Month: August 2012

The IPL myths

Nowadays, it is nearly impossible to find any Indian who doesn’t have anything to say about the IPL. Ask any Indian about it and chances are that you will get a vociferous response explaining his avid support or utter contempt for the IPL. While a lot of opinions are aired, there are a couple of widely held beliefs which need some revision.

One of the common debate doing the rounds is the effect of IPL on Indian cricket. Some say that it has had a positive effect on Indian cricket by providing a platform for budding cricketers to gain valuable experience by competing with International stars while others blame the IPL due to the fatigue factor it brings in and the huge amounts of money showered on young players which leads to the club over country mentality.

So the natural step would be to have a quick glance at the performances of the Indian cricket team after the IPL was conceptualized in 2008. Lets start with the debacles against England and Australia. The critics say that player fatigue due to IPL and the debilitating effects it has had on youngsters led to the dismal overseas performances. But an in-depth analysis of the fixtures shows that key members of the team like Dravid, Laxman , Tendulkar and Zaheer Khan had ample rest before they took the flights to England and Australia. It must also be remembered that the players from the IPL generation like Kohli, Ashwin and Gambhir  performed well in these tours.

Proponents of the IPL on the other hand praise the IPL for India’s achievements primarily the World Cup victory. However, the players who played the major roles in winning the cup; Sachin, Sehwag, Yuvraj, Harbhajan, Dhoni, Zaheer had established themselves well before the IPL came into existence and had lots of experience. So it cannot be said that the IPL was the reason for India becoming world champions.

So, the correct and logical step would be to analyse the contributions of the IPL generation players for the Indian team.  This provides interesting results. On one hand we have Kohli, Ashwin and Raina who continue to impress with their sterling performances match after match and on the other hand we have players like Rohit Sharma, Jadeja and Yusuf Pathan who play exceedingly well for their franchisees but have somehow failed to live up to their expectations while playing for India.

A clearer picture on the effect of IPL would emerge later, say in 3-5 years of time when the Indian team would consist of players only from the IPL gen. Whether the IPL has affected youngsters playing for India would be seen from the performances of the Indian team at that time and not now.

To be continued

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The perils of reading online

While more people in the western world now prefer to use the internet for their daily dose of news over the traditional newspaper, newspaper readership in India is not faltering. At least till now. However with the burgeoning usage of internet by urban Indians, the numbers could drop. With 24 x 7 access to  the latest news updated by the minute online on any internet enabled device, it is easy to understand why the paper is no longer preferred by many.

While rationalists may argue that information, whether on the screen or on paper is the same, I digress. Reading on the internet offers a different experience from reading the paper. With tons of images and links to various other pages, it becomes difficult to concentrate on a particular article. We may find another link interesting and quickly click on it leaving the present item half read and continue clicking on further links which may appear on the next page.

It is also highly unlikely that we open the web browser for the sole purpose of  reading. Our emails and social media pages would be open always and constant notifications would simply drag our attention to check them out immediately foregoing the current article being read.

All these attention crippling effects mentioned ensures that we hardly read and analyze something thoroughly before moving on. This leads to difficulties in retaining what we have read and a reduced attention span while reading.

However, it is unfair to blame the internet for these effects; for it is we who can choose to use it wisely or not.

Blackberry’s fall from grace

Blackberrys which were extremely popular just a few years back are now struggling to survive in the smart phone market. They now occupy a meagre portion of the smart phone market as compared to an overwhelming majority few years back. Much of its share has been gobbled up by of course the iOs and Android phones. Research in Motion (RIM), the makers of Blackberry are now facing rising losses and its sad to see them go down in a market which they virtually invented.

The Blackberry’s rise was due to its association with Corporate life. It became a must have device for every corporate professional. This was due to the convenience and uniqueness it offered for email and messaging services. They were infamously referred to as  ‘Crackberrys’ due to their excessive usage by its owners and in a reference to crack cocaine addiction. But its ironical that this was the reason for its fall too. Though it was ideal for the corporates, it was ideal only for the corporates. It was ideal only for its email and messaging services and nothing else. Other phones like the Apple’s iPhone and Android phones could do much more as well as being equally convenient for messaging and emails.  They were more, lets say, well-rounded than the uni-dimensional Blackberrys. So people started to shift their loyalties to these phones.

The question then arises about how exactly did the Blackberry go down?

Unlike The iPhones and the androids, the Blackberrys did not offer the option of  using third-party apps, until recently.  Apps are a major reason for the successes of iPhones and the androids due to the vast customization options they offer. There are a huge number of apps available in the apple and android markets which offer a ton of features. Users of Blackberry had to be content with the pre-installed features on the phone which included just the basic stuff. By the time, RIM opened up its system third-party apps, the damage had already been done. The iPhones and the Androids had swept the market. Besides, their app-store offers only a fraction of the apps available in the Apples or the Android stores. It is also believed that developers are finding it tougher to develop apps for the Blackberry as compared to the Androids or the iPhone.

Another reason is the omnipresent QWERTY keypads in the Blackberry phones. Though they offer easy typing, they severely inhibit navigation and entertainment options. Touch screen phones are far more easier to navigate through and they offer a rich entertainment experience due to a larger screen area.

In the highly competitive technology domain, it is imperative to continuously innovate and stay one step ahead of the competitors, else the product dies. Blackberry found out the hard way by sticking to its ‘business user’ image.

Could it change its fortunes with the release of the new Blackberry 10 mobile operating system? Lets wait and watch.

When luck becomes a problem

The dictionary defines luck as good fortune or adversity brought by chance and not through one’s own actions.   Luck can be experienced in two different situations.

Situations where we do not have control over the outcome such as winning a lottery or losing a game of dice or suffering an accident etc and situations where we can control the outcome.

It is in the latter situations that luck can have an adverse impact on our minds.

Consider two students A and B who prepare for an exam. A studies exactly half of the portions while B studies the other half. In the exam it is found that the questions largely pertain to the domain which A prepared for. So, A scores much higher marks than B though both studied exactly the same amount.  Naturally, both would believe that luck was the reason for their outcomes considering both of them knew each other’s preparation levels.

The unlucky B would ask himself why he wasn’t as lucky as A and that he might continue his same practices hoping that luck would favor him the next time, like it did for A. Chances are that he would again likely be unable to meet his aim of a high score.

Meanwhile, A would no doubt feel elated at his performance in the exam. However, he fails to realize that it defeats the larger purpose of mastering the subject. Furthermore, he might continue the same practices for the next exam and could suffer the same fate as B did.

Let’s take another example of a batsman who plays reckless shots but ends up scoring a century due to sheer luck. Dropped catches, balls narrowly missing the stumps and missed run out chances all would have played a part in his century. The next batsman gets inspired by watching him and plays his first rash stroke the first ball he faces and gets out due to a fluke catch. Here also luck had  affected the outcomes.

The first batsman might continue to play the same way in the next match and would get out soon while the latter would also continue to play the same way hoping that luck would favor him the next time with no guarantee of success.

These examples illustrate the dependence on luck in situations where we have control over the outcome.

Instead of attributing one’s success or failure due to luck isn’t it better to avoid the dependence on luck and instead concentrate on preparing for all possible difficulties which may arise in the situations thereby guaranteeing success always ?  For you never know when luck can help you.

Why do people listen to music?

People listen to music for a variety of reasons. We can choose the way we want music to respond to our requirements. It can satisfy whatever we want to seek by listening to it. Therein lies the beauty of music.

Based on my experiences, here are the different types of listeners.

The Moodies

These are the ones who turn to music to alter their mood. Some who feel sad listen to music to lighten their spirits, some listen to relax after a tough day at the office, some listen simply because they feel happy and some listen to avoid feeling lonely. These are by far the largest group of listeners.

The fans

This type of people listen to music for fun. They simply enjoy listening to their choice of music. Period.

The critics

These are the ones who listen for the sole purpose of analyzing the technicalities of music; the voice, the pitch, the tune, the instruments played etc. They perceive music as an art and judge the value and the degree of excellence of various music works.
The inspiration seekers

They turn to music for inspiration to meet their goals. While listening they visualize what they wish to do and music serves as a confidence and energy booster to them. (I belong to this group)

Of course, people may not strictly belong to such specific groups always as the reasons for listening may vary from time to time.Today a person may listen to music to relax while the next day he might listen to music for seeking inspiration. But broadly these are the reasons why people listen to music.

So, why do YOU listen to music?