• Beware, 'Big Brother is watching you'

    If I could ever go back in time and change something, wish I could disallow the infamous 'Hand of God'. In the history of football, there had been many such instances where the legitimacy of a referee's judgment was called into question. Those decisive moments happen in the blink of an eye, often making it impossible for human eye to descry,  the latest being Manchester United-Chelsea match where referee Mark Clattenburg's erroneous decisions changed the outcome of the match.

    The controversial match saw Clattenburg sending off Torress for simulation, after he seemed convinced that the latter's fall was exaggerated. Soon after, Chelsea, with their two men down, succumbed to a 3-2 defeat  as Javier Hernandez netted the ball in the 75th minute. Later, the replays showed Chicharito in offside position, but Clattenburg awarded Red Devils their winning goal.

    The otherwise thrilling match thus had an unfortunate end owing to refereeing fallacy. Clattenburg, on the other hand, is no stranger to

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  • Honda has published an official teaser image of the Brio Sedan on its Thailand website. Contrary to some despicable 'rendered images' put out by some Indian automobile websites, the Brio sedan has a very futuristic design, with cues taken from the Honda City.

    The company hasn't divulged any information beyond the above photo. However, what we can clearly see are the i-VTEC badge on the car's rear and '1.2' written on the image. These clearly suggest the car will be powered by the Brio hatchback's 1.2 litre i-VTEC motor.

    Rumour has it that the Brio Sedan will also get a scaled down version of the 1.6 i-DTEC diesel engine that was unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show earlier this year. Although there's no official word on this yet, expect a 1.5 litre diesel Brio sedan by April 2013.

    Being a sub-4metre car, the Brio sedan will take on the Maruti Dzire, Tata Indigo eCS and the Mahindra Verito CS that will be launched by March 2013.

    Talk of the town is that Honda will also introduce

    Read More »from Honda teases sleek Brio sedan
  • When Tata introduced the Safari in 1998, it forged a radical new trend for the industry. Soon, India's first 4X4 SUV became a household name and won the hearts of many enthusiasts. But, over the Tata Safari's 14-year life span, there have been hardly any significant upgrades apart from two new engines and minor cosmetic changes. A decade-and-a-half after it was launched, the Safari is still evolving. It finally got the long-awaited overhaul, but will the new Safari Storme be able to regain its past glory? Let us get on with the road test to find out.


    There's no getting away from the fact that the Tata Safari looks majestic and has massive presence on the road. The new Safari Storme stays true to everything that made the original so fantastic from the beginning. The Storme's exterior is very similar to the Safari and you'd be forgiven for thinking it's the same car in the first glance. But a closer look would reveal that the car has undergone some significant changes. The

    Read More »from Road Test and Review: Tata Safari Storme
  • Why it is hard to be Cristiano Ronaldo

    "I think we will never see another player like this. He is the best in the world by far."

    For Barcalona coach Tito Vilanova, Lionel Messi is undoubtedly the 'numero uno' in football. He added that Messi's arch-rival Cristiano Ronaldo would have been "more recognised" if his career had not coincided with Messi's. He wasn't downplaying Ronaldo by any means, but again, I wonder how far one can agree to that statement.

    Comparisons can be exasperating, and it can inadvertently feed on the green-eyed monster that fuels animosity; the same time, it could help bring out the best in everyone. In sports, rivalries at top order have always helped players to set their limits higher - be it the Borg - McEnroe rivalry in the late 70s or Federer-Nadal duel of the current era - it draws a larger spectacle to the game without fail.

    Messi or Ronaldo? The question itself is quite ambiguous as Hamlet's age old dilemma "to be, or not to be". The 6 ft 1 petulant, assertive Ronaldo isn’t a popular pick Read More »from Why it is hard to be Cristiano Ronaldo
  • Automatic transmissions have come of age in India. Those who previously sneered at the inefficient, lazy boxes are now considering buying them, thanks to a range of more dynamic automatic transmission options available in the small car segment.

    The Honda Brio has the reputation of being one of the best city cars. Now, Honda has made it even better with the introduction of an automatic transmission.

    Visually, you will hardly spot any difference between the automatic and manual Brios until you step inside the cabin. Apart from the automatic transmission gear stick and the gear indicators on the instrument panel, the interiors too remain pretty much the same.

    The automatic Brio is powered by the same engine, as its manual sibling. The 1.2 litre i-VTEC is a gem of an engine that gets better as it revs towards the redline. Mated to a five-speed automatic transmission, the engine ever-so-smoothly makes light work of urban commuting.

    The Brio gets a conventional five-speed automatic

    Read More »from Road Test and Review: Honda Brio Automatic
  • For most of us, Karnataka means the 'erstwhile garden city' of Bangalore, which has now been transformed into a concrete jungle. But beyond the city, there's a pristine, unexplored expanse of countryside spread over the profusely green Western Ghats. Honda's Drive to Discover programme explores such unexposed splendour of India while rediscovering the joys of driving a Honda car. So when Honda invited me to drive the Brio from Goa to Bangalore across the Ghats as part of the Drive to Discover event, I didn't think twice about joining them.

    My tryst with the Brio began with a ceremonial flag off at Coastal Honda in Goa. It was a rainy morning; the party capital still asleep, streets deserted, hymns from nearby churches wafting through the raindrops...what an ambiance to begin the drive!

    Since there was no predetermined route or timetable to stick to, we started sauntering along the coastal highways of Goa in two sticker-clad Honda Brios. As we crossed the Goan border, monsoon clouds

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  • Have you been following news on the Assam riots and the North East exodus from the rest of the country to Guwahati? Something seems to be happening, and the disappearance of your Nepali guard was strangely linked with violence in Mumbai. Similarly, the reappearance of the Mizo students next door is linked with refugees returning home from relief camps.

     Relief Camp at Kokrajhar, August 7. Photo : ABP, more at Kokrajhar, August 7. Photo : ABP, more at https://bengali.yahoo.com/Relief Camp at Kokrajhar, August 7. Photo : ABP, more at http://bengali.yahoo.com/

    Here's a snapshot view of events as they happened.

    • Widespread riots between Bodos and Bengali speaking Muslims broke out around July 20.
    • July 25. At least 36 people have been killed and 500 villages torched.
    • By July 30, the death toll had risen and close to 2,00,000 riot victims were living in relief camps.
    • Rumor regarding alleged attacks on North Eastern students in Pune and New Delhi spread in early August.
    • On August 12, protesters gathered in Mumbai's Azad Maidan (apparently students from one Raza Academy) attacked the police force, torched vehicles and damaged the Amar Jawan memorial. Two people were killed and an estimated 54 wounded,
    Read More »from HARD LIGHT : Snapshot View of the North East Issue
  • Story  1

    Mr. P has just arrived in Bangalore from Kanpur with a plum job as software developer. He starts house-hunting, and after checking out all kinds of accommodation from truly ugly to palatial, he finalises a one bedroom apartment. It's in a clean, green, quiet neighbourhood. After his small and congested home in Jajmou, it's quite a break. The apartment is in a mess, but Mr. P feels it's quite a deal at 14K per month. It's airy, has sunlight and overlooks a pretty road. The deposit is a bit steep, but he does not argue with the landlord.

    With the rental agreement in place, Mr. P starts renovating the flat. He installs cheap but handy window sliders with mosquito nets, replaces a few bathroom fittings. Fresh paint, light furniture and flowery upholstery complete it.

    Mr. P is happy with life. He works hard, and enjoys dinners in the apartment with his friends. His new girlfriend thinks it's 'a really cute place'. The landlord had never visited him again after riding away into the

    Read More »from SOFT LIGHT : Bangalore to Bodoland – Two Stories for You
  • 'North East', 'Assam', 'illegal immigrants'. Keywords that have been 'trending' well since early August. Every news report, article, op-ed is peppered with a group of familiar terms whenever the North East issue is being addressed. Of course, 'North East issue' itself is one of these vague, generalized and therefore safe terms.

    Like most content producers living off the web, I wanted to write about the situation in Kokrajhar, Bongaigaon, Dhubri and Chirang. It was a hot topic, after all. Stories, reports and photos of the relief camps looked suitably bleak. There were lots of sad children, weeping women and lost, scarred men.

    However, apart from Kokrajhar, capital of Bodoland and Dhubri, I was not familiar with the other names. So I set out to research a bit by looking up legal documents, archival news items and asking my friends in Guwahati about it. It seemed Bodos were forcing illegal Muslim immigrants to vacate their homes and flee to relief camps in a violent land-grabbing bid. In

    Read More »from HARD LIGHT : What We Refuse to Learn from Assam
  • SOFT LIGHT : Made in India

    I was in New Delhi when 'Paan Singh Tomar' was released. There was a multiplex at Nehru Place, and it was barely 15 minutes walk from where I was staying in Greater Kailash (GK 1). There was some technical disruption while running the movie, and a bearded young man, a thin boy, and some others were just as vocal in asking for a replay. Shouting at the theatre manager together created a sort of instant bond. Consequently, four people from the audience settled into Mc Donald's downstairs after the show was over. We talked about Paan Singh, sports, government neglect of sports, the beautiful landscape of Chambal, the link between geography and cultures, and then got into a massive debate on spiritual questions.

    None of us remember each others names, and we never met again. But we did have an interesting conversation, thanks to Paan Singh.

    As an Indian, it is difficult to decide what India is. Is it the first map we learned to draw in school? Is it supporting Indian cricketers? Hoisting

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