Monday, December 28, 2009

Why 2009 was like any other year for Indian Cricket ?

Though we became No. 1 in tests, we realized we anyway don’t play enough number of tests. So BCCI again pulled strings, revised schedules and packed more cricket to keep everyone happy!

We won the ones against mediocre opponents – against Sri Lanka, New Zealand and West Indies.

However, when a half-decent side visited us for a seven match series, we gave up in the sixth match. To call that Australian outfit a second-string side is actually according that team a fair amount of respect!

When it came to the world stage, we failed to make the cut. We never do well when we begin as favorites whether it’s the WorldTwenty20 or ICC Champions Trophy.

We made batting pitches that put Sri Lankan curators to shame.

Our selectors treated yet another senior cricketer with no respect. And yet again Rahul Dravid, from the non-striker’s end , saw all the big names fail with the Indian score at 32-4 on the first day of a test match. And yet again, he maintained composure and replied with a 177!

Virendra Sehwag ran up a triple and still seems our best bet to be the first to score a double century in one-dayers.

VVS Laxman saved us a test match abroad. This time at Napier and once again we forgot his solid contributions.

We still haven’t found our next best spinner after Harbhajan Singh and our next best fast bowler after Zaheer Khan.

As television audiences, our action replays were once again cut short by a barrage of advertisements. We were subjected to LS for one more year and once again we didn’t have a choice but to stay put.

Our grounds were still packed. As fans we still don’t understand the “too-much-cricket concept” because we love the game and we love our heroes. We still flocked to the stadiums. We even cheered for Sreesanth. Yet, towards the end of the year, the average Indian cricket fan was once again asked to leave the stadium because one of the richest sporting federations in the world couldn’t ensure a decent playing track. In 1997 at Indore, on Christmas Day, we first got to know what a dangerous pitch meant.

Exactly twelve years later, the BCCI still didn’t care!

Monday, November 30, 2009

The Departure of the Prodigal Son

In his very first test, he managed what few batsmen get to list on their resume in a career span – be at the crease in the fourth innings of a test match in a winning cause. In his next six innings he scored two doubles, two centuries and one half century.

As seventh grade students, our most enduring memory of that dream run used to be that while we never knew what the day’s score was till we got home, we used to invariably find Vinod Kambli batting on one end. This began in his very third test when he ended the second day at 20 not out and was still batting at the end of the third day on 164 not out. The run-fest continued for a few more tests.

Meanwhile in school, if anyone batted well those days, we would call him Kambli regardless of whether the batsman was right or left-handed. We also stopped asking or caring how much Sachin scored. The question was more on the lines of “Is Kambli around?”, “How much did he score?”, “How did he get out?” To put in perspective, in the last twenty years such a phase has occurred only one other time – when a certain Virendra Sehwag relegated Sachin briefly to the status of an afterthought of a second question. The new question in mid-2000’s was “How much has Sehwag scored? And Sachin? ” I suspect that will remain the case for sometime now but nevertheless coming back to seventh grade.

Ah ! The summer of ’93! We had a new spin trio already being compared to the spin quartet, our captain was again beginning to flick the deliveries from outside off-stump to the square leg boundary, Sachin kept reminding us of his greatness every other test and just then, we thought, we had also unearthed our Bradman.

But the start was too good to true. Barely two years down the line, we saw the man weeping in front of a packed house in Eden Gardens. We felt for him but we didn’t know what was happening. It was beginning to sink in that unlike what we would’ve wished, the man had delivered his best so early in his career that he was struggling to cope with expectations, form, media and luck, all at the same time. His leg stump would go flying now more often than Batmobile. We started seeing what seemed odd to us first- him ducking awkwardly and scooping tame catches. And then we realized we had never seen him deal with bouncers before Walsh and company came to India. Reports of him being wayward with his after-cricket hours weren’t helping his case either. To top it off, he ran himself into what effectively was the worst ankle twist ever seen on television. Not to forget that he was the 12th man in that match and it took an entire year for him to get back to normal. No wonder, they say sometimes luck can be cruel but more importantly the cookie had crumbled sooner that we would’ve liked.

We can’t look back and find out if he really deserved another shot in the test side after nine comebacks to the ODI team. For a man who played his last test at 24, he probably did. We’ll also never know if he could’ve been more disciplined and would that have helped him prolong his career. We also don’t know whether his temperament itself was just not good enough for the highest levels. But what we do know that at one point of time, he was our childhood hero.

That’s why it hurts sometimes to know the man we loved seeing at the crease at one time, has been reduced to a contestant on reality shows. But what we still see in him is his zest for life and maybe if he is happy doing all that he is doing now, we just ought to be happy for him.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The Accomplishment

Monday: Familiar with numerous stories of failed attempts before, Rohan was a bit skeptical of whether he would really be able to make it. He knew this was the fastest route. Quick, yes but would it be smooth? He was soon going to find out.He had done his homework. He punched his coupons and with steady steps began the climb. But this is exactly when it was all beginning to hit him.

As he began the climb to get to Platform Number 2, he felt he had migrated to another planet altogether. It felt like being in a circus- you just didn't know where the next big trick was going to come from or from whom. Men with their bags & newspapers speeding by, cobblers with that rhythmic sales pitch of knocking their brush with on the ground and suddenly out of nowhere, the clamor of bells and sounds of people singing bhajans on a train that just zipped by- all of it seemed like perfectly oiled parts of the biggest automated machine in the world.

He stood there on the platform with nervous eyes. He clutched his laptop as the train approached. He was told he just had to follow the crowd. The train slowed and suddenly in the midst of a hundred armpits bang under his nose, he got where very few mortals manage on the very first day of taking a train- his left foot was on the train. He balanced himself and held the pole with one hand. His right foot was in the air but he was there. Until this one pull came so hard at him, that in a split second he found himself with both his feet, back on the platform !

The train was a distant sight by now.

Tuesday: He still couldn't get in.

Unlike yesterday, he went to Jogeshwari by rickshaw and tried getting into the fast local from there. Goregaon, he was told that day by his colleagues at work, was near impossible unless he travelled back to Borivali. Today again though, he didn't have a chance.They had said Jogeshwari might be 'relatively' easier to get in.The train was gone in the blink of an eye. Relatively speaking, he couldn't even figure today if this better or worse.

He waited for one more train to come into the station. The next one was even worse.He didn't even want to attempt it. Yesterday, it had taken him over two hours to get to Nariman Point by road but he had no choice.He stepped out of the station in a hurry and asked for a rick to Bandra.

Wednesday: He started off early and reached the Goregaon station at 7:20 a.m. He knew the odds that he had to beat by now.Something told him, he would beat the odds today. He felt in good nick. There were not as many people at the station today as at 8:20. This was a good enough reason. To make things easier, he had left his laptop at office too. Things seemed to click- he felt like a part of the crowd. He saw the old electronic sign right above his head. "F" , "7:29", it read. If the previous 2 days seemed like a bitter struggle, today seemed a struggle alright but a sweeter one. He floated through the crowd and no sooner than he realised, he was IN !

"We are the champions"- the song ran through this head. He smiled. He almost giggled to himself. Sweet !

Fifteen minutes later, a radio set crackled far away in Dahisar: " Abhi abhi khabar mili hain ki aaj savere kareeben saade saat baje, Mumbai mein, paanch trainon mein..."

Monday, October 26, 2009

The Pursuit of Happyness

Different routes ?

Get the one thing that you want most in life right now - like Ali and Zara

Change the world - like Gandhi

Speak up - like Jeffrey Wigand

Fulfil your dream - like Iqbal

Leave your existing baggage and do what you loved when you were in college - like Aditya, Jo, Rob and KD

Just be with someone you love - like C.C. Baxter

Go back to your best friends in life - like Sameer, Akash and Sid

Find a purpose - like Oskar Schindler

Take revenge - like The Bride

Forgive someone - like Cristina Peck

Make the one unforgettable sacrifice for someone you love - like Rick Blaine

Get lucky - like Bacon, Soap, Tom and Eddie

Live your life for someone else - like Chris Gardner

Or work inch by inch and minute by minute to work your way out of the shit around you - like Andy Dufresne...

Monday, September 28, 2009

Class of '98 at Goa !

We still recollect our school days from 1996 and can laugh on any of the Fire Extinguisher, Artifical Snowfall and Cell Diagram episodes. And I also learnt yesterday that Vijay had made something called Lancelot (Merchant of Venice?) Cell. What I can't seem to explain is why we laughed our guts so bad on this new bit of information that our tummies hurt !

One of us got married yet we can't help trying to better each other in cracking bad PJ's. Our hit ratio is worse than Courtney Walsh's batting average but it just doesn't seem to matter - we keep trying.

We can still just laze around all day and feel we've done ourselves a world of good. What's changed though is now we invariably want a beer in hand and now these days are very few and far in between. But we've made a start.

Rajputana Pride, Cricket, 'Nothing is Impossible' are recurrent phrases in our conversations. We've heard them all and still want more.

Tomar Sir, DD and Kho-Kho got their mandatory mentions.

We haven't seen each other's families in years yet everytime we meet, we feel our families have come closer.

We learnt a new way to say Boolean in sign language !

I introduced her to them. Touchwood.

Gaurav, Jaydeep and Vijay - Words fail me but I thank the Lord for still keeping us friends.

We want to meet atleast once every year from now on. It makes us feel like we're in St. Mary's and that means it makes us feel that God's in his heaven and everything's right with the world. Amen !

Saturday, August 15, 2009


I've set myself a date of August-end to finish off something - some sort of a personal goal. In school and college, I used to be quite particular about these date lines but this is a new one...

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

A Channel of Discomfort

Aman pushes the door aside with his hand on the knob and this girl pressed against him. They’re passionately kissing each other, his hand sometimes moves to her hair and sometimes to her waist. It’s love making like now or never. On the edge, volatile, this is sexual intimacy at it’s violent best with clothes on. They close the door behind while still kissing each other.

Aman manages to turn the lights on with one of his hands that search for the switchboard. It’s only for a second that he takes his hand off her but it feels to him like forever. His hand is back on her like a flash.

And suddenly they take their hands off each other.

The look in her eyes says it all. She wants all of him. Not an inch of his body will be spared tonight.

The sweat over his eyebrow says it all. He’s invested too much in this tonight to let it pass. It’s been hard work getting her here.He reaches out for her hair in one final lunge of a kiss and then he realizes he wants more.

“Can I do you tonight?” he asks fearlessly.

“What on earth makes you think I need to answer that?”, she says.

“I’m sorry I asked.” he screams out loud passionately and tears open her top.

She screams out loud too. This is it. This is the peak of his mundane 32 years of existence.

She isn't done screaming.“Why the fuck did you have to tear it off? It was my favorite top. I got it from Chanel.”

He’s… He’s…, He’s …well… stunned, to put it politely.

He mumbles and reaches out for her caringly. She will have none of it. All her passion has just dissolved in the Chanel top that lies on the bed, almost geometrically torn into two shreds now, held by this teeny-weeny button that’s somehow holding the whole thing together.

“Do you have any fucking clue what you’ve just done? I spent months trying to get this exact piece.”

"Hey…don’t worry baby. I know Channel. I’ll get you more… I’ll get you the exact piece. Don’t spoil this moment now…”

“It’s not Channel you nincompoop, it’s Chanel. Get out…”

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Just about...

... settled in Bombay.
... figuring friends out.
... finding way around
... keeping sanity.

Monday, May 25, 2009

The Deccan Chargers have arrived !

We have it!

After 13 months of when I first wrote about it and a month after I last hinted we might be moving towards it, the job's done.

Three sights that will forever remain from this year's final.

a.) Gilly urging his team mates just before the RCB innings took off. The passion in his eyes and his animated quick discourse firing up his team mates to win this almost told you DC will win it but the players had to live up to the captain and live up they did in style. If you need anymore proof of this, just replay in your mind Harmeet Singh's catch to dismiss Vinay Kumar in the 19th over - as good a catch as any you will see in any form of cricket! And possibly the best in a long time given the context of the game.

b.) The other is Pragyan Ojha's reactions - first after getting Manish Pandey and then after getting Van Der Merwe. If Gilly's eyes were all about passion then here was a man who wanted the win so badly he was going to get everyone from RCB out if they gave the man a few more overs. That belief in his ability shining through his face.

c.) The reserve bench running towards Gilly's arms after the game ended. As a fan, I would've to confess, that was something to see and not to write about.

All in all - sometimes it is indeed a function of how badly you want to achieve something. Looking at both the teams especially, looking at the way DC came out all fired up didn't you get the feeling Gilly wanted it more than Kumble?

Or maybe like analysts of all hues, I'm just trying to make sense where there's none.

In anycase, DECCAN CHARGERS - good on ya mates!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Moving to Mumbai and IPL

Two things affecting my life right now.

IPL is turning out to be 'happening' !

And my internal transfer to Mumbai office is happening.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

A Start

I wished this last year .

Don't want to jinx it .

So touchwood!

And prayers...


P.S.:Follow up to previous post: 20 WA movies done! :-)
Next stop: To bring it up to 25.

Monday, April 06, 2009

On Woody Allen!

It's no big deal for everyone else I know. But for me it is! Am personally kicked about achieving this milestone of having seen 20 Woody Allen movies. For the record am on 18 movies now and seem to have a plan in place to complete 20 by Easter Sunday.

Among all movie buff friends I have, I seem to have a decent headstart over all of them. (What's a little harmless brag!)

Special mention to Mahesh for introducing me to Habitat and Spidey for couriering me 3 movies across shores and sands from Bangalore to Delhi.

Needless to say, I would consider my life complete, if by the remotest hand of fate, I get to meet WA in New York... That will be the day!

Time's running out though, our man's already 74.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

The Exchange

It’s a nice and casual evening at the city park and people are enjoying their walk and conversations. Nothing is different about today. Even the loafer, who is lying on the last bench of the West Gate end gate of the park, is observing people, with his head resting on the arm of the bench, just like every other day.

With his lazy gaze, he is sifting his eyes through the bunch of people from a distance. Right next to him is the bench on which he has seen this couple many times before. The guy is formally dressed today while the girl is wearing a salwar kameez. They’re always holding hands. The loafer has seen more intimate couples before.

At this point, he notices a boy selling Frooti packs approaching the couple. The loafer wants a Frooti pack for himself. With this intention he fixes his gaze on the vendor. He has to wait now because the couple wants Frooti too. He sees them asking for 2 packs. The loafer observes the guy taking out money from his trouser pocket directly and not from a wallet. But now!

The guy on the bench took out a 100 Rupee note and some paper also seemed to have fallen from his pocket as he pulled out the money. He waits to see if the vendor or the girl has noticed the paper that fell out. From his bench he tries to wave to the guy that there’s a paper of some sort that is lying right next to his shoes. The loafer is not in the couple’s focus of conversation. They would rather now sip the Frooti. The loafer is too lazy to get up. He starts looking around and focuses his gaze this time on a juice vendor. After a short while, the couple leaves. They don’t know about the paper that lies right under their bench. The loafer slowly gets up behind them and walks up to their bench. With curious eyes, he bends down to pick up the piece of paper. His eyes light up!

The piece of paper is a 500 Rupee note! There’s a look of glee on his face now. He quickly glances around stealthily to see if anyone’s noticing him. No one else seems to be bothered. His assured right hand now is a fist holding the note tightly. He calmly puts his hand in the pocket and walks briskly towards the juice vendor. His body is upright and his walk is suddenly purposive now.

His right hand that was till now clutching onto the note in his pocket, now comes out and is thrust in the face of the juice vendor. He confidently asks the juice vendor for a change of 500 rupees. The juice vendor, however is not in a hurry. He suspiciously looks at the loafer and sizes him from head to toe. The vendor takes a second curious look at the 500 Rupee note. He senses something about it is not right, especially the paper. It feels too thin compared to other notes. He quickly draws another note from his cash box and places both of them next to each other. The loafer gets impatient and urges the juice vendor to give his change quickly. The juice vendor is still diligently comparing the notes. He holds out the just received note in the sun for a final check and he doesn’t see the Mahatma Gandhi watermark associated with genuine notes. He knows he has nabbed a culprit and quickly looks around.

A little further away, he sees a cop, the one who is a part of the State Police Team providing security for the park. He rushes towards him and gets to him in a flash. Excitedly, he shows him both the notes. The loafer meanwhile is quizzically looking at the two of them who are coming towards him. He quickly realizes the cop is coming towards him and makes a dash towards the exit gate. The cop whistles loudly while taking out his gun and chasing the loafer. The loafer doesn’t make it to the exit as the juice vendor and the cop catch up with him. He is callously held by his collar by the cop. The loafer begs him for mercy and tries to narrate what happened. The cop would have none of it. After much persuasion, the cop lets go of his collar with a forceful push. The cop appreciates the juice vendor’s initiative and steps out. He asks him to come to the police station and meet his friends in the police station.

“We need more people like you”, the cop tells the juice vendor. The juice vendor merrily walks back to his stall and wipes off the sweat with his towel that was wrapped around his neck.

The cop steps out of the exit gate and proceeds to walk towards a paan waalah’s shop. He nonchalantly hands over the 500 Rupee note to the paan waalah and asks for a pack of cigarettes. The paan-waalah hands over the pack.

The cop asks him, “How much is the Benson & Hedges full pack ?”

“80 Rupees. I will give you 420 Rupees back.” replies the vendor.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Soccer and Test Cricket

I think I might get lynched for writing this about a sport followed by all galaxies of the universe yet I must.

Soccer is instant relief. One pass, one dodge, one free-kick, one goal and there you have it! It’s like masturbation- it’s over even before you know!

Test Cricket is wooing a pretty dame from first sight, asking her out, ascertaining where you stand for her, making the move and then the climax!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Hero and I

I saw Marley and Me last night and nearly every scene reminded me of Hero.

The jumps, the tearing of the sofa, the poop, the licking, the posture, his ageing, everything...

What's worse, it reminded me of how I lost his best picture which I had kept in a book I was reading on a flight. I forgot to take the book when I de-planed and there went the best picture of the best looking dog ever... :-(

I think am an ass sometimes. I really must be one to keep his picture in a book instead of an album.

Hero was with us for ten years.

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Things to do

I have to open 6 different couriers that I've got.
I gotta courier a document back home.
The left sole of my black shoe has come off and I gotta go to a cobbler.
I've been wanting to open a bank account in a nationalised bank.
I have to shift a trading account from Delhi to Bangalore.

And that has been my list since whole of January. But I'm thinking February is another month and tomorrow is another day! :-)

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Saturday, January 10, 2009

These are tough times and I sincerely believe that the youth and intellingentsia of this country have to speak up, act and deliver through whatever platforms they're operating on to participate actively in the nation-building and nation-healing processes.

A very dear friend who owns a fast-emerging city search engine is pledging Re. 1 to the National Defence Fund for every registration on their site. The contribution will be made on January 26th, 2009. So just go right ahead and click the words - on your web browser and make the difference that you can.