Sunday, December 25, 2005

Vacation time

On a break till next monday , Wishing you all A Very Happy Christmas and A Wonderful New Year...

Happy Birthday Mumma

Two years ago:
Me: Where is my white Punjabi?
Her: How am I supposed to know? Should be in your wardrobe
Me: Well it isn’t there; that’s why I’m asking
Her: Did you check in the trolley below or on the bed where your clothes are generally lying about, with you bothering to fold them
Me: Do you always have to bring it up when I’m getting late; I’ll do it when I get back in the evening
Her: That moment never comes
Me: Anyways found it, it was in the trolley and don’t say I told you so. What’s in the tiffin today
Her: Baingan Bharta
Me: Why, no other good vegetable?
Her: You don’t eat many that I can have a variety
Me: Where is my water bottle
Her: Here, you can’t even fill it
Me: Bye…see you in the evening
15 years ago:
Me: The plaits are not symmetrical
Her: Minu your bus will arrive in 10 minutes they look fine
Me: No they don’t, undo them and tie them again
Her: There done it
Me: Still not in line
Her: Minu the school bus is waiting, and I too have to leave for office. Here is your lunch basket, go properly
Me: Bye, but they are still not in line

I am an only child so you were my sister and my friend. I fought with you, threw tantrums and harassed you.
As a kid when I had holiday from school and you had to go for office I would not stop wailing. I know how guilty I must have made you feel.

After a tiring day at work I’ve seen you enter the kitchen without a crib and cook the best food in the world day in and out. Make hot hot chappatis for me as I loved them. You would set my tiffin, prepare my lunch basket, tie my hair, dress me up and pack me off to school. You would take me around for my dance and singing classes. You would take my Hindi and Marathi language lessons and I would give you a horrendous time over the grammar. My shopping visits were incomplete without you, still are! We both used to have a great time eating outside though you would always complain that I ate too much of outside food; but whenever we went out you made it a point to take me to my favourite places.

As I grew up I started spending lesser amount of time at home and more in college and with friends. A new world was beckoning me and I was enjoying it. You on the other hand were letting me do so despite missing my presence in the house. We would have umpteen fights over numerous issues and then I would not talk to you until Papa came and made us two patch up. I enjoyed that because you would just let go of all the anger and pamper me again. Saying sorry even though not your fault came so easily to you and why is it that I find it so tough?

You had a tremendous sense of discipline just like Papa which both of you inculcated in me. I was scared to go away from home for my first job and you gave me the courage to do so.

You just let me be, with all the faults and all the flaws. You missed Papa but you took care of us just fine. You were just glad he had been around till I was a grown up little lady. There are times when I’ve not been there for you and I feel really sorry for that. You would complain and then come back saying you understood that I had other things to do.

Now that I’m married, I know where I keep my clothes, my wardrobe is never a mess, I do my own cooking (they tell me I have inherited your taste), my room is as spic-n-span as you always stressed it should be. But when I get back to our home I will always need you. It’s not about doubling your work, but it’s about getting to see you do those things for me day in and out without tiring; which just about explains the love you have for me.

I hope someday when I have my own little one I’ll be able to do half of what you have done for me.

No daughter in this world takes her mom for granted even though all moms feel that, especially not a loving one like yours. I might not say it often but you are the best mom I could have ever asked for. I don’t need a special day to tell you this but since I don’t express often, I thought why not today?

So that is your little present and here is wishing you a very HAPPY BIRTHDAY MUMMA

Friday, December 23, 2005

The Much Awaited Rivalry

'The Ashes' have a history and this year England and Australia brought it alive. But the India-Pak rivalry surpasses all. For whatever reason if a person tells me he does not enjoy the bitter rivalry between the two sides, I'll be damned!

I love to see the die-for attitude rather than 'healthy rivalry'. Come on, you will take away all the excitement!

The excitement begins 14th Jan, 2005 and here is what India's coach had to say about the upcoming much-awaited Pakistan tour:

'We have a tour of Pakistan coming up. In terms of the number of people following it, think of an Ashes series and multiply it by 100. It’s huge.'

He has a good idea about the importance of this series. Will we repeat a 2004 or will the Pakis thrash us as they thrashed England.

We can only wait and watch...

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Chameleon Calling...

If this is true, God save the Indian team! He is the worst chameleon I’ve seen; forever changing his stands and comments. Not that any one sane here really cares. All that his presence can do is ruin the Indian team. For heaven’s sake I hope Chappell, Dravid and Co. take a stand and refuse his appointment as the manager to the Pak tour.

Well known for the statements he has made:

Here are few to refresh your memory:

Ok, assuming that the 1983 world cup was a fluke. I’ll welcome the fluke any day. Does WI losing the match make our victory any less credible? Is his memory poor or what? India was consistent throughout the tournament having beaten the WI at their home ground before and even in the league match of the tournament. Surely it was anything but fluke.
If this was a fluke then so were Australia’s 1987, Pakistan’s 1992 and Australia’s 1999 world cup victories. None of the above champions were consistent in the league matches and could have been very well on their way out before the finals. I don’t see their countrymen citing these victories as flukes and undeserving. Then why is ours? It is men like these that really hamper Indian cricket.

When Wright and Ganguly were building a young team trying to wash off the ugly ghosts of match-fixing instead of rendering support he came out bad mouthing both of them. I really wished he would shut up but that is not a quality he has.

On the Ganguly-Chappell Saga

He has hated Ganguly’s guts right from the word go. Well Saurav committed an offence, he paid for it and now has been unceremoniously sacked. Dungarpur has an opinion on everyone and everything. How BCCI should be run, how the selectors should go about their jobs, how the players should be playing, how the coach should be coaching.

If I’m not mistaken he was in the BCCI in 1990 and responsible for Srikanth’s ouster after a decent Pak tour (Before the 1989 tour no Indian team had gone to Pakistan and returned without losing. We did not win but we kept our pride intact by not losing either) The manipulator that he has always been he was quick to spot the shy Azhar as the ideal bait for a captain. Shrewd wasn’t he? If my memory is correct, India did not exactly enjoy the greatest of periods until we won that series at home against England in 1993 where we got back to our winning ways. But our performance abroad remained pathetic until things began to take shape under the Wright-Ganguly leadership. So surely Ganguly has done Indian cricket a world of good than Mr. Dungarpur has!

In the above article I cannot believe Wright would have disclosed things to this man, I think it’s purely his biased observations. Of all the people in the world, Dravid need not turn to him for his batting problems of getting bowled often. He has some good people in Gavaskar, Vishvanath and even his team-mate Sachin to get some answers.

Does anyone really care for his opinions that he goes about mouthing them. Does he care for Indian cricket at all when all that he has done in his lifetime is take pot-shots at the teams when they have performed well and undermine Indian victories?

No one who cares for Indian cricket needs to listen to this guy and now the Pawar-run BCCI intends to put him up as manager for the Pak tour. Did they get impressed by this? Should they not know it better?

No wonder whoever is in power seems to be making any difference to the state of cricket in India. Along with the selectors even the Board comprises of nothing but a bunch of jokers. What would you call them if they consider appointing this man for an all important tour!

All he is capable of is bringing about a rift by his inane talk among the team rather than help build the team Chappell is trying to put together. The sooner they realise their folly the better.

On another note I sure as well would like to see Chappell shoot another mail to the Board on how competent Mr. Dungarpur was as a manager. I’m sure Ganguly would be pleased as well and wait for that moment too.

Kumble’s 100 is a memorable one…

This was surely his test although the Man-of-the-Match was Harbhajan. The test began with Kumble getting felicitated for his 100th test appearance which is no mean feat for an Indian bowler. He was his usual polite and modest self and felt bad that his Karnataka team-mate, Rahul Dravid who had played in every match with him since his debut in 1996 could not be there on this occasion.

However the Indian team was not going to spoil the occasion for their match-winning spinner despite a horrendous start on day one. I mean on a day one track, although not that conducive to batting, how can you be reeling at 125-5? But I’m really glad they have picked up that fine Aussie trait of one batsman batting with the tail to give a healthy total. I did not expect India to land up with 398 after their showing on day one. But Laxman, Dhoni, Pathan, Agarkar and Kumble had other plans up their mind. I really enjoyed their batting. Relaxed and calm, none of them seemed in any kind of hurry and hit the ball on merit. Laxman’s hundred has got to be the slowest till date but it will rate very highly for standing by and batting so well with Pathan and Dhoni to get India out of the doldrums. Whatever Agarkar and Kumble got later was a neat bonus.

My shot of the innings was Kumble’s straight six of Murali. What a shot! Tendulkar would have been proud of him that day. Not many batsmen do that to Murali and definitely not tail-enders.! Kumble always had some potential as a batsman and I still don’t know why he neglected it over the years.

Post a 398 from 125/5, SL knew they had lost the advantage and it was going to be a huge fight from then on as Motera track is known for its notorious turn. With Kumble and Bhajji on the Indian side it was going to be an uphill task and none of their batsman apart Sangakarra looked up to it. Attapattu has been getting good starts but failed to convert any to good knocks.

This time Bhajji took centre stage and decided that he’ll pay his tribute to Kumble in his own fashion and I’m sure Kumble must have enjoyed it. 62-7 is one hell of a bowling feat in any conditions.

Second innings was nothing great for India and again the lower order came to the rescue. It’s not a good sign and the top-order has to look into what’s going wrong. Now you see why Dravid is important? His ability to hang in there, concentrate and his level of patience is unsurpassed and the others need to learn a thing or two from their captain when he is back.

Sehwag needs to re-look at himself. I don’t want him to change his natural game but he surely needs to go back to the books and get back into runs else he will soon find himself struggling to keep his place as well. These days you really can’t trust the selectors!

The batsmen need to do some serious thinking as we are welcoming the New Year in Pakistan and with no camp and not much of practice matches I’m wondering how we will fare there what with Pakistan high on confidence after defeating England in both forms of the game convincingly! The things are reverse this year. In 2004, we went there after a drawn series in Australia with our confidence soaring high, now it’s even Steven’s and Pakistan is probably in a much better situation.

Once SL was set 509 there were only two possibilities Indian win or draw. Latter looked highly improbable considering the time on hand and the form of India’s spinning duo. I wonder why Sehwag waited that long, anything above 350 was a winning total on this track. But I think he chose to be safe than sorry and with so much time on hands made sure he would not lose the game.

Kumble ended his game with a fiver. A memorable match for him indeed and he must’ve been glad to have his mother come to the stadium to see him earn his honor. I have really liked t hat fact. I can never forget her face when Kumble-Srinath stole that famous victory against Aus in 1996 Titan Cup league match in Bangalore. That was a moment to remember…and so will this match be for Kumble, his team-mates, his family, his friends and his fans.

Cheers Anil…

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

On this day I wish you…

Every day with you is special but it is really ironic that I’ve not been able to be there with you on your special day in the last three years of knowing you. Hoping someday God will change my destiny…

On this day I wish you…

A special smile,
A laughter bright,

A twinkle in your eye,
A shining light in the day gone bye,

A moment of love,
That’s worth a thousand spun into one,

A world full of brightness,
A year bringing only happiness…

May every birthday that comes; brings in double the joy, double the happiness, double the cheerfulness, double the love for you and only you…

Happy Birthday Sweetheart…
Wishing you Many Happy Returns of the Day.

Hope you have a blast;-)
P.S: Even though I’m far away I still feel I’ll be there today celebrating your b-day.

Monday, December 19, 2005

‘Tis the season to be jolly, Fa-La-La-La-La-La-La-La-La…

As the week sets in to celebrate Christmas the mind travels back few years to the good old school days. Being in a convent school introduced us to a wonderful phenomenon called Christmas and the celebrations that precede and follow it.

Christmas to us in school meant:

  • Learning about Jesus’s history and the miracle of his birth
  • Enacting the Christmas plays year after year; with the same vigor and enthusiasm. Some girls dressed as shepards, some as the three Kings, some as the angels, someone as the Little Drummer boy, and some as the central characters Joseph & Mary.
  • Party,loads of fun and dancing
  • Chocolate cakes and ice-creams
  • Santa Claus distributing sweets during the party
  • Fun-fair at school before the vacation began

A time to be jolly indeed!

But the most vivid memory that stays along is that of rehearsing Christmas Carols every day after we were back to School from Diwali vacation; in preparation for the big Christmas party. That was the only time of the year we girls looked forward to our assembly session. It lasted an hour and we were more than happy to sing those lovely carols and also miss school studies for half-hour;-)

Most carols celebrated Christ’s birth told stories about him.

  • About Jesus’s birth:

These three remain my all-time favourites, for their tune and the soft background music. Also for the harrowing time we gave our teacher while learning to get the pitch of the Silent Night song right.

  1. The Drummer Boy I loved the Pa-ra-ra-pum-pum, ra-pum-pum part. Different groups sang it in different pitches and the result was fantastic

The carols also taught us small but important lessons about life. Remember Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer . In the most simplistic manner it told us that there is one talent in us that the others don’t have; once we discover it we will find our own little place in the sun. Every person on this earth has that special something; it’s only a matter of time before we discover it.
They also told you to be kind and helpful to the poor and needy: Good King Wenceslas

They really made Santa Claus come alive. As little girls we believed it all, the tooth-fairy, the Angels, and Santa Claus. The little fat man with his red dress and long beard brought a smile on our faces by the mere mention of his name. Sigh! I wish he was true :-)

It was also during this time of the year that we girls were the most-well behaved at school, you know what one carol said about Santa, it’s my favourite.

'You better watch out,

You better not cry,

You better not pout,

I'm telling you why,

Santa Claus is coming to town'

The rest here.

Jingle Bells, the most well-known and the ultimate favourite of all kids; tell me one kid who does not know it, you will not find one! Trust me.

And as always after the end of our carol singing it was time to bid adieu to the old year and ring in the new with two wonderful carols:

As I switched onto FM today all those lovely carols came back. They are still fresh in the memory and not a word forgotten. Every year after passing out of school I make it a point to tune into the radio during this time of the year as they play all the carols till Christmas time is over.

So since it’s that time of the year again and I can’t be at school, I have listed some of my favourite Christmas carols and yes, you are more than welcome to add in yours.

Christmas was a doubly special event for me, with Mumma celebrating her B-day on 25th Dec. This year makes it four times special. To add to the previous celebrations, two of my closest friends will tie the knot this year on Christmas Day. They could not have picked a more appropriate moment :-)

After all, tis the season to be jolly, and have fun and celebrate! Celebrate love and celebrate life!

Does our tail wag?

I was planning to wait till the end of the match to come with a summary of the same but this needed mention.
Dravid hospitalized, Sehwag captains, disastrous start, Tendulkar in that over-cautious mode, 125/5 with the top order gone; in step in two youngsters, the heroes of the year 2005, along with another senior player struggling to justify his place in the side.

Thanks to a patient hundred by Laxman (He is man who can get a hundred in a day, he has done it many a times before. So this one has to be the slowest for him), an almost 50 by Dhoni, yet again a fine knock of 82 by Pathan (Somebody up there grant him a hundred. Painful to see him get out in 80s and 90s) and 50 odd added by Agarkar & Kumble India has ended up with a cool 398/10. Motera is not the best known track for tests in India. Remember this havoc created by Srinath in '96.

Sri Lanka should be cursing themselves right now!

At the end to answer the question, it’s a delight to see this Indian tail wag!

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Can You Call My Bluff?

I’m not so sure you would. And that is the USP of the film “Bluff Master”. Some tricks a little too easy and some extremely well executed. There is one guarantee though, you will not feel cheated at the end of three hours. It is a thoroughly enjoyable affair unlike the review it got from the Times of India. I’m really surprised! Every stupid Shahrukh movie gets atleast three star-rating but the others receive two-stars despite being interesting? HT on the other hand gives it a nice review and yes I agree with the latter.

I’m not going to delve into the story much; by now everyone has a fair idea what it is all about. As always I’ll speak about the few things that I enjoyed about this movie. First aspect, the film carries an extremely slick look. The editing and cinematography is top-notch. I can’t recollect the last time Mumbai was shot so beautifully. The Gateway, the Fort area, the Navjivan building at Mumbai-Central, the view from Abhishek’s house; Mumbai has never looked so appealing. Abhishek’s house is also very contemporary. I simply could not get over the plasma placed in his gallery with a pink sofa; and the view of the Mahalaxmi race course behind. That was the best part of his house!

Ritesh Deshmukh impresses as the filmy geek and learning to be a con artist. He has some of the best comic lines and he does full justice to them. References to Ba and Komolika of the K-serials and the senior citizen and chavan prash lines he cracks to Boman Irani. He creates a laugh riot when he goes on his shopping spree along with Abhishek and later in the inane hospital scene; where Boman, Ritesh and Abhishek are all over each other.

Boman Irani over acts at times, but I’m such a huge fan of this person that I shall overlook that aspect. Nana Patekar is simply himself. On his entry, when he is worshipping himself in the mirror, when he sets up Abhishek-Ritesh, when he gets conned by the two, when he seeks his revenge and finally in the last scene. He is super-duper and this time he doesn’t get onto your nerves!

The guys playing Jassi and Omar do justice as well. Do I need to mention Priyanka? Well she does what she has been asked too. Look good, flaunt her figure and smile and cry! She is strictly ok. I don’t think there has been much difference by replacing Aishwarya with her. Fortunately her smile is not as plastic!

I loved the remixed old hindi songs used in the background at various scenes. They were so aptly put. I also liked the way the characters were introduced in the Kodak snapshot. It went well with the whole look of the film. The soundtrack is awesome. ‘Right here Right now’ is the ace of the pack; but you will find yourself swinging to the rest of the tracks as well. It is a must buy.

Am I missing something? Hmmm the star of the show. Abhishek Bachchan. What can I say?
I have been a fan of his since his debut and so forgive me for being a little partial now. He is getting better and better as every film goes by. He is looking extremely confident of himself. His dancing is improving, he rocks the engagement song. Only he seems to carry off those flowery shirts in suits. When he shuts up Ritesh either with his stinging taunts or slaps; there is élan and there is style. I won’t be surprised if he is in the running for the MTV Style Icon next year. He is super-duper hot in this film.
As the ultimate con man Abhishek pulls of his con on us once again or does he? ;-)

I had a blast watching the movie, I think it’s worth a watch atleast once, though I would not mind going again. A comic and fun-film is welcome any day compared to the drab that is dished out 90% of the times! Full credit to Rohan Sippy the director and the scriptwriter Shridhar.

Go watch it…

  • I saw two extremely contrasting trailors: Rang De Basanti and Dosti. Rang De Basanti looks like the movie to watch out for next year. Dosti is one movie you would not want to waste your money on!
  • Can someone explain why Sanjay Dutt and Aishwarya Rai were given Special Thanks?

Friday, December 16, 2005

Give a Thought-6?

  • Sign seen in a bar: "Those drinking to forget please pay in advance."
  • Caption for M.T.N.L. Advertisement: "We dig anything , anywhere."
  • Advertisement: Guitar, for sale, cheap, no strings attached
  • "Buffet": A French word that means "Get up & get it yourself !"
  • Andaz: Why make a movie about eggs?

Thursday, December 15, 2005

The Ideal Grandpa-Uncle

There are very few actors whose performances touch your heart and remain in memory forever. Sudhir Joshi was one such actor. Compared to Marathi films, Marathi Theatre is extremely rich and produces some fine plays every year. The actors therefore have the platform to explore their talents. To add to it, Zee TV by beginning the Marathi regional channel (a few years back) brought home a whole lot of new talented actors and the old veterans as well.

Sudhir Joshi played all sorts of roles in films and theatres. The cunning villain, the comedy uncle, the stern father/grandapa. He acted in Hindi films as well as serials. The one performance that will stay on in my mind forever is his portrayal of Grandfather in the serial Prapancha’ on then Zee-Alpha now Zee-Marathi; the ever-understanding father, the best friend to his grand-children, the caring patriarch. Years after the serial is over his performance still lingers in the mind.

The one play I badly wanted to see and will now never see him perform was ‘I am not Bajirao’. Along with Boman Irani he received rave reviews for his performance and the play was top-notch. He played the quintessential funny uncle in most marathi films to perfection and along with Lakshmikant Berde, Sachin, Ashok Saraf, Prashant Damle (all noted marathi actors) produced a laughing riot.

We as humans are always greedy. You don’t want the good things to end and hope that things will be as is. Fans must have hoped that he gives endless notable performances for them to savour. He could have for a few years more, but God decided otherwise. He left for the heavenly abode a little too early. He will be sorely missed. It’s a tremendous loss for the Marathi Theatre, Television and Film Industry.

May his soul rest in peace…

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Test Series: Advantage India

It wasn’t a flawless victory but it was heartening to see the way our bowlers brought us back into the game. So here are my views on the match:

Rahul Dravid: I was surprised to see Dravid open the innings. All long I have felt that he has never been comfortable at the opening slot. They asked him to do so inthe 1996, SA tour; he obliged since he was a newcomer. In 2001,he blatantly refused. I think he was right in doing so. If you are not mentally prepared, no amount of coaxing and motivation will help. They did not have much of a choice though. Ganguly as an opener would have meant asking for more controversies. Ganguly supporters would see this as the ultimate ploy to kick him out of the test-side if he failed. So that option was out. Yuvraj was out for sure, despite his knock and his shot display, when it comes to tests I would always prefer Kaif. So captain courageous went ahead, started well and failed again! He made amends in the second innings (not as an opener though!) but faced a tragic end.

Sachin held the innings together and made sure he got his long-awaited 35th century. After seeing Laxman’s knock I would be surprised if he did not go and kick himself hard for getting out at 69. He looked in exquisite touch since he had stepped onto the pitch. I can’t figure this guy out, he comes with out-of-the-world knocks against the best bowling attack in the world, and chooses to be mediocre or give up his wicket easily against the rest. Why Laxman why? You know this can be really frustrating!

Saurav Ganguly has secured his place in the third test with his 40 & 39. I was not impressed by his patience and hoped he would convert atleast one of the knocks into a decent half-century. Unfortunately the type of bowling he fancied in his peak days resulted in his downfall. Though, a couple of fours did show a glimpse of the Maharaja’s timing. All said and done, if he gets it right , his off-side strokes are a sight for sore eyes.

Dhoni is all power-play. Reminds me a lot of Bhima with his Gada. I’m dead sure Dhoni visualizes his bat as one. Whack, slam, bang! Simple philosophy, ‘See Ball, Whack Ball!’ (I like that) Played some super shots in the second innings and earned his place in the side.

Irfan Pathan: Should I not be mentioning him with the bowlers? I missed his innings:-( (I’m ruing that badly) But I believed he really killed Murali with his shots. 93 as a test-opener???? Well, if we should not yet term him as an all-rounder what should we term him as!
Please don’t go about saying we will see how he performs on those fast–tracks down under or those seaming conditions in England. For heaven’s sake he might not even open there, but what an option Dravid has if either of the openers is not around! If this effort is not credible, then what is? Hats Off! His attitude, his grit, his determination, his awesome talent; what a natural!
Also he needs to kick himself too, a century in sight and he loses his wicket! He might have got nervous, but he must make himself aware that such opportunities won’t be made available to him too often in the future!
As for his bowling bit, I simply love his habit of getting the initial break-through and every time he does it India more often than not wins!

Ajit Agarkar: Wicketless in the first innings but provided some good breakthroughs in the second. Sangakarra being the much needed one.

Harbhajan Singh: Disappointed. On a pitch where Murali works wonders, Kumble fires up, he did not show any great figures. And I also agree with my husband who mentioned to me during the course of day 2, if Bhajji does not get a wicket fast, his confidence seems to plunge to depths and that is not a good sign if you want to be known as one of the best spinners in India.

Yuvraj Singh: Covered up well for his first innings failure. So now the question the team is posed with is; who should be dropped to accommodate Sehwag? Anyways, but a word about Yuvraj, I am trying to figure out how he is such a pathetic player of spin being an Indian batsman; it is supposed to be bread and butter for Indian batsman, Yuvraj what is wrong with you? He will make the SA batsman look like real pros against spinners! Ok, I’m exaggerating, but for heaven’s sake he makes me want to pull my hair apart when he dances all over the pitch and misses the deliveries.

Gautam Gambhir: The only failure of the match. Deserves another go and hope he pulls up his socks real tight in the next match.

Anil Kumble: I shall save the last word for him. I’m impressed by this fighter. Every time people have doubted his abilities (I too have been a part of it!), he has fought back. He has had his limitations as a spinner but his achievements have been on par with the world’s best. What a dependable bowler especially in Indian conditions.
One point though which has got me wondering. Husband raised it and I’m wondering too, who will be our main strike bowler on Indian soil once he calls it quits. I mean with Kumble there has always been the confidence that he will take a wicket or two every time he comes on to bowl , but who after him to inspire such confidence? Harbhajan has a long way to go.

And finally to sum it up, you do not lose 7 wickets in 45 runs on the morning of Day 2, on not so deadly Kotla track! Murali is a magician and our batsman fools! The bowlers deserve all the accolades for pegging back Sri Lanka to 230 without which it would have been a tough battle to win. The batsmen made amends by batting with restraint in the second innings, here too one bowler takes majority of the credit for showing others how to attack Murali.

In all, a good effort to win the test. Sachin must be doubly happy; more than his record breaking century I’m sure he relished the Indian win more. Congratulations to Captain Dravid, if I’m not mistaken it's his first victory as a captain on the Indian soil.
Update: This is really surprising! I don't know why and it seems pretty unfair to Ganguly in the context of second test. Although, I'm happy that Dravid has been retained for the entire season. That should pump up his confidence further.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Gift for a Record…

He gets his record breaking ton and two days later, I celebrate it when hubby dearest gifts me this.

It is more of a photo album than a book. Very less script and huge pictures citing his every step in international cricket. If you are his fan you can add this for your collection.
As there is hardly anything to read; gulped it down in less than an hour and intend to relish every picture, every moment henceforth at ease.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Prodigy Keeps His Promise...

I was just glad to be home on Saturday evening. I was also a little sad to not have been able to put up the news up on my blog immediately; personal commitments take a priority at times. Watching him get the record–breaking run on the on-side, my mind went through a whole gamut of emotions and memories started flashing back.

  • His baptism into the world of cricket in Pakistan 1989; facing the fearsome foursome- Imran Khan, Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis and Abdul Qadir
  • His heartbreak on missing his first test hundred Vs NZ,1990 when he got out at 88
  • His joy on getting his first test hundred at Old Trafford,1990 that helped India draw the match
  • His emergence as one of the world’s best when he made the whole world sit up and take notice of him, through his two scintillating knocks on the tour down under in 91-92. The II4 at Perth, then what was the fastest track in the world, a terror for batsman, will be etched in memory forever
  • His run-out in the first test at Durban, 1992. That made him the first batsman in the history of test-cricket to be given out by the third umpire.
  • Two hundreds in 1996 series in England, the series that saw the emergence of two stars who would be his men-in-arms for the years to follow.
  • The 169 Vs SA, 1996 . The fantastic partnership with Azhar. What a counter-attack! I can never forget his reaction when Adam Bacher plucked the ball out of thin air. He simply refused to budge from the pitch.
  • The attack on Shane Warne in the 1998 series at home. The first round at Chennai went to Warne. He knew he had hurried too fast in the first innings. What we saw in the second innings was a calculated assault. Eden saw a glimpse of the brilliance followed by a masterful 177 at Bangalore. His best year ever, in international cricket.
  • Finally in 1999 his wait ended. It took him 79 ODIs to wait for his first century, and a nice 10 years to get his double in test-cricket. He finally achieved it on home soil in Ahmedabad Vs NZ,1999. A fine knock of 217.
  • But then came the slump. The forgettable 1999 Aus Tour , the series loss at home to SA, 2000, and the test loss to Pakistan at Chennai,1999. Though he remained his consistent self, as a captain it was shattering; especially the 136 at Chennai. Fighting all odds, a stinging back-pain, and seeing the last 4 wickets failing to make the 16 runs left. That was one hell of a heart-wrenching match. For the first time I think he cried and was open about it. I think it still hurts him.
  • He came around it though to make amends, back to his favourite hunting ground. 125 Vs Aus in Chennai, 2001, was as priceless as any other knock of his.
  • He followed with superlative innings of 193 at Headingley Vs England 2002, 241* Vs Aus, Sydney,2004. Such discipline in that knock, held back his natural instinct to hit on the up and to drive the ball, such resilience! 194* Vs Pak, 2004.
  • His 34th century was not Vs an opponent he would have fancied, but nevertheless it was a milestone. He came close to the record breaking one against Pak in the series at home earlier this year but it was not to be; sometimes God has been pretty cruel to him, and some records have not come his way that soon or easy
  • Finally he achieved his record-breaking century in his 125th test match. His reaction was one we rarely see him express. He punched his fist when he was in the middle of the pitch, off came the helmet , hands and bat raised, and kept looking up to the heavens, the bat came down to his chest, a kiss on the bat and there was so much relief and happiness. He had really waited for this moment for long. The whole stadium and the entire nation had erupted to celebrate this moment.
    It was a well paced innings. He started a little edgy but settled in slowly and as he went on to play a little longer he accelerated really well. The three fours of Murali in an over were just the same as he played in his old days; the cheekiness and the confidence was back.

When he made his debut; almost everyone who saw him predicted his greatness. It takes something to live up to all those expectations. There are still some complaints about him, but I’ll keep that aside. It takes a genius to sustain the consistency for 16 long years and yet, he is not finished with the game. He is back with a renewed vigor and more lies in store.

He has kept his promise with the nation 16 years down the line; after he started out as a 16 year-old prodigy. Yes, Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar, we would simply like to take a bow for providing us such fine moments to be proud of, may you give us some more.
We simply don’t seem to have enough!

Friday, December 09, 2005

Giving Up Your Career?

This question has often got me pondering. I’ve tried and yet I fail to find answers. Maybe you all out there can give in your perspectives. So before I go into the actual question that haunts me here is a short background.

All said and done, with the male-female equality in mind and the female liberalization; even today it is very difficult to expect a man to sit at home and let the woman run the house. On the other hand it’s far easier for us women to give up careers and be the housewives while the hubby gets in the moolah to run the house. I for one agree to neither option. I’m a little traditional where I would not want the husband to be the house-man and a liberal where the wife should work to earn some bucks as well.

So the question here is that I cannot fathom why women who are well educated, have pursued professional courses like medicine, MBA engineering, Masters, PhD, just decide to give it up one fine day and be at home. I’ve seen the most talented of my friends and relatives do it. I’m still trying to reason out why.

One school of thought looks at them as the epitome of sacrifice and generosity and makes career-pursuing women look like villains. The other one simple cannot comprehend what drove them to take such a step and regards it as a decision taken under pressure to cater to everyone’s needs or simply because they were too lazy to pursue their jobs or lost the drive for it.

The housewife is a nice lucrative option for most girls who don’t want to study and pursue careers either. Men sadly do not enjoy that luxury. It’s easier for a woman to find a husband who will take care of her for the rest of her life and extremely impossible for a man to find a wife who does the same to him. Mind you, I’m not trying to sound condescending towards the role of a housewife here. I think it is extremely difficult to be one and really can take its toll. But it is also a fact that your world gets restricted if you are not going find out ways to indulge yourself in things apart from your house, husband and kids.

When qualified women tread the path as well, it sometimes irks me. I have always felt that all you learn in life and gain, should not be wasted. You will pass on the learning to your kids but why not use it to develop yourself continuously. What drives us to give it up?

I’m not asking you to lead high-profile careers, neglect your families. You need not even have a job. But I do ask of you to develop your own identity and adding onto it; even try to be financially independent. It is extremely important to do so. It gives you a sense of individuality, independance, self-respect, opinion and freedom. You discover a world beyond your own, and the experience only enriches your life.
The experiences you gain only helps you see the things at home in a different light as well. You have lived in that world before so why not go back and help to achieve the best of both worlds. And for ladies who have never worked, venture out and experience, maybe you will discover hidden talents and explore them further.

There are so many things you can do.
  • If you like lending a helping hand, volunteer with a NGO.
  • If you are a fine cook, start cooking classes at home, maybe just once a week. You can also supply lunch-dinner tiffins to bachelors/single girls living in the city/town. How they long for home-made food, and you can obviously make some good money from it. If tiffins are too hectic, how about preparing small snack items and supplying them. Who knows your culinary skills mightlead you to the hotel business or to being a top chef
  • If you paint well, start drawing classes. Pottery, fabric painting etc.
  • If you are a trained classical dancer/singer, you could conduct dancing/singing classes or join a class to teach the same
  • If you have a fetish for computers, you could join computer classes and teach there or take up small assignments from home
  • If you love teaching, you could take tuitions for kids.
  • If you love music, love to talk and have a great voice, try auditioning for a Radio Jockey
  • If you love to be in sync with the happening around the world, ever thought of opting for a news-reader’s job on radio or TV?
  • Writing is your passion, try pursuing for a guest column option in local newspapers/magazines
  • If your husband runs his own business why don’t you try coaxing him to let you come to office and understand it and help in some aspect; the finances, the operations, the administration, or the human resource management. You need not always be qualified professional for that, after all experience is the best teacher of all.
  • If you do not want to go work, then you can be a student for the various classes and develop your interests. Join various hobby classes, and maybe that will motivate you to start one of your own. Learn a foreign language, or maybe kick-boxing.

There are so many things to do.

There was another wonderful and unique option I saw my aunt indulge in. All the elderly ladies in her area formed a small group known as 'Bhagini Bhajan Mandal' (Ladies Devotional Song Club) They would perform devotional songs at the house-pooja and at all festivals. They never charged anything. They started it as an interest and with the intention to spend some time praying and praising God. Their songs went down so well with everyone that soon they became well-known and were called to perform at all festivities. They even went on tours in various areas performing with other ‘mandals’ from different regions. It helped them learn about other places, make new friends, learn their life-stories and share their experiences as well. Every time she comes back, she has new anecdotes to tell and her grand-daughters refuse to miss any of her performances being held in their hometown.

Basically the point I’m trying to drive is to find your interests and pursue them. For whatever reasons you might not have been able to pursue a career; due to family pressure or because you were not that ambitious, your priorities were different. Don’t wait for that moment in life when you have completed all your duties and look back, you regret for not taking up those small opportunities which would have helped you develop as an individual. The same opportunities that would have helped you overcome the regret for not pursuing the career of your choice.

Life always presents you with alternatives and it is for us to tap them at the right moment. Life is short and there is so much to learn, why would you want not to?

A career is not what you make in a high-profile pressure job. A career is what you make when you are successful in the little things you pursue. You being a housewife need not always mean giving up everything, you have to look at pursuing the new opportutnites that exist around you. There are many ways where you can do some justice to the education you received and the talents you are blessed with. Prove yourself that you were worth it.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Give a Thought-5?

  • There are three dimensions to credit cards, length, width and debt.
  • You can't tell which way the train went by looking at the track.
  • On the keyboard of life, always keep one finger on the escape key.
  • A pat on the back is only a few centimetres from a kick in the ass.
  • If it wasn't for the last minute, nothing would get done.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Missing Wankhede…

India finally set their ODI record straight at Wankhede. As far as I could remember, after the memorable Titan Cup win and the one–off match against SA in the 96-97 season Wankhede has proved to be a graveyard for the Indian team when it came to ODI matches. The added security measures made watching the match anything but a memorable experience. Indian victories could have proved to be a balm on these discomforts but even they were hard to come by except the one victory against Bangladesh in 1998 where I’m sure the stadium did not overflow with spectators. (Two reasons: Opponents were Bangladesh and the torturous May heat!)

But seeing the second innings on TV on Monday 28th November brought back tons of memories and I started missing Wankhede all over again!

  • The long queues (to get into the stadium) that begin at 9.00 in the morning; when the stadium gates are slated to open at 12.30.
  • The colourful crowd dressed in their sporty best
  • The huge Indian flags flowing all along
  • Little flags painted on cheeks and hands
  • Young little tots on their way to experience their first match live at the stadium, all excited and lost
  • Teenage girls screaming and yelling to catch a glimpse of their cricket heroes
  • Despite seeing them several times the excitement to catch the cricketers in flesh and blood
  • The mad rush to get the best of the seats (Seat numbers rarely matter in any of the stands except the MCA Pavilion and Garware)
  • The frenzy to get hold of all the water bags and eateries cause there won’t be a break or a chance to get out once the match starts
  • The loud cheers that welcome the two captains for the toss
  • The never ending wait between the toss and match to start
  • The discussions across age-groups; almost like a pre-match analysis
  • The deafening cheer to mark the start of the match when the bowler comes in to bowl the first ball
  • The chants for fours and sixers when the Indian batsmen are on a song
  • The sudden silence when the Indian wicket falls and the next moment a loud applause if the opposition batsman has played a fine knock.
    (Yes, the Mumbai crowd has still not lost the spirit to applaud the opposition. I hate the silence that follows a good stroke or a wicket-taking ball from the opponents! Come on cheer a good player and the game!)
  • The outstanding live commentary that is going on, in and around you, trust me you learn a lot of cricket there by listening to the people around. Yes, most of them do know their stuff
  • The hilarious moments when you see people passing themselves off as experts when they don’t even know ABC of cricket! I know it’s sadistic but it’s fun to hear them yap away to glory
  • The fear that you will miss the shot to the boundary or the fall of a wicket because there aren’t any replays at the stadium
  • The thundering roar that marks the arrival of local boy Sachin Tendulkar, 'Amchya Mumbaicha Mulga' (Our Mumbai’s Son) to the batting crease. (If Tendulkar is slated to bat one-down or two-down, Wankhede must be the only ground in this country that cheers the fall of the Indian wicket the loudest! Yes, they are human at times and can be partial!)
  • The chant to cheer individual players which goes for e.g.: 'Dra-vid, Dra-vid (clap along in the beat) and followed by quick three claps, accompanied with loud whistles in the same beat.' (Drums and dholkis have been banned since the Mumbai blasts, else the beat and sound was phenomenal, you got to witness a fine example of unity in diversity)
  • The Mexican waves splashing across stands and the crowd booing the stands that refuse to show the energy to continue the wave in the same vigor (Garware stand is often the target!)
  • The chanting of 'Ganapati Bappa Morya', every time the Indian team is in trouble
  • The entire ground singing 'Hum Honge Kamyab', when ever the team needs encouragement
  • The chants and discussions that follow post the match, when everyone is tired yet energetic, relishing every moment of the day ; hoping to see one and all the next year once again to cheer their team and see the best of cricket yet again.

Sigh! It’s noisy, it’s discomforting, it’s maddening, it’s crowded, it’s frightening, but all the moments above make these small complaints look miniscule compared to the tremendous atmosphere at the stadium. One walks in as any other spectator and walks out only as an Indian and a true sports lover (where one learns to appreciate a good play even if it is by the opponents). The one quality that binds one and all coming to see the match. Yes, it’s one of the smallest things of many important ones that makes one proud as an Indian and unites one and all.

Savour the experience for a lifetime and keep visiting again to relive it. I have surely tried it in the last 14 years of watching cricket. I would give anything to be at the stadium rather than watch the match in close comfort at home on TV. The two are simply not comparable!

Monday, November 28, 2005

Go Goa...

The biggest mistake I did was that I just managed a weekend trip to this lovely place, and at the end of the two days I could not help but feel miserable for having to leave so early!

We started off for Goa on Friday night by the 11.00 p.m. Konkan Kanya Express and were to return by the same on Sunday night at 7.00 p.m. from Thivim. Before I go on to narrate my travel experience, I must say I was pretty impressed with the service in the train. The attendants were polite, quick to respond and extremely good at their work. The food quality was amazing. No oily stuff and not too spicy either. It was just right. We tasted most of the items. Well, when you are in a family that loves to eat and taste new stuff you bet there was not a single item on the menu that would be left without being tasted! We had chicken fried rice, chicken biryani, chicken masala, chicken lollypop, dosa, sandwich, omlet, veg cutlet, tea,coffee, and not to forget gulabjamun. Instead of the traditional paper wraps they gave the food in decent plates and tiffins which made it so much easier to have the food.

We landed on Thivim station at 10.30a.m. The train was slightly delayed. We took a taxi to our hometown Nanora. Now, Nanora is a very small village. The houses are still built of mud, and the verandahs and floors are still done the traditional way by smearing cow dung on it. Cow dung is one of the best natural fertilizers; it keeps the house disease free and maintains a cool temperature in the house. I must say it is one hell of a task to do up the whole house on alternate days with it! I do admire the ladies there!

Our small house is a house of 4 rooms and a kitchen with a small verandah outside. It’s so peaceful and quiet. It’s right in the midst of nature with a jungle behind and river flowing right nearby. (I’m also sorry for not being able to upload snaps will do so over the weekend.) Once we landed and freshened up, we went to visit the village goddess and take her blessings. Some of the houses lie empty. Vast and spacious ones with no one to care for, as most of them are settled in big towns and cities. The heritage is dying and no one seems to care. How can one ignore such a beautiful place? It is just about the perfect get-away you need from your busy city life. People fail to see the importance.

Post lunch my husband’s cousin and his wife came down with their car to drive us around the Goa. Thy were feeling really bad that we had just come down for two days and since I was visiting the first time they thought they would make the most of it. We left our village at 4.30 p.m. only to return by 11.30p.m.! For the first time in many days, I was left wondering if it were possible to have more than 24 hours in a single day.

We left first for the the Kalangute Beach, which is close to Panaji, the capital city of Goa. Being in Mumbai one forgets what a clean beach is, so if you want to know go head towards the Konkan, Goa, Mangalore, Kerala beaches. Pure water, huge waves hitting you and lovely breeze blowing all around. My brother-in-law and his wife are very enthusiastic. They love to talk and never seem to tire out. They speak Konkani so well, and speaking of Konkani; I have absolutely fallen in love with that language and intend to learn it from my mom-in-law, she is the only one in our house who knows it. It’s such a sweet language, and when they speak it sounds as if they have only words of love for you.

My sister-in-law just hinted she wanted to try para-gliding; we were not so sure to let her try it, so my husband and his brother thought speed boat ride was another good option. On came the life jackets, we climbed into the boat and we took off into the sea! What a ride! The water kept splashing into our faces. I did not feel messy and loved every moment of getting wet in the sea.

Out of the sea and walking back to the car, on the way we had a couple of halts; one to have 'butta' (hot roasted corn with red chilly and lemon…yum!) and second for some shopping! What cool pieces of junk jewellery, lovely wrap around skirts, bags and purses with embroidery and mirror work, lots of handicrafts, showpieces, all of which sent my husband and his brother into a frenzy seeing us go from one shop to another. We then finally decided to have some mercy on the two and relieve them of the torture and set away for my brother-in-law’s house in Old Goa to freshen up. On the way we even saw the old church where the body of St.Francis is kept. Sadly we did not have time to visit it.

The drive to his place and back to Panaji was heavenly. Dark skies, clear sea, small lanes with houses on both sides, turns and twists, bridges on the water, cruises below, street-lights on the road, and coconut trees all around. Panaji was all lit thanks to IFFI. Huge hoardings, film screenings at public places, trees decorated with lights, festivities on, fairs all over. It was indeed a lovely time of the year to visit Goa. I loved the street lights all along Miramar beach, Old Secretariat and Inox Theatre. They had the ancient British look and added to the beauty of the lovely streets.

We then visited a place well-known for Goan specialties. The Ritz Classic. I have never been a sea-food person, and not too enthusiastic about trying new stuff. Staying with my husband’s family has rubbed of some the niceties onto me. I decided that I shall taste all sea-food specialties. So here is what we ordered and I tried all of them. The prawns fried and in curry, were out of this world. I also tasted Chonak(Barramundi) Masala Fry, Squids in Garlic Sauce, and Shingane. We ended the delicious dinner with an icy cold ice-cream. Suddenly all the cold and cough seemed to have disappeared.

The next day we took the ride to visit our Family Goddess 'Kamakshi Devi' in Shiroda which is about an hour’s ride from our village. The temple is huge and has a small pond, a well, another temple, marriage hall, and dharamshala in its premises. The Goddess was kept inside a room whose three doors were done up of pure silver and the dome of the temple in pure gold. The aura of the Goddess filled up the entire temple and you did not want to leave so soon.

Post the 'darshan', we left for Old Goa again to pick up my brother-in-law to go ahead for lunch. We went to a small place nearby which offered food similar to homemade food. Again sea-food ruled. Prawns, Pomphret, King Fish, Oysters, you name it and it was there. I had tasted enough sea-food in two days which I had not managed in 25 years of my life!

We then left for our shopping spree of Kokum Sherbet and Cashew nuts. On the way back we passed through Parvari and Mhapsa. Some of the bungalows I saw there left me mesmerized; the vintage structure, the expanse, the architecture, the lawns outside, the whole locale. It made me more than determined to build one of my own there someday in the future. Yes, it’s one more addition to my list of dreams that I have to fulfill.

We reached home by 4.30 only to realize that we would be saying good-bye in another hour; time had just flown by!

I did not want it to end, the whole experience was so enriching; in terms of the place and the people. My husband’s relatives were such a sweet lot and so hospitable, someday I hope I can return the love they showered on me. I was meeting them for the first time but I did not feel like a stranger at all.

Man is a greedy animal they say, well I’m greedy for the beautiful heavenly abode in Goa and the love the people there gave me. Yes I would want more and more of that in the years to come.

Friday, November 25, 2005

Guhagar and Goa…

One is a place where my roots are and another is a place where my future roots will be.

I’ve never been a village person. My husband though is the exact opposite, a complete outdoor person. He simply loves the nature and could spend aeons and aeons enjoying it. He loves nature trails, treks, camping, has amazing knowledge of the wildlife and hates it when people disturb their peace. In his village, he would go along with his cousins and uncles to observe the wildlife at night by sitting on a machan!

I on the other hand, have hardly visited any villages, except mine, which is Guhagar, situated on the shores of Ratnagiri in Maharashtra. I’ve not spent many vacations there but a few spent gave me memories that will last a lifetime. I cannot stay on for more than 10 day there because you begin to miss the hustle-bustle of city life. Sad but true, we are hard-wired that way. But those 10 days suffice to bring back all the energy and vigor needed to face the daily routine again.

Our house is situated just at the beginning of the village with the river behind and the vast sea-shore just five minutes away. The beach is clean and the water is as pure as you can get. In front of the house, a small stream flows. It overflows during the rainy season and is surrounded by trees all around. You look around and all you see is lush green surroundings. A well in front of the verandah where the guys simply enjoy taking a bath! Boys, first the sea-shore, then the river, then the well, they never seem to get away from the water. My brothers and nephews are amazing brats who refuse to let me be dry whenever we visit the river or the beach and it is one time when I don’t blast them for throwing me into the water:-) It is also the one time I don’t complain of sleeping in the aangan(verandah). Under the clear skies and the cool breeze blowing, it’s one of the most soothing experiences.

Our house of 4 rooms with a common hall and verandahs in front and back becomes a home when my father’s family resides there during May vacations and comes to life during Ganapati festivities. My father’s family and his first cousin’s share the small house and both families have kept the Gods common so Ganapti is huge festivity time for my family. I’ve not been able to visit owing to no vacation during that period but I have visited our small festival where we celebrate our Kuladaivat(Family God/Godess) Bhairi Bhavani. Guhagar is a fairly small village and people know each other around fairly well. We term that family god celebration as 'Gondhal', it’s meaning in English is 'Chaos'. Well it is literally, considering that there are around 100 family members alone in that house during that time :-)

Lights are lit, pooja is done and the Goddess worshipped. The whole village is called in to celebrate and it is followed by dinner for all. Newly married couples perform the pooja seeking the blessings of the Kuladaivat. After the pooja and dinner is completed, the story-tellers or 'Gondhali' arrive. They narrate tales of the goddess and other family Gods and the reason to celebrate 'Gondhal' . This story-telling carries into the night till it dawns. The story-telling is not merely a narration but there are songs, there is music and fair bit of acting too. It takes place every three years and since we could not make it this year my husband can’t wait for it to come again so that he can go attend it. Honestly I cannot wait either to attend it myself.

There are so many other stories you get to hear from all uncles and aunts and they bring back so many memories as well. Mumma has so many things to tell me from her visits to the village when they were newly married and every year she tells them as if they only occurred yesterday. It was a wonderful gate-away for them from the life in Mumbai and a fun time spent with all members of the family. Papa visited the village twice a year, he just loved that house and every year kept doing something new to it. It is so true when they say you can take a man away from his home but you cannot take the home out of the man :-)

It’s the only village I’ve known and today I’m out to discover another which will become an integral part of my life. It’s in another beautiful part of the Konkan stretch. It is a small village called 'Nanora' in Goa. It’s my husband’s village. (Unfortunately due to our hectic work schedules we can only manage a weekend trip.) We are going there to visit his (and now mine too) Kuladaivat 'Kamakshi Devi' .

I hope to capture as much as I can in these two days, a few more memories from the lovely villages in India. These are the places where the true beauty lies and are often forgotten by all.

Have a wonderful weekend, and more about my experience there once I’m back Monday morning.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Cric Recap...

Too much cricket happening around and it is just the beginning of a new season in full swing.

Have to start off with the Indians. Okay though the ODIs have never been my favourite form of cricket, I must say I really enjoyed some of the moments. Irfan’s all-round skills. Agarkar’s accurate bowling( what a change!), Bhajji’s & Karthik’s twisters and not to forget RP Singh’s emergence as a third left-armer! I didn’t see much of him live in action though:-(

Sachin started off with a bang, followed by Rahul’s consistency, Dhoni’s Dhamaka and ended with Yuvraj’s explosion. Gambhir, Raina and Venugopal Rao(He impressed me when he managed to pull of a six in the square region a la-Sehwag/Sachin in the 4th ODI Vs SL) played their parts well. Fielding was a huge improvement and having got Kaif back certainly helped matters. That little Suresh Raina is a rocket in the field. He seems to have mastered the two As pretty well: Agility and Accuracy, consistently hits the stumps!

Overall impressive. One crib, why is it Greg’s team? Surely Rahul is not doing a Cronje here. (Remember SA Vs India World Cup 1999- The microphone-earphone episode!) Oh!Come on, don’t make Rahul the 'Best man' here too! He lead from the front and he has showed good captaincy skills. He has not been tested yet; but I think, now that he is getting a full assignment on hands he is easing into the job.

Aussies are getting into their destruction zone, WI are slumping to further depths. It really hurts to see this team play today. I see no challenge for the Aussies and a series that has no fight-back is really not worth watching.

I thought the Pak series will test the Brit character. And what a tough one this is proving to be. Am I surprised? Not really, cause England during their winning streak has not been tested enough by the two biggies of the sub-continent. Even the Aussies took a neat three decades to win here.

In the first test, on a lifeless track, the Freddie-Harmisson duo bowled England into the match and their batsman batted them out of the match in the last innings! Pretty disappointing.
The second test looks headed for a draw after a spirited fight from Bell, Pietersen, Jones and the tail.

I think Shahid Afridi should be banned for life! Mistake how can it be a mistake? Tampering the pitch so openly with your shoes was a mistake? Do you not read the rules or do you simply not care because you are playing in your own country!

Before I end, Ganguly’s tenure as the most successful test captain of India ended yesterday.
He is in the team now. Was he not a better ODI player than tests? Hopefully he will answer with his performance. Why do I still want that? Well, yours truly has been his vociferous supporter until this happened.)

And if indeed, it is the end of the road for you Saurav, despite your shortcomings, I have admired you as a captain, and honestly, I think you deserve a better farewell. Don’t you think so too? By your selection in the test squad you have been given that opportunity. Grab it with both hands and play like there will be no tomorrow. Atleast say good bye with your head held high!

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

A Story of Courage- Defiance-Honesty- Truth-Integrity-Guts-Determination

All above values we aspire to have. Very very few people manage to stand by them in real life. Extremely few, cause in this country more often than not the reward for possessing these is ….DEATH.

Read the news on Gaurav’s Blog. After Satyendra Dubey’s case one hoped the country would open itself to the corruption that lies within and try to eradicate it , sadly it has not and sadly it has consumed another honest person. What will be done about it? Nothing…

When students pursue IIT-IIMs, Engineering-MBA degrees, it’s truly in search of greener pastures. The colour green becomes extremely important. Once you enter the institutes, 50% of the lot is driven by money and lack the above values; stating that they don’t really help you in life. Having been part of the MBA-Engineering clan, trust me it’s tough to find people driven by them, honestly it is.

Then why is it that some of us believe in them, why are some of us still willing to sacrifice lives in a hope that the things and ways of life will change?

I did not know Manjunath. I’m too shocked to say anything. I know a couple of colleagues who knew him and I don’t know how to react.

Here is a guy, who having acquired the best of the education in India, could have opted for a job abroad or any MNCs in India in a cool AC office. Yet he chose to go into a PSU. Despite politics and corruption around he had the courage to stand by his values, defied corrupt petrol pump owners, was honest to his officials, had the courage to speak the truth , the determination and guts to stand by his decision, and trusted his integrity. What did he receive in appreciation for this? Death as a reward!

I do hope his sacrifice is not forgotten. For me he is a hero. He really his. May his soul rest in peace. I know our words of condolences will not help reduce the pain of his family, but all I want to say is he will be remembered as a martyr for fighting this cruel corrupt system, very few of us manage that today!

And on another note, all government officials and politicians crib about the so called brain-drain in Indian PSUs and Civil Services. IIM-IIT, Top MBA-Engg. grads opting out of joining these services in search of greener pastures.

But when the few honest ones like Satyendra Dubey and Manju do opt for them in the process to ensure a change, what are they rewarded for their honesty? Death? Is that a motivation for people to step in? If government or their employer can't ensure their protection for being honest and no justice is served to the injustice done to them how do they expect anyone of the future generation to step in?

There is so much to think about.......

Update: Telegraph carries the story here

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Fantasy comes to life…

I maybe late on the review but I had to write about it. The Fourth Potter Movie surpasses the previous ones in terms of everything: The Picturisation, The Acting, The Direction, The Graphics, The Magic, The Sets, The Grandeur and last but not the least, The Emotions of Joy and Sorrow. Don’t compare it to the book please. A book should never be judged by its movie. A three hour film can never do justice to a 700 page book or for that matter any book. How can it? But this movie atleast has tried to capture the most of it and credit must go to the Director, Mike Newell.

The opening haunting sequence of the old man‘s death by the just surviving Dark Lord is a hint of things to come. It is going to get scarier as the next movies come in and I’m not sure how many little minds will get to see it in the theaters. In India they might, not sure abroad. Then the movie shifts base to the Quidditch world cup, oh it felt like being at the Olympics. Though I wish they had shown some moments of the match. Sigh! After cricket it’s the one sport I’ve become crazy about and sadly I’ll never get to see one live. (Drifting away slightly I’m feeling pretty bad that I’ll miss the ODI at Mumbai on 28th Nov, and that too out of my own choice!!)

The next moment I enjoyed was the entry of the other two schools to Hogwarts, the unicorn driven carriage and the magnificent ship that arose from underwater. The sight was marvelous as was the revealing of the Goblet and the trophy. Dumbledore declares the tournament open and when Harry’s name is thrown out of the goblet, you heart goes out to him when he is scorned by one and all and almost loses his best friend in Ron.

There are many moments in the film you take away with you. (Quite a few humorous ones, especially with Mad Eye Moody around.)

  • The one where Moody turns Malfoy (He does look quite handsome though;-) Excellent casting!) into a ferret.
  • The one in the study room where Snape keeps whacking Ron and Harry in their heads and they simply refuse to learn.
  • The time when Ron tries on his robes for the ball. Oh they really do take the cake! What was Mrs. Weasley thinking when she packed them off?
  • Harry’s reaction when he sees the blooming romance between Olympe Maxime and Hagrid.
  • Fred and George trying to get their names into the Goblet. The twins are a delight and I think they have some of the finest brains.
  • The Yule ball is a hit, Hermione looks stunning and we get a first glimpse of the tension between Ron and her.
  • You get a first look into Dumbledore's Pensieve as you tread along with Harry and Moody’s Mad eye drives you a little insane!

The tasks are well shot and the final task is scary and it turns even worst for Harry. I loved the portrayal of Voldemort’s transformation and Ralph Fiennes shines in his brief role. Looking forward to seeing him more, the portrayal of Voldemort could not have been more apt.

Snape is another favourite character in the series and I have been pretty impressed with Alan Rickman. He has little to do in this movie and I was a bit disappointed, but I’m sure as hell waiting for the Half-Blood Prince to hit the theatres, oh it is going to be one long wait!

I felt a tear roll down my eye when Cedric died, when his dad anguished in the loss of his dear son and when Dumbledore told his wards the truth about Cedric’s death.

The cast has done their parts well. Ron is my eternal favourite, the character in the book as well his portrayal by Rupert Grint. Emma Watson is her usual best and Radcliffe is maturing. I also thought the Patil twins looked beautiful and Cho-Chang is pretty as well. In all, the casting is pretty satisfactory.

But you enjoy the movie for Brendan Gleeson’s Mad Eye Moody and Ralph Fiennes’ Lord Voldemort. I think the casting director hit a bulls-eye!

I can’t wait for the next movies to come and if you are a Harry Potter fan don’t you dare miss out on this one. It is surely the best of the lot.

P.S: But my moment of the movie came from this little episode…

A couple of families had come along with their tiny tots. The interval post one-half hour into the movie came up and the youngest of those little ones,(she must be 4) said out aloud, 'Mumma is it now recess time?'

Her innocent question and relating it to school break so cutely just about made my evening. Though I’m sure she must have enjoyed this long Harry Lesson much more compared to her school ones.

Cute little wonders, I wonder what happens when they all grow up?


Long break from blogging and I really missed it:-( Most of all I missed reading other blogs!
First half of the break dedicated to a fun-filled Diwali celebrations. First after marriage was special and boy I wish it would be the same every year!
Second half dedicated to some serious studies and getting back to the books after a break can be nerve-wrecking!!
Anyways am back to regular business. Too many things to discuss, and yes cricket is on the top of the list. Regular blogging will resume. Watch this space for more...

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

The Maestro is Back with a Bang and The Wall stands Tall...

There are times when I have absolutely hated being away from the television set and the stadium. Yesterday was one of those times. Call me selfish, but I have also hated the fact when other grounds in India have witnessed some mind-blowing performances compared to Wankhede. Well nothing compares to watching a match live at the stadium, having done that every year I can vouch for it. Sadly, that occasion chooses to arrive every 365 days and I cannot stop envying the Nagpur folks!

I also hate it when God decides to tease me. Yesterday, I could not get to see the match live, reached home really late, and switched on every damn channel on TV to catch a glimpse of his prolific shot-making but saw none. I caught Dravid’s late blast, Pathan’s wild six, Bhajji’s & Karthik’s mysterious spins, but none of his :-( Yes I’m most surprised that TV channels did not decide to concentrate only on him. I’m also glad in a way:-)

From what I hear Sachin played an absolute blinder. I went back reminiscing the Sachin of good old days, the master of spin, the kamikaze kid, the one guy after Sunil Gavaskar who stood upright (despite his little frame) to tall and lanky pace bowlers of the world, the one who said in their face I don’t care what you bowl, I have an answer to everything.
The cover drive, the exquisite back foot play, the sweet timing, the glorious straight drive, the delicate paddle, the dancing down the tracks against the spinners, the front foot shots, the awesome timing to send the ball packing into the crowds, they were all back with a bang!
Remember Auckland 1994, Sharjah 1998, World Cup 2003? Ah yes, those lovely memories, they came back to life yet again, yesterday. What a comeback!

I was most impressed seeing Rahul Dravid at the press conference; more than his batting. What a six, what a shot, he has played it before; remember Taunton, Vs SL, 1999, in that epic partnership with Saurav. It was a similar shot that started the run-riot that followed. Back to the conference, he was confident, aggressive and so sure of himself. Now that he has the reigns for a full series, there is a definite change in his demeanor, maybe we will see his aggressive side too. I did not see the entire match, but of the little I saw, I thought that the Jayasurya dismissal was very well thought out.

Sending Pathan one down was a masterstroke. I just hope that it does not become a regular thing. After a good start worth a risk, but not everytime. This young lad is going to go places.
Karthik, Bhajji and Sreesanth had a good outing and Ajit if you are not going to learn, you surely are going to be in deep trouble sooner than later. This time around your chances of bouncing back could diminish. I hope to see Sehwag back in form, he is having a poor run and it is not helping the team! I also want to see Kaif back, he is not as talented as some in the team but that guy has athleticism, is super in the field and most important of all has loads of grit. I’ll trade that last quality for most.

So as of now we will just sit back and enjoy the moment. You don’t want to get your expectations too high with the Indian team! Remember the ODI series Vs Pak in 2005?

Anyone Seen a Gents’ Local?

The Mumbai WR Local trains have three Ladies’ Special trains running during the peak hours.
One in the morning: Virar-Churchgate and two in the evening: Churchgate-Borivali and Churchgate–Virar.

Yesterday, due to some hold up the trains were delayed by half hour and needless to say, it added up to enough confusion, chaos and rush at all stations. I was waiting for my husband at the Borivali station at 7.30 p.m. and I heard an announcement; an announcement that has been never heard before on any railway station in Mumbai. To make sure my ears were correct in hearing what they did, I removed my ear phones and listened carefully again.

The railway announcer had just announced the introduction of a 'special' train. Before the 7.19 p.m. Ladies’s Special to Virar at Borivali, there is another slow train to Virar at 7.15 p.m. So the announcer made the announcement as follows: 'The Ladies special is expected at Borivali in ten minutes. Before that there will be a 'Gents’ Slow Local' to Virar.' No, not the regular local but a Gents' Local. He made this announcement not once, twice, but 4 times!

I just could not stop grinning:-) Later he might have realised his slip of tongue; but to all those men who crib about females getting special treatment; here were your two minutes of being treated as special as well!

Monday, October 24, 2005

A Little Bit of Help...

You can’t always be there for everyone every time. You can’t always lend a helping hand physically, but there are small ways in which you can help. Little contributions go a long way in building strong foundations. This is one of the small things we can do.

Desipundit has called for Blog Quake Day on October 26th, 2005 to help raise funds for the South Asia Earthquake Relief Funds; join in and spread the word.

How often have we seen man collapse due to the fury of mother nature. Lessons are learnt and we rebuild ourselves again. There is a way to help them live again. Lest we forget, go ahead and extend your hand, they need it in these times.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

An Awaited Autobiography...

This must be an awaited event for most cricket fans. Though one cannot compare it to the Harry Potter wait; I think those young readers there outclass us cricket freaks. Nevertheless, people who have been loyal fans of him cannot wait any longer to get their hands on his creation.

Having known a Tugga fan (Tugga is Steve Waugh's nick name, it comes from Tug of War - Tugga Waugh ) for more than 7 years now, I was not surprised when he did this. He has got a fact about me wrong, but for the love of cricket and admiration for this man, I know I’ll pocket that book sooner than later.

Here is another Steve Waugh fan I came to know through blogging, and her idea for a birthday gift is just what I thought she would want!

My first Diwali after marriage is round the corner and my dear sister has been asking me what I would like? I’m glad I waited, I can now ask for the appropriate gift:-)

Hmmmm, I think she will disagree like others in my family would :-(

Ok Tugga, I won’t be a miser; I’ll go indulge and splurge. As usual, apart from my husband, my entire family will think I’m nuts to spend my money on it. Mumma will be in disbelief but I think by now she has begun to understand :-)

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Give a Thought-4 ?

  • Don't be irreplaceable - if you can't be replaced, you can't be promoted.
  • The meek shall inherit the earth – They are too weak too refuse.
  • He who laughs last does not get the gist of the joke.
  • People who live in glass houses shouldn’t.
  • I’ve been told a hundred million times not to exaggerate.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

The B.E.S.T. of Mumbai…

It is one of the lifelines of Mumbai. The B.E.S.T. network is highly efficient and connects almost all the remote places in Mumbai. If you have lived in Worli or any South Mumbai places that are disconnected from the local train network, all 25 years of your life, only then can you fight for the case of B.E.S.T. buses vis-à-vis Mumbai’s other lifeline: the Local Trains.

Apart from the highly positive aspects, there are a few things that still irk me when I’m traveling on the road. So I thought I’d list a few of the inherent birth rights our dear BEST Conductors and Drivers tend to exercise:

  • The Right to own the road
  • The Right to cut the lanes as per their whims and fancies
  • The Right to drive in the middle of a narrow road with 2 lanes so that the vehicles behind can never overtake them and clog up traffic behind
  • The Right to give the auto-rickshaw guys a fright every time they come near the bus
  • The Right to necessarily overtake you from the right side
  • The Right to tell you that if you have a crash with them it is but obviously your fault
  • The Right to bully smaller vehicle owners
  • The Right to drive fast and screech during the night time
  • The Right to get the bus started before the last person has alighted from the bus
  • The Right to have no change whenever the passenger asks for one
  • The Right to curse the passengers for keeping no change with them
  • The Right to ignore passengers who do not render exact change
  • The Right to halt the bus either before or ahead of the bus-stop
  • The Right to decide not to halt the bus at a bus–stop whether the bus is crowded or not
  • The Right to dissuade the passengers from getting into the bus by telling them that another bus is coming from behind (90% of the times that bus is also equally crowded)
  • The Right to strike the bell just in time so that a passenger who has been running like mad to catch the bus, misses it; knowing well that there won’t be the same number bus coming for another half hour
  • The Right to fling away the ticket holding metal box such that it hits the passenger on the seat to which the conductor is leaning onto
  • The Right to drive as slow as possible during peak hours
  • The Right to pay no heed to passenger complaints

Got any more?

P.S: Most of the times my experience has been good, but these are a few things you tend to come across once in a day :-)