Thursday, June 30, 2005

Let Down!!


  1. One who forms and expresses judgments of the merits, faults, value, or truth of a matter.
  2. One who specializes especially professionally in the evaluation and appreciation of literary or artistic works: a film critic; a dance critic.
  3. One who tends to make harsh or carping judgments; a faultfinder.
The above are the three meanings of the word Critic that shows. Well I don't think I can make a professional evaluation of something, neither do I intend to. But last couple of days I have not been at ease with myself and I thought to give vent to my frustration, let me criticize something that I feel has been a big let down in terms of my expectations.

Starting the day with a newspaper is something which must be a habit for millions of people and I am one among them. This has been a habit since school days itself. Having done a major chunk of my schooling in Mumbai, The Times of India was the paper that we used to get at home. We used to get The Hindu and The Statesman in school and we used to flirt with them too. Though my mother (who was a librarian) and also the English teacher, used to insist that I read the editorial, I never used to actually read the editorial. I didn't know what the aversion was at that point time, but even today I never read the editorial. Today I have words to express my aversion. "The editorial is an opinion! I read the newspaper for facts. I can make my own opinion when facts are presented to me! . Subsequently I lost touch with The Times of India and The Hindu became my morning starter.

After coming to Delhi, one thing in the back of my mind was that I will get to read the Times once more. I was actually looking forward to it. But my expectations have been met with a rude shock! Reading the Times has been a big Let Down! . I was really appalled by the content of this newspaper. The quality of headlines has been really pathetic. Is there nothing of importance happening that the content has to be so light? News items which I never thought would make the Front Page are what I see making headlines on a daily basis. The height was the day actor/MP Shri Sunil Dutt had passed away. The front page had just two main news items. One was of course the news of Sunil Dutt passing away and the second was a big write-up on Sachin Tendulkar not being able to play for some more time because of his Tennis Elbow. Was everybody in India/World sleeping the previous day that Sachin's Injury was the only important news item to cover more than half the Front page of the leading Newspaper of India? Have we become so shallow? Now even I am an average Indian Cricket Fan, and have respect for Sachin, but this was the height. Just the other day another half of Front Page was devoted to Kapil Dev's comment on Sachin should Retire. The next day when Kapil Dev retracted his statement saying that he was misquoted, that found only a small space on the last but one page. When the front page is so appallingly short of meaningful content, what can we expect from rest of the newspaper?

Now I am a big fan of Sania Mirza and I feel that she should be promoted as a sports/youth icon in a manner that can inspire youngsters. I guess the people at The Times must also feel something like this, because the decided to devote two pages of the sports section on her antics at the Wimbledon. And guess what picture they decided to put up? The picture was of Sania serving and her undergarments clearly visible!! Was there no other picture to put? What was in the mind of the guys who selected and okayed to put up that picture? She's got it! She Flaunts it! So let’s blow it up because that’s what the masses would love! Is that responsible act by a national newspaper?

The height is the supplement that comes along almost daily. There is Mallika Sherwat in various stages of undress almost daily. There is a section which says ask all your sex related raunchy questions and we will answer it! Have children stopped reading newspapers in India, that it is ok to put such things in a newspaper. Or is it that you are giving them Sex Education through your columns?

Media is supposed to be one of the pillars of democracy. All of us are aware how shaky one of the pillars, The Parliament, is. In such circumstances the Media should rise above and use its power to set things right in society. I guess I am overreacting or I am not so modern to understand these things. One thing that comes to my mind when I see the content of this newspaper is an incident in The Fountainhead. When Gail Wynand took over the Banner, he ran two stories seeking help from public. One was about an unwed mother to be and the other about a brilliant but struggling scientist. Donations poured in for the unwed mother to be but only a few cents came in for the struggling scientist. Gail Wynand shows the results of these campaigns to his staff and says that it should be clear to everybody what the policy of the Newspaper is going to be. Play to the masses! I guess that is what the motto has become for The Times of India.

If I were to compare the The Times of India to a Bollywood movie, I would say that it is like a Govinda - Karisma Kapoor masala movie which is intended to be an entertainer for the front benchers and is fully devoid of any kind of meaningful storyline or content! But is that what a national newspaper is to be?

Monday, June 13, 2005

Festival of Champions

The next best thing in Football to the FIFA World Cup! Fifteen days of football mela! Eight Champion Teams, the World Cup winner, Olympic Gold Medalist and champions of the six FIFA Confederations! Five world class newly built stadiums! The biggest names of World Football! It certainly ain't going to get bigger than this, atleast till World Cup 2006. This is the "Festival of Champions" the Fifth FIFA Confederations Cup". The battle begins on 15th June and the winner takes all in the Final on 29th June in Frankfurt, this tournament is billed as the curtain raiser to the main thing, the World Cup next year.

The line up for this tournament is quite formidable:

Group A Group B
Argentina Brazil
Australia Greece
Germany Japan
Tunisia Mexico
Though big European powerhouses are missing, yet with superstars like Ronaldiho, Crespo, Ballack and others this can surely be a feast for fans. The Action kicks off with Aregentina vs Tunisia and Germany vs Australia on Day 1. Happy viewing to everybody

Friday, June 03, 2005

French Open : Mercury Rising

There have been some great tennis matches that I have seen over the years. My favorite Men's Tennis match is Andre Aggasi vs Goran Ivanesevic 1992 Wimbeldon Final and Women's Tennis match is Monica Seles vs Steffi Graf, I don't remember the year, but it was French Open Final and the last set went to something 16-14. In both these matches my favorites were on the losing side. Last couple of years I have seen Carlos Moya take the honors beating the lovable Paradon Srichappan at the beautiful Nungambakkam Tennis Stadium. Another match that I remember having enjoyed a lot at the stadium was Leander Paes beating Wayne Ferrera at Jaipur in Davis Cup 1995. Somehow watching a Tennis match at the stadium is so much fun. This year the French Open has brought up two matches, which has raised my expectations of being able to see great tennis.

Roger Federer vs Rafael Nadal. The Picture that comes to my mind is that of Federer as a Matador and Nadal as a young bull battling it out in the arena, though geographically speaking Nadal should have been the Matador. Its going to be a battle of Style and Strength. Everybody is calling Nadal the young turk, but to be fare Federer is not old at all. He is all but 24 years old and aiming to become only the 6th man to grab a career grand slam. In contrast this is Nadal's (19 yrs) first French Open. Only the great Mats Wilander has won the French Open on his debut. Will Nadal be able to increase the tally of this list? I am talking as if this is the Final! But no this is the Semi-Final!! Lets wait and watch.

Sports is replete with stories that raise the adrenalin, and no story is more exciting than a victory where a comeback has been involved. No matter who wins, both these ladies would be winners! Justine Henin-Hardenne who spent most of last year on bed has a record of 23-1 this year. Nothing could be more special for her than to crown her comeback with a title at Roland Garros. Mary Pierce the French beauty will become the second olders woman to win a Grand Slam title if she beats Henin-Hardenne tomorrow. As I said earlier either ways both would have won irrespective of the result, but I am sure all of France would be praying that the crown goes to their country-woman.

The other match that has piqued my interest is the Mixed Doubles Final. That Leander has a chance of adding one more to India's tally of grand slams is of interest but what is more interesting is the 49 year old Navratilova attempts to add one more to her huge tally of Grand Slam titles. Beating the pair of Fabrice Santoro/Daniela Hantuchova is not going to be easy for them but then lets hope that we have an exciting match.

Lets hope that we have a great fare of Tennis over the weekend

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Internet Time

My manager sits in Paris. So when he talks about anything to do with time it is always according to his timezone. For e.g the other day he said, let me have this query by this afternoon. It was 3.00 pm here and I first wondered its already afternoon, so when exactly does he want the query? Then I realized that it was still morning in Paris and I still had time to do the work. To know what time it is exactly in Paris I went to the site Thats where I came accross some thing very interesting. It seems there is a new way of describing time and it is called Internet Time. The unit of this system of time is not day,hour or second but something called as beats! Go through and make your opinion about this new time system

Internet Time

Internet Time is a "new" way to tell time, invented and marketed by the Swiss watch company Swatch. The current Internet Time is the same all over the World (no time zones or daylight saving time adjustments).


New time unit - the .beat
Instead of dividing the virtual and real day into 24 hours and 60 minutes per hour, the Internet Time system divides the day into 1000 ".beats". Each .beat is 1 minute and 26.4 seconds.

New meridian Internet Time is based on a new Meridian (as opposed to the Greenwich Meridian). This new Meridian goes through Swatch's office in Biel, Switzerland and is called the BMT Meridian.

BMT - the reference for Internet Time
BMT, another invention of Swatch, Biel Mean Time, which is linked up to the Central European Winter/Standard time - which is UTC + 1 hour. When it is Midnight in BMT, the Internet Time is @000 beats, Noon is @500 beats.

Time unit conversions

Beat Unit Conversion Unit Beat Conversion
1 .beat = 0.001 day 1 day = 1000 .beats
1 .beat = 0.024 hours 1 hour = 41.666 .beats
1 .beat = 1.44 minutes 1 minute = 0.6944 .beats
1 .beat = 86.4 seconds 1 second = 0.01157 .beats

Advantages of the Internet Time system

  • It uses the normal decimal system, instead of the ancient 24 hour, 60 minute, 60 second system which makes time telling more complicated.
  • .beat time calculations are easy, @345 + 456 .beats = @801, compared to e.g. 3:45:20 + 2 hours, 25 minutes, 45 seconds, where the seconds, minutes and hours must all be added.
  • No need for time zone conversions - the Internet Time is the same everywhere.

Disadvantages of the Internet Time system

  • The use of the Biel Meridian introduces an unwanted additional Meridian - the Greenwich Meridian is the standard Meridian of the world.
  • Wrong use of mean time - The Biel Meridian is not at exactly 15 degrees east longitude, which it should have been if the BMT (Biel Mean Time) should be 1 hour ahead of UTC / GMT (Greenwich Mean Time)
  • The second, and not the beat is the basic unit of time in the International System of Units (and using .beats instead, would complicate the system).

So whats your take on this? I guess this would never become the standard time unless we reach an age where one can reach from Chennai to California in a blink of an eye! Otherwise it is a wonderful out of the box thinking by the guys at Swatch to come out with something like this!