Saturday, June 26, 2010

Waka Waka - FIFA World Cup 2010...lets drool......2

The first round of the Waka Waka Football World Cup 2010 is over & we are already witnessing the fall of giants......some real big names already out!!!!

While Messi has been mesmerising for Argentina & Fabiano is finding his fabulous touch for Brazil, Podolski is firing missiles for Germany & Ronanldo cantering for Portugal. Not far behind, Iniesta is quietly shaping the Spanish armada while Forlan is raising Uruguay's hope, & on the other side, Gyan is building Ghana's aspirations & Robben is scripting the Orange flavour of Dutch football.....its all so very fullfilling.

The first round has already witnessed exits of European giants, France & Italy, the last World Cup finalists. Honestly, both of them were listless & did not deserve to proceed. The players looked out of sorts & were clearly playing from memory. The other notable exits were the host South Africa, though they won their last game against France.

In pre quaterfinals now, there are a few potential big names, who will be booted out. Some very explosive games are on cards, with Germany facing England & Spain taking on Portugal. On paper & current form, Argentina, Brazil, Holland & Uruguay should make it to the quaterfinals easily. Matches between USA & Ghana, Paraguay & Japan would be interesting to see in terms of new teams coming up.
I would like to believe that Germany would defeat England easily on current form & confidence, while Spain vs Portugal could be a close match, with the team holding its nerves better would go through.

This world cup seems to be dominated by the Latin American countries, with Brazil & Argentina leading the way, & I wont be surprised, if three out of the four semifinalists are from that region. I think, its good for the game, as these teams display skills & ballplay thats a treat to watch, as opposed to the European style which is more power centric.

Looking forward to keeping wide awake over the next fortnight, & ogling at the best of the football...

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Bhopal Gas Tragedy verdict....a national shame !!!!

7th June 2010, Chief Justice Mohan P Tiwari pronounces judgement on the worst ever industrial genocide - The Bhopal Gas tragedy, which occured on the ill fated night of 3rd Dec 1984.
The sentence : Two years in prison for eight convicted, including Keshub Mahindra, former Union Carbide India Chairman....all of them granted bail immediately after the sentence. No word on Warren Anderson, the then Chairman of Union Carbide Corporation, USA, who had fled the country within days of the tragedy, with the help of the conniving political cohorts.

The public outcry immediately after the verdict was only expected. Over these years, families of the victims, were hoping for some justice to come their way, & now they have serious reasons to feel completely let down.

The political circles & the so called human rights activists, as expected have been taking up this issue to only score brownie points against each other. Media meanwhile continues having a field day......bringing up debates after debates, with people participating from the page 3 circle, who blessed with gift of the gab, are happy rasing storm over a tea the confines of a airconditioned studio. The affected families, meanwhile continue to if it was their birthright !!!

The Congress & the BJP spokespersons as usual continue to trade high decibel tirades & politically correct statements against each other on various channels. Each looking at digging out old skeletons, none interested in attempting to even remotely address the plight of the victims.......I find them all, as criminally inclined as the Union Carbide scavengers, never missing at any selfish gains.

Consider this :
India's population would be roughly 1.15 billion today. Let us assume that 70% of the population can afford to donate Rs 5/- per month to this cause.
This means, we have 350 million INR per month or 42 billion INR available as ready revenues.
I believe, there were more than 25000 deaths in this industrial tragedy. For ease of calculations, let us assume, there are 25000 families in Bhopal, who have been directly or indirectly affected by this tragedy.
An equal distribution of this fund means each family gets Rs 14000/-. Let us give a monthly stipend of Rs 10000 /- INR to these 25000 affected families in Bhopal towards their monthly family expenses. Of the balance money, Rs 2000/- can be spend on doing a life insurance coverage for each individual & the balance money could be utilised in rehabilitaion of the land.
I am not very good with mathematics, but, a simple calculation tells me that we can actually put forward a genuine rehabilitaion program in action.

Would anyone of our popular & noteworthy finance wizards, PM Manmohan Singh, Montek Singh Ahluwalia, P Chidambaram, Pronob Mukherjee or even Yashwant Sinha, look at taking up a concrete & constructive project like this please ????????? am sure they can construct a much better plan than me!!!!!

Why do we have to wait for the corrupt politicians to take centre stage? Why do we need to beg from anyone, when, we can take care of our own????
While the Congress, the opposition, the page 3 gentry are busy scoring thier brownie points, all others are talking of extraditing Anderson!!!
Even if our Govt is able to pull the diplomatic strings with US to bring him, what will happen??? A case registered & then a trial would start....knowing the judiciary, the tenure of that would run into a few years. Anderson who is already 90 years of age now, would probably die by then....or in no shape to take any punishment......all this at some crazy sum of money which is going to drain from our tax paid it all of any worth?????

All we need to do is unite, believe in our capabilities & not let others decide on our fate & future.
If we unite at our end, we can force even the mighty Americans to extradite Anderson for justice. The culprits of this mass genocide cannot & should not escape justice. But before that, let us work constructively towards  the rehabilitation of the thousands, who are waiting.......& waiting eagerly for that one ray of hope... let us give them a reason to rejoice, to look at life with renewed vigour, with zest & happiness.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Rim Zhim Rim Zhim.....Paus ala re

Finally the monsoons have arrived in Mumbai & the city is heaving a sigh of relief from the sweltering heat & grime. Hopefully, the water table in the cachement areas should now show some improvement. Hopefully, areas parched for water can now look forward to some regular water supply.
The landscape has started to bear the lush green look & thats a feast for the eyes. The dry brown look that seemed to threatening a few days ago along with the rising barometer, is now thankfully a thing of the past.....for now !!!

One can now, look forward to lazy evenings by the sea side, sipping hot tea along with wada pao or samosa, after a cool drench in the pelting drizzle. This indeed is very tempting & sure, like many Mumbaikars, I will do that a few times over the next couple of months....just allow the downpour to wash away the tensions, the fatigue, the grind......& then break into a zig over a puddle like a child, gaze into the grey horizon flashing an occasional crack of lightning, opening up to croon my favourite numbers, oblivious of stares from the passerbys.....hehehehehe, guess, these small sparkles of happiness keeps us going....

However, we Mumbaikars, would obviously also have to bear the brunt of the other side. Rains means, long traffic snarls, choked pipelines & gutters making the city dirtier.....its all a big challenge, especially the daily commuters to work.

At my residence, I have a new problem to address. last year, the bedroom wall would become damp in the rains & that had damaged some of my furniture. It has been raining quite heavily since yesterday evening & today, morning, I saw water seeping in !!!.... there seems to be a leak in the wall & heavy rains means water seepage...shucks one has to speak with the building society people for permission to get the repair work done... to find a good mason / plumber(they are in super demand now) supervise, so that the problem is sorted out once for all.....I think I have my hands full over the next few days...& to make matters more interesting, I am quite under the weather.....down with a bad throat & running temperature....all of this when I have pile of deadlines at work to combat..... life indeed is so very interesting.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Waka Waka - FIFA World Cup 2010...lets drool

11th June 2010 & Billions across the world watched in joyful aniticipation, as the 19th edition of the World Cup football got on its way at the Soccer Stadium, Johannesburg, South Africa, amidst the near deafening buzz sound of Vuvuzel, the favourite stadium horn of the Proteas.
The opening ceremony had an emotional begining as the President Jacob Zuma spoke, "The time for Africa has come. It has arrived", which sent the packed capacity to a dancing frenzy & vuvuzela decibels kept going up. Later, the gorgeous Shakira, set everyone in the stadium on a hip swaying tizzy to "Waka Waka", the official song of the FIFA World Cup.
Zakumi, the official mascot, is a anthropomorphised leapord, with green hair & a yellow body, representing the host nation's playing colours - yellow & green. Zakumi's official motto is : "Zakumi's game is Fair Play".

 The frenzy, the fever at the stadium was palpable, as the hosts took on Mexico in the tournament opener. And as destiny would have designed, the opening goal of the tournament came in the 55th minute of the match, for the rejoicing host nation, as midfielder Tshabalala slotted in a rasping left footed drive past the Mexican goalie. The hooting into vuvuzel was deafening, as the South African players broke into a loveable twist dance on the sidelines, as if they had aleady lifted te Cup. Some semblence was restored later as the gritty Mexicans managed to equalise towards the later part of the match.

The tournament has 32 nations vying for the most sought after Cup in the sporting arena. The pre tournament favourites are Brazil & Spain, with England, Argentina, Germany & Italy dribbling close.
Brazil, under the coaching of Dunga, are not their flamboyant self this time, missing the mercurial Ronaldinho, but look very solid in defence & discipline. With Kaka, Robinho & Fabiano upfront & a very formidable defence, they still look like Champions.
Spain, the underperformers over the years, look very very strong this time around, with Villa, Iniesta, Xavi, Pique, Pedro, Casillas in dream form, its now or never for them.
England, despite losing Beckham to injury, look very strong. With Rooney, Gerard, Lampard, Cole, Terry & others, under the coaching of Capello, they are a capable unit. But, if their opening encounter with US, which ended in a 1-1 draw is any indication, I dont see the team going through to lift the Cup.
Argentina, this time has laboured to qualify for the tournament, & under the coaching of Maradona, have struggled. Their opening game against Nigeria, which they won 1-0, has not inspired confidence. Messi, the best player in the world today, was noticable only in patches & was a far cry from his demolishing mesmerising form in Barcalona, just a while ago. Maradona, in the sidelines was his usual vocal & passionate self, as if dearly wanting to enter the green turf donning the light blue & white stripes to captivate the world with his ball play, that had got his country their second World Cup in 1986. Lets hope for the sake of the game that Messi is able to soak some of Maradona magic & cast his own beautiful football for his country.
Germany has lost its star player, Ballack to injury a few days ago, but is a strong contender with Lahm, Schweinsteiger, Podolski, Klose, Mertesacker etc, playing for pride as they always do.
Italy, the reigning champions, look a jaded & an ageing lot. They dont seem to have the firepower to go the distance, though they have always been a strong contender always.

The match ball of the tounament is being manufactured by Adidas, & is named, Jabulani, meaning " bringing joy to everyone" in isiZulu. The number eleven plays a prominent role in the new technologically advanced ball : it is the eleventh World Cup match ball made by the German sports equipment maker; it features eleven colours, one for each player on the pitch; and there are eleven official languages in South Africa. A special match ball with gold panels will be used at the finals to be held at the Soccer Stadium in Johannesburg. Interestingly, the balls are made in China, using latex bladder made in India, thermoplastic polyurethane-elastomer from Taiwan, ethylene vinyl acetate, isotropic polyester/cotton fabric, glue and ink from China.
The ball, has however not been well accepted, especially the goalkeepers, saying that it has a tendency to swerve too much in the air, making the gripping very difficult.

I also bumped into another very interesting information, which I believe is an excellent move towards global eco friendly environment. This will be the first time that all of Nike’s national teams, including Brazil, Portugal, and the Netherlands, will be wearing jerseys made from recycled polyester, which the sports-apparel giant is hailing as the most environmentally friendly and technologically advanced kits in football history. These jerseys are made from discarded plastic bottles, harvested from landfills in Japan & Taiwan, that were melted down into yarn & then spun into fabric.
With the recycled jerseys, Nike has diverted nearly 13 million plastic bottles from the landfill. Each shirt comprises up to eight recycled plastic bottles, a move that reduces energy consumption by up to 30 percent compared with manufacturing virgin polyester. Besides saving raw materials, Nike also diverted nearly 13 million plastic bottles (or nearly 560,000 pounds of polyester waste) from the landfill—enough to cover more than 29 football pitches.
If the recycled bottles used to produce the jerseys were laid end to end, according to Nike, they would span more than 3,000 kilometers (roughly 1,860 miles), a distance that exceeds the entire South African coastline. Wow...isnt this simply amazing ?? How do you say “amazing” in all the players’ languages???.....
Another example of what human brain can achieve if focussed towards creativity rather than mindless destruction. Hats off !!

There are ten beautiful stadiums that have been set up by the host nation for this tournament. Soccer City at Johannesburg(capacity 94,700), Moses Mabhida Stadium at Durban(capacity 70,000), Cape Town Stadium at Cape Town(capacity 69,070), Ellis Park Stadium at Johannesburg(capacity 62,567), Loftus Versfeld Stadium at Pretoria(capacity 51,760), Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium at Port Elizabeth(capacity 48.459), Free State Stadium at Bloemfontein(capacity 48,000), Peter Makaba Stadium at Polokwane(capacity 46,000), Royal Bakofeng Stadium at Rustenburg(capacity 44,530) & Mbombela Stadium at Nelspruit(capacity 43,589).

With whatever little I understand of this game, I see Brazil taking on England & Spain taking on Argentina in the last four stage, unless there are some serious upsets midway. I dont see past champion teams like France, Uruguay, posing any serious threats, but there are teams like Holland, Denmark, Portugal, Serbia, who could spring a surprise & spoil the party of the top contenders.
Most of good matches are at a time, when its midnight in India & therefore, like me, there would be tens of thousands who would keep awake over the next one month to be glued to the screens of our TV sets & feel drowsy next day. But, I guess, its worth the effort to watch this beautiful game, which takes place once in four years.
Another interesting news is that Indian music composer duo, Salim & Suleiman Merchant(Chak De fame), have collaborated with South African singers Loyiso Bala & Eric Wainaina to record the anthem for the FIFA Cup 2010. This is indeed a proud achievement for all Indians, on making a meaningful confribution to this World sporting extravaganza.

The tournament had worrying shadows of terror attacks, but lets pray, nothing untoward happens. Let the most popular game in the world do justice to its top billing & enthall the world with some super ball play & fair play. While, my heart would always be with Brazil to dance to the Samba beat & lift the cup on 11th July, may the best team win, while we lose some sleep & soak in the buzzing decibels of Vuvuzel.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Bully the bullet...Spread a Smile !!!

Consider this :
"Bangalore-based spiritual leader Sri Sri Ravi Shankar had a miraculous escape when an assassination attempt on him by an unidentified gunman ended in a devotee sustaining a bullet wound on Sunday evening at the Art of Living (AOL) ashram in Kanakapura".......breaking news across all TV channels on 30th May 2010 late evening had millions across the globe worried & wondering.
The media had a sensational news to lap up, the political circles.....both Central Govt & opposition had immediate blame games to play, the police had to find someone to nail this with.....a sudden frenzy of activities......all of it just to cover their backside !!!!
With a couple of days, even the Home Minister, P Chidambaram, came up with a statement as bizarre as it can be, "The incident of firing could have been a result of a dispute or a brawl between two disciples."
Three more day & Karnataka DGP, Ajai Kr Singh also added to this by stating that the firing was done by one Mr Mahadev Prasad in his farmhouse across the road in an attempt to scare off stray dogs & the bullet accidentally travelled the distance to hit the thigh of the disciple Vinay Kumar !!!!!

Done & dusted !!!! Enough to wrap up the bizarre incident with equally bizarre explanations. The media, as usual has now moved on to some more sensational & juicy topic.

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, since 1982, has been tirelessly going round the globe in a ceaseless mission to bring smile to every human being. He has this one point bring peace & happiness & uplift Human Values across people from all walks of life.
Be it a catastrophe or a celebration; be it a global issue or local, be it mingling amongst countless devotees or rubbing shoulders with the power centres of the world, Sri Sri has embraced it all with a zeal that legends could be written of.
For Sri Sri RaviShankar, life has been  a regular combination of Sadhana - Seva - Satsang, & that is what He has inspired millions to do. Sadhana would entail taking personal care, which is how a typical day would start, Seva would entail selfless service to others, which is how a typical day would go by & Satsang would entail sitting in the company of Satva(the Good) & exchanging knowledge towards continuous improvement & binding it all in rejoiceful celebrations, which is how a typical day would end !!!!
So easy & yet so simple & yet so breathtakingly all encompassing & yet so weightless.......
There are countless magical moments, graceful moments, divine moments, enlightening moments, rejoicing moments, intriguing moments & yet over the years, media has not found anything sensational in all of that.

One bullet fired( we dont even have the true story in place) & the whole media fraternity is inspired into a sensational cover story.
But countless bullets blocked, hundreds of extremists converted to peace by the sheer love of Sri Sri, numerous Seva projects across the world, towards uplifting the poor & the down trodden involving millions of volunteers.......all not sensational enough to attract the lenses or the coverage of the media.