Friday, April 24, 2009

Social network status messages: An insight to the individual

Last night while going through the friend's list on my gtalk desktop client, I couldn't help but notice an 'interesting' phenomenon. Amongst those who were online (active or idle), about 90% of them had something or the other in their status messages. The last 10% had either 'Available' or 'Busy' on their status messages which are the default ones provided by Gtalk to denote the respective states. Now amongst those 90%, the status messages could be divided into various categories:
1) Status messages which wanted to convey some event. These status messages were in general like 'Been promoted', 'Got through to XYZ', 'Back from ABC trip' etc. Many a times they were accompanied by links which could be photo albums or blogs on that event or links that described that event.
2) Status messages which tended to be philosophical in nature. These contain quotations or mere one-liners or some poetry.

The 1st category falls into the group of people who are well off or happy. That is because people don't publicize negative or sad events on gtalk. Its the classic example of sharing happiness with all but sadness with select people.

What I am interested in is the 2nd category. If you ever delve into this category, you will find a lot of emotions plugged in. And they are heavily linked to what that particular person is going through or feeling at that particular moment. Like one message which says 'The greatest pleasure in life is in doing what people say you cannot do'. Guess what happened to this guy? He had been in love with a girl whose parents had been against their marriage. And most people who knew him thought he didn't have the guts to stand up for her. He not only managed to do so, but also married the gal. He proved everyone wrong.

Another one was from a lady who got through to IIM-A and proved herself to her boyfriend and current IIM-C student - 'Men are like bank accounts. Without a lot of money they don't generate a lot of interest'. Attitude! You can forgive her for doing that now.

People who are yearning for success wrote stuff like 'The road to success is always under construction', 'Efficiency is doing things right, effectiveness is doing the right things', 'The desire to succeed means nothing without the will to prepare', 'Tough times don't last, tough people do', 'Some people believe in destiny and some people make their own. Which category are you?' and 'There are no Failures. Just experiences and your reactions to them'. Marvellous. I fell in love with them. How true and how self-reflecting each of them were!

Some guys who just fell in love wrote stuff like 'Sometimes love is for a moment, sometimes love is for the lifetime'. And at times some more philosophical ones like 'Freedom is not worth if it does not include the freedom to make mistakes', 'Happiness is not a station you arrive at but a manner of travelling', 'You see things and you say - Why? I dream things and I say - Why not?'. Amazing. What is fascinating is that these messages are not necessarily their own creations but more or less show what those people are thinking at that point.
I came up with one myself - 'Tell me and I forget, teach me and I remember, involve me and I learn.' Guess what it tells about me?

Cross Posted on :
Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Can the Knights Ride home to the ultimate victory?

Yesterday, while watching the Indian Premier League (IPL) coverage on television, I couldn't help but ponder on the fact that how brittle the Kolkata Knight Riders' team looked in totality. Kolkata Knight Riders had just won their match against the 'injured' King's XI Punjab via the Duckworth-Lewis method and they were showing Mandira bedi's interview of Shah Rukh Khan (SRK), the owner of the Kolkata Knight Riders team. One loss and one win from two matches. According to SRK, it wasn't bad. The team started slow on the first day against Deccan Chargers. Deccan Chargers looked the hungrier side. He defended his team beautifully setting the multiple captaincy saga, Gavaskar lash behind. He can be excused for that. After all, I can imagine what amount of hate mail he must have got when Sourav Ganguly a.k.a. Dada was removed from captaincy. But when he said that his dream was to bring the IPL trophy home to Kolkata, was he really serious?
Don't get me wrong! I have my loyalties set correctly. My heart is for the KKR team. I have the KKR wallpaper on my laptop wallpaper. I have the KKR theme on my orkut profile. I listen to the 'Korbo Lorbo Jeetbo' song on television atleast once a day with much pride. I follow KKR on twitter. I plan to buy the official t-shirt too. When any discussion comes up over the team, I defend it religiously. But then the mind does not believe in the team. It would definitely bet upon Delhi, Mumbai or Chennai for that matter for the IPL '09 trophy.
And why wouldn't it do so? Okay they won their match against the Punjab team. Veer's team had defeated Zaara's team. And Zaara would surely not be kissing or hugging Yuvi last night. But was the manner convincing? I mean just look at the stats. It was a 2-man show for Kolkata. While bowling, it was a beauty of an over from Dada that got us 2 wickets in quick succession and stemmed the start. If he had not done that, then Punjab would have scored above 180 and the match would have slipped. And while batting, it was Gayle. His whirlwhind 44 which included 4 sixes and the rate at which he hit made sure we were ahead on RR and thus put us through when the D/L method came into effect. Now look closely into the bowling statistics and you would find a lot of mistakes. When you have a specialist spinner in Murali Karthik why bowl him for only one over and Shukla for 2 overs? Was Karthik picked up as a bowler or an all-rounder? I don't have much knowledge about the stats but I certainly can say that Karthik's batting is not something you would bet upon to win you matches.
Now lets come to the batting. It has always been said that to succeed in IPL, you need the local lads to fire. Depending totally on foreign imports is like playing with fire. Most of them don't stay up for the entire tournament and then you have the cap of playing only 4 per match. KKR's batting totally depends on the foreigners. If Gayle and McCullum both don't fire on the night, the brittle middle order gets exposed badly. And we don't have any tried-and-tested consistent performer in there. Sure we have Dada. But let's be realistic. Can you really depend that much on him now that he does not play for Team India anymore? And this fact was heavily exposed in the match against Deccan Chargers. You have a Brad Hodge there to bail you out at times but then again he is a foreign import and you have the max 4 foreigners playing criteria. So can you be totally confident with this team?
Having said all this, last night's victory also told us a few things. Firstly, you don't need to have a team effort to win matches. How many of the T20 matches have actually been team effort victories? Secondly, you need just one or two members in the team to fire and that's it. You are done. Unfortunately, the Kolkata Knight Riders seem to be heavily banking on this. I too share the dream with SRK to see the IPL trophy come to Kolkata. I too would like to dance 'Korbo Lorbo Jeetbo' on the streets of Chowringhee when we have the victory lap. But its a dream which needs to be heavily worked upon and a dream which does not look to be fulfilled in this edition of the Indian Premier League.

Cross-posted on Mutiny - India's Thought Terminus ,
Friday, April 17, 2009

Has it been the Hell that was promised?

Well the 6th instalment of MTV Roadies is coming to an end with the grand finale. Needless to say, this season has been "entertaining", to say the least. But the fireworks have not come from the pitch but from the tents. This season has been dominated by fights, abuses, foul mouthing more than actual tasks. It was supposed to be Hell for the contestants but more than that some of the days it had become Hell for the crew of Roadies.
Now first lets analyze the situation. The finalists are Nauman and Palak. The former being the christened lover boy coming back to play politics to survive. And the latter the total abuse queen. I still remember the vote out when she abused Sufi. It must have taken Sufi a lot of patience not to react to her foul mouthing with a tight slap. But seriously, ever since Sufi has left I have lost my interest in the show. If you would ask me, Samrat or Sufi deserved to be winners. None of the others had that vigour, courage, strength to go on to win. And the irony is, the reason for exit of both of them is now getting a shot at the prize - Palak.
If you go back to the day the group came to Australia and after the vote out where Sandeep went out, the group dynamics had changed. The GROUP (Sandeep, Pradeep, Roop and Bobby) had left. The ones there had to make new FRIENDS. There we saw Natasha going out due to a plan by Samrat and Palak. Thereafter Sufi took centerstage as the planner and Nauman his accomplice. A great show in the crocodile task gave Sufi the platform to vote Samrat out. But that left a bad taste with Palak and she took it out in the next vote out when a twist in tale gave her full power instead of setting her home-bound.
Since that vote out, Nauman has been winning all the tasks and the immunities. Why won't he! He was the only guy amongst the team and the ladies weren't really the tough ones. So first Natasha went out due to her own stupidity and then the inevitable exit of Poulomi, a girl who should have been voted out in the second episode when actually Varisha went out.
Coming back to the Hellish part of it, I am not too sure whether the contestants have been through the Hell which was promised. More than the tasks, the bickering and bitching and fighting and shouting of contestants has been Hell to the crew. From Palak's fights with Tamanna to Poulomi's outburst with Palak at the camping site the Roadies crew have had to endure a lot. To some extent some of the tasks were surely difficult. Like the one where Sufi had to fight two wrestlers alone, or the one which had crocodiles. Those were good ones and were well performed too. To my knowledge this year's group have performed better than the one last year. Last year's one had losers. Nauman and Palak may not be the best of the lot but they have done stuff. Not like Ashutosh of last time who had done absolutely nothing but still won it. I bet if Devarshi would have survived some more time and come to Australia, that sure would have had been hell for most contestants.
But as far as the twists in the show are concerned, they have worked marvellously. From Roop's vote out to Sufi getting advantage and blocking Palak's vote to get Samrat out to Palak getting that power when they opened that envelope to Natasha's vote out. Those twists have been great and changed a lot of the dynamics which is great for the show. Anything that doesn't go according to script works wonders for reality shows and they just bask in that glory.
Anyways, this edition is going to come to and end this weekend. And the end is in India. I sure look forward to a grand finale this time.

Cross posted on:

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Abhishek Saha
Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh, India
A NRB (Non Resident Bengali) or rather a 'Probashi Bangali'; born in Kolkata, brought up in Jamshedpur and now trying to make his mark at IIM Lucknow.
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