Transition of Thoughts

Weaving thoughts into words

Month: September 2010

New Twitter vs Old Twitter

Twitter, the world’s most famous microblogging service has changed its web interface. There is only reason for Twitter making this move.

A move to bring in more users to start using the web interface. Its been seen that though the number of users on Twitter has multiplied many fold since its began its services in 2006, use of the Web interface compared to other applications has been minimal.

So let us see the differences in New Twitter as when compared to Old Twitter:-

New Twitter

Old Twitter

1. Firstly, the New Twitter is designed to handle multimedia within the stream. One can view images and video from Twitter in a side panel on the right. This area will also show threaded conversations and other users’ profiles.

2. Secondly, all tweets, the users profile and the Direct Messages inbox are now at the top of the screen, with sub-menus for @replies (or mentions), retweets from and of your and others’ updates, lists and followers

3. Thirdly, the look and feel of the direct messages inbox has been changed. The inbox has threaded conversations, with the most recent messages on top and a tally of the number of messages in each thread.

Twitter’s new advertising strategy allows advertisers to pay Twitter to feature in a section that is automatically customised for each user and which suggests accounts for them to follow. This program to set their cash registers ringing is in addition to their “Promoted Tweets” and “Trends” options that show up as the top feed when people search for related words.

But the question is “Will this work”? There are a couple of reasons which indicate that this move may not exactly work: –

1. People love to use Twitter on the go. And since the time it became possible to tweet through mobile phones in countries like India which has a growing user base of Twitter, many people have started using this mode of tweeting. Many others who don’t use mobiles to tweet use various applications to tweet among whom “Tweet Deck” and “HootSuite” are the most renowned. And going back to the net to tweet for such an audience may not exactly be too exciting.

2. The advertising strategy suggesting users to follow certain accounts has been more or less a flop because of the fact that it has been an intruder in the conversations and people wouldn’t want to follow anyone just like that. On a place like Twitter unless you are a celebrity, people follow only after engaging conversations. And so this strategy is a failure from the beginning.

In the end, I would just like to say that though the New Twitter looks pretty good and has some nice new features in it, I would prefer tweeting with Tweet Deck which I have been using since long.

You can follow me @
Tweets – 8400
Followers – 611
Following – 545

Chennai Super Kings – CSK ko whistle podu!

Chennai Super Kings are the franchise team from Chennai owned by India Cements for US $91 million for a period of ten years from 2008. They are captained by Mahendra Singh Dhoni and coached by Stephen Fleming (though this may change during the players re-auction this year). They are regarded as the most consistent IPL team and why not. Don’t the statistics (From wikipedia) below speak for themselves?

2008 Indian Premier League

* Runners-Up Of The Tournament
* Fair Play Awards Winner
* Highest Total Of The Tournament(240/5)
* 2008 CLT20 participant
* Most Expensive Player Of The Tournament(Ms Dhoni)
* 2nd Tournament Centurion(Michael Hussey)
* 1st Tournament hat-trick(Lakshmipaty Balaji)
* 3rd Tournament hat-trick(Makhaya Ntini)

2009 Indian Premier League

* Semi-finalists Of The Tournament
* Most Expensive Player Of The Tournament(Andrew Flintoff)
* Orange Cap Player Of The Tournament(Matthew Hayden)

2010 Indian Premier League

* CHAMPIONS of the tournament
* Fair Play Awards Winner
* Highest Total Of The Tournament(246/5)
* 2010 CLT20 participant & finalists
* 3rd Tournament Centurion(Murali Vijay)
* IPL AWARDS:Best Fielder(Suresh Raina)
* IPL AWARDS:Most Economical Bowler(Ravichndran Ashwin)

2010 Champions Trophy

* CHAMPIONS of the tournament
* Golden Bat: Murali Vijay
* Golden Bowl: Ravichandran Ashwin

Ok for those people who say statistics don’t matter, the simple fact is that Chennai has been by far the most consistent IPL team till date. Yes, their team comprising Hayden, Vijay, Hussey, Badrinath, Raina, Dhoni, Srikkanth Anirudha, Flintoff, Dougie Bollinger, Muralitharan, Ravichandran Ashwin, Balaji, Kemp, Joginder Sharma, Thilan Thushara, George Bailey, Albie Morkel, Manpreet Gony, Jacob Oram, Sudeep Tyagi, Shadab Jakati, Thissara Perera, Makhaya Ntini (Some who have played always and others who have played a couple of times) may not be that good as others, but it still is a very potent line – up.

Who says only foreigners are the heart and soul of an IPL team? Vijay’s swashbuckling batting, Ashwin’s carrom ball, Raina’s batting form, MSD’s captaincy, Balaji’s accuracy, Jakati’s wicket taking ability especially in IPL 2 are some of the standout Indian performers. Chennai’s bowling was struggling in IPL 3. But as soon as Bollinger came back, he started destroying the opponents with his fantastic bowling.

Many have said that this is all because MSD’s luck is very good. Many have pointed out about CSK’s inconsistency in IPLs though they still managed to reach semifinals of all. Many have questioned MSD’s decision of making Ashwin bowl the final over against Victoria. And there are also a large number who have questioned MSD’s ability to bat at the death. But then critics won’t be critics if they question right? If they see and start analysing statistics, then they surely won’t be called critics?

Many a time, against Kings XI Punjab at Dharamshala in IPL 3 when CSK was battling for survival, against Mumbai Indians in the finals of IPL 3 when Pollard went on a rampage, against Warriors in the final of the Champions League T20 when Davey Jacobs was on fire, CSK has been in the dumps, but they have always had the knack of coming back from such situations. Some may call it luck while others may say it was their determination to win which made that happen. That’s what champion sides are made up of, isn’t it? Even Ashwin showed what he’s made of after coming back from his 23 run super over thrashing against Victoria to down Warriors and send out Victoria from the Champions League.

CSK have shown everyone that an IPL team also has it in them to win the Champions League. And NO, they aren’t a team of mercenaries! Its time to celebrate their position as the best club team in the world!


PS – Though the team will change this year, their legacy will always live despite the fact whoever criticises Dhoni or any other players for their exploits for CSK or for India for that matter!

Movie Review – Dabangg

The fight between the good and the bad!

Loads of action!

Mother – son and half – brother and step – father relationships!

Songs every few minutes in the narrative!

The story starting with the hero as a kid and in matter of few minutes becoming more than 21 yrs old!

Dabangg has all this more and more packed in its running time of over 2 hours and 15 minutes. It for sure is been there, seen that kind of stuff. But then for Salman fans, its a treat to watch nonetheless.

Dabangg set in Uttar Pradesh is the story of Chulbul Pandey (Salman Khan) who is a totally fearless police officer whose literally like a one – man army. But his unorthdox working methods such as taking money from dacoits who loot a bank to give to his own police offers for bravery make him different. He has had a troubled childhood with problems with his step father (Vinod Khanna) and half brother (Arbaaz Khan). After his mother’s death (Dimple Kapadia) he detaches himself from the family and tackles the local politician Chedi Singh (Sonu Sood) who is trying to get the seat in the assembly by hook or crook. The rest of the movie deals with how he proposes and marries Rajo (Sonakshi Sinha) and tackles Chedi Singh.

The promos gave the feeling that the movie is a masala entertainer with a mix of Matrix, Mission Impossible, Rajnikant and Vijay’s (South actor) stunts thrown in. And if one goes to the hall with such expectations, he / she wont be disappointed.

I personally haven’t ever liked songs from the Sajid – Wajid duo. But this time with Tere Mast Mast Do Nain they have done a pretty decent job. But then they are hummable for a certain period of time after the movie gets done (maybe 2-3 days). But sadly not so after that. The Munni Badnam track with Malaika Arora Khan has gripped the nation like never before. It is one for the hoi polloi for sure.

Arbaaz Khan was at his usual wooden best. His role as the side kick was apt for him ;). Vinod Khanna and Dimple Kapadi for adequate. Mahi Gill as Arbaaz Khan’s love interest had a blink and a miss role. Sonakshi Sinha, Shatrughan Sinha’s daughter is likeable. She has a strong built which is the remnant of her 90+ kg weight not so long ago. Though she doesn’t have much of a role in the movie, she plays her part decently. Sonu Sood as the villain is really good and in many of the action scenes matches Salman at every part.

But the most important and the biggest factor of all is Salman. His Chulbul Pandey / Robin Hood Pandey avatar shows that when it comes to entertaining the masses with Bollywood movies, he is the ultimate boss. The movie carries his stamp all through.

His one dialogue to Chedi Singh sure to be loved by the masses –

“Main Tumhare Andar Itne Ched Karoonga Ki Tumhe Pata Bhi Nahi Chalega Ki Kis Ched Se Saans Le Aur Kis Ched Se Paden”

(I am going to make so many holes in you that you won’t know from which hole to breathe and from which to fart)

Rating – 2/5 (Average)


Virtual Rendezvous – Part III of III

I, Vivek Sen was a famous journalist with the Navyug Times based in Delhi. With the advent of social networks and other social media sites, I had become sufficiently active on Twitter to catch up on any latest piece of news.

During the Mumbai floods, I was assigned to look into Twitter to see what people were talking about. I somehow saw this entire campaign handled by Akshita Rane and two other people. This had to be a front page story for our newspapers.

@akshitarane we would like to know the details of the campaign you ran on Twitter for inviting donations for people affected by the floods

Akshita immediately replied back to official Navyug Times account (@navyug07) on Twitter.

@navyug07 why? What do you want to know?

@akshitarane we want the world to know the power of Twitter and how people are utilizing it..We have mailed you the details..Would it be ok?

@navyug07 ok that would be great

After a face – to – face discussion with Akshita, I published a report on the front page of Navyug Times on November 7th 2009.

Akshita Rane creating a sensation on Twitter

She’s young!
She’s hot and happening!
She’s sexy!
She’s as melodious as anyone could be!

Akshita Rane, one of the most popular Bollywood singers of our times already has many awards and songs to her credit. Now she’s creating a sensation on Twitter like never before.

For the uninitiated, Twitter is one of the most popular social networking sites where one can send status updates of 140 characters. Most of our stars today are using it for branding and marketing themselves. But Akshita seems to have done much more than that.

She has gone ahead and made a sort of ‘friend circle’ on Twitter with a 55 year old woman, Lata Prabhakar, a resident of Bangalore and Ronnie Dsouza, a 22 year student from Hyderabad.

I am sure you readers must be wondering as to how did this happen? To know more, we posed this question to her.

“Twitter is one of the most amazing online communication mediums I have ever used. Initially I was also using it just to brand and market myself. But Lata and Ronnie made me realise that at the end of the day we are also humans. And we just connected. Rest as they say is history.”
Interesting words from a star who at one time had seemed completely unapproachable. The saying “Times and circumstances do change people” holds so true for this situation.

And this is not all, the three of them recently organized a campaign on Twitter to mobilize people to donate willingly for those affected by the Mumbai floods. Contacting over 1,50,000 people to get donations worth Rs 40 lacs doesn’t seem to be a mean achievement any day.

Only time will tell as to how long this human side of Akshita Rane would stay in the public domain. What do you think of this? Do write to us @

Akshita immediately tweeted about the article to both Lata and Ronnie.

@lata55 @dummyknights guys! Did you check out the front page of navyug times today?

It was Sunday, November 8th, 2009 and Lata was really busy as she had to go out shopping to the nearby mall for household items. But Ronnie replied immediately.

@akshitarane yeah 🙂 interesting article..we are becoming famous because of you for sure..

@dummyknights hahaha..that was a good one..

Later in the evening, Akshita got to know of a bomb blast in a mall in Bangalore which killed 150 people and injured many. Fearing the worst, she dialled all the helplines possible and finally did get to know the TRUTH.

After hearing the news, she didn’t know what to do and whom to talk to. Finally she ended up sending a tweet to Ronnie.

@dummyknights it feels as if I have lost a part of myself..It feels as if I knew her forever and ever..I am shocked 

@akshitarane the way we connected on twitter it didn’t seem that we never knew each other..

@dummyknights i miss her as much as I would anyone in the real world..You guys made the human come out of the star in me..

@akshitarane I wish we could do something for her to honour her memory..

@dummyknights what do you think of organizing a concert in the memory of the victims of the terror attack?

@akshitarane don’t you think that would be monetizing the whole situation?

@dummyknights no! no! The money generated would go to the victims’ families and those affected in any way

After Ronnie’s initial reservations, he was ready to help in organizing the concert and mobilizing opinion among the people via Twitter.

@akshitarane then I am all for it..We can make people aware of this via twitter..What say?

@dummyknights yeah that would be amazing..let’s get going..

Mobilizing opinion among people on Twitter to honour the victims of the terror attack and also the Bollywood industry was a really tough proposition. There were questions ranging from the need of doing this to the financial proposition of this initiative.

Finally on 1st December 2009, the biggest music concert in India was organized at Bangalore in the memory of the victims of terror attack. Akshita managed a coup by inviting the who’s who of the industry.

50,000 people with more than 50 lacs generated through this initiative – the concert was able to reach legendary status.

Akshita and Ronnie were shocked out of their daylights seeing a tweet from @lata55 the next day at 10:22pm.

“The death of someone we know always reminds us that we are still alive – perhaps for some purpose.”

Virtual Rendezvous – Part II of III

Over the next few weeks and months she herself made it a point to respond to @dummyknights. From the id, she could understand that this person was a blogger, novelist, music geek and also a twitter addict with over 15,000 tweets and more than 7,000 followers.

The fact that @dummyknights’s tweets didn’t sound as if he / she is worshipping her like a star made her even more curious to find about him / her. She realised that this was one person she could be more as a human being to rather than being a celebrity.

@dummyknights great to hear your honest comments on my recent album..I see that you are an upcoming composer…that’s awesome 🙂

@akshitarane Not really a composer ;)..More of a music freak who loves creating and learning new sound pieces..

@akshitarane loved your songs for last yrs movies..But this year not been very happy..Hoping 2 hear some good stuff soon..Expectations mounting..

With time, Akshita realised that this was a 22 year old guy and knowing the work he was doing at such an age made her hold him in awe. She also began to share information about her upcoming projects with @dummyknights. Though she never got to know his / her name, she felt like some bond of friendship developing with this person.

@dummyknights sorry to disappoint fans like u ..lot of plans 4 the future..Biggest project is theme song 4 the upcoming world sports games

@akshitarane waiting 2 hear your upcoming tracks..Oh my God! You the voice behind the theme song? Am sure, it’s gonna be cool 

However weird or surprising it may sound, she started connecting with @dummyknights like a real friend does, though this happened at a virtual level.

@dummyknights by the way, would love to listen to some of your sound pieces..

@akshitarane great  you can check them out on my personal blog..

Many of the Bollywood websites used to organize “Meet Akshita Rane” contests which were also endorsed and supported by her. Winners of one such contest were @lata55 and @dummyknights.

@lata55 @dummyknights Congrats! You are the lucky winners of “Meet Akshita Rane” contest. You are required 2 reach Mumbai by 14th March 2009

Lata was worried that her family won’t allow her to go for the trip as they had already started saying that she said more things online than in real life. It had seemed as if Twitter had come into her life and become everything to her. So she immediately replied to Akshita.

@akshitarane it feels great to be a winner ..I wanted to know the entire details regarding the trip

@lata55 the details have been mailed to you on your email id

After lengthy discussions, arguments and fights, Lata finally managed to convince her family about her decision to go to Mumbai.

While in @dummyknights case, the biggest confusion was where he was located as he had never revealed his location at all. Whether this was on purpose or coincidental was something which no one knew.

@dummyknights could you please tell us your location so that we can arrange the entire travel plans for you?

@akshitarane thanks a lot. I live in Hyderabad..Looking forward to the meetup

The entire trip to Mumbai and back was amazing and fantastic to say the least. Akshita finally found out the name behind @dummyknights – Ronnie Dsouza. Talking with him was such an easy task for her. Even though they hadn’t ever met before, connecting with each other through Twitter meant Akshita and Ronnie didn’t meet like strangers.

Akshita always thought that her songs were mostly for the young. Seeing, Lata, destroyed some of her perceptions. She was thrilled to see a fan of her mother’s age.

“So you are the @dummyknights huh! It’s an honour to meet your sir.” It was weird to hear a star speaking like that.

“Hahaha! Honour to meet me? You must be joking.” Ronnie dismissed Akshita’s comment with a whiff.

“It’s been really amazing to find a fan who criticises you too equally as much as he praises you.” Akshita hadn’t met many fans who were critical of her.

“I guess that’s why we bonded on Twitter. Didn’t we?” Ronnie replied with a smile.

“Yes for sure.”

“Aunty, it’s so nice to see a person of your age at such an event. I am really happy to know that people of your age like my songs too.” Akshita wasn’t used to meeting the senior age group as her fans.

“I love all your songs. Zindagi Ankahee and Anjaana from your recent album – Khuda Yeh Hai Zindagi are tremendous.” Lata was a big fan of Akshita.

“Hey even I love those songs. They are so easy on the ears. Akshita, it seriously shows your versatility.” Ronnie joined the discussion.

“Thanks so much guys.” Akshita was overwhelmed by the praise.

“Ronnie, you seem like a very interesting personality from what I have seen of your twitter profile through Akshita’s twitter feed.” Lata wanted to know more about Ronnie.

“That’s really nice of you. Knowing your age, one wouldn’t think you would like such songs. You should check out some of my tunes on my twitter id @dummyknights.”

“That’s an interesting name. I sure will”.

A 55 year old mother and a 20 something meeting up a celebrity through a contest organized on Twitter would have seemed totally unthinkable a couple of years back. But due to the reach of the online world, it became a reality. And above all they were bonding like friends.

After going back, the three of them remained in constant touch over Twitter. It seemed like some sort of friendship had started to develop between the three of them – maybe very unlike in the real world but so much possible in the virtual one.

On September 22nd 2009, Mumbai faced its biggest ever flood with more than 500mm of rain in a single day. This crippled the entire city with the closure of schools, colleges, ways and means of transport and also led to a lot of loss of lives and damage to property. People were using Twitter to disseminate information about the areas which were flooded. Many others who were stuck up around the city were using it to ask for help to be rescued. News channels and journalists from all around the country were in Mumbai.

Lata and Ronnie with the help of Akshita’s star power and list of followers decided to spearhead a campaign for the Mumbai floods. They started mobilizing opinion across Twitter to encourage people to willingly donate for the flood victims.

In the first one week, more than 50,000 people were contacted through this campaign. By the end of it, more than 1,50,000 had donated a total of more than Rs 40 lacs. The campaign was a legendary success and showed the true power of Twitter. Akshita thanked both of them for their efforts.

@lata55 @dummyknights thanks so much guys for your help..If it was not for you this campaign would have surely failed

Lata and Ronnie replied back with the same enthusiasm.

@akshitarane kudos to you for thinking of this idea..We have loved to be a part and it has brought all of us much closer

Virtual Rendezvous – Part I of III

“Mom! I want the breakfast on the table right now. I am hungry and have to go for work. Where are you?”

“Son, you have done a huge mistake by teaching your mom as to how to use Twitter. She seems stuck on that all day and night. It seems as though her world has turned completely virtual.”

It was January 2008 and since the last couple of months, Lata didn’t have anything much to do after retirement other than sit at her house in Bangalore. This made her ask her son to teach her the way to use Twitter. Twitter had grown into a phenomenon of mammoth proportions over the last couple of months to connect people across various geographies and demographics.

But since the time she learnt she was always on Twitter all day long. This irritated her husband and son no end.

“Sorry. The breakfast is ready. I will get it from the kitchen right now.” Lata had to hurry before both of them took the house on their head.
“Why are you stuck up on Twitter all day long? For your information, we exist in real life and not in the virtual world.” Her husband was annoyed.

“Twitter is an amazing tool. You should use it to know how much it can help.” Lata had a fantastic response to give anyone who didn’t trust Twitter’s ability to connect people.

Twitter seemed like a world of tremendous possibilities for Lata. Followers, Following, Retweets, Tweets – everything initially seemed like Greek and Latin to her. For the first few months, the only thing she just did was creating an id @lata55 and tweet a few lines about her daily activities. She also learnt that to reply to someone on Twitter one had to put a @ sign before their name. Following celebrities was the first thing she did.

The best part about Twitter for celebrities was that it brought their audience even closer to them than ever before. She was so happy to find her favourite singer, Akshita Rane on Twitter and immediately followed her.

Initially, she always used to wonder as to what to tweet. And when she did tweet, one of the biggest problems was in limiting them to 140 characters.
With time though, she started connecting with various people across India and the world. Young students, marketers, trying-to-be celebrities, sportsmen, women of her age – everyone; it seemed like as though she had found a calling in developing a virtual life. And it was seriously interesting. Whether she wanted to know a particular news story as it was happening, or get the latest titbits on what is the upcoming movie of a celebrity, it was all available on Twitter.

She had tried many a time to tweet to Akshita Rane about her love for her songs and also even requested Akshita to send a reply. But none of those tweets elicited a response from the singer. Then one find day –

@lata55 great to know that my songs are being loved there too 🙂

Lata’s tweet about people in Bangalore loving Akshita’s recent album finally made the singer reply back. This made Lata jump with joy as if she had got the biggest reward of her career. She went around telling all her relatives that THE Akshita Rane had replied to her on Twitter.

Akshita Rane was one of the most famous singers of Bollywood industry happily settled in Mumbai. She was young, vivacious and her songs had created a sensation amongst the youngsters. Her demand was so much in the industry that she had projects lined up till 2008.

Off – late she had also joined the Twitter bandwagon like other celebrities to connect to her followers and also publicise her projects, get feedback from the audience on her songs and also promote and invite people for concerts. She did tweet a bit herself. But in general her twitter presence like many other celebrities was handled by specific PR agents.

More than 50,000 followers and 5,000 tweets later, Akshita was always used to getting positive or neutral reviews about her songs. She hadn’t got many negative reviews. The ones she did get were from accounts which were not too popular as in they had lesser number of tweets and followers.

But suddenly sometime in September 2008, as she was going through her tweets and replies, she was surprised to see a few tweets over the month of August from one id @dummyknights –

@akshitarane sorry to say..Jeena Nahi and Mujhko Meri Neend are awful! Expected much better from u

@akshitarane shocked to see the recent review of your album..Doesn’t deserve 4 stars…would surely give not more than 2

@akshitarane hoping to hear a response from u..Big fan of yours..But not really happy with many of your recent songs

Akshita immediately confronted her PR agents and asked them as to why there was no response to this id. But they had no answer. Seeing many negative reviews from just one id made her think as to what was the problem.

Aisam Qureshi and Rohan Bopanna: Indo – Pak express – Stop War Start Tennis!

Both are 30 years old.

One is from Bangalore, India while the other is from Lahore, Pakistan.

Both are ranked dismally low in singles.

When they were not a doubles pair, they weren’t recognized the way they are now.

“It’s amazing, what they’re doing off the court. They’re promoting world peace, basically. Two warring countries, and they’re playing together. We’re proud of them, everyone is. And they’re doing great things on the court. We think they’re a really tough team, we just barely scraped by them last week. Both really good guys, well-liked by all the players and fans.” — Mike Bryan (Brother of Bob Bryan – Top seed duo in Doubles).

But since the time, Aisam Qureshi and Rohan Bopanna have joined forces together, they have created magic first in the ITF Futures events, then the Challengers and finally now the WTA and ATP events and above all the big ones – The Grand Slams. 2010 especially has been a magical year for both of them – reaching the quarters in Wimbeldon, beating the Bryan brothers at Washington, reaching the finals of the doubles event at New Haven and reaching the finals of US Open where they went down fighting to the Bryan brothers.

Both of them played together for a while in 2008 but then parted ways because they were ranked really low and couldn’t get into tournaments they would have wanted to. But by mid 2009 when their careers had started blossoming, they decide to join forces. The fact that one of them was from India and the other one from Pakistan made their pairing even more interesting to watch out for.

Both of them have been asked numerous times about what people back in their country think about their pairing considering the tensions between the two nations. Their reply has always been summed up with the slogan they stand by – STOP WAR! START TENNIS!

They are emerging out to be the true PARTNERS IN PEACE AND TENNIS for two nations separated by continuing enmity and decades of war !

Placing bets or fixing really ingrained in Pakistani cricket?

I read a recent article written by Osman Samiuddin about the entire fixing controversy and believe me guys, probably that’s the only article giving a balanced view of the entire fixing saga.

Pakistani cricket started to include players from across the nation rather than Lahore and Karachi properly after the 1978-79 series which they won against India. That win was probably a harbinger of sorts for change to be brought in Pakistani cricket. It was a sign of democracy in Pakistani cricket and has since then remained in whatever form. Asif, Aamir and Salman Butt – three of those implicated in this scandal are a sign of the democratisation of Pakistani cricket. They are from Sheikupura, Gujjar Khan and Lahore respectively.

Recently News of the World conducted a sting operation where wads of currency notes were found in Salman Butt’s room and he along with the two others have been accused of spot fixing that is fixing certain parts of the match – like Asif, Aamir bowling no – balls in the Lord’s test etc. With time there have been other revelations like Kamran Akamal being involved, Yasir Hameed being asked to throw matches and his allegation that every Pakistani player fixes matches and also off late a Sri Lankan player being involved too. Then after this the Australians and the Bangladeshi players came out in the open of advances by suspicious individuals over the last couple of years.

It’s plain and simple. Cricket is facing its biggest crisis after the Hansie Cronje scandal, 10 years back. I have discussed certain facts below which everyone won’t discuss and instead just blame the cricketers –

1. For Pakistani cricketers who are coming from villages and other poor parts of the country, the excessive riches offered by the IPL and also a fancy lifestyle, extravagant cars, girls everything is like a heaven of sorts. Aamir could have become a casualty of such a scenario too. Our Indian players though also have started to come for villages and small towns have got the advantage of endorsements, educated careers or previous jobs which may not exactly be the case with Pakistanis

2. According to Geoff Lawson, former coach of Pakistan, the problem of terrorism has reached the cricketing world in Pakistan. Many players have been threatened by the so – called individuals for such purposes.

3. Like in India, in Pakistan stardom, heroic status, idol worship is rampant. And this is one more reason which has made cricketers like Asif and Aamir take the leap. They are regarded as heroes in a nation bereft of many not only in cricket but also in other fields too.

But then this scandal could have damaging effects across the cricketing world forever. The fact that these cricketers have come from poor and uneducated backgrounds shouldn’t be a criteria to treat them leniently.

1. People who watch the game as well as lovers of the game – be it the players, officials, general audience everyone has been shocked beyond disbelief at listening to Aamir and Asif being involved in fixing. The way these two combined to rip apart Australia and England many a time this summer now becomes a complete joke and it seems like the normal public has been taken for a ride.

2. Pakistani players may not be that rich but their pay cheque – 250,000 rupees (£1,900), 175,000 rupees and 100,000 rupees per month in the three grades of the PCB’s central contracts is not peanuts. Add on match fees – roughly the same again as the monthly retainer – and on‑tour fees, board and personal endorsements, salaries from their first-class sides (which are run by organisations such as banks, airlines and power companies, offering the option of a stable, secure job after retirement), deals with counties and league clubs and now Twenty20 domestic sides, and most elite players really are kings of this land.

And now from this you would regard them as the kings of the country. Not all may get endorsed or get salaries from first class sides, but then 1,00,000 rupees for the lowest contract by PCB is not bad at all for a land where more than 70% are below poverty line.

3. The fact that the captain of the team, Salman Butt who is somewhat of an odd one out in this team by virtue of being sufficiently well educated and having a good background is involved in this scandal is even more shocking and saddening.

4. Placing bets and gambling especially in cricket in the subcontinent particularly India and Pakistan is a ground where people can make a killing of money. There are people who don’t work and only earn money by doing this.

5. This sometimes make me wonder something which my parents told “Are you going to forget your ideals when you see the money?” Dangerously and sadly today’s cricketers are moving towards that level and that too really fast.

Today, confidence in cricket is at rock bottom. There are thousands of questions and hundreds of people to blame including PCB for pushing this matter under the carpet and ICC for not removing corruption from the game in a proper manner. Questions remain as to

– Who all are involved?
– Did they really fix matches?
– Since when have they been fixing games?
Can it be stopped ever?

Can confidence be brought back into world cricket or for that matter Pakistani cricket? I can just hope and pray so for that to happen!

The Goa Trip – Journey to become the 2nd best in the country in Social Media!

Goa Institute of Management (GIM) organized the first ever of its kind entire 2 – day event on Social Media and Business on 28th and 29th August 2010 at the ITC Fortune Regina, Candolim, Goa. Events of this kind have been organized for corporates time and over again across the country while institutes like IIMs etc. have organized social media events as part of various conferences. But none of these educational institutes have ever organized a full fledged summit on Social Media. In that sense this was really a first of its kind event.

145 entries from IIMs, SP Jain, IMT, MICA, SCMHRD, SIBM Pune and many other top institutes with finally top 5 shortlisted to present at the event – there was intense competition for the battle to be the best in the social media arena. MICA, SIES Mumbai, IIM K, IIFT Kolkata and SIBM Pune were the top 5 finalists. We reached on the day of the event after a 9 hour bus journey in a Neeta Mercedes AC coach which wasn’t comfortable by any standards. The AC wasn’t functioning for most part of the journey and sleeping on the seat wasn’t a very comfortable experience other. But nonetheless we reached on the morning of the event.

The old GIM campus is located next to the Mandovi river at a place called Ribandar. They would be moving to the new campus at Sanquelim pretty soon. The old campus was a hospital built in 1963 before it got converted to a management college. But many of the indications that it was a hospital still remain in the names and even in the designs of the buildings. One of the boys hostels is called the Operation Theater while one of the girls hostels is the Morgue ;). After freshening up, we finally left for ITC Fortune Regina which is a 4 star hotel situated at Candolim, an hours drive from the institute.

The sessions on the first day included talks by Gaurav Mishra (Former CEO of 2020Social), Rajesh Lalwani (CEO of Blogworks), Deepak Gopalkrishnan (Windchimes Communications), Karthik Subramaniam (Hindu Newspaper), Karthik Nagarajan (Head, Online Marketing Division, AC Nielsen) to name a few. Interesting topics like emergence of new business models in social media, traditional media vs social media and transformation from brick to click were discussed on the first day. Other than the speakers and the talks, the best part was the food and the splendid hospitality accorded by the GIM students. Each team had been assigned a volunteer. Our volunteer Pankaj Arora was one of the most hospitable and caring people I have ever met. He always came to us to ask whether we had eaten, drank water, had coffee and was always ready to help us anytime. The four course meals during lunch and dinner on the
first day and lunch on the second day was out of this world.

Truth be told – I have never seen such fantastic, splendid, tremendous, mind – boggling (Don’t know what adjectives to use) hospitality, organization and food anywhere at any fest I have gone to (FYI – gone for competitions to IIT Guwahati, IIT Roorkee, BITS Goa, BIM Trichy, NIT Surathkal, Bharathidasan University and a company called Honeypot IT Consulting)

The second day was our case study presentation. After preparing for hours on end and also sitting the previous night correcting our mistakes and making sure we had an idea of what the judges would question us on, our presentation was a success. We were disappointed at having missed out on the first spot. But nonetheless, securing the 2nd spot out of 145 entries (we shared it with IIFT Kolkata) which was an achievement in itself and the entire experience of such a conference was fantastic. After the competition there was an interesting session on Financial Implications of Social Media which had interesting speakers like Rajiv Dhingra (CEO of WAT Media), Arun Nair (Online Marketing Head of Infosys) and Arun Nair (Online Marketing Head of Club Mahindra).

Before leaving Goa, we didn’t forget to chill out because that’s what Goa is famous for isn’t it? So the four of us – 2 from SIBM Pune and 1 each from IIFT Kolkata and SIES Mumbai hired a car and set out to roam around the beaches of Panjim. We went to Baga, Calangute, Dona Paula (which turned to be a jetty rather than a beach which we expected) and Miramar. There were also some interesting experiences wherein some pimps followed us and also a guy at Calangute who asked me whether I wanted ‘Charas’, ‘Ganja or girls. I also had an encounter with a transsexual also Calangute.

After getting the necessary ‘things’ like cashew-nuts and ‘more’, while we were waiting for the bus to go back, it started raining like never before – cats, dogs, cows, monkeys, donkeys everything. Guess just before leaving, God wanted us to experience what we hadn’t till then – Goa’s rain!!! Getting into a bus with wet clothes which had AC at full blast was a horrible experience. Very heavy rains, Crazy cold, taking out curtains to use as bedsheets because the blankets were 100 bucks, changing my shirt in the bus – the journey back on the bus was an experience it itself.

All in all it was one of the best trips ever in my short life. The best part was the fact that we enjoyed, had fun, made friends for the first time with our competitors too and also came 2nd. All thanks to Ankita Gupta, Pankaj Arora, Vijay Kulkarni, Mohit Sharma and each and everyone else (knew only these names that’s why mentioned them ;)) who was involved with the organizing of Samriddhi 2010. You guys rocked. Your hospitality, help, organization, speakers, the venue, food everything was tremendous.


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