Sunday, October 18, 2009

A Nobel Obama

The last week witnessed a history changing moment. Barack Obama received the Nobel Peace Prize just nine months into his presidency. It is one of those things which has produced some strong opinions, many of them put across in a highly creative manner. So I have decided to put together a post for posterity containing links to the best write-ups on this matter that I have come across.

First up, the greatest blogger in the universe - The Great Bong with Obama in a Superman costume -
http://greatbong.net/2009/10/09/the-obama-lama/

Next we have Suhel Da with the Dummies guide to winning a Nobel -
http://suhelbanerjee.blogspot.com/2009/10/dummies-guide-to-winning-nobel-prize.html . I intend to nominate myself soon after reading this.

Then we have a "Behind the scenes" look at it
http://www.rameshsrivats.net/2009/10/the-nobel-peace-prize-behind-the-scenes.html . Received the link through twitter probably.

Livemint's Salil Tripathi with this Biblical version of Obama's Nobel Prize - The Oracle of Oslo -
http://www.livemint.com/2009/10/14221634/The-Oracle-from-Oslo.html?h=D .

However, before anybody thinks that the entire world hates Obama, let me bring to you, award winning director (and fellow Arsenal Supporter :D) Michael Moore's Views on this subject in two letters:

1)
http://www.michaelmoore.com/words/mikes-letter/congratulations-president-obama-nobel-peace-prize-now-please-earn-it

2)
http://www.michaelmoore.com/words/mikes-letter/get-obamas-back-second-thoughts-michael-moore .


My views on this are that this year's Nobel Peace Prize is a shocking decision which ultimately reflects people getting carried away with the Obama brand.

As Neil Armstrong might have said - One small setback for Man, One giant SLIP by Mankind.

However, who knows - Obama might indeed be a Superman, who flies around the world at night in his red undies, trying his best to include Estrogen pills into the Diet Cokes of the Taliban and the Al Qaeda. We have to give OBAMA-MAN the chance to work his magic.

The Wall and The Five Wise Men

This is a very confidential document. This was not supposed to be in the public domain but got leaked by "THE SOURCE". What follows below is the unstated policy of the Indian cricket team selectors (aka 'The Five Wise Men') about Rahul Dravid for ODI cricket. The things to note here are:
1) This is a document which is constantly being edited as per convenience. What I have here for you is excerpts from the latest version.
2) The Five Wise Men truly believe in Horses for Courses. That is to say that for the same player they have different policies for different types of cricket.

" Full name Rahul Sharad Dravid

Born January 11, 1973, Indore, Madhya Pradesh

....

We do not rate Rahul Dravid as an ODI batsman anymore. He is a spent force who has foolishly based his game on such outdated principles as footwork and technique. He even has the audacity of leaving certain balls outside his offstump in an One Day International matches.

We have much more superior batsmen in Suresh Raina, Rohit Sharma, Yusuf Pathan and Ravindra Jadeja(aka "The Blue Eyed Boys") among others waiting in the wings. They have superior strokeplay, slogging skills and the ability to bully the opposition bowlers into submission on flat, docile pitches. They are multi-talented batsmen capable of hitting fours and sixes at will and bowlers around the world shake in their boots facing the prospect of bowling to these tyros. What is unfortunate is that we cannot make room for all these players in the team as we do not have any more deadwood(read Sourav Ganguly, VVS Laxman) to clear.

However, in certain unfortunate situations created by the ICC and the international calendar, the Indian team does have to tour countries like Australia and South Africa. Here the curators of the pitches show an abject lack of understanding of cricket and go ahead by preparing pitches with extra pace and bounce. In such hostile conditions, it is only natural that our Blue Eyed Boys do not fancy getting a hit (double meaning unintended). We propose to using Rahul Dravid in these conditions, primarily as a sacrificial lamb for damage limitation purposes. With the entire batting line up around him getting out cheaply, he will not score too many runs, thereby making it easy for us to leave him out for the better matches.
..."

Signed - THE FIVE WISE MEN.

The document ends with a post script below:

PS: We never rated Rahul Dravid as an ODI player.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

A different kind of airport

I was coming back to Kolkata from Mangalore last week via Bangalore. I took one of those beautiful Volvo buses provided by the Bangalore International Airport from the railway station to come to the airport. A handful of Bangali Dada-Didis were also on the same bus, full of enthusiasm, returning for the Pujos in high spirits. I sat quietly, listening to the typical 'tongue in cheek', colourful conversations all the same. Listening to some Bangla after a long time actually made me feel good.

The conversation veered to the state of major Indian airports..... Here's some of how it went - " ...Bangalore Airport ta bhaloee toire hoyeche..... Dilli tao besh bhalo banache.... Aar bombay tao kharab korene...mane okhane ja porimane traffic - se hisabe bhalo cholche ekhon ota... tobe hyderabad ta ekhon indiar best..daaroon baniyeche... aar kolkata - aare bhai Dumdum to "Heritage" airport :)"

Translated in English - "...Bangalore Airport has been built quite well.... Delhi's also has been built quite well... Mumbai's is also not bad..considering the amount of air-traffic they handle... But Hyderabad is now India's best...Superbly made... And Kolkata - Hey brother - Dumdum (Kolkata's airport) is a heritage airport :)"

And somehow the heritage tag is used more often perhaps in Kolkata than anywhere else... Just heard this other story from a relative yesterday. While various international airports have thermal scanners installed which swiftly scan and measure the skin temperature of people and then those who register temperatures higher than normal can be isolated for further evaluation to help prevent the spread of the disease. There were reports that even Kolkata would have them. Not sure whether they are already in place or not. But international incoming passengers were currently being scanned by our "heritage nurses" (the term was used by my Mama himself, without this story being told to him) and the good old hanshake was being used to check people's temperatures !!

I was a very frequent flyer for a few years till last year, and about 2 years ago, Dumdum was comfortably one of India's better domestic airports. But I have to say, it has really fallen behind now to Hyderabad, Bangalore among others. Will somebody do something to shake it out of its heritage glory.

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