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Life as I'm learning it

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Location: Plymouth Meeting, Pennsylvania, United States

"It little profits that an idle king, By this still hearth, among these barren crags, Match'd with an agèd wife, I mete and dole Unequal laws unto a savage race, That hoard, and sleep, and feed, and know not me."

Monday, October 31, 2005

Happy Deepavali

I wish everyone a very happy Deepavali. May the festival of lights bring peace, joy and happiness to all. May the lights of this festival dispel darkness everywhere and illumine our intellect.

Happy Deepavali | தீபாவளி நல்வாழத்துக்கள் | शुभ् दीपावली

Sivakasi - a damp squib

Vijay's movies can be classified into three categories: "no good", "absolutely stupid" or "both the above". No actor in the who world - even the whole universe - can surpass him at run-of-the-mill fare. In fact, the term "run-of-the-mill" has become so run-of-the-mill when applied to his movies. This is truly unfortunate because Vijay, despite being a really good actor, has decided that the storyline and performances should necessarily be relegated to oblivion in all his movies.

His latest movie, Sivakasi, releases today with no big expectations - not from me, at least. After all, the story should be "penniless chap - rich heroine, whose father is a villain - or some rowdy - some sentiment, sister, mother, brother, father - penniless chap kills three million baddies - THE END"

Kumaran, who has already seen the movie, confirms my suspicions. His review here is none too enthusing.

Mahendra "King" Dhoni

In the beginning, there was God.
But God chased a wide delivery,
And ended up back in the pavilion.
In came Dhoni... the rest is history!
Showing no mercy...

When Mahendra Singh Dhoni, our man from Jharkhand, walked in, the mood of the Sri Lankans was nothing but jubilant, because they had just removed Sachin Tendulkar. But over the next three hours the rapturous crowd at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium in Jaipur, and all over India, went crazy as Dhoni's coronation was underway, with 10 sixes and 15 fours. His innings of 183, an exhibition of raw power, stunned Sri Lanka, and announced the "advent". For once, an Indian wicket-keeper stumped the opposition with his bat.

A new king is crowned

What a "shot"!

Friday, October 28, 2005

A day in Cherrapunji

Is this Chennai? A city which rejoices if there is cloud cover for 40 minutes was lashed, battered (and at places, bruised) by 40 hours of non-stop torrential downpour. Yes, 40 hours! Of those I know, only Soumyadip should have experienced such rainfall.

Now that the rains have stopped for almost a day, Chennai starts limping back to normal. Some places have been hit badly, but the water has already started receding from many parts.

One really appreciable thing in all this is the swiftness of the city's police force and also the Corporation. I've heard quite a few tales of how the police helped stranded citizens by offering a lift across short distances, and sometimes even to their houses!

Also, the Corporation has swung into action and is trying to mend damaged roads. I myself came across more than a dozen such instances, where Corporation workers were filling up potholes and craters with stones, which would then be flattened by a roadroller. I wonder why our roads are so vulnerable. Why resort to such stopgap fixes, instead of doing it right first time?

Jaggy has put up this excellent photo-feature on his blog.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Saratchandra, on rainy days

Prior to India's independence, Kolkata (Calcutta) should have been India's most forward-looking city. Intellectual affluence, and abundance of literary and artistic talent at the turn of the century in "the second city of the Empire" is evidenced by the saying "What Calcutta does today, the rest of India follows tomorrow."

Perhaps, looking at the negative publicity that the city receives these days, one might be forced to think that the above is a statement made out of empty pride. Certainly not! Kolkata may not be Calcutta, but there is no denying its influence on India. Something I discovered upon reading Parineeta, by Saratchandra Chattopadhyay.

The novel, which has been made into a critically aclaimed movie by Vidhu Vinod Chopra, is set in 1913. It is the tale of how a young girl clings on the idea of marriage even after separating from the man she believes she is wedded to. A simple love story, which Swagato Ganguly (in his introduction) tells us, should not be rejected as run-of-the-mill because this novel was among the initiators of "the romantic novel" in India.

I found the tale especially warm because before picking it up, I had watched a couple of movies of François Truffaut - Jules et Jim, and Le Dernier Métro - both undoubted classics, and both of which explore extra-marital relationships. In direct opposition to this stands Parineeta (which means Espoused) in which the lead character, Lalita, considers herself married to Shekhar Nath, just because the latter garlanded her once.

It is not just the story that lends weight to this adorable novel. Nor is it the characterisation or the vivid narration. Rather it is the backdrop of the tale that makes one come back to it again and again. Saratchandra's Calcutta, just like Pagnol's France or Narayan's Malgudi or Hardy's Wessex is a throwback in time - to an age devoid of modern distractions; in which life was simple even simplistic, and the characters all very good and close to life. The idealized past that we all dream about.

Oh, what can be better than a rainy day, on which you recline comfortably in your favourite chair with a book like this in one hand and a cup of piping hot tea in another!

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

What better news?

If there is any better news than Chennai being lashed by cyclones Rakkayi, Kamatchi and Valliammai (those are the names - equivalent to Rita, Katrina and Wilma - doing the rounds in the SMS circles), then this should be it...

Charlton knock Chelsea out of League Cup

Reuters reports:

Chelsea's season suffered its first serious blemish on Wednesday when London rivals Charlton Athletic knocked the holders out of the English League Cup 5-4 on penalties after a 1-1 draw at Stamford Bridge.

Manchester United and Arsenal are through to the last 16.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

The next blockbuster

After the maha mega giga hit of Chandramukhi, comes Rajnikanth's next movie...

Sivaji... the boss

Rumour has it that the story is about Rajnikanth travelling around the world, in search of his (six other) look-alikes. Seems like he has found a couple of them here.

The Boss, with Shreya (she looks quite skinny, eh?)

Monday, October 24, 2005

A message for Mr. Murthy

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

I can resist everything except temptation!

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

What ails United?

Without saying as much, Sir Alex Ferguson has conceded the 2005-06 Premiership to Chelsea. The fiery Scot has opined that his team are better positioned to win the Champions League than the Premier League. So what is wrong with Manchester United, the most famous club in the world?

As I see it, the problem with United is that their central midfield isn't very potent. Paul Scholes is trying to find form. Roy Keane is playing only on and off. Alan Smith is still learning to fill up Keane's big boots. Fletcher has a lot to do, to impress the Mancunian faithful.

Some seasons ago, Keane would anchor the central midfield, and push the play forward. This meant that they didn't have to rely excessively on their wings to create chances and produce goals. So even if Beckham or Giggs had a bad game, United would win (with a reduced margin).

When United won the league in 2003, Scholes had 18 goals (I think) against his name, that's one in two games. And most of the goals came in games in which Ruud van Nistelrooy wasn't doing well, around Christmas time. I think he even got a hat-trick at Tyneside, and that year, the Toons finished 3rd!

With the drop in form of Keane and Scholes, the pressure shifts to the wings. Ronaldo and Giggsey. Ruud doesn't get the service he used to, hence fewer goals. Even this season, Ruud has to drop back to win balls. Rooney is playing like a LCAM, not unlike Ronaldinho for Barcelona, and not as a proper striker.

The way out? If Keane is moving out in the summer, then some very influential player is needed in the centre of midfield. That's why United are keen on Ballack. In fact, United's class of the 90s is aging now. So, Fergie has to find replacements fast. Park has come in for Giggs. In the next couple of years, we will find him taking the left wing more frequently. I think Fergie will persist with Scholes for some time, but if he doesn't find form, then he will have to go too.

But hang on...

United have another generation of youngsters now. Rooney and Ronaldo, being the most prominent. And then there is Miller, who was brought in as a "future Beckham". Guiseppe Rossi and Gerard Pique who debuted against Sunderland. Not to forget Bardsley, who is in the Neville mould, and Jonathon Spector, the 18 year old American left back - he was very impressive in his few appearances last season. That's seven players under 20!

Which is why SAF is next only to God!

Saturday, October 15, 2005

IIPM's statement?

PressTalk has published a statement which, they claim, has been doing the rounds for the past few hours as IIPM's official statement to the media.

From what I understand, the statement doesn't say much. Except maybe a curt admission that the IIMs are beyond compare, and that IIPM suffers from an irreparable megalomania.

Sun TV clarifies

For an article I had posted about Tamil Murasu, I had received multiple spam comments, which I discovered came from Sun TV's office. Through a friend close to Sun TV, I had mailed them stating that this was an unwarranted and disturbing happening, which was bringing them a lot of negative publicity.

Yesterday, I received a reply from Sun TV. I'm blanking out the email addresses.

Date: Fri 14 Oct 2005 02:19:25 AM EDT
From: sax
To: Vijay Krishna
Subject: [No Subject]

Dear Vijay,

This is in reference to your email to Ms.______. I have forwarded your mail to our IT dept and our Web Dept for necessary action. Their initial response is as follows

We are an ISP (Internet Service Provider) also, and thus there are thousands of general public who are our customers in Chennai, Coimbatore, Hyderbad, Cochin and other places who use our pipe and we have also sublet out pipe to lot of internet Kiosks, so we cannot squarely blame it on one of our employees, and even if we assume it is one of them, it will be difficult to trace it to a single individual, since all our employees have access to common internet terminals in our network offices and there are nearly 7000 employees across our 52 offices spread over India.

Anyway I have to clearly state that SUN NETWORK strongly believes and supports Freedom of Speech, and we regret any inconvenience caused to you by some one who misused our Internet pipe.

In case if you require any further clarification, please feel free to get in touch with me.

Thanking you,


Hansraj Saxena

(Vice President – Programming)
Even when I mailed them, I had assumed that the comments should have come from some individual who didn't like what I wrote in my blog, and that the organisation should not suffer needlessly. The object of my mail therefore was not to complain but to inform. To be honest, I feel Sun TV has acted in fairness in this issue. The fact that they have chosen to respond to my mail, and the courtesy and promptness that they have displayed pleasantly surprises me.

That the mail takes pains to state that their organisation "strongly believes and supports" freedom of expression comes as a joy, in fact a welcome relief, when compared to the cheap behaviour displayed by organisations like IIPM.

I may not like Sun TV's stance on some issues or some of their offerings, but that won't stop me from saying that I'm bowled over by their civility. No doubt, they are South India's number one media house!

Friday, October 14, 2005

All the right moves

Meet the new face of world chess...

Vesselin Topalov is the new FIDE World Chess Champion. He has bested the tournament favourite and world number one, Vishwanathan Anand. Bulgaria's Sofia News Agency contains this who's who on their national toast.

The World Chess Champion Vesselin Topalov was born March 15, 1975 in the Danube city of Rousse.

He joined the local chess club at the age of seven and six years later won the World Under-14 championship in Aguadilja, Puerto Rico. In 1990 he won a silver medal in the World Under-16 Championship in Singapore and became a grandmaster two years later.

He reached the quarterfinals of the FIDE championship tournament once in 2000 at New Delhi. Topalov qualified for the semifinals of the 2004 FIDE championship tournament in Tripoli, Libya, but lost to Rustam Kasimdzhanov.

He began 2005 by climbing to third place on FIDE's world ranking list, then upheld this position by tying for first at the Linares supertournament with Garry Kasparov. Two months later he won the inaugural MTel Masters (2005) event by a full point over Viswanathan Anand. That fall, in a dominating performance, he won the World Chess Championship (2005) in San Luis, Argentina.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

NDTV breaks its silence

NDTV correspondent Alaphia Zoyab had mentioned in her blog that NDTV would carry the story in its 10:30 PM show, Mumbai Live. She then re-posted saying that the show will not feature this issue. However, she has since re-posted again. It seems that NDTV has (un)covered this in its 8 and 9 PM news shows. I missed them both. But here are excerpts from the NDTV.com article.

Full-page advertisements by the Indian Institute of Planning and Management (IIPM) in all national dailies asked students to "dare to dream beyond the IIMs".

If one went by the ads, one could be forgiven for thinking that IIPM is the institute with the best possible infrastructure, faculty, and placements in the country.

It then gives some details about how Gaurav was arm-twisted into resigning. And then it has a few words to say about our war.

But Gaurav' resignation and IIPM's threat of legal action has sparked off a cyber war.

The otherwise unseen world of bloggers in India and across the world began posting their support for Gaurav, arguing that a blog is someone's personal view and suing them makes no sense.

In response, blogs also suddenly appeared in defense of IIPM.

This is a fascinating story, which has not just raised questions about claims made by private educational institutions but also about laws governing internet privacy.
If anyone has recorded the coverage, please pass on a link. Also, Alaphia promises that NDTV is going to do a full feature on blogging! Bravo, no doubt, they are India's number one news channel!

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

The Express carries it, finally!

The Indian Express (Mumbai Edition) has carried an article on the current blogstorm. It is heartening to note that the mainstream media, which has till now acted comfortably numb to the issue, is waking up.

Kaps and I had asked Sudhish Kamath (of The Hindu) why the media was acting deaf-mute to this issue. His response was that his newspaper doesn't react unless one of the parties comes out with a press release. Well, I cannot fault him on that. However, I am surprised that the media in our country works on such dated principles. I wonder what press release The Hindu waited for before covering the recent earthquake or last year's tsunami. Perhaps the media stands testimony to the statement "When confronted with a problem, people don't think; they simply re-adjust their prejudices!"

The Express article states...

With word spreading in the ‘blogosphere’, the incident has now erupted into a major controversy and hundreds of bloggers are standing by Sabnis and espousing their right to freedom of speech

Further it quotes A. Sandeep, the all-India dean of IIPM as saying that he has "no idea about it." On the legal (t)angle, the article seems to side with the institute.

Legally, IIPM is well within its rights in taking the blogger to court, said advocate Vishwas Patel. ‘‘The organisation’s reputation is tarnished by such statements and if it continues to be eroded, it can resort to civil and criminal procedures under defamation laws,’’ he said.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Spare Wikipedia, please!

Ravikiran has issued a call to the blogging community to write "the facts" about IIPM into its Wikipedia page. His idea in doing this is to save all prospective seekers of information, by providing them with the right information.

I appreciate the ends he is striving for (the right to correct information), but I am not in favour of the means of achieving it. My reasons are as follows.

Wikipedia is an encyclopedia; there is a limit to the information it can contain and provide. The current entry contains juicy details about what has transpired over the past few days. To write such things into one's own blog is fine, but to treat Wikipedia as an extension of one's blog is tantamount to sacrilege. Also, the issue is only a few days old, and is still evolving. Given this, it is premature to edit an encyclopedia to contain all this.

Moreover, concentrating on peripheral issues like Wikipedia, moves the focus away from the main issue. It helps to ponder for a moment what we are fighting for, and who. Though our writing might express an anger at IIPM, which we are slighting freely, IIPM is not the central part of the problem. We are not fighting to establish that IIPM is not as good as it claims to be. We are fighting for our right to free speech, and the threats posed to the same, by some elements. Victory for us lies not in maligning the institute, but in establishing the fact that IIPM was wrong in threatening Gaurav and Rashmi the way they did.

Wikipedia is unique, because it is the only example I know of a totally decentralised system (of such a magnitude) that works like a dream, serving as a ready and precise reference for any topic under the sun. Let us not misuse such a clockwork-like system.

Fight splogs. Fight for freedom of expression. But please, please spare Wikipedia.

(And just in case, the posts still are the way they are, you can expect me to mark them for deletion.)

Monday, October 10, 2005

Thank you, Mr. Chaudhuri!

It seems to me that in the affair concerning IIPM and us bloggers, we have been really unfair to the institute and its founder, Mr. Arindam Chaudhuri. We have been maligning them left, right and centre, without understanding the nature of the service that they have rendered to us. And this comes from someone who was extremely critical of them, till realisation dawned on me.

Instead of being uncharitable, we must actually thank Mr. Chaudhuri and his institute (and all those newbie sploggers) for bringing India's bloggers together. Through a series of smart moves, Mr. Chaudhuri is helping engineer a social revolution in India. Who, other than a man of his intellectual ability and vision, can help us realise the great Indian dream?

My heartfelt thanks to you, Mr. Chaudhuri. India's blogging community owes a lot to you!

P.S.: Here is a list of blogs, each of which should immediately post a Thank you message to Mr. Chaudhuri :)
Harini Calamur, Press Talk, Varun's Thoughtful Chaos, Srini, The Arbit Council, DesiPundit, Anshul, Charu, Patrix, Muthuvel, Thalassa Mikra, Jagan, Vatsan, Mridula, Jo, Varna, Amrit Hallan, Ash, Shivam Vij, Swaroop, Jujitsu Mode, Uma, Abi, Toufeeq Hussain, Shub, Ranj, Shivam, Abhishek, Rajan, Havoc, Kaushik, Chandru, Alpha-Q, Mandar, Kaushal, Chenthil, Tony, Bonatellis, Apurv Pandit, Scudie, Press Talk - K, Sriyansa, Miss J, Neha, TablePost.Com

Saturday, October 08, 2005

The Firm v/s Gaurav Sabnis

A few months ago, three hundred students sacrificed admits to Ivy League b-schools like Harvard, Wharton, Kellogg, Chicago and Stanford. Because they had just realised their life's dream and ambition. They were heading to India... to study in the world's numero uno institute. They were all armed with admits to the IIPM. Yeah, that's right. Didn't you hear that India had finally arrived? And all because of one man...
The above could as well be found on the back cover of Arindam Choudhury's next book. The sad part is our folks would buy the argument. But hey, not any longer. India's army of bloggers is ready and raring to go.

With a publicity stunt that includes the punch line "Dare to think beyond the IIMs?", this self-proclaimed "institution" has proved that it is no more than a bunch of goons who cannot handle criticism, by taking on Gaurav Sabnis, in more ways than one. As Rashmi Bansal points out:
A series of 'blogs' (3 created two days ago and 7 created one day ago) have sprouted up, extolling the virtues of studying at IIPM. They are named:

  • IIPM Infrastructure
  • IIPM Rankings
  • IIPM Rankings 'The Real Truth'
  • Great Lecture by Sir Geoffrey Owen at IIPM
  • Placements IIPM
  • Summer Placement in Planman
  • IIPM is ahead of its time
  • IIPM's Publication and Research
  • Real Gaurav Sabnis

The last of these, as can be guessed, claims to be the real thing. However, given the long and time-honoured (read dubious) record of IIPM, such things aren't very surprising, eh? This kind of institutional splogging shows them in very bad light (which they already are in). What kind of institute would they be, and how can anyone entrust their future with these people? Is this part of Mr. Arbit, er... Arindam Choudhury's great Indian dream? A few hundred blogs in praise of his two-bit institute, that cannot stand up to one bit of criticism?

Our support might not count for much. But for whatever it amounts to, let us side with Gaurav... the real one!

And as always, to Hell with splogs!

P.S.: Kaps has put up a list of blogs with similar reactions. I'm (shamelessly) copying that list here. Harini Calamur, Press Talk, Varun's Thoughtful Chaos, Srini, The Arbit Council, DesiPundit, Anshul, Charu, Patrix, Muthuvel, Thalassa Mikra, Jagan, Vatsan, Mridula, Jo

Friday, October 07, 2005

Donuts for you!

Haven't you discovered Orkut yet? The Google-affiliated online community that aims to "connect people through a network of trusted friends". Using Orkut, you can connect to long-lost friends, or simply make new acquaintances who share common interests and backgrounds.

If you need an Orkut invite, post a comment specifying your name and email address (preferably valid). I'll mail you one as soon as possible.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Tag 23

However my music listening is kinda strange.

Why that line? Because I've been tagged by Tarun. This is the Tag 23 meme. And this is what you should do...

1. Delve into your blog archive
2. Find your 23rd post (or closest to)
3. Find the fifth sentence (or closest to)
4. Post the text of the sentence in your blog along with these instructions
5. Tag five people to do the same
I'm tagging Shanky, Selva, Anand, Gokul and Kini.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Udit, stop it!

Indians, in particular, Tamilians are known for their hospitality. The way we adapt with other peoples and cultures in evident from the popularity of many filmstars and politicians. Rajnikanth, KJ Yesudoss, SP Balasubramanian do not hail from Tamil Nadu, and yet are followed fanatically.

In the past few years, Udit Narayan has risen to prominence in Kollywood circles. In fact, every Vidyasagar movie will have at least one song sung by him. Reception for Udit has always been mixed, with one side claiming that he brings a "kick" to the song, and some others who feel that he is murdering the Tamil language. The song "Kaadhal Pisaase" from Run comes to mind, as a case in point. I have always sided with the Udit supporters, until...

I was listening to Radio Mirchi this morning, and the song "Eeshwara, vaanum mannum..." sung by Udit was being played. My friend suggested that I pay close attention to the lyrics. At one place, Udit sings "Periyamma ponnai rasikkalam". That was sacrilege because it means "Let us have fun with our aunt's daughter". The actual line is "Priyamana pennai rasikkalam" ("Let's have fun with those we like"). Such a glaring error, and everyone let it pass. My friend informed me that when the soundtrack of that movie was released, the lyricist Vairamuthu was ambushed by journalists at this outrageous line. Only then did everyone realise that it was caused by Udit's prowess.

This is not an isolated instance of mispronunciation. In fact, this is the rule with most singers from the north. I don't belong to any cultural, moral or language police, but the average person would agree that there is not even a million-to-one chance of an SPB or a KJY (or Susheela, Janaki, Chitra) creating such a mess.

The Larger Picture

This comes at a time when there is a nationwide debate about what's wrong with Chennai. First the dress code in colleges, then Kushboo's comments on pre-marital relationships and then the Park Hotel scandal. The question posed is "Are we being too conservative, old-world and resistant to change?"

It seems to me that Chennai is an India inside India. The way Indians of the north view Chennai isn't much different from the way the Westerners view India - hot, conservative and mired in outdated opinions and traditions.

It can be observed that if people migrate from their place to a different one, they tend to follow the customs and practices of the new place, not forgetting their roots. Indians who have migrated to the West are a good example. Indian Americans celebrate Diwali with lot of pomp and grandeur.

[What is surprising is that, we in India celebrate a lot of American events, though there is no great influx of Americans. We celebrate Valentine's Day, Mother's Day, Great Grandfather's Day etc. of our own accord. In the coming years, India will overtake America in celebrating Halloween and Thanksgiving Day. Pundits of globalisation would remark that this marks the arrival of the global Indian. But if this were true, why are Indian festivals like Pongal (Shankaranti) not celebrated by Americans with the same zeal and fervour that we display on their fad days?]

Chennai isn't a confused city with outdated views. It is, like most others, an evolving city. The selfsame people who raise a hue and cry about moral policing in bars... where were they when Ricky Ponting was thrown out a nightclub in Calcutta during the 1998 series? Does that make Calcutta conservative and old-world?

The fact is each city is different, and has its own ways of life. Chennai's nightlife isn't as pulsating as Bangalore's not because we are short of electricity. It is the way the city is. Those who hold conservative views are considered boring. But the fact is, it is those who wear the tag of liberals who are a boring lot. They want Chennai, Bangalore, Mumbai, Kolkata and every other city to have the same party circuit as New York City and Paris. To them, individual identity is a strict no-no. And a city which tries to guard its identity is mired in contradictions.

If Chennai doesn't want to let go of its traditions, then that must be respected. We need not change our value systems for the worse just to accomodate those whose definition of liberty is to get drunk late in the night in bars without license and run over pedestrians.

Even if you are God...

Yesterday, my uncle and I took a drive as far as Tiruninravur, a small temple town, some 20 kilometres from Chennai. On the way, we were discussing a host of issues. The topic turned to how the three primary Gods of the Hindu pantheon all had divine consorts, and how this was a distinguishing feature of the Hindu religion.

My uncle remarked that an exception was the Lord (Venkateshwara / Srinivasa / Balaji) of Tirumala, the most prominent of all Hindu temples. He remarked that the Lord of the Seven Hills stands alone, repaying his debts. (The Lord is supposed to have taken a loan from Kubera, and is repaying it even today.)

I couldn't help blurting out... "There is a significance to it. Even if you are God, you will be left alone if you are laden with debts!"

Saturday, October 01, 2005

It's here - the $100 PC

Surely I must be joking. But you better trust me, because this one's from MIT. They are launching the prototype in November, and the real thing late next year. Wonder what Mr. Gates feels about this new development, for this is a Linux PC!

Techworld.com reports:

The 500MHz laptop will run a "skinny version" of the open-source Linux operating system. It will have a two-mode screen, so it can be viewed in color and then by pushing a button or activating software switch to a black-and-white display, which can be viewed in bright sunlight at four times normal resolution, according to Negroponte [Nicholas Negroponte is Chairman, MIT Media Labs, which is behind this project]. He estimates the display will cost around $35.

The laptop can be powered either with an AC adapter or via a wind-up crank, which is stored in the housing of the laptop where the hinge is located. The laptops will have a 10 to 1 crank rate, so that a child will crank the handle for one minute to get 10 minutes of power and use. When closed, the hinge forms a handle and the AC cord can function as a carrying strap, according to Negroponte. The laptops will be ruggedized and probably made of rubber, he said. They will have four USB ports, be Wi-Fi- and cell phone enabled and come with 1GB of memory.

The article opines that Brazil, China, and a few other developing countries would form the initial market for this product. Further it quotes Negroponte: "$100 is still too expensive."

Park be thy name

Jairam Ramesh, economist, once pointed out that doing business with South Korea was much easier (than with India) because either you were dealing with a Kim or with a Park! But the one Park who is turning on the heat is actually not in South Korea now. He is in England, and he plays for Manchester United.

Ji-Sung Park inspired Manchester United to a rousing victory at Craven Cottage, playing a pivotal role in each of the three goals they scored this afternoon. Incidentally, today marks the first time this season that the Reds have scored thrice in the Premiership.

First, with a brilliant run into the Fulham penalty box. Tripped. Penalty, which Ruud van Nistelrooy promptly converted. Then a fabulous assist to provide Wayne Rooney. And finally, foxing the goalkeeper to feed RvN, who tapped the ball into an empty net. The lanky Dutchman then turned to applaud Park, as if to say, "Mate, you've made our day!"

Indeed Park, you've made our day. Let's usher in the glory days once again. C'mon ye Reds!