Cerebral Shangrila

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Rainbow Quiz - Identify the personality - Week 17

Here is the next weekly "Rainbow" quiz , where I would be giving 7 clues (Hence the name Rainbow) about a personality. Try to discover the person in the least number of clues . You can either leave the answer as a comment / email me . Feedback/ suggestions welcome. Googling is not preferred but then its just for fun and so go ahead if you need to.

Most of us suffer from career crisis. Either we are not skilled (or talented) to do what we want to do or there is little money in the career that we want to pursue. X is an amazing guy that way. He loves what he does,makes a lot of money out of it and is perhaps the best (arguably) in his field too.An absolutely charming guy.

This is one of the easiest quizzes.

clue # 1 : A Chemical Engineer from Hyderabad, X is an alumnus of IIM-A.

clue # 2 : His first love was advertising (X's first job was with Rediffusion),but the love
of cricket was even greater that he decided to pursue a full-time career in cricket.

clue # 3 : His first match was a Ranji Trophy Match played between Hyderabad and Kerala, when he was just 19.

clue # 4 : He has been associated with cricket ever since and has covered more than 50 Test matches and over 250 one-day internationals (and the list continues..).

clue # 5 : X runs a company called Prosearch with his wife. The company conducts workshops for senior managers on translating winning sports strategies to the field of business.

clue # 6 : X was voted by Gentleman Magazine as one of '50 men you want to know better' and by Outlook as one of eight people who have changed the way their profession is perceived.

clue # 7 : X, a veggie himself, teamed up with PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) to create awareness on vegetarianism through quizzes.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Raining hits in Bollywood

2006 has been a great year for Bollywood. With record number of super-hits and semi-hits , this year has brought a lot of cheer for film producers. According to Outlook, " Record number of blockbusters and superhits, with as many as six films registering collections of over Rs 40 crore each, two of them with a gross of over Rs 60 crore. ".

"There haven’t just been more hits but bigger hits with bumper collections—2006 has been a year that boasts three blockbusters (Krrish, Lage Raho and Fanaa) and an assortment of superhits and hits: Rang De Basanti, Phir Hera Pheri, Malamaal Weekly, Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna (KANK), Don, Gangster.... Not that it has been the year of the biggies alone. Even small efforts like Being Cyrus, Khosla Ka Ghosla and Pyaar Ke Side Effects have charmed the viewers, making it a great year for the multiplex movies as well" .

This doesn't just automatically translate to better quality of films . Its tough to analyze quality in art because its very "subjective". Sudhir Mishra hits out at the abysmal quality of today's movies , " The fare on offer in cinema halls around the country includes a lot of films that, though slickly produced, are superficial, unimaginative and even downright stupid. They cannot really be called cinema—they are more like 'lifestyle' ad films or, worse, promos for Bollywood stars. What makes me even sadder is that the people behind these films are highly talented. They are collaborating in an exercise that is designed only to titillate and totally dumb-down the audience."

The diversity of today's films can't be ignored. What Bollywood needs is lot more "creativity & originality".

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Photo of the week - National Monument Gardens - KL Posted by Picasa

I like this photo (Though I now feel that I could have taken it better). The greenery,flowers and the pond add to the tranquility and beauty of this place.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Rainbow Quiz - Identify the personality - Week 16

Here is the next weekly "Rainbow" quiz , where I would be giving 7 clues (Hence the name Rainbow) about a personality. Try to discover the person in the least number of clues . You can either leave the answer as a comment / email me . Feedback/ suggestions welcome. Googling is not preferred but then its just for fun and so go ahead if you need to.

X is one of my favorite film-makers. I have always been fascinated by his films for its style,uniqueness and depth.

clue # 1 : X was born and raised in England but spent most of his professional life in the United States.

clue # 2 : X first visited Hollywood in early 40's, but was turned down by virtually all major motion picture studios because they thought he could not make a "Hollywood" picture. His first Hollywood project was supposed to be a film about the Titanic, but the producer scrapped the project because he "couldn't find a boat to sink."

clue # 3 : X's films draw heavily on both fear and fantasy, and are known for their droll humour. They often portray innocent people caught up in circumstances beyond their control or understanding.

clue # 4 : X's mother would often make him address her while standing at the foot of her bed, especially if he behaved badly, forcing him to stand there for hours. His most famous fictional film character was later based on this.

clue # 5 : X had an extreme fear of eggs (also known as ovophobia).X also had a serious fear of the police, which reportedly was the reason he never learned to drive.

clue # 6 : Although widely known as one of the best directors, X never won a best director Oscar in competition. He delivered the shortest acceptance speech in Oscar history: while accepting the Irving Thalberg Memorial Award,he simply said "Thank you."

clue # 7 :X's tombstone inscription reads, "I'm in on a plot."

Who is X ? If possible,also mention the fictional character mentioned in clue # 4.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

New 7 wonders of the world - Chance to Vote

Here is your chance to vote for the new 7 wonders of the world . With 228 days left to elect the new 7 wonders of the world, you can choose to vote online or by phone.

The final list now has 21 wonders from which seven would be selected. Vote here .

P.S : Btw, here is the fact file on Taj Mahal.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Photo of the Week - Petronas Towers Posted by Picasa

The Petronas Towers in KL, Malaysia is the second largest building (88 Stories, 1483 ft) in the world. Because of its huge size, it was very difficult to take a photo of the Petronas from up close. Finally, after a long search, I found a nice spot and took this photo .

Friday, November 17, 2006

Milton Friedman - An Obituary

The world has lost one of its foremost proponents of individual freedom and liberty. One of the greatest economists of the 20th century - Milton Friedman, died on Thursday in California,US.

Milton along with Ayn Rand has had a profound influence on my thoughts on freedom,capitalism and liberty. His books " free to choose" and "Capitalism and freedom" changed my understanding and perspective on the role of free markets and the inter-linkage between capitalism and individual freedom.

Milton was a man of towering intellect, fierce debating skills and an academic giant at Univ of Chaicago. His ability to convey the most complex ideas through simple prose was one of the reasons for his huge popularity. He started the wave of Nobel Prizes for the Chicago school, that was one of the firm adherents to the Adam Smithian school, that believed in free markets with very less government interference and control.

Milton - thanks for teaching me the value of liberty and freedom.

Here is a wonderful video of Milton explaining about the power of free markets by taking the example of a simple Pencil. The "Commanding heights" video on the Chicago School and Milton's influence.

Some Excerpts and tributes from the fourth estate :

Wall Street Journal on How Milton Friedman Changed Economics, Policy and Markets

New York Times pays homage to Milton.

From WSJ :

George Shultz, Reagan’s secretary of state and longtime friend, says Milton Friedman’s reputation as a debater intimidated his critics. The saying was, he says, “Everyone loves to argue with Milton, particularly when he isn’t there.”

Alan Greenspan, former Fed chairman, says of Friedman’s self-assuredness: “The famous joke was ‘I wish I could be as sure of anything as Milton is of everything.’ ”

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Rainbow Quiz - Identify the personality - Week 15

Here is the next weekly "Rainbow" quiz , where I would be giving 7 clues (Hence the name Rainbow) about a personality. Try to discover the person in the least number of clues . You can either leave the answer as a comment / email me . Feedback/ suggestions welcome. Googling is not preferred but then its just for fun and so go ahead if you need to.

X was a true visionary and one of the pioneers who started the "great indian software story" .

clue # 1 : X obtained his UG degrees from India & Canada before pursuing an MS in electrical engineering from the MIT ,USA.

clue # 2 : X started his career at the Canadian General Electric Company as an engineer .

clue # 3 : X then returned to India in the early 50's to take up the appointment of chief load dispatcher at an Indian conglomerate's Electric Engg division.

clue # 4 : X was appointed as general manager of Y (name of the company) in the late 60's , and later became the director-in-charge,vice-chairman before finally retiring as the chairman (X retired as chairman a few years ago).

clue # 5 : X has received numerous national and international awards and honours, among them an honorary doctorate and India's third-highest civilian honour, the Padma Bhushan.

clue # 6 : X is referred to as the "father of the Indian software industry".

clue # 7 : X's current brainchild is to use computer aided sounds and images to impart basic literacy, particularly to illiterate adults.

Who is X and also name Y ?

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Most popular Tamilian - IBN Live Poll

Polls are merely a cross-sectional view that at best claims to represent public opinion. I don't take the media conducted opinion polls too seriously , but what got me interested in this one was the topic.

IBN Live is conducting an online poll all of this week where readers can vote for their "favorite/popular tamilian ( I presume of the last 5 decades)" . The six personalities in the race are Prez. Abdul Kalam, M.S.Subbulakshmi, Periyar, Rajinikanth, Illayaraja, Viswanathan Anand.

The "could have been included but no space" list would include (In my opinion) M.S.Swaminthan, Rajaji, Kamaraj , M.G.R , Sivaji Ganesan, A.R.Rahman , R.K.Narayan, Jayakanthan.

Last heard the Prez was leading the polls.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Photo of the week - Peacock dance Posted by Picasa

(Click on the image for a larger view)

I have been having this incredible luck with peacocks. They seem to be posing for me wherever I find them. This photo was taken on a bright morning at the Lake Gardens in KL, Malaysia. This one is sheer beauty !

Friday, November 10, 2006

Rainbow Quiz - Identify the personality - Week 14

Here is the next weekly "Rainbow" quiz , where I would be giving 7 clues (Hence the name Rainbow) about a personality. Try to discover the person in the least number of clues . You can either leave the answer as a comment / email me . Feedback/ suggestions welcome. Googling is not preferred but then its just for fun and so go ahead if you need to.

His is a true rags to riches story. He arrived in America as a penniless immigrant and went on to become one of the most admired CEO's in the world. A man of phenomenal intellect and talent.

clue # 1 : X was born in Hungary to Jewish parents.During the Nazi occupation , X had to hide out in a cellar in a hovel in a suburb of Budapest .

clue # 2 : Immediately after the Hungarian Revolution, he left his home and family under the cover of night, and emigrated to the United States, arriving in New York . X came here with nothing but the shirt on his back.

clue # 3 : X earned a bachelor's degree from the City College of New York , graduating at the head of his class and later earned a Ph.D from the University of California, Berkeley.

clue # 4 : X became the third employee at the nascent "Y" Corporation. He became the "doer", implementing the vision of its famous co-founders.

clue # 5 : Throughout his career, X demonstrated a keen ability to rebound from deep crises. His visionary leadership and bold decisions helped Y in surviving the Japanese onslaught .

clue # 6 : In the mid-90's, X was diagnosed with cancer of the prostate. He read all the research he can find on the subject and decided upon his own treatment. He has been instrumental in spreading awareness about the disease and is now a board of director at the Prostate Cancer Foundation.

clue # 7 : X was honored as the Most Influential Business Person in the Last quarter century (1976-2000) by the Wharton School of Business.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

The difference between right & wrong

The decision by Ram Jethmalani to defend Manu Sharma in the high profile Jessica lall case has been drawing lots of criticism from the Public. The more I think about this issue, I see myself arguing for both sides of the case.

On one side , a lawyer's duty and privilege is to defend an accused. Everyone is entitled to a fair trial. On the other side, the "morality" issue of siding with the high and mighty has estranged Ram Jethmalani from his own family members. The press has also taken up the law into its hands by pronouncing its verdict even before the trial. There are rights and wrongs on both sides.

Btw, I have never seen a more fiery and belligerent interview than this. Watch this IBN live interview of Ram Jethmalani.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Taj - At the Chinese Garden, Singapore Posted by Picasa

I took this photo at the Chinese garden in Singapore. The theme for the Lantern Festival this year was "seven wonders of the world". This magnificent luminous Taj was part of the Lantern festivities in Singapore.

What is Lantern Festival ?

Mooncake festival, also known as the Lantern Festival or Mid-Autumn Festival, commemorates the 14th-century revolution led by Yuan Zhang who smuggled notes inside moon cakes and used lighted lanterns as a signal to launch the revolt. One of the highlights of the festival is the Moon Cake Fair where hundreds of festive stalls line the streets of Chinatown selling an astonishing variety of moon cakes, traditional paper lanterns, decorations and other delicacies. The Chinese Garden becomes a fairyland of lights and colours for the Lantern Festival.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Rainbow Quiz - Identify the personality - Week 13

Here is the next weekly "Rainbow" quiz , where I would be giving 7 clues (Hence the name Rainbow) about a personality. Try to discover the person in the least number of clues . You can either leave the answer as a comment / email me . Feedback/ suggestions welcome. Googling is not preferred but then its just for fun and so go ahead if you need to.

This week's personality is a musician of phenomenal talent and I discovered the meaning of "dulcet" in his music. Its a privilege that I lived in the same street that X did for a few years in Chennai.

clue # 1 : X was born in the lineage of an illustrious disciple of the great saint musician Thyagaraja.

clue # 2 : . At the early age of 12, X started his musical career as an accompanying instrumentalist.

clue # 3 : He revolutionized the style of Y (name of the instrument) playing by inventing a whole new technique that is designed to best suit the needs of Indian Classical Music and establishing a unique style that came to be known as 'X Bani'.

clue # 4 : He has been in great demand for accompanying vocalists, and has accompanied most of the great vocal virtuosos in the 50's before branching out as a solo artist.

clue # 5 : At the Edinburgh Music Festival in 1965, Yehudi Menuhin, the renowned musician, presented him with his Italian Y (name of the instrument), impressed by X's technique.

clue # 6 : His son and his daughter follow the footsteps of their great father by playing the same instrument.

clue # 7 : X has also composed several compositions and is particularly famous for the Thillanas. X recounts, "The limitations of age tell on me but I am not able to control my creativity. I am nothing without music. Even in all my future births, I want to be born only as a musician. Music has not only been my livelihood but also my path to spirituality."

Identify X & Y.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Sunil Mittal -In Walk the Talk

Sunil Mittal is frank about his lack of pedigree. He is not from the IIT's/IIM's/St.Stephens but neither is he a school dropout. His is a story of an average college student who made it big due to his grit,hard-work and courage.

In this Interview with Shekhar Gupta ( Editor, Indian Express) he talks about his educational background , life as an entrepreneur and the next big wave - Farming ( Yes , good ol' agriculture !) .

P.S : I met Sunil Mittal a couple of months ago at a Industry gathering. Was surprised when he unassumingly came to me and introduced himself saying , " Hi, I am Sunil" .....

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Mohammed Yunus at Mustafa

If you were shopping at Mustafa (Singapore) on monday night, you might have had the privilege of bumping into Dr.Muhammed Yunus - Nobel peace prize winner.

Today, the free newspaper of Singapore, runs the story on its cover page.