Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Indian Super League: Promising?

Finally, Indian Super league is here. It has dawned upon us. The wake up call for the 'sleeping giant of football' is here. So what does it mean for Indian Football? What does it mean for an Indian Football Fans? And, what does it mean for general populace?

Some big names have set foot in India to play in the ISL. Players who were great at one point in time. Marquee names like David James or Alessandro Del Piero or Luis Garcia don't need any introduction. But what does it mean for Indian Football? Watching them on our TV screens or seeing them on the Indian football grounds is great. But what growth does it promise? How can it benefit Indian Football in the long run?

ISL is based on the IPL and MLS model. A 10 week long football extravaganza which has already attracted many eyeballs. However, the real question is sustainability of this tournament. Most foreign players and coaches have been brought in on short term contracts. Someone like Zico may not be here after the tournament gets over. That means his 'expertise' is limited to the current tournament. Another thing is that ISL is not the top flight football league; it's a short tournament beside I-League. Yes, I-League still exists and would start in December. None of the franchises from ISL are likely to qualify for AFC because they don't comply with AFC rules (3+1 rule). The big marquee names are not going to play in the I-League. That means the I-League will most probably continue to have low attendance during its matches. So, is ISL just that? Money making machine which may not help football in India?

No, ISL has potential. The first thing it's got right is it has piqued people's interest. Now is the time to capitalize on it. How to do that? Yes, working at the grassroot level. Sports in general is not seen as a viable career option in India. It's understandable because if there's no money, why take it up? ISL has the potential to change that. You would want your child to take up football if it means a potential opportunity to play for one of the ISL franchises. Academies which can deliver such training need to be established. Schools should introduce basic training programs for the young ones. ISL in its current format should tie in with I-League in some capacity so that the 'marquee' players and coaches are required to spend time and take up assignments in I-League. ISL should be marketed with I-League. That'll help aspiring footballers to try and earn their spots in the I-League as well. I-League needs money as well. A change in its current structure is also required. Can you think of a structure where players from Mohun Bagan or East Bengal are trying to get into the Atletico de Kolkata team and earn and opportunity to train in Spain?

ISL has brought promise. But eventually it has to benefit the national football team. It shouldn't become like English Premier League where playing for your club becomes more important than playing for your country. Foreign players should be brought in. Foreign coaches should be brought in. But they should be required to take up some kind of assignments with the domestic football outside of ISL. They should look into the success story of MLS and J-League and implement that instead of going for simply short term financial gain. Investors would have to understand the importance of a long term plan instead of looking for short term profit. Loyal fan base has to be prepared. ISL has that potential.

I am keeping my fingers crossed as the ISL goes into its second round of matches. We'll revisit this as we progress.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Time away from Social Networking

Some time ago, I had written about how it's important to get our eyes off our phone screens and away from our computers, tablets, phablets etc. In short, spending time away from the so called social networks. Then it hit me: I should try it myself. So I decided to get away from the social networks I use the most: Facebook and Twitter. I tried getting away from Whatsapp as well but then I don't use it heavily to begin with, so that was ok.

It's been around 2 months now and the results have been....fantastic! I have had great time with myself. I was able to indulge in my hobbies more. I was able to read more. In fact, it felt like I had more time on my hands. I was able to talk to my colleagues more. I still possess the bad habit of looking at my phone every now and then, but I'll send it back to my pocket almost immediately most times. 

I was able to observe the world around me more closely. I could laugh more, discuss more, banter more. I spent more time around, you know, real people. It has been great. 

Try and experiment with time away from your 'social network.' There's no guarantee of success, but may be, you'd get the time to rediscover yourself. 

Monday, September 15, 2014

Flipkart, thank you. Not!

This post might seem like a rant, but I can't help it. The latest experience with Flipkart has left a very bad taste in my mouth. And as my Blog title suggests, I will share my experience with you (I mean whoever reads this).

So first, let me state what happened. I ordered a phone (Moto G 2nd gen) from Flipkart and paid up front (which I am regretting at this time). The delivery was expected on September 10. Come September 10, I track the order and it has reached Ahmedabad. Alright, so it doesn't get delivered on that day. I understand that because if you've read or heard news, there was floodlike situation in Vadodara that day. I decided to wait. Friday, September 12, I see the order tracker showing the product has reached Vadodara (7.43 am). I call in to check when it'll be delivered in the afternoon (apparently they hadn't delivered it yet) because Flipkart usually delivers goods by evening 7 o'clock but I wouldn't have been at my place because I work evenings (and I stay alone so no one could accept the delivery). They promise the delivery next day.

Saturday, September 13, 1 pm, I call again because, as you would've guessed, the shipment wasn't delivered. The gentleman on the other side tells me the shipment had been damaged and needs reshipping! Amazing, isn't it!? I had pretty much blown my gasket but tried remaining rational and asked for a call back from his manager (which he promised within sometime). 1 and half hour later I call again (any guesses why?) and the next gentleman tells me that he'll get the shipment delivered the very next day. "Sunday? Are you sure?" was my obvious question to which he said that he'll try. Meanwhile, the order tracker online still shows that the order is expected to be delivered by Wednesday, September 10, 2014. Isn't that great?

Sunday I check the order status online (which hasn't changed yet) and ask for a call back. The lady who called me said that the shipment was delayed by the courier service and she'll take full responsibility of getting the delivery done on Monday, September 15. She also denies that the shipment was damaged. Pushpa (employee ID 72813)  tells me she'll see to it that delivery gets done. 

Today is Monday, September 15. I receive a text and an email from Flipkart telling me that the last shipment had to be canceled and they've reshipped the item. New delivery date you ask? September 24, 2014 (as you can see above). So while I write this post, my shipment is somewhere out there while all I've gotten from Flipkart is runaround and gotten fed lies. I have this strong urge of canceling my order but guess what? Moto G is exclusive to Flipkart and that means I can't get it anywhere else. 

I used to admire Flipkart because they always had amazing service. I can get it that shipment can be delayed for whatever reasons. But why doesn't the website reflect that? If the shipment was damaged, why did it take such a long time for them to find out? Why did I have to call in and find out what happened? Why did I get fed lie after lie? To the agents' credit (who handled my call), they remained calm and polite (good training I suppose?). But on the part of Flipkart, WS retail and whoever handles their shipment, this has been a major fail. Customer service was ludicrous to say the least and it almost seemed like the left hand didn't know what the right hand's doing. This whole turned into a mess which could've been easily avoided.

And as while I finish writing this post, I've received email that my complaint ticket has been marked closed. Thank you Flipkart for nothing!

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Socially unsocial!

Do you have a Facebook account? Or Twitter? Instagram? Whatsapp? Hike? Telegram? We chat? Any other app or site I forgot? If yes, then you're socially connected, right? Wrong!

Recently, I had to visit a hospital regularly. Let me get this out of the way: it's not a happy place. But oh well! Anyway, as I had to spend quite a bit of time there, I used a lot of that time to look around. Lot of people would come daily to meet their ailing relatives or friends. It was great to see people staying on and bringing smile to each other's faces. Sometimes, a tear or two would be shed as well (after all it was a cancer hospital). It was heartening to see people coming and showing humanity. But amidst all the good things, I saw something very concerning as well. Yes, the next gen and its love affair with their phones.

While elders and dads and moms would talk to the patients, the younger sons and daughters would be searching for charging points, or texting someone, or simply looking at their phone screens. I know, I know, I don't have the right to call out anyone on this, because a) I don't know what exactly they were doing and b) I've been guilty of this myself at times. But more than this, the cause of concern for me was the utter lack of interaction with people sitting right in front of you. Even the patients who had beds beside each other would talk to each other and socialize while the gen next decided to  bury themselves in their phones.

This might seem as just a one off incident, but it's actually a more dangerous trend than it seems. Look around you! Everyone's busy on their phones. Everyone's either texting, or updating statuses or just looking at their smart phones. The 'supposed' friends sit beside each other at a coffee table and chat with someone else. And what's coming out of it! Our next gen is becoming socially awkward!

Social networking was invented to bring people closer, right? At least that's what they advertised. Instead, people are becoming very unsocial. I saw my dad talking with patients and relatives around while their sons and daughters would wander off talking to someone else. Why is that so? Why can't people talk to each other more? Why do we bury ourselves into the social media! I am not saying that they're bad. I myself use them a lot, sometimes too much. But where's the real human interaction?

All of this is so disconcerting. We have become slaves to the machines we invented. As important social networking is, it can't replace real life human interaction. But somewhere that human touch is lost. We no longer exist at a place physically. Our pictures are phonier than they seem. Real emotions are lost in poses. 

Please put down your phones, laptops and talk to someone for real. When you sit beside a stranger, strike up a conversation. Get to know each other. Spend a little less time on the phone and more with human beings. Don't let the friendship and relationship become platonic. Don't make your friends a photo album, let them create a moment to remember. Because nothing can replace human touch! 

Sunday, February 16, 2014

The sense of Equality

Sometime ago, I posted a link on my Facebook timeline. For those who cannot catch it there, here it is.

Gorgeous Photography Series Portrays Gay Couples All Over The Globe 

This work of Branden Summers is beautiful. It goes against the age old rendition of what a perfect couple means.

This work of his got me thinking. What do we consider equality? We always talk about bringing equality to all realms of society. Still, it's nowhere to be found. Equality, while in theory is possible, is highly improbable. The ruling by Supreme Court to make homosexuality a criminal offense is disgusting and unnatural. How do you ban something natural? How do you judge that a certain sexual preference is criminal? 

We live in a society which favors discrimination. Discrimination of gender, discrimination of religious beliefs, discrimination in castes, and now sexual orientation. We fight them with more discrimination. Caste based reservation, affirmative action in corporates, all of this just shows how unequal our society is. And you cannot fight it without being harassed by thousands of others (because that's their right, isn't it?).

I have no idea what human rights are in India. Equality and freedom go hand in hand. However, total freedom is just an illusion in this country, at least at this moment. Constitution of our country does everything to restrict a right they provided i.e. Freedom of Speech and Freedom of Expression. God help India, if you exist!

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

The Rapist Society

Sometime ago (I don't exactly remember when) I got into a mild argument with one of my friends. "These girls attract rapists by their behavior. Look at their clothes these days! First they'll give you open invitation and then they'll complain when they are raped. This is all influence of West on us. What has happened to our culture?" I said nothing. I was just trying to wrap my head around what he said. I wanted to vehemently deny it, but something stopped me. I got thinking.

Was there any sense in what he was talking? Is it really the way he said it is? I thought some more. Then it dawned upon me. He is right! It's girls fault. It is totally her fault. How dare she does all these things and then expect to get away with it? Does she not know that she's not supposed to be out late nights? Or she is not supposed to wear skimpy or revealing outfits? It's totally her fault. Girls need to understand that they live in a rapist society.

She lives in a society where gay marriage is unnatural. She lives in a society which is religiously intolerant, though the same religion depicts a woman married to five men. She is part of a society where the heroes of the religious scriptures put their wife at stake as part of a gambling game. She's been brought up in a society where burning herself with her dead husband is dignified but marrying after being widowed is condemned. She is brought up on a land where when a man smokes, it's alright, but when a woman smokes, she's of little character. She is living at a place where she is brought up as 'paraya dhan.' She is part of a society where she marries someone she barely knows and has no right to say anything about it. 

Ladies, I am sorry, but it's all your fault. You are the reason you get raped so much. Don't complain when it happens to you. You have no right to cry foul whatsoever. So please, stop crying and live with your mouth shut. No one's listening.