Mumbai Cyclothon – 21st Feb, 2010 – Well Done!

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I participated in the Amateur Community Ride on my new Fomosa Power Sport mountain bike! The Amateur & Corporate riders started their race at 8:30 a.m from Rangsharda grounds at Bandra Reclamation. We started a bit late, around 8:35 a.m. I completed the race at 9:30 a.m. 24kms in 55 minutes! More time than I anticipated! I didn’t go all out to outrace participants. I was happier being safe rather than sorry! I also decided to conserve energy for the Sea Link stretch! And did I need it! The Sea Link leg was fantastic. It was quite warm and the uphill climb at the start of the Sea Link was really hard on the thighs. Gatorade to the aid! I guess road cycling really is not the same as stationary biking smile_shades.Good fun!

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Mumbai Cyclothon – 21st Feb, 2010

Police officer on a bicycle.

Image via Wikipedia

bicycle demonstration in Chamonix. Image via Wikipedia

The Mumbai Cyclothon takes off on the 21st of February, 2010 here in Mumbai.

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p align=”justify”>The BSA Hercules India Cyclothon- Mumbai 2010 is a mass participative cycling event for professional, amateurs and the casual biker. The event intends to promote the cause of cycling and promote the various benefits.

The race categories are as follows:

International Elite (Men)
100kms
18yrs and above
Entry By Invitation only

Elite Indian (Men)
50kms
19yrs and above
Entry By Invitation only

Amateur
24kms
18yrs and above
Online Registration

Corporate Group Ride
24kms
18yrs and above
Online Registration

Green Ride
12kms
14yrs and above
Online Registration

Kids Ride(8-13 years)
2kms
8yrs and above
Online Registration

I have registered myself in the Amateur category i.e. the 24 kms race. Cycles are not available to lease though registrants were promised that it was a possibility that they would be provided.That would be difficult since cosmopolitan India does not have a cycling culture yet!

24kms should be a breeze! I’ve been doing 45-50 kms on my stationary bike at home! Have still not got around to purchasing one for the race, though I have made enquiries.

The website is http://mumbaicyclothon.topdoctorsonline.com

Have a great day!

Cheers!

_______________________________________________________________________________-

 

If you have a child who is seven feet tall, you don’t cut off his head or his legs. You buy him a bigger bed and hope he plays basketball. Robert Altman

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Cool Running!

Fun runners taking part in the 2006 Bristol Ha...

Image via Wikipedia

After doing the 6 km run this year, I will attempt the 21 kms next year, i.e. Jan 2011.

I have located a few web-sites on running that give tips and schedules as how to prepare for both a marathon and a half-marathon. All said, running a marathon or a half-marathon is about endurance. It does not matter how much you run but how long you run! The longer the better!

Of course distance counts but if you are a  beginner, like me, then you should not concentrate on the distance and/or speed but focus on increasing the time spent running i.e. running non-stop. You can of course, choose to fortify yourself with water and small snacks. Hydration is very , very important. Carry a water bottle with you especially for the longer runs.

Some interesting sites to look at:

http://www.marathontraining.com

http://coolrunning.com

http://www.webmd.com/fitness-exercise/features/hydration-key-to-exercise-success

http://www.halfmarathons.net

and of course

the Mumbai Marathon web-site

http://www.mumbaimarathon.indiatimes.com/

As for myself, I will be training by running 3 times a week, supplemented by cycling 2 times a week (to reduce the wear and tear on my knees) and some light weight-training! Bulking up is out – makes it harder to run!

You can find a program to follow on the web-sites listed or use them to create one tailored for yourself!

Also, do not try to be rigid about your running schedule. Listen to your body! Rest when your body tells you to! Also, start early, so that you can compensate for slippages. Or sick time. Ensure that you have good running shoes. Change them as needed.

Do check with your physician before starting any vigorous physical exercise! Start slow, be steady! Don’t rush where angels fear to tread!

Have a great day!

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Women Driving

A road sign attempts to discourage drivers fro...

Image via Wikipedia

The story dominating the news channels this weekend was the horrific accident caused by a drunk woman driver killing 2 persons , one a cop, and injuring 4 others.

Nooriya Haveliwala (27), a beautician by profession, rammed her car into a police van, because she decided to take a swig from a beer can , as in her own words ‘ she was in full control of her vehicle’. Mind you, this was when she was cruising at over 100 kms/hr. Excuse me, ma’am but when it is advised to get off the road if you , as the driver, wish to take a mobile phone call in your car, how can taking a swig from a beer can, driving at 120 kms/hr (way above the speed limit), be considered permissible?  This after you have consumed liquor much above the alcohol level permitted at a party and have been reckless enough to take the wheel, instead of arranging for an escort/designated driver or a taxi home?

In two other separate incidents, an airhostess in Kolkata ran into a signal post on Sunday morning, and another drunk driver ran over a vegetable vendor at India Gate, New Delhi.

Though this post highlights 3 incidents of drunken driving or DUI (driving under the influence of alcohol or any other narcotic substance) , I prefer to highlight the following statement by noted lawyer Shrikant Bhat in the Mumbai Mirror “With women committing offences as grave as men do, it is high time our laws are amended on such disparities and made gender-neutral”. I concur with this statement whole-heartedly.

India is a male-dominated society. However with progress and education, women are making their mark in all spheres of life. But with the greater freedom afforded, comes responsibility. In the workplace, by definition, men and women are to be treated equally. Discrimination on the basis of gender, can be ill-afforded there.

Similarly, it is time to recognize the changing face of cosmopolitan India and acknowledge that public transport must be revamped to allow for the increasing no. women in the workforce. In my opinion, having separate train compartments for women is an indicator of a nod backwards. Obviously the current infrastructure cannot accommodate the humongous no. of people travelling by rail and separate compartments acknowledge that women are physically challenged, but with increasing investment in infrastructure, this policy of separatism (?) should be revisited and in my opinion, abolished. Bending over backwards to please women smacks of appeasement and seems more like condescension  (again, IMHO).

Whether Nooriya Haveliwala is guilty or not (that is for the court to decide; everyone is presumed innocent until proven guilty and not the other way around!), her story (and that of her victims) throws up some important questions, that need to be raised, weighed and answered.

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Pre-Marathon Vignettes

I picked up my bib and a bag of goodies ( these were really a bag of goodies; probably recovered my entry fee from the stuff in the bag itself!) from the Expo Centre, at the World Trade Centre, Cuffe Parade.

I was just about to leave the WTC when I encountered a huge crowd oohing and aahing. It turned out that John Abraham (the Bollywood film star) had just arrived to promote the Mumbai Marathon. I caught a glimpse of his bald spot as he was presenting his rear having gone past. (That raises an interesting question: Why do our film stars not bother to cover their rear bald spots?)

I backtracked so that I could click a picture of John Abraham on the podium with my antique phone camera!

JohnAbraham

Good luck if you can make out John!

I did not wait to hear what he or the sponsors had to say! I do not believe I missed much.

On the way to VT , encountered a young woman (girl?) wearing a tee that read “I’m insane! What’s your excuse?” My riposte “I’m sane in an insane world! That’s my excuse!”

I caught 3 Idiots, the Aamir Khan starrer  at New Empire. Remember New Empire? The movie was good, entertaining in parts, hilarious in parts. But I think it paints a very sorry picture of our education system. There’s an interesting article in today’s HT that talks about the movie. In my opinion, the movie is more about Rancho , than anything else. Also , Rancho , in the end, turns out to be a brilliant scientist, who owns more than 200 patents. Hey, wake up, no single individual without a nurturing environment such as a University, an R&D department funded by a firm, can hope to file so many patents. Patent filing is a time-consuming process and a huge headache. In this day and age, more patents are filed by teams of individuals and IBM is the leader with the no. of patents it creates every year. There are some indictments of our education system that ring true; But until we have more choice as to the kind of careers students can choose from, this is going to remain an endemic problem. So more power to the private institutions, they’re doing their bit even though it may be at the expense of harried parent’s pocketbooks!

So if you wish to draw some lessons from the movie, it should be how can you make an entertaining movie like this or better? Aamir’s plea for a waiver of the entertainment tax for this movie seems to have its  basis more in wishful thinking  than in substance!

Have a good day!

Bollywood – Actors – I

English: Indian actor Saif Ali Khan along with...

English: Indian actor Saif Ali Khan along with actress Kareena Kapoor and designer Manish Malhotra at the 2009 India Couture Week (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

English: Bollywood actress Dimple Kapadia duri...

English: Bollywood actress Dimple Kapadia during an event (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

Bollywood

Bollywood (Photo credit: Ivo Sandoval)

 

English: Aamir Khan at the 2010 Toronto Intern...

English: Aamir Khan at the 2010 Toronto International Film Festival. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

English: Indian actor Saif Ali Khan

English: Indian actor Saif Ali Khan (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

English: Indian actor Salman Khan

English: Indian actor Salman Khan (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

Cover of "Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak"

Cover of Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak

 

This is a post  about Bollywood and a few of its male stars.

 

Though I am more of an English movie fan, I cannot escape Bollywood and its multiple movie offerings every year. After all, Hindi is the national official language of the country though not the language of business!

 

My take on some of our current male stars:

 

Shah Rukh Khan:

 

He is considered the ‘badshah’ of Bollywood. Everything he touches turns to gold, from acting, to making movies, endorsements and Kolkata Knight Riders . He was one of the first, if not the first, to make the transition from the small screen to the silver screen. He is idolised by his fans and he has a certain style and more importantly , a huge amount of energy which he brings to his acting. Though he started his career taking a lot of risks by acting the anti-hero, of late, he is more conservative and sticks to the lover boy image.  A dazzling wife and 2 sweet kids round up this good guy of Bollywood cinema. Though of late with his new six-pack look, the similarities between him and Mick Jagger are striking!

 

Sunny Deol:

 

The eldest son of filmstar Dharmendra made his debut with Betaab and has never looked back since. Though like his dad, he has 2 left feet, he has firmly ensconced himself as an action hero and his appeal in the rustic  North Indian belt has not dimmed. He is the modern Manoj Kumar, since quite a few of his films have patriotic overtones. He is also remembered for his long-time liaison with Dimple Kapadia on her return to the Hindi film industry.

 

Ajay Devgan:

 

Son of an stunt director, he is also known as superstar Kajol’s husband.  But make no mistake Devgan or Devgn is a star in his own right. Though he started out as an action hero, he has made the transition to both comedy and softer roles. His performance in Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam was top-class. The intensity in his eyes makes him a stand out performer in any film. He keeps a very low profile and steers clear of controversies.

 

Salman Khan:

 

Now , Salman Khan is one of my favourite actors. Not because he’s a brilliant actor, but because he’s not. He seems to have this perennial expression that says ‘What the heck am I doing in this film? I know I can’t act for nuts but my fans just like me to dance and strip my upper torso! I can’t do melodrama but I can act in comedy because I find it comic that half a billion idiots will pay good money to see me not act! But then if they don’t care, neither do I!” But seriously, the only time Salman Khan was able to carry off melodrama was in Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam. For all these reasons, he is among my favourites!

 

The 2007 IIFA Awards Ceremony - Arrivals

 

Akshay Kumar:

 

Akshay Kumar is the martial arts hero. Another outsider to the industry , like Shah Rukh, he started out as an action hero leveraging his martial arts skills. With time, he has graduated to comedy and drama. Though his voice is still a liability, he more than makes up for it with his screen presence. He is considered Bollywood’s answer to Tom Cruise!

 

Saif Ali Khan:

 

Born of excellent pedigree, the scion of Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi and Sharmila Tagore, Saif Ali Khan was a slow starter in the Bollywood film industry. He initially made a hit pair with Akshay Kumar, and then was mostly part of multi-starrers. Of late, his performance in films like Omkara have brought him critical acclaim. He is also in the spotlight because of his on-going dalliance with Kareena Kapoor (she’s made the term size zero her own!).

 

Aamir Khan:

 

Aamir Khan is the director’s actor. He’s a thinking actor and he cultivates that image. He is very choosy about the films he makes and rations his time out to film-makers like the Almighty doles out rains in the desert! He is immensely successful and for his fans, he is the numero uno of the Bollywood industry. From QSQT to his latest flick Ghajini, his acting has won him acclaim and accolades. His Lagaan was nominated to the Oscars in the best foreign film category. This pint-sized actor is a giant when he strides the silver screen. The only complaint I have about Lagaan is about his treatment of the untouchable character in his film. Though it makes a statement about inclusivity by including Kachra (the character’s name) in the village cricket team , how could a seasoned actor like Aamir be insensitive about the derogatory connotations of the name itself, which means dirt! It struck a very jarring note! What kind of a statement did it make? “Hey, we need you in the team but we’ll keep referring to you by that ridiculous name. You should just be grateful that we include you! Was that it?”

 

Hrithik Roshan:

 

Son to Rakesh Roshan, the evergreen side-hero of the 70s and early 80’s , Hrithik made an exciting debut with Kaho Na Pyaar Hai. He has quite a few good movies to his credit like Lashkar, Mission Kashmir etc. His androgynous appeal and his fundoo dance moves make him a favorite with the younger audience. In my opinion, he is still to prove his acting talent!

 

Uday Chopra:

 

Just goes to prove that you don’t have to be a chocolate hero any more! Brawn will do too!

 

Shahid Kapur:

 

My first impression – A muscle-bound SRK! Much improved since!

 

Emraan Hashmi:

 

A classy ‘sleaze act’

 

Dino Morea:

 

A case for why models should never become actors together with Milind Soman! Is it a coincidence that Rahul Dev is a top villain? Top model to top villain!

 

Fardeen Khan:

 

Son of the late Feroz Khan, he has screen presence and style and is not muscle-bound. A throwback to the heroes of the eighties. But sometimes we just wonder, what is he doing in the movie business?

 

Abhishek Bacchan:

 

Abhishek made a great debut in Refugee. He is regarded as perhaps the only actor who can be a serious threat to Hrithik Roshan. But besides being saddled with the tag of being the great Amitabh Bacchan’s son, he has compounded it by marrying Aishwarya Rai and can also be tagged as ‘Aishwarya Rai’s husband’!

 

62nd Annual Cannes Film Festival

 

John Abraham:

 

Keeps improving. Best model turned star, I guess!

 

PS: As you will have gleaned from this post, I am not a connoisseur of Hindi films and do not have any pretensions to being one!

 

Trojan Horses

Very recently , the Mumbai Police website was in the news.

The Mumbai Police, the custodians of Mumbai citizen’s security, were attacked by a Trojan Horse.

http://www.dnaindia.com/mumbai/report_mumbai-police-website-hijacked-by-malicious-software_1293911

Now what is a Trojan Horse?

The original Trojan Horse comes from Greek mythology. Youngsters of this generation may relate to this because of the movie Troy starring Brad Pitt. It has been aired on STAR Movies umpteen times. The Greeks were unable to break down the impregnable walls of Troy , despite having numbers on their side. In their despair, they came up with the shrewd stratagem to create a statue of a horse, a gigantic one, with the remains of their ships. The Trojans accepted it as a sort of mollification gift for the Gods. And dragged it inside their impregnable walls. Little did they know, that the wooden horse housed a few Greek warriors. These warriors , under the cover of darkness, opened the gates of Troy to let in the Greek army and that was the end of Troy as we know it.

Production For The Brad Pitt Movie Troy

But a Trojan Horse, in the context of computers, is a completely different ball-game. It’s called a Trojan Horse because it employs a similar stratagem. It appears harmless but once it’s on your computer, it can either attack your computer or lie in wait to cause havoc at a pre-determined time or on a trigger caused by some event.

For more information, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trojan_horse_(computing)

Most Anti Virus packages are good enough to catch these Trojan Horses.

According to a survey conducted by BitDefender from January to June 2009, "Trojan-type malware is on the rise, accounting for 83-percent of the global malware detected in the wild".[2]

Brad Pitt Promotes Troy In Tokyo

Mumbai – a state to itself?

With the latest controversy erupting with Bal Thackeray’s statement that Sachin Tendulkar should not dabble in politics – Bal Thackeray believes that a statement that says Bombay belongs to Indians is an insult to the Marathi manoos – I would like to ask – Do you think that its time that Mumbai was made a separate state , ala New Delhi?

Will it make Mumbai much more progressive? As an indirect benefit, will it drive the rest of Maharashtra to progress even faster? And set up alternative towns and cities, thus spreading progress and wealth?

What do you think? Is there a case for making our large metros responsible for themselves? More autonomy , more growth?

Black Tuesday II

I’m posting something forwarded to me by my cousin that seems like blog entries from one of her friends.

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I would have liked to review “Superman Returns” that I watched at the IMAX Dome on Monday night. I would have liked to talk about how absolutely gorgeous Brandon Routh is, how delicious his eyes are, how similar he looks to Christopher Reeve (which to me is obviously the prime reason he got the part).

I would have liked to comment on the defacing of Bal Thackeray’s wife’s statue on Sunday. How something comparatively trivial like that can make the Shiv Sena rile so many people into doing unbelievable acts of vandalism, destroy so much property, injure so many people and create so much havoc. How instead of trying to diffuse the situation, the RSS created more communal disharmony by stating (TOI) that incidents like these are caused because of the Muslim community and because churches were built by the Portuguese and we should get India back to being a land for the Hindu.

On Monday there were so many things I would have liked to say, to comment upon, to rant about.

But Tuesday has left me, and the whole of Mumbai city, a different human being.

The people of Mumbai suffered yet another grave tragedy, one which was so eerily reminiscent of the tragedy of March ‘98. Then, 13 bombs strategically placed all over the city went off one after the other leaving people in a state of confusion and panic. This time it was 8 bombs on the busiest railway line, the Western Railway during peak hours, just when everyone was returning home tired after another long day’s work.

I got to hear of today’s blasts through a phone call before the lines got jammed. I sat with my mum and watched, our hands shaking ever so slightly as we changed from one TV channel to the next, as the blasts increased in number from 3 to 4 to 5 and so on until it numbered 8. We watched in horror the bloodstained compartment walls of the blown up railway stations. We stared in compassion and anguish at the ones who had been injured, blood flowing freely out of their head, legs, everywhere; the repeated footage doing nothing to ease our angst.

Hundreds had died. More who had been injured and possibly would succumb to those injuries…

The tragedy of today’s bomb blasts has left everyone in our city of Mumbai shaking. There are so many questions, so much pain, so little sense to it all.

And yet through the insanity of it all, there is one small ray of hope – the reaction of the people, the common man of Mumbai.

The common man found the strength to call his family and friends and warn them about the situation before the lines got jammed. The common man got out of his home and helped those who were injured, bleeding, many whose limbs had been blown up. Each TV channel had a different set of people at the railway station all saying the same thing – the railway staff & the police may not have come to their rescue, but the common man did.

If you asked me on Monday who the new Superman was, I would have said “Brandon Routh”. Ask me today and this is what I’ll tell you:

* Superman is the man who got bed sheets from his train-side slum home and carried half-dead first class passengers into ambulances.

* Superman is the man who didn’t realize his own bloodstained shirt while he helped his other more seriously injured fellow travelers.

* Superman is the man who stood on the roads in the dark partially rainy night and offered water and biscuits to people stranded in hours of jammed road traffic.

* Superman is the man who donated blood at the hospitals.

* Superman is the man who rushed to do anything, everything for anyone he saw. He wasn’t wondering what community the injured were from… he subconsciously realized that there was no distinction between Hindu or Muslim or Catholic or Parsi; that all lives are equally important.

In the movie ‘Superman Returns’ the character Lois Lane wins a Pulitzer Prize for her article titled “Why the World doesn’t need Superman”.

I’ll tell you why Mumbai doesn’t – because the Common Man on the Road in Mumbai is Superman.

If any city can get over the tragedies we have faced one after another, be it natural disasters, politically created disharmony or brutal acts of terrorism, we can.

We can Mumbai. We’re a city of Supermen.

Edited, 12th July, the day after:
* My heartfelt condolences to the family of Mr. Jitendra Nagar, Taj Land’s End, Engineering Manager whose life was lost in one of the blasts.

* I also thank my close friend Khushroo Battiwala of Yashmun Engineers Ltd. – when I spoke to him today morning I found out that he had already sent nearly 100 people from his company to donate blood.

I was touched and inspired by his initiative that I spoke to my boss and got our company to encourage everyone to do the same & even offered a small monetary incentive to each of our employees who give blood. I’ve even called up a couple of other friends who own their own businesses to encourage employees to donate blood. I believe each of us can make a difference in our own way if we try – do try.

7/11 – Black Tuesday

My thoughts on 7/11.. A bit late but here goes..

I don’t want to, i’d prefer leaving politics out of this blog.. but this event warrants some reaction.

The date itself evokes memories of 9/11 – how symbolic, 7+1+1 = 9.

On the personal side, none of the family members affected or hurt, though one of my uncle’s colleagues was a victim of one of the blasts..

Blog readers in India probably have watched enough coverage on television and all the gruesome images and are probably already desensitised by now. And the usual lauding of Bombay’s spirit in the face of this faceless terror.

Blog readers abroad will have probably come across this as just another headline in the newspaper without much coverage, unless CNN and BBC have covered it in detail. (I do not know since my cable operator seems to have taken a dislike to broadcasting both these channels . I logged onto nytimes.com and found the coverage abysmal, as expected.)

One image remains with me is of the interview of a middle-aged man returning home via train saying that it’s time that Bombay resigned itself to one such incident a year, and then life goes on till the next blast.

That of course is typical but then I do not blame him. It is my belief and perhaps of the terrorists that India is a soft state and terrorists demands are to be given in to. My immediate reaction to the above statement was what if this happened every week, what then? Would resignation , i consider  it synonymous with inaction, especially on the government’s part, be our only reaction?

The other image was of L K Advani appearing on television and making statements to the effect that such terrorist actions are to be deplored and that Bombay has been facing terror since 1993.  How ironic!