Posted by: kcgadiyar | January 19, 2013

7:45 : My entry for the Get Published contest

The Idea:

The driving idea behind this story is “Can you fall in love with someone you have never talked to?”

The story takes place over the course of 4 years at one location – the bus stop. The boy and girl in the story catch a glimpse of each other every day at the bus stop at 7:45 as their buses pass each other on their way to college, but no words are ever exchanged between them. A stolen glimpse, an exchanged smile, a silent joke shared across the road, these are the only interactions between the boy and the girl. The story is narrated in first-person, but with separate narrations by the boy and the girl as we see the love story develop from each person’s point of view. Through the narration, we learn more about both people and their perspective about the few moments they see each other every morning. We learn about love at first sight and the emotional highs and lows which come as part and parcel of the same.

 

What makes this story ‘Real’:

It’s a story which everyone who has ever liked someone, and changed their daily routine just to catch a further glimpse of the person, can relate to. This story is constructed from real people, friends who have had similar love stories, both successful and unsuccessful. Most importantly, the story has a “this could happen to you” feeling about it which makes it feel all the more real.

 

Extract:

Where do I begin? Well, starting at the start seems logical enough.

I have a list of things I hate – two of those things are waking up early in the morning, and being stuck outside in the rain without an umbrella. That day the fates conspired against me, as I had to wake up at 6:30am in order to catch the 7:45 bus to college and the clear skies decided to open up in a downpour when I stood waiting at the bus stop. To top it all off, it looked like the bus was going to be delayed as well since 7:45 had come and gone without any sign of it.

As i stood there trying to keep myself dry under the awning of a chai-store, I spotted a bus on the opposite side of the road. “Lucky people”, I thought to myself, “dry and on their way to wherever they are going”. I looked at all of them in their seats, the usual suspects were all there – the mothers going to drop their kids off at school, office workers waiting to get to work and dreading getting to work, other students like myself headed to other colleges. I didn’t think much of anyone there since I was still waiting for my bus to arrive, but something made me look again. Then, it happened. I saw her, seated 3 seats behind the driver, and she almost made me forget why I was at the bus stop that morning.

 

This is my entry for the HarperCollins–IndiBlogger Get Published contest, which is run with inputs fromYashodhara Lal and HarperCollins India.

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Posted by: kcgadiyar | January 17, 2013

Filmfare Awards 2013 – My predictions

Welcome to the 7th annual Filmfare awards prediction post by me. Hard to believe that it has been 7 years since I started doing this post. Last year was my most successful year yet since I got all my predictions right. I doubt if this year will match last year since for a change, Filmfare has actually nominated the best movies of a pretty good year for Bollywood. So let’s dive into it.

Nominations from Indicine.

Best Film
Barfi
English Vinglish
Gangs of Wasseypur
Kahaani
Vicky Donor

This is probably the best crop of nominees for “Best Film” that I have seen in the recent past. Every single one of these movies is actually nominated based on their merit rather than Box office performance. All well deserved nominees, however which “Gangs” movie has Filmfare actually nominated? Part 1, Part 2 or did they combine both movies to make a mega-movie? In the end, I think this will go to “Barfi” – the most original movie made using the most unoriginal scenes. The plot of the movie was completely original, but the way the plot was conveyed resorted to recycled scenes. Second place would be “Gangs of Wasseypur” just for the sheer scope of the project.

Should and Will win: Barfi

Best Director

Anurag Basu – Barfi!
Anurag Kashyap – Gangs Of Wasseypur
Gauri Shinde – English Vinglish
Shoojit Sircar – Vicky Donor
Sujoy Ghosh – Kahaani

Again, I have to commend Filmfare for not giving in to emotion and nominating Yash Chopra, they could have easily done it. But as it stands, this is a good bunch of nominees again, and again I think “Barfi” will take it, but would love to see Anurag Kashyap win it. What are the odds that the person presenting the award will say “And the award goes to Anurag….” and pause for 3 seconds before actually saying the surname.

Should win: Anurag Kashyap

Will win: Anurag Basu

Best Actor In A Leading Role (Male)

Hrithik Roshan – Agneepath
Ranbir Kapoor – Barfi!
Irrfan Khan – Paan Singh Tomar
Salman Khan – Dabangg 2
Manoj Bajpayee – Gangs Of Wasseypur
Shahrukh Khan – Jab Tak Hai Jaan

There are 3 deserving nominees in this list… and 3 nominees included for starpower purposes. Also, not nominating Ayushmann Khurrana is a major oversight since he was also really good as Vicky in “Vicky Donor”. Both the Khan’s were their regular selves in the movie and were playing themselves rather than acting. Manoj Bajpayee was good as “Sardar Khan” and would have probably won this any other year. However, this year saw 2 of the best performances in quite some time in Hindi movies. Irrfan Khan was the only reason “Paan Singh Tomar” worked as well as it did, his performance had that edge to it – especially in the scene where he is mourning the fact that someone else killed his “daddu” before he had the chance to exact his revenge. But, for me, the clear winner here is Ranbir Kapoor who was just amazing as Barfi, the scene where he admonishes Ileana’s character outside her house without any dialogues exchanged between the two was the scene that sealed this for me. A good year for male performances all around.

Should and Will win: Ranbir Kapoor, Barfi

Best Actor In A Leading Role (Female)

Deepika Padukone – Cocktail
Kareena Kapoor – Heroine
Parineeti Chopra – Ishqazaade
Priyanka Chopra – Barfi!
Sridevi – English Vinglish
Vidya Balan – Kahaani

Unlike the past few years, this was a good year for female performers as well. The emotional thing for Filmfare to do would be to give it to Sridevi for her comeback, but I don’t think they will, her performance was good but Priyanka Chopra as Jhilmil was just so good and inhabited the character completely that she deserves this award.

Should and Will win: Priyanka Chopra

Best Actor In A Supporting Role (Male)

Akshay Kumar – Oh My God!
Annu Kapoor – Vicky Donor
Emraan Hashmi – Shanghai
Nawazuddin Siddiqui – Talaash
Rishi Kapoor – Agneepath

The more nominations i see this year, the more i am shocked by the number of good performances that populated the year. This is another good category (in fact, this year the nominations are way more on target than not). If Nawazuddin was nominated for “Gangs of Wasseypur” i would have said he would win, but since he is nominated for “Talaash”, this award will finally go to a long time unrewarded actor for his best performance ever (and one of the best of the year).

Should and Will win: Annu Kapoor for Vicky Donor. I just hope he gives his speech in the same accent as he used in the movie.

Best Actor In A Supporting Role (Female)

Anushka Sharma – Jab Tak Hai Jaan
Huma Qureshi – Gangs Of Wasseypur
Ileana D’Cruz – Barfi!
Rani Mukerji – Talaash
Richa Chadda – Gangs Of Wasseypur

First off, Rani Mukerji in “Talaash”??? She was invisible in the whole movie and served no purpose except for to mourn her son. Also, Anushka was the best part of JTHJ, but not an award winning role. It is a tossup between the other 3, but i think the GoW vote will split giving the win to Ileana.

Should win: Any of the 2 GoW actresses or Ileana (all deserving)

Will win: Ileana D’Cruz

Best Music Director

Amit Trivedi – Ishqazaade
Pritam – Barfi!
Pritam – Cocktail
Sneha Khanwalkar – Gangs Of Wasseypur
Vishal – Shekhar – Student Of The Year

Another toss-up category, as all of them can lay claim to best album of the year. Tossing a 5-sided coin, i see the winner as:

Should and will win: Sneha Khanwalkar

Best Lyrics

Amitabh Bhattacharya – Abhi mujh mein kahin – Agneepath
Gulzar – Challa – Jab Tak Hai Jaan
Gulzar – Saans – Jab Tak Hai Jaan
Javed Akthar – Jee le zara – Talaash
Swanand Kirkire – Aashiyan – Barfi!

I think this will be the YRF category, as Filmfare will need to award their host at least once in the ceremony. Seeing that the winner here will probably be Gulzar. As to who should win, well, it is a weak field so it is truly anyone’s game, there is no standout like Irshad Kamil last year.

Should and will win: Gulzar

Best Playback Singer (Male)

Ayushmann Khurrana – Pani da rang – Vicky Donor
Mohit Chauhan – Ala barfi – Barfi!
Nikhil Paul George – Main kya karoon – Barfi!
Rabbi – Challa – Jab Tak Hai Jaan
Sonu Niigaam – Abhi mujh mein kahin – Agneepath

This will be the make-good award for the massive oversight in the “Best Actor” category. It will be well deserved though.

Should and Will win: Ayushmann Khurrana

Best Playback Singer (Female)

Kavita Seth – Tumhi ho bandhu – Cocktail
Neeti Mohan – Jiya re – Jab Tak Hai Jaan
Shalmali Kholgade – Pareshaan – Ishaqzaade
Shreya Ghoshal – Saans – Jab Tak Hai Jaan
Shreya Ghoshal – Chikni chameli – Agneepath

Should and will win: Shalmali Kholgade. Good song, good vocals, deserves this win.

Those were my predictions; let’s see how many i get right on Sunday.

After skipping last years Klueless, our intrepid team of explorers were back this year to try and scale the peak again. This time we had 4 members across 2 continents, 3 countries and 4 time zones to try and finish it by the end of the weekend. We barely made our self-imposed deadline with the puzzle finally being cracked in the early hours of Monday morning. We did start a bit late since not being in College anymore, you tend to forget important launch times 🙂

Overall, this edition was a marked improvement over Klueless 6. In fact, for sheer inventiveness this was one of the better Klueless editions. Yes, there were a few underwhelming levels, but by and large the answers were well hidden, needed a bit of lateral thinking and made logical sense when you got them. In the end, isn’t that what is needed in a good trivial pursuit game? Makers of Klueless 8, a job very well done, having been through the Klueless development process, i know what a hassle it is, and with every year the stakes rise higher and the number of people increase as well, in wake of all that this was a really well compiled collection of puzzles. The only issue i had with a few levels was the need of Excel and Word in a few of them which makes the levels no longer freestanding.

So, as per tradition, lets go through a run-through of the levels. As usual, no direct answers are contained, if you want direct answers look elsewhere, hints will be there though. Let’s begin:

Level 1: Hopefully no one got stuck here

Level 2: With this, the team made their intentions clear, there would be no cakewalk levels this time. All required information is given right on the page, find an alternate way to address the person being talked about.

Level 3: Just google general terms for everything you see on this page. Should lead you to a well known game

Level 4: Simple level, use the source code, page title and connect to the character in the picture.

Level 5: A well set level, and this is where i really started to appreciate the effort that went into this edition of the game as it was a puzzle where all the clues were given and the answer made complete sense once you got it. Google the source keeping the title in mind and connect it to the picture.

Level 6: Find the countries being talked about in the picture, and what is missing from the Num lock and Scroll lock combination and apply that to the countries found. Now see what is common to the 2 PLACEs found.

Level 7: A pretty easy level, use keywords from each of the pics. Use google image search to clearly find the model of the car. Search using all these keywords and the title of the page and you should arrive at a pretty famous person.

Level 8: The first person will be easy to find since his nickname is present in the picture. However, there is a second name to be found as well. This second name is also present in the picture on the page. Use generic term and type in the 2 names into search. This should give you the work being talked about.

Level 9: For a film buff like me this was the easiest level. The typography reminded me of a movie, all the lines on the page reminded me of other movies. Connected all the movies to one person and that was the answer.

Level 10: Google image search didnt help find the bottom guy, but i figured out what the diary represented and i correctly guessed what SoM stood for. The connect was obvious once these 2 were found.

Level 11: This was a good level. Initially we figured out that it was jumping around to different levels without rhyme or reason. We found the word meaning the same, and applied it backwards. The error page was very well done, luckily the “Map” was present in the source link. Don’t think we would have found it if we had only the picture to work with.

Level 12: Image search will give you what you need (approximately). Then relate that to binary and put in the actual value.

Level 13: Having recently seen the documentary on the life of the person being talked about it was easy to solve this level. The wiki page has everything needed.

Level 14: We figured out what “Bracketspeak” and MSN meant really quickly. After that when we arrived at the letters, the word made no sense whatsoever, we were stuck trying to find anagrams. Much later we realized we just had to type in the words. This was one level i hated, because the answer is not even a proper word. The idea behind the level is strong, but it could have been done much better if the answer was one which made sense. The only truly disappointing level of Klueless 8.

Level 15: Higher contrast and saturation are your friends, the fire will spill its secrets.

Level 16: For old school fans, this should be easy. Look for the earliest names of beloved characters and enter the right characters name.

Level 17: Another well done level. The source should lead you to a song, which in turn should lead you to a timekeeping device. Look at the time marked for the smiley and you will see that it hits home. Find out where exactly it hit home and that is the answer.

Level 18: This was a really good level. Use the sponsors to find the clubs, find out what is wrong in the picture and google to find the chemist responsible. This should lead you to the required answer.

Level 19: Simple one. Use the source to find the required year’s winner and enter the winning entry.

Level 20: I liked that there are 3 paths, we took the medium path. Can’t provide clues since it won’t benefit people on the other paths. Use the source to find the “Map” to the 3 paths, it is tough to find them in the picture itself.

Level 21: A pretty simple conversion to get from 16 to 10. The required keys are already in the picture, just apply them.

Level 22: Use google maps to find the place. You will land on a very famous place (famous for just one thing actually). Google the famous names + use the page title and you will find the required answer.

Level 23: There are seven of these in nature. Only 2 of them can claim to have won something big. The numbers correspond to the number of times won. Find out where next.

Level 24: This was a frustrating level, we found all the clues unfortunately we did not arrange the 2 words in the right order. So it kept leading us to a revolutionaries page where as we needed to go to the page of a loose cannon. Use image search and you will arrive at the required 2 words quite easily. Please put them in the right order though.

Level 25: Google is your best friend again. The source will let you know one person being looked for. Use the sculptor and generic terms to find the other. Now connect both of them to a 3rd person and find his kin (not next of kin, just kin)

Level 26: Use Alchemy and a measure which is hidden in the picture. Convert everything to that measure and as the page says multiply, then add. Make sure your math is proper though.

Level 27: Use the picture name as a clue to find similar people for other teams. Then use the picture itself to find the “Hero” being talked about.

Level 28: The source clue in this level is wrong (at least as per wiki), it should be 06 19 02 09. Look for something common with these years and the dynamite man. Offsprings are key.

Level 29: This is a level based on one of my favorite back and forths. Use the songs in the picture with the letters to arrive at a 6th song and apply the picture letters to that song to arrive at a person and his famous quote. Who supplied the repartee?

Level 30: I loved this level. There are enough false paths you can go down in this while always skirting close to the answer. We were initially stumped when we found the “tragedy” suffered by the current champions due to a “syndrome”. But that didn’t fit. While randomly googling, came across a completely different syndrome per se. Thought nothing of it until an hour or so later when nothing else fit. The color of the letters will let you know which team. The source will tell you the name of the show, the picture will give season and episode. The answer fits the game really well. Well done to whoever set this level, kudos.

Level 31: Birthday is the best clue here. After searching, i came across a cipher which turned out could not be used here, but was really useful later.

Level 32: Use image search to find out what is common, and also what is missing.

Level 33: The Word is really important here. Find the Word and you can find the path needed. The source will provide you the “Map” as well.

Level 34: After encountering facepalm first (hey, i had to try, even the facepalm was a good clue though). The required cipher was easily found since it was the same one rejected in an earlier level. Using that and the old timey clue, found the required person.

Level 35: The basic math clue was the big one. Use google image search to find out what is common to the filmographies of the 3 people in the pic and the 2 others mentioned in the title, source and picture. Use basic math to arrive at the 6th person.

Level 36: Look at the letters on the board, remind you of a word you have already seen in Klueless? Use that word to decide the letters you need to pick out and the sum of letters. Will give you a synonym for steal.

Level 37: You know the grid, it is in front of your eyes. Use the golden Word again. Find the numbers and use the tracking arrows to find the required words, maybe after having tea once or twice or 9 times.

Level 38: The date you will find and the insert coin clue should lead you to the answer.

Level 39: Animate the picture (great, its freaking hard to do using any tools). Google the keyword and arrive at the required cipher. From there it is pretty simple.

Level 40: Done with Klueless 8.

That was Klueless 8. How was it?

The Good:

– Well thought out levels on the whole.

– Good moderation of comments. Moderating just enough out to help others

– Well paced difficulties in levels

– No direct answers in most levels. This became a running joke in our group, when we arrived at something which looked like a direct answer, we just ignored it and looked laterally.

The Bad:

– Level 14. Singling out this level because of the potential it had. There were so many options which could have formed a proper word.

– Level 28. The source clue is wrong (at least it was for me)

This was a very good version of Klueless. Well done to everyone who set it. Looking forward to K9 next year.

Posted by: kcgadiyar | October 22, 2012

Podcast #2 – A cricket talk

After our first podcast reached 50 listens (about 45 more than we expected) Ajay, Nishanth and me are back with podcast#2 – a look at the current world of cricket. We have learnt from the first one and made this shorter, zippier and to the point. Do give it a listen and we welcome ideas for our next podcast

01:15 – Thoughts on the World T20
06:00 – Quick thoughts on Anil Kumble becoming the ICC Cricket Committee Chairman
07:50 – Champions League T20 Thoughts – Lack of champions, proposed future formats
10:50 – Proposed changes to CL T20
12:50 – The IPL, teams being terminated and feasibility
15:00 – A few thoughts on domestic cricket
16:45 – India’s upcoming calendar and the case of the missing SL series
18:30 – Closing comments

If you like what you hear, follow us @ajay_prasad @kcgadiyar and @NishantSKumar

Also, our first podcast can be found here: http://irreverentlytimed.com/2012/08/18/podcast-india-at-london-2012-a-review/

 

Posted by: kcgadiyar | August 22, 2012

Review: Ek Tha Tiger

(X-post from my other blog)

Towards the end of “Ek Tha Tiger” there is a scene when Salman and Katrina are on a motorbike and they make their way to an airfield in order to escape in a small plane. At that moment i thought to myself “Why does Salman Khan need a plane? He can fly the motorbike itself” (similar to how Chiranjeevi can slide a horse). 10 minutes and a small action sequence later, Salman Khan actually almost flies the motorbike as I had jokingly thought.

That sequence is in a way a distillation of the movie, the most impossible things will happen and you will sit back and go along with it because hey, it IS a Salman Khan movie.

Going into “Ek Tha Tiger”, i expected an action movie kind of like the Bourne series or similar, but it turns out the theatrical trailer was a major bait and switch. There are a total of 3 action sequences in this movie (and 2 minor fights), but the movie is above all a love story, a very serviceable love story but not a very compelling one. In fact, the movie gives us glimpses of Tiger’s old missions, and every time they showed one of the old missions, i was left thinking that i would have rather seen a movie about those missions (the one in China looked particularly interesting, a true spy thriller type)

What is the story? Tiger (Salman Khan) is a RAW agent who is sent to observe a scientist (Roshan Seth) and find out if he is selling nuclear missile deterrent technology to Pakistan. He has a housekeeper Zoya (Katrina Kaif) who Tiger promptly falls in love with, but it turns out that she has a secret of her own. Once her secret is revealed, the whole nuclear missile subplot is dropped (because why would we want a potentially interesting subplot to go anywhere) and the movie focuses solely on the love story.

With Yash Raj producing, this movie has amazing production values. Each scene looks polished. The cast is top notch with all supporting roles being performed by well known character actors, Roshan Seth and Girish Karnad don’t normally pop up in Hindi movies, so it was nice seeing them on screen.

Salman Khan carries the movie, even though his character is not well defined, he rises above the passable script and runs the show. Katrina is passable. There is a complete lack of chemistry among the leads though, probably a side effect of their split. Kabir Khan has directed well. The stunts are, well, shot and performed well, but stretch credibility to its limit. The movie manages to get Salman to take off his shirt for all of 2 seconds, but the audience literally roared in those 2 seconds.

In the end, most of my issues with the movie is that i went in expecting a completely different movie than what unfurled on screen. Beyond that, if you want 2 hours of entertainment without taxing the brain, go and watch it.

2.5/5 – Inoffensive entertainment, doesn’t pretend to be pathbreaking and isn’t. Watch for Salman doing what he does best.

Posted by: kcgadiyar | August 18, 2012

Podcast: India at London 2012 – A Review

Me and a couple of friends got together and impulsively decided to record a podcast over Skype. Excuse the noise in the background. If you like what you hear, do visit their blogs as well.

 

Ajay: http://ajayallin.blogspot.com/

Nishant: http://www.nishantzworld.blogspot.com/

 

 

The podcast is arranged as below in case you need to skip to specific sections:
0:00 Quick thoughts on VVS Laxman’s retirement
1:30 Introduction and twitter handles
4:00 General thoughts on the London 2012 olympics
8:30 India at Olympics 2012 roundup
8:30 Judo, Swimming, Rowing, Weightlifting, Table Tennis
12:45 Analyzing the Hockey and Tennis disappointments (Yes, i know Paes and Bhupathi lost 16-14 and not 20-18 at Athens, a mistake on my part)
19:00 Archery and Atheltics
24:15 Badminton
30:30 Boxing
36:30 Shooting
39:15 Wrestling
42:00 The missing gold
45:00 Thoughts on Ajay Maken
47:30 Football, Michael Phelps, Usain Bolt and other random thoughts
51:00 Thoughts on India at Rio 2016 and signoff
54:00 Chariots of fire theme outro

Posted by: kcgadiyar | July 26, 2012

My predictions for the Indian contingent at London 2012

With a day and a half left for the opening ceremony of the 2012 Olympics, i thought this is a good time to give my predictions for the Indian contingent.

This Olympics is a weird one for the Indian fan. We had absolutely no hopes from the athletes in the last games and they surprised us with a 3 medal haul including a gold. In the intervening 4 years, our boxers have scaled heights in the international arena, our shooters are reigning world champions and world record holders, our archers are not too shabby, and our hockey team actually qualified for the Olympics. This is reason enough to feel confident, add in the fact that “Mixed doubles” is actually included as a medal event in tennis and Saina Nehwal is hitting her peak and we are actually looking forward to this Olympics with hope instead of the resignation we are normally accustomed to.

So, here is my preview of team India’s campaign. All data is taken from this page: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/India_at_the_2012_Summer_Olympics

Sport Men Women Events
Archery 3 3 4
Athletics 8 6 11
Badminton 2 3 4
Boxing 7 1 8
Field hockey 16 0 1
Judo 0 1 1
Rowing 3 0 2
Shooting 7 4 9
Swimming 1 0 1
Table tennis 1 1 2
Tennis 5 2 4
Weightlifting 1 1 2
Wrestling 4 1 5
13 sports 58 23 54

The best way to look at our prospects is to divide the sports into “Good Chance”, “Fair Chance”, and “No Chance”

Let’s start with “No Chance” and work our way up.

No Chance:

Rowing, Swimming, Table Tennis, Weightlifting and Athletics (to a large extent) are the events in which i feel India has no chance of coming back with a medal.

 

The Indian rowing team did well to qualify by finishing high up in the Asian qualifiers. But i don’t see them winning any medals here.

India failed to qualify even a single swimmer for the Olympics and a “quota” place was given to India.

Table Tennis remains the domain of the Chinese and Koreans.

Athletics will remain a perennial failing for India.

Fair Chance:

Judo, Tennis, Field Hockey, Archery

I am including Judo here, because it is a sport which depends heavily on the luck of the draw. And with “Repechage” rules in effect, a loss in an early round does not mean the end of the road. The rest will depend on whether Garima Chaudhary can put in the performance of a lifetime or not.

Tennis would have been under “Good chance” prior to the whole Paes-Bhupathi controversy. But, i still see the mixed doubles contest as a potential medal winner. Hopefully Devvarman should give a good performance on the singles side. Bhupathi-Bopanna are seeded 7th which should ensure a quarterfinal spot at the very least for them.

Archery, especially the team events, will be the real wildcard i feel. The team has had enough time to practice, they arrived early and have been out at Lords continuously racking up training hours and may be a good bet. The individual events, on the other hand, i feel will not provide any medals.

Field Hockey is back, for India at least. The only problem is that we have been drawn with Holland and Germany in group B. In order to progress to the semi-finals the team needs to beat at least one of them, or hold both of them to draws at least. These are the 2 matches which will decide the Olympics as far as field hockey is concerned.

Good Chance:

Shooting, Badminton, Boxing, Wrestling

This is the group which will have the most media scrutiny on them since almost our entire medal tally is predicted to come from these sports. The news will be saturated with coverage prior to these events, hopefully the expectations will be met.

Saina Nehwal, world Rank #5, an easy draw for the first 2 rounds means that a quarterfinal place is virtually guaranteed in women’s singles. A similar situation, on a smaller scale, is playing out in the women’s doubles for Jwala Gutta and Ashwini Ponnappa. These will be the best chances of a medal for India in a court sport.

After making “Repechage” India’s favorite word 4 years ago, Sushil Kumar is once again one of the medal favorites. The other wrestlers will be hoping to make a mark as well.

Boxing and Shooting together look to account for a lot of medal hopefuls. It is really tough to single anyone out as a favorite for a medal, but this is Mary Kom’s first and probably last shot at an Olympic medal and it would be nice to see her win one.

 

Final prediction (being conservative):

Tennis – 1 medal

Badminton – 1 medal

Shooting – 2 medals

Boxing – 1 medal

Wrestling – 1 medal

Total haul – 6 medals

So i am predicting a doubling of the medal count. How much of this is based in fact, and how much in hope i don’t know. But we are in for some amazing feats over the next few weeks. Let’s hope the athletes come back with more than my prediction.

Comments? Agree/Disagree? Let me know.

Until Next Time,

K.C.G

Posted by: kcgadiyar | July 20, 2012

“The Dark Knight Rises” review is up

Check it here: http://kcgreviews.wordpress.com/2012/07/21/the-dark-knight-rises-midnight-premiere-experience-and-review/

In between the many random discussions at work, me and a friend started discussing commonly seen names among different communities. We agreed that “Jose” is probably the most common Hispanic name, and maybe “Joe” or “Mark” may be likewise for Americans. When the topic came to Indians, i figured the most common names must be “Rahul” “Divya” etc. Basically, names which if you go on the street and scream out, at least 5 people will respond (“Karthik” fits into this in most parts of south India).

Based on that i decided to check out the most popular baby names in India, and let’s just say i was way off the mark as to what is popular nowadays. I guess once you have 1.2+ billion people, you really need to stretch for names (as one of my friends put on Twitter today “In about 20 years, the hardest thing our kids will have to do, is find a username that isn’t taken.”).

That said, here are random observations from the most popular Indian baby names list found here: http://www.babycenter.in/pregnancy/naming/india-top-baby-names-2011/

1. That is a lot of A’s: If you have clicked through to the link, you would have seen that of the top 40 names, 19 start with A. This, i think is entirely due to people wanting their children to be Roll No.1 in class. It gets more ridiculous when you consider that 6 of the names start with AA. We are soon approaching a future where a kid whose name starts with J will probably be Roll No. 40 in a class of 50 after all the Aarav, Aadi, Aarush, Aanya, Aarya brigade. (Hell, Aarya may be Roll No.10 or more)

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Aaron A Aaronson would be proud

2. We really really hate 3 syllables: Of the top 40 names, 7 have more than 2 syllables, none have more than 3, gone are the Rukmini, Mohini kind of names which took effort to pronounce, the names need to roll off the tongue easily.

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A name like Madurai Shanmukhavadivu Subbulakshmi will never be seen again

3. Future generations will have an easier time filling out OMR sheets: This goes hand in hand with the previous two points, with names having more A’s and being shorter, OMR sheets are going to be a cinch to fill up in the future. As opposed to a fictional “Vyshnav Venkateshwaran Veejaykumar” who probably curses the guy who thought up OMR sheets

I hated these things with a vengeance

4. Apart from A – R,S, V and D seem to be favored: To such an extent that of the top 40 names, only 6 names don’t start with any of these letters. Why is this so is a logical question to be asked. Only answer i can think of is that since names starting from these letters were quite popular in our generation (i.e. the Rahul and Raj generation), it makes sense that some parents will want to name their kids with the letters starting from their own names which might explain the popularity of these non-A letters

Hi, i am !xobile and this is my son !xoxile

5. Angel and Pari are really popular names – Please, please tell me this is not because of the popularity of “Heyy Babyy”. There is a difference between calling someone “My little angel” or “Meri nanhi pari” in your facebook photo albums and actually naming someone “Angel” or “Pari”. Do you want your kid to suffer through school? The endless teasing alone will make your daughter hate you. Parents may think it is about their nature that they are as cute as an angel. In school, the only thing kids will ask is “Where are the wings?” The only worse name i can think of would be naming your daughter “Princess”

Or if you want to go all out “Princess Angel”

6. People really seem to be researching for sources – There are names from Greek and Hebrew origin, from Gods and Goddesses and from nature. And after all that effort to research names, to make sure the origins are arcane enough, the name means something nice and is short enough to easily write, a ton of people seem to arrive at the same names rendering all that effort moot.

Should have just gone with “Angel”

7. Uniqueness – The blurb in the article that i found most interesting was “Ananya (incomparable) holds on to the no.1 position in India for two years in a row, celebrating the uniqueness of every little girl.” I don’t think much else needs to be said. Every girl is so unique that in the end they all have the same name. This is almost like the “Smartphone beta test ad by Nokia”

8. A lot of kids are going to be asked “So what does your name mean?” constantly in the future – Of the names listed, i think i knew the meaning for almost none, so the question “What is your name?” will almost always be followed by “Nice name, what does it mean?” for so many kids, especially the ones who have to explain “It is greek, or hebrew in origin”

Mine either means “God of War” or “One who brings happiness”. Guess which one i prefer.

9. No movie or sport star names – Weirdly enough, there are NO names which are movie star names. Not a single Salman, Shahrukh, Akshay or more surprisingly Sachin in the bunch. I guess the star worship is limited to watching movies and matches and not so much to naming kids. This is probably good news, a lot of kids probably were saved from being named “Mahendra Singh” when India won the world cup.

Look for more Ayushmann’s next year though (or maybe even Vicky)

So those were my random observations on a list which probably did not deserve this much thinking into it. But hey, as long as you guys liked reading it (the things i do for my 5 readers)

Until Next Time.

Posted by: kcgadiyar | June 8, 2012

Euro 2012 predictions

It’s football season again, with Euro 2012 all set to begin. This will be the last Euro to have 16 teams, since Euro 2016 will expand to 24 and obviously lead to more one-sided games. Here is a look at what i think we may see in each group and the rest of the tournament over the next 20+ days.

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To start with, the clear favorites are Spain, but their Euro 2008 winning strike-force of Villa and Torres are injured and completely out of form respectively, this may be a huge difference maker all said and done. If Spain slip-up, Germany will be right there to pick the ball and run with it. Germany’s test will be the group stages since they are in the “Group of death”. Currently though, it is tough to look beyond these 2 teams for the final victory.

Group A:

  • Poland
  • Russia
  • Greece
  • Czech Republic

This is the mini group of death with all 4 teams having a good chance of progressing. Poland will be favorites since they are the hosts and know the conditions well. Czech Republic have a tendency to choke in big tournaments and Russia have not been on the tearing form they were on prior to Euro 2008. Greece are struggling at home (economically) and would probably be motivated enough to make it out of the group stages. I pick Poland and either Russia or Greece

Group B:

  • Netherlands
  • Denmark
  • Germany
  • Portugal

Poor Denmark, fielding their best team after the Laudrup-Schmeichel era and they land in this group. On paper, Germany and Netherlands should qualify, but Cristiano Ronaldo will be keen to show that he is a big occasion player and guide Portugal forward. I will stick with Germany and Holland progressing though.

Group C:

  • Spain
  • Italy
  • Republic of Ireland
  • Croatia

Spain are Spain, nothing more to say there. Italy are in a mini rebuilding phase with no new stars having stepped up to be counted yet. Don’t know much about Croatia currently, but Rep.of Ireland will be eager to perform well at their first big-level shot since the World Cup in 2002, so i will pick them to progress with Spain

Group D:

  • France
  • England
  • Sweden
  • Ukraine

Despite playing at home, i don’t see Ukraine progressing. England look weak on paper. Sweden have never lost to England in a major competition to date, don’t think that will continue. France have struck some great form recently and should progress. Sweden and England are too close to call.

Random Picks:

Ukraine will look to be the spoilers in Group D and may well manage it. Van Persie and Benzema will look to announce themselves at the International level. Ronaldo will look for his defining moment. No idea where the Arshavin of this tournament will come from i.e. the player who bursts on to the scene in a major tournament, good money would be on a Polish player.

In the end, it should be an entertaining 3 weeks with a Spain-Germany final when it is all said and done. But who knows, football is a game of glorious uncertainties as Greece in Euro 2004 can attest to.

Let the games begin!!

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