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Monday, December 31, 2007

New year, new thoughts

In 6 and a half hours, its the dawn of the new year. As all of you, I also look forward to have a wonderful year ahead. 2007 saw many changes in my life - from college to job; from one city to another and many unforgettable memories. And as usual, for the first time, I am sharing my new year resolutions with the world.

1. Fitness - It's going to play an important decision. Doesn't mean that I am overweight or obese. I have a normal one with BMI of 20. What I meant is, (don't laugh!!) , I want to develop a six-pack. (I told you not to laugh. It is my resolution)

2. Read more - Read more, either from web or print. Increase knowledge, write better blogs.

3. Watch classic movies - I have decided to take it up as a challenge to collect as many classic movies - english, hindi, malayalam, french, spanish, bengali, japanese and others. As a start, I already got Citizen Kane and Scarface. And you can expect my reviews on them.

4. Hang out with friends - Already became a routine activity every weekend, but see to it that it continues.

5. Learn a new language - For sometime, I have been trying to learn a new language. At least this year??

These are some of the things that came to my mind when I started writing this. Every new year, I have been taking resolutions, but its time to be serious. At least on 31 st December 2008, I should be able to re-evaluate my achievements. And on the whole, enjoy life.

Wish you all a very happy new year.

I am a CNN-IBN Citizen Journalist

Back from the hectic work of writing movie review, I am continuing with daily notions. Before that I have an important announcement. I have become an official Citizen Journalist of CNN-IBN.

Well, it all started from my trip from Kochi to Chennai. I was on a two day official trip there and was coming back in the Chennai train which starts from Ernakulam North at 9.45 pm. As it was company booked, it got an upper berth in third A/C(second A/C was full, that's why). I fumbled with the sheets and blanket and slowly fell into the ocean of dreams.(I am not going to discuss my dreams here. Or maybe, you should take a guess!!)

When I woke up, it was around 7 am and almost all were awake. The scheduled arrival at Chennai was at 9.45 am and I had around 3 hours. I plugged in my iPod (well, I have an iPod, and I will post soon about how I got it) and looked lazily around.


What does this has to do with journalism. Around 8 o' clock came the surprise and my chance. The A\C attendant started collecting the sheets and blankets from all berths and piled it up. Guess where. Near the wash-basin and between the door. As any other train in India, it was as usual filthy and this guy carelessly threw the sheets here and there. All those who walked the way trampled on it. Who cares!! The sleeping journalist inside me arouse and I took some hidden snaps with my cellphone. (Quality maybe less as it has got only a VGA cam). Here's one snap.




The blurring that you see is a sheet on its way to the heap. The attendant was throwing one more sheet when I took the pic. Here's one more.



The sheets are washed before giving again, but what is the use? Has someone instructed them to make it dirty before washing so to make full use of washing? And the blankets? Are they washed or disinfected at any point of time? God knows!!


Well, after I came back, I uploaded the snaps in CNN-IBN Citizen Journalist website (http://cj.ibnlive.com/). It got approved and they posted it. Also, they contacted me and asked me for my cell no and address and told that they want a shoot with the railway officer in charge and want me to be the journalist. (I didn't get any call till now, am waiting for it...)


Anyway, I have decided one thing. Never travel in A/C if it's my own cash. If it's a company booked one. take one or two sheets with me and don't even touch the one's that they give.


Lalu, are you watching this???


You can find the post in CNN-IBN website. (http://cj.ibnlive.com/photogallery/453.html). The title I gave was "Bed sheet or bed-shit"; but they changed it to tone down the language.


Rock n' Roll - A forced movie review

This post was actually supposed to be a review of Dileep's film Romeo, pakshe enthu cheyyana, it was houseful when I went on saturday. I looked around and saw that Rock n' Roll was running noon show in the adjacent theatre. So, I decided to give it a try. When I came out, I was in an ambivalent mood. Though a utter stupid story, I found it entertaining. Maybe because of the portrayal of our old Madras that I liked it. Or maybe because of the heroine. Think her name is some Lakshmi. Anyway, she has acted in a Bru ad.

The story is simple. A jazz drum player Chandramouli comes back to Chennai to play for his old friend. He meets budding singer Daya and falls in love with her. In order to win her, he decides to do a film. And finally he wins her.

Writer and director Ranjith has taken many aspects from his earlier film, Chandrolsavam. Remember in Chandrolsavam when Mohanlal tells Meena what he has been doing all these years - touring various countries and playing in different places. The same thing is repeated here. Sidhique, who plays music director Guna describes Chandramouli in similar terms. Other than that, some other scenes will also give a feeling (nostalgia...ha ha) of Chandrolsavam.
The cast is a regular Lalettan film type. Jagathy, Lal, Mukesh, Rahman, Hari Sree Ashokan, Manoj K Jayan(as Saidapet Giri, the don and Chandramouli's friend), Siraj etc. And there is no regular villian in the film. Well, u can say that music plays a villian as Chandramouli finds it difficult to compose tunes to sing for his girlfriend.

The biggest drawback is the music. Composed by the evergreen Vidyasagar, it fails terribly. The song when he meets Daya is an affervescent one. The climax song, which Chandramouli has painstakingly composed, reminds of the one from Niram. Background score is good and suits the mood of the film.

In total, watch it when dvd is released (and that too moser-baer!!).

My rating is 4.5/10. Avoidable.

Kadha Parayumbol : A movie review

Today is going to be a D-day for me. I am completely free and have decided to give the entire day for blogging. My new year should start with all fresh memories. So, I am downloading all my memories and stuff now.

Back to film reviews. After my really horrible experience with Flash, I ventured out for the other superstar's Christmas release, "Kadha Parayumbol". I went with my family (read parents and sister; I am unmarried,any proposals?) for a film after a long time. And it turned out to be not so sour.

First thing to say is that it is not a Mamooty movie. His screen presence is very less, maybe around 35 minutes; it's Sreenivasan who dictates the movie. After a brilliant performance in Arabikadha, Sreenivasan has struck gold again.

Warning: Spoilers starts here

As you may know, it is the story of a barber whose friend is the reigning superstar Ashokraj(Mamooty). (A special note. I watched the movie five days back and I still remember the character's name. I wrote the review of Flash the next day after I watched the film and I didn't remember any of the character's name!!). Balan (Sreenivasan) is a barber in a high range village of Nellimattam. He lives with his wife Sreedevi(Meena) and three kids. Balan is portrayed as a man who will never surrender his pride and will always hold his head straight. This is portrayed in many scenes. When Jagadish starts his hi-fi barber shop in the village, Balan's business is hit. Finally, he is forced to reduce the charges. The first half an hour or so is spent in showing the general life. In between, Jagathy plays a cameo as a village officer whom Balan approaches for loan.

Things change when a movie troop comes to the village for shooting. And that movie stars Ashokraj. The villagers and excited a lot by this. But they are not allowed to see the shooting as Ashokraj's life is threatened by religious fundamentalist because of his role in the movie, Gujarat. It is at this time that the people come to know that Balan is Ashokraj's friend. They all turn to him and offer him help in many ways. These scenes show a real mockery of people who are blind when need arises and help un-necessarily when they need something from us.
Anyway, Balan refuses to see Ashokraj. He fears that Ashokraj will forget him. But, the audience will tend to believe that Balan fears that he will let down himself and his pride will be surrendered. He tries once to see Ashokraj but unsuccessful. Things go on and shooting gets over. Ashokraj agrees to inaugurate the Jubilee celebrations of a local school.

The speech during the function is good. It is well written and well orated by Mamooty. And this is the turning point. Mamooty gets eloquent and talks about his school friend Balan who helped him a lot. He says that it was Balan who gave him money to go to Madras for a chance. He says that he was not able to find him as he ran away with a girl he loved and settled somewhere else.
And in the end, everything is alright and all are happy. Ashokraj meets Balan; scolds him for not coming to him; promises to come back and take them with him.

That's all; spoilers ends here.

Except the climax I liked the film. It would have been good if Ashokraj had gone back without meeting Balan, but that is impossible. Having said this much about Balan in a speech, the villagers will surely lead him to Balan's house. But the problem is, Balan's pride has been compromised. And, it might feel as a defeat for Balan.

Anyway, its a good film. Innocent, Salim Kumar, Mukesh et al add spice to the film. One song, where the villagers praise Balan is really good. It goes like this:"Vyathyasthanamoru barberam balane, satyathilarum thiricharinjilla..."

Music is by M.Jayachandran. There is one more songs which is depicted as a song in the movie that is being filmed.

Direction is by Mohanan and Sreenivasan and Mukesh have turned producers.

My rating is 7.5/10. Worth a watch.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Flash in a flash - A movie review

I warn all of you. I am on a one week holiday and at home. My main aim is to see all the films before I get back to work. So, my posts will be mainly reviews of the films. And in between, some politics about Gujarat.

All my friends who saw Flash warned me not to go. But, being impressed by the credibility of the director and the actor, I risked my money. And now I think I should have had a good biriyani with that cash.

Flash stars Mohanlal and Indrajith as the CEO and his subordinate of a software company. But, mind you, being CEO of that company is just one of the hats that the multi-faceted personality wears. He is also an IMA certified psychiatrist as well as Scotland Yard (is it a time pass club!) certified criminologist. (I wonder whether he did a B.Tech. Or maybe, he took it along with MBBS; part time engineering!). We are made to believe that Parvathy (the notebook girl) is Mohanlal's heroine when suddenly after some duets, he makes a promise to Indrajith that he will give Parvathy completely cured!!

If you care to continue reading, I warn you, its a spoiler. As wikipedia warns, "Spoilers starts here" (carry on, its just a joke; there cannot be any spoilers for a movie like this)

One of my friends gave the review in a line. "Flash is Manichitrathazhu + Nerariyan CBI". And now I feel, that's a perfect review. For the part of psychiatrist, they have entirely depended on the character of Sunny in Manichitrathazhu. Even the dialogues are heavily copied from it. ( I prefer not to call it heavily inspired; its plagiarism). Even the dialogue that most Malayalis will remember till the end of life, "Ithu vareyum oru mahashastrajanum sacharikatha vaykalilude enikku sancharikendi varum. (I will have to travel through new ways which no psychiatrist have dared to go)." and "Namukkelavarkkum ariyavunna aa pazhaye Gangaye thirichu tharan (to give back the Ganga whom we all knew)" have been ruthlessly copied.

The intro scene in Manichitrathazhu where Sunny comes in the pilgrim dress from Sabarimala has been copied in Flash. Here, Mohanlal makes his appearance in a "lungi" and shirt with a "thalekettu" and travelling in the ladder of a private bus. No comments!!

Nerariyan CBI, the fourth installment and the least successful of the series has been well known for its unnecessary twists. In Flash, the story-writer has tried the same way by changing the story of a murder a thousand times.

Coming to the songs, I forgot the name of the music director and lyricist. Anyway, the songs can be tolerated only once, in theatre!! Malayalam music industry has not produced a hit after "Hello". God and tamil music directors save us!!

The director,Sibi Malayil, once famous for his classics like Bharatham, Kireedom, Thaniyavarthanom etc. looks like lost in the sea of films. Lack of themes is obvious in the script of Flash. Anyway, he has been lost for sometime with Amritham, Alice in Wonderland etc.. Maybe he feels that he is in a wonderland!!!

Sidhique stands out with his style. Even though his screen presence is very less, the way he changes his style in all films is really great. And, it seems he is always a default part of Mohanlal's films. Parvathy played a mentally upset one in notebook. She reprises it again. Anyway, her acting is ok. And the girl(i don't know her name) who is her friend is really cute. Indrajith is good as a estranged lover and a software engineer. Jagathy and Jagadeesh add some spice, but at times it is sour.

And, the hero, Mohanlal cannot be justified. He really puts in a bad performance. He is unconvincing, fails at his jokes, looks like being lost in the duets.

If you really want to lose some money and verify that what I have written is true, go on and watch the film. If I am to put a rating, its 1.5/10. And the worst part is, i saw the film only yesterday and I don't remember any of the character's name!!

There's only one spoiler. Mohanlal's wife in the film. I leave it as a surprise.

And finally, a request to Mohanlal. "We all know the potential of your acting. Pls, don't act in such movies for just cash. Pls, select your script carefully. If you have any problem with cash, just tell us, the fans. We will raise money for you.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Gandhi and Google

Forget my earlier post. I have made up my mind to blog about my environment(I mean whatever happening around me) and about my experiences also. So, my confusion is over.

"Gandhi and Google" or "Google and Gandhi"? I am not sure what title i should give it. Anyway, its all about Bapu and Google.

Recently Google released the most anticipated data about India. "What are Indians Googling for?" And the answers were really interesting.

The most searched political leader is Mahatma Gandhi. This keyword gives 3,580,000 pages in Google (on Dec 20, 2007). Well, that's really a good number. And the second in the list came our dear ex-president Abdul Kalam. It brought up 130,000 results. Hmm..its a huge difference. The list has almost all of the famous leaders including Indira Gandhi, Sonia Gandhi, Sarojini Naidu etc...But, two people are conspicious by their absence in the list. Take a guess. (want clues? They are related. One is the grandson of the other). Still didn't get it? Really bad!! Its our first Prime Minister and the seventh prime minister. Jawaharlal Nehru and Rajiv Gandhi...

Let's not confine just to political leaders. From Bollywood, Aishwarya Rai made to the first place. (I wonder when people will start searching for Aishwarya Rai Bachchan!!) Salman and Hrithik made to the top while the six-pack Khan was overtaken by Katrina Kaif (maybe people are searching as "six-pack Khan"). And newcomer Deepika Padukone made it to the 10th place.

When coming to movies, Spiderman overtook the most hyped movie of the year, Sivaji. Chak de and OSO made to the top 10. Saawariya, the most awaited film from Sanjay Leela Bansali, which turned out to be the worst of him(still he says its my best ever!!), made to the list.

And India is dead without cricket!!! But, when it comes to sports personalities, its the girl who always gets into controversies. Sania Mirza has topped the list with Maria Sharapova and Tendulakar following. Former Captain Dravid, current ODI caption MSD and the Dada also made to the list. Football sensation Cristiano Ronaldo also made to the list.

And this makes me proud. Kerala tops in the list of places of interest. Singapore, Goa, Australia, London, Dubai etc follows...

Google's Zeitgeist has given a good outlook about the minds of and Indian Gooogler. It sprang up some suprises as well as some default things. Watch and wait till the list is out for 2008.


Wednesday, December 19, 2007

The Biggest Confusion

I am a lot confused these days about what to write. I have been writing my views and my takes on the things going around. Should I continue with that or should I make a more personal one? I am confused!! Anyway I am taking a short vacation of ten days frem work this x'mas. Maybe, after that my thoughts will become clear and I my confusion will dissolve!!

Monday, December 10, 2007

The Great Indian Dream

Shall I call it the Great Indian Dream or the Ambitious Dream of Subhash Chandra? Whatever it is, the idea has started to become the biggest follyin Indian business world in recent years. I am talking about our first domestic cricket league, Indian Cricket League(ICL).

Promoted by Subhash Chandra of the Zee and having roped in Kapil Dev, Tony Grieg, Kiran More and Dean Jones as the board members, ICL was touted as a direct competition for India's cricket mammoth, BCCI. But, the recent turn of events looks like the mammoth has grown bigger and the newly formed to-be mammoth has turned out to be a tortoise.

They selected the worst time to debut. The entire event went unnoticed in the event of "Sholay of Cricket" - that was how the ongoing India-Pakistan matches were described by Ashish Kaul, Essel Group's (it promotes Zee) executive VP. Everything went wrong from the beginning. And it was a very costly fall.

The biggest mistake was to telecast the matches only in Zee sports. It is one of the least viewed sports channel and almost around 2 million Tata Sky subscribers doesn't have access to it. In the last moment they suddenly realised something (maybe Subhash sat in a pitch and floodlights shown on him that gave an enlightment). They planned to show the first 30 minutes in all Zee channels. Great indeed!! Who is gonnna watch it?

The second mistake was the worst publicity campaign. I never saw any good ads other that those in Zee about the matches. Maybe they thought all the publicity that they got while forming ICL and the controversy regarding it will take care of the publicity campaign.

And then came the astronomical prices they asked for a ten second slots. They also wanted something un-imaginable from the would-be ground partner Foster's that they caught the next flight and flew all the way back to Australia!! (maybe they asked for a stake and free beer for lifetime). Anyway, they got about one-third or less than that they asked for a ten-second slot. It will go on reducing for the future matches as the TRP tumbling. For the opening match on Nov 30, the TRP for Zee sports was under1. The channels that showed the first 30 minutes, especially Zee Business and Zee Cafe gave "0" ratings on the second day. Thank God, it can't go to negatives.

It has been rumored that around 30 crores of rupees have been betted on ICL by Zee and Essel. As the way it goes now, this will break the complete Zee network. If at least they want to generate some money to save their souls, they have to come up some different strategy. Like telecasting matches in DD Sports and entering into a revenue sharing agreement with them. Or else, this will be the first and the last of ICL and BCCI with its IPL will have the last laugh.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

The Future of Indian IT Industry

What will happen to India if someone drops four nuclear bombs in four corners of America? Especially, what will happen to our IT industry?

This thought came to my mind the other day when I was debating with my friend about the future of Indian IT. I think its bleak.

Gone are the days of the silicon boom! The laws of Moore may be still valid but the growth doubling is not there. The Silicon Valley, once the hub of development and money, is doesn't give a bright image now.

Our IT companies have done many things to help US companies. From automotive to retail to pharmaceutical to finance, Indian touch is there everywhere. But, almost everything in their country runs under machine (read computer) control. So, hasn't the flow of money reduced? Hasn't there been a decrease in the orders that we are getting?

It can be argued that the existing system needs to be updated every night and someone has to provide support to run the existing ones. Its true. But, still, the flow of money and projects that was witness in the start of 20th century will reduce for sure.

Then comes the biggest roadblock. Appreciation of rupeee. Its one thing that we Indians should have been proud of. Ruppee gaining against dollar is a happy moment for us. But, there comes the problem. Our export revenue is getting reduced. It makes the entire thing sour.
Someone may urgue that we are not completely depended on US on our export revenue. We have exports to Europe and other countries. But don't forget the fact that the lion's share of our revenue is from US alone.

I hate NASSCOM (Hope is spelled it right!!). I will hold this organization responsible for creating millions of jobless engineers by 2012. They went on creating hype that there is a very big talent crunch in Indian IT industry. Engineering colleges mushroomed like anything in every small cities and villages. And now they have said that out of every 4 engineering candidates only 1 is employable!! That means if four millions engineers pass out this year, then one million will get some job. Others will sit @ home!!! NASSCOM is an organization that lacks an objective.

So, what can save Indian IT industry? Well, first of all, the majors SWITCH (Satyam, Wipro, Infosys, TCS, Cognizant, HCL) should stop the hype surrounding the campus recruitments. The truth is they recruit in large numbers from colleges so that their competitor will not have anyone to take. This has to be stopped. The image of mass recuitment has to be removed (Recently, IBM and Accenture also started following the herd). Then, the focus of business has to be shifted. Now its just outsourcing work. 'Someone else creates the idea. You implement it.' It has to be changed and we should become innovative. R & D has to be pushed up the ladder and more resources should be allocated. Release their own products and do outsourcing and BPO at the same time. That's what IBM is doing now. So, what are our companies waiting for. Buckle up and change the tide.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

The Assam Shame and Indian Media

Recently,most of our channels have been playing the sensational news of torture of an adivasi women in Assam. It was a terrible news. And it is a big shame for India. But haven't some of you got the feeling that the news channels are craving for such sensational news and are really happy when such news comes so that they can mint it and make a hell lot of money.

On monday night, all of the Indian english news channels have started playing the "sensational news". And it was well supplemented with pictures. (At least they kept her face blurred). The "slideshow" was well made with a good background music. Anyway, they made a good news out of it.

But the statement made by the anchor still echoes in my mind. After giving the details of all that happened over there in Assam, she said, "Before going to next news,(let me remind you that) all the day,we will be following this story". Which literally means they will be repeating the slideshow the entire day. And if possible,with some new photos.

If I was among the adivasis and had seen the news reports, I would have certainly joined some demonstration the next day itself. The repeated broadcast of these reports will surely instigate retailatory actions. I doesn't seem like the editors are thinking about the aftermaths when they give such a publicity and all day coverages.

(I even thought that some localised channels like the one who trapped the Delhi school teacher in a fake sting operation will go out of limits and play un-censored photos or videos just to increase TRP)

News channels and newspapers should keep their own restrictions and policies about reporting sensitive news. Its not that they should not report such news. India is a democracy and all have the right to know what is going down. Report it, but underplay the news. That strategy was taken up the next day's The Hindu. They reported the news, but underplayed it. Some tabloids would have devoted the entire front page to this news to capture readers. That is unethical.

All the channels and newspapers should come together voluntarily and form a council that will frame some guidelines to follow to make the reporting of Indian media, a bit more ethical.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Bhool Bhulaiyaa - Forget everything, including the money paid for the ticket!!

It's very late for a review, but I can't help myself from writing one. The other day I made the biggest mistake that I made recently in my life..I saw Bhool Bhulaiyaa!!!

Being an ardent fan of the 1993 malayalam classic Manichitrathazhu, I was very much inquisitive to know how Priyadarshan changes the tone of the story to suit an all India audience. And I was totally fooled by the director.

Bhool Bhulaiyaa is the worst remake that anyone can make for any film. It sucks in every aspect. Almost all scenes(expect two extra scenes that were added) are a direct translation from the malayalam one. And an unwatchable performance by the actors.

Shiney Ahuja used to be a good actor. I liked his movie Hazharon Khwahishen Aisi. It seemed like he had good potential to make a mark in the big screen. But, here he fails miserably. He has made a mockery of the young husband, played by our dear Suresh Gopi. And the truth that no one can match Shobana's portrayal remains intact. Vidya Balan has shown that she is a very poor copy cat.

Akshay Kumar, the highest tax payer from Indian film industry will give you vibes at some point of time. But if you compare with our Mohanlal, nothing. But as a whole, its is only Akshay Kumar's performance that stands out.
(I am not talking about Amisha Patel as she has failed in every aspect. And she looks very old!!)

Music, by Pritam is rocking. But the sad part is the Hare Rama Hare Krishna songs was cut. But, with the choreography of the other songs, Priyadarshan has done only an average job.

Camera is really bad. In some scenes, where you have to really see the facial expression of the actors(especially that of Paresh Rawal), we are presented with a very long shot. This makes it really unworthy and I had a feeling that maybe the actors were not able to express themselves properly.

As a fellow blogger wrote, Manichitrathazhu has been raped apart in Bhool Bhulaiyaa. In short, I lost 150 bucks for nothing. Never in your life watch a Priyan's movie if it is a remake of one of our old classics.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Gosh!! Is this the way Google looked in 1998

Recently I blundered into a website. And it was the best one I found out recently. The site is called "Internet Archive" (http://www.archive.org/index.php).

The name itself speaks for it. It's a place where you can archive files and save it for future use or future generations. Don't mistake it for a normal file uploading site. Internet Archive is intented to store articles, videos, audio..evrything for reference purpose.

I clicked on an interesting link in the site. It is called "waybackmachine" (find it directly @ http://www.archive.org/web/web.php). And then started the stuff that amazed me!!

Waybackmachine stores(or rather archives) websites. Not all, but popular. As usual, I tried with google.com. And I got a page that showed it had 3305 results from 1998 onwards. That was cool!! I clicked on Nov 11, 1998 and got this page.



Isn't it cool!! Its true that Google is still following the same style now also. There were lot of other archives done on different dates. A glance through them gave an idea of how the search engine mammoth grew.



Now, I thought of checking Google's competitor, Yahoo's transition. It gave pages starting from 1996 onwards. (Waybackmachine was started in 1996). In October 1996, this was how Yahoo looked like.





Well, it's cluttered with all links then also.

Its a great timepass and also gives you insight of the changing pattern of web designing. Anyway, when I saw all these, I came up with a business plan.

If you can have a site that stores how the internet looked like years back, why can't we have another site that shows how it will look like in the future. Do you hear a bell ringing? Call me if you have plans to start one. :)






Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Moneybhai - The Ultimate Game

These days, I am very much addicted to stock trading. I don't care for losses and gains. I started off with Rs.25 lakhs in hand and now I have around Rs.24 lakhs in my portfolio. Even after the small lose I suffered, I haven't given up stock trading. I am selling and buying a lot. And I don't care, because its a GAME.

I have found the ultimate game of stock trading. Welcome to MoneyBhai. Its cool. Its fun. Its informative. And, sometimes, you can win prizes also.

Does I sound like being paid to blog? If so, I guarantee that its not so and I just want to increase competition in Moneybhai.

I made an account in this site around 1 year back. But, due to lack of time and other things, I didn't play often. But, now when I started playing, I found it addictive as well as informative.

Moneybhai is a venture of Network 18(it owns CNN IBN). Just log on and give an email and password to start an account. Confirm your email and start playing. You start with Rs.25 lakhs in hand. You can sell and buy only on weekdays between 10 am and 3pm. It adds to the feel of doing an actual stock trading. You can also do short sell and short cover. You have a messageboard and lot of other things. And finally, if you feel that you have done a really bad job and on the verge of bankrupt, with a single click, you can reset your portfolio to Rs.25 lakhs cash.

I found really entertaining and informative. The first thing that I do everyday morning is to read economic times epaper. (Its free and cool!!).

Check out moneybhai today itself. And enjoy playing.

PS: One good thing is that while almost all game sites are blocked in office, Moneybhai is not and will not be(unless they find some enormous flow of data to a particular IP. Don't worry, your boss will be playing it in his office).

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

India's Suitings - The New Face

The last day, when I was watching TV, i got interested in some ads. Especially of some suitings.

Recently, India's leading suiting brands have come out with a very aggresive marketing strategy. Each has it own brand ambassador, each defining its own fashion statement.

First came the effervescent SRK with Belmonte. I think many of us haven't even heard of this brand before this ad came. The ad in short - A girl says on TV that SRK is cool and sexy. SRK watches this on TV and notices the dull face of her BF. The next day, the BF becomes SRK look-alike and the girl is happy;i mean..both are happy..That's the change Belmonte can bring..

Not such a bright idea..but still..because of SRK it will have takers (Even last week, when I went for some shopping, I asked for Belmonte. But whether I bought or not is another question..)

Mayur is back with a bang with "Mayur Salman Khan". Maybe an understatement (or is it an overstatement. If you think in two ways, its both!!). The ad is not good..or shall I say "It sucks!!". Salman stands in front of mirror and changes his dress..thats the entire ad!! Why can't they show something like Salman shooting a blackbuck wearing a black shirt and ramming a car on someone in another shirt.

The highest tax payer of India(check this out) comes out with Grasim. This year has been very good for him with a lot of hits. Its rumored that his salary has tripled to around 12-14 crores. Akhay Kumar looks cool in the new outfits in this otherwise no-sense ad. The screen presence of Akshay steals the show. Its a good example that even a poorly made ad can be made good by gaving proper guys on screen.

The always tearful guy; the lover boy in Dil Chahta Hai, Akshay Khanna (hoped I spelled it right) has been roped in by Dinesh Mills to promote their suiting. It might get drowned by the others..but still, they also have a brand to promote.
Vimal, with "Only Vimal" came with three guys to showcase the changing face of India(especially corporate India). Its a good ad and without the star presence, it can make an effect.

Anyway, its ripe time for the suiting companies with all the market boom and the rise of youngentrepreneurs. Finally, its Make hay while the sun shines."

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

The World's Richest Man

'Being the world'd richest man, what kind of a feeling it is? Is it like being on top of the world? Or does it feel like you have conquered the world and now aim for the stars?' I wanted to ask Mukesh Ambani.

Yesterday night, after I got home from a tiresome job, I was taken completely by surprise when I saw this news. Initially I thought that the TV Wallahs have taken advantage of the spectacular rise of stock market to cross the 20 K mark. But, when I started seeing the same news in other channels, I understood that it has happened.

I remembered the media hype about the doom of Reliance empire when Dhirubhai died and the spat between the brothers' started. Someone even predicted the bankrupty of the company. But, both the brothers, especially Mukesh, took the company a lot forward and Reliance grew out of limits of Dhirubhai's vision.

It should be considered that the economic reforms and the market is favoring any kind of investment. This was not the case when Dhirubhai started the company.

Mukesh is an engineer with a "half MBA". He tolds a Bachelor of Chemical Engineering from University of Mumbai and a one year MBA experience from Stanford. (He dropped out from Stanford Business School after one year of course to help his father to build a petrochemical plant). Anyway, even without that MBA, he can do many more wonders. So, yesterday .i.e 29th October 2007, Mukesh Ambani's net asset were estimated to be $63.2 billion. He has overtaken Microsoft's Bill Gates(net asset $62.29 billion) and Mexican tycoon Carlos Slim(net asset about $62.2. Almost close to that of Gates). To my surprise, Warren Buffet has fallen down to fourth place with about $56 billion as his net asset.

There have been some controversy regarding this news (In India, what is not without controversy!). Some people say that the holdings of Mukesh's in Reliance Petroluem should not be considered as he doesn't hold anything directly.(Mukesh has holdings in Reliance Industries, Reliance Petroleum and Reliance Industrial Infrastructure Ltd. The great telecom arm of the company that he built now belongs to Anil Ambani and falls under ADAG). With the stock market going to a feverish high, it will not take so long for Mukesh to become the world's richest with thw holdings of Reliance Industries and Reliance Industrial Infrastructure Ltd.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Outposts of Tyranny


What an imaginative term to describe the "worst" countries? 'Outposts of Tyranny' was used by none other than United States Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

And any guesses which all countries that comprises of?

1. Iran - Yeah, it should be there. After all the chaos created in Iraq (just because they thought that there were Weapons of Mass Destruction), Iran is the normal choice for the world police to practice its militray skill on. The only problem is that there is a guy out there called Mahmoud Ahmadinejad who will take any chances to get things done. And it was last day that he hinted they are making nuclear weapons, but it will take some three to seven years.

Any guesses on what the word "Iran" means?

It means 'The land of Aryans'.

2. Cuba - As any schoolboy can say, Cuba has been in the list for a long time. From the time of Castro US is getting nothing other than headache whenever they think about this communist island. Its true that there are many problems of human rights violation and censorship, Cuba does the same thing that People's Republic of China does. So why don't they include China also into the list. And don't forget that Cuba is also a member of Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) which was founded by our own Jawaharlal Nehru.

3. North Korea - Its a default entry into the list. The problem between US and NK doesn't seem to end. The nuclear program and the US threats have subsided with Iran coming to centerstage, but NK never loses importance when it comes to America's foreign policy. And I agree that a part of the allegations are true as NK has a very poor image in running its own system and in its foriegn policies. And the political system of the country is described as an 'organized dictatorship'

These were the three guesses that I could make when I heard the term, 'Outposts of Tyranny'. A google search gave me the rest.

4. Myanmar - Hmm....I remember the photo in which thousands of Buddhist monks in saffron robes taking over the streets of Naypyidaw...(Naypyidaw? What is it? Hmm..its the new capital..Rangoon(renamed Yangon) is no longer the capital). Well..there is utter chaos in the country now. The military junta has made life miserable for the middle class and the poor in an otherwise resource rich country..And the house arrest of Aung San Suu Kyi from 1990 that continues to till date...seems like it comes under tyranny..and it is estimated that last year, 40% of the budget was for buying arms...

5. Zimbabwe - Robert Mugabe is there..thats all i knew..so I needed another search to find why it falls into the 'special' catergory of US...Officialy, its a democratic rule in Zimbabwe, but Mugabe party 'Zimbabwe African National Union' was the centre of attention in the elections..there are lot of allegations of vote rigging, election fraud and antimidation. Also, there has been lots of reports about wide spread human rights violation especially against opponents of the government. And media is also restricted. Even BBC and CNN has been banned.
Under the leadership of current president Robert Mugabe the economy of Zimbabwe declined from one of the strongest in Africa to one of the weakest and political tension has never been higher.80% of Zimbabweans are unemployed and inflation has soared to well over 15,000%.

These are the facts but it has happened in many African countries before. And I don't think US maintained such a list at that time.

6. Belarus - This came is as a complete surprise. Belarus is a landlocked country in eastern Europe. Its a republic. The Belarusian President since 1994 has been Alexander Lukashenko. Lukashenko was quoted as saying that he has an "authoritarian ruling style" that he uses to run the country. The Council of Europe has barred Belarus from membership since 1997 for undemocratic voting and election irregularities in the November 1996 constitutional referendum and parliament by-elections. The Belarusian government is also criticized for human rights violations and its actions against non-governmental organizations, independent journalists,national minorities, and opposition politicians. Belarus and Russia has close economic and strategic ties. Freedom of press is a problem there also but it is also present in China.

Thats all I think are the problems in Belarus as far as other countries are concerned. I didn't read anywhere that they are making WMD or nuclear weapons. The think that came up in my mind is the fact that Belarus is near Russia and a deployment of forces in near future gives them a very good strategic position.

To read more about Belarus, check this out:

I came across this term the other day when I was reading some article that talked about foreign relationship management. Eventhough they are the world power, this comment by Rice shows the degradation of their foreign policies.
Throw in your comments.....

Friday, October 19, 2007

18+

That was not the front page of Debonair, but of Economic TImes. It was a great day for newspapers and TV channels(especially the PROFIT channels) to create an unnecessary hype and make some money for themselves. I remember one day when my grandma asked me whether the thing called Stock Market, BSE and Sensex didnt exists some years back. And thought of putting a post as the answer and analysis.

The year 1991 was a great for India or lets say India Inc. Our nation opened its doors to embrace (or to fall into the abyss of) globalization. Since that year, India has been developing economically and gaining strength. Its good to see our country growing and making to the forefronts of world associations.

But why is the unnecessay importance on Sensex and the figures its displays?

Stock Market is the basis of analysis of any economy. The figure it shows relates to the strength and weakness of the economy. Nowadays, newspapers and the channels are making stock market a kind of celebrity. If it increases, they cheer. Else they make it a Black Day.

I believe that the increasing Sensex points is not at all reliable to show the strength or weakness. It justs projects the momemtary nature of the market. It has nothing to do in the long time.
The volatality of the sensex is more important that the value. Volatality means the points that it lost or gained in a trading session. This is very high for BSE. And to make it worse, the volatality of Sensex has swinged in both directions for about half a dozen times in the last year.

Whatever be the reason, whether the P-Note or FII overflow, hope our dear and brilliant finance minister has some sort of plan to save the market from these landslides and fast gains. And pray that these channels don't make a story out of every value change in Sensex.

Friday, October 5, 2007

Hey Ram!!!!!

I think its time to speak out..all our leaders,whatever party, whatever state they might be in, have one character in common - they all make statements when some controversy occurs..so i had a little thought about the recent controversy that rocked india and almost sighted the end of the rule of 'k' in tamil nadu...


It all started with that stupid affidavit filed by the otherwise committed department- ASI. Rama might not have existed, but the centuries old tradition and belief of millions of Indians are rooted deeply inside Ramayana. What will some of the staunch congressmen will feel if they are told that a man called Nehru did not exists and the first prime minister of India was Subhash Chandra Bose.


Well, I dont mean to have a comparitive study between these two. But the idea of a perfect man, Rama has been and will be the model that for millions of India's men will follow. Its not a religious sentiment.(some parties may try to take advantage of that aspect also). Its the value that the life and story of all those which is told in Ramayana that is important.


A lighter aspect : Our malayalam film industry foresaw all this long back and made a series of films with the lead character symbolising this. Take a guess..its easy...ram+sethu gives what???


Sethu Rama Iyer CBI!!!


Another October 2nd passed..according to Circuit..another dry day...its the 138th birthday of the great man....i will write a post soon about my thoughts for the day..well..on 30th January, 1948, the great man was assasinated...and what were his last words..(i think after the dialogue 'You too, Brutus' by Shakespeare's Julius Ceaser, this is the mostly remembered and quoted one..."HEY RAM!!!!")


Some extra musings - There are many controversies that surrounds this also..people say he was meaning to call Godse(his full name is Nathu Ram Godse)..whatever people say...i dont care..Gandhi was a man who stood by values...he is a lot ideal that any of us...and to congress..when u construct a new bridge somewhere in Gujarat, dont plan to call it Gandhi Sethu..ASI may come with an affidavit that Gandhi did not exists!!!

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Heap41a - The irritating trojan - steps to remove

Many of you will be suffering from this trojan..

Symptoms : 1. Mozilla Firefox cannot be opened. If you try to open, a dialog box appears with the following message: "I dont hate mozilla..but use IE you dope"

2. Orkut, Youtube cannot be opened. If you try, it will show a dialog with the following message : "Orkut/Youtube has been blocked. Guess who did it"

Along with these dialog boxes, a lauging sound will also be played in the background.

These are the common traits of the trojan. Some variations are:

1. The option to hide files and folders will be disabled. 2. Opening Firefox may lead to system restart.

These are all caused by the files in the folder C:/heap41a
It runs a process scvhost.exe

Mode of transfer : This trojan was massively transferred through USB devices.

Steps to remove:

To delete the files, start your system in safe mode(press F8 while your system is booting up). After logging in, take start->run->c:/heap41a

Replace 'C' with the name of the drive where Windows is installed.

It will open a window. Delete all the files. Go to recycle bin and empty all.

For changing the hidden option, you can do it in regedit.
Start->Run->regedit->HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE->SOFTWARE->Microsoft->Windows->CurrentVersion->Explorer->Advanced->Folder->Hidden->SHOWALL

On the right side, you can see many files. Double click the checkedvalue and change its value to

1. Double click the DefaultValue and change it to 2.
Exit from Registry Editor.

Usually, these steps will remove the trojan from your system. Remember that the heap41a folder will be still there. But it wont cause any problem. If you come across any problems while removing the trojan or if you come across an different variant, please let me know.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

what a rain !! was that chennai or chirapunji!!!

it was a proper downpour....heard like raining like cats and dogs..this time i really experienced it...even all the years in kerala,i have never seen a rain like that...

it all started at 8:30. I was going back from office..i have to catch two buses or two share autos to go home..(till i get a bike)..well..yesterday..i didnt get an auto...so took a bus and when i reached half way through,the hell broke loose...the wrath of the Gods started to fall on my heads...and as usual,i forgot my umbrella at home...

thankfully,the chennai corporation(or is it a panchayat?guessin by the place where i stay) had contructed one shed...about 5 square feet and around 50 people were huddling under it...like a cow that finds its place in OMR in chennai, i found a place to stand under the shed...and then i watched....

'how beautiful the rain is! its like the pearls of love that come from heaven!'..this might be the thought of a poet or a ganja..but i had only one thought and onle one..how to reach home?and seemed like an everest task to me...

if its a tamil or telugu flick(recently malayalam films are also becoming like that),a girl will come with an umbrella and offer me a lift..or better..she will come in a car and offer me a lift...well...maybe someday,it will happen...

ok..i heard some sound above..it was the roof of the shed...suddenly i remembered the roof that fell down once in palakkad in front of my eyes...i ll talk about it later in some other post...well..this shed was really older than me..maybe built during mgr's time..so what began as a quest to get home soon also became a quest to save my life..

finally,i made my decision..whatever is gonna fall on my head,i dont care..i just went out in the rain...maybe someone will think i am crazy but that is better when compared to being send home in a freezer...a bus came(should complement the driver for finding his way through the river and thanks to the conductor for letting me in..):).

anyway..the trip was really fast...maybe the water helped to reduce the friction by forming a layer between the tyres and the road...but what was the scene when i reached my stop..it was like the astamudi kayal laid in front of my eyes..what a scene...'water water everywhere and not a single space to place my foot'...

i started walking towards my house...it was then that my friend suggested a great nighmarish idea..(i still dont know how he got the idea...he must go for some creativity contest)..he told "this area was a forest till some time back..so there might be snakes and we wouldnt know if they are in water"....

Gulp! that was the only sound that came from me..maybe he thought it as an yes(people have many ways of saying yes..some nod their head..some shook their head..and still many others ways that i dont know of)..anyway..he started running...and i had no other option...running in the rain was an entirely new experience for me..chennai is teaching me a lot of things...

when i reached the flat..the entire people were watching the rain and the two crazy guys who came running as if they were chased by a dog...

anyway,it had a major influence in my life...my perception about chennai was changed a lot..before coming here i had thought it to be really hot dry place with very little rain and some flood during november-december...but now i will say that the biggest and the worst rain i had seen was in chennai...and if someone keeps a rain marathon,i will surely go (and mostly win because i am really experienced...please let me know if u come across such a race..)

Introduction

Well...finally i am also officially entering into to blogosphere...all these days..i was getting inspired from the postings of my fellow bloggers...i believe i have some stuff to write about..everyday..something unexpected or something that is shrouded in mystery...and its going to be unveiled...

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