Mar 31, 2011

I Have Seen God! (Live!)

"C'mon, if you say that he is the greatest ever and is endowed with 'supernatural' powers. Why not now? What happens to him in the finals ?" I retorted. "Dude, he can't do everything alone, he needs support from the team. He made sure that India reaches the final." Shantanu Shahi was trying his best to convince me." Then admit that he is just a great batsman not the best, does not click when the team needs." I said sarcastically." Oh shut up! You are a cynic, what has your dada done in all these games?" Shantanu shouted with a hint of irritation in his voice.

I and Shantanu often ended up debating on Sachin-Saurav (Dravid excited neither of us) during those wonderful days in hostel (99-'04). I was not just a Saurav Ganguly fan, I relished bashing Sachin Tendulkar. And to put it honestly, he did give me plenty of opportunities by repeatedly failing in the finals or by not clicking when the team needed. More than six years have passed since I left hostel and parted with Shantanu, and now I have no hesitation in admitting that I am in awe of this little wonder from Mumbai. I can firmly say Sachin is not just the best, he is divine, unparalleled and beyond adjectives. He has been answering all the questions, raised by me and other like minded naysayers, with conviction and aplomb.

In the last couple of years or so, Sachin Tendulkar has rediscovered himself. He has given a new lease of life to his career by mixing a studied caution to his otherwise flamboyant style of play. Now, he is more measured, doubly effective, equally intriguing and most importantly, very very consistent. He no longer looks to hit the ball, the ball merely kisses his willow and disappears somewhere in the stands. Given the class, temperament and caliber that he already has, this additional garnishing is nothing less than death penalty for bowlers across the world.

Such is the aura and magnificence of his strokeplay that so-called big hitters like Pollard and Dhoni look 'Ugly' in front of him. Well, you need not have imposing personality, bulging muscles or swing your bat in utter defiance of gravity to ensure that the ball is amongst the crowds. The master does it with utmost ease but with no arrogance whatsoever, which is so uncommon for modern day cricketing stars. His cover drive is silken like a beautiful maiden's flowing hair. Even when he pulls, there is no hint of defiance or slap-on-the-face-of-the-bowler, its like a small peck on the cheek, saying, " come again, kiddo!"

Sachin is not just a cricketing star for India and Indians. He is God, he is that rhythm divine to whose tunes billions of cricket lovers dance. We revel his every single run, we sacrifice our meals to make sure that he completes his century, we cry when he gets out early.

Sachin's batting is like poetry to eyes, its ethereal, magnanimous and surreal. His batting prowess has that healing touch that has kept India together for two decades now. He binds a Marathi with Bihari, a biz honcho with a laborer. An ailing patient forgets his pain and  a crying baby his hunger, when Sachin comes out to bat. I guess Naxals do not have TV sets, or they would have relinquished violence long back.

He commands respect and dignity, masters poise and determination. His life is a living epitome of an idol that we so badly search for. Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar trashes the myth that a sporting legend must be a pin-up boy. He is not tainted like a Shane Warne or Tiger Woods, he is right there at the top of the heap and in the bottom of everyone's heart. Grace, humbleness and unflinching character are his best companions. It is with this arsenal of virtues that he has been able to mow down opponents as ruthless as Aussies. Sample this from a stubborn and rude cricketer like Matthew Hayden, "I have seen God. He bats at no. 4 for India in tests." Fear (and respect) of Tendulkar is now deep embedded in Australian psyche, it will pass on through their genes. Now I know, why they target Indians in Melbourne!

This is Sachin's era, it was never like this before. Not even when he was a teen with curly hair. He is behaving like a monk these days, calm, cool and composed beyond belief. His attitude shows that he is above everything now, beyond records, achievements and milestones. He just wishes to play cricket, he just wants to bat till the very end. It is this hunger for runs and cricket that makes this gentleman so special. His commitment, devotion and dedication to the game is exemplary and can easily put many youngsters to shame.

I thank God, mum and dad for timing my birth so perfectly. Because soon the history would be divided in three eras, "Pre-Sachin, Sachin and Post Sachin." I am lucky, I belong to the 'SACHIN' era.

P.S- The Writer Advocates Bharat Ratna for Sachin Tendulkar.

This is an old Facebook Note from the writer. More on the legend follows soon. Just Awaiting his 100th 100.

Mar 29, 2011

Cool Domestic Happiness - By M. J. Akbar

The British existed in India for over two centuries. They should have co-existed. They would not have needed a Prime Minister in 2011, David Cameron, to fiddle around with ideas like Gross Domestic Happiness, his latest barometer to gauge the welfare of society. Indians have long preferred GDS to GDP: Gross Domestic Self-satisfaction. A 19th century Cameron would have caught on to the fact that life is something more than a mere industrial revolution.

GDS cannot be either measured or implemented by governments, whose only obsession is to boss around or pocket paybacks whenever possible. Indians do like a bit of authority, but, alas, only in areas where they don't get any, like municipal services. When it comes to pleasure, they don't hang around waiting for permission.

On Thursday 24 March, when India defeated Australia in the quarter finals of the World Cup, an estimated 50% of the country's cricket fans took a half-holiday. This estimate is mine, based on empirical evidence collected from morning traffic in Delhi. There was no snarl on the roads, just a grudging smile. On Wednesday 30 March, when India plays Pakistan in the semi finals, the roads will be beaming with joy, since 90% of the fans will stay at home. Most of them will begin their half-holiday at 10 a.m., arguing, quite correctly, that it is anti-national to waste as precious a national resource as petrol at post-Libya prices just to show your face for a few minutes in the office. I can proudly lay claim to the proposition that the half-holiday is an Indian invention, particularly one that begins at 10 am. A full holiday to watch cricket on TV is for wimps. Strong men stick to half-holidays.

Prayers will be offered, and emotions invested in victory, because we Indians take our cricket-nationalism very seriously indeed. But that is not the only spirit that will consume fans, or many fans will consume, on Wednesday. The moment the last ball is bowled, there will be a frenzy of conversation since India is a nation of analysts. Emotional Pakistan will be elated or depressed, but India will analyse whatever the result, whether over tea or something more sensational.

The good news, however, is that India and Pakistan no longer treat cricket as an existential conflict. One of the most moving moments of my life came in Lahore in 2004, when the joy of an Indian victory in a one-dayer soared at the sight of young Pakistani fans waving the Indian flag as a gesture of friendship. May God ensure that on Wednesday Pakistan succumb for less than a hundred runs, and Sachin Tendulkar alone scores that many to win and get his 100th 100 simultaneously, but just in case God is in a different mood, I hope Mohali and Chandigarh will display the sportsman's spirit that turned Lahore into a magic city in 2004. It would be too depressing if the culture of our subcontinent became hostage to political conflict.

rime Minister Manmohan Singh has seized the moment by inviting Asif Zardari and his technical counterpart Yousaf Raza Gilani to Mohali. "Cricket diplomacy" is a bit of a misnomer since nothing actually moves on the diplomatic front as a consequence. Rajiv Gandhi invited General Zia ul Haq to Jaipur in 1987; and Dr Singh was host to General Pervez Musharraf in 2005. Later, Dr Singh declined a reciprocal gesture. The first did not lead to a breakthrough, and the second did instigate collapse. But governments are only one part of the India-Pakistan equation. Friendship between the people is far more important than friendship between two governments. Cricket builds relations at the broad, popular base, even if the apex of the pyramid is withering.

Cricket-chemistry is such alchemy on the subcontinent precisely because India and Pakistan have equal tubs of talent. Their individual and collective behaviour is visibly different. India is a professionally inter-woven unit; while Pakistan gives the impression of being a collection of temperamental mavericks. But environment, and opportunity, could make Pakistan's seeming weakness into an asset; when such talent is watered by passion, it can blossom. You can never tell on which day who will become the genie in the Pakistan bottle.

India, on the other hand, revolves around four batsmen and one bowler: Sachin Tendulkar, Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir, Yuvraj Singh and Zaheer Khan. Yuvraj is on song, but the defining difference is Sachin, who, after two decades at the crease, has become the coolest, most disciplined genius in the history of the game. We will not be privileged to see his like again. Sachin Tendulkar has nothing left to prove, but he does have something left to say: that when the history of the game is written victory at Mohali on 30 March 2010 will be among his laurels.

That would be the ultimate in Cool Domestic Satisfaction.

M.J. Akbar is the Editor-in-Chief of The Sunday Guardian

Post Courtesy: The Sunday Guardian, Delhi's only 'Sunday Newspaper'

Mar 27, 2011

Confessions of a Young Mind

Ever wondered what bothers you? 

The emptiness within which threatens to take away your sanity, is no random phone call. It is, in fact, a precursor of future and a hangover of the past. For no concrete reason, your faith stumbles and the road ahead seems to go nowhere. Black suddenly becomes a beast, sans all its beauty and polish.

With hope in your eyes and expectations in your heart, you turn towards love. You presume it to be a cool cucumber in scorching heat. Without realizing, the fruit itself blossoms in dry sand and immense adversity. What is love? You wonder. A mirage, smiling at you from a distance and vanishing every time you thought you had it? A rainbow, up there in the sky with its exuberant colors, but out of reach by some good 'n' miles? The answer eludes you. You keep guessing only to find yourself running out of gas.

You were too young and unimportant to understand nuances of emotions. By the time your wisdom germinated, hues of emotions changed. So love becomes responsibility, responsibility a requirement and you realize, you don't know what's required?

While spinning that empty bottle of beer, you don't know which way would it point. The alcohol in your blood does not let you ponder over the possibilities. Who bothers to measure 'height' when you are on a 'high'. But the depth scares you when you are lying low.

You try and look towards your future. And get tangled in the mirage and rainbow theory. Fear becomes a tenant in your heart. Anxiety occupies the top floor, brain to be precise. The clock starts to tick fast. You remember your dad emphasizing the importance of wearing a watch. 

World was never as beautiful as you imagined it to be. Its time to get real, you think. Enough of virtual euphoria. Straightaway you head towards a temple, and that myth of getting real is quashed, right there at the entrance of God's abode.

You look in the mirror and laugh at yourself. Some even cry. The difference lies in the way you wash your face, wipe your tears.

Ever wondered what bothers you?

Mar 24, 2011

Something for you..Dada..

My life was in single digits, when I first saw you on TV. You sported a thin mustache, were very reserved and focused. Your ability to pierce the off-side field, almost at will, amazed me. I loved your style of play, those lofted sixes over long-on and long off. On off-side, you were better than God. (Sorry, Rahul Dravid)

You single-handedly demolished Lanka in that 1999 world cup league match. Your 183 was enough for me to subscribe to cricket forever and spend rest of my life as your 'fan'.

You took on the reins of Indian team when its ship was rocked by a devastating fixing scandal. Like a meticulous potter, you molded this team into a 'team' from a mere bunch of talented cricketers. You emerged as a feisty leader, a fiery spokesman and a remarkable motivator. You gifted India with the likes of Zaheer, Harbhajan and Sehwag. That fist of yours, with a sacred thread around it, resembled the new India, ready & willing to kick some ass.

You were the first Indian to get inside the skin of the Australians. Sadly, Steve Waugh would never add you as a friend on Facebook. 

Then came that fateful day of March 2003. Having spearheaded India's brilliant campaign in the world cup, you had every right to romance that trophy. You had spent sleepless nights, given your heart and soul for this very occasion. 

But history missed a tryst with you. It was a terrible loss. Indians can never forget it.

Destiny was also harsh on the other two of the famed troika. Thankfully, one of the them is still there, with his head held high and bat firmly in his hand, to settle the scores. And I am sure, he will play for his pride, his opening-mate's revenge and most importantly, for the hopes of a billion of fans.

Time has given us a chance. They are not as fearsome as they were in 2003, but it neither washes away their sins nor does it undermine the seriousness of the ambition. Their brutal conquest, is what I seek.

I have kept fasts to ensure that you make runs. And let me tell you, I am a big foodie. I have cried when you have failed or suffered humiliation. Like a maniac, I argued with my friends to ensure that you get rightful respect in their hearts. Your comeback saga vindicated me. You proved to the world that fighters don't go in oblivion easily, they resurrect every time doomsday is predicted. 

Your career was spectacular, but these aussies deprived you of a jewel in the crown. You don't say it, but I know and can feel your pain.

I wish India to win tomorrow's game for your sake. I wish your ex-opening-mate slaps every Aussie bowler with his batting genius. For me, 'half the cup would be full' by "Aussie Conquest" on March 24, 2010.

Mar 22, 2011

Bihar Diwas: Pride & Prejudice

That Bihar is a state of national interest is well known and has been a subject of ridicule and constant scrutiny is pretty evident. But what makes this East Indian State stand out is the fact that it is not merely a state but rather a State of Mind. Uniquely placed somewhere near the heart of the Indian Map, Bihar is a classic case of a beautiful dream gone awry. But the state is waking up nevertheless (More on the awaken part later).
As a timid teenager when I set my foot in the national capital, it welcomed me with open arms. I had dreams and New Delhi was ready to buy them. As I got in conversation, up close and personal, with the so-called Delhiites (Nobody is a Delhiiite, everyone is a migrant in some form or the other), a profound grudge started to unveil itself. " Where are your from? " One of my co-Amitians  asked me.

"Bihar" I replied. I usually do not add more words whenever someone asks me this question. The word 'Bihar' itself gives me enough pride,  and others the 'prejudice' that they so beautifully harbor. " Oh you are a Bihari! You don' look like one!" Pat came the reply, which I so knew was coming. I wondered whether to take offense to the comment or feel happy about the supposed compliment. " You know I had this very bad impression of Biharis, till I met you." The Girl continued and gave me a shy smile, as if I would hug her and say, " Baby, I came on earth to quell this myth of yours."

"You-don't-look-like-a-Bihari" syndrome is mainly an outcome of the buffoonery propagated by the self proclaimed mascot of Bihar, the irritating, rowdy and arrogant Lalu Yadav. He projected Biharis as a bunch of fools who travel across the country with a gamchhi (a cotton towel) on their shoulder and are by default backward, unpolished in their mannerisms and outlook. To put it in short, Lalu did a cultural genocide of sort for Bihar.

I don't blame the naysayers for taking a dig at Bihar and its people. They are alarmed at the sheer force of migrant population that threatens to take away their breads. We are everywhere from IITs to roads (Pulling rickshaws), from NASA to that maid working in your home.

Our strength lies in being simple, honest, hard working and innocent. Biharis are rooted to ground, this makes them strong and resilient enough to tackle any calamity or storm, whether man made or natural. So we take floods every year in our stride, so we do the constant tirades of Raj Thackery and his bunch of ugly goons.

I take pride in values that my Bihari upbringing has bestowed upon me. We have a society that encourages tolerance (Land of Buddha), academic excellence (Super 30 )and cultural preservation (Nalanda), in contrast to that superficial, swanky and noisy show-off culture of North. We believe in bond of love & affection, we don’t just touch the feet of an elder, we touch their hearts. Folding hands in a namaste and putting on a fake smile does not excite us.

This is an old Facebook note by the blog owner, posted here on the occasion of 'Bihar Diwas'.

Mar 19, 2011

An Open Letter to Mahendra Singh Dhoni

Dear Mahi,

I hope you are doing well and enjoying your great run as India Captain. To be honest, I was skeptical to address you as ‘Mahi’, mainly because I am not very fond of such nicknames. But I thought calling someone by his/her surname (Dhoni, in your case) is a bit rude, especially while writing a letter. And I am sure, you would also prefer to be called Mahi than Mahendra.

I know it’s tough not to be with your family on occasions as big as Holi. Due to the very fact that you and all your team members are away from your homes on this occasion of festivity, my heart goes out to all of you. The situation is more precarious for a man like you who is missing out on the first Holi of his married life. My best Holi wishes to you, your wife and the entire family.

Tomorrow is a big day for India. You and your boys will play the West Indies in the last league match. This is your last chance to regroup and perform as a unit before the knock-out stage begins. I wish to suggest some changes that you may consider to bring about in the team composition.

Hopefully by now, your fascination with Piyush Chawla might have ended. And you also must have figured out that 2 off-spinners formula is indeed the way forward, specially against a team like West Indies (because it has a lot of left-handers). England proved it the other night by using Swann and Tredwell. I plead to you to include Ashwin in the playing XI.

Why do you worry about 'variety' in your 'bowling attack', when you do not have a 'bowling attack' at first place? It’s a "bowling defense", to put it in mild terms. Your bowlers are expected to defend any score between 350-400, and also make a match of it when the batsmen score around 300-mark. If you still insist on variety, let me tell you that Yuvraj’s left arm slow balls surely offer ample variety.

Also, I would like you to accommodate Suresh Raina in the side. I remember Ian Chappell suggesting to drop Gambhir to accommodate Raina. He reasoned that India’s batting looks ‘top-heavy’ (His observation was proven correct in the last game). I may not suggest you to drop Gautam but you must take a call on Yusuf Pathan. Raina is an asset in the field and can also bowl a few overs. His versatility with bat will be crucial in crunch games. Yes, he may not impact a game in the way Pathan might, but he inspires more confidence in a cricket lover than Yusuf does.

This was about the team composition. Now, few things I would like to tell you directly. Look, I have nothing personal against you. You are a wonderful man, a good leader and have brought laurels for your state and the country. Your fans accuse me of getting 'personal' with you, but let me assure you that I do not relish being critical of you. I just happen to be very affectionate towards cricket and slightly 'more aware'. Sometimes, I look beyond what’s there on view and in the process end up making harsh remarks. I care for the feelings of billions of Indians, young & old, male & female, rich & poor.

You must be realizing by now that you are not merely captaining a cricketing side. You are carrying the lantern of hope of this entertainment and thrill starved country. Our last major achievement in one-day cricket was way back in 1983. Ironically, the game has grown leaps and bounds since then but we have managed to reach finals only once. We are a nation desperate to find icons and idols. The country spotted you and found solace in your stylish mane. You have lived up to your billing most of the times, but you are seemingly faltering this time around.

You appear to be autocratic in team selection. You are inflexible and smartly term it as “going by instincts”. Some of your decisions in this world cup have been baffling to say the least. Your persistence with Chawla, ignorance of Ashwin, not handing out the last over to Bhajji, promoting Yusuf unnecessarily, taking singles on first bowl when batting with tailenders, are just a few of them.

You have no idea, what does this cup mean to India! Or if you have the idea, you better realize your responsibility. Your team’s performance has a bearing on everything, from sensex to bedroom. A shopkeeper’s sale, a priest’s earnings, a temple’s footfalls, a bar's business every damn thing is directly proportional to you and your team. My very own love relationship is at stake too.

And also, there is a 38 year old man in your dressing room who has occupied that place for some 22 years now. Day after day, he has been investing his soul, heart, body and mind in cricket and in this country. He is still trying his best, he would continue to do the same till his last day on cricket field. He has undergone a lot of agony, availed tremendous pressure over the years from that 1996 world cup semi-final to your recent loss to South Africa few days back.

I am not trying to make you emotional. True, the cup needs to be won for a billion of fans but what’s the harm if the aspirations of a national hero get served in the process? How can you expect to fulfill a billion hopes when you can’t take care of the sentiments and emotions of a single man?

I am tired now. Hopefully, you will take this letter in good spirits and revert back soon. I wish you and your team all the best for tomorrow's game. I will go and do some preparation for Holi now. I just hope holi ka rang aur gujiya ka swad kahin feeka naa pad jaye.

Yours Lovingly,

ASICF (A Stupid Indian Cricket Fan)

Mar 13, 2011

Of Shame, Hope and Some More Hope

What's in a defeat? One comes across wins and losses quite regularly in his/her life. Actually life in itself is nothing but an aggregation of "jeet and haar". This ideologue stands true, even more, in case of competitive sport. No sportsperson or a team can imagine to win all matches or end up losing all. There is a small little piece of sweet cake and a pinch of salt for everyone.

Though a loss does not matter much in sport, the way you lose does. India's loss to South Africa in Nagpur last night was hard to digest, in this very regard. After being in a commanding position for at least 35 overs in both the innings, the Indian team threw away the match much like a distraught child throws away the biscuit he does not like! It was shocking to see the extent to which a team can self destruct and snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, almost adamantly.

A man called Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar came out to bat around 2.30 in the afternoon. From the very first ball he faced, the intention was clear. He wanted to excel personally, bring laurels to the country and take that one more step towards what has been the only unfulfilled dream in his iconic career. He was reasonably supported by an arrogant Sehwag who batted foolishly for the first 10 overs. His ability to rotate the strike is questionable, his attitude hinges on selfishness, at times. But still he hung around and butchered the South African attack. On the other end, a poetry was in motion. As cool as a January morning and as calm as the sea of tranquility itself. Sachin was less violent and doubly effective. The lofted shots were back and he had a better strike rate than Sehwag, in whatever strike he got.

But the here the story ends. What happened henceforth was hard to comprehend and difficult to digest. India lost last 9 wickets for 29 runs. From 267/1 at one stage, the team finally folded at 296 without even lasting their allotted 50 overs. It was a shameful display and the famed Indian batting line up looked a bunch of idiots. Everyone was trying to play a glamorous shot and make it to the newspaper front page. All of them forgot that singles and doubles are lifeline of cricket. But alas, adventurism and glitz seems to have made heavy inroads in the minds of these Tees Maar Khans.

I feel ashamed at the very thought of these players swearing to win the Cup for their paaji a few days back. Their paaji is far more committed and rather self sufficient to achieve this feat. You guys are only here to pose to the shutterbags and endorse brands. That zeal, that pride to play a world cup for India is clearly missing.

MS Dhoni was horrible as a captain. His decision to hand over the ball to Ashish Nehra for the last over was baffling. As a batsman, he foolishly took singles on first balls of the overs and handed over the strike to the likes of Khan and Nehra. There is some serious lapse of wisdom and mental agility on his part. He better pull up his socks and pants, stop pretending to be unperturbed and start showing some urgency.

It was a bitter loss. Something which will drain the team mentally and leave a strong impact on their minds. They themselves dug their graves and now it will be tough to come out of it. The game against windies is their last chance to register a 'proper' win before the knock stage commences.

A billion of hopes are hoping against hope. I am being called an emotional fool, a traitor, whatever. I dont mind these tags if the team recovers well in time. A World Cup glory is all I seek. and trust me I will dance on the rooftop if it happens. Because howsoever critical I might be, at the end of day I am an stupid Indian cricket fan!

P.S. The above post is a combined effort of an ardent Indian team/cricket lover and a shrewd critic.

Mar 10, 2011

And we thought, winning the world cup was our birthright!

Cricket is a religion in this country, very right, but its only when you take off the spectacles of devotion from your eyes, the dark truth makes an appearance. India, for the second time in a row, made chasing a modest total look like a process as complicated as pregnancy. Bowlers leaked runs like a damaged sewer leaks water. Batsmen wobbled around as if there was an ant under their pants. All this, before a packed Kotla crowd, which in anticipation of a demolition of sorts of the Netherlands by India, had thronged the stadium.

 MS Dhoni was at loss of words while explaining India's precarious performance. His usual diplomacy did not augur well either with the fans or the media. I lauded him for deciding to field first against a somewhat dangerous Irish side. But his tactics against Netherlands were quite questionable and left me wondering whether there is a hint of arrogance under that garb of coolness.
  • Why declare that India was looking for an 'easy game' even before the first ball was bowled? Do you look for tough games when you go into field? Is not it the hope for a comprehensive victory that should drive you into the filed, every time you step in?
  • What prompted you to undermine Dutch's prowess? Does your team, at the moment, look like winning every game? No, it does not. Do you think your team can beat minnows comfortably? Wasn't Ireland a lesson? First fix your own woes, then take your oppositions lightly. A mature captain of a cricket crazy nation must not play to the gallery and declare intentions first up. Your boastfulness belittled India's effort even more!
Indian team is hugely imbalanced at the moment. It looks like a bunch of talented school kids, basking in their own little world of glories. While bowlers are absolutely clueless about their job, batsmen seem to be following their own agenda. As if a Sehwag was not 'natural' enough, we have a Pathan to accompany him. On bowling front, Piyush Chawla is being given a longer run for no reason whatsoever. Harbhajan Singh is a liability, to say the least. Time for a well-deserved reality-check!

  • Harbhajan Singh! Get a life! You are a pathetic One-Day Bowler! You don't deserve a place in playing XI. Doing monkey acts and participating in dance shows seems to have gone into your head. 2 wickets in 4 games show that you are not capable of taking wickets. You can not spin a cricket bowl. You are virtually impotent.
  • Virender Sehwag! Why do you think you are God's greatest devastating gift to planet? Why are you so arrogant and over confident? Why you seem to be in a constant hurry and anger? What's bothering you? Till when will continue playing your 'natural game'? Add some grace to your butcher ways! Sometimes you are pain to eyes!
  • Yusuf Pathan, why do you look lost while batting. Add some brain behind your raw power and you would be fine. Boundary rope is not the only thing in a cricket field. There are plenty of gaps, here and there, that are meant to be used. If you continue in this fashion, I am sorry to say, you have a short cricketing career under your sleeve.
  • Piyush Chawla! You are self proclaimed heir of Anil Kumble in this country. I learn that you are a 'young talent' since 3-4 years and are being 'groomed'. The captain seems to have a 'special liking' for you. Between all this, can you please start leg spinning, your primary job. Please get rid of your 'baby' image, when you don that blue jersey next time!
Sorry to say, this team does not have in it to lift 'the cup that matters'. However, I would like to be proven wrong. 

Mar 9, 2011

SRK To Play Don, Leonardo a Cop!

Shah Rukh's first Indo-Hollywood project of sorts, Xtrme City will see the actor playing Don in the film. Leonardo Di Caprio will play a cop. 

Mushtaq Shiekh, scriptwriter of the film revealed, "Xtrme City is a cross-cultural thriller designed for both Bollywood and Hollywood. And if we get it right...this will be an attempt at true global entertainment."

Speaking about the story of the film, he added, "It's a story of an Indian (SRK) and an American ( Leo) from radically different worlds, who both served in the UN peacekeeping force in Somalia during the 90's.

The American saves the Indian's life; in the aftermath they become indebted to each other then go their own separate ways: The American becomes a cop in New York, the Indian a bhai inMumbai. Many years later the American has a burdensome family obligation, which compels him to return to India to seek help from the Indian comrade whose life he had saved--but becomes deeper and deeper drawn into an alien world; As such, it's both a "buddy" film and a "fish-out-of-water" film."


Shah Rukh who is shooting for Farhan Akhtar's Don2 will yet again play a Don onscreen. But since the film pairs two superstars from the world's biggest film industries, we are sure it won't be your typical gangster film.

Paul Schrader will direct the film which will be co-produced by Martin Scorsese.

The film is set to go on floors next year. 

Source: The Times of India

Mar 8, 2011

Aruna Has To Live

Courtesy: The Hindustan Times 

Watch this space for more on Aruna Shanbaug and Euthanasia.

Mar 7, 2011

MSD 'The Leader' Impressed me..(Ind Vs Ireland)

Yesterday, MS Dhoni impressed me first up. His decision to bowl first after winning the toss was excellent and well thought of , it smelled of chanakyaneeti. He fizzled out half of the Irish Challenge by not batting first. Remember, Ireland, and most of the underdogs, fancy their chances while chasing a total. Whether they have to chase 250 or 350, they play their 'natural game', without fear of losing. Once the task of 'setting a target' is assigned to them, they start doubting their abilities. Also, Ireland was fresh from its conquest of Mount England, and would have loved to chase, come what may.

Dhoni's decision might have disappointed the fans who wanted to see another Sachin epic or Sehwag blitzkrieg, but the eventual result must have delighted them. Also, by bowling first, Dhoni gave a chance to his off-color bowlers to get some groove ahead of business end of the tournament. Yuvraj Singh and Zaheer looked very impressive, and this augurs well for India in future.

Though, I am not very much fond of this lad from Ranchi, but this single decision has forced me to respect his leadership skills even more. It was a well-calculated decision by the skipper, which is sure to benefit the team. Yes, Ireland did offer great resistance and tried their best to topple Dhoni's calculations, but at the end India were the better team and deserved full points from the game. 

Ireland might have lost the game but have won millions of hearts across the cricketing world. They continue to get better and better with every game and the call for granting them full ODI Status is bound to get shriller and louder.

Meanwhile, South Africa imploded, much to my fear. RSA's loss to England was yet another instance of its vulnerability and inability to handle tensed situations. By far, they looked the best team in the tournament, but yesterday's defeat makes them look very ordinary. On the other hand, England continues to surprise me. Their rise and fall and rise, is somewhat like classic English literature. It has aura, romanticism and dignity around it. 

The Cup is only 'quarter full'. Much more yet to come. Stay glued!

Mar 4, 2011

Of an Inspired Ireland and a timid Bangladesh!

Ireland shares a long and uncomfortable history with England. The latter has glistened in the glory of United Kingdom, conquering almost the entire world; on the other hand Irish have strived hard to maintain their separate identity, and not get bullied by their imposing neighbors. However, at the end (at least in the cricketing terms), they have made sure that the Irish coffee is not just distinct but it also tastes & smells better than English Brown Ale.

On the fateful Wednesday night, Few expected the pink-haired Kevin O'brien to turn the match around in such a belligerent fashion. At one stage, Ireland was reeling at 111-5, and most of us thought that the Irish just might have run out of their fighting steam. However, O'brein's counter-assault was brutal and devastating, and is sure to haunt the English bowlers for at least sometime. In a post-match interview, the Irish with the rockstar-looks, candidly confessed that he just gave himself a 'chance' considering that the spectators had not had their money worth so far!

And Bangalore has suddenly become the epicenter of fascinating cricket. After the high of that India-England Tie, second consecutive 'Incredible Game' unfolded at the Chinnaswamy stadium. The ordinary cricket fan in Bangalore could not have asked for a better World Cup.

Ireland have shown that they are certainly way ahead of other Associate teams in the fray. They not only have the requisite batting, bowling and fielding skills, but they also have excellent cricketing temperament and a certain zeal in their overall approach. They have come to the subcontinent with positive frame of mind and certainly mean business. The team, most importantly, comprises Irish players, there are no migrant Asians or aging West Indians. I wish the ICC takes notice of the team and presents it with a permanent ODI status.

Group B is turning out to be very tricky. England's defeat sends warning to other fancied teams and also gives hope to the likes of Bangladesh and Ireland.

But Hold on! When I started writing this article, Bangladesh won the toss and decided to bat first against West Indies, in what can be called as the first "do or die" match of the world cup. And now, as I wind up the write-up, the Tigers have folded up on a paltry 58 in mere 18.5 overs! What a shame ? I pity the fans in Mirpur! and it proves that Bangladesh still have a long long way to go. And we were just a bit over enthusiatsic in assessing their chances at this world cup. But I feel happy for Windies. Some crazy cricket expert in some crazy program, called Bangladesh the Favorites for this game! That's sheer disrespect to the West Indian legacy! and boy, how well have they responded!

The Cup Continues to surprise us. Last Night Canada almost had the better of Pakistan. The flamboyant Shahid Afridi pulled back the plugs just in time and exposed why Canada is the most pathetic of all the associate teams. There is simply no Canadian in that team! Till they find one, they will have to struggle like this!

Stay glued for more updates on what is turning out to be a DREAM WORLD CUP!

Mar 3, 2011

Breaking Story: Supreme Court Slams Govt, Quashes Appointment of CVC

In a major embarrassment to the UPA government and its highly incompetent prime minister, the 'oh-so-silent' Manmohan Singh, the Supreme Court of India today quashed the appointment of P J Thomas as Central Vigilance Commissioner. 

The apex court said that the high-powered committee's recommendation on appointment of Thomas "does not exist in law". Apex court rejected the contention of Thomas and the government that the appointment of the CVC cannot be brought under judicial review. SC said that the legality of the recommendation can be brought under judicial review.

You must note that PJ Thomas was appointed Chief Vigilance Commissioner (CVC), India's topmost anti-corruption watchdog, on Sep 7 last year. Chief Vigilance Commission looks into the cases of corruption by government employees, ministers and bureaucrats. Few days after his appointment, media and the opposition brought in limelight some pending criminal case against Thomas.

A PIL was filed by an NGO, Center for Public Interest Litigation (CPIL) and retired bureaucrats and police officials, including former chief election commissioner J M Lyngdoh, which challenged Thomas' appointment as CVC in view of that pending criminal case (the palm oil case) against him in a Kerala court.

The UPA government, which is reeling under a series of scams ranging from Aadarsh to CWG to 2g Spectrum to S-Band allocation, stoutly defended appointment of Thomas as CVC.

The apex court's decision certainly acts as a slap on the face for the government, which appears to be neck deep in corruption. This perhaps explains why it appointed a 'tainted' man for handling cases of corruption.

Thomas resigned after the verdict. In her first reaction to the verdict, leader of opposition Sushma Swaraj tweeted that the "dignity of the office of CVC has been restored".

Dr Singh, Do you have something to say? At least now!

Mar 2, 2011

SRK-Martin Scorsese Coming Together ?

Source: The Hindustan Times

If rumours are to be believed, SRK has roped in the legendary Martin Scorsese to co-produce his dream Bollywood-Hollywood project, Xtrme City. Courtesy SRK's friend and Ra.One screenwriter Mushtaq Shiekh, Xtrme City is already making waves for its international cast and crew.

Reportedly, Scorsese will co-produce along with David Weisman. The film also stars Leonardo DiCaprio.

Shiekh confirmed to Mid Day, "It's true. We are all elated. This is the best news I have heard in a long time. Martin loved the script and it meant the world to me as the writer of the film along with Paul Schrader. But when he comes in as the producer of the project, then I am thrilled as it takes the film to another level completely. Inshaallah, all goes well from here onwards. Fingers and all parts of the body crossed."
After many delays and glitches, the project is finally underway. A source told the tabloid, "The sheer logistics of merging two great film-making cultures seemed overwhelming, until a secret meeting took place on February 12 at last year's Berlin Film Festival between SRK, Leo, Martin, David, Paul and Karan Johar when Shah Rukh was in Berlin for the world premiere of My Name Is Khan and the H-Town actor-director duo were there for the premiere of their Shutter Island premiere the following night."
SRKThe meeting between the cinema stalwarts from differnt parts of the globe was a high-energy affair. The source added, "The meet-and-greet over coffee was simply intended to break the ice between the international artists who admired and respected each other's work. It quickly turned into a high-energy encounter. Topics of discussion included Scorsese's love for Bollywood cinema and the need for the preservation of its classic works." The Xtrme City screenplay was officially presented to SRK, Martin and DiCaprio. "Apparently, the camaraderie evolved from that event. The bonding between the superstars took everyone by surprise."

If all goes well, the dream Bollywood-Hollywood project will finally happen.