SF'95 Part 3
  4. Agassi vs Becker, Wimbledon SF'95 Part 4
  5. Agassi vs Becker, Wimbledon SF'95 Part 5 (end of first set)
  6. Agassi vs Becker, Wimbledon SF'95 Part 6 (AA goes to 4-1 and starts serving the key game at 3:37 in this video)
  7. Agassi vs Becker, Wimbledon SF'95 Part 7
  8. Agassi vs Becker, Wimbledon SF'95 Part 8
  9. Agassi vs Becker, Wimbledon SF'95 Part 9
  10. Agassi vs Becker, Wimbledon SF'95 Part 10
  11. Agassi vs Becker, Wimbledon SF'95 Part 11
  12. Agassi vs Becker, Wimbledon SF'95 Part 12
  13. Agassi vs Becker, Wimbledon SF'95 Part 13
  14. Agassi vs Becker, Wimbledon SF'95 Part 14
  15. Agassi vs Becker, Wimbledon SF'95 Part 15
  16. Agassi vs Becker, Wimbledon SF'95 Part 16
  17. Agassi vs Becker, Wimbledon SF'95 Part 17

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Gloomy days ahead

Its been 10 days since I returned to Homeland. My trip to San Jose was quite good, featuring 8 weeks of working with Yahoo teams in Santa Clara and Sunnyvale, while also spending most weekends traveling around the Bay Area. I managed to go to places like Santa Cruz, Big Sur, Monterey, Napa Valley, Livermore, San Francisco and Sausolito. I also visited my friend Vinayak at Toa Payoh, Singapore on my way back to India.

Anyhow, I will post my travel adventures and experiences at a later point of time. I am here to talk about something quite different. While I was there, I spent my mornings checking out news on CNN and got used to seeing at least the first few minutes of Issue #1 by Gerri Willis and Ali Velshi. I was quite disappointed to learn that most news in the American media was negative and was quite gloomy ahead of the apparent economic downturn in progress there. While prices of consumer goods are going up, the drastic increase in Gas prices, high credit costs and no real relief from the Govt is making everybody nervous out there.

While all this was happening, I wasn't feeling all that bad for India, since things didn't look so bad. It seemed that since I was not following mainstream India news, I was quite ignorant of the fact that India is equally gripped by all the vices that are making the lives of Americans so tough. Inflation has hit a crazy 11% and we have nothing going to stop the ascent of the prices. And though the growth story is better in India, official inability to fix things seem equally bad here as well.

While I was there, I was a confident ambassador for our country and wish to bring out the positives of our country and where its heading towards, I am not sure I can be that confident the next time around if things remain as bad. Just to put things in perspective, with GDP growing at 8-9% and with inflation at 3-4%, we were making real growth at about 5%. With growth at around 9% and inflation at 11%, we would actually receding by about 2% in real terms for this year. Now thats a real shocker.

Granted that though the 11% stats is a very real number but is only for a short period, and with enough fiscal steps at our end and possible letting up from outside, we could still manage a positive real growth by end of this fiscal year, but something in me says that gloomy days are here for sure.

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