India at the Olympics

August 30, 2004 at 12:14 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
At the end of each Olympics, theres always a big media circus about how poor the Indian performance was, why a subcontinent with over 1bn people cant produce more than one medeal the olympic games etc etc. This, in my opinion, is as bad as the trumpet blowing that happens before each Olympics. The media circus would make you think every singly member of the Indian contingent is definite to win a gold in the event they are to participate in.
How many people actually believe the tall claims these guys make each year, prior to the olympics? Its a joke, really. I, for one, did not expect more than 2 medals. I thought Paes/Bhupathi might pull one off. Plus, probably some one else- may be Rathore because he had been winning quite a few international competitions.
Thats it! I had absolutely no hopes that Anju would win- puhleese! or Shikha Tandon. Their personal bests were way below those of the other contenders. Which makes it funny to hear Bobby George telling the media Anju will definitely win the gold.
To me, a single silver goes no where near giving an overview of the Indian Campaign at Athens. Indian women qualified for the finals of the 4×400 mts relay for the first or the second time in olympic history. We had decent performances in Shooting, Archery. A really good performance in the Long Jump. A good fight in Tennis.
Considering the support given to Sports in India (Cricket is not a sport here, its a religion, so doesnt qualify), this performance is nothing short of brilliant.

Debunking Dan Brown

August 24, 2004 at 6:53 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
Warning: For people who haven’t read the Da Vinci Code- Spoiler ahead!

Was checking out that new book following up on the Da Vinci Code. That was good! What I liked about that book was that it gives Dan Brown a fair chance. It does pick holes in Dan Brown’s plot, but at the same time, gives him the credit for a totally new perspective. Basically, its not a rant against the book, but is more like an academic look at its theories. Some of the points I picked up:

1. Mona Lisa – or Amon l’isa?

Dan Brown’s reasoning – Amon is the Egyptian god of masculine fertility. Isis is the Egyptian goddess of fertility; who was once called L’ISA. Ha! In the first place, Leonardo Da Vinci never called the painting Mona Lisa. Secondly, the painting was of Lisa di Anton Maria di Noldo Gherardini. So Mona Lisa makes perfect sense. In fact, the painting is known as La Joconde (after Lisa’s married name) in the Louvre. And- I dont know Italian, and am pretty darn sure Leonardo did not know 20th Century english. So linking Mona Lisa and Amon L’Isa using 20th century english shows nothing short of EXCEPTIONAL foresight by Leonardo. Felt like kicking myself for having missed this one!

And why is the poor thing supposed to be androgynous? She looks quite feminine to me!

2. 666 Glass panes?

Brown says there are 666 glass panes in the Mitterand Pyramid. The usual reasoning.

Well, the Louvre doesnt seem to know its facts, then. It seems to be under the misapprehension that there are 673 glass panes! And it goes so far as to state the same in its website! tsk, tsk…

3. Robert Langdon – Symbologist?

He must have created the discipline somewhere around 2005 AD and travelled back in time- because there is no such a person as a “symbologist” today. Certainly not at harvard. I could call the stenographer in the next office a “symbologist”- but I doubt if he would qualify for Dan Brown.

4. Da Vinci!

This was quite obvious during the book. You guys know of Michelangelo. His name is Michelangelo Buonarrotti-Simoni. Do you call him Buonarrotti?

Leonardo is Leonardo di Ser Piero d’Antonio di Ser Piero di Ser Guido. da Vinci, because thats where he hailed from. I wouldnt mind being called Aishwariya, Mrs Suresh, Mrs Viswanathan, but would absolutely draw the line at “From Madras”. Historically, Poor Leonardo has never been abused thus! No body calls him Da Vinci. He is called Leonardo.

That and many, many other glaring inaccuracies for a book that purpots to accurately describe all books, artwork architecture, documents etc etc which it has roped in!

Words and phrases I hate

August 18, 2004 at 9:32 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Words and phrases I hate having to hear people use

1. Free Gift: Now what the hell does this mean? An oxymoron if I ever saw one! Ever heard of a gift that’s not free? Crazy!

2. Crèche (p. Kresh): Am forced to include this word here out of pity for it. It must be the most abused word in the english language. Pronunciations of this poor word vary from “krech” to “kreech” to “kreche” (the last being a typically tam failing – adding a vowel to the end of a word – like schoolu, collegu, and other mistreated words). I should simply skreech and walk away in disgust.

3. Rendezvous (P. Rawndevoo). And not rendesvous or any damn thing like that. Not only do we, the so-called english-speakers murder english, we have to be fair and just in mistreating other languages also. We very happily murder french through Rendesvous, and faux Pas (p. Fo Pa, not Fox paws) and what not. Unfortunately for me, my literary brilliance does not extend beyond a modest capability in French and an absoulte minimum of German (ja, nein, mein, etc – so no exaggeration when I say absolute minimum!).

4. Croissant – Oh god, this a simply super- and the blame for this should surely fall upon the hot breads and other establishments of the world, introducing people to this mighty confection, without educating them on how it is to be read – “krwasan”. Not croysant. Its actually a nice pastry, but my taste of it is forever ruined by memories of the croysants of this world.

Updated look and feel & Misc.

August 4, 2004 at 12:14 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

And if you think its not good enough, you better not say it here! Did not want to arbitly pick a new template to set to work modifying the existing one. And HTML bears no relation to java or c or C++, so I was in murky waters for most of the time! Have taken almost the whole of the mornig to get this, so taking a break now. Am thinking about modifying the background colors next, lets see.

Its Arjun’s birthday this weekend- and I realize yet again how much I miss him! Some of the happiest, most perfect moments in my life have involved arjun- the first time I was able to console him when he was a baby, the first time I saw him (I couldnt believe how wrinkly he was!), the first time he started calling me “Aithu Thithi”- he couldnt say “Aishu Chithi”; Abhi, for a long time used to call me “Athi thithi thithi”. And I thought that was the most charming sound I had ever heard! What is it about children that makes most of us (otherwise) normal, sane people go nuts? I guess its partly to do with them depending on you absolutely, and partly to do with their honesty/candour. With children, you usually know just where you stand. You can be confident in the affection with which they hold you.

Anyway, this tending towards maudlin post is on account of an impending visit to chennai by Krishna, with the children. Of course, impending = 15-20 days away! yeah, am looking forward to that!

Back to decent reading – picked up Kenichi Ohmae and David Korten (and a Georgette Heyer, which woudnt come into this category, for obvious reasons!)- lets see if I can read them when even when out of bschool!

Have a great weekend!

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