Monday, June 23, 2008

The Perils of ECR Chennai

The East Coast Road!

It is advertised as a route with scenic splendour. It can take you from Chennai to Pondicherry in no time. It can also take you from road to heaven (or hell or wherever) in no time too.

Especially during the nights. The markers are showing their age. It is obvious that whoever is maintaining them are not too worried about a few counts lesser in the population. The government can afford a few thousands to the family of the deceased, with the chance to be in the news offering condolences to the bereaved families.

The road is dotted with invisible road blocks that are veritable death traps during the night.

These are the problems I saw during my recent travel on the ECR.
  • Reflective road paint are covered with sand and dust at most places, making the road borders invisible
  • No advance notification of road blocks ahead, which might take you by surprise/shock, leading to instant heaven or hell or whatever, according to your religious inclination. In some cases, the road blocks are setup at curves (Imagine the intelligence and road sense of whoever did it). And these road blocks do not carry reflective paint or stickers on them. These road blocks are also completely opaque, which means, you do not see the vehicles coming in the opposite direction, even during the day (unless yours is a bigger vehicle).
  • Deteriorating road quality, unsatisfactory maintenance
  • Reflective road markers that do not reflect, leading to insufficient visibility
In essence, you may wish NOT TO TRAVEL BY THE ECR DURING THE NIGHT.

If you still want to drive, do not exceed the speed of 80 kilometres per hour. It might take a little longer, but it will take you where you want to go.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

STOP! Don't forward that eMail!

Today I received another one of those special mails! Chain mails, I mean. This was about how instant noodles cause cancer in you. It told me in no uncertain terms, to stop eating instant noodles. It told me that Instant noodles contain wax that is not easily expelled from your body. It is also carcinogenic and so on. It claimed that many people had died after eating instant noodles, (not instantly, I think).

I did some preliminary search and found that this particular email has been doing rounds since 2002. Imagine, a simple mail going around and around for 5 years now.

These kinds of letters come in all flavours; religious, business, medical, political, philanthropical and what not!

Irritating though they are, one still wonders how gullible and naive our readers can be that believe them. Probably, the concern that they have for others is taken advantage of. And, in any case, I do not lose anything when I forward just this one mail. Or does it affect somewhere?

One should ask oneself. How many people are using email everyday all over the world? And, if one mail is forwarded by everyone every week, just how much of bandwidth is consumed? How much of your friend's time is wasted in reading that particular mail, which he/she could use spending with the family. We could probably use that bandwidth better. And certainly not be a part of spreading misinformation and spam.

So, beware. Before you forward that next mail, try to do a little research yourself. Or, if you aren't so sure, just ignore it. You are not here to save the world. God (or if you are agnostic, Nature) will take care of it.

For some insight into the various ways that people get baited, I suggest you follow the below :
http://www.breakthechain.org

Happy surfing!

Thursday, January 10, 2008

The Game called Cricket!

Cricket! It used to be called the Gentleman's game, in the days of yore. Is it anymore?

If you are a gentleman, you would give back the excess change you got at the store. If you are a gentleman, you would smile and tolerate short change given to you at the store. May be you will ask once, but if the storekeeper insists, you would walk away.

This is neither a store, nor are we gentlemen. It is a matter of victory in war. All's fair in love and war.

I am referring to the Symonds's incident last night. There used to be a time when cricketers felt ashamed about such a thing happening on the ground. But, times have changed. It is alright to be dishonest; and admit it. In fact, it is hip. "It is my day. I was given not out anyway".

Little does he realise that there are kids out there looking at him. Kids, to whom he is a role model. Kids, who emulate him, and tell themselves, its okay to be dishonest.

Thats bad for cricket, and in general.

Not surprising when this happens to be Australia. This is a team that almost disowned Adam Gilchrist, when he walked without waiting for the umpire's decision (more than once), in 2004. May be the australians have, as a team, agreed to "never walk, unless the umpire tells you".

Could have been different in different times, when there weren't any action replays, slow motions, snickometers et al. Come to think of it, how did the umpire miss the noise? Had it been in India, it could be said that the noise of the crowd drowned the noise of bat grazing the ball.

Flipping the other side of the coin, we see the player thinking, "I could be dropped, if I walked". "Then, I will lose my endorsements, my wife will divorce me". "And, ...".

A lot more seems to be at stake, these days. So what would you do? Walk or Stay?

By the way, does Adam Gilchrist walk these days?

---

Who's honest? An incomplete list. Add your suggested name too, to make it complete.

Gary Sobers
Brian Lara
Sachin Tendulkar
Adam Gilchrist
Sunil Gavaskar
Courtney Walsh
Kapildev
Clive Lloyd
G R Viswanath
Jonty Rhodes