Monday, January 19, 2015

What is in a name, as Christopher Marlowe said. Well if you are Frank Zappa's children (Moon Unit and Dweezil) apparently quite a lot.

Being officially vela, I have been following the Big Bash League. While involved in this perilous pursuit, I happened to be struck by the peculiarities of nomenclature of sports teams.

The names that the teams have, all sounds like standard sports team names. For instance, let us consider Brisbane Heat. The team is , as described, from Brisbane, and from vague memories of Class 7 geography and what I from what I have seen on TV Heat adequately describes Brisbane in December. However, they are languishing at the bottom of the heap at the time of writing this, so they don't seem like very hot stuff. It must be noted that this team is not to be confused with a basketball team from Miami.

There is another all purpose team name, that is found across sports. Hurricanes. The guilty team here in the BBL is Hobart. Dear Hobart, if you really want to be thought of in the same way as a natural disaster, why not name your team Hobart Tony Abbot?

Amongst the non BBL team names, the funniest Aussie cricket team name has to go to the Victoria Bushrangers. Bushrangers? Seriously? Does Victoria have an endemic pubic lice problem (the state -not Posh Spice)? It sure sounds like that is what they are expertly hunting, pubic lice. The comedy writes itself. Hussey is at the wicket, he is joined by Sidebottom who is a bits an pieces player, he does a bit of lice, and a bit of puss like discharge.

Moving away from the antipodes, let us examine an issue that is closer to home. The Indian Premier League (IPL).

Gentle reader; let us delve into an issue that is extremely close to my heart. My hometown,  Hyderabad. Hyderabad, like many other cities in India has many serious problems. These include: lack of adequate municipal water supply, over-exploitation of ground water, disappearing lakes, polluted River Musi, ocular assault by pink banners, inadequate public transportation, frequent strikes/ bandhs and worse still, a cricket team that goes by the name Sunrisers Hyderabad. To my ear, the name sounds like a bunch of chai coffee waalas at a mid size railway station trying to peddle their watered down instant coffee. This team was formerly owned by Deccan Chronicle Holdings, Pvt Ltd. and was therefore called the Deccan Chargers. That made the team sound formidable - didn't help much with the performance however, except for that one season in South Africa that fans longingly remember as the good old days. From San Diego to Hyderabad, Chargers is a name that seems common.

Another IPL team Royal Challengers Bangalore is named after...packaged drinking water, not unlike for instance,  the New York Red Bulls, in the US Soccer League. Corporate sponsorship of teams does indeed lead to interesting names. Another such example is the Thailand Tobacco Monopoly Football club.

Further exploring the home of most sports league, let us stay in the United States for a while, visa permitting.  The Cincinnati Bengals are an American Football team named after two places. To rectify this situation and restore balance in the Universe, the Philadelphia Phillies spring to the rescue, albeit in a different sport. Just in case you missed where they were from, they tell you. Twice.

Some college mascots and teams are equally hilarious. The Rutgers University's Scarlet Knights. When you say the name out loud, it sounds like the name of one of those low budget soft porn movies that used to play in Lamba Theater in Secunderabad.  Something that beats that, the baseball team at Long Beach State is nicknamed - The Dirtbags. Another such example of low self esteem is the UC Santa Cruz -Banana Slugs.

After all this, I someday wish to make so much money, that I could buy a sports team - just so that I could name them vulgarly. Sucks for the players and fans. But hey, at least someone will get a laugh out of it (hint: me), and that is what is important.

Friday, January 09, 2015

You uncultured louts! What are you telling? Hain? Some Wright brothers invanted the airplane? Hain!! WRONG!! Ten Thousand Times Wrong. Did you not know that Flying Machines were invanted in ancient India? Then only Levis copied the concept and became world famous in Jeanetic Engineering.

A paper titled "Ancient Indian Aviation Technology" was presented at the 102nd Indian Science Congress by Capt. Anand J. Bodas, a pilot, and Ameya Jadhav, a lecturer. The paper allegedly based on a treatise called the Vyamanika Shastra remains unreleased due to unknown reasons. This shastra, was allegedly initially, written back in by the sage Bharadwaj (not Vijay Bharadwaj, who can write treatises on cricket balls launched into orbit off his bowling). In modern times, this treatise was rediscovered through a cutting edge methods called psychic channeling and automatic writing in the early part of the 20th century by a chap called Subbaraya Sastry. Psychic channeling and automatic writing sounds like how I wrote most of my end semester exams in undergrad.

According to this "document" ancient India not only had aeroplanes thousands of years ago (7000 years they say), they also functioned as space shuttles and could fly 'not only' forwards 'but also' backwards. These planes had air-hostesses, some of whom are still serving in our nation's official carrier, Air India.

A schematic of one of the flying machines is presented below (Source). As can be seen the diagram looks like one of rejected cakes from Ace of Cakes or some such cake based "reality" show like that. 

Prior to the discovery of oil in Arabia, ancient Indians did not have to worry about the price of Dubai Crude and fluctuating dollar rates. Their aviation was fuelled by completely indigenous and renewable sources - donkey piss. As can be seen, our ancient ancestors were also leaders in renewable energy. One can almost see the ads in the Employment News of that day and age. “Wanted - Renewable Energy Engineer. Qualifications BTech/BE/ from reputed institutes, BSc in Agriculture and Life sciences may also apply. Applicant must work well as a part of a team. Must be an animal lover, must also not be an animal ‘lover’”.  MBAs need not apply; we are not dealing with bovine excreta here.

Apart from flying machines, the session also dealt with such wonderful facts such as

1) MBA Degrees- Cows turning everything they eat to 24 carat gold -perhaps that is why we initially considered cows sacred, not so much holy as err..golden goose?
2)Helmet on Mars- Apparently there was a helmet found on Mars by NASA, which originated from our glorious land during the Mahabharata war.

One hopes that future edition of the 'Science' Congress also bring forth such important and unknown ideas and information from our pasts. Jai Hind.


Thursday, January 08, 2015

So there exists somewhere in the realms of cyberspace a facebook page that seeks to bring together those who used to blog on the rediffblogs platform. Rediffblogs! Damn! That was a while ago. It feels like a different epoch even. I could have evolved to a Homo- no I don't mean I have come out of the closet (and why, yes we still do tasteless gay jokes here).

I was reminded of the fact that I still have this corner of cyberspace through which I can irritate reach out to millions of OK three other people. So here goes.

Earlier this month Sushma Swaraj, India's External Affairs minister proposed that the Bhagwad Gita be declared the "Rashriya Granth". Well I guess that is fine, the Kiwis have their Hakka, I guess we too should have some noises to "shock and awe" our opponents on the playing fields of.... Oh wait, it isn't the Rashtriya Grunt? Hmm, a national book eh? At least it is better than Chetan Bhagat's writing, which the entire nation seems to love . What could be worse is C.B doing a reimagination of the Geeta, or better yet, rewrite the entire Mahabharat while he is at it and have a catchy title such as

1) One night @the Lakshagriha
2) 1/5 Wife
3) 2 Estates
4) Revolution 2020 BC (No Virat, not that kind of BC- and no Subramanian Swamy, I meant Virat Kohli and not Virat Hindu)
5) The 99 Mistakes of my Wife (The life and times of Dhiritarashtra) (We also do casual misogyny here)

Of course, here the Geetaupadesh would not happen in the middle of a battlefield but on top of some academic department, hostel or IT building where the character formerly known as Krishna, would be telling the character known as Prince Arjuna, the ways to pass the departmental viva exam, the next round of appraisals, or how to get with some hot chick. Best seller guaranteed!