Yet another year goes by, yet another year begins. And along with it comes prosperous thoughts, promising hopes and the energy to perform even better, in all spheres of our lives.

I wish all my readers a ‘Great & Successful’ 2009!

To start off, let me confess that I am a hardcore movie buff (that’s one of my known and disclosed passion) and the technical aspects of the film making business has always fascinated me. Every time I see a movie or whenever I ecstatic about a supreme cinematic experience, do I realize that it is, arguably, one of the most powerful medium of entertainment and communication all over the world. And pretty evidently, it has become an indispensable part of our lives.

Over the years, I have watched plethora of movies and possess a decent collection of some of the classics that I have enjoyed immensely. I am fortunate to have watched some absolute gems while some are not exactly convincing, to say the least. But I have always been a very positive individual and hence, would like to learn the good things from whatever I see and discard the negatives, if any.

One thing that I am convinced about is, that movies always depict our very own lives, directly or indirectly. They are a replica of our experiences in daily lives, with a pinch of exaggeration in it. But film making is also a human activity and it is a known fact that we as individuals, have a tendency to add more spice and salt to our depictions and performances, on stage or off stage. So, I guess, it is very natural that human nature reflects in ‘Cinema’ as well. But I am sure we all would agree that movies are inspired by human lives, great personalities (not always) and their subtle mannerisms. That’s why ‘Cinema’ exudes confidence and makes it so endearing, yet so powerful.

Great film makers, Legendary Directors, Entrepreneurs(famously known as producers) and Larger-than-Life actors. They all exist and survive due to the unique nature of human relationships and the complexities involved in our emotions. And that’s what I admire in ‘Cinema’. Personally, I like to learn something from a film and try to evolve as a person. I am not ignoring the commercial part of it or the entertainment part of it. How can I when I am so aware that ‘Cinema’ cannot do what it does without the Media, The ‘Glamour & Glitz’ that surrounds the ‘Tinsel Town’. And this aspect of it is universal. But inspite of all the commercial hoopla around, I still would prefer ‘Cinema’ as a motivating tool, as it is much more than all that. If 2 individuals become Superstars, there are 200 people behind them who make it happen. So I guess, it all boils down to ‘Hard Work’ , ‘Dedication’ and ‘Conviction’. It’s just that we get overawed by our celebrities, and prefer to ignore the dark and bitter realities, that unfold behind the screen.

I would sum it up by reinstating the fact that ‘Cinema’ is a reflection of Human Lives and not vice versa. We need to be intelligent enough to recognize this and appreciate quality stuff, we would end up admiring ‘Human Creed’ by doing so.

And I believe that I have tried my best, to adequately convey this message to all my readers :).

Yes. I agree that Cricket is more than a mere sport in India, and players are more than human for most of us. Why go far, I myself have been a very passionate and critical viewer of Sachin Tendulkar’s career over the past 18 years or so and I proudly admit that I simply adore him, on and off the field.

But it’s different. This time, I am not here to talk about Cricket or Indian Cricket or any other superstar celebrity we adore, neither am I indicating at any singular sporting nation who worship their players and believe that the show must go on. This time, the spotlight is, unfortunately, on the raging battle between two mercurial nations, fighting for their pride and dignity. Yes, I am most definitely talking about India & Pakistan. The Indian Government, still trying to recover from the Mumbai disaster, has just officially announced that our ‘Indian Cricket Team’ would not be travelling to Pakistan in Jan 2009, for the scheduled series between the two nations. And, understandably, The PCB and Pakistan government are not pleased with this announcement. In fact, for the past couple of weeks, everybody starting from Imran Khan to Pervez Musharraf to the PCB President, have been quoting that India should keep up their commitments and tour Pakistan for the Goodwill of both the countries. Irrespective of whatever happened or happens in future, they are convinced that Cricket will ease the political pressure and friction between the 2 countries.

Easier said than done.

I think it is indeed very difficult and impossible at times to think about playing cricket and be commercially viable, especially when our country has been bombarded with terrorists and more so, when we have the slightest of hint that the seeds of terror were sown in a place, which used to be ours, some 60 years back. And, as an Indian, I feel that Indian government’s decision is justified. We can’t survive on double standards and be diplomatically weak, to neglect such incidents that have literally blown our nation apart.

I have been reading few articles on this of late, one of them stated that “If England can tour India, there is no reason why India can’t tour Pakistan.” I was simply stunned. What is the yardstick for placing India and Pakistan in the same league? And what are the pre-requisites for qualifying? Both are sub-continental nations, I believe the similarity ends there.

Just a day before the tour was officially cancelled, Zaheer Abbas commented that ‘PCB should not be pleading India to send their team to our country, if they are not keen in continuing their relationship with us. If they are not interested, neither are we. I have many friends in India too and they are also very fond of us. But we are not desperate’.

‘Sport’ establishes a universal bonding between a game and its people. At times, we tend to be emotional and subsequently, ignore the other side of the coin. But this time, I think, it has been much more than all that. This is the time, when we need to stand tall and take difficult decisions. And difficult decisions are always tricky, they don’t make everybody happy. It’s intended to be that way.

To sum up, I feel that all said and done, no sport or individual is bigger than it’s nation. And during times such as these, we need to stay together and act sensibly.

Microsoft, the undisputed giants in software and operating systems, are all set to come out with the next generation OS, Windows 7. So far, we only had a chance to look at the pre-release beta version of the same, it will be available to the users sometime next year. I, personally, have not checked it out, but the preliminary looks and features do suggest that Microsoft has strictly considered the feedback and preferences of the users above everything else, while designing it, especially after the ‘Vista’ experience.

We all have to admit that ‘Windows Vista’ has not been that popular amongst the users, as ‘XP was. Or for that matter, Windows 98 or 2000. If my opinion counts, personally, I feel that Vista is amazingly cool and visually fantastic, and I have been using it for sometime now. I do agree that it is extremely ‘security conscious‘ and outwardly rejects pirated stuff. And admirably so. I have always believed that using original software would always enhance your PC experience to a different level altogether. I still remember those days when users took some time to get acquainted to ‘Windows XP‘, when 2000 and up to some extent, Windows 98 were ruling the roost. But of course, ‘XP‘ became incredibly popular in the user fraternity. Nevertheless, we should refrain from such comparisons, as it would easily provoke me to start comparing ‘Vista’ or ‘7’ with Apple’s Mac, which again would not be fair at all. ‘Macintosh’ initiated a revolution in the world of Technology with their ‘Macs’ and ‘i-pods’, whereas Microsoft have been giants in their own domain. So I guess, it all depends on the users worldwide and what they want, something that is easy to find and much more easier to execute, in terms of their professional and personal lives.

And I am grateful to both of them(Apple & Microsoft) for providing us with such superlative technology, at our doorsteps.

It has been a treat to work in ‘Vista’ so far, I am looking forward to ‘Windows 7’ for greater durability and being more user friendly.

Welcoming ‘Windows 7’..

We all are aware of the current ‘Global Economic Recession’ that the entire world is going through. But I am really curious as to know how far would all this be affecting our lives, personally and professionally, and the entire world as a whole.

Top notch organisations like AT&T, Nokia, Sony and TCS to name a few, have adopted strict cost cutting measures to counter this current scenario, be it reduction of work force or alterations in payroll or cutting down on production costs and variable costs. Market shares of the companies have been largely inconsistent, to say the least. Not to mention, the dollar rate has been the cynosure of all eyes for the past 2 months. All this does raise a few eyebrows here and there, but I am extremely positive and hopeful about the rejuvenation of the current situation of recession. I do believe that this is probably just a passing phase and it is a matter of time before things fall into place, bringing the entire nation and the world into a state of normalcy.

After all, there is always light at the end of every tunnel.