Monday, December 28, 2009

Avatar - Old Hinduism concepts??

Some of the things i would like to put forth about the latest blockbuster movie AVATAR. I have done some comprehensive study on various websites for this details. Here it goes.

"Avatar" is not just the term `Avatar' that is associated with Hinduism. The core concept of Hinduism is that all animate and inanimate are the result of a single energy source, which is Brahman or God. All the plants, animals, human beings rise and fall in this single energy source. This formless and indefinable is given form by humans and worshipped as God. One of the important themes of Avatar is
based on this core concept of Hinduism which was taught first time more than 5000 years ago. In the movie, the Na'vis are able to physically connect to animals and plants. And they believe that they are just a part of the whole which includes all animate and inanimate present on their planet Pandora. This concept is explained beautifully and there is a magical scene in which the Tree is connected to the human body and this body is connected to all the Na'vis through holding their hands each other.

Another striking aspect is the use of the color blue. Hindu Gods are depicted blue in color. Blue is the color of the infinite. All Hindu gods are an attempt by the human mind to give form to the formless Brahman (God). The color blues symbolizes immeasurable and all pervading reality – formless Brahman.
Another concept found in Hindu Puranas is Parakaya Pravesham – leaving one's body temporarily and entering the body of another person. Adi Shankaracharya is believed to have done this to enter a king's body so that he can learn about material world. Something quite similar happens in the movies as Humans are able to temporarily enter the body of a Na'vi. A more visible symbol in the movie is that of the characters in Avatar riding on a flying dragon like being. This is more like Lord Vishnu riding on Garuda.

It is said that great minds think alike in all ages. The great saints of Sanatana Dharma (Hinduism) thought about this 5000 years ago and they tried to explain it to us through symbols and stories. Today we have technology explain the universal truths. But are we listening? We are slowly wiping out the green cover and destroying the Mother Earth thinking that we humans are superior and above all.

But what Avatar missed is foreseen by Hindu seers the total annihilation of human race when there is rise of Adharma (today it is unimaginable greed and lack of concern for mother earth). We are fast heading towards such a situation and this divine action will be carried out by Kalki. Then there is a fresh beginning. The cycle continues and this present age is not the first cycle and it is not the last.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

A true sportsman

This day 20 years back a small kid drove his first ball, a ball from waqar younis(a terrific bowler) on the front foot. Little did the pakistani cricketers know that they have just seen a person whose wicket will be the most prized wicket in the decades to come. Yes it was Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar who went on to rule the world of cricket for 20 long years and continues to do so. Nick named 'The Little Master' and populary known as the 'God of Cricket' this man is a true sportsman. Be it the elegance if the drives he plays or the humbleness with which he carrieshimself off the field he is perfect in it.

There can be no words to describe my love for this man with almost all batting records to him. I wish to him only in one place where he hasnt been yet - Lifting the World Cup. Some knocks of his can never be forgotten and also some shots stay etched in memory.

- The back to back centuries in Sharjah against the australians - considered to be his best.
- It was a disappointment for me when he got out for 4 in his second ball in the chennai test against the Australasians But he was a treat in his second innings. Wat else can i ask for sittin in a stadium watching him
-241 n.o. against australia down under without a single cover drive.... tat was wat u can dedication.
- His first century at manchester saving india from defeat. arrival of a legend.
- 82 in 49 balls.. a win in the 24th over. sachin opens for the first time and tat has been his place for 15 years till date.
- the 1996 world cup was tendulkar's very own. his brutality was clearly evident.
- 1999 world cup. a century against kenya.. made my eyes moist after he dedicated it to his father who died just days before.
- The match against pakistan in the world cup. 3 sixes of akthar and history had repeated itself. sachin was back.
- A unbeaten 100 on the final day, thus winning the match chasing a total of 387. A knock dedicated to the heroes of mumbai (26/11/2008). yet another touching knock.
- The latest onslaught. 175 in a losing cause. reminded me of the sachin of the old. the sachin of sharjah.

There are many more knocks. but only these come to my mind. Some shots of his i love..

- The late cut against warne.
- The perfect straight drive
- the hook against short balls
- The Six above mid-off after coming down on the leg side. (the ultimate one)

There is no more records that this man can have. A small note of his statistics today.

159 Tests - 12773 runs - 42 centuries - 53 half centuries.
436 ODI's - 17178 runs - 45 centuries - 91 half centuries.

I bow to you for ur dedication and love to the sport, to the county and to ur genius.

Three cheers Sachin Tendulkar.


Monday, November 9, 2009

I only want to enjoy my childhood...

An amazing piece of poem from Inumella Sesikala. Appeared in the Hindu Newspaper. (I put it here unedited)

Amma, I don’t want to go to school.

I am just a child, Ma. I want someone to tell me stories and teach me.

I want to watch tadpoles and butterflies and know what they eat, where they sleep.

I want to climb a hill and catch a cloud to see what it is made of.

I want to wait with my hands in the stream and feel the fish swimming.

I want to run with the puppies, sing with the birds, and play with paper-boats in the rain.

I want to lie down on the soft green grass and hear the wind whisper.

Only then I want to learn more about them from the printed word.

Only after my imagination is fired, my thirst to know more has begun, a seed of ‘Why?’ is planted in my brain.

Amma, I feel trapped in the prison-like classroom.

I feel my spirit slowly weakening with the monotonous teaching.

Often, when I ask a basic question our teachers say,

“No time for all that. Let us finish the syllabus.”

I get tired of studying just for marks without pausing to truly understand.

I want to go to the museum with my classmates and hear my teacher explain the stories of the artefacts.

I want plenty of nature trips where real Biology classes would be held.

I want to see colourful videos of volcanic eruptions and deep-sea dwellings.

I want our whole school to visit together the historic and cultural places in my city.

I want to learn astronomy after looking through a telescope once.

I don’t want to just read them in my textbooks;

I want to see, hear, touch, smell and taste whatever I can.

I want to experience.

Why can’t the school make at least one such trip every year?

And, I cannot stoop down anymore to carry my school sack.

My back is ready to break.

Why should I carry all the books everyday?

Why can’t we have only two subjects per day?

Or, why don’t we have lockers like in the Western schools?

And, why should I squeeze in that over-crowded auto?

But, Amma, growing up no longer seems to be fun.

I see only more of homework, winter projects, summer classes, weekly tests, monthly tests, quarterly, half-yearly and annual exams, external competitive exams, more tests, more competitions, more pressure, more stress…

When can I sing, paint, dance, swim, or cycle?

When I can just play cricket or even hide-and-seek?

What happened to that minimum sleep that you always say a child needs?

Why should I always study, study?

Amma, I am scared of increasing atrocities by untrustworthy teachers, ragging-raving seniors, acid-loving nuts, perverted adults…

Ma, right now, I don’t want to be a doctor, engineer or anything else.

I just want to feel safe and secure, play and learn without any stress before I become an adult like you.

I only want to enjoy my childhood, Ma.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Preparing a quick meal

A different blog this time. Was bored out at home and thought of eating something different for lunch other than the normal rice i eat everyday. When i was in Rajasthan, India i had developed a love for aloo paratas and decided to prepare some stuffed paratas for my lunch. Here goes the making of the paratas.

250 g wheat flour (I used pilsbury atta. A worthy substitute for its softness)
100 g peas
100 g potatoes cut nicely
100 g carrot cut nicely
Other vegetables a little to add flavour
1 tbsp chilli powder
1 tbsp mustard seeds
1 tbsp cumin seeds
Salt to taste


Mix all the above ingredients all make a dough with water and a little curd. Add 2 spoons of oil for a soft dough. Make sure that the dough is not too sticky. If it becomes too sticky add some more more flour and mix throughly.

Make small balls of dough of the size of a golf ball and set aside. With the help of a rolling pin roll the balls in a flat surface ensuring that the dough does not stick on to the surface. A little flour on the surface would suffice for this.

Once all the ball of dough has been rolled heat a pan in medium flame and roast the rolled dough one by one. Heat on both sides until the parata becomes light brown in colour. Your paratas are ready to be consumed. I had mine with a cup of salted curd and some pickle. :)

The idea for this blog comes from a close friend of mine, Madhumathi aka Mad, who is too busy to post her blogs today. A small tribute for her friendship. Here is her blog --> Madhu's Blog

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Festival of Lights

Well let me start of with a greeting.. :)

The biggest and the grandest Festival of Lights is here. A time of the year to rejoice and get together with family. I do miss mine being in Singapore. Wishing you all a prosperous diwali.

A small blog about diwali.

A colorful festival that is celebrated by all Hindus worldwide is Deepavali, which is also known as the festival of lights. This festival usually falls around late October and November. One important practice that the Hindus follow during the festival is to light oil lamps in their homes on Deepavali morning. By lighting the oil lamps, the Hindus are thanking the gods for the happiness, knowledge, peace and wealth that they have received. The Hindus consider Deepavali as one of the most important festivals to celebrate.

The Legend - There is even an interesting legend behind this festival. The story goes that Narakasura, a demon, ruled the kingdom of Pradyoshapuram. Under his rule, the villagers suffered a lot of hardship as the demon tortured the people and kidnapped the women to be imprisoned in his palace. Seeing his wickedness, Lord Khrishna set out to destroy the demon and the day Narakasura died was celebrated as Deepavali, the triumph of good over evil!

Preparations - Preparation for Deepavali starts usually at least two to three weeks before the festival. It is known that the Hindus will be busy cleaning their houses to prepare for the festival. Some would even renovate their houses to prepare it for Deepavali. Usually the family will shop for new clothes and for accessories to decorate their homes. Prior to the festival, Indian shops will be selling festive items like Deepavali greeting cards, carpets, Punjabi suits and flowers. The Hindus will frequent these shops when they are shopping for Deepavali.

Celebrations - The Hindus usually awake early in the morning of deepavali around 3am and the first ritual will be having an oil bath, which is an important feature of Deepavali. Hindus will be dressed in their new clothes on Deepavali. Most of the ladies would be clad in silk saris or Punjabi suits of various bright shades. Hindus particularly dislike dressing in black on that day, as they consider black an inauspicious color for the festival. Hindus would also pay their respects to the elderly and most families would go to the temple after having breakfast. This is also an important practice for them. The reason why they would be going to the temples is to pray to get happiness and prosperity on Deepavali. The houses would be decorated with oil lamps and children will play with firecrackers to celebrate the festival. On the first day, they would not go visiting but would stay at home to welcome the guests who visit them.

Food - Visiting Hindus during Deepavali will be an interesting activity, as you will get to taste a wide variety of delicious food. In every home that you visit you are bound to be served with a tempting spread of sweets. Some of the popular sweets are halwa, burfi and laddu. Hindus love eating spicy food and for non-vegetarians they indulge in favorites like chicken tandoori, prawn sambal and fish head curry. In homes of Hindus who are vegetarians popular dishes like thosais, idlis and naans are prepared.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

A Tribute to Anand Prabakaran

You were a cheerful, ever helping friend. There are many moments which come to my mind when i think of you. It is sad that you are no more with us. May your soul rest in peace and your memories stay with us.

Readers : This is the photo of Anand. P fondly known as Iyer. He was a class mate of mine in Annamalai University. On Oct 2, 2009 he accidentally slipped into a waterfall in Mysore and his body was found only on Oct 4. He was cremated on Oct 5 in Chidambaram, Tamil Nadu, India.

Monday, July 27, 2009

A nice book to read

I have been kept busy from the world of blogging for many days by my night shift duty and of course laziness to cook up a topic and do some study on it. Getting ready for convocation and making arrangements for arrival of my parents have also kept my hands full.

I have chanced upon a book which my roommate was reading and i too started to read that book. Thought it is much voluminous and the topic of the book blocked my from setting hand on it, i discovered tat it was worth a read later. I havnt completed the book, but its first few topic kept me interested in it. This book requires a lot of patience and of course the ability to imagine the authors story for a rich feel of it. will post u my ideas on the various issues once i finish the book. Meanwhile try to go for it...



Friday, June 12, 2009

The Irony of the Indian Cabinet

With the elections giving a clear mandate and the numerous meetings of the top bosses of the congress a cabinet has been formed and an impressive list of people have taken to the benches. The president has also addressed the house and the game is on. In this situation i do like to have a look at the people who decide the fate of our country for another 5 years. 

It is to be noted that the PM Dr Manmohan Singh had little say in appointing his ministers but he had "veto"ed some from entering the council of ministers. Some of the old faces were kept out at the apparent intercession of the prime minister, others were rejected by the voters themselves. The power to veto had been given to him by the power centre of the congrees..(Ultimately Sonia Gandhi)

While the Congress swept Andhra Pradesh, Renuka Chowdhary lost Khammam by over 100,000 votes. Mani Shankar Aiyar was defeated from Mayiladuthurai though the DMK-Congress alliance did well in Tamil Nadu. Santosh Mohan Dev was beaten in Silchar though his party won half the seats in Assam.

Five years ago Shivraj Patil became Union home minister despite losing from Latur and P M Sayeed became power minister fresh from his loss in Lakshadweep. This time the voters' mandate has been respected.

So much for the electors's veto, how about that of the prime minister? T R Baalu was elected from Sriperumbudur. Arjun Singh and Hans Raj Bhardwaj are both sitting Rajya Sabha members. Nevertheless, all three were kept out -- and by all accounts it was at Dr Manmohan Singh's own initiative, out of exasperation at their poor records.

Most Indians would be grateful to the prime minister for exercising the veto. That said, it is idle to pretend that this ministry will be particularly efficient.

There is already heartburn in some quarters in Delhi. The single largest contingent of Congress MPs come from Andhra Pradesh, where the party won 33 of the state's 42 Lok Sabha seats. Only one of those MPs is a full-fledged Cabinet minister, S Jaipal Reddy.

Meghalaya has only two Lok Sabha constituencies, Tura and Shillong, with the NCP winning the first and the Congress getting the second. The NCP insisted on making Agatha Sangma a minister so the Congress made Vincent H Pala one too.

The biggest snub of all has been to Uttar Pradesh, where the Congress stunned everyone by winning 21 seats. There is not a single full-fledged Cabinet minister from the state even if there are ministers of state.

In theory none of this should matter since ministers are supposed to consider the interests of all of India, not of their own home state. The practice belies the theory. Railway Minister Mamata Bannerjee has already made it clear that she can keep only half an eye on her duties in Delhi. Many of her colleagues shall think on similar lines.

Even if every state got its due, the very structure of the council of ministers breeds inefficiency. Far too many people had to be accommodated and jobs found for each. Each minister -- bureaucrats too -- will now build little fiefdoms.

The United States is served by a single transport secretary in President Obama's cabinet. How about India, about a third the area of the United States? We have a railway minister, a road transport minister, a shipping minister, and a civil aviation minister. Good luck trying to build a holistic policy out of that set-up!

Or take the racial attacks on Indians in Australia. Who deals with those, the external affairs minister or the minister for overseas Indian affairs?

The United States has a single energy secretary. (The 1997 Nobel Laureate in physics!) What happens if Steven Chu wants to talk to his Indian counterpart? Does he call Power Minister Sushilkumar Shinde, or Petroleum & Natural Gas Minister Murli Deora, or Coal Minister Shriprakash Jaiswal, or New & Renewable Energy Minister Farooq Abdullah? Or possibly Dr Manmohan Singh, who retains the Department of Atomic Energy?

The confusion does not stop there. Jaipal Reddy is the urban development minister but Kumari Selja handles housing & urban poverty alleviation. Does that mean Reddy builds auditoriums for the rich and the middle class while his colleague puts up houses for the poor?

Anand Sharma is the commerce & industry minister. But we also have a minister for heavy industries & public enterprises (Vilasrao Deshmukh). And a steel minister (Virbhadra Singh). A textiles minister (Dayanidhi Maran). A minister for food processing industries (Subodh Kant Sahay). A minister for chemicals & fertilisers (M K Alagiri). A minister of micro, small & medium enterprises (Dinsha J Patel). So what exactly is Anand Sharma's responsibility?

Mukul Wasnik is social justice & empowerment minister. Kantilal Buria handles tribal affairs. Salman Khurshid has the minority affairs portfolio. Krishna Tirath has independent charge of women & child development. Who claims jurisdiction in a case involving a tribal Christian woman?

And then there is M S Gill, who handles the most useless portfolios of them all, sports & youth affairs. The only sport India cares for is cricket, and the BCCI is the one sports federation that refuses to report to the sports ministry. (Probably why cricket does relatively well!) As for 'youth affairs', what is that? Child abuse will be handled by Krishna Tirath, education by HRD Minister Kapil Sibal, and jobs by Labour & Employment Minister Mallikarjun Kharge.

What does that leave?

That is the final point. It is good that Dr Manmohan Singh exercised his veto, but it is a shame that the world's largest democracy still has a chief executive who does not belong to the list of persons elected by the people.

P.S. With a note of thanks to rediff for the data

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Second Blogger ID!!!!!!!!!

Launch of second blogspot.. dedicated to Music... do visit and post ur comments and views.


Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Tired of Charging mobiles and IPODs??

This is my true technical blog considering that i am a postgrad in electrical engineering. There is an interesting development going on in the electrical faternity for easing customer troubles. I had attended a IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) seminar of charging of mobile phones without the use of wires. It dealt with nano-transformers based charge pads. The charging could be done by just placing the mobile phone on a pad which would charge the phones. Upon further online scouting i found an interesting research going on in this field. 

In a research presented at the American Chemical Society's 237th National Meeting in Salt Lake City, Utah on March 26,2009, scientists from Georgia describe technology that converts mechanical energy from body movements or even the flow of blood in the body into electric energy that can be used to power a broad range of electronic devices without using batteries.

"This research will have a major impact on defense technology, environmental monitoring, biomedical sciences and even personal electronics," says lead researcher Zhong Lin Wang, Regents' Professor, School of Material Science and Engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology. The new "nanogenerator" could have countless applications, among them a way to run electronic devices used by the military when troops are far in the field.

The researchers describe harvesting energy from the environment by converting low-frequency vibrations, like simple body movements, the beating of the heart or movement of the wind, into electricity, using zinc oxide (ZnO) nanowires that conduct the electricity. The ZnO nanowires are piezoelectric — they generate an electric current when subjected to mechanical stress. The diameter and length of the wire are 1/5,000th and 1/25th the diameter of a human hair.

In generating energy from movement, Wang says his team concluded that it was most effective to develop a method that worked at low frequencies and was based on flexible materials. The ZnO nanowires met these requirements. At the same time, he says a real advantage of this technology is that the nanowires can be grown easily on a wide variety of surfaces, and the nanogenerators will operate in the air or in liquids once properly packaged. Among the surfaces on which the nanowires can be grown are metals, ceramics, polymers, clothing and even tents.

"Quite simply, this technology can be used to generate energy under any circumstances as long as there is movement," according to Wang.

To date, he says that there have been limited methods created to produce nanopower despite the growing need by the military and defense agencies for nanoscale sensing devices used to detect bioterror agents. The nanogenerator would be particularly critical to troops in the field, where they are far from energy sources and need to use sensors or communication devices. In addition, having a sensor which doesn't need batteries could be extremely useful to the military and police sampling air for potential bioterrorism attacks in the United States, Wang says.

While biosensors have been miniaturized and can be implanted under the skin, he points out that these devices still require batteries, and the new nanogenerator would offer much more flexibility.

A major advantage of this new technology is that many nanogenerators can produce electricity continuously and simultaneously. On the other hand, the greatest challenge in developing these nanogenerators is to improve the output voltage and power, he says.

Last year Wang's group presented a study on nanogenerators driven by ultrasound. Today's research represents a much broader application of nanogenerators as driven by low-frequency body movement.

The study was funded by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, the Department of Energy, the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation.

P.S. This article was picked by me from Science Daily.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Greenback to be replaced????

The last few years of dominance of the USA as a world power and every countries dependance are round the corner.. or atleast it seems so with China's bold statement some weeks back. China wants the US$ to be replaced as the reserve currency with some other currency. Well, this is an odd situation which needs deep research and ratifications in the world financial policies as this will surely cause a huge shakedown of the already dim economic situation.

Before i move on.. for starters i'll explain the concept of reserve currency. reserve currency (or anchor currency) is a currency which is held in significant quantities by many governments and institutions as part of their foreign exchange reserves. It also tends to be the international pricing currency for products traded on a global market, such as oilgold, etc. This permits the issuing country(Presently USA to purchase the commodities at a marginally cheaper rate than other nations, which must exchange their currency with each purchase and pay a transaction cost. (As we do when we convert INR to USD or vice versa)  It also permits the government issuing the currency to borrow money at a better rate, as there will always be a larger market for that currency than others. The current leader in reserve currency is the USD comprising of 64% of all official foreign exchange reserves. Euro a distant second with just 26%(Mainly because of the origin of the EU. Before the Euro came USD was nearly 75%). And some negligible percent of the Pound and the Japanese Yen.  

We shall look at the reasons for China's demand and its effects. China's central bank governer, Zhou Xiaochuan, had shot a letter to the IMF (International Monetary Fund) stating that it create a new reserve currency disconnected from individual nations so that it will remain stable over a long run and be free of the uncertainities  caused by using credit based national currencies.  The current economic crisis has led to this kind of a drastic statement. His words were "The outbreak of the [current] crisis and its spillover to the entire world reflected the inherent vulnerabilities and systemic risks in the existing international monetary system" 

The Asian countries had learnt a severe lesson during the 1997 crisis. In view of the crisis they had built up huge amounts of foreign reserves in USD to save themselves against further backdrop. The emerging economies like China and India started to build up their foreign reserves, which led to the econimic boom of these countries and henceforth higher growth(remember both had double digit growth). With China having nearly USD2000 bln of foreign assests in USD, it is the largest holder of assests in the world. This was translating into a huge advantage for the Americans, because the transaction charge incured by these assests were huge and it was an income for the Greenback(Read USD). The current econimic crisis, led the US government to place its internal debitors in higher priority than the foreign creditors. At the same time China was convert the huge USD assests to other currencies. But the move failed as it led to huge losses. Now China can neither sell those assests nor keep it for long, due to the reason the assests being stagnant leading to weaker USD and further losses.  

China earlier had cleverly kept back its currency making it weaker to the USD so that it would help its export oriented economy. This paid hugely and led to its high growth over a few years. Having much confidence, it built huge reserves of assests. This move is sure to backfire if the current crisis contines further. With a eye on economic stability and gains in 2020, China is trying to woo investors to make use of its highly growing market. The government handling of the current crisis has come for praise from many quarters. It has created demand by huge public spending and thus keeping the cash registers ringing all-round. But the US is not in mood to look so further and this is a dangerous sign to China and other emerging economies. 

With an view of all problems the Chinese bank governer is putting forth ideas which are being heard the world over. Ideas like expanding the role of Special Drawing Rights, Introduced by IMF in 1969 to support the Bretton Woods fixed exchange regime (But collapsed in the early 1970s to bring in an era of USD domination). Today the SDR is based on a basket of USD, Yen, Euro and Sterling. China's proposal would mean expanding the basket forming the basis of SDR valuation to all major economies and set up a settlement between SDRs and other currencies. The IMF could later manage collectively the different portions of SDR reserves and gradually replace the existing reserve curriencies. This would largely weaken the USD and would not be accepted by the US Govt. 

Lets see what happens in the years to come. Are we in for a huge change. As Mr Zhou states "This proposal would require extraordinary political visoin and courage"

Monday, March 30, 2009

Will india be a match to china's power

Well its been a month since i touched upon blogging and its pretty bad to do that. Mostly was vexed to spend time on typing a blog and of late found no time due to my part time job.With the recession gettin deeper, along with it goes my hope and cofidence but still managing to stay positive with things improving around. Lets look how would my mother country fare against Asia's bully in this times of down spiralling fortunes. This is idea i got from rediff and jus improvised on it.

To be frank the Indian tiger isn't nipping the dragon's tail anymore. In the boom, India managed a few years of 9 per cent economic growth. That led some to imagine the tiger could catch up with the stellar Chinese economy, which was growing at double-digit rates. Well, not anymore.

One part of the thesis was that India would sail through a global slowdown, while China's export-centred economy would be crippled. India generates less than 20 per cent of GDP from exports, while the Chinese share is twice as high. Yet, India's GDP growth still lags China's -- 5 per cent against 7 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2008. That continues a long-term pattern: for the past decade India's growth rate was 7 per cent, compared to almost 10 per cent for China.

Unfortunately, India doesn't have the resources to fund a big stimulus programme. China's fiscal deficit is 3 per cent of GDP, while India's consolidated deficit is more than 10 per cent. The Indian government's anti-recession package could amount to a mere $8 billion, or 1 per cent of annual GDP. But that pales against China's three-year $585 billion plan, equivalent to 18 per cent.

India can't afford to inject more, for fear of losing its investment grade rating. A junk debt rating could further deter foreign investment, which would more than counteract the possible benefits of a bigger stimulus. As it is, India received just one third as much foreign investment as China in 2007.

Apart from spending more at home, China's vast foreign exchange reserves also allow it to make key overseas strategic investments, buying up stakes in miners like Rio Tinto. That could help the commodity-hungry nation secure long-term resource supplies. India, which imports almost 70 per cent of its oil, can't afford to make similar precautionary investments.

Finally, there is India's woeful infrastructure and recalcitrant bureaucracy, the nation's biggest barriers to growth. As the country lurches to a divisive election, there are precious few signs that these barriers are getting any lower. India could certainly use some of the stimulus funds China plans to plough into addressing its own infrastructure weaknesses.

Indeed, the bust shows that India's idea that it could supplant China as Asia's star growth economy was little more than a boom-time fantasy. The tiger simply doesn't have the financial firepower to contend with the dragon.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

E = m*(c^2) ---> A boon or a bane

Well.... here comes an off-beat blog from me.. especially centered upon one of the most important equations of modern physics which has shaped the current world of discoveries. This equation was derived by the renowned Albert Einstien in 1905 in the paper "Does the inertia of a body depend upon its energy content?", one of his ANNUS MIRABILIS papers. Though Einstien was not the first to propose an energy-mass relationship, he was the first to propose(and in fact prove) that the equivalence of mass and energy is a general principle, a consequences of symmetries of space and time. This paper is based primarily on James Clerk Maxwell's and Heinrich Rudolf Hertz's investigations in addition with the axioms of relativity. Einstien thus proved that the energy(E) emitted or radiated by a body/molecule is equal to the body's mass(m) times the square of speed of light(c). Einstien in fact was clearly confident that this could not be achieved practically and it was next to impossible. He even went on record quoting "It is equivalent to shooting a bird in the dark in a place where there are few number of birds".
Now we go on to see two fine examples of the equation.
Example 1
Way back in August 2, 1939 a letter signed by Einstien was delivered to the White House. But due to the American president Roosevelt's preoccupation with Aldof Hitler's invasion of Poland (Remember history?? - this was the beginning of World War II), it was delivered to him on October 11th. The letter was originally framed by another scientist Leo Szilard (A Budapest born Hungarian-German-American Physicist) with the help of fellow Hungarian Physicists Edward Teller(Father of the Hydrogen bomb) and Eugene Winger. The letter was about the threat of Germany going forward with a research to develop an atomic bomb using nuclear fission.
Actually Szilard 1933-34 had concluded that nuclear chain reaction was possible (he conceived the idea while waiting for traffic lights to change when walking to work!!!!) and also managed to make him prove that after all Einstien was true in his mass-energy relationship. When he learnt about the achievement of nuclear fission by Otto Hahn of Germany in December 1939, he along with Noble Laureate Enrico Fermi (who along with szilard was instrumental in building the first nuclear reactor) concluded that Uranium was the material which could sustain a chain reaction and with further experiment they discovered significant neutron multiplication in uranium thus proving that chain reaction was possible and nuclear weapons were on the way. Szilárd later described the event: "We turned the switch, saw the flashes, watched for ten minutes, then switched everything off and went home. That night I knew the world was headed for sorrow". Later Szilard heard that his former colleagues in Germany had gone further ahead and were experimenting with the control of chain reaction using graphite and were unsuccessful. This instilled fear in his minds and he rushed to Einstien to seek help in rushing a letter to the President warning of Germany's advances. He managed to convince Einstien in this regard and Einstien accepted to sign that letter as the base of all these findings was his energy-mass relation principle.
The letter states that Germany's action in blocking export of Uranium from former Czechoslovakia (taken over by Germany) proves that they are well on the way to develop an atomic bomb which could lead to large scale destruction. It also was advised in that letter that America speed up its nuclear research and also look into the possibility of building a bomb. It was also stated that the bomb would be heavy and difficult to transport due to its size and volume. This letter made Roosevelt to call upon his Chief of Army and later saw the establishment of the Manhattan Project in 1939. This project was an extensive project and employed nearly 130,000 people and nearly US$ 2 billion (in 1939!!!!! - translates to USD 24 billion) and was located at various sites across America. Thus was born the nuclear bomb which was dropped in Nagasaki and Hiroshima. Szilard, Fermi, Teller, Oppenheimer among a host of other eminent Physicists worked on it. Einstien later expressed about his regret in signing the letter and also was sorrowed by his grave mistake of finding the mass-energy relationship.
Example 2
Another amazing finding based on Einstien's equation is the Big Bang Theory. This theory establishes the fact that universe came into existence at a definite moment in time, some 13 billion years ago, in the form of a superhot, superdense fireball of energetic radiation. Until the arrival of the Big Bang theory the universe was believed to be essentially eternal and unchanging, represented by the Steady State model. The first clear hint that the universe might change as time passes came in 1917 when Albert Einstein developed his General Theory of Relativity. Einstein realised that his equations said that the universe must be either expanding or contracting, but it could not be standing still, because if it were then gravity would attract all the galaxies towards one another. This was, at the time, a revolutionary concept, so revolutionary that Einstein refused to believe it and introduced his infamous 'cosmological constant' into the equations so that the sums agreed that the universe could be static. He later claimed it was the biggest blunder of his career. It was in 1920 that Edwin Hubble discovered that the universe was expanding by measuring the light from distant galaxies. This discovery was followed in 1927 by Georges Lemaitre, a Belgian astronomer, who was the first person to produce a version of what is now known as the Big Bang model. To this day there are numerous theories either supporting or opposing this theory by various astrophysicists. But the theory remains and will continue to remain.
This Big Bang theory was in fact established clearly with Einstien's theory of relativity which in fact was based upon Einstien's Annus Mirabilis. Upon seeing two fine examples of Einstien's work, I really feel that a simple equation has in fact ruled the 20th century and still continues to do so.... Is this equation a boon or a bane.. wat else is in store for being discovered...

Friday, January 23, 2009

Winds of change???

It was a historic day on Jan 20, 2009 in the annals of American history. The day on which the 44th president of United State of America took oath thus finalising the transfer of power from the incumbent. It was a new dawn for the Afro-American community as it was the First person from the race to hold the highest office of the nation. Barack Hussein Obama has made history and etched his name among the highly precious leaders of the country. His coming to power has been a roller-coaster ride from the moment his nomination as democratic candidate running in the race for president. Before he could be in the real race was a huge task of passing through the toughest challenge from the former first lady cum senator Hilary Clinton who was a clear favourite to hold office. Once past her he was clearly the people's choice as his promise had been a "New America", a "Changed America". Eight years of Republic rule had made the country stare at the bottom of the barrel with uncertain future helped his cause largely and defeat of John McCain was achieved. Over to the period after conforming his candidature the President elect was in "Honeymoon Period" as coined in American power circles. He was in fact under training and was learning the technicalities of the office.

Over to his inauguration on the West end of the Capitol Hall at 12 noon on chilly after non and thousands has turned up for the occasion and the world was amazed on seeing such huge crowds barring cold winds. The occasion was a grand affair with the who's who of American power circle attending it and millions of viewers watching in in TV and live streaming over the Internet(me was of this category!!! at 1 AM). There was some prayers and a musical performance before the main speech took place, but all eyes was on one person and he was sitting there like a normal human being as if unaware of such a huge responsibility being placed on his young shoulders. When his came there was huge uproar and he had to wait for some seconds for the applause to die down. There began an inspiring speech which had been modelled akin to a sculptor creating his masterpiece. Here goes a brief text of such an inspiring speech which touched millions of hearts across the globe.
Starting with a humble thanks to the people and a great thanks to his 43 predecessors in office it was of to a steady and clear start. When everybody settled down immediately, Obama started off like a panther in its mission clearly stricking the bull's eyes by accepting the huge task which welcomes him in office. Outlining the indicators of the economic crisis and addressing the lowering confidence of the people he affirmed the faith in him by saying "America - all challenges WILL BE MET". He gave a gist of what he plans to do to overcome the many challenges being faced by stating "For everywhere we look, there is work to be done. The state of the economy calls for action, bold and swift, and we will act — not only to create new jobs, but to lay a new foundation for growth. We will build the roads and bridges, the electric grids and digital lines that feed our commerce and bind us together. We will restore science to its rightful place, and wield technology's wonders to raise health care's quality and lower its cost. We will harness the sun and the winds and the soil to fuel our cars and run our factories. And we will transform our schools and colleges and universities to meet the demands of a new age. All this we can do. All this we will do." It looks like a fairy tale, but the way this man blurted it out seems that this is not impossible. Clearly this man means change.
He rekindled the thought that America is a secular nation with people from all faiths, known and unknown, binding together and achieving great heights and setting new standards. He called for all nations to come together in nullifying the nuclear threat. He meant business when he vowed to leave Iraq to its own people and establish peace in Afghanistan. Further preparing to take challenge of rectifying the spectre of global warming with the help of "old friends and former foes". He sent a strong statement to terrorists that the spirit of America cannot be broken and they will be surely outlasted and defeated. He pledged to "poor nations" that he'll work with then in their upfront and help them change and also change thyself as the whole world has changed.
By quoting "Our challenges may be new. The instruments with which we meet them may be new. But those values upon which our success depends — hard work and honesty, courage and fair play, tolerance and curiosity, loyalty and patriotism — these things are old. These things are true. They have been the quiet force of progress throughout our history. What is demanded then is a return to these truths. What is required of us now is a new era of responsibility — a recognition, on the part of every American, that we have duties to ourselves, our nation, and the world, duties that we do not grudgingly accept but rather seize gladly, firm in the knowledge that there is nothing so satisfying to the spirit, so defining of our character, than giving our all to a difficult task." these sentences he clearly emphasised the value and promise of citizenship, the source of one's confidence and the liberty of every individual. He said that a person who followed these principles, whose father was refused food in a restaurant 60 years ago, is standing before the world and taking the most difficultust and the most unwanted job in the current scenario.
Saying thus he told the people of America to have hope and hold virtue in hands at this time of hardship and set forth to make this place a better world to live for our children and their children.
Such an inspiring speech gave loads of confidence, attainable hopes and the surety that the winds of change are round the corner. Let us Hope this man achieves his goal of a "New America" which would spell into a "New world" and of course selfishly a "New India".

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Creeping Doubts in Mind...

It has been nearly two months since completing my masters degree. The ultimatum is now to secure a job and settle in life and most important start settling loans back home and here. Eager job aspirants would know what i am going through now. The market has crashed exactly at the same time i finish my course and you can expect the amount of fear in my mind. Wherever i go i hear only the words "Crisis, Freeze in hiring". It rings through the ears and the brain that i have graduated at a time when there virtually seems to be no jobs. Further news from people saying that the market is expected to recover by 3rd or 4th quarter of 2009 compounds the fear within. Where is life leading to? What does the future hold for me? Have my previous decisions been wrong? decisions like quitting a secured job back in india and moving abroad for higher studies... why does this happen? Parents struggling to make ends meet after ensuring that their children feel comfortable abroad and alone. How long will this dependance go on? Are we fit for jobs? Shall we go back to India and start afresh..? Shall we go stay back here and keep on searching? yes...!!! but how long? wat if i dont get a job before the visa periord expires..?

Damm.. Idle Mind is a Devil's Workshop.. Is this tat..? am i becoming a devil..? How to occupy myself? whatever i do only one thing comes to my mind... and it is sufficient to make me stop the thing am doing...??

I am writing this in full flow and am not able to countinue... u know y.....!! let me start staring the plain wall.... do pass some ideas in the comments... to make me feel better..

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Cricket in 2008- A glance

I have been thinking to write a blog on cricket, which incedentally is my passion and i can boast upon in depth knowledge of it. Following cricket for 16 long years has made be glued to it. Here i go upon a brief write up on my thoughts for cricket in 2008. 2008 has been an year which made heads turn around to cricket and was a zig-zag year for emotions of cricket lovers throughout the world. Cricket in 2008 was a year of revolution and churning, of big money and big egos, of acrimony and conflict, but also of wonderful spirit and luminous cricket. It was a year in which the might of Test cricket was challanged and in the end it stood up to be the truest form of entratainment for 5 solid days. At the start of the year money got a grip on the mind of the organisers and eventually choosen players became richer and fear loomed that the 20-20 format would marginalise Test Cricket which was the ultimate test for a player to prove his versatality. The IPL was a grand success as intensified the fear, but the criticism of the Stanford Leauge and its shambles gave an clear indication of the way cricket would shape up with the money. It was a time Test cricket had got an idea of how to be back on the track and it rightly boomed back into limelight at the end of the year.

The year began in the ugliest manner imaginable. The Sydney fiasco left many cricket lovers hurt and evoked anger , ill-will and malice. Former cricketers fumed on such conduct and the morale of the organisers dropped into deep unknown seas. Alas the year ended with such high regard for a powerfully humane gesture from England, returning back to India even after the Mumbai blast held the nerves of many. Such powerful gesture followed by gripping finishes in Perth and Chennai ensured that Test cricket remained on top. It was also the year in which the ICC failed and grew more irrelevant, umpiring system being reviewed, drying up of matches for pakistan and almost no mathes in zimbabwe.

Life after the IPL

It was an opportunity to reshape cricket. A domestic tournament had transformed cricket so radically and so profoundly, that viewers worldover were shell-shocked. The IPL was the biggest thing to happen to the game since Kerry Packer and its impact is expected to be more far-reaching. The focus in the first year was money - eight franchises were sold for over US$730 million; over 150 players, including 72 foreign players, were bought for over $45 million, and the television rights were sold for $1 billion. The tournament was an unqualified success. It attracted unique viewership in excess of 100 million in India, an 18% increase on the number that watched the World Twenty20 in 2007. Stadiums spilled over with fans, some of whom had never been to a cricket ground before. Most of all, the cricket was of the highest quality. What had seemed like an audacious gamble the previous year had paid off spectacularly. The IPL took cricket beyond a new form - it created a new world for itself.

Cricket organisers all over the world saw a huge opportunity for quick a quick buck and scampared with schedules for accomodating the new entrant in the already overflowing cup. Many countries are planning for a similar off shoot and all these together could easily challenge the king of cricket - Test Matches.
Viability of FTP
In theory, the Future Tours Programme of the ICC is an egalitarian concept, aimed at providing equal opportunity to each Test-playing country(9 in total). In reality, it is a blight. Administrators cried themselves hoarse in 2008, hailing Test cricket as the pinnacle of the game. Without doubt it is, but not when it is a mismatch. Test cricket is considered the pinnacle because it presents the ultimate test of skill. Between mismatched teams, it can feel farcical, and be economically unviable. Rich nations have an obligation to sustain and develop cricket - not by indulging weak countries with a quota system, but by providing a competitive playing field. India have got away with not inviting Bangladesh home even once since they were admitted to the Test fold - at India's behest. At one level, it seems hypocritical, at another it is pragmatic and justifiable. England are likely to follow suit next year, and it is a welcome decision. Bangladesh, their performance in the final Test notwithstanding, boost only one thing in Test cricket: the batting and bowling averages of their opponents. If they can offer a semblance of competitiveness, it is at home. It is futile having them play Test cricket in conditions that render them hopeless. New Zealand have played 14 matches but nothing significant other than 2 matches against australia. West Indiea and Bangladesh - 9 matches each but none was heard about. India and SA have palyed the most, 15 each and australia 14. Only these have been worth talking. Not to forget England's(12 matches) tour of India. Pakistan - are they a test playing nation?? - not even a single test.
Rather the ODI's have been numeorous, round the year. India again leading the pack with 29 ODI's (Won 19), followed by SL (14 of 27) and bangladesh!!(5 of 26)... Other countries fared equally with an average of 20 matches this year.
What cricket needs is not a lot of Tests, but more meaningful ones and equal competition by each team rather than stark difference in numbers. When the current FTP expires in 2011, it will be a good idea to bin the formula altogether and start clean. There can only be so much cricket in a year: let it be the best possible the game can provide.

Australia's decline
A more level playing field. It was inevitable and anticipated. No team can lose three of its biggest match-winners and carry on like before. Between them, Glenn McGrath and Shane Warne took 750 wickets at 20.78 in the 71 Tests Australia won with them playing together. McGrath took 377 wickets of batsmen from numbers one to six, of which the top three accounted for a staggering 225 at an average of 18.22. Australia lost only one Test match in which Adam Gilchrist scored a hundred. It was always a question of how much the team would fall after the departures, not if.

For the record, Australia had their worst year in a decade and a half. Since winning the fractious Sydney Test at the start of the year, they didn't manage to beat India, losing to them thrice. They lost twice in Perth, their fortress, and failed to take 20 wickets in four out of their last six Tests of the year. They turned to six different spinners in an attempt to replace Warne, including Cameron White and Nathan Hauritz, who were not the first-choice spinners even for their state sides. Their last Test of year, where they struggled to finish off South Africa's first innings, merely highlighted a problem that has haunted them all year - finishing off the tail. Harbhajan Singh scored four Test fifties against them, let alone Zaheer Khan, Dale Styen, and others contributions.

Australia's decline is both good news and bad news. It opens up the field, makes Test cricket more exciting. For years they have almost been competing with themselves: Can Ponting's Australians go one-up on Waugh's Australians by winning 17 Tests in a row? After you were done being awed and dazzled by them, it got monotonous and boring. A more level playing field makes for better watching. This year will carry huge anticipation: Any one of the four top teams - Australia, South Africa, India and England - could end the year on top of the Test ladder. But the bad news is that the level playing field hasn't come about as a result of others raising their game but because Australia have fallen. For years they have set the benchmark for excellence in world cricket, and that mark has been lowered now. India's series victory in 2000-01 felt far more special than the one this year because it came against Glenn McGrath and Shane Warne. Wonder if opposition batsmen will feel the same satisfaction in milking Mitchell Johnson, a fine bowler, but no more, and whichever spinner Australia might fancy putting up?

After their first series loss at home in 17 years, even Ricky Ponting will be forced to concede that the sun has set on a glorious era. Australian cricket must now ponder if Ponting is the man to lead them out of a slump. A team of winners can almost run on auto-pilot, but a struggling team needs a leader. A feeling has been growing that Australia under Ponting have grown too triumphalist, too blinkered and too self-absorbed. They have also been living in denial. Cricket needs a strong Australia, but the regeneration will need a fresh approach: It will need both strength and humility, steel and statesmanship. Ponting is still Australia's best batsman, but is he is the leader they need at this hour?
The challengers
It was apt that South Africa and India split the Test series they played this year. They were the teams of the year, the ones that brought Australia down. India began the process and South Africa completed it resoundingly. But South Africa ended the year ahead. They haven't lost a series in over two years; they now hold the trophies in all but one of the bilateral Test series they competed in(against india), and they won 11 out of their 15 Tests in 2008, seven of those away from home. Now that they have dispelled the cross that weighed them down, repeated ignominy against Australia, they are the legitimate No. 1 Test team in the world. India, who lost to Sri Lanka away, and needed a rank turner to draw level with South Africa at home, have some catching up to do.

Both teams have been largely successful due to their batsmen. Graeme Smith for SA has been the strength of pillar and the team largely reflects his own personality. He has been reeling centuries after centuries be it match winning or match saving. It is no wonder that he is the highest scorer of the year. Along with him 4 others are in the list of 15 most run scorers for the year. Not to forget their bowlers, 3 of the top 10 wicket takers are South Africans lead by Dale Steyn with 74 wickets.
In many ways it was India's year. While South Africa were ruthless and clinical, India were sparkling and captivating. They were the ones who first ambushed the champions in Perth, the Australian bastion, and beat them in the one-day finals. For the last few years India have been crossing items off their to-do list: Test wins in Australia and South Africa, series wins in West Indies and England, openers providing hundred-run partnerships abroad, batsmen coming to terms to pace and bounce, and pace bowlers coming to the party. For years India have dominated world cricket with their financial muscle, but now they have a team that is beginning match their wealth. When they travel abroad now, they will be expected to win. That's a significant change. More significant for them is their opening pair, especially Gautam Gambhir who is clearly the leading scorer in the ODI format and also among the Top 5 in tests. 6 of top 20 are indians in the top scorer list in the tests and 5 of the top 10 in ODI's. Bowlers arent too far. Zaheer khan and Ishant sharma are currently the fast best bowlers around.
Individual Heros
Twelve batsmen scored more than 1000 runs, notching up 45 centuries between them in tests, and two of them in ODI's. Virender Sehwag, the second-most prolific scorer, with 1462, got his runs at a strike-rate of 85.84, faster than Sachin Tendulkar gets his runs in one-day cricket. The top scorer, Graeme Smith, got his runs at 65.81. That these two men open the innings made a huge difference. Sehwag saved a Test in Adelaide, breathtakingly charged to a better-than-a-run-a-ball 319 in response to a first-innings total of 540, won the Galle Test almost single-handed, set up the declaration against Australia in Mohali and made the Chennai victory possible. Three of Smith's hundreds came in the last innings of the match -- two were in successful chases and one saved a match -- and five of his six hundreds of the year were in match-winning causes. That they were the most decisive batsmen of the year brooks no argument.

The same can be said about Dale Steyn, who headed the bowling chart, with 74 wickets. He bowled with pace and control, and was quite unplayable when he got the outswinger going. Steyn more than made up for a disappointing beginning in Perth with a series-winning second-innings spell at the MCG. Unsurprisingly, among bowlers who took more than 30 wickets, he is on top in terms of strike-rate, and average too.
Ishant and Mendis - it's not wickets alone. The sensational bowlers of the year were both rookies. Ajantha Mendis and Ishant Sharma didn't have lots of wickets to show but what an impact they made. It wasn't Mendis' fault he played only three Tests, but those three were against India, who have made meals of the best spinners. Mendis first jolted India's one-day batsmen in theAsia Cup final with 6 for 13, and arguably bowled the ball of the year to claim Rahul Dravid as his first Test victim. He would keep his hold over Dravid for the rest of the series, during which he also bamboozled VVS Laxman; claimed Gautam Gambhir, India's best batsman in the series, three times; and polished off the tail in a trice. Ishant's figures (38 wickets at 31.60 with a strike rate of 61) belie the manner in which bowled and the impact he made. That he took only one wicket in the second innings in Perth was a travesty. But not only was that one wicket the one that mattered, Ishant made Ricky Ponting the world's best batsman (certainly at that point) look like a novice for over an hour. On a slow and low pitch in Galle, he made a ball zip and curve. He remained a menace for Ponting and Australia throughout on dull pitches in the home series. In him, India have found their first genuine quick bowler.

Other prominent playes include MS Dhoni(India's New Captian), Shiv Chanderpaul, Gautam Gambhir, AB De Villers, Hamish Amla, Ricky Ponting and the most important of all - Sakhid Al Hasan. Hasan has been very much instrumental in keeping the name of bangladesh afloat rough waters with a phenomenal year both with the bat and the ball. Bangladesh have been able to challenge New Zealand hard thanks to him. He has been thier best batsman and best bowler this year. He is still 21 and surely has a long way to go.
With this note i am competing this blog. I have tried best to cover most and do remind me if i have forgotten any issues that have been omitted.