Tuesday, September 30, 2008

United in Bollywood

After Asif Ali Zardari and Manmohan Singh met in 'warm and friendly' conditions in New York, they made several statements about peace, friendship blah blah blah.

But the truth is, one the easiest and most powerful Confidence Building Measure wasn't, and never is, discussed viz., lifting the ban on each other's movies. I can't understand what governments gain by baning movies, apart from feeding their egos. 

I have never visited Paksitan (though I'd like to), but from what I have read, Bollywood is a big hit in Pakistan. Sadly, I've never seen or heard of any Pakistani films in India, with the exception of Khuda Ke Liye. Then again, Pakistani singers are very popular in India, Atif Aslam being an example. 

Furthermore, the number of cinemas in Pakistan has dwindled, with most of them being converted into shopping malls or petrol stations. Everyone agrees that the remaining theatres can be saved by allowing just a fraction of the 1,000+ Indian movies produced a year to be screened. That would inject a fresh lease of life into the Pakistani screens, and also offer a new, lucrative market for Bollywood (not to mention severely curtailing pirating).

But this goes beyond business. If any two countries can be called similar - in terms of culture, cuisine, dressing, music etc. - they are India and Pakistan. We are essentially the same people, we enjoy the same things and we have been together for thousands of years, the partition being just 60 years old. When two countries are so deeply intertwined, how can politicians somehow conclude that the neighbour's cinema is not to be watched? It's sheer hypocrisy that the Pakistan PM Gilani says he used to watch Aishwarya Rai's films, which are theoretically banned!

Enough about dams and lakes, enough about the big red giant in the north. The one thing that can really unite the people of the two countries is an amalgamation of Bollywood and Lollywood. And I am all for it.

Chem Pracs prove great fun

WEEK 72 DAY 2


Sri Chaitanya IIT Academy/AIEEE (Boys) Campus - 3, SR Nagar,  Hyderabad, Sep. 30: The death of an MIM leader led to the government declaring a holiday today. Consequently, most of SR Nagar was deserted, barring, of course, the IIT Academy.

The exam scheduled for today - Maths 2B Mid-term - went ahead, although students of ISB were allowed to take it lightly. After that however, all sections were allowed to return home except ISB.

The ICON Star Batch, already angered over this, did very little to cooperate with the two lecturers who took a class each. Finally, the students were sent to the labs - girls to Physics and boys to Chemistry.

The Chemistry Practicals were great fun, most agreed. The topic was salt identification and for most students, this was the first time they had the opportunity to use chemical equipment. The practical session went on for a good three hours. 

Sources have told OTFS that tomorrow and Thursday will be holidays on account of Eid and Gandhi Jayanti respectively. (OTFS)

Saturday, September 27, 2008

US House passes Indo-US Nuclear Agreement





CNN-IBN reports that the United States House of Representatives - the Lower House - has passed the Indo-US Nuclear Deal, allowing American companies to engage in nuclear commerce with India.

The passage has come a day after Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's 76th birthday. The vote was delayed for a day because two-thirds of the House was not present, which is a prerequisite as per the US Constitution.

Sources have said that US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice will be visiting India on Oct. 3, and the 123 Agreement could finally be signed and sealed in New Delhi on that day, if all conditions are met.

Interestingly during the debates, there was bipartisan support as well as opposition to the agreement. While some lawmakers tried to equate India's position with that of rogue states such as Pakistan or North Korea, others, mostly the majority, spoke in favour of stronger bilateral ties with India. 

House Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Howard Berman, a known critic of the deal, came out with some surprising words, "On balance, integrating India into a global nonproliferation regime is a positive step. And before anyone gets too sanctimonious about India's nuclear weapon programs, we should acknowledge that the five recognized nuclear weapons states have not done nearly enough to fulfill their agreements under the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, including making serious reductions in their own arsenals, nor - in the case of the United States - ratifying the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty."

Fighting the Government

The Indian Armed Forces' decision not to implement the recommendations of the Sixth Pay Commission has come at the right time. For decades, the government has treated its bureaucrats like kings: showering them with money, gifts, perks and powers. But the armed forces have always been neglected, our soldiers and veterans are treated like second-class citizens.

I can't understand the logic behind paying bureaucrats more than the armed forces. When the Government can shell our Rs. 74,000 crores for farmers, can't it pay Rs. 450 crores for the country's troops? When the entire state machinery collapses, it is the armed forces that stays up and alive, ready to take action (the Bihar and Orissa floods are the best examples). Don't they deserve better treatment? How could that Pay Commission not have representative of the Armed Corces on it?

The heads of the Armed Forces should keep up their fight. Don't let the government get away with this huge injustice. Our troops deserve better salaries, and the entire nation backs them.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Inside a Concentration Camp

The collapse of an illegal building run by Narayana Junior College is the outskirts of Greater Hyderabad, klling one and wounding many, is a grim reminder of the dark direction our society is moving towards.

The rat race for marks - where even 98% is considered a 'low' mark - is killing a generation, and parents show scant regard for their child. Since when has a child become a commodity, to be traded on the daily Gossip Bazaar, the 'my child neighbour's envy' syndrome? When did sports and recreation become irrelevant, and good health and physical well-being take the back seat? 

I pray for those killed in the incident and hope that, one day, my children and their children would not get caught in the mad rat race. 

The lies, the human rights violations, the hate, the injustice: all revealed next year, when OTFS launches its documentary The Cursed Generation.

Practicals Begin

WEEK 71 DAY 4


Sri Chaitanya IIT Academy/AIEEE (Boys) Campus, SR Nagar, Hyderabad, Sep. 25: ISB officially started their practicals today, wihtout the biys being sent to the Physics Lab and the girls to the Chemistry Lab.

While the reaction to the Physics lab was spectacular - everyone described it as fun, though time-consuming - the scenario in the Chemistry lab was not quite the same. The girls described it as hot, stuffy and ill-equipped. However, both the Chemistry lecturers paid a visit to the lab.

The practicals for ISB are on fast-track mode, and should be completed within a week. (OTFS)

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Sorry, you haven't paid us for this!

Microsoft's money-mongering, greedy methods have really irked me. They won't let me download their software unless they can rape my computer. Then, they want me to pay a gigantic amount of money for a number that lets me open a CD that costs Rs. 10!

And then Microsoft wonders by its losing its market share?!

PS: If you're reading this on Internet Explorer, don't. Click here for something much better.

Goodbye, Singur

Yep, the lady in the sari has won. Tata Motors has decided to leave Singur, West Bengal and roll out its Rs. 1 lakh car from Uttarakhand, taking advantage of the state's tax concessions.

I hope Mamata Bannerjee is happy: in an election year where she should have mopped up seats, because the anti-Left feeling has never been so strong after Nandigram, she is going to do badly again. Most people in the state fully support the Tata project and it would create assured employment to thousands of youth.

But no! She had to play politics. Already, several states were wooing the Tatas: from Jharkhand to Andhra Pradesh to even Sri Lanka. Yet, the Tatas tried their best to stay in WB. Isn't that proof enough that they care for employment opportunities, that they too share a vision for the state? 

Now that Tata Motors has decided to pull out, Mamata can start her own farm on the land. Nothing will grow there anymore. But who cares, she got the land back, and West Bengal has lost a grand opportunity!

Murder, if you may

Labour Minister Oscar Fernandes' claim that a bunch of employees, who murdered their boss after he fired them, were justified as it was a warning to all corporates, is the dumbest thing I've ever heard from this government (except Sharad Powar's comments about South Indians eating too many rotis.)

How would he like it if voters were allowed to kill their politicans? Wouldn't it be nice if we could shoot the next bureaucrat who asked for a bribe? 

Such stupid comments go nowhere in promoting a healthy work culture in India. The Minister should apologise for his silly remark.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

35,000 young!

I made it to my blog just in time to see this great scene: 35,000 hits (ok, a little more than that). I've been waiting a long time for this: 35,000 means we are going to hit 50,000 in less than a year.

That's right: 50,000. In less than twleve months. Sounds impossible? Then digest this:

OTFS will be completing its IN09 series (India Votes 2009) before the 2009 General Election, apart from reporting on the election and its outcome.

Then, in summer next year, we will be launching a new series on Documentary: The Eternal Mahabharata, in tune with our previous mythological series, the Ten Avatars of Vishnu. We will also prepare a special documentary on life in a corporate junior college in Andhra Pradesh: make sure you see that one.

What about our Indian of the Year 2008. Well, since this year has been so busy, and the next will be even busier (at least the first few months of, anyway), I'm not sure if I'll be able to hold the awards. I'm trying my best to make sure I can, but I can't guranatee anything.

But we've done plenty of special series already! Remember the InNTSE series? Well, the 2008 batch of NTSE winners has been declared (I was part of the 2007 batch). Who knows, maybe some of them read my series, and gained something. Then again, maybe not. But there will be many more genrations, and some of them will read it and will gain from it. And that's the very purpose of this blog: to spread information and help people make an informed opinion. Remember, an opinion is an expression of freedom, and freedom is the crux of humanity.

FFFF: Comedy's latest Avatar

The MTV Fully Faltoo Film Festival (FFFF),  an excellent initiative for the world of comedy, launched last week with the 'premier' of the first of its three films. The films are:
  • Bechaare Zameen Par (a satire on Taare Zameen Par)
  • Cheque De! (a satire on Chak De!)
  • Jadoo Ek Bar (a satire on Jodhaa Akbar)
Now, to many, these films might seem crude, distatsteful and terribly trivial. But to me, they're funny, and ev
eryone needs a good laugh! So, take the movies with a pinch of salt, and forgive Cyrus for his pathetic acting. 

MTV FFFF
Saturday, 7:00 PM
MTV India

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Pakistan: The Road Ahead

With military rule officially gone, the new civilian government in Pakistan, with Asif Ali Zardari as the nation's President, will have to fight on its own soil against terrorism. This is not the time for bickering with India, Afghanistan or the US. Today, the world is faced with a common danger, and only a united effort can stave off the great danger that is, terrorism.

Clarification

I swear by the Bhagvad Gita, the Holy Book to which I repose my faith, that I hold no feelings of superiority or hate towards students of lower sections in the prison where I am currently lodged. I take no interest in other people's marks and do not believe that a mere number  can allow me to judge someone else's charatcer and traits.

I declare, in full hosh aur awaaz, that I do not consider students of S2 or S3 as inferior beings and wish to befriend them. I also request the fu*king people who claim otherwise to shut the large holes in their faces.

Thank you.

ISB gains Vacation

WEEK 70 DAY 6


Sri Chaitanya IIT Academy, SR Nagar, Hyderabad, Sep. 20: In a major strategic success for the students of the newly-formed ICON Star Batch (ISB), the VP has managed to convince the management to allow full Dassera holidays.

In an announcement made to S1, the college has decided that Sep. 6-12 will be a holiday for all students, without any practicals being held in that period. According to rumours, ISB will not have practicals altogether and marks will be clandestinely awarded to them!

The VP has indicated that she wanted students to revise their First Year Syllabus.

IITJEE Announcement
The ad for IITJEE-2009 has been released in all leading dailies. The exam will be entirely objective with two papers.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Plugging the Holes

The Indo-Bangladesh border seems to be meaningless now, with thousands of illegal immigrants stepping across in pursuit of the Great Indian Dream.

But how long can we let Bangladeshi migrants override our country? Not long, at least not if we listen to our own judiciary. The Assam High Court, which has jurisdiction over the North East, pointed out that illegal immigrants had succeeded in changing the demographics of some districts: today, the number of Assamese speakers has fallen while those who speak Bengali have risen. 

The HuJI, infamous for its bomb blasts in key Indian cities, is a Bangladesh-based organisation. Terrorists are using Bangladesh as a hub for their activities. And in all this, we leave our borders wide open for them to enter and wreak more havoc!

I wonder why we can't simply build a wall along the border - the Great Wall of India? Maybe that would help. India, as a democratic country with the largest economy in South Asia, needs to be secure and protect its citizens. How can we do this when illegal immigrants not only find shelter but also ration cards and subsidised fuel in our country?

Either the caretaker government in Bangladesh gets its act together or holds elections immediately. They have to ensure livelihood and development to its citizens, and that is a long process. But if Bangladeshis can't wait and want a piece of the Indian cake, then they had better sign a Treaty of Annexation: if you want to live like an Indian, you have to be an Indian. Period.

Satan's Soldier?

Sheikh Muhammad Munajid, a Saudi Arabian cleric, has said that Mickey mouse is one of "Satan's Soldiers" and must "die."

The cleric cited Islamic Shariah Law - strictly observed in the Kingdom - in which the mouse is considered an impure object and must be killed in life and caricature. He decried the way children looked at the mouse as a loveable creature after Tom and Jerry and Mickey Mouse.

Now really, this is yet another example of how mad the closed Kingdom can get! Mickey Mouse is a children's cartoon, little kids watch it to entertain themselves. How can something like that follow Satan's commands? It amkes absolutely no sense to me!

Clerics like him - and he was a former diplomat to the US - just have too much free time. Perhaps some more work to really improve the lives of people in Saudi Arabia (which is by no means the most developed place on earth): fighting against non-existent things and raking up non-issues will not help. 

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Kick that Butt

In support of Union Health Minister A Ramadoss' campaign against smoking.

(A discussion on the Health Minister's performance - from fighting smoking and obesity to the AIIMS controversy - on the IN09 label on Opinions 24x7: it's where India votes!)

Monday, September 15, 2008

Video Documentary: UPA and Terrorism






Part 1 of a two-part series on the UPA Government's performance in preventing terrorism in India.


Our second video documentary!

Global Turmoil





World financial markets have entered one of the most difficult regions in the last 100 years. After the collapse of Bear Stearns Co. (BSC) and the nationalisation ('temporary conservatorship') of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the credit crisis has claimed another pair of victims: Lehman Bros. (LEH) and Merill Lynch (MER).

Lehman Bros., a bank that has weathered previous financial crises, has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy as it tries to find ways to pay back as much of its debt as possible. Merill has agreed to a takeover by the Bank of America (BAC) valued at $50 billion, leaving just Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs as Wall Street's last independent firms (both of them have relatively less subprime exposure).

Finally, there are rumours that American International Group (AIG), one of the world's largest insurance and finance firms, is struggling to raise more capital.

International Currents
Both the developments sent world markets into a downward spiral. In India, the BSE Sensex fell over 400 points to close around 13,500. Indonesia closed 4% down as did Taiwan. Hong Kong and Tokyo markets were closed for a holiday, but nothing short of a bloodbath is expected when they open tomorrow.

In Europe, the London FTSE 100 and Germany's XETRA DAX lost over 3% while the Paris CAC 40 is down by around 4%. Yesterday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down by 3.3%.

Central Banks React
In a bid to stem any further escalation of the crisis, the US Federal Reserve has decided to put more money in the system at cheap rates. Similarly, the European Central Bank and the Bank of England have also pumped billions of dollars into the system.

Oil and Rupee
In other news, crude oil (Nymex/October delivery) fell to below $97/bbl as hurricane Ike caused much less damage to oil refineries than expected. The Indian Rupee closed at a two-year low against the US dollar at around INR 46.02 to a USD.

[With inputs from NDTV, CNN and CNBC]

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Mad Law

A leading Muslim cleric in Saudi Arabia has decreed that it is "permissible" to kill the owners of television channels that promote immorality and obscenity!

Well, really, that's what I'd call taking the law into ones own hands! How can murder for any reason ever be justified? It makes absolutely no sense: I thought murdering a fellow human being is the greatest crime possible.

Then again, this is Saudi Arabia, where women are not allowed to drive or talk to unknown men, and the only country in the world which uses the concept of 'blood money.' In spite of CNN's ramblings about how people are rising up in the country for their freedom (and these 'people' and usually rich America-lovers), the country is still backward and hopelessly entangled in outdated laws.

For those who place faith in communism and dictatorship, this should come as a rude shock: Saudi Arabia is the least democratic place in the world. Just goes to show that democracy really is the best.

Towards Greater Transparency


THE RIGHT TO INFORMATION ACT, 2005









History
The RTI Act was passed by Parliament in 2005 as a means to create more transparency in the system and root out corruption. The idea is simple: the government collects money in the form of taxes. Taxpayers have every right to know how their money is being spent by the government. Thus, the RTI Act was born to allow taxpayers to question the functioning of the government and its agencies. 

The RTI Act is not unique to the federal government; many states such as Delhi already had such an Act in place. But the need to create transparency in the greater domain of the federal government was always felt. And it was that need that led several social activists (such as Arundati Roy) to fight for a strong, federal Act. The RTI Act followed, and can safely be labeled one of the greatest achievements of the UPA Government.

Attempts to Dilute the Act
However, the Act did not go without a fair bit of controversy. Soon after it was passed, the government tried to amend it by keeping certain files in Parliamentary standing committees out of the purview of the Act. This led to outrage and several movements and petitions began to save the Act. Finally, the government decided to drop the amendments and the Act was retained in its original form.

Moreover, the Act has seemed contradictory to another, often-used one: The Official Secrets Act, 1923, a legacy of the British Raj. While the latter explicitly hides information from citizens, the RTI was created with far-reaching powers to negate it. Sec. 22 of the Act clearly states that it has overriding powers over inconsistent Acts. However, this has not translated into reality as many "official secrets" are still out of the reach of the public.

Using the Act
One of the most important features of the Act is its simplicity: anyone can approach the concerned Information Officers (PIOs), whose names can be found on the concerned agency's website. The RTI Application is a simple, blank sheet written in hand. The charge for a few pages of information is nominal.

Bottlenecks
However, implementation of the Act has been shoddy. According to various news reports, most state Information Commissions face severe lack of funds and most applications take more than the stipulated 30 days to be completed. Ironically, there are also reports of corruption in the Information Commissions themselves!

However, the blame for poor implementation of the Act lies solely on the State Governments: federal agencies have actually implemented the Act very well. The need of the hour is to make the States more accountable to say, a committee to monitor the Act's implementation. 

The Leaders and the Laggards
According to a report by Transparency International, Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra are the top states as far as implementation of the Act is concerned, while Bihar has done the worst job among the states.

Praise
India has received a lot of praise from Transparency International after the Act. The RTI Act has been instrumental in reducing corruption in India and has given many citizens a fresh way to fight for their rights. The United Nations has also praised India for creating this right.

Final Comments
The Right to Information Act is a far-reaching social revolution that has the power to redefine democracy in India. Although there have been several complains of poor implementation, successive Governments will have the task of streamlining it and removing these bottlenecks.

However, only the UPA Government can claim praise for this great Act.

You can learn more about the Act from its website.

I Am a Malayalee

Ok, so maybe I'm not. But I lived in Kochi, and I know how special Onam is. So on that note, I wish all my Malayalee friends (who I'm not in touch with anymore, sadly) a very happy Onam.

PS: The title is actually the name of a very funny song, which can be downloaded from here.

Emotional Week

WEEK 69 DAY 6


Sri Chaitanya IIT Academy, SR Nagar, Hyderabad, Sep. 13: It was a sad week for all in S1 as the much-hyped shuffling finally took place. In all, fourteen students were sent from S1 to S2, and none were added. This puts the final strength of S1 at 45.

There has also been a slight change to nomenclature. SIIT2 will not be called Sr. ICON 1, and S3 Sr. ICON 2. The top section will be accorded with the title ICON Star Batch (ISB) and will have 10 girls, nearly double the number last year.

However, the shuffling has split old friends. Many say that marks were not the only criteria and 'other factors' also played a role. However, the split friends have continued to meet each other in S2 (Sr. ICON 1) in a strong show of unity. (OTFS)

Ambitious Ad

This ad from Mx New York Life Insurance titled Karo Zyaada ka Iraada ('aim for more') is quite good in terms of holidng on to viewers' interest. Apart from the catchy music, the ad is simple and drives home the point.

We give it 4 stars out of 5.


Wednesday, September 10, 2008

DPT Regime Suspended

WEEK 69 DAY 3


Sri Chaitanya IIT Academy, SR Nagar, Hyderabad, Sep. 10: In a significant move, the VP has decided to suspend the system of daily practice tests (DPT's) for this week so that the extra time can be used to complete the pending Chemistry and Physics syllabi.

The DPT system, in force for over a month now, is largely seen as a collosal waste of time, although it is not very stressful. However, with the Physics and Chemistry lecturers in dire need of extra classes, the system has been temporarily halted.

Shuffling
The shuffling list for S1 has been received by the VP. OTFS has learned that there will be 40+2 students in S1 for the last two months of the second year syllabus. The shuffling could take place in the next few days. (OTFS)

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Physics in Action

To know more, visit the CERN Website regarding the LHC.

The Colours of Chrome


Product: Google Chrome (Beta)
Category: Web browser 
Creator: Google Inc.
Rating: *** (3 of 5)

Okay, I love Google. And when I heard that it was launching a new browser, I was upbeat. Until I remembered that Firefox was my #1 browser. And that sent me into a tizzy: should I dump the Fox and choose Google Chrome, or should I remain loyal?

And then I decided to go by merit. Chrome takes almost no time to download and install on a broadband connection. And it doesn't require require you to reboot either. Clean and simple: the Google way!

The initial interface in also typical Google: no fancy buttons and multitudinous toolbars, not even an address bar! Yes: Chrome has just two bars: the tab bar and a long address bar that doubles up as a search box. The status bar is a floating one, which mean it just pops up when needed and then disappears. That's not all about the interface. As the pic above demonstrates, you can drag a tab out of the browser and it becomes a new window; similarly, you can drag a window back into the browser and it becomes a tab! If, like me, you like to have a clean set of tabs, this is just what you need. Also, Chorme borrown Firefox's spell-checker. 

Looks apart, the multi-process approach to browsing is good. If one tab is stuck, the entire browser does not go into suspended animation. The InCognito mode (similar to IE8's "porn mode") is useful for those who have a lot to hide. The speed dial feature (similar to Opera) also cuts down on the time you have to spend typing. The advantage of Chrome's speed dial is that it automatically populates it with your drowsing history; in Opera, you have to populate it on your own.

The download page is pretty clean, but lacks visual appeal all the same. There is not bar that indicates percentage of download, which is odd since every other browser carries this feature. 

I do love the animated way in which tabs run around on the tab bar: it's a major change from the regular, standing-in-your-face tabs. The Application Shortcuts feature is pure genius and could herald a new way we sync offline and online work. Furthermore, unlike Microsoft, Chrome lets you set any browser as your default. Bookmarking a page is also simple.

However, Chrome (currently in Beta) has a few glitches. I've found that many buttons on Facebook and orkut don't work well on Chrome. Moving pictures in Blogger is a nightmare and I simply can't resize them. As mentioned before, the download page is a bit too simple. And it takes time to get used to a browser minus the address bar. 

Overall, I think the three stars is quite justified, although Firefox is still the best browser out there. Download Chrome, because it does come with some neat features. You'll love it if you've been using IE, but for Firefox users, the experience might not be so good. (OTFS)

McCain leads Obama in Polls










In fresh polls conducted by three organisations, it has been found that Republican Nominee John McCain and his running mate Sarah Palin find more support from the American public than the Democratic candidates, Obama and Biden. 

In the first data since the recently-concluded Republican National Convention in Minnesota, the USA Today/Gallup  poll found that McCain leads Obama 50-46 among registered voters. This is the largest lead McCain has ever registered. 

The CNN/Opinion Research Corp. poll pits the contenders at 48% support each. Finally, the ABC News/Washington Post poll gives Obama 47% and McCain 46%. Both of these however, carry a margin of error.

However, in the last poll, white women indicated their support to McCain 53-41, perhaps indicating the sheer strength of Sarah Palin.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

A Tribute to the Lecturers


TEACHERS' DAY


Sep. 6, 2008
The college celebrated Teachers' Day like never before, as almost all the classes went into party mode with the lecturers. In S1, a magnificient card made by Swetha and Sruthi was displayed.

In S1, S2, J1 and J3, the lecturers cut a cake (or cakes in some cases) and danced with the students. Loud chants of 'Singh is King' could be heard emanating from J1, where students sprayed the lecturers and the VP with foam and coke! Long before that however, celebrations
 were on with students being invited by lectures to imitate other lecturers: and what a smash act they performed! SRK, move over!

In S2 and J3, similar celebrations ensued. However, the longest party was held in S1.

In S1, the programme stared off with a short prayer following which, the hosts Divya and Sushobhan took charge. The first even that was organised was the cake-cutting competition. Here, lecturers were divided into groups of two (based on the subject they teach) and were given a knife and paper plates. The objective was simple: cut the cake and distribute it around to as many students as possible in one minute. Well, Sarfaraz sir literally took the cake with his innovative cutting-technique, while Sanjay sir, faced with a lack of enough paper plates, took to tossing cake around with his hands!

After that entertaining event, coke, cake (yes, more cake) and chips were served around. The cake, black forest chosen by Anurag, was delicious. It was funded entirely by the students. After the cake, a Musical Chairs was organised for the lecturers. As usual, there was plenty of cheating with shoves and jogs! 

The other events took place after a short break in which the lecturers along with the VP went to S2 and J1 for a short programme. When they returned by 4:15 PM, all tired out but happy, they participated in a calming event: dumb charades! Sarfaraz sir stole the show by answering just about everything. After that, came an event that the host described as 'testing the lecturers.'

JAM (Just a Minute) saw the lecturers picking up a chit from a bowl, each one containing a topic not related to maths, physics or chemistry. Then, they had to talk about the topic for a minute.
 While Sanjay sir spoke on Bollywood, Sarfaraz sir explained how ice cream is made. Bhaskar sir gave a lecture on mobile phones, Vice Principal Jhansi ma'am explained the burden of traffic jams and Anil Kumar sir spent a good two minutes plus talking about the Freedom Struggle! But at the end, Prasad sir's discourse on tourist spots won the students' hearts and they voted his speech the best.

Finally, the last event was the Tower Building Game: eleven plastic cups has to be arranged on the base and top alternately to build a tower (with the fans off). Now, it looked like the game would require a tie-breaker, as three lecturers has already made a tower of seven cups and two had been disqualified. But then came the surprise of the evening: Jhansi ma'am made history (!) by stacking eight cups, taking home the booty!

The games ended thus. After that, there was a prize distribution where students - from
 Abhidarshan to Nimisha to Keerti - gave away prizes to the lecturers. Yes, Jhansi ma'am even hugged Nimisha, her constant foe! After a short vote of thanks by Sruthi, the music was put on high and the lecturers let their hair down! Sarfaraz sir danced so um, energetically ;-) that he could have been mistaken for a Bollywood star. Finally, before the part could get out of hand, the VP called it a day.

S1 was just about the last class to leave as the lecturers went to other campuses. Kukatpally held a party from 7:00-8:00 PM, while some hostel campuses kept it going all the way to 2:00 PM! Consequently, Saturday's test was postponed to Monday.

The Teachers' Day celebration was called the 'biggest ever for this batch' and it lived up to that name. With girls wearing saris and boys wearing smart formals, most students actually forgot that they were being trained for the most difficult exam in the world! For once, it was not studies as usual.

REPORT: SUSHOBHAN SEN FOR OTFS
PIC: OTFS GRAPHICS (WITH INPUTS FROM SWETHA)

INDIA MAKES HISTORY




In a landmark breakthorugh, India has become the first country in hisotory to obtain a clean waiver from the 45-member Nuclear Suppliers' Gro
up allowing for full-scope nuclear commerce with the world.

The NSG - then called the London Club - was formed to block India in particular from ever testing nuclear weapons again, after Pokhran-I. The waiver is historic in the sense that the group that was formed to oppose India has today opened its doors for the world's largest democracy.

According to sources, the waiver only makes a
 reference to Minister for External Affairs, Govt. of India Pranab Mukhaerjee's statement that India was committed to peaceful use of nuclear technology and non-proliferation, but does not explicitly talk about testing. The waiver is as close to "clean and unconditional" as anyone could've hoped for, according to sources. The official text is yet to be released.

During the meeting, it is learned thatn Austria was t
he last country to speak out against the waiver, but it finally bowed down to Mukherjee's assurances. However, in an extremely unexpected sitaution, the Chinese delegation did not attend the day's proceedings. Since yesterday, China seems to have reversed its stand and stood opposed to the waiver.

US President George W Bush called up PM Manmohan Singh to congratulate him and to discuss the road ahead. Congress President Sonia Gandhi also congratulated the PM, who gambled his entire political future on the deal. The PM called the waiver a great achivement for India.

The Indian media has called the waiver the 'Vienna Victory,' however, the Nuclear Cooperation Agreement with the US is not over yet. The 123 Agre
ement must now be passed by the US Congress, where it does enjoy quite a lot of support but also opposition from non-proliferation lobbyists. Finally, the Indian Government needs to initial the agreement.

However, even if the 123 Agreement fails to pass the US Congress, the NSG waiver and the IAEA Safeguards allow India to conclude similar treaties with Russia, France and other countries. Why then, some would ask, did India need the 123 Agreement? Because no country in the world apart from the US could have possibly had the diplomatic prowess to force the NSG and even the IAEA and accept India without having signed the NPT. And that's why this waiver is so important.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

I'm Still Loyal to Firefox

Google today launched its new browser - Google Chrome - in its bid to completely oust Microsoft from the online world. While the initial response from Chrome seems to be good, it doesn't seem too new. For example, the "speed dial" feature is a direct copy from Opera, while the tabbed browsing feature is still the same old thing.

Now, I'm a lover of Google. I use GMail all the time, and I chose Blogger over Wordpress. I'd love to work for Google. But this time, I've got to choose between Google and Firefox - and with Firefox 3 proving to be worth its weight in gold, I'm sticking to the old fox.

For once, Google hasn't won me over. But hey, if it can oust Microsoft, then who cares?!

Holiday Declared

WEEK 68 DAY 2


Sri Chaitanya IIT Academy, SR Nagar, Hyderabad, Sep. 1: The college has declared that tomorrow will be a holiday on account of Ganesh Chaturti. This announcement was circulated to all classes today.

Meanwhile, the new schedule for S1 was released, and it contains three tracks in Chemistry. Overall, most lecturers seem to be at par with the syllabus, give or take a few days.

In another decision, the Lunch break timings will be shifted to the 12:50-1:30 PM slot on account of Ramzan. (OTFS)

Monday, September 1, 2008

Friday Releases

A look at which of this Friday's big releases are worth watching... and which are not.

MUKHBIR

Sameer Dattani does a Leonardo Di Caprio here as he infiltrates a terrorist gang to help the assiduous cop (Om Puri) nab them before their bombs go boom.
The Times of India
Given Samir Dattani's limited acting skills, how he manages to fool all underworld bigwigs is a mystery. Perhaps the film was an unintentional thriller.
AOL India
We say: watch it, it seems nice.


C KKOMPANY

Less of a movie and more of a spoof on everything under the sun — starting from television, k series, underworld, talk shows and even ordinary people — this movie loses track of the real story early enough.
Buzz18

This is the down market "Munnabhai" of the year. It tells us, it is okay to be a loser as long as your heart is in the right place.
Masala.com
We say: Don't you DARE waste your money on this 'movie'!


ROCK ON

You aren't surprised when one of the band members is diagnosed of cancer but you still feel for him. That's because the simplicity and sincerity of the direction and performances touch you.
The Economic Times


Farhan Akhtar makes first sparkling vocal impact that is loaded with motivational wordings that concocts energetically with thriving arrangements.
Yahoo! Movies


We say: A must-watch, even if you're not very interested in rock music. And do get the music, it's worth listening to.

Splitsvilla: The Verdict


Boring, vulgar, cheap and outrageously stupid: MTV Splitsvilla was an absolute waste of time, money and (in)sanity. Thank God, Roadies 6 is arriving soon.

And in case you are too shy to ask what a slut is, read this.

PS: Special thanks to Krishna and Akshay for the SLUTSVILLA idea.