Tuesday, June 27, 2006

What is an interview all about?

I watched an interview (1 and 2) by Karan Thapar on CNN-IBN site today. While I do not want to comment anything on the subject matter of the interview, I felt the need to raise a few points about the way an interview should be conducted. (As usual the disclaimer that I have no experience in interviewing etc. but still it should be clear to anyone watching this that this is not the best way to interview someone)

What is the objective when you interview someone? To understand the interviewee's point of view, or to keep interrupting him time and again before he makes his point so that you seem to have the edge on him? Mr. Thapar may be a celebrated interviewer, but everytime I feel irritated that he just doesn't let the person complete his point. He makes statements and on cross-examining, changes them to his convenience!

I find this to be extremely wrong. You call a person to know his views. (S)he should get an opportunity to present them in the right way. It is also unfair that the interviewer is prepared with random statistics before the interview, and expects the other person to know them, acknowledge them and react to them after hearing them for the first time, without ever getting a chance to verify them, know their authenticity or the circumstances in which those statistics were gathered!

I must stress that I am not even siding with any point of view in this particular interview in this article. The question is just what constitutes a good interviewer, and I am sorry, but being an aggresive, stats-spewing machine is just not that.
I am sure some of you will say that the title "Devil's advocate" justifies all of this behavior, but really, it doesn't!! The reason you became a devil's advocate was to find out the views of the other person by assuming a position opposite him. Nothing wrong with that, but you still have to interview and LISTEN to the views being expressed!

Some of the best interviews I have seen are by Pranoy Roy and its not hard to see why. He does not interrupt, yet when he speaks, he commands enough respect to be not interrupted by the interviewee. When he does speak, he clears his point at length, and then sits back and waits for the answer to roll out. Thats how it should be. Isn't it so simple? One person talks, one listens. Otherwise its just noise.

And speaking of noise, Karan Thapar is still a good interviewer with at least a good agenda to speak about. The following two interviews by Mr. Prabhu Chavla(Sidhi Baat - Aaj Tak) are the most stupid interviews I have seen for a long long time.

1. Interview with Yuvraj Singh (1)

2. Interview with Rakhi Sawant (1,2 and 3)

And after that, I do not have the heart to say anything more on bad interviewing, as that would just mean beating an old point to death!

Update: It seems the videos are no longer available on YouTube. Well, just catch any of his interviews :P

Thursday, June 22, 2006

दु:खाच्या घरी...

I am posting my latest Marathi poem here. As it turned out, I had to translate it for one of my friends, as she doesn't know Marathi. So I already have an English explanation for this one ready. Although, as you will see, it doesn't sound the same in English. And yeah, the English part is in prose. Hope you like it.

Some background for English readers before I begin: So I have considered 'Sorrow' and 'Happiness' to be two individuals... 'Sorrow' is giving a party at his house to everyone... even though everyone hates "Sorrow", they have come there for the drinks!... so thats the background... the title means "At Sorrow's home"...

(I guess this is sounding mighty stupid in English, but I will continue all the same... I do stupid things everyday, so why should today be any different! :P)

दु:खाच्या घरी...

दु:खाच्या घरी एकदा
जमली होती पार्टी
दारु बीरु पीऊन अगदी
झींगली होती कार्टी...

(Once there was a party at "Sorrow's" house... and all the guests were totally intoxicated!)

दु:ख म्हणाले " दोस्तानों!
बिलकुल लाजू नका
इतके दिवस छ्ळल म्हणून
राग मानू नका!

("Sorrow" said to everyone... Friends! I know I have troubled all of you for so many days... but please...forget all that... and please enjoy yourselves to the fullest... I am really sorry about all these days that I have been troubling you... I need to come clean today...)

मनात खूप साठल आहे
काहीच सुचत नाही
माझी 'स्टोरी' सांगीतल्या शिवाय
आता राहवत नाही...

(So many things are filled in my mind right now...I just can't think clearly... I must tell you my story... today... I must, I must...)

मी आणि सुख दोघे
जुळे भाऊ होतो
पाच वर्षांचे होतो तेव्हा
जत्रेत गेलो होतो...

(Me and Happiness... we were both twin brothers... and when were very young, we went to a fair... )

गर्दी अशी जमली
नी गोंधळ असा उठला...
माणसांच्या त्या गर्दी मध्ये
सुखाचा हात सुटला!

(and there was such a rush... and such a chaos... that in that commotion of people, the hand of "Happiness" slipped away from my hand...)

तेव्हा पासून फ़िरतोय शोधत
दुनियेच्या जत्रेत
दिसतोय का 'सुख' माझा
कुणाच्या ही नजरेत..."

(And I have been roaming around looking for my "Happiness" everywhere from that day onwards... I look at everyone's eyes, hoping to find a glimpse of my dear "Happiness"...")

सुखा बरोबरचे लहानपणीचे
क्षण त्याला स्मरले
आणि सुखाच्या आठवणीने
दु:ख ढसाढसा रडले!

(Sorrow remembered the lovely moments in childhood that he had spent with "happiness" and such was his grief that "Sorrow" started crying loudly remembering "happiness")

नशा सगळ्यांची उतरली
दु:खाकडे पाहून!
दु:खालाही सुख मिळावे
वाटले राहून राहून...

(Everyone was sloshed... but looking at "Sorrow's" state... they just came back to their senses... and everyone really felt from the bottom of their heart... even "sorrow" deserved to get back his " happiness" ... all that "sorrow" had done was forgotten and now all they wanted was for "sorrow" to be reunited with "happiness")

सुखाच्या शोधामध्ये आता
मी सुद्धा फ़िरतोय
दु:खाला शांत करायचा
खूप प्रयत्न करतोय...

(I was there at that party... Yea I was... and now I am also looking for "Happiness"... for the sake of sorrow... to make him silent... to give him peace...)

जीवनाच्या रथाचे
आहेत सुख दु:ख सारथी
सुख मिळाले तर दु:खाच्या घरी
मीच देईन पार्टी!

(because happiness and sorrow are the drivers of the chariot of life... and life does not make sense without both of them... and really, if I find "happiness"... or if any of you find happiness...please let me know... I will give another party at the house of "sorrow")


Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Two trips to Ellicott city!

I have been feeling pretty down lately... It reached a limit last night around midnight... I called N and J and we went for a drive to Arundel Mills where we had coffee. Turns out that didnt help me at all. I dropped them home and set out on a drive alone. Just like that, I drove to Ellicott city. Something about that place gives me a little peace inside.

I came back to the lab around 2 am hoping to get some work done. Then something happened that brightened my day (rather night :)). I just met a friend online and somehow talking with that person made everything better in 5 minutes. I could not believe the change in my mood and I could not believe I could be so volatile in my emotions. Do I know myself anymore? I just was so happy I went for a drive once again, listening to my favorite songs and singing them at the top of my voice!! It was nothing short of a joy ride, at the end of which I had completed my second trip to Ellicott city. Make that two and a half, cos halfway back from this second trip, I turned and made another trip!

When I came home at 5.30 am, all I could do was fall asleep quietly.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Google spreadsheets

It was the first day of Google Spreadsheets launch, and I found it useful already! I did not have Excel on the comp in my lab and needed to verify an expenses spreadsheet. Its cool to know that now I can see my sheets from any computer, without having to email it to myself and without maintaining multiple inconsistent copies.

The invites are going to be limited, so you guyz should get one for yourself pretty soon from this link: