Transition of Thoughts

Weaving thoughts into words

Month: December 2010

Rewind 2010: A brilliant year for Indian sports!

Indian sports has long been dominated by cricket all the time. Though it was an important factor in considering India’s performance in sports this year, it wasn’t the only sport where we excelled. Saina Nehwal at badminton, India’s performance at the Asian Games and the Commonwealth Games and also some good stuff from the hockey team ensured one of the best years for Indian sports in a long time.

Saina Nehwal is not very muscular. Neither does she have the backing of any godfather. Nor has she won tournaments by fluke. This 20 yr old sensation has made such giant strides this year in a sport which the Chinese have traditionally excelled in that even the Chinese seem shocked seeing her. With her sharp returns, excellent focus and concentration and nimble – footed movements on court, she has thrashed opponents left, right and center reaching the number 2 ranking.

Have you ever heard of Ashish Kumar, Krishna Poonia, Virdhawal Khade? These were some of the relatively unknown faces who made us proud by winning medals in sports as diverse as athletics, wrestling, boxing, swimming, gymnastics to name a few. The first reaction to this was “I didn’t know we had gymnasts, let alone take part in the Commonwealth Games!” Meanwhile our archers, shooters and wrestlers had a year to remember winning medals across the Asian and Commonwealth Games along with winning medals at other championships. The fact that we managed to come 2nd on the CWG medals tally and achieve our best performance at the Asian Games was something none of us must’ve even imagined. The most interesting part of the whole event was that half of the medallists were from Haryana – a state which has given special importance to promoting sports from the grassroots level. A Lakshmi Mittal supported Champions Trust has also been set up to support and nurture the best athletes of the country.

Somdev Varman came into his own by winning us the Davis Cup clash with Brazil and also winning medals at the CWG and Asian Games. A tennis star and that too in singles seemed to have risen from nowhere!

The Indian Hockey Team jointly won the Azlan Shah Cup as well as came 3rd in the Commonwealth Games. The fact that this was achieved when the public expectations were low after their 8th place finish in the WC held in India was a miracle in itself. Though one should give credit to them where its due. During the matches against Pakistan throughout the year as well as against England in CWG, India played some of the most fantastic hockey seen in a long time supported by a partisan crowd at the Dhyan Chand stadium in Delhi.

There were also other achievers like Mary Kom – The boxing queen of the world who won her 5th consecutive boxing championship. As in her words “She was born to do only one thing – BOXING!”

Obviously a lot more can be done to improve sports and the infrastructure at the basic level. But Haryana has shown the way to the other states. Will they follow? Do we care about the other sports even now after the Asian Games and CWG have ended? These are some of the basic questions which need to be answered!

Before you guys kill me! Obviously an important development was India’s no 1 test ranking in cricket which prompted our BCCI to schedule more test matches than what India normally plays. Dhoni equalled Azhar’s record of India’s 2nd most successful captain.


The “Indian Express” – Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi coming together for the Australian Open 2011! Now can there be anything better than this?

Rewind 2010: Top 10 disasters of the year in India!

Another of my Trakin posts –

2010 has had its own share of disasters. Despite the fact that we have advanced so much in preventing and predicting disasters, it is something we haven’t been able to stop happening. From political to technical to even natural disasters, there was a lot which brought a lot of misery to people.

There were also certain disasters which benefited a lot of people, like Reliance’s failed acquisition of LyondellBasell much to the delight of its competitors 🙂

CWG and its sham

From the entire organization, infrastructure to Lalit Bhanot’s comment “Our hygiene standards are different from the Western ones”, it was a complete disaster for the country. The CWG probably caused more damage to country’s name

The only saving grace was the fantastic performance of our athletes who gave all of us a great reason to smile and be proud of our Indian-ness.

Intense heat wave

The heat wave during the summers this year across the country killed more than 250 people and bringing misery to thousands others. It went on record to become the hottest summer in more than 50 years. Global warming anyone?

RIL’s failed acquisition bid

RIL’s failed bid to acquire LyondellBasell despite upping its bid price to US $ 14.5 billion was one of the biggest M & A disasters of the year

Leh floods

Leh which gets very minimal rainfall throughout the year and as is called a high altitude cold desert for the reason got more than its share of rainfall for a year on a single day – 6th August. More than 200 people were killed due to this

iPhone4 Antenna problems

The Apple iPhone’s antenna was a problem across the world and India was no different. With problems in signals and dropped calls, more and more people started voicing their opinion against Apple.

Nano disaster

From being labelled as the world’s cheapest car priced at Rs 1 lac to having safety issues causing fires, manufacturing defects, its shape / design and also poor financial issues – Nano’s journey had come a full circle and it ended up selling lesser units than Mercedes in November

IX – 812 Crash

Air India express flight IX – 812 coming in from Dubai crashed while landing at the Mangalore Airport on 22nd May 2010. It was one of the worst air disasters in the country since a long period of time. In the weeks after that there were more than 10-15 near misses of air crashes / disasters

Cyclone time

From Giri to Laila to Jal the only thing interesting about these cyclones was their names. Otherwise it was all eerily similar – great loss of lives and property. One step closer to 2012, is it?

Scam year

From CWG to 2G to UP Basmati Rice, it was the year of scams in the country with each and everyone wanting a share of the pie. It seemed as though no day would pass of without us hearing of at least some scam or the other. What a shame!


Last but not the least. The famous CAT test [^] for MBA aspirants which went online last year but had results coming up this year turned out to be such a technical disaster with everyone wondering as to who was running Prometric. From bugs attacking the server [^] to computers losing data, it ended up being such a SHAM!


Sky rocketing onion prices make people cry

Whether it was hoarding, unseasonal rains or onion mafia, the skyrocketing Rs 80/kg onion prices brought tears across the country. But as the year was reaching its conclusion the prices dropped dramatically as the government made a desperate measure of bringing down the prices by stopping exports!

GSLV Launch failure

This one was supposed to India’s heaviest and most advanced communications satellite but instead it exploded within one minute of its launch turning out to be a disaster for India’s space research program. A 2nd continuous failure has put the ISRO on the backfoot!

Did I miss out any? Let us know…

Rewind 2010: Pakistan = Disaster

I am sure many of you must be wondering as to what’s great in equating Pakistan to disaster or for that matter how does one say that in 2010 Pakistan became synonymous with disaster as it has for years been the terrorist hot spot of the world?

Yes – Pakistan is synonymous with everything wrong happening in the world
Yes – Pakistan is the terrorist hot spot of the world
Yes – Pakistan is waging a proxy war with India

But then 2010 was different? With more than 50 suicide attacks killing and injuring thousands, this year has been the bloodiest in a decade. These attacks haven’t been limited to Waziristan or some other god forsaken regions. But instead Islamabad, Karachi, Lahore, Rawalpindi – all the main cities have been targeted with targets ranging from markets to police academies to even the World Food Distribution Program. Pakistan own creation – Lashkar – e – Toiba and Al Qaeda and thousands of other splinter terrorist groups are striking back on the country of their birth for reasons from supporting USA to inaction against India.

But then terrorist attacks haven’t been the only problem? Corruption and Greed as prominent as always has literally RAPED the economy with inflation crossing 20% many times. The FDI has dropped to pathetically low levels. Industries and foreign companies are closing down. Tourists especially to once-beautiful-now-terrorised regions like SWAT have fallen down dramatically.

Whatever was left after the terror attacks and corruption was destroyed by the floods. The biggest flooding in more than 50 years killed and rendered thousands homeless destroying the economy completely. Seeing how the aid provided by the world countries had seen its way to the terror groups, countries didn’t really donate much this time around. Sad for the people :(. But then when your own government doesn’t care a damn and people like Zardari and Kayani are more interested in gaining power, what does one do?

All in all Pakistan took infinite steps backward to disaster in 2010!

Rewind 2010 – The year of Wikileaks!

Julius Assange and his team of hacktivists were somewhat of an unknown quantity at least in most countries of the world before 2010. But the year 2010 turned them into celebrities so much so that Julius was condemned openly by leaders across the world, had threats of arrest and murder and was also finally jailed. Jailed that too for having sex without condoms with two Wikileaks employees (He has been subsequently bailed out). But even while he was jailed, the joke around was that he was arrested not for “sex without condoms“. But instead for raping country after country and leader after leader across the world!

Assange created Wikileaks to show to the world the kind of information which is hid from them by so called democratic governments and the kind of extreme torture perpetrated by dictators. Wikileaks rocked the world and especially the USA when it showed the collateral damage video where the US Marines blatantly shot many media professionals in Iraq suspecting them to be terrorists.

Since then they have released more than 3,00,000 cables covering Afghanistan’s war, Iraq war as well as other documents involving leaders from Hillary Clinton to King Abdul Aziz to even Asif Ali Zardari.

So how does Wikileaks work?

Anyone and everyone can go to the Wikileaks website and submit the documents they have found out. Now these documents could be related to anything and everything. From India planning to start a Cold Start Doctrine against Pakistan after its attack on Parliament to showing magnanimous abuse against Afghanistani people, Wikileaks has shown it all.

After the documents are sent, the hacktivists go through the documents which are authoritative or real. The real ones are then published and the authors names are kept secret and they are also given legal protection for the same.

How does Wikileaks protect itself?

Julius Assange was part of a hacker collective called the International Subversives during his teens and the time there seems to have helped him build the entire system and protect it from hackers and other problems. This is why he has its servers in multiple continents and information passes through countries like Belgium, Sweden, Iceland to name a few.

The most interesting aspect of Wikileaks was the time during which Assange was arrested. Hacktivists across the world hacked into site after site from Master Card to Paypal who tried to freeze its accounts. And they also released thousands of cables even after the arrest showing their ability to work despite his arrest.

Wikileaks’s popularity is in part due to the controversy it has generated but more so because of the presence of social networking sites like Twitter, Facebook etc. where it has become such a common conversation that Twitter has barred it from trending.

Wikileaks – A completely stateless whistleblower organization! Is this the future of media and journalism? Your guess is as good as mine!!!

My first interview for iLikeTimes – A Pune based tabloid

Top 10 Indian News-Makers of 2010!

This is the first post from among my 80 blog posts at Trakin I am uploading here! And that’s because this post captures the essence of India in 2010!!!

2011 is right around the corner – all of us become nostalgic about the entire year and what all we did. For some it’s the time to reflect on what good / bad or useful / wasteful work they did while for others it is the time to enjoy the New Year holidays.

And for me it was about penning down the 10 most important news items / happenings in India. Mind you, this is my list of 10 most important Newsmakers and probably readers may differ from it.

Commonwealth Games

From Kalmadi to Shiela Dixit to Emaar MGF, everyone was in the news for the biggest sporting event in India in more than 25 years. If you are wondering what about the athletes, sadly they weren’t anywhere in the news until the events happened and after that.

From Ashish Kumar in Gymnastics to Krishna Poonia in discus throw our athletes shined like [^] never before with a 2nd place finish. After all the controversies related to the poor organization, disastrous management and corruption, India managed to pull of the games much to the admiration of everyone around
2G Scam

A Raja

A. Raja wins the title of the scam creator of the year hands down. Reams and reams have been written about it. By giving licences to newer telecom companies like Uninor, Etisalat, S–Tel and many more at very low prices, he managed to create the biggest scam of the year (Note: The 2G scam is currently under investigation and A Raja remains not-guilty till allegations are proved ).

Nira Radia Ki Kahani

From Barkha Dutt to Vir Sanghvi – many well known faces were implicated in a scandal which finally proved what the media really does in today’s world – LOBBYING! It brought the true face of the media finally onto the national [^] consciousness – that of working with famous corporate lobbyists like Nira Radia to decide positions in the government.

Interestingly, Radia works for Ambanis and Tata’s. The Tata’s image as a value driven organization has been tainted in recent days. This story is becoming really interesting now!

Saina replaces Sania

Sania Mirza thankfully got married to Shoaib Malik after a lot of nonsense controversies regarding Malik’s previous wife. And I say thankfully because anyway she wasn’t really doing great on the court so it was better that she moved on to the court of marriage.

Saina Nehwal with her amazing brand of smashes and strokes swept aside Sania and others as the emerging star of Indian sport. In a sport like badminton which is dominated by the Chinese, she showed amazing grit to win the Gold in CWG and also reach the world no 2 position. It’s only a matter of time before she reaches the 1st position

Recession? What’s that?

India seems to have come out of the recession in a fantastic manner. With FII inflows crossing record levels, the stocks rising till 20k and the economy growing at around 8.5%, who would say that we ever had something called recession?

In a recent report, India has been survey to be one of the top 5 best places on the planet for jobs in 2011. Now that is something to look forward to

Indian Telecom Sector

Who would think that brands like Micromax, Karbonn, Spice etc would become famous some day? But that’s what’s happened this year. With Nokia losing around 15-20% market share this year due to its poor attempt at getting a smart phone, many Indian brands have gone ahead and made a name for them.

With new features like insect repellents for rural areas, smart phones starting at Rs 3000 and many other new things, the Indian brands have managed to get a market share of around 10-15%.

The 3G services and MNP service were finally launched this year after a number of delays

Logjam in parliament

More than 114 hours in the first 11 days of the winter session were lost in the parliament due to a wide variety of issues from the scam tainted environment to the indecisiveness of the government. This could be the largest loss of time in history. But I am not surprised, are you?

Not a “Nano” disaster

Nano was billed as the cheapest car in the world at Rs 1 lac. First there was the farmers and Mamta’s agitation and Singur which made Tata’s change its location to Sanand. Then the fires due to manufacturing defects, poor finance, its look as a toy car have caused a disastrous drop in its sales from 9000 units in June to 500 last November. And that is lesser than Mercedes in November.

Indian industry comes off age

It all started with JLR and Land Rover by Tata and then came Ssang Yong by Mahindra and many others. Indian industry seems to have well and truly come on the international map in 2010 with acquisitions and take over’s by the dozen.

There have also been more than 200 IPOs this year probably the largest in the last 5 years or so.

Peepli Live

An interesting satire on the farmer deaths in the country was India’s entry to the Oscars. Doesn’t it make you think of Slumdog Millionare being awarded not because it was a great movie but because of some other reason? (I am sure you know what I mean)

Would love to hear your Newsmakers of the year – Also, did I miss out on any other important event of the year?

Movie Review – Band Bajaa Baraat

Ever thought that this Anushka Sharma and Ranveer Singh starrer could earn more than Rs 15 crores in less than a week? Ever wondered if the Yash Chopra stable could come back after a series of flops? Even I didn’t! But Band Bajaa Baraat is doing such amazing business that everyone in the industry is left shell shocked. So what’s so special about it? I for one never thought of going to the theater to watch it and so sat down to check out its camera print today morning.

Bitoo and Shruti together start a wedding planners business “Shaadi Mubarak” in Delhi. From organizing marriages for a few lacs, they move on to handling crores of Rs. But after a point in time love creeps in and the as usual they break their partnership. They try their hand individually with separate agencies and finally come together when they get their biggest contract.

Though the movie sounds cliche, the best part about it is the treatment and the characterization. The language, style, clothes etc. everything of Delhi is captured fantastically. Around 10 minutes in the movie, you are instantly transported to North India. The story which is based on the concept of wedding planners is something which is unique and for sure I haven’t seen a movie based on this. It will surely appeal to a lot of people because marriages are a very important part of our traditions and the way they are depicted in the movie is what actually happens – so true to life.

The movie is about celebration, fun, rituals, love – everything. So how can one miss out on the songs? From Ainvayi Ainvayi to Aadha Ishq to Tarkeebein, all the songs are lovely. If Aadha Ishq by Shreya Ghoshal is melodious, then Ainvayi Ainvayi makes you leave everything and move to the dance floor. In a movie which is devoid of any stars, the music is very important and Band Bajaa Baraat delivers a strong impact on that account!

Last but not the least, how can I forget the actors! This is for Anushka’s best performance because she is simple, independent, doesn’t have too much make up and is not too glamourised. For the first time, her acting takes precedence over anything else and she also has the pressure of carrying a film on her shoulders. But she delivers beautifully. As the guy in the final year of college who doesn’t really have any great goals in life, Ranveer essays his part convincingly. Doesn’t really look that this is his debut movie.

All in all, fantastic songs along with Anushka and Ranveer’s honest performances should surely make this the sleeper hit of 2010!

Rating – 3/5

Indian Government now asks Google for Gmail Encryption!

Indian security agencies have suddenly gone into a tizzy. Over the last couple of years, terror attacks as well as terrorist threats have multiplied manifold across the nation. Internet has become de-facto mode of communication for most of these terrorist organizations. In a bid to track this communication, security agencies are trying to tap every internet channel.

They are now directly going after these websites / service providers which could be prone to being used by terrorists. The first target was RIM’s Blackberry where the data from where information came couldn’t be found out and this proved a security threat. After having a war of words with them, the government has given them a 31st January 2011 deadline to hand . And finally the thousands of Blackberry users in the country heaved a sigh of relief.

In a recent news, security agencies have also threatened to stop the 3G services in India as they are not able to track the conversations happening over 3G

And now the Indian government has trained its eyes on the third most popular email service in the world – Gmail to hand over its encryption keys.

Why the encryption keys cannot be handed over?

Be it Google, Gmail, Blackberry or any other site, encryption keys are used by sites to protect the users private data. Since these sites have information about people’s demographics, psychographic profile – leaving it out into the open could give rise to a huge number of problems.
What is the problem then?

The government has told Gmail to lower the encryption levels or hand over their keys so that they are able to monitor all the activities taking place.

This is beset with problems

This move by the government shows that our cyber cell is non – existent or completely pathetic. Our intelligence agencies seem to be asking for an easier route or lower encryption rather than improving their ability of decrypting higher levels of encryption.

Today they are banning Blackberry, tomorrow Gmail and day after Yahoo – like [^] this we are encouraging the terrorists of their aim to directly / indirectly affect Indian citizens. The terrorists seem much more technologically advanced than our RAW!

Maybe till the time we are able to decrypt higher levels of encryption, they would have gone on to much more intricate technology!

Guest post by Forum Parikh: Book review – Another Chance

“I love you darling!….. I can’t live without you…. You are the reason my heart beats for you.” Well we all are sick and tired of hearing such cliché and boring filmy lines, aren’t we? Well who would want to read the same old romantic stories which have a predictable ending. But sometime or the other we would always indulge in a light sweet romantic read which would just take you to a world where you can live and flow with it.

Another Chance written by Ahmed Faiyaz took me to that world. It revolves around two main characters who fall in love but due to numerous reasons, they fall in and out of a relationship. If seen in comparison with others, it’s yet another romantic story but is a light read that compels a reader to know what happens next. And that’s what’s important for a story, isn’t it?

The story revolves around Ruheen Oberoi and Aditya Sharma who fall in true love. Ruheen Oberoi is the grand-daughter of a rich and protective Nana-ji . She is a person with modern views and always happens to make wrong choices regarding her soul-mate. Whereas Aditya is a strong career oriented person who would want to go to any extent to have a stable life for himself and his love. Both of them meet each other in college but destiny had separated them to reunite again after a gap when Ruheen tries to escape from her abusive and immature husband. Now that’s a movie story, isn’t it? I can hear someone say HUM TUM though obviously there the husband dies. But then the stylish narrative is what makes it different. It’s a story about two people who could go mad in love. Ahmed takes the readers to the land where his characters are, and one can feel as if they are in the situation and imagine themselves there.

Ahmed has succeeded in keeping the story simple and sweet, projecting every character with an individual identity and strong presence. It stands true to its word of taking the reader to a romantic world.

There are very few writers who could bring an international touch to their writing. But Ahmed takes his readers on a journey across various countries in Europe and India. And this is what brings a truly international feel to the book. It’s a blend of interesting style with a touch of emotions that would surely make one cry or rejoice.
A good read having interesting characters with a maze of relationships! Recommended!!!

My rating – 3.5/5

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