Friday, March 23, 2007


It is high time that cricket fans worldwide boycott international cricket. It is a sad plight that it the death of a great cricketing brain as Bob Woolmer has brought some visibility into the hugely deteriorating levels of morality and any semblance of gentlemanliness there's left in this game.

Some of the fundamental reasons for the tangle cricket is currently in are:
1. The disproportionate amount of cash pouring into media rights and into the game.
2. Heightened media frenzy that spurs emotional nations such as India and Pakistan to a form of frantic passion that is devoid of balance.
3. In short, cricket has become the opium for the masses in the sub-continent, and consequently places tremendous pressure on the players as well.

The administration of the ICC, or the lack of it, has been a critical piece of this conundrum. The ICC has summarily failed, it has not just been spineless, it has been incompetent and impotent in improving the fairness of the game. Here are some reasons why:
- The ICC created its Anti Corruption Unit. If you look back, this body has just worked as a review body AFTER an allegation of match fixing or suspicion was raised! No actions or thought was given to proactive prevention or avoidance. No guidelines were provided to international players on how they should be responding or handling an offer from a bookie or such malpractice.
- Lack of a planned out budget to popularize the game globally, this being one of the stated goals of the body. There's no need to be subtle about it! Draw up a budget, equivalent of a 5yr plan to expand, and then raise funds to just meet the budget & the operating costs for the office bearers, and raise enough funds to meet this budget. If this mantra was adopted, we would not be seeing the disproportionate deals for tele rights.
- Lack of the above has led the game to be so commercialized to the extent that, it needs to be practically rebooted to revive it.
To these, I say, ICC - these are loose ends currently. Acknowledge it, and work towards fixing it. Until you fix it, go into oblivion and take a sabattical!

The very fanatic fans and the huge sub-continent populations(read Market as the money mongrels would read) have to rise to bring back the perspective that is lacking currently. The very purpose of the Ads and the monies should be hurt, so that ICC and the sponsors equally well, realize loud and clear, the tangle that they have brought the game into, AND people, the media and the fans realize the mania they've helped create.

I urge every reader to partake in any of the following actions and follow it up with a press release, invite the press to cover the incident/action, so that the public uprising and disapproval are well registered.

Some good avenues to do that are:
1. Drastic reduction in viewership of the games. Say each of us boycott seeing the next few games at least, this will go a long way in making the sponsors understand the disproportionate sums they've paid, and market economics will take care of the rest.
2. People in WI - boycott weekend matches, the stadia should only be half-full.
3. If people can develop pamphlets explaining this stand, essentially against the ACU (Anti corruption unit of ICC)'s effectiveness, against the HUGE $$ in telecasting rights, against TV and print media for the disproportionate furore and against fans without balance. As an action of protest, we should protest and try to stop places that screen the 2007 World Cup ive.

It would be great if local cricket fraternities join in this struggle to restore the game. Press releases of protests HAVE TO HIT THE ADMINISTRATORS & the MEDIA hard.

As a responsible community, a community should register its protests and disapproval on a system, if it believes so!! If you ask 'what will come out of it', maybe not a change in administration obviously by one gesture of protest, but as more of these happen, it will have its impact and change the way the people think.

Monday, December 12, 2005


One for India is AID's year-end fundraiser which brings people together on the web, to make ONE contribution to India that COUNTS during this season of giving. AID aims to raise $150,000 from this year's campaign to support its projects in 2006.

Join me to make ONE contribution that will count and make a positive difference in India. Please forward this appeal to your friends and family.

Thank you, best wishes and Happy Holidays!

Saturday, January 29, 2005

Volunteer Work with AID India

Report now available at the AID website

My objective in writing this is to give a first-hand perspective on how humanity has come together to the aid of Tsunami victims and to write about my experiences as a volunteer for the Tsunami Relief & Rehabilitation efforts.

AID Chennai
As I reached the AID Chennai office at Gopalapuram on the 9th of January, it had already been two weeks since the Tsunami had caused havoc. Core volunteers, full-timers and numerous short-term volunteers barely had time to catch up on sleep during this period.

After meandering through the boxes of medicines and other supplies, I made my way to the Office on the second floor. Many neighbouring houses were supportive and let AID use some space for storage - I could see loads of drinking water, bleaching powder, chlorine and rice in all houses surrounding the AID Office. The amount of material coming in, made it very difficult to handle and by Jan 8, AID found a sponsor for a 6500 sqft godown in the city's outskirts at Tondiarpet.

There was a continuous flow of volunteers from local colleges, organizations and colleges from Delhi, Bombay, Pune and such places, NSS volunteers from across the state of Tamil Nadu and from many countries abroad. I took ownership for the warehouse, we first organized the area by arranging materials by category and did a complete physical inventory count. A total of 115 items were categorized into provisions, ameneties, clothing, utensils & kitchen aids, stationery and perishables.

Tsunami Relief and Rehabilitation - Operational Structure
AID had established cluster points in 7 centers namely Killai & Panchankuppam(Cuddallore Dist.), Nagapattinam, Reddiarpettai, Thirukadaiyur & Vedaranyam (Nagapattinam Dist.) and in Koovathur (Kancheepuram/Chennai Dist.). Volunteer groups in each such hub would conduct surveys, identify requirements, communicate requirements to Chennai, distribute material and work on temporary shelter and livelihood initiatives in 10-15 villages surrounding the cluster point.

Requirements came in every day, from a few of these field areas. We would arrange a truck, with a 4-5 ton capacity based on the requirements, take a group of volunteers to load/unload material. With every truck that leaves Chennai to these places, a group of volunteers would also leave, to assist the existing group of volunteers in the field, in field work. Timing the many shipments and receipts was a nice little challenge in itself.

Staying connected is very critical to managing logistics right. Motorola had donated a set of mobile phones with prepaid cards to AID India in the first week. That kept me connected day in and day out.

Typically, we would send outstation trucks earlier in the day and focus on Chennai suburb targets like Kasi Medu, Foreshore Estate, Koovathur and Kancheepuram Districts later in the day. By 7PM we would take bus 1 to the Gopalapuram Office. Once we reach there, the Sourcing Team with questions on what needed to be sourced to meet new requirements from the field. I would consolidate inventory based on receipts and shipments on that day and identify what newer field needs would have to be sourced. We would then call our donors/sponsors and give them these requirements. Based on the extent of their budget, we would proceed with further sponsors.

Logistics and Materials Management
The turn-around time was an impressive 2 days for most material in the first week, but starting Jan 16, as we were moving more into the short-term rehabilitation phase, requirements were more specific and the turn-around times started to go beyond 2 days. Some of the field requirements that were a real challenge to procure in bulk quantities due to the availability or nature of those materials were aruvamanai (a sharp-edged cutter, used in villages to cut fish, coconut and pretty much everything), sieves, womens undergarments(sizes), and heavy quantities of provisions (10kg bags of rice/lentils,etc. per family for 1000 such families in a group of villages!). Most stores did not have the manpower during the 3 days of Pongal to have material packaged in such huge volumes, so we had to get multiple sources and so on. Thirumalai Chemicals needs to be immensely praised for their remarkable assistance with sourcing, and Saravana Stores for getting the manpower together to meet huge demands.

In all I spent about 9 days helping in this routine. Subsequently, helped out with a few other projects.

Field Work at Koovathur – Kancheepuram District
Call it superstition or just plain fear; numerous rumours were around the fishing villages. The Bhuj quake was on Jan 26, 2001 and this Tsunami was on Dec 26. People strongly believed that Jan 26, 2005 would have another one!! In an attempt to quell such rumours, Balaji and Co. wrote a booklet on Tsunami and its causes, and I translated it into Tamil for distribution to the affected villages.

I heard the rumours first hand when I first visited Thazhithalikuppam, about 100kms south of Madras, off the East Coast Road, near one of our cluster points called Koovathur. Although a few cement houses on the coast were inhabitable, the inmates refused to move back in. They preferred the temporary huts instead and their reasoning was 'The last time it was during the day, we could run for cover. What if it comes at night, how could we risk it?'

After touring the village, we drew up a plan for constructing temporary shelters for roughly 83 families that had lost their homes. While holding a meeting with the villagers in the presence of their Leader at the temple, some people expressed a desire to get boats and nets instead of shelters so that they could get their livelihoods going. Turns out that was the priority for a few who had lost boats and nets, but, had their homes intact!! It is these types of social dynamics that groups need to be aware of and watch out for, when working in these villages.

We drew up a plan for the homes and move towards assessing damages to the boats. With some local boat-building expertise, we identified 6 boats that could be repaired at a cost of Rs5000-10000 per boat. Typically these motorized shipping boats made of fiberglass cost around Rs.1.5 lacs ($3000), can take 4 fisherman and typically they carry 20kg of nets each. As the Govt. has in its plan (currently at Rs.2200 crores) to provide permanent housing, boats and nets for people, our focus was to try and assist with expediting the move to establishing livelihoods for atleast a few families. We discussed the nuances of fishing nets with the villagers and identified that 15kg of nets of a particular type (net thickness and number of knots -mm & md it is called) and 5kgs of another were needed per person to get the cheapest selling fish. Special nets for the richer varieties of fish cost up to Rs80,000 per net!, but the returns were excellent too, on a good day they could apparently break even.

So, from the AID cluster point in Koovathur, activity got underway concurrently in many villages namely Kanathurkuppam, Pazhaiyanadukuppam, Pudhiyanadukuppam, Perundhuravukuppam, Paramakenikuppam, Thazhathalikuppam, Panaiyurchinnakuppam & Pudukuppam on a variety of areas like health camps & health programs, assessment of boats and livelihood services, establishment of temporary shelters, providing provisions for a two-month period, etc. One must note that these villages had a very small number of lives lost cumulatively and the extent of damages were nowhere as harsh as in Nagai & Cuddalore, consequently, neither the Government nor any NGO had worked here prior to AID's presence in these places. That should explain AID's ownership of all rehabilitation efforts in these villages.

I was a part of the crew that organized health camps in these villages under Dr.Sukanya's leadership. The response was great from the people, medicines mostly prescribed by our Physicians were Ranitidine, Amoxicillin, Ibuprufen, Brufen and MultiVitamin/Iron Supplements. Voluntary physicians from India and abroad are continuing to do an amazing job in this area, the results of these efforts and the focus on sanitation and hygiene since Dec 26 are clearly evident - a disaster of this nature and India has come out unscathed without an epidemic. All credit to all the groups - the Government and Voluntary organizations.

In Summary..
In summary, the whole world has really come together very well in supporting this initiative. Tamil Nadu in my view is gradually but steadily returning back to normalcy, the affected have taken a mature view; the helpers and the Government are doing a great job. Many friends' I know have said 'At the end of all this, most people are going to feel good' about this. Well, if not that, civilizations should realize that natural disasters such as this are uncontrollable factors as far as humans are concerned, and it is great that the world is coming together to face the effects of it. However, there are many man-made riots/wars/violent disagreements that continue to happen in all parts of the world, which pretty much amount to the same level of destruction that the Tsunami caused! What the Tsunami brought about in a few hours, these man-made acts of destruction bring about over the period of a few months, so in the context of the effect, it is time to put the effects in perspective and make the world a proverbial better place to live in.

- Sridhar Nagarajan, AID Volunteer, San Jose.For pictures with descriptions, visit the AID GALLERY

Friday, November 19, 2004


George Laden

America and the world

Saturday, October 30, 2004

Fun Time : Jerk Series #8

Its Halloween time and a few kids from the neighbourhood visit Jerk. The door opens and the kids are absolutely scared upon seeing Jerk.

Jerk spontaneously thanks the kids for visiting and says he's not actually dressed up as an imp and he just happens to look like one naturally because of the dense hairgrowth on his face and impish features. The kids dont believe him and are certain now that they were talking to a manifestation of evil. One of them forces the 'spirit' to eat some dog biscuits which an angered neighboured had given him and then the kids leave all their accumulated candy for the spirit to consume.

Jerk felt a slight bulge on his rear end as he sensed the onset of his tail and heads over to a nearby pole.

Saturday, October 23, 2004

Fun Time : Jerk Series #7

Simplicity in Complexity? or Complexity in Simplicity?

Vox Populi: Do you know what Jerk does in his busiest best?
SBert: Of course! Will be proudly educating people about complex scientific
things like ..a file when deleted from the windows recycle bin will not immediately
increase the Office Recycled Paper Stationery, there is no scientific proof that prolonged periods of brain inactivity can result in increased beard density
a computer need not weigh more if it had lots of data in it, etc..

Fun Time : Jerk Series #6

SBert: Do you know the capacity of the shared hard drive?
ThatsWhatIAmToldBert: My speculation at this point in time is it is 4 GB...but Understand Sir, the assumption is that 4 GB does not exactly mean 4 GB. Be aware that for 'very large' values of 4, 4 can be approximated to 5 and for 'very small' values of 4,4 can be approximated to 3. If you really think it is more that 4 GB, let me know and I will take the information to the right magnetic tape heads. You could probably sit in a corner of your office and contemplate while the magnetic heads speculate reading that content.

Fun Time : Jerk Series #5

With the recent organizational announcements, Mr.ohmygodBert 's email signature file will now be:

Manager - Packaging & Distribution,
Joint Advisor - Shipping,
Team Systems Lead for Maintenance 'Systems',
Technology Specialist - Aerodynamic Boxes for SnailMail Drop,
Supplier Manager for Invisible Rivettes for the state-of-the-art cardboard
boxes (With an additional responsibility to calculate the eccentricity factor of my employees),
Husband of my wife,
Father of my children,
Founder of IPOPC (Institute of Paranoidal Occupationosis for Primordial Caribous)
Member of ISCO (International Society of Confirmed OpusSychoNonsEncephaloNeurosis).

Fun Time : Jerk Series #4

Deer Hunting Season special..
Jerk goes for deer hunting and a deer comes by..
Jerk : Hello Dear Deer Sir, I'm told this is the last day of the deer hunting season Sir and I must say it is really unlucky of you at this point in time to have approached me. Now, the decibel level accompanying my gunshot might resonate with the
verizon mid-frequency range and destabilize my cell phone before I get any
venison from you. I'd appreciate if you could give me a few seconds until I
shield my cell phone by hiding it in my beard ...

The deer leaps upto Jerk, grabs the gun and shoots himself - and dies happily.

Like they say, sometimes, suicide is better.

Fun Time : Jerk Series #3

Jerk : with Respected Her Excellency Ms. MustBeRespectedNoMatterWhatBert regarding
movement of trash bins by Delta X. So, I would like to request you all to
send a note to me stating that hereafter you will be dumping trash exactly
into the center of the bin and there will be no spillage, now that its
position coordinates have moved by Delta X.

Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions about this information of very high importance, and feel free to express any concerns regarding this information.
Thank you.
Thank you for allowing me to Thank you.
Thanking you,

Fun Time : Jerk Series #2

Jerk* : To insure that the ramifications from the modifications due to the new process are minimal, I have already "rewritten" the code.
SBert : So what do the changes entail?
Jerk : I have modified a comment/message from "Welcome to the
Idiot Module" to "WELCOME to the Idiot Module"
SBert : In an unconnected event, Microsoft has rewritten Windows by packaging
the Windows CD in a cover sealed with a 1/4 inch tape as against a 1/5 inch
tape previously.

New character(s):
SBert - yours truly, the writer.
* - The previous edition had a reference to the gecko evolution of
Jerk. Phylum Reptilia dates back to Dinosaurs courtesy paleontologists. The
theory in this edition attributes the ReXX affinity of Jerk to the gecko
-> Reptilia -> Dinosaur family -> T-Rex -> ReXX

(ReXX is an ancient scripting language from the legacy days of mainframe computing. That is the only competency of Jerk. However, with just that Jerk would believe Microsoft Windows could be rewritten using ReXX)

Thursday, October 21, 2004

Fun Time : Jerk Series #1

Theme : With increasing use of technology and the eminence of a litigative society, people that we come across in all walks of life are always more intent on securing themselves rather than focusing on what is to be said. The current age has made most people cover their rear ends with multiple layers before taking a stand.

Everything has a disclaimer and sentences that start with 'Do not quote me on this, but..' or 'I am not too sure if I am right, but..' are the order of the day. That has affected many people like me to a great extent, often struggling to obtain direct answers to even simple questions from people at work or otherwise. Worst of all, some people think that not-being-to-the-point is actually diplomatic! That is the theme of this comic series. Enjoy and you'll be surprised to see the prevalence of such verbose,concentric and eccentric expositions in your day to day lives. My God Scott Adams fittingly came up with the concept of In(Duh)viduals.

Intro to characters

Jerk- The bearded stellar and computer geeeeek with an external
configuration of a pre-historic gecko amidst pine trees
IApologizeForTheInterruptionBert - Even if you are talking to your
CEO, this Bert will wait at your office like an expectant father to
recursively talk for atleast 10 minutes. All this to ask a simple question like
'Is your computer running? Sir'
ThatsWhatIThotBert - Even though this character may have it ALL
wrong, will claim this in an inimitable way
HaHaHaHaBert - The one with the most charming laugh
MightVeryWellBeBert - The 'cover-my-*****' Bert
WeAreToldBert - The Disclaimer Bert....disclaims to the extend that
if you ask the name - might very well give a 'short' answer as "Most probably, my name is John Doe, is what I am told, again, just for your information, my name is continuously changing TOO fast in time, I'd be able to give a better update on my actual name in another two business days (Talking about timeframes, I apologize if I sounded like a Manager....HaHaHaHaBert takes over). If you have any
questions or concerns regarding this information please contact me at
this Bert Address."
AtThisPointInTimeBert - The Bert that JUST DOES NOT believe in
the Past or the Future.
IAppreciateItBert - An appreciation freak by the strictest meaning of the word is an understatement. This Bert will thank the carpet for taking
your weight.
ThankYouSirBert - Will thank you for thanking him.
HelloSirBert will figure in the first scene of every Edwartoon...and
ThankYouSirBert / ThankYouMa'mBert will be in the last scene.