Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Missing...

Missing…

The morning kiss that makes my day a bliss,
The goodnight kiss to ease a bad day with a loving mist,

The smile that melts my heart,
The words that light up a spark,

The hug that comforts me,
The eyes that mirror the love for me,

The mischievous pranks that give me the laugh,
The pecks on the cheek that make me blush,

Every little gesture, so true and full of love,
You, and you, and only you forever.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Linking Love...

As I joined this huge wide world of blogging, I wondered where to look for some good reads in the Indian blogsphere. I chanced upon Desipundit and I found the answer to all my questions:-) It is a daily blog mela.

The bloggers who run this blog are doing a fine job. The nicest thing though I feel, is that they are great sports in accepting the brickbats that come their way.

So here is spreading their word, logon and go blog-hunting. It’s a blog that ought to figure on your blogroll.

Keep up the good work and I must say thanks for mentioning me. Never thought my teeny-weeny contribution would be figured. Little things in life bring a smile on your face, and folks this was surely one of them :-)

Monday, August 29, 2005

Trent Bridge Did Not Fall Down...

The Brits are thinking of changing the nursery rhyme 'London Bridge is falling down' to 'Sydney Harbour came crashing down'. If England does not lose the battle in the last test, they will seriously consider that change.

  • For the first time in16 years they became the first team to enforce a follow-on on the Aussies
  • For the first time in 8 years they are leading the Ashes.
  • For the first time in 16 years they look good enough to win the Ashes.

This series is not for the weak-hearted. Just when you thought England had it all easy when they kept the target to 129, the Aussie bowling lead by Warne produced a fantastic effort. His yesterday’s spell was another proof of the great bowler he is!

I missed Flintoff’s century, the innings that probably swung the match England’s way. At 229-4 it was anyone’s game. Jones produced another fiver. Aus’s batting order has never looked so vulnerable before. 4 LBWs in first innings among top 5! Hayden, Martyn and Gilchrist’s sorry run continued into the second innings, just when you hoped they would produce something magical. Alas , it was not to be! It will be sad if this fantastic hard fought series goes away without an attacking trademark Gilchrist innings.

Ponting, Langer, Katich and Clarke all played well but none held out to produce a long knock. It is extremely tough to do that when you are following on. Just about why Laxman’s 281 @ Kolkatta Vs Aus 2001 and Botham’s 149* @ Headingley, Ashes ’81 will always be on the top of every list. Only three teams have won following on, all victories have come against Aus, sadly yesterday Australia could not change the history their way.

The chase was tense very tense, and I think England lost the wickets they did due to nervousness. At 57-4 when Pietersen and Flinotff came together they took the attack to the Aussies. When in Rome do as the Romans do, when playing against Aus, attack the way the Aussies do. Simple rule! The duo was going well till one over from Warne had Pietersen playing all over and in a horrible mess, and he got out to Brett Lee the very next over.

Flintoff looked still good to take England home, when Brett Lee’s place had his stumps rattled. It was sheer pace! Geraint Jones’s shot reminded me of the one Mongia had played against Pak in ’99 in Chennai after Sachin had got out. We had gone on to lose that match. Oh, that defeat still hurts! Over here though, the England tail was much more determined than we were and they did not let go of their chance.

Hoggard played a gem of an innings, only 8 but they were worth a hundred! He tackled Lee’s yorkers pretty well and when one was over pitched, he was quick to pounce on the full-toss opportunity and slam it on the off-side for four. Giles too hung around and did not panic. It was a fine effort in the end.

We are not celebrating Australia’s loss we are simply celebrating cricket’s victory. Truly none can be greater than the game, it is indeed a great leveler!!

What a setting for the final test! All that England has to do is NOT LOSE. All that Australia has to do is to GO ALL OUT AND WIN. It cannot get better than this!

You cannot afford to miss the FINAL BATTLE. Prepare yourself as the WAR nears its end!!!

Friday, August 26, 2005

How and Why?

How and why do we do this so convincingly?

First I’m not trying to be a cynic. I’m anything but that when it comes to cricket and India.
We have NZ reeling @ 36-5 and let them end the innings at 215 in 43 overs @ run-rate close to 5!
From 36-5 we should have made them slog and earn every run. Not gifted easy runs. I have no clue how the pitch is. But it is not devilish from the way the New Zealand’s bottom half played.

India might go on to win this one considering 215 is hardly a total to defend these days. (I won’t be surprised if NZ does defend it! Shane Bond is back!)

My Mumbai star refuses to learn!
Match Figures: 7.1-0-45-2
Runs/Over: 6.28

Why? How long? How long are we going to defend your comebacks? Only you have an answer and the answer has to come on the field, none other will do.

This is dismal:
Match Figures:
9-1-55-0
Runs/Over: 6.11

Bhajji, please do justice to the fact that you are chosen over Kumble.

Impressive as usual:
Irfan Pathan
Match Figures: 8-1-34-3
Runs/Over: 6.11

Ashish Nehra
Match Figures: 8-3-22-2
Runs/Over: 6.11

But why dear captain, when NZ is losing wickets was their quota not utilized, not even after 8 wickets were down? You were expecting the last two pairs to last till 50 overs? Nice confidence in your bowlers! Was it not a risk worth taking?

Send some aggressive signals to the opposite camp, see how Stephen Fleming is constantly at you and your team?

What happened to you? You were the one guy who stood up to Steve and his Aussies and retorted in their own words? You had them perplexed!
Come on we want the old Ganguly back!

Battle @ Bridge

It’s been a frustrating England summer for me. Flintoff and Pietersen are playing havoc with the Aussie bowling. I’m all excited to get home and rest on the couch glued to the TV set; only to find them off the field after battering the Aussie bowlers all over the ground. I manage to catch their innings only during the highlights post-match!

Finally, yesterday I was all upbeat that I was home just in time to see Pietersen bat and later Flintoff walk in. Only to see rain play spoil-sport as it had throughout the day! I did not get to see any fireworks live! Everyone knows the charm of catching a match live and the frustration of viewing the moments in highlights later, when the whole world has already seen it!

Today again they will kick off the day’s proceedings and I’ll see my woes continue!

England rains are weird as my sister aptly describes them. She has been there for 5 years and she craves for a rainy season like that in Mumbai (No not the sorts that happened on 26th July). One moment it was all dark and the rain pouring, the very next moment sun was shining brightly and none would believe that it had rained just a second before on the ground!

Day 1:
Aus will miss McGrath. They have not lost the two matches he played in. Psychologically, one point to England before the game began. England looked good to take hold of the match. I saw the wickets Shaun Tait grabbed on his debut and Trescothick’s bowled dismissal was what every fast bowler strives for.

Tell me if I’m wrong but for the first time I’m seeing a hint of worry, a trifle sense of loss and confused expression on the Aussie faces. So not them, so not the team I’ve been fascinated by in the last decade. Signs of mortality, old age creeping in?

Ponting, I think is getting sleepless nights. To go down in history as “That man, that captain, who surrendered the Ashes.”
Oh, how I would hate to be in his shoes right now!

P.S: I’ m waiting for the amazing comebacks they have shown time and again in the past, the will to rise from the dead. That’s what made them the greatest of the greats.
Come on Aussies Fight Back!

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Give a Thought?

  • Just when I was getting used to yesterday along came today!

  • It should be easier to make a honest living-There is so little competition.

  • It is hard to understand how a cemetery raised its burial charges and blamed it on the cost of living.

  • The only reason some people get lost in thought is because it's unfamiliar territory.

  • Everybody is somebody else's weirdo.

P.S: From the graffiti collected over a period of time from newspapers.

Friday, August 19, 2005

Ad & Trailer

As far as my best friend and I can remember we have been absolute TV buffs. We could watch TV endlessly without budging which could drive our mothers crazy. We would tip each other off on the new ads to hit the TV, new songs, and new film promos to hit the small screen. What’s so cool about that, nothing, but we just enjoyed being the first ones to see it before others did and the first to pass our views on it.

Some advertisements made their mark. I loved all the Dairy-Milk ads. The first which used the ‘Don’t worry Be Happy’, song in the background, whistling to that tune. I was so kicked about the fact that I had got the whistle right. I showed off every now and then, only to be reminded by my dear mumma, ‘Minal young ladies do not whistle’. Whenever she told me that I’d remind her that her younger sister, my mausi (maternal aunt) had taught me how to. She had given up!

One of my top favourites was that of the girl dancing on the cricket field. Kuch Khaas Hain
Indeed, those ads were really ‘Kuch Khaas’ (Special!)

Raymond & Titan Ads were another favourites. The background tunes are stored in my head forever. The ‘My Papa Strongest’ advertisement and the ‘Pespsodent’ Ads which featured kids describing why having two coloured toothpaste was special to them. The kids were just too cute!

Though I do not propagate soft drinks, the ‘Nothing Official About It’ campaign from Pepsi really rocked. Sad they don’t make those anymore! I also loved the 'Doodh Doodh, wonderful Doodh, Piyo Glassful Doodh' jingle. That should've got everyone hooked onto drinking milk!

These are just to name a few. There would be tons. Maybe that should be another blog chapter, the best advertisements. Nice topic to take up:-)

As for new film promos. Oh how we would await those! I remember how I was not so taken in by Kaho Na Pyar Hai trailers. My pal insisted I watch the Ek Pal Ka Jeena number more often and bang we were hit by the Hrithik Mania! He is no doubt the best dancer around in Bollywood, the craze has died down though.
We were also taken in by Abhishek in Refugee (Why? Please do not ask me? At times like this, 20 year old crazy girls lack rationale to prove their likes-dislikes. I guess we both were a little too foresighted) and how right we are proved today;-)

The advertisements and songs just stuck in your head for that period. Here are few doing the rounds currently:

Hats Off To:
The Maruti Alto Advt
.:
Shubha Mudggal’s voice in the background singing “Boondon Mein Jane Kya Naya Hain”. The jingle brings back the memories of some of her fine numbers like Ab Ke Sawaan, Seekho Na. The picturisation too is beautiful. A drive in the rains along the tea-gardens, soothing, pleasant, blissful, hmmmmmmm just peaceful!

Thumbs Down To:
Salaam Namaste Trailer:
Saif & Preity dancing(??), as much as she is cute and adorable, she can’t dance! Neither can he! Both are so awkward in their movements. Above that, Saif shirtless, low-waist jeans with red underpants showing, so not happening!!

Thursday, August 18, 2005

The Recipes: Part 1

Taking the cooking post ahead; I’m putting up the recipes for Chicken Gravy and Fried Rice. I call this gravy Chicken Moghlai-Mom’s Special. There could be number of variants to this Moghlai dish, so please don’t crucify me for it :-) It’s a home-made recipe. Mum often used variety of names to please me so that I ate the dish. I was way too fussy and loved eating out. This was her way of making me love home food better :-)
-----------------------------------------------------------
CHICKEN MOGHLAI (MOM’S SPECIAL)
Ingredients:
Chicken: 1 Kg
Kashmiri Dry Red Mirchi (Red Chillies): 15 *
Dhana(whole)(Coriander seeds): 1 tablespoon
Jeera(whole)(Cumin): 1 tablespoon
Onions(Medium–sized): 6
Curd: 6 Tablespoons
Ginger-Garlic Paste: 2 Tablespoons
Garam Masala Powder*: 11/2 Tablespoon
Salt: As per taste

* Any kind of red mirchi would do, but Kashmiri mirchi is preferred as it is less spicy and gives lovely red colour to the gravy. If any other kind of mirchi is taken depending on how spicy it is cut down the no. to 10-12.

*Garam Masala Powder is available readymade in the market. It is basically a powder that is mixture of the following spices: Kali Miri (Pepper), Lavang (Clove), Elaichi ( Cardamom), Dalchini (Cinamon), TamalPatra( Bay Leaf)

Preparation:
Red Mirchi Paste:
Soak the 15 dry red chillies in water for 15 minutes. Chop 3 onions vertically, thin and long. Take dhana (not grounded, but whole as mentioned above) and jeera (not grounded, but whole as mentioned above) and along with the soaked chillies and chopped onions put the ingredients in a mixer. Grind it and add little water to get paste, then grind it again till you get a fine thick paste with no particles left.

Ginger-Garlic Paste:
You get this readymade these days, or else take an entire garlic flower, heat it in microwave for a minute, it’s easier to take off the coverings. Then add ginger(around half a piece) along with garlic in the mixer, grind it and add water and grind it further till you get fine paste.

Marination:
Chop the remaining 3 onions again vertically, long and thin and deep fry them in oil in the vessel you will cook the chicken in or in a kadai. Fry till they turn brown. Remove once they are done. Crush them into finer particles. (Marathit you say “kuskarne”)

Wash the chicken clean and add to it curd, ginger-garlic paste, the red mirchi paste (entire), haldi, crushed brown onions and salt(as per taste, ideally 11/2 teaspoons would suffice) in the proportion mentioned above. Mix properly and leave the chicken to marinate for an hour.

Add the entire marinated chicken to the oil in a vessel. Add just a couple of tablespoons of water to prevent it from sticking to the vessel. Keep a lid on the mixture and let it cook. Keep it on medium gas initially till it boils. When you first see the bubbles; add 11/2 tablespoons of garam masala powder. Then slowly keep mild gas. Leave it on till chicken is cooked properly and gravy is thick.

Garnish:
Once the chicken is done, garnish it with finely chopped coriander leaves and add a tablespoon of pure ghee from above. Serve along with hot parathas, vegetable raita & fried rice:-) Your Sunday treat is ready.
****************************************************
FRIED RICE
Ingredients:
Basmati rice: 2 small bowls (300-350 gms)
Kali Miri (Pepper): 16
Lavang (Clove): 12
Elaichi ( Cardamom): 15
Dalchini (Cinamon): 5-6 small sticks
TamalPatra( Bay Leaf): 3-4 leaves
Onion (medium-sized): 2
Salt: As per taste
Boiled Water: 4 small bowls (Double the amount of rice)
Kesar(Saffron): For taste

Preparation:
Soak rice in water for 1/2 hour. Then rinse the water form the rice.

Take 4 tablespoons of pure ghee and heat. Add Kali Miri (Pepper), wait till it sizzles. Then add Clove, wait till it sizzles, add entire Elaichi(pound it slightly, add along with leaves) wait till it sizzles, add Dalchini, wait till it sizzles, then lastly add Tamal Patra, wait till it sizzles. Once you get the smell of the masala, the seasoning is done and add finely chopped onions in it. Add a pinch of salt to the onions, keep frying till onion turns brown. Add ghee if you think a little more will be needed.

Add rice to this mixture. Mix properly till the rice gets dry i.e. the wetness goes. Then add 4 small bowls (same size as the ones you took for measuring rice) of boiled water. Stir properly. Add salt. Around 2 teaspoons should suffice. Add a bit of Kesar. Make the gas high and let the rice boil. Once all water evaporates and rice settles, turn the gas mild, and put a lid on top and let it cook for 15 minutes. If vessel is not non-stick keep a plate below the vessel as well.

Garnish:
Once the rice is done garnish it with finely chopped coriander. Serve along with Dal Fry/Chicken Gravy and Vegetable Raita.
------------------------------------------------------------
Try these and let me know. More will follow :-) And why don’t you all put up your recipes on your blog as well. It would be really nice to share such stuff. Sujatha shared the same view :-) So Sujatha I’m waiting :-)

Mumbai’s Environment Man???

It’s been only 3 weeks since Mumbai faced its worst ever natural disaster. The city is still recovering with aids yet to reach many. People and organizations are on full swing in their operations to send out the aid. Environmentalists have explained why the disaster happened, and we must build more green spaces in the city.

Yet our brilliant,” Environment Minister” comes up with a fantastic suggestion to save Maharashtra from the 1 Lakh crore debt. How do we do it? Sell off the open spaces, and pay off the debt and whatever remains use it for 'building infrastructure' in this city. Wow hasn’t he got the finest brains in the world?

He made some ridiculous statements yesterday! And today he has backtracked on his words. It’s a shame we have such people in the power. It’s a shame we do nothing about it!

And why are we taking this crap from him? Can’t we finally speak out? Why are the “builders” and politicians ruling this city? Do we citizens not have a say?
A nice editorial piece here.(It's in Marathi).

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

My Experiments with Cooking...

Having the best cook in the world as your mother (Every child feels that no doubt, but seriously she is awesome!) and a house full of great cooks in aunties & granny who all had their specialties; isn’t an easy thing to live upto! The task toughens further when you have a mother-in-law who too comes in the same league as your own family! Not easy at all :-)

I had my first tryst with cooking when I tried my hand at tea! The simplest, I’ve kind of mastered it now, but mum’s tea still rakes in more compliments. However, I did get one up on her when papa began to prefer mine to hers. I think he was just playing the idle dad:-)

I then learnt the most basic things, the dal and the rice. Today I experiment with new kinds of dal with different seasonings and with every try it only gets better. No doubt they say practice makes you perfect.

The most important thing my mom always told me was enjoy your cooking. Don’t treat it as a burden, remember if not for anyone else you’ll have to cook for yourself, I’m not going to be there to feed you all your life!
True and when I lived on my own for little time, I learnt to do it and not be dependant on outside food. It’s only then that I realized why home food is home food! Though my husband and I love to go out often, both of us still prefer our home food!

Then I tried experimenting with rice. Now what is there to experiment in that you say? It is so simple to cook and so bland a dish! But even that can be made interesting, tried steam rice, jeera rice, plain fried rice, chinese fried rice, biryani rice, famous maharastrian “masala bhath” and “ fodnicha bhaat” ( you season the previous day’s leftover rice and the taste is super!!)

I love non-veg, I’m not so much a sea-food lover but I absolutely relish chicken and mutton dishes. So more than veg I first learnt to cook non-veg. I learnt super short-cut methods from my mum (a working woman) as I knew with my kind of work-life I wouldn’t have all the time in the world like my mom-in-law(housewife). I don’t like spending hours in the kitchen, I hate that, it has to be quick, with minimum fuss and the result should be delicious :-)

Another part of the course meal is the salads & the raitas. They just make your meal complete. You can try corn salad, veg raita, cucumber raita, and plain onion-tomato-carrot-beet salad. For more taste try seasoning it too.

My mumma taught me another important lesson, a lesson we all tend to ignore when we cook at home. Have you observed how yummy the dishes in hotels look, why can’t we do the same at home?

Garnish plays a big role in triggering the appetite of the eater. A fact we so conveniently neglect at home. It doesn’t take much to garnish and make a dish look yummy. Corriander, grated coconut, tomatoes, onions and cucumber is all it takes. They don’t cost much and it doesn’t take much effort to decorate your dish with them. Also use some nice vessels to spruce up the dish.

If you take so much effort to be presentable in public and at work, why can’t you take minimum required effort to make your food presentable to your loved ones.

Follow the golden rule in cooking is what my mum told me and the rule was “KISS”: Keep It Simple Stupid :-)

I don’t cook regularly, my work timings don’t permit me too, but I do enjoy it on the weekends. I’ve yet to scale the heights that my mumma, aunty and granny have scaled. I’ve just started my journey and going by their judgement they have the confidence I’ll get there:-)

I used to smirk when mumma used to tell me nothing beats the joy when your loved ones relish your cooking. I realize it only today, she thinks I’m finally turning into a woman:-) She has lived with a tomboy all her life and is pleasantly surprised by the little changes:-)

As she says cooking and having others savour it is just one of those little joys in life! :-) I couldn’t agree more with her :-)

P.S: I’m no Sanjeev Kapoor but a lot of my friends and my sister have been asking me for recipes for some of the dishes I have cooked. What better way than to share it along on my blog. So watch this space for more and tell me how they turn out:-)

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Lone Man Standing...

That just about puts Punter’s innings in perspective. Such grit and resilience! A fine example of leading his team from the front. For him, just for him, I prayed hard that the Aussies would draw the match!


I think post the match result, he will put this innings right at the top of his favourite list and I think it deserved a place there even if the Aussies had lost the match.

For all four days of the match the Aussies were outplayed by outstanding cricket by the Poms. Only Shane Warne had managed to put his hand up. Steve Waugh has left a valuable legacy with this Aussie team, that of playing with the tail-enders. Warne did it at Edgbaston and managed it again here. Lee also did not let the Edgbaston ghosts haunt him and along with McGrath survived probably the tensest 24 balls of their careers!

The way the Ashes is going; the weak-hearted should stay away from the television sets. The team that loses the series is going to give collective heart failure (as Mike Atherton said to Vaughan post yesterday’s result) to its fans at the end of this series.

England was always on top and almost drew home the advantage. I missed the initial wickets but the last two hours were extremely tense! Clarke and Warne along with Ponting looked like taking Aus away to a safe harbour only to lose their wickets at crucial moments! Warne’s wicket was a delight! Warne nicked Flintoff to the second slip only to see the ball slip out of Strauss’s hands, jump off his thigh, I’m safe he thought, but alas, the next second he saw himself being sent to despair by a superlative reflex catch by Gerraint Jones!

When Ponting got out, I skipped a heart beat!! It looked all over for the Aussies with 4 overs to go and Lee having McGrath for company. McGrath with his not so fine reputation with the bat battled it out with Lee and saved the match, the draw as good as any victory for them.

For the first time

  • I saw Lee‘s face disappointed when he hit two boundaries, that prevented him from taking the strike the next over
  • I saw the Aussies rejoice over a drawn match as if they had won it
  • It was hard to figure out that the result was a draw as England sulked what seemed like a huge loss to them, a golden chance blown away!

All’s not over for any team, England has given a superlative performance to comeback into the series and challenge this Aussie team. Aussies are looking vulnerable and have not been in their element in the last two matches.

Now is the true acid test for England & Australia. The Poms have to maintain their momentum, and back themselves to win the Ashes. A drawn series would do them no good as Aus would retain the Ashes. England will have to go out firing from all ends and leave no stone unturned!

Australia on the other hand is facing a huge challenge for the first time in two decades! They have a reputation to live upto! Can they comeback? A question they thought would never be posed to them! Do they have the answer to it? Only time will tell :-)

As for us humble cricketing fans, we couldn’t have asked for more! Savour the series and enjoy the moments.

Friday, August 12, 2005

The Ashes - Part III

Day 1 witnessed some proud moments:

  • He surpassed 600 wickets on the very ground that was witness to a defining moment in his career; the place where he bowled the 'Ball-of-the-Century'. He almost bowled it again to Strauss in the last test match. It was only befitting that the ground was a witness again to another glorious achievement by this man who brought alive the leg-spinner clan that was dying a slow death in cricket.
  • Out of a lean patch he couldn't have asked for a better knock to come at a better time.
    166(215) I'm lost for words! Captain's knock? Only time will prove!
  • What a delivery to get Hoggard out of the last ball. Perfect! He brought back his team in the game after not such a great day in field.
  • He got his expensive test match figures in a longtime. Batsmen getting almost 4 an over off him. Went wicket-less, luck was not his side, especially when he had the century maker bowled at 41 and the delivery was a no-ball!

Am I being too cryptic? Come on folks watch the Ashes to get the answers!

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Mind if I ASK?

Small incidents in life teach you lessons, and remind you of some that were constantly drilled onto you as a kid.

Remember how teachers always opened their study lessons with 'Students do not hesitate to ask'. However silly, however stupid the question. Ask! You will come to know a lot of things you did not. And they went on, that one should ask whenever in doubt. This was not restricted to studies but applied to every aspect in life.

All those lessons came bombarding into my head after the little experience I had yesterday. I live at Borivali and always take my railway pass from the station. I’ve taken it early in the morning on way to office or on my way back and never encountered the long queues. At Andheri station yesterday I went to issue my train pass. I then managed to locate the ‘Season Ticket Window’, which was in a secluded place away from the rest of the station, how convenient a location!

I saw three windows for season ticket issue and all had long queues. The window carried an instruction 'Queue for Ist Class and IInd Class'. As a sincere citizen I stood in the line. I ASSUMED that the queue was combined. I did not bother to ASK even though the doubt did creep into my mind. I waited for 20 odd minutes. Patiently without any complaints, wondering why can’t they have separate queues or separate windows for the same, it would save everyone a lot of time.

As my turn came I asked her for my monthly pass and said Ist class please. The issuer gave me a grin while the polite lady behind me says, 'Dear if you needed a first class you don’t need to wait in this long queue. There are separate queues she said pointing towards the very same instruction I had read. There is no one for the first class queue, you could’ve just come in, this one is only for the second class pass.' ( I thank her for the precious advice, I'll never forget it.)

I looked at her in surprise, and saw an amused look on the other passengers in the queue, all the eyes saying all you needed to do was ASK!

I hope I learn my lesson now! ASK and never ASSUME. It just helps you in little ways in life!

Monday, August 08, 2005

Phew!!!!

That’s exactly what the Poms must have felt after they snatched a two run victory over the Aussies yesterday.

There was a House-Warming ceremony at my best friend’s place. She had flown down after a year and since both sisters would be flying back again, her parents decided to have the pooja to invite all friends and family for the occasion. There was complete chaos when there were 80-odd people in the house and we “kids” (As we are still referred to, despite post-graduations, jobs, and marriages!) still managed to watch the last half hour of the match.

When we switched on the television set we were in for a few shocks:

  • First that Australia were still batting
  • Second that they were just 30–odd runs from the target (How in the world could that have happened? They required 107 at end of third day’s play and no recognized batsman left to get anywhere close to the victory target! But then with Aus anything is possible!)
  • Third that Warne had taken the attack to the Poms and Brett Lee and Kasprowicz (I feel a sense of pride everytime I get his name right:-)) were still doing the same!
  • Fourth that England were on the defensive to no.10 & no.11
  • Fifth that the England fans were emotional and involved! Boy, they’ve been so cold in the past, this was a pleasant change.
  • Sixth being the shock I would’ve got had Aussies won! ( England saved me the agony and thank god for that!)

My first immediate reaction was, "Guys, if England lose this, there is no way they will come back from this defeat in the Ashes!" Only to read today in the papers that someone else echoed similar thoughts. I'm again mighty pleased at myself, after all, a lot of the game is also played in the mind!

The England defeat would have been heart wrenching. The game so badly needs a change, and a challenge to the Aussie dominance. I’ve never rooted against Australia, they have always been my top favourites. But I was also bored seeing the same script echo day in and out, match after match, series after series (India- Aus series over the years being a fine exception, not the 2004 one, but we still managed a win, even though it was thanks to the devilish pitch at Mumbai).

There was no serious rivalry in the offing, the Ashes were dead and then this England team brought a ray of hope. I was not rooting against the Aussies, I was rooting for the game. The Aussie dominance though fascinating, could kill the game if it lasts longer. No sport has charm if there is no rivalry. Take any sport, a champion way ahead of others, simply destroys the charm of the game and the sport loses its audience. What’s the big deal about Sampras winning at Wimbledon, Schumaker winning the World Championship, Australia winning matches?

And then we, the humble sports lovers,look for those small events that are big deals! Kolkatta 2001, Adelaide 2003 was a big deal and so is this test win by England. For me it’s a huge deal:-)

Australia is struggling, how often have we heard this from their side? England is fighting back, Ashes are not going to be won that easily.The England team finally believes that its opponents are not invincible.

The Aussies are mortals after all! We had almost forgotten that fact hadn’t we?

P.S:Sorry, the last few posts have been about the Ashes, but it’s been exciting. It’s cricket, it’s one of my loves, it’s "The Ashes", how can I not talk about it???

Saurabh has spun a nice story around it, God's prophecies, Harry Potter, LOTR , and a few more tales and ya cricket too thrown in:-) Read it here.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Underdogs on their way...

Finally the predictions are coming true, finally the underdogs are on their way.

After seeing the delivery Strauss got in the last over on day 2 I was dead sure the lead of 99 runs that England had got would prove to be crucial in the end analysis.
Warne was the killer yet again and the pitch provided Engalnd some hope.Warne is on another milestone, which will be difficult to break. 600 wickets!!!Awesome!

Aus began well but the Flintoff turned the tide batting and bowling. What a player ans what an effort! The delivery Ponting got was the best in Aus innings, and Harmisson wrapped up the day's play by getting Clarke out on a terriffic yorker. That sealed all hopes of an Aus victory.

England will finally be giving the Aussies a run for their money!This victory couldn't have come at a more appropriate time in test cricket.

It is just what the doctor ordered! Read more here.

Friday, August 05, 2005

Missing McGrath…

What a freak injury that was and bad timing! Surely the Aussies missed the Pigeon yesterday. Poms were on a rampage. 10 sixes and 54 fours in 79.2 overs!!! A run-rate of 5 throughout the day. Don’t want to take anything away from the Poms. 407 in a day in a test match is very good by any standards.

Wait a sec, did I just say Poms got those runs? Surprised aren’t you? So was I, especially since we are so used to see that score against the Aus name. But I’m glad the positions are changing.
My Cricket-Aus Crazy friend Saurabh puts up a nice chapter on why we desperately need this change and who are the ideal candidates for it. I couldn’t agree more with him!

I didn’t get to see much of their innings:-( Wanted to catch the Flintoff & Pietersen partnership in action. Pietersen’s six of Brett Lee showed me what I had missed! The chap is going great guns on his debut.

Aussies had a shocking start, Hayden out early, but they seem to have recovered. Only Langer seems to know that it is test-match and not ODI!

What fun, enjoy the battle till it lasts!

P.S: Are people even glued to the Tri-Series happening in SL? ODIs can never take anything away from exciting test-cricket. That’s the real stuff and that’s the real challenge. Invent a Twenty20 or Ten10, Test cricket will never die.

The cricketers and the fans will keep it alive. Does the Indian Board even know what a true cricket fan craves for? Atleast I’ve yet to meet one who will tell me, "Minal I enjoy ODIs more!"

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Battleground Edgbaston

I'm glad I can finally call the Ashes a Battle. Engand are slowly putting up some fight, and some fright in the Aussie Camp.

The first test had an exciting start. Harmisson had the Aussies bundled out for 190 and Glenn McGrath celebrated his 500 wickets in style by getting a five wicket haul for a mere 21 runs!

That opening spell by McGrath was demoralizing for the England batsmen who for the first time must’ve thought, well here is our chance to get one up on the Aussies. The old warrior had some other tricks up his sleeve. Accuracy is what undid the England batsmen. Accuracy is McGrath’s potency and the Poms could not overcome that.

What followed later was as per the old Aussie victory script. The two days had me interested then it was the same run-of-the-mill story so I shall not write about it.

My current favourite Clarke got a fine 91 , finally he is back in form! Pietersen had an impressive debut, I’m waiting to catch more of him. Will he also become a favourite? Only time and performance will tell. He sure is one hell of a prospect and SA must be ruing that!

Time to shift focus to Edgbaston...

Mumbai Help...

Hi,

Please go to the following blogs and see if you could assist in any manner.

http://mumbaihelp.blogspot.com/ is an effort to put online such critical "for emergencies" information as we can find. We hope to turn this into a permanent site that will act as a Bombay disaster portal.

http://cloudburstmumbai.blogspot.com/ is a collection of news, both from the media as well as stories sent in via email and blog links.

Informed about the above links from Uma and Megha.

Do your bit:-)

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

All's not Well...

Ganguly hit 51. Should I be happy? No, I'm not! In 110 balls???????

For heaven's sake we are playing ODI not a Test match! The pitch can't be that bad! One can't get so selfish to save his place in the team! I miss the old Ganguly, the man-in-charge.

Have to put up a blog chapter on him, it's time!

Indians are not helping their condition by batting so miserably! Tail-enders salvaging some pride at the end. Previous match Bhajji & Zaheer, and now Pathan. Not a good start to the season.

Will get to see some part of the match when I get home tonight. Hopefully SL will find the pitch as bad as we did.

You say they won't? I think I'll have to agree with you on that!

Monday, August 01, 2005

Captain Captivates…

Yesterday’s win was nothing to scream about from the roof top. But Dravid’s innings sure were. Agreed it was not the best bowling attack and it was a second rung Windies side but his shots were a sight for sore eyes.

He started off with a late cut that he played very very late, a shot that seemed improbable. Then he hit a slice shot over third-man for four and we were left wondering for a moment if Tendulkar or Sehwag had got down on the field. It is after all a shot that is the trademark of the famous duo. The third four of the over was a trademark Dravid cover drive. Excellent footwork and perfect position! A shot, coaches would want their students to watch over and over again to master the art of hitting cover drives.

At the end of the innings he again played a slice over square region, and you could hardly believe it was the Dravid of day-before who had hit 50 odd over 80 odd balls. This one was not to be the same kind and he flourished as the innings progressed; taking away any kind of initiative WI would’ve thought they had gained having dispatched three Indian wickets.

I watched Raina briefly and the 18 year old was amazing in the field. His direct hit in the match against Sri Lanka was a class act and we need more of those in our fielding. Yesterday his off-side play reminded one of Ganguly in his prime days. I’d die to see that off-side play again. Come on Saurav get geared up.

One thing I’m not too comfortable about is shuffling the batting order. Kaif to open the batting? Nope, I’ll go for Dhoni-Sehwag combination, if they get it right, they will be one hell of a deadly duo at the top. Kaif is best at 5 or 6. The captain and coach must be experimenting for the long season ahead, fair enough, take your chances, but I hope lessons will be learnt soon.

The win yesterday is nothing to rave about since an injured Jayasurya defeated us on the previous day and this WI side is a second rung side. I wonder if it is all in the mind, we should’ve had him out in the condition he was!!! Disappointing!

Let’s wait and watch how they gear up to play the rest of the series.

As of now I’m more worried about the rains in Mumbai. They are lashing down on the city. Situation is pretty tense and the city will take a long, long time to recover from this disaster. Right now it just does not seem to end!

I wonder how long the Rain Gods will test the survival spirit of the city!