Thursday, April 29, 2010

A Fascinating Story Of A 69 Year Old Birthday Girl

Wanted to share a story about this 69 year old lady (it's her birthday today!) whom I briefly met once at the Kolkata airport a few years back.

Let me start by wishing her a most happy birthday, and hope she has many more of such to come. From what I have come to know of her, she must be enjoying her birthday today as much as she did 50 or 60 years back.

A few days back I received a message from Gunjan Aunty, a friend, and my friend Mrinalini's mom. Now we can have a blog post on Gunjan Aunty herself, and if you don't follow her on Twitter, I suggest you do, but today's post is on her mom. Anyway, so I received a message on Facebook from Gunjan Aunty (yes, she is a bigger FB & Twitter power user than her kids), informing me that she bought Arnab's book 'May I Hebb Your Attention Pliss' for her mother's upcoming birthday, as I had been tweeting a bit about it & also reviewed it sometime back. If you have read MIHYAP and are somewhat aware of Indian parents (in this case grandparents), then you can understand that MIHYAP and nana-nanis (grandparents) make a combination as perfect as lachha paratha & shorshe bata ilish. I know figuring out that comparison requires a working knowledge of Indian cuisine, and if you don't possess it, I suggest you try that combination. She assured me that her sensibilities are not as rigid as they usually are of people of her generation, well, in fact they are quite flexible even compared with people 50 years younger than her. Also, her quest for knowledge and eagerness to learn about new things equals those of scientists, explorers and quizzing enthusiasts. And with that quizzers have been equated with scientists and explorers for the first time.

The rest of the story I am copying from Gunjan Aunty's tweets, FB updates and messages. Fascinating will be to say the least.

From her FB profile:

28th April, 2009

"my ma's b'day on 29th of April. She survived 2009 with sheer will power. A little known immuno disorder has turned her life upside down. She had lost sight in both eyes but have regained in one and she is back to reading again! She'll turn 70 and I will introduce her to facebook and twitter on her day. She is a riot! "

29th April, 2009 (message to me)

"Suhel, Last night at around 11.30 gave Ma the book by your friend and also other works as a start to her b'day celebrations. 12.30 had to snatch that book away since I did not want her to strain her eyes. She was laughing away. Ma has vision in one eye and was using her magnifying glass but she read on! This morning she is back with the book."

"Ma is more contemporary than any of us! A little secret am sharing with you, hv bought a corby, will gift her in the evening and will get her on FB and Twitter [Request from me: Please don't spoil her surprise]... I feel let her get a feel first hand. She is a voracious reader, writer, poet, actor, a celebrated debater,won quiz contests, even in her blind state managed to script small plays"

"she turns 69 today. She belonged to a super rich family, left and eloped with my Dad a then well known player but struggling in '61. Began her career as a teacher then switched to RBI where she stood first amongst over 1500 candidates. Heramba Maitra Challenge cup she has won for debate, Lady Brabourne - medal for best actor, and tons of awards in all classifications possible.Last one being a sit and draw para championship. Got accosted with a little known immuno failure disease since 2007 that took her to the brink of blindness and has affected many an organ. 2009 was spent mostly in ICUs. No treatment for this disorder ...just steroids. She has a zest for life ... witty to the power infinity. This Feb she got her vision back in one eye (unexplained mostly) she ordered a specs which has orange rims!! I think my last line tells it all."

""Happy Birthday to our Patron Saint when we were going to college! I wish her good health". - this msg Mrinalini's school friend sent ...she actually took Mrinalini and few of her friends from college to college, including VC of Cal Univ to see that they get justice ... being frm Intl.School they were being refused. Stood in the Presidency queue from 3 AM"

Yes, that's one story that will stay with us for a long time to come. Once again I take this opportunity to wish the unbelievably amazing 69 year young lady a very happy birthday and many many happy returns of the day.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Mayawati - A Statue of Interrupted Power

One of the few unblemished characters in our political saga, Ms. Mayawati, the chieftain of Uttar Pradesh, has brought out this full page ad on the leading national daily, Times of India, proudly proclaiming that she will do everything to ensure '...interrupted power supply' to her people. And of course, this is 'an significant step...'. Maybe the frequent interruptions in her access to power, thanks to Mulayam and his ilk had something to do with this promise?

Just in case she joins the bandwagon of hypocritical politicians and changes the honest and sincere promise of an interrupted power supply, I scanned the ad and uploaded on this blog for posterity.

P.S: Definition: Freudian Slip - a slip-up that (according to Sigmund Freud) results from the operation of unconscious wishes or conflicts and can reveal unconscious processes in normal healthy individuals

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Google India IPL 2010 Zeitgeist

Google India announces IPL Zeitgeist for 2010

  • Sachin Tendulkar is the most searched player 
  • Deccan Chargers is the most searched team
  • Shane Warne is the most searched international player
  • Fake IPL player, Dhoni and Sehwag move off the IPL Zeitgeist
  • Super Over and Chennai Super Kings were the most searched IPL related search queries on YouTube

Google India, today, announced its 2nd IPL Zeitgeist for 2010 – an insight into the most searched teams and players during the 3rd season of the Indian Premier League. Sachin Tendulkar emerged as the most searched Indian cricketer, followed by Saurav Ganguly. Shane Warne continued to be the most searched international player at the IPL, for the second year running. Conspicuous by their absence were popular names such as M.S. Dhoni, Virender Sehwag and ‘the Fake IPL Player’, who moved off the top 10 this year. Adam Gilchrist, Ryan Harris and Praveen Kumar made their debut on the list at number 7, 8 and 9 respectively.

Among the teams, Deccan Chargers ousted the Mumbai Indians from the top slot, who emerged as a close second. Chennai Super Kings rounded up the top 3 teams, as Kolkata Knight Riders dropped to number 4 this year. 

‘Super Over’ emerged as the most searched IPL related query on YouTube followed by Chennai Super Kings. Yusuf Pathan, who did not make it to the IPL Zeitgeist on Google Search, emerged as the most searched player on YouTube.

To compile the 2010 IPL Zeitgeist, Google studied the aggregation of queries pertaining to IPL that people typed into Google search during the IPL season 3. We used data from multiple sources, including Insights for Search, Google Trends and internal data tools. We also filtered out spam and repeat queries to arrive to a list which captured the essence of the series. All of the search queries we studied are anonymous - no personal information was used.

Most searched IPL player


Sachin Tendulkar
Fake IPL Player
Sourav Ganguly
Sachin Tendulkar
Shane Warne
M.S. Dhoni
Yuvraj Singh
Yuvraj Singh
Rahul Dravid
Sourav Ganguly
Brett Lee
Rahul Dravid
Adam Gilchrist
Virender Sehwag
Ryan Harris
Shane Warne
Praveen Kumar
Harbhajan Singh
Harbhajan Singh
V.V.S Laxman

Top 10 IPL Teams

Deccan Chargers
Mumbai Indians
Mumbai Indians
Kolkata Knight Riders
Chennai Super Kings
Deccan Chargers
Kolkata Knight Riders
Rajasthan Royals
Rajasthan Royals
Chennai Super Kings
Delhi Daredevils
Delhi Daredevils
Kings XI Punjab
Royal Challengers Bangalore
Royal Challengers Bangalore
Kings XI Punjab

Top IPL related Search Queries on YouTube 
  •  Super Over
  • Chennai Super Kings
  • Match 22
  • Kolkata Knight Riders
  • Match 21
  • Yusuf Pathan
  • Mumbai Indians
  • Highlights

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Affairs Of Our Externally Affable Minister

If Twitter were to look for someone to endorse their product in India, they needn't look beyond the suave  and charismatic Junior Minister of External Affairs of the Government of India - Shashi Tharoor or @shashitharoor as he is more commonly known nowadays. With 7 lakh plus followers (as of today) Tharoor is a more popular 'Twiterrer' than any other Indian, including megastar and power Twitterer Shahrukh Khan (2.68 lakhs as we write).

However, over the past one year, since he became a Minister, the media and tech friendly Tharoor has been drawn into more controversies than he would like to remember, and ironically most of them were somehow or the other linked to Twitter! Here's a low down on the Tharoor-Twitter relationship.

September 2009

This tweet by Tharoor, in response to this question by Kanchan Gupta (senior journalist with The Pioneer newspaper) started off a massive debate over what's holy and who's a cow and the sanctity of the cattle and class. It reached such a level that the Prime Minister of India had to issue a statement to calm things down!

September 2009

Just as the cattle class controversy was beginning to die down, Tharoor and his boss, S M Krishna, found themselves in a '5 Star' controversy. This was a time when the Congress government had made a big pomp of show of it's 'Austerity Drive' and during the same time it was discovered that Tharoor & Krishna were staying in 5 Star hotels in Delhi, supposedly because their government accomodation wasn't ready. This didn't go down well with the Congress and the Finance Minister, Pranab Mukherjee asked them to vacate the hotel rooms, which they promptly did. Tharoor insisted that he paid his hotel bills with his personal credit card. Of course this claim was made over Twitter.

October 2009

His next Tweet-roversy was on the birth anniversary of the Father of the Nation. After attending Gandhi Jayanti function he expressed his views with the following tweet (reproduced below)

"Gandhiji said ‘Work is Worship’ and we enjoy holiday on his birthday"

"In V’nam, Ho Chi Minh’s birthday is a working day and citizens are expected to put in an extra effort at work to honour him"

 However this was not taken in the desired light and gave rise to yet another controversy.

December 2009

Coming up next, after almost a 2 month gap was the Visa tweet-controversy. There were some discussions about making the Indian visa regulations more stringent and our EAM had the following to say on Twitter, which for obvious reasons were not well accepted by one and all.

"My only role is to object to them strongly. MEA (ministry of external affairs) officials are discussing them with MoHA (Ministry of Home Affairs) which imposed them"

"Dilemma of our age: tough visa restrictions in hope of btr (better) security or openness & (and) liberality to encourage tourism & goodwill? I prefer latter"

 And in response to this provocative tweet from zookybeans, Tharoor sent this as a reply.

January 2010

The new year didn't leave Tharoor's Twitter woes behind. The first controversy of 2010 involving him was about certain statements that he made about Nehru at a book release. He immediately countered the same by blaming the media of having misreported the facts. He put up the official statement on his blog, and obviously tweeted about it immediately. 

February 2010

This was without a doubt the most 'inter'esting brawl of them all. During Manmohan Singh's visit to Saudi Arabia, Tharoor accompanied the PM, and after the talks were over, made a benign statement that Saudi Arabia could be an interlocutor between India & Pakistan. The phoentic proximity between 'interlocutor' and 'intermediary' caused a lot of heartache all around. Given that most politicians in our country aren't even 'inter' pass, coming to terms with one who not only knows the word interlocutor but it's meaning as well was hard. And Tharoor cried himself hoarse trying to become an English teacher.

Definition of Interlocutora person who takes part in a conversation

April 2010

And the latest addition to the never ending saga is the @lalitkmodi v @shashitharoor full blown war on Twitter. Among other things Modi divulged the details of the ownership of the newly formed Kochi team in the IPL, and that includes a certain Sunanda Pushkar (video), who is apparently slated to marry Tharoor. Any guesses where this revelation was made? Yes, Twitter of course! It has led to both of the high profile Twitterers going silent on the medium for more than 24 hours, a death threat to the minister and the gagging of the cricket supremo. You can find all the details about the incident here. Also, Tharoor's official  statement on the allegations can be found here.

Here's what @lalitmodi's Twitter timeline looked like on Sunday, 11th April, when he made the 'revelations'.

Specifically when someone asked him 'Does @shashitharoor owns (sic) something?' here's what @lalitkmodi had to say

What's most interesting is that @shashitharoor in spite of having 7 lakhs+ followers, follows only 32 people, and as of now (15th April, 2010 3:20 AM) he is following @lalitkmodi)

Similarly, @lalitkmodi with 640000+ followers, follows only 24 people, and yes, as of now @shashitharoor is one of them

All this thanks to a micro blogging site! What more can we ask for? If Tharoor ever tweets to know whether we want him to continue here, I'm sure the unanimous response will be 'Yes, Minister!'.

Pictures courtesy: Indiatimes, Times Of India, Indian Express, NDTV & ESPN Star. All screenshots are taken Twitter home pages of Shashi Tharoor, Lalit Modi and others.

P.S: This illustration by @sudhamsu throws more light on the Tharoor-Modi controversy than all newspaper articles put together.

Saturday, April 03, 2010


A few days back I put up the following question on Twitter "Curious, has Sachin ever been booed at any stadium in India or abroad?" To which I received some responses about this incident at the Wankhede Stadium (Mumbai) in March 2006, during a test match against England, when Sachin was booed by his home crowd. This was a very casual question that I had asked, but the response got me thinking. Sachin to the Wankhede crowd is somewhat similar to what Sir is to me. As I have repeated so many times in the past, Sir will always remain one my biggest sources of inspiration. But, at the same time he is an actor and I am a movie lover. So, there must have been instances of his movies not leaving me enthralled or entertained. That's when and why I drew up this list of 10 of Sir's movies which I didn't quite enjoy. Of course, a purely personal list. In alphabetical order.

Chaahat (1996)


Koyla (1997)

Trimurti (1995)

Image sources: Wikipedia, Bollywood Hungama, Chakpak & Bollywoodmoviemax