Monday, December 01, 2008

Where do we go from here

India:
Now is the time to see if we're alone in the war against terrorism. Often, we've backtracked from our stand of taking definite action against terror, bowing down to international pressure. I believe that this is the best opportunity to stamp out terrorism and the naxalites from the country. Put pressure on Pakistan by taking US help to hand over Dawood, Masood Azhar. Make Pakistan destroy terrorist camps NOW! This is the time to test the US's commitment to its "strategic ally in the war against terrorism". If no one is willing to help, then bow before no one, forget the consequences and hunt down the terrorist camps across the border. We have concrete evidence, lets go get them. Its time to make a statement that we will do whatever it takes to protect our country. Stop letting down the armed forces, stop letting down the public.

Indian media:
Stop being overdramatic, people are sick of y'all! Barkha Datt in Kargil war 1999 isn't the same Barkha Datt today. She's over dramatic, pretentious, treats news reporting as a business. Here's my last image of Barkha Datt: Outside a BEST bus with NSG commandos in it. People standing outside. She says, "We see people saluting the real heroes, shaking hands." - thats the cue for the people to shake hands with the NSG commandos. Looks fake, looks staged. Same can be said about IBN which is just insensitive to the hostages as well as the men who're tasked with saving lives of hundreds stuck inside. The last thing a commando or a cop wants is a pesky journalist looking for sound bites when the lives of hundreds is at stake. Shoddy journalism. This is the last mention of the Indian media on this blog, because they're only going to get worse.

Islam:
Needs a renaissance, and needs it NOW! The image that remains in our mind is of a 18-24 yr old with a Kalashnikow in his hand, firing at will with a smile on his face, probably his last smile. The terror threat is not going to go away till people are getting brainwashed in institutions like Wahabbi Madarassas. All islamic nations, including India which has a huge Muslim population need to revisit education in Madarassas to make sure that children are given the right message from the Holy Quoran. The US needs to make sure that for every terrorist camp they flush out from Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, they set up schools for children without forcing their culture and make sure that the radicals dont brainwash innocent minds.

The West:
Try to realise the logic behind the terror attack. It was aimed at destabalizing India by attacking the financial capital. Jews and foreigners were the means to hurt a nation that is growing. If you have the doubt in your mind that India is probably as worse as its neighbour in terms of security, then you've let the terrorists successfully achieve their mission goal. Think about this the next time you want to invest in India - is India really as unstable as it has been projected by this terror attack? Did you pull out all money out of the US after 9/11 or stop investing in the UK after the London train bombings?

Lastly, I want to urge the Indian government to create a giant-ass pointed finger in the Arabian sea to show the West where the epicentre of terrorism exists. Clearly, they haven't realised it yet if channels like CNN are to be believed.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

A few thoughts on the terror strike on Mumbai

1. To CNN, FOX, ABC and all American news channels: The terror attack was on India, on Mumbai, not foreign tourists. Yes, a few foreign nationals were sadly targeted but stop making it to be a terror attack on the West.

2. To the Indian media:
a. "Hostage drama" does not describe the situation in Mumbai. It is not a freaking drama, people are dying.
b. It is sad when the NSG chief has to send you a SMS asking you to stop giving details about the operations. The terrorists are watching.
c. Stop glorifying your reporters and photographers, they are not in the middle of a war. Its a misplaced bravery.
d. Stop calling it "our version of 9/11".

3. To the politicians: Stop coming to Mumbai and divert resources to your security. You haven't done anything for the city and have left it to be raped again and again, so don't get your sorry asses to show a "unified front".

4. To Mumbai: Walk on, not in a sense of resignation that no one does anything for us. Walk on, in the spirit of Mumbai. Make yourself heard, show the world that you're just sick of getting hurt again and again.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Thanks for the memories



The sun has set on yet another legend, the first of the Kings has fallen (dethroned?). The off-side will be deserted by its God. Will be missed - Glorious cover drives- more elegant than any other batsman in the world, Obnoxious pokes at the swinging ball and even more obnoxious attempts to cope with the rising ball, strides down the track to whack the likes of Murali and co. over mid on -mid off boundary lines, stump-to-stump deliveries lethal in overcast conditions. But will be missed the most...the passion - the ability to look into the eyes of the Aussies and not flintch, bringing that missing bit of aggression into the team and converting the team from a one man army to a potent force. Controversies aside, Ganguly's Indian team were winners. Which other captain can claim 1.beating the Aussies at home after being 1-0 down in the series with a follow on in the 2nd. 2. Winning atleast 1 test match in each of the overseas tours except South Africa. 3. leading a team into a world cup final 4. beating Aussies in their own backyard. Without a doubt, the greatest captain to lead India. Lets give him the honour the 'Prince of Kalkuta' deserves. (need Mr. Boycott or his mum in the Aussie tour...Neo Sports are you listening?). The Indian cricket fan has developed a short memory, but for a change, lets remember the career of the man who changed the face of Indian cricket in the last decade. Saurav Ganguly - you will be missed!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Sweet!

Awesome feeling to watch the Indian flag flanked by the Chinese and the Finnish ones...Kudos to Abhinav Bindra for answering all those who asked "Bindra who?".Olympic gold baby!!!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Monday, June 30, 2008

Stray thought

I was reading another Wooster and Jeeves short story and couldn't help wondering if life would have been simple as a Wodehouse novel. I mean wouldn't it be just awesome to live life of the 'idle rich'?Chill out in some club, have countless pegs of whiskey and soda and spend days in the comfort of the country side. The best part of it is however the "engaged to be married" funda so frequently tried by the protagonists of his stories. You see a girl and fall in love at the first sight. You overcome all butterflies in the stomach, formulate a scheme to have her pushed in the lake n then save her and finally go up to her and ask "Wat ho!will you be my wife?" Forget the years of courtship and spending buckets of moolah on dates. A simple yes or no question does the work. If the object of affection replies in an affirmative "Coo!" then all is jolly good. If not, some one will say "tut!" and still everything will turn out fine. Simple as ABC. Boy! I really envy Bertie Wooster!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Keira Knightely

This is probably my most favourite one...the eyes have come out exactly the way i wanted them.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Katrina

Another vector portrait

This one is of my nephew Sid...

My first vector portrait

Wat do you think?




p.s. Created using Adobe Illustrator CS.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Dial 911 if this doesn't make you smile :)



p.s. The adorable baby in the vid is my nephew.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Sarkar Raj

*WARNING: Spoilers ahead*



To be frank, I wasn't so keen on watching the next installment of the Sarkar series. I had liked Sarkar. I thought it was a decent remake of the Godfather and certainly proved that Abhishek B. can certainly do the thing with his eyes and expressions when cameras are focussed close enough to spot the white anomaly in what is otherwise a what-daddy-would-be-proud-of black stubble. What I didn't like in the movie was just the "Govinda Govinda" soundtrack playing in the background while the actors lipsynched to what one perceived as poor dialogues in the script that were edited out. Besides, too much of the same thing (YRF another guilty party in this celluloid crime) makes a movie goer buy cheap pirated DVDS. The excessive use of the Factory formula of using close-up camera mechanism and giving the backgroud track more prominence than dialogues coupled with the 24/7 news channel's excessive promotion of buy-2-get-1-free Bacchan family pack did dampen one's spirits.

However, dampened spirits or not, one doesn't have much choice if its raining continously when one's vacationing (read- reading the adventures of Bertram Wooster and watching yet another horror movie on DVD). So when a close pal phoned up, off we went to watch Sarkar 2 aka Sarkar Raj with the following expectations which Ram Gopal Varma (Wormaaaa nahi Varma) duly catered to:

1. Microscopic detailing of the wrinkles on Big B's face, extra-smooth-Loreal-she's-worth-the-millions-we-paid-for face of Ash R.B and its-after-all-in-the-genes-damn-the-writer-is-obssessed-with-hypens-in-adjectives angry young man look in the eyes of the Junior B.

2. The aforementioned background "Govinda Govinda" soundtrack played as a tribute to the legendary Virarian, yet to be seen doing a pelvic thrust in a RGV phillum.

3. Tanisha dying in a car bomb blast. Yuss, the Rawle brain anticipated what the other matinee show watchers at Chitra Theatre didn't. Common sense - RGV or no RGV, you cannot have a AbhiAsh movie without a romantic angles between them. Also, the tribute had to be kept pouring to the Mario Puzo classic and what was perceived as a loss of memory on the screenplay writer's part in the first movie was merely an inability to adjust the death of the first wife within the length of the FEquel.

4. A good script (need of the hour after watching dozens of RGV movies post Sarkar) and some bole toh ekdam kadak dialogues.

So far so good. But it got even better. Firstly, Dilip Prabhavalkar (to those not familiar with Marathi television, theatre and movies: the dude who played M.Gandhi in Lage Raho...Munnabhai) as the Gandhian Raosahab was something refreshingly new in the typical RGV starcast. I'm a huge Prabhavalkar fan. The dude is true master of disguise and has delivered stunning performances on TV as well as the movies.

Secondly, deja-vu in the character of the Somji, the angry young leader, who is against the city politicians and businessmen, aka outsiders, setting up a power plant in his matrubhumi. A spectacled young leader, against the Sarkar, seemingly fighting for the cause of Maharashtra-now where have we seen that before?

Finally, what worked for me was the plot twist towards the end. I sure as hell didn't see that one coming. This was some sort of a relief after being subjected to kuch-bhi types plot-twists in movies like Race.

The only disappointing scene in the movie was the one in which Kantilal Woraaa pays a visit to Sarkar and Pushpa Nagare serves him idli sambar. It was a tailor-made comic scene for Supriya Pathak to go overdrive into Hansaben mode and ask "Hello!how are?khaana khaake jaana ho" to the visiting Vora (Woraa). Sadly, RGV's script writers aren't smart enought to think of that and Pushpa Nagare exits the scene dialogueless, as she does throughout the movie.

So, all-in-all, one ends up pretty alright if not satisfied after watching Sarkar 2. With the ending, RGV does keep one guessing if there will be a TEQuel which will showcase the rise of Chiku as the heir to the Sarkar throne and the disputes over the leadership in the Sarkar camp over the citizenship of its current First Lady. Or would Chicku be treacherously plotting the revenge for his fathers death?Will RGV make the casting coup of the century by unveiling Mimoh Chakraborty as Chicku Nagare? With Mrs. Rai-Bacchan as the mother Maharashtra in the next movie, one thing is for certain..."chicku ya audience..koyi toh ek definitely pakne wala hai"

Sunday, June 08, 2008

...not this year!


Nadal prevails for yet another year! Sublime display by the lean Spaniard yet again and surely this must be the highest high of his career with the sheer brutality displayed against the world no.1. Nadal must be oozing with confidence going into Wimbledon and must be really fancying his chances on the grass on which Federer has ruled for a long time.



So Federer has to wait for another year to have crack at the title which has eluded him much like the roadrunner has proven elusive to the wiley coyote. Coming into the tournament, Federer did dig deep into his supply of Acme "Win the French open" toolkit and hired the services of Jose Higueras, a man with a great knowledge of the clay surface. The way in which the draws panned out, Nadal was always going to be the one that Federer would have to worry about. To be fair to Jose, all he could have done in 1 month was give Federer insights into Nadal's game, point out possible weaknesses and come up with a strategy to combat Nadal.



Throughout the match, one could see that Federer had a gameplan and it was a good one. Push Nadal on the backfoot, open up the court and then finish off the point with a strong approach shot or a precisely angled volley. But sadly, he couldn't execute it to perfection. A key to this plan was getting a high percentage of first serves in. But Federer struggled with his serve, right from the first game and was broken time and again by Nadal. Federer's points conversion on the second serve was even more miserable and he managed to win just 5 points on the second serve in the whole match.



On the times when he did push back Nadal and went for the kill, the net seemed to get in the way of his volleys every time. Federer, well aware of the speedy Spaniard's quick court coverage, tried to be Euclidienly precise with his angles, but sadly the shots just didn't seem to come off. Nadal was ruthless on his own serve and gave Federer few chances. Federer did stage a momentary fightback in the second set but Nadal was well in control and by breaking his serve in the second set dealt a major blow to Roger's confidence. Federer gave up after 2 breaks on his serve in the third set and Rafa finished him off 6-0.



So, will the grand old tradition of Rafa munching on the Roland Garros trophy and Roger adding more pockets to his jacket at Wimbledon continue? Will Rafa, Djokovic and Roddick stop Federer from making a style statement of adding a pocket on the back of his shirt or will the Federer express roll on the grass? My money is on Nadal this time. He came close last time and has hit a purple patch this time around. Ofcourse there are 2 more weeks to go but if he carries the same form into Wimbledon, Roger's task will be cut out. Hopefully Wimbledon will be more interesting than the French open. One can only hope!

Friday, June 06, 2008

Can he do it??



Will the force be with Federer?

Will Roger be the roadblock in Rafa's run?

Will Rafa djokovic Roger?

The odds are stacked heavily in favor of Nadal. Can a struggling Roger Federer tame a rampaging Rafael Nadal? Hope this turns out to be one hell of a final!

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Is our PM a good leader?

Great minds are not necessarily great leaders. Knowledgeable and brilliant minds are not necessarily great teachers. I remember my days in college where I occasionally made serious attempt to stay attentive in the class when a certain professor with a reputation of "knowing his stuff" would teach. However, I couldn't help falling asleep. Now leaving aside a chance of iron deficiency, there were two reasons for this. 1. My own lack of interest in the subject. 2. The professor unable to convey his ideas effectively. I was in a mess and if it weren't for Primera Vista and Maddy I would have flunked my vivas. The point I'm trying to make here is that both these guys were of my age and the professor in question had more knowledge and experience than both combined but they were able to able to communicate the concepts more effectively than the professor. The problem here was that the professor knew his stuff but couldn't make the class listen.

I got the same feeling today after listening to our Prime Minister's address to the nation where he explained how the recent hike in fuel prices was inevitable. It is pretty obvious that his party would get the stick from the Left and the opposition for hiking fuel prices when the country is battling against inflation. But it was something that had to be done. The state-run oil companies could not absorb more losses than they already have and the only alternative left was to transfer some minimum burden onto the junta. It makes sense to present the case before the people but it was really sad to see the PM sounding extremely apologetic about the steps he had taken. It sounded as if we were attacked by our neighbours and the PM was conceding defeat. I couldn't take it after 2 minutes and I switched the channel. As a Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh failed to communicate his ideas to me, a common man.

Now, no one can doubt Mr. Singh's credentials as a top economist and a brilliant finance minister. After all, he's a key architect in Indian economy's resurgence in the last 15 years. However, it doesn't make him a leader with natural charisma that captivates and awes the millions when he speaks. The last one year in particular has been a test of his leadership capabilities. Right from convincing his own allies about signing the Nuke deal with the US to the present oil crisis, our PM has compromised and bent before his party's wishes. A mild-mannered PM appeared perennially bent at the hips and could not push forward his policies to his own allies, let alone the opposition. He came out with the right ideas but fell short of convincing everyone about them. This probably is the difference between an economist and a voice of a billion people. Compare that to Narendra Modi, a man everyone loves to hate but listens to. He's brash, with no remorse for his sins, a man who should be tried for mass genocide, but when he speaks Gujarat listens. And because he can make them listen, they feel that he's fighting the Hindutva cause, he's the man that will change the history of Gujarat, he's their voice.

Leadership is not about being the most qualified in terms of knowledge in the domain. It is about mananging people and making them listen to you. A.P.J Abdul Kalam was the voice of our generation. Pratibha Patil isn't. Mayawati is the voice of the downtrodden in UP, Rahul Gandhi isn't. In Maharashtra, the ones reaching out to people are the Thakarey cousins. The Congress is silent. The Congress is facing a void in leadership since the assasination of the Gandhi mother and son, who could reach out to the people. They never filled up that void and now its hurting them. The secular flag won't work now. Billion people want their voice to be heard. They want someone to give them that voice. Who will step up and answer their call?

Saturday, May 24, 2008

T20 is not cricket!

Quite interesting to read comments by Jeffery Archer and purists about how Twenty-Twenty offers good entertainment but is not cricket. Every time I hear or read that, it makes me wonder, "What are these guys talking about?" You have the required personnel in form of the players and the umpires, and the necessary equipment that one uses to play cricket. 95% rules are borrowed from the 50 overs version. The players are the same. England suck at it. So how is it not cricket?

Probably these pundits grew up watching cricket in the stands of some colonial British club sipping Darjeeling tea. They swore on W G Grace when a batsman would get forward on the front foot, with head held still and eyes on the ball and tap down the ball with the softest of touches. "What an exquisite shot, eh Jeeves?W.G. Grace couldn't have played it better." The mere sight of a batsman coming down the track and whacking a medium pacer out of the stadium is bhasphemy. "Heavens to Murgatroyd Jeeves!What a brute display of violence!Savage Jeeves, this axe wielding man is a savage!" I have one question for the pundits. Didn't you guys ever play 6-a-side 5 over matches as kids?Wasn't the sport in question cricket back then?So why the resentment towards T20?

Another point raised again and again is how Test cricket needs to be protected from the onslaught of T20. How T20 will kill Test cricket is something I cannot comprehend. Both versions have their own appeal. For a dedicated cricket audience, lovers of the game, Shane Watson smashing Shoaib Akhtar over the cheerleaders' pom-poms gives the same adrenaline rush given by Sachin Tendulkar getting under a Bret Lee bouncer. In India, India's Tour of Australia in 2007-2008 was followed as religiously as the T20 world cup and the IPL. So, the idea of T20 killing Test cricket seems a tad absurd. I'll say embrace T20, keep windows for professional leagues across the globe and in the rest of the season have ODI and Test cricket. One cant complain about too much cricket!

Friday, May 23, 2008

IPL: Gazing through the crystal ball

Now that the IPL is in the business end of the season, here's yours truly wondering what the Sports headlines in the future seasons for IPL and T20 leagues across the globe might look like:

Derby Day match preview: Mumbai Indians vs New Mumbai Radicals
Its a crucial derby day for both Mumbai teams as the Mumbai Indians look to clinch a semifinal spot for the 5th consecutive year while 2 points will provide the Radicals a much needed boost in their relegation battle. Rumours of a possible takeover at the Radicals by Anil Ambani and a dressing room brawl between Harbhajan Singh and Shoaib Akhtar have compounded the misery on the Radicals who are on a 4 match losing streak...

Rajasthan Royals beat Western Australia Warriors in Champion's league thriller
It was the ecstasy of victory for the Royals and the agony of the bowlout for the Warriors as Shane Warne led his team to a thrilling victory at the WACA. Chasing a target of 250, the home team got off to a quick start, thanks to captain Ponting's swashbuckling innings of 130 off 79 balls. However, Warne spun his team back into the game picking up 3 wickets in his 3rd over...

Fan violence mars the victory celebrations for London United
Around 50 visiting fans were held outside the Chinaswamy stadium following a brawl between the visiting British and the Royal Challengers fans. Reports suggest that the fight started after the visiting fans started chanting "Kingfisher tastes like p***" to which the home supporters took offense...

Anil Ambani buys New Mumbai Radicals for $300M, decides to rechristen the franchise as ADAG BIG Radicals
Intra-city cricket rivalry entered into a new era as Anil Ambani bought the New Mumbai franchise for a whooping $300M. In a press conference, Ambani announced that the franchise would now be known as ADAG Big Radicals and that there would be massive investments made in the team for the next season...

Pune Puneri Punekars promoted from the K.K.Krishna Kunj Zeera-Soda Championship
It was a day of celebration for all Punekars as their team was promoted to the IPL. The Punekar supporters, known for their sarcastic banners aka "Puneri Patyas", celebrated the victory into the wee hours of 11PM last nite...

Tabloid talk...
$100m Tendulkar-New South Wales link rubbished by Mukesh Ambani (Mumbai Mirror)
Greg Chappell to invite Ganguly for the post of Knight Riders first team coach?? (Mid day)
Celebrity WAG Deepika Padukone dumps boy friend Piyush Chawla (Dainik Jagran)
Joey Barton arrested for assault at Wankhede (Daily Mirror, Sun, News of the World etc etc)

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Vengurla trip



I was in Konkan and Goa over the weekend and happened to visit a friend's hometown of Vengurla. It is situated in Sindhudurg district, some 522 kilometres from Mumbai. Now I absolutely love the beaches in Konkan and didn't want to miss out the opportunity to visit Sagareshwar, which is located at a place called Ubha Danda, within the town. The Sagareshwar beach is basically a long stretch of silver sand and further extends to the Mochemad beach near Shiroda village.


Like most of the beaches in Konkan, this is named after the Sagareshwar mandir which is situated some 200 metres from the beach. This is quite a beautiful temple of lord Shiva.(Pics to be added soon)

The beach itself is extremely beautiful. Silver sand merging into crystal clear sea water. Now, the MTDC folks warned us not to venture beyond a few metres inside the water as the tides tend to pull the sand into the sea and one tends to lose footing as the water retreats into the ocean. However, we did manage to go in till the water was up to the level of our hips and surprisingly, we could see the sea bed with the naked eye. Like Tarkerli in Malvan, this beach too has potential as far as snorkelling and scuba diving is concerned, but as in the case around Konkan, the natural weath remains totally unexploited.





It really pains to see how little MTDC has done for promoting tourism in this part of the state. We wandered into the MTDC resort near the beach and all we could find were a handful of cottages with trees all around. The rooms itself are priced unreasonably at Rs. 1300 per day with no facilities other than a couple of beds and a bath. No beach shacks, no stalls, just a long stretch of beach. Compared to this, at Malvan, a certain marine biologist Dr. Sarang Kulkarni has taken the initiative to start scuba diving and snorkelling at the Tarkerli beach. He has invested his own time and money to train the locals in scuba diving. This is a good way for the kids to learn about the beautiful flora and fauna in our seas. To further promote tourism in this part of India and attract foreign tourists, Mr. Kulkarni plans to set up an artificial beach in Malvan. If corporates and the government back projects such as these, it will not only do wonders to the economy but also give everyone a chance to enjoy this hidden treasure of nature.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Scent of a Woman climax



I happened to watch "Scent of a woman" last nite.The clip above is the climax of the movie. Its one exceptional speech delivered superbly by Al Pacino.What an actor!!!

By the way, if Scent of a Woman was remade in Hindi, would they call it "Aurat ki boo"?

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Three cups of tea

Picked up this book "Three cups of tea" from my aunt's bookshelf. Its the most amazing story ever told about a man waging his own war against terror by means of education. It is the story of Greg Mortenson, a mountaineer, an ex US marine and a nurse who tries to scale K2, probably the most challenging peak for a mountaineer, as a tribute to his late sister. A mishap involving another teammate and the rescue mission takes a toll on Greg physically as well as mentally and they have to abort the climb a few hundreds of metres from the summit. A degected Mortenson loses his way on the descent and ends up in a poverty struck village in Pakistan where he's taken care of wonderfully by the villagers. Mortenson vows to build a school for the local kids who have to take school lessons on any icy floor in the village. Mortenson, himself broke, puts in all his willpower to test and manages to build around 50 schools in Pakistan against many obstacles created by a few greedy Mullahs, the Taliban and and continues the work in post 9/11 Afghanistan. It is an incredible story of how one man has dared to change the history of the world through the most powerful tool of them all, education.

The book is an eye-opener to the western world an even probably to a lot of Indians. It shows how misdirected America's war against terrorism is, they are just killing people, be it the Taliban or in Iraq; and not the thought that is spreading across the poorer Islamic countries like a virus and in the process killing thousands of civilians. It also shows how misguided are the statements regarding the relief work in Afghanistan and how less has the world done to bring back Afghanistan to their feet.

Greg Mortenson will surely win the Nobel prize someday for his work. He's trying to fight terror by fighting poverty, by creating employment for the poor in Pakistan and Afghanistan and empowering women with education and he's doing all of that by embracing Islam and the people's way of life and not forcing the western culture in their simple lives. He has his concerns about the fundamentalist teachings in the Wahabbi Madarassas which are spreading like a virus in Pakistan, thanks to the billions pumped in by the businessmen from Saudi Arabia and is battling this by starting his own schools funded by his organisation the Central Asia Insitute (CAI). The right way to fight terror will be supporting causes such as the CAI's and funding them appropriately so that they manage to continue their work in these extremely volatile regions. More about the CAI can be learnt at this address. I recommend all readers of this blog to pick up a copy of this book online as 7% of the sales is donated to this organisation or make a small contribution to this worthy cause. Terrorism is affecting all of us, lets fight it together!

Friday, May 09, 2008

Aala Re! The IPL adventure



After endless discussions over lunch on IPL, the players, the money, trying not to punch Tomite for his annoying loyalty towards the Super Kings, Sabby's pre-match trash talks and Vinite's cribs about Mumbai Indians not signing major stars, someone came up with the idea of watching the game live in Mumbai. After two unsuccessful attempts at executing the plan (mainly due to Maddy's other commitments ;-) ) and yet another unsuccessful attempt by Vinite to carry out an online transaction, the newly unemployed your's truly managed to get hold of tickets from a Reliance Fresh outlet.

So, after weeks of planning and convincing Maddy to wrap up his plans for that day, we took the long journey to The D. Y. Patil Cricket Stadium at Nerul East. As luck would have it, there was a Megablock at Kharghar and so we had to get off at Vashi after switching two trains. "The Indians better deliver today", I mumbled to myself as the dude standing behind me in the overpacked bus kept kicking me. I did manage to stamp on the dude's shoes before I got off. Pure evil..i know! The buzz outside the stadium was obviously about the One known as God not playing. After another 15 mins in the long line, going through shady characters dealing in black tickets and the customary pushing and shoving and the so called security checks, we finally made it inside the ground.

Big D spotted the Reliance Trends outlets selling the Mumbai Indians Merchandise. The people at Reliance Industries surely wont let any opportunity to make a quick buck pass by. Selling cheap merchandise outside the stadium is yet another revenue generator for the Ambanis. The lads didn't need much convincing by Big D, and soon, we put on our new "Tendulkar 10" jerseys and walked into the jam-packed stadium.




My first impression after getting in was "Wow! this is some awesome ground!". Its absolutely beautiful with comfortable seats offering terrific view from any part of the ground, an awesome quick outfield and a state-of-the-art media centre. It will look fabulous once they put up the roof. The only negative point is the huge gap on either side of the VIP box. My guess is that all the sound escapes from these gaps and hence you don't get those Wankhede stadium noise levels on the ground. But nevertheless, its an awesome ground and the atmosphere was absolutely electric. In the words of Ravi Shastri, "you could feel the intensity in the air".



The Daredevils won the toss and not-so-surprisingly chose to field first. I think, thats the trend that seems to be catching up these days. Teams prefer to field first, restrict the opposition to a total and then chase down under the lights taking into consideration the dew in the latter half of the game and the possible advantage of knowing a target before hand. You can never say, what total will be good enough in the T20 format. The umpires then came on to the field quite appropriately to the tune of K-R-A-Z-Z-Y 4. In the back of my mind, I hoped that the 4 officials would do no justice to the Hrithik-SRK track and sense would prevail in the tense moments in the game.



Soon, the Devils came out to some dull Daredevils tune. Of all the teams, their's has to be the worst anthem!"jo khelta hai woh jeetata hai...something something..." The Mumbai opening batsmen came out to a rapturous applause and the lezim and Nashik dhol playing in the backgroud.



The Dhol got the crowd dancing on their seats. All the noise and 55000 loud supporters ought to make any opposition nervous and it showed in the first few overs. Takawale and Jayasuriya got off to a cautious start before Surya, as the crowd affectionately chants his name, hit some vicious blows to get the crowd and the score going. Yo! Mahesh finally got rid of the two batsmen in one over (the delivery that uprooted Surya's leg stump was one peach of a delivery!) and it was upto Uthappa and Bravo to consolidate the innings.



The crowd was having fun within the "dull" parts of the innings by throwing paper-rockets at A B de Villiers standing at the boundary. De Villiers was game enough to accept the challenge and threw back a few planes inside, much to the crowd's delight. There are always a couple of wiseguys in the crowd who create their own chants "Mangalmurti Uthappa" or "nick de de Dominic" (the latter coined by apna Sabby). Robin Uthappa hit a suicidal cheeky back flip to get himself out like he does so often these days. It threw the Mumbai innings in a sort of a crisis at 90/4 but thanks to some good hitting by Dominic Thornley and a late but extremely useful hard hitting by Shaun Pollock, Mumbai managed to get to a fighting total of 162/8.



The innings break was well utilized by yours truly over two yummy Samosas. Seats were swapped and I sat next to Sabby to rub on some salt on his would-be wounds if the Indians clobbered his Dare Hue Devils. The Devils innings started and Polly Kaka meant business. He tied down Gambhir (who has his own chant...Goti goti goti ..to the tune of that Foster's ad) and finally Nehra got rid of him early. Dhawan was taken by Polly and the visitors were struggling for 7/2 after 3 overs. De Villiers and Sehwag tried to resurrect the innings but A B fell to some good reflexive work by Dhaval Kulkarni. Sehwag hit some meaty blows and the home crowd appreciatively gave him an applause for his efforts. The match carried on till the crucial 13th over when suddenly Sabby n co rose up...i was like WTF! till I realized that after 6-7 failed attempts, the crowd managed to get a Mexican wave going. And then the waves kept coming. Suddenly, the match reached a high tide with the crowd creating a wave after every 10 seconds...kudos! to the crowd for getting it right! The Daredevils innings crumbled like cookies in the crucial stage of the game much to Vinite's delight and Sabby's disgust! The joy on the face of the victor and the anguish on that of the vanquished is quite evident from the pics here...



At the end, the Indians had a good victory with a decent batting performance, a miserly bowling performance and an absolutely awesome fielding effort, hallmark of any Shaun Pollock team. Come to think about it, why was Bhajji chosen as the captain when we had the likes of Pollock and Surya in the team? Strange are the ways of Indian cricket and its wise not to question the insane. Anyhooo, one has to see an IPL game live. Watching it on TV at home is just not the same. The intensity, the atmosphere, the cheerleaders, the music and ofcourse the cricket...its one carnival not to be missed. Its an event well organised, keeping the crowd involved in the game all the time is not easy and the event organizers have done a splendid job. They have done their homework and know their crowd. When the game becomes a tad dull, a foot-stomping bollywood number is played to get the spirits roaring again. So, Lalit Modi and co...take a bow...its a job fantastically done!

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Shaking off the rust...

So I'm back again with more ramblings...too many thoughts..we'll do the first in first out way as taught at the Baba Agnel Abhiyantriki Mahavidyalay, Vandre Paschim, Mumbai kramanka char shunya shunya shunya paach shunya.
To start off, it feels great to be back in Bombay (so I did come here every weekend but a vacation is different :P phbbt!!). My last days in Pune were memorable practically just chilling out with my roomies and office folks. Its been awesome fun with all these guys around...Maddy, Tomite, Vinite, Sabby, Neverknown, Kiran and even Kaka Khairnar...all the dinner time talks at Venky villa and again at Suraj Nagar ( deviation from the post for a Tomitesque joke: Sabby on our Murud Beach trip: "On our next trip...lets get the WAGS and go to Sun City? Tomite: "U mean apna Suraj Nagar??), all the drunken ramblings (U f***rs still haven't told me what the hell was floating!) and all the bluffs targetted on Vinite and Tomite (Vinite became THE target much to Bando's relief). Awesome time! (I can go on with the memories...will do in a separate blog if i remember...but if i don't...do know that u guys rock!)
It was a wonderful gesture on my team's behalf to give me a neat Titan voucher and a never-to-be-forgotten "what Sachin Tendulkar feels like" moment when I said my goodbyes for the final time. A team of forty five including my manager, lined up and gave me an applause as I walked up to that gate (which I always 'push' instead of 'pulling'). The feeling was just overwhelming to see my entire team and my old teammates and other old friends just standing and applauding as I waved goodbye and walked out of the Aetna Field Office for the very last time...a moment I'll cherish for the rest of my life.
Now that I'm free...well sleeping a lot...A LOT!! saw the IPL game of aamche Indians vs the Delhi Dare hue Devils...more about that in a separate post...just trying to settle down into a routine now. I've been trying to put up something on blogger for quite some time but apparently there was some virus called Trojan.Drondog which kept blocking all google sites and kept displaying some garbage on the Dashboard page whenever I opened blogger in IE. Low blow tactic from Microsoft??huhuhahahaha we need to investigate!! But har Microsoft ke liye ek Fox rehta hai aur use hum Firefox bolte hai...so a special thanks to the engineers at Mozilla for creating such an awesome software..
More ramblings to come in the near future...m targetting a post a day...kindly bear with the writer...

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

From The Fountainhead

It is not in the nature of man-nor of any living entity-to start out by giving up, by spitting in one's own face and damning existence; that requires a process of corruption whose rapidity differs from man to man. Some give up at the first touch of pressure; some sell out; some run down by imperceptible degrees and lose their fire, never knowing when or how they lost it. Then all of these vanish in the vast swamp of their elders who tell then persistently that maturity consists of abandoning one's mind; security, of abandoning one's values; practicality, of losing self-esteem. Yet a few hold on and move on, knowing that that fire is not to be betrayed, learning how to give it shape, purpose and reality. But whatever their future, at the dawn of their lives, men seek a noble vision of man's nature and of life's potential.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Some gyan for a change

Feels great to wake up in the morning and read a good news in the mail. Finally an admit from one of my preferred bschools. It was one application where everything went right, from the essays till the interview. In the process, I realised a few things that I would like to share (if anyone is interested ;-) ).

1. Don't blindly accept all comments that your counsellor gives you. I had heavily editied my Tepper and North Carolina essays based on my counsellor's suggestions. At the end, my essays did not reflect myself and my own career goals, no matter how hazy they might sound. For my Kelley essays, I chose not to edit my essays too much and went ahead with what I felt was right. I believe one particular essay in which I could add a touch of humour made the difference. The adcoms have to read thousands of essays. If you can show something new, something fresh, they will definitely appreciate that.

2. If you have an opportunity to have a face-to-face interview, take it. Show them your confidence. It might be my personal opinion, but my face-to-face interview was smoother and definitely more comfortable than my telephonic interview. A personal interview with the Head of Admissions of a good bschool is worth the experience. It was very professional but casual at the same time and I got good insights into Kelley with the answers given to my questions. I believe that this is where Indian bschools miss a trick or two. Presentations are usually dull. One-on-one sessions are definitely more informative.

3. Avoid cliched answers in interviews. If you have a list of '200 most likely questions asked in bschool interviews', shred it. You cannot have all answers prepared. Yes, prepare a few answers, but don't learn them like the formulae in HSC Chemistry. The adcoms want to know you. They will ask you the regular questions but they will also ask you stuff like "if you had to go back and change one thing in your professional life, what would that be?". They ask these questions to evaluate you better, to see if you are the right fit for them.

4. Know the school well. Ask questions that really interest you. eg.Kelley gives students an opportunity to complete their final year courses online. I asked them if students actually go for it and how does it compensate for the group activities that one might miss out on? He was honest with his answer and told me that in the last three yearss only person had applied for it and that the school did not recommend it a lot. Also, do ask them about the life in the city, especially if the school is based in a student's town.

5. Suit up for the interview and be professional. Do exchange basic courtesy. If the adcom member asks you how your day was, do give a reply which is more than 'fine!' but keep it short.

Anyway, I guess too much gyan makes a blog dull and these are just my experiences and one might disagree with my approach as well.
Feels good...this has been just a wonderful day!

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Ausholes!

Dear Mr. Andrew Symonds,

First of all, Kudos...not for 16 wins in a row but for your splendid act on Day 2 of the SCG test. Summoning an unsuspecting Bajji, who has been giving nightmares to your Captain (Quote frm Ponting before the Sydney test: "I'm not Bhajji's bunny"...eh ya sure you can say that before the 3rd test again...he wont be there to make you look like a fool), for a brief chat and then accusing the same of racist comments...For the benefit of the readers of this particular letter, let me now tell you what exactly happened on day 2 at SCG.
Symonds: Hey Bhajji, you f@#@$@##@# !!!!!!!
Bhajji: Chup be saale...jaake bowling daal...teri maa ki aankh...
Symonds: What was that?I'm a monkey ass?

So as you can see, Bhajji just made a small offending comment about your mom...nothing racist about it...hope thats alrite with you mayte!And FYI...you are not getting all those monkey chants because of your race. We, in India dont know what your race is, or for that matter what our race is. We're so busy with our own regionalism and communalism that we dont have time to worry about our race or for that matter even yours. I mean, if Thierry Henry n Ronaldinho ever come to India, we wont abuse them in their game against East Bengal. So why the hell would we racially abuse you?

Let me tell you why...its just because of the way you look. Why dont you just admit that you are one ugly bastard and move on with your game? For starters, stop putting that stupid cream below your lips. Cut your damn hair and then step on the pitch. Maybe my people will start stop making those monkey chants and maybe give you what we call "maa bahen" ki galiyan.

Anyway, monkey?well dont know about that...but I do feel that you look like that predator creature from that Arnold movie...have a look




So I hope that I have cleared the confusion for you. So let me just go back and enjoy a pint of arguably the best beer in the world, and the only good thing about Australia. I'm sincerely hoping that the third test does get played, and the Indians destroy you where you expect them to make a meek surrender. Cheers!

Regards,
An extremely pissed off Indian Cricket Fan
"Proud to wear blue"