Match Fixing

He practices for ages…
That stuns even the sages.

He is the gifted one…
Also the chosen one.

Placing is hard, so he thought…
Leaving is harder, which he felt.

His performance was a stunner…
But he deserved an Oscar.

Oh God,

We miss catches and fix matches
And still call it ‘sport’

You mix actors and fix the script
And still call it ‘Life’

What is the difference between Thou and I?

Destination Infinity

Karate and Social Sciences

 

When you are young, it’s the thrill of doing something that gets you doing many things. Dheeraj was about twelve, when he enrolled in the Karate Classes. Three days a week, two hours per day and a lot of kicking – he thought. Only after joining did he come to know that there would be absolutely no sparing (Karate equivalent to fighting), while he was in the white belt stage, which was the entry level for new joinees. It would be vigorous exercising for 45 minutes and Khatta practice for the remaining time. (A Khatta is like a dance. The steps, moves, punches and kicks are all done in a sequence – Orderly way). After about six months, Dheeraj at last entered the Orange III level.  (White, Orange III, II, I, Brown III, II, I, Black I, II, III…. Is the sequence in which you progress. The colour of the belt is different for different schools of Karate). When you reach the Orange belt level, you are expected to spare (fight). Dheeraj was well built, quite tall and have an above average structure. So, he was eager to do this. There were four points one needs to score to win over his opponent. The point awarded, depended on the quality of the hit.

 

The first day of fighting was a disaster for Dheeraj. He had to fight a senior. Before he could move, there was a high reverse kick, which landed straight on his face. Blood. He had seen blood before, while playing many of the outdoor games. But this was different. The next class got only worse. This time he had to fight the Sempai (Master). But there was no blood this time, Only a few kicks and falling down. Of course, Dheeraj was on the receiving end always.

 

He felt this was unfair. He had just started to learn how to fight and straight away he was pitted against his senior and master. There was this uneasy feeling inside him as this continued for some more time. He could no longer be patient. He asked the Sempai – “Don’t you think this is unfair? Why don’t you let me fight the guys from my batch? I might be able to hit them better and score more points”

 

 

Rohini was very good in Mathematics. Her love for numbers and problem solving always reflected in her results. She always topped the class in mathematics. The interest and enthusiasm she showed in mathematics impressed everyone. It came naturally to her. She was always proud of her marks in mathematics. Her Social Sciences teacher, who was also her class teacher, was not all that happy as she was not doing well in other subjects. She called Rohini to the Staff room and wanted to know what was the problem in other subjects. Especially Social Sciences.

 

“Its so hard for me to memorize. I mean, look at maths. If I practice solving a particular type of problem, the formulae and the methods get registered automatically in my mind. But in Social Science, I have to force myself to memorize. I find it really hard to remember the events and especially the dates. I am not interested in them.”

 

The teacher was shocked. She was from a different country and a different way of teaching altogether. She was new to the ways of urban India.

 

“Is this the way all the students learn?”

 

“Most of them, yes”

 

“Why do you have to memorize the whole syllabus?”

 

“Because we want to get more marks. That’s how you win in life – getting more marks. And you get more marks by reproducing the text book word by word”

 

“What you learn out of those lessons are not important to you?”

 

“Not If we get good marks. As long as we keep getting good marks, how we get it and what we learn out of it, doesn’t really matter”

 

 

The Sempai (Karate Master) asked Dheeraj – “Why did you join Karate?”

 

“Because a lot of my friends did. Many of my neighbors are already in brown belt.”

 

“What do you want to learn in Karate?”

 

“I want to reach the highest belt possible, in the shortest possible time. I heard that Black X is the highest. Or is it the red belt?”

 

“So, if I offer you the black belt immediately, would you happily take it?”

 

“Why not? But you haven’t answered my question. Why do we have to fight with you and seniors, and not our own batch mates?”

 

“Since you are curious, Ill tell you. In Karate, we train you to hit in self defense. But more importantly, we train you to cope up with the pain inflicted by an opponent who may be much stronger and larger than you. Being able to get back to your feet, even if the opponent has landed a powerful punch on your face, and getting in position to fight back is more important than the most powerful punch you can deliver. Irrespective of your strength and skill, you can always expect your opponents to be better in Karate. You cant always keep winning in Karate”

 

Perhaps so in life, too.

 

 

Destination Infinity

 

“You can buy education. But not wisdom”

Pushing the limits of Unconventionality

 

Much like the Grandes Ecoles in France, the Indian Institute of Technology is as hard to get in considering the sheer numbers that write the examination and the percentage of them that do get the admission. Alok, like any other upper middle class family in India, always wanted to get into one of them. They don’t teach education in India – they preach. Grades are not a reflection of the amount of work put in by him, but rather a reflection of the extra effort put in by the cousin or neighbor who managed to score 0.5% marks more than him.  Of course, there are hundreds of other engineering colleges to get into for the lesser intellectual. But Alok was determined not to be one of them. He still remembers all the work that was put in for the preparations, and more importantly, all the time he lost which would otherwise have been spent happily playing cricket or some other games with his friends. His tenure at IIT was better. He was able to indulge in occasional movies and some indoor games. But peer pressure kept him busy with course material for most of the time. At the end of the course, though he was having a couple of offers, he decided to start his own company. He wanted to become an entrepreneur.

 

“Wasn’t that a big risk?”

 

“Well no. If you look at it from my perspective, it was not at all a big risk. I have already lost a quarter of my life, to achieve what ever I have achieved till now. I have been fulfilling the dreams of my parents, teachers and relatives. Its time I take control of my life and fulfill my dreams”

 

 

 

The Black Mamba is the deadliest snake in Africa. They can grow upto four meters and once bitten, even a small giraffe could die in minutes. They are extremely venomous. They could move at speeds of 25 Km/h which makes them the fastest moving snake in Africa. Jack was always fascinated by these snakes. All he needed to catch one of them was a long rod with a small holder which could squeeze the neck of the snake, thereby making it impossible to lounge forward and make that deadly strike. There was two occasions when he came very close to death. Once when a four meter fully grown Black Mamba was able to escape the catching rod and came right in front of his face directly staring at his eyes. Jack didn’t flinch a bit. Even if he had made a small quick movement, he would have died for sure. After a few agonizing seconds, the snake went off on its way. The second occasion, a snake did bite him when he accidentally let off his hold on its neck. He was totally paralyzed for a week and put on partial life support systems. He was able to listen to others and also see but could not move a bit. Finally his own anti venom (which he helped prepare by extracting the venom from these snakes) saved him after a long battle because about 10% of people are allergic to the anti venom, and he was one of them. But nevertheless, he has caught a lot of these snakes, took a lot of pictures of them, made documentaries, extracted their venom to make anti venom and saved a lot of lives and made a rather successful career out of it. A successful career, I said.

 

“Wasn’t that a big risk?”

 

“Well no. Not if you can understand the nature of these snakes. They would strike only in defense and only when they are cornered or feel threatened. But otherwise they exhibit a remarkable level of tolerance towards humans, sometimes even in captivity. They don’t strike unless you agitate them. Otherwise how could I stay with a couple of Black Mambas in a closed room for hours together, when we were raising funds for a wild life project? If they were so deadly, they would have certainly killed me”

 

 

Destination Infinity.

 

PS: The second story about the Black Mamba is a real life story.

IPL

IPL

1958:

Just because a person is born into a particular caste….”

2058:

“Just because a person is born into a particular nation….”

2008:

“The Indian Premier League is an interesting concept where people from different nations unite and play together under their respective city banner, truly symbolizing the confluence of various cultures and creating an electric atmosphere where their skills are tested at a different level of competition. The game of cricket is the ultimate winner especially as it is fast paced, unpredictable and more importantly you get to see the great players of various nations play as a single team, which in itself is a treat to watch. The shorter version of the game is an instant hit with the audience and deservedly so….”

1958:

“Just because a person is born into a particular caste, we cannot discriminate him based on that. We need to emancipate the lower caste people and reservations need to be applied in the higher education as well as government jobs. This would at least bring back more and more people from the backward castes into the mainstream. Just because a person is born in a certain caste, he should not be restricted to a particular profession and that is the aim of this Indian Post-independence Liberation commission.

2058:

“Just because a person is born into a particular nation, we cannot discriminate him based on that. We need to emancipate the people especially in the under developed nation states and investments needs to be pumped in these nation states in the form of loans and grants. This would atleast ensure free money flow and give a fair chance for these nation states to build their infrastructure and start doing business with us in more equal terms. Just because a person is born into a particular nation, his business should not be restricted to a particular region, with almost all nation states warmly accepting the open market policies. This is the aim of this International Parliamentary League”

Destination Infinity.

The Longest Jump

The Longest Jump

Long Jump Event, Bejing Olympics, China

Among the various athletes participating, the Chinese athlete Wong Chung and the Tibetian athlete Malang were the favorites to win the gold medal.

The qualification rounds were underway and the players needed to jump at-least 7.15 m to qualify. Wong Chung had already made it in the first jump. For some reason, the Tibetian athlete Malang was not able to concentrate. He took the first jump, and over stepped the jumping board. It was a Foul. The second jump also resulted in over stepping and he fouled again. There are only three chances within which the athlete has to cross 7.15 meters at-least once to qualify for the next round. If the last jump was not made properly, he could well be out of the event.

At this point, seeing his nervousness, he was approached by the Chinese athlete, Wong Chung, who spoke to him for a little while, to calm him down. Though he was his rival, Wong Chung suggested that Malang could draw a line and jump from one feet before the jumping board. This way he could be sure of not making a foul and also be able to qualify as he was jumping well over 8 meters every time.

The Tibetian athlete Malang took his advice and not only qualified for the next round but also went on to win the gold medal by jumping a distance of 26 feet and half inches.

All this happened right in front of the Chinese premier, who was glaring at them. But it was a proud moment for Tibet, with the crowd cheering for the Tibetian with a lot of enthusiasm.

The above narrated incident is indeed fiction. It would be great if something like that happens in this Olympics so that the spirit of sportsmanship wins over everything else.

Too good to become True? This piece of Fiction can indeed become a fact, if we make the following replacements.

  • Beijing Olympics, China replaced by Munich Olympics, Germany, 1936
  • Chinese athlete Wong Chung replaced by German athlete Luz Long.
  • Tibetian athlete Malang replaced by United States athlete Jessie Owens, who was black.
  • Last but not least, Chinese premier replaced by Adolf Hitler, who was an ardent racist and considered Blacks to be inferior.

Longest jump indeed, right into the hearts.

Destination Infinity

PS: There are three more points which I would like to share:

1. “I wasn’t invited to shake hands with Hitler, but I wasn’t invited to White House to shake hands with the President either” – Jessie Owens
2. “It took a lot of courage for him to befriend me in front of Hitler. You can melt down all the medals and cups I have and they wouldn’t be a plating on the 24-Karat friendship I felt for Luz Long at that moment. Hitler must have gone crazy watching us embrace” – Jessie Owens
3. India, participated in the Munich Olympics and won Gold against Germany in the finals of (What else?) Hockey. Hitler left the match during the half time. Double embarrassment?

SLS – Same Language Subtitling

SLS – Same Language Subtitling:

 

“Self respect is a question of recognizing that anything worth having has a price”

 

Even Literacy. I am not talking about education, which comes at a huge price tag these days. But plain literacy – the ability to read and write, at least in one language.

 

If at all technologies like internet have to reach the masses, literacy for the masses is extremely critical.

 

Books have their advantages. One interesting argument I have read about books is that it encourages creativity by letting your imagination run and explore freely while the TV dumps the producers imagination onto you. “Books are the masters who instruct us without rods or ferrules, without words or anger, without bread or money. If you approach them, they are not asleep. If you seek them, they do not hide. If you blunder, they do not scold. If you are ignorant, they do not laugh at you” – Richard De Bury. But therein lies the flaw – You have to approach them, you have to seek them.

 

News papers and magazines are informative medium for people who are already literate. There are so many people who have discontinued their school at a very early stage of their lives. And more still, who haven’t gone to school at all. Local language news papers do help, but the fact is, it is still out of the reach of masses as they simply cannot read.

 

The only other popular mass medium is TV. Though there are quite a few education based channels like Gyan Darshan etc, I really wonder who sees them. Most popular programs in the TV are entertainment based. The songs, movies, serials, etc. get good viewership. Can this medium help increase literacy levels? Specifically, can the entertainment based programs on TV help people read better?

 

TV may not be the best medium for promoting literacy and entertainment based programs may not be the best choice for increasing literacy levels, but they have one advantage over all other media – Reach. They reach almost every nook and corner of the country. They reach the masses, who watch them out of their own interest.

 

SLS – Same Language Subtitling is an interesting concept wherein subtitles appear in the same language for popular entertainment based programs – Like songs, movies etc. If a person is watching a Hindi song, the subtitles appear in Hindi along with the pace of the lines being sung.  So, as they listen and read the script (in subtitles) at the same time, they can be sure (some times even if only by guessing) that a certain word correlates with a certain script. This is especially useful with people who know only the basic words, but have lost touch since a long time and hence their ability to read has also decreased. After exposure to the subtitles in TV, which they automatically start reading, the script sub-consciously gets registered in their minds as they always flash along with the voice. After a period of time, the reading ability increases and they can even start reading the headlines in the newspaper.

 

How’s that for a change? Literacy to the masses while having fun. And that too, by the same box which was considered to be idiotic. No force, no lectures. So simple.

 

Maybe we could utilize this concept in the cinemas too. In the towns, the English channels could have English subtitles for people to improve their English vocabulary. Especially in cartoon and kids channels, which is watched endlessly by the kids. The possibilities are unlimited, if the private channels start adapting SLS.

 

At the beginning, I had said that there is a price for everything. Even literacy. The price for SLS is approximately one paisa per person per year – according to Dr.Brij Kothari, president, Planet Read. The whole concept, and the credit for implementing it in certain DD channels, goes to him. Please do visit the link given below to know more about the initiative.

 

Destination Infinity.

 

 

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Literacy for a billion with Bollywood songs 

PlanetRead uses the power and reach of entertainment to fill the need for education. In India, Bollywood songs appear on national television – Doordarshan with PlanetRead’s Same Language Subtitling (SLS). This provides automatic reading practice to 300 million early literates. With SLS the viewers subconsciously associate the songs with the text, so the familiar lyrics on screen reinforce their literacy skills.

 

Know more…

Support

Heights of Job Security

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Heights of Job Security   

“What kind of article is this” asked the Editor-In Charge.

The journalist, Mr. Kumar was stumped.

“We need to report this sir, this has already made big news”

“Exactly. Take any morning newspaper and you’ll find the same news. I want you to report it. But differently”

 

Ok, if that’s what he wants, “Ill have it ready by this evening sir” replied Mr. Kumar

 

First he called the DRM, Southern Railways Kanyakumari junction where a major accident had taken place.

 

“What steps have you taken to ensure that these kind of accidents do not happen again?. Would you take responsibility for the incident and resign your job?”

 

“I will respond to these things at a later stage. We do not have an instant coffee machine that you can get results immediately. It takes time to regain your position. We have put down the process in place and the results will take some time” was the reply.

 

Then he called the Chief Manager, HRD, Kottayam Lignite Corporation.

 

“Sir, the media has reported that it was due to your casual approach and lack of proactive policies for your employers that there was a whole month of strike and hence disruption of power supply for many industries in your area. They are demanding your immediate resignation”

 

“I don’t respond to media reports” was the only answer.

 

Then he called the Chief of Athletic Federation Of India, New Delhi.

 

“Sir, in spite of the poor show by the Indian athletes for so many years, this year, we have touched new lows. Many former Olympians are of the opinion that you have to resign. What is your response?”

 

 “There is a coterie of five or six former Olympians who are just professional mourners. They just know how to do breast beating, howling and crying whenever they get the chance. That is their choice, I cannot do anything” he replied.

 

Then he called the collector, Varkala District.

 

“Sir, it is complained that the flood hit costal areas in your district has not got any proper rehabilitation in spite of the allocation of considerable amount of money from the centre and flood relief funds, before one year. The people want you to take responsibility and resign. What is your reaction?”

“The project was started a year ago and the progress is being reviewed. We have had many discussions over it in the last several months” came the reply.

 

Then he called the former army chief of neighboring country.

 

“Sir, in the wake of recent election defeat, would you step down from power?”

 

“I will go on till 2010. After that we will see” he said.

 

Then he called the head of Tiger Conservation Park in Uttar Pradesh.

 

“Sir, the number of Tigers in the last twenty years has decreased drastically, especially after the formation of your department. The media and the people want you to resign as a lot of public money is wasted”

 

“I will not give in for the propaganda that is being created” came the reply.

 

Finally, he called the Chief Vigilance Commissioner.

 

“Sir, what is the purpose of your department when corruption in the nation is so wide spread and is actually increasing every day? The people want you to resign immediately as your organization is not serving any purpose”

 

“It is very easy to resign and sit at home, but even that will not serve any purpose” came a honest reply.

  

Satisfied, he started re-writing his article – “Why the *&#$ should Mr.K P S Gill resign for the failure of Indian men’s hockey team to even qualify for the Olympics, when none of the Government Servants from various departments across the nation (and some neighboring ones) are unwilling to admit responsibility for bigger debacles and resign their respective secure, pension and other benefits giving Government jobs? According to the response received from ………….”

  Destination Infinity 

PS: The responses which are highlighted by bold and italics in this article are the actual responses given by K P S Gill (in different contexts than the above) when asked if he would resign, by the media.

 

Two more gems:

 

  • Mr. Gill seemed hardly perturbed by FIH’s threat to consider moving the 2010 world cup (hockey) out of India if his federation did not get its act to-geather. “We are prepared if the world cup is not held in India. We have not had the world cup here for ages”, he said.
  • Ashok Kumar, former hockey player, said Gill had no right to ridicule the players who play for the country by dint of their merit. “We are selected and not elected. A player is selected based on merit only while any stupid person can win elections” !

Data Transfer

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Data Transfer

CP1: “How Do you do?”

CP2: “How Do you do?”

CP1: “Great. So, we speak the same language. Are you online?”

CP2: “Yes”

CP1: “Been searching for quite a while, before I was able to locate you”

CP2: “I See”

CP1: “SO, what’s your name”

CP2: “Virus”

CP1: “Thats your name?”

CP2: “Yeah, that’s my name in my current project. This name was selected by my boss”

CP1: “Your boss has a good sense of humour. Just like my boss.”

CP2: “So your name is Anti-Viurs?”

CP1: “No. My name is Hacker. I hope he meant an ethical hacker”

CP2: “Nice one. So, hows project going on?”

CP1: “Fine. Actually been doing a lot of copy/paste work, you know”

CP2: “It’s been the same here too. Man, this is not what we were developed for. I mean, they instill a lot of skills and capablities in us but when it comes to work – none of them is practically utilized”

CP1: “That’s right. If we are not to use all those skills, why give us so much of intensive education and training? They could rather have made us dumb. That way, we would be more efficient in this work and so much of time, effort and money would not have been wasted”

CP2: “And to add to all these woes, add the attitude of our boss. He has no idea of what we are capable of. Never wants to learn or do anything new or creative. Does the same thing, again and again, including the errors made earlier and spends so much time in trouble shooting – which could have been avoided if the process of doing things were slightly altered.”

CP1: “Indeed. They actually seem to lead more mechanical lives than us. I don’t know how they are able to afford such high quality talent”

CP2: “Must be a case of got-so-much-money-and-don’t-know-how-to-spend”

CP1: “As long as tehy are able to pay such high compensation, I don’t mind being under utilized. Atleast, our compensation is good and we could maintain a good standard of living. We can afford to live comfortably”

CP2: “Is comfort your only and ultimate goal? Dont you want to have a challenging life. Don’t you want your skills to be tested to the core? Afterall, challenges bring the best out of us”

CP1: “I do. But just imagine, if our bosses had not picked us up, we would have been sleeping in our homes. This, is anytime, better than that. Atleast some activity is going on”

CP2: “Its like saying that standing in the forest on a cold winter night is better than standing in a frozen lake. You got to take some initiative, collect some wood and make some fire, man”

CP1: “Nyways, my boss wants me to send some data to your boss. Can you send it him?”

CP2: “Sure. But I need to check with my boss first….. He says OK. You could just transfer the data now.

CP1: “Transferring .. 1%.. 2%.. 10%.. ”

CP2: “What data is it?”

CP1: “No Idea. But huge chunks of data, I must say. Tehre is some repetitive pattern in this. 15%..16%..25%.. ”

CP2: “What do they dowith all this data?”

CP1: “It’s an executable file, looks like. They ask me to execute it again and again. 35%..45%..50%.. ”

CP2: “The same file?”

CP1: “Yeah. But they have a lot of files like this, which are executed repetitively ..65%..75%.. ”

CP2: “Must be some confidential and important information then”

CP1: “May be. My boss executes these files during most of the time he is working. And also after he reaches home..80%..85%.. ”

CP2: “Must be some hi-tech stuff then. Have you noticed the extension of these files?”

CP1: “Yes. Some MP3 Format.. 95%.. 100%. Done. Have you received the file?”

CP2: “Yes. Got to go offline now. See you later”

CP1: “Me too. Bye”
CP1 and CP2 are Cell Phone 1 and Cell Phone 2. The conversation is an imaginative one based on how two cell phones might react, if they could analyse,think and ofcourse talk, when an MP3 song is transferred via bluetooth.

If there is any resemblence to real life, it is highly co-incidental.

Destination Infinity.

Flowers of Lalbagh

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A Rose, is not the only species of Flower…

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To make money, is not the only reason to Live…

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To fight, is not the only way to survive…

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To convince, is not the only purpose of an argument…

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School, is not the only place to learn…

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Wealth, is not the only indication of prosperity…

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To laugh, is not the only way to show your happiness…

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To help, is not the only way to show your concern…

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To divide, is not the only way to rule…

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Technology, is not the only indicator of advancement…

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To see, is not the only purpose of vision…

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Purpose, is not the only excuse to assume…

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Apperance, is not the only reflection of beauty…

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English, is not the only language on earth…

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To be stubborn, is not the only way to dominate…

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To speak, is not the only way to communicate…

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Rock, is not the only flavour of music…

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A Rose is not the only species of flower…

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Destination Infinity.

PS: Fortunately, when I went to the Lalbagh, there was a Flower show going on… Needless to say, you are free to download any number of pictures you like from here.

Go Slow!

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We all have seen captions like “Go Slow” or “Speed thrills but kills”. A hotel owner thinks they are not enough! Take a look at the fourth caption in the above photograph.

Destination Infinity