World Badminton Championship

Saina Nehwal has won her first two matches and plays 6th seed Shixian Wang tomorrow. Shixian Wang comes into the quarter finals beating Jie Yao, the 11th seed in a slightly more emphatic style. So lets see if Saina can enter the semis. The other quarter final to watch tomorrow is between Hongyan Pi (5) and Xin Wang (3). The winner of this match will clash with the winner of Saina vs. Shixian in the semi final.

Meanwhile current world number one, Yihan Wang is out of the tournament. [update 8PM IST, 27Aug: She’s out of the tournament. Toobad – but I think she was outclassed well and truly in 34 minues flat]

BTW, I made one observation about tags and google searches and hits on websites. It’s quite surprising that not a single soul has stumbled upon my website through google using the search phrase “Saina Nehwal”. So I ran a quick analysis on what search topics have been most successful in diverting traffic to my website and the result was quite an eye opener. Other than searching for me, people who spend their time looking for fairness creams and pani puris are more likely to come up to my site as compared to people looking up John Abraham’s butt or Katrina Kaif. Or Saina Nehwal for that matter. I felt quite let down since the whole purpose of writing about that man’s butt was to get more iballs. I thought about it for a couple of minutes and then guessed what must be amiss with my logic.

It’s the thing about statistical long tails and probabilities. Since Saina, Katrina and butts are much written about the chances of my humble ramblings on them getting shown up early enough in Google search rankings is miniscule. But since the likes of pani puris, fairness creams and IFCI sit on the long tail, the chances that my website will get picked up, if someone is looking up on these topics is high. It runs counter to common logic – that write about hot topics and you’ll get noticed more. Niche positioning. I am amazed at the kind of people that my writing resonates with – imagine being patronised by someone who is interested in “fairness creams for Muslim boys”! Or surfers  concerned if eating “pani puris will cause blindness”.

Some time back I had read a very insightful book called “The Long Tail: How Endless Choice is Creating Unlimited Demand” by Chris Anderson. The book talks about the growth of niche markets and specialist sales on the internet. So taking a leaf from this book and applying the conjecture developed above, I guess the key to getting more and different people to look at my website is to use many many tags (Napster, Amazon, eBay use the limitless potential of online store to stock up an enormous array of merchandise) and tags that are off center. If this post sounds like a pathetic lament to increase the traffic on my site as opposed to writing what really interests me and my core group of readers, then you hear right. Screw it. I dont care how many new sets of feet trample my online space. I will write what I want to write.

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Cover his Butt

In case you missed this, one of the news item last week was the massive attempt to cover John Abraham’s butt. With an insurance policy of a 100 million rupees! The Deccan Chronicle carried a note about a policy being worked out to support his back, but I think they missed the object of the policy. Or maybe that newspaper is modest. John may have to pay quite a packet as premium considering that he seems to have suffered a minor muscle pull recently. Maybe the sprain was to his back muscle or maybe the largest muscle in his body itself was pulled. Why do we think of buying protection only when we have a close shave with calamity?

One buys insurance cover to protect an ‘ass’et which is income producing such that in any unfortune eventually, if the asset stops productive work, its owner or it’s beneficiaries can receive some consideration. This clearly means that John intends to truly work his posterior out in the coming future.

His butt sits right on the top of the Bollywood apex. Ouch! Must hurt a bit. Some time back (in 2008?) he was placed at No. 7 amongst the World’s Top Sexiest Men. He rounded up his performance by topping the honours in a poll of Asian men that was conducted by a leading British Asian weekly and said,

“From being among the top in the world to top in Asia is superb. The air is really nice up here”.

The air is nice up where, I wonder. Bipasha Basu, in an interview during the launch of her Fondaish fitness video gave us a marketing lession. Move over 4 Ps – you’ve been Pissing around for too long. The three Bs of Bollywood that now ring up Business are: Beauty, Bosoms and Butt. And Bips, if I may add a 4th B or maybe an even bigger B to complete the quadrant? But there was something more she confided to us: that the whole world has seen John’s butt, but the butt that not many know about and is also nearly up there in the eyeball grabbing, high butt stakes (so high that the air is really nice up there) belongs to none other than Shahrukh Khan. And what about Salman Butt and Ejaz Butt? They might just become greater batting sensations if they take up John’s lead. The oppositions’ wicketkeepers field of vision might get blocked and they will just not be able to see which way things are swinging. 😉

I don’t watch much Hindi movies. It’s not that I get repulsed by butts but just because that’s way ‘behind’ in my list of priorities. But I am aware of the apperance of the biggest B in the movie No Smoking. I also heard it reappeared in Kabir Khan’s New York? Saw the former – John played a character called K – a chain smoker trying hard to stub his butt! And of course, Dostana. Most male actors are bending backwards and seem more than eager to unbutton their low waisted trousers after John’s success. Laxmi, the goddess of wealth seems to be making a backdoor entry for these gentlemen. Salman Khan will do it in his forthcoming film, Wanted Dead or Alive. Imran Khan and Ranbir Kapoor literally sprung into Bollywood on their respective butts. But the pioneer himself seems to be impressed with Aamir Khan’s body instead.

“I’m never ashamed of talking about my body. Though at times I do feel like a meat shop”.

It seems a young girl once came up to John and offered to bite into his butt. John said that he took no offence since he has to respect his fans. And maybe it is to target such fans that PETA had come out with a campaign on vegetarianism when they showed a poster of John wearing a skirt made of spring onions and decked in red chillies and peas. PETA must have seen red when John went on to acquire all that beef. All this seems to be before they discovered Sherlyn Chopra!

But it’s a good thing. Such creativity on part of our general insurance companies (it would not come under health cover, would it?) is good. The risk managers at the lucky insurer will be watching John’s butt very closely indeed.

What about you? Are you adequately covered? Like our hero I hope you treat insurance as an expense ONLY and not as an investment vehicle. Maintenance of our houses and cars are expense line items. Life cover should not be treated any differently. There are so many of us, highly educated and wise who get trapped by the relentless and crafty marketing messages and buy money back, guranteed returns, premium return kind of insurance policies. These help to fatten the wallet of the insurance agents and advisors. Stay away. Insurance companies sell insurance. These people are experts at macabre things like statistically analysing death and doom and gloom and selling probabilities. That’s their core competence. They are not investment managers. Best is to DIY – construct a combo of a term plan (cheapest cover for your life) and a small, well reasearched portfolio of Mutual Funds (or an Exchange Traded Fund). You’ll do better.

That’s about life. Regarding health, I am not so sure. I did mention in my previous post that for me, health is not wealth, though a lack of the former can sap the latter. The trouble is that most of us feel that since we are anyways covered by our employers, we do not need additional health cover. This may work if the cover provided by your company is adequate enough. Health covers provided by companies are linked to seniority and salary of the employee concerned. But the probability of health issues cropping up does not depend on seniority of the employee concerned. In that case, you should take out some additional health cover to protect yourself and your family (via a family floater plan). The thing that I am not perfectly clear about is that unlike life insurance where longer term cover can be purchased, I am not sure if such long tenured health covers can be purchased. This might be due to the fact that the Indian health insurance industry is not able to construct reliable statistical tables re health and disease data. Also the fact that inflation in medical expenses is very high may be preventing insurers to offer much longer term health plans (10 – 15 years). This means that one has to keep renewing health covers.

 

Maybe you know all this but I can bet that you might just be undercovered. (I am not a peeping tom, but the odds are in my favour if you want to wager). You might have had John Abraham for company, but not anymore. Don’t remain naked. Cover up.

 

And BTW, in case you are wondering, the objective of this post was not to introduce more internet search friendly tags to trap unsuspecting eyeballs. If that were the case, I’d have used Katrina Kaif’s name in this post :). (most searched Bollywood personality apparently). You feel that I am misselling? Then what about those insurance agents that sell you investments?

Another Year, Another Story

Just completed yet another revolution around the Sun today at 4:15 PM precisely. 35 full circles! 35 laps done and no pit stop yet. No sign of the chequered flag either. And yet my head is not spinning. I look the Sun straight in the eye, since He is my ruling planet. In fact, it was quite a good omen for the Sun to have burst into flames 4 days back and sent in a massive shower towards Earth.

Moving from astronomy to astrology, this is a rare moment in time when this day for me appears to be so close to a new moon. It will only be after a couple of decades that I will be able to experience this rare alingment again. Gulp! Astrology and I? I hate to admit it but I can be quite wussy sometimes!

Multiples of 5 are spooky milestones. It’s like completing a level in some video game – you feel a sense of accomplishment while bracing yourself knowing that you’ll be meeting more ogres, evil vamps and monsters in the next level. I’m going crazy thinking that the next level will take me to 40! Fuck. How embarassing. In a dastardly attempt towards self delusion, I mailed myself this birthday greeting card! I was elated when it came through. 🙂

The best gift definitely came in  the form of news that my daughter has moved up from the city round and made it to the state round of a spelling bee competition.

Finally, to brace myself for the oncoming mutants, zombies, aliens, et al, I guess I will have to do some (if not all) of the following:

 

– Gift myself more time. This is damn easy for a lion! I put a mental tick here even before I finished typing this sentence.

– Get trimmer and fitter. Health according to me is not wealth, but is important nevertheless. I seem to have neglected myself in the past year and the effect is showing. 🙂 I have joked many times that my weight always increases faster than my salary. But now I am serious. The new order of the rates of change is: Inflation > My weight > My salary. The future order should be My Salary > Inflation > My weight

Btw, there is a trick that most fashion/film photographers employ when shooting guys – ask the subject to stand akimbo and twist his torso 30 – 45 degrees. Take the shot from the side. Voila! You get a perfect V. Vain guy readers, try it the next time you negotiate your bathroom mirror. If you are a perfectionist then place your fist – the one which is on the camera’s right – near your trouser pocket as if poised to remove your car keys or something. Tightly spasm your other arm as if paralysed and you’re done. Just dont grimace the way John Abraham did when he was trying to hold up his beach shorts. But I digress. In my next post I will be talking a lot more about the male body, so hold on to your beach shorts till then.

– In the past, most privileged years of my being around, I have largely taken, taken, taken from the environment. Maybe I should start thinking about giving for a change. To myself 🙂

– Figure out the answer to the question about investing that has always vexed me. By the time I come back around to complete yet another revolution around the Sun, I hope to be in a better position to know when to sell!

– Pay more attention to sonny boy. Had sat down and taught and read books with the daughter a lot but could not do so with the brat since work had exploded around the time he burst onto the scene. Thankfully, he is picking up things on his own from his sis, so I’ve sheepishly escaped! There is a pending project with him re “traffic lights” – a small scale model of a city, with roads, houses, traffic lights, petrol pumps and lots of lots of cars plying the roads – that I was to do with him last year. Hope to do it this year. Will post pics if anyone cares to watch, but won’t use Lego bricks since so many Lego bricks will turn out to be expensive. We’ll do Thermocol.

Read at least 12 books this year. Books that are unrelated to my profession. I rarely read fiction these days.

Do not read Atlas Shrugged this year! Have read it 5 – 6 times already and I think that has been one of my problems. 🙂

Stop idolising Jesse Livermore.

– Target to increase the monthly views to The Third I by 30% by end of my next turn around the Sun.

Stop paying people money to visit my website! There, I said it. Beware, some of you readers – the taxman cometh.

360 degrees to cover. 10 commandments to live by.

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