Books I Read – May I Hebb Your Attention Pliss

The reason I had bought the book ‘May I Hebb Your Attention Pliss’ were quite a few. Chief amongst them was the author Arnab Ray or Greatbong as he is known on Twitter and other such sites. I had read his blog , loved his articles and could easily identify with many of his writings. After all I have grown up in ‘India of the 90s’ as well. I had heard quite a few tweets by the author hardselling his book and I guess one of his tweets made me have a look at the book on Indiaplaza.in and the price was decent ( read cheap) enough to me to buy and so I ordered and waited for it to be delivered. Indiaplaza in their usual style messed up delivery and the book reached around 15 days after it was promised, the only compensation was that i received a detailed apology mail from Indiaplaza and received a ‘personally’ signed copy of the book.

Now to the book review: The book was a breeze to read , as it is more a collection of his blogs then a book. It is more about experience of growing up in 90s of India.  The entire book has lot of satire, wit and dark humor, which I usually like. I loved the chapters about Bollywood Cliches, Film of the 80s and 90s, Indian Politicians, , Terrorist attack, Management School, Television Soaps etc. Didn’t much like the chapters about the great wedding as I felt quite a lot of cliches in them and could almost tell what was going to happen and it did. Mainly it could be because I have been through similar experiences myself.

Loved the special dedication to Prabhujee’s special films like Loha, Gunda, Diya aur Toofan etc. and had tears in my eyes reading them.  Kanti Shah is a true inspiration to us all. I had expected the book to have a full fledged story rather than collection of blogs but it was still a novel experience reading it.

All in all, it was an enjoyable ride and worth the money I had spent. Strongly Recommended for all those who have grown up in India of the 1990s and loved Gunda. ( as the author rightly said there are people in the world who have seen and loved Gunda and then there are people who will )

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Good Song in Bad film – Aisa Sama Na Hota

Continuing the quest to find hidden gems of hindi film music buried in some mindless film of the 80s, here is a truly great song in a not so great film.

The song is called ‘Aisa Sama Na Hota’ from the film Zameen Aasmaan released in 1984 to a not so great box office performance. The film had quite a good star power with Shashi Kapoor, Rekha, Rakhee trio who had earlier given super-hit Basera ( incidentally Basera has a very similar story line to this film) . The film also had young Sanjay Dutt with his boyish look and Anita Raj, a regular Sanjay Dutt heroine of the early 80s.

The song is a beautiful melodious composition by R.D. Burman sung superbly by none other than Lata Mangeshkar. The song has beautiful lyrics by Anjaan ( father of modern day lyricist Sameer). Lata Mangesgkar in the era of the 80s sometimes sounded very shrill but not in this song. The way she controls her pitch in the songs and especially when she begins the ‘antaras’ is almost miraculous.

The soothing music and the magical voice, a perfect combination for a song you listen to while travelling on hilly roads with lush green surroundings and that is what exactly the actors on screen for the song, Sanjay Dutt and Anita Raj do. The film is not much worth writing about however this song you can listen over and over. This one is not for the discos but for the purists.

Would we ever again have such simple but beautiful songs in our films ?

Welcome Pune and Kochi, Sorry Ahmedabad !!

Pune and Kochi were the chosen cities for the 2 new IPL teams to be added to the existing eight from the next season in 2011. The entire bidding process was earlier cancelled and bids were re-invited and winners were declared today in a much hyped press conference in Chennai.

When the bids were yet to be opened, cities like Ahmedabad, Kanpur, Nagpur, Pune, Vizag, Indore, Kochi etc. were in the fray and it was learnt that 5 proper bids were received. It was widely thought that bids from Videocon group, Sahara Group, Adani group etc. would be the winners and most people expected Ahmedabad and perhaps Pune to be the host cities of the new franchises.

Sahara Group turned out to be the highest bidder with 370 Million $ and they chose Pune as their host city. The next highest bidder was a consortium of 5 companies named Rendezvous Sports World who bid 333.33 million $ for the franchise to be hosted in Kochi. The other bidders bid close to 320 million $ each but of course only 2 teams were to be chosen and they lost out. The losers included Videocon group, Adani Group etc.

Sahara Group opting for Pune over Ahmedabad and Nagpur was perhaps more a business decision than a cricketing decision. Pune being a city on par with Ahmedabad in most ways is almost a twin city of Mumbai, who already have a powerful franchise in Mumbai Indians, thus their cricketing catchment area would most certainly overlap. In Ahmedabad you had a huge catchment area comprising of 3 Ranji teams of Gujarat, Baroda and Saurashtra, waiting to be tapped. Sahara surely had other reasons to select Pune over Ahmedabad.

Kochi was a complete surprise, even for the IPL head honcho Lalit Modi himself. Post the announcement he struggled to name the winning group and its leading person and later when asked about who the actual owners were of the team, had to refer to his notes and finally had to take help of the winning team head to declare who actually the owners were. It turned out that owners of Rendezvous Sports World are a group of builders, real estate developers based in Kerala. Kochi at present, does not even have a proper cricket stadium and uses a football stadium to host international matches,  however the real estate developers in the winning team would certainly be licking their lips at the thought of building a brand new stadium.

Ahmedabad is perhaps unlucky to lose out on a lucrative offer of hosting an IPL franchise. The 2 new franchises gave the IPL an amount close to Rs. 3200 crores which is more than selling of previous 8 franchises put togather, Rs. 2,800 crores. Lalit Modi announced that there would be no further expansion of IPL, atleast in near future. But with the kind of money available and the interest shown by leading coroporate houses in hosting an IPL franchise one can never say, never to the idea of more teams say in 3 years time. Ahmedabad can perhaps try their luck that time.

Any guesses for the names of the 2 new teams. My guesses would be Pune Panthers and Kochi Cobras.

My Experience with Tata IndiCom

Here’s sharing my experience with Tata Indicom, one of the leading private telecom operator who provides services ranging from Mobile Phone service, broadband connection, wireless broadband card etc.

Recently, tired of my frequently disconnection MTNL Triband connection, I decided to take advantage of an offer Tata Indicom was offering. I was getting free installation, wi-fi router and much better promised Internet speed with a lot bigger download limit. I contacted the local agent and pronto within 2 days my home was installed with the necessary wiring and the router was configured and I was surfing the net at twice the speed of my MTNL connection. What more could I want ??

Next of course comes the bill, which was well within the normal range I thought of. I being totally impressed by Tata Indicom decided to be their best customer and pay the bill right on time, well before the due date that is. No problem with that too except the twist in the tale. Next day my connection is disconnected !!!

After endless calling the agent who had installed the whole thing and their customer service agents, who every time verified my birth date and demanded all sorts of explanations,  finally I was told that I have a pending bill amount 5 times the bill amount I paid. This was for the bills which I did not pay in 2005 ( 5 years ago…)

Flashback: 2005

Shifting office from one end of mumbai to another is a nightmare in itself. After moving all the computers and the furniture and the files and other mundane stuff I realised that I needed telephone lines for the office if not for communication than at least for the dial-up Internet connection ( those were the days).

Any government of India service is rules out when you need something fast and I needed the phone lines urgently. Thats when I stumbled upon an agent who promised Tata Indicom telephone lines within 2 days flat !! I was of course impressed and happy to do away with rigidness of MTNL telelphone lines, I paid the advance for the same.

After a period of 3-4 days , after repeated calling the agent I was made to understood that I had applied for a WIRED line which wasnt possible to install so i had to go for WIRELESS phones, WALKY as they were called, they still are. I had no choice but to pay additional money and obtain those WALKY phones within a promised turnaround time of 48 hours !!  It was well past 7 days when I heard from them. Someone informed me that the engineers were on their way to install WALKY phones in my premises. That was the last communication from Tata Indicom to me. No engineers came, no phones were installed and I was still  without telephone lines. Repeated complaints and trying to connect the agent, customer service etc. yielded no result. I was told lines WILL be installed or my money would be refunded. Neither happened.

I still needed the telephone lines and the only choice I was left with was good old MTNL and I went through the procedure and obtained the required telephone lines within a then record period of 5 days flat.

Thus Tata Indicom had not installed any telephone lines and infact never returned my advance money. I like a typical lazy overworked Indian businessman with 100 other important things on mind forgot about the whole issue and even the money.

Now Tata Indicom had suddenly woke up from their long induced coma and discovered that I had not paid bills on the telephone lines that were in effect never actually delivered to me.

This time I decided not take it lying down, not that I had choice, I took my fight to them. I sat in their customer services cell ,explained my case to their representative, her immediate boss, the area head and so on. No one quite understood what was going on. They just had in their records that the bills of certain amount were pending from me. They did not have copy of the bills, copy of the work order, installation documents, delivery confirmation of Walky phones.  I had the right documents, the copies of payments I had made etc. Yet they knew one thing, I was suppose to pay, because their system said it or else they would not restart my broadband connection !!!

It took me better part of 3 days and some  ‘aggressive’ talking to some really senior people in the company. I refused to bow down and pay the ‘pending’ amount according to their records. Perhaps somehow someone sensible at the top realized what was going on. They agreed to restart my broadband account !! voila !!

Everything was fine and smooth till I completed the next billing cycle and …as history repeats itself , I started getting reminder calls for paying the long-standing bill. Only positive part was that this time they did not disconnect my broadband connection.

Tata Indicom not only didnt provide me service but didnt even refund my advance amount and on top of it are asking for the ‘unpaid’ bills for the same service which they did not even install !!!

Now, as I write it has been 3 months and I keep getting a reminder call /email every other day for the pending payment. But my internet connection is on – atleast yet and I have been paying all my current bills well within the stipulated time interval. I do not know what more to do and explain. I would continue to use this service as long as the ‘system’ does not disconnect me again and ask for pending payment. Next time it happens,  I am going back to MTNL.

IPL 3 – First Impressions of Teams

Now that I have seen at least one match of each of the 8 teams, I think now is a good time to mention my first impressions of the teams.

To start with –  Mumbai Indians –  It looked like grandfather Sachin and Sanath playing with their grandkids, atleast when the team was announced. With their combined age 77 it did seem that way. The team looked lacking middle order strength BUT they proved me wrong and the new recruits seems like a good choice. Aditya Tare, Saurabh Tiwary, Sathish and Ambati Rayadu look well in their part and they won the match despite Seniors not doing much, Harbhajan injured and Yusuf Pathan blitzkrieg.  Perhaps Lucky to win that day, but if they continue to play that way a spot in the semis is there for the taking.

A team you love it or hate it but cant ignore it ,  Kolkata Knightriders. Surprise ! Surprise !  The team is playing as a ‘team’ and have left behind their past 2 nightmarish seasons, at least it looks so far. Ganguly is leading them from the front and his fielding and batting maybe a bit rusty but his captaincy is as sharp as it was during his peak. Angelo Matthews has to be the most underrated ( and cheap) all rounder just like most Lankan players are. Brad Hodge is playing well and Laxmi Ratan Shukla seems to have a got a second wind. The team should continue to do well especially in home games with massive Eden Garden support behind them and half of Bollywood cheering for them. With superstar overseas players like Hussey, Bond , Mccullum and Gayle yet to arrive , things can only be better. Perhaps a semifinal spot for them.

Rajasthan Royals was the team of 10 players and Shae Warne in the first edition, now its perhaps 10 players and Yusuf Pathan. The man is in peak of his form and can do no wrong. Breaking several domestic records in last 2 months he continues to pummel the opposition bowlers with his huge sixes and massive drives. Royals were unlucky not to win their first match. However apart from Pathan other team members looked bit out of touch. Warne didnt turn the ball much and none of the other bowlers were impressive. Although its mindless to predict based on just 1 game but I think Royals might just miss out on the Semis spot this year.

Another team that looked rusty was Chennai Superkings. Even with massive crowd support behind them, they couldnt muster up a decent fight to the Chargers. Their bowling looks weak and even Muralidharan seems  struggling. They are also missing Flintoff and Oram and they seem to rely too much on Dhoni and Hayden at the top. Someone like Suresh Raina, Badrinath etc. have to stand and deliver. They have to improve and improve real soon.

Deccan Chargers rolled over the superkings succesfully after suffering unexpected loss against Knightriders. They seem to have the right team combination with Gilchrist and Gibbs at the top, Symonds and Rohit Sharma in the middle. Their bowling also looks decent with R P Singh, Vaas and Prgyan Ojha. Their slightly weaker link is I think VVS Laxman. Laxman is the most elegant player when its comes to batting in a test match, however in this format of the game he looks out of place especially when he is opening the innings along with fluent Gilchrist. Perhaps they need to make him bat at 4 or 5, although I cant see him slogging in the final 5 overs either. Maybe drop Laxman altogether.

Bangalore Royal Challengers looks a great team when you have experience of Kaalis, Dravid, Kumble to combine with young brigade like Manish Pandey , Robin Utthappa and Virat Kohli and with Dale Steyn leading the bowling attack you have one of the best balanced team. However they were simply outclassed in the first match by KKR. Perhaps they would soon get their act together and be a team they were last year.

Kings XI Punjab to me looks the weakest team of the tournament. Somehow the middle order of Mahela, Yuvraj and Sangakkara looks too sedate and their bowling minus Brett Lee lacks serious firepower. Irfant Pathan needs a speedy dose of aggression from his brother Yusuf Pathan. Ramesh Power and Piyush Chawala looked clueless on slow pitch. They need Brett Lee to be back , mercurial Sreesanth to be consistent and maybe someone more aggrasive like Shaun Marsh at top of order should be good. Whats Mohhamad Kaif doing in the team?

Finally, the team to beat, Delhi Daredevils with the strongest batting lineup of this IPL, they would be the team every other team would be afraid of. On their day any of Sehwag, Gambhir, Warner, Dilshan and AB Deviliers can blast any bowling attack out of the ground. They have a wonderful bowling attack as well with Dirk Nannes in top form and Amit Mishra with a new found confidence. A semifinal spot is almost a guaranteed if they continue to play like they do and they can. Who knows maybe even the championship !

IPL 3.0 Predictions

IPL 3.0 begins today. 60 matches and 6 weeks, long way to go. 8 Teams, each almost as good as another and T-20 is as unpredictable as it gets. But I am being brave and predicting the 4 semifinalists. I could turn out to be a total gool or a wizard, but here are my predictions.

Bangalore Royal Challengers, Delhi Daredevils , Mumbai Indians and Chennai Super Kings will be the 4 semifinalists.

Only the time will tell. Let the games begin.

Superb Pepsi Ad – FIFA Worldcup 2010

Here’s a great Pepsi ad featuring most prolific footballers like Messi, Henry, Kaka, Arshavin, Drogba, Lampard playing football on the tune of ‘Oh Africa’ by Akon released 100 days prior to the greatest spectacle on earth, FIFA Worldcup to be held in South Africa.

IPL 3.0 Teammembers

Given Below is a list of Team members of all the IPL 3.0 Teams

Based on below I have joined Cricinfo Fantasy League for IPL 3.0 – My team name – Chin512 Champs

CSK DC KKR DD
BOWLERS BOWLERS BOWLERS BOWLERS
R Ashwin PP Ojha AB Agarkar R Bhatia
L Balaji Harmeet Singh VR Aaron A Mishra
C Ganapathy RP Singh AB Dinda DP Nannes
MS Gony KAJ Roach M Kartik A Nehra
SB Jakati R Sharma BAW Mendis AM Salvi
M Muralidaran BATSMEN CK Langeveldt PJ Sangwan
M Ntini AA Bilakhia I Sharma U Yadav
S Tyagi HH Gibbs Iqbal Abdulla WD Parnell
BATSMEN VVS Laxman Eklakh Ahmed S Ladda
KB Arun Karthik DB Ravi Teja MB Parmar Sarandeep Singh
S Badrinath RG Sharma BATSMEN VY Mahesh
GJ Bailey TL Suman BJ Hodge Y Nagar
ML Hayden AS Yadav CA Pujara BATSMEN
MEK Hussey Anirudh Singh OA Shah G Gambhir
SK Raina ALL ROUNDERS MK Tiwary AB de Villiers
M Vijay RJ Harris Harshad Khadiwale TM Dilshan
HK Badani DR Smith ALL ROUNDERS M Manhas
ALL
ROUNDERS
A Symonds SC Ganguly V Sehwag
T Thushara WPUJC Vaas AD Mathews DA Warner
JA Morkel Y Venugopal Rao G Vignesh KM Jadhav
JDP Oram MR Marsh LR Shukla ALL ROUNDERS
NLTC Perera B Sumanth Rohan Gavaskar MC Henriques
JM Kemp MD Mishra Harpreet Singh MF Maharoof
WK AA Reddy Mandeep Singh Joginder Singh
MS Dhoni WK WK WK
PA Patel AC Gilchrist WP Saha KD Karthik
KXIP RR RCB MI
BOWLERS BOWLERS BOWLERS BOWLERS
L Ablish SK Warne A Kumble CRD Fernando
B Lee Kamran Khan KP Apanna Zaheer Khan
PP Chawla M Morkel D du Preez DS Kulkarni
RR Powar MM Patel A Mithun SL Malinga
SJ Srivastava Amit Singh Praveen Kumar Harbhajan Singh
S Sreesanth SW Tait DW Steyn R Shukla
VS Malik SK Trivedi R Vinay Kumar BATSMEN
YA Abdulla BATSMEN BATSMEN SR Tendulkar
Amanpreet Singh SA Asnodkar R Dravid S Dhawan
BATSMEN GC Smith V Kohli J-P Duminy
AB Barath DR Martyn MK Pandey AT Rayudu
K Goel MJ Lumb LRPL Taylor SS Tiwary
DPMD Jayawardene FY Fazal RV Uthappa ALL ROUNDERS
M Kaif AA Jhunjhunwala Eoin Morgan DJ Bravo
RS Bopara AG Paunikar ALL ROUNDERS ST Jayasuriya
SE Marsh SA Quadri B Akhil R McLaren
TM Srivastava AS Raut Bhuvneshwar Kumar GR Napier
Yuvraj Singh JH Kallis AM Nayar
ALL
ROUNDERS
ALL ROUNDERS KP Pietersen KA Pollard
IK Pathan AD Mascarenhas RE van der Merwe I Malhotra
JR Hopes YK Pathan CL White AG Murtaza
RS Sodhi J Botha Steven Smith R Sathish
Bipul Sharma S Narwal S Sriram KS Sahabuddin
WK SB Wagh WK WK
Kumar Sangakkara WK MV Boucher C Madan
MS Bisla NV Ojha SP Goswami AP Tare

Books I Read: Shutter Island – Dennis Lehane

Few months back browsing on some Movie site and reading the upcoming movies one of the names I saw was ‘Shutter Island’ starring Leonardo Dicaprio and directed by Martinc Scorcese. I then realised that it must have been based on the book I owned but hadnt yet had chance to read it. My hunch was right, the movie is based on the thriller by Dennis Lehane. Dennis Lehane has written quite a few decent books including Mystic River, Gone Baby Gone etc. Even the movie based on the above books were brilliant, atleast ‘Mystic River’ was. Now, I had to read Shutter Island before watching the movie.

Shutter Island – Paperback Cover

The story is set in 1954 in North Eastern America, mainly Boston and an island near it namely Shutter Island which houses a federal institution for the criminally insane. U.S. Marshal Teddy Daniels and his partner, Chuck Aule, are called in to investigate an escape of a female patient. The facility is run by suspicious Dr. Cawly. You soon realize that there is more to this institution then we think. Teddy believes that an arsonist is hiding in the facility and Chuck suspects that patients are used as guinea pigs in trying out mental treatment. Soon the hunter becomes the hunted.

The books keeps you hooked to it and the case of missing prisoner and various codes leading to her makes you read it at a stretch. But there are more twists and turns in the story, some of which are expected and some of which are ‘out of the blue’. All of these keep the readers guessing right till the end. Of course in the end when everything is explained, you do realize that not everything was what it seemed while reading.

Quite a fun read and would recommend to anyone who loves thrillers. My Ratings  – 7/10

Now, to the movie. The movie has released in USA and has got quite varied reviews. Waiting for its release here in India. Hopefully the team of  Scorcese and Leo wouldnt disappoint me and film would live up to the book.

Beautiful Song – Children by Robert Miles

Beginning a Series where I would list down some of my all time favorite songs both Hindi and English.

No other song’s rhythm has haunted me for years than the song ‘Children’ by Robert Miles.

Robert Miles is mainly known for providing electronic trance music and many of his songs sound similar to one another like most trance music ( or maybe I dont understand trance music much). This particular song along with ‘Fable’ and their various versions have remained on my favorite playlist for years. Very soothing to listen to especially when you are dead tired after a long day at work.