Arthur Ashe (1943 – 1993), the legendary Tennis player and Wimbledon champion was dying of AIDS which he got due to infected blood he received during a heart surgery in 1983. From world over, he received letters from his fans, one of which conveyed: “Why does GOD have to select you for such a bad disease”?

To this Arthur Ashe replied:

“The world over, 50 million  children start playing tennis, 5 million learn to play tennis, 500,000 learn professional tennis, 50,000 come to the circuit, 5000 reach the grand slam, 50 reach Wimbledon, 4 to semi final, 2 to the finals, when I was holding a cup I never asked GOD ‘Why me?’. And today in pain I should not be asking GOD ‘Why me?’ ”

“Happiness keeps you Sweet,

Trials keep you Strong,

Sorrow keeps you Human,

Failure keeps you humble and Success keeps you glowing,

But only Faith & Attitude Keeps you going…”

Is time up for the wristwatches?

In April 2008 I posted this image of my wristwatch in Flickr with the caption “The watch that kept me punctual for almost five years is dead now.” It was just an unbranded local made, not too costly watch and one of my favorite possessions. Often in hurry I used to forget to wear while going to office or any other outing only to comeback hurriedly grab it from its place and strap it up on the move. I considered my wristwatch so essential than anything else that I just couldn’t go out without it. Soon after it stopped working, for a week or so I was pulling on without any wristwatch and felt as though I lost my lifetime companion. Since I was too busy from morning to night with my work I couldn’t go to a watch shop to get a new one. Also I didn’t want to repair it any more as I knew that it lost its life and had to get a new one. Often I used to raise my bare wrist to check the time only to realize that I don’t wear a wristwatch. Suddenly my eyes searched for another alternate source of timekeeper and found in many places that includes my mobile phone, desktop, laptop and music player and while driving LED lit time flasher came in handy. When these gadgets are not within my vicinity means I am sleeping hence I don’t need to know the time. Another four days gone, still busy and by now within a matter of ten days, I realized that I was in fact much more comfortable without a wristwatch. Its going to be more than two years now, never bought a new watch and my wrist is bare. I am used to it now, comfortable and shed some payload too that I have to carry. I see time wherever I turn around and convinced that I can live without a wristwatch for the rest of my life.

Money was not the concern and doesn’t matter to me and for the spendthrift nature of mine and the money I wasted foolishly on some unworthy products in the last two years, I could have bought at least five watches on my previous wrist watch price range. But I didn’t for my own genuine reasons. In my view wristwatches have only ornamental value now, as you have too many attractive and fashionable options to look for the time. I am quite sure many people World over would have given a thought about my view on wristwatches and as and when the need arises for them to go for a new one. For sure the arrival of new time keeping gadgets would have had some impact on wristwatch business and am sure the watch manufacturers are aware of these implications and must be already researching a new way to retain the market.

I am also sure that young adult and teens won’t be convinced with my view as everyone would love to have one as per their choice at least for the first time in their life. Hence this segment of people will remain as the target customers for the wristwatch manufacturers and given the latest high tech and high end watches that are available in the market would really continue to attract them.

The 2006 Jewelry Consumer Opinion Council survey of some 7,000 consumers, for example, found that 42 percent of young adults (ages 18 to 24) who don’t own a watch and 60 percent of those who do get time from a handheld device or in other words given a choice they preferred to buy a new cell phone than a wristwatch even though the budget is bit high. Japan too had some worst time as the watch market slumped as people preferred other latest gadgets. Around the same year I also remember the news about the French watchmakers and jewelers sued a mobile phone operator to stop TV ads showing watches being tossed into a trash bin. In order to compete with other gadgets the watches need to be more fashionable with some added features, more like jewellery and a status symbol apart from telling time.

In India, in 70s, 80s and 90s Citizen and Seiko were the most popular brands and then came the Government owned HMT watches whose slogan was “Time keepers to the nation”. In fact HMT was very popular and I too had two for well over eight years. So sad to see HMT vanished from market so soon and from their websites I understand that HMT is still in business but no updates on market share in local & abroad. A few days ago I had been to a shopping mall where I entered a TITAN showroom and stunned to see a fabulous collections of modern watches from Rs.1000 to 10,000 and the models and features in look, style were really attractive and meant to target young adults. For a moment I was tempted to go in for one from a few models that I liked most and looked fabulous in the price range of Rs.4000 to 6000 but decided against it wisely as it wasn’t worth it for mere time seeing.

Lastly from the recent trends it looks as though the wristwatch business will survive provided the manufacturers come up with some innovative ideas that include style, fashion and any other features apart from mere time telling. The watch era isn’t ending but needs a change as things change all the time. The watch business is no exception.

Lesson’s learnt from FIFA 2010:

At last a new winner!!! Congrats to Spain for the magnificent performance.

Fifa 2010 was a real sumptuous feast for the soccer fans World over with 30 days of exciting fixtures, 64 matches, 736 players and 32 teams compete for the World cup Trophy held in 10 stadiums across the beautiful South Africa. Total prize money on stake was about $420 million and the Winner, the Spain got around $ 30 million. We have to wait for another 4 years to witness the mega event to happen again in Brazil in 2014.

Here is sum up of the true life lessons learnt from FIFA 2010:

1.      First the obvious. This is the first world cup final in recent history without Argentina, Italy, Brazil or Germany. True overconfidence is the secret to failure.

2.      Spain lost their opening game to Switzerland, while the Dutch didn’t lose a match, except the finals. Despite starting on the wrong foot or failing once in a while, you can still be the champion.

3.      Infighting and egos never win matches. Ask England, France and Italy. Sports like our business are about team dynamics. Great teamwork is imperative for the win.

4.      On the other hand, heroics matter. While process and methods among others are essential, it does take individuals (highly talented ones) to finally win.

5.      Wayne Rooney, Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi were World Cup flops. Between the three, they managed to score just one goal! Sometimes, the finest players fail miserably. Everyone has bad days. The need is to reflect, realize and reorganize for the next event.

6.      Andrés Iniesta from Spain scored the winning goal. He had scored only one goal in the previous matches. Yet, he is a hero. To be the right man at the right time at the right place requires a little luck and a lot of hard work.

7.      Diego Forlan, Wesley Sneijder and Thomas Mueller, previously unrecognizable beyond their country boundaries are international superstars today. New stars replace the old and fading ones. It’s way of life.

8.      Small things matter. Sometimes the distance between you and victory is just an inch. That’s all that Ghana needed to pull through. Unfortunately, they missed it.

9.      All strategies need constant tweaks to achieve targets. Always have a Plan. England didn’t have one and suffered the worst-ever defeat.

10. This is more than a game; it’s about pride – for the nation and personally.

11. Regardless of who you are cheering for, you need to have a blast. So, go crazy, blow on the trumpet, paint your bodies and sport some colorful wigs.

12. Finally, it’s amazing and faintly frustrating that an eight-legged oracle understands the game better than the most passionate of us. I guess life’s like that.

These 12 life lessons are not my own but taken from an internet corporate message group.

I wish I was in South Africa to watch the finals to take action snaps. I love photography and miss such events. But I made collage of my TV grabs and presented here. FIFA 2010 World cup Special images and art work creations are my own except for the JABULANI football and FIFA 2010 official logo image were taken from Internet Google web search.

Belur – The Architecture of 1117AD

I was in Mysore on an official visit on New Year’s Day of 2010 and took some time to visit nearby historically important places. Belur a small town in Hassan district was my first choice as I have been seeing these magnificent places from my childhood in movies. With Halebidu which is only 16 km away, this is one of the major tourist destinations in Karnataka, India.

I was well equipped with all my cameras and gadgets to cover as much places as possible and as I wished weather too was very favorable for good photography. Here is some part my images with the historic background writing about Belur.

Belur is a small town located on the banks of River Yagachi, in Hassan district of Karnataka. Belur was the early capital of the Hoysala Empire. Belur is considered as the Banaras of South India and is thus also known as Dakshina Varnasi. From inscription it is learnt that Vishnuvardhana got the temple built in 1117 A.D., in memory of his victory against Cholas in Talkad. Legend has it that it took 103 years for Vishnuvardhana’s grandson Veera Ballala II to complete the task. The facade of the temple is filled with intricate sculptures and friezes with no portion left blank. The intricate workmanship includes elephants, lions, horses, episodes from the Indian mythological epics, and sensuous dancers (Shilabalikas). Inside the temple are a number of ornate pillars. Darpana Sundari (Lady with the mirror) carved on walls of Belur Temple is one of major attraction in complex. The doorways are guarded on either side by the gorgeously decorated dvarapalaka (doorkeepers).

Hoysala sculptors have broken the custom and signed their sculptures. They engraved their names, titles and even the place of their origin at the foot of their art work. Mallitamma was the most prolific of all known Hoysala artists and more than forty well-executed sculptures stand in his name. However, even after a lapse of eight centuries, the art lovers of the whole world can adore this heritage centre. The Temple is not in a good shape still, you could spend hours studying the minute carvings on the exterior. The temple has lost its super structure but still looks very imposing.

The main attraction in Belur is the Chennakesava temple complex which contains the Chennakesava Temple (dedicated to Chennakeshava , meaning handsome Vishnu) as the centre piece, surrounded by the Kappe Chennigraya temple built by Shantaladevi, queen of king  Vishnuvardhana.

There are two more shrines here that are still in use by devotees and there is a Pushkarni or stepped well to the right side of the main entrance. The Dravidic style Rayagopuram at the entrance which was a later addition by the Vijayanagar kings, who considered this deity as one of their Kuladevata or family god.

This temple along with Hoysaleswara temple in Halebidu and the Jain monuments at Shravanabelagola are being proposed as UNESCO world heritage sites.

These images are my own and copyrighted. I have selected a few from hundreds of images that I took during the trip to post here. You can see more of these in my Flickr album.