Monday, March 31, 2008

Desire the DZire!

Maruti has made a relatively nonchalant but a very brave move bringing in the DZire. As I’ve maintained in the past, after Accent’s phase-out (it is a phase-out for all practical reasons, although I guess they still sell one model) there is a big gaping hole in Segment B+/C- (which is in the price range 5-6 lacs). You can’t choose any of Esteem, Logan, Indigo, Swift, Ikon etc without compromising on something. There was no “one” default choice.

That said, the reason why I mention Maruti’s launch of DZire as significant because DZire has features that erstwhile (before launch of SX4) used to be only part of Class D (10+ cars). Its launch effectively means that Skoda Fabia is out of the window. I can’t see a single person going for Fabia since it’s a little smaller, got pretty much the same features - including power, and is a whole 1,00,000 costlier!

Dzire’s features include integrated stereo, steering mounted audio controls, automatic climate control, dual airbags, ABS with EBD. Most of the people who paid through the nose during 2002-2007 have cars (such as Honda City) that don’t have these features. I guess it must be real fun for one of the DZire owners to buy the car at 5.5 Lacs and sport these features while Honda buyers who used to shell out 8+ Lacs don’t have them! DZire is certainly an easy choice given the other options. With its launch, you really don’t need to go for cars such as SX4, Verna, Fiesta etc since you get most of the features at a much cheaper price (difference being 2 lacs+), presuming that the power difference between SX4/Verna/Fiesta etc and DZire (103 BHP vs. 87 BHP) is not something many Indian customers would die for.

DZire is certainly not amongst the best-looking cars around. Its back is a little force-fitted into the body and its looks would take some amount of time getting used to, but I personally don’t think it’s ugly. The white piece looks pretty neat compared to other colors. For its price, it is Value-For-Money redefined. The very fact that Maruti has provided features in a 5.5L car that used to be present only in cars 10+ Lacs a couple of years ago is quite something. This is a bold move that would permanently change the features that Indian automobile industry would provide in the years to come. Competition rocks! At this rate, I would expect cars in the range 4+ lacs to sport such safety and luxury features. In the end, we, the customers, are the winners. Hats off Maruti!

Sunday, March 09, 2008

How many Gods do we have?

I was watching the trailer for 10,000 BC (movie) and a crazy thought struck me. Has anyone ever tried to list all the Gods that humans might have worshiped - over the years of evolution? I was curious to know the count of Gods that are/were being worshiped. Jesus, Allah, Siva, Brahma etc are present day favorites, but they didn't exist 4000 years ago. 4000 years is peanuts in the time-line of humans and human-looking ancestors, which is 1000,0000 years.

Wikipedia has tried a high-level listing of all Gods. Hindu, Finnish, Chinese, Lisutani etc.... make up the current list. And then there are the mythological Gods - Atlas, Prometheus, Zeus and a host of others.

Was a Neanderthal (100,000 years ago) or a 'Homo erectus' (1000,000 years ago) technically developed to think about a possibility of a supreme creator? If so, what would a Neanderthal's God be? Water, Sun, Stars and the Moon perhaps?

This is just the beginning. As you deep dive into evolution per se, there are enchanting and very interesting possibilities. What would a Dinosaur's God be? Godociferous, perhaps.
Dragon-fly, which is supposedly the ancestor for the entire animal kingdom has been around in earth for 700 million years (Compare humans!). If dragonfly worships a God, that would be the longest serving God in the entire chain perhaps.

I mean, if there can be Hindu-Islam and Christian-Islam wars, why can't we fight with the Dragon-flies over their Gods? Who is superior? Dragon-fly God has probabaly been around for hundreds of millions of years, and we rule the roost now. Was there a fight between Dragon-flies and Dinosaurs in history over the superiority of Dragon-fly God and Godociferous? Immense intellectual possibilities.

Wow. Life gets interesting as you think about it.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Into the Wild

I knew I was lucky when I roughly had 20 hours worth of flight journey staring at me and there were about 15 movies to choose from to while away the time. Best part is I hadn’t watched most of those movies, thanks to my work schedule in the recent weeks. Of course, when you get down to it, you really only have a handful of movies to actually choose from – if you keep aside teen movies, immature comedies and other retarded stuff.

I read the plotline for most of the movies, and chose three: 1) Michael Clayton, 2) Into the Wild and 3) Bourne Ultimatum. Boy, didn’t I have a great time! I had watched Bourne once and knew it was great stuff. As for Clayton, the only thing I knew was that it was nominated for Oscars and there was George Clooney (which was reason enough). I had zilch idea about “Into the wild”, but I knew I had made a great selection just minutes into the movie. Talk about adventure and off-beat movies!

Where do I start? Well, the movie is a real-life story of a guy named Chris McCandless - a great student who feels claustrophobic amidst the chatters of capitalism and looks for ‘life’ amidst absolute wilderness. He chooses to live in the wilderness for some years essentially as a gypsy - as man would’ve lived some thousands of years ago, and he chooses Alaska as the place to live out. Remember, this movie is based on a real-life character. All our guy takes with him is his spirit, a book on ‘edible wild plants’, an essential belief on human spirit, some clothes, the love of absolute strangers, and loads of attitude. The rest of the movie is plain beauty as it just flows past you. If you are into adventure movies, you need to watch this.

Do not expect the movie to make you happy. It’s deep, real, adventurous, disturbing, and very touching. Not for the rookies.

I just checked the IMDB listing looking for an image, and there you have it: “Into the wild” is ranked 135 all time. Didn’t I expect it?

The author of the novel is Jon Krakauer, the same guy who wrote the book on the Everest disaster - “Into thin air”, which was so touching and daring. May be I should just try out all his books!