I’ve Moved

For reasons unclear even to myself I have decided to drop the name “A Dateless Diary” and move to a new space that I call “Be Serhiyass!” The title will be explained in my first post there (hopefully)

Kindly update blogrolls unless you have already removed me from those!

June 8, 2010 at 4:53 am Leave a comment

A Lesson in Cultural Values

As I was going through my notes on International Marketing, I was reminded of a particular survey which my professor talked about while explaining differences in cultures around the world.

My class has students from a variety of ethnic and national backgrounds and the professor put forward a hypothetical situation. He said, “Imagine you are Michael Phelps. You are in the middle of the sea. You can very easily swim to safety. Not only that, you can even carry one person who does not know to swim to safety along with you. But here is the catch. In the water along with you are three people and you can only save one. And it gets more complicated. The three people are – your mother, your wife (who is your soul-mate and your one true love or whatever) and your only child. The obvious question is, whom would you pick?”

So some people raised their hands and said they would save the wife, some said they would save their child and some said their mother. So the professor asked the people who said they would save their wife why they would do that? Some said you can have another child with her, some said she is your true love and you can never find another one, etc.

Then he asked the people who said they would save the child why they would do so. The people said the child has the longest life span ahead. Some said the child is more helpless, it has a bright future etc.

The professor then said, “When this question was posed to people in Western countries, 60% said they would save the wife and 40% said they would save the child. However when this was asked to students in the East, 100% said they would save the mother. Now would the people who said they would save the mother raise their hands?” And we did. The professor said, “If you look at all these people, do you notice something? They all come from the Indian subcontinent or are generally from the Orient.”

And I swear to God he was right.

An awesome example of the inherent cultural differences in the world don’t you think?

May 1, 2010 at 11:41 pm 8 comments

IPL Whores Reach a New Low

Please. At least spare the Gods from the incessant whoring of cricket that has been the norm at IPL 3.

This tournament has been extremely disappointing. I am not a cricket fan. I could not care less about the Mumbai Indians or Deccan Chargers or the soon to be unveiled Pune Pussycats and Kochin Karelas (or Keralas if you will). But I care about the sanctity of any sport. In their quest to make as much money as possible from this cash cow, the promoters of the IPL have reached one low after the other quicker than Brett Lee’s yorkers.

A ball that crosses the boundary without touching the pitch is a six and NOT a DLF Maximum.

If a fielder catches the ball before it touches the ground its a catch and not a Karbon Kamaal Catch.

I can only thank the people in charge of football for not selling out to their sponsors. I shudder when I imagine the day a goal is a General electric Explosion or a free-kick a Ford Fusion kick.

And what the hell is the fascination with the “blimp”? This is a blimp. It moves on its own. It does not need to be tied to the stadium like this oversize balloon.

April 25, 2010 at 11:58 pm 2 comments

Some Football Writing

Its been a while since I have updated. The past few days have been spent in some fledgling football writing for Bleacher Report.

My first article, a match report, can be found here and this is the second match report.

I have also written another article on the under-performers at Arsenal FC and a piece on Sol Campbell.

The writing is still very Arsenal centric as it is the team I know and understand the best. I hope to soon branch out into writing about the premier league, the champion’s league and Indian football.

Sunil Chhetri has made his debut for the Kansas City Wizards. Let’s all give him our support and wish him the best for his stint in the MLS.

April 25, 2010 at 11:39 pm Leave a comment

Moral Character and Conduct

I recently received my Transfer Certificate from my college in Mumbai. After mentioning my name, course and grades, the certificate goes on to state that my moral character and conduct were good when I was a student of the college.

WTF?

I find it very condescending on the part of the institute to make a judgement about my moral character and conduct. How does one judge that on the basis of the time I have spent in class and practicals anyway? This is just an archaic pronouncement which must be done away with.

Shouldn’t colleges remain purely professional and leave the issue of morals and characters to people who are better equipped to address them?

April 7, 2010 at 10:51 pm 12 comments

To be a Defender

Football. The beautiful game. To the layman, its all about the Messis and the Ronaldos twirling about with the ball seemingly glued to their feet. About the Bergkamps and the Rooneys who make the surging runs and exquisitely tap the ball into the back of the net. But the more involved spectator would recognize that the most important players on the pitch are the defenders. The ones who work their feet off to make sure that the scoreline does not read 5-0 against their teams. Defenders who try their best to and often succeed in stopping the Messis and Ronaldos in their stride.

I may not be the right person to write something that eulogizes defenders. Having played as a center back for my college for 2 years and for my class and department teams, my view is hardly unbiased. But ask any knowledgeable football fan and I assure you that in all probability he would prefer having a rock solid back four and an average strike force to a star studded forward line and defenders like Titus Bramble to hold the fort.

Of course just a good defence does not a team make. You do need creativity in the midfield and strikers who can coolly slot the ball home in the face of 3 opponents rushing towards them. But to really guarantee that you would win the game you need great defenders.

A patent example is Manchester United. Yes they have had brilliant midfielders like Paul Scholes, David Beckham, Christiano Ronldo and the likes but through all those titles that they have won over the past few years, the one thing that has ensured their success has been the brilliant defending of players like Rio Ferdinand, Nemanja Vidic, Patrice Evra, Jaap Stam and Gary Neville. These players were always present when the situation looked grim and all the team had to do was nick in a goal and let these players do their job. Without this solid back line, I doubt that United would have enjoyed as much success as they have over the last 2 decades.

Another case in point is the Arsenal team from a few years before. The famous partnership of “Mr. Arsenal” Tony Adams, Steve Bould, Nigel Winterburn and Lee Dixon ensured that Arsenal enjoyed considerable success in the league. More recently, players like Sol Campbell, Ashley Cole and Kolo Toure all helped Arsenal win honours in the league and beyond. I maintain that Arsenal’s lack of success in the past few years has been due to a less than wonderful defence rather than a lack of striking prowess.

Defenders also make great captains. Paolo Maldini, Gary Neville, Tony Adams, Fabio Cannavaro, Carles Puyol….. the list goes on. It must have something to do with the fact that defenders can see the entire playing field and can issue orders to the players as they observe patterns and trends in the opposition’s play. Some may argue that the goalkeeper also has a view of the entire field, but the keeper is never really in the thick of things. Captaincy is best left to defenders in my opinion.

To watch Lionel Messi shake off 2 defenders and weave his way past 5 opposing players and score a goal is a wonderful experience, but to see Paolo Maldini make a perfectly placed sliding tackle in the box which just takes the ball away without touching the player at all, that epitomizes the beautiful game for me.

March 25, 2010 at 11:39 pm Leave a comment

Food!!!

Firstly this is a post partly in response to this.

11 hours 36 mins … my watch does not show seconds and you have stopped timing the intervals between meals. You just pulled that number out of the air anyway. Let it suffice to say you have been working all day and are hungry enough to eat a camel. You wonder how you haven’t eaten in a while. Its just the way things are now. And being a huge foodie, its kind of tragic. You look at your code and the bug persists. You give up. Your’e just too hungry to care. The cell vibrates and you pick up to hear your mother’s voice “Are you going to eat?” You reply in the affirmative. You almost miss the bus home but that is not because you are smelling freshly fried samosas or vada pavs. You would give your right hand to be able to eat those on a daily basis.

You don’t pay the driver and just trudge along home. As you open the door, the smell of freshly cooked divine food does not greet you. Its just the smell of some food made a long time ago that is starting to get bad and stinking up the fridge. You take off your footwear and move towards the kitchen. No one tells you to wash your hands. It doesn’t really matter. You look at the empty plates, sigh and start to wash the rice. Its going to be a 30 minute wait before you get to eat. That is what life in the USA is really about.

For everyone in India who thinks that in the USA one would indulge in a life or carefree debauchery and will experiment with all the vices the new world has to offer, the reality is that you can really do all those if you want to, but considering the amount you pay to get here, can you afford to? And the biggest price to pay for a food lover is that the food here is disgusting most of the time. And if you happen to be a vegetarian, God help you. Its not as bad as in Europe I hear, but the American concept of vegetarian food borders on what their pet rabbits eat. Raw vegetables of every sort piled in the corner of the buffet.

Mexican vegetarian food is not too bad but you can’t have much of that. And when Indian places are few and far between and expensive at that, you really start missing the spices. And of course, there is no home made food unless you count your own cooking.

Something I am very thankful for is that I like to cook. Its almost therapeutic. My mom made sure I knew my way around the kitchen before sending me to the US and I have been fortunate enough to be right at home here. It started with the simple stuff like peeling potatoes and dicing vegetables. Before long I had graduated to making rotis, hakka noodles, stuffed parathas and yes even Pav Bhaji. But it is a pain to do it day in and day out of course. This makes me respect and admire my mother a million times more. How do you spend an entire day at the office and the go to the kitchen and whip up a delicious meal for a family of 3 every day? I promise to help her out in the kitchen a whole lot more once I get back.

Not that I am a very fussy eater, but I cringe when I remember all the times I have complained about brinjals or bitter gourd. Sometimes it is the most convenient thing to make and until now, I never realized what a pain cooking is. I promise never to complain about food and just eat whatever my mother puts in front of me.

As far as easy to make food is concerned, I have developed new respect for pulav. It is so easy to make and so convenient that I have eaten more rice in the past 6 months that I have in the 2 years before that. But I now officially hate pasta. It happens to be even more convenient to make than pulav but the pasta I eat here does not bear any resemblance to the macaroni my mom makes at home. I have started hating the taste of the pasta sauce and since it is used as a substitute to tomatoes in my house, I have to taste it in anything I eat. It has now become one of the most disgusting tastes in the world. I long for the taste of fresh tomatoes. When I go back home, I think I will order a 200 Re. plate of pasta and will go and give it to some poor guy and take the 4 Re. vada pav he is just about to eat and devour it with relish.

After tasting every kind of cuisine the USA has to offer, I have come to the conclusion that there is no food like Indian food and in that, there is no substitute for what my mother makes. So to all other cuisines in the world, “UP YOURS”

March 6, 2010 at 8:55 pm 4 comments

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