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Sunday, June 30, 2013

Insides of Hamburg City Hall

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Friday, June 28, 2013

Cadbury Silk Commercial

Do you remember this commercial by Cadbury Dairy Milk from way back in 90's.

This was one of the most watched and talked ad in those days. A girl doing awkward dance on the ground in front of all the people around was something that grabbed every body's attention. This ad made Cadbury Dairy milk a household name in India. Cadbury became a reference in the field of Chocolates. Many similar interesting ads then followed which continued to keep the Cadbury and its name on every body's lips.
Recently, I came across these ads which changed the whole picture about Cadbury at least for me. These ads were nothing but yuck. Of coarse, it gives the message exactly that Cadbury Silk is so smooth that its almost in molten state and spreads every where while you try to eat it. But it was too much for me to even watch it, forget liking the ad and so the Cadbury Silk. I would never have tried this chocolate.

But then recently this ad started airing on TV and it slightly changed my impression about Cadbury Silk. This is one wonderful ad where expressions do all the talking. Its just a conversation among two people by eyes and hands in adjacent cars who both are enjoying Cadbury Silk. They point to each other that a little of their Cadbury Silk is on their face. 
The ad has been so wonderfully done that it does leave you with a feeling to try it once. The music, song and expressions of the two actors have worked out very beautifully. If you have not watched this ad then you surely are missing something. With this I believe Cadbury has regained what it had lost with couple of bad ads. Do watch this ad and do enjoy Cadbury Silk

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Summer in Paris

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Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Uttarakhand tragedy

Uttarakhand disaster is another example of how small and helpless we humans are, when nature strikes. Nature is just providing examples, in how many different ways it can demolish every thing around us in as minimum time as possible. Few years back, we for the first time understood the meaning of word Tsunami when it hit countries like Indonesia, Malaysia, Sri Lanka and some parts of India. The kind of devastation it brought made us realize how quickly nature can demolish every thing humans built over years of time. We witnessed a worse version when an Earthquake followed by Tsunami hit Japan killing over 10,000 people with in an hour. I thought, that's it. This is the worst form of demolition act nature has in its kitty. But, since last week, this view is again changing. The Himalayan Tsumani as it is called now, was something I never imagined even in my dreams. I had heard about cloud burst earlier. I guess I even experienced one. But I never imagined it can do this much destruction. Few days back, when I saw houses, temples and what not sinking in the flowing water, I realized, this is not as usual as I was thinking. I did not understand the reasons behind it properly, but apparently two different systems from two directions responsible for heavy rains combined together in Uttarkhand, resulting in never seen before destructive rains. 
Can you imagine a whole village wiped out in few minutes? What must have happened in Kedarnath. As per the interviews of survivors from Kedarnath, there was a big noise somewhere above around 7.00 p.m. and soon people started running seeing water coming down towards them. With in minutes every thing in Kedarnath was demolished. Even the temple survived the blow because of a big stone that settled just behind the temple and diverted the flow in two directions. I have never encountered such a devastation and surely  I don't want to.
There were huge land slides across  the route reaching these higher places and there was no way to provide help in short time. Only way to reach them was through air using choppers. I kept wondering why Indian government provided such a limited number of choppers to evacuate people and provide help to those in need. If you heard the news, only 60 choppers were employed for the task. Why? Do we have only 60 choppers in India? Even in Hollywood movies which is not a real thing, many a times they show these many helicopters used. No wonder it is taking so long for complete evacuation. But I appreciate the efforts of Indian Army  and other forces who in spite of limited resources and worst weather conditions have done hell of a job. Had it not been them, I feel the scene would have been worse. Though we always encounter disaster every now and then, we don't have any disaster management program in action. Apparently, there is a committee for it existing  since 2004 but they haven't come out with even a single program till date. Nobody has any clue how to tackle such demolition acts except the Army forces who are the only savior for any Indian in any corner of India. I believe these men should be shown better appreciation because of the act they put to keep us safe either from our enemies or from such natural disasters.
Finally I would like to share a video I came across released by IBN showing a sudden influx of water can brings everything down with it.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Rain Drops

Monday, June 24, 2013

Champions Trophy: Summary

Congratulations India on winning probably the last of its kind Champions Trophy. India deserved to win this tournament and so did they.
My impression about this whole tournament has been odd. First thing I felt was there should be a big "NO" to any big tournaments in England. England is synonymous with rains. You can not imagine any tournament happening there with out rain interruption. More than half of the matches were rain interrupted and their results were decided by the funny Duckworth-Lewis rules to such an extent that I renamed the trophy to Duckworth-Lewis trophy
Most of the matches in the tournament were reduced to around 20 overs match. Even yesterday's Final had to be reduced to 20 over a side match. It is absolutely ridiculous to decide about a one-day  match in 20 overs match. The difference between a One day Cricket match and 20:20 match is the kind of temperament required in one day match to stay on the wicket for 50 overs and still score runs at a quick rate. If you are reducing the match to 20 overs, there is no room to judge that temperament. With the outcome of such a match of reduced over you can not justify the selection of a one day match Champion. The ICC even don't wanted to allot an extra day to play Finals had their been no chance of play on Sunday. I started wondering why they took so much efforts of organizing the tournament. They could have just rolled dice and decided the Champion. The matches in this tournament were actually no different than that.
In spite of all the facts, I felt India was the only team that deserved to win and yes, England was the only team that deserved to appear in Finals along with India. I was wondering if rest of the Countries sent their secondary team for this tournament. Teams of New Zealand, Australia, South Africa, Pakistan were nothing but pathetic. I blame D/L rules for allowing South Africa to be in Semi Finals. They were not that good. West Indies should have made it to Semis. I am pretty sure they would have given better fight to England and might even have made it to Finals. But thanks to D/L rules, England got easy way.
Indian team stood out of the league. They looked too good to be with other teams. The way they won their league matches and Semi Finals, not to forget the practice matches, they looked in better shape. Except for New Zealand they played and defeated all the teams. They defeated England in the Finals yesterday in reduced 20:20 over match. I am not sure if the result would have been the same had it been a complete match. But India surely looked a better team than England and that's why it was the Favorite to win the Trophy.
I did not enjoyed the tournament. A tournament like this should be played to the full extent before declaring a Champion. But what the hell, India is probably the last Champions Trophy Winner. Congratulations India.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Funny TV commercials for byt (bookyourtable.com)

Did you see these recent commercials on TV for bookyourtable.com. I am really amused to see these funny ads. They are hardly 20 seconds long but they deliver the message perfectly. As any of these ads begin, it immediately grips you, courtesy, the back ground music. Whether it is famous "The Godfather" music for Italian background, or the Chinese one, known to us because of all martial arts movies or the famous truck driver kind of Punjabi music, it immediately grips and kind of compels you to watch the whole ad. For almost 10-12 seconds you just feel it is some genuine stuff related to Italian, Chinese or Punjabi. But then suddenly you hear a grunting voice in the back ground with expressions on the face of actor changing. A person then appears in the frame who is hungry for Italian, Chinese or Punjabi and shown here biting the respective guys.
The commercial has been made so efficiently that they can get through the ad by just asking "Hungry for .......? (Italian, Chinese, Punjabi)". I feel these are a set of very smart ads in recent times on TV. They are simple, funny but delivers the message. Don't miss these commercials.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Fort Torna top, near Pune

Click on the picture for original size view

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Learning French VI: pardon, n'est pas, mais

In this post of learning French, we will try to construct few simple sentences using the knowledge we have already gained from earlier post and also learn a few word usages very common among French.
To begin with, one word you will hear a lot while moving around in say crowd is "Pardon". Now, this is once again pretty much an English word. But check for the French pronunciation of this word which comes little bit like say "Paardon" with  'd' little mild.
Many a times we brush somebody while walking, you quickly say "Excuse me" in English. Well, "Pardon" do the same job in French. After "Merci" meaning "Thank You", Pardon is the another most used word by French.

In previous post, we learnt to say "It is good" = C'est bon
What if you want to say "It is not good"?
for negation in the form of not, french word is "pas" with silent 's' as suggested in earlier post.
But in general, an added negation is used along with "pas".

So, translation are:
It is       good =    C'est                  bon
It is not good = Ce + n'est + pas + bon
                         It   +    is not      + bon

Another word you need to know is "Mais" means "But". While you want to join two sentences, you many a times need this.
For example, continuing from our previous lesson if you want to translate the sentence,
"It is good but it is not comfortable"  to french, it will be,
C'est bon  + mais + ce n'est pas comfortable

Monday, June 17, 2013

Street Dancer and the Audience, Champs Elysees, Paris

A Street Dancer preparing for his performance on the famous Champs Elysees near Arc de Triomphe in Paris, while the audience is waiting with their cameras ready in hand and around the neck.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Champions Trophy or Duckworth-Lewis trophy

First round of Champions trophy is almost over. If I remember correct except for the initial few games, fate of all the games are governed by Duckwoth-Lewis rules.
First of all I feel England should never organize any such event. England is known for rain the whole year. One can not escape it. Unlike India where IPL matches organized over two months went through pretty much smoothly with very little rain interruption, any such plan is very difficult. That is why, rules like Duckworth-Lewis come into existence. These rules who try to lend a helping hand to predict the targets in rain effected matches have evolving over the years and recently have settled down with Duckworth-Lewis which again is evolving all the team. 
Frankly speaking I do not understand the rule at all and I have also not met personally  anybody who can explain in simple words understandable to a common Cricket fan, how a particular score is arrived at, to be use as  target. Since it is being implemented for so many years, I guess it is doing a fair work, but I can't understand its functioning and so I don't enjoy such matches. On the other hand, I personally could not justify many of its targets and kept wondering about the kind of statistics that is implemented to reach the target. Just for example in yesterday's match, which was reduced to 40 overs each between India and Pakistan, even before rain interrupted the match, Pakistan was down by three wickets and when the match was restarted over the time, they were all out at 165 with out playing all forty over. Still, the target was changed from 165 to 167 for India. Difficult to figure out for me. Later on, in the second inning, rain again interrupted the match that reduced the target to 102 runs from 22 overs. Which is pretty much like playing twenty-20. If overs are reduced, target is reduced, number of overs a bowler can ball is reduced, shouldn't the number of batsman allowed to play also reduced? In a case of big target set in lesser number of balls, batting team has a liberty to try anything to reach the target. Their Batsmen will take any kind of risk to achieve the target. But Bowling team don't have that liberty because the most of the main bowlers surely exhaust  pretty good number in their quota in the initial overs itself. In yesterday's match, India needed some 40 odd runs in 10 overs after D/L rule was employed which is a kind of slog over situation in new circumstance. But by that time Pakistan's main bowlers had already exhausted their overs and hardly had one over left in their kitty. This doesn't feel good.
Some how I find it difficult to enjoy matches where D/L rules are employed. It brings in so much of manipulation in the game that it takes away all the fun that comes in normal matches. I feel may be D/L rules try to give equal opportunity to both the playing teams, but in reality, it seems to be favoring one team. That is why I am not enjoying Champions trophy and I won't really believe any verdict of D/L ruled match. I feel WestIndies should have been in semi finals and not South Africa. But that is not the case. Thanks to D/L rules, SA made it to semi finals which changes all the equations. Who ever wins this last Champions trophy possibly won't be able to enjoy the real excitement of being a winner.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Night time Lyon, France

A view of night time Lyon with river Saône  in front as seen from 
the Basilica of Notre-Dame de Fourvière.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

America's Snooping Scandal: How Vulnerable Are We?

I read and heard news about how US has been keeping a track over all the communication routes of their own citizens as well as outsiders. To begin with, I was not shocked to come across this news. With all different terrorism based movies hitting us every now and then, our mind is already used to the idea of USA Government or as they always flash the name CIA, is tracking not just one's phone or email records but also his minute to minute movements with the help of different functional camera networks. So, this was not a surprise. I had already assumed it happening and now it has been confirmed.
That makes me laugh about the way all web pages are providing different methods to keep your online stuff private. Few months back, I received mails from friends mentioning how by doing few changes on your FaceBook page, you can avoid strange visitors visiting and checking your uploaded photos, comments etc. I was lazy enough not to do any of those things and I was not worried if some body is checking my FB page quietly. In fact, I realized that not just strangers but even my friends and colleagues have lost interest in visiting my FB page. So, finally one fine morning I took the brave step and deleted my account on FB. Life has become much simpler and easier since then.
Anyway, that's not the point. The point is when ever  you use any of the present communication methods, just keep in mind - "Somebody is watching you". Thanks to the latest Whistle blower Snowden, that this fact is finally revealed. Interesting fact is India's communication is one of the most tracked (5th position) among all the nations. As reports suggest nearly 6 billion reports were collected in just the month of March from India. Which means behind every person in India, 4 reports were collected if we believe that every person in India is tracked. While all the nations are condemning this fact, USA is supporting the act pointing towards controlling terrorism. I doubt anybody will raise voice and compel USA to stop snooping.
You may read a bit more facts about it at these links:

Monday, June 10, 2013

Three Phases of Life

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Theme Park in Mumbai

Few days a new subject came in to discussion at least in Mumbai. 99 years lease of the Mumbai's Mahalaxmi Race Cource ended recently. ShivSena Chief Uddhav Thakerey has come up with a novel idea to convert the place in to a Theme Park on the lines of Central Park in New York. He further suggested to name it after Late BalaSaheb Thakrey.
I don't know what kind of politics is running behind this idea. But I personally liked the idea. If we compare the two themes, Race Course vs Theme Park any body should like to go with the later. I have never visited any Race Course and I doubt I would ever. First of all, places like Race Course are for those Higher Class people who are looking for some extra recreation activity and may be earn some more money with out actually doing anything. So, people number of people who can enjoy this place is limited and not every body will have access to such a vast spread place. Second, its a kind of gambling. You may win on one day and next day you will loose every thing. Third thing, you are betting on horses and making them run as per will. One may be taking good care of those Horses, but there is a big chance of being cruel at times on the same horses when the big money is on stake. I really don't how things work. On one side people fight for animal rights and what not and on other side, such practices are not just prevalent but enjoys the support of government authority.
Anyway, I am no expert to talk much about how Race Course thing works. All I want to say is it is an activity pretty much useless for most of the residents of Mumbai and it is occupying  a huge area which other wise can be used for better purpose.
From this point of view, I found the idea of Theme Park very novel. I have many a times the aerial view of New York where Central Park distinctly appears in front of your eyes and shows a very big Green patch just in the center of the city. It allows people from all over New York to enjoy some free space surrounded by trees and clean air. I feel such parks are a need of one's day to day life and we Indians have no idea what we are missing by not having such parks around  your corner. Its so refreshing to go for running in such big parks. Its so much re-energizing to spend one nice evening with your family or friends on a quick picnic. Spending evening time with your family and friends at an easily accessible leisure place is an integral part of life which most of us not just miss but even do not know exist.
That's why I support this idea of theme park in Mumbai. I believe his intentions are clean and clear while routing for theme park and there are no hidden agendas. I believe if at all any such proposal really comes in to existence, then it will be followed with the sole reason. With this hope, I am looking forward to a big green patch in Mumbai. What about you?

Friday, June 7, 2013

The Bremen Roland, Germany

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Baithe Rahane ka Time Khatam: Times of India Commercial

The Times of India along with Maruti Suzuki has come up with a new commercial trying to awake people making them realize of their responsibility towards the Country and the Society. The commercial indicates that its time to take things in your hand and not to rely on the politicians and bureaucrats who pretty much do nothing but sit idly on the responsible seats and use its power for their own purpose. The commercial also suggests that its also time for people to wake up and instead of continuing their casual attitude to just criticize others for no change around but actually take the responsibility of change in their hands. The commercial  symbolically indicates by burning all the chairs around to wake up and do something to bring a change.
 When I first saw this commercial I first thought, it is another ad in the sequence by the present Government to show off their good work, released recently considering the upcoming Loksabha elections. But towards the end one realizes the origin is different. Apparently it has not created the kind of impression that was expected. The music behind the commercial can actually a good grip if you listen it again and again ( just like I did to write this post). The lyrics are not that impressive. Seems the song writer was given few words in advance and compelled to make a song out of those. 
Secondly, I am really not sure if such ads are going to create even a small ripple any more. People have learnt their lessons. Had it been few years back when Anna Hazare or  Arvind Kejriwal or Baba Ramdev were trying to bring revolution based on Janadhar, things would have worked. But every body has by now seen how such attempts to bring revolution are crushed down. I would request Times of India to actually suggest the ways by which people can bring the situation of "Time Khatam" that this song keeps on repeating.
Over all the commercial is OK. You can see it once in a while, try to rhyme it, but surely no body would take it seriously.  If you are interested, here are the lyrics I could understand. Except for one word, I have pretty much written it down correct. If you find any mistake or wish to fill up the missing word, write it in the comments and I will edit it.
Baithe rahane ka time khatam
Ab main hi woh, ab main hi hum
Narebaji se tang hoon main
Na kisi paksha ke sang hoon main
Ye jimma mera jimma hain
Jimmedari ka anga hoon main

Baithe rahane ka time khatam
Iljaamon ka ab time khatam
Tu tu main main ka time khatam
Ab main hi woh, ab main hi hum

Baithe rahane ka time khatam
Doshi kahane ka time khatam 
Tu tu main main ka time khatam
Ab main hi hoon, ab main hi hoon

Meri -----,     ye meri jimmedari
Ye woh sab sare main hi hoon
Mujhse hi uttar pana hai
Kayar bhi main, shayar bhi main
Mujhme hi antar lana hai

Baithe rahane ka time khatam
Iljaamon ka ab time khatam
Tu tu main main ka time khatam
Ab main hi woh, ab main hi hum

Baithe rahane ka time khatam
Doshi kahane ka time khatam 
Tu tu main main ka time khatam
Ab main hi woh, ab main hi hum

Saturday, June 1, 2013

A Village in the Jungle, Lozere, near Paris, France