Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Google's 2010 April Fools' Day Hoaxes

On 1st April 2000 millions of internet users around the world were stumped to see this new look Google homepage (screenshot below) with a supposedly new technology called 'MentalPlex' and had the following instructions for performing searches

  • Remove hat and glasses.
  • Peer into MentalPlex circle. DO NOT MOVE YOUR HEAD.
  • Project mental image of what you want to find.
  • Click or visualize clicking within the MentalPlex circle.

What's more there was also a detailed and serious looking MentalPlex FAQs page and illustrations.

Within  a few hours the word had spread that this was an elaborate April Fools' Joke by the then 1.5 years old Search Engine!

Since then this tradition of a Google Aprils' Fool Day joke has been continued.

Here are the hoaxes from this year.

1. Google Docs Blog

Following up from an announcement in January which mentioned that you could now add any files to your Google Documents up to a file size of 1 GB, today's blog post announced the following:

"As with documents, spreadsheets, and files, you also share objects you've uploaded to Google Docs with anyone in the world. For example, do you ever wish you could CTRL+F your house keys or your TV remote? Store your keys, remotes, rail passes, and other objects you commonly lose with Google Docs, and you'll never have to worry about finding them again. Having trouble moving your piano from New York to California? Upload it from your home in New York, then download it once you're in California. Change your mind and want to share it with your friend in England instead? No problem. With one click you can have your piano delivered to anyone you choose, anywhere in the world.

With simple pricing at $0.10 per kg, along with free pickup and delivery from any location on the planet, it’s hard to pass up."

If you still fall for the trap then you can go ahead and test it and you will go through the following pages.

Sign Up To Test Store Anything Page

Fill Out A Form

And then learn that you have been fooled!

2. Street View

When using Google Street View you can change the view to display (faux?) anachrome 3D images. It can be enabled by clicking on the orange Street View icon, now depicting a man that is wearing Red/Cyan glasses. The man seems happy when wearing the glasses, unhappy when he just has them on his head. [Source: Wikipedia]

Screenshot before wearing glasses

Screenshot after wearing glasses

3. Google Maps Directions For Australia

If you go to Google Maps, Australia and search for directions between two places, e.g. Google's sydney office and the Sydney Opera House you will find the directions (in the left hand column) in typical Australian slang terms. E.g - Keep goin' onto Murray St, Chuck a left when you get to Pyrmont St, Down the end, hang a right onta Ernest St Screenshot below

4. Google Search Results Generated in Different Times

When you perform a Google search and the results show up, you will find that at the top right hand corner of the search results page the time taken to show the results is displayed. This is usually always in seconds. However today the time unit being shown are different and random units are being used such as skidoo, parsec, shakes of a lamb's tail etc. Screeshots below

Search on 'IPL scores' shows time in skidoo

Search on 'My Name Is Khan' shows time in Shake's of a Lamb's Tail

Search on 'Sania Mirza Wedding' shows time in parsecs

5. YouTube Logo Made Out Of ASCII Chart

The logo of YouTube was changed to an ASCII-style one made out of 1s. The Youtube logo is a reference to all the videos having a new quality setting, namely "TEXTp". According to a notice underneath the videos, viewing the video with this quality setting enabled allows YouTube to save one US dollar ($1) per second on bandwidth costs. The notice also remarks on the source of this new "feature", wishing the reader a happy April Fool's Day.

6. Google Translate For Animals

Google also launched it's Animal Translate tool which apparently helps you translate animal languages into human ones. To give it a serious feel the page displayes the following notice

Translate for Animals is an application for Android phones that recognises and transcribes words and phrases that are common to a species, like cats for example. To develop Translate for Animals, we worked closely with many of the world's top language synthesis teams, and with leaders in the field of animal cognitive linguistics, including senior fellows at the Bodleian Library in Oxford.

Here's what the Animal Translate page looks like, complete with a link to the Android Market. And a tour of Translate for Animals.

7. Google Topeka

The Google logo on the homepage changed itself to Topeka, a town in Kansas. Here's why and here's how it looks.

8. Google Voice

In Google Standard Voicemail mode you can get a feel of the old Voicemail, with messages deleted after 14 days, only access voicemail form your cellphone (no web inbox) and you get the old Voicemail feel again. Here's a screenshot.

9. Evil Bit

Google in it's AJAX API blog mentioned the following

 Beginning today, please include the &evil=true parameter in your API requests if you're one of the bad guys. 

Also, here's an example query which let's Google know if you're using the API for nefarious purposes.

10. Google Wave Notifications

According to this article the new Google Wave wave notifications you can find out if you have a new wave in your inbox, no matter where you are! See the video for more

11. Google Annotations Gallery

The Google Annotations Gallery is an exciting new Java open source library that provides a rich set of annotations for developers to express themselves. Do you find the standard Java annotations dry and lackluster? Have you ever resorted to leaving messages to fellow developers with the @Deprecated annotation? Wouldn't you rather leave a @LOL or @Facepalm instead? If so, then this is the gallery for you.

12. Google Japanese Keyboard

In it's Japan blog Google announced that they are coming up with a Japanese keyboard with Japanese characters.

13. Gmail

The Gmail team decided to remove all the vowels from the Gmail home page, thereby disemvoweling Gmail. Here's the official blog post and screenshot.

14. Chrome

The Chrome team also launched a new Chrome Extension - Chrome Sounds. This apparently does the following:

"Taking an earful of inspiration from the HTML5 audio tag, we’ve spent the past few months deep in psychoacoustic models, the Whittaker-Nyquist-Kotelnikov-Shannon sampling theorem, Franssen effects, Shepard-Risset Tones, and 11.1 surround sound research to build a cutting-edge audio-driven user interface for our users, available through a new Chrome extension. With this extension, Chrome will provide audio feedback as you browse to web pages and interact with the browser."

More details on the official Chrome Blog.

15. Picasa Life Size

Apparently Life Size Picasa can enlarge all of your photos to real life size photos! All details available here.

And after you install the same you can figure out that you have been fooled!

15. Google Books 3D

Following in the footsteps of Google Street View Google Books has also come up with their 3D Books. Here's what the new age books will look like.

You can check this Wikipedia article for a complete list of Google April Fools' hoaxes since 2000. Also, this blog post will be updated as and when we hear about new pranks.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

An Evening To Remember, An Evening To Forget

The last time I had gone for an IPL match was in May 2008. It was a crucial Delhi Daredevils V Kolkata Knight Riders encounter which could've decided which of these two would make it to the semi-finals. It turned out to be the only match in the entire tournament to be called off, without a single ball being bowled, due to unseasonal rains. The crowd erupted with joy when Glenn McGrath sauntered in to inspect the damp pitch. Also when it was declared a wash out, after 3 hours from scheduled start of play. Naturally, yesterday when I went to see the same teams face off each other again there was a sense of deja vu. 

We left our office in Gurgaon for the Ferozeshah Kotla in North East Delhi about 3 hours before the start of the match. Yes, we could as well have left at that time to catch a match at the Eden Gardens. By the way, we couldn't make it in time for the toss. A favourite trivia tit-bit in the automobile circuits of India has been that the numbers of cars in Delhi NCR is more than the number of cars in Mumbai, Chennai & Kolkata put together. The drive from G to FK y'day laid to rest any doubts anyone may have harboured about this trinket of information. There were helpful 'Unlabelled Car Parking Ahead' posters all around the stadium. Within 30 minutes of following them we realised that we had encircled the stadium twice and the adjoining hospital and medical college once. Feeling dejected at being taken for a ride, as literally as it could get, we parked our car in front of the gate of the  mortuary of the medical college. The spot was eerily empty.

A 20 minutes walk from there led us to our stadium gate. Since the metal detectors had decided to stop beeping because the officials were not paying any attention to their incessant cries anyway, the security guards asked us to empty our pockets. Yes, again, literally. The not-very-common 10 rupee coin and the golden five rupee coin that I had preserved for many months were quickly taken from me and put into a donation box. Reason given was that there are men (who I presume look not dissimilar to me) collect these coins and keep them for months only to give in to bouts of lust and throw them at the cheerleaders. I was a little worried to realise that I never felt such obvious manly urges, but I didn't let that show on my face.

After climbing six flights of stairs we took our seats in the stadium closest to heaven, farthest from the ground. The Devils had won the toss and decided to bat first. For some reason our part of the stadium had an almost even supporter base of the Devils & the Riders. I didn't feel very out of place in my purple & gold KKR jersey. In fact if you counted only those wearing jerseys, of any teams, as fans and disregarded others in non-jersey-wear I think KKR beat DDs by a fair margin at least in our part of the stands. Mr. Brand Manager of Reebok if you're reading this please feel free to share the link with your boss. Also with SRK. Please?

Anyway the DD innings started with a flurry of shots and a quick wicket of Viru, the local hero. The chants of 'KOLKATAAA-KOLKATAAA' was deafening, at least in the 7 rows around us. A few glares from my wife,  a passive (by Punjabi standards) Delhi supporter  couldn't deflate my enthusiasm. A few more, and I settled down to watch the match with renewed concentration. 

The run rate was phenomenal, but thankfully the wickets were also tumbling at a steady rate. Wife happy, me happy. But then the innings started to resemble a usual marriage joke. Wife went from happy, happier to happiest. My spirits were, to put it mildly, not exactly as high as our seats in the stadium.

While Chris Gayle bowled to the Warner-Collingwood combination and was slaughtered, I raised some deep questions like why should any of us, Indians, bother about a West Indian bowling to an Australian and an Englishman. The timing of the Mexican Wave spoilt the moment and the grave question was lost to the crowds forever. I realised how Harry was feeling in that scene from the movie where he met Sally.

After 20 overs, which seemed more like 50, generously sprinkled with 4s and 6s it was time for Dada's men to take the Devil's bowling attack to the cleaners. Oh, this post can't be complete without a mention of that 4 feet, 70 kilo kid in purple & gold. Not only did he shout his lungs out with chants of 'KOLKATAAA KOLKATAAA' and 'Korbo Lorbo Jitbo Re' from ball number 1 to 120, he was nothing but a modern day David taking on a battalion of Goliaths when he matched the shouts of 'Delhi Rocks' by a houseful stadium with 'Delhi Sucks' 'Delhi Sucks'. Keep an eye out for this kid, he must be a real life reincarnation of some mythical hero.

The KKR innings had everything going for it. In this day and age of 'slam bang thank you ma'am' cricket that has sold it's soul to commericialisation and instant gratification, the KKR batsmen held up the true spirit of the gentleman's game. Not for once did they bring any form of aggression to the 'bhodrolok'er game. And if that was not enough, they imbued the spirit of bonhomie and camaraderie, things with which the game has always been associated, and were more than glad to let the home crowd have a nice time as one after the other they sacrificed their wickets, all for the greater good. But knowing these brash Delhi guys they may not return the favour when they meet again in Kolkata. As if it matters, huh. In the long run when all will be done and dusted and all that will remain would be what you did in your little life here on earth, the KKR players will hold their heads high and say they remained selfless and had just the greater good in mind. I will be merrily chuckling somewhere when the Delhi Dare'Devil's meet Mr. 666 He, he, he how they will shiver and quiver!

Our friend Debraj, a non-resident Bengali, born and brought up in Bihar/Jharakhand had his moment under the sun when in a rare moment of madness some KKR chap gracelessly hit the ball for a six. While we gentlemanly clapped, aping the geriatric crowd at most County matches, Debraj shot up from his seat and let out a blood curdling cry of "Korbo Lorbo Jeetbo REE". The crowd paused as one and looked around. It seemed almost like at anytime someone would start a slow clapping sequence and the players would join. Didn't quite happen that way, we quietly made our way out of the stadium by the end of the over. That reincarnation of a mythical hero had left during the 3rd over of the KKR innings.

On the long way back to mortuary gate I saw it in my wife's eyes - respect. Respect for the team who withheld the true meaning of the game and showed that even in this day and age you can play cricket without ugly slogging. You can come across as friendly and not brimming with that non-peaceful 'killer' instinct. With the madness all around there is still a team which helps maintain the sanity of the game. Respect was writ large.

The we comprised of: Veni, Debraj, Anil, Nikhil, Varun, Divya, Dushyant, Gautam and Varun.

Thanks Dushyant for the stadium photo and last but not the least special thanks to Amit for 'managing' the tickets for us:)

P.S: If there was one moment in the match which could be nominated to enter IPL history books it would be David Hussey's catch of Paul Collingwood. Just outstanding, please see for yourself in the video below

Monday, March 29, 2010

Conflict Of Interest?

This post is about two of my favourite books launched this year, May I Hebb Your Attention Pliss by Arnab Ray (Greatbong) & Dork by Sidin Vadukut. Before I start, if you haven't read either of these, I would highly recommend you quickly make amends by ordering them now.

Both of these are the debut novels of their authors. Both of them are two of India's most well known and widely read bloggers. Personally I am an avid reader of both. As a wannabe blogger I am very proud of these two books produced by the best we have in the Indian blogosphere.

Disclaimer: I may potentially have a conflict of interest myself while writing this post because I am a friend of Arnab and have known him personally for sometime now. I follow Sidin's blog & tweets (and love both), though we haven't had any personal interactions yet.

What sparked off this post was this review of MIHYAP (May I Hebb Your Attention Pliss) by Livemint, a newspaper/news portal owned by Hindustan Times, one of India's leading media houses. The review seems a bit too personal and in parts of very bad taste.


"Unless you are leading a secret life as a prostitute, you have no business turning your blog into a book"

Now coming to the conflict of interest part of the post. So far it just seemed like a reviewer trashing a book, almost at a personal level. But that's okay. You can't please all the people all the time, and the reviewer is well within her rights to share her thoughts about the book.

There is a twist in the tale here because, interestingly, the Managing Editor of the publication (Livemint) which carried the review is none other than Sidin Vadukut

So here we have two well known Indian bloggers, who have both just launched their first books (Dork was launched in January 2010, MIHYAP in March 2010). One of them is the Managing Editor of a publication brought out by a leading media house. And that publication runs a stinker of a review of the other's book.

Seems a bit off.

Again, having been a reader of Sidin's blog & tweets for long I am not questioning his integrity. Or accusing him of using his professional powers for some personal reasons. Sidin is way too popular a blogger and the author of a best selling novel who will require to do such stuff. The question I have in my mind is - isn't there a situation of conflict of interest here due to the circumstances?

Also, another question regarding the conflict of interest issue is the glowing review of Dork brought out by Livemint. Here again the reviewer is well within his rights to say whatever he feels about a book, in this case he felt highly positive about it, and that's okay. But given that this review is being written by an employee of a publication about the book written by the Managing Editor of the same publication, isn't there a case of conflict of interest?

Some food for thought.

Pictures courtesy: &

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Review Of The Gamechangers By The Fake IPL Player And Glossary Of Nicknames Used

I  received an unsigned copy of the 'The Gamechangers' by 'The Fake IPL Player', the P in IPL has been replaced with a 'knight' from chess, and is referred to as IBL (Indian Bollywood League). It is not really a book that needs to be reviewed as such, if you want to know what's it's about just go read the archives of his blog, it's nothing but an extension. Or else you can read the extract from the back cover of the same (scanned copy produced below) and that pretty much sums up what you can expect from the book. To summarise I think it was a concept waiting to be milked and could have become a treasure trove of cricket & Bollywood based jokes and puns and situations, the opportunity was squandered. Some of the last few chapters were interesting, though way too much idol worship of himself and his blog let the FIP heavily down.

So instead of reviewing the book what I decided to do is create this glossary of nicknames used by the FIP (Fake IPL Player) to refer to several cricketers, actors, actresses and other celebrities from real life. I am leaving those nicknames blank with a '?' which I couldn't decipher, if you have managed to do so, please let me know.

Day Minus One - Let The Games Begin

Indian Bollywood League - Indian Premier League

Phoren Babas - John Buchanan & Brendon McCullum

Bhookha Naan - John Buchanan

Boy George - Joy Bhattacharya

Lord Almighty, Lordie - Saurav Ganguly

Hawaii Chappal - Greg Chappel

Vinnie Dildo, Megalomaniac - Shah Rukh Khan

Day Zero - A Night In Mumbai

Lalu Parekh - Lalit Modi

Sigwald Raees Kahn - Shah Rukh Khan

Calcutta Cavalry - Kolkata Knight Riders

Clive Richards - Chris Gayle

Abhimanyu Singh - Yuvraj Singh

Haryana Hurricanes - Kings XI Punjab

Rocky, Rakesh Sharma - Mahendra Singh Dhoni

Gautam Sarkar - Saurav Ganguly

Jeff Buccaneer - John Buchanan

Sanjoy Roy Choudhury - Joy Bhattacharya

Brian Macmillan - Brendon McCullum

Greg Chappel - Greg Chappell (Wonder why he bothered to come up with a pseudonym earlier!)

Night Zero/Day One - London, Here we Come

Bangalore Bangers - Bangalore Royal Challengers

Rocky - Rahul Dravid

Raj Singhania - Vijay Mallya

Hindu Times Leadership Summit - Hindustan Times Leadership Summit

Prasanth - Sreesanth


Day One - It Doesn't Look Good

No new characters introduced

Day One Evening - A Big Fat Indian Wedding

Tim Robinson - Kevin Peterson

God - Sachin Tendulkar

Days Two & Three - The Lull Before The Storm

Messi Gilder - Jesse Ryder

Day Four - The Rat's First Strike

Ajay Ahuja - Ajit Agarkar

RBD - Ranadeb Bose

Sheikh of Tweak - Shane Warne

Rajputs - Rajasthan Royals

Bevda - Jesse Ryder

Shyam Bazar Patrika - Ananda Bazar Patrika

Abhay Chaturvedi - Aakash Chopra

Calypso King - Chris Gayle

Day Five - Attack Of The Unknown

George Best - Dwayne Bravo

CNA - DNA (Newspaper)

Crichome - Cricinfo

Fake IBL Player - Fake IPL Player

Day Five : Evening - There's More To It Than...

Shaun Vaughney - Shane Warne

Day Six: The Legend Of Appam Chutiya 

Kishen Kanhaiya - Ravi Shastri

Prince Of Patiala - Yuvraj Singh

Appam Chutiya - Sreesanth

Day Seven - PMS

Lalchand Bhai - Lalit Modi

Day Eight - Secrets They Share

Nicole Smith - Jessica Taylor

The Truth Of India - The Times Of India

Hindu Times - The Hindu

Feeling Blue - Beyond The Blues (Akash Chopra's book)

Day Eight - PMS Joins The Cavalry

Maddi - Murali Karthik

Sandy Baddy - Mandira Bedi

Kameez Pajama - Rameez Raja

Day Nine: Morning - Check. Mate.

Asankha Hathurusingha - Asankha Gurusinghe

Day Nine: Evening - Champagne & Conspiracies

Sushant - Ishant Sharma

Frank Stein - Dale Styen

Day Ten - Lordie Fires...Well, Almost

Rajput Rifles - Rajasthan Royals

Day Eleven - Highs & Lows

No new characters introduced

Day Twelve - Cracking The Whip

Daily Views - Daily News (Sri Lanka's leading newspaper)

Little John - Ishant Sharma

Robin Ka Beta - Robin Uthappa Kevin Peterson (thanks Yashbapu)

Sanjeev Nagar - Sanjay Bangar

GB - GreatBong (?)

Day Thirteen - Missing Pieces

No new characters introduced

Day Fourteen - Heroes & Villains

No new characters introduced

Day Fifteen - What Goes Around...

Bombay Bombers - Mumbai Indians

Junta - Ajantha Mendis

Style Bhai - Murali Karthik

Day Sixteen - Day Twenty Two

No new characters introduced

Day Twenty Three - The 'R' Letter Day

Jaddu - Ajay Jadeja

Day Twenty Four - Day Twenty Six

No new characters introduced

Day Twenty Seven - Reality Bites

Saala Slimeball - Lalit Modi

Big Sister - Shilpa Shetty

Little Sister - Shamita Shetty

Cool Dude - Matthew Hayden

Day Twenty Eight - Day Thirty Six

No new characters introduced. Besides Cheetah biscuits, which refers to Tiger biscuits.

Special thanks to Abhishek Paul for lending a helping eye in decoding some of the nicknames.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The IPL Ka Jadoo Caption Challenge 2 - Cricket Meets Music

This competition has now ended. You can find all the entries here

After a very enthusiastic participation in the previous IPL Ka Jadoo Caption Challenge, and with requests from some of you to extend the contest, it's my pleasure to introduce IPL Ka Jadoo Caption Challenge - 2. A slight change in the rules this time, the caption has to be in the form of a song (Hindi/English). You can send a caption for one, all or any of the photos below. Your name (along with your blog) will be published with the photos.

So, please go ahead and send me your captions in the form of comments on the blog or email them to me at suhel dot banerjee at gmail dot com This contest will remain open until 8 PM (IST) on the 25th of March, 2010. Looking forward to some lyrical captions!

"Chalo ishq LARA-ye, Chalo ishq LARA-ye, Chalo ishq LARA-YE sanam! The
Calypso Mix." - Tanmay Mukherjee

"Mai khiladi tu anadi" - Debraj Gupta & Suman Paul

"Kabhi mere saath koi raat guzaar, tujhe subha tak main karoo pyar" - Shaon Roy Chowdhury

"Pyaar karne wale pyaar karte hai 'shane' se, jeete hai 'shane se, marte hai 'shane' se" - Juhi Munjal

"yahan ke hum sikandar...chahe toh rakhle" - Venky

"Jahan teri yeh nazar hai meri jaan mujhe khabar hai" - Venky

"Appam, Appam, chaplayee re duniya ko. FIP Mix." - Tanmay Mukherjee

Photos Courtesy: NDTV

Thanks to Varun Sharma for sending the link to the photos.

Monday, March 22, 2010

The IPL Ka Jadoo Caption Challenge

This competition has now ended. You can find all the entries here.

This is going to be a user generated post. I present to you these pictures of Dr. Mallya, Shilpa Shetty, Shane Warne, Raj Kundra and Lalit Modi in various moods of revelry. You need to submit your entries  by suggesting captions for each/any of these pictures. The best caption for every picture will be selected and put up on the blog along with the winner's name and blog link. Competition closes at 8 PM (IST) on 23rd March, 2010.

Go ahead and send those captions in the form of comments on this post or email them to:
suhel dot banerjee at gmail dot com

"Your rack and my sack fit like ying yang" - Kapil Kant Kaul

"ok here's the final offer - $2B + yacht access & drinks on the house for 2 years.. ab bolo.. " Jitendra Kumar

"Warne to Kundra - You are my right arm - man and Shilpa is my leg-spinner :D" Abhishek Paul

Pictures Courtesy

Special MentionArnab Ray (Greatbong), who commented on the post, but like Lata Mangeshkar in the Best Singer category, wasn't be considered as a nominee in the competition.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Reverse Image Search Engine - A Technological Wonder

Cross posting from my Quiz Blog as this will be of interest to everyone, not limited to quizzers.

Hello Quizzards,

First I would like to take this rare opportunity to thank each and every one of you for the constant support and encouragement that keeps infusing a fresh lease of life into Inquizzitive, time and again!

When I started this blog, in December of 2005, I knew my biggest challenge was my employer. Yes Google. No, they didn't have a problem with my maintaining a little known trivia blog. It's just that Google had killed the joy of online quizzing as any 'dry' text question would just be copied, pasted into the Google search bar and voila you had the answer staring at you in the snippet of search results 1, 2 or at most 3. A big win for Google, a big blow to online quizzing.

That's what prompted me to start the pictorial connection of quizzing in Inquizzitive. However, I always knew that this format too would be 'cracked' one day, and the tool that would help in doing so would be a RISE (reverse image search engine). Yes, a search engine where you can somehow upload an image and it magically tells you what the image is. I knew it was a few years away, how many I didn't know. Today I do.

A friend and fellow quizzer, KingM (he prefers to be a little anonymous online) answered today's 'very tough' question by first looking for a RISE and then by using it smartly to get the clues. When I learnt about this, I was quite shell shocked and wanted to get into denial by moderating his comment where he has mentioned the product. Then I realised what a brilliant technological advancement this is and instead of trying to suppress information and innovation (in vain) let me introduce you to TinEye.

Let's say we take this picture of Mahatma Gandhi from this Wikipedia article.

Now let's assume you

1) know the url from where I took this image and
2) You just have the image but not the url

All you need to do is go to and in case of

1) Just paste the url  or 2) just upload the picture in the search field and the reverse search engine will throw up a result as shown below

Yes, it's that simple!

As of now it has some teething problems, and doesn't recognise all images as smoothly as it should but I am sure in the coming days this will become a technology as solid and reliable as search is today. As a technology enthusiast I applaud this achievement! As the owner of Inquizzitive, I take this up as a challenge to continue giving you questions that will keep you engaged in spite of the new tools at hand!

With that I introduce TinEye, the RISE to you! Go ahead, play with it!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Review Of 'May I Hebb Your Attention Pliss' By Arnab Ray (Greatbong)

Disclaimer - I am a friend of the author and a fan of his blog. Also, to my utter surprise and delight, my name is mentioned in the acknowledgement section of the book. In spite of the above I will try and review the book as impartially as possible.


First things first, this is not a novel but a collection of discrete chapters, like a blog. A format Arnab revels in, as is evident from his unanimous victories in consecutive IndiBloggies. In fact some of the chapters are taken from his blog itself. A very good introduction to his work for those who don't read his blog (and plausibly blogs in general) and even for those who do, not to despair as there's plenty and more of original content.

He has played to his strengths in his first book by keeping the chapters mostly in the Bollywood, Television, Mock Fiction on Current Affairs & Society and Frustration (of the sexual kinds usually experienced by young men in India) realm. The other usual suspects - Politics, Religion and Religion are conspicuous by their absence. But if I were to slot this book in any one category in the library it would have to be India, without a trace of doubt. Maybe I would create a specific shelf called 'India in the '90s' and place it there. If you grew up during this period (I did) then you're bound to identify with almost each and every chapter of the book at a very personal level. More importantly if you spent a good part of those wonder years watching rented videos on the VCP/VCR then this is a guaranteed path down the nostalgia lane as I can say with a lot of certainty that no other book has dealt with the B grade movies, songs and dialogues of this period and in as much of a personalised details as MIHYAP has. I do not want to give out spoilers, but when it comes to Arnab I am sure it won't surprise anyone that this book is to the Mithun starrer Gunda what our constitution is to the Republic of India.

The language used throughout is colloquial Indian English with a very generous dose of Hinglish as well, but with an obvious and healthy disregard towards both. What comes across as most genuine and touches a nerve somewhere is the passion the author has and shown for the movies mentioned above (poster on the left as well). The aptly introduced lines from these masterpieces in set piece situations blow your mind away. A good portion of the book also tried to establish a connection about how these shaped the author's life. You almost believe all that he says!

This aside, the humour and wit displayed throughout is of a very refined order. Well, actually not always refined maybe, and those few deviations towards the crass and lowly style of humour is just so bad that it falls in the good category (a terms coined by the author in his blog). There is wordplay involved in almost every nook and corner of a sentence and you sometimes pass it, pause, come back and feel silly at how could you miss that one. Then enjoy a hearty chuckle.

So, is all well with the book? No 'areas of improvement'? Not really. I for one believe that a certain style of humour and references has been repeated a little too often and what started off as stomach achingly funny, became somewhat predictable towards the end, if not in content but in style. Also, having read his 'serious posts' in his blog I will be keenly looking forward to his next book perhaps where, with the comfort of a bestseller behind him, he can write about issues in his sharp, incisive, analytical and no-holds-barred style that makes him a complete writer.

Did I enjoy the book? Once I got over the euphoria of finding my name on print (in the acknowledgement remember?) I went about the business of reading the book, and finished it in three sittings interspersed by preparation for an office exam, falling asleep on the laptop one night and the KKR victory over Deccan Chargers in the first match of IPL 3. It is my completely personal opinion, like all opinions in this blog are, that this book is the single most entertaining book I have read since I completed the Sherlock Holmes omnibus in college. No, I am not comparing this to the greatest detective series of all time, but in terms of sheer entertainment value I was hooked. Will I gift it to my friends on their birthday? Given it's priced at just Rs. 149 maybe I will add a pen or something similar that they'll never use, but will spread the joy of this book for sure. I can guarantee that anyone with a passing interest in India and it's culture and the '90s will have a jolly good time reading 'May I Hebb Your Attention Pliss'.

P.S: I intentionally avoided making any sort of reference to specific parts of the book, however I have done a detailed autopsy, in a chapter wise manner here. Please go ahead and read this only if you have read the book and have sufficient time on your hands.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

The Complete 'IPL On The Web' Guidebook

It takes 93 international centuries, 20 years and counting of dedication on the field, many comparisons with God and one with Bradman to become the most powerful person in Indian sports. Any guesses what it takes to come at no. 2? Starting an annual cricketing event. It helps if that's called IPL. You can check with Lalit Modi, the 2nd most powerful person in Indian sports according to the Sports Illustrated.

Two summers back when this advertisement about Mano & Ranjan started doing the rounds, there was heavy skepticism about the connect this weird new format of the game will have with the lovers of the gentleman's game in India.

How will we, a nation of cricket fanatics who have cheered the national team through years and decades suddenly develop a passion for funnily named teams like Kolkata Knight Riders and Chennai Super Kings? If the puttar of Punjab is donning the colours of Mumbai, and the Mallu 'Dance Lord' joins the team from the land of mustard field, who will be rooting for whom? After this incident it was quite certain that Mr. Singh had become the bad boy of Punjab and the bad boy from the backwaters was the little child the punjabi kudis were trying to console.

It's IPL time once again, and for the next month and a half we are going to obsess over who received more hugs from Preity Zinta ? Will Warne still look at his memsaab the same way now that she is married? What's the correlation between the amount and time SRK dances at Eden with KKR's victory? How will Gilly's Hyderabad Boys cope with the pressures of being the defending champions and not getting to play in Hyderabad at all?

Most of us will spend insane amounts of time in front of the computer, digging out information, trivia and most importantly following the matches live! Here's a guide of how you can keep up with all the IPL action on the net.


For the first time you can watch all the matches Live on YouTube! Yes, live, as it happens, when it happens!

All you need to do is go to the Official YouTube IPL channel and all the matches will be going on there, live! Also, if you want to watch highlights from previous matches or an entire match that has already been played that will also be available on the Official YouTube IPL channel ( Special packages like all the 4s, 6s, wickets etc. will be compiled and uploaded for viewing as well. This is what it looks like.


Who wants to just watch cricket and not talk about it? We, Indians don't for sure! So after you have seen all the matches and the action is far from over. Orkut has come up with it's Official Orkut IPL Community and you may want to join the same! You can in fact watch the matches live here as well, as the YouTube feeds will be streamed here simultaneously. Besides you can discuss the match and add your expert comments and opinions in the discussion forums. So, you can head of to This is what the experience will be like.


Just like on Orkut you may want to hop over to our other favourite social networking site Facebook Official IPL Fan Page. You can discuss your favourite stars, matches, catches and action here. Besides the official Facebook IPL fan page (  is also updated regularly by snippets of information and votes and polls. Here's what the experience is like.

Official Team Sites

Most of the team have their official web sites as well, as does IPL. Here's where you can follow the teams of your choice, see their exclusive pictures, videos, read interviews and interact with some of the players.

Offical IPL Website

Team Sites (North to South)

Kings XI Punjab

Delhi Daredevils

Rajasthan Royals

Kolkata Knight Riders

Mumbai Indians

Deccan Chargers

Bangalore Royal Challengers

Chennai Super Kings


And finally, if you want up to date information, team news, gossip, message from the players and owners don't miss out on following them on the micro-blogging site, Twitter.

Official Twitter Accounts


Lalit Modi

Preity Zinta (owner KXP)

Shilpa Shetty (owner RR)

SRK (owner KKR)

Harsha Bhogle (presenter, commentator)

Here's also a list of cricketer's who are on Twitter, this list is edited constantly as more and more players join Twitter - Twitter Cricket List

If you know of any other ways of keeping up with all the action on IPL please do let me know and I will update the blog accordingly. Here's wishing everyone a fantastic 46 days to come and may the best team win!