Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Ramayan 3392 AD

What might happen if Rama were to wield the Rocket launcher rather than the legendary bow? How would it be if Arjuna were to fire Atlas missiles rather than arrows? How will it be if our grandma were to narrate bed-time stories filled with spaceships and plasma guns?

Well, this is how it shall be- and believe me, it'll be far more thrilling than you can imagine.
Virgin Comics has come up with a new series titled "Ramayan 3392 AD"- a tale composing of Ramayana's pivotal characters in a post-apocalyptic age.

The story is based on the saying "History repeats itself. All events of today had precendents in the past."
The world has been ravaged by the horrors of War, and only a few human socities scattered across the globe, including Armagarh (a pun on Ayodhya) and the mystical city of Mithila, prevail to oppose the monstrous might of the Asuras. commanded by the half-droid half-organic Ravana. Ravana is irresistible and he seeks the power for ultimate world domination- Seetha, the daughter of The Earth, who has the power to give life! Will Rama save Seetha from the clutches of Ravana and bring hope to the dying world?

The world is futuristic with some relics from the past. Its like Star Wars and Ramayana combined, when we look at the World; Inter-Universal Portals, Spaceships, Underwater cities, even thje ability to converse with the "gods"- the world has changed. :-)
Speaking with the "gods" is possible- so this comic, and you'll have to read the book to find out how (I aint giving out the plot so soon).

Its initially a bit uncomfortable, or even embarassing to read Rama saying "I saved your ass out there Lakshman!" (that kinda stuff- not exactly the same), but once you understand that, although it has shades of the original, the context of the original and this one vary dramatically. The original was a depiction of an Avatar of God, and his life on earth as a man.

Here is an example- a dialogue with a double entendre.

This is like any other comic tale, with characters and places bearing some names from the epic. Knowledge of the original is not a requisite, although it enhances your experience if you know the original, as sometimes plots from the epic are seamlessly woven with the story (albeit with some modifications to suit present times) in this ultra-modern masterpiece (For example, Kaikeyi banishes Rama from the Kingdom, not send him away for 14 years, etc etc.)

Not everything has changed though- Vishwamitra is still a sage, Rama is still Blue in complexion (which Lakshman finds odd), while Ravana is still the Asura king. But the comparisons with the original end there. Rama is no God's avatar and Seetha is no ordinary woman. It aint love at first sight for Rama and Seetha.

And neither are Rama's brothers inferior to him, and although a direct comparison is avoided in the story, it can be asumed that Rama is most powerful, though it is never clearly shown (we might expect to find out from the upcoming issues). Bharat is called "The Berserker" and is a mighty giant who wields the Axe with great skill, beheading enemies like we chop vegetables.

The style of narration and panache in the illustrations bring out an unearthly feel to the story, which transports us to another world- yes the world after 1300 years. Furthermore, the illustrations enhance the speed of the narration, especially during the chases and fights (there're some thrilling battles I must tell you) almost making you feel like the characters. Some of the depictions- of the wonder city of Mithila (refereshing eye-candy) and of the terrifying depths of hell of Ravana, even the portrayal of each of the characters is breath-taking. I've read a lot of comics in my time, and to say that this is one of the best illustrations for any comic is an understatement. It has taken comics to a whole new level!
The story never lags- going at a breakneck speed, and after each issue, you are left craving for more, wondering what's next. I'm now waiting for Ramayan 3392AD Reloaded (the 2nd part of the series) like someone waiting at the hospital for updates on status of a loved one.

The Asuras are depicted as a mutant race, fathered by Ravana, bent on killing everything in their path. Ravana, it is said, was born out of an evil union of AI machines and grafted human flesh. He is the result of certain secret experiments performed by an unnamed nation to produce a super being capable of mass destruction. Even if you do believe that nuclear weapons would one day be the ultimate end for this world, all that is discussed in this story about nuclear wars would be dismissed as fantasy by us (for the time-being). The whole series is science fiction and action at its best, and combined with the factor of ancient culture, it is an irresistable package.

Suffice to say that this work is as good as a HG Wells novel. But, as you already know, HG Wells once spoke of Lasers, Submarines and a whole lot of things. Today they are all realities. So who knows- we could see another Ravana?

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

A solution to the woes of Indian cricket

Well folks, let’s face it. We all know Cricket in India is a mess right now. Although our team does win now and then- they’re all too few and far between, maybe during dead rubbers or on flat wickets, and besides, those victories are far from convincing. (I’m talking about ODIs, let’s leave out the tests for the time being)
How can a team of such talented cricketers still not be consistent in their victories? Well- I’m here to tell you all about it.

Although this looks like a thesis, I guarantee you, if you are a cricket fan, you'll every word of the following.

Opening Pair:
First of all, let me start with the batsmen and the batting order. From recent matches we can see that the opening pair of Ganguly and Sachin either make or break. In the Aussie series- they only twice produced good stands, while in the rest of the occasions their partnership was broken almost as soon as it started; not to mention the horrendous running (Ganguly to be blamed) between the wickets degraded further by the chaotic calling (both are the culprits). Enough to prove that this is not the best opening pair- although they hold the record for most century stands in ODI history.

The reason is- Tendulkar is no more the player he once was. He is more tentative and less aggressive- befitting his age, with slower reflexes to boot. How many times has he been bowled inside edging onto the stumps (also called "dragging it onto the stumps")? My dad reckons that Sachin actually invented the inside-edge bowled and has named it “The Tendulkar Dismissal”. For an example of his slow reflexes- we can recollect his dismissal (bowled off Fernando) in the crucial match against Sri Lanka in World Cup 2007. His bat came down late and hence the ball evaded the middle of the bat and went onto hit the stumps.
OK back to our topic. Ganguly too is not bent on using the powerplays too well. He is also taking his time to build every innings. So, most of the time- even on flat pitches, the Indians never go past 60 or 65 (which are highly rare occasions) in the first 10 overs. So this pair is out-dated. Its methods of conserving wickets while keeping a run rate under 5 or so is not effective in the modern ODI game (post SA 438 that is). Either Ganguly changes his game and scores fast, or he must relinquish the opening slot.

No.3 batsman:
This is the slot that has been under a lot of scrutiny for a long time, yet nobody has occupied this spot for long. Dravid used to be good until afore the WC 07. But considering his form and strike rate- obviously he can’t be the option. The role of the perfect No.3 is to be fluid enough to sustain the run rate (assuming the openers give a good start) and being solid enough to prevent further loss of wickets (if the first wicket has fallen cheaply). He must play spin and seam well.
A near-perfect example is Ponting.

Of all batsmen in the team, the one who has impressed me most is Gambhir. He has overcome his shortcomings and along with a positive approach he has constantly produced sterling knocks (right from the tour of Bangladesh) whenever he was given an opportunity. He appears to deal both spin and seam well. And he uses his feet wonderfully. Whether coming down the track to smother spin or moving away from the stumps to smash fast bowlers over cover, he has been brilliant. His technique is solid and his running between the wickets excellent. He would fit into the No.3 spot like a cross to the T.

The Middle Order:

For all his flashy manner and extravagant strokes, Yuvraj Singh has inherent limitations that are tough to move over. He cannot play well against the spinners- atleast he is tentative initially, and against the moving ball, his feet do a disco dance while his bat searches for the ball. His T20 success was merely due to the pressure exerted on the bowlers due the brevity of the format.

But he has certain gifts rarely bestowed on Indian batsmen- the ability to clear the ground, against any kind of bowler, in any direction. Although the six is the best shot, six-hitting alone doesn't make a batsmen in the middle order.

When it comes to Dhoni- the point is simple. Everyone knows his technical shortcomings- so many times has he been foxed by champion bowlers.(first ball duck to Murali in WC 07 against Sri Lanka; tormented by Flintoff and Anderson in Englang this year, cheaply removed by Johnson with the away swinging delivery- the list is endless). The rest of them (the lesser mortals) were merely bullied to subjgation. But the mediocre bowlers have understood Dhoni now and have started to cramp him for room giving him the option to only drive the ball (he is not a good player of the drive- he always hits too hard and (or) extends his bat to outside-the-off-stump balls).

And he's never been a good player of quality pace bowling (except during his two great innings against Pakistan in 2005). He can murder the slow bowlers with his massive sixes- but the fine dabs, finding gaps were never his forte, which is indispensable while facing medium pace in the middle overs. Not to mention the weight of captaincy has also curbed his wild-animal instincts.

But still he is a flexible, constantly-thinking player (that's why he is captain), so he can change his game according to the requirements. In fact the only player I believe can take up the mantle of Sachin is Dhoni- life after Sachin would revolve around Dhoni. Along with Sachin and Yuvraj, he's one of the best six hitters in the team. And he's the best runner between the wickets. So he'd make a very good middle overs player.

Uthappa is wonderful prospect to accelerate in the slog overs. He's got all the shots, can hit the ball hard, and the characteristic walk a la Hayden (his walk is as effective as Hayden's). And he runs well.

Sewhag started off as a No.7 and was promoted up the order much later. He has all the shots to cause mayhem in the last ten overs. He can easily clear the boundaries and his slashes and cuts wouldn't cost him his wicket in the final overs as there would no slips or men in catching positions, as they would be busy, guarding the boundaries. On the contrary, they would fetch him runs behind the wicket. He seems perfect for this position.

Ganguly is an aggressive, hard-hitting batsman as well as a thinking cricketer. I would suggest he can be sent in the middle order- No.4 spot seems to be suitable for him. With his experience he can hold fort while others play around him. Although he doesn't run so well, he could make it up with some boundaries. Or he could come at No.6 to go all out against any attack, or bat with the tail (which I believe no other batsman can do right now).

The Lower Order:

Irfan Pathan is a pretty good batsman and his slot viz. No.7 is almost sealed. But the Indians are always botching up the rest of the order. I strongly suggest Zaheer be moved up the order- to come immediately after Pathan. He can hit the ball far (He once did a Mascarenhas hitting 4 sixes of the last 4 balls of an innings) and he has enough experience to bat sensibly (which he has done so well in his career. He won the last ODI for us along with M. Karthik, and made a good knock along with RP Singh to help India get to a decent total in the 5th ODI).

No.9 would be M. Karthik and No.10 would be H Singh (although he seems to be a better batsmen than No.10, he's not been playing sensibly of late). No.11 would be Sreesanth or RP Singh.

So as of now the order is:

  1. Sachin
  2. ???
  3. Gambhir
  4. Ganguly
  5. Dhoni or Yuvraj
  6. Dhoni or Yuvraj
  7. Uthappa or Sewhag
  8. Pathan
  9. Z Khan
  10. M Karthik
  11. H Singh
  12. Sreesanth or RP Singh

The opening slot is still tough to call (that should explain the No.12 in a 11 man squad). We need a batsman who is aggressive and takes the pressure off Sachin. Instantly our thoughts fall back on Sewhag. But he's so unstable. And we need definite starts. Gambhir could fit in well, but who'd take No.3, which is perfectly made for him?? And if Sewhag comes in, who would have to leave?

I would suggest giving Sewhag a second chance- he seems to have calmed down a bit and could be consistent.

And as I already pointed out- though his foolish shots could be fatal in the initial ten, they could be god-sent gifts in the final ten.

So Sewhag gets No.6

I suggest Gambhir must open with Tendulkar. He has shown from his stupendous form in all his T20 matches that he can hit it right from the word “go”. Besides he is also a good runner between the wickets. He will be the perfect foil for Sachin, who can build the innings at his pace. He could also add the effect of the right-left combination. The case of Gambhir being dropped is absurd, given his present form. So Ganguly must goto No.3 (this might well be the weaklink in the team, in the final analysis).

India must decide upon a regular batting line-up where everyone knows their roles, even if some players have to change their present ones radically. (Like Ganguly trying to fit into No.3).
If the players fit into their roles this would be a redoubtable BATTING line-up.

My Choice (for all 5 matches):

  1. Sachin
  2. Gambhir
  3. Ganguly
  4. Dhoni or Yuraj
  5. Dhoni or Yuraj
  6. Sewhag
  7. I Pathan
  8. Z Khan
  9. M Karthik
  10. H Singh
  11. RP Singh or Sreesanth

Yes, after so much sqaubbling I've settled for Gambhir being an opener. This is so because once Sachin, Ganguly and Dravid leave the team, its Sewhag and Gambhir who would open (The T20 line-up). So he'd need some experience there. If at that time (after Ten etc... retire) the middle order needs solidity, Gambhir could come at No.3 as a calming influence and to strenghten the middle order. And as for Uthappa, it remains to be seen how well this combo would work (if at all the people out there think my way and try this out), and then only will we need to see if Uthappa is required at the time being (he is pretty good I admit).

More on the next part...

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Push It To The Limit: The Ultimate song to establish the hero!

I had decided some other songs for you today just when I heard this song while playing GTA (Grand Theft Auto) III. I immediately downloaded the song (after lot of careful searching and screening) from Limewire and felt THIS was gonna be the song for today.

So here it is folks!!

This song, Push It To The Limit, sung by Paul Engemann composed by Giorgio Moroder and Pete Bellotte and featured in the oh-so-famous gangster movie Scarface starring Al Pacino (Yes, The Godfather himself!). This song is for Al Pacino in the movie what Vetri Kodi Kattu was for Rajnikanth in Padayappa. (Thankfully, the comparisons end there)

It appears in the movie when the hero Al Pacino rises in wealth and position after he kills Frank Lopez (A drug lord in the movie- his superior) and takes over as the head cocaine trafficker in Miami.

Its explosive almost all throughout and can make a fantastic dance number (not many can dance to its speed, but when used by those can- it'll make nice viewing).

Its a drums heavy number accompanied by an equal amount of guitar notes. One thing I noticed, and which surprised me is the interlude from an instrument which I suspect is a veena- it gives a totally different effect to the Western song.

Anyway- its a must-hear song- very racy. The song and its lyrics are right below.

Rapidshare Free Download Push It To The Limit sung by Paul Engemann composed by Giorgio Moroder and Pete Bellotte from the movie Scarface

Size: 5.1 MB

Correct Lyrics for Push It To The Limit sung by Paul Engemann composed by Giorgio Moroder and Pete Bellotte from the movie Scarface

Note: Tinyurl is just a masked version of Rapidshare links. Its perfectly safe. It will redirect you to the rapidshare link in a moment.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Greatest Love Songs: All Time High

This song "All Time High" composed by John Barry and sung by Rita Coolidge is from the Bond movie Octopussy- the one in which Bond comes to India; produced by Prakash Amritraj, with his brother Vijay Amritraj, the famous Indian tennis star, donning a role.

It is about the exhilaration of a woman on finding her perfect "lover". She is filled with ecstasy and expresses it openly with feelings of admiration and even submissiveness towards her latest lover (yes this aint first love).

The song is characterized by those saxophone notes that almost always send you to the moon and suggestive lyrics. The song uses up most instruments pivotal in any love song- sax, violin, drums and of course the piano. The music is perfect for a dance with your love- a slow lingering dance with spasmodic bursts of energetic moevements. All in all the sng is rather stocked! Read the lyrics as well- if you understand what they mean and then listen to the song, its a whole new experience in love and love-making.
Rapidshare Free Download - All Time High from Octopussy sung by Rita Coolidge composed by John Barry & Tim Rice
Rapidshare Free Download Lyrics - All Time High from Octopussy sung by Rita Coolidge composed by John Barry & Tim Rice
Note: Tinyurl is just a masked version of Rapidshare links. Its perfectly safe. It will redirect you to the rapidshare link in a moment.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Avast Anti-Virus: The best software for home users!

Tired of having to format your hard drive countless number of times despite having different kinds of anti-virus programs installed in your system??
Completely helpless against Browser hijacking malware, because your anti-virus is just ANTI-VIRUS??
Irritated with your paranoiac anti-virus that sees threats at every turn in the web world?

Time to change to most popular FREE Anti-Virus Software- AVAST!
Yes- it’s the perfect blend of powerful protection with good Net accessibility, the perfect mix of caution and lenience, the ultimate for all home users, and what’s more- its absolutely free!

Not many of you know about this I’m sure, most of you using AVG Anti-Virus. Well although I have that as well- AVG is more of a disaster management sort of program. The old saying goes-“Prevention is better than cure”. That’s what Avast excels in. It warns us of incoming viruses with an onscreen scanner- that monitors every single file transferred to and fro the system, that you get the feeling of having a personal bodyguard completely covering you.

  • Besides, it’s Virus Recovery Database (or Virus Chest), allows you to store infected files in a safe folder (from where they can’t do their malicious work) and heal or delete them later on.

  • Every time you open the program it tests the memory and system files for affected files, thereby homing in on the problem with unerring accuracy.

  • In combination with the Windows Tools like System Restore, it can give any virus one hell of a time. And its warnings are almost always correct (except when I tried installing Kazaa, it blocked the file), so you’d better heed them.

  • Its updates (completely free) are so light (most of them under 500Kb) that they won’t take up system resources or bandwidth. Although updates are regular- it doesn’t update everyday.

  • It has an easy to use menu interface allows us to search selected folders, local drives and removable media (CDs, Pen Drives etc.) separately or whole.

  • Depending on your Hard Drive Capacity and the used space in it, and type of search selected, the search time may change. I’ve a 200 GB HDD filled to about half (100 GB) and it takes about 45 minutes for a thorough scan.

  • You can also adjust the sensitivity of the tests and the on-screen scanner as well. This feature allows you to access some files which maybe from 3rd parties that maybe blocked by other anti-virus software.

For most of us home users- we don’t browse all the sites in the world, and so we don’t get all the unknown viruses. So this software should be more than enough for us.

Important Info:
It only needs your registration with its site which is ABSOLUTELY FREE. The registration is valid for a period of 14 months after which you’ll have to
register again. All registrations are COMPLETELY FREE.
The registration involves filling up some info about you (just like for an e-mail account), and
it sends to your e-mail ID the product key using which you can have the full version of Avast Home Edition.
The Professional Edition is for offices, and that needs to be bought. But for us, the free edition is a godsend.

Read more about it in the wiki article!

The official website is:

Psst! I use this software too, and I’ve never had troubles with viruses.
It can be freely downloaded from the official website

Monday, October 22, 2007

Greatest Love Songs of All Time: Endless Love

One of the world’s greatest melodies of all time- Endless Love from “The Myth”-the Jackie Chan movie that starred Mallika Sherawat, that flopped in the box office, but not the soundtrack though. This modern classic, available in two different versions, is able to hold its own amidst the ruins and keeps the “The Myth” still remembered amongst the Chinese and Korean audiences, that is, Asian circles in general.

The song is a vocal portrayal about the tragedy involving the lead pair, about how their love couldn’t succeed. Its lyrics seamlessly fit in with the music, which is heavily based on a piano score accompanied by some soft drum beats. Its the perfect song to be listening to with your love. The movie version is sung by the lead pair themselves- Jackie Chan and Kim Hee Sun, (JC & KS) while the soundtrack of the movie contained another version sung by world renowned Asian artistes- Sun Nan and Han Hong. (SN & HH)

The (JC & KS) version is soft and establishes the main theme, music etc of the song. But, as the song is addictive, repeated listening to the song might cause a feeling of monotony. The (SN & HH) version adds more spice and variety to the song, with more emotions in rendering the lines- all in all, a more passionate number.
Both versions follow the same tune, but different lyrics (you wont actually make out the differences though- its all Chinese and Korean).
Here’re the piano scores for this song, along with all the lyrics with translations.

Rapidshare Free Download - Endless Love ( Mei Li De Shenhua ) sung by Jackie Chan and Kim Hee Sun from The Myth

Lyrics and Meaning:
Ziddu Rapidshare Free Download Lyrics and Meaning - Endless Love ( Mei Li De Shenhua ) sung by Jackie Chan and Kim Hee Sun from The Myth
Ziddu Rapidshare Free Download - Endless Love ( Mei Li De Shenhua ) sung by Sun Nan and Han Hong from The Myth
Lyrics and Meaning
Ziddu Rapidshare Free Download Lyrics and Meaning- Endless Love ( Mei Li De Shenhua ) sung by Sun Nan and Han Hong from The Myth

Piano Scores for both songs:
Note: Tinyurl is just a masked version of Ziddu links. Its perfectly safe. It will redirect you to the Ziddu link in a moment.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

The Story Behind the Eyes

Imagine if you got a pic like this on your screen out of nowhere. If its in the night, and after having read a story on the supernatural, its enough to scare your wits out of you.

Something like this happened to me last Friday.

I was listening to the preview of a song I was downloading through Limewire. Meanwhile, I decided to open some other applications. And I soon got engrossed working in those applications that I even forgot that the preview had run to completion. After finishing my work and closing those apps, imagine my amazement when I find two cold surreal eyes staring at me.

I was startled for a moment. Only then did I recognise that these eyes were from the visualizations of the Windows Media Player. The fact that I had not selected repeat mode meant that the visualization produced by the last note of the song was still active on the Now Playing screen.

Only then I remembered the song. I was suddenly fascinated by the different kinds of pics I could make by just playing the song (or any other song for that matter). But try what I may, I could never get back those eyes like this. Of course I had saved the pic for posterity the moment I saw it.
The song is Kaho Na Kaho from murder. I've the song that produced this visualization. I merely challenge you to produce pics like these.