Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Terrorist Attack in Mumbai

There have been terrorist strikes in Mumbai sometime last night and even as I write, some terrorists were holding some people hostage at the Taj Mahal hotel. Some terrorists were in the Oberoi hotel as well, although I am unsure whether they have taken hostages as well.

At last count, nearly 90 people had been killed and over 200 injured. This no. included some policemen as well. May their brave souls rest in peace. A message of condolence for all affected.
I believe this is one of the saddest moments in my life. And some news channels are doing such a terrible job with completely sensational but insensitive headlines, as if this were a movie.

Our tolerance as a country of various faiths will be tested further and I hope we will stay together, despite such pressure. These are the times when one's character is tested and I hope we do have the guts to stand by our beliefs and sensibility to find the wrongdoers and target them only. Losing your senses and destabilizing the country is exactly what the terrorists would want. We need to be smarter than that.

Take care everyone. Be alert from now on. Stay calm and stay brave. God bless us all

Update: I have been using Rediff to stay abreast of developments all day. They have done a reasonable job, unlike most of the TV channels which have busy passing opinions...

Monday, November 24, 2008

Bangalore Ultra 2008

I had a terrible race, running 25 km on 2.5 hrs as per plan and then my injury surfaced. Ended up walking for nearly 15 km out of the 50 km race
Finished in a time just under 7 hrs, my worst ever running performance in a race.
Was quite reluctant to post about it, but now that my injury is being remedied and also since I didn't give up and still finished the race like all others I have started till date, am feeling better.
Hope Mumbai 2009 on Jan 18th is a better experience

Raising funds for Parivaar thru Mumbai Marathon 2009

For the last three years, I have raised funds for Parivaar, an
organization for underprivileged kids, based out of Calcutta.

Some of you who know about Parivaar, can skip most of this post and
write to me about your willingness to contribute.

Last year, we managed to raise about enough funds to fund more than 3 kids
for a year. Thanks to all those who were involved.

This year as with every year, I hope to do better since I have written to more
friends and I am also upping my own contribution.

The rest, please read on.

I am running in Mumbai on Jan 18th in the marathon. Through my run, I
wanted to raise funds for Parivaar, is an organization for working for total rehabilitation of
homeless children from categories like orphans, children of women in
prostitution, street children, abandoned children, and other such
highly vulnerable children.

Parivaar was started by Vinayak Lohani, a friend of mine from Infosys
days. You could read about them at their website and also here
for my personal take on them.

Interestingly Parivaar will complete 5 years in Dec and appropriately
enough has embarked on another bold initiative - developing a second
campus only for girls.

It costs around Rs. 15 K per year to sponsor one child at Parivaar. I
expect that each of you can contribute 1K or more (I managed to
contribute more than 10K personally last yr). I have written to nearly
100 people likeminded people that we can help support more than 5-6 kids for
a year. But if you want to contribute less than 1k or even nothing at
all, it is still fine since this is a request for voluntary donations.

I need you to reply to me so that I can get an idea of how much I can
raise. If you are willing to contribute, please let me know your
postal addresses as well. The receipts will be sent directly to you by
Parivaar.

Any further questions about Parivaar, write to vinayak@parivaar.org

I also have a couple of CDs which have information on Parivaar. Those
of you who are interested, please let me know and I can send them to
you. When you write to Vinayak as a donor and if you are interested,
you get a periodic update on the activities at Parivaar.

Also, please feel free to forward this to friends of yours who would
be interested in contributing to such a cause and copy me on your
mails.

I should be in Mumbai b/w Jan 16th and 18th.

Looking forward to your replies.
Thank you and wish you a happy new year, well in advance.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

I want to ride my bicycle, I want to ride my bike...

After a long time, I did a long ride. In fact this is the longest that I have done on my bike, bought last year.
Did a little over 50 miles today on a ride with 3 other pals to a place called Chikka Tirupati and back. Took around 6.5 hrs incl time spent in having breakfast/resting. I reckon we did about 5:45 or so of cycling.
This is my 3rd longest ride (I did my longest rides in school) till date. And I hadn't ridden so much on a bike for about 15 years now.
Took my mind off my stupid injury and it is not like this is easy, but I am very happy and comfortable riding a cycle.
And there's good news on that front too. Turns out I don't have enough GMD or medically speaking, my gluteus maximus is weak! So I going to work on that as well. You can now say I am working my butt off :)

Friday, November 21, 2008

Health, Insurance and Health Insurance

This is a post I have been wanting to write for a long time

A recent serious illness of a relative expedited it.

Most Indians, even the reasonably well educated ones don't pay attention to health insurance. When tragedy strikes, usually w/o warning, most of us are left feeling hapless.

I can't recommend the utility value of health insurance enough. Twice in the last two years, I have had to seek recourse - and both events were unexpected. Once my dad developed cataract. First he had unclear vision in one of his eyes, but he went nearly blind (temporarily) in just 2 days and we had to get him operated upon, while we were still planning to take him to the doc! And not too long ago, he had an accident when he got hit from behind by a car and broke an arm. On both occasions, the insurance helped, although in the recent one, we ended up shelling out more than 50% ourselves. Still...

For those of you reading this blog, I have 3 requests
1 . Please get yourself covered (if you are not already) to the tune of atleast 10-15 years of living expenses or earnings whichever is higher
2. Get yourself checked once in 6 months atleast for most common ailments. And for those of you who are women, get yourself checked for breast cancer, atleast once in every 3-6 months. In recent times, one of my colleagues in office as well as a relative have been shocked to find out they were afflicted
3. Get yourself covered with a health insurance policy to the tune of atleast your annual income or twice that, regardless of age. If you have dependent parents, please get them covered too

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Remembering Manju

It is 3 years since Manju left us. May his soul rest in peace.
Manju, you will be in our hearts and minds always

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Bangalore Ultra 2008

Finally, the second edition of the ultra is upon us. I have been very reluctant to make any posts about running since the last two posts I made were accompanied in quick succession by arbitrary injury. I am counting the hours till Sunday morning. This shall be the bravest attempt with my kind of prep for a race of this magnitude. Am hoping to emerge with no injuries and a slightly better experience than last yr.

Check out the website for the Bangalore Ultra

Since this is my year for the planned sortie at a Boston qualification in Oct 2009 for Boston 2010, I am being very conservative and trying only the 50 km (less than the 52 km last yr). Don't want to try too many things in a year.

Good Sport, Bad Sport

The last two weeks have seen remarks by two people who have not achieved great popularity otherwise.
One was John McCain who made a tremendously graceful exit from the soap opera that was the US elections. The other was Ricky Ponting, who while conceding the loss to India in the match and the series, gave all credit to India. Not for once did he whine. I thought that reflects well on Ricky as a sportsman. I think he has received a lot of unnecessary flak for the decision to bowl irregular bowlers at the death of the Indian innings. People should have the balls to stand by their decisions. And he has not been a complete failure either, anymore than his counterpart's performance with the bat.

It is extremely easy to make arm-chair comments (and I make my fair share!). India has screwed up enough times in the past with more obvious situations. Nag the aussies for the right stuff. Even now, it is quite weird why Dada was forced out by what I think was the Vengsarkar lobby. The jerk, formerly chairman of selectors made a dent in the confidence of more than 1 player in the Indian team, by making comments all the time, much of it, unwanted. I am glad he is out. Srikanth while being something of a nut himself is perhaps much better for the team. Lets see.

And before we leave, goodbye and good luck to Dada and Jumbo. While the latter has not rubbed too many people the wrong way, the former has and we love him for it. While Jumbo brought a fairly quiet performance ethic to his game, save for the telling comment at Sydney, Dada never minced his words. And we are fans of both. We believe that Indian sport needs some kick in the backside once in a while. Dada delivered it with some spunk.