Friday, September 01, 2006

Lage Raho MunnaBhai

The difference between the two parts:

I went for MunnaBhai M.B.B.S.:

  • Without reading any reviews
  • Having seen no great hype
  • Without any expectations.
I came out of the theatre adding one more movie to my all-time favourite list. A movie that made me smile and laugh over and over again. A rarity in today’s movie era

I went for Lage Raho MunnaBhai

  • Without reading any reviews
  • Having seen a far larger hype
  • With loads of expectations
I came out of the theatre adding one more movie to my all-time favourite list.A movie that made me smile and laugh over and over again. A rarity in today’s movie era

I’m not going to reveal the story of the film; if I did, I would be doing grave injustice to Rajkumar Hirani and Vidhu Vinod Chopra who have come up with another masterpiece. The trailers have not given away anything and please watch the movie to find out the connection between MunnaBhai and the great Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi. Thumbs up to Rajkumar Hirani and Vidhu Vinod Chopra for carving a special niche and I can’t wait for MunnaBhai sequels to come our way.

Sanjay Dutt charms and Arshad Warsi sails through. Arshad Warsi must be one of the best actors in the industry today when it comes to comedy and its sense of timing. He has to be! The one-liners are as memorable as part one and boy, the writers have done a great job, it’s not easy to be so witty everytime.

Vidya Balan looks beautiful and do her eyes talk! She doesn’t have much to do but she still impresses. Boman Irani plays his role to perfection and I can’t find a flaw with this man. Most of the characters from part one play out various roles and to perfection. There are a few surprises which our extremely pleasant and some are well kept secrets; and we will let them be till every one has watched the movie. But if you all know who is my current favourite then you ought to know that I was very very glad that this person had a special appearance!

It was a great pleasure to see some veteran Marathi actors like Atmaram Bhende and Dilip Prabhavalkar adorn the stage here. The casting is almost perfect.

The only con (if you can find one) is the music, this time there is no ‘Dekh Le’ to hit the disco scenes but the songs are situational which are built in well. One song though does leave a mark. It is not the title track or the romantic one! I’ll leave that for you all to figure out once you have seen the movie.

  • Without getting too serious Lage Raho MunnaBhai makes us think
  • Without sounding pretentious it manages to convince us that things can still work if we follow his teachings
  • Without getting too preachy it gets the message across to a nation that has fallen asleep; that it is only a matter of self belief

I would love to list out my favourite scenes and dialogues from the movie but that would amount to spoiling your fun and I don’t want to do that. So, here is one which everyone must have seen on their TV sets. When I saw it too, I told my husband that we have to see this movie first day first show….

‘Apun ke Birthday pe bhi Dry Day ho

Nahi, Nahi, Dry Day Nahi.’

Well Munna and Circuit, Tumhare Birthday Pe Hum Log Dry Day Kaise Rakhenge?

After all we are drunk on your antics!

Monday, August 28, 2006

Badi Suni Suni Hain…

My parents always complained when I was a kid that there weren’t any clean family movies around. (This when I was in school and Hum Aapke Hain Kaun was yet to hit the screens.) So I landed up catching most of these ‘old’ films (most released before I was born) on video at home and saw myself watching them a million times again. By some coincidence most of these lovable films came from a man by the name of Hrishikesh Mukherjee.

Simplicity and real believable characters were always the highlight of his films. Probably why they always struck a chord with the people as they always identified with his characters.

  • Anand with his cheerful approach to life even though he knew he would not be around for long
  • Mili for her naughtiness, her innocence that made everyone around her love her
  • Guddi for her infatuation and film fascination
  • Subir and Uma’s trials and tribulations in Abhimaan affect us as much as them
  • Bawarchi’s Raghu is one cook we all would love to have in our family and till today an inspiration for many Hindi movies
  • Dr. Parimal Tripathi and his challenge to his wife to fool his brother-in-law in Chupke Chupke is still unsurpassed with its closest competitor being Ramprasad Sharma’s twin trick on his boss Bhavani Shankar in Golmaal
  • And finally my favourite: Manju’s battle with Nirmala in Khoobsurat.

His movies always had melodious songs and with a lot of meaning. Here are some of my favourite ones:

All of them family movies. All about simple people who were leading simple lives. Movies woven out of day-to-day happenings, movies that made us smile and made us think as well. Movies that still cheer me up when I watch them. Movies that will never bore me or go out of style. Movies that will remain firmly etched in memory; with all moments that make me cry, make me smile, make me laugh my heart out and make me want a family just as those families there.

Hrishi Da you have left a void that no one can fill

Aapke bine yeh film industry badi suni suni ho gayi hain…

May you rest in peace and we will always miss you.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

K-Jo will you ever say Good Bye?

I finally saw KANK. I don’t think Karan Johar is an exceptional director-producer. He is pretty much a little above average; for his films carry a classy look and he makes his actors look great even while they are sobbing most times.

  • I liked his first film Kuch Kuch Hota Hain for Kajol alone
  • K3G was nothing but 3 Kg. of sentimental crap
  • Kal Ho Na Ho was my favorite K-Jo film and you know why; because it was one movie where not only did SRK not snatch the girl from someone else but also died! Awesome script!
  • Kaal: For heaven’s sake let me not waste my blog over it
  • But I will for KANK.

A lot has been written on this movie so here are my two wise cents as well. So before I dissect it, I will first put up what I liked about the movie, there were parts which were good but, they are not worth spending your money in the theatre for it.

Abhishek Bachchan: He was awesome in the movie, the only one whose character was well defined. I loved his outburst scenes and he was the only one who brought a tear in my eye in the whole movie. Go watch it for him; he has style, charisma and panache. Way to go AB’s Baby.

Preity Zinta: She probably should’ve got more screen time. I quite liked her as Rhea. I also thought the scene in which Dev reveals about his affair with Maya, her reaction was dignified. No ‘Rona Dhona’ (crying), no hysterics, controlled, mature, restrained and at the end a well-deserved tight slap. Well done woman!

The Songs: Well choreographed and well picturised. I loved Rani’s sans jewellery look in 'Tumhi Dekho Na' and the stars were dressed very well except Big B.

The Dialogues: A dialogue that caught my attention. Rani discloses her affair to Abhishek; he reacts hysterically, only to ask her later, “Did you sleep with him, Maya? How was it, was it fun for you?"

I did not see this coming in an Indian movie. We see it often in English serials and movies but not as a serious dialogue so upfront in an Indian movie. It was such a natural reaction on the part of a husband who has been waiting for his wife to love him back.

Finally I simply loved the dialogue Amitabh says on his death bed to Abhishek. It just stuck in my head, “Any message for mom?” That was beautiful.

And now let the disappointments begin:

The concept was interesting, the execution disappointing. K-Jo is not Ekta Kapoor in whose serials every man has to have two wives atleast and every woman two husbands at least. Brothers exchange wives and the kids that come in after leaps and leaps could create a whole new show for Ekta with the title ‘Guess My Parent’. If we tolerate her crap then K-JO’s movie is so much more sensible, I’m just giving a perspective.

Here is why I think the movie fails to capture the audience’s vote. The foundation for Dev and Maya’s drift from their respective marriages and attraction towards each other is weak. It felt like a college attraction where I’m seeing a guy but, I’m not sure if I love him. So, if I find my soul mate I can bid him good-bye! Marriage is the same as some teenage love? I like blue, do you? Yes you do; let’s get together because we are soul mates. We do not feel empathy at all towards the main protagonists Dev and Maya.

Dev is a grumpy old soul and it should’ve been Rhea divorcing him in the first place for the crap he kept dishing out to her. Love can make you do silly things and that is why Rhea chose to stay in the marriage with Dev! SRK was his irritating self. The only times I liked him was in his first serial Fauji as Abhimanyu Rai (What a heartthrob he was for us school girls).Then Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge ( He brought Raj alive and that year I did not mind Aamir's Munna losing out to him at the awards). Of late Swades, I caught that movie on TV here in Dubai and I could not stop raving about SRK. His portrayal of Mohan Bhargava was so real. But he has to come back to his irritating self and that’s what he was doing again in KANK! Sometimes I wonder if he is the same person.

Maya and Rishi’s marriage was a big mystery to me. Here is a guy you chose to marry; no one forced it on you. Here is a guy who loves you no end and yet you feel nothing for him. What’s worst she is not even keen to try to make her marriage work. Rishi is right when he says, ‘All that you keep thinking about is leaving and me about staying in this marriage’. Weak, weak, weak! Maya’s character was the most weakest of the four. Simply no premise for her disappointments in life or for the actions she took later. You take an actress like Rani Mukherjee and give her a Maya, boy you are making a mockery of her, especially after Black. And did I read somewhere that her role in KANK surpasses the one in Black, whoever said that was ‘Definitely on Drugs’!

I’m not mentioning anything about Amitabh Bachchan because I was extremely disappointed with him. What made him take up this role? If he still loves his wife so much then what’s with the skirt chasing act? Never mind, most of the things that occur in the film have little or no explanations.

So here is my take, I have strongly believed that divorce is not a taboo and if a marriage is not working, walk out before it ends you; but only after both have tried to really make it work. In KANK, there were only two people who wanted to make an effort for their marriage to work and they were not married to each other. Dev and Maya had nothing but only a negative attitude towards it. I don’t think KJO managed to pull off that every person is grey with pros and cons, I felt at the end that Rishi and Rhea came out more positive than the main protagonists Dev and Maya.

If Dev and Maya felt they were stuck in wrong marriages and were doing the right thing they should’ve come clean to their spouses and not feel ashamed of their deed, be forthright, seek a divorce and get together. But KJO stuck to his traditional roots and made them suffer and think they were wrong. Another weak link in the story. So much that they punished themselves for three whole years and moved ahead only when their respective spouses had found a new life. Rhea and Rishi on learning that their exes were living unhappy, lonely lives went ahead and got them together. Man that was too much for me to digest. Too much of a happy ending which does not always happen in real life! Maybe he could’ve opted for Rhea leading her life along with her son and being highly successful. Why the need to show that companionship is a necessity in life? Such experiences could also throw people off marriage, it happens in real life.

But that’s KJO and he has to see everyone happy right, be with their true loves….

Phew, as you can see I’m relaxing at home and hence the time to pen down a long review. I was terribly bored for more than 3 hours yesterday, so can I not share it with you all?

Finally, did someone tell me this was the most awaited movie of the year? I think not.

Two people who made India smile and keep doing it everytime they come on TV; are back again to make us laugh a whole lot more. I’m dying to see this one this week. That’s how movies should be; light hearted with a message. We lead such high tension lives these days that we do need a Munnabhai and Circuit to make us smile. KJO, we really could do without crying:-) Think about it…

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Chaat Fever and a Farce called Dahi Wada …

Being away from Mumbai the one thing you miss the most is the roadside food. The ‘Chaat’ by which I mean Bhel Puri, Sev Puri, Pani Puri , Dahi Batata Puri , Ragda Pattice and Mumbai’s lifeline the ‘Vada Pav’.

Dubai serves excellent food in all cuisines but what I miss the most is my Mumbai roadside food. Yes I’ve suffered from over eating out too (jaundice struck in the second year of MBA) but you simply can’t resist it!

Ours is a neat group of 5 couples here who get together every weekend and most of the times we go out trying out new restaurants. However this time around we decided to be home and have a nice ‘Chaat’ evening. The menu was:

My mouth was already watering when we were discussing the menu. I took up to prepare Vada Pav cause I had my grandmom’s recipe for it and which is as good as the ones you get in Mumbai. Each family picked up a dish or two. We all were done and gathered at one of the couple’s place for the night. We knew this would be a night to remember but for me it really turned out a night that I will remember for the rest of my life.

I’m new to the group as I’ve recently moved here and H had all along kept bragging about how he makes the most amazing Dahi Wadas in this world. Dahi Wadas are my weak point so everytime we met; and he brought up the topic, I used to pester him to make it once. Since this was a ‘Chaat’ evening he decided to put to test his culinary skills on us as well.

As we were getting ready to set up the goodies H insisted we try the Dahi Wadas first. I was keen we have it as dessert later but he insisted that if you find them good I can make more later as I was not sure how they would turn out. Now I could not resist this offer and I said fine serve it first. Anyways I’m dying to eat them, I had caught a glimpse in the fridge and they looked delicious.

I was the first one to try it, I wanted to have a little bit first but he insisted I take up the whole Wada. So there I obliged again. I put in my mouth and suddenly it seemed different, why was I not able to chew the god damn Wada and why was it tasting soggy. The other two ladies were trying to break the vadas into small pieces but could not. Now, the nice little thing that I’m, I did not say anything at the first instance thinking H might have made some mistake and it would be so rude to comment on his favorite dish in his house.

But then again I saw his wife S smiling and I knew what it was, it was no Dahi Wada it was a god damn cotton ball!!! Out everything came and I kept shouting its tissue, its paper, and the other ladies who had not tried it held their hands back and everyone burst into laughter.

Now everyone there had been the victim of this trick and since I was the new entrant I was the latest one! I wish I had clicked a snap to show you all how delicious they looked and how atrocious they tasted!!

I’ve had many a pranks played on me and been quite a target in my college days with my friends one cause I was really naïve and secondly cause they thought I was pretty sporting about it in the endJ, but this one really took the cake and the icing and everything one can think of!!

I did not stop laughing the whole night and kept pulling H’s leg over it again and again by checking twice whatever he offered me to eat. Others joined me too and by the end of it H commented, “Minal I think you are so shocked now that even when you are dying I think you’ll refuse water from me and cross check it before drinking it!”

Well H & S I don’t think I will do that, but I did learn a few things yesterday.

  • Things are not what they seem to be
  • Greed never does anyone good
  • Friends like you all make me miss my home and family a little less
  • The next few years here in Dubai will be enjoyable ones cause I have you all around

Cheers to a fun evening and many more to come…

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Featured in DNA India...

A little bit of recognition is always welcome:-)And if they pick up my favourite topic and my favourite sportsman its like an icing on the cake for me;-)
DNA featured my article on Sparing Sachin here.

You bet I'm happy:-)

A night to remember the Great Mohd Rafi...

One of the advantages of having your husband in the marketing field is that you get invited to various events. I was lucky this time around to be with him and go for a lovely musical evening.

A local radio channel here plays only old Hindi music from the golden era of 50s-70s. Everyday you get to hear the lovely melodies of Lata-Asha-Geeta Dutt-Rafi-Kishore Kumar- Mukesh-Manna Dey- OP Nayyar-SD Burman.

On 31st July, the radio channel had organized a night to mark the death anniversary of the great legend Mohd. Rafi. The melody, the romance, the pain, the sorrow, Rafi brought out all emotions so well and I’m not exaggerating when I say there is an enchanting sweetness in his voice. I say ‘is’ because even though he may have left for the heavenly abode 26 years ago, he still lives on among us through his songs.

To pay a tribute to him, the channel had a contest called Echoes of Rafi which invited people to sing their favorite Rafi songs. After multiple rounds and auditions, 5 people were selected as finalists and the final contest was to take place that night.

The place was houseful even though this event was for invitees only. The five people all from varied background, one was a chauffer for a hotel, one worked in private financial firm, one had participated in a singing contest for the very first time.

In addition to these 5 finalists the team members of the channel performed on Rafi’s songs as well. One was the program head, one was the production manager and one was a RJ with the channel. Man are people talented, I mean not only do they do their regular jobs well but to go and sing Rafi’s song as well, I think that is awesome and I really do admire people who are multi-talented.

The contest went on smoothly being anchored by the channel’s most popular RJ and boy was his Hindi fantastic! Mine isn’t that great (I am not proud of that fact either) and I kept troubling my husband to understand a few words that were obviously 1000 miles above my understanding levels.

The first guy started with ‘Pukarta chala hoon mein’, the next three came up with songs that I had not heard before and the last guy sang ‘Tere aankhon ke siva’ If only there was a contest for ‘Guess the winner’, I would have won hands down. I bet with my husband on the first guy and he won! He was a simple man, a chauffer with a hotel and he was so overcome with emotion. The one good thing about these contests and reality shows is they give every one an equal chance. Al that matters is your talent and nothing else.

In between the songs, the channels RJ quizzed the audience on Rafi and sadly the one question to which I knew the answer to, the RJ never saw me lift my hand:-(The loss was huge – A 3Cd pack of Rafi’s hits.

More than my husband, I’m the one who loves musical evenings and henceforth for future shows he doesn’t have much of a choice to not attend them!

The music from the golden era is simply soothing to your mind. You just have to forget the world and drown yourself in the songs. The songs from the golden era have a magical feel about them and you can but help get lost in them.

As for my favorite Rafi no. it is ‘Abhi na jao chod kar’ from Hum Dono. Kishore Kumar is definitely my favourite singer of all times but this number by Rafi-Asha is on the top of my all-time favourites list. It is so romantic that every time I hear it, I lose myself completely. You got to hear it to understand what I mean.

So till I go for another musical evening I’m leaving with you the first few lines of my favourite Rafi number. Would you want to tell me yours?

Abhi na jao chodkar
Ke dil abhi bhara nahi

Abhi na jao chodkar
Ke dil abhi bhara nahi

Abhi abhi to aai ho
Abhi abhi to..
Abhi abhi to aai ho
Bahar ban ke chayi ho
Hawa jara mehek to le
Nazar jara behek to le

Yeh sham dhal to le jara
Yeh dil sambhal to le jara
Mein thodi der jee to lu
Nashe ke ghont pi to lu

Nashe ke ghont pi to lu

Abhi to kuch kaha nahi
Abhi to kuch suna nahi

Abhi na jao chodkar
Ke dil abhi bhara nahi

How could I?

I'm finding it real hard to forgive myself.

Earlier, when I was working and prior to that busy with my studies I always managed to find time to watch the game, if I couldn't, I managed to pacify myself by saying that I was doing something important.

However to miss these two matches when I'm on a break and at home, is simply unpardonable!!

How could I be so blind!

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Are we not done humiliating him?

Now what did Saurav Ganguly do so special that he got through the 30 probables this time? His selection was based on his performance throughout the last year! The reasons the selectors can come up with on dropping and picking Saurav. God give me a break from them!

I really wish the selectors would stop playing with him now. When he deserved one chance they snatched everything from him and now when he has not played well at all, he gets a place in the 30!

As for you Saurav they will never pick you in the final 15, so forget it , quit now with some dignity! Just forget the whole thing and move on!

This is madness....

Sunday, July 30, 2006


A thousand promises for you I hold,
Each as pure as the first drop of dew,
Love me once, and a deeper meaning of love,
I'll reveal to you,

I'll be the picture that you'll paint of love,
On the twilight skies I'll be your soul,
I'll be the vision,

of hopes and dreams in your eyes,

And if there be a darkness to your life,
I'll be the warmth of the morning ray,

I'll be the comfort that you'll return to,
At the end of a long weary day,

And I promise you, that I'll love you,
The way you have never been loved before.
And with each day that you love me,
You'll know, that I love you even more.

Sigh!! This one not only brightened my day today but will brighten every day henceforth. What a lovely surprise from my husband today;-)

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Selection Process

If you have a bunch of kids around; not aged more than 6-7 you get to hear some priceless pieces.

Here is one:

My little nephew T, all of 4 years, was waiting for an invitation to his neigbour's daughter's birthday party. The little girl walked up to him and said,'T tomorrow is my birthday party and you are selected for it!'

Her parents , T's parents and we two were stunned and burst into laughter.
Yes kids surely say the darnest things!

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Sparing Sachin...

Sachin Tendulkar is a unique person in every sense. Everything he has done on and off the field exemplifies his uniqueness. He has been India’s wonderboy, heartthrob, kamikaze kid, saviour, knight in shining armour etc. As much as his batting is unique so have been his dismissals and also the criticism he has faced.

Don’t you ever wonder that Sachin Tendulkar must be thinking what it is that I must do now after 17 years of international cricket , more than 100 tests and 350 ODIS, so that the critics simply shut their traps!

Take the recent article by Sanjay Manjrekar on him. Read it and try to figure out what message Manjrekar is trying to send to all of us.
  • Is he trying to doubt Sachin’s commitment to the game?
  • Is he trying to accuse him of faking injures?
  • Is he trying to say that Sachin puts self before team and country?
  • Is he trying to tell us that Sachin is in his own world thinking that he is still the 16 yr old kid who recently made his debut?
  • Is he trying to cast doubts on Sachin’s integrity to himself, team and the country?

What is he indeed trying to tell us?

I can’t believe that Sanjay Manjrekar, Sachin’s good friend for a long time would write such a column. How can anyone doubt this man’s integrity and commitment?
A man who has always stood out like a shining star and a ray of hope for many when India used be down in the dumps; a man who has inspired the current generation of Indian cricket.

You question the integrity of the person who landed back two days after his fathers demise to be a part of his team in the 1999 world cup campaign; he who scored a century on his return despite being ín mourning. Please don’t tell me that it’s easy to recover from the loss of a parent’s death, you rarely do. That gesture of Sachin only proved his rock-solid determination and dedication to his country and team.

In the 1999 Chennai Test, he was in brutal pain due to his back but he did not give up without a fight. Agreed he could not get us a victory but what a single-handed fighting innings that was.
Remember the ’98 season Vs Australia; he demolished them at home in the test series and in Sharjah.
He played an important role in the 2001 Aus series at home and later down under in 2003.
The 2003 world cup belonged to him and it was our bad luck that we did not win against the Aussies.

The man has single handedly led India’s fightback before the young guns fired under the Ganguly-Dravid combination. Until the recent England series there was not a single series that had gone by without him getting a hundred in a series. Yes he has had his drawbacks, limitations and failures. He has even candidly admitted on TV in his 30th birthday show with Harsha Bhogle that he does have a regret of not having carried India to more wins single-handedly as much as he would have liked to.

We just forget that the guy is human after all. And after all these years we are still ahead to doubt this man’s commitment to the game?

He is faking injuries so that he does not fail. Which wise man has told you cricketers to play with injuries or semi-fit? Whom does it help? No one, the individual suffers as his injury could aggravate and could end his career prematurely, and the team suffers as the player is not 100% fit. How can you, Mr. Manjrekar then even suggest that Sachin should play carrying injuries? You want him to end his career prematurely. I do believe that the guy has 4 years of good cricket left in him.

You yourself say that one cannot judge a persons seriousness regarding injuries, aren’t you exactly contradicting yourself by doing so in your article? None of us except Sachin and his doctor know what his body is going trough and no one but him is a better judge to know when he can play. You and I can opine but ultimately he will decide. And one more thing is he not showing more commitment by opting to stay out when he is not 100 % fit and cannot give his best to the team?

Sachin Tendulkar is an extremely intelligent cricketer. He knows his statistics by heart, he can narrate the manner of each of his dismissals and the bowlers who got him out. He knows the game is changing, he knows his position and role in the team is changing. That’s why we rarely get to see the aggressive Sachin of old days with the adrenalin rush in his body when he bats. He has calmed down and realizes that his presence on the wicket means much more to the team, hence he is slowly curbing his shots, his body is also not assisting but he is making efforts to work around it.

So Mr. Sanjay Manjrekar what made you write that article? Has your Ten Sports colleague Rameez Raja been influencing you? It would help if you acted more under the Aussie influence where they lay prime importance on fitness of a player and commitment to the game. Ask them their opinion on this issue about Sachin or for that matter ask the entire cricketing world! How could you pen this article?

Don’t criticize Sachin for the sake of doing so! I’m glad Sachin lashed out unlike most times sitting quiet and ignoring.

Mr. Sanjay don’t commit the mistake of unnecessarily criticizing this fellow, he is a true gem, with all his flaws and drawbacks he is still the best in the world and very few compare to him as a player and as a human being.

Here is a nice forward I had received when I was working after my engineering and hope all his critics including you get a message there

This is what Sachin’s messenger had to say to all of us:

This is interesting
I never judged any software engineers by the number of defects they delivered
I never commented on your activity reports
I didn’t get into your grading or banding details
Than why do you all keep discussing, judging and commenting on me all day long
I’m currently at the practice nets getting fit for my next series.
You are at your work desks, you are supposed to work
So please do so and spare me for heaven’s sake

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Movies in Dubai…

Since moving to Dubai there is not much I’ve been upto. The house was set up in fifteen odd days. It was an absolutely enjoyable and satisfying experience. Seriously it’s indeed a great joy to do the little things and set up your house from scratch. For me it was also hassle free. Like it take it, that’s my husband’s attitude while I prefer to hunt down a dozen stores before being satisfied that I picked up the best deal!

After the house was done I decided to take the much needed break and relax in my new house. The cooking is also turning out decent and fortunately I feel I’ve inherited my granny and mom’s genes in cooking! I never imagined I would be doing this in my entire life but a couple of months of a drastic change in your life sure does seem helpful!

Books, music and TV keep me good company the whole day and weekends are the best what with outings to new places with friends and yes movies! Life back home had got hectic with my workload and husband’s constant travel that I could not recollect the last time we caught movies so often. And here it’s completely opposite; if not the theatre we catch some good movies in TV or DVDs.

A few ones I caught up with

I was dying to see this Oscar winning movie and we got the DVD home. It’s a fine picture and full credit to the Academy for giving it the best film Oscar. Crash is a story of day-to-day life in America, about different people from different backgrounds: Racial, financial and professional, it’s about prejudices and fears. The stories are inter-mingled where the people cross each other’s path.

It concentrates on LA, USA but every one of us will identify with the characters. It’s a movie that makes us think. The Whites have their own prejudices against the Blacks and vice-versa. Asian Muslims are looked with suspicion post the 9/11 attacks, the Persians try hard to convince they are not the same as Arabs. Everyone seeking to prove a point and protect their identities.

Crash raises a lot of questions through the stories and tries to tell us that there is a good and a bad side to every person.
  • What do you do when the person who molested you is the one to risk his life to save yours?
  • What do you do when the same person watches injustice done to you quietly is the same person who stands up for you another time?
  • What do you do when the person whom you constantly ill-treated based on his/her nationality is the first to be there for you when you need help the most?
  • What do you do when you kill a person thinking he was going to kill you only to discover he was innocent?
  • What do you do when your mother blames you for your brother going astray the wrong way?
  • What do you do when all your life you have been stealing and this time life offers you the chance to save a few lives?
  • What do you do when you are robbed of everything you own and end up blaming the one person who had tried to warn and help you?
  • What do you do when the little daughter runs in to protect her father who you are about to shoot down?

What would you do? That’s what Crash tries to answer and in some cases leaves it for us to find the answers.
As Graham, the cop puts it, ''It's the sense of touch. In any real city, you walk, you know? You brush past people, people bump into you. In L.A., nobody touches you. We're always behind this metal and glass. I think we miss that touch so much, that we crash into each other, just so we can feel something."

It’s a must see movie. I suggest you do the same if you have not seen it yet.

The Ron Clark Story:

This is a movie that I caught umpteen times on Star movies here. The story is of a School Teacher Ron Clark and how he turns around a class of rowdy, ill-mannered kids to bring them to the top honors in their exams. The way he established a trust with the kids, the way he gets them to love studies, the way he builds their confidence, the way he makes them believe that they are winners and not losers as proclaimed by one and all. How he helps them fight the odds at home and simply become winners and discover their hidden talents on the way. A lovely film and Mathew Perry is surprisingly lovable in the role of Ron Clark. He is easy-going and goes through his act effortlessly. I was real glad to see him in a different role other than his Chandler Bing acts.
Another must watch movie.


Caught this in the first week of its release here. Two of my favorite actors in it and I was surely not going to miss it. Kajol was her old self and Aamir a pleasure to watch. But the storyline was simply ok, there was nothing great in it and had it not been for the lead duo I’m not sure it would’ve been as successful. The songs were decent and I’m pretty sure Kajol’s kurtis and skirts are going to be rage in India soon. At the end of the movie I felt that I could have easily waited for the VCD to hit the video library or the movie to be shown on a TV channel.

And one more thing I can't keep watching Aamir die in back-to-back releases this year!

The Da Vinci Code:

In one sentence it’s never easy to make a movie from a book. Read the book and stick to your own imagination.

Phir Hera Pheri:

The sole reason to watch this movie: Paresh Rawal. It’s not as good as the first one but this man has you in splits with his dialogues and antics. Catch it on the VCD/DVD. This man rocks!

Yet to watch:
Pirates of the Caribbean: The Dead Man’s Chest
Superman Returns.

So that’s it folks, with laptop on board now, looks like blogging will be fairly regular! Cricket will be the next, longtime since I wrote about it!

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Remembering the Brave Martyrs

Remembering the martyrs

Today, India will observe a two minute silence to remember all those who lost their lives in the recent Mumbai blasts. I can’t recollect the last time the nation came together to do so for victims of terror.

It’s been a week and it still hurts. I thought I could put down my feelings in a day or two but could not. There was anger at those who committed this ruthless crime, sadness for the families who lost their loved ones, admiration for the people who came forth to help people at the blasts sites and the ones stranded on the road, pride for the railways people who got back the services on track within 7 hours, and applause for the city to get back on its feet the next day.

I kept thinking if there is any way to prevent these acts of terror? But even with the highest security force in place I don’t think we can! We simply can’t. The ’93 blasts, then the Ghatkopar and Gateway of India in between and these serial blasts last week. Everytime we were hit we have got back on our feet. Do we really have a choice there? What should we do, sit at home frightened and not go back to leading our regular lives?

Is that possible and what do those terrorists achieve? Victory? Victory over whom? Victory for what purpose? Killing innocents , killing the unarmed, attacking from the back! Acts of terror? Nope acts of sheer cowardice. Yes that’s what they have proved time and again when they have attacked innocents. They have failed to bring the life in a city to standstill or to scare the people, so what are they achieving?

The trains are the lifeline of Mumbai and the hour when they were attacked was the peak rush hour. The Western line was my line when I was in Mumbai. I took the same trains daily back home; the very trains that were attacked. A friend of mine was in one of those trains, she was lucky she survived the attack but some weren’t. My husband’s school mate died in the blasts and I can’t imagine what his family must’ve gone through, just like numerous others who lost their dear ones in the blasts. The pictures on the news did not stop haunting me for days.

I felt so helpless. Sitting away from home all I could do was call up and find out if everyone I knew was doing fine. On the news I saw little kids come out on the streets and help the stranded. Women offer food and the elderly offer all the assistance they could at the hospitals, on the roads and at the blasts sites. The blood banks were overflowing within hours of the attack. In every possible way people helped and it moved me.

It is a city I’m extremely fond of because I’ve spent my entire life there. Its spirit is indomitable and it is undying. At times we do get caught up in our own affairs, you see there is no time to look around; but in times of calamity the people always have held each other’s hands and those idiot terrorists are not going to win ever.

Everyone is a survivor and if it were any other city they would’ve fought back in the same manner as Mumbai did.

I hope the intelligence agencies and police bring forth the perpetrators of this crime sooner than later and a repeat of ’93 case does not recur in this case.

All those who died in the blasts will be brave martyrs and I join in to remember them in silence. I hope we can try in every possible way to ensure that their sacrifice won’t be a waste.

Monday, June 12, 2006


I did not intend to take such a long sabbatical without leaving a message on the blog; tremendous workload and a huge change in my life made it impossible for me to update my blog regularly. The unexpected happens to you when you least expect it and that’s exactly what happened. My husband had to move to Dubai for a long term on work and after much contemplation I decided to shift too.

I have moved away:

  • From my mumma, and my family,
  • From my country, from my dear Mumbai city,
  • From the trains and BEST buses and the tiring travel,
  • From the dirt, the pollution and the chaos,
  • From the roadside snacks: vada pav and pani puri,
  • From the late night film shows and the crazy malls,
  • From hours spent long at Barista and the walks down Worli-sea face,
  • From night-outs with friends spent gossiping and dreaming about the future,
  • From family get-togethers and being hounded by hundreds of relatives,
  • From the crowded and chaotic weddings,
  • From daily chai-snacks at the office canteen with friends,
  • From discussing books and movies with friends and the debates and arguments that followed it,
  • From the numerous smiles at home and office that made every day of mine special,
  • From mumma and ma-in-law’s constant advices to do some cooking,
  • From their constant care about me and my health,
  • From the tasty food both cooked for me every day of my life there,
  • From the crazy fun bickering with my dear sis-in-law,
  • From the pampering from my aai and papa,
  • From the amazing love this lovely place and its people had showered on me in all the years I spent there

I never thought I would and I did. The first week here was the worst in my life. I cried and cried missing everything about home, family and my comfort zone. I made my husband feel so awful and I’m really sorry for that. All my cousins and friends went through the same emotions that I did and they really helped me get comfortable in the new place!

Now a new life and experience awaits me here and I plan to make the most of it. I look forward to:

  • Making a good career,
  • Making new friends,
  • Setting up my own house,
  • Owning my kitchen,
  • Doing some great cooking,
  • Driving my car,
  • Enjoying our life,
  • Visiting new places,
  • Shopping a lot in this shopping heaven;-)
  • Taking back loads and loads of great memories when I move back home.

But for now let me settle down and begin to enjoy this new home…

P.S:This blog will be updated more regularly henceforth!

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Dreams and Reality...

How often do dreams come true?

How often to they become real?

Ask Gillespie!!!

I spilled my tea all over today's newspapers when I read this!

Yesterday's night victory over Pakistan gave me a peaceful sleep and was pleasantly surprised by Rahul Dravid's aggression. I simply loved his reaction after getting Inzy out!

But Dizzy's achievement had me in a state of shock!!

However cliche it may sound, such moments are the exact reason why they say 'Cricket is a game of glorious uncertainties'

Boy, I simply love this game!

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Awesome: Another Series Win and a World Record!

  • Can’t chase,
  • Can’t defend,
  • Can’t capitalize on good starts,
  • Can’t recover from collapses,
  • Chase defeat from jaws of victory
  • Simply not consistent enough!

All the above was true about team India until this season! India started performing well under Ganguly but they lost almost 11 finals under his reign. The consistency was still lacking and chasing was not the best thing we could do.

We must give credit to Chappell and Dravid for building the team upto this level. Wright & Ganguly showed them what grit and gumption was all about while Chappell & Dravid have taught them to not waver and take the bull by the horns! Dravid surely has transferred his key qualities: Patience, concentration and performing under pressure!

Third time this season a clean sweep! First against SL, then Pak and now England. Agreed SL and England were not exactly top class opposition but then we have not managed such dominance even over weaker sides in the past so we must give credit where it’s due!

No hope in first match after being bundled out for 203 and Harbhajan who was under fire for his poor form since the Pakistan tour came up with a magical spell.
Second ODI India were reeling at 92-5 chasing 226 when Raina all of 19 played a knock (81 of 89 balls) that could well book his place in the side till the World cup. What a talented bloke he is! His fielding is brilliant; rarely does his throw miss the stumps! Along with Yuvraj and Kaif he easily saves 40 odd runs in the field.
The third match Yuvraj and Raina played blinders to give England an impossible target to chase and finally the last match India decimated England in all aspects! The slow bowlers did the trick and Dravid, Yuvraj and Raina ensured India won convincingly!

And who would have thought the team known as 'poor chasers' would break the long standing WI record of 14 consecutive wins while batting second! We managed 15! Someone once said, 'Never give up on hope, miracles happen everyday'. These 15 consecutive wins batting second were definitely miracles for me;-)

There are a few worries at the top of the order (that could make up for another blog post!) and I for one think Sehwag has got too many chances! What do you say?

It’s a pity that I did not get to see any of the matches live. Wish there were more on the weekends!Hoping that we don’t peak too early and now the real test would be beating SA and Australia.

Kudos India, keep the adrenalin flowing and go for a neat 7-0 win!

P.S: The blog is being updated poorly due to a lot of offline happenings…Will post soon again!

Friday, March 24, 2006

Give a Thought-10?

  • Exam halls are like toilets; the longer you sit there, the more the crap that comes out
  • The best ideas always seem to come in the loo, Oh shit!
  • Gravity is a myth: Earth sucks!
  • Whoever said money can't buy everything didn't know where to shop
  • You can't have everything;where would you put it?

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Day 4 and 5 @ Wankhede:

India had probably done all the wrong it could on the first three days of the match and with the track assisting spinners somewhat here was a chance to redeem some pride in the match.
With my husband scheduled to fly home in the evening, I could only watch the first two sessions of the day. The two sessions yielded 3 wickets in addition to previous night’s two and somewhere there was an inkling that it would be very tough for us to come back.

It seemed that England was looking more to save the match than win it. Yes the pitch was making stroke play difficult (A fact Dravid should have taken into account when he went out to the toss) and any target above 250 would mean that India would be shut out of the match (Their batting wasn’t in the best form) A 121 run-lead proved handy and reaching close to 200 was just what England had hoped for seeing the nature of the track. So 312 to chase was a tough tough task.

Nevertheless the fan in me did not want to believe otherwise. I thought maybe on the last day:

  • Sachin will grab the opportunity to shut up those who booed him. After all it was his home ground
  • Dravid will be his solid self and hold fort
  • Dhoni will produce the required blitzkrieg and get some assistance from Yuvraj

The whole of Mumbai seemed to think the same. The queues outside the Bombay Hockey Stadium (Where tickets for the match on that day are sold) stretched to the Asiatic Store and beyond! I know people are crazy but this crazy? To stand in queue for long hours and also incur a stampede! No thanks. Taking the season pass well in advance is the right decision else I’d rather watch the game at home. Though I had a fine brain wave to sell of one of the 5 tickets I had for a huge sum (which I’m sure any idiot would have paid for considering the situation of the match) but I did not! So we entered the stadium on day 5 amidst huge cheering and high security alert.

I didn’t quite get it why we chose to open with Pathan on day 4. Agreed that we have done it before, he was even successful, but Hoggard, Flintoff and Anderson are no jokers with the new ball! What’s worst he got out to a full toss! And who do we send in next? Anil Kumble. I fail to understand Dravid’s thinking.

Anyways as day 5 began I got the feeling India were playing for a draw. Now in all probability that means a good chance we will end up losing. It seemed so when Jaffer got out. In came Sachin Tendulkar and he changed the face of the match. Gone was the awkwardness and hesitation seen in the first innings. He was looking at ease and getting back to doing what he does best. On the other hand the worrisome factor was that Rahul Dravid had gone into his shell. 9 runs in 2 hours is not something the Indian captain will be proud of. Anyways 75/3 at end of first session. With Sachin playing well, and Rahul rock solid, India looked good to draw the match.

Post-lunch a lot more people poured in anticipating some good knocks. Ball 2 after lunch Rahul got an unplayable delivery from Flintoff. There was nothing he could have done and the only real award that delivery deserved was w wicket which it did get! The real shock came in the next over when Sachin got out to Udal (Of all the bowlers) playing forward. There it all ended. There was not a single batsman left who could put his head down and last the next 4 hours!

But what followed after that was highly unimaginable. I’ve not seen such poor capitulation by the Indian batting in a long time. Players simply walked in to declare their presence and walked back having done so. They had decided not to trouble the poor scorers much! How the hell can you get 100 all out after being 75 for 3 in matter of an hour! The manner in which we played was indeed shameful and England with half-their side out due to injury put up an extremely spirited performance. The track was difficult to bat on (How Bhajji and Kumble must’ve cursed Dravid for opting to bat first.) but certainly not one where a team could get 100 all out!

Seeing the luck the Indian team had at Wankhede, I won’t be surprised if the venue is blacklisted by the team henceforth! The performance on the final day was a huge let down.

The Mumbai crowd was harsh on Dravid during the presentation by chanting shouts of ‘We Want Saurav’. They seemed to have a short memory; they were the ones who had booed Ganguly post the defeat Vs Australia in 2001! It’s tough indeed to please the crowds!

In banter or good humor shouting, whether intending to mean it or not, “Flintoff is a B******, Hoggard is a B******, C****** Banaya Bada Maja Aaya” is definitely not in good taste. The behavior of the crowds in this match has gone a long way in tampering the image and reputation of the Mumbai crowd. It’s the worst crowd I’ve ever seen and I am definitely sad about it. Sorry I’m not impressed neither do I fail to see the ‘humor’ in these chants. I’m being a spoilsport, call me that, but if this continues it would mean going downhill for the Mumbai crowd. Please don’t set such precedence for the rest to follow.

I think India has forgotten to play test cricket. If you cannot last 90 overs in both innings you certainly should not be playing it. And India did not deserve a win after dropping almost 12 catches in the field. Is Greg Chappell paying any heed? In their obsession to concentrate on the world Cup 2007, they have forgotten to play test cricket. Mumbai test match is ample proof of that following the recent Karachi debacle.

They will come back well in the ODIs, England is not the best team in ODI. They will even win the series but to me it won’t matter! Like it or not history remembers you more by the way you played test cricket and unfortunately India has been playing it pretty miserably in the last couple of series!

Boys are you listening?

Monday, March 20, 2006

Day 2 and 3 @Wankhede:

Day 2:
Day one wasn’t perfect and gave the crowd all the more reason to show their disappointment with Dravid for depriving them of watching Sehwag and Sachin’s batting on a fine Sunday. Every mistake committed by the captain was followed by chants of ‘We want Dada or Saurav’. And believe me that was not music to Dravid’s ears.

India began day 2 in the hope of making amends for the mistakes done on day one. One over from Munaf to Flintoff though proved that nothing had changed. Two regulation catches went down on successive deliveries. The first by Sehwag in slips and second by Kumble in the gully. First you let off Strauss and if that wasn’t good enough you give Flintoff two lives! Is that pardonable?Fortunately he didn’t make us pay with a hundred. England kept losing wickets at regular intervals once they crossed the 320 mark and India looked good to pull the plugs before the side hit 400 but the tail wagged a bit and England just managed to get that psychological advantage.

India needed a steady start, time was not an issue and if they applied themselves there was no reason to not achieve the 400 mark on a wicket that was still playing the same as day one. Well I had mentioned in one of my posts that Sehwag will have to face the music once the oppositions begun to figure him out. This is exactly what happened. For heaven’s sake he is also going the Ganguly way. Either gets bowled through his gate or is out fending a short-pitched delivery. If he does not sort out his problem we will see him more in the pavilion than outside! Tell me why is his place not in danger? If Laxman can be dropped I see no reason why Sehwag is still playing!

Then came in Dravid to partner Jaffer and I thought now is the time for a good a nap. But it was no to be as Jaffer to got out and Jones pulled of the first of his brilliant catches. In walked Mumbai’s hero and lad and the Wankhede stadium had gone berserk at his arrival. What we saw then was the most unsettling batting display. Not once did Sachin look comfortable and though I tried to convince myself that he will somehow see the day through and come out blasting the ext morning it was not to be. And what followed later was a sad day in Indian cricket. Sachin Tendulkar being booed out of the ground.

Honestly having been to the stadium for the last 13 years, this is the worst crowd I’ve seen in terms of its attitude. Yelling abuses at all players has become a habit and must do to fit into the crowd. They care little for the influence they have on the young kids around and the embarrassment they cause to the elderly. Respect to age and ladies is long forgotten and am not being biased when I say these youngsters are from the rich-hip crowd with little regard for anyone else. I was shocked to see a ten year old behind me mouth abuses like B******with his dad being around simply to follow the other group. And abuses like Ch***** and Freddie F&*^ O** went on and on. Is this what we have come to? And are hurling abuses impressive? Cigarette in one hand and Indian flag in another, chanting the national anthem like any other slogan, are these signs of showing patriotism? Disrespect to elders and creating a nuisance for one and all in the stands, is this the way to enjoy matches? I’ve never seen such a degraded crowd and that too in one of the most decent well behaved stands in Wankhede, the Garware Pavilion! What a shame they have brought on to the rest!

And on the other hand I met a few Britishers who have exemplified great sporting spirit and I have had some fine cricketing discussions with them. They are courteous enough to greet every policeman and security when they enter the stands, a warm morning handshake to one and all around them and enjoy every moment of the game; appreciating everything about the Wankhede despite its shortcomings. I know there will be a bad apple everywhere but the behavior I’ve seen from a section of the crowd is indeed shameful!

Anyways back to the match, Yuvraj walked in at the fall of Tendulkar’s wicket and brought the crowd alive with some fine shots on the offside. Dravid and he held fort till end of day but England had clearly dominated the day though my moment of the day was Munaf’s Patel ball that yorked Hoggard. What a lovely sight that was!

Day 3:
All that India needed to do was show some patience, a lot of resilience and common sense. The wicket was not devilish. Dravid and Yuvraj started well but after half-hour of the morning play Yuvraj lashed out at a delivery outside off-stump and was on his way back. Then Dravid and Dhoni had some what weathered the storm but Dravid was out again to a brilliant catch by Jones on the leg side, this after being let off at gully in the previous over and it was the sign that this would not be India’s day.

Dhoni and Pathan offered some resilience but it did not continue like in Multan and Pathan gifted his wicket to Udal. Dhoni then started to take things in his own hand and after a calm 50 went back to his old days. 3 fours of 3 balls and instead of simply playing the next one ran for a non-existent single! At 217 I thought it’s all over but Shreesanth who is having a great match walked in with other thoughts. The young lad hung around with Kumble to take the score past 275 at a time even when 250 looked impossible. One particular moment will stay etched in my mind. Flintoff knocked him up and the next over what does the little kid do? Dance down the track and hit him for a four. No one expected that and Flintoff was stunned

India’s innings wrapped up few minutes after tea. England’s tactics were perplexing when they bowled Udal and Panesar in tandem at a point when India was under tremendous pressure to void the follow-on. Some things can never be explained!

Having conceded a 121 run lead, India has some chance in the game provided they bowl out England under 180. A chase of 300 in 100 odd overs could do the trick for India. India have begun its fightback well with sending back the openers and well could have sent back Udal had Yuvraj not dropped a catch again! I just hope it does not prove too costly for us. Night-watchmans have always done well against us.

All and all interesting day’s play and the next two days will be interesting enough.

Will keep you all posted!

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Day 1 @ Wankhede

If you are watching a match at the stadium there are a few norms you must follow:
- Get to the stadium early to see the players practice
- On day one do not miss the toss
- Never ever miss the first and last ball of each day in the test match!
- On the last day don’t miss the presentation ceremony!

So there, as is the norm I reached the stadium well in time anticipating that there would be a felicitation ceremony held for the three biggies of Indian cricket:
1. Rahul Dravid for his 100th test match
2. Sachin Tendulkar for becoming the most test-capped Indian player
3. Anil Kumble for claiming 500 wickets in test cricket, the first Indian bowler to do so!

Little did the MCA (Mumbai Cricket Association) know that having this ceremony before start of play and delaying it by half hour than the usual would hit India later in the day.

Indian team went again with 5 bowlers. I don’t get why. After the performance in Mohali India needed to play an extra batsmen and Bhajji could have well sat out. Anyways, so India did what they did. Dravid is not as lucky as Saurav or Azhar in winning the tosses for matches that matter, and this time when he did, he disappointed by opting to bowl first. Well he thought Wankhede pitch known to assist seamers on day one, morning session could prove fruitful for India; or on the other hand he would have gone by history and avoided taking any chances. In the last 5 years in matches played in Wankhede, India’s batting has not had a great first day!
You can see for yourself:

Year 2000: India Vs SA
Year 2001: India Vs Aus
Year 2002:Ind Vs WI (Exception)
Year 2004: India Vs Aus

So there, choose to call it or attacking move or defensive either way I was not too happy with Dravid’s decision. With the start delayed by half-hour some advantage would be lost and Mumbai isn’t exactly cold at this time of the year for any dew to last longer!

The other reason for the Mumbai crowd’s disappointment with Dravid’s decision was that they would not get to see Sachin bat on Sunday, a holiday here. And when Sachin bats you won’t have any place to even stand in the stadium, it gets that jam-packed!The stadium was quite full than what you would expect for a test match and with the first two days nicely placed on a weekend most Mumbaikars made sure they were present to witness it.

England started steadily and only last one wicket to Shree Santh in the first session. I thought England won the first session cause when you are put into bat the opposition is expecting to get atlast 3 wickets in and when you don’t let them achieve that you go one up.

Session 2 belong entirely to England and Owais Shah. I agree Strauss batted well (and very lucky too. He got 3 lives, one by Dravid and 2 by Dhoni) but Owais Shah stole the show. Here is batsman who has class. The second ball he faced; he danced down the track to Bhajji. No England batsman would do that and Owais should attribute his confidence against spinners to the Asian blood running in him! He drove, cut and moved his feet to perfection. Not once did he look nervous or out of sorts. Confidence from the word go! Although I found his stance a bit odd, just as I find Pietersen, Chanderpaul and Gillepsie’s. Fortunately Owais is pretty steady and does not shuffle too much.

A trifle sad that he did not come out to bat after tea, but what a fine debut! Pitersen came and was his usual self. But boy was he ruffled up by Munaf. My heart went out to the lanky bowler. He bowled his heart out and was probably the best among the lot but sadly no wickes to show against his name! He was the reson why the crowd after falling asleep in the session after lunch woke up again post-tea. In that spell he indeed spit venom and how disappointed I was when he did not get that lbw appeal against Strauss. Simon Taufel why are you so damn accurate!!

Pitersen got out to a very poor shot and he will curse himself for not hanging in there, for there was only half-hour’s play left when he departed. Flintoff looked assured but I hope Munaf can shake these blokes again! Well if you can’t get them, hit them! Let them smell the leather, our batsman do it all the time.

India disappointed. The bowlers never made the batsmen play and fielding was average. How can you give a batsman three lives; that’s truly unpardonable. Dhoni’s keeping was not upto the mark; he failed to gather some pretty regulation takes. Bhajji’s dive to stop the off-drive was hilarious; he dived before the ball came in and only to see the ball shoot past him for a four. Nice way to make a complete fool of yourself. Even Sachin missed one! So you knew it was not going to be India’s day. I wonder why Dravid did not try Tendulkar for an over or two? It would have been worth the risk, any which ways the regular bowlers failed to get a wicket or stem the run-flow.

Well in all not such a great start to this historic test for India but the England batsmen can pat themselves on the back for putting up a good show. And did someone tell me that England was fielding its second best batting line-up? It definitely did not look like they did.

Wankhede was pretty much the same. Stands and facilities for public still in the pretty bad shape!

No water allowed inside and food and water being sold at 5 times the amount of their MRP. (On a serious note, can anyone tell me if we can take this matter up up to any authorities? This is daylight looting! A glass of water costing Rs 2.25 was being sold at Rs 10, Ice-cream costing Rs 12 at Rs 30. It’s ridiculous!)

Rude policemen and add to it the newly appointed private security guards. When we were standing in the gallery to watc hthe felicitation closesly, one guard kept pestering us to sit down on our seats! He didn’t even let us enjoy the proceedings! Fortunately they did not ask us to sit down when we were dancing at the fall of the wicket or ask us to shut up when we were cheering.

An announcement made very seriously caught my ears, 'People in the north stand stadium are requested not to give any kind of abuses to any player'. This I think was a result of the unfortunate incident during the 2002 test match against WI were Harbhajan was humiliated by a few jerks in the North stand. But this announcement seemed to have had no effect on anyone! I’m personally against any kind of abuse towards the players or any person. And it was pretty bad to hear youngsters give a mouthful to players. Purely in bad taste and paints a very sorry picture to the touring English crowd. I see no reasons why people need to abuse players. Cheering can be done in good sense and with some fine clean humor, mouthing abuses not good. And most of it came from the so-called sophisticated blokes! The rich-spoilt brats, maybe their parents use the same language at home and if they don’t maybe they need to teach their kids how to behave in public! The most disheartening aspect at the stadium, that seems to increase very year. I’ve been to the stadium every year for 13 years now and only of late have I noticed this trend of abusing players. It’s got to stop!

I met a couple of Brit folks and had a great time talking about the game and the atmosphere at the stadium. When they heard chants of 'Gali Gali mein shor hain, Pakistan chor hain' from North stand, they asked me what was that all about; I told them it’s practically a ritual at the Wankhede stadium where Pakistan is cursed irrespective of the oppostion! The smile on their faces was worth a picture!

I wonder how pack the stadium will be tommorow after India’s no-show today. No Sachin batting either. Monday should be the day to watch out for! I’ll be there throughout and keep you all posted as well.Till tomorrow then!

Friday, March 17, 2006

Back to my Love Affair…

I started viewing cricket in the 1991-92 season and took a keen interest in the game thereafter. I kept pestering my father as to why we could not see a match live at a stadium in Mumbai. He told me that for quite sometime now India was touring abroad and had not hosted any series at home. The day Mumbai was granted a match, he promised me he would take me to watch it “Live”

Finally 13 years ago, India played host to a full fledged series with England and with the last test match scheduled in Mumbai from Feb 19-23 my father kept his promise. I went for my first live match at the Wankhede to watch the already shattered and cribbing English team under Graham Gooch; with no exciting players except Graeme Hick to watch. It was the series famous for Kumble’s rise as India’s strike bowler (He claimed 21 in that series and the Man-of-the-Series award) return to form by Azhar( his 182 in Eden Garnden was a delight!), young Tendulkar’s consistency and Kambli’s rocking debut!

13 years, many matches and teams later each moment of that match is vividly present in my memory. 3 Mumbai batsmen were part of the Indian batting order. Tendulkar–Kambli had a great partnership. Tendulkar played too patiently but Kambli brought the house down with his double hundred; Graeme Hick’ s 178 being clearly overshadowed in the process but good enough to earn him the Man-of-the -Match. The Indian spin trio then brought about the collapse of the England team in the second innings and India whitewashed England for the very first time!

Like one never forgets the first date, I don’t think I’ll ever forget the beginning of my love affair with Wankhede!

Tomorrow I get a chance to revisit those moments yet again. It’s the same team with much more exciting players, I don’t know the last time I was so excited about seeing an English team. Andrew Flintoff was around in the 2002 ODI and I distinctly remember his famous shirt-off gesture (I was in the stands near the pavillion at pretty close quarters when he chose to do what he did!) Though Ganguly does not make a pretty sight with his bare torso, I was ecstatic when he gave back the Poms in their own fashion 5 months later at Lords!
Only if you had been at the stadium, you would have realised how much it had hurt to lose a close game yet again and later see Flintoff dare to bare!

But Flintoff has come a long way from that episode and so has his team. I’m excited to watch some fireworks from the Pieterson-Flintoff duo. Though I’m a trifle sad that Pietersen has shaved off his hair. Now I won’t get to brag to my friends about how I got to see the famous skunk hairdo!

The only team that excited me was the Australian Team. They interacted amazingly well with the crowds. The crowds simply loved them. I remember distinctly in the 2001 test on day 2 when Gilchrist –Hayden hammered centuries, the Mumbai crowd was up on its feet cheering them. Allan Donald in the 1996 Titan Cup final and 2000 test also was a hit with the crowd while responding to the sounds of 'Quack Quack Donald'. I hope the English players have some fun as well. The crowd would love that.

I’m just too thrilled to witness important milestones in the careers of two of my favourite batsmen. When India takes field tomorrow Rahul Dravid will become the 6th Indian player to earn 100 test caps and Sachin Tendulkar will surpass Kapil Dev’s record of most tests played by an Indian. I’m hoping they decide to celebrate the occasion with some blitzkrieg attack on the English bowlers.

So there, it’s back to Wankhede and back to my love affair. It’s not the best stadium in the world and the security can get to you, but once you are in and you view the lush green ground; all you want to do is relax, grab a sandwich, shout yourself hoarse and yes enjoy the game of cricket!

P.S: Will try to post regular EOD updates of my experience at the Mumbai Test match

Monday, March 13, 2006

An Exhilarating Day of Cricket!

What a day it was for the world of cricket! Three men inspired their teams to commanding positions! Two matches yet to see the result while the one that finished yesterday left an unforgettable mark in history!

First the sensational final match of SA-Aus ODI series at Wanderers. Well I got home at 9.00 p.m. and switched on the TV set for surfing channels; I just stood still in my seat as I read the score of 392-7 and South Africa still requiring 43 runs to win in 26 balls on ESPN! I did not know how to react! How much did Australia score in the first place when South Africa was so close to 400 and still a fair distance from winning it! Now that Aus had scored 400-odd the first time ever in the history of ODI, how the hell did SA get so close to the target and also looked good enough to win it!!! Was I dreaming? What kind of a match is this! From then on I did not move from my seat till the final ball was bowled!!!

Excellent, excellent stuff! This is what ODI cricket is made of; nail-biting finish, fight to the finale, every ball being bowled just wrecking your nerves! The SA & Aus teams managed to give me a heart attack quite easily! Seriously, I could sense my heart skipping beats! I was ruing the fact that I had missed both Ponting’s awesome 105 ball 164 earlier in the day and later Herschelle Gibbs’ 175 to lead the South African valiant fightback. Boucher played a brilliant knock in the tense situation; he was really as cool as a cucumber! And he got some excellent support from Van der Wath, Telemachus, and Ntini! Telemachus hit some lusty blows along with Boucher and brought down the target from 30 in 18 balls to 13 in 12 balls. From there on it was going to be SA‘s game but Brett Lee and Co. had some other plans! With 3 balls left and 2 runs to get Lee had Andrew Hall caught at mid-on and the chokers tag began to haunt the SA again! If they were to lose this one by one run I doubt they would have come back strongly ever against any team in the world!

Ntini walked in with all the pressure in the world that is possible, on his head! Calmly he hit the ball down to the third man to grab a single and made sure SA would not lose! At that point I felt maybe a tie would be a befitting result but cricket can be a cruel game at times and Boucher’s four of the next ball sealed SA victory and slashed Aus’s hopes!

With that hit, not only did they win an enthralling match and create history but also wrapped up a keenly fought ODI series 3-2. The series going right down to the wire, the very last ball! South Africans were in nth heaven and deserve fully to be there. The Aussies left wondering what more could we have done? When Ricky Punting blasted that 164 and then had his men walk back o the dressing room having scored 434 , the first time ever a team had achieved 400 in ODI, he must have felt that his team had won the match and with that the series! What a fine comeback by Ponting’s men after being 0-2 down in the series! Little would he have imagined the SAs would chase this one successfully! Cricket can be a cruel, cruel heart-wrenching game!

And while this will go down as the greatest match ever; here are a few things to think about. Why were the boundaries shortened? To enable the batsmen get more runs? Does anyone care for the bowlers anymore? I think they will get extinct in ODIs if 300-350 continues to be an average score. Agreed that seeing a team bowled out under 100 does not make an exciting match but neither does a team getting 400 odd! Spare a thought for the bowlers. This is a game for both and lets not make it so batsmen-friendly! Bracken got 5 wickets in the match and yet his contribution amounts to zilch! For heaven’s sake what more must a bowler do?

But it was an exciting game and I loved the fight the two teams gave till the very end! Though I didn’t quite get the logic of bowling full-tosses and short pitch deliveries towards the end which were easy meal for the set SA batsman! Aussie will have to think about that!!

The other two matches were in the pure version of the game. Shane Bond and Anil Kumble both inspired their teams back into the game with their fine bowling performances.

What seemed to be heading towards a seemingly dull draw what with two days played not completed in Mohali; Kumble turned on his magic in the last session and had England on the back-foot. 112-5 out of which Kumble picked up 3 wickets to follow up his previous 5 in the first innings! What a lovely way to celebrate his 500 wickets in test cricket. He deserves a standing ovation for his grit and gumption shown throughout his career. He has been Team India’s silent warrior! There have been times when he has been criticized, yours truly being an equal accomplice! He has never been deterred though and gone about his game plan quietly, just like his nature. No controversies, no verbal attacks. He has achieved everything a bowler would wish for in his international career and done that without any hooplah or noise. Anil we salute you, and you have set affine fine example for youngsters to follow!

Kumble’s effort has set up an exciting 5th day’s play for Mohali. The 38 run lead could prove to be a handful if we are able to bowl out England cheaply and then chase around 150 -180 in the last two sessions! That should make for an exciting day and it’s pretty sad that it is not a weekend and I will miss the match live once again!

And now for the final hero among the three, Shane Bond. One of my favourite bowlers in the international arena. I still remember the VB series of 2001-02 when Bond shone into limelight. After Hadlee, New Zealand finally had a bowler who could bring the opposition down to its feet! Sheer pace again! Yesterday while chasing 290, WI looked good to win having started off at 148-0 but Bond came in and triggered a collapse and today morning NZ sealed their victory!

A fine day for world cricket, savour it folks! There is a reason why test cricket is still the best form of cricket. Bowlers get their due; and more often than not, it’s the bowlers who win matches for their teams! Bond and Kumble have given some fine examples yesterday and on the other hand only batsmen dominate the ODI, there is no room for bowlers there. Don’t believe me? Go watch Ponting and Gibbs knocks of yesterday!

Don’t forget to stay tuned into the final day’s play at Mohali, let’s hope that the Indians don’t disappoint. Maybe they could draw inspiration from the NZ-WI game and the SA-Aus game. Fight till the last ball of the day is bowled! It surely ain’t over till the fat lady sings!

P.S.: I also thought it was a fine sporting gesture by Ponting to refuse the joint man-of-the-match award saying Gibbs deserved it as he not only got more but also helped his team to win. Excellent stuff Ricky and a good example set again!!
And on another note; highly, highly impressed by Munaf Patel! Where has he been for so long? He has wrecked England again!