BBC gets the wrong 'Guy'!

Tuesday, May 16, 2006


Imagine you are at a television studio to pick up someone. Someone calls your name and you respond and they take you into a studio, put you in front of half-a-dozen cameras, attach a microphone and the anchor starts asking questions about Apple winning a lawsuit against the Beatles. What would you say?

Well, this London cabbie found himself in such a situation when he was waiting for picking up someone at the BBC studios. It so happened that he shared his first name (Guy) with a technology expert and the studio staff put him on air instead of the expert and started asking him questions on the latest lawsuit between Apple and the Beatles! The cabbie, to his credit, was flustered initially but later went on to answer the questions as only a London cabbie would! What was wierd about the whole fracas was that the expert is a white bearded dude, while the cabbie is a bald black man!

Catch the entire store here, along with a link to download the video. Dont miss the cabbie's expressions when he is shown on air for the first time! Priceless! Its such an ROTFL moment! I've watched it a dozen times till now, and each time laughed till my stomach hurt! He is sooo cute!

And check out the expert's own take on the whole thing here!

Bangalore...Whither goest thou?

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Scene: A busy traffic junction.You are on a bike waiting for the light to turn green! So are a hundred others on bikes, scooters, cars and buses. Suddenly someone jumps the red light! Would you go after him and give him a lecture on traffic and civic sense? You might! What if the car that jumped the Red light belonged to the Assistant Commissioner of Police of that City with the gentleman himself in the passenger seat? Would you still chase him down and lecture him in public?

A 'Hindustani' did it in Bangalore! His name is Swaroop Srinath!

Link to the story and original post on this here!

I am sure there are a lot of good cops out there in Bangalore, but stories like the above and this do not give any reassurance to me!

Budhia and Kutral

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Recent news reports have been abuzz with this kid called Budhia Singh, from Orissa, who all of 4 years old, ran 65 kms non-stop. It was not just Indian media, both print and electronic, but foreign media as well who wrote in awe about the Marathon Kid. The amazing story of a slum kid who was sold for Rs.800 by his mother, whose precocious talent was 'discovered' by a Judo instructor caught the imagination of press worldwide. It was not just his apparant stamina at such a young age but the manner in which it was discovered that made headlines. The kid apparantly jumped over the fence of the yard in which the judo instructor was training his wards. To teach the impertinent kid a lesson, the 'guru' told him to run round the yard. When he returned 5 hours later, he found the kid still running! Stuff of Hindi or telugu movies? Where the hero cycles for 10 days to earn the gazillion dollar prize money!?

The kid dint win any prize money, but he won the admiration of the coach who recognized his amazing talent, took him under his wing to make a champion runner out of him! He started running in competitions at an age when most kids are still carried by their parents! His latest achievement (he ran from Puri to Bhubaneswar) made the media and the public go crazy. In a nation starved of world beating sportsmen, in a billion strong nation which every four years suffers the ignominy of returning almost empty handed from the Olympics (save for saviours like Leander Paes or Karnam Malleswari or Rajyavardhan Rathore), Budhia represented a fond hope!

When was the last time a 'kid' created a sensation in sports or related activities? If Sachin Tendulkar was a 'kid' when he faced Waqar's bouncers fearlessly, then what should we term this boy? What do you call a 4 year old boy who runs for 65 kms? The media was ready! He was called 'Marathon Kid', 'Pocket Hercules', 'India's Forrest Gump', 'India's answer to kenyan runners' and so on!

But where there is a success, there is a controversy! NGOs and Human Rights groups shouted from roof tops that he was being exploited by his coach, that his life is in danger and that the courts and Govt should intervene in protecting the young boy. Would the protests have been raised if it was his Dad instead of his coach? Another instance of such foster-parent-exploitation allegations occured quite sometime back in South Africa, although in completely unrelated and quite tragic circumstances. Concerns raised when a 12 yr old South African Black kid called Nkosi Johnson, who was affected with HIV/AIDS from birth, increased awareness among African public through his rousing speeches. The impact was huge, and Nkosi later died from the Syndrome but not before human rights groups accused his foster mother (who incidentally was White) of putting him under tremondous pressure and scrutiny by encouraging him to give more and more speeches.

Such concerns are genuine and in one way its imporant that such concerns are raised lest we get carried away. But, like it happened to so many 'child prodigies' in India, will Budhia Singh become another footnote in India's long list of 'what might have beens'!? Case in point: Kutraleeswaran! This boy from Tamil Nadu swam six channels in 1994 and was included in the Guinness Book of World Records at the age of 13! he became a sensation in long distance swimming after breaking Mihir Sen's record of crossing five channels in a calendar year. So where is he now? Except from's article on him:

Even as a 16-year-old, Kutral was sad about the way his father had to run around each time a competition came up. He had said then, 'I was to participate in a competition in Germany. Everything from tickets to visa were ready. We were to start at 5.30 in the evening. At 3 pm we got a call from the sponsors. They said they could not sponsor me. My brother had gone to Bombay to arrange for the visa. At the last moment we had to cancel everything. I cannot say how disappointed I was.'

'In other countries, if you excel in some sports you are eligible for good jobs. But here, unless you have a good academic background, you will not get any job. So, I am forced to give more importance to studies than swimming. Given a chance I would like to channelise all my energy into swimming.'

He couldn't, and decided to concentrate on studies. Reason: "Lack of sponsorship."I wanted a strong supporting career of my own, hence decided to concentrate on academics. Ethically, it was a painful decision, but logically practical and comfortable. But it was indeed very hard for me to come to terms (with the fact) that I was leaving competitive swimming," recalled Kutral. When he realised that every competition abroad was a burden on his parents, he decided to call it quits.

Will Budhia Singh become another Kutraleeswaran? If the same public adoration, support and concern for him continue, he may not, but public memory is short in India and Budhia became a STAR at just 4!