Wednesday, September 26, 2007

The Step Children

I am not a hockey fan, don't remember the last time I watched a game. I've followed a great many cricket games, but, I am not sure if I qualify as a fan. Definitely not in comparison to some individuals I know.

The context is, India won the T20 championship, rather unexpectedly and the country has been ecstatic. Among all the press coverage about the celebrations, was an article about how the hockey team was left in the dumps.
While India celebrates the return of the winning Twenty20 cricket team, the country's hockey community feels that it has been passed over.

It recently triumphed in the Asia Cup, but its success did not trigger anything like the wild celebrations lavished on the returning cricketers.
Reading the article reminded me of an incident when the hockey team, after winning the Asian games in 1998,was treated down right shoddy by the authorities.
``I will never let my son play hockey at least for India,'' said Dhanraj Pillay, skipper of the Indian team which won the hockey gold medal at the Bangkok Asian Games, on landing in Mumbai last night.
Why would he? I hear he has mellowed down since and was also honored with the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna award. But the the question still remains, why should he? Why do we watch so much cricket? Why does cricket get all the money and spotlight? Why are we a one sport nation?

I can think of a few reason why we all like cricket:
  • Most of us played cricket as kids, watching cricket let us holds on to that.
  • It is a very accessible game. As a kid, I've played with cricket bats made from the spine of a coconut frond and rubber ball, with lines drawn on a brick wall for stumps. We could play it almost anywhere, no tables, nets, courts etc.
  • All our friends could play - be it 3 or 25 people.
  • India plays lots of games and we win enough games to sustain the hope of the fans.
  • Some of our players are very good and we follow their fortunes and enjoy their skill with the blade/ball.
  • We had to, to fit in.
There are probably tons of other reasons why people like cricket. The question then turns to why don't we like other games enough?
  • We do not have the infrastructure to support other games (tennis, ping pong), and only a few,2-4, can play it at a time. But this is not true for football (yeah, the real one) or kabaddi, for that matter.
  • There isn't much exposure for the other games (TV, press, blogs).
  • There isn't much money from the sponsors. The ROI is higher with a cricketer, with fewer risks. Outside of Bollywood and rare exceptions like Sania Mirza, few individuals are able to convert success into marketable fame.
  • There aren't enough marketed successes.
  • It is a chicken and egg problem.
I do not have my ear to the ground about the latest developments in India relating to support for other games and superstars they've produced. I suppose I am part of the problem!

But, if the national hockey team feels let down after a big victory, well the other sports are the step children, compared to cricket, the pampered brat!

Monday, September 24, 2007

Bird's Eye View

It was not too long ago when we as map users had to contend with poor quality maps that took for ever to load. Not anymore.

There are many cool options. Starting with the vastly improved UI, we now have the option of satellite view, traffic info etc. Then Google sent hoards of vehicles around the country to acquire photographs for the street view feature.



That kicked up some privacy concerns as some people found themselves on such maps.

I recently came across this video about Microsoft flying planes around the Europe capturing aerial photos, for better resolution and details than satellite images, particularly the 3D views. Looks cool!



With all this high tech images, it was refreshing to find a tangential piece in BBC about a new book with pictures taken from a kite in India. You can find more pictures from the book (India: A Kite's Eye View by Nicolas Chorier) in his website (under the Edition tab).

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Ali G, the innovator

During the hike the conversation turned to new product development (I don't remember why). I was reminded of Ali G's product innovation and his attempts to sell the idea to VCs. It is a bullet proof plan, with zen diagram, market size, revenue forecast and all that good stuff!

Would you buy an ice cream glove? How about a hovercraft?

Purisima Creek Redwood Trail

Early Saturday morning we took a hike in the beautiful Purisima Creek near Half Moon Bay. It was a rainy day and getting there through the narrow windy roads served as an apt appetizer for the actual hike. Ishani and I hiked with Kanan, Pradyumna, Kanan's cousin Abhijit, Aaron and Jayita.

The rain provided some hardship for the photographers, but it also accentuated the colors. Many of the pics I took were blurry owing to low light and my shaky hands. You can check out some pictures in the album below:
Purisima Trail

It was a lovely, though wet, 7 mile hike through the woods. We accidentally added some more distance to the trail by going the wrong way for a while before Jayita realized we were supposed to be going downhill instead.

By the time we were done with the hike, we were very hungry for some starch. We found some good quality starch at Pasta Moon Ristorante at Half Moon Bay.

Of the two bay area hikes (the other being Castle Rock), this was the best hike so far.

Sumanth's Birthday

Last weekend we celebrated Sumanth's birthday. Supriya secured some tickets for a fashion show at the Santana Row. After witnessing models strutting their stuff on the walkway, we headed over to Maggiano's for a late lunch.

Sumanth's Birthday Album:
Sumanth's Birthday

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Yuvirage

I have not really followed much of the action from the T20 tournament, but Yuvraj's explosive innings changed all that. Did Freddie Flintoff ever regret his jibes more than he (hopefully) did today?


Espressoed

I can't sleep.

After days of curiously observing colleagues at Google going through the steps of grinding, brewing, frothing, mixing and hmm..ing their way to an espresso/cappuccino, I made me-self a cuppa today. The drink was good, the timing wasn't. I dropped by late in the evening to check on something and undertook this indulgence.

Oh well, at least the coffee was good. So is the Tivo-ed Daily Show, with Jon Stewart trippin on OJ and Hillary!!

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Jimmy drops by

This is the last in the series of posts based on images long forgotten in Ishani's camera.

Jimmy came visiting the day before my parents left for India. The happy camper found some good food and a nice new shirt.

He looks happy!

He is wandering about in Europe at this present time, before joining the high octane consulting world in October.

Lady Shri Ram Sports Hall of Fame

The only way I am ever going to get listed along with Arjuna awardees is if I create my own list.

Ishani, on the other hand made it just on her ability to handle the paddle.

On the subject of paddles, I have gotten a lot of grief for expressing an interest in watching Balls of Fury movie. I realize it is a B movie at best, but heck, why not? A ping pong ball on fire seems fun!

And then they left

After about 40 days in the USA, amma and achan returned to India on July 16th.

A packed trip. A full agenda including:
1. Attended graduation in Chicago.
2. Visited NY and DC
3. Taught Minnesotans (a few of them) to make Dosai
4. Travelled 3500 miles across the country by road, visiting tons of national parks
5. Disassembled and packed; Painted, unpacked, assembled

All this on their first trip outside the country!





After spending such a wonderful time together, parting was very difficult.

I suppose it always is.

Another Birthday..

.. a couple months back. We celebrated Achan's birthday.


We also had lot of excellent food that Amma conjured up.

Sumanth and Supriya joined the proceedings.




Ishani baked a wonderful cake, that lent itself well to a lot of feeding. :-)










Move Casualties

It has been a while since we moved, but I just downloaded some pics from Ishani's camera, including some evidence of the move damage. The movers dropped the bed frame and the dishes right in front of our eyes. Of course we could have filed an insurance claim.






Insurance
: Human psychology dictates us over valuing the risk of big losses, ergo, movers insurance.

Inertia
: But then, my laziness dictates the inertia against filing a claim.

I suppose if the damage was significant, it would have been different. Sorry, Flora and Francis, your gift trays were a casualty of the cross country move.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Labor Day at Archana and Nishanth's

Irvine was hot!!!

Except for getting stuck in 5 mph traffic for 45 mins on hwy 152, the drive to Irvine was smooth.

With the weather proving too hot for comfort, we stayed indoors for most of the day, except for going out for some food (Yogurt Land, Thanh Vietnamese Restaurant, BJ's) and a walk by the Laguna beach at night.

We did not really have to venture out as Archana made yummy food - chat, pani-puri, pav-bhaji, dum aloo, dal makhni etc., and Nishanth had his barbecue hat on.

Other than that, we sat around and caught up on life, watched India beat England in Cricket and admired Discovery channel on our hosts' 46 inch HDTV.

It was, a vacation.

We left early on Monday to take the scenic route home. Unfortunately, we took the boring parts of the route and missed out on the more scenic routes because of traffic concerns driving out of Monterey bay on the labor day weekend.

We will save that for another time!


Visiting Archana and Nishanth in Irvine, CA

Monday, September 3, 2007

Birthday!

Ishani's birthday was on a Tuesday this year. That evening, Ishani was attending a class and I hung out a bit at Google Dance.

Therefore, later at night we had a mini celebration, just Ishani and I. Slice of cake, single candle and flowers. Happy Birthday!!