25 December, 2008

It's better without the music

Never thought I would say this, but an early morning jog is a hell lot better without any music in my ears. Just helps me get closer to nature.

17 December, 2008

Random thought

A young man can walk at 120 steps/minute
The same man when he becomes old might walk at 80 steps/minute

Why and when does the speed change. The general answer to this is that he slows down as he ages. True.

But, if I can walk at 120 steps/min today, I can surely walk at the same speed tomorrow. And if I can walk at that speed tomorrow then I can surely walk at that speed the day after and so on day after day for years.

So when do we actually slow down?

11 December, 2008

Cowards?

"Terrorits are cowards. They harm innocent people. We will fight against terror." These are the statements patented by politicians the world over. And they say it with such authority that they expect an applause for these statements.

Bloody bullshit. These statements had value in the early ages of terrorism when we had some hope from politicians. But no more. By no means are terrorists cowards. They are the biggest dare-devils who have the guts exceeding the heights of supremacy. They have the guts to roam around with high-end gadgets and arms - ammunitions. They have the guts to roam around without any protection. They know that they are not going to win in the end and that they would either die or be caught. They have the guts to die for their cause. (And, we cannot judge whether their cause is right or wrong. What is right for us is wrong for them and vice-versa.) And politicians call them cowards? Ha! Its the politicians who are cowards who buckle under the forces of terror and allow terrorism to survive. Terrorists just make us realise what a hopeless world we live in.

01 December, 2008

Guitar

After much delay, I finally bought a guitar.

10 November, 2008

End of Dada-giri – A Salute To The Prince

Every cricketer dreams of achieving at least one record set by the great Sir Don Bradman. However, if there is one record no cricketer would like to share with Bradman, it is of getting out for zero in the last international innings. Unfortunately, Sourav Ganguly did just that.


Few, and in the Indian context ‘very few’ cricketers get the chance to go with full glory…when they wish. As the great Late Vijay Hazare put, “You should retire when people ask you ‘why’ instead of ‘when’”. The great player that Sourav Ganguly was he got a chance to do what he always said he would – retire on his own terms.


Ganguly was initially a right-handed batsman who had to turn left-handed just so that he could use his brother’s cricket equipment. And the world faced its consequences for well over a decade.


Starting his international career on the tour to Australia in 1991 – 92, Ganguly was dropped after having played just one ODI. Questions were raised about the debutant’s attitude on the tour. But what the real reason for he being dropped never came in the open as dropping a debutant after including him in just one match is a common practice in India. He was away from the limelight for a good 4 years until he made a comeback to the national side on the tour to England in 1996. But, even before the team left for England questions were being raised about his inclusion. Was it because of Jagmohan Dalmiya, the then president of the BCCI and a family friend of Sourav’s?


There were many who thought he didn’t deserve a place in the side. And, there were many who were praying so that he fails in the series. But, the mentally strong man that Ganguly is, he didn’t let all the talk affect him. He became just the 7th Indian player to score a century in his debut innings and that too at Lord’s. And to prove this wasn’t a fluke, he went on to score another century in his next test match. His critics had their lips sealed. Ganguly’s tryst with Lord’s and his love-hate relationship with critics and media begun on this tour.


Sourav’s batting was magical. Known as a man who couldn’t play the short delivery, he successfully toured all countries. He believed in letting his bat do the talking. Though he rarely had a ‘failure’ in the real sense of the term in test matches, he would have, by his own admission, liked to score about a couple of thousand more runs in test matches. However, coming in at number 6 in the batting order didn’t really help him achieve this target as he was usually left to play with the tail-enders. And still scoring more than 7000 runs in test matches coming in at that position in the batting order is a rare achievement.


Though successful in tests, it were the one-dayers that Sourav really made his mark. Having promoted to open the innings in ODIs, Ganguly formed a formidable partnership with Sachin Tendulkar giving India innumerable amazing opening stands. Ganguly was a fearless batsman who after settling into India’s ODI squad started doing the impossible…he matched Sachin Tendulkar, sometimes even bettered him. Match after match, series after series, year after year the aura of Ganguly started reaching new heights. Whatever he touched turned to gold. His ardent fans and his loving team-mates started calling him ‘Dada’, ‘Maharaja’, ‘Royal Bengal Tiger’ and for Geoff Boycott he was his ‘Prince of Kolkata’. He still holds the world record of being the quickest to reach the 6000, 7000, 8000 and 9000 run marks in ODIs. People used to sit at home and stay glued to their television sets just to see his silken touches through the off-side. He was easily the best timer of the ball in the world of cricket. So much that Rahul Dravid once said, “On the off-side first there is God, then there is Sourav Ganguly”. But his batting was not just about timing. If silken touches were as easy as drinking water for him, dancing down the track and whacking the bowler over the top for huge sixes was like having lunch. He is the 3rd highest in the list of maximum six hitters in the world and the most by an Indian. His sixes were so huge that he holds the record for having sent the maximum number of balls outside the stadium. This ability of Ganguly to send the ball on the roof of stadiums led commentator Tony Greig to name a certain spot on the roof of the Sharjah stadium as "Ganguly's corner" coz Sourav had sent 3 balls on that roof in just one over! He also has more than 1100 ODI fours to his name.




There goes another one out of the stadium!!!


In spite of all these amazing batting records, Ganguly will always be known for the inspirational captain that he was. Ganguly was made the captain in 2000 when Indian cricket was shattered by the match-fixing episode. Several senior players were accused, and consequently dropped. Tendulkar who was the captain at that time decided to give up the responsibility and suggested Ganguly’s name. His stint as captain brought Ganguly - the person - to the fore. He had no choice but to select a young team. Yuvraj Singh, Harbhajan Singh, Virender Sehwag, Zaheer Khan, Mohd. Kaif and even MS Dhoni are the fruits of the seeds that Ganguly had sown. He showed the team how to win matches. He made the team aggressive. Indians who used to meekly surrender to the opposition’s sledges suddenly started giving back what they got. This resulted in Ganguly and his team-mates visiting the match-referee’s office a lot more which meant more fines and more bans for their behaviour. But Ganguly never cared. He continued to fight fire by fire. Controvery became his middle name.


Ganguly - the captain


Indians who were considered poor travelers became a force and started winning matches abroad - England, Australia, West Indies, Pakistan - Ganguly left no place unsuccessful. He became the first captain after Kapil Dev to lead India to the World Cup Final in South Africa in 2003. The Sourav Ganguly – John Wright partnership was working wonders for India.


After his century in Australia



Leading India to the World Cup 2003 final



His century in the first test against Australia in Australia in 2003 – 04 set the tone for the series and helped India retain the Border-Gavaskar trophy. I will remember the series for the selfless-ness shown by Sourav during this series. Sachin Tendulkar was woefully out of form. Ganguly promoted himself up the order to protect Sachin from going in early to bat. This classic move paid dividends as Sachin came back strongly with an amazing 248 not out.


Sourav was outspoken as a captain. What you saw was what you got. Rarely did he give any excuses when he lost. He knew exactly what the team lacked and what exactly needed to be done. He backed his young team. He gave them enough chances if they encountered failure. His own experience with failure and of being subsequently dropped after his first tour might have played a part in this.


Ganguly never let anyone one dominate or talk ill about his team. Once when Sachin Tendulkar was wrongly accused of ball-tampering against South Africa, Steve Waugh had unnecessarily stated that Sachin should be punished. This statement did not go down well with Ganguly. He was quick to react live on camera, “Tell Steve to Shut up. He should stop bothering about us and think about Australian cricket.” This was just one of the few Sourav-Steve clashes. Ganguly famously came late for toss during Australia’s tour of India in 2001. This, by his own admission, was just to win matches and get under the skin of the Aussies. This irritated Steve and his team so much that this incident finds a place in Steve’s autobiography. “You had to give him an 'A' for effort in his attempt to annoy us," Steve Waugh writes in his book, "and in particular me. It worked to a certain extent." When India toured Australia in 2003, Steve asked Sourav to be on time for the toss at least this time. To this Sourav replied, “If you behave, I will.” Such was the dominance and straightforward-ness of Sourav the captain. He came back to India with the Border-Gavaskar trophy safe in his hands.


Another very famous incident is his shirt-waving moment at Lord’s in 2002. India chased what was then a record total in a nail-biting Natwest trophy final which India won against England. If the run-chase wasn’t exciting enough, Ganguly removed his shirt and waved it mouthing un-mentionables from the Lord’s balcony. It wasn’t just a series victory for him. It was revenge against a similar shirt-waving incident by England’s Andrew Flintoff in Mumbai a year earlier. When he was criticized for behaving so “un-gentlemanly” Sourav was quick to reply that this was revenge against Flintoff. “But at Lord’s? The Mecca of World cricket?” he was asked. He was quick to pounce, “So what? Wankhede is like Lord’s for us.” The shirt which Ganguly waved now finds a place in the Lord's mueseum.


Sourav waving his shirt at Lord's



The shirt that Ganguly waved now finds a place in the Lord's mueseum



Though he was perfect with all his decisions, he, one can say, went wrong with one which changed his life. He took the help of former Aussie captain Greg Chappell to fine-tune his batting during the 2003 – 04 tour down-under. Perhaps, this bit of coaching by Chappell left Ganguly so impressed that he insisted on Chappell being India’s next coach. Chappell perhaps wanted to rule the team. And to do that the first thing he had to do was somehow remove Ganguly from the team. He started making false statements and accusations against Ganguly. This coincided with Ganguly losing a bit of his batting form. Chappell’s statements such as “Ganguly is not a team man”, “He is not fit to be the captain” made rounds. These statements were hard to believe after all that Ganguly had done for Indian cricket. Ganguly lost his captaincy. Chappell made Dravid the captain not only because he was Sourav’s deputy, but also, I firmly believe, because he was a mellow person who could be easily dominated by Chappell. Although Ganguly scored a century against Zimbabwe and a couple of decent scores against Pakistan, he was dropped. Chappell clearly wanted to rule. No matter how much Sourav tried to defend himself, the BCCI along with Chappell refused to budge. The Indian public too, known to believe what the foreigners say more than their own men’s words, supported Chappell. Ganguly suddenly became the villain. For the first time after being captain Ganguly’s mouth was sealed. When everybody had lost hopes, there were just a few left who knew Ganguly would make a comeback. One among them was Ganguly himself. He knew that the only thing that could prove his critics wrong – again – was his bat.


Ganguly with Greg Chappell


He went back to playing domestic cricket. Pictures of Ganguly practicing like never before made the rounds. One particular incident during this episode is well-known. Way past midnight Ganguly’s father was awakened by a constant noise of ball hitting the bat. When he went out to see where the noise was coming from he found Sourav practicing making his servant bowl to him. Sourav’s father told his wife, “Our son has gone mad. Tell him it’s all over.” She knew it wasn’t.


India toured South Africa in 2006 and was badly beaten in the ODI series. The selectors sent an SOS to Ganguly and he got back his chance. He, however, had become a changed man. He had lost his fearlessness and the aura of dominance that he used to create by his sheer presence. He was more watchful and put a price tag on his wicket. All this, however, made him a more consistent batsman. And, he never looked back. Fortunately for him Chappell was kicked out too.


For the last two years, Ganguly was India’s most consistent batsman, in both tests and ODIs. However, Dhoni’s motto of having a young ODI team meant that Ganguly had to give up his ODI place, but he was still an integral part of the test team. Personally, I feel Dhoni made the wrong move. It is always better to have Ganguly who would ensure you good starts and score 80s and 90s and give away about 10 runs on the field than having a young player who would score about 30s and save about 15 runs. India’s mission is, however, World Cup 2011 which the seniors are sure not to play.


Through all these ups and downs Sourav made loads of enemies. Few of them were those whom he backed to the hilt only to be stabbed in the back by them when they came to power. Most noticeably among them was Greg Chappell of course. Another one was Rahul Dravid. Dravid was the wall of India’s batting line-up from the time he made his debut along with Ganguly. Dravid’s place in one-dayers, however, was always a question mark. But, Ganguly always believed in his ability. Ganguly made Dravid the wicket keeper of the ODI team just so that he could be in the team. India’s inability to find a wicket-keeper who could bat also helped Dravid’s cause. Dravid succeeded. Ganguly’s ploy worked once again. But during the Chappell-Dravid era when Chappell was constantly stabbing Ganguly’s back Dravid failed to take a stand…perhaps he too, just like Chappell, wanted Ganguly out because Ganguly was easily the more popular among the two. Though when Ganguly came back, he and Dravid were back to their best.



Ganguly and Dravid before the Chappell episode



Even after going through all this, the only thing he wishes he could change about his cricket career is the World Cup loss. All through his ups and downs one man who supported Ganguly whole heartedly was Sachin Tendulkar. Sachin-Sourav first met during their under-15 days when they were room-mates. Ganguly happily describes one episode of their under-15 days. Late at night when Sourav was sleeping in their room, Sachin filled the room with water. Ganguly woke up to find water all around him and Tendulkar laughing there in a corner! Ganguly describes Sachin as a great batsman and a great human being who could never manage to learn Bengali!


Sachin and Sourav during U-15 days. I dont know who is in the middle!



The first families of Indian cricket - Sachin and Sourav with children


Having gone through all this, the final nail in Ganguly’s coffin was when he was dropped from Irani Trophy team in September 2008. Reason – unknown. By the time he was picked for Australia’s 2008 tour of India Ganguly had had enough. Having answered journalists’ questions during a press conference, Ganguly had one last thing to say at the end. "Just one last thing, lads, before I leave. I just want to say that this is going to be my last series. I have decided to quit and I have told my teammates before I have come here. These four Test matches are going to be my last. Thanks for all your support. Hopefully, we'll go on a winning note. Thanks." Everybody was too stunned to ask any question regarding this. Pin drop silence. Ganguly left. He had achieved what he had planned for himself when he was dropped in 2005…to go on his own terms…as he wished…when he wished. India won the series 2-0. Ganguly went on a high with a century in his last series and another 85 in his last test. Even the Australian team, under whose nerves Sourav loved to get under gave him a guard of honour as he came out to bat for the one last time. On 20 June 1996 when Ganguly made his test debut there were several who cursed Ganguly and wanted him to fail so that their predictions came true. Ganguly fooled them by scoring a century. On 09 November 2008, wherever they were, perhaps prayed again…this time for the opposite. Ganguly fooled them again by getting out on a zero. Perhaps it’s a habit of great players to get out early in their last innings. This last-test duck just adds to the aura of Sourav Ganguly. It will certainly be the most famous duck of Indian cricketing history.


Receiving the Padmashri award from APJ Abdul Kalam



On 10th November 2008, Sourav's last day on the field as an Indian player, Indian captain MS Dhoni let Sourav captain the side for some time. It was a wonderful gesture by Dhoni honouring a player and captain of Ganguly’s brilliance. This incidentally is the very day when Ganguly was made captain 8 years ago.


My sentiments exactly...and if Sachin retires then "What's cricket?"


Thank you Dada for all the memories. There will never be a cricketer like you ever again.



I ask myself whether I will ever watch cricket with the same enthusiasm again. The answer is ‘No’.

13 October, 2008

Adi's 'Socha Hai' thoughts: Part I

Another example of how much the movie Rock On!! has affected me - in a good way i.e.
Here I start with my own 'Socha Hai' thoughts:

  1. Why are railway tracks surrounded by stones?
  2. Chicken eats poultry food and gets energy. Humans eat chicken and get energy. Why don't humans eat poultry food and get double the energy?
  3. Humans cannot differentiate between two lions or tigers or ants or elephants etc. and feel that they all look very similar if not the same. Do animals feel the same about humans?
  4. Have you ever thought how you got your surname? Except for a few such as the Merchants and the Johars which originated from their professions or those like the Pathans which originated from the cast or sect of a particular religion, what could be the origin of the surnames such as the Kasturays, the Kamaths, the Khans, the Ahujas and the Sharmas?
  5. Why is our shit of the same colour everyday no matter what coloured food we eat?

Socha hai...yeh tumne kya kabhi?
Socha hai...ke hai yeh kya sabhi?
Socha hai...socha nahi toh socho abhi!

22 September, 2008

Gadget-less

I go completely gadget-less when I am off for a swim. I keep them at home due to security reasons. Not that I carry tons of gadgets every time. Just my mobile phone and a watch. But I use them a lot with my mobile phone always on with some music whenever I am outside.

It, however, feels great to be gadget-less for a couple of hours in a day. You can actually hear the world around you rather than the usual music. Never had I thought that the honking horns, the khrrr-khrrr of the auto-rickshaws, the dhad-dhad of the trains, the voice of the birds (well, you can only hear the crows in Mumbai these days, but still...), and the hawkers shouting at the top of their voices and also the sound of the blowing wind could sound so nice! Its just a welcome change, I guess. But yea, nothing can replace music!

But, the point here is that one can go gadget-less for some time if one is forced to and then one does become used this gadget-less-ness. So much, that after coming back home I forget to check whether I had any calls or messages during the time of my gadget-less-ness.

The gadget-less-ness is not as bad as I had thought it would be when I was first told that I can't take them with me while I am on my way for a swim.

17 September, 2008

Swimming!

Was the first day of my swimming class today! Feels great to float on water!

04 September, 2008

Rock On!! creates Magik!

After having reviewed two books (which you can read here and here) it's time for me to go ahead and review a movie - Rock On!!

Rock On!! takes us through the lives of four men - Aditya Shroff (Farhan Akhtar), Joe Mascarenhas (Arjun Rampal), Kedar Zaveri aka Killer Drummer aka KD (Purab Kohli) and Rob (Luke Kenny). They come together to fulfill their dream - that to make music. They form a band called 'Magik' to make music which they believe in. A small group with very little funding, they try all possible routes to get themselves to a very prestigious contract; that of making a music album. But fate conspires and the band breaks up and the album never sees the light of the day. The four men move on with their respective lives but not a day goes when they don't think of their jamming days. Their past keeps haunting them everyday. When all seems lost, life decides to give them another chance - to again create some Magik!


The plus points of the movie are several. Some of them being:
  • Great acting by all. Every actor becomes the character
  • No over-the-top or larger-than-life characters
  • You identify with each one of them at least to a certain extent
  • Music...ah! I might require another post to do justice to the greatness of the film's music
  • The movie starts with a bang with 'Socha Hai' and ends with a mind-blowing concert which is a treat to the ears
  • Check out the dandiya sequence in which the band sings 'saanson ki zarurat hai jaise, bas ek sanam chahiye aashiqui ke liye'. It is hilarious!
Negative points? None really, except that the movie is a bit slow. A few scenes could have been shorter but by the time the movie ends (and the way it ends) you don't really complain. The story of four guys having fun and then maturing might remind you of Dil Chahta Hai but there is no similarity between the two movies except, perhaps, the last sequence.

Of the cast, Koel Puri (Devika) does well but struggles with her dialogue delivery. Shahana Goswami (Debbie, wife of Joe - Arjun Rampal) plays the character of the grumbling wife, whose only wish is to see her husband do something in life, to the tee.

Prachi Desai (Sakshi, wife of Aditya - Farhan Akhtar) finally gets to play her age after having played the role of a mother of guys twice her age in TV serials. She is the backbone of the life of Aditya Shroff and displays her joys, sorrows and frustrations expertly well. But hey! Whats with that stupid hairstyle? She looks straight out of some hair oil advertisement.

Purab Kohli has given splendid performances in the past and continues his form in this movie. He is the drummer of Magik and a happy-go-lucky guy but who is also troubled by the separation of the band. Check him out in the scene where he is dancing in a disco and then quickly changes his emotions when he gets reminded of the past.

Luke Kenny! What a surprise man! To be honest, I had never even heard of him before I saw the trailer of Rock On!!. He looks as if he would be the weak link as far as acting is concerned and that Hindi would be Greek to him. But he is a complete natural on screen with fluent Hindi and superb dialogue delivery. He plays the keyboard for Magik and is the backbone of the band. He is the reason why the band re-unites after 10 years. Would love to seem him on screen again!

Now about the two men to whom the film belongs - Arjun Rampal and Farhan Akhtar.

Arjun Rampal deserves an applause for his performance. This man did nothing but stand like a stone in all the movies that he did for the first six years of his career. He found the actor in himself in Don, bettered himself as the villain in Om Shanti Om and now perhaps deserves an award for Rock On!!. He is the lead guitarist of the band and he looks so genuine as a guitarist that you feel he is playing it LIVE on screen. He is great in his role as a sad, helpless, good-for-nothing guy who has lost all hopes. Arjun Rampal's critics should watch Rock On!! and 90% of them would become his fans.

And now...Farhan Akhtar!! I'll first comment on Farhan - the actor and then Farhan - the singer. I have one complaint against him. He is in the industry for some 8 years now. What on earth did it take him so long to get into acting? Though he is just one film old as an actor, I can dare to say that he could so easily have played the roles of Aamir Khan in DCH, Hrithik Roshan in Lakshya and SRK in Don. He is superb as the young guy with a mike and a guitar, then as a businessman who is frustrated with his life although he is monetarily successful. He portrays his efforts of hiding his frustrations from his wife expertly and displays all human emotions with ease. I am sure all actors, young and old, will have sleepless nights after watching Farhan Akhtar in Rock On!!.

As a singer Farhan Akhtar knocks a punch. He might not get awards for his singing (though you can never say coz these days a certain Mr. Reshammiya is busy filling his cupboard with awards for his singing). I am also pretty sure that his suurr and taal were technically enhanced. He might never sing again in movies coz he has a very different voice which is not suitable for all Hindi film songs. But I cannot imagine any singer singing for Rock On!! other than Farhan Akhtar.

The direction by Abhishek Kappor is superb. Cannot believe that it's a film by the same man who made a dud like Aryan. He brings out the best in his cast. The direction and camera work for the concert-sequences are mind-blowing.

Music by Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy is easily their best so far. Yea, I know they have given us Dil Chahta Hai, Kal Ho Na Ho and others (and of course...Mitwa!!!), but with Rock On!! they have made music which they believe in without pressures from any quarters or any boundaries. Though the music is related to, and is an integral part of the movie, it still is an album in itself.

This movie is HIGHLY recommended as it easily is the best of the year so far and perhaps even a trend-setter. Don't miss this movie coz life might not give you another chance to watch it - LIVE YOUR DREAM!

Rating: 4/5

29 August, 2008

To hell with these superstitions...

I was all ready to fill up a form on Saturday and declared my intentions of doing so to my family. Pat came the reply, "Tomorrow is amaavas. Wait till Monday!" "What? Why?" I asked. "Amaavas would be in the evening, right? I would fill up in the morning!" I said as if having made a valid point. "No!" Again came the reply. "The amaavas is from tonight to tomorrow night." What! I couldn't even believe it. If amaavas is related to the moon, how on earth can there be an amaavas during the day? (Ignore my ignorance in this regard). My point being, there is no way you can see the moon during the day (unless you travel by a rocket which would take you the other part of the world where there is still night while the day moves on in your part of the world). So, every day becomes an amaavas.

Anyway, is amaavas so bad that you shouldn't fill up a damn form? What effect would the visibility or the non-visibility of the moon (in this case) have on a simple form that I want to fill up? It is also said that one should avoid travelling during amaavas. Why? Are there any concrete explanations? No common man has an answer to this. And those who claim to know the answers, well guys I don't believe you people. My simple point is, should we stop living every fortnight when there is amaavas? If I am not allowed to fill up a form (for reasons unspecified) or travel fearing an accident coz of this amaavas, then we should not be allowed to do anything on that day. Every amaavas should be declared as a national holiday or even an international holiday if there are people around the world who believe in this concept.

There are crores of people doing several things on an amaavas. Does everything go wrong for everybody? Why can't we treat an amaavas as any other day? Why put these restrictions on people just because you cannot see the moon on a certain day that too when there is a simple scientific explanation to this phenomemon? Give me a proper explanation as to why I shouldn't do a certain thing on a certain day and I am ready to accept you. Don't force things on me just because you were told not to do something on a certain day by your parents which in turn was told to them by their parents and so on.

Anyway, just because I didn't want to argue with them, for the simple fact that they would never understand, I would postpone my work till Monday. But these are certain things I certainly wouldn't even mention to my future generation.

Adi's Appendix Theory

Sudeep and I were having this conversation that day when the topic moved to our interaction and relationship (of any form) with girls. That is when I told him about my first ever theory on any topic, "Adi's Appendix Theory".

We come across several girls in our daily life and we call a few of them as 'friends' - those whom we meet quite frequently, be it in school, college, office or any other place. We interact with them on several issues, both serious and fun. This helps create a bond which we call as 'friendship'.

Suppose a good female friend (can't call her as a 'girl'-friend, coz it has a completely different meaning) of yours, who spends a lot of time with you and becomes quite a part of your daily life, starts seeing someone. Does that hurt you? Does that hurt you even if you have absolutely no feelings for her, and you consider her to be just another friend? Yes. It does, no matter which guy disagrees with this. The guy would not be heart-broken coz he didn't have anything for her anyway, but he would feel a little awkward. Anyway, he wouldn't really mind her having this 'special friend' in her life. This female friend then becomes your (for me and what I call as) appendix. Appendix? You may ask. Yes.

Appendix is that part of your body which has absolutely no function. You live with it without any trouble. But, if something goes wrong with your appendix, it hurts you. You may also have to be operated up on to remove the appendix and soothe the pain. The result? Nothing. You again lead a normal life, coz you never really wanted that appendix anyway. Same with your female friends. It disturbs you a bit when they start seeing somebody else. But, it doesn't really hurt you even if she goes with that guy coz you never really had anything for her except for pure friendship. And more importantly, you continue to be good friends with her.

This leads us to Adi's Appendix Theory which has been put into words by Sudeep. So, here goes:

"Usage of phrase: "Oh, she's my appendix!"

Appendix:
1. Appendix is quite a part of you.
2. If something goes wrong with the appendix, you feel the pain.
3. But if the appendix is removed from you, you won't be disturbed a bit.

Girl:
1. A girl that you meet frequently (at office/class etc)
2. If someone else goes out with her, you will feel the pangs.
3. But if she goes away from you, you won't be disturbed too much."

I am not very sure whether this theory holds true for a girl. But, it is absolutely true of any guy in this world. Plus, it is absolutely normal of one guy to have several appendixes. I, myself, have some 4 - 5 appendixes to be modest!

15 March, 2008

Aapro Amdavad vs. Aamchi Mumbai

I was in Ahmedabad for some 3 days this week. And, this is what I could come up with...

Amdavad: In most of the areas, Cleanliness is next to Godliness
Mumbai: Most of the areas are full of atheists in this regard

Amdavad: Poor man's staple diet - gaathia aane paapdi
Rich man's staple diet - Dhoklo, gaathia aane paapdi
Mumbai: Poor man's staple diet - vada-pav
Rich man's staple diet - Jumbo vada-pav

Amdavad: SRK promotes Airtel in Gujarati. He doesn't understand English
Mumbai: SRK promotes Airtel in English. He doesn't understand Marathi

Amdavad: Towels are used only for drying yourself after a bath
Mumbai: Towels are used to wipe out sweat (even a napkin is not enough). There is no point having a bath, the humidity will show its effects soon after

Amdavad: No traffic signals, no traffic sense. Your vehicle is your own property. Others' vehicles are your own property too
Mumbai: Those who believe Mumbai has no traffic sense should visit Ahmedabad and Bangalore. Mumbai has international standards of traffic sense as compared to these two cities

Amdavad: In spite of having no traffic sense, the traffic in most areas is 'medium' (as announced by an RJ on an Ahmedabadi FM radio station). It means, you will be stuck in the jam for a maximum of 2 minutes
Mumbai: In spite of having traffic sense, when the RJ says the traffic is medium, it means you are bound to be stuck for a minimum of 20 minutes

Amdavad: Roads are dug up for the repairing of roads
Mumbai: Roads are dug up for the repairing of everything except the roads

Amdavad: I like Ahmedabad
Mumbai: I love Mumbai

24 February, 2008

Indian Tennis: Split Wide Open

There are quite a few things in my mind that can be "blogged". But what, perhaps, could not stop me from signing in here is the latest news of Indian tennis going down the doldrums. Four Indian tennis stars, the most notable among them being the great Mahesh Bhupathi, have written to the All India Tennis Association (AITA), that they would not play in the next Davis Cup tie against Japan, if the team is continued to be led by Leander Peas.

This news, confirmed by all the players involved, has not only come as a huge shock but also as a big setback for the future of Indian tennis. Paes has been accused of being a poor leader and the players, including Prakash Amritraj, Karan Rastogi, Rohan Bopanna, apart from Bhupathi, have
objected to Paes' critical attitude towards them in the press and believe he does not fulfill the larger role of a captain -- not encouraging or communicating with the teammates enough outside the Davis Cup weeks.


The golden duo of Leander and Mahesh, dubbed the "Indian Express" and, perhaps, the best thing that ever happened to Indian sport, had, unfortunately, already split in 2000 and "are not on talking terms", according to Mahesh Bhupathi. The duo, however, have always put their differences in a corner when it came to playing for the country, be it in the Davis Cup or in the Olympics. The reason for their split is, perhaps, the biggest mystery of Indian or rather, world sport. Unless one of the two come out with a tell-all autobiography, this mystery will remain what it is right now - a mystery. Bhupathi and Paes were expected to play together for India in the 2008 Beijing Olympics. They were, and always will be, India's best chance for a medal at the Olympics. What implications would the recent developments have, starting from whether they would even play together at the Olympics, is yet to be seen.

The widening split between Paes and Bhupathi is, according to me, bigger and nastier than the split between Ganguly - Chappell or for that matter even Fernanndo Alonso - MacLaren F1 team. Cricket and F1 are more of team sports and there are replacements available. But it is the Indian tennis, which is a more of a two-man show, will have to bear the brunt.

I am not a stupid news channel to conclude or speculate for any reason at all. Unless we know the reactions from both the parties involved, it is difficult to predict the future of Indian tennis. India need both, Leander and Mahesh, at this point of time. Not only because the Olympics is around the corner, but also for the fact that Rastogi, Bopanna and Amritraj are too raw and inexperienced to take over the responsibility on their young shoulders - a responsibility and the billion expectations that Bhupathi and Peas have so wonderfully handled on their mature shoulders for over a decade despite their differences.

This is not even the last thing that tennis fans, like me, would have wanted. India is already suffering from Sania Mirza's decision to pull out of the Bangalore Open in order to avoid any further controversies. The Indian star, the best that we have after Paes and Bhupathi, refused to play in India after being involved in numerous controversies, most of them having being created by publicity-hungry people and for no absolute fault of hers.

All that I, as a true Indian tennis fan, can hope for is that Bhupathi and Paes play together at the Olympics - because they are India's best chance for a sure-shot medal and that Sania decides to revoke her decision of not playing in India, as this would be her best chance of stepping up in the rankings. I also wish, but I know that this would never happen, that the Indian media, especially the Hindi news channels, let these players alone and not create controversies.

09 February, 2008

One Night @ The Call Center

Read Chetan Bhagat's second book, "One Night @ The Call Center" this week. I found it absolute crap. I chose the book from the library for two reasons:

  • Chetan Bhagat had spell-bounded me with his Five Point Someone
  • The back cover of the book read something like this - The writer, while on a train journey from Kanpur to Delhi, meets a girl who narrates him a story on the condition that the writer would make this story in a book. The story is about about 6 people, Shyam (the narrator), Vroom, Military Uncle, Radhika, Priyanka and Esha, who work for a call center. On a particular night, they get a call - from God.

Now, this was enough to simulate my curiosity.

As it turned out, this book was nowhere close to the genius of FPS. Although it is unfair to compare, ON@TCC is not up to the mark. A friend of mine, who has worked for a call center, said that the happenings, as mentioned in the book, are quite realistic and this is what happens at a call center. Though I really doubt whether the guys at a call center can do everything, but work, while at work!

The problems with the book:

  • It is a bit slow. Though it is expected as it is just a 6-hour story in a 280-paged book. But, it needed to spend some more time on the editing table.
  • The much hyped character in the book - the God, and the call from God, was just a 2-paged affair. And, he appears during the climax of the story, although he was projected to be one of its main characters. The writer goes over-board with the fiction part of the book...what with Shyam's mobile displaying, "God calling". All the little fun and faith generated at the beginning evaporates in thin air.
  • And, to make a crap book crappier, it turns out that the girl, whom the writer had met in the train, was not after all, a girl! She was God! Hell!

I guess, had I read this book before reading FPS, it would not have made an anti-ON@TCC. I, however, still like the writing style of Chetan Bhagat. After all, ek galti sabko maaf hoti hai.

03 February, 2008

Five Point Someone

Read this book recently. Ok, don't give me that, "What! You had not read this book earlier?" look. Have had enough of those already. And, I need no more. Probably, I am the last person on earth to have read this book. Everybody seems to have read it.

Anyway, my point is, this is easily one of the most interesting books that I have read. This book gave me several of my firsts. It was the first book:
  • that I finished reading in three days flat. Its quite an achievement, I tell you. Though I must admit that the small size of the book and the large fonts did help my cause.
  • for which I never turned back to check where I had left off. I remembered exactly which page I was on when I last read it, and what had happened in the story till then. Have to commend the writer for this. Its a simple story told simply.
  • for which I did not open the dictionary even once. I hate it when I have to refer to a dictionary whenever I read a book. I am not very fond of expanding my vocabulary, coz I feel that its useless. Why do we have synonyms in any language? Its truly useless I tell you. Also, there should be no place for "degrees of comparison" in any language. Instead of using, "good, better, best", why cant we just use "good, very good, very very good"? The message conveyed is the same. If we do away with synonyms and "degrees of comparison", every dictionary in this world would truly become a "pocket dictionary".
This book is racy, intriguing and realistic, and anybody can identify himself with one of the three protagonists (I found myself closest to Hari and sometimes with Ryan.). However, Sudeep (he is a Nine Point Something, I tell you!) said, "It describes bad things that can (and do) happen here at IIT. But it is highly unlikely that more than one of those bad things will happen to anyone. The book describes an "all things gone wrong" situation." True, and who better than Sudeep to know about it. It, however, is still a must read. (Assuming there are people who have not read the book yet. I know none of these rare breed of people.)

I was so amazed with the writing style of Chetan Bhagat, that I couldn't resist myself from bringing home his "One Night @ the Call Center". I hope it it turns out as good as, if not better than, Five Point Someone.

These (and it includes "The Kite Runner") are the kind of books I like. No 'boy wizard with a magic wand' stuff for me.

P.S. No matter how much a guy would hate to listen to this from girls, it is true that all guys ARE THE SAME. They all think alike and this book just strengthens my belief.

21 January, 2008

Traffic keeps me fit!

This is related to my earlier post or can be called as a prequel.

It is necessary to warm-up your body before you start with your exercises. But warm-ups are usually quite boring. The sight of a dumb-bell keeps me away from my warm-up exercises. Staying in Mumbai, or rather traveling in Mumbai, helps ensure that I don't miss out on this vital part of exercising.

The traffic, while coming back from office, is so dense that it is impossible (ok, not impossible, but extremely difficult) for even a bike to get through it. Powai's IIT area has a magnet placed secretly somewhere. No matter what hour of the day or night, the traffic just refuses to move an inch.
You can well imagine the plight of the huge, king-sized red vehicle that I travel in. Who says that the stronger and the bigger you are, the mightier you get?

Having born with extremely low levels of patience, the only solution I can find to beat this traffic is getting down and walk! A quick 20 minute walk from Ajahara shopping center to IIT market is what I do, and then catch another bus to get home. However stupid it might sound, this saves loads of time and also warms-up my body for the exercises! Ah! Never mind the the various poisonous gases that I inhale during this period!

Mumbai's traffic helps me keep fit!

P.S. One particular line from the lead India movement by the Times of India comes to mind while on the subject of traffic. Had this SRK advertisement running on TV wherein he says, "You are never stuck in a traffic jam, YOU are the traffic jam!!!" So true! (Must compliment the writer of this line. But its just better to remember it as an SRK ad. Though, I feel sorry for the writer.)

Another thing comes to mind about the BEST buses as this post started off with the might of these very vehicles.
To understand why I use the word 'mighty' for these bus, just try standing very close to the front of the bus. And look at it in the face! It is HUGE!! Especially, the old buses. And the job of manoeuvering these huge creatures on congested roads must be so damn difficult, and this certainly deserves a standing ovation. (Well, stand is what I do in the bus...who gets a place to sit?)

We should learn not to make an issue of the accidents that these buses sometimes cause. After all, how many accidents are caused by these buses? Certainly not as many as those caused by bikes and cars. And, to think of it that there are hundreds of these buses on roads everyday. I have never come across any situation where I could find fault with the driver or the conductor, who is generally assumed to be a rude person. What they do day in and day out is certainly not what a normal person can do. What the two of them in each bus do is something out of the ordinary. And to bear the irritating passengers! Wow! Hell of a job, for sure!

13 January, 2008

The joy of exercising!

Ok. I am not here to discuss the benefits of exercising. Everybody knows about them. But, how many of us actually try to go beyond the usual benefits and look at the not-so-apparent joys of exercising?

I am not a gym person. So, I exercise at home as and when time (and mood) permits. Not that I want the V-shape like Salman or abs like SRK (he used to look better when he was the no-pack-Khan, though). I exercise for the sheer joy of it. Its an hour for yourself. You in a locked room with no one to disturb, with your favourite music at the highest volume! Wow!! You can jump, kick-box, shout...do whatever you want! Become a child again! No one would know (or hear you shout, coz of the loud music) what you are up to inside the closed room.

And if anyone DARES disturb you during that hour, remember...you have the dumb-bell and he has nothing!!! :)

12 January, 2008

Look before you speak...

Well, literally.

1) I found myself in an awkward situation that day when I wanted to tell this friend of mine something that I didn't want anybody to hear. And, since we are always surrounded by people everywhere in the office, I presumed that an empty washroom would be the best place to send across the news. After telling him the 'news' inside the washroom, I kept on telling him not to tell that to anybody until it is officially declared.

10 minutes later: This friend of mine comes to my cubicle and says, "When you were telling me that stuff sometime back, Mr. ABC was there inside!" And, that ABC being a very senior person in the office, I was so terribly annoyed at my stupidity and having made a fool of myself in the presence of that person!


2) There was this meeting scheduled in the office sometime in the morning in the first week of January. But, it kept getting postponed coz some senior member (not the one mentioned in the earlier episode...so, lets name him Mr. XYZ) had yet not arrived. After several such "scheduled-for" times, it was finally confirmed that Mr. XYZ has arrived and the meeting would be held at 2:30 pm.

At around 2:15 pm, I met this team-mate of mine just outside the canteen where I asked her, "Kitni baar meeting postpone karta hai yeh? I hope abhi nahi karega..." And the very next second, I saw a person coming out of the canteen, who must have obviously heard me saying that. Needless to say, that person was Mr. XYZ.

Why do I always open my bloody mouth at the wrong time?

Well, I can laugh at it now...but yea, one should LOOK before before one speaks...

07 January, 2008

Defeat of the winners

How does a kid who has cheated in an exam, but has yet topped, feel about the result? I am not in the know. Though I cannot claim to have never cheated, I have never topped!

Well, the Aussies would be your best bet to answer that question. Everybody saw what happened at the SCG against India. 7 decisions went against India (were they really 7? Or more than that? I have actually lost count). Oh yea, one can claim that 1 decision went against the Aussies too. But, 7:1 is a poor ratio at any given time. Not only were the umpires at fault, but there is no doubt in any body's mind that the cheating Aussie side had an equally important role to play.

More importantly, it were the players who were given not out (when they were actually out), and those given out (when they were actually not out) that cost India the match.
  • Symonds was given not out thrice (worst being, by the third umpire who can use all the technology available, just to declare a batsman not out when he is actually in the otherwise).
  • Ponting was given not out when everybody in the stadium heard the nick to the wicketkeeper. Yea, well he was given out finally on 55 when he wasn't, but that did do India a lot of damage as he was on 17 when he had nicked the ball, only to be given not out.
  • Jaffer was bowled of a no-ball. But, the umpire decided to enjoy Lee's brilliant yorker and forget that he had actually bowled a no-ball. However, this is just a decision that umpires can get wrong even on a normal day and given Jaffer's batting form, it surely didn't affect the result of the game.
  • Dravid, The Wall, who was finally playing nicely, was given out caught behind when he had his bat nowhere near the ball.
  • Ganguly (my man!) was given out when Clarke had actually grassed his catch. The remorseful fact about this decision is that the umpire Mark Benson, decided to ask the fielder and his captain whether he had caught the ball cleanly. Did he forget that he actually had a partner in Steve Bucknor at square-leg and another one in Bruce Oxenford sitting in an AC room upstairs whom he could have consulted? Well, in a game where all three umpires faulted, I don't think either of the three would have given the correct decision.
There is not even an iota of doubt in my mind that India would have easily won the game had it not been for the blind and deaf umpires (who could neither hear nor see the proceedings) and for the Aussies who claim to have played in the spirit of the game. How can they claim to be playing "gentlemanly" (and how can the umpires take their word to make decisions) when Ponting and Clarke had not walked when they both had clearly edged the ball while batting? Although I have nothing against them for not walking, they cannot claim to make right decisions while fielding and forget all about it while batting. Like Clarke, Ponting too had clearly grassed and had blatantly appealed to a ball that had popped-up of Dhoni's pad (fortunately) and not his bat. Had he edged it, I am sure the umpires would have ignored that he had grounded the catch.

To add to that, Harbhajan was belted with a 3 test ban for allegedly making racist comments on Symonds. I would not have believed had Harbhajan claimed to have done no wrong. Coz, he is known to be notorious. But when Tendulkar, who was with Harbhajan during the incident, claims that nothing wrong was said, one cannot but just believe his word. Sachin, after all, is the Gandhi of the game of cricket. But when his testimony was not paid heed to during the hearing, it triggered an un-Sachin like call from him, asking the team to back out from the tour (well, thats the news on TV right now). And, when Sachin does that, one just cannot say that it was not Bhajji, but Symonds who was playing foolish and had lied during the hearing.

Ponting has gone on record saying that no one should question is integrity. Well, his integrity is for everyone to see. And Clarke too, who grassed Ganguly's catch, said that he was 100% convinced that he had cleanly completed the catch. (Yea, the videos lied, didn't they?). But he must seriously be joking when he said that both the parties suffered coz of the wrong umpiring decisions. Which two parties is he talking about? Perhaps, the Indian Batting Party and the Indian Bowling Party. If he means India and Australia, he could be sent as a next candidate for the Great Indian Laughter Challenge.

Fortunately for India, every bit of the proceedings was captured on camera and presented to the world. The Aussie media and the Aussies in general are said to be blaming the Australian team for not playing with the spirit of the game. Therein lies the DEFEAT OF THE WINNERS. They are known to do all that it takes to win matches, but to do ANYTHING to win it...its not what a champion side should be made of.

Never in his career, spanning around 18 years, have I ever seen Anil Kumble so disturbed and angry. He has always taken all things - good and bad - in his stride. All the joys, sorrows, triumphs and disappointments with the same smiling face. But his anger was there to be seen. Not through words, but his eyes spoke it all. Perhaps the loudest cheers came during the press conference when he said, "I think only one team played with the spirit of the game." So right he was! He was not defeated. He was wronged.

P.S.: Would have loved to see how things would have shaped up had this episode occurred 4 years back when Ganguly was at his peak as a captain. Though I have high regard for Kumble for the way he has conducted himself during the aftermath of the test, it would have been really interesting to see how Ganguly would have reacted. Theres no doubt that there would have been a lot many swear words used. He was a captain who stood by his side through thick and thin. A particular incident that comes to mind is when Sachin Tendulkar was accused of ball-tampering against South Africa. Steve Waugh, the then-Aussie captain, had unnecessarily said that Tendulkar is at fault (when he actually wasn't). Ganguly had at that time, in a TV interview said, 'Steve Waugh should rather SHUT UP and concentrate on the conduct of his team'. A man who could dare shut the mouth of a legend named Steve Waugh...well, he can do anything then! Perhaps, the Aussies would not have dared to play such a shitty game had he been the captain...