Random Post #11746

Less than an hour before the start of the Common Wealth Games 2010, Rahul writes about biased media coverage, and the Indian concept of Jugaad. Further read the thoughts of Ms Adlington on the CWG Village, which I must confess even I find hard to believe. Also, as it usually happens, my thoughts are in the comments below the post. Unusually, Rahul and I agree. The MBA must have had some impact!!

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So the Ayodhya verdict is out. While many are happy, and some others not so much, most people agree that the common Indian really doesn’t give a fuck about it. I was about ten when it happened, and almost have no memories of the event. The then sleepy town of Siliguri was mostly peaceful if I remember correctly. And most of India’s youth would have been even younger, and couldn’t care less. I guess.

Personally I feel that the output of the civil case is nothing to write home about (except the preludes to the judgement, they are awesomely written – read them here), I would be more interested in the criminal case linked to the event.

However, some have said that the decisions do not satisfy them. To those, sane people who are dissatisfied by the decision, I ask – are you folks unsatisfied about the civil outcome, or are you dissatisfied that the criminal case has not yet been decided upon?

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I have kind of recovered from Conjunctivitis, which is an irritating disease, both metaphorically and literally.

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The post number was generated by using the RAND function in Excel, which means only one thing – I am clearly spending unhealthy amounts of time with the application.

Convert Number to Words in Indian Currency

It would be an understatement to say that I totally adore MS Office, Excel in particular. It simplifies my life at office, and VBA Macros are a huge blessing!

I was looking to convert numbers to words in the Indian currency system and the first hit I got was this particular link from MS Office Support (now you know why I love MS Office!). However, this is suited more to the western number system, and I had to modify it a little to get it to work for me.

You can download the add-in from this link –> SpellNumber.

To install (in Excel 2003):

  1. Save the xla file in the folder below: C:\Documents and Settings\Your User Name\Application Data\Microsoft\AddIns
  2. Start Excel -> Open a new file
  3. Go to Tools->Add-Ins->Browse
  4. Select SpellNumber.xla and hit Ok
  5. In the Add-Ins available dialog box, select (tick checkbox) the Spellnumber Add-In
  6. For using: In the cell, use the command =SpellNumber(cell reference)

Do let me know if this helpful!

PS: Updated to remove a major bug.

Love at first drive!

It was the best hundred bucks I have spent in Mumbai so far. This morning I had to go to Nariman Point for some work, and while coming back to office, I decided to take a taxi instead of the local. I don’t really know why I did it, but it turned out to be a good decision in the end.

The drive through Marine Drive, with overcast conditions, a gentle breeze blowing in from the sea, and the sight of pigeons flying around, was so soothing that it can’t be explained, just experienced. The driver didn’t talk, and just stared at the sea, the people, and the birds. Add to that the unusually low and silent traffic, and it was just, well, perfect.

Had it been any other time, it would have been a honkathon, but this was different. It was peaceful, and as I passed through those dilapidated houses that belonged to the Dinsah’s and the Wadia’s, I could not help but compare it to Chandini Chowk. If the true heart of Delhi is located in Chandini Chowk, it had to be this place for Amchi Mumbai.

All I want to do now is walk down this place early in the morning while watching the sunrise. Bliss!

PS: Considering that I live close to the mountains and awesome drives have been a part of my staple diet, you can just imagine how awesome it must have been for me to write about it.

Soccer in Sun and Shadow: Mini Review

You can’t write enough about a book that begins with, “We lost, we won, Either way we had fun.

In the book, Eduardo Galeano takes you through a brief history of football (soccer to him) through the last century, inter woven with a lot of social commentary. You get goosebumps reading his description of certain goals, matches, and individuals. Though not as intricate in social details as CLR James in Beyond the Boundary, you can clearly see the viewpoint of a South American in a game that was then managed by the Europeans.

To choose a few highlights from the book would be a travesty, given that every short note (the maximum length of a chapter is three pages) is a masterpiece in itself. You would have read authors describe players, plays, matches, or rivalries, but have you ever read an ode to the stadium? Read what Galeano has to say of it when a goal is scored.

“… the stadium forgets that its made of concrete and breaks free from the earth and flies through the air.

There is nothing more mute than the stands bereft of people.

At Wembley, shouts from the ’66 World Cup which England won still resound, and if you listen very closely you can hear groans from 1953 when England fell to the Hungarians. …… The Stadium of King Fahad in Saudi Arabia has marble and gold boxes and carpeted stands, bit it has no memory or much of anything to say.”

Or what he says of idols.

“Sometimes the idol doesn’t fall all at once. And sometimes when he breaks, people devour the pieces.”

And of course, he writes the most (for a player) about Maradona, who he felt has not been fully understood and punished too often for speaking out his mind.

“Maradona charged a high price, and paid one as well. He charged for his legs – and paid with his soul.

Diego Armando Maradona never used stimulants before matches to stretch the limits of his body. It was true he was into cocaine, but only at sad parties where he wanted to forget or be forgotten because he was cornered by glory and couldn’t live without the fame that wouldn’t allow him to live. He played better than anyone else in spite of cocaine, not because of it.”

If there is only one soccer book you will ever read, let this one be it!

Sports writing

American History X remains one of my all time favorites. And there is a line in the movie which I really love.

Derek says it’s always good to end a paper with a quote. He says someone else has already said it best. So if you can’t top it, steal from them and go out strong.

Dileep is one of the best sports writer of our times (and you guys might want to look up Aakash Chopra as well), and he has followed this rather good piece of advice to the hilt in this tribute to Murali.

Neville Cardus once said of Learie Constantine: “When Constantine plays the whole man plays, not just the professional cricketer part of him. There is nothing in the world for him when he bats, save a ball to be hit — and a boundary to be hit over. When he bowls, the world is three wickets, there to be sent spinning gloriously. Cricket, indeed, is Constantine’s element; to say that he plays cricket, or takes part in it, is to say that a fish goes swimming. Constantine is cricket, West Indian cricket…”

For nearly two decades, Murali was Sri Lanka’s Constantine, the prime factor in his nation wresting respect from a grudging world. There are a few more one-day scalps to claim and Twenty20 batsmen to embarrass. But for now he can put his feet up and contemplate a job that no one could have done better. Top of the world on the field, and a different class off it. Truly one of a kind.

Go read this piece on Murali. And to Murali: You Sir, will be missed!