Thursday, March 31, 2011

The #indvspak Post

It's been less than 24 hours since we beat Pakistan in the 2011 WC semi final to proceed to the final against Sri Lanka. Whether this was the biggest match in history, as proclaimed by some commentators will be decided by history, but no two ways about the fact that it was a big, BIG match. Given that most of you will be in a very forgiving mood, I plan to use the cheap trick of not coming up with any 'original' content for this post but rehash some of my tweets from yesterday. Also, a big thank you to everyone for the mentions and RTs. Cricket was so much less exciting without Twitter.

All tweets are in chronological order, starting with Wednesday (30-Mar-2011) morning. And for the record I am a Sri Lanka fan and facing the biggest dilemma of my life for the final. 

[Photo credit: Cricinfo]

Ahhh...yet another Wednesday. Those neither here nor there boring, meaningless middle of the week feeling. Oh. Wait...Wed Mar 30 02:06:01 via Twitter for Android

A billion and a half. RT @Gunjan47: Don't be disheartened - billion people can wish all the clouds away #MohaliWed Mar 30 04:06:51 via Twitter for Android

Ah sheesh! RT @sidvee: Haha RT @nayakgirin: RT @_logik: Sehwag is taking the game out of Nehra's reach. YoWed Mar 30 09:24:31 via Twitter for Android

On a serious note, will she shed her clothes if we win the cup or this match? And will it be televised? Youtube links?Wed Mar 30 09:54:24 via Twitter for Android

RT @sidvee: Fixed the DRS. Fixed the third umpire. Fixed Misbah-ul-Haq. Well done BCCI. We rule cricketWed Mar 30 10:11:57 via Twitter for Android

Being anal here but the Egyptians did believe that RT @thetanmay: Sachin is God. Sachin has 9 lives. Therefore, God = Cat. #RaviShastriMathsWed Mar 30 10:17:46 via Twitter for Android

I think we are seeing the effects of a billion plus prayers. Can't be explained any other way.Wed Mar 30 10:34:58 via Twitter for Android

As much as Sachin is trying to be polite and refuse favors. RT @sidvee: Pakistan want to win this for SachinWed Mar 30 10:37:17 via Twitter for Android

If this indeed is the 100th 100 then for the rest of his life Sachin will be very embarrassed with the billion replays of this innings.Wed Mar 30 11:14:54 via Twitter for Android

More importantly is he supporting the country of his birth or work? RT @jhunjhunwala: Is Ajmal Kasab watching this match from Jail?Wed Mar 30 11:26:11 via Twitter for Android

"Ab players ki nahi, prayers ki zaroorat hai". The legendary dialogue improvised upon by @VSJabberwockyWed Mar 30 11:53:02 via Twitter for Android

Indian team sacrificing 'just a match' to protect Indian culture and a woman's modesty. Blame Poonam Pandey.Wed Mar 30 12:16:17 via web

Raina, bhagwan tujhe bahaut Umar de.Wed Mar 30 12:24:08 via web

No. The Sachin innings was the biggest ad for prayers RT @madmanweb If we lose this, can we say with conviction that prayer doesn't work?Wed Mar 30 13:03:09 via Twitter for Android

Following a few Pakistanis is giving my timeline a beautiful balance. One that our bowling line up currently seems to be missing.Wed Mar 30 14:06:16 via Chromed Bird

All you salivating at the mention of Poonam Pandey, remember her promise to do 'it' is after India wins the WC not this match. 1 more to go.Wed Mar 30 16:51:49 via web

Will Gary Kirtsen become the first South African to reach the World Cup final? We had taken a Kiwi 8 years back as well.Wed Mar 30 17:02:35 via web

It's We versus Us on Saturday. Mumbai, here we come!Wed Mar 30 17:14:51 via web

Rip Van Winkle beat Peter Pan. RT @diptakirti: Afridi, great job done. But the original 18-year old had to win today. Sorry.Wed Mar 30 17:23:46 via Chromed Bird

Cricket & I will be the winner on Saturday. We have won the World Cup:-)Wed Mar 30 18:03:13 via Twitter for Android

Now that Sachin has scored 85 in his last 5 innings the law of averages is on his side for the 100th 100 in the final.Thu Mar 31 03:52:28 via Twitter for Android

How I wish this final was a real war and not just a game. Would have been so much easier to support India, no questions asked.Thu Mar 31 04:30:52 via Twitter for Android

2 teams with a fairytale first world cup final. 2 teams humiliated by Australia in their second world cup final. 2 teams ready for their 3rdThu Mar 31 08:48:44 via Twitter for Android

Really heartening to see the number of Indians who felt Wahab should have been the MoM last night instead of the man himself. Well played.Thu Mar 31 10:02:35 via web

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Praying For Japan

The Tragedy

On Tuesday, March 11, 2011 a massive earthquake of magnitude 9.0 struck the Eastern coast of Japan. This was one of the worst earthquakes in the history of mankind and a series of frequent aftershocks, many of them over 6.0 on the Richter Scale, have been felt in various parts of the country for the past one week. What made the matter worse was that the tremors sparked off a massive Tsunami (Japanese for 'Harbour Wave') which devastated large parts of the country with the water from the ocean flooding the adjoining areas and washing away houses, cars, roads and everything else in it's way. Finally, due to the tremors the electric supply to the Nuclear power plants in Fukushima has been cut off, and this has caused some leakage of radioactive particles as the cooling devices have not been working for a few days now.

Light weight planes and cars washed away by the Tsunami
More Photos from The Big Picture: 1, 2, 3, 4.

How Can You Help?

AMERICAN RED CROSS: Emergency Operation Centers are opened in the affected areas and staffed by the chapters. This disaster is on a scale larger than the Japanese Red Cross can typically manage. Donations to the American Red Cross can be allocated for the International Disaster Relief Fund, which then deploys to the region to help. Donate here.
GLOBALGIVING: Established a fund to disburse donations to organizations providing relief and emergency services to victims of the earthquake and tsunami. Donate here.
SAVE THE CHILDREN: Mobilizing to provide immediate humanitarian relief in the shape of emergency health care and provision of non-food items and shelter. Donate here.
SALVATION ARMY: The Salvation Army has been in Japan since 1895 and is currently providing emergency assistance to those in need. Donate here.
AMERICARES: Emergency team is on full alert, mobilizing resources and dispatching an emergency response manager to the region. Donate here.
CONVOY OF HOPE: Disaster Response team established connection with in-country partners who have been impacted by the damage and are identifying the needs and areas where Convoy of Hope may be of the greatest assistance. Donate here.

INTERNATIONAL MEDICAL CORPS: Putting together relief teams, as well as supplies, and are in contact with partners in Japan and other affected countries to assess needs and coordinate our activities. Donate here.

SHELTER BOX: The first team is mobilizing to head to Japan and begin the response effort. Donate here.
[Source: Yahoo News]
Like so many other organisations, Google too has been working very hard to help in whatever way possible and we have come up with the following:
Centralized information
Our Crisis Response page—now in Japanese, English, Chinese and Korean—organizes all of Google’s efforts, with links to valuable resources such as emergency hotlines, Person Finder, blackout schedules, maps and links to relief organizations receiving donations. Ninety-three percent of mobile users in Japan don’t have top-of-the-line smartphones, so we’ve recentlyoptimized this Crisis Response page to make it more readable for a wider range of devices. You can also access that version by scanning this QR code:

Person Finder
Within the first two hours of the earthquake, we launched Person Finder so people can enter the names of those they’re looking for or have found. You can now also search by entering mobile phone numbers to see if they match any listings. And as with the Crisis Response page, Person Finder has also been optimized for those without smartphones. There are currently more than 250,000 records in the database (including names shared with us by NHK, the national broadcaster in Japan) and we’ve heard several reports of people who have found their loved ones safe.

To help the many people in shelters get word of their whereabouts to loved ones, we’re also asking people in shelters to take photos of the handwritten lists of names of current residents and email them to us. Those photos are automatically uploaded to a public Picasa Web Album. We use scanning technology to help us manually add these names to Person Finder; but it’s a big job that can’t be done automatically by computers alone, so we welcome volunteers with Japanese language skills who want to help out.

Satellite images
We’re also working with our satellite partners GeoEye and DigitalGlobe to provide frequent updates to our imagery of the hardest-hit areas to first responders as well as the general public. You can view this imagery in this Google Earth KML, browse it online through Google Maps or look through our Picasa album of before-and-after images of such places asMinamisanriku and Kesennuma.

You can follow developments on the ground by looking at several maps that track changing developments. We’ve mapped rolling blackouts for areas that are affected by power outages. With data given to us by Honda, you can now see which roads have been recently passable on this map or this user-made Google Earth mashup with new satellite imagery. We’re also constantly updating a master map (in Japanese and English) with other data such as epicenter locations and evacuation shelters. And with information from the newspaper Mainichi, we’ve published a partial list of shelters.

Use Google Translate for Japanese and 56 other languages. You can paste in any text, or enter the address of any web page for automatic translation. We also just released an early experimental version of Google Translate for Android to help non-Japanese speakers in affected areas.

Visit our Crisis Response resource page to find opportunities to donate. When you donate to Japan relief efforts through Google Checkout, we absorb processing fees—so 100% of your money goes to the organizations. Google has also donated $250,000 to help the people of Japan recover.

To keep up with the latest developments on our efforts in Japan, follow @googlejapan (tweets are mostly in Japanese) or @earthoutreach (for our mapping and imagery efforts) on Twitter.

[Source: Google Blog]

A Daruma Doll
In our Google offices in Gurgaon and Hyderabad for example we are painting the Japanese Daruma Dolls, which the Japanese regard as a talisman of good luck [Source: Wikipedia] We're also sending some notes to the people of Japan [Photos below]

Googlers painting Daruma Dolls in the Gurgaon office
Let's all pray the people of Japan. If there's one country we could count upon to overcome this disaster it would be the Land of the Rising Sun. They've done it before and we're confident they will do so again. God bless Japan.

Thursday, March 10, 2011


This incident happened last week to a colleague of mine based in the US. Reproducing it from the text of her email. Will urge you to read till the end and share the story with as many people as you can. One of the most incredible stories you will come across in a long time.


I have a very special story to tell you.  
As some of you already know, I lost one of my closest friends last week. Just 2 weeks shy of her 32nd birthday my friend Allie Greene lost her 2 year battle with colon cancer.  
Allie was an incredible woman who inspired everyone around her with her courage.  After being diagnosed she took on a new mantra, BELIEVE.  She truly believed in herself that she would get better, that she would conquer this disease and eventually become cancer free.  For 2 years she approached her life and her fight with more gusto and spirit as most healthy people don't even muster, myself included.  One week ago, she lost her fight and said goodbye to her husband and 3 year old daughter Riley.  
Allie had spoken to us often about the unforgettable party she was going to throw when she was cancer free.  There was this fantastic great big red barn that Allie had spotted.  She pictured herself there celebrating and dancing and singing to her favorite country music star Brad Paisley.  
 When it came time to sit down and make the funeral arrangements Brian knew just what to do. We set in motion a Celebration of Allie's Life.  We had a list going of all the things we needed, flowers, caterers, etc.  And at the end of the list Brian said to my husband Jason and I. "Oh and try to see if you can get Brad Paisley there, with a wink.  Now for those of you who don't follow country music, that was the equivalent of him asking us to get JayZ, Beyonce, Alicia Keyes or Justin Timberlake. 
Well my sister in law and I decided to take that ball and run with it. For weeks we had felt hopeless and kept asking ourselves what can we do? How we help Allie?  Finally we were given a task, something to keep us busy. Something to keep us from thinking about our incredible loss.  We started putting together a video. We combed through the hundreds of pictures we had of Allie and her life.  We naturally picked a Brad Paisley song, and at the end of the day we had posted a tribute video of our friend Allie up on YouTube.
In all fairness this is not something we would normally d.  This should be evident by the amature video and poor sound quality, but we were under a time crunch.  I caught myself a couple of times creating this saying, there's no way he's gonna see this.  But then I thought about Allie and her mantra. BELIEVE.  We proceeded to post it on Facebook and Twitter. We really just hoped her friends and family would see it. 

I have never UNDERESTIMATED the power of YouTube and Social Media more than on that day. 
Within 24 hours of posting that video we had over 3,000 views and a phone call to my friend Brian from Brad Paisley himself! We were ecstatic!  Brad spoke Brian for 30 minutes and just asked him all about Allie and the person she was.  He said he had seen the video on YouTube (through Twitter) within 4 hours of when we posted it.  Over the next few days he was bombarded on his Facebook page, his publicist's email account and his manager's voicemail.  He even received it from one of his friends, Sheryl Crow! We were amazed that he would take time out to call Brian and just let him talk. A complete stranger.
Yesterday was Allie's funeral. A gut wrenching day filled with sadness and loss. A day that could have and should have been just awful.  Would you BELIEVE me if I told you it was one of the most uplifting days I have ever had?  
Brad Paisley showed up. Brad and his wife came to the Big Red barn and helped us celebrate the life of Allie, this special person, woman, mother, wife and friend. He payes for about a half an hour and made a new friend in Brian and a whole barn full of BELIEVERS.

I have never seen so many smiles at a funeral.  Grown adults in awe and mesmerized by what was transpiring before their eyes. I got to meet Brad and his wife and all I could think to say was thank you. Thank you for restoring my faith in people.  Which he quickly and humbly brushed aside as something anyone would do.

As a Googler I was so excited to share this story with you all for so many reasons, and here they are.
I have never been more proud of YouTube and am amazed by what 1 video can do.  Over 10,300 hits to date.

Social is not abstract. It is tangible. It is monumentally personal and affects how we live our lives.
Try to guess how much of this was done via mobile device - including Brad's first glimpse?  
There are still good people out there, as is proof by everyone who forwarded the video, all the way to my new idol Brad Paisley.
Thank you for reading this. Please pass it on if you like. I hope more people can hear Allie's story. If you'd like to read more about Allie please check out